Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; I write from time to time, in the hopes that free-association might save a trip to a sanatorium.

Category: mental-health

A Struggle for Compassion – (Please share, reblog, etc.)

There are those beings that have touched our lives in profound ways – guiding us with that torch of Hope where we only saw Darkness. Emily Collingridge was one such being…a Saint…a human manifestation of Mercy, of Patience, of Love.

Yet I had never met her – but the hope and help that she provided through her invaluable book on Severe M.E let me know, when I relapsed almost two years ago to the day, that I was not alone. When I was cast into a very dark and scary world of Severe M.E.Today marks one year since she passed away at the age of 30 – after a long-fought battle with Severe M.E – a disease which had crippled her since the age of 6. Yet in her ‘later’ years (and it is such a tragedy just to call it that), she wrote a book from her bed, over the course of a few years, even when she couldn’t physically write, to inspire both hope and pragmatism to the lives of the so many who have had to endure this vicious, crippling illness, not just because of what it does to their bodies, but the emotional trauma it causes to them, their families…and perhaps most tragically, to the strain it puts on the humanity of those who are supposed to be working in the compassionate profession.For me, Emily – through her book – provided as space of hope, of empathy, of understanding, where the medical establishment could do no such thing and shrugged their shoulders in bafflement.

I periodically post things about this condition – not only because it has contributed to making my own life extremely difficult these past six years, but because there are those whose suffering is much greater than mine. This condition has a way of ravaging almost all of your resources – where the physical act of living can be a struggle for your sanity. There are those who cannot raise their heads from their beds, who are fed through tubes, whose physical pain would be deemed unbearable if a ‘healthy’ person would experience it just for an hour.

Yet this disease is constantly mischaracterised in the press, is dismissed by much of the medical establishment, and is granted virtually no funding to help to find treatments that might take the edge off, or help to promote recovery. Please read Emily’s Appeal today, if there is one thing you can do – I am a firm believer that change will only come for this community if we start from acts of passive compassion. Just try to understand it first…be ‘aware’, pray if you can.

If you can then do more, please do so; yet if you ask many patients, the first thing they’d say is that they would just appreciate some awareness. Not because they’re martyrs – they are already living with such a plight – but because they are systematically victimised and betrayed by the institutions that are supposed to protect them, and all those that are vulnerable.

May she be at Peace, finally.Links:
Emily’s Appeal:http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2011/05/28/me-awareness-emily-collingridges-appeal

An Obituary for Emily Collingridge:
http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/mt.php/2012/03/20/emily-rose-collingridge-1981-2012

http://www.stonebird.co.uk/contributors.html#lifewithme

Silent Screamsmy account of life with Severe M.E for M.E Awareness Week 2012.

M.E Awareness Video by Daisy H.:

“…they think ‘denial’ is a river in Egypt…”

Goodness, I was so saddened to hear of the demise of one of my heroes, Zig Ziglar. I had taken some time off of my social networks so I could focus on…well…sleep…and only recently found out that ‘America’s Master Motivator’ had passed away in November of last year.

Anyhow, (and please if ignore this if you’re of the cynical disposition), here is one of my favourite clips of his. His words, to a large extent, helped me get through a very difficult time in life  when I fell very unwell (prayer of course, too); this clip has soared in popularity and is very much worth the ten minutes that you give to it. And then the ten minutes thereafter when you hit ‘play’ a second time.

His lectures called How to Get What you Want, and particularly See You at the Top are an excellent investment!

Why I love Alex Jones…

Weber defined the State as that entity which “upholds the claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order.” I imagine that in the logic of a state, it means that it is, or ought to be, the sole claim to legitimate physical force. I mean, why shouldn’t it be? Could you imagine what the state could do to you or me with that kind of power. I say this all rhetorically, of course; however speaking as a minority in an increasingly hostile West I give it ten years before the mass-deportations begin.

Maybe I’m turning into something of a conspiracy-nut (I wonder if Webster Tarpley has a ‘collected essays’ volume…?); I, too, given my experience these last few years given up really on institutions such as conventional medicine , and have begun to wonder what else I might question. The government seems like an easy-enough target – in the wake of the blatant lies told about the WMDs in Iraq, many Americans joined the 9/11 Truther movement – after all, if 9/11 could be the pretext to an illegal war of regime change in two sovereign countries, what else might they have been lying about?

Perhaps I’m too far a Leftist to actually be able to tolerate the likes of Jones, but I honestly have a soft-spot for him (probably right over my cerebral cortex). I think he raises some very valid concerns in his theorising – I am very sceptical of psychiatric interventions, for example…or vaccinations…the economic crisis affecting us all is another; moreover the alternative media has a great way of bringing to the public attention issues which don’t get a second look at in the mainstream…so what I’m saying is, despite not agreeing with everything this fellow and his ilk have to say on various subjects, they constitute and serve a critical function which cannot be provided by the corporate media (except on the odd occasion when they let people like Jones on their shows, as you will see below!)

This is an hysterically-charged interview in which Jones was perhaps most effective in the first four minutes – just watch those if you can’t be bothered to watch more!

I’m not sure what 9/11 had to do with the recent spree of mass-shootings – perhaps this was an attempt to discredit the guest, and thus very unprofessional – nonetheless Jones has a pretty broad church and no-doubt his points of view will resonate with large numbers, perhaps millions of Americans (not that millions are necessarily watching CNN…) when they get to hear about it.

I can understand how Jones fears that there will come a time where the population will have to bear arms against their government – I can’t decry him for his lack of patriotism -considering that there are now armed drones flying over the US and much of the rest of the world, moreover the NDAA has essentially created a state of martial law in the States – we know how wicked the US Government can be toward those whom she captures or wants killed – GTMO, Predator Drone strikes, Bagram, Renditions are just examples of the last decade…however for some reason I cannot but feel utterly sick when I think of guns and the harm they cause.

I loathe them with every aspect of my being, and I hate the culture that has emerged surrounding them. But then, I don’t necessarily approve of the culture surrounding states generally, and in particular, military institutions today. Leo Tolstoy once said of nationalism being:

the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers

A call for a ban on assault weapons or handguns is a red-herring; I’d much prefer calling on the banning of production of armaments, and the banning of exporting guns to international markets…so that they don’t then end up back in our hands, and nor can others kill because we enabled them by not insisting that the same taxes collected from the arms trade are helping to pay for our welfare state or Health Service, or feeding the hungry though international aid be rejected outright; the stigma should be such that these corporations might pack up and go elsewhere (I’d accept that as a start, but this would of-course take concerted efforts from activist groups across the Global North; we might then consider financial aid or some other mechanism to incentivise other governments to not allow these bloody corporations from starting ip elsewhere).

Our bodies should be temples; for metaphysical reasons I cannot grasp how we can feed ourselves with, or benefit from the effects of, funds gathered through such barbarism. Gun culture isn’t enough to explain such violence, especially given that the numbers of stabbings and muggings are on the rise in states even with such bans…this goes right to the core of our souls. As much as guns themselves have the power to create culture which manifests in the world, we tacitly do the same to our souls…

Maybe the Hobbesian or Weberian conceptions of the modern states, and world, ought to be done away with in favour of a new model of governance.

Or maybe I should be a pragmatist and support Chris Rock’s idea:

———————————-

On a side note here’s an extract from an interview with the always prescient and logical Noam Chomsky in 1994 found here:

Q: Advocates of free access to arms cite the Second Amendment. Do you believe
that it permits unrestricted, uncontrolled possession of guns?

It’s pretty clear that, taken literally, the Second Amendment doesn’t permit
people to have guns. But laws are never taken literally, including amendments
to the Constitution or constitutional rights. Laws permit what the tenor of
the times interprets them as permitting.

But underlying the controversy over guns are some serious questions. There’s
a feeling in the country that people are under attack. I think they’re
misidentifying the source of the attack, but they do feel under attack.

The government is the only power structure that’s even partially accountable
to the population, so naturally the business sectors want to make that the
enemy–not the corporate system, which is totally unaccountable. After decades
of intensive business propaganda, people feel that the government is some
kind of enemy and that they have to defend themselves from it.

It’s not that that doesn’t have its justifications. The government is
authoritarian and commonly hostile to much of the population. But it’s
partially influenceable–and potentially very influenceable–by the general
population.

Many people who advocate keeping guns have fear of the government in the
back of their minds. But that’s a crazy response to a real problem.”

Seyyed Hossein Nasr – “Sunnism and Shi’ism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

Here is an awesome lecture delivered by a scholar that I admire a great deal – he is perhaps the most important Islamic philosopher (certainly the most prolific, as far as I know) of the last century.

This talk outlines the theological differences between the two schools of thought, and he goes out of his way – and rightly so – to demonstrate that in terms of jurisprudence and for a great deal, theology, the differences in the schools of thought are quite minimal. He clearly demonstrates how the major theme in Islamic Thought today (especially that which is promulgated by certain state with petrodollars) resembles far less traditional Sunni orthodoxy than we in the West might think.

The fact that more books exist today about the Shi’a than traditional ‘orthodox’ Islam (which comprises the largest majority as a percentage from within any major religion today) tells me, at the very least, that our faith is being highjacked in favour of a more ‘puritanical, rationalistic’ Islam. Moreover, his analysis of the modern state that is now Saudi Arabia is very astute – especially in his reference to the transfer of technology from the US to SA.

If you can take an hour out of your day to watch this lecture (and even take notes), I would certainly attest that it would be well-worth your time. We need more people like Dr Nasr who will try to highlight how similar the competing narratives of Islamic thought actually are, and that how historically we, as Muslims, lived in very congenial circumstances – and to a large degree still do. Predominantly, the great cause of this discord within the community is proliferated by the Islam that al-Qaeda tend to promote – not by those very minimal theological and jurisprudential differences orthodox (Sunni) Islam has hen compared to mainstream Shi’ism.

In fact, the major point of this talk is that we as Muslims can continue to coexist despite these differences, and despite the catastrophes and humanitarian disasters being created in the Middle East today; efforts are still ongoing today to build bridges and continue to acknowledge one-another – but I fear that to a large extent these efforts are being undermined by that new, puritanical form of Islam which underpins a tyrannical regime which is actively creating discord in the Muslim world.

As a Muslim who tends to fall closer to the Shi’i tradition, I still hurt when I read about the highjacking of the faith because no doubt do these people commit a great injustice to the Sunni tradition – I call on the Shi’a (though many already do this) to equally rise up to the challenge of defending the Sunni orthodoxy for all its beauty and contributions, as well as academic integrity and diversity. It is our duty as a community to not let the legacy of or beloved Prophet – the Mercy for all the worlds – to be desecrated in the name of these illegitimate ideologies; we ought not be divided at their hands and their colonial masters. Islam has so much good to contribute to our world – without unity and the acceptance of each other, we will fall short of creating the best possible world. The Shi’a tradition emphasises heavily our duty to the Mahdi – we cannot be fatalists and let our creed, and the dignity of our brothers, be destroyed from within.

Melanie Phillips is not mad

Dear friends,

 

Matthew writes yet another brilliant piece – this time explaining somewhat the hysterical rants of our dear Melanie Phillips – she is a truly peculiar institution. Moreover, in my opinion, she is the proof that the Forces that Be has/have a very dark sense of humour. She is simply one of those people that I cannot despise (even though many love to hate her); rather, I pity her warped view of the world and how she is in a state of bondage to the Zionist, Neoconservative and Fundamentalist Right demographic.

My favourite part of this piece is when he writes the following:

“A number of years ago when I paid more attention to the ravings found on the American blogosphere than I do now, I coined the term “truthspace”, referring to a kind of reality bubble where speakers and writers come out with claims that are demonstrably false, but this does not matter to their audience with whom they are ideologically united and they agree on the ‘necessity’ of these claims being accepted as truth, even if they are not.”

I wonder if hermeneutical arguments do indeed apply to her – is she merely a product of someone else’s ideology or is there something deeper, perhaps more pathological (in a philosophical sense) there?

You be the judge – but just in case you’d rather not I’d definitely recommend that you read Matthew’s post.

 

Simon Wessely gets courage award (from a bunch of his mates)

Simon Wessely gets courage award (from a bunch of his mates)

How tragic is it that such people, who shouldn’t be allowed to work with the vulnerable in the first place, are treated with such high esteem. I’ve heard of countless cases of patients who claimed to feel as if they were tortured under his department.

For how long are the community going to stand for this? Marginalised when we protest the inhumane treatment under the model devised by this doctor, or treated as malingerers when these treatment protocols fail to help us (as in my case – I relapsed during the process of being treated using the protocol devised and favoured by him) – what ever happened to patient-focussed medicine? Or rather, care-focussed treatment.

Trapped

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?

 

%d bloggers like this: