“How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?” ~ Bob Marley
People suffering from mental conditions are marginalized and people tend to stay away. When it comes to helping these people, there are a couple of things that that strike you: firstly, everyone thinks they’re crazy and dangerous for possessing abilities that most people need meditation to access. Secondly, our current mental health care system hasn’t progressed much since e century ago: the white straight-jackets are replaced by chemical ones. And lastly, mental illnesses seem like nightmares, but with the right care and support, it can make suffers realize they’re dreaming and wake up from it.
But what if these people are not crazy at all, and need no medications?! Perhaps the cure is just the right amount of sleep, support and encouragement to become a healer.
Our mental health care system is breaking people. We’ve got no room for the sacred, just for the normal.
The list of socially accepted behavior is a short one, and it oppresses us more than we might realize. It’s only after we’ve been judged, failed to fit in, broken down and needed fixing, that we see how limited we are. We take people in possession of a different perceptual experience and deem it wrong.
We’re weeding out our geniuses. We’re killing off our prophets. We’re drugging our messiahs.
If any historically notable person were alive today, they’d probably be on anti-depressives. From artists, to writers, to scientists, many of the geniuses who revolutionized our knowledge, suffered at the hands of the psychic strain of doing so. If you think treating their genius with medications would ease their suffering while allowing them to explore their talents, think again. And even if these drugs prevented some suicides, these people would fade into obscurity, known by few, admired by fewer.
It’s unfortunate that in our society, those who refuse treatment have nothing to catch them if they stumble; no people to offer them support and embrace their new abilities. Only pain and the will to get rid of it.
So what are people suffering from mental and emotional distress to do? How do they get the true support, help and respect they require? How can we transform our mental health centers into places of healing and growth, rather than confinement and apathy? How can we accept the experiences of people experiencing life differently from us, so that they stabilize and we become wiser by sharing their perspective? And most importantly, how do we take mental illness activism past this point of stagnation, and accept mental suffering as equally grave as physical suffering?
How do we recognize the healers in people who are, themselves, healing?
How do we learn to look past the defined categories, and look into the beautiful realms of consciousness that defy categorization? We need to come together, learn and share each other’s perspectives. How can the manic, the depressed, the generous, the needy, unite disregard all labeling and learn together? How can each person be allowed to matter, and no one is left to rot between four walls? How can we stop arguing for a second a listen to ourselves agreeing?
The answers to these questions aren’t important; it’s the questions themselves that matter. We need to keep asking questions until things finally start to work. The state of the mental health care system is inhumane, it’s mechanistic and cruel.
Our inability to think differently about mental illness is no one’s fault, but it’s our responsibility to come together and decide to do better. We deserve it.
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