Near to where I live, on the dog walking route I use each day, lives an elderly lady who had a stroke and is pretty much housebound. She often sits at her window and watches the world go past. I always wave and she waves back, or she beats me to it and waves first.
The controversial psychologist Freud, I say controversial because none of his theories were tested or had any scientific standing but they were taken on by the world and used as the standard in the field.
Anyway Freud stated that the human behavioural drive was libido, or sex drive, and he put everything down to this. He might be right, I’m not a psychologist and who am I to argue with Freud?
But I disagree anyway! I think our drive comes from our existence. We want to exist but it’s more than that, we want others to acknowledge that we exist. Could it be that everything we do is so that other people know we are here and alive? It’s not nice being ignored, we fight for attention; we want people to smile at us, say hello, retweet or like our tweets or posts. As a species we are even waving our worldly hand out into space so that aliens can wave back and say hi to us.
This is nothing knew and not my idea, but it’s something I agree with. The chap who came up with it is Eric Berne, a Canadian psychiatrist, and it is called Transactional Analysis. His book Games People Play explains it and is definitely worth reading.
We get a psychological lift if someone acknowledges us and we get angered and frustrated if someone ignores us or fails to notice us. Attention seeking is something us humans do well, right from being babies we cry for attention to be fed, held etc. We crave fame and celebrity status with all the attention that comes with it (and of course the money). Attracting the attention of the opposite sex is something all life does as a matter of survival. We are all peacocks displaying ourselves, evolution sees to that because without doing so, we die out. So attention and acknowledgement is vital to us.
Getting an acknowledgement is of huge importance to someone suffering a mental illness and that acknowledgement can go a long way to help make the day a good or a bad day.
It’s a very basic form of support and can be done by anyone and by saying hello to someone with a mental illness makes them less likely to feel like an outcast or a monster therefore going a long way to help end the stigma of mental illness. A simple, first rung of the ladder support method that we can all do easily.
Because people with mental illness do not walk around with neon signs on their heads or badges alerting the world, it is a hidden illness and one we all suffer with one way or another, or at least will suffer at some point in our lives, so because we might not know let’s give out our acknowledgements freely.
Would the world and the people in it feel a bit better if we did?