The Mighty Logo

Making Meaning Out of Your Own Mental Health Condition

The accusation of mental illness can be psychological warfare that dis-includes the perceptive, the disobedient, the disruptive and the revolutionaries, seemingly condemning them to a life of smallness, pain and pity. But this is not the way.

There is no denying that people experience mental and emotional suffering. Anguish, even. There is no denying that in some cases, the symptoms of this agony are so severe, it makes it impossible for the person experiencing them to function in our modern day societies and cultures.

But the truth, the expectation that we should all “function” in our society as it is, is limiting. Those who do are sometimes not wholly themselves because the nature of the system is to splice you away from your own nature. Your own unique and epic, intelligent design. Because nature only obeys one law. And humans like to issue countless decrees to control what cannot be controlled. To obtain power and obedience.

Human beings emerge from a historical context, like all other sentient life. We are not products produced on a conveyor belt, identical in every way and if we aren’t, thrown into a trash bin for irregularity. And that is what many first-world societies demand. That is what they do.

Human beings are meant to be wildly varied. We come from a cultural context. A religious context. An ancestral context. We are not all wired identically. What we perceive and the meaning we ascribe to it is personal and it is a valid and a natural variation based on countless factors. Irregularity does not have to mean sickness.

Forcing people to think, act and live against their own natures is robbery. I believe it is the engine driving this epidemic of illness. When we do not get a chance to explore our own creative natures, we are oppressed.

When we are forced to be obedient to a schedule unnatural and unhealthy for our bodies and brains to function optimally, so we can pay for our right to exist, we are being used.

When we are bombarded by images of suffering and messages of fear, we are being abused. When we respond to these conditions with the horror they warrant, and we are accused of having a disease (experiencing deep un-ease) we are being gaslighted. Systematically.

The accusation of mental illness is a way to discredit the experiences of those whose suffering would inevitably show that we live in a system that engineers sickness, suffering and death… by design. Some people who seem “mentally ill” are those responding to this system as anyone who was able to perceive its true nature and effects would: with terror, sorrow and shock.

Friends, please hear me: deep feeling is not sickness. Empathy is not illness. Seeing the nature of people, places and things is not psychosis. Mental, emotional and spiritual fatigue and the numbness that accompanies it does not have to mean you have a disease called depression.

It means that beyond all odds, you have held onto your humanity. And it cost you something substantial in a world that wants us to labor quietly, pay our bills and die.

You made a sacrifice. You refused to go numb. You refused to pretend that the emperor was wearing fine robes. You refused to act like everything is OK when clearly it is not. And I think that is noble.

Your suffering is not to be taken lightly, and not to be wasted. Get away from the people and places and things that do not feed your true nature. If someone doesn’t get you, if they cannot perceive as you do, I invite you not to place their perception above your own. It is a dangerous assumption to make, when we believe others know better for us than we do.

You are the one who lives with your condition, and the meaning you make of it, what you use it for, is your creative birthright. Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are. Including me.

After all, I have been accused of mental illness. But really, I am an extremely empathetic, deep-feeling and disobedient, highly creative visionary.

What will you do, with your accusation? Perhaps instead of making it a life-sentence, you can make art of your life instead.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Max Felner on Unsplash

Conversations 4