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'Mental illness' and Traditional Craft


naerianu

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Hello, I wish to know how you all feel on this..and why. Not just 'Because they are crazy' responses or stuff like that, but explanations behind your response.

 

How do you feel about Bi-polar, or Schizoaffective individuals practicing a form of Traditional Witchcraft? Or even Schizophrenic, to something less 'severe' like depression?

 

I have read that many of the established 'groups' strictly forbid anyone with mental illness from joining them as dangers to themselves and coven members.

 

What about solitary practice as opposed to groups?

 

Opinions please :)

 

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Personally I do not think they mix.  Mental illness leaves one vulnerable to things unseen. How can you effectively practice is you can not trust your own mind?

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Shadowwalker

I agree with Whiterose to a certain degree.  I think it depends on the severity of their illness.  And the degree that they're medicated.  If the med's say do not operate heavy equipment, probably not a good idea to cast spells.

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After thinking on this some more, I realize that mental illness is rather broad, so let me specify and say that I was specifically thinking of Schizophrenia.  I do not think that someone with that sort of mental illness should be involved in the craft. 

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I have my doubts about medications and the craft. If the craft is all about feeling, sensing, knowing... and so many medications (like anti-depression and anti-anxiety meds) are about "controlling" feelings or making them less, well, feelable" - I think it can greatly hamper connection to the craft. Makes everything too even, too toned down. But I also think it is not in the best interest of a person who needs meds to be off the meds. Therefore I do question taking mood-altering (or mood recognizing) drugs, and the need for mood altering drugs, in a craft setting. I think they may make it more difficult for a person to connect. It grounds them too much in the mundane, even-keel world.

 

M

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Shadowwalker

I agree Michele. I personally feel you should be in control of your faculties when attempting any kind of "works".  I realize some may use mind altering substances, and i am not criticizing any who do so.  But I'm sure those who do are well practiced and do so in safe and effective ways.   

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I agree Michele. I personally feel you should be in control of your faculties when attempting any kind of "works".  I realize some may use mind altering substances, and i am not criticizing any who do so.  But I'm sure those who do are well practiced and do so in safe and effective ways.   

 

Mind-altering I find different than "mood-altering" in the instance being discussed here. Most mood-altering drugs used in mental illnesses stop or hinder one from feeling, or change their reactions to feeling. (Think Xanex - "oh - plane's crashing... bummer. Think we can get in a quick game of chess before we go splat?") Some mind "expanding" (not mind-hindering) substances are used by some to achieve hedge crossing, but as I dont use them (other than wine, but that's recreational for me, lol) I cant comment on that practice.

 

M

 

M

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It really depends on the person, as not everyone diagnosed with a mental illness is cut from the same cloth. To cast or not is an individual decision. While certain workings are not encouraged when Kin are comprised, regardless of the reason, not even Coven mates can tell a grown person what to do.

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A situation came up just the other day.  An acquaintance of mine runs a paranormal investigating group.  He had a young woman call about a possible haunting in the house.  She had told him that she's schizophrenic, medicated and hasn't had an incident in 5 years.  She had asked him if he knew anyone that was 'sensitive' that she could talk to and asked me to give her a call and let him know what I thought.  She was 'off' enough during the conversation that he wasn't really sure how best to handle it.

 

We were on the phone for a while - she did almost all of the talking.  Five years ago the same thing happened that's happening now.  She started hearing voices in her head and seeing ghosts and spirits.  It went on for about 6 months until she was taken in to have her medication changed.  (I said above that she was young.) 

 

My personal opinion on this is that she's having another incident.  She had her meds changed a few months ago and it's starting again.  There's so many similarities to the last time.  It's taken 2 weeks to go from hearing nothing to hearing and seeing ghosts everywhere.  It's at the point now that everywhere she goes the voices tell her that there is a ghost and she needs to go find it.  And then she does.  In her apartment, at her friends house, at the grocery store, walking down the street, in the parking lot, etc.

 

I suggested that she tell her doctor what's happening.  What else could I say about that part?  She's afraid to because these things are very real to and she wants to continue experiencing it.  She wants to talk to the voices in her head.  She wants to keep seeing ghosts everywhere.  This is giving her a sense of power and 'special-ness'.  Aside from that she's afraid that they'll take her toddler from her.  I think that's a valid fear.

 

The best that I could think of to do was explain to her that she doesn't need to live in fear.  That just because a ghost or spirit may be there doesn't mean that you need to be afraid of it.  If it's not doing anything harmful, trying to hurt you or trying to make you hurt yourself then there's lots of people that have learned to share space with their resident ghost.  If the voice or spirit tells her to hurt herself or someone else that she needs to tell someone immediately.

 

She was a sweet kid - totally manic and I believe imaging/hallucinating - but very sweet.  I was extremely careful in choosing my words.  I hope that she can get the help that she needs.  I hope she chooses to eventually.  I just hope that I didn't make things worse.

 

It's not always about whether someone with mental illness should practice - sometimes it's about someone with MI coming/being sent to you for help.  In this case she wants to be a medium (she saw it on tv and it looked so cool!).  She wants to practice spirit communication.

 

I was out of my depth with this one.  I don't have a whole lot of experience with schizophrenia.  It was like a bad trip inside of her head.  I've never seen or felt anything like that before.  The girl was so open and un-shielded.  I don't know if that was just with me or if she's like that with everyone.  I did not go in and look/poke around.  I just looked in from the edges and I didn't want to upset whatever fragile balance she's still holding onto.  I had closed myself off after the first few minutes so as not to disrupt her.  Besides, it felt really icky.

 

What do you guys do when something like this comes up? 

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That's a hard one.  I wouldn't even begin to tell you unless I was there and could see and speak with the person.  I personally think there is a big difference between schizophrenia and medium ship one that I am not qualified to determine.  

 

From the DSM-IV-TR 

 

"Diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia: A. Characteristic symptoms: Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated): (1) delusions (2) hallucinations (3) disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence (4) grossly disorganized or catatonic behaviour (5) negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia (poverty of speech), or avolition (lack of motivation) ..."

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I wonder if some people with mental illness already have a hex on them? I say this as I remember a teacher at my daughters school when she was about 7 years old, the teacher was very nasty to my daughter, it must have been around Halloween as they were drawing witches and stuff, of course my girls pictures where allot different than the other kids, and the teacher said thats not what witches look like, as if my girl didn't know, after all a witch gave birth to her!

 

Oh boy, did I ever put a hex on that bitch, a while later she resigned due to a break down and depression ! so, if some are already hexed, surely they couldn't successfully use the craft?

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I wonder if some people with mental illness already have a hex on them?

 

No . . . they have a psychological disorder, usually with biological and/or behavioral components, which can be treated with medication and/or therapeutic intervention.  Giving a mentally ill person the impression that he or she is hexed or cursed could prevent them from seeking the help that they need.

 

If a person suffers depressive symptoms as a result of a hex, they are not actually suffering from a mental illness.  The criteria for diagnosing mental illness might lead one to equate it to a "hex", but not many people have the ability or the desire to pull off a hex of that magnitude for the amount of time it would take to get a diagnosis; not unless there already existed some underlying disorder that the person just capitalized on.

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I do think that to an extent, depending on the curse and what items were used to back it up, that it can effect thought processes and thought interpretations. But I definitely agree never suggesting that to someone with mental problems and to let the proper authorities/medics handle it. Unless it was someone of my family I would not even get involved.

 

Also, and this is just me personally, I would need some threat of great magnitude to my family to decide to curse in a way that destroy someone's life, livelihood, family, and the lives of their family and those who loved them and depended on them. 

 

M

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Hello, I wish to know how you all feel on this..and why. Not just 'Because they are crazy' responses or stuff like that, but explanations behind your response.

 

How do you feel about Bi-polar, or Schizoaffective individuals practicing a form of Traditional Witchcraft? Or even Schizophrenic, to something less 'severe' like depression?

 

I have read that many of the established 'groups' strictly forbid anyone with mental illness from joining them as dangers to themselves and coven members.

 

What about solitary practice as opposed to groups?

 

Opinions please :smile:

 

My opinion... for what it is worth, and being around many mentally ill has given me some insight. I would say a definite NO. And when I say no, that would be for those who are untreated, or suffering from their mental illness... but also it would be tricky, as was mentioned before, what if their "meds" started to not work? Or were changed and caused them to suffer from their mental illness again? But then some could say we all could be considered mentally ill in one way or another perhaps? LOL. Although from the medical diagnosis given from a professional in that field, I do not think someone who is not quite "in their right mind" should be practicing something that requires concentration and focus with "clear" thoughts. I would not "practice" witchcraft, spellbinding, casting etc. etc. (insert your term here) myself if I were drunk or on mind altering meds or whatnot. Let's say "not of the right mindset". I would likely shy from it all if I were in a foul mood too, I tend to be vindictive when angry. :ohmy: 

But like I said... that is just my thoughts on it.  :wink: 

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I don't think there is one fit all people answer to this. It depends on the person, the type and severity of the illness and the success of treatment, their susceptibility to slipping into delusional thinking, what is happening in their life at the moment ie what kind of stressors they are under, and a multitude of other things.

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Hi everyone.

 

When I first read this thread it irked the hell out of me. Upon rereading this morning after a decent sleep, there are some really good thoughts here. I think the question still irks me, but not knowing the poster or the thoughts and tone behind the question, I'm going to take it at face value, an honest inquiry.

 

Many people suffer from some form of mental illness, and those forms vary from sever to mild, and the ability for the person to cope varies from person to person, and depends on treatment which may or may not involve medication and THAT depends on how each individual responds to the different medications. Its a crap shoot folks, one of countless trial and errors. What works for one, can hurt another. And even if you find something that works, next month, it may not work any longer!

 

It has been suggested that mental illness can make a person more vulnerable. That one who has a mental illness are not in charge of their faculties. That some covens out and out ban people with mental illnesses from joining(if that is true, that burns me up for many reasons). That a person on medication ought not practice. That it “stop or hinder one from feeling, or change their reactions to feeling.”

 

 

Phew! Okay, one thing at a time.

 

Making a person more vulnerable to things unseen. Well sure it does, but so? It also makes a person more vulnerable day-to-day in everyday activities, down to being in the grocery store and becoming overwhelmed by 10 choices of noodles. Should the person then never do the shopping or learn how to work through it? Learn how to manage? That is part of coping and managing the disease, if one is sensitive to the unseen.

 

Not in charge of their faculties. Yeeks. Did you mean a person who is not being treated when you said this? I can readily agree, it would be the same as expecting a tight rope walker to perform with a broken leg. Bad idea, no? But a person who is being treated and has found a treatment that works for them. Well, then they ARE in charge of their faculties. That's the point of treatment. But yeah someone who is very ill and not getting help is a different story.

 

That a person on meds ought not practice. Medication enables a person with a disease to function in life. IF the right treatment has been found. Yes it stops or hinders one from feeling and changes their reactions! Thats the point of the medication! Because one with a “mental” disease often, depending on what they have, is getting TOO MUCH input of information or the input is out of focus, tainted somehow. Like someone with Aspergers or other forms of Autism. Too much info is coming through, the filters all of you use without thinking don't work. Now if someone who was not ill took the meds, then yeah that would hinder the input in a bad way. But for a person who needs it, it makes them “normal” so to speak. Even keel.

 

I would also like to call everyone's attention to all the great and artistic minds who have also had mental illnesses. The scientific geniuses. Have you ever considered the idea that these people are feeling the same as you but more intensely? Have you considered the idea that these people are the strong ones? That on a good day, these people can outthink and outdo 80% of the people reading this right now.

 

Another point. Some mental illnesses fluctuate. In other words, their effects on how one is feeling and thinking are not consistent. A person can have good days and bad days; even on medication due to the fact that other factors influence how they are feeling the same as anyone else. A loved one yells at them, it affects how they are and how they are feeling.

 

That leads to another point. The inquiry was “How do you feel about Bi-polar, or Schizoaffective individuals practicing a form of Traditional Witchcraft? Or even Schizophrenic, to something less 'severe' like depression?

 I have read that many of the established 'groups' strictly forbid anyone with mental illness from joining them as dangers to themselves and coven members.”

 

 

So how about someone with PMS? Menopause? How about a pregnant woman with natural hormonal upheavals?? Should she cast a spell in a circle with a coven? Maybe she'll get easily distracted and be a danger to herself or other members. How about someone going thru chemotherapy? How about someone who is prone to gall bladder attacks and is on medication for it? How about a guy who just lost his wife and job? Should a woman who has a bad case of PMS drive a car? Should a man who is suffering a depression attack go to work or drive as well? How about a person who has issues with anger? Yup I could go on and on with this!

 

Maybe you ought to break it down to the core and first answer “what is mental illness?” It's a simple question! Isn't it?? ;)

 

Btw Autumn Moon; voted your comment up.

 

Jev—good post, both of them.  Thank you.

 

To answer anyone wondering, yeah I have something that falls under this category. Its called “Atypical Depression.” I have a lot of dignity, I am highly intelligent(and humble), so having something like this annoys the hell out of me because I KNOW the difference! I KNOW when my mind is not working as well as it can work, I KNOW when I am being thick; because I'm not thick at all when I am clear thinking. (“Flowers for Algernon” anyone?) I also know when others look at me funny, or misread my posts, and get the wrong idea that I am stupid, or “overly emotional” or any number of ridiculous things people come up with off the bat when they don't even know me. And that is why the idea of some coven denying me simply due to depression would piss me off royally. Not that I would want to be with such people! Talk about backwards medieval thinking!

 

 

I am a pretty private person but in this point in my life, announcing this on a public forum really doesn’t bother me in the least. 

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Hi everyone.

 

When I first read this thread it irked the hell out of me. Upon rereading this morning after a decent sleep, there are some really good thoughts here. I think the question still irks me, but not knowing the poster or the thoughts and tone behind the question, I'm going to take it at face value, an honest inquiry. 

 

I would like to support Lynn's comments.  Although, I do not specialize in mental disorders, as a practicing psychologist, I have more than passing interest in the topic, and to be honest, the entire premise of the thread irked me at first, too.  Mental illness is too complex, from a diagnosis, treatment, and perceptual (individual and societal) standpoint, to warrant the establishment of universal guidelines or the making of blanket statements about what a person should or should not be "allowed" to do, mundanely or magically. 

 

I know individuals, diagnosed with a mental illness, and have discouraged / encouraged, provided insight, and supported them in their magical workings.  I have even said "you really should rethink that", but in the end, it is their decision.  Covens have a right to accept or refuse membership, as they see fit, but if their only reason for rejection is mental illness, that is discriminatory and, as Lynn pointed out, completely unfounded in logic. 

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Thanks everyone for your replies, I meant no disrespect Lynn :).  I asked because I suffer from bipolar with attributes of Schizoaffective. I wanted to know what peoples opinions were. I agree that it depends on the severity, and Lynn you bring up good points about women with PMS or menopause, and many other situations that can cause us to not be in our right minds. As far as practicing magic under the influence of substances as CrazyBeaver said, while it can be bad, shamans and other spiritual/magical workers throughout history have used mind altering substances to achieve trances or altered states of mind to commune with the spirits or practice their magic.

 

I want to clarify something though as well, that is if Psychoactive drugs are numbing a person, making them emotionless and unable to function with feeling and emotion, then the medicine is wrong, or the dose is wrong. Doctors I have spoken to have agreed that these drugs are suppose to allow people to function normally without symptoms of their illness, not destroy who they are. It is about finding the right med/dose. Some psychiatrists though are just assholes and dont care lol. They stick you on something, it makes you a numb zombie, they are cool with that, despite what its done to the individual.

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I want to clarify something though as well, that is if Psychoactive drugs are numbing a person, making them emotionless and unable to function with feeling and emotion, then the medicine is wrong, or the dose is wrong.

 

Absolutely, true.  Unfortunately, mental illness still carries a stigma.  With the proper medication and behavioral therapy, many people, diagnosed with mental illness, can lead productive lives.

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Thanks everyone for your replies, I meant no disrespect Lynn :smile:.  I asked because I suffer from bipolar with attributes of Schizoaffective. I wanted to know what peoples opinions were. I agree that it depends on the severity, and Lynn you bring up good points about women with PMS or menopause, and many other situations that can cause us to not be in our right minds. As far as practicing magic under the influence of substances as CrazyBeaver said, while it can be bad, shamans and other spiritual/magical workers throughout history have used mind altering substances to achieve trances or altered states of mind to commune with the spirits or practice their magic.

 

I want to clarify something though as well, that is if Psychoactive drugs are numbing a person, making them emotionless and unable to function with feeling and emotion, then the medicine is wrong, or the dose is wrong. Doctors I have spoken to have agreed that these drugs are suppose to allow people to function normally without symptoms of their illness, not destroy who they are. It is about finding the right med/dose. Some psychiatrists though are just assholes and dont care lol. They stick you on something, it makes you a numb zombie, they are cool with that, despite what its done to the individual.

 

All's well naerianu.  :)  Thanks for that. Like I said, I wasn't sure of the tone of your inquiry, but yeah one of my thoughts was that you were dealing with an illness yourself.  And thank you for that point you brought up regarding the medication and what we are trying to achieve; not zombied-out, but  dealing with the effects of the illness so that we can breath a sigh of relief and function normally, feelings and emotions intact.  And hopefully no side effects. :)

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I would like to support Lynn's comments.  Although, I do not specialize in mental disorders, as a practicing psychologist, I have more than passing interest in the topic, and to be honest, the entire premise of the thread irked me at first, too.  Mental illness is too complex, from a diagnosis, treatment, and perceptual (individual and societal) standpoint, to warrant the establishment of universal guidelines or the making of blanket statements about what a person should or should not be "allowed" to do, mundanely or magically. 

 

I know individuals, diagnosed with a mental illness, and have discouraged / encouraged, provided insight, and supported them in their magical workings.  I have even said "you really should rethink that", but in the end, it is their decision.  Covens have a right to accept or refuse membership, as they see fit, but if their only reason for rejection is mental illness, that is discriminatory and, as Lynn pointed out, completely unfounded in logic. 

 

Again, thank you.  Support is always appreciated.  Especially with this subject.

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Shadowwalker

I agree Michele. I personally feel you should be in control of your faculties when attempting any kind of "works".  I realize some may use mind altering substances, and i am not criticizing any who do so.  But I'm sure those who do are well practiced and do so in safe and effective ways.   

  Well i feel as though i should comment on Lynn's question about my comment.  Yes A person who is medicated poorly, or not at all, is what i meant but not in control.  I do not think someone who is not in control should practice. That is my opinion as i would not practice if i was not in control.  That falls under your own personal responsibility.  

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Bravo Lynn and Jevne!

 

Lynn your post was so well put. I found it elucidated on the thoughts I have regarding the subject, but did not put into writing. Well done.

 

Jevne, I quite liked your statement about patients who, on the right medication and therapy, lead productive lives, which is very true.

 

The movies such as halloween, have done such a disservice to those with some form of mental illness.

 

Given the average citizen, I would wager, that at some point(s) in their life, they have not been mentally healthy for a variety of reasons.

 

Vote you both up.

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Well i feel as though i should comment on Lynn's question about my comment.  Yes A person who is medicated poorly, or not at all, is what i meant but not in control.  I do not think someone who is not in control should practice. That is my opinion as i would not practice if i was not in control.  That falls under your own personal responsibility.

 

 

Some may not agree with me on this, but I feel that if a person needs ethnogens to experience the other world, then I would be quite skeptical as to the veracity of their experience.

 

Shadowwalker, I would like to know what your definition is of 'not in control' (in reference to your statement "I do not think someone who is not in control should practice")..

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