Thursday, 29 January 2009

Self-actualization is a disease

If you haven't heard it yet: HealthCentral has bought Wellsphere. As I commented on Gianna's blog, I'm just glad, I didn't take the bite!!!

Well, since I couldn't remember to ever have visited HealthCentral's website, I went there tonight to have a look at it - I became even more glad, I didn't join Wellsphere - and came across a very interesting article.

Obviously, if ever you get into a situation where you'd need to reconsider your life, your identity, your being in this world, for instance because you were traumatized and thus didn't get the chance to establish a secure relationship with your true self, forget about ever being given the chance! Your self-reflections, your "focus on the self", aiming at healing and becoming more whole, are symptoms of a brain disease.

"Whitfield-Gabrieli found that in the schizophrenia patients, the default system was both hyperactive and hyperconnected during rest, and it remained so as they performed the memory tasks. In other words, the patients were less able than healthy control subjects to suppress the activity of this network during the task. Interestingly, the less the suppression and the greater the connectivity, the worse they performed on the hard memory task, and the more severe their clinical symptoms.

'We think this may reflect an inability of people with schizophrenia to direct mental resources away from internal thoughts and feelings and toward the external world in order to perform difficult tasks,' Whitfield-Gabrieli explained."

And what is, essentially, the big problem with "focussing on the self" and "an inability of people with schizophrenia to direct mental resources away from internal thoughts and feelings and toward the external world in order to perform difficult tasks"?

Yeah well, first of all, you might find out, that you actually were a victim of mistreatment and/or abuse, and secondly, it's unlikely that you will be a good consumer while your focus is directed toward your "internal thoughts and feelings" instead of "toward the external world in order to perform difficult tasks," like consuming...

Philosophizing about yourself, your self, discovering abusive mechanisms in your own upbringing and in the world you're living in, and failing to be a good consumer is undesirable as it is a disease. So, go and get an appointment with a shrink, so you at least can be a good consumer in regard to the mental illness industry and Big Pharma!


Gianna said...

health central is awful...if you want some real horror visit the Bipolar Connect section...ugh!

susan said...


MY ex was employed by Heath Central.

Nuff said.

How are the horses?

Marian said...

Gianna: Ha! Now I remember. I've been there before. Took that "Bipolar Quiz", got 9 out of the 10 right... Know your enemy... LMAO (if only it wasn't that sad, actually)

Susan: The horses are fine, thanks. I'd like to put some more pictures out here, of the horses I'm actually looking after now. - The pictures of Bibi and Sasha were taken back in 2000, and I had to sell both of them the year after, as I couldn't bring more than three horses to my new work place. (I had five horses at that time, yes...) - The problem is the weather: either the horses are all wrapped up in rugs, or they look like something the cat has dragged in because they've rolled in the mud. Sigh.

Jane A said...

Health Central is awful. I had grave misgivings about WS but with this sell out business WS is a fail boat sinking fast. Healthy place, of all places, is not going to get my content.

(yes the bipolar forum is...well..insane)

I am going to need a personal assistant one of these days I swear. I don't have time to deal with this crap. I already asked in writing for my stuff to be yanked and they never even replied.

I can't afford to waste my time going back and forth with these people, they don't give a shit about me or my work.

On the topic of 'focusing on self' I'll take a quick minute to be the devil's advocate.

I have seen people so wrapped up in their inner world that they are not functioning outside it.

An undisciplined mind, caught up in scripted behaviors, traumatized into inaction can be your worst enemy.

If you sit and just spin your mental wheels and aimlessly wander internally without direction or guidance year after year, muttering incoherently out loud to people inside your inner world can we really self therapy?

Lost in the chaos of a damaged mind, paranoias fueled by a rich imagination without being grounded in reality is like a psychic limbo.

Can we really call that self healing? Recovery? Spiritual emergence or crisis?

Self actualization is monumentally difficult when you can not be a critical observer or even honest with yourself.

Not as everyone with mental health issues is gifted with enough intellectual horsepower for insight and reflection.

I could see it happening if after a few years real progress, growth results.

If someone languishes like that for years or decades with little or no practical insight or change, I think that's a problem.

Certainly not to be dealt with by meds, but it's a problem that lacks the realizations, awakenings and progress that is common with real spiritual healing.

There was elderly woman of African descent that got on the public transit a few months. Talking under her breath the entire time.

On the ride she blamed the bus driver, people standing around, other passengers, all white people and the government for trying to kill her.

Non stop she went on rambling about hell and demons and the holy spirit.

There was no self reflection going on there, she seemed completely lost in fantasy. I

I whimsically Dxd her on the spot in clinical terms, delusional SZ with paranoia and that twisted religiosity that seems common to people with religious backgrounds that hear and listen to their inner voices. God would punish her persecutors, angels were watching her,Jesus was talking to her. On and on she went about Revelations and the Second Coming. A sad case.

I certainly could not heal her with my training.

At her age, she might as well try again next life because I couldn't imagine her ever coming down and making progressive self directed changes to her brain functioning and personality in the time remaining to her.

I am the person that says everyone should meditate their way to inner balance but people like her are just not capable. What are you going to with folks like that? Put them all on an island?

She was scaring the other people on the bus. They moved and made a clear spot around her on all sides so as not to 'catch' her sickness.

There are social penalties for walking around in public like that. You are likely to get a TAC agent come into your home at night to poison you for the betterment of society.

Marian said...

No, self therapy alone won't do in a lot of cases. I tried that. For decades. And I always ended up where I'd started out. Moving in circles. Not getting anywhere. Because I didn't see, that what came to mind was unconscious content. So, I interpreted all these unconscious, metaphorical thoughts literally. The most common mistake. Hell, demons, the holy spirit... it's all metaphors. I'd have to know this woman's life story to be able to make a shot at what it stands for. She knows, unconsciously. She'd need someone, a therapist, a guide, to show her the connection.

Revelation, the second coming... I'd say, she talks about herself. It's right in front of her. But she can't see it. Because she interprets literally.

Nevertheless, it's not a fantasy, like in "meaningless gibberish", something. There's a meaning to every single "symptom" of "psychosis", if it's "sz" or "paranoia" or whatever.

But you're right, some people are that lost on their way, meditation alone won't do for them. They'd probably get even more lost, meditating without any guidance.

And there's one thing where the medical profession is right: the earlier in the process you get help, the "better" the outcome. I was 42 before I got help. Human beings are more or less creatures of habit. It's somewhat harder to break with a habit, like turning into a pillar of salt each time you feel threatened for instance, if you've done that for most of four decades, than if you haven't even been doing it for two. Behavioral patterns are highly addictive. And so are beliefs. The longer someone has interpreted literally, the more difficult it gets to make them see the metaphorical meaning of their "symptoms". But there is no limit of age where you could say that, beyond that age, it's impossible to change one's believes.

There are people, who recovered after they've spent decades at one or the other back ward, given up by everybody. Maybe someone said something. A staff member, another inmate. The right word at the right time. That made them see.

Yes, why not put people "on an island". An island like Soteria. A safe place, where they are treated respectfully, and at the same time can't scare anyone. Everyone in crisis should get that chance. No matter how old, how long time in crisis, how many crises...

To dope them out of their senses, lock them up and throw away the key (like the individuals at Health Central seem to think is the best "treatment" option), is definitely not the answer.

Marian said...

P.S.: Most people resort to religious metaphors, because that's what they grew up with, what made an impression on them, and because religious themes are metaphors. I didn't grow up in a religious setting. Other things, not less metaphorical though, left a deep impression in my mind. Greek mythology, for instance. My "delusions" were characterized by that. A friend of mine has always been very fascinated by the Scandinavian mythology. Guess what his "delusions" were about...

Mark p.s./Mark p.s.2 said...

religious themes?
I.M.O. When people proclaim "God would punish their persecutors", is that people are upset or angry , have no recourse, and feel comfort in beleiving their God will issue justice that they themselves can't. The perceived injustice may be real or imagined.

On my blog I call people holes, I could equally call them demons if I wanted to be religious, or I could call them psychopaths if I wanted to use "scientific" psychiatric terms. We can be angels or demons, good or hole, empathetic or psychopathic.
Its finding the correct balance of caring for oneself and caring for others.

If someone doesnt care about us and our feelings the other is a demon or a psychopath.
But in reality people have a limited amount of responsibility for caring about others and have to be selfish.
Like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the demon is in the eye of the beholder.

Talking to oneself outloud is wrong , but talking inside ones head-mind is appropriate. Crap.
Calling someone on the bus schizophrenic makes you feel better somehow, just like the woman was doing when she was saying God would punish her enemies. To judge someone , I don't know if thats right or wrong. Whatever gets you through the day.

Jane A said...

That's a very articulate and well considered response. I can't fault your reasoning at all.

The only area where I would respectfully disagree with you is in terms of religious fixations.

I don't disagree that many religious fixations can be symbolic or communicative or insightful. I've experienced it myself.

I don't think that accounts for all 'delusions' and I stand by the notion that for many it is imagination gone literally, out of this world.

I say this because I do come from an uber religious background. The Second Coming, descension of the seraphim, the Father of Lies and the anti christ, judgment day, that's not symbolic, it's canon.

I was raised to believe that this era (80s 90s, Y2K) were all supposedly End Days.

I can tell you that the politest way to describe a gathering of adults all talking earnestly about Biblical Armageddon is group think.

A not so nice description would be a circle of mutual mental masturbation among folks with a severe case of confirmation bias, selective thinking and wish fulfillment.

There is no symbolism there, overt or subtle. It's a gut 'knowing' of the 'truth' of the bible and it's teachings. Faith, really, in fantasia.

The ends times have been predicted again and again and every single prediction date set in stone has been wrong.

Rather than walk away from something that turned out to be BS like I did, they just set another date without any cognitive dissonance apparently. They keep on believing its going to happen.

I don't know which is more arrogant, the doctors that preach that polypharmacy is the only solution to everyone's chemical imbalance issues or the folks that think they genuinely know what the creator of the universe is thinking and planning down to the calender date.

There's plenty of data to support the conclusion that those folks (Pdocs and fanatics) are wrong and yet they continue to preach it anyway. Faith, conviction, belief are powerful motivators.

I call it ego-vanity. Presumption of the highest order.

The link I put in my name url is a classic example of clear reason deconstructing selective thinking and faith bias.

Abysmal Musings said...

Yeah, I find that bipolar connect thing interesting in the sense of keeping an eye on the enemy.

Speaking of religion - don't you find there are religious overtones in the way that these "chemical imbalance" types make taking meds the only route to salvation? I posted this on someone's comments recently, won't hurt to repeat it:

"You will be SAVED if you submit to the MIGHT of GOD (shrinks) and take COMMUNION (pills) and AMEND THY LIFE WITH CONTEMPLATION AND PRAYER (get insight and be a good little prole) otherwise they will TRY YOU FOR WITCHCRAFT and etc etc."

Priest manques the lot of them.

Quite agree about mythology. Those stories sink deep because i) they are deep and ii) they come out of our deeps.

Take care all, D

Marian said...

D: Spot-on. "Modern biological psychiatry is a materialistic religion masquerading as a science." -Peter Breggin. I use to equal showing insight to confessing your faith: "Yes, I do have a chronic biological brain disease, and will have to take pills for the rest of my life. Amen." :D

Wrote a rather nasty, non-compassionate post, one of my first, that somehow relates. The religious version of the Stockholm Syndrome, something.

Marian said...

Jane: Gmail ate your comment. I found it today here on blogger. I don't regularly check here for comments, as they should appear in my inbox, too. Sorry!!!