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Schizophrenia

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Everybody has heard of Schizophrenia. How many know what it means? Unless you have worked in a psychiatric hospital, you probably have no real idea… yet, most people know insanity when they see it. Put it this way – many clever media presenters ask “What is normal?” When they want to excuse some kind of bizarre or sinful behaviour (homosexuality is a prime example). It is bunkum – everybody knows when someone or something is not normal, even if they can’t define it fully!

David’s False Insanity

Trying to escape king Saul’s clutches the young David ran to hide in Philistia, the coast next to the Mediterranean. Read it in 1 Samuel 21. He was on the run and took shew bread from the altar during his flight. The priest gave him the sword of Goliath*, kept nearby, and David gratefully ran to the Philistine city of Gath, not thinking of how the King, Achish, would look upon the man who killed his best champion! (*The sword of Goliath was huge and very heavy. It shows David must have been muscular and tall, to be able to use it).

As David banged on the gates for entry, the soldiers on the walls recognised him as their arch-enemy… and suddenly David realised he was in mortal danger; he probably didn’t reckon on being recognised. He stupidly ran to the enemy of Israel to escape his personal enemy, Saul! When the soldiers called for their officers, David had to think up a plan before the king commanded his men to drag him to his palace to be slaughtered or kept in a cage for life. So, he quickly started to act like a mad-man, a “lunatik”.

King Achish came to the wall and looked down on David as he scrabbled and dribbled as if insane, and couldn’t be bothered to take him prisoner… “see, the man is mad”. He said he didn’t need mad-men and wouldn’t take him into his city. So, he spared David, who got away from Gath and turned to find the caves at Adullam (chapter 22:1), where he and 400 followers successfully hid from Saul.

David feigned madness – and some still do today, to escape punishment, to gain sympathy, or even just to make people take notice (Those labelled ‘Bi-Polar’ often do this, too). Even the law distinguishes sane criminals and insane, making special provision. At one time, before I finally decided to get away from the ‘mad house’, because of my interest in forensic psychology, I thought I apply to work in Broadmoor, the high-security psychiatric hospital for the dangerously insane. I am glad to say things turned out differently and God caused me to stay where I was before leaving psychiatry altogether. Since then I have written on the unique and sinful environment of mental hospitals.

Jesus and the Possessed Men

Another kind of insanity met Jesus when He sailed over to the coast of the Gergesenes (also known as Gadarenes). Two men, who had torn off their clothing, were living wildly in burial tombs on the coast. They were extremely violent and came towards Jesus. But, they were possessed by demons, who were afraid of their Lord and Master. Instead of attacking Him the demons cried out that Jesus would not torment them. The men acted just like some schizophrenics of today, but they became normal once Jesus cast out their demons. So, in the case of these demoniacs, they had no control over their senses.

Others

I was in charge of three wards at the same time… the ‘violent ward’, an acute ward, and one housing chronic patients. I had to oversee the three during the day. In the acute ward, a man brought in the day before was in his single bedroom. It had a large observation window. When I walked in he began talking about his bed being connected up to electricity cables, hearing people whisper against him, and of being poisoned by the food. He was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia, though it was obvious anyway. I was the only nurse on duty there; there were also three visitors; trainee general nurses on secondment who observed.

As I chatted with the man, I noted signs of increasing agitation and knew what was coming. So, I went to the clinical room and drew up a shot of Largactil (used frequently at that time to subdue). I took off my tie, put my pen in my pocket, and opened the top of my shirt… what we did to avoid being strangled or stabbed by our own items. The man walked out of his bedroom, his agitation growing by the second. To the shock of the three visiting nurses I suddenly brought the patient down to the floor with a crash. Holding him on the floor I used the syringe and he soon became subdued. Yes, it was dramatic, but someone with acute paranoia is very dangerous, so I had to pick the time to bring him under control. It was literally a ‘clinical pre-emptive strike’; normal discussion doesn’t work. I later had to explain to the three nurses why I had done it.

Paranoid schizophrenics are some of the most dangerous men on earth, because they are driven by delusions and/or hallucinations that tell them they are in mortal danger. Their only similar people are violent psychopaths/sociopaths. So, they do anything they can to get rid of their ‘enemies’, even if it means injuring them badly or killing them. So, those with a trained eye must jump in headfirst to stop them reaching that point. Dramatic to the onlooker, but absolutely necessary to prevent someone (in this case, myself) being attacked. When such people attack they often don’t stop at the first victim, but can enter into a frenzy of violence. Interestingly, this is what Islamic jihadist usually do; they look exactly like schizophrenics or psychopaths (the latter description is probably closest).

In this kind of schizophrenia, it is said, there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. On the other hand, some experts deny this. In many cases today, similar behaviour is brought on by using drugs and/or alcohol. So, as they say, the ‘jury is out’.

There are several classifications of ‘schizophrenia’, and most are not violent. Like the young inoffensive man who I watched drawing in art therapy. He did an elaborate picture of a castle with drawbridge and stockades. I told him it was my opinion that he used his diagnosis to avoid life and its problems, by withdrawing into his own mind, hence the castle. He smiled knowingly and carried on. Many I knew appeared to resort to schizophrenia so as to get away from family, friends, work, and life in general. And once diagnosed with schizophrenia, even the most skilled or trained would not be able to find work. For the young artist the answer was simple – just become schizophrenic, be incarcerated, and then never be challenged with life. In many ways I see psychosis as a sad extension of chronic neuroses… the signs and symptoms are virtually the same.

Then, there was the young, well-built psychology student. He went with his father to a film show at the local cinema… it was showing the awful film, ‘The Exorcist’, for the first time (now it is called a ‘classic’!!). As they left the cinema the student, normally quiet and respectful, went berserk and police were called. Apparently, that same night in a variety of cinemas in many cities, others were similarly affected, so Christians assumed demons were at work… when people watch such horror films or show an interest in occultism, demons will use it like a doorway to the person’s body and mind. Police brought him to the hospital in restraints to one of our admission wards where a colleague and friend was in charge. As I have said elsewhere, police were ‘tooled up’ with all kinds of devices, handcuffs, straps, the newer ‘truncheons’, and so on, but psychiatric nurses had nothing, so were, and still are, vulnerable.

I was working that night on a different ward, and my younger brother assisted (he was then a cadet) on yet another ward. During that night we heard on the grapevine that our friend was attacked and was rushed to the general hospital. During his night round he saw the new patient in a room used temporarily for storage, with a large table and chairs… all very heavy (‘institutional furniture’). When we finished our shifts my brother and I went to our friend’s ward to see what had happened, and then looked in the room where he was attacked. It was an horrifying sight: blood was everywhere – on the floor, walls, furniture, the window, and even the ceiling. It seems the young student had torn a leg off the table (an extraordinary feat) and beat the nurse all over his body, fracturing his skull and almost every bone he had. The nurse was never the same again. In that case did we witness demons acting through a mental disturbance? Just like the demons in the Gadarene tombs? I have no doubt whatever that extreme or violent ‘schizophrenics’ are possessed. After that the young man came in frequently, and often stood facing a brick wall to beat his head against until he bled.

I would repeat that most patients with schizophrenia (regardless of what causes it) tend to be quiet. But, the few who are not are highly dangerous and should never be allowed out. Most of those who are allowed out go on to randomly murder. I can say that with authority, having worked on violent wards with dangerous patients who had already murdered. (See my article Psy-010, M’Naghten Rules, and reasons why such people should never be allowed out of confinement).

From the above we can see that what is called ‘schizophrenia’ appears to have a wide range of possible causes… trauma, illness, drugs, and even demonosis. But, what is NOT proved is that even if such causes lead to schizophrenia, there is no indication that these conditions actually cause one to behave oddly. That is, does the cause lead to a particular effect every single time? If it does not, then something else may be behind the supposed illness… possibly one’s own desire to act oddly, for whatever reason. I DO believe, from observation, that a very few cases are genuine and that ‘something’ outside the person’s control causes the condition. But, nothing has yet been shown to be conclusive.

Schizoid Personality

Once again, we find much in this ‘disorder’ similar to what is found in neuroses, though a schizoid personality is said to be uncommon. This kind of personality avoids social activities and interaction with others. It is said people with this disorder can stumble into schizophrenia, though most think that the two ‘disorders’ are separate. It is said someone with a schizoid personality will risk entering into anxiety or depressive disorders, and these can often lead to substance abuse.

One with a schizoid personality does not enjoy close relationships or being part of a family. He will welcome joining a family (say, when getting married) but will often start to pull away rather than continue such closeness, preferring secretiveness, apathy and coldness. He will prefer solitary activities and may not wish to have sexual relationships, so this can cause much upset if he marries (rarely – they tend to avoid relationships of any kind). Like those with anxiety or depression, he may have no real hobbies or other activities. Such a person is emotionally cold, and is shy, wishing to be detached even from spouse or friends. Because of their coldness (or aloofness) such people are rarely affected by criticism or praise. Because of their attitudes etc., they feel lonely but do not express it properly. At one time they express love, and at another they don’t.

The schizoid finds expression of emotions hard, so when speaking he will not be expressive in words, either. Overall, this kind of personality is not far removed from sociopathy (psychopathy). Thus, they have little or no empathy with others, and so hurting people around them has no real effect on them. They tend to have no real roots in anything and rarely have a goal in life. Their social inadequacy can sometimes lead to angry outbursts, but not the usual snapping or occasional shouting – more like longish episodes of almost vicious wrath for no real reason.

What we see, then, is a person whose personality is warped – to my mind, ‘created’ by observing close family with similar personality problems – and unable to perform socially in any capacity. However, what we see outwardly is not necessarily what is going on in the mind and heart. Mostly, these are people who have suffered much hurt in the past and are scared when faced with genuine relationships, which they fear will end. Therefore, they also feel alienated from others, fear, and safety. Unfortunately, all the symptoms shown usually get worse with age.

What they do is work out what they have witnessed previously. That is, they ‘learn’ how to be cold and emotionless by watching a parent or some other close relative with the same kind of personality disorder. It is, then, a learned behaviour, inadvertently taught by a parent who is himself cold, neglectful or emotionless. Thus, families reproduce family members who continue these attributes, leading to havoc in their own lives and the lives of those who come too close. Added to these poor emotions is the tendency to lie, a response to what caused the problem in the first place – parental ‘teaching’ of bad emotions; lying is a form of covering-up a feeling of guilt. Though such people prefer to keep away from others, talking is a very useful way to help such people. It is the beginning of interaction, and this helps to ‘bring out’ a normal reaction to life. Medication can also be used, but my own preference is for talking, which comes closer to removing problems.

Those who marry someone with such a personality disorder will usually be in for a rough time: the schizoid can act irrationally, be unstable with a very poor self-image; any relationships will be either cold or hyper-intense, moods will fluctuate because of stress, and there may be attempts at self-harm. Though others are distressed greatly by what these people say and do, the one who is schizoid has no idea how their words and actions hurt others, nor does he appear to care.

And…

The reason I have detailed schizoid personality disorder is that schizoids can slip into schizophrenia. However, schizoid is not that far removed from chronic neuroses, and neuroses are also learned behaviours (again, usually learned by being in an unstable family environment where parents are not loving and open, and one or both parents exhibit neurotic behaviour. The question begs to be asked – what is the real difference between neuroses and schizoid disorders, and these from schizophrenia?

It is a fact that psychiatry loves to expand its territory by enlarging its knowledge-base. So, all conditions, whether real or not, are continually added-to by more knowledge, and this tends to blur the edges of known conditions, to such an extent that psychiatrists can sometimes confuse themselves! So, what is a chronic neurosis can slowly become a psychosis because the definitions are expanded!

Really, it comes down to how we perceive mental and emotional imbalance. It is my personal view that they are all simply expressions of sin (with a few exceptions). Because of sin we can do and say just about anything that is bad or useless. The more we sin the more what we say and do can be identified as ‘mental’. By way of contrast, when we are saved and adhere closely to God’s commands, we tend NOT to become emotionally or mentally unstable, and do not harm others, so the above problems do not normally exist.

What About Schizophrenia?

Symptoms include:

  • No interest in anything
  • Disconnection from feelings
  • Avoiding people, problem concentrating
  • Poor self-help (dressing, washing, etc)
  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things not there)
  • Delusions (believing odd things, including paranoia)

These often mean an inability to look after oneself; refusal to work; easily upset or confused, with distrust of others; a strong refusal to accept the advice from others that something is wrong. Thus, a tendency not to seek help. It should be noted that schizophrenics are often depicted as those who cannot defy voices in their heads etc. This is untrue. As I showed in the article on legal rules, even if there are voices in the head, the person still has to act them out. That is, he has the choice to do something told to him by voices. This is why I say they are culpable… no matter what provocation they claim to have.

The fact that there are voices, usually telling the person to do something wrong or unsafely, tells me that something else may be at fault, such as demonic presences. Even if this is true, we must always be very careful not to put such a label on people without 100% assurance that our suspicion is verified.

Not Convinced!

When I first came across schizophrenia in the early 1970s, I could not align with psychiatric training that referred to it as an ‘illness’. On far too many occasions I saw patients ‘switch’ from normality to ‘illness’ when it suited them. I also saw and heard patients tell blatant lies to psychiatrists, so as to get a required diagnosis or treatment regime. I saw the same activity in a number of other diagnostic categories, too. Since that time I have been very suspicious of any ‘mental’ attribution and have yet to be convinced that such things exist. For me, they only exist as arguments, and not in reality. When I used to live on council estates, in bad areas, I could see the definitions of mental illness all around me… people living chaotically, without shame, and very little care for others. They were uncontrolled.

As I listened to schizophrenics and watched them closely, I was not convinced they were ill at all. Now, fifty years later, I am STILL not happy to accept the existence of mental ‘illnesses’. Rather, what I DO see are people riddled with sin, with no moral or ethical compass to live by. It does not surprise me that some of these are demon-induced or linked, or that evil tends to produce more evil, which accelerates over time in all societies. In this way whole living areas, usually sections of council estates that often look like battle-zones, are riddled with evil and evil people, many of whom show signs of schizophrenia, if not psychopathy. I see this as a result of meaningless and uncontrolled activity, where ‘anything goes’.

It is possible that some problems labelled ‘schizophrenic’ (or any other supposed mental ‘illness’) MIGHT be caused by chemical imbalances, but the link has not been proved to exist in any scientific/medical sense. As with neuroses, most psychoses (such as schizophrenia) appear to be totally incongruent and worthless emotional disorders. These emotions can then affect thinking or mental activity, which chase each other mercilessly until some see it as ‘illness’.

It is significant that those who are genuinely saved by grace rarely have so-called ‘mental’ illnesses, or neuroses. Where a person is instead ruled by God and repents when sinful, grows in holiness, and learns how to be gracious, kind and pure, these godly attributes seem to kick-off bad effects of sin, such as neuroses and psychoses.

It is true that most with schizophrenic disorders (no matter what their real cause) are not troublesome to others (except their families). The few who are paranoid and therefore highly dangerous should lose their freedom perpetually… the numbers of murders by paranoid schizophrenics is proof of this need.

Though I have written about psychiatric definitions, I do not accept that they are ‘illnesses’, but evidences of social breakdown, an inability to live properly, and selfish lack of discipline. Of course, this will attract howls of fury from those who DO believe mental illnesses exist. But, mere criticisms do not prove they do!

 

Note:

(1) As with anything of this nature, I remind readers that my comments stand firm UNLESS proof to the contrary is given via differential diagnosis. (Remember, these comments do NOT apply to imbalances caused by known trauma, etc.). If ever it is proved beyond doubt that such imbalances have a physical cause, I will say so.

(2) Nothing in these articles suggests I condemn those with emotional/mental disturbances… because any one of us can end up the same way if we are not careful. However, I DO say that these afflictions often rest on sin, and the sufferer must repent where appropriate, and live the life God intended.

(3) Those rare cases caused by chemical imbalance or brain trauma do NOT come under criticism.

Am I right in my thoughts? Maybe, or maybe not. I can only speak of what I see and hear, and for over fifty years nothing has dissuaded me. What I say is my view, not proven, but bear in mind that if someone acts, speaks and thinks in a badly conceived way, then that is what they are judged by. Many non-Christians will be vehemently angry over the above. So, let us now see what these say or imply.

There are countless contact groups who advise on schizophrenia. As they rightly say about 1% to 2% of people become schizophrenic and, sadly, they have a 20 year reduced life expectancy. Of course, this is put down to the ‘illness’ but, many schizophrenics live like chronic neurotics… ‘on their nerves’. This can mean increased heart rate, increased adrenaline, decreased metabolism, and many other physical effects that damage the normal body. So – what exactly leads to a 20 year reduction? Genetic flaws – or chosen behaviour?

Schizophrenia, usually starts to show its teeth in late teenage or early twenties. As they grow older symptoms become fewer or less pronounced. In hospital we simply said they were “burnt out”. Is this the lessening of an actual illness… or just that the sufferer cannot sustain such an intense refusal of reality and so becomes tired of trying to maintain oddness? In the same way some criminals slow-down in their criminality… because they can’t keep up and run away!

Significantly, only a psychiatrist can diagnose who is supposed to be mentally ill. The problem is, they rely on manuals (published internationally) and typical question sheets. However, a very few psychiatrists are what might be called ‘naturals’ because they combine standard questions with intuitive personal thoughts and observation. As I have noted many times, psychiatrists can be duped by clever people who pretend to be psychotic. We see the tail-end of this in violent schizophrenics who are allowed out of an institution – they successfully fool the psychiatrist and promptly go out and murder someone. Having satisfied their lust for violence they then return without penalty. I have shown that they ARE culpable because of the choices they make, whether ‘because’ of voices or hallucinations or not. The majority of schizophrenics, though not violent, are nevertheless clever individuals who can manipulate others and reproduce required symptoms.

‘Word salads’ are typical of disorganised thinking. This is when unconnected thoughts are expressed when speaking to others, confusing listeners. Topics will be switched quickly so people can’t keep up. I often copied and used this trait when dealing with schizophrenics. The idea worked – I kept switching so they could not keep up, and this led to a kind of ‘submission’ to speaking and thinking rationally! I also used this method to ‘break down’ chronic neurotics, so they were taken out of their ‘comfort zone’ in which they normally controlled others. By controlling this process I could take them along MY pathway. It proved to be very useful when removing useless perceptions. So, if I could use word salads just like schizophrenics… what makes THEIR usage a symptom of supposed ‘illness’?

I can list every symptom, and give an alternative to what ‘experts’ say! This is important, because it shows there are no final conclusions nor scientific proofs that ‘mental illness’ actually exists. Mental disturbance, yes. Because so many think VERY bad behaviour ` the existence of an ‘illness’, few experts accept or understand that the reason some are violent, say, is straightforward sin. They do not accept ‘sin’ to be inherent or a problem. Many don’t even think it exists… so shrink from saying someone is evil, or demonic, or a very bad person.

Though so many groups and psychiatrists claim schizophrenia is an ‘illness’, nobody knows what causes it. Thus, they go by the outward expressions and not by scientific research. That is, they guess! I also go by expressed thoughts and actions, but my conclusions are very different BECAUSE I am a Christian who believes all of mankind, including myself, is badly affected by sin and its consequences.

As with chronic neuroses, the link to another member of family having something ‘mental’ is, to me, significant. For example, the chance of anyone becoming schizophrenic or bi-polar is one in every 100 people. This number rises to 13 in every 100 if one parent has a schizophrenia and up to 30 in every 100 for bi-polar. If both parents display schizophrenia the number is almost half of 100! But the number of ‘copied’ bi-polars goes down to 15 out of 100. Roughly 10% will copy schizophrenic siblings, but the number is half of all patients with bi-polar. There are other interesting figures but these are enough. You will note I refer to ‘copying’ symptoms. There is no way any psychiatrist can confirm or deny this happens, because they must rely on faulty answers to questions. People tend to answer so they gain some kind of benefit, and not to refer to truth!

Though some will copy parents or siblings, the actual number who do so is not great. What this implies (to me) is that they choose not to, or they choose to copy. For me there are no genetic or similar causes. The fact that so many unsaved experts think schizophrenia etc., are ‘caused’ by genetics or some other bodily or brain malfunction, without scientific data, is ultimately without much value, shows that my thoughts are just as valid as theirs! They might not like what I say, but the truth is – no-one can say for certain if schizophrenia is an illness, or not! Now THAT’S a fact! I don’t think it is an illness, so you must go with your conscience.

© June 2020

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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