Ronald D. Laing (1927-89) did disservice to thousands of psychiatric patients globally by his theoretically oriented anti-psychiatry movement. In book after book he assaulted the profession of psychiatry: The Divided Self, 1960; Sanity, Madness and the Family, 1963 et al. He drew his inspiration from existentialism extrapolating it to construct an intelligible matrix for understanding madness. For example, he would seek to see meaning in the word salad of schizophrenics. This author is of the opinion that if we treat mental illnesses similarly to the flu or stomach upset then we would be free of the stigma of mental illness. The latter is just another sort of illness to be treated and cured or like asthma or atherosclerosis, controlled. Here I give a few instances for those who are suffering from some common mental flu. If you feel that you or your dear ones are suffering from some of the following symptoms, by all means seek the help of a neuro-psychiatrist. My aim is to demystify mental illness. Keep in mind that none of the psychotherapies help till organic defects in the brain are corrected. And spiritual counselling comes in much later; after a person has been stabilised by drugs and if necessary, by other psychotherapies. Look at the drug issue in this way: alcohol can disinhibit a person; likewise potent drugs can control the mind.
Do you feel like crying and degrading yourself for no reason whatsoever? Do you feel incessantly guilty for a minimum of two weeks? Are you lethargic in the mornings and have you noticed sleep disturbances for at least two weeks?
Do you hear voices transmitting over the television directed at you or people around you incessantly talking of you?
- Do you feel
explosive bouts of rage and feel like fighting with everyone?
- Do you alternate between eating binges/ spending binges/ have great spurts of energy alternating with lack of energy and sleep for other times?
- Have you repeatedly contemplated suicide? Do you feel it is better to die than face life?
- Do you feel scared while meeting people?
- Are there inner voices talking to you asking you to do bad things? Both to yourself and others?
- Do you think God is talking to you personally or everyone out there is trying to get at you?
- Do thoughts of rape, sadism intrude repeatedly in your daily functioning?
- Do you want to have physical relationships with children?
- Do you see demons or angels around you, talking to you?
- Do you have to do something repeatedly like washing your hands, are you afraid to touch other people due to fear of infections? Do you feel the urge to continually clean the house after guests have visited your home?
- Can you continue in a stable relationship over time or your relationships are highly unstable?
Are you addicted to sex?
- Are you dependant on drugs or sleeping pills or anti-allergics or alcohol to get you kicks?
- Do you tend to forget things in the immediate past but remember memories in the remote past or the reverse?
- Do your hands shake? Do you suffer from fine tremors?
- Do you enjoy hurting others, playing with fire or have a liking for corpses? Do you get orgiastic when hurting others or burning stuff?
- Are you tremendously ritualistic and religious? Is the God that you believe in a God of wrath, who will send you to hell if you disobey Him? Are you afraid of Him?
- Are you a woman trapped in a man’s body or a man trapped in a woman’s body?
- Are you a
man who loves to dress in women’s clothing?
- Do you feel
frigid while having sex? Are you ashamed of your body and the bodily processes?
- Are you afraid of something so much so that you feel faint on encountering that object?
If you feel any or some of the above are true for you or your dear ones, then you need to visit a neuro-psychiatrist and then a therapist. After continuing with both, you might want to seek spiritual counselling.