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Mental Disorder Pers

Mental Disorder Pers

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Published by willmalson

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Published by: willmalson on Mar 10, 2010
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Will MalsonPage 1 of 4
Mental (Dis)order 
When people want to take you to a different place, a different reality, they usually start withsomething very basic and something we can all relate to, I think very well. The land of Disney. Now I'mnot going to be talking to you about anything specific to Disney, or cartoons, or anything like that. It's just an example.When people think of Disney they usually think one of two things: Mickey Mouse, or popular yet not always talented musicians. I'd like to talk about the former. Hopefully Mickey Mouse will helpme convey the subject a little better. In the cartoon, you have the obvious mice, a couple ducks, someother assorted animals, and most importantly, two dogs. One of the dogs, Goofy, stands on two legs andwalks and talks and eats and thinks just like a human does, or a cartoon-human anyway. The other dog,Pluto, stands on four legs and walks and talks and eats and thinks just like a dog does. The problem hereis that they're both dogs. One dog is not just smarter, or more intelligent, but acts like a completelyseparate and distinct animal species when compared to the other. Maybe that's not clear enough though.Replace the word "dog" with "human". Does that strike you as a bit different? One human is not justsmarter, not just different in walking- or eating-habits, but is essentially a completely separate anddistinct animal species. Not to over-extrapolate the issue, but, that's basically what the Nazi's did to justify the holocaust. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not condemning Walt Whitman for creating MickeyMouse the way he did. I'm not calling him a Nazi or accusing him of dehumanizing anybody. It was justa cartoon to him, and he probably didn't mean anything by it. But what I'm trying to do is give you amental cue, an image in your mind of what I'll be expounding upon in these few minutes I have.I want to take this opportunity to let you know the main theme of my speech. Already I think youcan almost guess the subject, but just in case, so you're not lost. I'll be talking about why we should treateverybody as an equal. That's incredibly broad, and not nearly narrow enough for discussion, so I'llexplain. I know as good people, you try to treat other people with the amount of respect you would wantto be treated with. But oftentimes, we take "equality" as something that must be earned or somethingthat is not given to everybody but still call it "equality" anyway. I'll be talking about the act of unknowingly treating people like the cartoon of Mickey Mouse unknowingly treats dogs.Don't take this the wrong way. I'm not from PETA, or the Humane Society, or from AmnestyInternational, or anything like that. What I mean by "people", the dangers of unknowingly treating"people" like the cartoon of Mickey Mouse unknowingly treats dogs, is someone with a mental problem,or tick, or a mental disorder.A lot of times people tend to overgeneralize and stereotype people with any kind of mental issueor issues, and treat them like they are less than human. We act like Goofy and treat them like Pluto. Now, Goofy may treat Pluto decently, and we may treat these people we don't match well mentally withdecently, but the problem is, we treat them like lesser humans, or in Mickey Mouse, like lesser dogs, tothe point where we can no longer distinguish the impaired-dog or the impaired-human from something
Will MalsonPage 2 of 4entirely different; a complete other animal species. It's not necessarily because we see them as lesser-humans. We may not look at them like that. It's not necessarily a conscious decision or a consciousreaction. Our sub-conscious is fickle that way. We want to treat everybody the same, but at the sametime, we can't help but treat them differently.In your day-to-day life, how many people do you think you come in contact with that have somesort of mental problem? If you had to guess, what would you say? Who is it? Maybe it's that odd co-worker who talks to himself sometimes when nobody's around, or maybe the boss that gets there at 9,leaves at 5, and keeps his or her desk spotless. Or as a kid, if you were public-schooled, maybe thatlunch-lady with the lazy eye who was always in a bad mood. But there's always at least one person youknow who doesn't have any sort of mental problem. The one you can be sure of, the one who willalways keep you sane. Would it come as a shock to you if every evaluation of the mental health of someone you know that you just mentally conducted was wrong? Not just wrong, but exactly theopposite, or almost the reverse. On a scale of 1-10, how astonished would you be? This is another reasonwe should treat people the same without assuming anything. Even highly qualified psychiatrists and psychologists are unable to make any sort of judgment on the mental health of a subject or subjects.A couple weeks ago, I watched a documentary called "How Mad Are You?" conducted by theBBC News.
In it, 10 people were chosen to spend a week at a resort. 5 had been diagnosed withmental disorders; 5 were judged mentally healthy for purposes of this test. Throughout the week,they were given tests to complete and activities to test their mental capacities. During all theseactivities and tests, a panel of 3 famous psychologists, experts in their field, were observing andmaking judgment calls as to who had what disorder, or if the subject had a disorder at all. On the2nd day of testing, this panel had to choose two people - one that they thought had a mentaldisorder, and what that disorder was, and one person who they thought was least likely to haveany kind of mental problem. The first was correct - they successfully identified an individual whosuffered from OCD. The second was another story. The individual they chose that was least likelyto have a mental disorder laughed at their diagnosis - and left the room. They were completelywrong. At the end of the week, the panel had to pick out all 5 people with mental issues. Theyknew one, the member with OCD. Their second diagnosis was also correct, a member sufferedfrom bulimia. The next three guesses were completely wrong. Out of these 5 people that theythought had mental disorders, only 2 actually had a mental problem. They correctly guessed OCDand bulimia, but passed over depression, bipolar disorder, and social anxiety with schizophrenia.
“How Mad Are You?" BBC Headroom, No author (BBC), November 5 2008,http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/tvandradioblog/2008/nov/05/horizon-how-mad-are-you,http://documentaryheaven.com/pt-12-how-mad-are-you/, http://documentaryheaven.com/pt-22-how-mad-are-you/]Isn't that amazing? When it comes down to it, it's nearly impossible to tell if any given individualhas a significant mental handicap or difference from yourself. If I listen several famous people with amental problem, would you nod your head and say "yes, I know they had that"? Let's try it.
Will MalsonPage 3 of 4According to Mental Health Ministries,
Isaac Newton, most famous mathematician of the17th Century…suffered from "nervous breakdowns" in his life and was known for great fits of rage towards anyone who disagreed with him which some have labeled Bipolar Disorder. Ludwigvan Beethoven, composer, had bipolar disorder which some have said gave him such creativepower that his compositions broke the mold for classical music forever. Winston Churchill…toldin his own writings of suffering from “black dog” Churchill’s term for severe and seriousdepression.
[1]["Famous People and Mental Illnesses", Mental Health Ministries, No Date, No Author given, http://www.mentalhealthministries.net/links_resources/flyers/famouspeople.pdf] According to theBBC News,
Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton may have suffered from a type of autism.
[2]["Einstein and Newton 'had autism'", BBC News, No Author given, April 30, 2003,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2988647.stm]Are you surprised? I'll close with something else that might surprise you. Look around the room.Is there anybody you think suffers from a mental problem? Do you think I have now or have in the pastsuffered from a mental problem? Do I appear sane, rational, mentally collected? Would you believe thatin the past I've suffered from extreme paranoia, seizures due to a mental problem, week-long insomnia,and hallucinations? Well, I haven't. But if I had, would you judge me for it? Would you treat medifferently from the way you treat anybody else?People with mental disorders are still that - people. They deserve the same level of respect andthe same opportunities as anyone else, and they deserve to go urn-judged by society.In closing, I would urge that you reconsider actions you may take, or have taken, in the directionof someone with a mental problem, if any. Everyone is created equal; no one is greater than the other interms of equality opportunity. No one should be denied rights or civil treatment because of somethingthey can't control. No one is and should be a lesser human.

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