The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy VIII: Embracing Shame and Guilt—Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness
Countless doctors told Kendell she was “crazy” and needed psychiatric help. She was told that there really was no help for her. Kendell had to harness her mind in order for her physical body to respond. For her to have the strength and hope to survive, she had to get her mind into the right space, and from there she was able to heal her body. When she was depressed and ridden with anxiety, guilt, and shame, her body was always more symptomatic, the insomnia worsened, the joint pain grew more severe, and so on. However, once she was able to calm her mind, her body always followed suit. Mind and body are much too closely intertwined for any form of dualism to have much traction in the world of health and healing—whether this be so-called mental health or physical health.
We wish to close our instructions from Thomas Nagle with a quote from What Does It All Mean (1987, pg.101):
If life is not real – life is not earnest and if the grave is its goal perhaps it’s ridiculous to take ourselves “and our problems” so seriously. Conversely, if we can’t help taking ourselves so seriously perhaps, we just have to put up with being ridiculous.
These are words to live by. When one stops taking life so seriously, and stops to realize that life is truly absurd, then rearranging the words of associated with a “scary” disease can lessen the power of these words. In recognizing that there are two sides and both costs and benefits associated with each side of a Polarity we can begin to find balance in our life.
The question then becomes: why do we give so much energy and attention to the word’s “disease” or “disorder” and the symptoms they entail, when in actuality it has no meaning at all? If there are two sides to every interpretation of illness and health, then why do we try to assign one single emotion (usually fear) to each illness or one emotion (hope) to wishing for health? Finally, if these words and emotions are only really in our mind/body or are an illusion we have created, then why do we pay so much attention to these words and emotions? Why do we breathe so much life into that “reality” which in many ways is arbitrary and ultimately even ridiculous?