State of Mind: December 2005 Archives

December 28, 2005


The update first, as it's been a long time. My exams were drawing closer and I was spiralling into depression due to stress. Didn't study for a week, and the stress increased the depression, which finally induced the voices again, which made me suicidal. But I'm still alive, as you can see, so all's well. Exams are over now (and I'll pass. only 3 practicals left), and then I'll have a month's hols :) But I've a lot to do and don't know whether I'll have the time to do everything I want to. Neways, that's irrelevant. What matters is that I give it my best!

I went to my doc and asked him how much alcohol I'm allowed, as I hadn't found a single source on the Net of it being contraindicatory with the meds. He said that 1 glass of beer i.e. 330ml. I asked if not two, and he said no. And definitely no hard drinks. He then explained the reason behind it. He told me that alcohol and the meds are both broken down in the liver by the same enzymes, and taking both creates a "traffic jam". One glass of beer has 20ml of alcohol, and it takes 4 hours to clear that much alcohol out of the liver, that's 5ml every hour. So if one takes 5ml of alcohol every hour, he won't be drunk! And ofcourse I won't be drinking one glass of beer in 4 hours, or not even in one hour. Going by my drinking speed, I won't take more than half an hour, so more than that is out of bounds.

Another thing I asked my doc was whether he had heard of Dr. Thomas Szasz, and his views on libertarian principles for the mentally ill. What I knew about him was that he proposed that schizophrenics should be allowed to decide whether they want to take their medications or not. My doc told me that Szasz's saying about schizohprenia was that "It's a sane response to an insane world." This guy wrote all that in the 60's, when there was still no known biological cause of schizophrenia, and when the meds had just started coming out. This was also the time when Freud's psychoanalaysis was very strongly governing the mental illness scenario, and the common thought was that the socio-cultural environment, and especially the family's attitude triggers schizophrenia. As someone recently commented on my blog "Coffee has caffiene...", that the norm amongst psychoanalysts today is about measuring the expressed emotion (EE). You can read it at
Coming back from the digression, I then told my doc that these are the same kind of views as of R.D. Laing! And he said yes. He then went on to tell me a very interesting thing. He told me about this old, prerecorded interview of R.D. Laing that was aired on BBC 7-8 years back. Laing was asked whether he would take meds if he was suicidal. He paused and thought for some time and said "yes". The interviewer then asked him whether he would take ECT treatment if he was in a really bad mental condition (completely suicidal and all that...), and he paused a bit longer and said that "if my doctor thinks necessary"! We now know that mental illnesses have a biological cause, and not a socio-cultural cause. A socio-cultural environment is not a cause, not a precursor towards causing mental illness, rather, it is, as in the concept of Expressed Emotion, a trigger for further relapses.

I then asked my doc as to how would one then relate libertarian principles for the mentally ill, and what about personal freedom in that case. He said that if you want the mentally ill person to make a choice, he should be in a state to make that choice. He cannot even make that choice because he is not in the right state to make an informed decision. And that is where medication helps in helping the person make a choice. I then added that then you can create that incentive structure for the patient that ok, if you don't want to take meds, I'll not support you financially. You support yourself. And since the person will be in no state to do that, you give him the alternative that you will support him if he agrees to take the meds.

My doc then said that "freedom is in the attitude". I was confused as to what he meant by 'attitude', and he went on to explain. He gave me an example of this Jewish psychiatrist (Dr. Fropp, if I remember the name correctly), who was also a communist, and was put in a concentration camp by the Nazi's. He survived and eventually came out. He was then interviewed and asked how he survived it, and whether he was happy there? He said that I was happy all the time over there! The interviewer then asked as to how he managed to stay happy with all that torture, to which he replied, and I paraphrase, "no one can control the circumstance he/she is in, but the only thing that one can control is the response/attitude towards that circumstance. And I decided that I will stay happy even here."

I would now like to reply to one of the comments I got long ago on "Coffee has caffeine...". Here is the comment -

"Choiceless awareness means to be aware without the action of thought or of the mind, for thought is a product of time itself, and only when we have choiceless awareness can we be free to experience the timelessness."

This ability to escape culture, and ego/mind.
I interpet this as the process of outgrowing the self indulgent apelike characteristics homo sapien witholds. Early human realized time's existence. What is further in the waking of our psyche?

will time be a past cognitive experience?

Well, I would like to point out that humans still realize time's existence. You take any illiterate person, who doesn't know that time is relative and hence eternal, and they will still believe that time exists! So it is not a matter of cognition at the present time that should concern us. Taking evolution into account, I obviously cannot predict the cognitive functions of our successors :)

Posted by puzli at 04:51 AM | Comments (3)