I find myself thinking about hard questions now and then. I'd just read this eloquent piece about mental health and it's got me thinking about how to deal with that problem again. Every time I think about it, I come up with... nothing.
When I think about which things some people believe are illness and others believe are choice it makes me cringe. A child should NOT be able to decide they're a boy when they are in fact biologically a girl - not with out a LOT of work - do I think it's simple delusion? In some cases, yes, just like being a dinosaur, or a princess, or Darth Vader when you're two years old, is a form of delusion - we call it imagination. The cases where parents hear their child, not yet a teen, declare they're a girl when they were born a boy, and support that delusion - that bugs me, ALOT. Hell the kid isn't even old enough to know what SEX is let alone have enough self knowledge to make life decision about it. This is in my opinion child abuse. Are there cases were the person in question really does identify with the opposite sex, yeah I'm sure there are and once they hit the ripe old age of 18- well... go for it, not my problem.
Do I think as many libprogs do that you should be able to identify as male or female when ever you want? NO. That's just bullshit. There are significant biological differences - I find it fascinating that a group of people who typically claim that there is no god (God? gods? Goddess?) and that it's all about darwin, then turn around and say the biology means nothing- it's all about personal choice. Personal choice is about dealing with REALITY - not how you wish things were. Making choices based on delusion thinking is NOT the same thing. If you want to play at being transgender, or you want to have a sex change operation - fine, your life, your choice - I on the other hand do not have to support your delusion, if you are a man and I call you 'he' - I really don't give a rat's ass if you get offended because today you've self identified as a women - tough shit. This is not mental illness, it's friggin libprog delusion. You want to be treated as a woman in pubic - fine eliminate the ambiguity, dress like one, act like one, be consistent - I'll refer to you as she - I don't care - switch back the next day then get in my face about calling you the wrong thing - Bite Me.
Back to real mental illness:
The problem is, in essence: Some people are mentally ill. We have no cure for most (or any?) of those illnesses. Some of those people are danger to themselves, some a danger to others, some are a danger to both. Some aren't really a danger to anyone.
The questions are:
How do you decide who is ill and who isn't?
Who do you let decide?
How do you know you can trust them?
Once you've decided, what do you do with the patient?
If I wandered around telling everyone I was Elvis, and I hurting anyone? Am I hurting myself?
I suppose you might argue I'm hurting myself, certainly my reputation - people are going to think I'm nuts - because... well... I would be nuts. On the other hand, does it matter? I would argue; only if my delusion prevents me from functioning within society. Specifically: Can I hold a job, maintain a place to live, and enough food to live on, in a manner that doesn't pose a health threat? If yes, then yeah, NUTS - but so what. God knows there's enough going on in the world to make anyone slightly nuts. I don't think we have the right to protect someone from themselves beyond a reasonable attempt to help - in other words - at some point this person deserves the CHOICE, stay in care or be released knowing the risks. Then again - I think people should be able to opt for suicide for any damn reason they want - CHOICE, people. A person owns their body, their life and they should be able to make choices. Now I don't think someone with bi-polar disorder should be able to make that choice until they've been treated as best we can, but if they opt out after treatment? Yeah. Since I have no personal experience with anyone who was seriously mentally ill, aside from my Dad in his last year or two of life and suffered from dementia, I have to say - My opinion is based on the firmly held belief, knowledge, philosophy -- Human beings are sovereign, they own themselves and have the right to choose, as long as that choice doesn't involve the act of coercion on another.
Now, if I run around bitting off peoples fingers, because that's how the aliens infect them - then I'm dangerous and something needs to be done. We can lock this person away, attempt therapy, try drugs, but ultimately, do we dare let them loose again? We have enough trouble deciding who should be locked up and why, how the hell are we supposed to know if we've cured them? Being released on drugs for someone who might hurt themselves - I'd say yeah we can take that risk. If it were me, I'd rather have the hanse to stay on the drugs and live my life and take the associated risk, than be a prisoner. But we're talking about someone who is a danger to others. I have a much harder time with this - they need to be put in a position where they can't hurt anyone. We're talking about something worse than prison here - they can't be allowed to socialize with out preventative measures in place (not that many career criminals can). But we're also deciding to take this persons freedom because WE decided they're NUTS - oh and they've hurt people. Makes it hard.
Now we get to; who decides? This is were I really run into problems. I don't TRUST anyone in government to make such a decision. I sure as hell don't trust any court appointed doctor to make that decision. I wouldn't trust any doctor who had any ties to any institution that might benefit from treatment of the potential patient. The possibility for abuse is WAY too high. So how do you decide? who do you trust? The best I've come up with is; not good. A selection of 21 randomly selected professionals, none of who have government ties, or ties to any treatment center - half of which preferably would reside in other countries - would diagnose and submit a plan. If 75% call for involuntary commitment then I guess I'd go with it. Yeah I think it should be that hard, right up till the person commits a violent crime. Why do I think this isn't a good option? Well it's too damn hard to do for every potential case, it's too expensive, and it's too easy to pick a group that would just say - commit because it's easer than really dealing with the case. On the other hand involuntary commitment for something we barely understand and really don't know how to treat (for the most part) is pretty damn radical - so it should be HARD.
I suspect that some of the folks who's blogs I've read have a much better take on this than I've ever come up with - I hope so.
I hate questions like these. It makes me feel really inadequate, that part of me who think I should be able to solve problems if I can figure out how to define the problem. - Some problems are just not that easy.