Radical Mental Self-Acceptance?
In part of a response to a comment on These are the Fat FAQs, I wrote:
What matters…is that my whole culture strongly encourages us to hate ourselves. Capitalism is about creating the problem of self-hate and then selling us the fake, non-working solutions. That is the most important thing for me to fight. [Nothing is] as important as accepting myself, my body, my mind, and the selves of the people around me.
As I typed that and then published it, I felt wrong about it because it’s bullshit.
I don’t mean the body acceptance part; I’ve got that part down. I am on my side when it comes to my body. I love my body, and I stick up for it.
But my brain is a different story. I am a person with depression. And anxiety. And a sometimes really amazing amount of just stress, seemingly out of proportion to my situation. I blame this stuff on my brain. There’s something wrong with my wiring, I tell myself. Something in there is off-balance, out of whack, broken.
I think of my brain and myself as broken.
But as I typed those words the other day, I started thinking along a different track. What if thinking of myself as something that needs fixing is itself the core of the problem? What if my diagnosis is a pre-packaged problem-and-solution offered up by my ill culture, rather than something gone wrong with me?
Would it be possible to take the radical self-acceptance I’ve found for my body and strive for that with my mental states as well?
This is a huge question for me that I’m not really ready to tackle with any force, yet. I feel really defensive about it. Of course I need fixing! Acceptance just means staying miserable! (I say to myself.)
I am taking an antidepressant. I plan to continue doing that. But the wheels in my mind are turning…