Mental Illness by Caveat

Mental Illness by Caveat

by

James L. Secor

The dictionary defines “caveat” as: a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices; or a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting or doing something.

The reason for this title will become clear not just from my tale but from the APA [American Psychological Association] directly. Shhh! Listen closely. You’ll hear the mice running around, playing. Nobody’s watching. They’re all asleep. The people are asleep to what’s happening to them. And the APA’s asleep to reality. Let’s not forget the APA sanctioned waterboarding and other forms of torture at Guantanamo Bay.

This is a direct quote from the APA: “The unreliability of psychological prediction of dangerousness is now an established fact. Even under the best of conditions, it is wrong at least two out of every three cases.”

A psychologist’s answer: “We could do better with a role of the dice.”

And. . .there are no tests for mental illness. How can there be when mental illnesses are no more than loose collections of vaguely-defined problems of thinking, feeling and behaving. The noted labels aren’t coherent entities of any sort, just x number of signs out of x total possibilities. It’s like taking a multiple choice test where there is no right answer. No physical illness is diagnosed based on a conglomeration of some bunch of symptoms from a list of all possible symptoms. Let us not forget Typhoid Mary who had the disease and showed no symptoms; she carried the typhus disease bacteria and passed it along, creating havoc, yet did not evince any of the known symptoms of the disease. None of all possible choices. By the diagnosing standards of mental illness, she would not be ill–as she maintained all her life. Mental illnesses are nothing more than labels of no explanatory significance–and they are not even good labels as they are so vague.

I guess it’s all mental craps. Because what the APA is implying is that the “normal” population is more dangerous and, thus, the group of people who should be watched carefully are those normals. The normals are the ones dangerous two out of three times–and there is a Murphy’s Law coming up for ratification. There is also a political move to have everyone in the country tested for mental illness, child, adolescent and adult. Once. There is going to be one test administered during the life time of each and every person. This is ludicrous. But, then, when politics gets itself involved in matters medical, especially in a medical area of non-definition, the result is always ludicrous. The possibility of error in such a situation is unquantifiable. And, even on the individual level, there is no test that can elicit a diagnosis of mental illness, albeit the MMPI [Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory] can indicate if you may be in a depressed mood. Which, of course, does not indicate a diagnosis of mental illness.

Ergo, claiming the social mass shootings are due to the mentally ill is wrong; they are due to the normal in the population. What is known is that some of these shooters were taking anti-depressants because they were depressed–everybody gets depressed. That is, they were taking medicine known for making people more depressed, making people suicidal, making people aggressive and short on the fuse. Big PHRMA hushes up these news items because the open truth would hurt their multi-billion dollar business dealing in harmful and socially disruptive drugs. Better it is to create drugs that fuck people up and create social malfeasance than not. So that it is worth questioning why they would want to help and cure people? If people are asymptomatic, sales go down and that’s not good. No, no, no.

So, what’s the caveat here? Brain disease? There’s no such thing as brain disease. So, of course, there are no tests available to prove brain disease. Any kind of brain disease. When you are not ill, you are not ill; that is, when you are not ill, you are healthy; when you are healthy you are not showing symptoms; when the external stimuli are gone, so are your symptoms relieved.

Mental refers to what the brain does. What the brain does no one truly knows. Mental is your mind working. Mind? No one knows where mind “is,” if it is anywhere in particular. Thinking, too: what is thinking? Where are those thoughts? Point to ’em, won’t you? Feeling. Purpose, intention. Values, ideas, love, fears. Angst. Elation. These things, these mentals that we can’t see and can’t find and can’t define, these mentalities nevertheless run our lives. Terrance Deacon calls these characteristics “absentials” because they are “not there.” Because all mental functions are pointed toward some unseen end, they have purpose, which he calls “ententional”; that is, an ententional process–because the brain is all about processes–are expressions of finality, active processes going toward some end product that is not there as well. All of our living brings about some end or other. And if we’re all sick, suffering from a brain disease, what the hell’s going on? Shouldn’t we be able to define it? Specifically, not vaguely. How, though, can we define and delimit what isn’t “there”? Are we all delusional–including the testers and diagnosing people?

Because these mind-made things don’t have any physical presence, where in the brain do they arise? And where are they when they do manifest themselves? Where are they going? The people who have no feelings are the sociopaths, according to society. It sounds a lot like Big PHRMA doesn’t care what happens to people as long as they get their money, as there is no real reason for giving the medication sans disease. Once again, where’s the disease? (In your head.)

How can this be? The mind organizes and interprets and creates meaning out of other things, the chaos of the things of life, the life around us. Some of it we pay attention to and some of it we don’t. There is a floating choice; e.g., walking or driving we pay attention to the traffic, in the house we do not. That’s the brain’s job, to make sense of the world around us. That’s the mind working. But. . .where is “mind”? Even though it is intrinsic to the brain, it is, in fact, nowhere. As it is intrinsic to the brain it is mental; as it is intrinsic to the brain it is normal.

How can something that has no physical existence be classified as ill–or not? For illness relates to the physical: your body becomes ill, your heart becomes ill, your kidneys become ill. How can you have an illness of something that is not here, there and yet everywhere?

So, mental illness is the illness of the entire human world? Worldview? Apperception? A diagnosis of hallucination is given to people who experience things that are not “there.” Do we have a grand guignol of fundamentalist Buddhism?

R.D. Laing would say this kind or diagnosis is, itself, illusion but to be expected, for we live in a dysfunctional, abusive society. Thus the reasoning for diagnosing mental illness is part and parcel of the dysfunction and follows his three rules of an abusive society: “Rule A: Don’t. Rule A1: Rule A does not exist. Rule A2: Rule A1 does not exist.” Consequences? If you break a rule there is something wrong with you, you are insane, crazy, mentally ill. You are delusional because “everybody” knows it just ain’t so.

For instance, racism is abuse. Even with the obvious racism of certain people, the police, politicos, bureaucrats and the racial uprisings, all these social status quos maintain there is no racism. People who maintain there is racism are breaking rules A, A1 and A2. How fucking dare they! To the point that worthy news items are killed because they question the status quo, i.e., the abuse and dysfunction that is society.

So, then, who is insane? Who is mental? Who is mentally ill?

The caveat.

However, the consortium who made up out of whole cloth the DSM V have taken up the position that everything we do–the people, the lower sorts, everyman–is a diagnosable mental illness. Abnormal. Some of those deciders are doctors paid by Big PHRMA. Some of those deciders aren’t even doctors; they are health insurance representatives who are interested in a sick society because they won’t make any money otherwise. So, too, are the APA drug pushers. “Goddamn the pusher man!”

Ergo, all of the problems in society being due to the mentally ill, the elite status quo setters can continue to deny their culpability. Their abusive behavior. This kind of denial is a psychologically maladaptive behavior.

Brett Deacon, Ph.D. has succinctly set up a situation that is normal, everyday in psychological circles, showing how reactions to external stimuli become symptoms of a diseased mind. And the Psychiatrists and Behaviorists just happen to have the medical cure. . .

“Therapist: How are you?
 
Client: My house is on fire!
 
Therapist: I’m sorry to hear that. How are you feeling?
 
Client: I’m terrified! My dog is trapped inside! All my possessions are burning! What am I going to do?
 
Therapist: I understand that you’re upset. What’s going through your mind?
 
Client: I can’t believe this is happening! It doesn’t seem real. It’s like I’m dreaming or something.
 
Therapist: Do you also feel detached from yourself or your surroundings?
 
Client: Yeah, I feel like I’m in a daze. You hear about this happening to people but never think it can happen to you.
 
Therapist: I understand. These are common symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder. It’s a mental illness some people experience in response to a traumatic event.
 
Client: What do you mean mental illness? My house is on fire! My dog is trapped inside!
 
Therapist: I’m not saying you have a mental illness, only that you might have one. We’ll have to wait two more days and see if your symptoms continue before we know for certain.
 
Client: What symptoms?
 
Therapist: Symptoms like feeling unreal and being in a daze, and other symptoms like having upsetting memories and nightmares about the fire.
 
Client: Aren’t those to be expected?
 
Therapist: It’s normal to feel upset when something bad happens. But if you have a variety of symptoms that last for at least three days, and they bother you, then you may be suffering from a mental illness.
 
Client: Uh, okay. But what am I supposed to do? My house is on fire! My dog is trapped inside!
 
Therapist: Let me teach you some skills for coping with your negative thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling upset, breathe slowly and count to ten while thinking “relax.” You can also tense and relax your muscles. Negative thoughts can be replaced by positive thoughts, like memories of funny movies or times when you were happy. You can also imagine your negative thoughts floating past you like clouds in a sky. 

Client: Okay. But what am I supposed to DO?
 
Therapist: Practice your coping skills like we discussed. And come back and see me for another session as soon as possible. 

* * * * *

Two weeks later…

Therapist: How are you?
 
Client: I’m devastated. My house burned to the ground. My dog died. I lost everything.
 
Therapist: Have you been feeling depressed?
 
Client: Of course.
 
Therapist: Have you felt depressed most of the day, nearly every day for the past two weeks?
 
Client: Since the fire, yes.
 
Therapist: Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy?

Client: I guess so. I used to enjoy hanging out with my dog, watching movies, and surfing the internet. But my dog died and all my stuff was destroyed in the fire.
 
Therapist: How have you been sleeping?
 
Client: Terrible. I’m staying at a friend’s house on the sofa and their baby cries all night long.
 
Therapist: Have you felt fatigued or had low energy?
 
Client: Yeah, I’m tired all the time.
 
Therapist: Have you been thinking about death a lot?
 
Client: I can’t stop thinking about my dog. It must have been horrible for him to die in the fire. I miss him so much and can’t believe he is gone. He was my best friend.
 
Therapist: Have these symptoms been bothering you a lot?
 
Client: What symptoms?


 
Therapist: Feeling depressed, losing interest in things you usually enjoy, not sleeping well, loss of energy, and recurrent thoughts of death.
 
Client: I guess. I’m just really upset and don’t know what to do. I lost my whole life in the fire.
 
Therapist: I think I understand the problem.
 
Client: What do you mean?
 
Therapist: You’re suffering from a mental illness called Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical depression. You reported having five symptoms that have persisted for two weeks, and the symptoms are producing significant distress.
 
Client: Wait a minute. I’m feeling depressed because of the fire. I’ve lost interest in doing things I used to enjoy because I can’t do them anymore because of the fire. I can’t sleep because the baby screams all night long. I feel fatigued because I’m not sleeping. I’m thinking about death a lot because I just lost my best friend.
 
Therapist: It’s normal to feel sad when something bad happens, like a fire or the death of a loved one. But when symptoms of depression persist and become distressing or interfere with your life, that’s when we know a mental illness is to blame. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Depression is the most common mental illness. It afflicts millions of people every year. And it’s not your fault: it’s not a sign of weakness or poor character. Depression is a brain-based illness caused by a chemical imbalance. It’s a real medical condition, no different than diabetes or cancer.
 
Client: I’m confused. Isn’t it normal to feel depressed after what happened? Why are you saying I’m mentally ill?
 
Therapist: Because your symptoms meet diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder in the DSM-5, our diagnostic manual. Good mental health literacy involves recognizing the symptoms of mental illness. In your case, that means understanding that things like depressed mood, difficulty sleeping, and recurrent thoughts about death are symptoms of clinical depression.
 
Client: So, you’re saying that thinking I am depressed because of the fire instead of a chemical imbalance in my brain means I have low mental health literacy?
 
Therapist: That’s right. It’s important to understand that mental illness is real, serious, and treatable. Understanding the facts about mental illness reduces stigma.
 
Client: It reduces stigma to say I’m mentally ill with a chemical imbalance in my brain?
 

Therapist: Yes. The best way to combat stigma is by having good mental health literacy. Understanding that depression is a real, treatable illness caused by a broken brain reduces stigma.
 
Client: But it makes me feel worse about myself to think my brain is defective.
 
Therapist: Would you look down on someone for having cancer? Would you blame them for being sick?
 
Client: No, I guess not.
 
Therapist: When people understand that you’re sick with a real medical condition, and that it can be treated, they will have less stigma toward you.
 

Client: Wouldn’t it be less stigmatizing to say I feel depressed because my house burned down and my dog died?
 
Therapist: But that shows low mental health literacy. Remember, depression is a biologically-based mental illness. And the good news is that we have effective treatments for it.

Client: What kind of treatments?
 

Therapist: Both medication and therapy can help. Antidepressant medications help correct the chemical imbalance that causes depression. Therapy provides emotional support and helps you learn coping skills for managing depressive symptoms.
 
Client: How do you know I have a chemical imbalance in my brain? Don’t I need to take a test or something?
 
Therapist: No, that’s not necessary. We can tell your brain has a chemical imbalance because your symptoms meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. Although antidepressant medications are effective, they are only part of the picture. Many people respond best to a combination of medication and therapy.
 
Client: What does therapy involve?


 
Therapist: Therapy provides a safe space for you to talk about what’s on your mind each week. I will listen with empathy and no judgment and provide emotional support. I can also teach you skills for coping with your depressive symptoms. These include skills for reducing negative feelings, like slow breathing and muscle relaxation. You can also learn skills for reducing negative thoughts, like replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts and watching your thoughts pass through your mind like clouds in the sky. Having a good relationship with a trusted therapist is the key to success.
 
Client: What do you mean by success?
 
Therapist: Having fewer symptoms of depression.
 
Client: How am I supposed to have fewer negative thoughts and feelings? My house just burned down and my dog died!
 
Therapist: That’s where the coping skills come in.
 
Client: But I lost everything. I don’t know where to go from here. What am I supposed to DO?
 
Therapist: I will refer you to a psychiatrist for a medication consultation. Let’s meet again next week for another treatment session. You can book it with the receptionist when you pay for today’s session.”

(Cf. “House on Fire: A ‘Mental Health Literacy’ Parable,”Brett Deacon, PhD, for the full

article and his comments.) Ergo, we are sick at every turn. Mental health caveat.

I can say no more.

Limited Mentality

Limited Mentality by Minna vander Pfaltz

Minna vander Pfaltz again. Jimsecor is sidelined with hip problems that portend re-replacement. His inability to get around makes him irritable, so I’m doing this all by myself–not for the first time.

There is an unredeemable characteristic of the American mind: limited thinking. Not only not thinking past the present moment (or incident) but of the love of the ignorance thereby engendered, as might best be described as either looking out a window and only seeing yourself or being so enchanted with the frame that you don’t even bother looking out the window.

This is, at present, most notable with Donald Trump and the Presidency. Until mid-October 2017 no one was looking past Trump to the next president. No one is still. Typical reactionary American behavior: let’s only approach one problem at a time, this problem. Let’s not think that there might be consequences down the road. Even the news media jumps aboard this wagon. People are now seeing Pence as the replacement president. This runs in the face of Pence’s intimate involvement in the Russia corruption via his constant lying, at least. He is simply unfit to be president (Twenty-fifth Amendment). Yet no one seems to be bothered about this. As if to say, let’s bother with that later, when the problem arises, even though it is already right before our faces. Reactionary thinking.

Who is next in line? The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. He hates everyone but the rich, his friends and his benefactors. He will kill us all and ruin the country economically. Why? Because he is an ideologue and ideologues can never ever see past their obsessive-compulsive attachment to an idea. Repercussions are not important. He is very Communist in his attitude that if you can’t pay for your health care, you deserve to die that Rand Paul first put forward. Communist doctrine is that if you don’t work, you don’t deserve to eat. A tad more humane and based on human actions, i.e. working for the State. Indeed, all for the State, an idea Ayn Rand deplored. A very Communist doctrine. . .or that of slavery. And Paul Ryan is involved in the Communist hacking from near its inception in 2012.

There are other parallels/indications of Communism with him and the Republicans, but that frightening picture is not immediately in question, though it should be. Indeed, it should have been way back when the Republicans began calling their area of influence Red State America. The only other Red States in the world are Communist states. Everything for the government, everything for the State is the ethic.

So, why is no one thinking past Pence for replacement president? They ought to be, dammit. Does anyone know the chain of replacement? Who comes after Ryan if he is found unfit (because when the presidency is offered to him, he will jump at the chance)? Answer: President Pro Tem of the Senate Orrin Hatch. After him, if he decides not to accept? It becomes a free for all with the Cabinet: first one who says yes is it. Want to guess who would jump at the chance? Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III anyone? But, then, he’s out of the picture already. His cookie-making tree was built on shifting sand. Tillerson, a man after enriching himself and his friends? A man who’s used to being in control? A man who’s got business ties with Russia?

But, hell, why think ahead, eh?

America is in love with the adage “don’t sweat the small stuff.” In fact, if you take care of the details (the small stuff), then you do not have a large problem to take care of later on. But, hey, it’s better and more exciting to be reactionary. Limited thinking.

 

Some people are in love with their ignorance, like Cory Britton who, when confronted with a correction to his limited thinking, replied to Jimsecor, “James Secor shut the fuck up troll.” And then blocked Jimsecor’s e-mail. Despite many people saying the Internet is a hateful place, Jimsecor and I had never met up with it. He was nonplussed. It’s possible Cory Britton does not read; yet much of the information is available online at reputable sites, not just in books. Cory Britton is one of those people who is so in love with the window frame that he doesn’t bother to look out the window. He also obsesses over the myriad euphemisms for whore, listing them for an entire minute. He is, of course, not the only person who is in love with his ignorance. Sadly.

Trump, Ryan, Sessions–in fact all of the Republicans.

 

Agents, literary agents, are, judged from the Confucian division of society, at the bottom of the heap. Bottom dwellers? Not exactly. They make their money from the hard work of others. From a group that represented authors so the writers got the best deal, lit agents have taken to themselves the role of arbiter of all (publishable) literature. The single major criteria? Profit. Not only do lit agents charge the writer and then add on all office expenses (which they take off their taxes as business expenses–known as double dipping), they charge the publishers. What a scheme!

But agents are out of touch with reality. The “new” reading public, the people between late teens and 40s, have a short attention span. They don’t have the energy to focus on reading books of 50, 60, 100,000 words. But they can manage 30-40,000 words. 30-40,000 words is the rule and regulation lit agents use to class 30-40,000 words, a novella. Well, that’s fine. They can classify all they want; but the “new” reading public can only deal with this shorter length of book. So, why don’t they look for and sell fast moving novellas? If they had any historical sense, they’d recognize that the immensely popular pocket books and pulp fiction of days gone by were 30-40,000 in length.

This would help Jimsecor alot since he’s been pumping out books of this length lately. Thinking on the part of lit agents would aid us in living a better life. But ignorance via rules rules the day: I like my frame, it’s really cool.

 

Vegans. What can I say? Nowadays, they have the choice to eat what they want. Way back when, they’d not have had the choice–and they’d not have had the supplements (chemicals) to maintain a healthy life as they must today. Peasants and merchants died young. Vegans aren’t protesting cruelty to animals, other than rhetorically; they are avoiding the issue altogether. They vociferate energetically against killing animals in general–animals being living things–without realizing they are killing living things by ripping them out of the ground by their roots; eating them raw (still alive), boiling or frying them alive.

Once we have people who can’t see past the moment, past themselves, past their ideology, like. . .if you stop killing the animals in order to stay alive–in favor of killing plants to stay alive–what are you going to do with all of those animals running around all over the place? Let the people of Alaska and Wyoming shoot ’em down by helicopter? Vegans don’t like this now.

And what about those people who cannot eat a vegetarian diet? Like Jimsecor. He has no ileum, no cecum and no right (ascending) colon. When he eats vegetables, he needs to carry a port-a-potty around with him. Alas, Vegans are as single-minded as Evangelical Christians and consider it their right to impose their worldview on non-Vegans. As if cannibalizing vegetables is the saving grace. “I trust in Veggies” as I drive?

My advice? Go back to Vega where you came from.

 

Brown rice. Only in America.

 

People who make rules. Rules for everything, even being normal. Americans like such rules, as if to say, “I can’t live without them.” You know, no ability to frame a life or make decisions without being given explicit, delimiting guidelines. Rules of right or wrong that go beyond legal jurisprudence. There are rules for fucking everything! Look at the proliferation of how-to books. Jimsecor used to ghost write these books but he told the editor to stuff it. A bunch of ignorant charlatans selling shit from the back of a wagon. One man sold his how-to-get-rich as the end product of a quasi-religious Way! Although it was good money, I watched Jimsecor become increasingly irritable until he said, “Fuck it” and told the editor no more, lest it be to his specialty.

People don’t understand. . .if “this” was the way to riches, why are these people spending so much time writing (playing like they are writing) books about getting rich?  If they were doing it, they’d have no time to write about it–or want to limit their gaining power.

At the same time, I can’t fault people, for the economy of this country is not one that allows of success to working people. Of late, life takes them down, down, down and down at the bottom they find the social nets have really big holes and nobody likes them the more.

 

Economics. Economic efficiency. Efficiency experts par excellence. You older folk: remember Spencer and Hepburn in Desk Set? You younger folk: watch it. Economic efficiency has nothing to do with human efficiency. Humanity is a different animal. heh-heh The business model of efficiency–the business model of anything–cuts humanity right out of  the deal. This is most apparent in medicine; and, there, in hospitals, especially ERs where the presence of doctors, who treat people who expect to be treated by doctors, are not in evidence. They’re expensive. Replace them with Physician Assistants who, like ancient Chinese Eunuchs, pass along their idea of what’s going on to the doctor hiding somewhere so as to get the answer she wants. PAs are cheaper. Female PAs are the cheapest. Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) know more. If humans are seen to by doctors, even after the PA fact, they feel better about whatever is ailing them. Why? They are being paid attention to. Human “economics.” Does it cost more? Yes, in greenbacks. Is it better for the general populace–and the financial economic world? Indubitably. But when you have a business running the medical profession, you have no medicine, no person. Eventually, the business model is going to be sued into oblivion if it just doesn’t die a prolonged, nasty death.

Some doctors get around this by taking up the viciously Darwinish Concièrge Model of Medicine: if you’ve got the money, I’ll treat you. (Poorer people ain’t got it.) And if the illness or injury or anxiety or whathaveyou is serious, the doctor puts the sufferer in the hospital so the hospital foots the bill. Cool beans.

Lawrence Memorial Hospital: a monopoly. One hospital, lots of little pieces of hospital everywhere. They even own, via umbrella, all but one of the medical group practices in town. That one is adamantly independent–good–but just as adamantly practices the business model of medicine. So does the hospital, albeit some doctors have a higher ethic.

 

Limited thinking: Now, now, now. And Bill Maher. Bill Maher believes we should not be concerned about exploration of space because we’ve not got the technology. He would have held up sea travel and exploration centuries ago. The only thing wrong with space exploration is that it is seen as space exploitation. Jimsecor would go. Jimsecor would go to Titan. And as Jimsecor is considered too old and a useless appendage to society it would be good to get rid of him.

Voyager I and II are not examples of limited thinking. Taking funding away is. Unfortunately, soon they will run out of energy. Why doesn’t NASA tell us what they’ve found so far?

 

Universities. The first thing universities want to do when they get a hunk of money is to build buildings. Which means hiring administrative and support staff. Fuck the students and professors, which are what a university is all about. Fuck investing the money to make sure it continues to flow in. Buildings don’t draw students or professors.

 

University of Phoenix.

 

Law enforcement. Which is more akin to oppressive control and intolerance.

 

Zero tolerance. Very limited thinking. Zero tolerance is INtolerance.