Most mental illness can be traced to narcissism.
Previously I said that mental illness is when the self society demands of an individual is something the individual cannot attain to. The conflict between the real self of the individual and the self society glorifies being mental illness.
Now this still holds but it doesn’t go deep enough.
Most people spend their whole lifes as if they are on stage; as if they are playing a role in a drama. Of course this role is the central role.
Just listen to the internal dialogue you have when you are feeling depressed, anxious or whatever.
“Poor me, why are they looking at me, what did I do to deserve this, why is this happening to me, they aren’t showing me enough appreciation…”
The problem with perceiving yourself in this way is that in any drama (or even comedy) there has to be suffering, conflict, and unattained desires.
Happy people have a different dialogue.
“My life is so good, everyone loves me, I’m so happy…”
Very happy and content people have no dialogue.
In a sense we construct a narrative about ourselves and then we project ourselves into that narrative. The problem here is that society doesn’t applaud positive narratives about the self.
Try telling people you think you are a genius and try telling people you think you are shit. Compare the results. I bet that you will be called names and put down if you declare a positive narrative concerning yourself but people will rally around you if you declare a negative narrative. Just look at Russell Brand and Kanye West.
What this essentially does is positively reinforce a negative opinion of yourself that few people are able to overcome or even realize as the cause of their suffering. Few people have access to a realm of knowledge that transcends the opinions of others.
No matter how much they may affirm that all because everyone says something is so doesn’t mean it is so they still cannot let go of popular opinion. They cannot let go of that crutch and learn to walk on their own.
There is a way out though but it is slow and gradual. There are no on and off switches, you are not a computer; you are a plant and plants grow slowly.
The way out is to recondition your mind to shut-up. Don’t try to replace the negative narrative with a positive narrative. Just practice shutting that voice in your nut up. This is the power of mindfulness and meditation.