My name is Benjamin Barnett, and I was diagnosed "mentally ill" when I was 19 years old. With some work, and the help of faith, friends, and family, I have since negotiated these charges to being fantastically awesome. There is a hidden pain, and a definite insecurity of self that comes with, and lives with you after your diagnosis. The last 10 years of my life I have been focusing on wholeness, and wellness as well as learning a valuable trade in the form of software development.
Being that this is a professional site - when I have applied for positions in the past - it has been a challenge to explain my lack of experience, AND lack of degree. I would like to send special thank you to the people, and corporations that let me volunteer, intern, work remotely, and fulfill contractual positions. Without you, my resume would be bare, and I would not have come this far out of my shell.
To any who read this (especially people with, or associated with someone with a mental illness), please feel free to contact me. I hope to help others through their difficult times that can often come alongside a diagnosis.
If you agree with, see value in, or otherwise feel compelled - please like, comment, share this article with others!
Lastly, this article may not be fully formed - and is subject to future edits.
We should offer incentives to the mentally ill and reshape our methods of treating them!
Have you ever had something important to say, but everyone around you seemed to just ignore you? Welcome to the (current) world of the mentally ill.
As it stands, a mental illness diagnosis can be a devastating, life altering event. Just simply being diagnosed with a mental illness can strip you of your credibility. Anything you say - any opinion you may have can instantly be discredited.
There are no incentives to accept being mentally ill.
The benefits of offering incentives to the mentally ill (much like incentives that exist for other minority groups) are innumerable. In a world where 1 in 4 people have some sort of mental illness - some of whom can be debilitated if left untreated - why aren't we doing more to offer treatment, and incentives to seek it to these individuals?
On top of that, with more incentives to benefit the mentally ill - reliance on government assistance would drop dramatically.
What is in it for the person being diagnosed?
Being mentally ill should open doors, when in reality it is so clouded by public ignorance, it most likely closes and locks them.
This is something they have to live with day in and day out. There is no flag that they can wear, and there are no days off.
The emotional vest of the mentally ill weighs an unseen pain.
When what you need is to feel normal, it is nearly impossible to realize when society is shrouded with misconceptions about what should be a minor factor in your life. Why do we ostracize potential DaVinci's into depression, and pigeon hole these creative persons into government run programs when we could be helping them find their talents - and become key contributors to an otherwise boring society?
Most of us can easily imagine the world from a different perspective, but what if your perspective(s) were naturally unlimited? This is the world of the mentally ill. One of the reasons they have a problem recognizing reality is that they live in a world of many concurrent realities.
Instead of stifling the way their minds operate by immediately jumping to dramatic labels, pills and shots (the easy way), why not take different approaches like CBT, and instilling mindfulness and meditation as a part of their daily life?
We need to champion the mentally ill!
Go through history and you'll be surprised at the people, the major influences who very well could have been left behind. To name a few:
Abraham Lincoln, Nikola Tesla, Vincent van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jack Kerouac, Charles Darwin, Michelangelo, Charles Dickens, Ludwig van Beethoven, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Newton, Virginia Woolf
Do you notice anything about this list?
Two of these individuals were some of the greatest political influencers of all time (GPIOAT). The rest of the list were highly creative individuals who helped to shape, mold and build our current reality and perspective thereof.
What if common medicines had been used at the first sign of their illness? From another perspective, what if these people had never learned to cope with their illness? Either way you look at it - our world would be much different.
So what incentives would there be for the mentally ill to seek treatment if we started now? A chance to feel heard, valued and appreciated - and maybe a chance to work in an office with 50 other people and not have to hold on to a secret that could otherwise be common, celebrated knowledge.
Shift your perspective, and realize the beauty of the mind…