ON BEING MENTALLY “ILL” – It Doesn’t Mean You Are Disabled, It Means You’re Gifted

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I’m having some problems with discussions surrounding mental illness lately, because I loathe all the terms that we have been labeled with (i.e. mental “illness”, mental “disorder”, “delusional”, etc.) because they are all sick with misunderstanding.  For example, I am bipolar.  That means that my mind works differently than the “norm” in many if not most ways.  It means that my mind races more quickly than the normal mind, draws connections between stimuli and/or memory more quickly, and as a result, from the perspective of a “normal” “objective” mind, it makes it difficult for me to “focus”.  Which, the “focus” part may be true, but the emphasis for such a great need for this type of focus and the disregard and the negative connotation ascribed to those of us who lack it, is not my doing, that is sociological programming.  

I read this article in Wired Magazine the other day, called “The Next Steve Jobs”, which talked all about free thinkers and alternative types of education, and notes Maria Montessori among others who have argued at the forefront of the education realm, that “students should learn by playing and following their curiosity,” noting that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin “similarly claim that their Montessori schooling imbued them with a spirit of independence and creativity.”  These are the types of environments that would better suit the free spirits found within those of us who have minds that function differently from the norm.  We are not programed to be followers, it is not in our nature.  We are wired to create, we get the ideas for creation and if those ideas are labeled and judged and scrutinized, and we are labeled (ADHD) and judged (behavioral issues) and scrutinized (discrimination because we “don’t fit in”), then our spirits, just from our very most intimate youth, have been dampened and damaged and that’s the beginning of a long spiral down.  That’s the beginning of emotional abuse — the denial of another’s reality.

This is just one example, but there are a million more.  We need to begin to change the way we think about our “mentally ill” population.  What causes the “illness”, believe me, is not our minds.  It’s this sociological soul sickness and climate of sociologically justified discrimination against us, that makes us ill.  We need to open our minds to new conversations about mental illness, so we can begin to see the “mentally ill” for who they really are, which may not include any kind of “illness” at all.