Mental illness in modern society is a huge issue. One of the big issues is the way people view it and that comes partially from what we call it, mental “illness.” Anyone who does spellwork knows that words have power. Words affect how we view thing; they express intention. Judging by the way we speak in our current society people with mental “illnesses” are “sick.” There is something “wrong” with them.
In the past in many cultures people with mental/emotional differences often became famous for the gifts that came from those very differences. Today such gifts are disparaged and medicated away, often with a host of often serious side effects and not just medical side effects from the drugs, but also in loss of drive and brilliance. So much visual and written art has come from the depths of mentally/emotionally different minds, so many inventions! At one point these people were the shamans and seers, the wounded healers, the artists, the visionaries.
Adding to the problem is the fact that mental “illnesses” are not given the same respect as physical ones. Someone with diabetes is given support and help, not just pharmecutical help, but non-medical help like diet and exercise as well. They are not judged or shamed simply for having diabetes. People with depression, however, are often simply told to cheer up and that if they are unable to do so society treats them as though their moral fiber just is not strong enough to make themselves better, as though they are choosing to keep themselves in the state they are in.
We, as a society, need to change the way we choose to view mental “illnesses.” To do that, we need to talk about them and use terms that support the people living with them. People with mental/emotional differences often feel isolated, like no one else could possibly understand how they feel. Breaking the silence and actually discussing the realities of living with these differences will allow misconceptions and stigma to be washed away with truth. Speaking openly and honestly will eventually make jokes, disparaging comments, and simple misunderstanding fall to the wayside.
Once society gets to that point, perhaps we can start to understand and accept that these differences are not necessarily all bad. Our ancestors valued their gifts after all. Perhaps, for all the struggles and trials, some people benefit from their differences. Modern medicine is there to save lives and it often does for people with mental differences, but the side effects can be awful and the battle to find the correct medication or cocktail of medications necessary to bring a person with mental differences within the box that our society calls “normal”can be a years long struggle. While it would be completely unrealistic to think that everyone with a mental/emotional difference can function without medication, it is not beyond the real of belief to think many can and indeed, just may be better off without them in the long run if they have the social supoort and acceptance they need.
What if, rather than always turning to drugs, we as a society offered real support to these people? What if we listened, were there for them, understood, and allowed them to be who they are, differences and all? What if the judgment was gone and they were valued for who they are as whole human beings not treated as a human suffering from a set of symptoms and diagnoses or worse, lacking the moral fiber to behave and interact “normally”? Envision that world. It can happen.