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Showing posts with label psychotic episode. Show all posts
Showing posts with label psychotic episode. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Why is mental-health charity SANE promoting a survey that seems incapable of not using 'psychosis' and 'schizophrenia' interchangeably ?

SANE promotes a survey that uses 'psychosis' and 'schizophrenia' interchangeably

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

5 August

Why is mental-health charity SANE promoting a survey that seems incapable of not using 'psychosis' and 'schizophrenia' interchangeably ?

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 22 December 2013

All's fair - if it lets you sue

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2013
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

23 December

Continuing from Nothing's fair in love and court cases

My guess is that too many people are going to be interested in the court case (and there are so many ways nowadays for news of it to be disseminated) for it to disappear : I have already outlined the tactical reasons that might lead to the decision not being appealed, and, with short time-limits usual within which appeals have to be put in, it will not be long before we know what has happened.

On the face of it, a judge finding a causal link between whatever schizophrenia is and abuse earlier in life more probable than not (the standard of proof being the so-called balance of probabilities). For those who found R. D. Laing and Aaron Esterson's Sanity, Madness and the Family : Families of Schizophrenics compelling teenage reading, this ruling has been a long time coming, of course.

However, even if it depends on its own facts, it now legally challenges the orthodoxy that this loose bundle of symptoms called schizophrenia (where A might never hear voices, but B does, even if, say, they share (what is supposed to be) delusional thinking, paranoia, and numbness of affect) is heavily genetic in origin - and, whatever happens to this case, there will still be those who argue that there is a genetic predisposition* to respond to abuse in the way that the judge has found.

In the law of England and Wales, it is established principle in the law of tort (or some say of torts (which are just civil wrongs, some of them the non-criminal counterparts of criminal offences)) that one takes one's victim as one finds him. For example, the person negligently injured who has an egg-shell skull, and for whom the blow on the head was far more serious - on account of the fact that the person from whose negligence the blow has been found to result** is liable, he or she is liable for the complications that resulted (say coma, life-support, paralysis).

Bringing a claim for compensation for 'injury' (in its widest sense) resulting from abuse typically hangs back for any criminal case arising from the same facts to be brought, for the simple reason that the standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt, so, although there are differences in approach, terminology and procedure between the civil law and the criminal law, a conviction is almost always going to establish the basic requirements of being able to prove a civil case., because another court, with a more stringent test, has already looked at it.

Some abused, perhaps, by Catholic priests, who went on to develop schizophrenia in their mid-twenties and who have been compensated may have agreed to settle all claims in return for receiving payment. Others may not have yet brought or settled their claims (and so would not need to test with the form of agreement had bound them and precluded future cases) might still have smoked skunk, known, in the unlucky few, to correlate not with the chilled experience that they sought, but with frightening psychotic experiences that they may no longer be free from.

A case to cite this Australian judgement, then, would best be brought by someone who was abused, whose abuse has been established but not yet led to a settlement or award, and who has not used recreational drugs, so that the picture is clear and not muddied. What stands n the way are likely to be several-fold :

* Availability of funding (even with insurance, one has to satisfy the insurers and their brokers that the chances are 51% or more of winning)

* The associated willingness of the legal profession (the advice of a solicitor or a barrister's opinion will almost certainly guide that assessment of the chances of winning)

* The calibre of the solicitor and barrister who take it on

How many years will it take for all this to be satisfied, and for a case to proceed to trial without the claimant (through pressure exerted by the defendant and its insurers and brokers and / or, as a result of tactical games, the claimant's own insurers and brokers) being induced to settle or knocked out in procedural wranglings prior to trial ?

Not to seem pessimistic, but I wouldn't be surprised at 15 years. If I'm wrong, take a case - surprise me, and prove me wrong !


* We all know, of course, that even the behaviour of non-biological systems, let alone human nature, is in the DNA (as the phrase, for the nonce, has it).

** Charmingly known as the tortfeasor. It could have been indirect, in a road traffic accident (or RTA) - whatever occurred, if insurance is involved, the length of the case may rival that of Dickens' fictional Chancery one of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce...

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

‘Let’s abuse each other !’ (Waiting for Godot, Act I)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2012
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

6 April

If – God forbid ! – I were to wish to express the notion that the Prime Minister is a bad man, motivated by self-interest, how might I say it to Cameron’s face ?

I can’t emphatically say the natural You’re evil !, because the first syllable, with its diphthong, is hard to control at any volume when making sure that the message is abrupt and clear, so I might resort to three sharp, distinct jabs, You are evil !, and then add to it, You are selfish and evil ! (or vice versa).

But how cowed by this will he feel, because he can just brush off the adjectives, knowing that he is a pure and noble breed¹ ?

Think of when you are in the car, or cycling, or on the pavement, and someone else using the road does something stupid. You might serenely and calmly turn your countenance to the fact that you have had – as the case might be – to brake suddenly, softly murmur How stupid…, and resume your assumed walk through life with the Buddha.

More likely, I suggest, is that you will react differently, and not resort to our earlier formulation, You are stupid !, at all, but to the You stupid x !, where – probably depending on the level of your non-Buddha-restrained frustration, indignation or even anger – x might be man, woman, etc.², sod, bastard, twat, prick, and so on³.

At this point, it is worth noticing that many adjectives that, according to this pattern, occupy the place of our own ‘stupid’ are bi-syllabic, such as ruddy, bleeding, bloody, sodding, fucking, useless, hopeless, etc., and can therefore be rattled through and over : they have their weight, but as a qualification to our chosen engine of conveying, e.g. You priceless fucker / shite / wanker. (One can, of course, say (probably if relevant) You bald git !, and there is, in great, fat, dumb, proud, crass, etc., a whole battery of monosyllables, but the stronger qualifying words seem to be polysyllabic.)

OK, so what is this exercise – even if some may find it fascinating – of considering condemning Cameron all about ? Well, I want to look at the words of insult that some of the bloggers on mental-health regard as taboo because they stigmatize those with mental-health issues. For example the terms lunatic, psycho, mad, crazy, loopy, demented, and psychotic.

If someone gets called a fucking psycho, that is one extreme, and it may constitute any number of things from a drunken mate approving a reckless act of violence to, say, the critical characterization of a risky piece of driving. (We use words in context, and, in the first example, this may be part of the mythology of the mates’ behaviour, and so not be understood anything other than positively.)

There is a stage further, though, such as in the arena of taunting or threatening – or even administering – violence to a person who is known (or believed⁴) to have a mental-health condition. That reinforces a message that (beautified) goes along the lines We don’t like you or want you around because of who you are, what you do, and what it means for you to be here where you are not welcome.

However, I believe that some words have been denuded of any real malice, unless they are deliberately used offensively : I would suggest that, with enough energy, being called a pretty table-leg could, if anyone wanted to say it, be invested with and convey disregard, disdain, and disgust.

Or take this, from Soda Pictures’ booklet for New British Cinema Quarterly (where Eryl Phillips talks about making – planning to make – Gospel of Us, a three-day theatrical event to tell Christ’s Passion in and around Port Talbot) :

The ambition of the piece was bordering on madness – to attempt a film of it all was either a mid-life crisis or just lunatic

At least two of the words or phrases ‘mid-life crisis’, ‘madness’ and ‘lunatic’ explicitly suggest poor judgement through mental ill-health, but does that, in itself, make it insulting as such to those with that experience ? I’d draw the line in favour of those things being OK, whereas to have written this would be different, I think:

The ambition of the piece was bordering on demented – to attempt a film of it all was either a psychotic episode or sectionable

The insult, there, is to belittle psychosis (by likening it to the feelings of alienation from one’s life that usually fall short of needing even medication), to draw the vague word ‘demented’ (usually meant to signify dangerous violence, and attributed in the popular imagination and vocabulary to mental-health conditions) into the mêlée of meaning, and to cheapen the real and highly threatening and frightening matter of being sectioned by mentioning it in the context of a film that would be hard to make.

What I am hoping is not so much to have demonstrated that when Jon Snow, in writing about the Philpott case, called Philpott 'a lunatic', it was not stigmatizing the whole mental-health community, but to have started a debate about whether that word (and others, some of which I have mentioned, or even given in examples) can ever be used, or must always be pounced upon...


¹ In what turn out not to be Paul Weller’s words, but those of Ray Davies (David Watts).

² Or, as my father was wont to say, ‘individual’.

³ Enterprising individuals** might learn a whole string of them, or play a sort of melody, on a scale of them, in increasing and receding severity, such as :

man shit jerk sod cunt drip bum twat .

⁴ A sort of guilt by association or mistake, as in Max Frisch’s Andorra.