An unfinished-extract from my diary from a couple of weeks ago.(edited a little bit):
“Whilst I was resting today, though I cannot remember if it was early this morning or when resting in the afternoon…I had a little time to think from my bed. Anyhow, it was to do with whether ME is a physical or mental illness. Some months ago, one of the BBC radio stations broadcast a programme where an ME-researcher said that she received death-threats for suggesting that ME might be a mental condition, or have a mental-health aspect to it…in fact, it was because she was researching whether there was a psychological aspect to it. It was revealed that this was the case for manyother reasearchers.
Whatever this might reveal (or let’s be diplomatic, indicate) about the prejudices of the “institution” against ME-sufferers -or whether these incidences give a bad name to the ME-afflicted – my thoughts were more focussed on what the state of understanding of mental-health illnesses is.
Though I do not in the slightest believe ME to be rooted in psychological origins, or at the very least that psychology or psychiatry cannot explain why ME occurs in patients (convincingly anyhow), what if ME was proven to be a psychiatric condition? What would be so bad about it? What difference would it make to our suffering?
Of course- the sometimes latent but often explicit agenda of medical researchers and medical professionals could discourage patients from coming forward to receive the help, or it could result in patients receiving types of treatment and care not suitable to their very-delicate conditions; but if that agenda didn’t exist…
Is it a taboo still to have a mental illness? Though wwhen we hear that someone has a psychiatric condition (I’m using mental-health/psychiatric condition interchangeably), we mighht imagine them in a white gown, strapped to a trolly in a padded roomm at the end of a ward in a sanitarium; we know that mental-health issues are fairly widespread and do not necessarily warrant such imagery – their manifestations may be subtle, but to the patient, they are still very real.
I think that part of the ‘fear’ of having a psychiatric condition might cause the afflicted to believe that their suffering is subjecctive, and therefore less real! And it doesn’t help that medically there are few, if any biomarkers for their conditions; this is compounded further by the prejudice of the medical professionals we so rely on to help us manage our condition, and offer at least support if not sympathy, as it is rarely gotten from others.”
But if you were in the state where you really, truly believed your body to be malfunctioning and others suggested that it was all by virtue of the tricks your brain played upon you, you might start to doubt all your thoughts, all your motivations, and the very fact that you were sick. If it was in fact the case that your mind, ego, brain – whatever you would wish to call it – was at the root of your illness, and that the only filter you had to view the world was through this mind and you were a slave to your consciousness, doesn’t that warrant even more support from those who were paid to care for you? But it goes beyond this. We are trapped in bodies that are unrelentingly uncooperative – the extent to which they malfunction are magnanimous (just ask an ME patient who gets temporarily paralysed or experiences seizures or blackouts randomly) – what care couldbe provided to patients who suffer so. Part of the fear must be that if a psychiatric cause was found, then ME patients would be subjected to conventional therapies. So far as I can tell, I’m not sure how you can think yourself out of paralysis or stop a seizure midway by changing the way you think about it.
Isn’t it a testament to our mental and inner-strength that we live our lives in acceptance of this grim reality?