The biggest problem with the conventional wisdom about mental illness is that it encourages people to ignore the meaning of the symptoms that are used to diagnose them. That is a problem because it deprives people of vital information that can help them live more the way they want to live.
The conventional wisdom about mental illness is that it is caused by genetic factors, chemical imbalances and brain abnormalities. If you believe that, you have no interest in exploring the meaning of the symptoms or listening to what they may have to tell you. Rather, you are encouraged to get rid of the symptoms as quickly as possible and pay no further attention to them.
But what if those symptoms had important information for people, information they need in order to lead healthy, fulfilling lives?
This sounds like a wake-up call, a message that something is not right and something needs to be done about it. The bodymind is saying: “Stop doing what you’re doing. Stop focusing on the outer world, on other people, on your spouse, your clients. It’s time to quiet down, go inside, take a serious look at your life, get in touch with what is going on. Stop avoiding this by drinking, drugging, working, playing, sexing, competing, winning. You need to make some important decisions or, perhaps, accept what is true about you and your life and become more comfortable with it. You need to do some inner work.”
If something precious has been lost, perhaps it would be healthy to spend some time experiencing the pain of that loss…
Loss is useful because it tells me what is precious to me. It tells me what I want to protect and nurture and tells me in a very powerful way that I better do what I can to protect and nurture those precious things. Valuable information indeed.
The danger of both scientific medicine and the cult of professionalism is that they may cause us to lose faith in the brilliance and power of nature, to lose trust in the ability of our bodyminds to heal themselves and to ignore the valuable information that our emotions and bodily sensations can provide to us.