I honestly didn’t think it was possible for somebody who had never explicitly “met” karl (KA3RCS), to describe him so amazingly accurately:
The first and most obvious factor to the mental health camouflage is the surface eccentricity that often comes with these communities. People wear unusual things, say unusual things, and have many unusual interests. While these things are not indicative of a mental illness in and of themselves, they help people who actually do have some issues blend right in. Here’s a few examples –
1. Fashion: It’s one thing to dress in mismatched, baggy, or gaudy clothes because it’s your personal style that you’ve come to love. It’s quite another to dress in strange fashion because you can’t connect with to reality or social expectations long enough to realize how bad your outfit looks. This can be especially bad if Asperger’s, schizophrenia, or some other issue is at play here.
2. Hygeine; in New Age Land “au naturel” extends to personal hygeine – it’s almost preferred that people smell a little oily and sweaty in New Age Land. This can easily cover for people who don’t follow hygeine rules due to mental illness, general slovenlyness or other things going on. Lack of hygeine is common to many mental illnesses and other issues.
3. Odd movements/gestures; In New Age Land, it’s very common to see things like body rocking, empty stares into space, way-too-intense eye gazing, spontaneous dance, and other strange things. While most of these people are doing it because they feel whimsical, it mimics some of the telltale signs of other issues and could make them hard to spot.
4. Abstract language; People in New Age Land have very odd word choice. This is usually harmless in residents of New Age Land, and is just used to fit in. Other people, however, might be doing it for reasons that require attention/help.
A. It could be because they can’t or won’t express themselves in anything but abstracts. This could be a sign that having/showing feelings is scary for them. It could be temporary fear due to the people they’re speaking with which is normal, but if it seems to be a consistent pattern that they are scared to feel anything, that’s a little different.
B. Sometimes people talk abstractly because they don’t want to admit to things that don’t sound good when spoken in plain English. “Tapping into Scorpio energy” sounds better than “Lashing out at people over tiny offenses that don’t match my cataclysmic reaction.” In New Age Land these could mean the same thing, but tell two very different stories.
C. Then of course there’s the scary possibility that their abstract language is meant as literal. Maybe you think they’re just equating aliens with wisdom in their head when they actually think they were speaking to extraterrestrial beings. Again, two different stories.
You have to watch carefully, and ask questions if you want to find the truth behind what people say when they’re abstracting it.
With general good-intentioned weirdness out of the way, let’s move on to some of the more substantial ways that New Age enables and camouflages mental illness and other issues.
5. Superstitious thinking; New Age encourages a few different types of superstitious thinking. When I refer to superstition, I mean the thinking patterns that erroneously link two things. New Age is full of stuff like “Wear carnelian for a healthy heart” or “Control your thoughts for a better future.” Certain mental illnesses take to this like white on rice. Sufferers of OCD in particular latch onto little rituals and compulsive actions to ward away something they fear. Law of Attraction is a goldmine of things for people with OCD to latch onto as a way to feel in control of things that either aren’t in their control, or are but require enitely different actions to achieve.
6. Everything is a sign; New Age in general encourages one to look for “signs” or things in the physical world that affirm that they are “on the right path.” Usually it’s looking for petty cooincidences, but it could also be a lucky number, a particular animal, anything. Again, while this practice is usually harmless it provides cover for people who have an unhealthy understanding of reality.
7. “FREEEEEDOM” (not to be confused with freedom); New Age Land is extremely lax due to a severe aversion to rules, regulations, and boundaries. You’re not supposed to express comments or concerns because that would be stifling their FREEEEEEDOM. I think the purpose of this is to make people feel accepted, but it just goes too far. It goes beyond benefit of the doubt and just straight up ignores things that need to be addressed. It lets things slide that ought not to slide. It’s a close cousin to this next one –
8. Unconditional Love; In general, New Age Land condemns judgement and hurting people’s feelings for any reason. Breeching the topic of a possible severe maladjustment or mental illness does tend to hurt people’s feelings. So you’re not supposed to question anything anyone does. You’re supposed to just love and accept them unconditionally the way they are; even if it looks like they’re flushing their life down the toilet and your love ain’t doing a damn thing to help. This is a horrible combination with drug addiction and many personality disorders. BPD, NPD, sociopathy, and a whole slieu of other disorders NEED firm boundaries if they have any hope of improvement or recovery. Unconditional love and FREEEEEDOM provide none.
9. Visions and “abilities”; You’re no one in New Age Land if you don’t have some sort of supernatural title or ability. You must be able to heal people with energy, talk to ghosts, sense spirits, direct you chi, or something of the like. This is a good hiding spot for delusional people. When they start telling people about their halluicinations, it seems like they’re just having encounters with the spirit world or something, when really they are in bad need of some assistance.
10. Delusional horsecrap in general; even mental illnesses and such aside, New Age Land is chock-a-block full of liars, exaggerators, and people who need to have tea with reality more often. There is virtually nothing that you can’t get away with saying. In general, if you offer to believe other people’s bullcrap, they’ll gladly believe your bullcrap. No one will ever call you crazy if you call no one else crazy. It’s sanctuary for anyone who doesn’t want to manage serious mental health issues.
11. Drugs; While alcohol is largely spat upon unless you’re a shaman, and cigarettes are nothing short of Satanic, there’s a huge tolerance for psychedelic drugs in New Age culture. Drugs are often thought to “open your mind” or facilitate spiritual truths. When it’s seen as something so positive, who’s to stop you when you’re sitting around all freaking day “facilitating spiritual truths” or “opening your mind” right before going into work. There’s virtually no bar for addiction in this community. Everyone can point to someone who does more [pot, LSD, mushrooms, salvia] than they do. This is bad in itself for getting addicted people to get help, and complicates other mental health issues they may have.
11. Conspiracy; Another HUGE HUGE factor I can’t stress enough in sheltering people with mental illness, personality disorders, and addiction is the conspiracy mindset of the New Age community. They are extremely skeptical of doctors and other professionals, and have very little faith in the benevolence and/or effectiveness of science-based medicine. They think that the pharmaceutical industry is unamimously out to make and keep people sick to make money off of them. They think every single doctor and health professional is in on this scam. So they will actively try to steer anyone with a diagnosis away from services that actually work. Which leads us to our last contributing factor
12. Alternative medicine; In New Age Land, the medicines your doctor gave you supposedly just make you sick and psychically suppressed. You need to take herbs instead, or go see someone to hit your pressure points or fix your aura or something. This accomplishes diddly squat beyond the placebo effect. Not to mention insurance will laugh if you expect them to cover a dime of these expensive services. New Agers of course would say that that’s a part of the conspiracy – they don’t want you to get better so they don’t cover it! That logic doesn’t even make sense – ideally, insurance companies want you to stay healthy while paying in so that they don’t have to pay back out when you get sick. As such, they only cover things that are proven to work.
It really is ridiculous just how perfectly New Age covers for people with some really severe issues. I’ve touched on how it covers up abuse before, but really when I think of it, it pretty much covers for, enables, and even feeds into every shitty behavior you can imagine. Every vice, character flaw, pitfall, illness, and anything else you want to hide from and never work on, ever. If you ever do realize you need help, it will be by your own insight. No one in the New Age community will ever call you on anything you do unless it’s in the most off-kilter stupid way ever. Even if they do call you on it you will never get the treatments you need unless you seek them out yourself. No one will ever make you get help, and may even discourage you from getting the kind of help you need.
Literally the only one of the above which doesn’t “fit” Karl is the thing about “drugs” — mostly because he’s too much of a chicken-shit to take the “risk” (IE: he doesn’t know anybody who would actually help him “score” anything, can’t nerve himself up to attempt a buy, or even be bothered to “smoke up” when he travels to states where weed is (currently) Semi-legal.