Here’s How Close You Are to Being Mentally Ill

Way Closer than You Think

Mental Illness Hell

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Mental illness is still stigmatized in this country, along with taking the medications that often treat it. The main reason it is stigmatized is that most people just don’t understand it. If that’s you, I think I’ve come up with a way of explaining it that may finally help you get it, and is has to do with how close you are to being mentally ill yourself. Way closer than you might think.

Your Brain Generates Thoughts

Every organ in your body has a specific function (the ones that don’t are often considered useless), and each function produces something. Your lungs process and distribute oxygen. Your kidneys clean your blood of toxins and produce urine. Your liver also serves as a filter and produces bile. Your heart beats, producing a blood supply that keeps circulating through the body, delivering the fresh oxygen from the lungs.

Your brain, also, is an organ that produces something. Your brain produces thoughts. They are the “product.”

Just like you don’t have to do anything in order for your other organs to work, you don’t have to do anything for your brain to produce thoughts. Of course you can intentionally create and absorb  thoughts — but your brain will think whether you want to or not. It’s just what your brain does.

The thoughts your brain constantly produces create what you know as reality.

Some Thoughts Get Stuck on Repeat

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The Attitude I Choose In These Times

What Are You Choosing?

choose the right path

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We are living in difficult times. It seems every day something happens to shock us, numb us, horrify us, or cause us to question what in the hell is happening to the world. Because of the media (both mainstream and social) we are discovering, to our horror, that in times of great stress many people are ready to choose aggression and fear.

It’s scary, isn’t it? It’s normal to want to find someone to blame. It’s normal to want to lash out at those we feel are responsible. One presidential nominee has grown wildly popular by doing exactly that, discovering that millions of people are willing to join him in his anger, blame, xenophobia, racism, immaturity, and misogyny. But if we choose that path, we will become the mirror image of that which we oppose. We too will end up angry and bitter. Is something beneficial, just because it’s normal? I say by no means.

We actually must reject our base instincts to blame, to get angry, to react without reflection. Now more than ever, we must be sober-minded, careful, and responsible with our words and attitudes. Ultimately the way we react to the awful news around us is a choice and we must each make that choice for ourselves. Here are the attitudes I have chosen.

I choose light and hope. I choose optimism. I choose courage and reject fear. I choose warmth, respect, and patience with imperfection. I choose humility and sober-mindedness. I reject knee-jerk reactions, anger, and any/all politics and policies that characterize all or most members of any race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or political party as “other-than,” as less than fully human or less deserving of compassion.

I accept full responsibility for my own anger and discouragement and fear. I do not blame people with different political viewpoints or different cultures or religions. I can admit certain positions irritate me without casting responsibility for my irritation on those who take those positions.

No matter what, no matter who criticizes me for it, I will cling to these values and ways of being, not because they are easy or convenient, not because I am not often tempted to abandon them, but because when I do abandon them, I become as spiteful, as angry, and as bitter as those I oppose, I become their mirror image. I will not be one more voice of contempt in this bitter world.

I choose God. I choose hope and faith.

I choose love.

Your Primal Fear

Fear that your way of viewing the world is wrong

fear

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Want proof that most people live with a deep fear they are constantly trying to disguise?

All you have to do is teach a college philosophy class and watch what happens as one person after another finds their most basic beliefs threatened. See how people sputter, how their ears and cheeks turn red, how they desperately flail around trying to find a logical argument to support their dearly-held beliefs. You can see the terror in their eyes.

Watch students drop out after two weeks, some of them honest enough to say, “This class is threatening my beliefs.” Translation: I am scared to death that this class is going to cause a deep crisis in my life and I don’t know how I’ll get through it. I’m afraid I’ll discover that the logical reasons for being Christian aren’t any better than the logical reasons for *not* being Christian (or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Wiccan, or atheist, etc.), and that scares me to death. So I’m going to quit, and pretend I don’t know the things I’ve come to know.

The Matrix translation: I’ll have the blue pill, thank you.

We are fragile people, running from anything that might hold our beliefs up to the light, but then defending that unstable fortress vigorously, as if we are certain we are correct, even to the point of getting angry at anyone who challenges us or refuses to accept our version of reality.

This is human nature. We try to act strong and confident, but we’re terrified someone might be able to get us to question our reality. That’s precisely why you should be most suspicious of those who admit to the least doubt. This isn’t an indicator of strong faith, but of a deeper-than-usual fear which causes them to be especially rigid, so it is not only others who are not permitted to question their beliefs, but they themselves.

If Hitler or Stalin had been willing to allow someone to challenge their beliefs, they could have been proved wrong in ten minutes. This because, like all homicidal belief systems, their beliefs were irrational. Instead they chose to cover over their doubt with what looked like strength by exterminating millions of people. ISIS is engaged in this same mindless work today. Defending, reacting, and simply killing all who threaten them, lest they be exposed to themselves as what they are — mindless and evil automatons, whose real beliefs are irrational and therefore without any sensible defense.

On some level we are all doing that work — defending, reacting, and ignoring, criticizing, or downplaying those who threaten our way of seeing the world.

Once upon a time I was naive enough to think Christians would see this pattern (since this mindless defensiveness and reactivity is what killed Jesus), or at least *want* to see it, and that most would understand that God, who is truth, calls us into truth and that we have nothing to protect or fear.

How wrong I was. As a group, Christians are as deeply rooted in unreality, in defending, reacting, and fighting against truth, as anyone — oftentimes more.

All because of fear, which Christians know, in their minds at least, perfect love drives out of us. Still, most choose fear over love and in today’s political environment, I’m sorry to say more are actively choosing fear than I have ever seen before.

The One Thing You Need To Do To Succeed

Get to Work

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I’ll bet there’s something in your life you deeply want to do but you’re afraid you can’t.

Or afraid you’ll fail.

Or you don’t know where you’ll find the time.

Or you’re afraid people will laugh at you. And they may.

Or you’re afraid you’re just dreaming and being stupid.

Or you’re afraid you’ll do it and nothing will come of it. That’s a possibility.

And so day after day, year after year, you keep suppressing whatever that thing is you are called to, the thing that really lights your fire, the thing you would do if there were absolutely no obstacles, nothing standing in your way, and if you had utter and complete confidence in yourself.

Only no one has ever done anything worthwhile under those conditions.

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“The Sky Is Not Falling!”

...even if the world is getting worse

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If the line that we see the world not as it is but as we are is true (and I’m convinced it is), there are a lot of dark, fearful, negative, cynical people in the world who look around them and see only despair, only things to fear, only the sky falling down around them.

I find myself affected by this. It’s hard work running around crying “the sky is not falling” to a world that is curiously convinced that it is, that there is no hope, that we have reason to despair in this generation, that America and the world are going to hell in a hand basket. The dreariness and hopelessness are penetrating. They get under your skin and drag you into this gloomy world, where everything is wrong, everything is a cause for outrage, everything cries out, “Don’t be naive — it’s awful and it’s only going to get worse.”

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