We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'm pretty sure most will disagree but here goes;
You can't fix them, they are broken and if you put your life and emotion into trying to help them you will be the one who is harmed. It may be a family member or someone you are close to and you cannot accept what I said. Fine but just be aware and take care.
Regarding the essay. It is my experience that people who are mentally ill don't know it. They may feel different but they don't typically conclude that they are mentally ill and usually blame all their problems on others. However many will once they have spent time in counseling will regurgitate what their counselor/psychiatrist has told them about their condition. But prior to this they are in denial.
No worries GWTW - I can't argue with you on much of anything you stated except this quibble: At the end, but only at the very end, did my late wife consider the possibility she might be mentally ill. I knew it (as did her Drs.) for 15 years. Still, as you said, it didn't make a particle of difference as to the inevitable outcome.