Fighting Stigmas, Enforcing Changes, Passing Classes
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The Philosophy of Mental Illness
What is a mental illness? A scientist will say that is may be brain chemistry (or that is may be something else. They really don’t know). But more essentially, is mental illness a state of mind? Is it a set of emotions? A note on a chart of an insurance code?
And how should one relate to his or her illness? Is it a fog to see through? A dragon to slay? Or is it a character trait list smart or funny? Or even more fundamental like height or gender?
Psychologists like to talk about mental illness, depression in particular, like a
fog. But with all due respect to them, they generally aren’t the ones living with
it. Fog can be a helpful metaphor. It disempowers mental illness and turns it into
an external force that seems to be, at worst, a hindrance. But some find the dragon
to be a more appropriate comparison. After all, the concept of a treatment plan is
that mental illness is something to be overcome. That leaves the person a scrappy
hero, armed only with determination and some medications, to face the dragon’s sharp
For me, mental illness is a collection of superpowers. As superman must manage his
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