We are all human, so what’s the issue?

Mental Health, something we all have but all hide.

I just completed 8 mental health quizzes- I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone purely because they take pretty long and ignore what my life actually consists of day to day. However, they did make me consider mental illness more broadly than ever.

I’ve just been informed by “My Mindchecker” that I have significant or “severe” risk of having the following mental health conditions:

  • ADHD
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Dyslexia
  • OCD

Great.

I have now decided to eradicate all of the above and call myself “a human”, allow me to explain:

Mental health is something with which I am very experienced; I myself suffer with a number of mental health conditions which I initially resented, ignored and avoided at all cost- attributing my deteriorating mentality to a significant reduction in my physical wellbeing. Inevitably, after a while, my head was buried so deep in the sand that it required something of significant sizing to yank me out. My need for control, protection and security manifested into what society regards as “Mental illness”. Yet control protection and security are fundamental to human nature, so why do 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience discrimination or stigma?

There is apparent desperation amongst man to “treat” mental illness, rather than accept it. This constitutes promoting a life which is considered normal, by this I mean one which is free (as much as it can be) from what is deemed as excessive worry, sadness or fear. As far back as 5000 BC there is evidence of trephining (drilling a hole in the head) to remove “evil spirits” from the head causing one’s psychopathology. Even progressing forward, exorcisms, incantations, prayer, anti-depressants all evidence a means to cure a mental state which is deemed too extreme to be healthy or happy.

mental-health-word-cloud

The stigma is flawed

The social stigma of mental illness means that acceptance for anyone is essentially impossible when considered a taboo- particularly in countries which have strong ties to family honour. In China, the mentally ill were concealed by their families to avoid shame in within the community. With medical progress came knowledge about the nature of particular states of mind- that mental health conditions are simply a manifestation of our evolutionary needs, instincts and questions. The Ancient Egyptians seemed to consider the treatment of mental illness as providing the patient with routine, exercise and recreational activity. Which when we consider this broadly, is just living as ‘normal’. Hence, nearly all mental health ‘treatments’ are based around providing a patient with a means to routine- shown in CBT and Psychodynamic therapy which encourages accepting, learning and developing with the mind.

The feelings we experience of anxiety, fear, sadness, protection are all merely evolutionary devices we require to exist. What we understand to be mental illness is simply a manifestation of this universal human condition.

In terms of, for example phobias, fear and anxiety: our sense of the ‘unknown’ is highly threatening to our survival, particularly as beings that care so much about our quality of life. Therefore, we have learnt to fear objects, things and situations which threaten this, hence there are high quantities of people which fear similar things: arachnophobia (fear of spiders), agoraphobia (fear of being in public spaces) and acrophobia (fear of heights) are all highly common problems. These situations threaten us due to the uncontrollable nature of the situation we belong; hence developing into a need for control, revealed in conditions such as OCD. Although these feelings are natural, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you find them to be good for you. Managing your thoughts and coping with them in ways supported by those who understand the nature of them is important for development and the key to your own well being.

Support, routine and development is key

Support, routine and development is key

Often, ‘treatment’ can be a very alienating experience, our self-control away replaced by the expertise of doctors. Support and routine are crucial, indeed many treatments and coping mechanisms are based with this idea.

Here we need more to perceive ourselves as human, not as a case to be classified. Our mental health, or rather our mental circumstance, is entirely human. The stigma is born from an attempt to rationalise these expressions and feelings, which in fact is irrational and therefore a means to justify feeling is illogical.

You might be looking for a reason to attribute your thoughts to, but the reasons you are provided with are not definitive or what you wanted. Often, acceptance is too difficult. You don’t need to think that other people are your ideal because everyone is on the scale. Accept, develop and take the love you receive.