Saturday, December 28, 2013

Does mental illness exist?

I can't help noting an article published by The Guardian and linked at questioning, in general, whether "mental illness" is a valid clinical diagnosis. The gist of the unknowncountry commentary is that, no, there isn't really such a thing. People aren't mentally ill; they're just creatively different.

As I've opined extensively in the past, this is the 800-pound gorilla in the paranormal room: people who fit the clinical diagnosis of mental illness tend to appear on sites and talk radio shows devoted to the paranormal (and the right-wing).

My personal experience is that there IS such a thing as the classic diagnosis of mental illness, and that those who are mentally ill truly are unable to function in our consensus reality. At all. They can't communicate; they can't work; they can't perform even the most elemental tasks of self-sufficiency.

If anything, the United States lives in profound denial of the problem of mental illness. And we see the consequences daily: in our leagues of homeless, in our mass homicides, in our exploding prison population.

On a less consequential level, mental illness-denial contaminates any discussion of metaphysical topics and prevents any serious, rational investigation into what (I believe) to be valid, extraordinary experiences.  Scientists won't touch it, and I don't blame them.

The mentally ill are people who truly warrant our help, support, and treatment. Not, necessarily, our belief.

1 comment:

  1. does diabetes exist? does back pain exist? in a tech savvy country where cyberchondria rules, it still amazes me to be bombarded by news of mental segregation.
    large institutions are built around every physical illness possible. monstrous files clog the computer tripes of medicine. and yet--most pervasive dysfunctions of the mind register very low upon the collective psyche. why?
    visceral fear of the unknown? no pictures available to dissect these ills and deviant symptoms? ah! wrapped in dogma and dressed in guessing, mental concerns have not yet reached the compassionate hearts of our expectant society. we are too busy maintaining a decent public profile and holding onto purse strings to open the gates of the unseen asylum of the slums. too bad..the pain we ignore today is the tragedy of tomorrow..tenfold.