Why you should not say you are mentally ill

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noun ill·ness \ˈil-nəs\
Simple Definition of illness
: a condition of being unhealthy in your body or mind
: a specific condition that prevents your body or mind from working normally : a sickness or disease

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. I didn’t post anything for it. I believe that we are all screwed up. It’s just that for some of us, at some point, our screw ups get in the way of life. I think it’s normal to have problems. I think it’s normal to not be normal.

The number one phobia in the UK is spiders. That means we either know somebody, or are somebody, that is scared of spiders. When a spider comes into the room, the person with a fear of them stops acting like themselves. They don’t act “normally”. I knew someone that spent 3 hours stuck in their bedroom because there was a spider above the door. If they threw something at it, then they wouldn’t know where it was – which would be worse. So they waited 3 hours for it to move. Is that normal? Are they ill? Few people would think of seeing a therapist for a fear of spiders – it’s not a mental health problem.

Many people are scared of heights. Like many fears, they can justify the risk in their head, but next to someone who isn’t scared of heights they seem weird. Not normal. Most people with a fear of heights will engineer their lives to avoid the thing they are scared of. Most people wouldn’t come and see a therapist about it. A therapist is for when you are ill. When you have a mental health condition. It’s for when you are not normal.

So if we try and classify our problems as a mental health condition; if we call ourselves mentally ill, then we are not normal. And who wants to feel that way about themselves?

What if we looked at it a different way.

What if we said that we are all screwed up, it’s just that sometimes, those screw ups get in the way of life so much that we can no longer ignore or work around them.

What if we went to see a therapist because we are normal; because to limit our lives because of a fear or a worry is actually not normal.

If your car stops running normally do you feel embarrassed about taking it to the garage to get it fixed?

If your phone stops working the way it’s always worked, do you feel bad about getting it fixed by someone who can help?

So if your life isn’t going the way it’s always gone, why should you feel bad about going to someone who can help you get it back on track?

To learn more about the way our subconscious works and where screw ups come from, read my book “The Caveman Rules of Survival

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