I have developed a bit of a disdain for the term "mental illness." I truly believe it has become over used for what are normal personality traits and differences. In a country as free as the United States of America is supposed to be, we have a group of medical professionals intent on turning our society into a group of mind-numb, brain-dead automatons. I won't even be discussing brain disorders like CTE in which the symptoms are mistaken for "mental illness." Yet, even with that said, I am not saying mental illness doesn't exist, of course it does, but like anything else, it has become trendy to claim mental illness as the cause of every bad action, poor feeling, lousy decision, or simple personality quirk.
Here is a little secret -- it is okay to have an emotional response to a life changing situation. And, it does not need to be the same as someone or everyone else's. It is okay to be you!
When did it become such a driving need to label every single emotional response, or lack thereof?
If someone suffers a great loss, we label them as suffering from "depression," instead of the normal reaction of being depressed.
If someone is "shy" they are labeled with "social anxiety disorder".
If someone has "enormous self-confidence," they are labeled with "narcissistic personality disorder."
If someone has desires and inclinations to "consensual sex" with numerous partners, they are labeled as "sex addicts."
People are all different. There is no genuine template for "normal" behavior, only observations that are deemed to skew from some arbitrary norm that is based more upon consensus than fact. And honestly, if no harm is being done to others, who's business is it what we do? I'm sorry, but when did being a unique individual suddenly become an illness?
I am often asked if I am writing about people who suffer from mental illness.
As I am writing these individuals, I don't give them an innate conflict or condition. They become injured and damaged, repetitively, by life. Eventually, they may become broken. Their life stories are amplifications of what many in the real world must endure and suffer.
Yet, to the original question, "Do they suffer from mental illness?" For those who have read, or will read my stories, you may find my answer difficult to believe.
That answer is no.
My characters, as they are written, do not suffer from mental illness, however, they do suffer from certain personality traits which are heightened due to mental injury. Two words, both beginning with an I, in the literary word they would even make up a row of alliteration, yet, two words, that not simply imply, but indicate, important distinctions.
Mental illness, as it is perceived and implemented, often takes the approach that people suffer a chronic disorder or disease akin to Diabetes, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Conditions which require lifelong treatment. When I write a character, I am exploring their complete and complex backstory and history. I am, at times painfully, taking the reader into the repetitive injurious actions that have resulted in a damaged individual. Their response(s) is/are spurred on by coping skills which are not fully, or properly, developed. The symptoms are recognized, yet, the actual injuries are not completely addressed. The root cause of their mental injury is often missed. Whether because of ignorance, incompetence, inaction or denial --- the precipitating cause, and in turn the resultant injury, is ignored or missed.
I am in no way claiming that the above is the only, or even correct, point of view. It is however, the point of view from which my characters' lives have been impacted and how they have developed. It is through that prism which I explore The Damaged and Broken.
I am NOT a medical doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist. What I have written is based upon experiences and observations and are simply my opinions and insights as the author of The Damaged and Broken Collection.
“Who am I?”
I am an independent, self-published teller of tales. I am an author of scarcely any renown. However, as a storyteller, I know who I am, and with that persona, I am both confident and comfortable. I invite you to visit my website, ShortStoryScribe.com and/or Amazon Author Page, if you are so inclined please purchase a copy and leave a review.