“Mental illness”, the belief

Among the major tenets of the Church of Biological Psychiatry is the belief, for there is no evidence supporting the claim, that what is commonly referred to as “mental illness” is an actual disease. Disbelief, to the converts to this faith, amounts to heresy, and they refer to this heresy as “stigma”. The idea is that if you belong to this church, you must believe in “mental illness”, and not to do so is to mistreat people thought to be diseased.

A couple of decades ago, a revisionist and protestant sect of dissident evangelists split from the Church of Biological Psychiatry.  This protestant church initially arose around the cathartic and redemptive power of mental health recovery. People infected with the “mental illness” bug were thought, by this church, to be capable of recovering their mental competence and, in many cases, completely so.

More recently, the Church of Mental Health Recovery has evolved into the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery.  So many members of this church with the bug, were not losing that bug, and so it became incumbent upon parishioners to start in a new direction. I guess they’d grown attached to it. The feeling is that if the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery continues to evolve in the direction in which it is going, it will eventually be entirely reabsorbed back into body of the mother church, the Church of Biological Psychiatry.

The “mental illness” lifestyle, ironically enough, is equivalent to the mental health lifestyle, that is, it is a lifetime of perpetual treatment for the affliction a person is presumed to have. Accompanying the initial curse of diagnosis (I do hereby pronounce thee “mentally ill”, and beyond hope of remedy or consequence), comes the attendant chronicity.  This chronicity, or lifelong path, is a matter of realizing the negative prognosis, or curse-fulfilling prophesy, issued by psychiatrists, the churches priestly caste of sorcerers.

The news is not all bad. Given advances made by the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery, converts are learning to better enjoy their afflictions. Within the limitations of their debilities, the stricken are learning to carve the modicum of a decent existence out for themselves, however beset by hardship and suffering. The key to this silver lining, so to speak, is to be found in total compliance with mental health treatment plans.

If it weren’t for the great therapist who dwells in the sky, the creator of the drug research and development department, the “mentally ill” person, left to his or her own devices, would be lost. He or she would be just one more homeless refugee scrounging dumpsters for a bite to eat, mumbling to him or herself, and irritating business owners. He or she could even be squatting in the city jail for a spell. No more, he or she now can be diverted from that fate to a fate equally inane courtesy of Joe Tax Payer.

Believing in “mental illness”is not the same as believing in mental health. Believing in mental health is not the same as disbelieving in “mental illness”.  We could arrange this sentence in all its possible permutations regarding belief and disbelief, and it still boils down to pretty much the same thing. Maintaining a healthy skepticism, while keeping one’s feet squarely on solid ground,  creates a stabilizing effect. In a world where Big Foot, Nessy, ghosts and flying saucers still manage to captivate the popular imagination, it’s best to keep a wary eye out for wooden nickels and, one might add, false gods.

Introducing The Church of Psychotherapy

Although I have dealt with the Church of Biological Psychiatry at one time or another on this blog, there is another religion in the mental health field that I haven’t dealt with in a major way. I’d like to try to correct that error of omission if possible. The religion I am referring to is the Church of Psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy, the practice at the heart of this religion, is all about talk. It is, as it has been put, talk therapy. I’m not completely opposed to talking things out. Sigmund Freud, an early prophet of the church, was big on insight coming of these talks. Insight that I feel could be used to correct instances of faulty logic, especially when this faulty logic involves spilling your guts to a priest of psychotherapy.

Doctors of this divinity compare very favorably with disciples of the goddess Venus in her most terrestrial manifestations, that is, psychoanalysts like prostitutes charge money for their services. You’ve got an elite doing for you for a fee what any friend would do for you for free, if you had any friends. Lack of friends is a primary reason some people utilize the services of a priest of this religion.

1 in 5 people, according National Institute of Mental Health propaganda, have a “mental illness”. Priests of the Church of Psychotherapy are not as inclined to believe in “mental illness”, a cardinal principal in the Church of Biological Psychiatry, but they do all believe in Psychotherapy, that is, in talk. Most of the 1 in 5 people alleged to have a “mental illness” are thought to have what is referred to as a “minor mental illness”. The Church of Psychotherapy has been more instrumental, it is thought, although this is not universal, in treating people with “minor mental illnesses” than in treating people with “major mental illnesses”.

“Minor mental illnesses” were introduced as neuroses by early prophets of the Church of Psychotherapy. Some of the converts to this religion think, despite the 1 in 5 statistic from the NIMH, that 100 % of people of the world are (or “have” in a more updated contemporary lingo) neurosis. Okay, so if 1 in 5 have been caught, that leaves 4 in 5 running around loose.

Priests in the Church of Psychotherapy have to make a living somehow, and what better way to “earn” your keep than to make your spiritual calling a way of life? That’s right! If 100 % of the people are “sick”, just as the Christian church is fraught with sinners, 100 % of the people would be in need of the services you offer. Good deal, huh, for a practitioner of this faith?

Unfortunately for the Church of Psychotherapy, the Church of Biological Psychiatry upset their applecart with the release of the DSM-III in 1980. Psychotherapy, from the absolute necessity it once was seen as being, by this act was rendered something of a luxury again. The Church of Biological Psychiatry, much more adamant about maintaining the divide between “sick” and well, thinks more drastic measures necessary, and these drastic measures come to you courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry.