Nobody is certain of what’s going to happen in the future except that an end is inevitable at some point. I hear people preach about the end of the world while they are still living. But waiting for the end when you’re still at the beginning is pointless; this also ties-in with mental health issues and the fact that the quickest way out is not always the best way out.

When taking big leaps to move towards a positive future, never forget the lily pads that carried you along the way. Whether these are family, friends, colleagues, councillors … you wouldn’t be where you are today without them.

One thing that’s taken for granted is talking. I was talking to an elderly person the other day and she mentioned, ‘why do people refer to the good old days, there were never any’. Whilst not every day is a bad one, she was right. Every generation experiences the same problems but it’s how we deal with them which is different.

Mental health has always been around, it’s just that now we recognise that having bad mental health can cause problems for other people too, and that something must be done. Many soldiers after WW2 did not receive any PTSD therapy and now we see how that took a toll on them. What we need is greater support services to help prevent problems getting worse. This includes more funding for councillors, setting up schemes in schools and offices to help promote positive wellbeing, and therapy for those who need it.

An issue which I think habitually gets overlooked is people with special needs who are suffering from mental illnesses. As someone who has talked and lived with people suffering from severe autism, I have realised that expressing yourself to others is hard enough but coming to terms with your own confused thoughts can be hellish. I have learned that talking and finding better ways to communicate with different people has made me a more open-minded and respectful person, as I take into account other peoples’ problems as well as my own when talking about daily struggles. It can be something as trivial as taking the bus; I may complain about not getting my ticket out on time, whilst someone else who is non-verbal may be trying to verify one.

Opening your mind as well as your eyes when going outside and observing the world, can seem quite daunting, but it gives you a different outlook on life and people, and the changes you can make to help our society. In an ideal world, we would all be doing this and respecting each other’s space. But the reality is that we still see people living on the streets, we hear racist comments on a daily basis and we open the news to find horror instead of happiness.

We all live on a moving ball which never stops rolling. We are absorbing disasters and every once in a while, we let them show. And although we are surrounded by light that reaches our eyes and mouth, we never take enough time to feel it or properly take it in, because too much positivity may burn us. But letting light into our lives will brighten our future even if we are, at times, surrounded by crippling darkness.

Those who choose to look at the sun may fear getting blinded by its pure radiance, or think that nothing positive will come out of that action. Yes, in reality if we only look at the good side, the bad side will never be resolved because you are ignoring the problem; and that’s when most people get hurt. So the aim is to strike a balance, and look both ways: at the light and the dark.

It’s early days for 2018, let’s not just hope but work towards a brighter future.

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