I’m certain that the title of this post grabbed the attention of many and probably not in a good way.
“Of course Dana is mentally ill. One would HAVE to be messed up in the head to be an anarchist.”
Was that your initial reaction? If so, it proves how demonized anarchism is in the mainstream media and how vastly misunderstood it is. It also proves what I’m about to say.
Before you read on, I ask that you watch the video and come back to this.
Done watching? Ok. Onward to my main point.
I have Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. I have spent YEARS working to overcome these mental illnesses. Most days I am successful at it. I have my days and moments, but overall I can say with confidence that I have them under control. These are lifelong disorders, however, I know how to handle them.
Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that makes me cycle from mania to depression. I manage it with medication and therapy. However, at its worst my emotions betrayed me. I had to learn to sort through the muddled mess of emotions to determine which are mine and which are attributed to the disorder. As a result, I am acutely aware of how I feel at any given time and I am constantly putting each and every feeling, thought, and emotion through a filter. All of my emotions are valid and I feel them, however, there isn’t always a cause behind them. Nor do I need to act on any given emotion. Even if I can’t stop the emotion or feeling, I do have control over my reaction.
My anxiety disorders, to an extent, can be worse. Generalized Anxiety Disorder made me worry about each and every little thing. Even when I knew it was entirely irrational, I still worried. I would ruminate over conversations, actions, and situations to the point of driving myself mad with anxiety. Overcoming this entailed learning how to stop the persistent cycle of rumination and, even more importantly, deciphering which things were worth worrying about and which were a product of my disordered thinking. Panic Disorder causes panic attacks, which I can only describe as the most terrifying experience(s) that I have ever had. They, quite literally, cause physical symptoms that make me think I am dying. My heart pounds, I feel as if I can’t swallow, which makes me feel as if I cannot breathe. At their very core a panic attack is my brain telling me I am in mortal danger and my fight, flight, or freeze response kicks in. I still suffer from panic attacks occasionally, but I know how to handle them and the duration and intensity are nowhere near what they used to be. This is simply because I understand what is happening to my body.
So how did this contribute to making me an anarchist? If you watched the video, it explained that fear shuts off the rational and logical parts of our brains. Fear is the mechanism that the State uses to maintain compliance in its subjects. They splash every shooting all over the news. The government uses fear to convince people that without them we would all be vicious wild beasts killing and eating each other. That fear shuts down the rational parts of most people’s brains. Quite simply, most people live in a state of perpetual terror, which deprives them of the full use of their brain.
Well, that trick doesn’t work on me anymore. I have put far too much time and effort into overcoming a brain that by default runs on fear. The way I did that was to learn how to have full use of my brain when facing a perceived, but utterly imaginary threat. In doing so, I inadvertently began applying it to every aspect of my life- including the fear mongering, narcissistic, power hungry, sociopaths trying to convince me that my very existence depends on them violently controlling everyone for our own good.
I also found that thing bigger than myself. The thing worth living for. The thing worth dying for. My purpose in life: doing any and everything I can to end this immoral, anti-human, beast known as government or the State.