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Lessons from the American Revolution, King George iii & the Power of Forgiveness in Mental Health

Lessons from the American Revolution, King George iii & the Power of Forgiveness in Mental Health

“Would you Forgive?”  – Lois Einhorn, PhD

During my most tormented days, angry and bitter over lost personal battles, I sat in a lecture class centered around forgiveness, empathy, and making our personal needs clear to ourselves and the people around us. It was a rhetoric class and I would reminisce about my admiration for King George iii, his struggle with mental illness after losing the American Revolution, and learning how to forgive a new nation that made its need for independence known to the world, and the ripple effect his pardon of America had for the world and this great country.

When I was in grade school, long before any mental health condition, I was interested in King George iii and was introduced to him in the book, “Why can’t you make them behave King George?” Somewhere in my archives is a picture of me going to school dressed as the king. Later, as my mental health subsistence grew more complex, I was re-introduced to the king’s narrative with King George’s madness and its many representations in theater in film. Here is a king who is humiliated by his own colonies and again by his symptoms and struggle to maintain control of himself and his governance. My interest in the king culminated in the height of my mental health battles when I likened my reality to the Regency Period of England and made sense of my situation similar to how the government in England did to keep the country running during the kings continuing illness.

The implications of this period in history are too enormous to wrap our minds around. How do we confront, re-invent, and discover ourselves when our personal battles are so dark processing our thoughts is a struggle and needs careful therapeutic monitoring? These are thoughts we hesitate to remember but need to so we can move on. It begins with owning our part in our mistakes and taking responsibility. We can forgive but never expect to be entitled to be forgiven. This seems bittersweet, but it teaches selflessness, the very mettle required to move past our insecurities. Forgiveness releases us, empties space for more timely responsibilities and current needs. Where would we be without this personal vindication device to both create an opportunity to understand the world differently and revitalize and heal our wounds from emotional distress and bitterness? Indeed, King George iii may have lost the war, but he set the world stage for a new standard in personal growth and transformation of the soul and its limitless nature to heal us and the world from its darkest hours.

King George on America

Edited: Autumn Tompkins

J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."
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