The term “mental health” seems to be predominantly used to describe a series of disorders that directly affect the mental state: anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, narcissism, PTSD, and others. As a result, the concept of a mental health break is often used to describe a state of those suffering from mental illnesses taking time to themselves in order to lessen the effects of their illnesses.
While this is important…we all have brains. And, like any muscle, our brains need breaks.
Japanese men boast the highest suicide rate in the world, with an average of 70 people committing suicide each day and 71% of those being males. It is a crisis, and it is the leading cause of death for Japanese men between the ages of 20-44. Why? Societal pressure.
Japan boasts a nationalistic society, rather than the individualistic society of the United States. Sure, people in the US scream out, “Ahhhh, for America!!!”, but in reality, their daily goals are set in order to best suit themselves and possibly their families (which also benefits themselves). Japan is the opposite; your daily tasks are done to benefit the country of Japan, and this is drilled into kids’ heads from a young age. If you fail, you are scorned.
All of that pressure… No wonder the suicide rate is so high. Studies show that 65.3% of suicides in Japan are attributed to losing jobs, while 34.3% are caused by hardships in life, and only 7.1% stem from depression. Suicide due to stress is so common in Japan that seppuku was coined by samurai warriors as an honourable way out after losing a battle, and suicide forests like the Aokigahara exist for douchebags like Logan Paul to watch for tragedies to occur.
While Japan may own the highest suicide rate, suicides related to stress plague every country. The developed world is very time-centric, where “time is money” and “the early bird gets the worm” and “you’d better get all of your stuff done on time or you’re going to be living in a box by the end of the week”.
And really…that’s not the way to live a life.
As someone who suffers from zero mental health issues other than an obsession with Pikachus and penchants for procrastination and non-punctuality, I still need mental health breaks. And if I need mental health breaks, then I know the rest of y’all certainly do.
My most recent mental health break is the reason why this is my first article in over a month, and why my Twitter went dead for a bit. After procrastinating majorly on finishing Reaper’s Creek, I found myself with back-to-back excruciating deadlines. I had to finish the book, finish the first edit, do a second edit, and a third, and submit it all within a matter of weeks. As soon as this was in place, it was time to rush off to OhayoCon, and then to immediately launch into writing–not one, but TWO–new books!
On top of this, things are in full swing for my new media company, HareBrained Entertainment, and I was busy trying to balance constant updates for the website and the social media channels, along with my own books, jobs, and social life.
And by the first week of March…I was drained, y’all.
I stared at the pages for Beneath A Mountain Moon (Book #3 in the Belle Âme Chronicles, which will be released May 2019) and wondered if it was even worth it. Although I’ve heard great reviews on the series so far, did people even really care about the book? Did the plot even make sense? I’d then switch to work on Bad Con Adventures (my first tellall/help book, due out in two weeks, eek!) and struggle to type the words in a pleasurable fashion, although it’s all true life and stories that I lived through and have told one millions times.
I missed an episode of True Crime Tea. Then another. Do people even listen to the podcast? Do they care that the episodes were missed?
Another photoshoot completed, and I suddenly had one-hundred photos to edit by St. Patty’s Day.
My brain was just fried.
So…I ignored all of my deadlines.
I didn’t work on either book for weeks. I slept until 2pm on weekends. I ignored the photos. I didn’t write. I didn’t catch up on my Twitter timeline or schedule new posts on Hootsuite. I even dropped from 5 days a week in the gym to 2-3 per week.
Instead, I purchased a new copy of South Park: The Fractured But Whole on my Switch (so that it’s portable!), and I spent March replaying a fun game that I’d already played once before on another console.
Four weeks later, and I feel like a new Chu. I am behind in everything, but I feel strangely okay about that. I am excited to finish the last edit of Bad Con Adventures and to dive back into Beneath A Mountain Moon. I spent this weekend finishing my other unfinished projects and charting out all of my book releases for the rest of 2019 (including a new series, whahahaaaaa…more on that in the coming weeks). I got approved for a few convention tables to sell my books. My brain is flowing with creativity once more!
For the first week of my little video game sabbatical, I was plagued in the back of my head with thoughts: “You lazy piece of sh*t; why are you replaying this game? You know how it goes. You have so much to do. Get off the couch and be productive.” But I knew in that moment, in order to deliver the creative projects I want in the level of quality that I want, playing that video game was productive. And necessary.
And because I went down to South Park and had myself a time, you guys now have a tidal wave of new content coming to you all soon 😘