"Mental Illness" is a label

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Django Hendrix
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 2/19/2008 12:05 AM (GMT -6)   
"Mental Illness" is a label and a social construct. I am not mentally ill. I do not have a disorder. I am bi-polar and i am proud of it. I choose not to call it bi-polar *disorder*, just bi-polar. The people who want to tell me that I'm mentally deficient are the ones with mental illness, not me. I was in the break room the other day at work and this b**** told me that I have all of the characteristics of a serial killer. That hurt so bad. That HURT so BAD. THAT HURT so BAD. I tried to be a good sport and laugh it off, but my heart sunk so low and then the rage welled up so that I wanted to throw a chair through the window. We are not mentally ill, they are. In my mania I experienced profound transformative spiritual gifts that they will never have access to. This disease is a gift. It is a wonderful, brilliant gift. I only take medication because I live in the West and I have to play by the rules of modern industrialized society. In some indigeounous societies I would be revered and the whole nature of this gift would be different because it would be supported instead of looked at with misunderstanding.

Post Edited By Moderator (olivia of course) : 2/18/2008 10:13:29 PM (GMT-7)

Django Hendrix
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 2/19/2008 4:27 PM (GMT -6)   
We don't have disorders and we don't have illnesses. The sooner we, and everybody else understands that the bipolar condition is a valid state of being just like anyother then the healing of misunderstanding and stigma can take place. When this happens, then all of the negative manifestations of this state of being will disappear. The only reality is the social construction of reality. Therefore "mental illness" is a social construct. Mania is a beautiful gift that I feel very fortunate to have experienced. The negative manifestations of mania, such as paranoia are reactions to prevailing social norms. The only reason I take medication is because I have to conform to the social norms of our society. I am still bipolar, however. I still have a unique perspective on life that is rooted in my bipolar mind. I am still playing soccer, while "normal people" are playing football. The problem is that "normal people" can't understand that my way of being is as valid as thiers so they have to insist that I am ill or that I have a disorder. Hence stigma and misunderstaning which leads to alientaion and depression which are symptoms of society, not my mind.

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 2/19/2008 4:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I am sorry ANYONE spoke to you like that DH. I would have loved to have seen you respond back calmly with a gentle nature and say, "What's really interesting here, is do you often feel it is okay to insult another human being? Perhaps you are missing the ability to regulate appropriate behavior....or is it just that you have entitlement issues that you feel you have the right to offend others?" and then have you calmly walk away shaking your head as if SHE was completely out of line....WHICH SHE WAS!

I know that by laughing it off, you were trying to avoid conflict and make light of a VERY uncomfortable situation, but I often wonder doesn't that just send the message it was acceptable.

I know the other day I was with a girlfriend of mine, and we were shopping for some things for our kids, and she leaned in to me and said, "See that gal over there, now that is heavy...see, you don't look so bad!" This comment from her came totally out of the blue. I have shared with her that I am working on taking some weight off, but NEVER said I didn't think I was okay/attactive as I am. I was so stunned, I didn't even respond and it has bothered me for days now because I feel like my silence was approval/acceptance for the comment. So, I am going to have to share with her that her comments felt insensitive and hurtful to me, whether or not she intended it that way, which I hope she didn't. But either way, I feel I needed to make her aware of how it made me feel.

I suppose I didn't confront her in the moment for fear of feeling so hurt that I would say something that would offend her back. Which I didn't really want to do. But it also bothered me that she referenced another human being the way she did about the gal she was pointing out to me. I didn't like that either. I am not saying I am a saint, by any means...I can be as caddy as the next gal...but I hope to do it in a more appropriate manner. Gee, why did she pick THAT dress, THAT color, THAT hairstyle for the red carpet...wow...that was a miss!...etc... those feel about choices someone makes...not a personal attack at them not being okay the way they are...and size, shape, color, etc...shouldn't matter. Does that make sense?

You just keep up the great positive example you are setting for others about being responsible about your own issues (your's being BP) makes you a better person. And meds for a BP can help you do that (both my H & S take them too). The less stigma we attach to it, the better. Now to get the media to stop portraying BP in ONLY one light!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That would be helpful too! LFW

Post Edited (loving frustrated wife) : 2/19/2008 2:33:45 PM (GMT-7)

Django Hendrix
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 2/20/2008 12:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for understanding. I noticed this thread is somewhat silent. I kind of figured that the point I'm trying to make might be construed as controversial or as twisted thinking. In any case, I feel like I have a new sense of empowerment. Too many people are pushed into the shadows of society because of either mental or physical differences. I'm tossing around the idea of pursuing an advanced degree and I have a not very well formed idea of a thought experiment grounded in sociological theory that might help me to understand (and maybe others) the psychological and social implications of stigma on self acceptance and acceptance by others. I'm probably biting off more than I can chew, but it is fun to think about. I will stand resolute that I do not have a disorder or an illness, but rather a "bipolar state of being". I don't blame society (these are the cards we are dealt and that is what medication and therapy is for), at the same time I don't have to feel awkward or guilty because my drummer doesn't count in 4/4 time.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/20/2008 10:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Django Hendrix:

I think this topic is silent because I for one think what you wrote is too deep for me to understand so I won't comment on that part of your post.

As for the comment your co-worker made, I hate ignorant people. How about telling her that the comment Hurt, Hurt, Hurt and try to explain to her what it's like. Educate folks whenever you can even if they don't understand and call you names. I always pity those that are blind to "mental disease"

I call it "mental disease" because it does affect us physically and can cause havoc with out bodies.

I wanted to share a comment I received that hurt me so much I still carry anguish because of it. I had an acquantance that had just undergone the removal of her thyroid gland due to cancer. I don't know why but I called her when I was depressed and she said, "I would rather have cancer than be depressed" I should have taken it in the positive and thought that she understood how severe this disease is but I took it as I'm glad it's not me.

Some people just don't want to understand and are basically rude when it comes to mental conditions.


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 2/20/2008 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry that some idiot was so cold to you, Django. There is always time to go back and tell them coolly how they offended you, if you like.

I agree with you that "Mental Illness" implies a sickness, which doesn't seem to apply to us. But I personally don't mind "disorder", because I feel disordered -- as in a lack of order. My thinking is often confused, my moods are definitely unpredictable and often inappropriate and inconvenient. I've never been graced with the kind of mania which brings euphoria with it, so I have no love of it. My manias are itchy and uncomfortable and I dislike them as much as my depressions. So I'm not sick. I am sound of body, more or less. I can take care of myself, hold down a job more or less. Be married, be a mom. But I still know that something is wrong. This isn't how I'd choose to live my life. I am not resentful of the bipolar, but I don't romanticize it either. It's definitely a disorder to me.
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 2/24/2008 3:25 PM (GMT -6)   

hey, y'all!  (that's my southern impersonation).

i have read and re-read this thread aseveral times on different occatgions and am having trouble with it.  yes, i have a chemical imballance in my "little grey cells" (bows to agatha christy) and, through nature, nurture, or both or some combination of imbalance and all of the rest i am usually depressed.  i also have periods of super hyper activity, when i am that "old warren" who wowed the computer industry long ago and far away.  but that was then and this is now.  now i have trouble placing an order at McD's and god help me if i have to talk to someone for more than two minutes.  as my wife says, i'm letting my bp out for a run.  i geet arguementative and angry.  usually i'm angry because i've lost my career, my income, my "position and status."  i see no hope for me and no future.  no, friends, i'm not suicidal right now.  that was yesterday.  :-)

i study torah and other great writings, trying to find comfort, if not answers.  i find nothing but what i deem to be platatudes.  "he whom the gods would destroy they first make mad."  i wonder which of the god(s) i haven't offended.

i accept that this dis-ease makes me inappropriate at the least opportune times.  usually it doesn't matter.  sometimes, unfortunately, it does. 

i am in constant, unbearable pain from a back injury and two opperations.  the other day i had oral surgery and took three morphine for the pain.  i slept 20 out of 24 hours. 

sorry for this rant.  i've just been having a really hard time the past few weeks.  don't really want to cry on anybody's shoulder - that's not my way.

i wish all of you a safe and secure nest in which to express your individuality.



That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.

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