#mhawnz It’s been Mental Health Awareness…umm. Well… its been going for more than a week but I’m not sure it’s lasting a full month.
There was a challenge, with the hashtag #mhawnz, where you posted a different type of photo from the outdoors every day to mark the period.
The idea is, from what I can gather, to highlight the general benefits of getting out into nature.
I seem to know a lot of people going through mental health issues at the moment. And – in what now seems like a different life – I was, for five years, a volunteer on Youthline’s crisis line, which gave me a bit of insight into all this.
Personally? I’m not unacquainted with the black dog sniffing around the room at 3am, or waking with what I call the Boulder of Dread on my chest.
Anyone, I’ve learned, can hit overload. It’s not something I dwell on or go on about. I can hyper-intellectualise this by saying self-dramatisation is one of the ills of our age – and that is true, I think.
The other, probably more important reason is that I’m just, culturally and emotionally, a bit of an uptight Presbyterian about these things.
I’m okay with that, by the way. I love and accept my attitude problem.
Anyway, I started doing the photo challenge and then got sidetracked by combination of work and a viral chest infection.
But here’s two pics from the McKenzie area – Lake Benmore, from June a few years back, and just up the road at Omarama, snowing, last year.
More generally, I’ve written about how walking is kind of beaut, last year.
The old mental appetite is certainly stimulated – and fed – by books, as well as by conversations, chats over coffee, shouting matches over the Shiraz, gesticulating over the Glenmorangie.
But it is digested by walking. This is about balance, and the interaction between walking, thinking and feeling.
The full piece, which is a review of a really great book called ‘A Philosophy of Walking’ by Frederic Gros, is here.
It rained, usually.
Nothing so ambitious this weekend, just wombling around the Wellington hills. But I’m kind of happy with that.