A primer on “mental illness”

Certain words grate on me – they are used to avoid using using other words. It is part of how we process things, I suppose, a way of denying reality.

For example, on NPR and I suppose elsewhere too, they do not use the word “advertising.” They say “message.” They don’t even say “commercial message,” just “message”, as in “Car Talk follows after this “message.”

When I purchased a Kindle, I wanted one free of advertising, and said that to the Amazon.com gal on the phone. She corrected me, and said “you mean messages.” I said “no, advertising” and she corrected me again. So this is a conscious policy, like “support the troops” or “drill baby drill,” a PR way of undermining our thought processes. Advertising is an intrusive and subversive pain in the ass. Call it what it is.

It is like saying “mental illness” rather than “people who are suffering.”

Yes, the is that other phrase that annoys me, “mental illness.” “People who are suffering” places the blame for the pain that people endure correctly on outside influences. These would be things like advertising, agitation propaganda, alcohol and drugs (including the legal ones like antidepressants), fake news, and financial stress. They all interrelate.

Advertising is a huge negative influence, for instance, creating pent-up demand and unhappiness with current stuff, causing us to spend too much. Advertising works because it makes us unhappy. It also leads to credit card debt, a source of stress.

Agitprop was very properly described by NATO during Operation Gladio as a “strategy of tension.” These days they run fake shooting events (it used to be fake serial killers) and false flag events like 911, Boston, Paris. San Bernardino and now Brussels to keep us in a state of anxiety. Fear is a governing tool. It is how they control our thoughts and more importantly, draw support for their never-ending wars of aggression.

“Mental illness” implies an internal source for our pain, a brain defect, normally fixed by pills. But oddly, we don’t find mental illness in primitive societies. To me, this lays the problem not on us, but on our culture and our leadership. Left to our own devices, free of advertising and agitprop and bankers and the tax man, drug free and sober, we tend to be happy and well adjusted. Virtually all of us.

Of course now and then we will find someone truly off-center, someone unable to cope due to bad wiring, but it is rare. Very rare. And we have the social outliers – people who suffer alienation due to things like very high IQs or homosexuality – they don’t fit. But in a healthy society, outliers are not condemned or mistreated. Rather, they are accepted and treated with respect.

So what to do about “mental illness?” That is clever misdirection. It leads to more pills, interventions, more nanny state stuff. Merely asking the question in a different manner produces a different result.

How do we control the outside influences that are making us angry and agitated? It is not our fault. It is our leadership. It is the TV, the movies, the spooks, the financial predators (now selling “reverse mortgages,” one of the most abusive financial tools ever invented.) How do we break free?

  1. Turn off your TV.
  2. Avoid movies that contain unnecessary violence and gratuitous sex or embedded propaganda. Kind of like … most of them.
  3. Ignore “news.” (“I get all the news I need from the weather report.” (Paul Simon))
  4. Vote, but only by means of write-in. We choose the candidates, rather than having them selected for us.
  5. Take no drugs other than those that actually cure physical ailments, like antibiotics.
  6. Meet your neighbors, enjoy their company.
  7. Drink in moderation. Excessive drinking, labeled “alcoholism,” has many bad outcomes, one of which is the “ten twelve-step program,” a perverse form of groupthink.
  8. Don’t gamble.
  9. Meditate. (Praying is merely a form of meditation.)
  10. Read. That too is a form of meditation.

I got lectured earlier this week about mental illness, told I am a fool who just promotes the whole “just tough it out” thing. It is as if I am blind to people in agony or the need for intervention during crisis to save lives. I am not blind, but dammit, if you blame people for their troubles when the causes of the suffering almost all external, nothing will ever be solved.

Of course we are witnessing more and more people in pain and suffering. We need to discuss why.

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
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18 Responses to A primer on “mental illness”

  1. Luckyman says:

    Amen! Amen ! and Amen! One of your best ever!

    It is our “systems” with its “false gods” that produce “mental illness” which you so correctly identify as “people who are suffering” the results of the systems. Cause and effect, action and reaction, sowing and reaping are never going away. We ignore that at our peril, individually and as a society/culture.

    The problem is that those of us who see what is happening and dare to suggest the truths of our situation are the ones thought to be mentally ill or unstable nutjobs. After all don’t we (“murica”) have the best of all possible systems and the answers to everything? How dare someone think otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve W says:

    #7 is probably better at #1.

    Just my 2 cents. Of course, I’m a canvasser, so maybe I’m biased.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JC says:

    You may want “to discuss why.” That’s the easy part, and folks like Gabor Mate have already laid out the understanding of social underpinnings of addiction and mental illness (yes, I’m going to use that term, and no I’m not going to argue about it).

    To just spend time just talking about why — not to mention the complete social revolution that needs to occur to address these and myriad other problems — when there are so many people in pain and suffering begs the question: what do we do in the interim between now and the day (as if ever) that we have a socially and economically just society?

    So how do we help people “in pain and suffering” now? That’s the only question that is important in my day-to-day life. The rest is just socio-political deconstructionism, with no plan to put it all back together again. I’ve been fighting against post-modern and uninformed criticism for far too long to just sit back and wait for some nebulous future condition to solve today’s problems — and watch people die and waste away and families destroyed in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Easily an answered by the walk and chew gum argument … and begs the question, how can we solve a problem if we do not understand its causes?

      Before I were to blame all of this on “capitalism,” I would first want to be sure such a thing even exists. Everything I see is a make-shift arrangement where powerful interests have infected our lives to ill effect – mindless entertainment, warmongers, advertisers, PhRMA, political parties, the oil and insurance cartels … you can name others. They all exist in relative comfort, often shaking things up to their own advantage.

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      • JC says:

        Well, let me know when you get it all figured out, and get the rest of the country to go along with you and change so that people are no longer oppressed. But that still leaves my question to you unanswered: what do you suggest the mentally ill do, today? What do the rest of us do to help them (or should we)?

        Well over 100 people commit suicide every day in this country, around 50% with alcohol and/or drugs onboard. That’s almost 50,000 per year. You willing to wait until some nebulous future understanding reaches a socio-political consensus and the system changes?

        Or are you fine with things getting worse and worse as people try to think their way out of this, and WWIII ends the short lived-anthropocene, leaving the planet to enter an as-yet undefined era, a post modern Malthusian deconstructionist’s wet dream??

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      • I don’t understand why you are so defensive. I state clearly that I am not “…blind to people in agony or the need for intervention during crisis to save lives.”

        I am picking up to on some eschatology here – are these end times we live in? Or are we as we always have been? Suicides per 100K look relatively steady to me in the last fifty years. And, you’re gonna love this, I have no argument with people who opt out that way. It is the ultimate freedom. Of course, they leave behind pain and suffering. But death by all causes has that effect.

        What do I suggest the “mentally ill” do today? [sigh] That was not what I wrote about. I wrote about “people who are suffering.” I suggested we help them learn the causes of suffering, as most are external pressures that can be avoided or ignored.

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        • JC says:

          Well, maybe I’m not in a very good place to be having this conversation with you right now. I just had a friend commit suicide in Missoula today. I’m not interested in arguing semantics with you. What you call “pain and suffering” may or may not be mental illness in my book. You can say that mental illness to a large degree doesn’t exist, in its place is a large quantity of pain and suffering instead. But that doesn’t help find solutions or deal with the problem today.

          When you say that you suggest that “we help them learn the causes of suffering, as most are external pressures that can be avoided or ignored”, when’s the last time you ever tried to do that with someone who was suicidal, or in a lot of “pain or suffering” and made any headway? How do you explain it to your friends’ kids that its ok that daddy off-ed himself, because he was just in a lot of pain and suffering?

          You may flippantly say you are ok with people offing themselves, but I am not. I have lost far too many friends and family to suicide. That you are ok with it suggests you are actually a Malthusian — a philosophical choice I made to not ascribe to many years ago. Assisted suicide for someone who has terminal illness is another issue. But suicide because one is mentally ill, or society is just too tough to exist in is another.

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        • I starting make a list of friends and family I have lost, but am not taking the bait. We all have that list. We have all lost loved ones, some young, most old.

          You seem to want to have a corner on the caring market. We all do, we all have pain and suffering our lives, lose loved ones. People suffer from all kinds of afflictions, and those around them do their best to help. Suicide is but one cause of death. They all suck.

          Love the “Malthusian” comment – what a reach! That’s Talbotian in its presumptiveness. I believe in individual choices, and suicide, if life sucks, is one.

          And anyway, Malthus was dead wrong in his presumptions too.

          [Almost forgot … People need information, not “therapy” and drugs. “Life coaching” and “education” are useful tools in helping people through trouble.]

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          • you want to put “therapy” in scare quotes? I went to a therapist for a bit to deal with the vicarious trauma I experienced working with people in crisis. I did that because I needed to talk to a professional about my burnout. you want to talk some shit on that, Mark?

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          • Yeah, I will do so. You needed advice. We all do at times.

            “Therapy” implies some medical procedure whereby someone sick is made whole. “Therapy” is where doctors take care of patients.

            “Advice” merely allows a healthy person to move forward. “Advice” is where experienced people help the inxperienced. It is how, normally, the old help the young, the experienced help those who have tripped on their shoelaces. No one is ill, and no drugs are needed.

            I am glad you got some life coaching. I had an older brother who did that for me, since passed. Every family should have someone like him.

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          • many families don’t, and the resources aren’t there when they can’t handle the burden. where are you planning your next vacation?

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          • Boy, you and JC are certainly attune to the issue. The subject keeps shifting, however. You want to devote public resources to mental health … Hiring shrinks? Buying drugs? I am not clear on it, and my only point was that shrinks and drugs don’t seem to work, as the problem is rarely potty training or internal wiring, but outside factors as discussed above. Shrinks once had it in their heads that they have to to “therapy” which takes months if not years, and administer drugs in the process. By definition they can only work with a few patients over their careers, charging exorbitant fees of course, as they feel their medical degrees entitle them to that. Not seeing a solution there. The bulk of them have given up on that and are seeing a boatload of patients each day, fifteen minutes each, merely doing med checks. The problem there is that the meds are a rarely any more effective than placebos, and can be dangerous when mixed with other drugs due to long half lives, the sort of side effects that lead to suicides and the event in Bozeman. I know I took heat for suggesting that event was med-related, but it fits. I am waiting to hear more.

            There are indications that childhood abuse, not uncommon, leads to dissociative disorder, which is usually misdiagnosed by the professionals as something else, and which drugs and advice cannot fix, but self-awareness can. That, again, is not a wiring issue.

            So the solution? Education, life coaching, weaning people off TV, movies, advertising, agitprop, antidepressants, studying inexpensive ways of reaching abuse victims with practical advice, exactly opposite of what America is all about. I cannot fix it, sorry. But I do know the road to recovery is spiritual, not medical.

            Sorry if my retired state, having the ability to travel, creates resentment.

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  4. Greg Strandberg says:

    I find that spending less makes me happier. This year I decided to give more to charity instead of spending with corporations. Making less money also helps. I often don’t know what to do with the money I have anyways. I don’t have a TV so I miss out on about 75% to 90% of advertising. I just don’t feel any kind of demand in me to buy things.

    So I”m a bad consumer and thus bad American. Boy, several times a day, however, I say out loud how happy I am and how thankful I am for being able to do what I do.

    What makes me unhappy is the thought of getting back into the rat race. Sadly, as a society we trick everyone into thinking that’s what’s good for them, joining the rat race and buying endlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. madgemidgely says:

    Yet another truthful and insightful post. I agree with you, that the way our language has been manipulated has had severe effects on our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. The complacency, to some, seems to be quite intoxicating. Thank you for sharing. I will be posting this for others to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. steve kelly says:

    When life is reduced to another episode of The Truman Show, we have context for why. Here’s a near impossibility to wrap your head around. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/brussels-attacks-missionary-injured-after-surviving-boston-and-paris-attacks-a6947361.html

    Like

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