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According to this Wired magazine article, schizophrenics “aren’t fooled by an optical illusion known as the ‘hollow mask’ that the rest of us fall for because connections between the sensory and conceptual areas of their brains might be on the fritz.”
It gave this video as an example:
I don’t see the mask as convex when it’s concave. I watched it several times and it always appears inverted to me. Does that make me a schizophrenic? Probably not. But sometimes I can’t help but read descriptions of mental illness and wonder if I have one illness or another. I read those descriptions or I catch one of those commercials on TV talking about a new drug for a different illness, and I panic. I must have this one. Surely this one affects me.
Commercial: “When you sit on a plane for a couple hours, do your legs start to hurt? When you stand long hours carrying a heavy camera in your hands, do your legs hurt the next day? Then you suffer from Normal Leg Syndrome. Act now and get 10 years of Normal Leg Antidote for the low price of …”
Don’t the vagaries in commercials like these drive you insane?
Commercial: “Do you wake up in the morning? Do you eat breakfast soon after you wake up? Do you eat lunch around noon and dinner around 6 p.m.? Do you think people should be treated the way Jesus would have treated them? Then you suffer from bleeding-heart liberalism! It’s not too late for you. Wash down these Conservat-o-matic Pills with this tasty Kool-Aid-type drink so you can write off compassion and heart-felt sympathy forever!”
ME: “Yes, that’s me! I can’t believe how precisely this commercial described my symptoms! I must take Conservat-o-matic Pills!”
Commercial: “Do you go to the bathroom after drinking lots of water? Do certain foods in Thailand cause explosive diarrhea? You suffer from Human Normalcy? We have the drug for you!”
ME: “YES! I suffer from Human Normalcy! Now I can finally get help!”
I exhibit some night-time paranoias, but those aren’t DSM-IV characteristics of schizophrenia. Maybe there’s another illness that fits that description. Why do I constantly have to battle thoughts that I suffer from the illnesses? Why do marketing, psychics, quacks and religious ideology convince so many people?
Is acceptance of reality a disease, too? Does accepting things I can smell, touch, feel and hear render me a subject in the DSM-IV?
Have I told you that I suffer from a weird case of the turrets, too? Frequently, I blurt out different phrases. I can’t control it, and when people hear me, I have to write it off as mumbling to myself. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t always the same phrases. When the train goes rumbling by and I’m outside, it gets worse, because my brain knows somehow that no one can hear me. It’s like my brain relishes in being able to say anything out loud that normally would be considered CRAZY.
Unscientifically, I think everyone suffers a little from a variety of mental illnesses. Some people show a little obsessive compulsive disorder. Other people exhibit a little depression. Lots of people suffer from delusions and irrationalities, including me. These things are uncontrollable, methinks.
Or maybe everyone doesn’t exhibit some form of some mental illnesses, except for me and the rest of the wackjobs. Oh no! Run!
In the event that most people do have a little bit of a lot of illnesses, wouldn’t it be better if people recognized that, or had it professionally recognized?
Lots of people self diagnose, and they self medicate with all kinds of drugs.
When you look at me and think I’m crazy, you’re diagnosing me. The secret is out, I do it to you too. Would it hurt that people learned a basic amount of information on normal things that affect normal people so that we could approach the world with similar understandings about the world around us?
Oh yeah, that exists. It’s called college.
The things that drove me from Christianity — apart from a college education at a Christian college — were the things within Christianity that vaguely affect everyone. Christianity is the oldest fear-inducing miracle drug commercial. It’s like the psychic with his vague predictions.
Christianity: “Do you suffer from desires to have sex? Do you look at women and have an uncontrollable urge to know them in a sexual way? Well, you’re sick and you need our medicine … Yeshua Pills! Yeshua Pills won’t take away the symptoms … but they’ll forgive you after you think about them. And, since you’re sick, you’ll need a steady stream of Yeshua Pills. As long as you’ve got a libido, you’ll need to buy our product. We’ve got an unlimited supply of pills for you … because you’re really fucking sick.”
ME: “YES! I suffer from desires to have sex. I look at women and want to have sex with them! I didn’t know I was sick. But I guess I am. I’m a sick, sick fool. Wait a minute! The medicine doesn’t cure anything … it only induces a need for forgiveness? This medicine isn’t for me.
Christianity: “Do you like pleasure? Do you want to live forever? We have Belief Pills for you! Mix those with Yeshua Pills, and you’ll experience bliss … wait for it … after you die!”
ME: Stop manufacturing ideas to get me to buy your product. Thanks.