ON MENTAL ILLNESS: No One Hands You a Purpose - You Decide on it Yourself

Jack Bragen
Friday August 30, 2019 - 04:09:00 PM

If you ask most mainstream Americans, what is their purpose in life, many would answer, "raising my kids." Some might answer, "Saving up money, going on vacations." Some might answer, "Just living." Many people have many purposes, and often they are related to family. In other instances, people have life ambitions related to their careers. There are some people whose life purpose is to practice their religion. And some might find purpose in accumulating wealth. These are all very valid purposes. 

However, the default purpose of people deemed "mental health clients" in the absence of anything chosen by us, includes taking medication, eating, asking one another for spare cigarettes, "milieu therapy" and being supervised. The treatment systems have their own agenda for what we should be doing, which is primarily to remain as passive as possible, to be treatment compliant, and not to inconvenience anyone. 

The mental health treatment system will not provide anything better than that for us. The mental health treatment system regards us as the material on which they perform their work. Some of this may be experimentation. Treatment practitioners aren't allowed to perform experiments considered cruel. However, it is clear that we are considered objects for study. 

(The concept that the treatment system uses consumers for experimentation could evoke skepticism and disbelief. Yet, I believe treatment practitioners may be performing experiments on us without our knowledge or consent. My belief could be wrong.) 

The mental health treatment systems aren't always our friends. They are here to prevent us from being nuisances to the greater public, and to identify and report any possible threats. They aren't here to help us do better in life--even if they say they are. 

On the other hand, we can't get by without treatment. If we try to buck the system, we end up in the revolving door of repeat hospitalizations. This is very bad and very destructive. When we have too many repeat hospitalizations because we think we can make things work without treatment, our condition steadily worsens. This prevents us from having a chance at acceptable living conditions, and it also ruins the brain, making it impossible to function at anything we might want to do in life. 

Nearly thirty years ago, I was once given bad advice by a counselor who believed I could "buck this thing." I took that as advice to go off medication. I confronted the same counselor later, following the resultant repeat hospitalization, and this counselor denied it. Some counselors are better than others. 

When I wanted to open small businesses doing electronic repair, I was strictly on my own insofar as "the system." Yet, the federal government, specifically the Social Security Administration, has a program that allows a possibility of funding a career objective. This can include self-employment. On the other hand, the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation will not help with a self-employment objective. 

It is not accurate to say, if a person produces enough effort, hard work, and good decisions, that success surely follows. My experience is that the more effort I employ, and the more I have ambition, it follows that people give me more interference with what I'm trying to do. When others have agendas for us that differ than what we want, a lot of difficulty is produced. 

However, if we try nothing, we will probably get nothing. If you believe in God, or in a higher power, it doesn't necessarily entail that this entity will give you a purpose. Additionally, people in your life may foist purposes on you that match what they want to see, and not so much what is good for you. 

If you do not know where you want to go, you are subject to the winds of chance, and/or the whims of others. If you know where you want to go, the journey isn't necessarily smooth or easy. I've made some decisions in my past that could be regarded as brave, as foolish, or as both. Some of these decisions continue to affect me. The effects are partly good and partly bad. 

Choosing a purpose can lead a person to places where they never thought they would be. It isn't as secure as always doing what is expected. But if you always choose the path of least resistance, there may not be as much of a reason to get out of bed in the morning. 

Purpose could be anything. Yet, choosing something attainable is wise. Once we've reached an attainable goal, we can set a higher goal that looks attainable from where we then stand. It is entirely up to the individual whether they would rather focus on getting well, on living under acceptable conditions, on something more, or on nothing in particular. 

If we are disabled and receiving benefits, there is probably a very good reason for that. Because of that, we must not punish ourselves for not becoming a city councilmember. 

Purpose should never become a means of self-punishment and should not be a way for others to criticize us. If we have a parent who criticizes what they see as lack of progress, this isn't helpful. 

Also, I'd like to add a hint: there are many adult school systems that offer self-paced classes. If you are a faster learner at some things, going to a self-paced school is good because you could get a certificate sooner. If you'd rather go slower and get it right the first time, a self-paced school is also good. There are also online schools, for those who would rather not go anywhere. And, as a third option, you could purchase textbooks and create your own curriculum. 

Having a brain malfunction should never be a judgment that your brain is worthless. Most psychiatric conditions affect specific areas of the brain and don't affect other areas. Therefore, the ability to learn academic material is often untouched by psychiatric conditions.