Archive for the ‘Personality’ Category
In follow up to my previous article, “Depression is everybody’s problem”, this article will point out the danger of depression when gone unchecked.
The 2015 crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight 4U9525 on March 24, 2015 which killed all one hundred fifty persons on board is a stark reminder of the need for closer scrutiny of those who are put in charge of the lives of others.
In the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight 4U9525, the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had apparently been struggling with mental illness and depression for some time. He even received a letter declaring him unfit for work (at some point)which somehow officials are only finding out about now as a result of Lubitz hiding the letter.
Like many depressed and psychologically distressed people, Lubitz apparently was able to hide his illness all too well; many who knew him, found him, normal, capable and even fun.
Even when he was originally hired by Lufthansa in 2008, the company said Lubitz was psychologically sound and completely fit to fly.
As of today however, after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bild (a German Newspaper) citing unnamed sources claiming that Lubitz had suffered severe mental illness, Lufthansa has now admitted they learned in 2009 that Lubitz had suffered a “previous episode of severe depression”.
Although Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, knew of Lubitz’s battle with depression, they allowed him to continue training and ultimately put him in the cockpit.
Lufthansa contends however, that because “Lubitz had a valid medical certificate, had passed all his examinations and “held all the licenses required”; there was no reason not to let him fly.
This is a staunch reminder of the need by every one of us to take a proverbial pinch of our mental capacity to see if we’re really ok. We all need to maintain good mental and emotional health but unfortunately not everyone is willing to check their mental and spiritual compass.
If you doubt your mental stability for even a minute, for goodness sakes talk to somebody professionally. Don’t be so proud that you endanger yourself or those around you.
On another level of mental health, too often like the recent German Air crash, someone with less than competent mental capacity gains control of people and either limits or ends their lives.
The potential for anyone with power over people to take such control to the extreme is just too fragile to allow incompetency to be put in control.
Having worn so many professional hats over the years as a pastor, theologian, psychologist and insurance adjuster, this writer has seen far too much incompetence among those in charge of others.
The old saying of “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is so true.
This writer has seen good men and women totally collapse under the obligation of power and control.
I’ve seen pastor’s attempt suicide after major catastrophes like hurricanes which wiped out their churches and homes, theologians who couldn’t handle a flaw in a theological truth they once held firm, attorneys who lost major cases, athletes who lost the big game, parents who lost children and on and on.
In short, everyone is vulnerable to mental illness and associated depression at some point in their life.
When life becomes more than we can handle on our own, that’s when we need to talk to someone professionally.
But what about the professionals who think they’re above talking to someone?
Does this not support the need for a required mental assessment of every major professional?
Certainly all pilots, bus drivers, train operators, ship captains and personnel, doctors and hospital staff, law enforcement, attorneys, prosecutors and certainly all politicians should be required to have an extensive mental health screening; not just a criminal background check but an intensive mental health checkup.
Most of all both the Democratic and Republican Parties should include in their Presidential Candidate vetting process a mental health checkup made public to all.
Good mental health is very important and should never be taken for granted because the mind can indeed be a dangerous thing.
Please, if you are having strange or unusual thoughts, feeling depressed or lonely, call someone today at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also call your political party requesting that a mental health checkup be required in all political candidate vetting processes; especially of those running for the office of president.
© 2019 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III
Having been one all my life, it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that I am indeed an epileptic.
I am on medication and live a fairly normal life. I do most everything that non-epileptic people do; in fact after eleven years and seven attorneys attempting to get this “Grand General Epileptic” disability, the state and federal governments denied such because they declared that I was a “functional epileptic”.
“Functional epileptic”, is there really such a thing? That’s a topic for another discussion.
None the less, most epileptics will tell you it’s not necessarily the seizure that’s the great concern but everything leading up to and afterwards such as pre and post seizure auras that are truly debilitating and hinder the ability to “be normal”.
For the non-epileptic, it’s important to note that epileptic auras are for most, more dreaded than the seizure itself and like a seizure they can occur unexpectedly at any time with or without medication with no reason as to the cause.
One thing for certain is that there is nothing fun about an aura. They can last from a few minutes to hours or even days. The average aura time for most epileptics I know is about 15 minutes. My average aura last 24 hours but I have experienced a pre-seizure aura which lasted 2 days and a post-seizure aura which lasted almost a week.
Auras are terrible. They can be mild to migraine headaches, the proverbial “seeing stars”, visualizing “saintly” like glows or halos around people, visualization can take on a yellowish hue as well as experiencing strange sounds and odors.
But the worst aura experience of all for most epileptics is dissociation; the feeling of uncertainty of where you are or what many epileptics describe as a sensation of being in multiple places at the same time. Some have suggested it is like you’re here but also somewhere else. The bottom line is if you haven’t experienced it, you simply can’t understand.
The aura often causes an epileptic to lose momentary thought, focus and concentration.
Some research now suggests that due to their debilitating effect on the epileptic, these auras are actually partial seizures. Regardless of what these auras are, they can certainly slow a person down, delay or even force a change or cancellation to plans.
It is important to note here that some epileptics never experience an aura.
In addition to the auras and seizures, there is also the emotional trauma sitting in the epileptics unconscious mind constantly asking the question, “Will I have a seizure today”? And “If I have a seizure today, what kind will it be”?
Those questions usually give rise to more questions which give rise to more questions such as, “Since I feel kind of strange today, should I go out in public and chance having a seizure away from home”? If you drive, “Should I try to drive today and possibly have an accident or even hurt or kill someone”?
“I’m feeling constantly sleepy, do I need sleep or am I trying to pass out and seize” and “if I take a little nap, will I have a sleep or wakeup seizure”? “Should I go to the ER or should I call my neurologist or am I just being silly and paranoid”?
Although life for everyone is filled with uncertainties, for the epileptic these uncertainties become magnified.
For this epileptic, the past month had gone very well; between my medications of Depakote and CBD oil I was stable and feeling great. I had gone to church, out to eat, a birthday party or two and even driving during day light hours. Being an epileptic simply wasn’t on my radar and didn’t seem to matter.
Then suddenly out of nowhere last Saturday, I experienced the worst aura since 2008. My hands and arms shaking, visualization suddenly yellowed, found myself staring for long moments into space, then the dreaded feeling of disassociation; the feeling of being in two separate places at once.
The feeling was horrible and quite frightening. The last time I had an aura that intense was prior to a “Grand Mal” seizure while driving in 2008. There was nobody hurt and no damage except to my van which was totaled. Thank God a police officer witnessed the entire thing and called the paramedics who took me to the ER immediately.
Then this very morning, with plans in process, my day is interrupted by having a moderate morning wakeup seizure with a traumatic follow up post-seizure aura destroying both my plans for the day and possibly my future.
It is totally debilitating, destructive and often humiliating (as it was for me today), this thing we call epilepsy.
But once again, I am an epileptic and as most neurologists tell us, we can have a seizure at any moment of any day; unfortunately for some repeatedly throughout the day.
Cancelled plans and appointments, inability to keep commitments, feelings of inadequacies and indecisiveness, frustration and associated depression; all associated with epilepsy.
Take the meds as prescribed, get eight hours sleep, try and avoid naps and seizure causing meds and still a seizure and/or an aura is possible.
I can never forget I am an epileptic.
© 2017 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD
The Suspicious Mind Part IV
The Conspiratorial Mindset
Dr. Lee Outlaw
In the development of the Suspicious Mind there is probably nothing which can trigger its permanency within the identity and character of a person faster than the fascination with conspiracies.
It is one thing to become personally paranoid about something or someone over a period of time but it is entirely another matter when we allow ourselves to be dragged into the dangerous world of conspiracy, otherwise known as group paranoia.
There is an old saying among those within professional mental healthcare, “Like begets like”; which is why many of us as psychologist favor group therapy for some of our patients. Patients of particular phobias, syndromes, disorders, etc. are usually similar and actually learn from each other and recover faster when brought together to discuss their situations.
Unfortunately, when it comes to suspicion, the same holds true; those who tend toward suspicion are often drawn towards others of the same mind resulting in many of these people becoming entangled in wild conspiracies, ideologies and even cults.
As previously stated, the mind can become a dangerous thing. If a mind is predisposed towards suspicion and then becomes involved in the wild group paranoia of conspiracy, the imagination runs wild like a fire out of control. This usually leads to near obsessive tendencies including OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or OCS (Obsessive Compulsive Syndrome); OCS being the lesser of the two and only a temporary condition. OCD and OCS are mild compared to what happens to many; some individuals become so caught up and entangled in a single conspiracy that it leads to successive theories and groups.
Some conspiracy theorist get so involved in their conspiracy that many stop working, eating, sleeping and become fixated on nothing else, often leading to various forms of Schizophrenia requiring powerful anti-psychotic medications or even hospitalization.
The sad reality to the conspiratorial mindset is that by the time a person becomes involved in a conspiracy, it is difficult to convince them otherwise; the result is a permanent suspicious mind which leads, to marriage and relationship difficulties, poor job performance and even financial ruin.
It should be noted that curiosity is healthy and the occasional curiosity of a conspiracy should not be confused with becoming obsessed; law enforcement and even history remind us that real conspiracies do and have existed.
When it comes to conspiracy theories, it’s best to apply the same principle as a “get rich” plan, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t”. With a conspiracy theory, “If it seems too fantastic to possibly be true, it’s probably not (true)”.
If you become simply curious or interested in a conspiracy, don’t dwell on the subject. Put it down and walk away for a while, it will be there later and when you return to it, you might see the conspiracy in a whole new light; what you initially thought was a conspiracy might no longer exist.
Remember that suspicion is not all bad. Suspicion aids research of diseases, aids law enforcement in fighting crime and even plays an important role in parenting; if you suspect your child is having a problem (behavioral, academic or social) you need to address the subject.
A Suspicious Mind however, if left to its own desires can become the very nuclear explosion of all human characteristics destroying everyone and everything in its wake.
Be careful not to let suspicion overtake your mind and destroy your life.
© 2016 Dr. Lee Outlaw