This morning I was listening to an interview between Jian Ghomeshi and Myriam Toews about her new book: “For All My Puny Sorrows”.
The main themes which I am raising are those of mental health and suicide and sharing feelings and thoughts.
The point is to generate a discussion about mental illness, about thoughts and emotions, about delusions, delusional thinking, hallucinations, and consequences.
People confuse these two words: feelings and emotions. Firstly feelings are symptoms which an individual experiences in their body’s lower chakra of solar plexus or limbic region of the brain such as sadness, grief, anger, joy, envy, jealousy, laziness.
Emotions on the other hand are feelings acted out or said another way ‘feelings in motion’, e-motion. In some cases feelings in motion can result in paralysis or slothfulness and inaction.
Examples of emotions are crying, raging, mental paralysis, hate, slothfulness, betrayal. These emotions are all consequences and the results of feelings upon which we take action, or not, where not taking action is the reaction to the feeling of despair and nihilism- that feeling of uselessness, of negative emptiness and alone-ness. The movement of a sense of downward spiral into despair with no end is the emotional and mental abyss into which the mentally ill person descends feeling out of control, and without any tools to stop the descent into ‘hell’.
The most frequent emotion which surfaces is that of fear and mental confusion if that can be called an emotion of the mind. At what point does one make the choice that one is not responsible for their feelings, thoughts, or emotions? Are individuals who suffer from negative feelings and thoughts leading to self-harm or hurting others capable of being responsible for their choices and behaviour and therefore held to account for dysfunctional or socially inappropriate behaviours? Or do we give these individuals a compassionate ‘pass’ and medicate them to inhibit their negative behaviours, sometimes with restrictions to their mobility and personal freedoms, usually in institutions or under supervision?
Or is everyone responsible for their feelings, thoughts, or emotions regardless of their stating being incapable of controlling their emotive and cognitive states or processes?
I differentiate between feelings and emotions of the lower order or solar plexus like fear and anger,rage, grief and and emotions of the mind such as despair, depression, sorrow, neurosis, and psychosis.
As the subject unfurls it appears that there is some ambiguity about whether feelings can originate from both the solar plexus energetic center (lower aspect of feeling association with thought) and the ajna ( the mental abstract mind) center where decisions and discernment happens. The physical limbic region of the thalamus is where the emotions are manifest in the mind, that is, where thoughts and emotions become entities and develop substance or manifestation resulting in expression either as speech, action as act of commission or as avoidance or act of omission.
The issue which comes up when discussing mental health and suicide is whether we should assist individuals with mental illness end their lives? Should we fly them to Switzerland or Oregon and use euthanasia as a humane and quick, safe method for ending one’s life? Should we attempt to repeatedly stop someone who wants to die from committing suicide?
The next issue which I wish to raise is the notion of the ‘law of karma’ and the belief that everyone who suffers from mental or emotional pain and suffering is responsible for its origin because of past lives karmic debt which has been incurred and which needs to be paid for in this life.