‘Mental Illness is a Myth’

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is a myth. Psychiatrists are not concerned with mental illness and their treatments. In actual practice, they deal with personal, social and ethical problems of living (Szasz, 1972).

This is a question that has crossed my mind on many occasions.
‘What is this?’
‘What is happening?’

Thomas Szasz, a sociologist makes a radical proposition that mental illness is just a way of categorising people based on their behaviours – should their behaviours be ones that society disapprove of.

I have taken this to mean that, should you as an individual, not follow the norms of society and behave in a way that society deems  ‘normal’, you will then be categorised as having one illness or another.

The article I am reading goes on to explain this in a way that seems to hit the nail right on the head!

If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist but if you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic.

There is obviously controversy regarding this topic and this particular opinion. Edwin Lemert was very keen to stress that certain labels such as paranoia are constructed out of social processes and relationships, rather than being based on a medical basis. This then ties in with self fulfilling prophecies…

‘Fred is uneasy around people, which in turn makes people uneasy around Fred. After starting a new office job, Fred is invited to the staff Christmas party which he declines feeling as though the night would be an ordeal. Staff feel relieved and do not invite Fred to future social gatherings, assuming that Fred will not want to go. Fred is aware of this night out and feels excluded. Fred then reacts to this by isolating himself more and more and avoiding going into the staff room completely. This then leads to staff talking about Fred covertly, to prevent any further reactions from Fred, however, Fred is aware that people are talking about him. Fred then feel paranoid whenever he is at work.’

Lemert (1972) would argue that this is not paranoia born out of mental illness but based out of reality as Fred is being talked about. If Fred then leaves his job due to this paranoia and starts a new job, his experience will follow him and may then result in a vicious cycle. Fred may go into a new job and not have the confidence to start anew, thus he will be repeating past experiences.

 

Is mental illness based on medical opinion or social norms?

 

Cunningham, J & Cunningham, S (2013). Sociology and Social Work, Null Learning Matters (pp 20 – 22) 

Dream Trip

‘By the time I’m 30, I’ll be recovered enough to go to New York.’ 

I lost years of my life to mental illness, with the hope of one day being able to recover – the one consistent thought being ‘by the time I’m 30…’ By the time I’m 30, I’ll have recovered, faced my fear of flying and be taking a trip to New York City.

The trip of a lifetime, that is going to be filled with so many emotions and so much hope. 

I have the motivation and determination to fund this trip myself, however, there are many barriers in front of me. 

Every little helps.

 

Money has never been something that came to me, it is not something I have ever had a lot of access to and I have always been against the idea of doing this – but here we are. I am not expectant this will help or happen, however, with my finances as they are, my reliance is on my overdraft.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

GoFundMe

Crunch It

August has felt like a bit of an odd month, neither here nor there.

I’m starting to lose my willpower now, my motivation to do something new each month is severely lacking.

I decided to try exercise, to crunch, every so often. I had initially thought every other day but then that did not happen.

I walk a lot – living in the City so I made a compromise… on the days where I am home and not walking 3+ miles a day, I will crunch.

Despite watching countless YouTube videos on how to crunch appropriately, I am still unsure if I am actually crunching, or just doing sit ups – either way, it ticks the box.

 

Acknowledgement​

July is always a horrid month for me and mine.

Too many anniversaries bring feelings full of loss and despair for most of the month.

This month, in the midst of sadness, I have moved out of my shared accommodation and into my own place.

This month is bringing with it a reminder of what being free is, of what it feels like to be a strong and independent woman and an acknowledgement of who I am.

I am allowing myself to be sad but trying to pull myself out of wallowing. To see this month as something other than awful.

It is with this thought in mind that I wonder what next July will bring.

Perhaps, it is time to move past sadness and look for a way to celebrate…

Rain

I love the rain. The sound of it hitting the street below and splashing as cars pass by. It’s inspirational in its own right. There’s something very calming and therapeutic about rain. Like a million tears running down windows, witnessed by many a lost soul. It changes things, the smell in the air, the mood of a teenager sat watching it pour down the windows, the excitement of a child who gets to go jump in the puddles, it sums up the feelings, when there are no words to explain them.

She walks in the rain, it pelts at her skin, blends in with her tears and soothes her. She has no knowledge of how far she has come or how long she has been gone. Head down, the streets all blend into one. Car horns sound around her and she jumps as the sound invades her mind. From the moment she turned that corner, she was alone, only aware of her thoughts. The reason for leaving has gone now, it’s back there where she left it. The path she’s taking is a familiar one, she has walked it time and again. The brain is not capable of thinking more than one thought at a time, although she does not believe the truth of that statement when the thoughts running in and out of her make no sense or reason. She never feels alone here, there are always eyes upon her. She’s aware of them, always aware but never acknowledges them. She feels content in the rain, she can feel it now, beating down on her face, cleansing away the sins of her past. She’s gone past the place of comfort, the loving arms who’ll hold her. Turning and continuing on, to the place that will haunt her. It hasn’t changed through the years, the images are all the same. This is the place, sheltered by the trees, droplets seep through the leaves. Slowly, but surely, her conscious comes back to her. She has not known how long she’s been gone, nor how far she had walked.

 

 

 

I wrote this when I was (approximately) 12 years old. I just found it by happy accident and wanted to share it. I had thought it had been forever lost to me. 

Sappho

I loved you, Atthis, years ago,
when my youth was still all flowers
and sighs, and you — you seemed to me
such a small ungainly girl.

Can you forget what happened before?

If so, then I’ll remind you how, while lying
beside me, you wove a garland of crocuses
which I then braided into strands of your hair.
And once, when you’d plaited a double necklace
from a hundred blooms, I tied it around
the swanning, sun-licked ring of your neck.
And on more than one occasion (there were two
of them, to be exact), while I looked on, too
silent with adoration to say your name,
you glazed your breasts and arms with oil.
No holy place existed without us then,
no woodland, no dance, no sound.

Beyond all hope, I prayed those timeless
days we spent might be made twice as long.

I prayed one word: I want.

Someone, I tell you, will remember us,
even in another time.

( https://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/mythology/sappho.html )