ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Your Brain Can Help You

Jack Bragen
Friday January 26, 2018 - 05:12:00 PM

Although some mental health practitioners may ascribe to the belief that the brain of a mentally ill person is impaired and has useless output, you should not absorb this projection. Many persons with psychiatric disabilities have wonderful brains that can do wonderful things. The fact of being medicated, as many of us are, should not make us give up on our brains. 

If you are to fight mental illness and win, you must learn new and better ways to operate your brain, including the operating system in your brain and the content in your brain. In addition, your point of perspective ideally should change. You could employ a deeper level of thought, spiritual thought, which, if accessed, can be a very valuable resource, and can give some amount of immunity to some of your symptoms, ones that conventional mental health treatments do not adequately address. The newest treatment for mental health problems involves shutting down parts of the brain with an electromagnetic pulse. This strikes me as being similar to electroconvulsive therapy. I suggest that you learn to use more of your brain rather than less of it. 

If you can calm down, then you have reached what I call "square one." From there, you could learn to observe your mind. When you learn how to observe your mind, you have begun on the journey of self-awareness. It is a journey that does not end. 

If you can observe how your mind could be malfunctioning, it is extremely valuable. If you can "see" the mechanisms within, the ones that create anxiety, depression, delusion, and other symptoms, this, along with psychiatric treatment, can get you to a very high level of function. 

Your brain is the only thing that can save you. Not someone else's brain writing out a prescription, giving you a shot of medication, or locking you up. Your brain. You should learn more about yourself. You can engage your faculties to gain an understanding of symptoms. If you do not feel that you have faculties, just try, and maybe those faculties will become awake. 

Your brain can help you in other categories. Many persons who are experienced with their psychiatric problems have learned a number of strategies for helping ourselves when we hit a rough patch. Learning how to obtain help when in a crisis is one of those skills. Learning how to effectively deal with treatment providers is another. 

Doctors don't always communicate with each other. Have you heard of the deadly trio of prescription drugs? It consists of taking a sleeping pill, an antianxiety pill, and an opiate pain reliever. I know of someone who was prescribed all three, and who fortunately had knowledge of the possible effect of this combination--sometimes death. That individual was saved by the knowledge in her brain.  

{This is tangential: If we try to do all of the things ordered by doctors, we wouldn't have any time left to work at a job or to do anything enjoyable. If you are brainwashed by doctors, your life will be an unending series of appointments. It is up to us to make a value judgment. Do we want to comply with every last wish of doctors, or would we rather squeeze in a few other activities, while going to a limited number of appointments? Each person must make this value judgment. Is it worth it to treat every single health condition, or should we let some of them slide? An individual has to assess how much her or his quality of life is impacted by treatment versus no treatment for a given physical problem.} 

In our dealings with the mental health treatment systems and medical treatment providers, we have to be our own advocates; if we don't do that, no one will. Our minds (products of brain activity) must be engaged when we are dealing with medical practitioners and mental health practitioners. We must believe in the validity of our perspectives. We must be on our own side rather than be on the side of people who are not actually our friends. 

Our brains can work for us. The brain is not the enemy; it is all we've got. 

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