High Functioning Anxiety? Some philosophical notes of the modern Aria

www.huffpost.com/entry/high-functioning-anxiety-signs_l_5cd42647e4b09f321bdcc6d0

I ponder why mental health as a topic has become so prominent in our experiential awareness, concern and vocabulary.

From a philosophical perspective, it seems sensible. For, the prominent 20th century philosophy was existentialism, and thus is based in the preponderant existential anxiety.

However, aside from the more obvious considerations where history makes sense in light of current issues, and the issues make sense from historical sense, could something else be happening?

Is it that we as human beings are becoming more aware of our situation?

Or could it be that we are but filling out the meaning that has been given us?

Or both?

Irony and history

The most substantial philosophical component of modern existence is irony. From a leading edge philosophical standpoint, Everything that we understand as knowledge falls into a weighted selective bias that we call subjectivity. Subjectivity, for a term, is that aspect of existence that rejects the truth of knowledge, of our situation, for the sake of having a real world, reality.

This then is known as phenomenological meaning, and it constitutes the epistemological position of any knowledge that is able to be posited and thus known. This was not a condition of all knowledge through history, rather, it is the particular condition by which and in which we are able to know anything presently.

Hence, the issues of our day of what constitutes the legitimacy for truth and the political polemics that do not seem to be resolvable through open critical discourse. All modern knowledge is ironic, when you begin to think about it openly, critically, and honestly.

High Functioning Anxiety

It would seem, then, that what we see and experience in ourselves to say that someone might ‘suffer’ from high anxiety and yet still be able to function well, could be just that we are expected to deal with life in this way. We function as we are supposed to, yet education brings about a self reflection that is epistemologically informed by rejection of what is true of ourselves as a de facto modern agent. We find this is Jean Paul Sartre. That is, faced with brute existence and the meaningless found therein, we revolt from it an assert our free will to create meaning.

It could very well be, though, that we are this way — anxious, as a society but as well an an individual — because we have been told how to see and understand ourselves and this manner thus fulfills its teleology, and we find thus a mental health pandemic and according ‘solutions’ to the ‘problem’.

Further, it may well be that Sartre, and his ilk, were wrong ethically, and from the Kierkegaardian standpoint in which those 20th century philosopher so uncritically saw themselves. They read our situation and perpetuated it, justified it, as opposed to taking a critical view of it. The problem with 20th century existential ism is that it posits that the universe is meaningless and that human beings are the ones that make meaning. This is the seminal statement of modern ideology and why we must say that to live in the modern world is to live as problem.

The essential and unavoidable problem can be stated as this: To say that existence has no meaning, and thus it is incumbent upon human beings to create for themselves purpose and meaning, is to say that purpose and meaning is nothing.

In other words, the formulation is incorrect.

Perhaps it is some sort of intuitive understanding that the method by which we are understanding ourselves in the universe is incorrect which constitutes the anxiety we know so well.

How could anyone have confidence in the meaning that they are making if amidst this meaning making the underlying knowledge of such activity is that it is pointless, useless, and means nothing? 

And yet, the modern problem can be extended to be formulated as such:

in so much as I might become aware of this paradox, my anxiety is only increased, and I am compelled to do more things to distract myself from this dreadful condition of knowing.

Truth versus Reality as a question of method Versus meaning

Rather than asking how to solve our anxiety and accorded social issues, The more effective question as to overcoming this self-justifying anxious philosophical reflection of society (ideology and spirituality) could thus be to ask how could this be the case. Why in the sense of logistics as opposed to why as is what is the historical cause.

In other words, The short of it is:

Are you able to understand your situation as a truth instead of a product ?

What do you say?

Trauma Informed Care

For those who may not know, trauma informed approach to mental issues understands that such issues are the individual’s natural response to traumatic events in the person’s life.

Whether it be a single traumatic event, like an act of violence or natural disaster, a series of events, such as abuse, or “a thousand bee stings” over an extended period of time. The response to trauma is the same. Mental health issues arise due to life trauma.

Systemic Abuse

The reason why this is important is because hardly anyone knows this outside of the mental health helpers.

Below is a part of a first-person typical example of an extreme case of a person encountering systemic bias and stigma, which I am sure most everyone adheres to, even as they would rather behave better:

From “Experiencing Psychosis” 2012 published by Routledge. used without permission.

Unfortunately, I fear this is still not an atypical example. I would say that probably most people who experience any form of acute mental issue, whether it be depressed suicidality to schizophrenia , are met in the general clinical setting with a sincere while good intentioned bias that functions to invalidate, as a category, the actuality of the mental health situation.

Just a thought.

How have you viewed someone you have encountered with a mental issue?

What was your reaction?

The Moment of Decisive Significance: Enlightenment and the Christ Moment

The moment of enlightenment is only initially an awareness of being. After that moment it is an awareness of how so few are aware. The real issue of enlightenment has to do with what comes after.

When we understand Christ in its proper scope, we see that ‘enlightenment’ is the attempt by the individual to uphold and maintain It as a prolonged state of being. The way it is maintained Is through the justification of the offense.

The Christ moment, and the ideal of enlightenment, is a moment of being conscious that when come upon represents a moment of decisive significance.

In this moment, the awesomeness and apprehensive feeling of dread might bring the individual to fall back into its history to thereby join and retain the consistency of what they know and knew to that state of fear and trembling. The coupling of the Christ moment with the fall back (revolt) into the fear of the awesomeness of the tremendous mystery that is come upon in that moment, yields righteousness, what some could call “ego inflation”. Enlightenment is the form of consciousness understanding itself and its view as something that everyone else is supposed to likewise know.

On The other hand, when the Christ moment, it’s awesomeness and the accompanying state of fear and trembling, is come upon in curiosity, then the motion is one of compassion instead of righteousness. For the self, it continues the motion of curiosity and acceptance, but this self is not the primary aim. The motion is into otherness. Difference.

For, instead of understanding how intellectually or ethically wrong and spiritually poor everyone is around, such that they need to be educated into the righteousness of proper knowledge, The Christ moment fades into just one moment in the potential of human consciousness. Enlightenment disappears as some thing that was never to be found. The meaning of awareness changes.

The awareness that remains is not enlightened awareness, neither is it Christ being; rather it is a true human compassion for those people Who have come upon and yet not followed through such a moment.

It is a true understanding of what it is to be human.

Read The Moment of Decisive Significance: A Heresy

…and much more affordable paperback!.

An object oriented journey through the Gospels.

Philosophical Mental Health Contemplation of the Day, part one

This is a philosophical contemplation of mental health, so it’s going to be a little longer than just a tip.

Anxiety is probably the most foundational element of mental health. As the early investigators into psychic and mental phenomenon noted, there are really only two adverse mental phenomenon that we are really concerned with: to use somewhat archaic terms, we have neurosis and psychosis.

In order to give context to this mental health contemplation today, we need to understand these two basic principles; then we will get into the more contemporaneously relevant third issue next post.

Neurosis, very basically thinking, is anxiety. it refers to conditions as, what Sigmund Freud termed, “amicable to the couch”. Aside from the more contemporary conflations of neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology, it is from the simple statement that pretty much every approach to psychotherapy stems. It is the principle which basically says that the client has the solution. We as counselors are really helping the person in their process of coming to their own solution. The couch, in this frame, was the actual couch that a patient would come in for Freud and others, and lay down and start talking, basically in free association, with little or no intervention or prompt from Freud or the psychoanalyst.

Now, this might be kind of a disillusionment for many people who want to go to the psychologist and get their mental disorders fixed; I would say that this kind displacement, where I am trying to get “fixed”, is merely a contemporary and modern phenomenon of mental health, and behaves more like a religious rite than it does behave towards any true recognition of what we’re actually dealing with. Hence, ironically, the idea that the problem is the problem. But that is another conversation to have.

Anyways…

Psychosis, on the other hand, names those that Freud and others noted who were ‘not amicable to the couch’. What he meant by this is that he encountered certain patients which no amount of talking would help alleviate the issue they are Attempting to deal with.

In our more contemporary terms, “Amicable to the couch” as they talked about it then is really what we call an ability to “reality check”. People who are psychotic do not have an ability to test themselves, thier perceptions and thoughts, against reality. The term “schizophrenia” Was an early term Developed by early investigators to account for persistent acute psychosis, to indicate that there was something structurally, physically abnormal about this persons brain. Early neurologist believed that all forms of mental abnormality are reflecting a structural physical abnormality of the brain. That the structure of the brain is the cause of all mental phenomena.

While there are some correlations in this structural physical situation to mental health issues, not all mental health issues can be reduced to one’s neural structure or as we like to talk about nowadays, the chemistry. A more enlightened and current view is that while there may be a propensity involved in the structure of neural tissue to yield various mental health ailments, more likely it is the environment which activates such abnormality or dysfunction. However, this is to shed light upon the difference between psychosis and neurosis; The early neurologists and their Scientific congregants were using psychotic patients in order to argue back that neurotic patients have likewise a structural physical chemical aberration in their brain.

The point that I am making is that we cannot be sure what is the actual “cause”. Classical neurology, as indeed anachronistic approaches to mental health still advocate and it’s absolute form, Propose that all cause of mental issues is always neural structure. The issue nowadays is no one can be really sure if understanding this cause actually helps us to a solution.

What we find when we actually look honestly and openly at what is occurring, as opposed to relying upon the “historical and traditional theories”, Is that what is normal and abnormal so far is neuroses does not fit neatly into the model which finds structural differences between psychotic patients and “normal”. The truth of the matter is that there is this huge gray area — no pun intended, or maybe there is! — that the Nuro chemical model of mental dysfunction is merely promoting upon an exploiting. The Nuro chemical model of mental disorder as applied to the traditional neurotic is not taking account of the facts. It is merely drawing upon a theory and imposing that upon what they speculate could be the case. Such practitioners “see“ what the theory dictates rather than having what they see shape their theory.

The Borderline

One could argue that the main problem involved in our current state of mental health is the Borderline.

The idea of a borderline personality disorder comes out of the initial polemical situating of mental health issues. This is to say, neurotics can find their solution through their own process facilitated by someone who is skilled in allowing for that process. Whereas psychotics, and it’s classical sense, cannot find their own solution through this kind of self process.

The notion of a borderline personality was derived because it seemed like there were some people that would come in who appeared neurotic, Yet the process of their self reflection Appeared to only work sometimes, at that, not very well.

Ponder: what of these three categories would you say you fall into?

More in a bit….

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Anxiety and the Common Cold

Relating mental health physical health; anxiety is not the same as having a cold.

… but our current psychological/scientific mental health paradigm would make us believe that it is similar.

Fear and anxiety are often used somewhat interchangeably. Yet in psychological literature, They are not the same. The influential existentialist psychologist Rollo May asks the question whether or not For a client right in front of us, that is as opposed to philosophical speculation, could we be able to discern in the client between their fear, and the anxiety that shows from it.

Fear is fear of something. Where as anxiety has no object.

In my other posts I talk about how popular discourse, popular culture, commandeers or usurps power from originary discourses, from basic meaning. I even put this phenomenon in terms of modernity. It is to identify the modern method to say that what is true becomes real. (Read Alain Badiou for an excellent rendering have this motion.)

Such is the case with anxiety. We always hear and we talk about how I’m “anxious because..”. But that is not really a proper anxiety. I am anxious, really, Becuase I am feeling not becuase.

That is the irony. We want to address and solve our anxiety by finding a fundamental cause of it. The very human and logical method which would say that we need to find a cause of any effect, and then we can address the effect. Very medical model. And indeed, ultimately, often enough really the only thing we can do to solve anxiety is take a Xanax or a Valium or smoke some weed, among other chemical solutions. But that is an entirely different discussion. It doesn’t so much as solve the anxiety as allow us a certain myopia. Well like I said, different discussion.

Similarly, There is a kind of therapeutic intervention or approach, called positive psychology, which views anxiety, and indeed all mental health issues, as having an object that we can address. If you can address and alter the object of the thing that’s getting in the way of mental health, then your mental health can become better.

I submit that this approach to mental health stems from a want for mental health to be the same as physical health, where I have a pain in my gut, I can point to my inflamed liver, for example.

And this is OK. All I’m really saying is we need to get more discerning about what we are talking about when we talk about mental health. People who address mental health should be more particular and identifying as to what they are really addressing so far when they talk about or assume that there is this general human being who is having mental health issues and here they are going to propose a remedy for it. I feel it creates great confusion, and actually works to perpetuate problem more than it really works towards significant help. It might help some people, but it would probably help exponentially more people if people who are proposing to help around mental issues were more specific about who they’re actually addressing. That is, as opposed to merely saying that I am proposing a solution to “anxiety”.

I hope that resonates for you readers.

The more astute reckoning of anxiety understands that anxiety has no object. We generally put this in the sense of why is someone that would have anxiety when they’re just walking down the sidewalk. Sure, we could ask the person and the person could come up with a number of fears.And, we could say that this person is

Having anxiety because of their over concern with all sorts of various fears, then I’m going to be hit by a car, that a dog is going to run out and bite me, that I might step my toe, etc. And, we could say that this person is having anxiety because of their over concern with all sorts of various fears, then I’m going to be hit by a car, that a dog is going to run out and bite me, that I might stub my toe, etc.

But then what we have as a person listing a series of fears. It doesn’t matter whether they are unfounded or founded, because indeed everyone lives their life under the umbrella of having to be concerned about the various contingencies that could arise out of nowhere.

The person suffering from this kind of anxiety cannot be said to be suffering because of their fears, because of their irrational fears, so to speak.

So it is that anxiety is not like the common cold. We definitely can point to various objects that manifest the cold itself and its symptoms. We can address the symptoms and help the main object of the cold itself to go away. We can even directly address the object of the cold through various types of supplements.

And yet in mental health, when we approach anxiety in this way, more often the anxiety persists, mutates, comes up with other reasons, other fears Two at once explain their anxiety while also ironically arguing for it. It is as though we have an institution that does not wish for anxiety to go away, for a perpetually in forms it’s constituency that anxiety has an object that we can solve or address through the modern methods.

And just perhaps all to coincidently, it is modern methods that make people a lot of money.

Comment upon Talking to a Therapist

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Matt Valdespino is—along with his twin, Greg—one of my oldest and best friends. When I first met the two of them, I honestly could not tell them …

Talking to a Therapist

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I started reading this post and I found out his friend is a clinical psychologist or PsyD and immediately my mind started naysaying. 😆.

You can search around my blog and find my opinions about psychology and psychiatry, if you want. 

I did read to the end, though, and ultimately, despite all the names, despite whether people really think that science is getting anywhere towards a better mental health, I like where the interview ended up.

I tell my clients and patients all the time that they should be curious about their situation, and curious about the therapist that they’re going to go see.

However, while I do tend to agree that people should be a little more proactive in their therapy, and tell Therapists what they want and need, I think they should be more curious in this regard into just asking questions about how their therapist views mental health, what they see or understand as the cause of suffering, how they view the idea of “mental illness”, questions like that. As an analogy, I dont goto my heart surgeon and tell them I need an Aortic Stent. I go in telling them that I think something is up with my heart and ask them about how they view the situation. (That analogy only goes so far, though.)

I agree that most people come into mental health kind of passively. Which is also good, Because part of the reason why many people are coming Is because they I have no idea what’s really going on. This is fine as well.

And, sure, a client can come in and say “this is what I need”. I’m not really sure if Therapist is doing anything beneficial for the client if that’s not one of the first things they find out from a client anyways.

Being Generally Educated can be a Problem in itself as to the question of help.

I think one of the problems about being a generally educated client, is that they feel that they can apply their advance grade education to their mental health as well, diagnose themselves, come in and tell her therapist exactly what they need from them.

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Ok.

This indeed can be all good and well, if for no other reason than even Therapists need to make money, and so if They can provide a simple service as just for filling an order from a client, then so be it. Who knows, something else beneficial could happen that the client never thought of. The filling of the mental health order could be evidence of the mental health issue that the client is coming in for, and hasn’t realized it yet.

The client who comes in with that attitude might have missed the significance of the reason why they would feel that they have to come to therapy already. Which is to say, yes, that probably most people that come to therapy will be just mental health’s bread and butter, but the ones who actually have issues that need true tending (which is probably everyone) those are the reasons why we become therapists in the first place.

Yes, we feel a call to help people. The true question for therapy could be just exaclty what this help is.

Thanks Lotz!!xxx