Why people have mental health problems……

It’s been my misfortune, via a new work scenario, to spend time with a certain individual, who not only has the most appalling manners but is also downright unpleasant and pig ignorant.
For my part, I turn the charm up to 11, find everything they say agreeable to a degree, and try and get this person to relax, smile and stop being fearful. Sadly nothing works: they are determined to behave like a scratched record, jumping into the same negative groove, over and over again, not considering the damage they’re doing not just to their business but their karma too.

So why do people behave this way? Well it’s been my experience that most if not all negative behaviour is motivated by fear: they believe they have to continually be on the defensive because they think they are under perpetual attack. But I guess the real question is, why are they fearful?

I pulled a paperback from my bookcase last week. I’m not sure why I was drawn to it, but sometimes books almost call out to you, as this one did. This particular tome, The Road Less Travelled, by M Scott Peck, was sent to me by Kat Young, sometime in the early/mid nineties and I’ve never got round to reading it, up until now. It’s essentially Peck’s experiences as a psychologist and how he believes coping with problems equals spiritual growth, and when I started reading it, it resonated with me straight away, as not only did it reflect certain beliefs I’ve held for a number of years, but it also inspired me greatly.

Peck’s experiences with children and parents confirm what I’ve felt for quite some time: dysfunctional adults rear dysfunctional children who turn into dysfunctional adults, who in turn rear dysfunctional children, etcetera etcetera. The sins of the father/mother. Way back when people lived in a more close knit way, I’m sure the elders of the family could make up for any lack of attention or discipline towards a child from their parents, and assist the mother/father. I’d say that was the natural process, the way such problems were dealt with in the  past. Of course nowadays the family unit has all but disappeared and fragmented, and the old, more tribal ways of the family are being lost.

I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about parenting, but I guess I use the way my mother and father brought me up as a good example. I consider myself a well balanced individual ( stop sniggering at the back there! ) and see myself morally stable. Of course that doesn’t mean to say I’ve been free from mental health issues, far from it. I’m neurotic ( tho less so than ever these days ) and suffer from OCD. Sure I’ve known great unhappiness, but I believe a good deal of that has been my responsibility. As Jung said: I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become

My parents showed me right from wrong, gave me the appropriate chastisement when I made mistakes, but always gave me praise when I got things right. I realise my parents were very unique people, brought up in the late Victorian era by strict but loving parents. It was my immense good fortune to be born of them, in the time I was born.

I realise more and more as I get older, that there is no security outside of myself, or from another person. Security comes from within, and that security is greatly reinforced by the love and nurturing that my parents gave me, which still survives some 20 and 30 plus years after their deaths. Love is security, and along with other beliefs it gives me the strength to be.

“Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behaviour and actions of other people”. – Brian Weiss

Nowadays, when we look around our society we see just about everyone using booze or drugs or both. I’m sure that a good number of those people are trying to blot out the unpleasant things that happened to them when they were children, and the character deficiencies that that brings, i.e. neurosis and paranoia. They are so afraid of dealing with their problems they simply can’t face them so they try to erase them with intoxication. If only they knew that dealing with their problems is a lot less painful than the aftermath of booze or serious drugs. Again, we’re back to dysfunctional adults.

Of course there’s many different ways people get abused as kids to make them dysfunctional, but it’s been my experience it’s usually parent related. We learn so much from our parents, and I think self discipline and self respect are possibly the two most important things. When we look at a lot of modern parents, we see their lack of self respect and discipline reflected in their kids. 


Peck has some excellent things to say about romance and love. I’ve believed for a number of years that the concept of romantic love is a type of self delusion, motivated by sexual desire, and basically a myth. Sure, there’s lots of reasons for people to have relationships, like genetics, or just plain fun. But can we not get really honest with one another? When a relationship starts, sparks fly: a new person, a new lover, a new body, all jolly exciting stuff. “Falling in Love” is completely sexually motivated and is never what we think it is. We don’t really look at the other person, we see the image that we want of them, in our minds eye, we project our wants and desires onto the other person, and they do similar to us, and that’s how the whole bloody mess starts, rooted not in reality but in self delusion and lust.

It’s a delicious place to be, trouble is we’re so deluded we start to believe it’s reality. When the “honeymoon period” ends, and the sex goes down hill, we’re horrified to find out that our perfect 10 lover is actually an arsehole and nothing like our delusions made them out to be. Where does that love go when the relationship/marriage turns sour? Surely, if you promise to love and cherish someone til death do you part, that’s going to be a forever thing right? How sad then that a good percentage of marriages flounder, and partners end up hating each other?

Peck says something else about romantic love which I’d never figured out before: we are brainwashed by the fairy tales of our childhood. You know the one, the one that says they all lived happily ever after? Actually how that should read is unhappily ever after, which is usually the reality of the story, unfortunately, especially if they expect that initial ‘loved up’ state to last.

Oh, and you know, for all you singletons like me who’d love a partner? “There’s someone out there for everyone!”. Well I’d like to know who thought up that particular crock of shite, because it’s more delusion and brainwashing. I don’t want it, you don’t want it, but the fact is, a lot of people end up alone nowadays. It’s simply a question of dealing with it in the right way, because being alone doesn’t have to mean being sad, that’s just more bullshit……

I do believe tho’ that some people are lucky enough to find their soul mate, I’ve witnessed it several times, tho’ trust me those people still go through periods where they hate and want to kill each other! These lucky souls have survived the end of the “falling in love” phase and come out the other side as close friends. And whilst they still value each other’s independence, they adore caring for their partner with a love that endures. I think that, along with the love between a child and it’s parents, is real love…..

I still believe romantic love is a beautiful thing, tho’ I think it’s best kept as inspiration for songs or poetry or prose. And I’d love a partner, to take care of, to cook for, for company and to have down and dirty sex with. And I believe people should live together, even if it’s only part time, as some of the more successful couples do nowadays. But otherwise romantic love should be seen for what it is, a beautiful, sexy state of delusion that never lasts and should rarely be taken seriously. A myth, generated by our culture, and part of our genetic programming, to ensure the survival of our species.

Incidentally, whilst we’re on the subject, can someone please give me a proper definition of Love?

Peck and I also seem to agree about mental illness too: he says usually those who are diagnosed with mental health issues are either neurotic or have a character disorder. And I’ve also believed for some time that neurotics take too much responsibility, whilst those with character disorders don’t take any. I’ve met numerous people who simply won’t take responsibility for their lives, and self medicate, usually with booze, because they believe the world is against them and it’s never their fault. I’d like to tell people like that to grow up, but I’d rather save my breath, just in case I have something profound to say on my death bed!

I’ll be honest and say I really don’t know what the answer is for people with no life discipline, because they seem to be psychotically convinced they are right, and simply won’t take any advice. I guess psychotherapy of some sort could help.

But I think neurotics are different, and can be helped, because at least they understand the concept of being responsible. Neurotics need to be nurtured and loved. I should know, I am one!

I also believe that mental health issues/neurosis/character disorders/call it what you will, can be contagious in some odd way and be passed from one person to another, similar to the dysfunctional child/parent scenario, but perhaps a lot less serious.

I’m sad to say, one of my oldest, bestest friends is a paranoid schizophrenic. If I ever spend time with him, ( which is rare, as he’s never quite sure whether I’m part of the conspiracy to kill him or not ) I too begin to feel paranoid and ill at ease. Whether it’s because I’m super sensitive I’m not sure, but it twists my head of shape attempting to deal with people like him, so I gently let go of them, and send them peace, love and healing, and pray that someone comes along to cure their ills.


Again, Peck has something meaningful to say about fear. He relates it to a condition we can all understand: laziness. We don’t want to confront our problems, essentially because we can’t be arsed. But, I hear you cry, I work 400 hours a week, go to the gym everyday at 6.00 a.m., I take my wife and kids out at the weekend, how can I be lazy? Well, if everyone were able to take a good look inside their heads, they’d realise that there was a ton of stuff that they hadn’t done, that they know really needed to be done, to improve their lives. It’s fear of effort, and we don’t want to make that effort, because human beings are inherently lazy. This is not a moral judgement, this is simply stating a fact. That’s why neurotics like me make endless lists: we know our neurosis won’t let us rest until we’ve crossed out all the things to do on our list. And of course if you’re OCD like me, then when you’ve finished one list, you make another……!

Sincerely, I have the deepest sympathy for anyone who has suffered any type of mental health issues, whatever they might be. But I also firmly believe that most mental health problems are either related to character disorders or neurosis, and with assistance and love these can be over come.












2 Responses to “Why people have mental health problems……”

  1. You want to know what love is? Maybe this excerpt from a story in the Brisbane Times (6/3/19) will help shed some light on the matter…

    He called his mother, telling her “I’ve bashed her brains in, there is brains everywhere”. She was murdered on the night she left him: the judge noted Robertson had “claimed to love her”.

  2. Oh Will! You old romantic you!

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