Romanticizing mental illness (a straw man argument)

Someone on social media responded to yesterday’s article (see: Language of mental illness “others” people: it’s a human rights violation. Wake up) with a comment saying that I romanticize mental illness. It’s a very easy way to avoid the serious implications of what is actually being said in the article. People use it all the time. It’s an empty deflection. My response to that is below. I want to point out that the very first thing this guy does is legitimize, once again, the term mental illness by using it as though I was speaking of such a distinct reality in a separate group of people which the entire article refutes. There is nothing romantic about the condition of humanity right now. We are on the brink of destroying ourselves. Wake up!

The response:

A favorite way to dismiss those of us who find transformative healing via what gets called “mental illness: they say we “romanticize” it… As though our process is a piece of cake and we know shit all about moving through such hell realms. They want to pretend that those of us who heal don’t exist. One more cruelty. One more negation on a path in which all of society spits on us the whole way through to wholeness…

We cannot win. Becoming conscious is truly risky business when we have all of society spewing this sort of stuff at us. We feel it all. We have to disentangle ourselves from it all.


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5 thoughts on “Romanticizing mental illness (a straw man argument)

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    Transformation is not about butterflies
    flitting about, capturing our awe.
    It is the heart of pain
    you cannot feel for me.
    Searing cauterization,
    what would be condemned
    as unethical treatment
    of secret wounds
    bound up in tattered consciousness.
    Bit by bit, then all at once
    losing the thread,
    spacing out the conversation,
    not quite catching the gist of
    why I am here and now.
    Did it ever make sense?
    How could I believe my lies?
    That papier-mache world
    I gave my soul
    sucked dry
    in enduring service
    was never true.
    I would cry
    but that would be too easy.
    The pain would dribble down;
    fascinated by the rainbow glisten
    I would count my misfortunes
    watch them spin
    pennies falling into a rose-glass jar.
    Filled with resolve,
    I would go back out into the fray,
    fight another day, and another
    until by decimating degrees
    I might fall defeated, dead and gone.
    But death is only an act
    of transformation.
    The whole play depends upon
    the spinning out of the tale.
    First you love, then you lose,
    then you do hard labor
    stoking the fires of Hell,
    breaking the rocks of Eternity,
    cleaning the rotting sewers
    of collective untreated waste.
    Stench, pain, nausea
    beyond bearability
    wrenches, renders, discorporates
    Not like changing
    into a bright, enchanting costume.
    Changing utterly
    because no other choice

  2. We also need to consider that those who say that the unique and not so unique individuality of our thoughts, behaviors, dreams, wishes, talents, gift, etc. from birth onward until our final breath are a disease. Nowadays everything is a disease with symptoms. It may be the worst form of terrorism of all and almost more dangerous than any of the others we confront. Thank you.

  3. There’s no accounting for those that ‘make their theories up.’ Romanticize? Oh Yeah, this struggle back is a sit-down 5-course dinner w/ candle light. Uh huh. Idiotas.

    Whatever is said is to be dissed w/ something close to an *eye roll* because the energy is needed elsewhere. A Holistic approach demands we throw out the much of the old ways. ‘Old Thinking’ vs New Paradigms. i.e. #1 MD doesn’t stand for Medical Deity.

    This post reminded of “secondary victimization” in Domestic Violence. The battered woman is asked by her well-meaning friends, “What did you do to provoke him/her?” They wanna know so they DON’T do THAT. Simplistic. NIGHTMARE revisited.

    Just the other day, on holiday mind you, a friend, behind in her own consciousness-raising, said to me, “Lost weight?! Now you need to lose the Thai pants, wear something more fitty.” hahahahaha. Apparently, in HER mind, even looking fat is not right. OMG. STUCK in the tape of minimizing, undercutting, blaming & shaming. She bought the Seventeen magazine crap then and still.

    I no longer suffer in silence. LMAO. “Are you kidding me? I don’t buy all that ‘get skinny’ crap. Skinny doesn’t = healthy. I’m on holiday & dress as I like which = comfy.” Now I wonder, is ‘fitty?’ Assessed the situation & chose to blow the rest off. No need to roll over her antiquated verbiage w/ a steamroller, although, in my fantasy, I think it may be a perfect use for ‘setting the record straight.’

    I didn’t address the fact that I dress the way I want to ALL the time. NO need…these cultural norms run deep & are often sick, sick, sick. My mother vacuumed with a cig in her mouth so she wouldn’t eat. My friend, smokes. ACK!! This is the sick part. It’s recycled [articles, movies, TV specials, books, mags, billboards] to look ‘part of’ not just when we stray too far. It’s generational: one can track advertisement et. al through the generations. Same-same.

    I stopped buying mags: fashion, self-help, yoga, etc. They are all selling. I turned off the TV. [‘cept for HBO late night colbert-like, news]. I am creating my environment for the remaining years of my life on the Planet, not allowing any nay-sayers to be a distraction. No room, time nor energy for that kind of propaganda.

    Knock’em outta’ da’ ballpark, Monica! I’m with ya all the way, all the time, every day!!

  4. I personally thought yesterday’s post was one of your most brilliant pieces. The fact that everyone is mentally ill and those labeled mentally ill are closest to sanity is one of the most truthful statements I have ever heard. It is also a great truth that those labeled mentally ill are the “sensitives” and instead of listening to them, we label them, drug them and ostracise them, when in reality, they are exactly what the planet needs right now. They are by far the most beautiful people on the planet, with the most incredible open hearts, and heart is the only thing that can save us from our own demise at this point in time.

    Thank you for having the courage to say all of these things, Monica. You are doing some of the most important work on the planet.

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