FreeSangha - Buddhist Forum

Lifestyle - it takes a village... => Tea Room => Topic started by: sdjeff1 on January 02, 2013, 02:34:14 pm

Title: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: sdjeff1 on January 02, 2013, 02:34:14 pm
http://bipolardaily.blogspot.com/2007/07/buddhist-bipolar-hindrances.html (http://bipolardaily.blogspot.com/2007/07/buddhist-bipolar-hindrances.html)
A zen approach to mental illness

http://www.healthcentral.com/bipolar/c/15/38687/practical-psychology (http://www.healthcentral.com/bipolar/c/15/38687/practical-psychology)
A psychologist's point of view

http://community.dhammaloka.org.au/showthread.php/628-Buddhist-wisdom-for-bipolar-disorder-manic-depression (http://community.dhammaloka.org.au/showthread.php/628-Buddhist-wisdom-for-bipolar-disorder-manic-depression)
A discussion on Buddhism and Bipolar Disorder

http://smarterstronger.blogspot.com/2011/11/schizophrenia-and-nothingness.html (http://smarterstronger.blogspot.com/2011/11/schizophrenia-and-nothingness.html)
A perspective on Schizophrenia and mental illness

http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=case1192052314 (http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=case1192052314)
The Influence of Burmese Buddhist Understandings of Suffering on the Subjective Experience and Social Perceptions of Schizophrenia (rather long)

http://www.isps-us.org/koehler/dalai_lama.htm (http://www.isps-us.org/koehler/dalai_lama.htm)
HHDL perspective on neurology

Zen and Extreme States on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/14831806)
Zen and extreme states (including psychosis (40 min)

http://www.sgi.org/about-us/members-stories/buddhism-and-my-psychiatric-practice.html (http://www.sgi.org/about-us/members-stories/buddhism-and-my-psychiatric-practice.html)
A psychiatrist and his practice with Buddhism

http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/15270/i-am-trying-to-understand-how-buddhism-views-mental-health-schizophrenia (http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/15270/i-am-trying-to-understand-how-buddhism-views-mental-health-schizophrenia)
A discussion on Buddhism and Schizophrenia

http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/585/did-buddha-speak-about-mental-illness (http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/585/did-buddha-speak-about-mental-illness)
A general discussion on mental illness and Buddhism.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=buddhism%20mental%20illness&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CHoQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dorjeshugden.com%2Fforum%2Findex.php%3Ftopic%3D2523.0&ei=tUXjUK38GcOorAGOw4DwBA&usg=AFQjCNGpANgsqu2aHrWgJYMZbRudljoTLQ&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.aWM (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=buddhism%20mental%20illness&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CHoQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dorjeshugden.com%2Fforum%2Findex.php%3Ftopic%3D2523.0&ei=tUXjUK38GcOorAGOw4DwBA&usg=AFQjCNGpANgsqu2aHrWgJYMZbRudljoTLQ&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.aWM)
More elaborate and lengthy discussion on Buddhism and mental illness with more advanced practitioners.

http://www.voicesforum.org.uk/buddhak.htm (http://www.voicesforum.org.uk/buddhak.htm)
Purist viewpoint on schizophrenia and Buddhism.

http://amidatrust.ning.com/group/buddhismandmentalillness (http://amidatrust.ning.com/group/buddhismandmentalillness)
An essay on Buddhism and mental ilness

Comparative-SCHIZOPHRENIA-DIVIDEDSELF-BUDDHISM-MAREK-05.wmv (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FQBKIlGzkE#)
a buddhist perspective on schizophrenia and the divided "self"

Buddhisms low success rate in curing severe depression. Heart Buddhism. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mHR5AI3aZo#)
Buddhisms' low success rate and clinical severe depression.

This information is here for your viewing and reading if you're interested in knowing more about this subject. I know this site is crawled by Google  and I hope this aggregate of information can be found openly on the web as well. 

I suffer from a psychotic spectrum disorder. I can say personally the purist approach does not work. The pragmatist approach is better. A combination of medical and therapeutic intervention is important for a good spiritual practice. This is my opinion only, and I'm sure some will disagree.

I'm not going into my most recent episode unless asked. It's not relevant at this point. Just to say I'm taking things easier.

Any perspective will be invited. I think this may be an interesting discussion.






Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Lobster on January 03, 2013, 02:33:29 am
:namaste:
Thank you so much, I have a family member in extreme distress at the moment. It is very difficult to know how best to help. I watched one of the videos and will continue following the links. It would seem at present, practice is not a substitute for therapy but may be helpful. :)
Title: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Monkey Mind on January 03, 2013, 09:33:13 am
I made it a sticky thread, thank you for the effort...
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: sdjeff1 on January 03, 2013, 01:00:26 pm
Glad I could be of service.

I have my own sticky. Thanks, Monkey Mind  :socool:
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: sdjeff1 on January 15, 2013, 10:54:33 am
Ask A Monk: Meditation and Mental Illness (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB1Qc2sDo4s#ws)

I found another vid about a monks about meditation and mental illness. about 3 minutes long, it's a good watch.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Transition on July 07, 2013, 01:31:05 pm
I think there needs to be a balance and this is especially true with persons who are suffering significantly...meditation can play a critical role in finding this balance, but a wise blend of Eastern and Western practices appears to be necessary...another area where Buddhism is valuable is to understand our imperfections and the temporary nature of things...without an understanding of our imperfections, many people feel deep shame and worthlessness.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: NepalianBuddhist on August 18, 2013, 02:42:53 pm
Thanks for the info! I'll be fine if I just work out the mental process My brain feels healed now
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: DharmaNerd on August 21, 2013, 06:31:06 pm
I was very lucky to have a spiritual psychologist who taught me about ego states.  In my case I had something closer to Dissociative Identity Disorder as well as PTSD.  I got a first hand experience of how our mind is conditioned.  He taught me how to interrupt conditioned responses and to recognize the various personalities(ego states) in me.  Later when I began delving into deeper spiritual waters the experience helped me realize that the ego is not real, that it is an illusion of the mind. 

I also got some insight into the nature of attachments.  Our mind creates personalities (egos) with specific characteristics and values as a kind of short cut for interacting with specific environments.  It is adaptive.  Mother, wife, worker, lover - all may come with different personalities complete with behaviors, values, attachments and aversions.   These personalities can easily have different values which means that one can never be satisfied or happy since an event that makes one of the happy may not satisfy or make the others happy.  So as long as we are residing and operating out of this conditioned state we cannot be happy.   

When we are judging something we are acting through an ego - because the ego is the one who has specific goals and values with which it wants each experience evaluated - "this is good and therefore I want more", or "this is bad and I want to avoid".  So to rid ourselves of attachment we must also rid ourselves of ego and the beliefs it imposes on us.  It is animalistic in a way, our primitive brain seeks to keep us alive by remembering environmental cues to danger or to positive things like food.  We have just extended that to things like keeping a job or favorable social standings.


Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: francis on August 22, 2013, 02:51:22 am
I was very lucky to have a spiritual psychologist who taught me about ego states.  In my case I had something closer to Dissociative Identity Disorder as well as PTSD.  I got a first hand experience of how our mind is conditioned.  He taught me how to interrupt conditioned responses and to recognize the various personalities(ego states) in me.  Later when I began delving into deeper spiritual waters the experience helped me realize that the ego is not real, that it is an illusion of the mind. 

I also got some insight into the nature of attachments.  Our mind creates personalities (egos) with specific characteristics and values as a kind of short cut for interacting with specific environments.  It is adaptive.  Mother, wife, worker, lover - all may come with different personalities complete with behaviors, values, attachments and aversions.   These personalities can easily have different values which means that one can never be satisfied or happy since an event that makes one of the happy may not satisfy or make the others happy.  So as long as we are residing and operating out of this conditioned state we cannot be happy.   

When we are judging something we are acting through an ego - because the ego is the one who has specific goals and values with which it wants each experience evaluated - "this is good and therefore I want more", or "this is bad and I want to avoid".  So to rid ourselves of attachment we must also rid ourselves of ego and the beliefs it imposes on us.  It is animalistic in a way, our primitive brain seeks to keep us alive by remembering environmental cues to danger or to positive things like food.  We have just extended that to things like keeping a job or favorable social standings.

Thanks for sharing. I agree you were fortunate to have such a well-informed spiritual psychologist to teach you. But more importantly, you were open to instruction and learning about the ego. This is not always easy. 
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: DharmaNerd on August 22, 2013, 06:19:37 am
Quote
This is not always easy

"I" went kicking and screaming all the way.... That was the summary of about 4 years of turbulence, pain, crying, and then understanding.   It is much smoother sailing on calm waters.  The ego always thinks it has something to add to each experience.  Recognizing what has been added to what was essential isn't always easy either.

Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: francis on August 23, 2013, 04:56:39 am
Quote
This is not always easy

"I" went kicking and screaming all the way.... That was the summary of about 4 years of turbulence, pain, crying, and then understanding.   It is much smoother sailing on calm waters.  The ego always thinks it has something to add to each experience.  Recognizing what has been added to what was essential isn't always easy either.

Fantastic effort. Thanks for sharing your insight.

 :pray:

Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Galen on April 22, 2015, 02:08:47 pm
Wow this is a great thread of messages!

Thank you so much to everyone for the content!
I haven't gotten through all of them yet but I will be added them to my information on Buddhism meditation and healing.
There is so much research out there that shows how effective meditation and practices are in dealing with not only mental illness but also physical illness.

I have worked with my mental illness for years. I have been labelled PTSD, bipolar, major depressive, Borderline and Schizotypal (I hear things that are not there)
By using meditation and Practices I have been able to manage my illness for years, sometimes for long periods without medication.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on April 22, 2015, 09:33:58 pm
Quote
galen:  "....sometimes for long periods without medication."

Not sure that's a great idea, galen.  Friend of mine, who consults with me periodically regarding his Buddhist studies tried the same tact.  Fortunately he called looking for help and mentioning that he was having suicidal thoughts.  He was immediately referred by me to his psychiatric counsellor and upon advice had to make adjustments to his medications.  Buddhist practice helps with understanding and use of mind, but cannot counteract biochemical or physiological abnormalities of the neurological system.  Such medications supplement what human biology cannot due to some insufficiency or malfunction.  My suggestion is that you consult on a regular basis with a qualified someone, who cares for your well being.

 :twocents:
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: max on November 11, 2015, 11:52:09 am
It is terrifying how many people facing psychological pathology  cry for help on this forum.

Read the words above:

 ''Buddhist practice helps with understanding and use of mind, but cannot counteract biochemical or physiological abnormalities of the neurological system.''


Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: GoWithTheFlow on November 17, 2015, 10:49:36 pm
This post has been most helpful although I'm lucky enough to only suffer from moderate anxiety/depression rather than any of the more debilitating conditions. As someone who is on medication I've always felt I shouldn't need it but the comments here have helped reinforce that there is nothing wrong with taking the medication to cater for a neurological imbalance. I would still like to get off the medication (it has other side effects) but I can now do this in a more relaxed way (and of course under the close supervision of my doctor).

Thank you  :namaste:
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Joka on March 14, 2017, 10:41:36 am
Then there is the extreme skeptical point of view that either mental illness isn't real and that even if it was technically all of humanity would fit criteria of being mentally ill in one form or another.

The topic of mental illness has always bothered me in that it seems to be a contrived diagnosis by the prevailing elite power structure on those that don't conform to their rule or leadership.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: stillpointdancer on March 15, 2017, 03:56:03 am
Then there is the extreme skeptical point of view that either mental illness isn't real and that even if it was technically all of humanity would fit criteria of being mentally ill in one form or another.

The topic of mental illness has always bothered me in that it seems to be a contrived diagnosis by the prevailing elite power structure on those that don't conform to their rule or leadership.
It's an area I have been studying for a while now. We are in the business of changing brains using meditation and the path, so we need to understand what goes on. I think there are different problems, to be tackled in different ways. There are problems with chemical imbalances, infection, and so on. There are problems with 'leakage' from one area of the brain to another. Problems when extreme stuff happens to us, or when we deliberately put extreme stuff into our systems.

We need to bring understanding and compassion, especially to a forum like this where people read posts, without posting themselves. There needs to be some awareness of where Buddhism can help, and where it has to step aside to allow specialist help deal with the situation. Having said that, it's pretty clear to me that Buddhist practices like mindfulness have become an established part of stress reduction and behavioral therapy. They can be seen as a 'cure' for the harm that society does to us by the demands it makes on us to be part of it in terms of our behavior and understanding of the world. It's probably the 'success story' of bringing aspects of Buddhist practice to the West.

What do others think? Is this a discussion to have here?
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: openmind on March 15, 2017, 05:56:29 am
After the older monk died who founded the Monastery, who was my dearest spiritual friend, I had a nervous breakdown. I was trained to the point that I could function ok, and do my work, but my body was in shock. I asked several of my closest spiritual friends about what they thought was happening. Many of them said that it could be physical problem and I should see a doctor. I did and was prescribed medication to change my bodies chemistry. It worked, and I was able to to start living much more openly. Then I find out that my mothers mother went insane, my mom was a neurotic human, and both my bothers were on similar medication. I have no regrets or am not judgemental about  taking medication if it helps relieve suffering.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on March 20, 2017, 06:29:00 am
Thanks for sharing your experience, Openmind. 

Very glad that you had a positive experience with the medical community regarding your illness.  :hug:

I could relate to your experience in that my mother also had many bouts with mental illness, dealing with it almost her entire life.  Near the end of her life, which wasn't very long compared to modern life-spans  (death @ age 60) they found that she had a thyroid problem, hypo-thyroidism, which had never been diagnosed.  She went on Thyroxin to treat the deficiency and all of her problems with mental illness vanished till the end of her life. 

Modern medicine understands a great deal more today than what they did forty years ago.  In this way at least, we are fortunate to be alive in this age. :dharma:
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: lobsang~gazom on March 26, 2017, 07:46:06 am
I've bipolar 1 disorder and social anxiety disorder and my buddhist practice has helped me alot. I still take medication and it's very important for someone with my disorder to do so but my doctor's and psychologists are very approving of my buddhist practice and meditation and agree it has helped me to "manage" my condition. I've even had discussions with my teacher Rinpoche about my illness and he always encouraged medication and medical professional help along side my practice. I think it's important to have a balance.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: lobsang~gazom on March 26, 2017, 08:00:38 am
 :r4wheel:
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Rosalina on June 30, 2017, 04:25:17 am
Buddhism does help with mental illness though.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: loopix on November 10, 2017, 04:06:42 am
ok, so I have a question nobody has been able to give me a proper answer on, not even high lamas....


How do you tell the differene between actual spiritual experiences and ablities, and mental health problems?
The symptoms are very often, if not always, pretty much the same. "There is a fine line between clarvoyance and schizophrenia" one famous "psychic" said once, But how do you tell the difference??


Anyone?
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Chaz on November 10, 2017, 04:19:31 am
ok, so I have a question nobody has been able to give me a proper answer on, not even high lamas....


How do you tell the differene between actual spiritual experiences and ablities, and mental health problems?
The symptoms are very often, if not always, pretty much the same. "There is a fine line between clarvoyance and schizophrenia" one famous "psychic" said once, But how do you tell the difference??


Anyone?

Depending on your POV,  there may not be any difference.  That fine line may not exist at all. 
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: loopix on November 10, 2017, 04:33:57 am
exactly, so how does western psychiatry - where a often dualistic and materialistic mindset sets a diagnosis - and pumps a patient full of drugs and insists the patient is delusional, know the difference between an actual delusion and, say, an actual spirtitual event?


The symptoms, again, are very often, if not all the time, the same. So how does western psyichiatry define, if they even consider it a possibility, "real" spiritual experiences? How do they differentiate / discriminate between a delusion, and a real event? Except through their own material and physical understanding of the mind, and in a few lucky (depnends, huh? lol) cases, their own faith?

This is something I'm working to get a satisfying answer on... i wont clucking go away until I have it and shove it in the psychiatric feild's faces :wacky:

as you can guess, I have seen and experienced some fairly wild shit... hah!
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: loopix on November 10, 2017, 04:35:00 am
..and pardon my french.  ;D
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: Skylar on January 25, 2019, 01:28:02 am
During the time I was working on my PhD in Nursing Practices, I was employed at a psychiatric facility.

On more than a few ocassions, our Medical Director - an MD/Psychiatrist referred to the place as an "Ashram".

Are the experiences of psychosis unreal?  Or has have the lines between Polite Society's version of reality and a broader spectrum diminished?

Is Bipolar unique, or - in varying degrees - the "norm"?

The medications now available can alter ("reset"?) the functional effects of the brain on perception.

Was The Buddha crazy?

(And really -- What's Love got to do with it?)

The only real success of my nursing career came when I, too, realized the psych facilities wherein I labored to diminish suffering were, indeed ashrams.

The difference between me and my patients was that I had the keys.

So I see it now ...

... the difference between me and the Realized Buddha(s) that they have the keys.
Title: Re: differing perspectives on mental ilness and Buddhism
Post by: paracelsus on February 26, 2019, 07:32:35 pm
I'm part way through reading David Brazier's "Zen Therapy. A Buddhist Approach to Psychotherapy".

So far so good. I think he has some useful insights, not only for a practicing therapist but also for anyone familiar with Buddhist thought and/or living with a person in psychological difficulty.

Worth a look I think.
SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal