Mental Wellness in the face of "Mental Health"

A survivor's blog.

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Suffering Spirit

It's hard to describe the devastating drop in my stomach as I read more and more of these stories about the failures of psychology and psychiatry. The failures of their methods, the failures to de-stigmatize emotional struggle, the continued isolation and separation it promotes, and the very failure of the science itself. To this very day there have been no verifiable studies providing any evidence of a biological marker for "mental illness." In fact, "mentally ill" is the diagnostic term used after nutrient deficiencies, tumors, damage to the nervous or neurological systems, and all other physically measurable causes are ruled out. The more I read about how these drugs came about and how the market dictated a false pseudoscience to the public, the more frustrated I become. The damage done by these medications in the long run seems to greatly outweigh any temporary relief they provide. They are not healing. They are not a cure. They are a tool to bury the symptoms, to skim the edge off their severity to allow some functionality back into one's life. But when has anyone ever healed by ignoring their symptoms and stuffing their feelings down? This is not healing. This is putting a fresh coat of paint on a collapsing building.

Not being a scientist or a psychologist or anything of the sort, it's hard for me to speak about this with any merit. My qualification is only in my experience of being a patient. I struggle in my desire to scream from the rooftops for fear of backlash and dismemberment by angry academics and doctors who have built their entire foundations on a science that lacks any physical basis. Just one more downside in having a past as a patient is that you can easily be written off as "mentally ill" or emotionally unstable, immediately discounting anything you have to say as having no viability. I know staying silent isn't the answer. But for me it has to be that way in the meantime.

Recently I read an article about how "mental illness" is diagnosed. Being that there are no biological markers, a professional diagnoses based on the subject's answers to a series of questions. Then they are medicated. The doses and types of medications consistently changing for a time in order to find the "right fit." It reminds me of someone going to the doctor with a pain in their side. The doctor schedules a surgery, opens them up and takes out each organ one by one "Is it better now? What about now?" I also read briefly about a psychiatrist that takes scans of every patient's brain before diagnosing them. This makes the most sense to me out of any other method I've heard of thus far. If you're going to treat a nonphysical symptom physically, you better have a physical view or indicator that allows you to see what's happening and what you're doing! To say the least.

I am an intuitive. Not being an expert through schooling or study, I can easily be discounted or discredited. What value can be placed on an invisible means of being able to simply "know" things? Certainly not the same value that is placed on an invisible science. Based on the research I've done, my own personal experience, and what I "see," I have my own conclusions about "mental illness." The first is that it is a ridiculous term. It covers such a broad range of experiences that everyone at some point in their lives can be considered "mentally ill." Where is the line of natural human experience and illness? How can emotions or feelings be considered an illness? If psychology has come such a long way, why is the rate of people suffering rising astronomically every year? If it worked, if psychiatry worked, if they healed, people would be getting better. Not sicker. The problem is that the very root of the epidemic is being ignored. Perhaps it is genuinely unknown by "scientists." As an intuitive, I know what the cause is. This is both a gift and a curse. Having the answers and being powerless to affect change is enough to send me plummeting into depression. I would then be considered mentally ill. There-in is the heart of the problem.

What we call "mental illness" is not at all what the words imply. It is not a sickness of the brain. Hence the lack of biological markers. (There has been evidence to support the toll this type of stress takes on the brain over time.) It is not a sickness of the mind. We are not thinking wrong, reacting wrong, feeling wrong. (Yes, many have success working through their emotions with a therapist learning emotional intelligence. I'm not referring to those cases.). The symptoms many times manifest in emotions and actions. Why is it then not referred to as "emotional illness"? But then how can you label any human emotional or inner experience as being an illness? How egotistical must we be to feel something undesirable and deem it a sickness? There-in also lies the heart of the problem.

This is an epidemic of a Spiritual Illness. I'm not speaking about religion or God. I'm speaking strictly about the human spirit. We have drowned ourselves. We have suppressed ourselves. We have thrown away all the inner immeasurable and invisible connections and replaced them with physical quantity and consumption. We have created such a pressurized life for ourselves that our souls are crying out in the form of "mental illness." My hypothesis is as follows: If we compare the prevalence of "mental illness" in cultures that place more value on monetary gain and consumerism with the cultures that place more value on family and nature, then cultures focused on family and nature will have considerably less "mental illness" than the latter. One nurtures the human spirit. One feeds and profits on fear. It all comes down to the human disconnect; the promotion of "otherness"; the separation from nature; the submersion in technologically; the inundation of air, water, noise, signal, chemical, garbage, and media pollution, etc. This is a very simplified explanation of a much more complex issue. Or on second thought perhaps it is that simple.

All that being said, what really breaks my heart is how delusion we are in thinking we've progressed in psychiatry and the treatment of psychiatric patients. Put aside for a moment the issue of stigma and the insinuation of "otherness". For those who choose to pursue help with "mental illness" there is a coinciding stripping of power. In some extreme cases a doctor may declare a patient clinically incapacitated. More common, however, is the belief associated with being a "mentally ill patient" that we cannot trust ourselves. Here we are in this incredible state of fear (What can be scarier than being afraid of oneself?), and we become desperate. We willingly relinquish the last of our power to a stranger, a professional who must know best. Pharmaceutical companies know this. They capitalize on emotionally vulnerability. As for psychologists, even the most well intentioned ideas can seep into a vulnerable mind. A mind that has let down its walls in desperation for assistance. In therapy, I have consistently found myself adopting the therapists' words into my own view of myself and then repeating it later. Only in hindsight realizing it wasn't how I was feeling at all. It was her interpretation. How easily the planting of ideas can occur in these emotionally vulnerable states! (Coincidence or agenda on a broader scale?) In all of these ways we lose our autonomy.

Over the last 150 years, the definition of "mentally ill" has expanded to include more people than it excludes. Medication that has no basis in science and can be incredibly harmful is being given out like candy by professionals who have little understanding of its effects. Those experiencing worsening of symptoms or discontinuation syndromes are being discounted and disparaged and are uncared for. The belief that anyone labeled "mentally ill" is less capable or dangerous or less than human is more prevalent than ever. Hospitalized psychiatric patients still experience the loss of their right to body autonomy. "Mentally ill" people are being jailed and harmed by authorities on a daily basis. More people are experiencing symptoms of "mental illness" than ever before. Where is the improvement?

We are getting sicker. I can only hope it is a precursor to a spiritual revolution.