in a variety of perspectives and "takes on life" including the subject of 'veganism relating to mental health'. Here we have a diverse range of responses to the question: 'How
has being vegan affected your
Annette - "It has made me aware of things I never used to bother thinking of. Overall it has made me look at things more critically and make decisions for myself. I am happy to know I can be part of the solution instead of the problem."
Kelly - "I feel better about myself and more in tuned with nature and animals. However, existing in a world where most people are not vegans and not compassionate to animals is very difficult. I see things very differently now, and it is hard to understand how they cannot even when I present them with so much information. Also, the realization that animals continue to suffer despite my choice is difficult."
Isabel - "I'm totally aware of the things happening around the world. I feel more congruent than ever!"
Kerry - "My conscience is definitely clearer but my heart hurts much more knowing the truth."
Elizabeth - "We have been born into a world that has gone insane with violence against its most defenseless members."
Gary - "I feel much more connected to nonhuman animals, and strangely to my human brethren also even though their attitudes and actions often horrify me. This connection brings great joy as well as new kinds of pain, but it is incomparably more preferable than isolation and ignorance."
Leah - "On the negative side, I've become more mentally agitated and it's harder for me to keep my emotions under control because I'm constantly aware of what's at stake. On the positive side, it's made me more aware of and sensitive to a lot of other social issues and has led me to understand intersectionality and the entanglements of oppression. It's also made me learn about the cultural and cognitive biases that affect our thinking and behavior, so it's made me more sympathetic towards others. I have a greater concern and respect for human animals now, too."
Jo - "I have a clear conscience because I am not partaking in animal cruelty, however that constant awareness of violence and suffering weighs heavy on my mind every day."
Dan - "I’ve matured tremendously since going vegan, intellectually and emotionally. The reason is that I’ve lost my incredibly naive view of the world. I used to wonder how things like genocides could go on for years while everyone knows about it, and socially-sanctioned slavery could go on for decades. It never made sense to me. But now, after 8 years of advocacy, it makes perfect sense. The emotional maturity has come from a need to accept people and the nastiest and most vile shit they can apathetically vomit up, morally speaking. The intellectual maturity has come from countless hours of book study and debate about ethics. Overall, this has helped to really strengthen me mentally and emotionally. It’s much easier to weather storms (like the death of a friend, and things like that) that I would have thought very difficult 10 years ago."
Monica - "It's pretty bittersweet for me. Becoming vegan, I felt I had arrived at a place I'd been craving to be all of my life without even knowing it (wish I'd known decades ago)...but the outrageous things we do against animals (and people) have grown into an obsessive need to educate - and at the same time I realize that I had to live vegan in order to really comprehend our connection with all things, and that the people I attempt to educate have NO understanding of what I'm really saying to them. I can show them factory farming, or seal culling, or animal testing, and they are offended by the graphic violence and the fact that I would bring them such negativity - yet they can't even see that they are the ones perpetuating the industries by their consumerism - it's mind-boggling to me from this perspective that they react in that manner rather than immediately pledging not to partake any more...as good people, they must be torn, but refuse to acknowledge that there is another way. This is my experience...and to find that in the last few decades the acceleration of complete and utter genocide against any animals that a profit can be made from, without any regard to their sentience or pain, makes me feel so helpless - my mental clarity is excellent now, yet my feelings of the futility of the future is overwhelming. What humanity is doing against the very nature that sustains us all goes beyond the animals - it's as if evil presides over our planet. It's hard to be loving and sweet to someone who doesn't want to be bothered with the truth, when every millisecond of every day another animal is being neglected, abused, tortured, chained for life in a box, skinned alive, boiled alive, carved up alive, vivisected, made to die a slow and agonizing death - all for humans. And I know that I'll never stop trying. I have developed the thick skin of one on a mission. Do I need a shrink?" lol
Sally - "I've become much more independent and make more of an effort to find things out about society. I no longer accept what the majority tell us but would rather read around the subject before coming to a decision on my OWN view of a situation/issue etc. I feel more motivated to help move society forward too, as I have found that there are so many amazing and inspiring people who want to work together to make a positive change. Before I only ever heard about the worst and was so dis-empowered. Now I am empowered. I have learnt that we have an obligation to ALL others to make sure that we respect their lives and that we can actually do something about it!"
Alexa - "It gave meaning to my life."
Bridget - "It really opened my eyes and showed me what reality is..."
Urosh - "Being vegan hasn’t affected my mental health but it did change how I see the world."
Diane - "For most of my adult life, I suffered from bouts of depression. I'd come to accept it as a chronic, genetic condition. I became vegan about 15 months ago, and I haven't been depressed one day since. I have been sad, of course, and angry, especially when thinking about all the cruelty and suffering animals endure, but it's different now. It's based on external conditions, as opposed to a feeling of hopelessness and malaise that often existed even when all was going well. I really believe that when we eat animal products, we absorb their pain and suffering into our own bodies. As much as I like to think I didn't know any better all those years, I'm sure that on some level I always knew what I was doing was wrong. I'm now involved in advocacy and outreach, and it's very empowering. I choose to believe we will see a vegan world someday, and I'm really looking forward to attending that party!
Brandon - "Never been happier choosing to live by my conscience rather than follow others into consuming without thinking as animal-exploiting corporations want us to do."
Lai - "I've been vegan for almost 2 years but I already improved compared to before when I kept ignoring my conscience and the immense sense that things can't be like this. I used to sleep crying when I was very young after seeing how awful some people live and die in war-torn nations and I hated knowing and seeing animals are getting abused and slaughtered, but I got used to being numb like almost everyone so I just accepted it as "life". People tell us that life is about helping, sharing, letting others live in peace, etc. - but I saw how meaningless those words are when we live in a non-vegan world. I'm learning to use my increased sense of justice and compassion through meaningful interactions with people. Even though it's just sad that people are oblivious to the hell we've created, having sanity and getting back my sensitivity to insanity, is like leaving that world and makes feelings of despair momentary because I'm motivated to spread the awareness. I can already put aside my annoyance for ignorance knowing that I was once ignorant too and have been tackling discussions without being hyper-sensitive. I'm being emotionally healthy when I keep in mind that education is the key to motivate people into changing for good. It's not always easy and I've made some mistakes early on that prevented me from getting my points across, so I'm just trying to focus my activism with the open-minded public because I know that our voices will be loud and strong when more people become vegan. As an added benefit I have better memory. I don't have to put much effort in concentrating on reading or learning something new like self-defense techniques and other technical things and I wanna learn just about anything like guitar or how to fix a car, and I can beat my gamer boyfriend in his own games because I've become tactical, it's been fun having some brain cells come back to life."
Jennifer - "I am very happy not being ignorant but can sometimes feel overwhelmed with sadness realizing that most humans lack compassion."
Chelsea - "It hasn't."
Tanya - "No "mad cows" disease here! No mental health issues whatsoever.... in fact - I feel brilliant and my mind has never been clearer."
Shelly - "That's a huge question with a rather endless answer. Upon my discovery of what animals feel and experience due to mankind's cruelty, I thought I would never stop crying... The documentary EARTHLINGS literally tore into my soul...I still grieve quite openly at times, when faced with the realities of torture...But when this is not foremost on my mind, I have a sense of inner peace, which I have never experienced before. I am connected to my surroundings. I feel a oneness with the planet. It's as if I've discovered a spirituality inside myself, of which I never knew existed."
Krissie - "Being Vegan has made me step out of my comfort zone (doing something different than what everyone else around me seems not to be doing). Once I've done that, it took courage and me standing alone to make the right compassionate, ethical choice .. WOW.. life is liberating when you have the courage to do the right thing! Trying new recipes, opposite of how I was raised, is new and exciting every single day! Being conscious, more aware, and in the present, plus living the truth is the best life anyone can live! Turning a blind eye to the cruelty and the truth and pushing denial fences up was NOT a healthy way to live. Blindsided by media and not asking questions is downright stupid. Making these changes for the healthfulness of my children is the best gift I can give them. Because I LOVE my children is why the change came easier for me. But yes, my heart pains every single day for the animals that I cannot save. Now that I am awakened to the gruesome facts. I hope to always be a voice and advocate for the misfortunate."
Melissa - "I am definitely liberated. I cannot tell you how wonderful I feel knowing that what I cook does not cause harm to another living, sentient creature. That in of itself, is AMAZING! My conscience is clear."
Eriyah - "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi. I truly love living in alignment with my beliefs. I knew early in life that mine would be uncommon, that I would trade self interest in having/raising my own child, for that of hopefully developing a better world. Indeed, I have endeavored on an epic adventure and discovered along the way the most delicious and amazing food, as well as cultures and peoples I would have likely never otherwise discovered. That said, the awareness of what horrors are still happening, every minute, of every day, the gravity of the Herculean odyssey ahead of us, meeting with full force the inexhaustibly disparate sparing and snipes of speciesism, wading through the marginal options in finding a compatible life partner, all have their place too in my mind, so clearly, it isn't a perpetual bowl of cherries. That is probably a fairly common woe. I do frequently negotiate a myriad of mindsets including visceral rage and soul crushing sorrow that comes with the territory of looking behind the carefully woven curtain of our collective deception. I have seen places and acts I never, ever, want to see, smell, hear, taste, touch or think on, in any way, again, yet I am haunted. While I have much yet to learn, and I have stumbled, I have still grown through my experiences and, I have awakened. One thing, however, is certain, that is likely quite common in our small, yet expanding, vegan community, is, that I LIVE my life, to the fullest, with an awesomely, unstoppable sense of purpose, and with a deep and transparent connection to others that gives me tremendous sense of fulfillment, enough of which to squelch or transform what- ever seething, despair or loneliness I feel, into something, much more productive and meaningful than myself, and that is a truly powerful experience. Mine is a life lived of searing, bold, passion, and I suspect, that precious few people live such a richly driven life. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." "Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, Is it politic? Vanity asks the question, Is it popular? But conscience asks the question, Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right." Dr Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-1968 In solidarity, I salute you, my fellow vanguards for non-violence and the pursuit of social justice; we shall prevail, or die trying! Love life, live vegan!"
Stephanie - "I used to feel guilty about knowing that I was exploiting and harming animals in my personal life. I feel like I can finally interact with ALL animals without guilt!
Danny - I can honestly say that having been beaten as a child, then joining the work force only to bounce from job to job and endure asshole boss after asshole boss, then stumbling upon veganism and realizing how messed up this culture really is, that I have never really fully attained "mental health". To attain mental health, one must be totally free, and none of us are 100% free in this herding culture. And my conscience is certainly not free. None of our consciences should be free; not while this is happening on our watches and we know about it. I wonder how hard the animals in cages right now would fight for me if our situations were reversed? I wonder if they would sign petitions or take up arms and fight for my freedom, having known themselves the position I am in? No, my conscience is not clear. I am more pissed off than I have ever been. I want to DO MORE. I want to SAY MORE. I want to BURN THE CONCENTRATION CAMPS DOWN. A lot of people feel the same way I do, but are afraid to say it. What's holding them back? Governments, laws, and the vegans who think governments are "good". No, they are not good. They are PROTECTING THE ABUSERS; PROTECTING THE ENSLAVERS; PROTECTING THE MURDERERS. I am very happy to no longer be participating in the madness, but I am mad as hell that the madness continues every second of every day. A big part of why the insanity continues is because it is protected by a monopoly of guns and power (governments), and too many are afraid to break away from the herd known as "we the people"; A herd created to keep people enslaved, so those in power can in turn keep other species enslaved. Break free people! Start seeing OPPRESSION IN ALL IT'S FORMS!"
Judith - "In one word? - Positively."
Ellie - "I love myself more than ever. I look in the mirror and see clearer eyes, a better complexion, a softening. I feel lighter, in every way. I live intentionally, which for me means, lifting my vibration through living with utter awareness, and deep caring for all things that have consciousness/life. Love is the impulse of evolution which expands life. Everything is the same spirit watching itself through the observers of others. To love yourself fully, you wouldn't want to harm yourself through ingesting violence. The two don't go together, which in my opinion is one of the reasons for the demise of our planet. You cannot trust yourself if your carryng the violence of another soul within your being. Love take many forms, Veganism is a great expressions of love for self and all things sacred. These things, love, spirit, non-violence improve our mental health."
Emma - "I have suffered from depression and OCD since I was a child. I went vegan 5 years ago. I found it relieved feelings of guilt and helped me feel good about myself, but I still struggle sometimes with depression."
Heidi - "At first going vegan was somewhat jarring for me, I had always been someone who was "part of the crowd" and followed the rules and did what everyone expected. When I woke up and decided to go vegan I suddenly realized that what I believed was radically different to my friends and family. I felt very alone in my beliefs - but no less committed. Once I decided to become friends with lots of other vegans on Facebook (still only know a handful in real life) I felt a lot better."
Monica - "I was much happier when I was a clueless, ignorant carnist (including my many years as a vegetarian) than I have been since waking up and fully understanding the horrific truth about animal agriculture and other forms of oppression, enslavement, and murder of our fellow Earthlings of all species. I don't think that real happiness is possible for me in such a world. Knowing the truth regarding our treatment of others and knowing that the overwhelming majority of humans will NEVER care or do anything to change their complicity in the genocide leaves me sad, lonely, and with no hope for any real peace on this planet as long as our species is still around. Whoever coined the phrase "ignorance is bliss" was dead on."
Stephanie - "I definitely would say I've suffered from PTSD from things I've seen in my life starting out with watching in horror as our family cow was murdered, the deer that had been hunted, etc....I've seen a lot and it made me go veg at 10 yrs old and vegan when I was 19. My mind and heart will always be affected by the awful abuse animals go through, but it makes me fight harder for their rights."
Flavia - "I suppose you mean emotional health? Emotionally, I'm more tender and naked than ever. I've always been sensitive, but veganism brought me to an even deeper level of sensitivity - and awareness - which is a good thing, I welcomed it. I only regret I didn't open to veganism many years earlier, but see that it took however long it needed to take, and I'm just appreciative that it did. There is sorrow for me rather than depression, a very different emotional experience for me than depression, because it feels more active and outward, where depression is a caving into myself - a giving up. I feel the sadness, and I grieve, but I keep it moving - I let it become anger, even moments of rage, which is healthier, stronger than depression. There's also a lot of frustration and bewilderment as well, and all these emotions are draining, so I try my best to stay balanced every day with humor and exercise and action. I feel more tender, but at the same time stronger than I ever was before. I know I'm tapped into the truth, and I'm eternally appreciative of that! I would just like more people to join me, and I wish I could hasten their way to veganism."