Self-Action Leadership & Mental Health


We often have very little insight into the
depth of other people's inner struggles.  
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.

  [1]


Throughout history, tremendous stigmas have surrounded issues of mental illness.  Unlike a broken bone, a lacerated limb, or other physical ailments discernible to the eye, it is often difficult—or even impossible—to determine precisely what is going on in someone's heart and head.

In comparison to physical injury and illness, mental misfortune and malaise constitute a profoundly enigmatic science, which, despite all of our progress in the field, often gets the best of many patients and clinicians throughout society.  Recent tragedies involving mass shootings and other violence have led to calls for increased allocations of time, effort, and resources to address the pandemic of mental illness.  Freedom Focused generally supports these initiatives.  In doing so, however, we wish to issue a few important caveats.

First, it is important to draw a clear distinction between diagnosable mental illness and bona fide evil.  There is a difference between the two.  Many postmodernists disagree with this absolute distinction.  They generally dislike the term "evil" because its presence in the dictionary interferes with their philosophy that right and wrong don't really exist in any objective, concrete sense.

To a postmodernist, fiends like Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein—and in more recent times, Adam Lanza, Dylan Roof, and Jihadi John—are not necessarily evil people.  Rather, they are mentally ill persons who are struggling with family, social, or economic issues that contribute to their propensity to lash out violently against innocent victims.

Freedom Focused disagrees vehemently with this notion.  While these demons in human form may indeed suffer from mental illness and a variety of other deep issues, their actions—however you try and spin it—are diabolically evil, and insofar as they choose to commit such heinous crimes, they choose to become evil themselves.

While we must never cease our efforts to discover the scientific realities of mental illness, we must likewise refrain from making the catastrophic error of associating it with evil as if the two were one and the same.  One may certainly influence the other, but they are by no means synonymous terms.

Click HERE to learn more about postmodernists and the postmodern period.


Click HERE to learn more about the AGE of AUTHENTICISM that has begun to eclipse postmodernism in the 21st century. 

Second, it is important to understand a common misnomer that exists among the general populace with regards to mental illness.  The error I speak of involves the notion that mental illness affects only a small percentage of the human race and afflicts the population in strict black-or-white dichotomies—meaning a person is either mentally healthy (or stable) or he or she is mentally ill (or troubled).

In reality, no one in the world is perfectly sane.  Likewise, no one is completely deranged.

Instead, ALL of us exist along a continuum of mental health.  This continuum ranges from utter psychosis on the far left side to perfect mental health on the far right side, with a wide spectrum of varying types and degrees of neuroses in between.  As such, you can rightly argue that while none of us is entirely nuts, all of us struggles to one degree or another with our own mental hygiene.  At least that is what the esteemed psychiatrist and best-selling author, M. Scott Peck has suggested.

According to Peck, the “tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness [and] since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree, lacking complete mental health” [2].

At first glance, such a statement may be provocative to some.  It may even be offensive to those prone to affixing negative stigmas to mental illness, or others who may be deeply mired in the morass of their own cognitive distortions about life and themselves.  Nevertheless, Peck’s assertion is technically accurate based on his own definition of mental illness, which, once again is: “[the] tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them.”

If we are to grow as self-action leaders, it is essential that we come to see things as they really are—meaning as objectively as possible—and not merely as we would wish they would be, or even worse, as we may have deluded ourselves to believe they are, when in actuality they are quite different. Effective self-action leaders must face up to the facts—the reality—of their problems if they are ever to solve them [3].

The SIX components of Existential Growth
Please don't misunderstand, Dr. Peck and I are not trying to call you or your loved ones mentally ill or "Crazy."  There is a BIG difference between having a clinically diagnosable mental disorder and merely struggling with a cognitive distortion or two.  What we are attempting to do is to call your attention to the reality that everyone can progress to higher levels of mental health and hygiene than what we presently occupy.

The journey to the land of complete mental health is a never-ending journey which we will not finish in our lifetimes.  Just like physical, emotional, social, spiritual, moral, and Existential Growth, we each have the opportunity to progress in our own mental health a bit at a time over the course of our lives.  And none of us will ever achieve perfection in this world.

Because none of us is completely healthy mentally, we can all benefit from the principles and practices outlined in the Self-Action Leadership Theory & Model.  This is because an overriding purpose of the SAL Theory & Model is to help individual self-leaders become self-action leaders by making a commitment to personal and professional honesty, transparency, and integrity—a commitment which can create the building blocks of growth, success, and holistic health, including mental health.

Despite the fact that no one is perfectly healthy mentally, the vast majority of human beings do NOT have a clinically diagnosable mental disorder.  A minority of us, however, do.  I say "us" because as you may already know, I myself have a clinically diagnosable mental disorder.  It is called obsessive-compulsive disorder, or just OCD for short.

A picture of me
a few years after
contracting clinical OCD.
I was diagnosed with OCD in 1997.  In the intervening two decades, and for several years before I was officially diagnosed, I struggled mightily with this malaise of my mind.  In addition to my OCD, I have also suffered comorbid depression as well (it is common for depression to accompany anxiety disorders like OCD).

Because of my personal experiences with OCD and depression, I know what it feels like—from a clinical standpoint—to be mentally ill.  I have personal experience with thoughts and emotions that produce the sense that I am teetering on the edge of insanity.  It is not a pleasant place to reside.  Indeed, there is a reason I named the chapter in my book that retells my experiences with mental illness, "OCD is Hell." The bad news is that I have struggled greatly, and to varying degrees still do struggle, with my own mental health.

The good news is that I was able to obtain the knowledge and secure the help I needed to successfully manage my disorder.  The key word in this statement is manage.  Note that I didn't say I am completely healed or that I never experience any lingering symptoms of OCD or depression; I do—on a daily basis.  However, I am about 80% better than I used to be, and that kind of progress has enabled and empowered me to be happy in my personal life and successful in my professional life.  In other words, while I do have OCD and depression, and while I will likely continue to struggle with lingering effects of both for the rest of my life, I don't have to let these demons of the mind destroy me.  I can ultimately win the battle for my own mental health.  I can remain the sovereign ruler of my mind and heart.  I do not have to abdicate my throne to an internal foe that crops up against my will.

A saner, wiser me
nearly 2-decades later.
This realization has generated enormous power in my life, relationships, and career.  But it didn't just happen by magic.  A lot of honesty, humility, and hard work were required.  It wasn't easy, but it was possible.  Furthermore, the results were so staggeringly successful in my life that I decided to design a Theory and Model of self-leadership and write a book to clearly explicate the process so that others might unlock the secret to overcoming their own personal demons—whether they involve struggles of the mind, heart, spirit, body, relationships, or even existential issues.

My book is called Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.  It shares intimate details of my experiences with OCD and other life challenges.  More importantly, it tells the story and outlines the steps of how I overcame these obstacles to find security, love, prosperity, and fulfillment.

If you or someone you know struggles with mental illness of any kind—and remember, we all do to varying degrees—I invite you to read this book and share it with others.  While doing so cannot replace vital help that is available from professional counselors, psychiatrists, good habits of health, nutrition, and exercise, God (including spiritual and religious approaches), and medication (when necessary and professionally and legally prescribed), it can serve as a potentially ideal self-help manual that will empower you to further extend the reach of your own personal power to learn, grow, and eventually overcome whatever challenges of the mind (or otherwise) that you face in your life.

Click HERE to read about Dr. Jordan Jensen's battle with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Click HERE to read Part II of Dr. Jensen's battle with OCD

Click HERE to buy Dr. Jordan Jensen's book — SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP

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Note: This article is one of SIX articles in a special series dedicated to different AUDIENCES that Freedom Focused specifically targets with Self-Action Leadership training. We invite leaders and managers of these different audiences to click on links below to read the articles pertaining to your field or constituency.

Click HERE to access article for  BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS (Leaders, Managers, & Workers)

Click HERE to access article for  EDUCATORS  (Administrators, Teachers, & Staff)

Click HERE to access article for  STUDENTS & INDIVIDUALS

Click HERE to access article for PARENTS & FAMILIES

Click HERE to access article for ELECTED OFFICIALS, LEADERS, & ROLE MODELS

Click HERE to access article for PERSONS dealing with MENTAL ILLNESS


References:

[1] Hymn #220, Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1985, p. #220).
[2] Peck, M.S. (1978). The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. New York, NY: Touchstone. Pages 16-17.
[3] This paragraph (and the one preceding it) is taken nearly verbatim from pages 20-21 of Volume 1 of Jordan Jensen's Doctoral Dissertation, available for free download at URL: http://www.freedomfocused.com/Intellectual_Material.html

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SELF-ACTION LEADERSHIP is the key catalyst for initiating transformational leadership that lasts in any organization. The truth of the matter really is that simple; and the transformation of organizations through the holistic development of individuals really is that difficult—yet altogether possible for anyone willing to invest the time, effort, and sacrifice required to achieve authentic, transformational results.

Unlike any training program that has ever preceded it, Self-Action Leadership provides a single vehicle wherewith individual self-leaders can discover—and then act—upon the great truth that HOLISTIC personal development and growth spanning the mental, moral, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social elements of our individual natures is within the grasp of each one of us.

NoteFreedom Focused is a non-partisan, for-profit, educational corporation. As such, we do not endorse or embrace political figures. We do, however, comment from time-to-time on historical or political events that provide pedagogical backdrops to illuminating principles contained in the SAL Theory & Model.


Click HERE to learn more about the SAL Theory & Model.

To receive weekly articles from Freedom Focused & Dr. Jordan R. Jensen, sign up with your e-mail address in the white box on the right side of this page where it says "Follow by E-mail."

Click HERE to buy a copy of Dr. Jordan Jensen's new book, Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.

Click HERE to read more about Dr. Jensen's book, Self-Action Leadership, and to review what experts in the leadership field are saying about this groundbreaking new personal development handbook.

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Jordan R. Jensen. Click HERE to visit the Freedom Focused website.


2 comments:

  1. Great article. So much wisdom in that verse you referenced, "In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see. To think that we know what others are thinking or feeling is ignorance unless others have shared their thoughts and feelings with us. I also agree we all live somewhere along a continuum of mental health.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Julie! That line you liked so much comes from Hymn #220.

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