Evasion Of Responsibility As An Illness

There are better ways to spend ones time than in a mental health treatment facility. I make this point because apparently it is a difficult one for some people to grasp. If the educational system took the bull by the horns and tackled the matter of absurdity in contemporary life early in life, perhaps things would be very different from the way they are now. Instead mental illness has become just one of a number of absurd endeavors people end up pursuing rather than something that makes sense. It’s easy to get depressed, for example, when you are working a stupid job for stupid bosses that you hate just to be bringing home a paycheck. There aren’t a lot of books that admit that this is a rut that people get stuck in, and yet it is a common rut. This is a rut for people with a herd mentality, but should one break away from the herd, and try to forge one’s own path apart from the herd; the difficulties can be even greater.

This lesson is a lesson that some people never learn. I mean you’ve got people who go into mental health treatment who never come out of mental health treatment. You’ve got people who are treating people for mental health conditions who can’t stop treating people for mental health conditions. When treatment means encouraging people to spend their entire lives in mental health treatment, well, it’s taken a whole new twist, don’t you think? Even when the notion of teaching mental wellness enters the picture it’s a long drawn out process with an uncertain outcome, or so they say. It’s so much easier and effective just to chuck the textbook. The companion volume to the mental wellness textbook, after all, is the mental illness textbook. The literature on the matter is everywhere, and it says the same blasted thing, and the answer is always and everywhere to come to the exact opposite conclusions from the literature. The tenacity of the disease is much greater when reinforced with a fervent faith in that tenacity. The mental illness literature merely says believe in that tenacity.

We have for ages been developing what I like to refer to as the mental illness excuse. It’s the mentality that says I can’t because I have a mental illness rather than the mentality that says I can because I’m mentally healthy. Furthermore, as in criminal behavior, it’s blaming ‘the disease’–a lack of controll–for ones actions. The blame is being shifted here, not to another person, but to another aspect of oneself. Should a person question this mentality, such a person would be stigmatizing people of the sort who think they can’t because they think they have a mental illness. Talk about the negative power of thinking. Or do I mean the power of negative thinking? There is another way, and this other way involves the assuming of personal responsibility for one’s actions. The person who takes personal responsibility for his or her actions can no longer blame God, the devil, other people, illicit substances, or any disease on those actions. The person who takes responsibility for his or her actions is accountable for those actions. So much for excuses of any sort.

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7 Responses

  1. Honestly, I do not see how mental illness and personal responsibility are mutually exclusive. If you have mental illness, that does not exempt you from personal responsibility.

    Beside this, if someone gets clinically depressed or ends up in some other crisis, it doesn’t help to say they made bad choices and should be taking responsibility. Have you ever been in a serious crisis yourself? I have, and the last thing I wanted to hear then was “take responsibility”. That does not mean that, once I was no longer in crisis, I could n ot be expected to take responsibility for my choices. IN fact, that’s what I want. But these choices, actually, do not involve leaving all services.

    • A court of law has what they call the Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity plea. This defense is also used by people who have not been labeled ‘mentally ill’, but for whom no good explanation has been found for the crime commited. The notion then becomes, the defendent couldn’t have been in his or her right mind. When no other defense is available then, some defendents resort to it. I have yet to hear of a Not Guilty By Reason of Sanity plea.

      There is also, of more recent date, a Guilty But Insane verdict; there is no Guilty But Sane verdict. This is because people who have been labeled ‘mentally ill’ are thought to be less responsible for their actions than people who have not been so labeled.

      I think that the human services field these days is very bad about getting people out of the facilities the social service agencies operate. When human service agencies work, people should be able to leave the auspices of the social service agency entirely, and not become a perpetual burden to their families, the tax payers, and society as a whole. Problem is, these human service agencies are broken. They just don’t work.

      Children, people with the IQs of children, and people who have been labeled “mentally ill’ are thought of as being more irresponsible than people who are adult, and in their right minds. When a person who was labeled ‘mentally ill’ has been restored to his or her ‘mental health’, that person can be said to have recovered from whatever ‘mental illness’ the person had. Some people, previously labeled ‘mentally ill’, have completely recovered from whatever ‘mental illness’ they were said to have had.

      Some people who have never had a ‘mental illness’ in the first place have still managed to wind up being ‘treated’ in a psychiatric facility. It is not only the labeled ‘mentally ill’ then who suffer from lapses of accountability. It is also the authorities who make mistakes that those authorities are unwilling to admit nor suffer the consequences of.

      • I agree, but this post doesn’t talk about insanity defense (which I think is legitimate in some circumstances, but used far too much). This post talks about people who becoem depressed fromt he wrong jobs and end up in psych treatment rather than just leaving the job or pulling themselves together. When you are clinically depressed or in some other crisis, it is sometimes of little use to talk about the bad choices that mad eyou end up there. I speak from experience here: I ended in a crisis fromt he wrong housing (I was already disabled before then, including a mental disability), but I couldn’t change housing just like that and the nature of my crisis meant there was no “pulling myself together” eventually. No amount of nagging about responsibility stopped my crisis (and I can tell you I got a lot of it before winding up in the mental system).

  2. The line between clinical depression and the everyday blues can be a blurry one, and those are distinctions that I am not going to be making anyway. I wouldn’t lend a lot of credence to the clinical designation. I see it by and large as a misdiagnosis for the everyday blues. Let me add that it wasn’t just major depression that I was alluding to so much as the ‘mental illness’ tag in general.

    Shelter is a basic necessity. A housing crisis can tie up a person’s time for awhile. It can also exasperate other crises and dilemmas a person may be facing. I hope you’ve been able to resolve your housing crisis somehow.

    My feelings are that the mental system, as you put it, is all too easy to get into, and all too difficult to get out of. I hope you might be able to make your way out of that system if you ever find that such is your wish.

  3. With responsibility comes freedom, and vice versa. With irresponsibility comes dependency. I see a whole lot of consumers who ask to be respected as responsible people who can make their own responsible choices while they at the same time happily identify as “mentally ill” = irresponsible.

    I recently read an account by someone who’s labelled “bipolar”. The person admitted to her occasional use of the “illness” as an excuse: “I did this/I couldn’t do that, because I’m bipolar.” Interestingly, the title of the account asked the question: “What is me, and what is the illness?” A question that can’t be answered, once and for all. Because which is the person and which is the “illness” depends entirely on the at any given time accepted cultural norms and values.

    So,in “mental illness” we have an “illness” that renders the labelled person irresponsible exactly to the extent the predominant norms and values, represented by the “experts”, define. Whether the person herself estimates that s/he is not in crisis, and thus responsible and capable of making his/her own choices, is not of any importance. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

    But: you have to be consciously aware of how exactly this works, before you can make a choice to either identify as “mentally ill”, and be irresponsible and dependent (not least on others’ estimation of your capability to make choices… ), or to not be “mentally ill”, and be free and independent. More often than not, crisis is a response to having been kept imprisoned in unconsciousness and unawareness. It’s an attempt to come to terms with what no one wants you to come to terms with. So the response to crisis is a “treatment” that bombs you back to the Stone Age in regard of consciousness and awareness (mind-numbing, brain-damaging drugs/ect and a whole lot of indoctrination/brainwashing). Under these circumstances, no one can be expected to, on their own, achieve the necessary consciousness and awareness to make the above mentioned choice.

  4. Have you ever noticed how the mental health system will deny you your freedom when you need it most but once they have disabled you they seem to lose their zeal for you and will even send people home, looking at the positive side of being labelled mentally ill you get good tax breaks on your medical aid and can claim insanity as a defence if you’re caught breaking the law. Its easy to play this system and there are some people who will never get caught out by it yet these people will later go on to commit heinous crimes because there is actually something wrong with them. The system is a joke and doesn’t work criminally insane people are far to clever then to get caught out by a psychiatrist, it’s innocent people that are too trusting that fall into the psychiatry trap. And people who know how to play the system know that pleading insanity you can literally get away with murder. So the system actually perverts justice, correct me if I’m wrong but if you’ve been played by the system then you might as well learn to play it back.

    • Given the ‘disincentive’ to work because of the fear of losing ‘benefits’, it’s hard not to ‘play the system’. The system is very bad about getting people out of the system and, for this reason, its a bad system.

      People get careers in ‘disability’, and you have to be speaking out of both sides of your mouth when you call some of these people ‘disabled’. Perhaps they’ve been ‘enabled’ or ‘reenabled’, and they’re hiding the fact from their associates. Perhaps this ‘disability’ business was a joke from the beginning.

      Give me some kind of much needed change to this system, and you’re not labeling people coo-coo just because they don’t have a conventional 9 to 5, a 2 car garage, and a Stepford Wife. The world is coo coo because you’ve got people pursuing the stupidest careers, seeking to keep up with the Brown’s, and living lives that don’t make sense anyway. I mean, in many cases, after the honeymoon what do you have to look forward to? ‘Depression’? Some people get ‘depressed’ because the conventional absurd lifestyle is beyond their means.

      Okay, you can take a backpack, head for the woods, and effect your instant revolution if you want to do so. Your tribe is out there somewhere looking for you, even if they don’t know it.

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