Dear Carrol,

I want to echo your point about believing what those who experience it
say.  One of the worst things about psychiatry--and why it often seems
still in the "dark ages"--is that the patient, by virtue of being a patient--is
presumed not to know what is happening to them.  Abstract diagnoses
from above are then applied to them.

Date sent:              Sat, 28 Sep 2002 14:14:26 -0500
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Some Queries, was Re: Deluge...
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Robert Summers wrote:
>  It is my understanding that the latest
> research indicates that PTSD is actually a biological change in the body
> due to extended periods of time when one's life is in danger.

That makes a good deal of sense. (All "mental illnesses" have to take a
'final form' as physiological states of the brain -- but that in itself is
no indication of their initial grounds.) Simply the muscle tension of long
periods of stress would begin to have a neurological impact. Paul Fussell
in one of his books (I think the one on WW2)comments on the inevitability
of breakdown after long enough involvement in combat. (I'm told that his
politics are quite conservative, but both books are extremely good.)

In reference to depression (and this applies to combat, spousal abuse,
pregnancy, and many other condtions) I don't think it possible for one who
has not experienced them to "imagine" them, but I've always argued that
anyone can _believe_ abstractly what people who have experienced them say,
and act/respond on that abstract belief. (Sort of a distinction between
knowledge _of_ and knowledge _that_.)