Mental Health is a term used to pretend that behaviors are the same as other health disorders, such as a disease. This allows medicine to “treat” these “diseases” as if they were physical, whether they are or not. Many diseases of neurology, chemical neurotransmitter imbalance, developmental disability, and similar, do have actual physical causes to them, so this is a valid corner of medicine. Some mental illnesses, however, have no known physical cause. For reasons like this, not all “mental health” issues are treated by a psychiatrist, or medical doctor specializing in mental disease. Some disorders or problems are treated by a clinical psychologist. I have had training in clinical psychology, but I am primarily an Applied Psychologist.
I am going to try to give you an intro look at mental illness, for you to understand what it is, and what it is not. First of all, every single human being on Earth has at least a little bit of this “mental illness” stuff. We are ALL born with some. It is only when we have developed a lot of that, enough to cause problems for ourselves or others, that we use words like “mental illness”. So, this is an illness of behavior problems for self or others, as opposed to bleeding or tissue damage, or viral infection. So, no matter what is wrong with your brain, if that does not cause trouble for yourself nor others, you are not mentally ill. Behavior is the symptom of this disease.
Behavior unacceptable to one’s self or others has been around forever. Societies have executed people for being different, imprisoned them, tortured them, kept them high on dope, and many other systems. Jesus was hanged for his “lunatic” behavior. Billy Mitchell, General in the US Army, suggested that the new invention of the Wright Bros., the aero-plane, would someday be useful for the military. Naturally, he was sent to a mental hospital for life. (Yes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, International Airport is General Billy Mitchell Field.)
I was ordered in for mental evaluation when I suggested that women be permitted to go to law school. Imagine such a radical idea? Many were locked up for the mental illness of being gay or lesbian, too. Throughout history, whatever behaviors cause problems for society’s rulers are considered mentally ill. As recently as October, a psychiatrist tried to rule me schizophrenic, which nearly got his license suspended, and may yet. (Dr. John Allen, M.D., Promise Behavioral Institute, San Diego.)
Behaviors that are different, even if that is better behavior, are usually considered mentally ill. That includes substance abuse, even in people who would be better off abusing substances. Throughout history, some people were different. All societies have struggled with the question of how different is too much. Right now, our George W. Bush paranoia is with child-sex and child-related porno. Okay. That is our most-unacceptable mental illness. This mental illness happens to be a crime, and that implies intention.
Most substance abuse is not of intent, and most child sexual abuse is not, either. Both are intolerable by society, but the disease model falls apart whenever we blame the patient for the disease, insisting that they voluntarily caused that disease. So behavior is a crime, in addition to being a disease? How can a disease be a crime to have? When a disease involves behavior, we blame the patient, and put the disease model out of our heads. Behaviors are the only diseases that we blame upon the diseased themselves. Indeed, homelessness has been considered a mental disease, and therefore blamed upon the “participants” who “voluntarily” engaged in this behavior.
Society wishes to believe that alcoholics want to be same, and that homeless people want to be homeless, too. That is because behavior has the component of free will. But, how free is our will? And, if mental illness is indeed an illness and treated by doctors, how do we blame this on patients? Syphilis is caused by behavior, and that makes it a mental illness? I am just scratching the surface of where all this goes philosophically.
Medically, syphilis is caused by the mental illnesses of infidelity, lack of proper hygiene behavior, and excessive libido, all behavioral. So, venereal disease, along with drug abuse, is a mental illness. Same with obesity. I joke about being addicted to Hostess Twinkies, and that after being treated I still think about there being a hypodermic syringe in every package, so I get angry when they are given out at kids’ birthday parties. Here, kid, have some crack!
A number of problems exist with the mental health system, one of which is diagnosis. If you obtain the diagnosis of a patient from 8 different psychiatrists, you may get 8 completely different diseases specified. Who’s right? Well, they all are, because there is so much leeway involved, plus it is argued that what a patient displays one moment may be different from the next. To a very large extent, it is all arbitrary. I avoid diagnosis, because the patient hears about it, looks up how they are supposed to behave, and becomes that way, classic. Better, then, to tell them they are absolutely normal, and maybe then they become same.
So, a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder (ManicDepression) with tendencies towards Paranoia could also be expressed as a Paranoid Personality Disorder with tendencies towards Clinical Depression. Different angles to the same case, but the same thing. To specify some idea of what is up, a diagnosis is helpful, but is green a bunch of blue and you add yellow, or vice versa? And, is all green the same color? The amount of individual differences between people within a particular diagnosis far outweighs the amount of differences between the various diagnoses available . To say it differently, every person has their own unique mental illness.
Combine that with the self-fulfulling prophecy of the patient starting to comply with how they think they are supposed to act, and you get shit-science. In the end, the only thing that does the patient justice is a wholistic approach, in that each patient varies a lot more from the diagnosis than they share with that diagnosis. They can be categorized, like fingerprints, but they are also as individual and unique as fingerprints. Hence, everybody needs a different approach entirely.
This may be beneficial for the psychiatric and psychological community, because it means that no computer program will ever be able to do a reasonable job replacing them. Too many guesses, shades of gray, pieces of intuition needed, that sort of thing. I’m good, but I have 8 years of college, too. Diagnosis and mental illness works a lot like stereotyping humans. If you are Black, you are a good athlete? Not necessarily. So, if you are Obsessive-Compulsive, you are also a gambler and a neat-freak? Well, once again, not necessarily. Some Jews have blue eyes, some children born of doctorate parents are stupid, who knows? All this stuff does is peg a few tendencies, which makes it easier to look at something. Diagnosis is stereotypes of mental cases.
Treatments are sometimes worse than the disease itself. There is more emphasis these days on controlling the patient than on improving him or her. Even in a case where they are way better off using heroin, we stop them from doing so. Who gives a shit about them? I just believe what I was taught in psychiatry school, and in church, and I am the expert at forcing people to comply, right? More and more the attitude of those treating mental illness. Sad, too. Convice yourself that you are God, and then force human compliance, Mr. psychiatrist.
I once went in for psychiatric analysis and the physician tried to make the case that I was schizophrenic. I could barely keep from laughing, and he didn’t know that I’m a psychologist. He wanted to give me an anti-psychotic drug, which would have certainly brought me under control, as a vegetable. I told him I suffered from ADD and he said that there is no such disease. (Common belief among religious quack psychiatrists.) Ok, I said, Adult Autism. Here, he cannot say that Autism does not exist as a disease. I went on to suggest that without any delusions nor hallucinations, his diagnosis of schizophrenia was, in itself, a schizophrenic action on his part. That shut him up, because it made perfect clinical sense all the way around.
Most other treatments are not much better. The drugs used are not even the best one for the patient. They are the drugs that pay the biggest kickback to the psychiatrist. Hey, it is a business. I have met people that were permanently damaged from ECT (electro convulsive therapy) and way more. The state of psychiatry today is way worse than the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”!
The three divisions of clinical psychology in thought are Psychoanalytic, founded by Freud and continued by Jung; Behavioristic, founded by B.F. Skinner; and, Wholistic Psychology, founded arguably by Abraham Maslow. Each have good and bad points about them. Each have ardent opponents and passionate proponents. Every study ever comparing them has been proven as rigged and worthless. Too much prestige on the line.
Psychoanalysis is borne out of old psychiatry, where people were locked up in rubber rooms for life and injected with cocaine to make them feel better. Freud discovered that most of what we do is determined by factors that we are not even thinking about at the time. He coined the words conscious, unconscious, ego, and even libido (sex drive). Psychoanalysis teaches you what your dreams mean, what your inner thoughts are, and how to use all that to get ahead, and be better and happier. Some of it is conjecture, and even snake oil. A lot of it, however, is true and works good. Psychiatry of the psychoanalytic nature is extremely expensive, takes many years, is very slow to get anything done, and I know of no Pro Bono cases.
There is a pill called Strattera that in high doses allows people to know what all of their own inner thoughts are. I call it psychoanalysis in a pill, and take it daily.
The second school of thought regarding mental illness is called Behaviorism. It says, basically, that behaviors can be studied as if they were part of a hard science, like chemistry. All behaviors have causes, and we can change around the behaviors of people by forcing causes that have specific results. If we give you a drug that causes any ingestion of alcohol to make you violently ill, you will stop drinking. You might take up injecting heroin instead, but you will stop booze.
That is, of course, the problem with Behaviorism. Many people who got their unacceptable behavior “cured” with the technique developed worse behaviors in their place. So, the man is no longer a cocaine addict, but rapes children instead. This system of techniques and therapies is the only one which requires minimal training and can be administered by a nurse. It is far less expensive for that reason, and so is the preferred treatment for the military and government. It is the technique least liked by the patients, however.
Behaviorism is the study of complete brainwashing and how to do it. When I give you the command, you will no longer use heroin. Maximum control with minimum regard for the patient. In combination with abusive psychiatric drugs, a winner. Safely soaks and washes brains clean in just six months! It can be used to help you, but make sure that it is YOU calling the command shots. Most of the financing for this system of treatment was funded by CIA. It works.
The third system of thought regarding mental illness and its treatment is called Wholistic Psychology, or Gestalt. It says that each person is unique, and so no treatment will work for two different people. It says that understanding a person and their mind takes time and intuition (same as psychoanalysis, on that point), but that self growth and self esteem are paramount, along with love. It says that in order to even grow psychologically, you must first have enough to eat, and a place to live. Obviously not popular with the rich Republicans.
Wholistic Psychology blames mental illness upon poverty, social class, lack of understanding among people, greed, and failure to share things like food, housing, love, and even jobs. Of the plans patients prefer, this one makes them the happiest, but not necessarily the most productive for society. So, in general, governments and insurance companies refuse to pay for this treatment. It is less expensive than psychoanalysis, and can be done by a social worker with additional psychological training. It’s my branch.
Treatment in Wholistic Psychology, as in Social Welfare, is to find what works for one individual, based upon what both society knows plus the therapist knows. First, make sure the patient has no problems getting free housing, medical care, food, entertainment, and even sex. Then, set up a plan to help them stop worrying about losing any of that. Third, help them interact with friends and share love. Lastly, boost ego and self-esteem in order to make them all that they can be. Yes, the Army slogan “Be All That You Can Be” is taken directly from Gestalt Psychology.
I have said that the real lunatics are those who earn cash as mental health professionals, yet do not help anyone they treat. They just control them. Governments pay for this service. Let us turn the glass around, however, as the half-empty glass is also half-full. You need to properly use the mental health system, or it will improperly use you. Knowing how it works is paramount.
The system refuses to admit that poverty and even religion causes most mental illness, but it does. And, while nobody will give you a psychoanalytic psychiatrist with a couch, nor a pholistic psychologist like me, due to the cost, you can still get good treatment from the behavior modification guys (control people) that the government provides free, if you know what to look for and what to say.
Are you controlling your situation, or being controlled? Did you know that each and every psychologist is capable of going outside of their preferred field and approach? That means, of course, that I can psychoanalyze you, but I won’t because that takes 20 years and neither of us has the time.
You may be able to get just one visit with a holistic practitioner, to formulate a treatment plan that eventually gets carried out with the help of a less-expensive shrink. You do want drugs that help you grow, but not those which force you to be controlled and brainwashed. I use Strattera and Aricept, which are both great on memory, hard work, and mental toughness. Prozac and Welbutrin are okay, too. And, of course, let us not forget about Spirituality, the Medical Technical Term, not the religious one. Your pastor can help with that. It means that you get hugged, and that helps cure mental illness.
Alcoholism is a mental illness, or perhaps a symptom of a mental illness, and Alcoholics Anonymous gives people hugs to help with that illness. Hugs do help to heal most things. An expert on how hugs work is called a minister. Some ministers will work with you on all this, and others will not. Lots of us out there, so don’t give up easy.
I cannot advise anyone diagnosed as Schizophrenic, as I do not believe that same can be cured nor treated at all. If you have delusions, I cannot help you, and refuse to waste time trying. Others treat that, with no success. Let everyone do what they can do, or think they can do.
My suggestion that I met God has been called a delusion. Schizophrenic? Well, one delusion in a lifetime does not constitute that disease. Also, religion is an exception. If you believe in the Virgin Mary, that does not make you a nut-case all by itself. It can, if you take it too far. Most ministers do not believe in God, but help you to believe, as a favor to you.
Anyway, the behavior-modification shrinks usually try to get you onto a control drug, so any drug choice needs to be run by a wholistic psychologist for scrutiny. And, minor tranquilizers are okay, such as Librium or Valium, as are the ADD drugs and the Prozac derivitives, but most other headshrink drugs are control-dope. Might as well shoot heroin!
On the subject of heroin, ask this: Doc, why can’t you prescribe heroin or cocaine (or both) for my mental illness? It may not cure anything, but I’ll be so high I won’t care! Staying high permanently is probably the only treatment for schizophrenia, the mind that has become the egg that was dropped on the sidewalk.
Okay, if your mental illness problems bother YOU, as opposed to anyone ELSE (such as your landlord, employer, minister, psychiatrist, social worker, or spouse) then classic behavior modification therapy may work just fine. This form of psychology, the only one that is usually tax-sponsored, can help you. Make sure that you are HELPED! Did you ASK for treatment?
Let’s say you have an alcoholism problem. Is it a problem for YOU or for those people trying to control you? There are better addictions than alcohol. Harry Houdini was addicted to performing magic tricks, so much that it killed him. For behavior therapy to work requires substituting a new addiction for the old one. That’s awful, you say? No, because not all addictions are bad.
Pablo Picasso was addicted to fine art. Works out better than being addicted to heroin, right? Pablo The Heroin Addict would never have made history, nor become rich and famous. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote Sherlock Holmes, was addicted to both heroin and cocaine, but substituted writing novels for those addictions. Understand how it works? Tiger Woods is addicted to golf. Dentists have dreams about teeth.
Find out what you really love to do. Eat? Bad one. Many people quit smoking, only to end up with a $300-a-day Hostess Twinkie habit. Exercise? Much better addiction, as that is healthy. Hopefully you do not go so overboard as to have plastic surgery and run for Governor of California (or Michigan).
Right now, I am addicted to writing and amateur webmastering, both constructive. You choose your own addiction. Sex? Sure, that works, but society is squeamish about that as a cure for mental illness, plus religious leaders object (although they use it a lot themselves!)
Get addicted to Jesus? Okay, but I put religious (love) addiction in a class worse than narcotics. Many ministers need to be treated every year for addiction to love. Really. That’s a religious secret, like Catholic priests having sex with young boys, hoping to someday turn them into priests. So, tell the therapist that you no longer use alcohol. Your alcoholism is completely cured. Thanks, doc! Now you instead molest children, snort cocaine, and eat 300 cupcakes every day. Substance abuse is the symptom of an underlying mental illness. It is not the illness itself!
Taking cough medicine means that you do not cough, but it does not mean that you no longer have a cold. Eliminating the symptom of alcohol consumption does nothing for whatever mental disease was causing it.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
Am I mentally ill? Well, do you FEEL mentally ill? That is how Freud put it. You do have all of the answers, but you are not letting your own self know. That is why you are fucked-up in the head. You gotta learn YOU. This is my test for the elusive “Mental Illness”:
- Are you happy? How happy? Why or why not?
- Are there things you wish were different? What? How? Why?
- Are there things about you that you dislike? What? Why?
- What are your dreams (aspirations, not that night stuff)? What do you want to do? What is the purpose of your life?
- How do you stay in control of your life? What do you need? How will you get that? What are your plans?
- Is there anything about your thoughts, beliefs, behavior, that you cannot tolerate? What? Why?
Scoring: If you used as few words as possible, you are trying to hide from yourself. Go back and write a LOT about each question. If you cannot do that, you are mentally ill, plus refuse to admit that to yourself. Once you have written a lot on these questions, read what you wrote. Evaluate yourself. Nobody has accused you of being stupid. You still don’t know? Okay, take the paper to a psychiatrist or psychologist for their evaluation. Should take ten seconds, and I do that on-line a lot.
Any diagnosis arrived at is questionable, anyway, because you have many sides to you and I am only seeing one mood today. Two different shrinks almost always results in two different diagnoses. Where do we go from here? That depends upon your resources.
If you have bags full of money, hire a top-shelf psychiatrist. If not, your first line of defense is any school psychologists, if you are in school. Then, there are volunteer free social workers. If that fails, governments do pay for some psychiatric help.
Mostly intended for dangerous nut-cases, all governments have psychiatric care available, especially for emergencies. Not a good use, though, as it gives you a mental criminal record, causes extremely toxic and harmful drugs to be forced into you, and it is very traumatic. Ask if you can get routine non-emergency psychiatric care. Probably, there is a waiting list.
Ask the doctor what types of drugs are available, and what each one does. There are not many. Try to avoid the classic tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine, in favor of the Prozac type drugs, such as Welbutrin. Avoid such drugs as Zoloft, Paxil, Chlorpromazine, and similar tranquilizers in favor of Librium, Valium, similar. Avoid the stimulants such as Adderall, in favor of the reuptake inhibitors, such as Strattera. And, above all:
Keep in mind that most shrink-drugs take a minimum of three weeks to have any effect at all! This is not like a cup of coffee or a sleeping pill, which takes two hours at most. Brain drugs of this variety take a lot of time to soak into your brain. Your brain is not like a sponge, but more like a loaf of very old and stale hard bread. You need to soak it in these drugs before anything happens, and that takes time. Many people give up on treatment before getting any results!
Also, keep in mind that if the doctor gets paid by the government, he or she needs to follow whatever brainwashing guidelines have been established by their employer. This involves some form of controlling you, which varies by county, city, state, etc., and they need to follow the orders of their boss or they will lose their job and live on the street. Understand? They work for a nonprofit? Well, most nonprofits are secretly part of the government, and get government money to operate, which means taking orders from the government, too. It makes them look independent of government, which they are not. This helps to hide the government motive of controlling you.
Should you get a diagnosis? All that really does is to prejudice any treatment official along sterotype guidelines. Not a benefit. It also prejudices you, too, by suggesting what you are “supposed to” be and act like. Also not a benefit. Diagnosis does more harm than good, but it is a necessary concept to make things fit into our apelike primitive brains. Each fine art painting is unique, but it helps us to understand them if we classify paintings into categories of art. Your brain is a unique fine art, unlike any other. Classifying it into a category of Mental Health tells us nothing about you, personally. Diagnosis is a human concept used to help us process information by creating sterotypes.
So, if I diagnose you as being Black, does that tell us that you are a good athlete? Good dancer? Does it even tell us that your skin is dark, since there are albino Black people, whiter than I am? To diagnose a mental disease is to assign a “race” to it. It makes somebody easier to spot in a group of people, should you need to point them out as the person somebody needs to talk to. It does not tell us anything dependable about that specific person. We use it because it gives us tendencies.
Yes, if you are Black, you would on the average tend to have darker skin, be a better athlete, and all that racist stereotype crap. But that is averages, not individuals. So, using diagnosis as a starting point is useful for giving us tendencies of what to expect. It also biases our treatment of the patient, however. I only use it when absolutely necessary. It is a communications tool, not a therepeutic one.
So, let’s say you are diagnosed as having Shoplifting Disease (cleptomania) but in your case you only shoplift extremely raunchy pornography, which you take into the alley behind the store and burn it. Are you to be arrested for theft, arson, religious lunatic behavior, or are you just making a political statement? Society uses its resources to control you, and calling you “mentally ill” is just one of those (often abusive) controls.
When you combine psychiatry with religion, probably the worst possible thing to do, you get the greatest possible abuses. Religion uses hypnosis to socialize, while psychiatry uses it to control behavior. Both are the same word, socialize and control, only varying in perspective. Socialize implies that it is for your own good, whether it actually is or not. It is for the good of the rich people who want to control you so that they can make money off you and all other people. The primary crime you committed is poverty, in that you no longer have any more money to be extorted out of you.
Extortion via excessive rent is the most common ploy of the wealthy to both control and profit from us. You cannot, for example, tell the boss at work to go eat shit, because that would result in not being able to make the rent payment, and then welcome to the sidewalk. The threat of homelessness affects us all. Once homeless, you no longer have that particular worry (coming up with rent), nor do you have the threat of becoming evicted and homeless hanging over you, either.
Like the vampire said, “Worry about dying? That already happened.” So, the view from the sidewalk is to not have to worry about rent.
- Mental Disability Payments (SSI)
- CMS (County Medical Services)
- Medi-Cal and Medicare
- Religious Counseling and Therapy