Mental illness is a cruel past that has haunted the present mental health community for centuries. Major religious figures, great rulers like alexander the great, in the medieval period when people were believed to be possessed by evil spirits, witches/sourcerer, the list goes on throughout history. Witches and religious figures are awesome in their own way, but let us look at this realistically, they probably did and do not have powers or see demons. I can not blame the people back in history either for being afraid or awed by the mental illness that was surrounding them. It was so new they did not have the technology or study to know what was happening. At time they were so afraid of mental illness in “witches” or “ the possessed” that they burned them at the stake for all to see. In a way now people with mental illness are ashamed to get help because of the same reason. I am not talking about burning at the stake no. Lets look at addiction, schizophrenia, or bi-polar for example. Many times people are a shamed to get mental help because they are afraid people will shut them out from their lives, look at them differently, or treat them differently.
Continuing in history, Mental illness started to be seriously recognized around mid 1700s. Then it was believed that mental issues were due to social stressors. While this is partly true, they asked themselves, “How do we treat this?” Still young in study and not close to any kind of HUMANE treatment. People were locked away in cellars and dungeons, separating them from society. This I believe was so that they could be away from their environmental stressors in order to make OTHER people feel safe better. At that time it was not even for the mentally ill persons well being. It was for societies “safety.” In my opinion this is not a bad way to start severe mental health issues. In some ways this separation has the same concept if one was to go away to a retreat or go into inpatient mental health facility. That is for another discussion though. This separation is harmful for ALL mental issues. As we learn in the future the best help is human-to-human relationship.
Just imagine a depressed or anxious person in a small 200-300 square foot, cold dark concrete cell with 6-8 other people. This could be terrifying to even the healthy mind. Hell I can barely take having one person over in my 800 square foot apartment. It gets worse. Eventually they were not making any kind of new treatments and decided, “Hey yeah lets open the asylums for people to go in and look at the mentally ill.” Putting a cherry on the ice cream they charged money for people to go into the asylum to look at them like wild wild animals. If you could see my face now you would see a frown of pure disgust. Someone finally got the right idea and said hey this is wrong we need to incorporate these people back into society.
There were many different treatments they were starting to try and help them with mental illness. Electroshock, lobotomy, and hydroptherapy were some. These methods were either to “re-start the brain” or to “shock” the brain somehow to rewire it. It is amazing that they were doing this to people but they STILL DID NOT KNOW what they were treating.
Its hard to treat something you have no idea what you are treating. We have made amazing progress since these times. There are multiple therapies out there and multiple medications out there. Even with new knowledge and tool. We still do not know what the mind is or where it is. Some believe that it is outside of our physical body influencing our brain, some believe that it is embedded somewhere in our brain, some believe that it IS our brain. I believe that our psyche (psychological mind) is separate from our brain but still somewhere in the brain. What are your thoughts on the terrible past and now? Do you think that this past has to do with the stigma that is mental health now?
Stay Present Stay You