…”we all, as patients, construct truths with the raw material of memories that so often refuse to cohere, and therefore use the textual record to confirm and supplement our stories.”
This is probably the hardest of all subjects to write about: how we are incapable of understanding what’s happening, how even those who suffer, who have the ability to write, cannot articulate it. But it occurs to me to wonder if those caught up in mental illness don’t understand the mind of those not caught up in it. The statement above could also be my own experience with memories that refuse to cohere, and that we find other means to make sense of the past. It seems possible that some of their experiences caught up in their “condition” are in fact not much different than those not suffering this illness, that everything that happens to them, that doesn’t make sense, is not necessarily a facet of their illness. We’re all hovering around this space, most of us pulling things together successfully day to day. I’m almost inclined to say it’s not a condition, or an illness, but, all horrors aside, another way of living.
I have been around mental illness a fair bit, From what I have seen it seems it is hellish for the person, and I have thought the mass closing of the Mental Health hospital’ back 50 years ago should have been done very differently…only I will not speak of my thoughts on individuals – but this incredible case of mass psychosis we all just saw.
Everyone must be familiar with the words ‘Mass formation psychosis’, the work of Prof. Mattias Desmet. – a excerpt on his book from Amazon book review
In various podcasts, interviews, and in his book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism, Prof. Desmet outlines the four preconditions that must be in place before a totalitarian leader or message can captivate and mesmerize the masses: (1) a lack of social bonds; (2) a lack of meaning in life; (3) free-floating anxiety; and (4) free-floating aggression. Atomized into alienated, lonely, and frustrated individuals, the masses are then ready to hear the unifying message of an ascendant totalitarian, who is practically summoned into existence by the miserable masses. The leader, through a voice amplified by mass media, transmits to the crowd the galvanizing message that they had been yearning to hear: (a) an identification of the source of their discontent (i.e., the enemy, or scapegoat); and (b) a strategy for dealing with that enemy or problem.
At that point, when the roiling masses snap into some sort of coherent whole, “mass formation” occurs, and in its more extreme expressions, it can become “mass formation psychosis.” Up to a third of the population might be hypnotized and unreachable by any logic or argument,
I refused the mask from day one, totally refused the vax, and fought the Plandemic on-line every way I could – and in person. It took time to get used to always being the one person in the busy place who was not in a mask – it would have been so easy to put one on and avoid the really powerful and weird vibes you got – but I would not, and persevered throughout. (Fortunately I look like a 6 ‘ 2” street person in my full face hair, long beard and wild hair, and torn, paint spattered work clothes (I do construction) or I doubt I could have gotten away with it – but as it was No one bothered me)
From the 1%er Mask/vax refuser I saw this madness in the people. It was weird! People had gone crazy! There is no other way to put it.
The young were sacrificed by kept isolated without school, play, socializing, masked – given the very deaxly vax – to supposedly protect granny – as the children had no problem with covid. Never in mankind has the young been sacrificed for the very old – but the psychotic masses did it – the greatest crime against humanity by its twisted scope, and utter pointlessness of it, yet the Teachers, Doctors, Pediatricians, everyone – just did it – Insanity! Global Insanity!
And so I link the movie made from Robert F Kennedy Jr’s book ‘The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health (Children’s Health Defense)’
The book’#1 on AMAZON, and a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY NATIONAL BESTSELLER’
and here is the movie, free – for another week – the actual book as a film – it got good reviews…..
This was mass psychosis – and it is time the leaders who manipulated this crime against humanity be brought to court.
p.s. writer, sorry to intrude, I do sympathize very much with the plight of the sufferers, but this was madness of Billions of otherwise normal people
Well said Sir, and I am glad I followed your behaviour almost to the letter.
The one variation I permitted myself was to wear a full NATO Gas Mask (Respirator) when confronted by particularly obstreperous members of the NHS and the like.
Hehe. My wife was doing her motorcycle test during the pandemic. The instructors wanted her to wear a face mask under her full face helmet and surgical gloves under her leather motorcycle gloves.
You couldn’t make it up, simply incredible, thank you for that nugget!
What utter madness!
Your quote put me in mind of this one reputedly by Albert Pike:
We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of L*****r, brought finally out in the public view. This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time.
… true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of L*****r… ? Sounds like this is from the Scottish Rite of Ancient and Accepted Freemasons.
Zoroaster has a lot to answer for. Unfortunately if he ever actually lived, he’s dead.
It was Nietzsche who pointed out that Zoroaster was the first known individual to describe and ‘moralize’ actual existence (life itself rather than merely behaviours) as the result of an eternal good/evil conflict. This is very noticeable in politics today, regarding his intellectual descendants on the ‘left’.
Identifying precisely who is innately good and who innately evil is tricky, therefore people who think themselves good just type all opposition of any kind (however justifiable to the rest of us) as evil.
Aaron – so far as I can tell, mental illness occurs when the mind is sufficiently open to emotional experience but for whatever reason isn’t able to process and respond to such signals, leaving the mind/body being constantly triggered inappropriately. Sometimes there is hypersensitivity involved (being ‘triggered’),sometimes it is a lack of analytical capability to understand the emotions, accept them, then cast them aside.
When I was a kid I was totally shut down emotionally, I mean completely totally. I was like a hard-working automaton, but there was no joy, no real pain (other than physical pain from being hit, falling off a bike etc etc). There were reasons for it, but it protected me from maelstroms of emotions because self-preservation said that shut-down was the best survival mechanism.
When I was an adult that changed. I was treated properly for a year, so I totally opened up in a supportive environment. Unfortunately, coming back to Blighty returned to the ex ante Status Quo and that left me completely open to experience but with no support mechanisms to handle the devastasting melange of negativity and emotion coming my way. Blocking it out worked a bit, but not like in childhood. So I had to deal with it. And deal with it I did, mainly alone, painfully, but often very fruitfully.
I still can’t handle familial psychopaths, that still triggers me. Especially as society lauds them as ‘beacons of feminism.’
Unfortunately, far too many people think ‘therapy’ means talking to a shrink/therapist. For many, that is the worst therapy going. For many, non-verbal activities may be far better, be that sex, drawing, running, jumping out of aeroplanes, places where the subconscious can emerge without harm occurring. Many just bury themselves in careers, ridiculously stressful ones. It keeps their mind away from their thoughts whenever they are awake.
Those who can remember everything are usually the ones who had periods of really supportive ‘therapy’ without calling it that, it was just perfect periods of real life.
Those who need to forget usually have zero emotional support base to face up to it, so keep blocking it all out for survival purposes.
There’s no superior way, it’s almost always dependent on how your life’s course progressed.
Interesting, because the ranting about ‘Big Pharma’ and evil teachers and doctors is what sounds genuinely psychotic here.
It’s interesting that this writer chooses to highlight mental health cases about women and related to race, particularly when as was discussed in recent comments on an article about violence against women, that 75% of suicides in the U.K., mostly due to mental health issues, are of men.
Why won’t writers like this confront this issue of male suicide? It might help reveal causes which he’s clearly striving to identify.
But I’m afraid the answer to that question is people in the media writing about mental health just don’t care about this anomalous behaviour by men. If it was 75% of women or ‘people of colour’ they’d be all over it. But no, it’s just mostly white men – even this white male writer and sufferer shows that fashionably woke bias in writing about it.
“the reality of psychiatric illness remains unknown to most people”
Really? Given that it’s been estimated in the USA that something like 50% of people will suffer mental health in their lifetime and 20% will in any given year. I think you may be misinterpreting ignorance of the illness for some other aspect – people preferring not to show their knowledge of it maybe?
Which is a different problem – and noting the writer’s description of his persistent denial over many years of his condition, this is what I’d like to see him analyse, not the memory of his suffering. Why did he deny it? That would seem to be an obvious route to improving treatment with early identification or acknowledgement – and maybe stop people (mainly white men too) getting to the suicidal stage.
“Why won’t writers like this confront this issue of male suicide?”
Because that’s not what the story’s about. What on earth’s wrong with you people?
He’s trying to analyse mental health causes, and these often lead to suicide when not treated relatively promptly. A major statistical anomaly in the suicide rate for reasons of mental health that male suicide represents merits consideration. Doh!
“He’s trying to analyse mental health causes,
That is not what the story is about. I understand your concern for mens’ health, but I do wonder what people are taking from these articles when you think it’s about the cause of mental health problems.
Doh! Three thousand women per year are murdered by their male partners. Why don’t we talk about THOSE mental health causes? Try reading “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft. Reframing all of this as “health” as if we’re all complete victims of our choices is infantilizing and counterproductive to almost every human alive, except children.
Let’s see. Men choose to kill themselves–they are victims. Women choose to not marry or to divorce in an abusive relationship–society is the victim, husbands are the victim, children are the victim.
I am bipolar. I always knew, even as a child that I was somehow different and I acknowledged that. I sought help and have been on meds since 1994. They allow me to lead a relatively “normal” life, with occasional relapses.
Men tend to not attend the GP for anything, let alone acknowledging that they might have a mental health problem. Especially in Western culture it is taboo, men are afraid of being seen as somehow “weak”, so they don’t seek help. They expect that they should cope and eventually, sadly, for many it becomes too much. Not only that but the suicide methods chosen by men are often more “successful” than those used by women.
It’s a societal thing.
Men are better at suicide than women – how depressing.
I’m sorry for your troubles.
Thanks for the insight Pamela, and good to hear about your success in managing the illness since youth. My wife has had a serious physical illness since late childhood and it’s affected her whole life as well as her character – making her the very strong (and bleedin’ stubborn) person I admire so much.
On the inadequate male acknowledgement of mental health illness due to societal behaviours – with the benefit of experience, do you think there is anything we can do about it?
Um, in the US each year around 3,000 women are killed by their male partners. Why doesn’t the media constantly talk about THAT? I’m sorry about male suicide, but they’re using violence against themselves.
Somehow, I’m supposed to be more sympathetic of men who CHOOSE to kill themselves than the women who are victims of men who CHOOSE to kill THEM.
Common denominator here? MALE VIOLENCE USED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS. I’ll support you, but you are not my victim.
“Somehow, I’m supposed to be more sympathetic of men who CHOOSE to kill themselves than the women who are victims of men who CHOOSE to kill THEM.”
You might need to be explain the connection between those two points. I can’t see it. What is the relationship of one to the other?
Yes indeed, and also ask Leculdesac why he/she started his/her comment with “Um”.
Perhaps you could start by being sympathetic at all–or empathetic because you seem to see men as a collective unfavorable other (am I wrong?)–without qualifying that effort of understanding with an immediate but-what-about-this that reflects your truer sympathies.
Much of ‘mental illness’ is caused by the cruelty of ‘normal’ people. Not all, some is genetic, but a lot of it is the schizoid reality of the media telling you that nothing is impossible save your own laziness being accompanied by utterly heartless brutality of the mainstream if you actually try and do something.
‘Normality’ apparently involves being so desensitised to emotional violence that you can cope with it. It makes me wonder if it also desensitises the ‘normal’ to torture, sadism, killing nameless foreigners etc etc.
I actually find that large numbers of the ‘normal’ are severely mentally ill.
It’s just that deciding who defines what ‘illness’ is and what is ‘normal’ means they are badged ‘normal’.
‘Being a Christian’ and supporting US genocides the world over is one of the commonest ‘mental illnesses’ I’ve seen on this planet.
America is a very materialistic society largely run by big corporations especially their arms industry also individuals look at being wealthy as their main drivers they imitate the Hollywood set preaching from on high about how their views on social injustice are always correct while living in luxury, America has one of the largest wealth gaps in the western world also that goes for the high crime rates unfortunately.
How much of that is due to the pernicious influence of ‘Kosher Nostra’ may I ask?
Well-stated points. I would stipulate that America is a big and varied place that is not only materialistic, but your generalizations are valid.
How luxuriously absurd to advocate a version of social justice that doesn’t involve being less acquisitive and self-involved!
It appears that Hava was bulimic, not anorexic. As to Naomi’s severe psychosis: what is the evidence that entrenched racism had anything to do with it, or does that automatically apply to anyone who is black?
My brother-in-law has been institutionalized on and off for 44 years. He is currently in a grim state psychiatric hospital because his parents (now dead) went broke sending him to the “best” facilities and “doctors to the stars”. I don’t know what the answer is in treating people with mental illness, but my family’s experience taught us that psychiatry isn’t science or medicine, it is a money-making scheme decked out as a profession. Psychics are more legitimate; they really have to work at their grift, can’t prescribe drugs, and cost about $20.
Thank You so much.
Romanticizing painful conditions seems to be a trend, perhaps because being a victim of any kind has become a virtue.
But mental illness is often extremely painful and debilitating.
People shouldn’t have to be “romanticized” to be worthy of compassion.
People with mental illness can be awful, through no fault of their own. And they can suffer horrific fear and anguish.
We need to seek better treatments and cures for mental illness, and to protect those who are too sick to protect themselves.
As a former academic and bipolar sufferer myself the book that I have found most useful is actually a text book. I felt that I needed to understand this illness from the inside, not let it control me.
Goodwin & Jamison. Manic Depressive Illness: Bipolar disorders and recurrent depression. Oxford University Press.
Kay Jamison is bipolar herself and writes extensively on the subject. The book is a huge 2 volume tome but is available quite cheaply on Amazon or similar. It looks at both the physical issues in the brain, specifically hormones and their impact on the body, but also psychological issues. I recommend it.
I’m curious to know what you think about these kind of memoirs after reading the Goodwin Jamison books.
Amazing informative and perceptive piece about this topic, that is often trivialised by the attention seeking or victim seeking, whilst the true experience are often devastating and life wrecking for both the sufferer and those all around them.
I am sick in bed with a virus at the moment so I will keep this brief. Yes, you can have anorexia at a very young age. There are a lot of myths regarding eating disorders and they come in many sour flavors. My daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia/ARFID at age 11. There are many younger than her. The F.E.A.S.T. forum is a good start for education if you question this diagnosis at a young age. Many of these children are neurodivergent, and the best science pins this disease as 75% genetic. Dopamine and serotonin are believed to be involved. Not everyone can deny themselves food, but in some people it feels better not to eat. Once you reach a certain point and starvation mechanisms kick in, the dysautotomia with lack of signals starts the downward spiral. Then, they become hypermetabolic from the catabolic cell destruction and end up needing huge amounts of food to recover during the rapid growth of childhood. Growth spurts are often the environmental trigger. There is so much more to share, but since you doubted the authors anorexia diagnosis, it seems you should research a little more first.
“ …. since you doubted the authors anorexia diagnosis, it seems you should research a little more first.”
He doesn’t doubt the author’s anorexia. Presumably the quoted “really” means he’s taking it from her text. Unsettled is not the same as doubt.
“Aviv leaves unsettled the question of whether she was “really” anorexic …”
Nor does he question the diagnosis at a young age. Check your facts before you tell someone they should better inform themselves.
You can play with words but the author casts doubt. Whether she didn’t understand at 6 why she refused food doesn’t matter. Not eating is abnormal. I assume Aviv’s words are quoted, his are not. Whether she contrasts her condition with those around her doesn’t matter either. She had a restrictive eating disorder of some type.
“She became anorexic as a six-year-old, barely literate, and mostly unable to define what was happening to her. Aviv leaves unsettled the question of whether she was “really” anorexic — her age and stated motives for not eating complicate the question — and instead contrasts her own condition with those of the older patients around her.”
Many young children with eating disorders, and older individuals as well, don’t understand why they stopped eating.
Mental health memoirs have given me (major/persistent/treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, OCD, and ADHD sufferer) the wrong idea about recovery or what even to expect and aim for in my experience. Some days I can consider myself a “warrior” in the same way a warrior in active combat might sacrifice themselves or at least a limb in a losing battle.
Perhaps “survivor” is a better term as long as it’s used in the context of the present (“I am surviving” vs. “I survived”). I have struggled to find others’ perspectives in having mental illness and never getting better, least of all medical information or statistics about people who simply don’t see much improvement in their symptoms.
I’m all for having hope, but there’s a difference between hope and blind optimism or the pathologization of sadness. I’m sick of the answer to my woes being ignorance at the ugliness of the world or the flaws in the societal contract we are all forced to sign.
Just look up damage to the HPA axis that can happen in the early years of child abuse, and that it can be responsible for bipolar disorder and stomach problems ie irritable bowel and migraines brought on with too much tyramine in aged foods also suicidal depression, you can wiki damage to the HPA axis it gives a brief description of cause and affect.
I must admit to having a few problems with the notion of ‘mind’. What precisely would be the definition?
Do you mean whether it exists?