“may well be the effects of particularly powerful psychological trauma”
These are the words of Eugene Bleuler when he first coined the term “schizophrenia” as a way of naming and understanding what he had been observing in patients in his care who had already been deemed without hope.
It is interesting how in the hundred years since the institutions of what has come to me termed “mental health” have ignored and brushed aside the first part of this understanding and taken the second part directly to heart.
One hundred years on, the mercilessly constructed story that so pervades our culture now has it that “particularly sensitive individuals” have become de-human- ised and cast into the zone of non-humans as biologically defective wretched of the earth: “the mentally-ill”. Further, that what they experience is not “particularly powerful trauma” but the effects of their weakness deemed as some biological deficiency.
It is interesting how with only one hundred years of telling it that story has become so powerful that it has come to colonise our understanding of ourselves. This systematically constructed lofty edifice of lies serves to deny what people like Charcot, Bleuler, Freud, and many others had been bringing to the fore a hundred years and more ago and that research is now demonstrating as undeniable fact.
Life experiences [can] leave us deeply wounded.
If we want to reduce serious mental illness then we must seriously address not just the effects of being wounded by our experiences but of the harm done by institutions institutions of psychiatry and those allied to it have for over a hundred years now, been part of systematically denying and reflecting from that, serving to protect those most culpable and blame those most vulnerable.
Trauma means wound.
Psychological trauma- a term first used by William James only three years before Bleuler incorporated it into his understanding – leaves us with Thorns in The Spirit.
The shit that happened is the shit that happened – so long as we continue to deny the harm caused by adverse experiences, we dehumanise those who most need our support and compassion so they can heal.
Bleuer and others intuited it a hundred years ago. We now, and for some time have known, that around 80% of people diagnosed with that cluster of life sentences called “serious mental illness” have experienced serious adverse experiences in early years.
It is time to stop hiding the truth so we can find more compassionate ways of supporting those who have suffered long enough from the thorns left in their spirit.
Shifting our understanding of trauma away from our current concept of trauma as event – who did what – to an understanding trauma as the effect left within us, can help us be more open to finding paths to understanding how wounds from any of life’s experiences can affect us.
From there we can begin to better enable and support people to find healing.