This is a big subject, but I only want to talk about part of it – our attitude towards it.
I am speaking here as an American – who has plenty of mental problems himself, which I got from being an American for most of my life. We are not the only ones with mental problems, there are many Swiss emigres where I live in Costa Rica – and its easy to see they have similar problems.
In any case, we are talking about the moderate mental illnesses that are typical of a certain culture. Which they are not aware of at all. This kind of illness can become extreme – and result in genocides, but the people performing these atrocities feel there is nothing wrong with them.
The urge to be nothing is one of these illnesses. This is my own diagnosis – and I arrived at it by watching my beautiful wife succumb to mental illness. Watching this happen, I had to note that she could not be anything.
She tried to be a loving wife – but something forced her to fail at this. As if a huge demon was screaming at her “You cannot be this way!”
It seems to me there are many demons saying similar things “You cannot do this!” The ultimate message being “You cannot be!” Or “We don’t want you around us anymore!”
This is especially deadly in a family context – and results in mentally deformed children. And some gruesome deaths. The next time you see a cemetery, think to yourself “Many of these people were killed by their own families!”
And by their work environment. The workplace, as it was in America in the last half of the last century – was a deadly place. And only those who were already dead could survive in it.
Beth (my ex-wife) could see this. Once when I was working for the Army (making atomic bombs, believe it or not) Beth went to work in another office in the same place. She freaked out – and they had to call me, and ask for me to come and get her.
I took her, in her altered state, to a doctor – a stupid decision, but I didn’t know what else to do. He gave her a shot of something to calm her down. And when we went to a drugstore to fill a prescription he gave us – she fainted. They panicked, and called an ambulance, which took her to an emergency room at the hospital. I followed in our car. They called the doctor, who explained what had happened, and then let us go.
This was my introduction to the treatment of mental illness – there wasn’t any! And the situation hasn’t improved much since then – and in many ways has even gotten worse. There used to be many insane asylums where these people could be taken care of – often very poorly. But these have been closed, and these former inmates now wander the streets, as homeless persons. There isn’t any money for taking care of them – in the richest country in the world!
Treating mental illness is hard – in many cases impossible! We should be smart, and acknowledge this. But we are not smart – and stupidly insist that it doesn’t exist – for normal persons like us, who are like everyone else.
But it does exist – and has a profound impact on our behavior – making our impossible situation even more impossible!