Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Navigating the Perilous Mental Landscape in the Crazy House Called America

Like the earthquake in Japan, man too is in mental motion, a mind quake of the most devastating degree that is rocking his mental equilibrium to the core!

We must be aware of the times and what must be done. A blind man named Ray Charles told us "the world is in an uproar, the danger zone is everywhere...." And so it is, ancestor Ray, there is turbulence in the land and in man, woman and children. As the earth enters another 25,000 year cycle of history with the coming New Age of high spiritual consciousness, there are many who remain deaf, dumb and blind to present and future events, even though the news is full of rapidly changing events in the global village. One would need to be in worse shape than Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder not to see the earth is in transformation, even Nature itself. The ice is melting, the sea rising, the forests burning, earthquakes and tsunamis , drought, famine, pestilence, in diverse places, just as Jesus predicted.

Apparently, many do not believe what Jesus said even when they see events he predicted before their very eyes, on the news, Twitter, Facebook, Cable TV and elsewhere. He said mother would be against child and child against mother and father. Did he not say brother would be against brother and sister against sister? And do we not see this in our social relations today.

It is crystal clear to me we are in times in which a friend is no longer a friend, a wife and husband no longer wife and husband. There is no love between them. Husbands and wives say the horrible things to each other. Daughters and sons say the most wretched things to their parents, often when the parents are helping them.

But when the danger zone is everywhere, no one, no relationships are exempt from the turmoil sweeping the old order out and ushering in the New Era. But there is an almost organic relationship between the earth quaking and the minds of men, women and children becoming totally unbalanced. In this time of radical change of Nature and man, those with no understanding shall become unglued, losing their fragile mental equilibrium or simply tripping out. Ultimately, they become a danger to themselves and others and must be committed, for they are not the person we knew only yesterday. Today they are a total stranger who does not know us, cannot even recognize us, yet we have known them since childhood. They could be a sibling yet they do not act like there is any blood relationship between us. We behave like total strangers.

It could be parent/child relationships that come to such a low point children will sue parents or visa versa. In short the love is gone. Amiri Baraka tells us in his play A Black Mass, "Where the souls print should be there is only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits...."

As we walk the streets be very careful what you say to people, for they are on edge, on the precipice, ready to strike out at the slightest perceived negative incident, or wrong word uttered.
Yes, they are ready to kill, so be aware as you make your daily round.

The political/economic atmosphere is charged with venom, but it is misplaced aggression, for no one is going after the bankers, the loan sharks, the Wall Street financiers who were casino gamblers with the wealth of the people, stealing 13 trillion dollars in the sub prime housing scam.
And yet hardly a banker is in jail, meanwhile 2.4 million mostly poor are incarcerated for petty crimes, additionally they suffer drug abuse and mental illness, not to mention lack of proper legal representation at the time of their trials. The only white man doing time is the one who stole from the rich, not the poor. Those who robbed the poor are yet receiving multimillion dollar bonuses while 30 million workers are unemployed and millions are now homeless.

It is this atmosphere that is so unsettling to the mental state of those who were already suffering stress from the general hostile environment, from bad food, the media dispensing
information from the world of make believe and promoting the addiction to white supremacy conspicuous consumption

How do we move from problem to solution, from addiction to recovery, from sickness to healing?
The Buddhists says knowledge plus the right action. We must first understand the time and what must be done. These are perilous times, very dangerous, thus one must tip through the tulips, through the mind fields that lay before us, behind us, to the right and to the left.

We must practice eternal vigilance and stay on guard against being deceived. There are those who wish to deceive us so that we remain victims of the slave system. They will not tell us all the institutions are exhausted, political, economic, educational, religious, marital. None of these shall continue with business as usual. They must and shall undergo radical structural change, if not simply thrown into the dustbin of history where they belonged long ago.

Those not prepared for radical change shall be blown by the wayside where they shall inhabit the lower realms of an animal existence until they die or recover from savagery and come into the era of civility and spirituality beyond religiosity.

Those who are a danger to themselves and others will need to be confined to a program of long term recovery, a rehabilitation of their disgusting habits, namely greed, ego, pride, lust, arrogance, and other deadly sins, and most importantly the inability to practice freedom, justice and equality, constitutionally unable to share the wealth and practice democracy or the consent of the governed.

The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end, or rather what goes around comes around. What we are witnessing and experiencing is not linear time but circular, for we shall continue, but only those who are able to jump out of the box of the old structures into the new.

The fearless ones, they shall be successful. Those not motivated by the illusions of the monkey mind shall be successful. We pray for the others who persist in their inordinancy, blindly wandering on, as the Qur'an says.
--Marvin X


Breeding mental illness in the US

Rampant over-prescribing of drugs contributes to a system that is better at producing disorders than rectifying them.

Last Modified: 10 Apr 2013 09:49
Belen Fernandez

Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Work, published by Verso. She is a contributing editor at Jacobin Magazine.

"Standard psychiatric diagnoses… do not correspond to meaningful clusters of symptoms in the real world" and can counter-productively result in "further stigma, discrimination and social exclusion" for their recipients [Reuters]
In a recent article on the BBC News website, Professor Peter Kinderman - head of the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool - warns that the forthcoming edition of theAmerican Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual "will lower many diagnostic thresholds and increase the number of people in the general population seen as having a mental illness".
According to Kinderman, the manual - scheduled for publication in May 2013 - constitutes a dangerous effort to pathologise emotions and other symptoms of human existence and will exacerbate the rampant over-prescribing of drugs that already occurs "despite significant side-effects and poor evidence of their effectiveness".
The practice of attributing emotional distress and other phenomena to alleged cerebral/biological abnormalities rather than to social and psychological causes, writes Kinderman, is particularly problematic: "Standard psychiatric diagnoses… do not correspond to meaningful clusters of symptoms in the real world" and can counter-productively result in "further stigma, discrimination and social exclusion" for their recipients.
Regarding the impending updates to the psychiatric manual, Kinderman notes that "[t]he new diagnosis of 'disruptive mood dysregulation disorder' will turn childhood temper tantrums into symptoms of a mental illness", while relaxed criteria for "generalised anxiety disorder" will turn "the worries of everyday life into targets for medical treatment". Normal grief will undergo conversion into "major depressive disorder". Additional cutting-edge maladies will include "internet addiction" and "sex addiction".
No guidelines are apparently provided as to how to go about diagnosing societies that obsessively pathologise routine aspects of individual life.
Societal diagnostics 
Incidentally, the tendency toward over-diagnosis and over-prescription that dominates the mental health care scene in the US contributes to a system that is better at producing disorders than rectifying them.
For example, it is not difficult to see how anxiety that otherwise would not be present can be generated by inculcating persons with the fear that something is always wrong with them and that it requires purchase of a substance, service, or gadget to fix - a process aided by ubiquitous advertising for antidepressants.
The profitable endurance of the depression industry in particular is presumably ensured by the very nature of contemporary society - not least by the isolation of the individual who has been conditioned to believe that self-made success and material gains trump inter-human bonds in importance.
To be sure, neoliberal policies dependent on the obstruction of communal solidarity facilitate a mass alienation from human reality and deprive individuals of psychological support networks enjoyed in certain other cultures.
It could be argued that alienation in the US begins at birth, an event too often characterised by scheduled Caesarean sections, the immediate removal of newborns from the vicinity of their mothers in defiance of natural bonding needs, and hospital distribution of infant formula encouraging mothers to simplify their lives by administering expensive and potentially toxic material to their offspring rather than the free nutrition that is generally located in their own breasts.
And it is pretty much downhill from there.
 Sequestration will damage US social safety net
The "socialisation" process of children increasingly involves fundamentally anti-socialising activities such as video games and other technological distractions, the all-pervasiveness of which renders the proliferation of attention deficit disorder somewhat less than surprising. Of course, this does not stop ADD from being treated by and large as an individual mental defect rather than a societally induced condition.
Energetic children are reformed into automatons via the fanatical prescription of pharmaceuticals with side effects ranging from depression to sudden death, while a cultural insistence on individual triumph and competition over collaboration likely contributes to such manifestations of emotional insecurity as the institutionalised practice of bullying at US schools.
Luckily for drug companies and other entities that profit from mental disturbance, the New York Timesreported in February with regard to victims of bullying and bullies themselves that "researchers have found that [an] elevated risk of psychiatric trouble extends into adulthood, sometimes even a decade after the intimidation has ended".
Disconnecting from the human condition 
My own personal experience with mental health issues in the US includes a prolonged panic attack I suffered in high school in the late 90s. Convinced for a period of six months that I was on the verge of spontaneous death, I would hyperventilate, unceasingly check my pulse, and hide in bathroom stalls.
After later living abroad for many years in locations less estranged from reality, I concluded that the attacks had been hypochondriac fallout of extreme anxiety over the possibility of stigmatisation by society for exhibiting any indication of physical or psychological weakness - such as anxiety itself.
Of course, the structure and habits of other societies and cultures can also have adverse effects on the human nervous system; however, the position of the US as global superpower means that its acute unhinging from humanity contains worldwide ramifications.
For example, the mass production of isolated persons lacking empathy naturally facilitates the frequent military devastation of populations abroad - a hobby that has been deemed more lucrative than, say,providing health care to US children.
The agricultural imperialism of US-based corporations like Monsanto, patron saint of the genetic modification of food, has also proved an effective means of global population control, facilitating thesuicide of hundreds of thousands of farmers in India.
Obviously, a nutritional reliance on modified and artificial ingredients and other materials that do not technically qualify as food does not bode well for biological - and therefore also psychological - processes. The quest for profit at the expense of the functioning of the body is further evidence of the US disconnect from the human condition, which is reinforced by schizophrenic electronic multi-tasking and the general reduction of interpersonal relations to a barrage of mobile phone beeps and Facebook notifications.
In my interview last year with renowned Indian essayist Pankaj Mishra, he commented on the contemporary deterioration of the human essence:
"Our capacity for uncritical love has been expended recklessly in recent years on the free market… This was the false god we were instructed to worship during the era of globalisation and most of us duly obliged, even the least resourceful and economically underprivileged peoples, dazzled by our new goods and gadgets, the routinely updated models of mobile phones… [Now] we can see more clearly how a tiny minority has enriched itself, leaving many others feeling cheated, and exposed to deprivation and suffering." 
Professor Kinderman notes in his BBC News article on mental illness that therapy constitutes a "humane and effective alternative… to traditional psychiatric diagnoses".
Any truly effective therapeutic approach, however, would require a thorough examination of the inhumane context in which minds function - and, presumably, a comprehensive systemic rewiring.
Belen Fernandez is the author of The Imperial Messenger: Thomas Friedman at Workreleased by Verso in 2011. She is a member of the Jacobin Magazine editorial board, and her articles have appeared in the London Review of Books blogThe BafflerAl Akhbar English and many other publications. 
Follow her on Twitter: @MariaBelen_Fdez

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

Send Feedback

No comments:

Post a Comment