Please note that this is the first draft and may be updated in the future:
Lately I’ve been thinking of what I would look like as a “Spiritual Guru” – which if you don’t know is kind of like an aspiration of mine. For me that would mean being immensely happy, perhaps being a lot more present in my life and (the subject of this article) being free from this limiting belief I have whereby I reject anything I consider as “insanity” and constantly trying to come across as someone completely “sane”. This filter I feel stems from my experiences with the mental health world and experiencing what its like for those around you to change their beliefs of you such that they believe you are “crazy” or “insane”.
I feel the issue with this “filter” is that I’m not free to be the “best” version of myself. I put great efforts into coming across as someone I consider to be completely “sane” and putting great efforts into ensuring that I don’t at all come across as what I consider to be “insane”. Thus, I am limiting who I am through these long-held beliefs.
But what is this perception of what others consider to be insane based on? Where do my perceptions of “sane” and “insane” come from? I’ve been rejecting happiness for so long because I consider happiness or being overly happy to be synonymous with so called “insanity” and yet, there has been no reason to because as I now somewhat realize, happiness doesn’t equate to insanity. But it feels I’ve been in this false reality for so long - upholding this ideal or image of what I consider to be “perfect” sanity and rejecting anything I consider to be “insane”. But not just that but it’s like I’ve been allowing myself to live this delusion for so long, holding onto this “ideal” of what I consider to be sanity.
For so long I’ve been limited in terms of abiding by this perception of trying to be completely and utterly sane with the goal those around me and the mental health teams form the opinion that I am completely and utterly “sane”. But I realize now that everyone has their own perception of what is insane and what is sane. The “perfect” sanity - just doesn’t exist. I’ve been trying to live by what I consider to be “perfect” sanity, because I want the mental health teams to have the opinion that I am completely sane.
But then who’s ideal of sanity have I really been holding up? What actually is sanity? I feel its whatever a person believes it is, everyone has their own reasoning, their own rational. But I feel that constantly limiting myself to what I consider to be “sanity” is severely limiting my freedom to be the person I truly want to be and what I want to represent to the world and also limiting my ability to actually be happy - this isn’t to say I didn’t gain any value in pursuing this “ideal” of sanity, because I still grew as a person and achieved certain perfections.
What’s more, this does put into question; if my “ideal” of sanity isn’t sanity, then what is? This pursuit I’ve had for a number of years now of trying to pursue perfect “sanity” - when the reality is that there is no such thing as perfect “sanity” in the eyes of mental health or anywhere for that matter. Yet I find that I’ve shaped to some extent who I am, to what I consider to be “perfect” sanity.
I somewhat feel a little sad that I’ve kept this facade for so long of trying to have perfect sanity when the reality is that there is no perfect sanity. I feel in a sense, from this that I’ve almost lost who I truly am as a person because of the “ideal” I held of what I consider insane and sane. But I argue that me with the dry personality that rejects happiness is as much me as me with a personality that is supremely happy – I am still the same person.
I also somewhat recognize the uniqueness of the fact that I throughout my spiritual journey I have rejected certain traits of the spiritual path, I.e., happiness and yet I am still on the spiritual path and pursuing perfection as much as the next person. I feel that spirituality when viewed from afar from someone who doesn’t pursue spirituality could be considered to be insanity and so for me I kind of see insanity and high levels of spirituality as having some similar traits – but again I guess this more so speaks of my personal perception on what insanity is than it does about the levels of sanity and insanity that the spiritual path actually brings.
I feel a big part of this insight is the fact that I trusted mental health teams and the doctors and psychiatrists and nurses a lot more than I trusted the traits that the spiritual path brings such as happiness or insight into certain deeper realities. Or that I trusted the perceptions and views of those around me with regard to what I felt they perceived as “insanity”. I feel I need to learn to trust the traits of spirituality and the realities offered with increased spirituality a lot more than the perception of the mental health world or the perception of others for that matter.
So, I’m this person with this particular personality now in order to live up to the expectations of what I consider to be “sanity” according to those around me and the mental health teams. However, a key point I want to make is that being assessed in mental health, they are looking for things like schizophrenia, thought block, hearing voices, delusions etc - actual genuine mental illnesses. Whereas what I took to mean by “mental illness”, is coming across as insane to other people by means of for example being overly happy. I feel I’ve moulded my personality into what I consider those around me, and mental health teams will deem as completely “sane”. I feel that I expanded the definition of what being “mentally ill” actually is and it’s greatly hindered my freedom to be who I really want to be as a person.
Also, related to this is the question of “am I my own person”? Or am I just being the person that I think those around me, and mental health teams would consider to be “sane”. This I feel greatly hinders my ability to be who I am, free from others’ perceptions. The next logical questions to ask are - why am I so at odds with anything that I consider to be “insanity” and where does this label of “insanity” come from exactly? Very important questions to ask. Why do I perceive certain things as “insanity” i.e., happiness?
I feel that being yourself regardless of what others may perceive, believe, or have opinions of or in my case what others may construe as “insanity” is supreme.
Also, I believe that the flaw is the labelling of what I believe to be “insanity”. Also, relevant here, is I shouldn’t really care if others think I’m insane, who are they to judge me this way? I guess it’s also to do with what I consider to be saneness. I’ve in a sense chosen this personality based on what I think it represents and what I believe “sanity” actually is and looks like. I feel I need to really consider where my ideas of sanity and insanity really stem from, because as of right now, I really couldn’t tell you where my perceptions of sanity and insanity really come from. I guess I currently believe that sanity and insanity are fixed things and don’t quite appreciate or understand that they are made up perceptions that are subjective to the individual. I also feel that rejecting what I believe to be insanity has really restricted by freedom.
I feel, from this revelation and insight that my life has been somewhat a lie because of how a lot of who I am is a result of what I believe others perceive as insanity. And thus, I avoid anything I consider as “insanity”. But I now somewhat realize that it’s made up - it’s not real - there is no such thing as perfect “sanity” according to mental health or anyone. This perception I have of what “sanity” is and what the mental health world would consider as sanity is just a completely made-up thing. Retrospectively I feel that its not so much what I consider as sanity, but what traits I consider to be insane.
I feel that it’s really to do with what I consider and believe to be perfect mental health. Which is why I have chosen the personality that I have. I have the right to believe what I want to believe, and, in a sense, I am right that this personality I have and the traits I have are like the epitome of mental health because they are to me. But yet, why is it I consider these traits and a lack of happiness to be the epitome of mental health? Where does this notion actually originate and come from? Perhaps this plays into my perceptions and views of the world. Where does my “ideal” of mental health come from and what is it really based on? I guess my own perceptions. I guess I mistake objective “sanity” and “insanity” for my own subjective perceptions.
I feel it’s this idea of me mistaking objectiveness for my own subjectiveness. In a sense I’ve really been searching for objectiveness and perhaps really there is no objective “sanity” and “insanity” - they are all relative and subjective things. Like I don’t think there is such thing as “objectiveness”. I intuitively believe that everything is “subjective” and relative… I guess “mental health” is very much a subjective thing. I feel in a sense I had these perceptions of mental health from what I believe others around me, the Doctors and the psychiatrists would believe as sanity and good mental health. I feel that the impact of being in the mental health world had really shaped who I am as a person right now.
And what is this perception of “bad mental health” based on? My own subjective perception of “bad mental health” - there is no such thing as “perfect” mental health, so all these attempts and changes I’ve made to reduce the possibility of me experiencing mental illness or bad mental health are to an extent in vain because there is no such thing as “perfect” mental health. Me shaping my personality to be dry to reject happiness and unhappiness in an attempt to not be “insane” or considered as “insane” are in vain to some extent because again there is no “perfect” mental health and there is no objective definition of sanity and insanity – they are subjective.
In a sense it could be argued these insights are me actually developing better mental health than what I did have before. This has really made me appreciate a bit more the subjective and relative nature of “mental health” - nobody holds perfect “mental health” because it simply doesn’t exist. But also rejecting anything that you consider as “bad mental health” is limiting your freedom to be the best version of yourself. I feel my attempts of achieving perfect mental health have to some extent been in vain because it’s only been my subjective perception and view of what perfect mental health looks like that I’ve been chasing – not objective perfect mental health because that doesn’t actually exist.
I just want to end this article by saying that I don’t really think that “insanity” actually exists because individually everyone has their own reasoning and their own rationale. Even people with so called “mental illnesses” are not “insane” because for example someone that is schizophrenic and hears a voice telling him to do X Y and Z and thus does X Y and Z is perfectly reasonable and rationale because he heard that voice telling him to do it. Someone that has psychosis and believes that the TV is communicating with them and so books a flight to a foreign country, has perfect reason and rationale for doing this thing – because they believed that the TV was communicating to them. Someone that has gone through an extremely traumatic event and has a certain response to it – is a perfectly rationale and reasonable response to something that was traumatic. Point I’m getting at is that everyone has their own reason and rationale for doing the things that they do, even if from afar it looks like its insanity.
I also feel that this speaks of the impact that being involved in the mental health world has had on me. I get the impression [from my own experience] that a lot of people involved in mental health develop this idea that they are “insane” or “crazy” and so question their own sanity and beliefs. In my own experience, I will say that initially when I started to become unwell, I did start questioning my own sanity and held this belief that everyone around me thought I was “crazy” and “deranged” and at the time, this was just such a difficult thing to experience because I just wanted everyone to believe I was a “sane” person and this perhaps has been the reason why for so long I’ve been trying to pursue “perfect” sanity because its an attempt to stop others from having this belief that I’m insane and having others believe that you are insane or believing that others believe you are insane is just such a bad feeling. But I guess it should be recognized that ultimately you can’t control if someone believes that you are insane (even with all my attempts of moulding who I am into what I believe others would believe as a perfectly sane individual) and also related is the idea that everyone has their own individual beliefs on what is “sane” and what is “insane”.