Being sick in bed, first by norovirus and then common flu for over nine days — I got the luxury of starting thinking again. I also got the luxury of starting caring again.
Thinking is easy — who doesn’t agree on that? A thought about something is being produced as soon as we are subjected to anything. So it’s natural.
Equally — caring is also easy. You care for the environment, your beloved ones or people in need. It’s also quiet easy right?
Now I’m the last neurologist in the world you probably want to meet, since that’s not my Alma Mater. But it doesn’t take a brain surgeon, a neurologist or a cardiac expert to figure out what our most vital organs are.
The thing is that we frankly do not give a crap why it’s so essential that those two organs work together. That bothers me. We are stuck in our lives – either acting through logic by our brain. Or acting by compassion with our heart.
Now – I know that the heart is just a muscle that pumps blood and the brain is the key to everything and yadayadayada. But see it as metaphorical.
When was the last time you stopped pushing yourself too hard? When did you listen to your heart and took care of yourself or someone you know? When did you say “Hi, how are you?” to that person way down your WhatsApp-list of contacts?
My answers are easy — I push myself too hard, I don’t listen to my heart, I genuinely haven’t taken care of someone who called for help. I was too busy pushing myself. I have 265 friends on Facebook, I might be in contact with twenty of them. Not rarely because I need something and not the other way around. Call me a selfish bastard. But this is me reflecting after being 9 days in bed.
To all of you readers who might be born in the 60s, 50s or 40s — was life like this before?
I’ve hit the wall twice in my life. I don’t know genuinely if I ever will fully recover. Is my mental health bad because of that? No – it’s just the heart screaming STOP to the few brain cells I have up there who keep nagging with each other.
And we need to take better care of ourselves. Damn it I have kids, a wife, a family. I can’t let them down. I cannot turn into a vegetable just because I was too busy hunting the perfect career.
A sensible and wise man, Paul Mirbach wrote about his brother, may he rest in peace and may Paul find peace. That was about mental health.
And this has become an issue in the last two decades amongst the common population. Be perfect, be slim, be smart, don’t eat meat, lose weight, work harder, earn more money, spend your money – happiness can be bought. Don’t be selfish, don’t stick your head out, go vote. What did you vote for? You are stupid. You are smart. You are an egoist. You are misogynic. Hurry up for the big sale at H&M. Buy a German car brand. Be perfect. Have a house. Have two cars. Have a summer house abroad. Why is the cleaning lady so expensive? Oh and don’t forget that your dog deserves only the best food.
Do you recognize yourself? Have you heard this before?
It’s not a co-incidence. The world moves faster than what we are capable of handling. I was in South America last year, I visited an indigenous tribe living at 5000 meters height. That’s about half the height a commercial jetliner reaches. They had no running water, no electricity, no toilet, no phone connectivity and thus no internet. And I noticed something while staying with them. Never have I been so unadviced or unjudged as the time spent with them. I felt free in a way. Unstressed. No pressure. No sense of time. It was just them and me. And we didn’t have a word in common language. Yet we sat there and talked, they showed me how they survived and I showed them how the outside world looked.
They were not impressed.
I feel like I need to take a step back and just move along in my own pace, no matter what the rest of the world thinks. People say you should set up life-goals, pursue your dream and whatnot.
To them I say – what if my life-goal is to live life at a pace where my brain is synchronized with my heart? My brain has twice tried to rush ahead of my heart. That didn’t work out. I need them both to be the perfect match in order to function. Anytime I become too emotional I act irrational. Anytime I become too stressed I stop listening to my body, my surroundings. The beautiful trees. The nature.
So – whenever you feel too emotional, take a break and listen to your brain. When you run ahead of yourself listen to your heart.
Your brain is not a game anymore. Mental health, stress, trauma and PTSD is not a game. Your heart is not a game, listen to it.