Mental Illness has been the topic of my tv viewing twice in one week. Being mentally ill compels me to write about it. Both of the vids I saw pointed out that being mentally ill does not excuse the behavior of the mentally ill person.
The first video was of Jason Brooks the NYTimes writer who faked out the world. He claimed in an interview on FOX that he didn't want his mental illness to excuse his actions, that what he did was wrong and he intended to tell the world about his experience. He was interviewed just prior to going to teach a seminar on ethics. Who better to teach about unethical behavior than someone who has been unethical and immoral?
The second video was one of my favorite tv shows, Law & Order SVU. The prosecutor, Kasey, spares a man's life because he is schizophrenic and was off his meds when he raped and nearly killed several little girls. When on his meds, his actions were so horrific to himself that he tried to kill himself. He feels responsible, guilty and convicted on his own conscience without any regard for what the state thinks. She states that one day maybe he will be able to forgive himself because he's not responsible. "Oh, aren't I?" he retorts...
I have a mental illness. When intoxicated I do things that I would never do when sober. I have behaved in incomprehensible pitifully demoralizing ways. In order to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, I had to do some real self searching, level my pride and confession of sin for a successful consummation. This discipline allowed me to right the wrongs of my past so I can stand tall and look the world in the eye without any remorse, guilt or conviction. I have assumed the responsibility for my past and now use it to help others know that they too can get better.
My professor saw Mr. Brooks as a sorry s.o.b. who would never amount to anything and should never be trusted. There was no room for forgiveness on my profs part. All I could think was that I would never tell my prof about who I really was because who knows if he would forgive me for my sins? The character Kasey instantly recognized the mental illness and found compassion in her heart to excuse the schizophrenic for his heinous acts despite his own repugnance for himself. Some days I wonder if I can ever forgive myself too.
I hear over and over this question:
Is mental illness a moral issue?
Some days it is and some days it isn't. I find that when my mental illness is in remission my actions are absolutely a moral issue, but when I am in the thick of my disease I cannot not drink. I cannot not be a stark raving lunatic. I go bezerk some days off of my own thinking without ever taking a drink and it is just all mentally irrational thinking: very similar to a skitzoid's. It is a very thin line. Skitzos can take pills and their mental illness subsides, a bit. There is no pill for me. There is no cure. There has only ever been one solution ever offered that seems to work on my mental illness. Most people find the solution to be a farce. These people really believe mental illness to be a moral dilemma. They believe that it is about will power that I am able to be a useful member of society. As much as my ego would like to let me believe that I am truly that strong of a person, I humbly recognize that I am just not that powerful.
The only solution I have ever experienced that has arrested my mental despair is just so simple people don't believe me when I tell them unless they seek it for themselves. It is because there are those who believe and then there are those who experience. The only solution available for my particular mental defect is the Grace of God.
If God's Grace is the only solution, does that make the problem moral? or mental?
Is God's Grace a moral issue?