The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy VIII: Embracing Shame and Guilt—Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

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?


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About the Author

Lewis And MunzerChristy Lewis holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has counseled for a combined 17 years in several clinical and medical settings and has offered career/life coaching for an additional 10 years. Christy is also Board Certified in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback through BCIA, the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance organization. Prior to working in private practice settings, Christy worked in Psychiatric and Rehabilitation hospital settings. Additionally, she worked in career transition/outplacement settings helping clients with their career transition needs. Christy Lewis currently works and is the director at her own private practice setting, The Biofeedback, Education, & Training Center, PLLC, where she combines counseling with a variety of training modalities to individuals of all ages who need help with issues ranging from severe emotional turmoil to people who are working on taking their personal growth to a higher level. Specifically, she has extensive experience working with kids, teens, & adults who have anxiety, depression, ADHD, frustration/anger issues, behavioral issues, and pain management. Kendell Munzer was born in Peekskill NY in 1973. In 1997 she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Curry College. In 2002 she earned her M.A in Counseling from Mercy College. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Psychology at The Professional School of Psychology. Kendell works as a part time substitute teacher for the Charleston County School District. The majority of this work is spent working with behaviorally challenged students. She also works part time growing a local Kitchen and Bath business she and her husband have recently opened. Kendell has an extensive background as a Behavioral Specialist and has conducted many staff trainings and seminars. Presently she resides in Mt. Pleasant SC with her husband and two children. When Kendell isn’t at work she enjoys, photography, travelling, skiing, and spending quality time with her family.

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