Can we talk about mental illness?

For a site ex­tremely fo­cused on fix­ing bad think­ing pat­terns, I’ve no­ticed a bizarre lack of dis­cus­sion here. Con­sid­er­ing the high cor­re­la­tion be­tween in­tel­li­gence and men­tal ill­ness, you’d think it would be a big­ger topic.

I per­son­ally suffer from Gen­er­al­ized Anx­iety Di­sor­der and a very tame panic di­s­or­der. Most of this is fo­cused on fi­nan­cial and aca­demic things, but I will also get pan­icky about so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, re­spon­si­bil­ities, and things that hap­pened in the past that se­ri­ously shouldn’t bother me. I have an al­most amus­ing re­sponse to anx­iety that is ba­si­cally my brain pan­ick­ing and tel­ling me to go hide un­der my desk.

I know luke­prog and Ali­corn man­aged to fight off a good deal of their is­sues in this area and wrote up how, but I don’t think enough has been done. They mostly dealt with de­pres­sion. What about ra­tio­nal schizophren­ics and pho­bics and bipo­lar peo­ple? It’s difficult to find anx­iety ad­vice that goes be­yond “do yoga while watch­ing the sun­rise!” Pop psych isn’t very helpful. I think LessWrong could be. What’s men­tal ill­ness but a wrong­ness in the head?

Men­tal ill­ness seems to be worse to in­tel­li­gent peo­ple than your typ­i­cal bi­ases, hon­estly. Hid­ing un­der my desk is even less use­ful than, say, ap­peal­ing to au­thor­ity dur­ing an ar­gu­ment. At least the lat­ter has the po­ten­tial to be use­ful. I know it’s limit­ing me, and start­ing cy­cles of avoidance, and so much more. And my men­tal ill­ness isn’t even that bad! Try­ing to be ra­tio­nal and suc­cess­ful when schizophrenic sounds like a Sisy­phu­sian night­mare.

I’m not fight­ing my difficul­ties nearly well enough to feel qual­ified to au­thor my own posts. Hear­ing from peo­ple who are man­ag­ing is more likely to help. If noth­ing else, maybe a Ra­tional Sup­port Group would be a lot of fun.