TED Conversations

Arjuna Nagendran


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What experiences have made you more comfortable with mental health disorders?

What things make you fearful of mental health disorders? And what experiences have made you more comfortable with it?

In the quest to dispell stigma, how can we help our society grow out of its fear?


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    Oct 20 2012: /
    Experiences. Thoughts. Insights?
    Every time I see (really notice) a failing of mine in any respect, I become more ready to accept something like mental illness as part of the way someone operates because of bad chemicals or bad wiring or both. Many many people (myself included) are buried under baggage of some kind or another and "mental failings" is a kind of baggage. The strange thing about persons is that we can drive ourselves insane. How is that even possible? We are wired to have the ability to synthesize happiness. We can actually envision grand and glorious things and then later ignore this wonderful ability as if it didn't matter.

    Our pets are happier than we are.
    I think the problem of not being comfortable with mental illness stems from the very boundary of our self. Play a game of same and different. Are you a loser? Are you a winner? How much like a loser are you? How much like a winner? Is being happy more about making the right choices or about accepting as OK the choices you've already made?

    We don't have a clue about how to be excellent persons. But our boundary of self can expand to include everything and everyone. If I change the fear from "will I fail by being like" THAT CRAZY PERSON (obviously a loser) to "will I fail to be a hero to this part of me that obviously needs my help" I win.

    Jill Bolte Taylor (wonderful TED talk) had her stroke of insight. I once fainted and awoke in such a state (giddily happy to be alive) that I thought about this frail crazy temporary thing we call life in a different way from then on.

    Life is great. We should be ready to do more for our mental well-being.

    That "crazy person" IS me. That psychotic is me. That depressed person is me. That paranoid person is me. Will I fail to be a loving hero when I'm needed?
    • Nov 5 2012: Well stated Mark. We ARE all of us. Will I choose to be happy or sad? Will I choose to walk in love or hate. Am I too good to help that odd person or might I be missing the chance of a lifetime to know a unique and interesting person that adds value to my life> May I be allowed to add value to theirs? It is an honor to give up 0oneself for the enrichment of another. Those are life's true values.

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