The Mental Illness Taboo is a Problem for All of Us

via New Scientist brain23

As celebrities become more open about their mental health problems, stigma still ensures most people conceal such illnesses, say two researchers in the field

In recent weeks Ruby Wax and Stephen Fry have once again reminded us that the lives of the famous are not always as perfect as we might think. Not for the first time, these two stars of British TV have publicly discussed their mental health: Wax her depression and Fry his bipolar disorder. Their continued openness furthers a helpful trend among celebrities. But for the vast majority with such conditions, discussion is not the norm.

Stigma and discrimination have long been major barriers to people with mental illness. The same is not true for other conditions: it is inconceivable that a person with asthma or hypertension, for example, would have faeces posted through their letter box to scare them away from the neighbourhood. Yet people with mental health problems report such abuses. Even so, the true scale of these problems has become apparent only relatively recently.

In a global study published last year, we showed that 79 per cent of people with depression had experienced discrimination in the previous year (The Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/s0140-6736(12)61379-8). More than 1000 people were interviewed across 35 countries, and a remarkably consistent picture emerged: such experiences are common and may severely limit how far people with mental illness can lead normal lives. Almost a quarter, for example, said they had been unfairly rejected when applying for jobs. Intriguingly, these figures are very similar to the findings of a previous international study that we had conducted, focusing on people with schizophrenia.

Cycle of exclusion

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people with mental illnesses adjust their expectations to society’s views. The Lancet study discovered that more than a third of participants had not started a new relationship because they expected it to fail as a result of discrimination. For the same reason, 71 per cent said that they wished to conceal their diagnosis of depression from others. The cycle of social exclusion and self-exclusion is therefore complete.

Although concealment is an understandable reaction to being shunned, it creates two problems of its own. First, if employers are not aware that an employee has a mental illness, they cannot adapt the job role or the workplace accordingly. Second, concealment means that fewer friends, family and colleagues know that the person has a health problem, and so their prejudices may remain unchallenged. Most research on discrimination shows that direct social contact between people in good health and people with a mental illness is an important way to reduce stigma.

Concealment therefore reduces social contact and perpetuates stigma. On the other hand, disclosure also brings real risks of discrimination. Those with mental illness are constantly confronted with this dilemma of keeping quiet or opening up.

The consequences of stigma and discrimination can be severe or even life-threatening. The average life expectancy of people with mental illness is at least 15 years shorter than that of the general population in Europe. This is, at least in part, due to less effective treatment by family doctors and hospital staff of the physical health problems of people who also have mental illness: staff sometimes misattribute physical complaints as being “all in the mind”, rather than investigating problems thoroughly.

A further challenge is that, in every country where this has been studied, the great majority of people with mental illness do not get any treatment at all for these conditions. In poor countries this is largely because treatment is not available, but it is now clear that another important reason is that people do not seek help because stigma makes them fear loss of reputation.

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  • Juan

    Aren’t we ALL fucking crazy?
    It seems to me that if you’re not freaked out, depressed or anxious about what’s happening around you, then that is a problem. I think “mental illness” in an insane world is a perfectly normal human reaction to the situation in which we find ourselves. Of course people are depressed; their lives suck.

    • BuzzCoastin

      Bob Diamond: Being from Earth, as you are, and using as little of your brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear.
      Daniel Miller: It has?
      Bob Diamond: Well everybody on Earth deals with fear – that’s what little brains do.
      Bob Diamond: …Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything – real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can’t get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you’re in for the ride of your life.

      Defending Your Life (1991)

      • Juan

        I loved that movie:)
        Great quote.

      • jnana

        I understand yer probably not religious, but yer above quote sounds too much like a passage from the gnostic “gospel of truth”. figured id share it:

        “This ignorance of the Father brought about terror and fear. And terror became dense like a fog, that no one was able to see. Because of this, error became strong. But it worked on its hylic substance vainly, because it did not know the truth. It was in a fashioned form while it was preparing, in power and in beauty, the equivalent of truth. This then, was not a humiliation for him, that illimitable, inconceivable one. For they were as nothing, this terror and this forgetfulness and this figure of falsehood, whereas this established truth is unchanging, unperturbed and completely beautiful.

        For this reason, do not take error too seriously. Thus, since it had no root, it was in a fog as regards the Father, engaged in preparing works and forgetfulnesses and fears in order, by these means, to beguile those of the middle and to make them captive. The forgetfulness of error was not revealed. It did not become light beside the Father. Forgetfulness did not exist with the Father, although it existed because of him. What exists in him is knowledge, which was revealed so that forgetfulness might be destroyed and that they might know the Father, Since forgetfulness existed because they did not know the Father, if they then come to know the Father, from that moment on forgetfulness will cease to exist.

        That is the gospel of him whom they seek, which he has revealed to the perfect through the mercies of the Father as the hidden mystery, Jesus the Christ. Through him he enlightened those who were in darkness because of forgetfulness. He enlightened them and gave them a path. And that path is the truth which he taught them. For this reason error was angry with him, so it persecuted him. It was distressed by him, so it made him powerless. He was nailed to a cross. He became a fruit of the knowledge of the Father. He did not, however, destroy them because they ate of it. He rather caused those who ate of it to be joyful because of this discovery.”

        states of mind are personified in gnostic scriptures. that idea should help u to understand where they’re coming from. but it doesn’t mean it isn’t still literal in some way

        • BuzzCoastin

          not that I disagree
          but it’s a rather long way to say the same thing
          but the movie script implies that “you” can overcome fear
          whereas this Gnostic text implies
          a specific external source does the enlightening
          I prefer a Taoist approach
          which doesn’t really on a specific god for salvation

          • jnana

            internal external, its all the same in gnostic philosophy.

            “when you make the 2 into 1 and the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, the above like the below and the below like the above, then you will enter the Kingdom”

            The Taoist approach is very nearly the same as the gnostic approach. I think they probably influenced each other. Remember, the early xians were called followers of the Way. The Tao is the Way.

            But I don’t think you should knock external spiritual help. It serves to promote humility which cures a number of problems. And its good to depend on the Other and get help from another, and talk to another, and play with another. We’re social animals, right?

            (by the way, im not sure if yer aware, but I have no intentions to “proselytize” and change anyone to believe what I believe. I like playing w/ concepts and bouncing them off of people. If they’re non-religious concepts most people are fine with it.But many get offended when you try to bounce spiritual concepts off them. if you or anyone else gets offended, fuck it, but I am aware of others and do try to apply a little tact)

    • Andrew

      It’s not mental illness that doesn’t exist, it’s “sanity.”

    • kowalityjesus

      Yes, ‘the outer pollution is reflective of inner pollution’ is a concept I find refreshing if not yet consistently accurate.

      9-5 jobs work for the exception, not the rule

    • Guest

      A lot of depressed people run to the doctors in faith, seeking a vaguely relative label that they feel may deem them socially acceptable (a miracle pill seems quite popular too). In England, the benefit system in combination with the national health service sustains a whole culture of guinea pigs, who know no better. Jobless, scared and of weak will, they put their trust in general practitioners who deal with so many patients in one day, it is impossible for a beneficial consultation to take place. These doctors write out scripts, receive huge commissions from pharmaceutical companies and seem to care more for their next holiday or Porsche.

  • BuzzCoastin

    mental illness is a concept created by western psychologists
    bored MD’s working with even more bored Austrian house fraus

    living a vacuous uninteresting mainstream life is bound to depress a human
    getting up everyday & heading for the Sisyphean salt mine
    is bound to drive one to drink & substance abuse
    and then you need a pill to make you keep doing it

    I think a discussion about the underlying ennui of mental masturbation
    and the malaise caused by modernity
    would be more profitable
    than trying to make the symptom of modernity acceptable

    • echar

      This would suggest that people with very real mental illness do not have a problem. Even though I agree with some of what you say; I feel your theme is not only flawed, but also harmful.

      Downvote from me

      • Rhoid Rager

        How can someone outside your subjective experience diagnose the inner workings of your psychology? When there are so many facets of my own mind that I discover everyday, how can I expect someone else to have any inkling of the contours of my personality? Isn’t consciousness fractal like? The deeper we go, the more detail is revealed, and yet it goes on and on. Self-similar patterns are apparent, but only retrospectively.

        I don’t feel there is anything harmful with the claim that mental ‘illness’ is a created concept, since every category is created, especially ‘normality’. Pushing this logic further, coming to terms with the idea that the subjective creates the objective is a necessary precursor to calming your mind enough to realize that nothing matters, because there is no matter. (credit to Alan Watts for teaching me this)

        • echar

          You clearly have never spent time with someone who has a mental illness.

          • Rhoid Rager

            Empty your cup, then we’ll talk.

          • BuzzCoastin

            I lived with someone who was “bipolar” for 4 years
            her biggest problem was
            she couldn’t let go of her past
            she was continually reliving her childhood
            she could never get control of her mind
            and
            she didn’t believe it was possible to do so
            that’s a pretty hopeless depressing thought

          • echar

            Understood. I need to back out of this. My views differ from yours, and that is ok.

        • Andrew

          My friends have revealed aspects of my self to me that I never noticed (or thought the opposite of) many times.

          • Rhoid Rager

            I understand what you mean, but I was referring more to the basis for my perception of the world rather than a specific outer behavioural characteristic of my monkey flesh bag. No one has access to my perceptual foundation. Nor yours, assuming you’re actually real.

          • jnana

            “No one has access to my perceptual foundation”

            how do you know that?
            a good healer is empathic, some to the point of taking yer pain. I met a diagnosed schizo who claimed he could feel anothers pain if it was serious enough. He called it “backflow”

          • Rhoid Rager

            How do I know that? Because I have to explain/express myself on a daily basis to those who are dearest to me. Perhaps my experience in life is lacking, but I’ve never met anyone that can perceive the pain that I feel in my life without me having to at least open my mouth and talk to them for a while. Empathy is indirect–that’s the basic function of empathy; indirect connection to another. In my opinion, empathy is what builds cognitive function and is readily visible in other species (de Waal has a lot of interesting things to say about this). Sociality is what has made us what we are today, we have only introspection to rectify the obvious dillemas from this point on..

            As far as I know ‘taking pain’ is effective because someone shows me they are willing to try to imagine my pain and that is effective enough to alleviate the existential loneliness we all feel–la nausee as Sartre referred to it. It’s a metaphysical argument; but, it’s quite an effective one in my eyes, because it represents the illusory fragmentation of material reality.

            But the above is all irrelevant, because pain is not an essential condition for my existence, nor is pleasure. It is all incidental to my perception of the world. That’s what I intended to communicate from the beginning, but my language deficiency prevented me from doing so. The frequency/flavour/shade/vibration/degree is secondary; the perception of it is primary. If I get lost in the former, then so be it; but it’s knowledge of the ineffable primacy of latter that gives me ultimate solace of the reality in which I’ve chosen to live. That’s something that one can never fully relate to another.

          • jnana

            I believe in the potential of a miraculous release from that existential loneliness you refer to. Empathy is not always indirect, in my experience. I used to always think my thoughts and feelings were all my own, but now realize I am sometimes picking up on another’s. I think spiritual practices have given me a stronger sense of empathy and sometimes will clearly pick up another’s thought or feeling. I have talked to others who have had strong experiences on entheogens where 2 or more individual shared perceptions. So im not alone in this more direct empathy.
            Sex is an attempt to cure this (disunity), and sometimes miraculously can. But I believe we will all unite again, in fact, already are, only Maya obscures.

        • Guest

          one might even be able to say there is self similarity in the brain structure too.

      • BuzzCoastin

        mental illness is new fad
        less than 100 years old
        a product sold by Big Pharma & Big Heathcare
        no cure, just something to keep you on the treadmill
        sedated & willing

        sure people have been crazy or “mad” or demon possessed
        but modern mental illness (depression, sleeplessness, PTSD etc)
        are simply the result of modernity
        the more you decrease your intake of modernity
        the saner happier & rested you are
        try it sometime

        the first task of any real human
        is to get control of your mind

        BTW: people are just as stressed & depressed in CHina
        bu8t they haven’t developed Big Pharma
        to the same levels as the West

        • echar

          This reminds me of that person that says to someone with depression or PTSD to just stop being depressed, or stop freaking out for no damn good reason.

          No sir… disagree again.

          • Rhoid Rager

            Or you could just stop enabling those that disable you by un-recognizing their quaint categories of you. Disown the categories, and instead work on the environment that makes you feel dis-eased. Isn’t that what the message is here?

          • echar

            I am going to agree to disagree.

          • BuzzCoastin

            if you can’t control your own mind
            then someone else will

            those things are symptoms of the modern way of living
            they are not diseases
            they are your own mind telling you
            that you’re living in an inappropriate way

            and, they can be eliminated without medication
            but with serious determined effort
            the pill is just a easy to ignore what your “soul” is telling you

            “If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation in the mind then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.” Miyamoto Musashi

          • Andrew

            The truth, I believe, lies between your opinion and echar’s. Or, more accurately, the truths lie on many points between.

          • BuzzCoastin

            good point
            there really isn’t any one truth
            but
            I’m always inclined to suggest the road less traveled

          • echar

            This is much different than your original comment, that it’s an invented concept.

            I still disagree, because some people need treatment to regain a manageable state of mind.

          • BuzzCoastin

            any treatment supplied by Big Pharma
            is only a treat for Big Pharma

            it’s the modern way of living that’s depressing
            butt don’t get me wrong
            I’m all for the use of drugs to make life happier & mo betta
            but I’m not in favor of helping Big Pharma fleece the sheeple
            and help keep them on the treadmill

          • echar

            Alright then, lets take all the mentally ill people off the meds because Buzz has a issue with Pfizer. Because that is not delusional at all. Seriously dude, just because you can manage and got things going well for ya, doesn’t mean others do.

          • BuzzCoastin

            no, everyone happy with taking pills
            so they can go to the salt mine should

            I’m merely suggesting that there is another way
            and it doesn’t have to involve meds from Big Pharma

          • echar

            Meds can support a manageable state of mind for some. This does not mean that all should run out and get pills just because they have the blues. Also I need to back out of this, and I apologize for being rude.

          • BuzzCoastin

            no offense taken
            it’s an important issue to discuss
            and lot’s of different ideas need to be considered
            but at the end of the day
            everyone has to decide for themselves

            about 20 years ago a friend of mine
            was one of the first users of Prozac
            she found it helped somewhat
            but she discontinued using it
            at that time the prevailing social meme
            was anti-psychoactive drugs of all types
            20 years later
            you’re odd if you’re not using an anti-depressant
            with you high blood pressure meds

          • echar

            Here’s the thing, this article is about disclosure for mental illness. Medication is not mentioned once!

            That is something to think about.

          • BuzzCoastin

            so?
            modern mental illness & drugs are inseparable
            but
            my original point was that “modern mental illness”
            is a carefully constructed meme
            used by those who constructed it for their benefit
            none of the modern categories of mental illness
            are more than 100 years old

            the article itself is about discrimination
            against those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill
            ironic isn’t it
            a majority of western people suffering from mental anguish
            but it’s socially unacceptable to say so

          • Cyprus Mulch

            How many people have to crack up before mental illness is acknowledged as a social problem?

            We live in a culture that rewards psychopaths and sociopaths and discriminates against schizophrenics and autists — or, at best, condescendingly depicts us as “special.” Anything to make us Other.

            How to answer the shaman’s call in the hypercapitalist West?

          • BuzzCoastin

            our technologies have turned on us
            24hr on call and dully tracked by the technology
            the stifling presence of the 1984 Telescreen
            is your friendly Jobsian iPhoney

            and people wonder why they’re crazy

          • Noah_Nine

            i agree with cyprus…. as a regular disinfo reader I’m usually on board with you Buzz, but I feel yr being kinda flippant about a subject that is very real for some people… mental illness is not simply an abstraction for those who’s lives have been effected by it… madness exists… depression too… it can be crippling… remove pharmaceuticals from the picture and most “crazy” folks will self medicate with street drugs… Heroin or Prozac?

          • echar

            China or wherever you are once did something really seriously bad. How can you support that?

          • Rhoid Rager

            Might help to take a step back and take a breather for a while, echar. I’m not being patronizing, either. Honestly. Maybe go for a walk and look at the stars (assuming it’s night there).

          • BuzzCoastin

            I grew up being force fed horseshit in the land of the fee
            so I tend to lampoon that which I know best

          • Rhoid Rager

            People so damned serious today.

          • BuzzCoastin

            people have a lot invested in the aMerkin way of living
            and the modern way of living in aMerka is drug induced
            butt
            a healthy discussion of the issue from all sides
            can produce insight for those observing

          • kowalityjesus

            I think we need to start a stigma that taking pharmacological medications for head problems is fucked up.

            Oh yeah, I forgot. Drugs are good. I guess I was just out making fires and walking in nature for a few days and forgot the litany. Never mind that many inner city dwellers have effectively never been outside the city, or anything. Or the negative factor of 40-hour work weeks.

          • Andrew

            Yeah, being stigmatized frequently helps people in pain.

          • Cyprus Mulch

            Plenty of people already practice the stigma you suggest starting. How about not judging how other people deal with their problems, so long as they’re not hurting anyone?

            Some folks suffering from mental illness may find healing and stability through meditation, holistic medicine, or shamanic practices. Others may find that a change in lifestyle (less stress, more time spent in a natural environment, better diet) is more conducive to mental health. And others may find that taking prescribed medication(s) is the best route to staying healthy.

            Yes, there’s plenty to criticize about Big Pharma. Yes, it’s pretty easy to look at the situation through a “Brave New World” lens — that pharmaceuticals are a form of Psychic Totalitarianism. And yeah, maybe people with mental illness are kind of the canaries in the coal mine of contemporary culture — hypersensitive to that which is slowly but surely taking its psychological toll on nearly everyone.

            But beyond all those IDEAS, persists the reality of people suffering. I don’t think it’s really anyone’s place to pass judgement on how they relieve that suffering, so long as no one is harmed.

          • Juan

            I think if you consider the vast majority of people, in the US, and probably other “developed nations” with mental illness, are what you could call the “worried well,” then I agree with Buzz’s original statement. But I do not agree that it applies to ALL people with mental illness. Like people with some kind of sever and incapacitating mental disorder that renders them completely incoherent and out of touch with consensus reality.

          • echar

            They support a more normal state of mind for some people.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            isn’t the majority here incoherant and out of touch with consensus reality?

          • Juan

            Well, sure, but you know, I meant stark-raving-foaming-at-the-mouth, write-on-the-walls-with-your-own-shit mad.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            i see what your saying in some sense, but it is possible for you can enter a void state where you become fractured in the sense that what you see as “you” is not calling the shots, but neither is someone else.

          • BuzzCoastin

            first and most important is to understand
            there is no you, no me too
            there just is
            if you identify with your mind than you are it’s prisoner
            but if you understand that the mind is just one aspect of “you”
            a tool like a hammer or a body
            then”you” cannot be mentally ill
            and “you” can cure yourself

            according to Maslow & a host of others
            normal is a psychotic state

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            “you” is the amalgam of your mind, and that which identifies with the mind among other tools. the mental illness is that which prevents a person from doing that which you say is the cure. It is the breakage that does not allow one to understand exactly what you are talking about.

          • jnana

            but a tactful healer can help you out with that. sometimes.
            otherwise, I heard lobotomies give u a killer high. n u wont even come down

          • BuzzCoastin

            wee cannot possibly know what wee are
            but wee can know what wee are not

            “mental illness” is a concept, a modern meme
            a mind conditioned pattern
            they now formally teach mental illness in schools
            so there’s no missing the meme

            what you’ve just proposed is
            that all human minds are not created equal
            that some are better formed than others
            and some can be irreparably broken
            (this all assumes that the word MIND
            means to you what it MEANS to me)

            I refuse to believe that I’m some kinda a superman
            because I can change my mind when I want to
            and I can turn it off when I don’t need it

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            well i said nothing about permanence, but you have to understand that the problem is more complicated than one too many or one too few memes, because some mnemes block access, be it intellectually, or emotionally, maybe even spiritually if you wanna go that far, to the mnemes that can help.

            It definitely comes down to beliefs that should not be there or others that should, but the capacity to actually insert or remove those is an age-old problem. Mental illness is a transcendental problem. I agree with you that the pharmacization of the problem is a step in the wrong direction, but stepping back does not solve it, only brings you back to zero.

          • BuzzCoastin

            > but the capacity to actually insert or remove those
            is an age-old problem

            yes, this is the crux of the “mental illness” problem
            I agree it’s not easy
            but it’s also not impossible to achieve
            and there are many well know ways to get to those abilities
            most require not much more than willingness

          • Andrew

            I’ll say outright what he just implied.

            All human minds are NOT created equal.

          • BuzzCoastin

            really can’t be
            that in idea itself is a meme
            sold in school
            some are smarter & better than you
            so do what your told

            I assume it’s mostly willful ignorance and fear
            that separates our mental abilities
            and everybody does have their own reality tunnel

            anyone willing to try
            could
            most get stopped before they start
            because they already have been trained
            that they can’t

          • Andrew

            “Mind” and “equal” and “could” are also memes.

            As you said, we cannot know what we are.

          • BuzzCoastin

            mind & equal are definitely memes
            but in order to empty the mind
            you have to know the mind

            and even though equality is a meme
            that doesn’t change the fact that wee are all one

          • Noah_Nine

            there’s a difference between being regular old crazy and some one who is a danger to themselves and others…. a difference between being a little bit emo and being practically bedridden… it’s a matter of degrees…. have you ever looked in the face of someone who has clearly just taken a dive into madness? it is real… i assure you… and it’s pretty damned scary…

          • jnana

            a common disorder amongst primitives is a “loss of soul”. we might call it schizophrenia. holding ourselves responsible for our selves is important, but, yeah, sometimes shit happens. and you need yer soul retrieved and the invaders cast out. but a pill cant do that, no matter how good they feel. but they can help you function without yer soul. and that’s just good for bizness

          • BuzzCoastin

            mental illness is a biz
            google could tell us how big a biz:
            what with
            shrinks, para-shrinks, pills, labs, research,
            insurance, hospitals & rehabs, support shrinks
            accountants, lawyers, tax people
            all of whom depend on mental illness for a living

            there was less mental illness
            when there was less bizmess to be had

        • Dingbert

          “C’mon! You don’t have Down syndrome, you just need to control your mind! Stop being so modern!”

          • Rhoid Rager

            Strawman alert. “If I only had a brain!”

          • Dingbert

            Wow, great, rip on the disabled, why don’t you?

          • Rhoid Rager

            Actually, I was ripping on your logical fallacy. But you probably got that already.

          • BuzzCoastin

            well Dingy
            were not talking about congenital defects here
            we’re talking about being “depressed”

          • echar

            Schizophrenia is also listed in the article, which I have serious doubts you read.

          • BuzzCoastin

            some American Indian tribes
            like the Lakota
            used to incorporate those with congenital mental defects
            and those with different social orientations
            into the shaman class

            but let’s draw a distinction between congenital defects
            and misanthropist inclinations that pass for mental illness

          • Dingbert

            Ah, then you may have a point on that one. I was just thrown off by “modern mental illness,” which includes a lot. Many mental illnesses are congenital defects, and even more accompany them.

        • kowalityjesus

          Maybe one day they will publish the article I submitted summarizing a scientific paper about a simple computer-aided eye-movement test that diagnoses schizophrenic people with an incredibly high accuracy. It was weird for me to think the DSM IV can be scientifically corroborated, but it seems to be so.

          • BuzzCoastin

            since it is the computer & it’s forbears & spawn
            that have produced modern schizophrenia
            it seems most likely that “it” could easily diagnose
            what it induced

          • kowalityjesus

            honestly, that is a vague maxim at best

          • BuzzCoastin

            it’s only vague if you’ve not yet considered
            the effect of computer technology on your consciousness
            I’d like to say more
            but I gotta check my email, FB, posts & Twitter feeds

          • kowalityjesus

            just another facet of the addictive-mindset from the observer perspective of the inner soul.

          • Andrew

            It seems obvious to me that sometimes the DSM IV describes things that actually exist, and that some of its explanations are at least partially correct. I still think psychotherapy, exercise, and a healthy diet are more effective than pharmaceuticals.

    • Dingbert

      I think we need to make a distinction here between high-functioning mental illness (which is what I hope you’re talking about), where medication is used to provide “normal” life, and low-functioning mental illness, where even independent living is not a possibility.

      • BuzzCoastin

        high-functioning mental illness
        you’ve just described aMerka

        dude,
        if I thought I had to live in the modern whirled
        with a job, debt and keepin’ up wid da Jones
        I’d be downing those pills by the bottle full daily

        • echar

          This is a very serious topic, and not another petty opportunity for you to place the blame on America. There’s quite a few people who work the system and do not require medications, recreational drugs, booze, etc.

          • Rhoid Rager

            Maybe I’m just being a silly contrarian at this point, but is anything really serious? Sorry if this comment is counterproductive to the discussion, but I get the feeling that your personal stake in the matter hinders your understanding of the basic fact that you can’t force other people to take seriously that which you yourself hold serious… at least not in the direct manner (moralizing) you are attempting. Sorry for being so direct about it, myself.

          • echar

            I was addressing Buzzes obsession with blaming America for everything. It’s his cop out excuse. Honestly, at this I point I feel like this.
            http://image.spreadshirt.com/image-server/v1/compositions/102436514/views/1,width=280,height=280,appearanceId=63.png/keep-calm-and-back-away-slowly_design.png

          • BuzzCoastin

            maybe you missed this article
            Nearly 70% Of Americans Are On Prescription Drugs

            “However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature.”

    • jnana

      fuckin a right. if yer depressed change the way you live…drastically. generally u should at least go out in the woods more. and if u gotta take care of yerself more directly by living naturally, u wont have much time to be depressed or “bipolar”.

      • BuzzCoastin

        I wish you were right about that
        and not that it’s not good advice
        but I’ve known lots of crazy people living in the woods
        I’m mean really crazy, like kill you crazy
        nonetheless
        many of them admitted to me that it was lack of self control
        some blamed their childhood
        others the fucked up whirled
        for others the demon was booze or PTSD
        whateva
        but not a fucking one of them ever
        meditated more than a nanosecond
        never contemplate the Tao Te Ching or Heraclitus
        never read the Tibetan Book of the Dead
        and pretty much boohooed & blamed everyone but themselves

        sorry, it seems like I’m always contrariwise

  • kowalityjesus

    Now all we need is for Brad Pitt to admit that hears voices in his head and we’ve got a society-wide paradigmatic overhaul.

    • Rhoid Rager

      lol

  • rhetorics_killer

    Often confusion lies within ‘what is mental illness?’. Psychiatrists themselves are confused and can appreciate legal order as being the framework to work on. These doctors ‘cure’ adjusting the patient to some acceptable way for the others, without regards to inner psychological balance. They rely on institutions and chemicals in case of control lost, and everything fits (in the medical business at least trade will occur).

    Another side-effect in the process of silencing illness is self-denying. It is difficult for many to admit they are sick. And it is quite impossible to cure someone unaware of his/her condition. The example of a young man I know, routinely seized with schizophrenic hallucinations, is quite appalling: he is absolutely blind and will never agree something goes wrong inside of him; by doing so makes no progress.

  • jnana

    is it possible that some of those depressives may have exaggerated some of their persecution? If I know depressives at all, i’m pretty sure some did. they tend to be a bit negative.
    not that there’s anything wrong w/ that.(to keep it pc) ;)

    • kowalityjesus

      My hypothesis is that anyone with a childhood and a family (or lack thereof) can find some substantiation for clinical psychoanalysis and psychopharmaceutical “aid.” The medical establishment is only TOO happy to oblige.

    • Andrew

      The persecution causes the depression.

      • jnana

        maybe sometimes. but Im suggesting that many of the depressed surveyed were just more prone to consider themselves “victims”. in my experience w/ depressed people, they tend to be negative and think people hate them or are bein mean, even when its not the case. And certain people(bully types) will instinctively smell that as weakness and so then actually persecute them.

        so you got some who are probably just bein negative. some who are negative and incur persecution as a result of that. and of course some who are persecuted from the get-go and probably at no higher rate than those who aren’t depressed

        • echar

          Did all the mushrooms/”entheogens” you took give you the authority to know what you are talking about?

          Maybe some people experience depression because the neural pathway that relates to happiness is not as strong as the neural pathway that relates to stress?

          Perhaps that persons sense of guilt is heightened due to different neural pathways?

          • Andrew

            And those neural pathways are influenced by experience. They grow stronger with repeated use. This is why meditation is growing in importance among psychologists.

          • Noah_Nine

            what about the people who’s lives have been plagued with an unusually high rate of tragedy or have been brutally abused… i think its unreasonable to simply say “buck up little camper”…

          • Andrew

            You’re damn right. People who have suffered a lot of trauma have very strong neural pathways for pain. It takes a lot of hard work form new pathways and starve to old, and they need support.

          • echar

            100% agree

          • jnana

            perhaps, but are we at all responsible for our neural pathways and can we do anything to change them without having to depend on ssri, maois, etc? Cause those have major side effects and create dependency on externals.

          • echar

            That’s true. Some people can, or have the support of others that allows for this. Some people may need a little support from meds. For the record, my experience with SSRIs was awful, I refused to take them for years and finally chose to.

            They helped for a little while, but then my thinking slowed down too much and I started having seizures at night. Because I couldn’t afford to get them any longer, I quit cold turkey. The DT’s from those sucked more than coming clean from meth, cocaine, and tobacco.

            Also, I am still open to taking them. I feel that I (not anyone else) have damaged parts of my brain that allow for feeling good through abusing drugs. I have also not had the best of lives, and if meds can add some support, I will.

          • jnana

            I would agree that medicine can help, but not the meds that conventionaldoctors would offer. Iwouldnt call that medicine. Every individual is different and has different problems, but i believrnatures medicine chest and spiritual rxercise/practices can heal almostanybody. There are many diversrherbs to help with healing the psyche thas

        • Andrew

          People don’t just invent and adopt the Victim Role all by themselves. It’s almost always taught through victimization. Certainly it’s something that people need to overcome, and aspects of it do invite further victimization, but the origin is rarely with the Victim.

          • jnana

            why does it matter whos to blame?
            we are all responsible for everything and all are responsible for nothing.

          • Andrew

            It matters who’s NOT blamed. Blaming victims of trauma for the effects of that trauma only adds to their shame and pain. They need to be shown what good things they’ve done and can do to change their futures.

            As for your second sentence, both clauses are untrue. It’s not even a koan.

  • jnana

    and why the fuck should an employer adapt the job for a negative nancy?
    one reason why depressives cant get outta their rut is people feeling sorry for them.
    fuck yer chemical imbalance.
    (ok a bit insensitive, I don’t really feel like that all the time, but some people really just whine too much. some people gotta lotta shit to deal with and u don’t see them whining)

  • DeepCough

    Well, would you feel stigmatized or excluded from society if you were told or you felt you had some permanent defect of your person, which requires endless therapy,
    persistent medication, and in some cases, indefinite hospital commitment?

  • jnana

    depressed people love to hear its not their fault cause unconsciously they believe it is their fault. a lot of depression could be driven by guilt and if you can get over that, yer depression might not be so bad. im not saying all of depressed are unconsciously guilty, though, either

    • kowalityjesus

      I have a guilt complex for my own occasional depression…It has been shown to be appropriate as a means of revealing my sin. I don’t believe God will insert us in any scenario that we do not have the mental faculties to overcome.

      • Noah_Nine

        this whole thread is aggravating… the article itself was half-baked but this is actually a serious topic… its all too easy for people to assume weakness in others… especially in matters of the mind and heart… sometimes getting out of bed in the morning is a small victory in and of itself….

        • kowalityjesus

          it is true but i have my own experiences

  • Microhero

    I dont like to quote but this is something i heard recently..
    Mathematical genius and Nobel prize recipient, John Nash who suffered from that big label “paranoid schizophrenia” for decades and got better “on his own” by being lucky enough to have a tolerant and suportive small group of people behind him, said that sanity is a kind of conformity.

    I completely agree…

  • MegGuest

    Unless and until we’re prepared to challenge our definitions of ‘mental health issues’ and their causes, we’re unlikely to bring into society the healing we claim is our goal:

    See: Rosenhan experiment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenhan_experiment;
    and
    Finland Open Dialogue, http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-alternatives/finland-open-dialogue
    to bring in other perspectives.

    I was a rural kid in the 1950′s and witnessed hospitalization and shock treatment as ‘most intelligent, scientific treatment’ for behaviors that – by the 1970′s – would have been considered “mid-age crisis acting out”. As a woman, I’ve also noted that societally held ‘rules and expectations’ about women might have gone a long way to explain “pms”, (think suppression, think stress).

  • rhetorics_killer

    “Concealment therefore reduces social contact and
    perpetuates stigma. On the other hand, disclosure also brings real risks
    of discrimination.”

    Now can we catch the following truth: mental disease is a dangerous and uncertain area to investigate. Another major side-effect of concealment is self-concealment. A lot is done to cure someone once the person has reached awareness of his/her actual disease. Merely trying to handle a mentally sick who refuses to acknowledge the fact, one can promptly reach the limit of what is doable.