WE THINK OF THE PAST as this awful place where people suffered and died from physical ailments that we no longer fear: tooth problems tortured before they killed, there was no real treatment for earaches, gastrointestinal problems, complicated childbirth, on and on. Things that today we treat, then were horrific ordeals. It's obvious: in the past people suffered, lived short brutish lives, because they lacked the medical knowledge we have today. IN THE FUTURE, people will think the same thing about us today and mental health. They will look back on us and think, "those poor people, it's obvious: they suffered and died, their lives were stressful and short, their society was all f*ed up, because they lacked the universal medical knowledge we have today..."
THE PAST, when people suffered from illnesses that were, because of
medical ignorance, "mysterious," it was chalked up to God and demons --
moral causes. The sick person was being punished for something. TODAY,
it's obvious: that's a cruel thing to do to a sick person, to tell him
he's sick because he's been judged by God and found unworthy. But today
WE DO THE SAME THING with mental illness: we lack the science to
understand the biological causes, and so we tell the ill they lack
character or moral strength, that they only suffer from a bad personality.