Too many people suffer from Schizophrenia…REALLY???

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~ At coffee yesterday I ran into an acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t seen in some time (a coffee shop is like that, sometimes you see people every day, and then you might go 6 months without seeing them for no damn good reason….kind of like bloggers <hint, hint>)

My friend was quite disheveled, and after an inquiry into his emotional state he soon was expressing the solidarity of his sadness; the love of his life, his girlfriend of 10 years, had entered into a psyche ward due to (what the doctors diagnosed as) schizophrenia.

She kept hearing a voice that she believed she must obey. When the voice didn’t talk to her she didn’t know whether to put on jeans for the day or wear a skirt; her entire life became obsessed with listening for this voice” he said.

Without adding any consternation or meaning any ill will to those suffering from such cases of mental illness, I can’t help but wonder if the Western World has been somewhat led astray, whether due to arrogance or egotistical ambition, in its ability to diagnosis mental illnesses. After all, it seems one can’t turn around in a crowded room without bumping into a dozen people who are each suffering from an assortment of mental illnesses.

The U.S. Department of Health reports 70% of all men, women and children in America being on some type of prescription drug, and even more staggering is the statistic that 1/3 of all Americans are taking 5 different prescription drugs!

The odd realization that each of us must face at sometime in our bold existence (that is, if we do not want to be a nebbish our entire life) is that at every moment, of every minute, there are tens of millions (perhaps billions) of people all around this blue and green sphere who believe a voice (or voices) are talking to them in their head. On every concrete street corner and dusty dirt road, sit magnanimous edifices built unto the deities, in which men and women wearing frocked robes or post modern hipster ministers wearing polos and jeans, espouse the wisdom of their holy writs and teach the masses that the invisible God, holy spirit, or Jedi Force wants to talk to them in their heads and tell them how to live their life.

Rarely a day has gone by in my life (accept on those precious vacations in which I sit by myself for hours on end hiding from the nebbishes) that I don’t meet people at coffee who believe a body-less entity talks to them in their head;

—) “I believe the Lord is telling me to buy this house” says one young man to me

—) “God told me that Jeff is the right man for me, we are to marry next year” says a twenty something woman

—) “I have to pray about this and see what the Lord tells me” says yet another

When it comes down to brass tacks, what really makes these religious flibberty jibbets any different than someone who has been diagnosed as having schizophrenia?

If religious people all over the world believe an invisible deity (or spirit) is talking to them in their head, why are they not diagnosed with schizophrenia?

What about all the psychics, mediums and Patricia Arquette; shouldn’t they be diagnosed with schizophrenia as well?

What am I missing, (beside the fact that there aren’t any voices speaking to me in my head) why do we determine that someone who believes a voice is telling them to only eat sauerkraut is schizophrenic, but someone who believes an invisible deity is telling them to purchase the house on Suburban Street instead of the house on Main Street is normal?

Speaking of normal, its interesting to me how it took the mass murder of innocent African Americans in a church building over in South Carolina, to finally get our schizophrenic media off the subject of Bruce Jenner and his penis.

My heart goes out to those Black Christians who suffered at the hands of a non-schizophrenic white militant. A young man who bought into the damnable ignorant teachings of the confederacy. It is a sad state of affairs that Southern Americans are even this morning calling radio talk shows defending their right to wave the symbol of their forefathers and their hatred of black people.

Days before the South would fire upon Fort Sumpter, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, explained what the South believed the confederacy was all about;

Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.

Those aren’t the words of a crazed schizophrenic, they are the voice of the Southern Population in the 1800’s who believed in their damnable philosophy of hate and would probably being burning in hell for their utter evilness, except hell is too good a place for people who believe shit like that. Those are the words that defined what the damnable Southern flag stands for; I hope every single flag is burned to the ground at some point in history, save those kept in museums to teach future generations the consequences of evil.

Fortunately, just as Saul the murderer found redemption and came face to face with the error of his ways, so there is always hope for Southern Americans to one day see the truth about their gospel of hatred. In the case of Saul the murderer, he found Truth before he died. In the case of Southern Americans; they keep passing down their gospel of evilness to one generation after another.

Sadly, its our schizophrenic culture which makes it nearly impossible to see one simple truth; there is nothing new under the sun. Hatred, racism, and all sorts of evil have been around since our ancient ancestors used to lust after what their neighbors had. Sure, it wasn’t much, perhaps a few extra slabs of corn or a couple colored pieces of chalk to write on the cave walls. Yet even among those meager possessions there was lust and envy. As the great writer said,

I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have. But it is useless. It is like chasing the wind. 5 They say that we would be fools to fold our hands and let ourselves starve to death. 6 Maybe so, but it is better to have only a little, with peace of mind, than be busy all the time with both hands, trying to catch the wind.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee


(Thank you to all the kind emails, private messages, and more that I have received in my absence. Unfortunately I simply can’t respond to everyone. A future post will be coming to discuss my sudden disappearance)

Categories: Culture & Society

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45 replies

  1. good point about the schizophrenics and religious. I can’t agree with you totally about the confederacy, plenty of people just didn’t like the idea of the north continueing to force the south to follow it’s lead. It was not ALL about slavery or the treatment of blacks. The north also held slaves and they were deeply involved in the trade.

    • In the words of the confederate leaders, slavery of the black race was a vital way in which they found their identity.

      There were certainly other issues they cared about, just as liberals don’t “only” care about abortion, and conservatives don’t “only ” care about being pro-life.

      A cursory glance at the speeches of the confederates demonstrates that their belief about blacks being an inferior race was a thread that wove through the heart of the confederacy

    • I think most people back then didn’t think the same way about black people ( or indians) as they do now. A lot of people, both north and south just plain didn’t think they were worth considering as people at all. ‘Leaders’ then and now are usually totally fu*&ed up! The north did not fight the war to free the slaves or to treat them any better. They fought to control the assets of the south and to continue to control the southern states economically. Slavery was just an issue to get people all riled up.
      I’m not trying to justify slavery or to say there weren’t a lot of horrible things happening because of it, but to blame ONLY the south for continuing it or to hold up the north for fighting to stop it is not right either.

  2. Well, there is a difference between someone who thinks they can discern the voice of God and someone who actually hears voices. There is also the matter of severity of mental illness to consider. Perhaps a lot of these religious people do have schizophrenia, but it’s on the mild side. As for medication, it is completely necessary in many instances, such as my own. Every single episode of bipolar disorder I experienced occurred when I was off medication – coincidence? I think not. I have not had an episode in over a year and a half because I have consistently taken my medication. I don’t attribute all of my mental health to medication, but clearly it contributes a lot. When mental illness is severe, as in my case, I believe medication should not be looked down upon. Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but that’s my say! 🙂

    • Person a) believes a voice is telling them to only eat sauerkraut

      Person b) believes the voice of a deity is telling them which house to purchase

      Person c) believes the dead talk to them via a trance or in their head

      Who are we to determine “who” is really hearing voices?

    • We can’t determine it. Have to believe people when they say they hear voices. But schizophrenia is more than hearing voices. Now we’re just making it about one thing when other factors go into it.

    • Schizophrenia ; “A brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally”

      Therein lies the problem, all of my examples are of people who believe they are interpreting reality “normally” but are in fact interpreting things quite out of whack 🙂

    • Well, I certainly thought I was interpreting reality normally when I experienced episodes of bipolar disorder, but now that I am mentally healthy I realize I wasn’t…not even close. I guess I still don’t get your point, haha.

    • here is a difference between someone who thinks they can discern the voice of God and someone who actually hears voices.

      And that difference is…?

      I don’t think many people really grasp the fact that we have to very different hemispheres in our brain and that they talk to each other all the time. A key insight into what this communication ‘sounds’ like is from those who have undergone a stroke where one hemisphere gives over ‘voice control’ to the other… and what that voice sounds like. In fact, Perssinger can induce these voices by magnetic interference and a surprising number of test subjects well aware of the wired helmet they are wearing STILL claim that they heard the ‘voice of God’ when it was activated!

    • The difference is that one literally hears voices and the other just feels like God guides them in life. Anyway, don’t get me wrong. I’m not religious/spiritual. Haha.

    • I think you’re shifting the goal posts here… we’re not talking about some vague and nebulous feeling of gentle guidance over time. We’re talking about those who have a ‘personal relationship through conversation’ with what they assert is a divine and creative and interactive causal agency. That’s light years from a feeling of guidance. And it is to those who tell me that this divine ‘voice’ is qualitatively different from the ‘voices’ suffered by schizophrenics that I ask how they know that there IS a difference… beyond empty assertion, empty assumption, and empty attribution? I have yet to receive any such explanation… other than granting a special privilege to the religious for no good reason. And I think that’s what you’ve done here: granted a special exemption that is privileged because it’s religious. But perhaps I’m mistaken.

    • I just explained what I meant differently than I should have in the first place, that’s all. No special exemption, especially not from me.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience and I ask this in sincerity and curiosity because you would likely be more experienced than me. Can you then conclude that the medication is just a mask for the ailment you suffer since what you said is that when off the medication your bipolar episodes returned. The reason why I ask is because I’ve read a fair bit of work about Dr Hoffer and I’d like to point you that way. He suggested 40 years + ago that it was merely a much higher uptake of various nutrients needed by some bipolar and schizophrenic people and he proved it repetitively to achieve complete normality. Imagine if you will the example of a large muscular athletic type of person who would need a far greater uptake of food and nutrients than a layperson with less musculature and activity.
      I don’t know if it was their whole physiology that needed more of these nutrients. (vitamin b complexes, zinc, magnesium and more in extremely higher than average doses) or their brain activity that required it, the point being they needed this.
      Anyway, sorry for the long winded question and perhaps you may read up a little on Dr Hoffer. His work was proven, published and repeatable verified but it never caught on to great pharmaceutical companies and the medical industry.

    • Can you clarify what you mean by “mask for the ailment you suffer”? Then I’ll answer.

    • Thanks for asking, I should have been clearer. As in it subdues an area of the brain, or physiology that causes the bipolar without actually offering a cure/treatment for the underlying issue. From what I know most psychiatric care works at maintenance and management not necessarily aimed at finding root causes and cures. Thanks again

    • Okay, I understand now. Honestly? I have not given it much thought. It is certainly possible. But one issue with psychiatry is that it involves the brain…something we have much – probably more than we know – to learn about. Even the website for my medication states that it is not known how the medication works exactly. That bothered me at first, but now I am just thankful that it works…or at least helps. Like I said, I do not feel like medication alone keeps me healthy, but considering, it must be a huge contributor. I am sorry if that does not really answer your question. I will add that, though the exact causes of mental illness are not completely certain, mental illness has been found to be highly genetic.

    • Thank you for your reply. Appreciated

  3. The Civil War was not about slavery; it was about state’s rights. Lincoln said as much. If the abolition of slavery hadn’t entered the picture, Lincoln would resemble much more the despotism he practiced. Federalism was the issue, as it is today.

    • Hey Carl, perhaps a reread is in order: I didn’t even come close to broaching the subject of why the civil war was fought. I did however quote a key confederate on what the confederacy stood for. Those are two different issues.


    • They seem quite intertwined to me. There is a lot to be learned from the loser’s position in any conflict… be them Native Americans, colonized peoples, Confederates, slaves, White Russians or Nazis.

    • Despotism? Wow. You haven’t read much Lincoln, have you?

      Yes, Lincoln did say much on the subject of the South and state rights and slavery and corresponded his thoughts over many years to many people. But there is absolutely no historical question that slavery was a major contributor to causing and sustaining that war even though there were many individuals involved that tried to eschew the issue altogether.

    • For an alternate view, I would refer you to:

      “As much as he hated the institution of slavery, Lincoln didn’t see the Civil War as a struggle to free the nation’s 4 million slaves from bondage.” – Wikipedia

      ““I would save the Union. … If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.” – Abraham Lincoln

    • Schnoodles, you said, “The Civil War was not about slavery; it was about state’s rights. Lincoln said as much.” Lincoln said many things and it’s easy to cherry pick. What is unquestionable is that the issue of slavery was at the very heart of the problem of unity that Lincoln faced. You cannot ignore this central issue and pretend it wasn’t a significant root problem for the unity of the country.

      And let’s revisit what a despot is: a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way. Lincoln did not hold absolute power but faced a situation where the major organs of government were disintegrating. He constantly weighed his actions against their constitutionality and I think tried his level best to always be able to defend his actions on this basis. And there is little historical evidence to suggest he was cruel or oppressive in how he exercised presidential power to those states he led.

    • Well, if you say slavery was at the heart of the issue, then as my link makes plain, Lincoln chose the most violent and disastrous method of ending it. Slavery was already on the wane in other developed countries. And Lincoln employed several devices of despots. I’m supposing you’re suggesting a person can’t call something a train, until the train arrives. But for the persons who are under the thumb, it matters little whether all of the other people caressed by the fingers are happy.

    • Your criticism of Lincoln stands if and only if the political atmosphere of the day (and the ongoing political means and attempts by Lincoln and his officers to avoid succession) was qualitatively different. You’re selecting a symptom of this social disease called slavery and trying to lay the blame for its effects on Lincoln as if he were the cause for the war that ensued. It was to protect slavery that initiated the rise of ‘state rights’ to the level of breaking up the Union in spite of Lincoln’s best efforts to try to find a political solution that would allow it to die its natural death. Powerful voice in the South made this task impossible to achieve.

      Lincoln’s oath – just like any agent of the US government – was to protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. The states that voted for succession de facto went from a domestic enemy advocating for the rejection of the Constitution (and the authority of the federal government and its courts to phase out slavery) to a foreign enemy that rejected the authority of the Constitution and its representatives altogether. To pretend that the necessary response to succession by Lincoln was ‘despotic’ is to ignore the very real circumstances in which this President found himself and the very real needs he faced in order to act against this armed and powerful enemy within the bounds of his office. This he did with a very great deal of care and attention to the limits of his authority.

      Look, I own and have studied a first edition Sandberg collection of Lincoln’s correspondence. It is clear that this issue of slavery was central to the politics of the day. It is also crystal clear the importance to maintaining the Union that Lincoln upheld throughout his life. His principled stand once achieving the Presidency was all about keeping the Union together and exploring any and all means to do so without reverting to armed conflict. He repeatedly wrote, spoke, and directed his agents to explain to (what I call) ‘important voices’ in every state and territory who entertained the thought that succession would be an acceptable ‘answer’ to this issue (and the political minefield it was) about the necessary response by the federal government that would ensue should such vanity and political ignorance carry the day. I happen to think he went too far in trying to find a negotiated solution but I also understand the political necessity in allowing the South to start hostilities in order to have public opinion support the kind of war effort that would be required to maintain the Union. The early success by the South in military matters and the recalcitrance of Northern generals to commit their full forces to combat made Lincoln’s job much more difficult when he was constantly seen as the leader on the losing end. This the ground on which Lincoln ‘chose’ his decisions. ‘Winning’ such a war preordained the kind of actions necessary to subdue to South – as Lincoln had made plain from years and years of unsuccessful negotiations before the first shots were ever fired. You can’t lay this blame on Lincoln any more than you lay blame on police for ‘choosing’ motorists to speed.

      Actions have consequences. Blame for those consequences rest with those who knowingly set out to cause them. The cause of the Civil War was succession. A primary reason why succession was chosen by those states was over the issue of slavery. State rights is revisionist history that accepts this lipstick excuse that has been painted on the pig properly labelled as slavery.

  4. I wondered where you were! I was thinking yesterday, I miss the Culture Monk!! I couldn’t agree more with how our perceptions of mental health issues determine whether or not someone is “sane.” Eye of the beholder it seems applies to much more than beauty. Glad to have you back 🙂

  5. Welcome back–we missed you!

  6. If you think the South owns exclusive rights to white supremacy read “the Imperial Cruise” by James Brady. . . . it seems Manifest Destiny did not end at the California shores but extended into Asia as well. Teddy Roosevelt was a whole lot different in the real world than the historical record reveals him. . . .

    When it comes to being nuts . . . we ALL are.

  7. Glad you unfolded your hands; back to us 😆
    Something is telling me your chasing the wind too. LOL Doctors are good at labeling patients;unfortunately . Good point about schizophrenic; international disorder.
    Welcome back! 🙂

  8. As a diagnosed schizophrenic who also suffers from mania, I can assure you that psychosis exists, and that’s the difference between me and a psychic. I look to shamanic cultures and how these religious crises are dealt with. YOu have only scratched the surface in this blog. I would urge you to look at the issue more deeply. And medication, it has helped me stop suffering a suffering that was too hard to bear. You might want to check out my essays: Stigmata and Other Essays, free at Smashwords. And dig further into this mystery. For me if no one else. Missed your blog. Thanks.

  9. My understanding of schizophrenia is that the voices sufferers hear cause severe distress and dysfunction. Schizophrenics often feel compelled to obey whatever these voices tell them, and believe they or others they love will suffer serious harm or annihilation if they don’t. When a woman can’t even get dressed in the morning until “the voices” tell her what to wear, that’s debilitating and needs intervention.

    People who purport to hear God’s voice are usually not operating from the same frame. They are simply seeking inner guidance to make the decisions that are best for them. I believe as a Christian that God does speak to me. However, it is often a piece of wisdom, insight, or comfort I didn’t have before–not an invasive, controlling presence that orders me around under the threat of punishment. That is the difference.

    And don’t we all sort of hear voices? That of our bodies, consciences, and intuition? I don’t think it is fair to suggest that all people of faith, are suffering from some form of schizophrenia. Not only is that dismissive of religious people, it’s also dismissive of people who suffer from a truly frightening medical condition.

  10. Thank you so very much for your thought-provoking post! Having a sibling with schizophrenia brings this topic close to home for me. Auditory hallucinations (or hearing voices) are very disturbing for schizophrenics. They are part of a psychosis which plagues approximately 1% of the population. I’m not sure that this is the same as when a person of faith says that God “told” them to do something. I think this must be a “feeling” for many people, rather than an actual voice. I may be wrong. Wondering what others may think…

  11. Great to read from you again Kenneth. I’ve been thinking of you actually.
    I love the book of Ecclesiastes.
    By the way, I’m super stoked. I just have to tell you that I have finally found a church that I can get into here in Belo Horizonte. Why am I telling you this? Because the pastor of the church is also the director of L’Abri Brazil. It’s like a breath of fresh air. I just had to tell you because it was you that got me totally into Francis Schaeffer and all. I am currently reading, “No Little People”. I want to read, “The End of Reason” (is that what it is in English?) I have it in Portuguese, but I prefer to read it in English. I tried to find it on kindle (really hard to find a good deal on English books here), but it only comes in ‘real book’ form.
    Anyhow, hope you’re well. Hope your studies are going well.

  12. I have paranoid sz.. and I hate it. 😦

  13. Well well well Kenneth. Very very … .

  14. knew you, would come back

  15. Glad to see you alive and well. Thoroughly enjoyed this post, as usual 🙂

  16. I’ve been gone myself for a couple of weeks and I sure missed your musings. Keep on blogging in a free world and welcome back – The False Prophet

  17. haha, must have been some sick coffee.

  18. Reblogged this on the Holda – Candid and Caustic and commented:
    A different perspective.

  19. Hmmm, I would add that there’s no need to complicate things. People who say God is talking to them are egotistical and infatuated with themselves.
    If God talks to you, by definition you’re a Prophet. Let’s see some miracles then.
    It’s peoples interpretation of Religion that is failing the respresentation of all religions. Crazy Muslims thinking they can bomb people, crazy Christians thinking that God told them to hate anything not pure white, crazy Jews wiping out a whole race claiming God chose them. Or Buddhists burning Muslims alive in Burma.
    On the other end of the extreme you have Muslims engaged on in very personal observations and practises, not at all interested in subjugating masses of people to conversion. You also have absolutely humble down to earth Christians selflessly helping others with no ‘God talks to me complexes’ and you have Jews who fight Israeli state and speak up for their Palestinian neighbours. And Buddhists who only own the robe on their backs and travel the world just spreading the message of peace.
    It’s dangerous when we listen to the voice in our heads – and we all hear voices, what the hell are thoughts? – that says because you had an idea or thought, that makes you so damn special or somehow that must be divine inspiration reserved only for you.

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