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jrlewis's picture

I came to this course with

I came to this course with a small collection of thoughts about mental illness, the mind, and the brain.  These thoughts had been packed away in a old card board box, sealed with duct tape, and left to accumulate dust.  Through out the semester, I have attempted to open and unpack the box.  The results of this process have been interesting, at least to myself. 

My remembrance of a childhood friend suffering from pseudo epileptic seizures, nightmares, and an unnamed trauma, lead me to question the assertion that seizures are treatable with medication and no longer a mental health issue.  I would like to say instead that epilepsy is not a mental illness, but seizures, which do not respond to epilepsy medication and are co morbid with significant mental discomfort might be.  Pseudo-epileptic seizures have significant storyteller involvement.  However, I still doubt that this is the right answer or the only useful answer. 

Some other memories surfacing more subtly and others are still standing by.  The clutter of my lifetime consisting of personal, relational, and third person accounts/experiences with mental health.   I wonder how my father’s behavior during my childhood was affected by the degenerative neurological illness he dealt with.  How strong is the correlation between brain and behavior?  How to interpret his behavior?  Thinking about how hallucinations and their relationship to the I-function.  Our discussions have helped me fashion of lens that allows me to perceive behavior in a new way. 

This course created a story for me about the unconscious.  This account includes my attraction to mucking around in my own unconscious and that of others.  Hopefully in a constructive fashion.  As I integrate more experiences with mental health, the lens if ground finer.  Removing the dichotomy between body and mind has helped.  The idea that mental health is a process, not a product has proven an interesting concept in evaluating important decisions by myself and others. 

I can’t yet tell if this paradigm is less wrong.  All is know is that it inspires new questions in my mind.  Unconscious actions and associations? The possibility of unresolved conflict?  Different conversations about old issues with even old friends.  So what I am taking away from this semester is a strong sense of curiosity and a desire to understand think more about mental health and the human condition.  I am attempting to place the items once stored in the box on a shelf in my mind.  Maybe in time I will obtain more items as well.   

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