Finland Recap: trying to grasp it all
I’m starting to get over the jet-lag after a week of travel... I think. This is such an indescribable experience and there really is no way to fully explain, document or capture the beauty I’ve seen in human-beings from various backgrounds and beliefs. I’m starting to gain perspective on the big picture of how much depression and suicide affects people from all across the globe.
Granted, this is my own personal experience, and the person next to me would have a completely unique experience for themselves. But when I was in Ireland, which has a very high suicide rate for Europe, I felt such a warm, inviting and loving vibe. In Finland which was ranked the #1 happiest country in the world (Business Insider 2018) the people were nice but not as warm-hearted. (I spent less then 24 hrs there so I need to come back to fully experience the culture) Finland also has a pretty high suicide rate (ranked 27th in the world 2018 - World Population Review) which is surprising since they’re ranked the happiest country. Not sure how the ratings work but that should play a significant factor.
I’m also finding out after conversing with people, that depression and suicide is still a huge taboo in Europe. There are many who suffer in silence because the ability to talk about it freely and openly, isn’t culturally accepted yet. This is an older quote but I still find it fascinating:
“In much of the world, suicide is stigmatized and condemned for religious or cultural reasons. In some countries, suicidal behaviour is a criminal offence punishable by law. Suicide is therefore often a secretive act surrounded by taboo, and may be unrecognized, misclassified or deliberately hidden in official records of death.”
— World Health Organization (2002)
While meditating using the app (Headspace) I had this realization: It’s easy to think if we were in a different place, that things would be different, or “the grass is greener” concept. The truth is, I’m the person I am wherever I am. To stop thinking how to change my surroundings but how I can change the perspective in which I view my surroundings; to be present and make the most of each and every thing I do.
Conversation of the Day:
While I was sitting on a park bench enjoying the sublime weather in Helsinki, I met Amilio who was visiting from Madrid, Spain. Amilio went to law school, which I’ve heard causes more depression than most things you can study, but when I asked; what makes you happy every day he answered “I’m happy all the time.” I had to follow up asking; what about a bad day or sad experience? He told me that during the down times he would get out and not stay home. To be busy and spend time with family, friends or go to the movies and see music performances.
It got me thinking that those who really don’t suffer from depression can simply change their mindset or mentality at the snap of a finger. In reality, when someone would tell me “just be happy” it’s kind of a no brainer that I would want to feel happy and not feel depressed or think about ending this precious life. The difference was I had no control over those deep dark feelings. I could be in the presence of friends or family and at an amazing concert, but the underlying feeling was still there. It took this past year of serious self improvement and reflection to feel this kind of peace and happiness I feel today.
Quote of the Day
“Accepting life as it is, doesn’t prevent us from changing or improving our external circumstances.”