Why is it that the idea of “mental illness” is so much scarier to many people than any other illness? We talk freely about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, yet whisper about Bipolar Disorder, schizophrenia, and OCD. Of course the media portrayal of these illnesses doesn’t help, but surely there must be more to it than that.
While the “physical illnesses” mentioned above are seen as diseases that happen to us, the “mental illnesses” are perceived as us. We get cancer, but we are obsessive-compulsive. Cancer is separate from us. OCD is us. Indeed, many people incorrectly believe that those with “mental illnesses” typically have no insight or understanding as to what is happening to them.
Why do we think this way? I believe it’s because “mental illnesses” are illnesses of the brain. And we are our brains, right?
Well, no. We are not our brains. Our…
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