Why are the strengths and abilities of those who are sensitive called “mental illness?”

I’d like to know why these adaptive and ultimately healthy qualities of many of the most creative leaders or people in the world is considered an illness? Why? Perhaps it’s time to view the adaptability of these creative people as the healthy ones.

I find the argument that these features are illness just plain ridiculous.

See Nassir Ghaemi on Stephen Colbert (CLICK THROUGH TO SEE VIDEO)

Nassir Ghaemi, a psychiatrist wrote a book recently called,  A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness.

More about this book in Newsweek’s Daily Beast: Madman in Chief Was Richard Nixon too normal? Abraham Lincoln exceptionally deranged? Why we should look for a little bit of crazy in our leaders.

Why do we continue to call highly desirable and creative traits a sickness?

Maybe many of the people labeled mentally ill in our society need some special supports but this does not mean they are all ill. Once upon a time in other cultures shamans were the most revered members. Initiation and support from elders was a key part of such people’s education. I’m not sure we’re dealing with anything at all different here. What is different is that we have no appropriate support for most of the people who get labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis. Perhaps the “mad ones” have an important role to play. Why pathologize such an important part of the human experience?? Why not honor it and learn from it instead, as part of the wonderful diversity that is our human existence. Why not learn how to appropriately support and nurture the creative and healthy goodness of people so that they might heal and thrive rather than suffer?

Remember Martin Luther King said:

This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred, and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority. —Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve posted that a few times with this video:

Again I ask, maladjusted? Or properly adjusted for this mad mad world, that we might heal it?

And lastly:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh… ~~  Jack Kerouac  — On the Road

 Yes, Apple stole this from Jack!
**this is a repost with some edits.

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