Mental Health Care for the Cost of Groceries

Somewhere around $1.8 billion dollars is spent on mental health care every year in the United States alone.  Cases range everything from basic therapy to the more serious conditions of schizophrenia.  Walking through a check out counter the other day and experiencing an amazing conversation with the clerk gave insight into how we can access mental health care for the cost of a grocery trip.  How?

Everyday we have the opportunity to interact with various people for the first time, like in line at the grocery store.  How many times do we just repeat programmed responses instead of engaging in real human conversation?  If we actually took the opportunities which arise regularly to communicate heart to heart with our fellow human beings, I wonder how much we would really need therapy?

So many of us spend our entire lives hiding behind the facade that everything is ‘fine’, even though, in truth – everything is not.  We feel like we don’t want to ‘burden’ others, let alone strangers, with the intricacies of daily becoming, even though we largely face similar issues with every other person on the planet.  In one form or another we all face basic challenges, life changes, relationship problems, successes, failures, emotional turbulence and ecstatic realizations.  Why are we so hesitant to share the ‘truth’ with each other?

As life moves on in the procession of evolutionary unfolding, we are being asked to create changes, deep and profound changes so we can see different results in the world and in our personal lives than the ones we are currently facing.  When asked, most of us would admit we don’t know how to contribute to change, that we are just ‘one person’ and how can we possibly have an impact on the bigger picture?  Perhaps the way we interact with each other in the mundane situations- such as in lines at the grocery store and during brief exchanges over menus at the cafe -are more profound than we tend to give credit.

Looking at the way people so easily speak harsh words over the net, sitting in the safety of ‘anonymous’ while venting their inner ‘pain bodies’, unaware of how their words could be really detrimental to someone on the receiving end, it is clear we all need a new experience in personal interactions.  How can we feel comfortable with simply speaking ‘fine’, ‘paper please’ and ‘thank you’ to someone standing right in front of our faces, yet are able to so easily vent frustration, anger and fear through the virtual world to other ‘real’ entities?

The grocery store line is a perfect opportunity to get your mental health covered in that real connections can heal a wounded heart and open a closed mind.  This doesn’t mean to pour your heart and opinion out endlessly to every check clerk you encounter, heaven help them, but it does suggest allowing a deeper connection with individuals outside your normal social circle.  Experiment.  See what happens the next time you are ‘checking out’ and decided instead to ‘check in’ to the conversation with complete presence.  This is a real person standing in front of you.  How would you like to be engaged?  How would the world change if we all started treating one another like we really existed instead of interacting as if there was no person behind the name tag?  Maybe we can lower the costs of mental health care by grocery shopping with more honesty and vulnerability.  Who knows?  Isn’t it worth a try?

(Op- Ed)

Written by: Stasia Bliss

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