“You can’t roller skate in a Buffalo herd---but You can be happy, if you’ve a mind to.”
Roger Miller might have been facetious when he used this as the subject and title of his song but there is truth within this statement. Everyday we put on our ‘game face’ and tackle a ‘normal life’ but as current data tells us many suffer from feelings of being overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, fearful and hopeless---frequently thinking that there is ‘no way out’. Unfortunately, we internalize these thoughts and feelings subjectively as weakness--- the product of our own doing or the ‘secret’ that must be kept lest someone sees our angst. Why? What one believes about themselves and the world is ‘truth’ and frequently this truth supersedes any factual or conscious information---the mind’s inordinate power to assimilate both conscious and unconscious data, can negatively, without our awareness, filter our ‘sense of ourselves and the world’.
Now back to Roger Miller, he states that you “cannot roller skate in a Buffalo herd---” well maybe the Buffalo herd in our life is the ‘story we tell ourselves’; our belief that ‘there is something wrong with me’ and ‘there is no way out’. If so, then how do we mediate or escape those negative, pejorative and false beliefs that seep corrosively into our everyday being. Well, he would say you can ‘live your best life’ and/or “be happy” despite your inability to survive a herd of Buffalo. Roger tells us that we are all capable of living positive lives despite aspects of existence that seem insurmountable. Research tells us that depression, anxiety, compulsions and fear are far more common place that one would think and that denial of such intense negative and corrosive thoughts and feelings only entrench feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. That being said, what we do know is that ‘talk therapy’, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and numerous other areas of mental health rehabilitation therapies “WORK” (CBT alone indicates 50% – 75% of individuals see improvement and in conjunction with pharmacotherapy 75% - 90-%) and thus ‘there is a way out’---we can seek help. Therefore if you are still trying to roller skate in a Buffalo herd, it may be time to ‘hang up those skates’ and know that it is only by understanding that ‘our brains can hold us hostage’ and that by seeking support, can we rewrite the narrative that has and continues to thwart our potential---our best life.
Do not think I am making light the suffering debilitation of mental illness, I am not. What I do believe is that in order to bring such misery into the light we sometimes have to reveal the truth through humour.