My gripe with the term mental illness

I don’t believe in mental illness.

(Wtf is that even?? Please don’t give me that reductivist bs of chemical imbalance.)

I want to see the diagnosis of the societal structures that are innately unhealthy. Show me a DSM of all the ways society fucks us up. Of the impact of colonialism, neoliberalism, capitalism, segregation, immigration, racism, Islamophobia. How schools are essentially dysfunctional. The productivity culture. Diagnose THAT. Diagnose the apparatus we’re conditioned by and socialized through. That’s the baseline against which mental health is measured : how well you can tow the line, conform, do what’s expected of you. How neurotypical you are.

Mental illness is such a patronizing term. It’s like calling poison a neurological dysfunction. It’s not a dysfunction if the reaction is proportionate to the toxin!

What we have is the pathologizing of the ways people have attempted to survive. Look at all the symptoms. They are all in reaction to something and yet diagnosis is decontextualized. All the symptoms are attempts at regulating a nervous system that’s gone haywire because of the inhumane expectations and pressures, not to talk about the environmental toxins in the soil, air, food and medicine.

That’s why “mental illness” is getting worse. Flip the picture and you’ll see a society nosediving as it’s becoming increasingly technocratic.

But sure, posters, campaigns, hashtags and assigned mental health awareness months will do the trick. 🙄

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