What’s a Guy Like You Doin’ In a Place Like This?


By Michael Rice, LISAC, CTRTC

 Much of what is being called “Mental Illness” is really no
more than unhappy people whose genetic and basic needs are not being met as a
result of unsatisfying relationships with the important people in their
lives.  Having tried, to no avail, to
control their unhappy life situation, and having exhausted all the tools they
possessed to deal with such matters, they resort to other behaviors that serve
the purpose of easing their frustration.
They become very creative and develop behaviors that serve the purpose
of bringing some form of relief to their unhappiness.  It is these usual, creative behaviors that
are being exhibited by the greater majority of people who have been labeled as
“mentally ill.”

 Is there such a thing as Mental Illness?  The answer is, “yes.”  But these illnesses are physical conditions
that have identifiable pathologies in the brain and not something that is based
only on observation or symptoms, alone.
These mental illnesses are things such as Parkinson’s disease,
Alzheimer’s, Mental Retardation, Tourette’s syndrome, etc.  And for these illnesses, one would be treated
by a Neurologist and not a Psychiatrist.

 Ask someone to define Mental Health and they will often name
Mental Illnesses such as Depression, ADD and ADHD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar,
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and practically everything else listed in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for Mental Illness.  If one can only define Mental Health by
naming Mental Illnesses that have no pathology, then how can Mental Health
programs ever be effective?  It would
appear that not only does the general public not know how to define Mental
Health, neither can many of the professionals involved in Mental Health.

 Educating the public is at the core of making Mental Health
a public health issue; by teaching people that what is being called mental
illness has no pathology in their brains, and that the unifying problem of
those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill
is the result of unhappiness and more specifically . . . unhappy
relationships.   There is also the stigma
of mental illness being a character disorder and that one who is mentally ill
is also not very intelligent . . . both of which are untrue.

 There was a salesman who was driving on his way home.  As often happens with motorists, he had a
flat tire and he pulled over on the side of the road to change it.  There was a decorative wooden fence that went
around several acres of land where he had pulled over.  And on top of the ridge in the distance was a
mental institution.  The salesman got out
of his car only to find he was in waist high weeds.  He removed the jack and spare tire.  He loosened the five lug nuts on the flat
tire and then jacked the car up so that he could remove it.  As he was doing so, he noticed one of the
patients from the mental hospital, who had wandered down to his location, was
leaning against the wooden fence observing his tire-changing efforts.

 The salesman removed each lug nut and placed them in his
wheel cover so as not to lose them in the tall grass.  His back was aching from having been stooped
over for so long so he decided to stand up to stretch the muscles in his
back.  As he did so, the heel of his shoe
caught the wheel cover causing it to flip up and throwing all of the lug nuts
in unknown locations in the tall weeds.

“For crying out loud,” he yelled.  “Now what am I going to do?”

The man from the mental hospital remarked, “Why don’t you
take one lug nut from each of the other three tires to use on the replacement
until you can drive into town and acquire the additional lug nuts to make all
your wheels secure?”

The Salesman seemed stunned.
He said, “Wow!  I never would have
thought of doing anything like that.
That’s an excellent remedy to my predicament.  Tell me, what’s a smart guy like you doing in
a place like this?”

The patient replied, “I’m here because I’m crazy.  Not because I’m stupid.”

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