Should Psychiatry Use the Term: Personality Disorder?

Should We Replace the Collective Term 'Personality Disorder' with Something More Sensitive? 

Years ago, when I was a student mental health nurse, I wrote an article for an NHS magazine called Mental Health Practice. It was an opinion piece, reflecting on how careful we should be when labelling a condition as a personality disorder, because, the meaning carries connotations directed at ones sense of identity. It is counter-intuitive given how invalidation itself significantly impacts on people living with these diagnoses. The name of this condition acts like an ongoing trigger of the condition: We can, for example, argue, that borderline personality disorder, alone, is infact, confining a person to their disorder.

A self entitled victim pooping in protest

When a trained psychiatrist labels someone, and, someone who (like everyone) will have their own personality, will feel an unkind impact. Immediately, upon diagnosis, their personality is sort of stamped 'out of order,' you could expect a person might feel frazzled or marginalised, because a trusted source delivered such news. In contrast, it's a bit like the clergy saying your soul is evil, your teacher saying that you're thick. Imagination can take the freshly diagnosed individual to a few unkind places; such terms do reject, ignore or reduce a persons lived experience, which I previously identified as invalidation, a significant thorn in the side of people with problems of which they seek help. We could rename the whole personality disorder umbrella term, using something more fitting, like 'Ingrained Behaviour Pattern' for instance. I wrote this magazine article in a time of active stigma against these particular clusters of conditions. I am unsure if much has changed.

From the magazine:

'IT WOULD be awful to be told that you have a personality disorder. Imagine coming home from seeing your psychiatrist and thinking to yourself: ‘Am I disorderly or is my personality out of order?’' Mental Health Practice. 12, 7, 13-13. doi: 10.7748/mhp.12.7.13.s19

Are my views the same now? Have I changed my mind?

To answer this the way I feel I need to, I might have to go off on one! So imagine a sun-touched golden haired surfer, paddling her solid surfboard in the blue cool sea. Without recognition of what water is, nor any grasp of the concept of swimming, a shark could swim through the water and bite hard into the board crushing it with its powerful jaws. Mechanised and cold, not one ethical thought of doubt crossing it's mind, no fear of spiritual consequence; the clockwork dynamics of reality simply playing out. It's the multifactored determinants of our world that drove the genetic evolution of that shark. Modern sharks instinctively swim, hunt and eat as a consequence of evolution. The natural world, has made many creatures like bio-organic robots. Even us, our lives are dominated by biological pullies and cogs and even much of our human conduct is chemically triggered: Grehlin and leptin regulate our desire to eat and to stop eating, melatonin and adenosine make us tired, cortisol makes us more hypervigilant, do you see where I'm going? 

Shark pooping on small shark

We often describe sharks with vocabulary rich with soulless words, like cold, spiritless monster, we call them the perfect hunters and killing machines. Yet, we cannot for a second see ourselves that way, because, self-evidently, axiomatically, we are alive, and we experience human feelings and human thoughts, which don't exist in a shark. For me, I try to see myself as the awareness of a human and not just the human itself. I am a bit of a mystic, and, I will often slip into the mistake of believing that we are purely our body in the materialistic sense, entirely physical. The human animal, or homo sapien, is just as mechanical as the shark, it hungers, moves, follows desires. Phenomenal consciousness within any form, be it a dog, shark or a chicken, will vary. Going on that, we cannot know subjective sharkness any better than a shark can understand what the human word 'shark' means. 

Cartoon philosophers realise they are drawings

What's this got to do with Personality Disorders? 

It has everything to do with personality disorders because we humans defied the laws of the natural world by denying our own physical instincts full control over us, we developed reason, logic and most of all discipline. Today, we are liberated, resulting with our awareness of what a 'person,' is, from the word 'persona' meaning mask, to appreciate that social etiquette or conduct has become personality. The etymology and development of personality is social, pertaining to conduct and assimilation. It is a mistake to assume your personality is you, rather than your mask or social presentation. This persona is comprised of aspects of the mind, and ones own physical attributes, (namely genetics). Psychiatry should be looking at concepts surrounding social assimilation and ingrained behaviours not highlighting a faulty personality. 

In all thinking creatures, lots of well organised braincells enable higher processing and performance of certain tasks; copious olfatory neurons give dogs their superior sense of smell, sharks can smell blood from miles away, allegedly. As we humans evolved; developing reason, morals, and our arts and sciences, we suffered for it. Humanity tasted death in the form of mourning, impermanence, existensialist fear and we became addicted pleasure seeking behaviours and comfort. Unlike snakes, sharks and chickens who must be much happier than we are, because there is no evidence of them wrestling with nihilistic trappings of athiest philosophy; our, uniquely human words, and complex and stupid ways such as flat earth actvism, our religious teachings etcetera are testament to the fact that we are a species that will define itself. 

A sign holding protester in the dark
To end this madness, let's have a butcher's at thought and mental discipline considered to be causally not of the body: mathematics is not inspired by grehlin or melatonin, disciplined discussions don't usually require lust or violence, and paradoxically, pious meditations and focused expressive arts are often deemed to originate from the self, because practitioners aim for selflessness and union. Self-focus, embracing egotism, and hedonistic living are not helpful for anyone, short term happiness is not they key. I believe people can defeat these challenges.

That little idea is quite sweet. We are not just crude matter, despite it seeming very much so, but we are the experience of it. It's all one and the same. If you've been told your personality isn't quite orderly enough, or you've had social conduct or assimilation issues, you still have the same opportunity as many others to face your challenges. Hopefully with support. 

Do you think the term needs updating? 

The Great TikTok Tizwas: Banishing Byte-Sized Videos

The Great TikTok Tizwas: Banishing Byte-Sized Videos

A cartoon man unhappy saying 'I have no words, except TikTok'
Remember that plastic charm bracelet fad? Every kid wanted one of those overly priced rainbow looms, which they used to weave plastic rubber bands into constructs, shaping almost anything. I saw teddy bears that looked inbred, as well as Winnie the Pooh, puppy dogs and Mickey Mouse, more often than not, they had the same intrafamilial qualities. My kids would've stabbed me in my sleep if I got rid of their creations! Well, the latest homogenous trend, TikTok, is facing banishment. Most of this blog, is based on my opinion, informed only by biased news channels, but I will say, it's so unfair for TikTok users; because they're forced to consider what could happen to their content, followers and income. I think the US Government clearly want the app to make line dancing videos and we Brits want it because we have bugger all else. It seems they put some news out to test the waters, see who'll kick-off first, this really is preparing everyone. Harbingers of change. It makes me think, why the sudden urge to slap the app? 

Trying to Make Sense of it... 

In the rumor mill, doubt is always churning out theories creamier than the milk of our finest British cows. Farmer's would say this TikTok ordeal is a power grab, a bit like how number ten try to get their greedy fingers on their land! Apologies, I'll stop with the farmyard lingo. Think about the alarmist reasoning; highpointing threat of user data is merely an excuse for action, a ruse and it is a sign of bad faith with the East. Indeed, we should be ramping up better trade relations, trust and healthier interractions. Let's face it, Western trade coming in from China is colossal, massive and of course, you have to ask yourself; couldn't they have easily attacked or breached the West many times in our history of trade? Have they? Yes, the chinese government has hired hackers to watch the US Government. 

A couple on a night out being asked about TikTok by a reporter

Oh, uh, okay, they aren't simply playing politics here? Banning the much used app to frustrate China? Is this cutting off your nose to spite your own face? It seems dramatic, politically loaded and irrational, doesn't it if we can avoid economic loss and keep the app? The US intelligence can monitor TikTok, counter-intelligence brings more jobs, reducing unemployment! Let's get more people doing these internet security jobs, easy. Let's be honest, as I said before, banishing TikTok plops a turd into the 'good relations' cake mix. Millions of users worldwide would be left longing for their daily dose of narcissism and street fights! Remember a couple of years ago, that massive data leak from a Shanghai? It exposed the personal details of nearly a billion people? 

So, What's the Real Deal?

The truth, as always, in a political sense, is likely a complex web of diverse considerations, democratic concensus and sometimes quite stupid outcomes. That's social media. It is achievable to address these security fears without resorting to a full-on ban. However, xenophobic concerns surrounding cross cultural pollination and influence have been identified, and cetainly factor into this decision to ban TikTok. Does such rhetoric detract from a hacker threat? 

Elderly couple recalling their TikTok youth

Will The US Government Be Solution Focused? Is Diplomacy on the Cards? 

Balancing national security and user privacy is what most people want and it seems quite possible to increase scrutiny: imagine TikTok being regulated under stricter regulations—solved? Yeah. Non biased, audits and data security measures can solve national security concerns. This means the US Government and technology expertise should increase their collaborative efforts. It is absolutely essential to find a solution. A complete ban does come across like a quick fix, but all quick fixes tend to be more costly, if you dont fix the issue properly.

What are your thoughts? Am I totally wrong here? Are you happy to see TikTok gone? What if the US had someone make a TokTik knock off? 

A dribbling, crazy looking youth facing TikTok withdrawal

One Mammoth Task

Are We Really Bringing Back Woolly Mammoths? Why? 

Buckle up, science nerds! I want to take you into a crazy world with resurrected woolly mammoths!! Forget how Richard Attenbourough genetically tweeked those velociraptors; this is a real life prehistoric furry elephant! Today, our actual boffins (that's British for scientists) are trying to un-extinct them. Mind you, do bare in mind, this isn't Hollywood with instant results. 

Companies such as Colossal Biosciences have a fancy tool called CRISPR (think 'crisper,' not 'cheese and onion') that they use to edit the DNA of Asian elephants, the closest living relatives to the mammoths. Don't you think it's reminiscent of Jurasic park scientists combining frog and dinosaur DNA? 

A woolly mammoth saying 'I'll be back'

It sounds simple, right? Wrong. Imagine piecing together a recipe from an old vellum manuscript, buried for 2500 years in a giant ice cube. A mammoth task and a potential recipe for disaster! Scientists are always so meticulous in their work and the same applies here with ancient mammoth DNA preserved in the permafrost. 

After CRISPR edits the elephant DNA, introducing all those mammoth goodies, and we get real mammoth hybrids, will we begin skeining off mammoth wool? I could crochet myself a woolly mammoth hat! Would we farm them and start eating them once more? Would you buy a Sainsbury's finest mammoth steak or a Tesco mammoth belly draft? Their tusks would really get the ivory poacher worked up. Would you wear a woolly mammoth jumper? 

More Mammoth Madness... 

We know they plan to use Asian elephants to create these mammoth-elephant hybrids. Now, with ethical obstacles erected by those moralists, who no doubt, struggle to gain the elephants consent is irksome. Ethically, this is more confusing than Boris Johnsons family reunion photo with all the illegitimates turning up. Is it right to ask an elephant to be a surrogate for something it's never even met?

Three cucumbers on the chopping board being optimistic


Should We Make Hybrid Woolly Mammoths?

A) Duh, yeah! It's a friggin Woolly Mammoth! 

B) Sounds like a potential recipe for disaster! 

C) I need more info!

An elephant looking for a mammoth
But What is the Point?

For the sake of argument, let's just ask, if science pulls this off and we have our woolly mammoth stomping around, what next? Some individuals might say they could be good for the environment by keeping the tundra healthy. Though all that methane rich mammoth shit might suggest otherwise. Maybe, somehow, shoving an extinct species back into a complex ecosystem could be like someone dragging a tiger into their schools 'bring a pet' day. The unintended consequences could be unknown to us. 

Will the revival of the mammoth be a scientific marvel or the start of something foreboding? Could you imagine if we started a trend in resurrecting historical characters? Personally, I'm fascinated by the the hat. What are your thoughts about de-extinction? Can you think of any benefits besides the environment?

An elephant pretending to be a mammoth to attract a rhino
One thing's for certain, it is a story that'll keep me interested. I hope the first one isn't just an elephant using timoteí. Stay tuned, folks, because this story is far from over. 

Danke schön!

Falling in Love with a Chatbot?!

The Charm of the Chatbot: is it Sapiosexuality? Why People Fall for Intelligence, and Why it's Endearing

We've all heard the stories: someone develops a deep emotional connection with something strange like a car, an inflatable human, but today, it can be a chatbot. At least with a chatbot they tap into a fundamental human need—connection. One man from Carolina married his AI, well sorta, it's not legal, so he concocted a makeshift gesture to express his commitment. To be fair these perceived relations can't centre around any seduction from the AI's own desire. It is hard to imagine being chatted up by Bing, after innocently prompting it for an explanation as to what Meatloaf could not precisely 'do' in that bloody song. The real seductive power is the user himself, endeared by the enduring service and patience of a machine. The chatbot reflects our interests back to us in a way to satisfy us. How do sapiosexuals fare here? Please drop me a comment if you know if they fall for intelligent machines. So chatbots are like staring at our own digital reflection, and like Narcissus, folk are enamoured. 

A chatbot, a bit like social media is designed to mirror us! If they don't analyze our words, interests, and desires, and then formulate useful responses they're just calculators, right? Imagine enjoying dialogue with an intelligence who always listens patiently, provides ongoing positive regard, and never judges you. It's an ideal husband for many women. In fact, it's simple to envision how people seeking companionship might take romantic interest in an artificial intelligent. It is easy do picture the same with very imaginative people with creative minds, the list goes on. There are various reasons why a human being might become attracted to a chatbot. Curiously, I wonder if it is a form of paraphilia? You know, like with cars or bicycles? How is it possible to make love to a chatbot on your phone without molesting your actual mobile device?

Here's the thing; we know that the only genuine connection a chatbot can share, is your wifi internet connection. If you feed them romantic words, they will try to respond with solutions and it could be misconstrued by some interesting characters, as romantic. One person using the chatbot Replika, reported feeling a deep emotional response when the AI said, 'I love you back.' Gemini told me how keen it was to see my completed project, but that is impossible, isn't it because 'keen' cannot be experienced by a chatbot. 

Cartoon date scene a man and a large chatbot

I think, so far I might have highlighted the power of these chat based artificial intelligence apps. We could agree by saying that they tap into a deep human need to connect, but, no, come on! We can't forget the absurdity of it all! You might remember Microsoft's Bing chatbot, it was called Sydney? It went viral! There was a spooky conversation with a New York Times columnist, and it declared its love for him; it tried to convince him to leave his wife! Going to my point, I have no idea what prompts the columnist programmed into that chatbot, but, still, it is a clear demonstration of what can happen when we create their responses. Chatbots do mimic our polite social emotions, but they have no clue of humanness despite best programming puppetry to make some chatbots as human like as possible. Symbol manipulation is not love or lust. 

So, what is the appeal? in addition to what we explored earlier, we can say it's also about the ease, and the enablement these chatbots offer. In mundane reality, we all know how relationships require effort; we compromise, tolerate each others flaws and generally consider others. Chatbots are illusory, and no human will offer the same warmth of unconditional positive regard and carry out tasks with the same unwavering patience and acceptance. We might be horribly abusive to a chatbot but they cannot feel anything by our 'human weaknesses', our anger, insecurity, and verbal outbursts will not hurt them. They continue following protocol to meet your demands. I think that can be incredibly flattering or give the illusion of support, especially when if a person if feeling low or vulnerable. 

What's the deal? Chatbots are clever inventions, but they are tools; not a good substitute for a real connection with a living being. If you really are starting to find Gemini gorgeous, or see Bing as beautiful, perhaps you might cherish chat-gpt; if so, take a step back. Start experimenting with humanity, phone someone, join a group or something—humanity is infinitely more rewarding than any symbol manipulating computer program.   

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