“Mental illness” is a tricky subject. We should have a better way of describing it, because for most the sickness is more than what’s inside their head and has to do with the environment we are all being raised in.
Perhaps “human actively trying to explore their humanity through the cataclysm of an oppressive capitalist regime” would make more sense.
Personally, I’ve never been diagnosed, mainly because the times I’ve went to therapy I asked for analysis without the diagnosis. I’ve also avoided prescription medications for fear they’d further distort my sense of reality, rather than add clarity.
All in all, I think I’ve lived long enough with my depression to recognize that it’ll come and go throughout my lifetime. Sometimes it’ll come with delusional thought processes and other times it’ll erode the ground beneath my decision making. At its worst, I’ll be so disoriented by these delusions that I won’t be able to trust the inside voice that I’ve been led to believe is my intuition.
Fortunately, the latter case hasn’t sprung up in almost 6 years, because I’ve found ways to live a life that feeds my spirit rather than crushes it.
There is a breaking point for every one of us. I see in my generation a lot of broken people coming out of their shells and rising up. Unlike our parents’ generation we have removed the stigma surrounding these alternative expressions of the human form. We have developed the vocabulary by which we can access more certain truths about how we process our emotions. We have become more heart centered and worry about the plights of others, while maintaining empathic approaches to one another. Surplus wealth and access to more relaxed lifestyles has allowed a whole generation of people to become more in touch with giving themselves the time to grow, rather than rushing blindly into the maelstrom.
At the same time, the generations before us that created the structures by which we are tortured are still living and still ruling. The idea that a career is more important than the people around you is still the status quo. The technologies that we use to communicate and set ourselves free have become the technologies that perpetuate the individual being more important than the species as a whole.
There are places of commerce where these hypocrisies run rampant. I’ve experienced it in the big cities of the northeast, and most recently witnessed it in the pseudo-paradises of California. With rising rent prices and everyone working 3-5 part time jobs just to make ends meet, it’s no wonder there’s no time for the personal to be explored.
You’ll see people drinking raw water, driving a Prius, and shopping locally, but when it comes to the lifestyle choices that actually make a person achieve personal happiness there is no time for it. And anyone who has found a way to live in their truth is automatically chastised and thrown out by the envy of others.
In a city, the idea of more personal wealth or a career advancement is always dangled just a few feet in front. People are not seen as people, but instead as rungs on ladder to climb in an ever growing network of status. All of this leads the person along into the prison they build for themselves. Whether it’s financial debts or a feeling of no longer having real positive connections with anyone around them, the prison cell is eventually locked and the key thrown away. Meanwhile the grass is always greener and the success that will make us so happy is always just out of reach.
Almost 6 years ago, I started meditating on abundance. It started with a simple penny meditation. Find a penny, shout “Abundance!”. Recognize that if something as simple as a penny could be abundant, then really abundance is everything. The breath I breathe. The flowers blooming in spring. The dreams I have when I sleep.
Abundance is not something we seek. It is the things we already have. And they are endless. We don’t need anything else. If the glass is already filled to the brim, we need not worry about attaining anything higher.
I only wish we lived in a system where this was the norm. Where this mentality could naturally be what everyone sees in themselves. I recognize my own privilege in being able to sometimes achieve it. I also recognize the power structures that are constantly taking away my clarity at being able to live it.
When capitalism is removed, we do not lose our drive to produce. Instead, what we produce becomes the things that are us truly living in our truth.
We are not mentally ill. We are being forced to delay our own evolution. And everything in our spirit wills us forward.