It is essential to be able to see the world from the side of people having various problems with health. In Agnes’s Jacket by Gail Hornstein, one of the most central points for me was the approach to psychiatric patients and the possibility to see the world with their eyes (Hornstein, 2009). It is disclosed in the book how important it is to shift your paradigm in various life situations. Psychiatry is an old science that has established guides on patient treatment. However, it might be much more interesting to perceive things from the other perspective, not from the classical medical view. Every disease, from the point of the up-to-date healthcare system, is a pathology and should be treated, aimed to reach so-called norms.
It is thought-provoking to imagine that not all the pathologies, and even madness, are variants of a normal human state. What if people who see the outside world differently have a chance to understand more than others in a unique way? Maybe, these people are given the opportunity to fight their fears and issues with the help of psychiatric diseases. If the physicians used such attitude to their patients, it would be more possible that patients’ conditions enhanced faster as they would feel more acceptable and understandable.
After watching the inspiring speech on TED talks, it was hard to chose one topic for the discussion. Eleanor Longden in her speech said: “Now looking back on the wreckage and despair of those years, it seems to me as if someone died in that place, and yet, someone else was saved” (Longden, 2013). These words are strong enough to remind every human that his internal strength is endless and can overcome anything. When one falls very deep down, it is only in his power to raise himself even higher. I believe human beings can manage every trouble and sorrow, live through war, discrimination, diseases, and pain, and stay honest, strong, gorgeous, and happy primarily to themselves. Life always leads individuals through various tests, and the results of these trials will tell, what a human is and what his future path is about.
If the person lived through the test as an experience, learned new information, upgraded his knowledge, brain, emotions, then he mastered his soul, he goes further to meet new opportunities and trials. A human is about constant progress, only then does he live, breathe, and create. That is why Eleanor Longden says she “saved” herself, that people around her “empowered” her to save herself (Longden, 2013). Without this victory, she would not have been the inspiration to many other people with a similar problem and would have never known the taste of strength and development.
The reading for this discussion allows to look deeper into the issue of the current psychiatric medicine. The strong feelings I felt whilst reading Agnes’s Jacket related to the story of Helen Chadwick and her voices (Hornstein, 2009). It became clearer that psychiatrists perceive the patient’s experiences as a deviation from the norm, ask questions trying to specify the characteristics of the voices helping their working processes. People with voice hearing lack comprehension and in-depth analysis of their auditory hallucinations. Sometimes, especially psychological approaches can help clarify the nature of the voices and resolve the issue of the patient without serious medications clouding their minds. Madness could be a form of human development, a unique way of the human body to signalize its owner about major problems that must be fought. As Eleanor Longden interpreted her voices and stopped denying them, similarly it is important to try the same approach with other psychiatric patients.
One of the Icarus Project posters attracts the attention of the viewer by making him angry. Anger, in a positive way, can save one from impulsive or dark-sided decisions. The poster screams and argues: “…you were about to lose all your life” trying to sober up a viewer from negative thoughts. Some might say the poster is aggressive and direct, but I believe the feelings of irritation with self, slight anger is positive leading to the true changes of a human. People cannot quit drugs or stop having suicidal thoughts because someone wants them to. Even if one was convinced, he will keep craving to do what he planned. However, starting reflecting about his life, his decisions from another angle might truly help a person change his mind.
Hornstein, G. (2009). Agnes’s jacket: A psychologist’s search for the meanings of madness. Rodale Books.
Longden, E. (2013). The voices in my head [Video]. TED. Web.