The Rake in Bedlam
Let me say at the outset, I am probably going to be lambasted for doing this post. However, it is something I feel rather strongly about, and reading someone's blog today brought it to mind for me. I do not believe in a soul. I believe a soul is the invention of ancient people who did not understand the connection between the mind and body. Having said that, I do not profess to be an authority on the subject, nor do I have any training. It is merely my humble opinion, based on information I have read and seen.
I have been reading quite a few blogs lately where the blog owners or someone in their families are suffering from "mental illness". I don't believe in mental illness. I don't think it is mental, but very physical. It is often hereditary or familial, which means it has a genetic component to it -- which means it is physical. Genes are not spiritual, but a real physical part of our bodies.
So many people are made to feel guilty or stigmatized about having that particular type of illness. Should a person feel guilty about being born with blue eyes? Or dark hair? Or big feet? These things are passed down from generation to generation. All of the genetic material we bear are time capsules from our ancestors, and that includes any genetic illnesses we may inherit.
Everyone has heard of Mad King George. There was a movie made about him called "The Madness of King George" starring the wonderful Nigel Hawthorne, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. From the description of Mad King George's symptoms, it was discovered he had porphyria. The acute, or hepatic, porphyrias primarily affect the nervous system, resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting, acute neuropathy, seizures and mental disturbances, including hallucinations, depression, anxiety and paranoia. Cardiac arrhythmias and tachycardia (fast heart rate) may develop as the autonomic nervous system is affected. Pain can be severe and can, in some cases, be both acute and chronic in nature. Constipation is frequently present, as the nervous system of the gut is affected, but diarrhea can also occur. In some forms of porphyria, accumulated heme precursors excreted in the urine may cause various changes in color, after exposure to sunlight, to a dark reddish or dark brown color. Even a purple hue or red urine may be seen. Heme precursors may also accumulate in the teeth and fingernails, giving them a reddish appearance.
It sounds physical to me, wouldn't you say?
Mad King George was not mad, or crazy, or mentally ill at all. He did not have an illness in his soul, he was physically sick.
I think if we believe the mind or the soul to be separate entities from the body, we will continue to believe these things will become diseased. But my belief is that it is not these things that become diseased when "mental" illness occurs, it is simply the physical body. This is the 21st Century, and people should not suffer needlessly from illnesses that may be curable, or at best, treatable. More emphasis should be put on researching the genetic component of diseases, and less emphasis should be put on making the victims feel stigmatized. And I think the term "mental illness" should be parked in the lexicon of all the other politically incorrect terms that thoughtful people no longer use.
But, as I said earlier -- this is just my opinion.