Before I start this post, I have two disclaimers:
- This in only an introductory post to my thoughts, and therefore, will be missing a lot of key points I want to make.
- There are a lot of mental disorders out there that I know almost nothing about. I will not be discussing them.
Mental Disorder. No matter how many times I tell myself that it is nothing to be ashamed about, I still cringe whenever the term is used. It has been used as an insult too often. People are doing their best to repair the damage, but in my opinion it might just be easier to change the word. Look at the word “retarded”. I feel guilty for just writing it. People will never be able to use that word again, when really it is just a word that people picked to describe a type of person. You’ll notice the same thing is happening with the word “special”. That is not to say all is lost. The word “gay,” while no longer meaning happy, is no longer the insult it once was.
But I’m getting off track. This post isn’t about the stigma attached to mental disorder, at least not completely. No, this post is about the fact that there are some mental thought processes that I don’t think should be called disorders at all. In fact, there are some that I think should be celebrated.
Let’s start with the definition of Mental Disorders. I pulled this off Wikipedia:
A mental disorder or psychiatric disorder is a mental or behavioral pattern or anomaly that causes distress or disability, and which is not developmentally or socially normative. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social context.
You may have to read it a couple of times to understand it all, but basically, it means this:
A way of thinking or feeling that is
- harmful and unhealthy
- inhibiting to your way of life
- not considered normal by society.
Ok. Harmful and unhealthy. I will agree that those things are bad and should be remedied. Take depression. No good has ever come from depression, and no one should have to endure it.
As for inhibiting, well, it is really up to you to decide what you find inhibiting, and whether or not it is a bad thing. Apathy makes me not want to do a lot of things. This is ok, so long as it’s not something I actually want to do. In fact, I rather enjoy most of my inhibitions. They keep me from making an utter fool of myself.
And then there is “being normal”. I find this last one rather ironic because I’m pretty sure society also tells people to love themselves for who they are. Apparently, they only mean that when the way you are isn’t something they consider weird, but that’s a discussion for another post. I’ll just say that I believe thinking differently is a good thing and should be encouraged.
This brings me to my point. While there are mental disorders, there are also things I like to call Alternate States of Mind (ASMs). These include things like ADD, OCD, shyness, and yes, apathy. States of Mind that might be different, are usually disparaged, but are actually perfectly ok and healthy. In fact, sometimes they’re even useful. Embrace them.
Hopefully, I’ll find time to write more about this soon.