|Schizophrenia and Poverty, Crime and Violence|
|For people who have schizophrenia, and don’t get treatment, the result is far too often that they end up homeless or in jail (most often due to minor offenses).
Schizophrenia and Violence
People with schizophrenia are far more likely to harm themselves than be violent toward the public. Violence is not a symptom of schizophrenia.
News and entertainment media tend to link mental illnesses including schizophrenia to criminal violence. Most people with schizophrenia, however, are not violent toward others but are withdrawn and prefer to be left alone. Drug or alcohol abuse raises the risk of violence in people with schizophrenia, particularly if the illness is untreated, but also in people who have no mental illness. When violence does occur, it is most frequently targeted at family members and friends, and more often takes place at home.
What is Schizophrenia?
“A good question, with no simple, short, or straightforward answer, since each sufferer is unique and schizophrenia is a complex phenomenon. In general, schizophrenia is an extremely introverted, psychospiritual mode of perception, or way of relating to the world; or state of consciousness involving (what I have called) ‘extreme empathy’. This simultaneous blessing and curse is due to a fragile, fragmented, dead, or lost ego, or conscious personality structure. The normal, ego-enforced boundaries between the self and the world have broken down, such that schizophrenia sufferers – for better and worse – find themselves identifying with everything within their scope of perception. It is because of this ego loss, or ‘dis-integration’ that psychosis, shamanic initiation and mystical experience are so inextricably bound. The schizophrenic person may appear to family, friends and doctors to be lacking in emotion, but in reality is in a state of intense empathy, such that extreme sensations of joy and fear are usual. Because of their fragile personal boundaries, schizophrenic folk typically see, hear, sense, perceive and understand things that others are unaware of. Secret, or symbolic meanings are seen and heard in everything, and the schizophrenia sufferer typically feels responsible for the fate of the world.” ~~Maureen B. Roberts, PhD. Jungian Therapist & Specialist Consultant on Soul-centred Wholistic Psychiatry Founder & Co-ordinator: Schizophrenia Crisis Centre & Drug-free Helpline [Australia]
Further reading: “Schizophrenia: The Shaman Sickness” by Sam Malone (former sufferer).
The schizophrenic experiences a stunning barrage of continuous, horrifying symptoms: auditory hallucinations, delusions, ideas of reference, paranoia, etc. The “indescribable severe torture” is unrelenting and can go on except during sometimes restless sleep, at whichtime the symptoms are even active when one becomes conscious at all. This experience is so overwhelming it is beyond the imagination. It cannot be conceived of intellectually. By its very nature it in fact necessitates the concept of religion in order to relate to it at all. This continuous experience of psychotic symptoms can be viewed as “spiritual exercises in perfection”. The effect on the schizophrenic is similar to that of monks when practicing their rituals in monasteries. When these spirited exercises become a lifestyle for the schizophrenic (lasting 8-10 years) with no real evidence given to the schizophrenic that he will ever recover, a fascinating thing happens to the psyche of that schizophrenic—he loses the perspective of “ego”. Ego consists of all his identifying factors in the world: his age, sex, race, religious affiliation or lack thereof, education level, social class, political affiliations, nationality, etc. He begins to see his environment with the eyes of a newborn, without the bias or prejudices, preconditions of his particular circumstances. It can be seen as a sort of continuous baptism by fire, a kind of purification, enabling him to see reality for what it is in actuality, rather than being viewed through the preconceptions of his individual mental, emotional, and behavioural repertoire instilled in him from birth. The schizophrenic in this condition is able in his interior to walk around in someone else’s moccasins with perfection. This can be seen as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, perfectly. I do not believe it is a condition that can be acquired by a “normal” individual by any method, because the horror of the symptoms of schizophrenia are unduplicable by man. (Religious persons would call this condition repentance for all one’s sins, e.g. “perfect repentance”.) ~Source
From Bouvier’s Law Dictionary 1856 Edition
MANIA, med. jur. This subject will be considered by examining it, first, in a medical point of view; and, secondly, as to its legal consequences.
2. – 1. Mania may be divided into intellectual and moral.
1. Intellectual mania is that state of mind which is characterised by certain hallucinations, in which the patient is impressed with the reality of facts or events which have never occurred, and acts in accordance with such belief; or, having some notion not altogether unfounded, carries it to an ex- travagant and absurd length. It may be considered as involving all or most of the operations of the understanding, when it is said to be general; or as be-ing confined to a particular idea, or train of ideas, when it is called partial.
3. These will be separately examined. 1st. General intellectual mania is a disease which presents the most chaotic confusion into which the human mind, can be involved, and is attended by greater disturbance of the functions of the body than any other. According to Pinel, Traite d’Alienation Mentale, p. 63, “The patient sometimes keeps his head elevated and his looks fixed on. high; he speaks in a low voice, or utters cries and vociferations without any apparent motive; he walks to and fro, and sometimes arrests his steps as if fixed by the sentiment of admiration, or wrapt up in profound reverie. Some insane persons display wild excesses of merriment, with immoderate bursts of laughter. Sometimes also, as if nature delighted in contrasts, gloom and taciturnity prevail, with involuntary showers of tears, or the anguish of deep sorrow, with all the external signs of acute mental suffering. In certain cases a sudden reddening of the eyes and excessive loquacity give presage of a speedy explosion of violent madness and the urgent necessity of a strict confinement. One lunatic, after long intervals of calmness, spoke at first with volubility, uttered frequent shouts of laughter, and then shed a torrent of tears; experience had taught the necessity of shutting him up immediately, for his paroxysms were at such times of the greatest violence. “Sometimes, however, the patient is not altogether devoid of intelligence; answers some questions very appropriately, and is not destitute of acuteness and ingenuity. The derangement in this form of mania is not confined to the intellectual facul-ties, but not unfrequently extends to the moral powers of the mind.
4. – 2d. Partial intellectual mania is generally known by the name of monomania. (q. v.) In its most usual and simplest form, the patient has conceived some single notion contrary to common sense and to common experience, generally dependent on errors of sensation; as, for example, when a person believes that he is made of glass, that animals or men have taken their abode in his stomach or bowels. In these cases the understanding is frequently found to be sound on all subjects, except those connected with the hallucination. Sometimes, instead of being limited to a single point, this disease takes a wider range, and there is a class of cases, where it involves a train of morbid ideas. The patient then imbibes some notions connected with the various relations of persons, events, time, space, &c., of the most absurd and unfounded nature, and endeavors, in some measure, to regulate his conduct accordingly; though, in most respects, it is grossly inconsistent with his delusion.
5. Moral mania or moral insanity, (q. v.) is divided into, first, general, where all the moral faculties are subject to a general disturbance and secondly, partial, where one or two only of the moral powers are perverted.
6. These will be briefly and separately examined. 1st. It is certain that many individuals are living at large who are affected, in a degree at least, by general moral mania. They are generally of singular habits, wayward temper, and eccentric character; and circumstances are frequently attending them which induce a belief that they are not altogether sane. Frequently there is a hereditary tendency to madness in the family; and, not seldom, the individual himself has at a previous period of life sustained an attack of a decided character: his temper has undergone a change, he has become an altered man, probably from the time of the occurrence of something which deeply affected him, or which deeply affected his bodily constitution. Sometimes these alterations are imperceptible, at others, they are sudden and immediate. Individuals afflicted with this disease not unfrequently “perform most of the common duties of life with propriety, and some of them, indeed, with scrupulous exactness, who exhibit no strongly marked features of either temperament, no traits of superior or defective mental endowment, but yet take violent an- tipathies, harbor unjust suspicions, indulge strong propensities, affect singularity in dress, gait, and phraseology; are proud, conceited, and ostentatious; easily excited and with difficulty appeased; dead to sensi- bility, delicacy, and refinement; obstinately riveted to the most absurd opinions; prone to controversy, and yet incapable of reasoning; always the hero of their own tale, using hyperbolic, high flown language to express the most simple ideas, accompanied by unnatural gesticulation, inordinate ac- tion, and frequently by the most alarming expression of countenance. On some occasions they suspect sinister intentions on the most trivial grounds; on others are a prey to fear and dread from the most ridiculous and imaginary sources; now embracing every opportunity of exbibiting romantic courage and feats and hardihood, then indulging themselves in all manner of excesses. Persons of this description, to the casual observer, might appear actuated by a bad heart, but the experienced physician knows it is the head which is defective. They seem as if constantly affected by a greater or less degree of stimulation from intoxicating liquors, while the expression of countenance furnishes an infallible proof of mental disease. If subjected to moral re- straint, or a medical regimen, they yield with reluctance to the means proposed, and generally refuse and resist, on the ground that such means are unnecessary where no disease exists; and when, by the system adopted, they are so far recovered, as to be enabled to suppress the exhibition of their former peculiarities, and are again fit to be restored to society, the physician, and those friends who put them under the physician’s care, are generally ever after objects of enmity, and frequently of revenge.” Cox, see cases of this Pract. Obs. on Insanity, kind of madness cited in Ray, Med. Jur. 112 to 119; Combe’s Moral Philos. lect. 12.
7 .- 2d. Partial moral mania consists in the derangement of one or a few of the affective faculties, the moral and intellectual constitution in other respects remaining in a sound state. With a mind apparently in full possession of his reason, the patient commits a crime, without any extraordinary temptation, and with every inducement to refrain from it, he appears to act without a motive, or in opposition to one, with the most perfect consciousness of the impropriety, of his conduct, and yet he pursues perseveringly his mad course. This disease of the mind manifests itself in a variety of ways, among which may be mentioned the following: 1. An irresistible propensity to steal. 2. An inordinate propensity to lying. 3. A morbid activity of the sexual propensity. Vide Erotic Mania. 4. A morbid propensity to commit arson. 5. A morbid activity of the propensity to destroy. Ray, Med. Jur. ch. 7.
8. – 2. In general, persons laboring under mania are not responsible nor bound for their acts like other persons, either in their contracts or for their crimes, and their wills or testaments are voidable. Vide Insanity; Moral Insanity. 2 Phiilim. Ecc. R. 69; 1 Hagg. Cons: R. 414; 4 Pick. R. 32; 3 Addams, R. 79; 1 Litt. R. 371.
The points along which one can afford a moment of peace, in which one can be allowed effortlessly the consciousness to stream of its unabashed accord are few in the world, in this peopled and so noisy environment called Society. First, so little, and therefore precious daylight in which to let wander the mind upon creative journeys is so fleeting, and then to have to battle in those so few, precious hours noise and conceit of the ever invasive environment, throws one’s mind into a spiraling whirlwind of uncontrollable madness. And this every day. One never knows when next the “moment thief” will strike, stealing away one’s potentials without remorse, like a serial killer. For how can he have remorse, when the thief knows not what he does? He, blissedly ignorant of his crimes, feels no pity; nay, feels nothing for his act. This is not egocentricity or even egotistical, this is only the soft embrace of blissful ignorance.
How many of those who know intimately of the throes of existential madness have not wished for the bliss of ignorance? How many have not wished our minds were not SO full of ‘thoughts’? Our awareness quite AS acute? Our consciousness as sensitive? Would we not give almost anything (hell, our very otherwise cherished lives) for a moment of some semblance of peace? Do we not lament peace of mind? Do we not bemoan tranquility? Yet, unlike the thief, we know and cannot help from becoming insane after he has gone and left only the knowing of his commitment in his wake, for us to bear. We bear the burden of the blissfully ignorant, the neurotypicals. We carry the sentence and consequence of their crimes.
I can comprehend why and how Gerald, the schizophrenic, could believe that others were meaning to kill him. I can empathize and sympathize with his fear of people and the unstoppable, unceasing terror of purposeless, meaningless ignorant destruction they rain upon him. I feel it every day. In every moment waits the possibility that it will be taken, so must not one conclude that it was never meant to be had? That great forces were at work to dangle peace of mind like some kind of psychic carrot? For some, I suppose, peace never comes, for others peace is always known; for me, it is like a ghost, the merest, minutest glimmers of oases. Too much like an illusion, too close to “never really being there.” A daydream conjured to perfection. So, does one actually suffer loss? If one never perceived or experienced? The only solace is the morrow and that perhaps day light will provide another chance, but, too the conscientious terror of its fulfillment, and again the thief wearing a new face.
Sincere. a : free of dissimulation : honest <a sincere interest>
b : free from adulteration : pure <a sincere doctrine> <sincere wine>
2 : marked by genuineness : true
— sin·cere·ly adverb
— sin·cere·ness noun