mental illness

Episode 89: Ending the Mental Illness Stigma One Story at a Time

Illness Might Just Be a Misnomer: Learn to Love Your Special Talents

Chrysanthemums

Dale Morris caught my attention a few years ago on LinkedIn with his headline: “If you’re trying to think outside of the box, you’re still constrained by the box.”

I thought for days about that. Although I believe constraints often lead to extraordinary creativity, some of us don’t think in the context of constraints. We don’t know what we don’t know, so we try things others might think were impossible. Our older son and I are perfect examples of that. When we get an idea in our heads, we don’t think about what wouldn’t work. We think about what WILL work. When it comes to the idea of thinking outside of a box, we’re more likely to think: “Wait. Was there a box? Was I supposed to do something with a box? Damn. A box?” Sometimes that works against us, other times, it definitely works in our favor.

Dale is one of those people who doesn’t even consider why something won’t work, he just moves forward with his idea. That’s why he’s so good at what he does, both in art and in IT work.

We shared a great discussion about the possibility that certain diagnoses we call mental illness might actually be evolutionary shifts to address our very real over-stimulating environments. We also talked about how some people choose to see a diagnoses in the light of possibility - using that different way of thinking to be really good at certain tasks and jobs.

I especially loved the part of our conversation about Dale’s art when he was in college. He had a literature professor who required an essay about a work by an American author within a specific time period. Because of his differently-abled mind, he struggled with the essay. She offered to adjust his assignment: Paint your feelings about a work of literature.

He selected the protagonist from Steinbeck’s The Chrysanthemums. I won’t spoil the story by sharing it here, just listen.

Connect with Dale on LinkedIn to learn more about his extraordinary talent in un-puzzling IT puzzles.