ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Most People With Mental Illness Struggle With Self-Esteem

Jack Bragen
Saturday August 01, 2020 - 03:17:00 PM

Most adults who live in the U.S. seem to link their self-worth with their careers. Many also identify with their body image, irrespective of gender. Some pin their self-esteem on high intelligence. People seek advanced college degrees in the expectation that it will allow them to earn more money, and for the purpose of self-worth. Thus, we have Americans who exercise and watch their diet, and who educate themselves and increase their earnings. Many Americans value the accomplishments of their offspring, as extensions of themselves.

Mentally ill people, if we went into a bar and someone approached us to ask, "What do you do?" We might not have a good answer. It would be an awkward moment. And, because psych medications adversely affect metabolism and make it a lot harder to exercise, we may not have a fit physique. Regarding the accomplishments of family, we may have parents or siblings who've done well for themselves, but very few mentally ill people are raising their kids, if they have produced them. Thus, again, when we are approached in a bar or at almost any gathering, when asked about ourselves, we might not have much to say, and this is awkward.

Under these circumstances, it is difficult to have much self-esteem. If we are subject to outpatient institutionalization, and if we don't have a professional job, we may be subject to implied messages telling us that we're subnormal. -more-

Smithereens: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Saturday August 01, 2020 - 03:03:00 PM

We're living in a revolutionary era (with Donald Trump standing in for King George). Racist statues are being toppled from DC to SF. Even Abe Lincoln and FDR are being called out for their racist failings (Abe ordered the 1862 mass execution of 39 Dakota men while FDR ignored Eleanor's pleas to sign a federal anti-lynching law). But if we're going to topple statues and call for renaming US military bases and high schools, we might also want to consider renaming our weapons of war.

Take tanks, for starters. The Sherman Tank, one of our best-known combat vehicles, honors the memory of Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman. But, as the History Engine notes, Sherman "forbade the entry of African- Americans into the army. Sherman did not hide the fact that he was a white supremacist." (Sherman's legacy is probably safe for the moment. It's too much trouble to topple a tank.) -more-