Defining Mental Diversity
Mental diversity is the idea that minds can differ from one another. Sometimes it is referred to as “Neurodiversity” or being “wired” differently. Each one of our brains and behavior develops differently and can depend on the environment or our genetics.
At Thero we promote the value of mental diversity. We encourage people to understand that the world would be boring if all minds were the same and we would all miss out on very valuable ideas and perspectives that come with diversity.
We also recognize that it’s not easy to be different and that in extreme cases it can be debilitating. It’s not always easy to value mental diversity, when a disorder keeps us from achieving goals or connecting with important people in our life. Many people never experienced what it’s like to have a severe mental disorder and in many ways people with mental disorders are a minority.
We believe more understanding and less stigma toward disorders would make being different easier. People experience unpleasant or intrusive experiences such as anxiety, hallucinations, and delusions, but these are all experiences that occur in many humans. Having these experiences does not equate to having a disorder. When they become so severe that they impede life performance it does.
Here are some great examples of people who have explored the benefits of mental diversity and the costs of mental disorders.
She has helped others realize the world needs all kinds of minds.
The thing is, you can make a mind to be more of a thinking and cognitive mind, or your mind can be wired to be more social. And what some of the research now has shown in autism is there may by extra wiring back here, in the really brilliant mind, and we lose a few social circuits here. It’s kind of a trade-off between thinking and social. And then you can get into the point where it’s so severe you’re going to have a person that’s going to be non-verbal.
Temple Grandin – TED Talk, Feb 2010
He learned to value his depression and that the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality.
Valuing one’s depression does not prevent a relapse, but it may make the prospect of relapse and even relapse itself easier to tolerate. The question is not so much of finding great meaning and deciding your depression has been very meaningful. It’s of seeking that meaning and thinking, when it comes again, “This will be hellish, but I will learn something from it.” I have learned in my own depression how big an emotion can be, how it can be more real than facts, and I have found that that experience has allowed me to experience positive emotion in a more intense and more focused way.
Andrew Solomon – TED Talk, Oct 2013
She learned how to manage her schizophrenia and to thrive.
Recently, a friend posed a question: If there were a pill I could take that would instantly cure me, would I take it? The poet Rainer Maria Rilke was offered psychoanalysis. He declined, saying, “Don’t take my devils away, because my angels may flee too.” My psychosis, on the other hand, is a waking nightmare in which my devils are so terrifying that all my angels have already fled. So would I take the pill? In an instant. That said, I don’t wish to be seen as regretting the life I could have had if I’d not been mentally ill, nor am I asking anyone for their pity. What I rather wish to say is that the humanity we all share is more important than the mental illness we may not.