“Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst…a spark that creates extraordinary results.” (Refer: 01-a)
The U.S. has a major mental health problem. (Refer: 01-b) The mental health professional community has a major problem. 40,000 suicides a year means 40,000 people thought death was a more viable option than those perceived options offered from our mental health professionals. They would literally rather die than listen to more of the same rhetoric. I know. In 1988 I awoke from a blackout period with a rope in my hand. I almost became one of those statistics but a voice asked me if I could bear it a little longer. I was mentally ill. I was bi-polar, in and out of hospitals, manic, suicidal, listened to voices, and after days of ‘black-out episodes’, I would ‘come to’ on a mental ward wondering what had happened this time. I was heavily medicated and when off my medication I would go manic and end up back in the mental hospital. Once I ended up in jail with my wife demanding a divorce. Now I am mentally-emotionally well. I have left my world of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and pharmaceuticals behind. My first manic episode occurred in 1979 and I saw my last doctor in 1996. How did I get my life back?
Our emotions have an evolutionary path and the consequences of emotional evolution should be better utilized by the mental health community and our society at large. I hope my journey will begin a new path towards mental-emotional well-being for the thousands of people who are now unaware of the life that can emerge out their depths of despair. The intent of my story is to inspire hope and empower individuals with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to break out and to become alive and to live again.
The scientific argument for the processes involved with my mental-emotional rehabilitation is presented in a paper I wrote, “Cognitive-Emotional Therapy: Emotions Guiding Cognition.” (Ref: 01- c) Within this discussion I outline how emotions must have an evolved correlation between both ‘mental activities’ and the ‘bio-chemical balances’ within the ‘neurological pathways’ of the brain. These mental activities include the cognitive activities of thought, contemplation, and imagination, and also the sensory activities involved in sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, as well as the initiation and perception of movement. These conscious mental activities that are available for cognitive evaluation, change and control correlate with the unconscious bio-chemical systems of the brain and body. It is this correlation that must be capitalized upon by therapist, psychologists, psychiatrists and pharmacology so that their patients may become empowered and begin a new road back to mental-emotional health and well-being.
Note: I have purposely used the concepts of “chemical imbalance” as it was described to me in the late ‘70’s. Although ‘chemical imbalance’ is still used as an approach to justifying pharmaceutical intervention at the molecular levels, new ideas in “neuroplasticity” are changing current psychological and pharmaceutical theory and practice.
Please note that at no time do I recommend or suggest to any person under psychiatric or professional care to stop taking their prescribed medications. I am writing of my experiences of how I eventually came to a point where I successfully developed mental-emotional health and well-being and stopped taking psychiatric medications. I have written an argument for a new approach to psychology and psychiatry and the use of pharmaceuticals in a paper called “Cognitive-Emotional Therapy: Emotions Guiding Cognition.” This paper is available for download at: http://emotional-evolution.com/. I do recommend to anybody reading this to take a copy to their mental healthcare professional and to mutually work out a therapy suited for your specific circumstances.
(01-a) The Power of Attitude Motivational Poster
(01-b) American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
(01-c) “Cognitive-Emotional Therapy: Emotions Guiding Cognition” , by Andrew Jackson