Mental or social sickness?

Mental Illness or Societal Illness?

As a counselor and herbalist I work with people who are depressed and sad quite a bit. The stories all differ but there is generally a similar thread of trauma and ongoing stress that has led to current suffering. Recently someone asked me if they thought medication was a good idea because their level of suffering was so high. I don’t rule out anything and I will support people’s decisions to take medications if they feel well informed about its pros and cons.

But I often wonder why we so quickly move towards offering medication for depression, especially since socio-economic factors, oppression, stress, diet and trauma often play such a strong role in causing distess. In our society, we need to be productive, efficient, organized, and people who are cheerful, bright and positive are prized. In the short term, medications can sedate and stimulate us so that we can return to being productive members of society.

But in reality, most of us are stressed and so caught up in trying to be productive, or simply trying to survive- that we are exhausted, overwhelmed and suffering. And if we are sensitive, or have experienced trauma and are susceptible to extreme states, we are more likely to experience “mental illness”. But really mental illness is a misnomer. We are really suffering from “collective societal burnout.” We as a society are exhausted trying to keep up, meet the many obligations of bills, errands, chores, work, family, and personal needs that it can feel deeply overwhelming and we can start to break down emotionally and physically.

What most of us need is to take time, rest, get quiet, breathe and find space to heal. I often find that depression is not asking us to “take something”, but really to “take away something”- obligations, demanding work, toxic relationships, a bad home environment, processed food, addictions, etc. And often because of economics, societal and family expectations this is impossible, and we feel trapped by circumstances. And that trapped feeling is at the core of a prolonged depression, a feeling of hopelessness.

So when I hear the call for better access to treatment for the mentally ill, I wonder what that means really. Does that mean that people will simply have greater access to psychiatric medications via their insurance? In my perfect world, greater access to “treatment” would start with greater wage equality, access to non-medical sanctuaries for rest and healing, healthy food and adequate housing. This is the type of “treatment” that really addresses those who are suffering, exhausted and overwhelmed by the pressures of modern life.


Nothing changes -

i think a large aspect of mental illnesses is due to the sickness of our societies.


these theories used to be much more popular, in part because there are no really good clear-cut cases of schizophrenia in classical literature, though some would argue Hamlet is an exception, that he goes insane during the play and the bit about his uncle murdering his father might be delusion (this from a college english professor). but the theories fell out of vogue over fifty years ago. the psychological model for schizophrenia is one where repressed thoughts and emotions surface as psychotic symptoms, where delusions have underlying symbolism such as “belonging.” because of the interplay between cognition and brain chemistry, well, looking for a cause doesn’t make sense to me. it can’t be found. it’s like asking “why do i suffer at times?” the chain of causality that leads to your suffering at the moments you do suffer is too complex to ever trace to its origin. best simply to acknowledge that suffering is a part of life. best simply to acknowledge that we are ill, morn the events in our childhood that might have contributed to it or the poor decisions we ourselves made, and refuse to just be a warning marker along the road to the future for everyone else.

just my thoughts though. i didn’t mean to crap on your theory.

Didn’t think i’d put forward a theory? My view on it all is Integral.

Just pointing out some of the links to society of unwellness - instead of blaming it all on the individual & their brain diseases.

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I like your message here…

On the other hand though do you realize the universe is cruel and insensitive to its inhabitants?

Human nature at large reflects this. Anything that can happen will happen eventually.

There is also the concept of evolution. We are the suseptable few who are being weeded out, or are struggling to survive and reproduce in our current environment. We are less fit for this place. The others are better equipped. They don’t have psychotic features in there lives. Whatever emotional or irrational extremes they take too they’ll never gave the same challenges that we do.

It’s unfair man.

For your own sake though you should quit trying to make the illness something it’s not. We’re just the unlucky few with an illness.

It’s not spiritual, or societal, it’s psychoneurological.

No - i don’t confuse this society/civilisation/mass opinion with the nature of life/the universe. Human nature is very largely conditioned by the dominant social systems.

Maybe it primarily is? - But personally i’d like to see some kind of more definite evidence/proof of that?

If it is primarily a psychoneurological.illness - that in no way denies/negates me as a person/human being - it in no way negates my spirituality/Being. It also doesn’t really in fact necessitate/justify the current treatments.

Others are free to see themselves as sicklings with brain diseases, & all that can be done is take drugs for life - that’s fair enough.

Whatever oddities of perception you all have of me on here - none of you know me - from where i’ve come come from i’ve made immense progress, largely in spite of & not because of this society/system.

We’re less fit for this society/culture - big difference.

I did more then just pop my pills. I consciously rewired my experience. Making myself the anti-telepath.

You can eliminate your hallucinations one you get them in the proper scope. There is nothing mystical about them. They are a reflection of your brains state.

Delusions are a product of stubborn wiring. In some cases you also have to willfully ignorant.

Be spiritual if you want. You’ll be just as lost as those who pop their pills and hope for the best.

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Society is a part of this place.

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If schizophrenia were a more widespread problem you would probably see the changes your looking for. No were on the extreme end of a long list of people that got ■■■■ on by life.

Be thankful your alive dude. Drop the fight and find peace with the world. You can ignore people and society. They even let us live on disability. It’s not that bad.

Humanity majority is a pack of sheeple. Don’t blame them for being born stupid.


i haven’t hallucinated in over 10 years, i don’t hear voices & i’m Not delusional. i maintain a very low dose of one medication. It’s been 16 years since i was last in hospital, over 10 years since last breakdown, & i’ve been fully discharged from all psychiatric services for over 3 years. i remain stable & living a highly independent life despite highly stressful & difficult circumstances. So you tell me who is really the one who is ill here? (Not just specifically referring to you).

i don’t feel lost, & can’t see i’m as confused & lost (disturbed & drama filled) as a lot of people i see/come across. My spirituality has been one of the most important aspects of my recovery & continued healing.

It’s very fashionable/popular to agree with materialism & hate anything spiritual.

This current Society/Culture/Civilisation is indeed part the this planet as things stand. Does that mean anything specific in relation to our experiences? & the actual nature of reality/the Universe? It’s debatable in what ways, & an in depth/complex question.

They’re primarily made stupid by societal conditioning.

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I might agree with that, but it’s not going to change. They go with the flow because they know it’ll lead to the best ending for them.

It’s actually pretty smart to be ignorant and self centered.

You can either be ignorant or calculated.
If your stupid it’s easiest to ignorant.
If your intelligent it’s easier the be calculated.

Both paths have their downfalls.

No one really knows what’s going on man.

Find the middle path, lead by example, blah blah blah.

i have a lot of gratitude & am grateful/practice gratitude - i do largely ignore the mass stupidity & i am very grateful for the benefit support - although that is currently under threat.

i feel very strongly about the issue of mental health & associated areas - we’re in the dark ages with it all.

I didn’t know all that… It’s good you found what works for you.

Sorry for jumping on this like I did.

Society is one of the slowest things to change. If you don’t like it you gotta change up the people you know. (This statement doesn’t go out to you specifically)

Let’s analyze it then.

Societal sickness… Probably comes in many forms.

Materialism is bad, so is spirituality when taken to the extremes.

Or I should say organized religion. It’s a staple of one of those societal conditions mechanisms. Up there with TV and the education system.

If you could change the world what would you do?

I’m pretty sure an emphasis on empathy and exposure to human diversity would change the world.

Unfortunately we’re still spread to thin and the Normie normies still make up at least 80% of people.

No, i don’t think it is - the system will grind on & on. At the least i spoke my truth.

i take an Integral position.


From where i’ve come from i have made massive progress, & i don’t give myself enough credit for that.

There are certain ongoing difficulties - such is life.

I’m very much inclined to agree. One has only to read the daily headlines to see that while man is “evolved” (owing to his socially empowered neo-cortex), he’s not evolved enough.

But I’m also inclined to suggest that believing that the dominance and submission dynamic seen in all social mammals is going to be eradicated before the planet rescues itself from us is not well-supported by the evidence. Our brains are genetically wired far more for the blind imperative to survive and prosper than for observation of the upshots of becoming obsessed with so doing.

However observant and idealistic various individuals (e.g.: Hannah Arendt, S. E. Asch, Martin Buber, Charles Cooley, Jared Diamond, Emile Durkheim, Stuart Ewen, Paul Erlich, Georg Gurdjieff, Chris Hedges, George Hegel, Jules Henry, Eric Hoffer, Sydney Hook, Aldous Huxley, Immanuel Kant, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Christopher Lasch, Jackson Lears, Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Malthus, Jack Miles, Stanley Milgram, C. Wright Mills, Milton Rokeach, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bertrand Russell, Thorstein Veblen, Max Weber and others) may be, they are read, understood – and heeded – by less than one percent of the hominids on the planet.

Because there’s no money in it.

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Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!