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Hiraeth Offline
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Isolation and relationship to labels - July 16th 2011, 09:57 AM

This has been bothering me a lot.
I'm prepared to not get many responses, as I realize that I am and always will be a minority, but I really feel a need to get this out there.

Also, if at any point while reading, you have the urge to write "well obviously your struggles arn't REALLY that serious anyway if that's the case", please do me a favour to stop reading and press the backspace button. ( ) I've gotten a good knowledgeable glance of that side of things already - that's not what this thread is for.

Personally, the mental health system as it is today, is not for me. It took many years of negative experiences and repeated hopeful attempts to try out new professionals/treatments that ended in frustration, to arrive at that conclusion.
It didn't do anything for me except aggravate feelings of hopelessness on a number of levels. Later on, when conditions were sufficient, I would find the light that I had failed to obtain through a rich combination of alternative approaches towards transformation and healing. I'm slowly making progress, but I have yet a long way to go.

By the way, I totally acknowledge that the reason mental health services exist is because they have indeed helped the vast majority of people. They are legit, they are helpful, and they mean only the best - they're just not for me personally, simple as that. I'm not saying that there's anything inherently wrong, only that there is personal incompatibility with many aspects of the practice.

This, however, has led to a noticeable sense of disconnect from others with whom I am supposed to share a common experience. I feel incredibly isolated from the very people who are supposed to have some degree of mutual sympathy.

- I don't have a current (there was a really old one, but I'm sure my parents spazzed at the doctor and insisted that they were mistaken since I was too young to have medical autonomy) diagnosis of depression or anything else, but it doesn't mean anything to me beyond a simple tool to help mental health practitioners help the diagnosed person better - in which case, I don't need anyway. I don't identify with and define myself as a "person with depression", or even a "person with issues", and most certainly not "a person with a mental illness" - although I could easily obtain such a diagnosis if I so desired. I'm aware that I struggle, more than the average person, and often to a point of interfering with my ability to function properly, but that's that. Just because I haven't had anyone say "yes you are depressed" doesn't mean that my experiences with struggling to live is somehow less valid and deserving of concern than those who have had a professional apply that label to them. I've noticed both a tendency for people to identify personally with their labels ("I am mentally ill"), as well as (mostly unconsciously) undermine me for my lack of one.

- When people bring up the topic of therapists, therapy, medication, etc in a conversation, which happens albeit quite often within this crowd of people, I am very much left out of all of that. I have some years-old experiences to draw on if anyone really cared enough, but no one would want to hear "it didn't work" anyway. On the other hand, the practices that I actively engage in for my own healing, such as meditation, reading self-help books, exercises featured in self-help books, journalling, healthy lifestyle goals and [many more], are rarely part of such conversations, and even if they are, are not regarded in the same light: "all that stuff are great as supplements; but one's primary work should still be therapy and medication." Well, maybe the reason why alternative techniques are experienced as less effective is because people may not give them a chance to be anything other than inferior to begin with?

- And on the rare few occasions where I do end up sharing some of my experiences, the overwhelming response has been "you really need to see a professional" .... "it really helped me, it'll help you too, just keep trying" ... despite my every attempt to explain why that system just isn't for me. It's incredibly frustrating to have to engage in such explaining repeatedly, and still have people not get it, because they either can't fathom how "the system itself" is incompatible with what I seek, or that there is any other way to deal with problems of a significant scale other than through the system, or usually both.

It might well be the specific people whose presence has been disturbing my energy field recently, but that disturbance has nonetheless been a powerful one. By no means do I think that everyone who professes some experiential connection to depression/general anxiety/social anxiety/self-harm/etc believes this way, but there is a strong tendency towards it, whether conscious or not.

Comments? Similar experiences? Advice?

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Evanesco Offline
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Re: Isolation and relationship to labels - July 16th 2011, 10:08 AM

I haven't had exactly the same experience as you, but I can see where you're coming from. Right now, I'm still trying to get some sort of professional help because I'm struggling on my own, but counselling has failed for me a couple of times and I'm skeptical that anything else will help. Like you, I haven't got a diagnosis, but I'm not sure if I want one. I haven't really got any advice to give, except maybe try to spend more time with people who don't have mental health problems. Who knows, it might even help you get a bit better, I don't know. But I do know what it's like to have at least parts of that system fail you, so I completely get what you're on about.

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Dream Offline
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Re: Isolation and relationship to labels - July 17th 2011, 04:35 AM

No, I think you are spot on with what you are feeling. Psychological illness is pseudo-medicalization. Why do I say that? Well, how do they decide what a psychological illness is? A bunch of people get together at a conference for the DSM and vote. How is that scientific? When you go to see a real doctor, they can know you are sick with a blood test, fMRI, or some other empirical measure to determine that you are in fact ill. There is no way to objectively prove a person is suffering from something like a personality disorder.

The mental health system in the United States is a business, and don't forget it.


That page is an interesting read. This too:


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