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Posted by Harvey on December 20, 2003 13:32:02 UTC

Since I have been chided in trying to help people who obviously need psychological care in a society that simply ignores the problem, I should frame my answers to your 'questionairre' in terms of a God and Science answer.

they are dictating THEIR VIEW of how THEY THINK people SHOULD interact with each other or communicate with each other.

The main difference between religion and science is that science is based on (among many other things) careful observation and classification. Botany makes heavy use of these type of scientific methods, and so does psychological science. Certain people exhibit certain symptoms, and the reason that psychologists even bother at all to classify these symptoms into a syndrome or disorder is because many people exhibit these common symptoms and that identification allows psychologists to help these people who are often miserable. Now, the vast majority of mentally ill people do not seek help. This is obvious since prisons, homeless people, shelters, etc are full of mentally ill folks, and had they seriously sought help for their condition, they probably would not be in those paltry conditions.

I don't know why mentally ill people won't seek help, or if they seek help, they refuse to take their medication. I knew of someone who started to exhibit mental illness, and I saw a side of life that is very sad to see. To this day, I hear that this person still will not admit to having a mental illness.

My guess is that mental illness is embarrassing, it cuts against pride, and some even see it as a sin. But, I also have a hunch that there's more to it. I think many mentally ill people know there is a problem with themselves, but they refuse treatment because it is the nature of the illness. That is, let's take a person with AS, such an individual probably knows they have something that makes them very different, they might even feel very frustrated and alone, but they won't admit to a problem, why? Because to do so would mean that they would have to stop behaving in the manner that their illness requires them to act, and this is in contradiction to them since this is how they WANT to react since it is this reaction which feels good to them. There is pleasure, I'm guessing, from exhibiting their mentally ill symptoms. It is the conditions that occur because they react this way that they might find frustrating (e.g., unable to hold a job, rejected for a career, being ejected from a college, etc). Rather than face the illness, many mentally ill people would rather reject society, or at least, what society thinks about them. This is the impression that I received from the personal experience that I've encountered. For that reason, most people who do try to help a mentally ill patient are more likely to give up even if they are caring, loving family members. As Aurino said, the treatment is often for the family members, and not the person exhibiting the disease.

In the case of alcoholism and drug abuse, the disease is unique in that this is at least acknowledged to some extent by the courts, and such people might find themselves in a substance abuse program. But, it's just not so for many people with mental illness. The majority are simply ignored and the future for them is often grim. They might live on the streets and become homeless, or they might get lucky and receive limited support from a family member or public housing (which in the case I know of this is what happened).

About God. I guess the bigger question to all of this is why does God allow such tragedies to exist. Why doesn't God force a schizophrenic person to seek help and force them to take their lithium (or what have you)? Or, even better, why must there be mental illness in the first place, or why doesn't God cure them of such dilibating diseases before they even exhibit the first symptom?

That's a whopper of a question. I think it entails what God is, and how God interacts in the world, and the only answer that I can find some comfort is that it is not God's will to be entangled in every tragic event, but rather God is involved in mainly those events which steer the universe to an evolution that is in the larger scheme of things a better world. As Jesus said, "the poor will always be with you". I think he could have also said "the mentally ill will always be with you, and they will respond to your posts on internet sites and you can experience the painful effects of mental illness on others."

Get well my friend.

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