Peterson’s illness and related matters
Oh well, as I do on a Sunday morning (2021-01-31) I read many of the broadsheets and some tabloids. There’s so much going on the world these days, it’s very difficult to decide what to focus on. You could spend your life reading everything on COVID-19 (Cornavirus or SARS-Cov-2). But I came across an article in The Times online on Jordan Peterson that caught my attention. I have to declare in advance that I hold the man in great regard – which doesn’t mean I believe everything he says or does. Chrysst – this social media thing is dangerous; the way people jump to conclusions and runaway to spread some truth that pops into their heads!
Summary of JP’s condition
Peterson suffered more than one mental and physical illness over an 18 month period. He was subject to various ‘strange’ treatments and was almost given ECT. His mind was left blank of memories for a 3 month period (not due to ECT, which he did not accept). I’m not doing your reading, for you who reads this! Bugger off and find it all online. The article is here but full contents may not be available to all. The Times article was ridiculous clickbait that was heavily criticised by hundreds of commenters in the forums. But it was good cause for reflection among people – and their loved ones – who suffered similarly. It got me thinking deeply and so I came up with the following spontaneous thoughts.
Whilst my sympathy is with JP for all his suffering, his tribulations bring out a few important things (not necessarily specific to JP).
1 – One can know all about mental health and that knowledge doesn’t really help a great deal when mental illness strikes.
2- The brain is the underlying template of what we know and call the mind (though in reality the two are a ‘monistic’ entity)
3 – The brain is (obviously) recognised as a biological entity.
4 – The mind is (obviously) recognised to be in the domain of the psychological – and the seat of autonomy etc. It certainly isn’t a substance that can be held in the hands.
5- The human being is not simply mind-and-body. That’s a simplistic point of view that was inherited and deeply entrenched as a cultural perspective post-Descartes.
6- The social domains often deliver shocks and overwhelming stresses, to both biological and psychological aspects of our existence. Destabilisation can cause physical illness, mental illness and serious feedback into social (or legal) dysfunction.
7 – Resilience of our bio-psychosocial existence, has individual limits.
Mental health today (in broad brush)
Modern-day psychiatry has moved well away from the strict biological perspectives driven by many eminent historical figures in its history.
‘Tons of people’ in the UK don’t know the differences between psychiatrists and psychologists, nor would they know (or care) about the very significant differences in their training and eventual expertise.
The consumerist ethos of modern NHS is that any old ‘mental health professional'(MHP) is good enough. When I regularly meet people who have met one of those, they don’t know:
a) the names of the professional(s)
b) their true status
c) their qualifications
d) the intended purposes of their contact
e) the expected outcomes by what time frame.
Quality and efficacy of mental health care delivered by MHPs is not formally assessed at individual levels (well, maybe in some exceptional neck of the woods). Hold on – did I say anything about CQC assessments of mental health services? I did not! So, don’t fly off on a tangent.
End of! Yeah I just kicked ‘Stupid‘ out from even getting in on this!
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