Saturday, 9 February 2008

Information about "mental illness"

I went to the monthly meeting I use to attend, the day before yesterday. The topic "information" came up. Someone said: "They didn't give me any real information about my illness. Nothing really useful." 'No, of course they didn't', I thought (I didn't say it aloud, though). 'What information did you expect? The only real information, they could have provided, would have been: "Well, we don't know anything about this state of mind you're in. We have theories about illnesses, about genes and brain chemistry, which we usually tell people, so we can sell them the drugs. The drug companies appreciate that, financially. So we keep on doing it, even though we don't have a clue, really. No physiological tests, scans, whatsoever. No scientific evidence. Since there's no profit in it, not for us nor for the drug companies we depend on, we don't bother to obtain the skill to talk with you about the existential dimension of your experience. And since we don't want to seem as ignorant as we actually are, we simply avoid the subject by telling you that there is no existential dimension to your experience at all." '

Listening to people, calling themselves "ill", when there's no proof of any real illness, really makes me feel depressed. But, yah, for most people buying into the illness-delusion is the only way to get the recognition and appreciation of their suffering, they so long for. Since the mental illness system is the only place, where you can get recognition and appreciation, although it's nothing but a PSEUDO-recognition and a PSEUDO-appreciation. And it's pseudo-recognition and pseudo-appreciation maybe ARE better than nothing...? Maybe I just would have to accept that? Nevertheless, it made me feel sick to listen to that. So demoralizing and disempowering. And I wonder: what if the mental illness system wasn't a mental ILLNESS system (which it is, although it officially uses the term "health" instead of "illness"), but a mental WELLNESS system, telling people that what they're going through are meaningful and solvable existential crises, not physiological chronic illnesses, would people still refer to themselves and ask others to refer to them as "ill"?

At the end of her autobiography "Auf der Spur des Morgensterns", Dorothea Buck says, that she's pretty much aware of that there are a lot of people, who experience drugs as helpful. "But", she asks, "what would have happened if they, at the very first time they reacted with a psychotic experience to an emotional shock or existential crisis, had got help to understand and integrate the experience into their life, instead of splitting it off of themselves as purely 'ill'?"

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