‘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.

 

11 years

“But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.”

 

Read more: http://www.buffyguide.com/episodes/body/bodyquotes.shtml#ixzz5tJ9H5M15

4 Years

On this day.
The clock stopped,
It read – 16.10
Such a sudden shock to the atmosphere,
It stopped time.

The day before.
A feeling,
It was 19.15
A jolt of realisation,
Calm acceptance.

The happiest of days,
All day until 18.00
A phone call,
Devastation.

I Been Standing In The Same Place For Eighteen Years

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Bestie 1: (2009)
Standing in doorways was the hardest thing I could ever do at one time. All of our gatherings were either at my house with the doors closed or me on one side and you on the other.

You went off to college and I stayed standing in the same place, never moving, never progressing. To live through questioning you: What is college like? What is it like being on a bus alone? What friendships are like when you can choose them for yourself…

One day, I asked you if you thought I could do it one day. You were always positive with your encouragement that I would not always be left standing in the same place. Until you asked me what I wanted to do…

“Dunno. Maybe psychology or something. You think I could do that?” 
“Honestly?”
“Yeah.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yeah. I guess you’re right.”

 

IMG_20190709_103347_970

Bestie 2: (2016)
You helped me through it. “Come on, C. Let’s go for a walk.” Encouraging but never pushing. Any time I needed to turn back and retreat, you were with me. Only made it to the end of the driveway? “You made it to the end of the driveway, C! You’re doing great!” 

But then I recovered and the dynamic changed. I no longer needed a hand to hold every time I set foot out of that doorway. I could walk down the street and walk into a shop without needing to retreat.

“I’m thinking of applying to do this Access to Higher Education course. Not really sure what it’s about but I think it helps with Uni and stuff.”
“Don’t do it.”
“Why?”
“It isn’t worth it.”
“It’s psychology and stuff, I’ve always been really interested in that kinda thing.”
“Yeah. It’s your thing. It’ll interest you and you’ll leave.”
“What?”
“It’ll open doors for you and you’ll go. You aren’t going to stay around here, are you? You’ll leave and I’ll miss you.” 
“My plan has always been to leave.”
“I know, but now it’s real. Don’t do it.”

 

The dialogue from Fences between Troy and Rose has always spoken to me. This morning a thought entered my head that perhaps it spoke to me because, for a time, it was me and it could have been me for much longer if I had felt a bigger need to put my closest friends before myself. 

My two closest friends believed without a doubt that I would get better one day, or they at least portrayed such a belief. In the years following, however, they were not so keen on my decreasing need for dependence. What was once two very strong, positive friendships suddenly became volatile and hurtful. A lot of deceit that had been previously hidden came to light… their only reason being “we were protecting you!”

 

The guilt felt from putting myself first and walking away is slowly fading, although, I am unsure if it shall ever truly fade completely.

 

FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.FENCES.

 …It’s not easy for me to admit that I been standing in the same place for eighteen years.

…I been standing with you! I been right here with you.
( http://www.iupui.edu/~elit/fences/fen21txt.html )

220px-Fences_(August_Wilson_play_-_script_cover)( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fences_(play) )