“Mental Illness” is a Fraud

“Mental Illness” is a Fraud

Article by Don Fenn

“Mental Illness” is a false concept designed to conceal from most of us that we all have aspects, more of less, of psychic dysfunction. It stands to reason. Our species is still evolving, and we are very imperfectly formed, still in large ways maladapted to each other, and to our environment. What’s more, the human brain is structured so that hallucination, delusion, dissociation, depersonalization, etc., the most disabling of “mental illness” symptoms, are very easily accomplished (See article, “Is Hallucination Normal”). For instance, a small electrical charge applied to the only connective tissue between the right and left-brain lobes produces hallucinatory or delusional experiences for the majority of people. For the sake of feeling safe, at ease and comfortable we need to believe that who we are is a finished product. Yet we also know that evolution will seriously change us should our species survive for several hundreds of years. Looking backward, we lack any sense of evolutionary psychic development in our view of history, imagining that people have always been just like us. When it’s quite possible that the vast majority of people of 3000 years ago were massively hallucinating (Julian Jaynes, “The Origins of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind”). If so, we need to change our notions of early temple societies, for instance, which may have required absolute monarchs to corral massive chaos-producing mental collapse. The absolute monarch held delusions within the same frame. They did so, we likely believed at the time, in order to keep us safe from our dissociative panic by having a special favorite-person relationship with the gods who made everything happen or not, like feast or famine. Ancient achievements in astronomy, for instance, for all their cleverness, were most likely an attempt to reach and control the gods … in order for society to have a foundation in which to hang together. Many such temple-societies collapsed suddenly, as we know, i.e. the Mayan. Most likely several years of famine revealed the fraud of the emperor’s intimate relationship to the gods. A terrified rage was suddenly released, murdering royalty and priests, the society collapsing into chaos. Imagine the time in human evolution when we finally achieved a multidimensional awareness of self. That gave the individual human the opportunity to begin acting independently of the tribe. In contrast the Chimpanzee knows that the image in the mirror is himself. But that requires only one or perhaps two layers of awareness, which prevents individual chimps functioning for very long away from their clan. While the human is capable of multiple levels of knowing—doing something, watching ourselves do it, and have a multiplicity of thoughts and feelings about various other ways it could be done. It’s that depth of awareness that is probably what makes us unique among all apes—a difference that makes us so adept at learning. Enter a mind of our own. The freedom to have it, and employ it liberally has over time become immensely important to us. I like to call it our god-hood—the ability to engage complex emotional and ideational contrasts, and be able to hold that complexity in the mind’s eye. But there’s a fly in the ointment of this much-observed life. It’s that this god-mind must live in the body and heart of a permanent child that never grows up—to wit our emotions, which to be spontaneously alive, and instantaneously adaptable, must remain childlike. We thus remain needful and vulnerable—a truth we keep trying desperately to deny and eliminate—subject to strong emotional reactions that sometimes overwhelm us. Reenter what we like to call “mental illness”. In achieving a mind of our own, we did so at the same time as we knew almost nothing about almost everything. Imagine being capable potentially to know almost everything, and yet to know nothing! Our poor abandoned god-mind was born into a wilderness of ignorance, which is still a rather formidable part of our experience today. We’re barely climbing out of the jungle that is called violence, something we’re terrified of, that we hate, and yet unwittingly arrange to be very easily done. Humans have been murdering each other by the millions for tens of thousands of years, and we haven’t stopped yet. Though we’re working hard on the problem, we still don’t know how. So what’s all this got to do with “mental illness”? In the course of the evolution of our psyche, we have needed all the devices of what we prefer to call “mental illness”. Every one of the most crippling psychic adaptations to stress and trauma—hallucination, delusion, dissociation, depersonalization, etc.—have been, and still are necessary for our mental and emotional survival. They represent strategies of offloading whatever we can’t contain in our awareness. As we all know, the primary device that facilitates this offloading is projection, shoving into other people, races, etc., or all aspects of nature (animism), parts of us that are too hot to handle … until we can learn to do so. Enter deep analytical psychotherapy, the only science ever to study one person at a time. This is not a study of the body’s physicality, meaning the brain, but the study of a human person psychically, emotionally, structurally. One of the most remarkable things that has been discovered is that the first thing to be compromised—sacrificed—in the face of trauma are the principle features of the child’s individual identity. Though the dismantling of individuality can be inflicted upon an adult under severe and prolonged trauma—such as being a soldier on the front line in combat for more than a very short time. Simply to tolerate trauma requires that one deny most of what’s really happening. Denial is a form of dissociation, one of the most crippling of offloading devices if it dominates a person’s experience—as in the case of both maternal and paternal emotional abandonment of a child. All of which means we all dissociate to a greater or lesser extent. Nobody can handle everything that comes their way. Perhaps it’s time we stopped calling normal things by a nasty name.

I’ve been a psychotherapist for 30 years, written 8 novels, science fiction, fable, political satire, romantic thrillers, 3 nonfiction books that turn psychology into a political philosophy. I’m dedicated to facilitating a true direct-vote world democracy without representation, dissolving nations, corporations and the economic aristocracy as ruling authorities, by eliminating the possibility of wealth, completely democratizing power.

thefilmarchive.org Child depression is a mental illness in which a child feels worthless and is generally sad for a long time each day. About five percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression at any given time. Child depression can occur in both young children and teens. The signs are generally the same as adult depression. If a child has feelings of worthlessness, guilt, gets sick without reason, thinks of death, or becomes distant, he or she might be depressed. It can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, disturbing environmental changes, sustained high levels of anxiety, unresolved emotional trauma, and more. Children under stress, who experience loss, or who have attentional, learning, conduct or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. Depression also tends to run in families. Episodes of child depression can last from six to nine months on average, but in some children, the episodes can last for years. Childhood depression often goes unnoticed until symptoms are severe. Child depression can be caused by many things, and the symptoms are sometimes hard to recognize. The symptoms and signs of child depression can include becoming uninterested about a topic the child used to enjoy, school grades dropping, bad sleep or sleeping for too long, getting bullied at school, loneliness or social isolation, frequent complaints of maladies such as headaches or stomachaches, and difficulty with relationships. Treatment may include the use of

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