A New Perspective on Mentality

In the last two posts, I dived into some concepts of mental health and what we could do to understand them better. However, I was fortunate to learn about organisations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/) and the mental health first-aid that are hoping to revolutionise the lives of those suffering from any crisis using things like neurofeedback and other forms of therapy. How long ago has it been in human history that people built asylums for the insane? Who was the first person to come up with the concept of mental illness? Through the readings, it was discovered that an understanding of how mental illness worked is still a mystery, the way cancer and heart disease were in the early 1950’s and 1960’s. It is such a complicated array, with what the brain hardly being researched and all that it makes things challenging. We are taking the wrong paths to treating these victims and are doing them more harm than good with all those chemicals that claim they can balance out the hormones and neurotransmitters.
I began to think on possible alternatives on how we could begin changing. The first thing to understand is how mental illness works in the first place. What is it caused by. Is it voluntary or involuntary? What are the motivations to having a person behave this way? What about language that they can use to transmit the way they feel to someone who has never felt the sensations they have?
Let us begin with how mental illness works. Mental illness is characterised and diagnosed by observation, evaluation, inventory and question bank databases, and aren’t usually diagnosed by using biological markers the way they do with body illnesses. What is a disorder? A disorder can mean several different things. In an earlier entry, it was explained that rewiring the brain can cause a disorder. It is not just based on how one was born. That’d be more like traumatic brain injury of some sort. There are several different kinds of mental illnesses out there that branch out in the psychiatric field.
Science has not yet determined a definite cause for a lot of mental illnesses, though one theory that stands out is the history of the illness. In my last post, I talked about how if your grandparents were abusive, there is a chance that you would too. The same could happen with mental illnesses. One could willingly go insane because of a traumatic experience, and the future offspring can have traces of that, like some sort of foreign instinct. This is probably because the genetic code containing the instructions on hormone and neurotransmitter production was rewritten. However, people can suffer a mental crisis even after living a normal life. This is probably because they faced a traumatic event that forced their thought patterns to change the way their neurotransmitters and hormones were being produced. There are tons of traumatic events that one can associate to present-day things, and that can lead to all kinds of phobias and forms of paranoia. I am curious to know if there is a gauge that can tell how fear is measured or how it can be more sensitive to one person but not another. Also, what is a traumatic event? Something that you interpret as having a major effect on how you perceived the information that was sensed by the brain. It is because of how those events were carried out that your subconscious mind literally protected your conscious mind. Sometimes we have nightmares about these events because of the fear we are faced with, yet dreams are composed of the brain’s confusion and starts mixing cells in odd structures. This is known as the study of oneirology.
At this time, it is hard to say if a mental illness is voluntary or involuntary, in other words, can you will yourself to have bipolar disorder or does a mutation cause you to have it. Can it happen because of the lack of nurture you were given after birth? A mutation is when instructions are not properly read by the body and the sequence ends prematurely, otherwise there has to be a genetic host. Later on I will talk about how this all works. For that matter, can a person with bipolar disorder will themselves to be normal by forcing their brain and body to listen to their mind? Would a person even want to? I once asked someone that if there was a cure to their disorder, would they go for it? Why or why not? Surprisingly, they said they’d never want to be normal. If they did, they would be more freaked out at having a new life than the old life that they have come to know since childhood. This applies to many other people who have learned to accept their disabilities. I don’t see myself as a blind person. I see myself as a person who is physically unable to see. People feel like they are compelled to bond with the divine power that forced them to have this disability. It is like their destiny was planned out. Surprisingly, however, I broke away from this power.
Many people, regardless of what language they learned, or if they learned any language at all, can feel the way they feel inside their head and in their body, and they know how to respond to these kinds of sensations, like throwing a temper tantrum, crying, laughing, or just sleeping. I am sure you can think of more that do not require the interpretation of language. We assign words to these sensations so we can relate to similar words and sensations, how we ended up feeling this way. Some of such examples include, fire-like sensations, cold-like sensations, intense pressure, tightness, emptiness as in boredom, overwhelmed as in your head and body is overheating, etc. Usually, however, a person can regulate the way they feel, but if their feelings were altered without the control of the mind, then it is due to a change in production, so we try to figure out where the flaw is so we can fix it and make the person well again. The good news is that we are totally flexible, though there are some things that can’t be rewired, like undeveloped structures. That would need some kind of stem cell treatment.
How can language help in the understanding of mental illness? If we know how a word is precisely defined in terms of demographics, there is a chance that we might be able to put ourselves into the shoes of those living with mental illness. Do mood swings happen gradually, or do they happen suddenly? Some people can be angry one second and calm the next. This is known as impulsive action because you act based on how you feel, not think on how you feel before you act. If you keep your feelings bottled in, they will build up and up until you explode like a soda bottle, so it is always best to write them down and or talk to someone in words that are meaningful to you. It may be hard for others to understand. It’d be like transmitting sensations across the internet or something like that just using words. Your brain has to use the already visible sensations you learned to associate with language, and use those to piece together a new and somewhat good replica of what the person is feeling.
I once asked to someone if a person dreamed of having a completely usable body of the opposite sex. In their dream, they’ve experienced all the sensations that person would have as a person in their new role, and that they exclaimed that it was shocking and very different. The question then becomes, how does our brain know what something feels like internally and externally if it has never been present or exposed to it in its life? Could it be something found in the cerebellum or brain stem, the most primitive? What about before we were born. Did we have memories of our other lives written? What about afterword? In any case, I asked a female person what their sensations were like, and surprisingly I was able to relate theirs with a dream I had about me being in the body of the opposite sex. In this particular dream, I was experiencing what it was like to have oxytocin released into my system. What made me suspect that I was to learn was the fact that female neurochemistry allows them to experience a cuddly sensation more than males. When they told me this, I was taken aback, for I have felt those very sensations and I could definitely relate to them. Female neurochemistry is set to finding the best-fitting mate while the male neurochemistry is set to focus on only planting the seed.
These are things like this that can really help one in becoming more attuned to their mind, body and spirit so they can explain their feelings to others in a simple manner. Then again, some are afraid to talk about it because they associate it with their past that they’ve been ignored, the person changed the subject, and even sometimes experience some kind of abuse. These people aren’t caring and sympathetic enough and it is destroying the victim even more.
Now comes the next part: The West and the East have had its view on how to deal with all of this and there is constant argument over this because the west say you should seek help and all that, and the East say you do what is best for you. What if we found a third way, a way that hasn’t been discovered. This is what we call the alternative. Remember that the East has lots of cultures as opposed to the West, which has been taken over by Europe. If a scientist was to do some kind of Frankenstein-like experiment where they purposely altered their neurotransmitter and hormone production to give themselves manic depression, bipolar disorder, or something of that sort, would others consider that person a mad scientist? It depends on why the scientist wanted to give themselves that disorder. Was it because they wanted to personally experience the sensations? Was it because they were working on a cure, or both or neather? Another reason? In science-fiction books, these scientists turn into robots and take in victims to be experimented on. According to the laws of transhumanism I proposed, this is one of such violations because you are forcing a human to do something without having it explained properly before the experiment. Now we are at a point where we are starting to look at things like using an electroencephalogram or hemoencephalogram and other forms of computer sensors to gather information about what is going on in the brain and avoid using invasive procedures to change the structure of the brain, to open up the passages, especially after they have been crammed for a long time, or if there is no neurotransmitter present, try to bring some in. I have looked into possibly modifying a gene to see if I could identify the bad gene and replace it with a good gene. The problem with that is that it usually results in negative side effects. For what I know not.
Here, I will describe some of the common types of feeling one experiences and how I can describe this using a minimum of technical jargon. If there is a term you don’t recognise, feel free to look it up. Let us start out with something very simple and easy to understand. When you are hungry, you know you associate the word hunger with the emotion you feel because you learned it. So every time you feel that sensation, your brain tells you and your mind knows how to resolve the problem. This is called homeostasis, negative feedback loop. You eat until you get another sensation that tells you that you are full. We say negative because you are reversing the effect, not because you are enforcing it. That’s known as positive feedback loop. Here’s another common feeling. When you have been left abandoned over a long period of time, or if you had a fight with someone whom you feel for, you have chest pains and you usually want to start bawling. In some cases, you feel like it was your fault even though you know it isn’t. It’s because you know you want to change things back if you could travel back in time. Sometimes the chest pains can spread to your hands as well. What causes it though? What is going on here? Well, let’s find out. When you think using ideas about what just happened, your blood flow changes and much of the action goes into the limbic system. The positive feedback loop causes a release of certain neurotransmitters that allow the brain to send down signals that will tighten the inner tissue inside the thoracic cavity, and sometimes the inside tissue of your wrists, depending on how strong the signal is. Another common feeling is a panic attack. This one is characterised by a similar concept as the previous feeling, but it is a whole lot more intense because now you have adrenaline pumping in your system. So now the heart races, you start hyperventalating, and who knows what else can happen. Usually, however, something so frightening has to happen within your thoughts or within your environment for you to undergo such an ordeal. Sometimes hallucination can lead to something like that, like a phobia. And finally, what about sleep. Your brain sends signals for when you are feeling tired, though it is not clear what makes us yawn. Your muscles take more energy to contract and your head usually feels heavy. After you sleep, your entire organism heals for the next day ahead, and the other part of your brain results in doing the work of your vital functions. I might talk about sleep-action in a future post, for that itself is relevant to mental health issues.
Now, how can we make sure that these feelings we experience don’t end up getting us confused into thinking we are mentally-ill? For that to occur, you have to have a prolonged exposure to some of these feelings, and usually because of simple every-day things. For instance, would you be afraid of water in general because you nearly drowned?Or, would you be afraid of balloons because the sound of a balloon popping scared you? It’s like the saying says, you’ve got to get back on the horse that you fell off of. A phobia is a little bit different, but is caused by associations of the past when you are little. The older you associate something bad, the easier it might be for you to recover from it, but the younger you associate it, the harder it would be for you to get out of it. That’s my opinion though, and I may be wrong. To me, it seems to be because of how your brain develops so much when you are younger than when you are older. So, in a case of bipolar disorder, a neurotransmitter is either low in manufacture or missing completely. Is it serotonin? That is responsible for making us feel more in moderation, which is what life should be anyway.
One describes the disorder as having the random feelings I talked about earlier come up, but this time, their minds are pulled into it. That is why some turn into elite people who feel the need to rule, to have things their way, which is like being stubborn and can happen to anyone. Actually, having such mental illness can affect how you view life and what cultures you identify with. If you convinced yourself you were Superman and had a mental illness, you would be susceptible to actually do something to believe that you could fly out a window; it could become potentially dangerous. That itself branches off to obsession compulsive disorder. The question is, what makes us believe in the force? Is it because we gradually become used to how our brain controls us and we learn to do things that we would later feel ashamed of or guilty afterword? Then there is the question of self-injury. In research studies, it has been shown that your pain threshold can increase if you are in control of the pain stimulation, but if someone else stimulated you, you are more sensitive. This is because something in the brain prepares us and it knows we are going to hurt ourselves. That is why it is hard for us to tickle ourselves. However, if you are in an episode of having this notion that something evil has been unleashed, forcing everyone in your environment to disperse, until you are alone, left to suffer, then all you can feel is the agony inside, the tightening, the extra load of energy, etc that the external stimulation would not hurt as much because you are already suffering inside. As your inner feelings subside, the pain outside willintensify and you will remind yourself that you did it. So, to bring this back into balance, we are looking at using neurofeedback technology to study how our brain is behaving at such a time. Yet in spite of all of this, a person can still have a fair amount of intelligence and can function very well in life, except that they have this extra part they have to get used to.
I am sure you can think of many more mental illnesses and many ways to associate them wwith your own set of words. There are songs, stories, and other forms of art that depict these feelings in a way the general audience can understand. The problem is, language is so broad, so full of vocabulary that it is so hard to choose the right words to piece together the internal sensations, and even the external ones as well in a way that you can tell others and have them interpret it and experience that sensation you experienced, so it’s not just your lack of diction, but it’s knowing who you are akin to. Can I tell this person? Should I take a chance? You won’t know unless you try. You are afraid that you will be humiliated, like you have been before. Self-humiliation and public humiliation are reasons why we are afraid to come back out of our shell and can make problems worse. So, let’s stop looking at the surface and really begin the ice-breaking process.
In a few days, I might go over some things NASA is covering, about some of my favourite authors and books I like to read now and then, about my new way of seeing Braille and more to come before the end of 2013. Due to computer issues I’ve been having over the last few weeks, I am not sure if I can get my radio server up and running in time, but I will keep working on it. One more thing to note, I learned that what the thing I was going against was called the dowry. A piece of advice: Making sure you respect someone’s culture and at the same time help them fight for equal rights is a complicated conversation to have. Having said that, good luck on all your transhuman journeys.

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