A topic that was mentioned in this month's Moods mix by maestro Icarus Redux was mental health, and how techno culture can often times be at odd's ends with it (much like a broom petting a kitty: difficult and awkward). Staying sane in a community that encourages dancing till, well, the morning, is a huge conversation—one that would take hours to dissect, complicate, and nurture—and there is never one solution to taking time for yourself post-ki. I asked Icarus to open the conversation a bit further here, where he offers tactics to fight against negative influences and grow beyond them, which hopefully can help our Moods community think a bit more on mental health in techno.
"There's no one convenient answer to fixing mental health issues, because these issues and the bad coping mechanisms us techno people sometimes use to push away true growth intersect with so many other facets of our lives: social circles and friends' habits. Passions. Daily routines. Relationships at work and our satisfaction with it. Dating life (or lack thereof). Bad coping mechanisms are a feedback loop where negative behaviors in our lives can spill into other aspects of our lives. And just as the downward spiral is a feedback loop of bad behaviors, the road uphill is cumulative, continuous, and interdependent.
"We as humans are simple creatures, despite the lies we tell ourselves sometimes. When we get stuck into bad feedback loops, it's because we've conditioned ourselves into accepting that as the status quo, based on some underlying behaviors deep, deep in our subconscious. Me personally? I empathize with people, sometimes to a fault. Aspects of their personality, good and bad, will literally bleed into my own—I'll find myself smoking a friend's preferred brand of cigarette, because I miss having them around and it reminds me of them. When they have a bad day and vent to me about it, I'll have a bad day, or maybe even three, because I've taken on some of their emotions into my day-to-day processing without noticing.
"Behavior is a matter of conditioning—and the path upward is to carefully, mindfully re-condition aspects of yourself by association with constructive patterns:
- If you like to party and listen to music with friends, set aside time with friends to listen to music in a non-party setting.
- If you find yourself smoking out of sheer boredom, ask your friends if they have a hobby they do that can take up your time instead.
- Make sure not to bite off more than you can chew—if you set your goals too high, you'll just condition yourself into a defeatist pattern when you inevitably don't reach them.
- Remember to breathe. Give yourself time to feel your emotions.
- Make decisions after the heat of the emotion has passed, not before or during processing it."
Readers: if you're interested in continuing this conversation, reach out to us *or* check out the incredible book The Mark of Shame by Stephen P. Hinshaw that Icarus recommends (here).