Bravery and the “mental illness” confession

I have heard it suggested that an admission of having a “mental illness” was a courageous thing for a person to make. I don’t think this to be the case.

In the mental hospital a person is tortured in order to get a confession of “mental illness”. The person who claims not to have a “mental illness” is said by the hospital staff to be in worse condition than the person who claims to have a “mental illness”. If the person doesn’t admit to having a “mental illness”, he or she will not be released from the hospital, and the torture will continue.

Only by admitting to having a “mental illness”, regardless of whether or not the person believes he or she actually has a “mental illness”, will the person be released from the mental hospital. I don’t consider any such admission of “mental illness” particularly brave. Not making an admission under those circumstances would be foolhardy.

The question then becomes why do people, once they are released from the mental hospital, and under no threat of torture, continue to admit to having a “mental illness”. I don’t see anything particularly brave about doing so at all.

I have not heard of anybody being called courageous for admitting they have no “mental illness”. The thing about making such an admission of mental health is that it can be made in defiance of torture, hospitals, the whole mental health/illness system, and all of its apologists.

People who claim to be brave for admitting to having a “mental illness” just don’t consider such matters I guess.

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2 Responses

  1. “The question then becomes why do people, once they are released from the mental hospital, and under no threat of torture, continue to admit to having a “mental illness”.”

    Well, what happens if you don’t understand what’s going on, and therefor defend yourself to the bitter end? You’re either tortured to death, or to the point where your fear of death becomes so strong that it has you give up on yourself, and unconditionally adopt your torturer’s view of yourself. Stockholm syndrome. Pure survival mechanism.

    • I tend to feel resistance is a sign of spirit and thus capacity. On the other hand, some people do lose a grip on what’s going on, and the conclusion of doing so can be ‘the bitter end’. Most people aren’t discharged from the hospital unless the staff feels that they “understand what’s going on”. If the question is does it equate “mental illness” “not to understand what’s going on”. I’m not going to indulge in such semantic and theoretical quibbling. If you are a true believer in “mental illness”, I imagine it does; if you are a skeptic, I imagine it doesn’t.

      Stockholm syndrome, good one. Does the oppressed identify with the oppressor, and does this contribute to that ‘learned helplessness’ we keep hearing so much about? Are compliant mental health consumers that way because they’ve developed some sort of irrational sympathy for their mistreatment providers? I don’t know. You will have to answer that one for yourself. Anger directed at oneself, when one is not the source of the problem, is misdirected anger. Then again, anger isn’t the only emotion in the world, is it? Stuck in one milieu, not to worry over much, there are other milieu.

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