The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma

Published in Psychology Today, 17th March 2016:

The Illusion of Free Will and Mental Illness Stigma’.

Excerpt:

“If the mind is truly free, it is only logical to extrapolate that illness of the mind must also be free; free to change on a whim, or at least free to change if one chose to do so. In a free and immaterial mind, it appears there is nothing for mental illness to be truly grounded in, so establishing a psychiatric diagnosis can seem like trying to plant a flag in a cloud. What is to blame for my mental illness? If there is no physical pathology, it must be my mind; it must be ‘me’.

The dangerous illusion of free will is imparting notions of choice into mental illness. Only the idea of free will could compel one to feel a true ownership and shame for their mental illness. Only the idea of free will could compel us to intuitively feel that if we were another person, atom for atom, we would handle our mental illness better, or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Sentiments such as “Well if I had depression, I’d snap out of it.” This type of thinking is toxic. The illusion of free will compels us to treat mental illness differently to all other illnesses known to the medical profession.

– Steve Stankevicius

Title image credit: Bs0u10e0/flickr

5650800472_b09e5e14ed_o

Image credit: Sundara Ramaswamy/flickr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s