Author Topic: Madness Theory  (Read 8346 times)

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Gorticide :: Admin Elder Warrior

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Re: Madness Theory
« on: October 28, 2014, 12:19:33 pm »
Nat responding to the excerpt from Heller's Catch-22:  "Bipolar 'disorder' explained."

The Right To Be Unhappy

Is it time for another overhaul in the psych-ward?

There is not only a sense of shame in "checking in" to a hospital, but there is also the fear of being incarcerated "for our own protection" should we be diagnosed as suicidal. I wonder how many people suffer psychological agony in silence, afraid to reach out to others, isolated in a dimension called loneliness?

There is a stigma that goes along with having "nervous breakdowns" or "losing it" or "blacking out" or just being "too emotional" for polite (phony) society. People may consider emotionally disturbed people as "weak-minded," and this may prevent disturbed individuals from reaching out for help when they feel themselves "losing it."

Besides, I suppose emotionally disturbed people look around and see other people somehow "coping with existence," enduring the anxiety and stress of living in the Industrial World. Many may just suffer silently through their mental anguish from a "sense of duty" ("If others are coping with life without falling to pieces, why can't I?")

I have my own ways of coping, I guess. I have allowed this world to get into my head, so it is up to me to take my mind back from it. We each have to take our minds back. I do this by walking into the woods away from the cars and concrete, but today I think I was able to reach that state of awe and wonder just by holding a little stone in my hand and feeling it, looking at it with wonder at just BEING.

If I can find that state of mind ... where one looks at one's own hand for the first time.

Anyway, it is better to "go crazy" and become more fully alive than to be a well-adjusted drone trapped to schedules and socially-approved opinions and views.

How does one know when one has had enough? On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the flogging of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect it, and then collapsed to the ground.

In the following few days, Nietzsche sent short writings—known as the Wahnbriefe ("Madness Letters")—to a number of friends. I try to be strong, but maybe enough is enough. How much are we expected to endure? Don't we all have different thresholds as far as how much we can endure before we "crack"?

Although most commentators regard Nietzsche's breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy, Georges Bataille drops dark hints ("'man incarnate' must also go mad") ... manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis ...

Let's see ... A mental collapse, more commonly referred to as a nervous breakdown, occurs when stress levels are so high that your body is unable to cope with them. You become emotionally and physically unable to function on a daily basis.

You may feel highly fatigued and experience panic attacks and breathing difficulty. Victims of a mental collapse may cry uncontrollably and not even know the reason why they are crying. Frequent flashback to traumatic events can make emotions worse. Victims may suffer from schizophrenia and ultimately the breakdown can overwhelm the victim and suicidal thoughts may emerge.

Suicide isn’t wanting to die. It’s not being able to bear living. You are experiencing what are called post-traumatic stress symptoms. Your traumatic experience can make you a stronger and wiser person. The potential is there for you to learn and grow in ways you may not have considered had the trauma never occurred.

Here are some notes I've gathered from the Internet from various sources that may help us value our psychotic "expressions of distress" as cathartic and transformative experiences.

From Wiki:

Laing's view of madness

Laing argued that the strange behaviour and seemingly confused speech of people undergoing a psychotic episode were ultimately understandable as an attempt to communicate worries and concerns, often in situations where this was not possible or not permitted. Laing stressed the role of society, and particularly the family, in the development of madness. He argued that individuals can often be put in impossible situations, where they are unable to conform to the conflicting expectations of their peers, leading to a 'lose-lose situation' and immense mental distress for the individuals concerned. (In 1956, Gregory Bateson articulated a related theory of schizophrenia as stemming from Double Bind situations.) Madness was therefore an expression of this distress, and should be valued as a cathartic and transformative experience.

This was in stark contrast to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the time and is still contrary to the majority opinion of mainstream psychiatry. Psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers had previously pronounced, in his seminal work General Psychopathology, that the content of madness (and particularly of delusions) were 'un-understandable', and therefore were worthy of little consideration except as a sign of some other underlying primary disorder. Laing was revolutionary in valuing the content of psychotic behaviour and speech as a valid expression of distress, albeit wrapped in an unusual personal symbolism. According to Laing, if a therapist can better understand the person they can begin to make sense of the symbolism of their madness, and therefore start addressing the concerns which are the root cause of their distress.

It is notable that Laing never denied the existence of mental illness, but simply viewed it in a radically different light from his contemporaries. For Laing, madness could be a transformative episode whereby the process of undergoing mental distress was compared to a shamanic journey. The traveller could return from the journey with important insights, and may even have become a wiser and more grounded person as a result.

Laing was involved in research linking development of psychosis to family background. Despite supporting evidence, this has been controversial ever since, and the influence of parents who feel 'blamed' for a child's diagnosis of schizophrenia accounts for most of Laing's unpopularity in many circles. It was an inappropriate attribution by commentators who had not grasped the breadth of Laing's view of the nature of pathogenesis in families, as he had maintained throughout his career that parents are equally mystified, and unaware of the disturbed nature of the patterns of communication. Laing's most enduring and practically beneficial contribution to mental health, however, is probably his co-founding and chairmanship in 1964 of the Philadelphia Association and the wider movement of therapeutic communities, adopted in more effective and less confrontational psychiatric settings.

Laing is often regarded as an important figure in the anti-psychiatry movement, along with David Cooper and Michel Foucault. However, like many of his contemporaries, labelling him as 'anti-psychiatry' is a caricature of his stated views. Laing never denied the value of treating mental distress, but simply wanted to challenge the core values of contemporary psychiatry which considered (and some would say still considers) mental illness as primarily a biological phenomenon of no intrinsic value.

Laing, was, however, a critic of psychiatric diagnosis and argued that diagnosis of a mental disorder contradicted accepted medical procedure: diagnosis was made on the basis of behavior or conduct, and examination and ancillary tests that traditionally precede diagnosis of viable pathologies like broken bones or pneumonia occurred after (if at all) the diagnosis of mental disorder. The notion that biological psychiatry is a real science or a genuine branch of medicine has been challenged by other critics.
Things They Will Never Tell YouArthur Schopenhauer has been the most radical and defiant of all troublemakers.

Gorticide @ Nothing that is so, is so DOT edu

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