The Big Lie about mental healthcare in general is that mental illness is an objective dysfunction in the patient. We know from research that most mental illness is a result of toxic, traumatic, and depraved experiences over time. You might be receiving mental healthcare not because you are broken or weak but because you are too sensitive to depravity and need to become less sensitive in order to continue to work and feed yourself and your family. Your sensitivity is not dysfunction per se, but a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation.
Increasing resiliency is noble in many respects, but it can also become pathological when administered by the same agents who are meting out the depravity. If the master knows that the toxic effects of depravity can be blunted with a pill, they are probably going to want you on that pill.
True mental health is a 2-factor equation where one of the variables is your holistic adaptability to stress. There is some basic, functional level of stress response. The other factor is the amount of horror and depravity you have to endure, like working a corporate job during a pandemic, with the feds invading your city, an insane and abusive President, friends attempting suicide, and more.
If you engage with the mental health system, it is not because you are weak. It is likely because you are too sensitive for this machine that we have created called inhumane capitalism. In a way, we are compelled to become more like machines in order to service them, which has terrifying implications.
Take care of yourself. Health is always messy. Sometimes you need the narcotic to dull the pain. But sometimes you need to feel the pain in order to change the stimulus so it stops hurting you.
If someone has fibromyalgia or another chronic fatigue condition, they are probably trying a lot harder than it looks. I try not to fence myself in with limitations, but sometimes doing what everyone else takes for granted requires a tremendous amount of strength. They are not holding back. They are not lazy. They still love you even if they can’t keep up with you.
This might sound obvious, but as someone with an “invisible” illness like Fibro, I’ve often been called crazy, unmotivated, or lazy. I, in fact, have matured with two invisible conditions: Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue and being transgender. It often felt like I was living a lie because I had to conform to a society that was not built for me. But the reality is that any society that tells its children to not be themselves is a lying society.
I’ve made tremendous progress, and you can get over illnesses like Fibro, but you will likely have to be vigilant about roughly 20 different things in your day just to be “normal.” I’m surprising myself these days with my normalness. It feels great. But I’ve still had to deal with people not understanding me and giving me shit for not meeting their expectations. I guess I know now that those people are not right for me, and I have to find people who do understand what’s going on inside of me. Some people will never get it. They won’t see the 20 things you do every day that they don’t have to do. Or they’ll tell you that “everyone has problems,” and focus on what you can’t give them rather than what you do give them.
Live and learn I suppose. These conditions have made me an alien, a stranger in my own land. But honestly, I’m pretty glad about that reality because I do not want to be an average sleep-walking American. Getting through the alienation and struggle has made me a better person. It has been a steep climb, but now I know it was what I was born to do. There is something else invisible in everyone: a deep well of strength that can carry you forward through anything as long as you persist. And persist I shall.