Saturday, December 3, 2022

Comments by Jesse James

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • Thoughts after second article:

    1. People have been trained by “mental health professionals”, aka – humans – to confuse mentality as being something which can literally become and stay ill, dysfunctional, defective, or diseased. Mentality is not similar to a muscle, a bone, or a brain, in that it is not something physical that can be damaged. Mentality or consciousness seems more akin to a song— it is real, we experience it, it can be moving in a variety of ways— but imagine saying a song is ill, dysfunctional, defective, or diseased. That wouldn’t make any sense to me. It makes as little sense to say these things about mentality in my opinion.

    2. Suggesting to someone that they are not mentally or emotionally disabled, dysfunctional, diseased, or defective can sometimes inspire feelings of offense, contempt, and hostility. Due to the training mentioned in (1.), when someone suggests our mentality is not something that can be defective, what we can actually hear them saying is that our experiences: A. Aren’t serious or difficult enough to warrant our behaviors B. Don’t necessitate the need for help or assistance C. Are born out of our own faults, failures, and weaknesses. Our understandably defensive perception hears, “just get over it”, “just try harder”, “just grin and bear it”, “just man/woman up”, “just be better than you are”. But— what I think is actually being expressed in these articles
    is the exact opposite which brings me to #3.

    3. When we as human beings experience the most profound, difficult, complicated, meaningful, troubling, saddening, devastating times of our lives, our responses to them are natural in all cases. For any other human being to call, define, or label any of our natural human emotional responses to life ill, dysfunctional, defective, diseased, or disabled, is unacceptable. Doing so cheapens and disrespects our natural human experience. I think this is to what the author is speaking.

    When we are deeply struggling to accept and deal with the most difficult experiences of our lives— should we be forced to accept an unscientific diagnosis for our natural feelings and mentality before being able to receive assistance and help? Who really benefits by playing along with the “professionals/industry” who would force us to admit to “having” prolonged grief disorder or “being” bi-polar? While formulating the answer to that question, remember, the DSM is becoming thicker.

    I write, very respectfully, and in full honor of the profoundly difficult experiences people actually have— we are not dysfunctional. We are not mentally or emotionally disabled. We are humans who find ourselves surrounded by a system that trains and compels us to think otherwise.

    We need a new system that isn’t focused on medicalizing and capitalizing on human struggle and suffering— but instead one which focuses on actually helping people navigate and cope with their most meaningful experiences and emotions.

  • Joanna,

    It’s nice to virtually “meet” you!

    Thank you for your very kind and candid response, and for sharing some of your experiences; I truly appreciate your generosity and openness.

    Perhaps we are confused by each other, but I have not argued in favor of casting or seeing anyone as inferior, nor do I— no matter what label (including disabled), self given or received. On the contrary, I argue that no one should have the authority or power to cast another as “emotionally or mentally” disabled— which has been discussed by others on this thread.

    While I do agree that “disability” can be defined in many different ways, I think that actually strikes to the heart of the issue. It seems to some that, if one *feels* disabled, then they are. That if someone has a “missing ingredient”= a lack of knowledge or understanding in relation to beliefs, perspectives, traumatic events, memories, emotions, etc- then they are disabled, at least temporarily. If this is the definition- then I strongly feel we have just inadvertently labeled every single person as disabled. By nature, every single human being will lack knowledge and understanding about many, and maybe even most things. What is the advantage or utility of deeming us all disabled?

    If I may very respectfully take from your sharing:
    You don’t feel there is something wrong with your brain. You don’t see yourself as mentally ill and don’t take psychiatric drugs. And though you have challenges in front you, you report feeling quite happy. I think this is all fantastic! To me, and I am truly not trying to be offensive but honest here, it seems that you accept referring to yourself as “disabled” because that’s what you’re forced to do in order to get the support you need and want in your location. My argument is that you *shouldn’t have to*. What if you and I could get the help and support we need without having to be referred to as disabled? Do you think such a reimagining could be helpful? I do.

    While I’m very happy to know you don’t see the term “disability” as being something negative— I do think it can at times have a negative and stigmatizing impact on individuals for a variety of reasons. I also think it cloaks, confuses, and obfuscates natural human experiences, emotions, and reactions which isn’t helpful. I think the label can sometimes make people feel like something is “wrong” or “inadequate” about them, when the body (including the brain) is actually operating without defect. While it happily hasn’t been the case for you, that can then lead many people down the very dangerous road of taking dangerous psychiatric drugs, for example, and amongst other dangers.

    Not to compare or downplay your experiences at all— but I too have faced unique forms of rejection, traumatic childhood experiences, traumatic adult experiences, isolation, social difficulties, etc. I don’t and wouldn’t profess to know how challenging all of that has been for you, but I do know how difficult it has all been for me— it seems nearly impossible to describe how difficult it can all be to endure— wouldn’t you say?


    I also…. simply see that there are things I can’t do or don’t have because I am different, because my development has been different. I have confidence in some things, and none in others. There are many things I may achieve, and there will be many things I can’t and won’t achieve. *I think this is the truth for us all.*

    Which brings me back to the article— I like the idea of trying to figure out a way for you and I (and all others) to get the help and support we need in life, without having to be called inaccurate and *potentially* harmful names like disordered, dysfunctional or disabled as stated by the author. To me, that seems a very important, meaningful, and worthwhile project.

    While I understand that you do not find the term “disabled” to be offensive, I truly hope you won’t take offense to my thinking the term is/can be unhelpful, misleading, and dangerous. I think we will put ourselves in a better position to understand *natural* human experiences and emotions without referring to ourselves as being “disabled.” I don’t think we are a disability.

    With the utmost respect, appreciation, and admiration— I view you as a human who seems honest, intelligent, unique, kind, hardworking, inquisitive, articulate, and engaged. I appreciate that very much and hope my words feel as constructive and genuine to you as yours do to me.

    From a person who has found the joy in being “weird” and “different”, I say keep trying your best and don’t give up! Great things and people may be just around the corner! : )


  • “Let’s find a different way to assist those struggling with life challenges without branding them with the identities of the disordered, dysfunctional, and disabled.”

    The above conclusion seems to me a very empowering, reasonable, honest, and pro-human message. Perhaps you and I have come to identify a different conclusion of the article, but I think aiming to remove often stigmatizing, potentially damaging, inaccurate labels from individuals encountering complex, meaningful, difficult, and expected life challenges is not misguided or unhelpful, but absolutely essential to furthering our understanding of the human experience.

    People don’t have to handcuff themselves to the idea of medicalizing human suffering, experience, and living— and I appreciate that being pointed out regularly and often. I don’t actually find the compassion in forcing one to eternally or temporarily accept being labeled disordered, dysfunctional, disabled, (or diseased) by anyone else, when they are encountering unique life problems and desire help with them, or not. Also, what on earth qualifies any another human to tell me my mentality is disabled? I have not and will never agree to giving anyone such a power or authority over me or others. For anyone to assume such a role seems like a terribly unwelcome overstep at best.

    If my partner of fifty years dies tragically in front of me (and we can use our imaginations to make tragically mean- as bad as it gets) I may for example want to stay in bed in an attempt to escape how that feels to me. I would no doubt be experiencing a devastation and pain so great that anyone could understand why I may want to shut down. I may even *feel* or *say* that I can’t get out of bed, but this isn’t actually true— which I think is the authors main point. It is still possible for me to get out of bed if I want to— and not doing so doesn’t make me disabled— it just confirms that I don’t want to because of how deeply sad I feel— there is no failure or moral trespass to be found here. There is also no mental, mind, or brain dysfunction or disability.

    The fact is that this loss of my partner would not actually render me disabled in the true sense of the word, thankfully— and I wouldn’t have become mentally dysfunctional or disabled… even temporarily. On the contrary, I will be responding quite naturally and understandably to an incredible loss. I will be profoundly and deeply sad— but I will still have the physical ability to get out of bed, assuming I had it before the tragedy, and assuming I want to after it. I am not disabled on the days I stay in bed, and fully functional on the days I happen to get up. Instead, I will be faced with having lost a person who was most important to me, and being unable to get them back ever again. I may want to stay in bed in an attempt to cope and sooth myself— maybe even for a long time. Maybe even forever. Who has (or wants) the right to tell me how long I can grieve or feel sad, or how long I can stay in bed before I must receive some arbitrary diagnosis like depression or adjustment disorder? Who would dare call my natural, human response a dysfunction or disability? To me, *this* would be cruel— and not the reminder that if and when I want to, I am actually still physically mobile and able to get out of bed, go to work, hug my children, get in shape, laugh at a joke, etc. My pain may decrease or even end my desire to move forward, but the point, I think, is that I am still able to if that’s what I decide I want- I am not actually dysfunctional or disabled. I think this is a more helpful and truer example of human compassion.

    Though one may struggle to navigate the many incredible and serious challenges of life- our sadness, confusion, fear, loss, and tragic experiences do not render us disordered, dysfunctional, or disabled- they render us human. I think it’s perfectly reasonable and responsible to seek new ways of making sure we can get help when we want it, without forcing us to be diagnosed, interrupting our self-determination, or obfuscating our ability.

    Being human is not a debilitating disability— I think it would be most helpful if we stop demanding people think otherwise before we agree to assist them- don’t you? Isn’t this for what the author is advocating?