How to reconcile agency with mental illness

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squarepeg
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by squarepeg » 17 Mar 2017, 20:23

YES, I think it's most useful to define mental illness as within two standard deviations of normal in a normal Gaussian distribution. Thanks for the curve graphic, Heber13. :smile:
nibbler wrote:
16 Mar 2017, 05:16
Normal becomes a trait we judge to be good and the things that serve as obstacles to developing that trait are the illnesses?
Maybe that's the criteria by which we define "sin" rather than "illness"?

nibbler wrote:
16 Mar 2017, 05:16
As an orthodox believer I equated extroversion with righteousness and introversion as a sin (of omission). Hand on Bible I feel it was the result of the teachings and emphasis we place on things as a church culture.
Your experiences are familiar to me. I had a close fellow-introvert friend in one ward, and we used to discuss this very question: Is extroversion better, or more righteous, than introversion? Are we morally obligated to try to force ourselves to be extroverts? I am not sure, but I lean toward, "No". Because while extroverts might be better at Home Teaching, introverts might be better at the Law of Chastity. Not joking. I think extroversion absolutely makes it easier to tick off the checkbox-type behavioral displays of "correct" behavior that members consider outward manifestations of righteousness.

I wonder whether the church unintentionally weeds out introverts. I mean, I wonder whether the retention rate is higher among extroverts, because the social aspect of being active is much more rewarding for extroverts, making them more likely to stay in the event of a faith crisis. If so, then introversion within the church (not within the broader society) may be rare enough to be considered a mental illness!

Roy wrote:
16 Mar 2017, 14:57
A grace filled understanding of eternal progression (Ray has described it simply as progression at the pace that is right for you until you insist on stopping) IS one of those bridges for me. It is not part of the dominant narrative that I hear at church. It is not something that my SS teacher, EQP, or Bishop will validate for me. However, the ingredients for this belief are found in our scriptures and the concepts are just as well reasoned, beautiful, and inspiring as any other teaching you may find.

For me, the concept of progression between kingdoms is useful. It is a tether that anchors the kite of my personal beliefs to the monolithe of Mormonism. It helps to keep me from floating away. I hope that answers the question.
Thanks. I'm adopting the grace-filled understanding of eternal progression. It is beautiful. It gives me hope. It's what I imagine a loving God's program to be like. It's how I had reasoned things out as a kid. It made sense then; it still makes sense. It's so cool to see quotes supporting it and to know others hold this view/hope, also.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Mar 2017, 11:13

Some people have speculated that the great visionaries of history have similar psychological frameworks - that they are "abnormal" or ""disabled" in some way - that they see things "normal" people don't because they simply are wired differently. Schizophrenia, disassociation disorders, euphoria, etc. are fascinating conditions.

I think that might be true, and our tendency to diagnose and treat every irregularity now might be eliminating our visionaries. Perhaps Abraham, Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, Joseph Smith, etc. (and Plato, Shakespeare, MLK, Jr, Gandhi, Churchill, etc.) might have lived "normal", medicated lives if they had born now. The world might have been less volatile, but I don't think it would have been better.

Just something to consider.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SamBee
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 22 Mar 2017, 08:35

I think that might be true, and our tendency to diagnose and treat every irregularity now might be eliminating our visionaries. Perhaps Abraham, Moses, Muhammad, Jesus, Joseph Smith, etc. (and Plato, Shakespeare, MLK, Jr, Gandhi, Churchill, etc.) might have lived "normal", medicated lives if they had born now. The world might have been less volatile, but I don't think it would have been better.
It's already happened. As I said earlier - look at the contemporary built environment, look at what is on in the cinema/television and on the radio. Most of it is unimaginative cheap inferior drivel. It is created of despair & commercial compromise and manufactures despair.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

squarepeg
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by squarepeg » 25 Mar 2017, 20:23

Ray DeGraw wrote:
18 Mar 2017, 11:13
Some people have speculated that the great visionaries of history have similar psychological frameworks - that they are "abnormal" or ""disabled" in some way - that they see things "normal" people don't because they simply are wired differently. Schizophrenia, disassociation disorders, euphoria, etc. are fascinating conditions.

I think that might be true, and our tendency to diagnose and treat every irregularity now might be eliminating our visionaries.
I think that's absolutely true in some cases. I'm inclined to assume that when an unusual mental framework is so extreme as to render the person unable to function as an independent member of society (can't hold any type of job, can't interact with others in a productive way, etc.) it might be best to consider intervention. But most of the people you cited don't have problems of that severity. Van Gogh is one whom I wonder whether he might have been better off medicated (had there been a suitable med in his day), even though he produced amazing work and medication may have interfered with his artistic creativity.

There is another aspect of psychotropic medication of which I'm reminded: In a previous ward, a friend and I were discussing how many women in our Relief Society seemed to be clinically depressed and how many of them were taking prescription drugs to treat their depression. She expressed the possibility that having many of the women in a ward Relief Society on meds for depression, and thereby presumably "artificially" boosting their emotional states, might have a detrimental impact on the women who were struggling through difficult times and were experiencing depression or depressive-like states without the aid of medication, because the latter group might observe the former group's seeming insulation against depressive moods and feel that they, themselves, were perhaps not handling their own depressive feelings very well, and feel discouraged and isolated. It would be virtually impossible to test whether or to what degree this actually occurs, but it seems like a probable scenario within some wards. I'm not sure what the implications would be. I certainly don't want anyone to stop taking their meds if by doing so there might be a risk of harm to themselves or others.

Our modern interpretation of the Word of Wisdom includes discouraging drug use, but this doesn't apply to prescription drugs, obviously, even though some drugs formerly used under medical supervision are now considered to fall in the category prohibited by the WoW (cocaine, heroin, etc.). Interesting to think about.

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SamBee
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 26 Mar 2017, 03:30

If the people of the western world were not so medicated there would have been a revolution years ago...
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Mar 2017, 06:50

I need to make sure I am crystal clear about something:

I believe strongly our children are being over-medicated, generally, but I also am deeply grateful for the advances in medicine that allow medications to be so widely available. My mother was schizophrenic, and medicine helped prolong her life 30 years beyond her brother who was on and off his mess. My son is Tyoe 1 diabetic, and he would have been dead in middle school without advances in insulin treatments. Medicine is the best option, especially initially, for lots of people with depression and other anxiety issues. I work with kids with special needs, and for many of them medicine is a life-saver.

Having said all of that, I do wonder how many visionaries we have lost and will continue to lose.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

squarepeg
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by squarepeg » 27 Mar 2017, 15:09

Ray DeGraw wrote:
26 Mar 2017, 06:50
I believe strongly our children are being over-medicated, generally, but I also am deeply grateful for the advances in medicine that allow medications to be so widely available.[...]
Having said all of that, I do wonder how many visionaries we have lost and will continue to lose.
Regression to the mean. It's good and it's bad.

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LookingHard
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by LookingHard » 27 Mar 2017, 15:53

I hope this isn't bending this thread into a different tangent, but I just listened to a very interesting podcast on Testosterone (This American Life #220).

I will bring up 2 items among several that were covered.

One guy suddenly lost ALL his testosterone. Of course he lost his libido, but he also lost almost all emotion, all his drive to do anything (wasn't depressed), didn't care what food tasted like, couldn't really "think", and thought everything was "beautiful" - but with zero emotion behind it.

Another was a woman that was transitioning to a man was given a huge shot of T to get her body to start changing. She couldn't believe how she suddenly was sexualizing everything. She used to be attracted to women, but now she lusted after most all of them. She even mentioned that the copy machine at work somehow became sexual.

I have heard of another woman transitioning to a man and she commented after feeling the change in so much of her thoughts after getting a big dose of T that "she no longer felt that people truly have agency."

My understanding is that the second one that got a "big" shot of Testosterone was still only a very small shot. So this (and other hormones) are VERY potent and can really drive.

I know some mental illness is not just "an imbalance of the chemical soup in the brain", but some conditions are.

It leads me to feel we still really don't know all that much on all these subjects.

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SamBee
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by SamBee » 28 Mar 2017, 01:51

I really think these days libido can be exaggerated.... there's this idea that if you have high sex drive you must practically rape or pounce on anyone you see. Not so. Sex drive is an urge like any other that can be controlled to some extent. You might feel like it but you don't have to do it. But it's not presented that way in popular culture, and I've talked to people who think that. Self-control in these situations is important - if we don't have any we end up losing civilization (there are signs we already largely have in the west).

I found myself in a situation where I was strongly attracted to a married woman at church a few years ago. (I didn't know she was married at first). But it was also a solid marriage and I liked the husband, so instead of attempting to break up their marriage, I made a point of avoiding her. I could have gone the other way - successfully or unsuccessfully (not sure which is worse) - but I didn't.

The man you mention sounds as if he was under the influence of depression except the "everything is beautiful" bit.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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LookingHard
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Re: How to reconcile agency with mental illness

Post by LookingHard » 28 Mar 2017, 12:02

SamBee wrote:
28 Mar 2017, 01:51
I really think these days libido can be exaggerated.... there's this idea that if you have high sex drive you must practically rape or pounce on anyone you see. Not so. Sex drive is an urge like any other that can be controlled to some extent. You might feel like it but you don't have to do it. But it's not presented that way in popular culture, and I've talked to people who think that. Self-control in these situations is important - if we don't have any we end up losing civilization (there are signs we already largely have in the west).
I agree. My point wasn't that we could use high testosterone as a defense for rape. There were times I honestly wanted to beat my kids, but I never did. My point was just how powerful of control some (even natural) chemicals have on how our brain works. I think the point was we shouldn't assume everyone feels just like us.
SamBee wrote:
28 Mar 2017, 01:51
I found myself in a situation where I was strongly attracted to a married woman at church a few years ago. (I didn't know she was married at first). But it was also a solid marriage and I liked the husband, so instead of attempting to break up their marriage, I made a point of avoiding her. I could have gone the other way - successfully or unsuccessfully (not sure which is worse) - but I didn't.
You are not alone and good job.
SamBee wrote:
28 Mar 2017, 01:51
The man you mention sounds as if he was under the influence of depression except the "everything is beautiful" bit.
Yep, but he said he didn't feel depression at all. No sadness at all. Just lack of motivation to do almost anything and loss of most any emotion. I find that really interesting.

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