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Mental Health Makes Everything Easier – How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

Cain Parish

In This Article:

Advice is often offered in a vacuum. We watch educational videos or ask friends and family for their opinions on a specific topic, hoping that our problem is localised, and that the solution will be equally narrow. Go to the doctor, get a prescription for a pill that solves your exact issue with no overlap or side effects. That’s the dream. We would like it very much if life was just as prescriptive. Mental health can be. Let’s learn why it’s important.

Man lifting barbell over his head, demonstrating how mental health makes everything easier

Table of Contents

Unfortunately, most good advice is holistic. There is a lot of overlap between the arenas of our lives, and there are many situations in which improving one part of your life will benefit another. Those tend to be the most begrudgingly worked upon, like health, finances or relationships.

How much advice exists around us that is simple and broad, entirely inapplicable to the specific problem that we go to find a prescription for? Sure, to accomplish my first pull-up, I could lose weight, implement a healthy diet and a strength training regimen, but that sounds like nerd shit. I need my advice localised, specific and with instant results to boot. 

When I first heard a controversial online creator make the ‘bold’ statement that mental health made everything easier, I rolled my eyes. It’s such a gimme statement for those giving advice on the internet, because there’s no way for it to be wrong. Obviously improving your mental health is a good thing. It’s one of those default statements, like racism is wrong or that pineapple on pizza is an abhorrent work of the devil. You can’t argue with it, so it makes sense to just accept it as a foundational belief and move on.

I, along with many people that engage with online content, unfortunately, missed the point of many of these foundation statements. What this man was attempting to communicate by discussing his mental health was very literally, that it makes everything easier. That isn’t something to be taken lightly. You see, at that time, everything in my life was a herculean effort. 

For me, getting out of bed was impossible in favour of scrolling through YouTube and ignoring my goals and responsibilities. Going to work was a slog, something to drag myself through because the alternative was homelessness and starvation. Counting calories and dieting was a non-starter. It was easier to just order Uber Eats and lament my cloudy physique in my bedroom mirror. My passion projects? Forget about them. Long term goals don’t exist when you barely have the motivation to wash yourself.

Externally, it’s a cakewalk to see that I was depressed and struggling. Years of emotional repression and alcohol based ‘self-medication’ had left me mentally floundering. I kept chasing my tail, searching for a prescriptive miracle cure that I could use to ignore my problems and have some kind of success handed to me in a convenient little sugar capsule. We can all recognise our patterns when we’re outside of them. When you’re inside the cycle, however, it’s a whole different issue.

I’d clicked on this particular video because it was one of the internet’s more provocative talking heads promising a solution to being rich and valued beyond my wildest dreams. Usually these videos are full of shit, recycled garbage advice that serves as placating clickbait to keep people on the treadmill of their videos. But this looked different. It was lecture length, over an hour, with no frills, advertising or marketing getting in the way of the information.

So, as it wound up and I hovered over the skip ad prompt, I was prepared for ninety tight minutes of top shelf financial freedom advice. I wanted my magic pill to leave all my woes behind and skip straight to the good bits.

His introduction was solid. He explained the impact that a modest degree of wealth had had on his life. He’d been able to try all sorts of qualities of life, from luxury to minimalism. He’d retired his family. He’d become more popular, more attractive, more engaging to the people around him. Money had meant a lot, and these benefits were all things I was chasing with every part of my unhealthy mental condition.

The introduction wound down. He went to take a sip of water, allowing me and the hundreds of thousands just like me to hang on his every word. What came out of his lips next was deeply shocking, almost offensive.

He had a step-by-step format, a breakdown of his process to his own wealth creation that would be the guideline for someone to follow in his wake. Steps one through thirteen were all about product creation, marketing, business development. The meat and potatoes of the video.

Before the main course, however, needed to come an entree. I listened in equal parts shock and denial as he outlined step zero. He asked us to take an honest assessment of our mental health, linking a European government mental health self-assessor as a guide. Part of these instructions were some stern words. If we weren’t happy and healthy enough, if our stress, anxiety and depression scores were too significant, the rest of his video, in no uncertain terms, was not for us. He as the speaker told us firmly to close the video and work on our mental states.

I took the test out of morbid curiosity. It scored me at a 7.8/10 for depressive symptoms and a 6.2/10 for anxiety. I was shocked and offended. I found it nonsensical to gatekeep the rest of his advice, and more than a little anger projected in his direction.

What made it worse was the predictability of my response. Shortly after delivering instructions for who could and couldn’t watch the rest of his video, he calmly and monotonously described exactly what I was feeling at that moment. The anger, denial and all my other negative emotions coming up were fed back to me like I was sitting in front of a woman with a crystal ball.

It was hard to believe I was so typical and predictable. Surely my situation was unique. My depression was minimal at best, and not worth dealing with. I was capable of pushing past it. Excuses flooded my mind and were just as quickly quashed by pre-recorded words from a person I’d never met. 

As mentally unhealthy people are prone to do, I was missing the forest for the trees. I like that analogy. It describes a great many things in life. Of course, this man on the internet wasn’t gatekeeping my dreams of financial freedom from me, nor was there any malice in his actions. He was simply a controversial speaker with a creative delivery. 

In raising my ire, in using such inflammatory structuring of his content, he’d forced me to take stock of my mental health, and consider if maybe there was more responsibility to be given to my mental wellbeing. What if, in fact, my lack of adherence to my diets and exercise regimen, or my struggles with my floundering writing career were not an issue of willpower or discipline, but instead being weighed down by an exceedingly overpowering cloud of depressive fog.

The premise was that mental health would make everything easier. It was the type of advice that was deeply unsatisfying, because it wasn’t immediate. It required me to go against the grain and stop looking for miracle cures, but to instead accept that I had a problem and to start finally trying to do something about it.


A week later, I signed up for therapy.


A month and five different therapists later, I found someone that actually helped.


Six months and numerous sessions, scores of journal pages and a begrudging meditation habit later, I finally paused to look around.

Nothing had changed, and yet, I wasn’t quite the same. I was still broke, still struggling with life in much the same way that everyone does, and everyone always will. But things were just a little bit easier.

I got up in the morning without as much silent grumbling. I started to look forward to my runs, and forcing myself out the door in the morning wasn’t a chore, rather a habit that I enjoyed the holistic benefits of. I went on my very first diet, a six-month endeavour that was very slow and very shoddily constructed, but it was the first point in my entire life that any weight-loss had actually happened over a measurable span of time.

My writing began to take off. I was producing hundreds, if not thousands of words every day, and even beginning to like some of them. As the cloud over my head lifted, my self-image improved, and I was able to enjoy my own work, a concept that was previously entirely foreign to me.

It wasn’t a magic pill that I was used to. It was a process, a holistic journey, the concept of which used to make my eyes roll. The wording still makes me shudder a little bit, but I understand the process now. You don’t go to bed one day depressed and wake up the next feeling completely tip-top. What happens instead is your days go from 3/10 to 3.2/10, without you noticing.

Eventually, like the fun compound interest graphs we all like to look at, the marginal increases grow on top of one another. We find that our days, suddenly, have snuck up on us as being enjoyable. A rare 6 or 7/10 creeps in to surprise us. And alongside it, we can take care of ourselves better.

Everything comes more seamlessly. It is very much true that the only thing standing in our way is ourselves, but it’s equally true that we have no idea how to get the fuck out of our own way. We’re often too busy firmly standing in our own path, steadfast in equal parts denial and ignorance.

I didn’t ever think I’d publish a book. It seemed too hard to write. But, somehow, some way, my mental health made everything easier.

F.A.Q.s

How does mental health affect daily life and goals?

Mental health significantly influences one’s ability to perform daily tasks, pursue long-term goals, and maintain physical health. Improving mental health can lead to better decision-making, increased motivation, and a more positive outlook on life.


What are common misconceptions about improving mental health?

Many believe that improving mental health is a quick fix, akin to taking a pill. However, it’s a holistic process that involves addressing various aspects of one’s life, including habits, thoughts, and behaviours.


Can addressing mental health lead to tangible life improvements?

Yes, focusing on mental health can lead to substantial improvements in all areas of life, including relationships, productivity, and overall happiness. The journey involves ongoing effort and may include therapy, lifestyle changes, and self-reflection.

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About

Cain Parish

Cain Parish is the owner of cainparish.com. A prolific writer, educator and relationship coach since 2019, he specializes in dating, relationships, emotional intelligence and social skills. He is also the author and creator of the world’s largest and most comprehensive database for dating and relationship advice, which can be found on his website. His first book, I’m Sorry I Egged Your House, is due to be published in 2024.

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