Thoughts on Mental Illness

It is commonly known that illness is a sign from the body that something is not right and needs to be changed. For most of human history the solution has been to change the environment to obtain relief from various maladies. As hunter gatherers, nomadic and wandering a wilderness that can only be fantasized about today, if eating a berry or a peanut killed a person then the rest would quickly learn, and eventually evolve, to stay away from it or die.

Since then, the world has seen all sorts of allergen treatments. A quick stick in the arm and those Nutter Butters aren’t going to kill a person anymore. In this way, the process that the human race refers to as natural selection has been circumvented. But not to worry, because it has developed its own ways to keep the population down. War, genocide, and atom bombs being a few of the most dramatic.

Yet human kind has made enormous leaps and bounds in terms of the medical field. Not surprising, everything has become an industry, and healthcare is one of the most profitable. Humans desperately chase immortality, terrified that death means the end of existence.

So what happens to a society that does not play by the Earth’s rules and thinks it has outwitted biology itself? The population keeps growing and resources dwindle. Smog and pollution hang over cities with a hazy resolution. Nature begins to resemble Central Park in New York City as the old get older and the sick continue to live.

Every once in a while an illness will come through that is seemingly unstoppable for a while. But compare the swine or avian flu outbreaks of the day to the Black Plague of Europe. Not even on the same scale.

Physically, humans are healthier than ever before. But what about mental health? A topic that has been ignored or hushed up for so long. Could mental illness simply be a new form of natural selection? When the body cannot get the message heard that something is not right in the environment through physical ailments, does it turn towards the mind?

The phenomena previously mentioned, war and genocide, could they be the physical manifestations of our human-wide depression? Physically, human bodies can no longer communicate with the environment the way they used to, because there is now so much control over the biological processes.

Depression is much more of a concern for the seemingly successful. Those who do not experience what we would call the happiest external lives go through higher mental processes than others who are born into naturally charmed lives. Without the challenge of circumstance, there is no need to be so alert during everyday life.

Children with abusive guardians must learn to read people to understand when an attack is coming. This teaches them self-awareness and awareness of others and their emotions, something that is quite a challenge for those who never had to learn.

On the flip side, having to cope with such a hard time emotionally takes a lot out of a person. Some don’t care to think about the battles they have fought, and thus never heal from them. When memories are pushed to the back of a mind they have a way of manifesting themselves through the mind with a variety of mental illnesses, such as PTSD or bipolar disorder.

Even when it comes to physical needs, some don’t have to work so hard for the necessities, and therefore take them for granted. There are individuals who must find a new square of ground to curl up on every night, and then there are those who hardly think about the fact that they can pay all their utilities with no problem.

The majority of people, of course, fall somewhere in the middle. All humans have to go through a period of work and sacrifice to obtain what is desired. Unfortunately, most have been letting others decide what value is. Many realize every day that the possessions they have toiled their lives away for are very insignificant in reality.

It is hard, because some people have come so far for the gains of others. Spent so much on higher education that it is now terrifying to admit maybe that was a wasted effort. Financed that brand new house and now there is no possible career change on the horizon.

What is humanity to do? There are two extreme choices, but people fall anywhere on a continuum between them. One is either to drop everything, hunker down, and get this whole life business figured out. The other is to hope the problem goes away and go on with life, trying and failing to ignore that part of ourselves that knows we are a fake player in a fake game. This is easier for some than others.

Mental illness is a hard thing to deal with nowadays, as more and more people are being born and bred with proclivities towards certain ones. Science is finding that it is a combination of genes and upbringing that can cause certain activations in the DNA sequence.

When the signals from the mind to the body are interrupted by advanced medical treatment, or the pain of upbringing is too great, the mind has no choice but to turn on itself. There is real fear that permeates a lot of hearts, doubting if there could possibly be a cure for an illness that is so intangible.

When denial is too great depression becomes another lifelong companion. There are statistics that claim 50% or more of this country is taking some form of antidepressant. There is widespread discontent among everyone,

The depression stems from not dealing with the underlying problems of humans as a whole. For blindly following the beaten path, hoping the crowd will part so the view can be seen, fighting one another to get to the front. What happens is the view can’t be seen until one is so far into the system they’ve become an unwitting leader. Just when the summit has been attained it is revealed the view is just a dilapidated junkyard for ideals that were abandoned long ago. It is the biggest disappointment of all. Yet there is still every chance to cut the losses and forge a new path.  In the end, sickness indicates a change is needed. Mental illness only serves to identify that it is the mind that needs a different environment.

Humanity is now looking inward at itself, as each individual must, with a gradual development of consciousness. The significance of the enormous turning point in evolution that life has come to in the present day has awakened endless possibilities in the form of the mind. The world as a whole is entering an age of much more advanced thinking and growth. Someday mental illnesses will cease to exist. For now, they must be a reminder that the mind needs to be helped and changed. It is wise to listen to what the illness is saying and let the mind freely be as it eventually must, a bright beam of consciousness shining through the dark.

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