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whatevs

whatevs

Mining for copium in the weirdest places.
Jan 15, 2022
2,686
The point I was trying to make is that modern psychiatry has played a huge role in defining what constitutes mental illness. And it's mostly pseudoscience. A lot of behaviors, attitudes, personality traits and thought patterns that were once considered 'disordered', 'unsound' or 'irrational' are now deemed normal (and vice versa)… which shows the arbitrary nature of it all.
I don't agree with the way we tend to pathologize and medicalize almost every human problem, emotion and idiosyncrasy nowadays. Excluding obvious brain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's, cerebral palsy, etc.), there are just too many grey areas when it comes to mental health.

However, I must admit that I have used the terms 'depression', 'body dysmorphia' and 'eating disorder' to describe my own problems before. Was it from years of conditioning or simply for convenience? Probably both. I'm not sure if I fully believe in those diagnoses anymore, but it was a quick way to let people know I was struggling without having to share my whole life story. What I think I should have said instead: 'I have a pessimistic worldview because (…)' or 'I have low self-esteem related to body image issues because (…)'. No need to put medical labels on those feelings.



Definition of malfunction: 'a failure to function in a normal or satisfactory manner'… by what standards? Who gets to draw the line between what's normal/satisfactory and abnormal/unsatisfactory? It's easy to apply this concept to machinery, but it's a lot harder to apply it to the human psyche.

Also, you said in a previous post that wanting to reproduce is a sign of good health. Rounded Apathy said the same thing in her/his post. Do people who don't want children qualify as mentally ill?
I'll get into the weeds with you this evening after work.
 
whatevs

whatevs

Mining for copium in the weirdest places.
Jan 15, 2022
2,686
The point I was trying to make is that modern psychiatry has played a huge role in defining what constitutes mental illness. And it's mostly pseudoscience. A lot of behaviors, attitudes, personality traits and thought patterns that were once considered 'disordered', 'unsound' or 'irrational' are now deemed normal (and vice versa)… which shows the arbitrary nature of it all.
I don't agree with the way we tend to pathologize and medicalize almost every human problem, emotion and idiosyncrasy nowadays. Excluding obvious brain diseases (e.g. Alzheimer's, cerebral palsy, etc.), there are just too many grey areas when it comes to mental health.

However, I must admit that I have used the terms 'depression', 'body dysmorphia' and 'eating disorder' to describe my own problems before. Was it from years of conditioning or simply for convenience? Probably both. I'm not sure if I fully believe in those diagnoses anymore, but it was a quick way to let people know I was struggling without having to share my whole life story. What I think I should have said instead: 'I have a pessimistic worldview because (…)' or 'I have low self-esteem related to body image issues because (…)'. No need to put medical labels on those feelings.



Definition of malfunction: 'a failure to function in a normal or satisfactory manner'… by what standards? Who gets to draw the line between what's normal/satisfactory and abnormal/unsatisfactory? It's easy to apply this concept to machinery, but it's a lot harder to apply it to the human psyche.

Also, you said in a previous post that wanting to reproduce is a sign of good health. Rounded Apathy said the same thing in her/his post. Do people who don't want children qualify as mentally ill?
Let's do this.

I disagree, it's easy to use mechanical descriptions for the mind of a person. Our minds in an general sense are straightforward machines: their job is to protect you physically and emotionally, come up with strategies to secure your position and adapt to stressful situations. Those that are experiencing distress where others don't are dysfunctional, or afflicted by pathos, they're afflicted by mental pathology.

Body dysmorphia is a perfect descriptor and very real, as so is schizotypy and many other things. Psychiatry is used by a criminal cabal to control the populace like everything else but it's foundation is provable and solid.

It seems to me that you're reacting against a painful reality by assigning an excessive importance to the "social control mechanism" aspect of mental illness diagnostics. You're trying to disregard mental illnesses so that you no longer have a problem, so that it's "something they manufactured". Instead of "hey, these eggheads over here have been paid to gather data and categorize fucked up, miserable people, perhaps they have an idea of certain patterns, y'know?".

Honestly, that's good, it shows that you don't want to die and have fighting spirit, I just think that it is a precarious lie, the idea that mental illnesses are made up and that there isn't a divide between people that are obviously sociable, confident and resilient and those that aren't.

Being an antinatalist doesn't mean that you're deluded if you meant that with mentally ill. For me it means you're compassionate and spiritually advanced. But on the whole it does show a dimming of the fire of existence, not that I think that's such a tragedy myself. I'm not resolutely positioning myself with those that are vital and optimistic, I'm just wondering how much of being pessimistic and morbid I want to shed for the time I have left.
 
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É

Élégie

Student
Sep 24, 2019
143
Thanks for your thoughtful response Whatevs, but we'll have to agree to disagree.

Those that are experiencing distress where others don't are dysfunctional, or afflicted by pathos, they're afflicted by mental pathology
(...)
I just think that it is a precarious lie, the idea that mental illnesses are made up and that there isn't a divide between people that are obviously sociable, confident and resilient and those that aren't.




I never said that there wasn't a divide between people. Of course some people are less adaptable, less sociable, less resilient and less confident than others. But to me, those are character traits or weaknesses, not illnesses. Differences are not illnesses.

The user Rounded Apathy posted a thread a few days ago about a new study that was pretty interesting. The searchers found that psychiatric diagnoses use different decision-making rules, that there is a huge amount of overlap in symptoms between diagnoses, almost all diagnoses mask the role of trauma/adverse events and they tell us very little about the individual patient. The authors concluded that diagnostic labelling represents 'a disingenuous categorical system'.
Here's a quote from Professor Peter Kinderman (University of Liverpool): 'This study provides yet more evidence that the biomedical diagnostic approach in psychiatry is not fit for purpose. Diagnoses frequently and uncritically reported as 'real illnesses' are in fact made on the basis of internally inconsistent, confused and contradictory patterns of largely arbitrary criteria. The diagnostic system wrongly assumes that all distress results from disorder, and relies heavily on subjective judgments about what is normal.'
Professor John Read (University of East London) said: 'Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed.'


All that to say that it is not as clear-cut as you may think it is. Hence why I said there are a lot of grey areas in mental health.

Why do some people chose to live in spite of adversity while others chose to call it quit? I think there is a multitude of reasons that could explain this phenomenon. It could have to do with personality and general attitude towards life (higher resiliency, higher optimism, higher self-esteem, lower sensitivity). Maybe it's because of coping mechanisms, some of which could be considered 'good' (e.g. making connections) or 'bad' (drug/alcohol use). Maybe it's because of emotional repression and denial. Maybe some people have lower expectations so they can tolerate a lower quality of life. Maybe they have a higher threshold for pain/suffering. Maybe it's because of their religious/philosophical beliefs. Maybe they have a better support system. etc.
Those are some of the things that come to mind. 
I just don't think 'mental illness' (whatever that means) is the distinguishing factor between those two groups.

You're trying to disregard mental illnesses so that you no longer have a problem

That's the whole point of my argument. I am NOT denying my problems. They are very real. I am struggling. I am suffering. I don't like my physical appearance. I have a pessimistic attitude towards life because of my upbringing. I'm just saying that I'm not convinced that those feelings are a medical condition. My lack of hope is not a sickness. 
Suffering does not always indicate the presence of an illness.


Being an antinatalist doesn't mean that you're deluded if you meant that with mentally ill. For me it means you're compassionate and spiritually advanced. But on the whole it does show a dimming of the fire of existence, not that I think that's such a tragedy myself.

Well, at least on that point, we do agree.
 
whatevs

whatevs

Mining for copium in the weirdest places.
Jan 15, 2022
2,686



I never said that there wasn't a divide between people. Of course some people are less adaptable, less sociable, less resilient and less confident than others. But to me, those are character traits or weaknesses, not illnesses. Differences are not illnesses.

Why do some people chose to live in spite of adversity while others chose to call it quit? I think there is a multitude of reasons that could explain this phenomenon. It could have to do with personality and general attitude towards life (higher resiliency, higher optimism, higher self-esteem, lower sensitivity). Maybe it's because of coping mechanisms, some of which could be considered 'good' (e.g. making connections) or 'bad' (drug/alcohol use). Maybe it's because of emotional repression and denial. Maybe some people have lower expectations so they can tolerate a lower quality of life. Maybe they have a higher threshold for pain/suffering. Maybe it's because of their religious/philosophical beliefs. Maybe they have a better support system. etc.
Those are some of the things that come to mind. 
I just don't think 'mental illness' (whatever that means) is the distinguishing factor between those two groups.
Lower treshold for suffering = mental illness, having delusional expectations of life = mental illness, choosing unhealthy copes = mental illness. Mental illness just means having maladaptive patterns of behaviour, emotional processing and thought, it really is straighforward. When a defective trait or a lack of adaptation to adverse circumstances can be considered large enough to qualify for mental illness doesn't really matter. This is like the argument against race that because mixed race people or nations exist race doesn't exit. It definitely exists, it doesn't matter that there are grey areas. A mentally ill person stands out as a sore thumb among those that are well. They might see dangers where there are none, they might react in a unnecesarily cold or emotional way to stimuli, they might reenact traumatic events on others like sexual abuse... It's all well known at this point.

The idea of a pathology or a mental illness, the concept, is an operational one. When it is seen as a condition that can be controlled and improved, like having one leg longer than the other or a tendency to accumulate tartar in your teeth, the approach the person takes to it is more proactive than when the personn adopts a perspective of "extraordinary suffering or extraordinary catastrophic circumstances on an otherwise healthy and normal individual".

These exist, I suffer from them today and most days, but I also have benefited from accepting that I had developed traits of Vulnerable Narcissim as a way to deal with them and the overt superiority of others in many areas. By accepting that the scientists concerned with the mind and behaviour of people get many things right, and that there really is such a thing as what was known formerly as a Superiority Complex and is now known as NPD, I have improved my relationships with everyone I know.

This doesn't negate that oftentimes the person afflicted mentally or physically, or just unwilling to have a mediocre life without the people or things they want has the option to suppress their existence and that is a perfectly valid and rational decision. It's just that for the sake of improving (if that's what you are trying, and you aren't firm on ending your life) taking a 'me, the problem, and I control me' approach is empowering, while 'me, the victim of circumstances, that I can't control', which of course has enormous truth to it, is disempowering.
That's the whole point of my argument. I am NOT denying my problems. They are very real. I am struggling. I am suffering. I don't like my physical appearance. I have a pessimistic attitude towards life because of my upbringing. I'm just saying that I'm not convinced that those feelings are a medical condition. My lack of hope is not a sickness. 
Suffering does not always indicate the presence of an illness.
I disagree with that, I agree with the idea from the medical field that any prolonged and life-threatening mental condition is an illness. Be it anhedonia, depression or anxiety, if many of the people of my generation that are physically unattractive and have dysfunctional families are not cripplingly affected by it, whereas being ugly and having shit parents floundered me, that definitely means there is something wrong with me and that recognizing that would be the first step at trying something (if you want that and not just spare your suffering with death, but at least lets admit that we were worse psychologically equipped than others i.e. mentall illness).

This doesn't mean that I don't have a catastrophic constellation of circumstances in my life that I can't control. I'm looking at a winter of illness here. I'm talking about 3 months of having symptoms of cold or feeling every fucking day that you're going to catch one, it really is debilitating. I have unfreshing sleep and every year I seem to get weaker and less present. I can't deal with the cold apparently, I suspect my body can't use calories well as that is how sleep deprived mice died in one of those callous experiments eggheads do. I feel like I am vanishing, like Alzheimer patients do. I haven't felt a thing with ejaculation in 11 years. Suicide is not unlikely.

But I do know I can theoretically control and improve my social anxiety because it IS a "medical condition", a warped sense of threat that is delusional AND THEREFORE a mental illness. That's an example of something that ruins my life and that is workable. I haven't found any relief for the sleep torture that is slowly killing me.

And to make this personal, my favourite cousin sexually abused me when I was a kid. Not only that, he terrorized me, holding me by the ankles above a height large enough to kill me while I cried in panic. I loved that person dearly and the memories of abuse where suppresed until I was 17. I think he damaged me perhaps irreparably with what he did and more considering that he was like my big brother. Do I consider my social anxiety, derived IMO from that trauma and then snowballed with downstream experiences, a mental illness? I certainly do. Not everyone is out to abuse me, I don't need to fear everyone, and yet somehow that experience was burned into my emotional make up and has ruined a large part of my life. THIS is a clear cut specimen of what "mental illness" is.
 
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jamie_

jamie_

emotionally abused from loving a narcissist
May 21, 2022
188
A parent buries their only child and subsequently becomes suicidal?
 
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whatevs

whatevs

Mining for copium in the weirdest places.
Jan 15, 2022
2,686
A parent buries their only child and subsequently becomes suicidal?
It can be argued that they had something brewing already in the background if that kid was everything they had. It sounds imbalanced. But mostly I see your point, there's no delusion in feeling that you've lost everything if you invested all you had in something and it is taken from you.

Perhaps it's just that, imbalance in this case, putting too many eggs in one basket. But sometimes we have no choice, we can be considered lucky to have anywhere to put our eggs in...
 
rationaltake

rationaltake

I'm rocking it - in another universe
Sep 28, 2021
2,280
How about being part of the economic underclass and knowing it? And not being able to get out of that situation? And refusing to live a substandard life?

Not being on the receiving end of money and privilege when young. Ending up in squalid mean and vicious social housing with mean nasty and vindictive neighbours.

Not having the money and social background for a good university. And still not being part of the "old boy network" even if you do blag your way into a good university. Not having the right accent, the right address and the right relatives for so many top-notch positions even though you're more capable than those who do have the right background. Not having the confidence cum arrogance which is bestowed by an expensive and privilged school.

Worst of all not knowing what to do with money if by any chance you come into some money in some way. Not knowing how to use money to your advantage.

I could go on!

Seems like good reason to ctb to me. I live in a classist society.
 
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jamie_

jamie_

emotionally abused from loving a narcissist
May 21, 2022
188
It can be argued that they had something brewing already in the background if that kid was everything they had. It sounds imbalanced. But mostly I see your point, there's no delusion in feeling that you've lost everything if you invested all you had in something and it is taken from you.

Perhaps it's just that, imbalance in this case, putting too many eggs in one basket. But sometimes we have no choice, we can be considered lucky to have anywhere to put our eggs in...
i wouldn't say putting all your eggs in one basket is mental illness. love can just be that way. they most likely have their own hobbies anyway, other things that they love, but they all fall out of perspective.
 
whatevs

whatevs

Mining for copium in the weirdest places.
Jan 15, 2022
2,686
How about being part of the economic underclass and knowing it? And not being able to get out of that situation? And refusing to live a substandard life?

Not being on the receiving end of money and privilege when young. Ending up in squalid mean and vicious social housing with mean nasty and vindictive neighbours.

Not having the money and social background for a good university. And still not being part of the "old boy network" even if you do blag your way into a good university. Not having the right accent, the right address and the right relatives for so many top-notch positions even though you're more capable than those who do have the right background. Not having the confidence cum arrogance which is bestowed by an expensive and privilged school.

Worst of all not knowing what to do with money if by any chance you come into some money in some way. Not knowing how to use money to your advantage.

I could go on!

Seems like good reason to ctb to me. I live in a classist society.
Economical suicide, killing yourself because you anticipate the effort to get to a bearable position in life is too much for the probability of succeeding. It doesn't sound too irrational I guess.

But a truly healthy person can find joy and vitality even among the poor.
 
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É

Élégie

Student
Sep 24, 2019
143
Lower treshold for suffering = mental illness, having delusional expectations of life = mental illness, choosing unhealthy copes = mental illness. Mental illness just means having maladaptive patterns of behaviour, emotional processing and thought, it really is straighforward. When a defective trait or a lack of adaptation to adverse circumstances can be considered large enough to qualify for mental illness doesn't really matter. This is like the argument against race that because mixed race people or nations exist race doesn't exit. It definitely exists, it doesn't matter that there are grey areas. A mentally ill person stands out as a sore thumb among those that are well. They might see dangers where there are none, they might react in a unnecesarily cold or emotional way to stimuli, they might reenact traumatic events on others like sexual abuse... It's all well known at this point.

The idea of a pathology or a mental illness, the concept, is an operational one. When it is seen as a condition that can be controlled and improved, like having one leg longer than the other or a tendency to accumulate tartar in your teeth, the approach the person takes to it is more proactive than when the personn adopts a perspective of "extraordinary suffering or extraordinary catastrophic circumstances on an otherwise healthy and normal individual".

These exist, I suffer from them today and most days, but I also have benefited from accepting that I had developed traits of Vulnerable Narcissim as a way to deal with them and the overt superiority of others in many areas. By accepting that the scientists concerned with the mind and behaviour of people get many things right, and that there really is such a thing as what was known formerly as a Superiority Complex and is now known as NPD, I have improved my relationships with everyone I know.

This doesn't negate that oftentimes the person afflicted mentally or physically, or just unwilling to have a mediocre life without the people or things they want has the option to suppress their existence and that is a perfectly valid and rational decision. It's just that for the sake of improving (if that's what you are trying, and you aren't firm on ending your life) taking a 'me, the problem, and I control me' approach is empowering, while 'me, the victim of circumstances, that I can't control', which of course has enormous truth to it, is disempowering.

I disagree with that, I agree with the idea from the medical field that any prolonged and life-threatening mental condition is an illness. Be it anhedonia, depression or anxiety, if many of the people of my generation that are physically unattractive and have dysfunctional families are not cripplingly affected by it, whereas being ugly and having shit parents floundered me, that definitely means there is something wrong with me and that recognizing that would be the first step at trying something (if you want that and not just spare your suffering with death, but at least lets admit that we were worse psychologically equipped than others i.e. mentall illness).

This doesn't mean that I don't have a catastrophic constellation of circumstances in my life that I can't control. I'm looking at a winter of illness here. I'm talking about 3 months of having symptoms of cold or feeling every fucking day that you're going to catch one, it really is debilitating. I have unfreshing sleep and every year I seem to get weaker and less present. I can't deal with the cold apparently, I suspect my body can't use calories well as that is how sleep deprived mice died in one of those callous experiments eggheads do. I feel like I am vanishing, like Alzheimer patients do. I haven't felt a thing with ejaculation in 11 years. Suicide is not unlikely.

But I do know I can theoretically control and improve my social anxiety because it IS a "medical condition", a warped sense of threat that is delusional AND THEREFORE a mental illness. That's an example of something that ruins my life and that is workable. I haven't found any relief for the sleep torture that is slowly killing me.

And to make this personal, my favourite cousin sexually abused me when I was a kid. Not only that, he terrorized me, holding me by the ankles above a height large enough to kill me while I cried in panic. I loved that person dearly and the memories of abuse where suppresed until I was 17. I think he damaged me perhaps irreparably with what he did and more considering that he was like my big brother. Do I consider my social anxiety, derived IMO from that trauma and then snowballed with downstream experiences, a mental illness? I certainly do. Not everyone is out to abuse me, I don't need to fear everyone, and yet somehow that experience was burned into my emotional make up and has ruined a large part of my life. THIS is a clear cut specimen of what "mental illness" is.


First of all, I want to say that I am truly sorry for what has happened to you. That is horrible. This took a very personal turn, so I will try to be as respectful and tactful as I can, without censoring myself.

I think this whole debate is turning into a semantic disagreement. To you, 'mental illness' is an umbrella term that covers what I consider to be 'vulnerabilities', 'coping mechanisms', 'personality idiosyncrasies', 'reactions to traumatic events'...

Now, what I'm about to say might be controversial, but I noticed that many people have an over-attachment to psychiatric labels, because taking a hard, cold look at their lives would be devastating. The human experience can be brutal. Sometimes, those diagnoses become a way for us to blame ourselves: "I am the problem, I am the one who's sick/defective/broken". (you said that for you, this is empowering, but I don't see it that way)

It can be very painful (especially for highly sensitive individuals) when we realize that the ones we loved and admired the most were in fact terribly flawed... However uncomfortable it may be, I think we need to look at our family dynamics (especially parent-child relationships), at our traumas, at our unique personalities and reactions, at our conditioning, at all the expectations that were put on us, at our unmet needs, at our repressed feelings, etc.

Even if this is an unpopular opinion, I do believe that certain terms are overused and certain conditions are over-diagnosed/over-medicalized, especially depression, anxiety and personality disorders.

Having said that, my goal here is not to be dismissive or argumentative for the sake of it. Perhaps your anxiety is indeed a true illness in the medical sense. Your feelings are completely valid. As you stated, it's also the result of your traumatic childhood experiences (and possibly of your ongoing trauma). I don't want to pry, but how is your living/family situation now? (you don't have to answer if you don't want to)

Personally, I've never come across anyone who has had a truly fucked up childhood that wasn't deeply affected by it (of course some people are more outwardly functional than others).

At the risk of repeating myself, there is a lot of binary thinking in your reasoning. You seem to believe that on one side there are the strong, healthy, well-adjusted individuals and on the other side, there are the 'sick' people. There's no in-between, no nuances. Also, your definition of mental illness is almost all-encompassing; any small deviation from an arbitrarily established norm is considered pathological. If you even include 'high expectations' and 'unhealthy coping mechanisms' in your definition, a majority of the population would probably fall into that category.

I am not denying the fact that some experts who work in the fields of psychiatry, psychology and sociology have good insights and publish thought-provoking papers. Human psyche, consciousness and behavior patterns are fascinating topics that absolutely need to be studied more.

Again, I am truly sorry for what you're going through. It sounds like hell.
 
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