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Have you ever heard of the book, The Secret? It is a video now, too. The premise of, The Secret is that you can visualize what you want in this world and it will come to you. If you visualize wealth, money will come to you. If you visualize health, you will be healthy. The book claims that most great thinkers and artists throughout history knew this “secret” and practiced it.

You can probably guess where I am going with this already. I hate books, videos, self-help programs that tell you can have anything you want by “thinking it” into existence. In my opinion, the very core of these “programs” or philosophies is victim blaming. You have cancer? Just visualize yourself healthy, and it will go away! You have schizophrenia? You must be manifesting bad energy!

I think it is helpful to visualize things you want for yourself because it can help you focus and meet goals, or make something a priority. I don’t think visualizing something will automatically make you wealthy, healthy, more creative, etc. If this were true, all doctors would send us home and just say, “visualize your healthy mind!” And while I do think visualizing a healthy mind could help with symptoms, I don’t think it is going to replace medication. In other words, I could spend eight hours a day visualizing a healthy mind, and I would still have to take an antipsychotic to keep psychosis at bay.

In my opinion, these books, videos, programs are created by people who are lucky enough to be healthy and lucky enough to have opportunities available to them, or they are lucky enough to beat the odds and make it out of poverty or have an illness that goes into remission. I think it is almost cruel to subscribe to these ideologies and believe that people manifest their destiny. Honestly, I can’t think of a single person who wanted or thought their way into having cancer. I can’t think of a single person that would choose schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (there is still the occasional person who romanticizes mental illness and believes that heightened or brilliant creativity comes along with mental illness).

I had a cousin who believed the information presented in the book, “The Secret,” and he used to tell everyone that would listen, that he was going to be a millionaire by the time he was thirty. Well, thirty has come and gone for him, and he never mentions that anymore although we listened to it for years. Also, both of his parents are very ill now, and I think that has given him a new view of life – we simply don’t want or choose everything that happens to us.

Making a vision board to realize your dreams, or increase your creativity makes sense. Like I said before, having something like a vision board up in your workspace can help you remember and focus on the things you want out of life. But even if I filled my house with vision boards full of pictures of the things I used to do but can’t do anymore, it wouldn’t make those things magically manifest in my life.

I think we can all use a little dose of magic in our lives, but when it comes to health and healing, I count on doctors. Besides, antipsychotics can work like magic anyway.