From holisticelephants: “When I look at what I know about the contexts for the extreme ‘mental health’ behaviours, and what I learn from listening to or reading 1st-hand experiencers’ accounts, just like a shaman I think we can learn the following:

  • we are being restricted into economically useful but socially not-always-useful nuclear families with little outside monitoring of what happens
  • our families are busy and driven by the economic system we live in, and have little spare time
  • if our nuclear family are not supportive then there are few others who care, unless they are paid
  • our lives are filled with strangers who have no obligations or responsibility for us outside of the contracts we have (the paid carers go home when the money stops)
  • we are governed by societal rules we did not make but we are still punished when we err
  • our society is built (economically and socially) on the idea that we are all self-contained individuals who can choose our own life options
  • our society is built on the idea that every individual is responsible for what happens to them and can be blamed for anything going wrong (implicitly or explicitly blamed)
  • we are being forced into life activities which are ‘marketable’ for employment but which we would never choose otherwise
  • we are forced to survive in bureaucratic systems that are too complex to navigate
  • other life options we might do are blocked off because of societal limits on opportunities (the gross inequalities of modern societies)
  • other life options we might do are blocked off because all life options require money or some other capital
  • when traumatic events occur, the responses are not monitored by others
  • when traumatic events occur, we no longer have close social connections who can help us, we need to arrange paid care
  • we live in a competitive world because our economic system is based on this, which increases the bullying and lack of real social connection

So for me, every time I talk to people or read accounts of people in ‘extremes states’ arising from ‘extreme distress’, these are the community/society messages I can contextualize . . .

The extreme ‘symptoms’ in our modern age are trying to tell us about these other sorts of modern issues and problems which we need to solve as a society or community before ‘mental health’ issues will go away. Before society blows up like a volcano, we need to listen to people in extreme distress and learn from their stories.”

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