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Musical Brain graphic
Koala's Mental Health
(Inkcinct Cartoons, 2015; used with permission)
| Mental Health Quotes
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. (Krishnamurti)
Anxiety, depression and aggression, which are so often treated as mental illness, are simply the unconscious response to an inevitable sense of powerlessness gained from harsh uncaring environments. (Nick Parkins paraphrase, posted 15 March 2016, accessed 19 March 2016)
Good housing is crucial for good mental health.
(Shelter cited at BBC, 11m15s, posted and accessed 2 September 2018)
[Bruce: And yet 79% of UK people with mental health issues have lived in housing that has made their mental health worse (Mind , dated 2013, accessed 5 September 2018).
A good home (e.g. safe, nature, beauty, solar energy, kinship homesteads) should be a human right!]
Money worries = poor mental health = need for Universal Basic Income. If latter is done, it gives good chances for life stability = good personal and national mental health.
[Examples of this: here.]
When I began my practice as a psychotherapist in the 90s I soon realized many of my clients' suffering was induced by capitalism. The pressure to make money, to be successful...lead to isolation, shame, insecurity, etc.
(Adapted from Dr. Andrew Cicchetti, 1 October 2021 tweet; also see Capitalism)
Life is difficult. The tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all mental illness.
(M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled)
[Comment by Bruce: When society is also damaged, it makes it that much harder to face personal problems.]
Most mental illnesses do that. They isolate you - rather than make you want to accept other people's love or your own love.
(Billie Marten cited at BBC, posted and accessed 11 November 2018)
[So, we need a Culture of Love to overcome the scourge of mental illness!]
They look at me like I've had a mental breakdown. I look at them like I've had a mental breakthrough. (Poet Christopher)
Mental health is on the increase due to our materialistic society. Our planet will not survive without spirituality - and I don't mean religion!
(Cynthia L. comment, posted and accessed 5 December 2018)
When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.
(George Monbiot, posted 10 December 2012, accessed 27 November 2020)
I have lived on the lip
of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens.
I've been knocking from the inside!
(Rumi; a translated quatrain from Unseen Rain; I interpret it to mean that the reasoned, outer world we live in is finally discovered to be the insane world, whilst the seemingly mad spiritual world is Real. It reminds me of the T. Golas quote: "Go beyond reason to Love. It is safe. It is the only safety.")
Hearing voices or feeling paranoid are common experiences which can often be a reaction to trauma, abuse or deprivation. Calling them symptoms of mental illness, psychosis or schizophrenia is only one way of thinking about them, with advantages and disadvantages. (The British Psychological Association, Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia, 2014, cited in UPLIFT, posted 18 August 2015, accessed 20 January 2019)
...there is a myth that there is some kind of chemical imbalance in the brains of people with serious mental problems [and] there is actually no research that really supports this. (Dr Magnus Hald, Director of mental health and substance abuse at the University Hospital of northern Norway in Tromsø, cited at BBC, posted and accessed 19 February 2021)
The schizophrenic is drowning in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight. (Joseph Campbell)
There’s a whole host of studies that show that performing kind deeds is good for your own wellbeing – like a recent Spanish experiment that saw employees asked to do something kind for their colleagues. Those on the receiving end of the kind act - perhaps unsurprisingly - reported increased happiness, but the people carrying out the gestures not only saw an increase in their own happiness – they also had an upsurge in levels of job and life satisfaction, and a decrease in depression levels. Powerful stuff.
(BBC, posted 6 March 2019, accessed 15 March 2019)
Most psychology theories teach us to look at pathology and what’s going wrong in people's lives. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that we often take on the same perspective for ourselves. In order to make a change, you have to train yourself to look at the unique, enjoyable moments you overlook as if they don't mean anything—like the fact that you’re alive and breathing! You have to remember how special and fortunate you are...
(Ilene Cohen, PhD, Psychology Today, posted 28 September 2018, accessed 1 April 2019)
Sleep is strongly linked to mental health: one major study has shown that sleep-deprived people are 40 times more likely to suffer clinical depression.
(Nicola Morgan, Blame My Brain, p.61; up to 75% of UK adults do not get enough sleep!)
If you had sort of a magic pill that you could take that would help increase your mental health, increase your physical health, lower your stress, make you more efficient, most people would be itching for a dose. Well, we do have that magic pill. It’s called sleep. (Adapted from Lisa Demour/Denise Pope, The Guardian, posted and accessed 8 June 2021)
As a spiritual seeker, you’ll know in your bones that creativity heals – and the medical profession is catching up to this. In fact, some branches of the NHS now deliver what they call ‘social prescribing’, where doctors prescribe, for example, poetry, walking or journaling for wellbeing and to alleviate stress and anxiety.
(Greta Solomon, posted 3 May 2019, accessed 16 May 2019)
Staying healthy is also the ability to give birth to new cells, new ideas and creative concepts. (Lilla Bek, How to Stay Healthy, track #4, 7m13s; excerpt)
Advertisers in general bear a large part of the responsibility for the deep feelings of inadequacy that drive women to psychiatrists, pills, or the bottle. (Marya Mannes)
A measure of mental health is having the capacity to accurately emotionally respond to the reality in our world. So it’s not delusional to feel anxious or depressed. It’s mentally healthy. (Caroline Hickman, a psychology lecturer at the University of Bath, cited in The Guardian, posted and accessed 8 October 2020)
[Referring to mass shootings:] What did Trump say about mental illness?
"Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun," Mr Trump said in his speech on Monday.
Calling for a reform of mental health laws, he called mass killers "mentally ill monsters"...
In a statement condemning the gun attacks, the American Psychiatric Association warned against stigmatising mentally ill people. "It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of people with mental illness are not violent and far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators of violence," it said.
"Rhetoric that argues otherwise will further stigmatise and interfere with people accessing needed treatment. Individuals can also be emboldened to act violently by the public discourse and divisive rhetoric." (BBC, posted 7 August 2019, accessed 8 August 2019)
[Bruce: As I see it, the elephant in the room is Trump. He is mentally ill, filled with hate = a mentally ill monster. His policies and character create global mental sickness. The trigger of his assault weapon is his mouth, from which scatter bullets as divisive words.]
While treating the physical effects of smoke inhalation is a priority in the four London hospitals [after the Grenfell Tower fire]... the psychological impact is not being ignored. Psychiatrists and chaplains have been on hand to help support the injured, relatives and staff. Survivors will have witnessed traumatic sights and many may also have to deal with the loss of loved ones. Prof Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, recommends turning to friends, family and religious leaders to talk through feelings. "While mental health professionals are invaluable in times of psychological need, immediately after a traumatic event it is our own strength, and those of our friends and family, that can be the most beneficial. Speaking to a mental health professional - a complete stranger - when you are in a state of shock, is not always the solution." He said the public could play a part by offering practical support and information to those involved in the fire - as the community of North Kensington has been doing in force in the past few days. (BBC, posted and accessed 16 June 2017)
In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born. What those in the west view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm.
(UPLIFT, posted 26 February 2019, accessed 1 October 2019)
Spiritual dynamics are normal, real and important.
Psychological dynamics are normal, real and important.
But they may combine in a way that is too fast and intense.
When that happens, the individual may lose their usual stability and experience an intense spiritual state.
In that intense state they may experience unusual sensations and perceptions.
Their mind-brains will then create an interpretation appropriate to their psyche and culture.
Their experience, behaviour and interpretation may be perceived by others as inappropriate or even as illness.
In fact it may be profound and positive personal and spiritual growth.
(Spiritual Companions Trust in Spirituality & Mental Health, p.16, undated, accessed 9 February 2020)
The new frontier, as many others have noted, is inner space. Many oriental and so-called primitive cultures have detailed and complex technologies of body, mind and spirit. But we in the West, until recently, have been strangely lacking in this area. Several centuries of intensive exploration of the external world have led most people in the Western world away from the vast territory within themselves. Awareness of the inner territory is often suppressed by calling it crazy, unscientific or too subjective.
In the past century, psychiatry has attempted to remedy this lack, but much of the interpretation orthodox psychiatry gives to inner experience is that of pathology. Inner states are recognized only when they are bizarre and cause enough dis-ease to be labeled as diseases. Then the medical model is applied with its symptoms, diagnoses and treatments.
It is no wonder most of us learned at an early age not to talk about inner experience. To do so was to run the risk of being called crazy or sick.
(Jane Butterfield English, PhD, Physicist, Artist, Different Doorway, p.9)
...the mentally ill are generally incapable of deep inhalation... (Frederick Leboyer, Birth Without Violence, p.109) [So, learn to breathe deep, like a blissful baby! Breathing patterns are created at birth...]
In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. "When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?"
Where we stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul. Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves. (Gabrielle Roth)
We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the [Rwandan] genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave. They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again. Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.
(Rwandan cited at UPLIFT, posted 18 August 2015, accessed 1 October 2019)
Our challenge is to be well-adjusted in a dysfunctional world, without becoming well-adjusted to a dysfunctional world. (George Monbiot, 22 February 2021 tweet)
Whenever the therapist stands with society, he will interpret his work as adjusting the individual and coaxing his 'unconscious drives' into social respectability. But such 'official psychotherapy' lacks integrity and becomes the obedient tool of armies, bureaucracies, churches, corporations, and all agencies that require individual brainwashing. On the other hand, the therapist who is really interested in helping the individual is forced into social criticism. This does not mean that he has to engage directly in political revolution; it means that he has to help the individual in liberating himself from various forms of social conditioning, which includes liberation from hating this conditioning - hatred being a form of bondage to its object.
(Alan Watts, Psychotherapy, East and West)
Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. They hold that the problem of mental health in a society is only that of the number of ‘unadjusted’ individuals, and not of a possible unadjustment of the culture itself. (Erich Fromm, The Sane Society)
Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is the word "maladjusted." ... There are some things in our society and some things in our world to which I am proud to be maladjusted and I call upon all men of good-will to be maladjusted to these things. ... I never intend to adjust myself to racial segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. (Martin Luther King, Jr., speech at Western Michigan University, December 18, 1963; cited at Wikiquote, accessed 2 March 2021)
For decades, mental health has been spoken of in the media and treated by doctors as a personal, but almost never structural, problem. If you’re depressed, surely it’s your “brain chemistry” and not the choking fear about your growing debt that keeps you from sleeping. This leads to treatment options like medication (if your insurance will pay for it), therapy (ha ha ha your insurance will definitely not pay for it), and now things like “mindfulness,” which has the added bonus for the government, the medical community, and your employers of being free once you’ve learned the techniques. Just close your eyes, breathe through the growing sense of dread, and get back to work. But it turns out some of the biggest contributing factors to mental health distress are things like financial precarity and housing insecurity. Financial hardship remains one of the largest contributing factors to suicide attempts and rates go up as the economy goes down.
(Jessa Crispin, The Guardian, posted and accessed 2 June 2021)
I’ve done irl therapy, online therapy, all kindsa meds, meditation. None of those things ever did as much for my mental health as lucking into a new job with better hours and a salary high enough to pay down my debt. (Rafi, 18 June 2021 tweet; irl = in real life)
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Negative Thought Forms