Negligent Counseling?

Negligent Counseling

In McKinney, Texas a jury recently deadlocked in a case involving a woman who severed her 10 month old daughter’s arms and left her to bleed to death, while she went to go listen to a hymn.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11568174/

The obvious plea from the woman was insanity.  Here is a short synopsis of her behavior.

Dr. William Reid had testified that people close to Schlosser had missed obvious signs of severe mental illness.

Schlosser’s husband, John Schlosser, said he wasn’t alarmed when his wife said after church the day before the killing that she wanted to “give the baby to God.” He said she appeared normal after he calmed her down, and he thought her mental condition had improved over the previous few months.

The summer before Maggie died, Schlosser abandoned Maggie and her other two children by running away from the family’s apartment. She was found two miles away by Plano police and released from a hospital less than 24 hours later.

The Schlosser family went several times a week to the Water of Life Church. The pastor, Doyle Davidson, testified that he believes mental illness is possession by demons and only God can cure it.

Dena Schlosser, who was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after Maggie’s birth, didn’t take medication or see a doctor in the four months before the killing.

After her arrest, Dena Schlosser was diagnosed with manic depression and declared mentally incompetent to stand trial.

The part that got my ire up was the pastor testifying that he believed mental illness was caused by possession and that only God could cure it.  It is unclear whether the family was going to church services or whether the family was seeing the pastor for counseling.  If the pastor was seeing the family for counseling, I believe the father of the little girl should seek additional justice by filing a wrongful death claim based on clergy malpractice.

If the pastor held himself out to be a counselor that could address concerns of mental illness, then he should be held to the standard of care that a reasonable counselor would be held to, his religious beliefs notwithstanding.  Under such a standard, I believe it likely that his failure to refer, recommend, consult or otherwise involve qualified medical personnel in the treatment of this woman would violate the standard of a reasonable counselor.  In addition, his failure to refer the mother, could serve as a breach of ficuciary duty not to the mother or the father, whose beliefs may or may not have been in conformity with the pastor, but to the little girl that lost her life as a result of the negligence, again assuming the family was involved in counseling. 

There are many grounds for the pastor to defend on, and a First Amendment defense stands a reasonable chance of being successful in preventing the suit from even going to trial.  Nonetheless, socking it to the congregations by forcing them to fork over the costs of defending expensive lawsuits does teach a lesson.  Don’t get quacks that think that all illness is caused by the devil or you won’t get to build a community center.

90 thoughts on “Negligent Counseling?

  1. Theo:

    I’m not blaming them for being preyed on but allowing themselves to become prey.

    I am unable to tell what the distinction is that you believe you are making.

    Looks like a continuum to me.  I bet you can’t draw the line thin enough to make the duality you are asserting truly and absolutely apparent.  The difference between Joe Blow buying a vacuum cleaner and somebody seeking medical advice is only a degree of seriousness.

    You are a twit sometimes.  Please follow along.

    Fiduciary comes from the Latin fiduciarius, from fiducia, trust, a thing held in trust, from fidere, to trust. Although expressed in Latin, the concept also finds its origins in the code of chivalry. 

    Trust is a medieval English word and is defined in Webster’s as ‘ . . . confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle of another person or thing.’

    The role of the fiduciary arises from the need to ensure that one’s children don’t squander away the
    the family land and in the process keep a few coins out of the King’s tax coffers. To do this the barons got together with lawyers and created what was first called a “use.”  This has evolved into the modern “trust.”

    The basis of the idea is that title to the land is passed to a third party.  A trusted person who we now call a trustee.  This person of trust held title to the land for the use of the baron’s kids. The baron’s kids received all the income from the land, but couldn’t screw over their own kids by selling off all the land and engaging in debaucherous behavior. 

    In addition, the baron’s didn’t want the “trusted person” to screw their kids over by divesting title to the land, keeping the proceeds, and heading for whatever the hot spot for the nouveau rich was.  To prevent this from happening a duty was imposed upon the trusted person.  In essence, the rule was because you are being trusted with so much and the risk of abuse is so high, if you screw over the person trusting you, there will be an accounting for your actions. 

    For a long time it has been understood that there are certain people that we must place our trust in and because we have to place our trust in them these individuals are held to a higher duty.  Over time, common sense has taught us that barons aren’t the only folk who have such needs and that the context of this relationship is applicable not only to transferring your dirt to your kids, but also to other relationships where there is a very high degree of trust placed in another, with a corresponding degree of risk should that trust be abused. 

    Seeking counseling is such a situation.  Individuals don’t seek counsel because they are happy, joyous and free.  The seek counsel because they are troubled in their heart, mind or soul.  To get the individual to discuss what is troubling to them requires a relationship in which the individual trusts the counselor.  If the counselor is free to abuse that trust, then it is difficult to see why anyone would ever trust a counselor in the first instance.  For this reason, it is easy to see why a counselor is considered a fiduciary.

    The duties of the vacuum cleaner salesperson arise from an entirely different arena, that of commercial sales.  Under Roman law, the buyer could protect his rights through the actio empti, which was the ordinary remedy. It protected the buyer against: (i) non-delivery, (ii) late delivery,(iii) the delivery of different goods, (iv) incorrect quantity,(v) misrepresentation,  etc.

    The general rule for non-conforming goods within the actio empti was that of caveat emptor-buyer beware.  The onus was placed on the buyer, not the seller, that the goods met the buyer’s needs.  That rule still holds today, not accounting for any warranties about fitness for use, implied or express, made by the merchant.

    At the most basic level when we are talking about a fiduciary, we are talking about someone that we are supposed to be able to trust completely when we walk through their door.  Contrast that with the the merchant who the public knows may try to pass off sup-par goods if she can. 

    Although the age of chivalry may be dead, its torch is supposed to be carried forward by those “trusted persons” that we have earmarked as having earned the right to do so.  If you can’t see the distinction between such a person and the vacuum cleaner salesperson, you are intentionally being dim.

    I now encourage you to return to the prior questions about the fiduciary.

  2. Consigliere, I salute you that was an awesome post.

    Xxena posed a question earlier regarding child killings by mothers being related to fundamentalist groups.
    I had several friends who suffered from mental illnesses, none had any particularly strong religous beliefs or callings.  One friend who is still deply disturbed to this day falls back to some troubling events in his teens and that those people he hasn’t seen in over a decade our “out to get him/us”.
     
    Trust me on this, if you phone the mayor and tell him “The Aliens are landing tomorrow and we have to protect the city.” you wind up in the nut ward fast.

    If you tell your priest you’ve had religous visions does he send you to a doctor or keep it between you, him and god as it reaffirms his/others faith.  What is the difference between mental illness and a vision from god?  How does someone who cannot see what “you” see “know” the difference.

    I think it would be very difficult to prosecute for a breach of fiduciary duty or negligence.  For those who want to/do believe, this event was “THE WILL OF GOD”.  For the secular crowd it is just another very unfortunate and unhappy end.

    I agree with Consi that fiduciary duty could/should apply, the true believers of any flavour would be totally against it because “How does someone who cannot see what “you” see “know” the difference.” and some might think that strong belief = mental illness

    I hope that made sense (lunchtime ramblings)

  3. What free will can a person have if they must constantly react to nature’s demands?  Wouldn’t I be more free if I react when and if I choose to?

    Hypothetical question:
    If you were to see an attractive person whom you would love to have relations with, do you
    a) grab them and proceed with nature’s course
    b) talk to them and spend time getting to know them better before you make relations
    c) leave them alone

    This question is, of course, a trick one. Whereas, one could perform either “b”, or “c”. I have, does that mean that I am above human, am I better than human?

    You see, my point is that if we were to simply allow our primal instincts to take play, as nature intended, “a” would be the appropriate answer. However, since we humans are civilized and have a culture that frowns on that sort of thing, we have learned to go above our primal instincts. Therefore, we have something inside us called, self-control. It is what allows us to refrain from some of our more primal urges.

    Humans have been doing this for thousands of years. We may be animals, but we know that acting like one is not a proper way to behave in a civilized society. If you truly wish to be such an animal then please move to the jungle, find a group of Bonobo’s and have fun.

  4. OB:
    The inability to deal with the real world AS IT IS is one of the reasons I’d like to see humanity finally rid themselves of the shackles and delusions of god belief.

    Here’s another word: realist.  I’m not so much a fan of realists either.  Realism has its uses, but for the most part people that don’t live and believe in ideals are the world’s dead weight.  The idealist sees what the world can become and moves it towards that end.  The realist lives in a hopeless world not realizing how significantly the idealists are changing it all the while slowing them down by not being part of the solution.

    elwed:
    Are you really that clueless why your ideas about parenting are abhorrent to actual parents? If so, I’m not going to spell it out for you.

    Then how do you expect me to become enlightened?

    arc_legion:
    I could make up any sort of crap I wanted to justify whatever way I’m thinking, but the bottom line is, I’m not making this up. If you don’t want to back your statements up, fine, but that’s a cop-out on your part. As for how I got to this conclusion, I spent a lot of time manipulating people and learning how they reacted as a kid. I learned very quickly that most people are shmucks, and it’s typically easy to manipulate them should there ever be a need.

    What’s your experience with Nietzsche?  And to answer your question…

    arc_legion:
    Theo, the whole notion of free will, IMO, is grossly overrated. There are real, natural, consequential realities that influence our decision making – as individuals and as a group. Economics has shown this successfully for a half-century.

    As such, will cannot be free so long as the actions of one person may create circumstances which influence the decisions of another. In other words, if “free will

  5. OB:
      The inability to deal with the real world AS IT IS is one of the reasons I’d like to see humanity finally rid themselves of the shackles and delusions of god belief.

    Here’s another word: realist.  I’m not so much a fan of realists either.  Realism has its uses, but for the most part people that don’t live and believe in ideals are the world’s dead weight.  The idealist sees what the world can become and moves it towards that end.  The realist lives in a hopeless world not realizing how significantly the idealists are changing it all the while slowing them down by not being part of the solution.

    Realism and idealism aren’t mutually exclusive.  I am a realist, yet I “see what the world can become” and do what I can toward that end.  It does no good to reach toward ideals without starting from the point of what IS.  An example of being idealistic without regard for reality would be abstinence-only education.

    Or in this case, recommending prayer and religious “solutions” rather than psychotherapy when the woman was clearly mentally ill.

    consi:
      3) Do you agree with the imposition of such a duty?

    I don’t agree with it applying to those relating to mental conditions.  Counselors, psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists and pastors and everyone else that is going to tell someone what is wrong in their head should not be bound by fiduciary duties.

    Man, you’re fuckin’ scary.  I suppose you don’t support the notion of medical malpractice then, either…

  6. Supposing I grant that self-control is a learned thing, how does that affect anything?  Once self-control is learned it is a part of our nature.  Babies aren’t going around raping people.

  7. Supposing I grant that self-control is a learned thing, how does that affect anything?  Once self-control is learned it is a part of our nature.  Babies aren’t going around raping people.

    I think you missed my previous point. The post was not about sex, rather, it was about humans having self-control. So now I have used an analogy to prove self-control, then I explain what self-control is and where it came from. Now you want to know how that affects anything?

    Well, you seem to think that self-control, once learned, becomes a natural part of our psyche. That is also not true. Unltimately you keep reverting back to the thought that we humans are slaves to our nature. I am getting the feeling that you are just leading me around. Stop it.

    Self-control is a large part of what makes us human, it is what allows ethics and civilized scociety to exist in the first place. I suppose that affects everything.

  8. Well, Theo, you completely disregard that there is any mental incapacity to human beings, and that, by extension, humans are only limited by their decisions. You acknowledge the possibility of physical incapacity, since you seem to support fiduciary regarding doctors. However, in order to say that mental capacity is not inhibited, you must firmly believe that there is no connection between your mind and the physical world.
    You have elevated the state of “choice” to a mystical status; that it is independent of reality, and that our “choices” are not inherently limited. I think it’s a very fair question to ask why you support fiduciary regarding medical practice, as that’s a strong gesture to your hypocrisy.

    You’ve stated before you disagree with any materialist ontologies. You are not here to discuss matters of fact (since facts as we have them today have been materially measured), but to spite materialism. By giving no weight to materialism (and therefore, to any reality of the physical world that we have materially investigated), as Consi indicated, that the only discussions upon which you and anyone who disagrees with your ontology can find a common ground, are discussions which bear no relevance to a binding reality. You are determined to live in your own little world, and no meaningful discussion can take place.

    BTW Consi, that’s an insult to philosophers raspberry

  9. Consi:
    Having said that, I will tell you with all due respect, you lack the requisite background to contribute much other than what amounts to bullshit.  You are clearly ignorant about mental illness.  In fact, you are full step and a half past the bullshit Tom Cruise spews.

    My recommendation to you is this: Spend less time jerking off in those classes where one engages in mental masturbation, classes such as philosphy.  Instead, spend some time learning about the actual physiological dysfunction that exists in the brain with some mental illnesses.

    I’ve had experience with mental illness.  I have been clinically depressed, I have had many friends who were/are clinically depressed and I have a few friends who are bipolar.  Nonetheless, I and a few of my friends have beaten their disorders by their own will and maybe a little prayer.  I didn’t need to have regular checkups with a shrink or medicine to beat my depression and I’ve had friends who have beaten their depression similarly.  I bring to you a popular story of the stoic philosopher Epictetus:

    There is a story told by the author Celsus (probably a younger contemporary of Epictetus) – quoted by the early Christian Origen (c.185–254) at Contra Celsum 7.53 – that when still a slave, Epictetus was tortured by his master who twisted his leg. Enduring the pain with complete composure, Epictetus warned Epaphroditus that his leg would break, and when it did break, he said, ‘There, did I not tell you that it would break?’ And from that time Epictetus was lame.
    Source: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/e/epictetu.htm

    I am the master of my mind.  No one and nothing else.  No one has to let depression control them.  People must stop listening to the deterministic crap you materialists feed them and allow themselves to be free.  Read Sartre, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Nietzsche.  Challenge yourself to think outside the drab phantom box the empiricists and materialists have painted.

    I’ve read about the physiological effects of depression on the brain.  Screw that!  I don’t give a crap what they say.  Believe it if you want, but it will never answer ‘why?’ ad infinitum.  I am in charge of my existence.  You can be the player or the pawn.  I am a player.  Choose the meaning of your existence wisely, if you can.

  10. arc_legion:
    I think it’s a very fair question to ask why you support fiduciary regarding medical practice, as that’s a strong gesture to your hypocrisy.

    No hypocrisy.  I already stated I’m a dualist.

    arc)_legion:
    You are not here to discuss matters of fact (since facts as we have them today have been materially measured), but to spite materialism. By giving no weight to materialism (and therefore, to any reality of the physical world that we have materially investigated)

    You don’t know that, you assume it.  You first put stock into a materialist ontology and then believe everything the scientist tells you.  Do you even know the philosophical counterarguments to materialism?  Or do you assume they aren’t worth looking at or are false because the neurons in their brains fired in a way to come up with the counterargument?

    arc_legion:
    as Consi indicated, that the only discussions upon which you and anyone who disagrees with your ontology can find a common ground, are discussions which bear no relevance to a binding reality. You are determined to live in your own little world, and no meaningful discussion can take place.

    I challenge the system of ethics you build with your ontology.  That is a meaningful discussion.  Ontology and ethics can not be separated and ethics is a practical extension of ontology.  The absurdity of the materialist ontology exists in the derivation of moral consequence, as if the person had a choice to begin with.  Freedom is not consistent with materialism and materialism is not consistent with any ethical choice outside of amorality.

  11. Read Sartre, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Nietzsche.

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!! Many of us already have, long before you discovered them boy. In fact, there are even a few that are much better read.

    I must agree with Elwed.

  12. elwed:
    There’s nothing wrong with philosophy – as long as one doesn’t take it seriously.

    Well that eliminates all of us now doesn’t it?  Materialism is a philosophy which all of you take very seriously and I take existentialism seriously.  Your comment is a joke.

    consi:
    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!! Many of us already have, long before you discovered them boy. In fact, there are even a few that are much better read.

    So either you didn’t understand them, didn’t care for them, or thought others made more sense.  I’m assuming a combination of all three on your part since no one responds with any rational defense to my critiques.

  13. Before I proceed, don’t blanket me in with all other people with materialist grounds, and don’t ever act like I need people to think for me. That’s extremely insulting. I have my own individual skills and traits and experiences that gradually began to fit with a materialist viewpoint.

    Screw that!  I don’t give a crap what they say.

    This is what I mean, Theo. You think that all evidence is worthless (materialist ontology), and you parade the fact that you can deny whatever anyone tells you as a marker of some form of enlightenment. It’s not.

    Do you even know the philosophical counterarguments to materialism?

    Perhaps you can explain one – after all, I need people to think for me, don’t I? Hasn’t this been your opportunity to explain your position, anyway? Explain yourself, don’t just get condescending.

    You don’t know that, you assume it.

    Wrong. The argument is similar for why “supernatural entity” is an oxymoron. Unless you intend to show that there are no natural laws, then things within this world are bound to natural laws. In order to bear an effect in this world, it must be in accordance with natural laws, thereby binding it to natural laws, and making it an extension of nature. It cannot be possible to speak of a supernatural entity in any meaningful fashion, since it cannot bear any possible effect in this world.

    Similarly, you object to materialist ontologies, therefore measurements made with such ontologies. Matters of fact, as we hold them, are made with such ontologies, including logic. Therefore, you disregard matters of fact. There can be no contesting you on any basis of reason, since logic too, is part of a materialist outlook. I have said nothing incorrect at all. It is not possible to have a meaningful discussion with you, except on something that can bear no possible impact.

    Ontology and ethics can not be separated and ethics is a practical extension of ontology.

    Flatly wrong.

    ethics
    1. A set of principles of right conduct.
    2. A theory or a system of moral values

    ontology  
    1. The branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of being.

    They are entirely seperate so long as one does not assume an innate morality or right conduct. The conclusion of amorality is one reached by not making an ungrounded assumption. I see no inconsistency whatsoever, so if I’m wrong, present your case.

  14. The only thing I have to contest with you Elwed, is that philosophers move to obey a system of logic – to be truth preserving. It’s important to take it seriously when it is logical, but not as imporant as evidence, which trumps every time. I have yet to see formal logic explain QM. As a system, logic (and by extension, philosophy) are useful, but as systems they may be inherently limited, and it is up to time and evidence to show that.

  15. arc, here’s a signature I used in the past (or something close to it):

    Science is answers that must always be questioned.
    Philosophy is questions that will never be answered.
    Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

    Does that explain my position?

    As to formal logic, there are few things that make me cringe like the conflation of English language and concepts of formal logic like philosophers are wont to do. There is a name for it: word games.

  16. I think I remember seeing that sig.

    *nods* Yeah, at it’s core I still have some issue with formal logic, and these are issues that logicians know about. Especially the assumption of language and culture has gotten on my nerves, although I understand that it’s necessary (words refer to things, after all), since I can, as I have done in classes before, say “But on some other paper in some other universe, that answer might not be wrong, therefore we cannot assert that your statement that my statement is wrong is right until we can verify data in all universes”. There are an infinite number of things that are not true that must be given consideration in logic. The end result was me making my professor laugh, mostly. Take a look at, say, motion. We know that when a ball hits a wall, X or Y or Z happens. Logic also wants explained “what happens if it doesn’t hit a wall”, “what happens if there is no wall” and “what happens if there is no ball”. I understand the necessity of it, but practically speaking, it’s a waste of time. We are asserting when X then Y, from a basis. We consider cases that are true as scientists, unless we argue by absurdity.

  17. What are the experimental results of a materialist ontology?

    “If you are flying to an international congress of anthropologists or literary critics, the reason you will probably get there – the reason you didn’t plummet into a ploughed field – is that a lot of Western scientifically trained engineers have got their sums right.  Western science, acting on good evidence that the moon orbits the Earth a quarter of a million miles away, using Western-designed computers and rockets, has succeeded in placing people on its surface.  Tribal science, believing that the moon is just above the treetops, will never touch it outside of dreams.
    – Richard Dawkins, River Out Of Eden, page 32

    The materialist ontology actually works; hence, for my purposes, it is a correct description of reality.  I cannot choose a reality based on what I think its ethical consequences will be.

  18. Yeah, well all you fancy-schmancy college-edumacated fuckers are totally losing me with all your high-falutin’ “-ologies,” “-osphies,” “-isms” and nitpicking about “formal logic.”

    As one of those people who was too poor to go to college, I was too busy working to spend my late teens and early 20s dissecting the works of the philosophers throughout history.  Rather a disadvantage in trying to have a coherent conversation with someone like Theo (who is apparently at liberty to spend a fair amount of time inside his head, in deep thought about what “should” be).

    On the other hand, being probably twice his age and having spent all of that time engaged in the process of living in the “material” world, with all its experiences, observations and interactions with real people, perhaps the problem is that Theo is as unfamiliar with the sort of realistic mindset that results from simply living through several decades as I am with the sort of mental gymnastics it appears to require to study philosophy.

    And if all that studying results in a person arguing that reality isn’t really real, I think I’m better off with my high school diploma and the street smarts enough to know that there are people who are too mentally ill to make rational decisions, and that they need to be treated by people who will be held accountable if their counsel causes a sick person to get worse.

  19. OB:

    I’m sure that you recognize that Theo’s use of his experience with depression just doesn’t match up when making comparisons to a situation in which an individual is experiencing auditory hallucinations-hearing voices. It’s comparing apples and oranges, and you rightly cut through his bullshit when you say this:

    And if all that studying results in a person arguing that reality isn’t really real, I think I’m better off with my high school diploma and the street smarts enough to know that there are people who are too mentally ill to make rational decisions, and that they need to be treated by people who will be held accountable if their counsel causes a sick person to get worse.

    Amen, I say to thee.

    That was probably the best call of bullshit in this entire thread.

    Theo:

    Don’t mistake distain for confusion.  My opinion of you has changed markedly as a result of this thread.

  20. I’ve had experience with mental illness.  I have been clinically depressed, I have had many friends who were/are clinically depressed and I have a few friends who are bipolar.  Nonetheless, I and a few of my friends have beaten their disorders by their own will and maybe a little prayer.  I didn’t need to have regular checkups with a shrink or medicine to beat my depression and I’ve had friends who have beaten their depression similarly.

    As someone who has had a lot of first hand experience with people who are severely chronically depressed (my wife) and bipolar (a former girlfriend) all I have to say is: If you were able to overcome it on your own then it probably wasn’t that serious of a problem to begin with. Bipolar disorder in particular is not something you can just decide not to suffer from anymore.

    We all suffer bouts of depression on occasion and sometimes they can be lengthy enough to disrupt our lives, but to claim that all folks who suffer from depression or mental illness just need to decide to buck up and get their shit together shows a remarkable misunderstanding of the problem and how severe it is for some people. My experiences in dealing with it on a daily basis bear this fact out.

  21. Theo sounds exactly like one of those college or just-post-college students who has attended an est/Lifespring/Forum kind of course.  You know, the kind where they come back as a complete asshole and say, “I didn’t MAKE you angry.  You CHOSE to react to my kicking you in the shin by becoming angry.”

    Of course, the emotional parts of the brain are still developing at that age, and they love to try on new lifestyles and philosophies, and REALLY get into them, to the point where they confuse them with reality.

    It’s hilarious how he’s decided that he knows much more than all the millions and millions of doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and people who have studied or lived with mental illness, in all its guises, for centuries. 

    In fact … say … could he be L. Ron Hubbard reincarnated?  Yikes!

    Is SCIENTOLOGY the “theocracy” he wants to see here in the US??

    Stay tuned, folks.  I think he’s about to get much weirder.

  22. Elwed:

    No offense intended.

    None taken. I was just being snarky and a little dramatic. wink 

    OB, graduating from the school of hard knocks doesn’t disqualify anybody from thinking deep thoughts. It’s a problem of accessibility rather than capability. On the other hand, those living a sheltered life in a cloud castle are at a severe disadvantage when the world refuses to behave like their model of it leads them to believe.

    Exactly… and a much more eloquent way of stating my point.  Thanks grin

    Watching others discuss various philosophies is probably part of the reason I’ve never gone out of my way to add the writings of philosophers to my library, for fear that reading them might make my head explode. LOL

    Consi:

    I’m sure that you recognize that Theo’s use of his experience with depression just doesn’t match up when making comparisons to a situation in which an individual is experiencing auditory hallucinations-hearing voices. It’s comparing apples and oranges, and you rightly cut through his bullshit when you say this:

      And if all that studying results in a person arguing that reality isn’t really real, I think I’m better off with my high school diploma and the street smarts enough to know that there are people who are too mentally ill to make rational decisions, and that they need to be treated by people who will be held accountable if their counsel causes a sick person to get worse.

    Amen, I say to thee.

    That was probably the best call of bullshit in this entire thread.

    Thanks.  And yes, there’s a world of difference between someone who’s got the blues (or is even clinically depressed) and someone who believes God is telling her to kill her children.

    Les:

    As someone who has had a lot of first hand experience with people who are severely chronically depressed (my wife) and bipolar (a former girlfriend) all I have to say is: If you were able to overcome it on your own then it probably wasn’t that serious of a problem to begin with. Bipolar disorder in particular is not something you can just decide not to suffer from anymore.

    That’s been my experience as well, and both disorders (among others) run in my family.  There’s a huge difference between having a few days of wallowing in self-pity thinking, “I hate my life,” and a serious bout of depression where you can’t even motivate yourself get out of bed or take a shower, much less work, take care of your family or any of the other myriad responsibilities of day-to-day living.  The first scenario generally works itself out quickly, whereas the second can literally destroy your life if left untreated.

    GeekMom:

    Theo sounds exactly like one of those college or just-post-college students who has attended an est/Lifespring/Forum kind of course.  You know, the kind where they come back as a complete asshole and say, “I didn’t MAKE you angry.  You CHOSE to react to my kicking you in the shin by becoming angry.

  23. I suppose I could’ve made it shorter, but I thought it might be rude to write, “Theo, you’re a fucking KID, what the hell do YOU know?  Come back in 20 years when you’ve had time to live through some of the harsh realities of adulthood.

  24. DOF said…

    I didn’t figure it was between the dog and my son to decide what happened.  Nor did I have any set limit to the depth of involvement there – the dog wasn’t going to bite my son.  Period.

    … and it irks me that it went without response.

  25. Personally I care very little about the original entry and the story therein, so I just wanted to address this comment to Theocrat, who appears to be ranting and pontificating in an attempt to make himself appear well-versed regarding a concept that he clearly knows next to nothing about: mental illness runs in my family. I myself have suffered from bouts of unipolar depression, and a cousin of mine seems to be saddled with bipolar disorder. In my opinion, anyone who seriously denies the concept of mental illness or believes that those afflicted have the power to simply “get over it” is either a nutcase, appallingly ignorant, or a combination of the two.

  26. Sadie, if he’s a nutcase, then by his own rules he ought to be able just to “snap out of it.”  Right? wink

    Waiting for the snap …

  27. OB: Watching others discuss various philosophies is probably part of the reason I’ve never gone out of my way to add the writings of philosophers to my library, for fear that reading them might make my head explode.

    Same for me.  I feel that there are so many different philosophies, life would pass me by while I was trying to make heads or tails of them.  Not to mention I don’t go in for conforming myself to some philosophy that I don’t fully agree with.

  28. Apparently Theo has either thrown in the towel, or is thinking on a (enter sarcasm here) no doubt, amazing rebuttal guaranteed to blow all of our minds.

    Pity, and I was just starting to have fun.

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