a reply to: souljacker
I've dealt with mental illness (or pathology) for most of my adult life (relational trauma) and I have a degree in psychology.
I'm not a big fan of the term "mental illness" as it implies that there's a special "category" of people that it describes; as if "one" day
you're mentally "healthy" and the next day you crossover into the category of "mentally ill".
In reality, mental states lies along a continuum that can only be defined - in my system of thought (relational/interpsonal) - as "integration". The
more defenses you have, the more dissociation you engage in, the more troubles you will have in your relationships with others. For someone such as
this, the diagnosis might be a personality disorder like borderline. Or, conversely, you're dissociative processes incline your mind to ruminate on
negative self experiences; the persistence of negative affect (feeling) in your body. Dwelling on negative emotions. From this we could use the term
Most people to one degree or another engage in unconscious defensive strategies so that they wont have to experience negative affect i.e. shame,
anxiety, fear. But not all people experience what I would term "pathology": a rigidified psychosociobiological process which sustains a negative
sense of self, bodily experience (emotions) and relationships.
Why do people commit suicide? Well to THEM they have no other option. THEIR life, THEIR circumstances leave them feeling that the only escape is the
option of suicide. To others the situation this person was in may be so easy to solve, so easy to live with but in a troubled mind you don't see
this. All you see is pain and suffering. There are NO solutions, NO answers...the suffering will just continue and can you take it?? We all have our
Completely understand your anger. THEIR being the key attitude - orientation towards the problem. And why? Because it makes them FEEL weird - awkward
and uncomfortable in their physical bodies; forces them to address a reality that seems to them - separate, existing in the mind of "another"
person; but the reality is mental illness in one mind is a consequence of RELATIONAL forces within that individuals reality. If you examine the
process from a systems perspective: society is implicated. YOU - the other talking or relating with this other person - can either help or hinder how
that person experiences their self.
People don't want to admit this because it does require some reasoning to accept it. A mature mind accepts it because not only is it reasonably
proven - but it is intuitively felt: of course! its obvious that we are all one. The religious and spiritual sensibility derives from this awareness.
But for people who have been trained by birth in a social and economic systems that advantages self over relationships, that fact is DISSOCIATED:
unconsciously separated from self awareness and experience so that what appears to you, and me, as so obviously true - factual - appears to them as
And the sad reality is, by not responding or acting compassionately towards someone who is struggling can make their experience so much worser. A
mature, enlightened mind, accepts the responsibility that comes with the awareness of that fact. Accepts it, and, bravely takes on what life is
throwing at it: yes, a depressed guy. Yes, a traumatized 35 year old. Yes, there's shame, I feel it. I see it in him and I am feeling it in me: do I
feel shame? A mature mind stays with these emotions - doesn't dissociate them, but accepts them as facts of it's experience: of how life is. And
despite the trouble it causes, it arouses compassion for the person. It allows you to access depths of awareness and understanding and EMPATHY towards
the other that truly helps you in doing what you need to do to help them. When you're really attuned, your body guides you. You tolerate the breaks:
the awkward moments, the anger, frustration, and annoyance, until it gives way to openings in relational dynamics; you guys are laughing. And you
sense he's loosening up. You take a more open approach. He is talking more openly and more ably, etc.
We take ourselves too seriously. Our identities - our own - what we see in others. From early on in life we train our child in this mistaken
worldview: you are how you are. While thats true it's also simplistic. Being can come in an infinite number of ways. And no consciousness with a
normal working brain is inherently limited to only "one" way of being; whether that be depression, anger, social insecurity. Being is defined (or
strongly influenced) by early life relational patterns. The choices you have of "how I want to be" are predetermined by those events. However, once
consciousness catches on to how it's been living, it can IMAGINE other possibilities of being. That's really all it takes. Imagination. But
imagination is constrained by dissociation: which causes the mind to "focus" in on one reality, or appearance of reality, excluding other
possibilities - self states - from cognitive representation. Healing involves expanding our range by exploring, through creative acts, talking,
drawing, writing, other ways of being. And really, this abilities of awareness -cognition - emerges from an attitudinal shift towards the internal
object: the self state you want to disown.
In the end, as the Beatles accurately said, all you need is love. And by love, I mean acceptance. And by acceptance I mean a compassionate awareness
towards the object of your perception. Anytime we push something away - an experience of ourselves - we throw our internal world into a miasma of
fragmented artifacts which nevertheless influence consciousness by dissociating - projecting - through affective experience, how we really feel - or
want to express, but can't.