The House of Netjer, a Kemetic Orthodox Temple

[PUBLIC] About the Kemetic Orthodox Religion => [PUBLIC] Kemetic Orthodox Q&A => Topic started by: Phoenix_Falls on December 14, 2010, 10:51:22 am

Title: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Phoenix_Falls on December 14, 2010, 10:51:22 am
This is inspired by the post I made the other day in the private forums about Senut and mental disorders. Does anyone know the Kemetic stance on where mental "abnormalities" come from? What's your personal stance?

The reason why I put things in quotes is I don't believe that I'm abnormal, Schizoaffective Disorder is something I was born with, various schizophrenic disorders runs in my family. PTSD on the other hand, I acquired after a prolonged period of childhood trauma and witnessing the murder of an immediate family member.

Still, if you ask most of my Pentecostal-practicing family, they'll tell you that I'm possessed by demons. The hereditary part gets explained away by saying that because the "core family" (that consisting of my grandparents [now just my puhpuh], their seven [now six] kids [but not their spouses], their kids [my cousins] and my cousins family is very very close [read: in everyone's business lol]) is so religious ("chosen by God for special tasks" was my gramma's turn of phrase), demons attack us extra hard.

I don't believe that the different way my brain works is a result of demons tinkering around in my squishy thinkmeat. It's hard to deal with sometimes...a lot of times, and I can pray for the strength to keep going, but I'd never try to pray it away. That seems futile. I've had family members tell me outright that if I quit saying that I have Schizoaffective Disorder, I won't have it anymore and while I appreciate that words have power and all, I don't think anything is really going to change the wiring in my brain that easily. I wasn't even diagnosed properly until five years ago because of the hesitation in diagnosing anything as schizophrenia.

I used to coach Special Olympics in Alameda County, California in high school and my aunt told me that "God put those people on Earth to test their parents." Seriously? She didn't say it in a disparaging way, but I was livid. I don't understand how you can reduce someone's sole reason for being into a test for others...but that's what she thinks of it and I've been called that on more than one occassion (my gramma decided when I was younger that I was a "test of the family")

Anyways, I know there are a few people around here with various mental "abnormalities" and I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter in addition to any thoughts on what the ancients believed about such things.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Aashemmuti on December 14, 2010, 11:59:38 am
So much of this is semantics, really. What is a Disorder? I have a dead guy who hangs around me. I talk to him and sometimes he talks back. It was a Disorder when it was preventing me from obtaining work and being a productive citizen, but these day's it's just more of a Quirk.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Ta_Imu_Aset on December 14, 2010, 12:22:02 pm
I think of them as challenges. As in, these are people who are required to look at the world a little differently than most people (i.e. "normal people" psht...what is that anyways...). Just my personal opinion.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Setkheniitw on December 14, 2010, 12:55:10 pm
I can't speak for official positions here because honestly I'm not aware of one.

I can, though, talk on my personal beliefs and experiences.

I have worked with people who have a number of different disabilities.  I can't go into any great detail here, but to use an example, I worked with someone with very severe schizophrenia.  He would occasionally lose track of reality, which sent him into outbursts in which he would scream, flee, cry out, and hit people.  If you don't know what schizophrenia is, it's easy to assume that there's some demonic possession at work.  With the right knowledge and a logical, open mind, though, it looks less and less so.  And when you approach it logically and calmly, you find that his outbursts are less frequent and  less severe.

As far as just not calling it what it is, again, I think about the guy I was just talking about.  He's nonverbal and he only understands simple one or two word sentences.  If we suddenly stop calling what he has schizophrenia it isn't going to do a darn thing to change what's going on in his head, and it's more likely to aggravate the situation because nobody's even trying to look at it rationally.

I should mention that I used to believe all disabilities were just natural human variation.  Which they may well be, but now I'm more inclined to view them based on the hardship they present to the individual with the disability.  I've learned that not all of them want their disabilities to be presented like that, and recent personal events have shown me why.

I consider the idea of other people being your divine test to be... well, condescending.  It's saying "This person's entire existence can be summed up by the fact that I need to be tested."  I can sympathize, because especially when you get to very profound disabilities you're talking about people who need a lot of care, but this explanation makes the entire person's life about someone else's test.  I am inclined to believe that sometimes this is a good thing as it can compel people to do their best, but at the same time it's kind of dehumanizing so I don't agree with it as such.  I do believe that a number of things can be tests, but that they weren't necessarily created just to be that.  I also have gender dysphoria and panic disorder, and I certainly am nobody's test except maybe my own, even though I assume some in my family believe me to be.

As to why disabilities exist in the first place... I have a few 'beliefs' about that.  For some, I think they're just natural variations in humanity (basically what people said above while I was writing my long-winded post).  Otherwise, though, I am inclined to side with medicine... genetic and environmental factors, for example.  I don't think I need a religious explanation for it.  Maybe the Gods roll dice?  Maybe as far as our corporeal bodies go it's just nature at work?
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Bastemehebet on December 14, 2010, 05:08:47 pm
My take on it is that humans were made in diverse ways physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Individual societies divide those humans into people whose needs are taken care of automatically, and people whose needs are only taken care of on a more individual basis.  And then the second group of people are seen as having disabilities.  It would be interesting to know where that division lay in Kemet, but as I see it the goal is for everyone to end up in the first category someday no matter what their society originally thought.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: ubenet on December 14, 2010, 06:02:36 pm
i don't believe that the gods make us like filling out a d&d character sheet.  Sekhmet-Mut and Khonsu weren't sitting around the table all "let's see... we'll give this one curly hair, blue eyes, chubby cheeks, freckles, aaaand... just for spice, let's throw in ADD, a shellfish allergy, a predisposition to PTSD, and early-onset osteoarthritis!"  most of that, i'll lay at the feet of "well, sometimes two people love each other very much and decide to make a baby" instead.  some of it is genetic, some of it is environmental, some of it i'm not sure, but i don't think any of it was gods pointing at me or my family and saying "that one."
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Taji on December 14, 2010, 06:31:03 pm
I'm with Ubenet on this one.  Sometimes, I think stuff just happens because it happens.  Whether it's environment, genetics, some combination of the the above or "just one of those things."  Some people are schizophrenic.  Some people are mentally retarded.  Some people are diabetic or have cystic fibrosis.  Some people get cancer.  I don't think any of these things are designed as tests/gifts/whatever for those who have them or those who are around those who have them.  But while I don't think Netjer deliberately gives us those things, I do think that They can often help us deal with them and maybe sometimes help us to grow through them.  But that's because They love us and want to help, not because it was intentionally designed that way.  
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: The Tai'awepwawet System on December 14, 2010, 09:43:48 pm
If I decided that God had a hand in my genetics and/or disability, I would spend much of my time very, very angry at said God.

So I choose to go down the route that assigns no blame to God, and that is that any 'born in' disabilities were genetic and God didn't have any say in them, poor God.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: ubenet on December 14, 2010, 09:53:07 pm
Quote from: Henytenwepwawet
If I decided that God had a hand in my genetics and/or disability, I would spend much of my time very, very angry at said God.

So I choose to go down the route that assigns no blame to God, and that is that any 'born in' disabilities were genetic and God didn't have any say in them, poor God.

me too.  given the classic dilemma of omniscient/omnipotent/omnibenevolent, i'll take omnibenevolent and leave the other two.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Aashemmuti on December 15, 2010, 08:29:16 am
I have ultimately come to feel that there are some things we just *can't* understand. I honestly don't spend a lot of time wondering "why" I have certain traits, such as a stomach that gets upset easily, or a brain that is prone to migraines, unless such dissection will help me prevent problems in the future. I focus more on dealing effectively with my peculiarities. And I wonder if learning to deal with these challenges is part of our life journey and one reason "why" some of us have mental "disabilities" or conditions, some have physical issues, etc.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Tasen on December 15, 2010, 10:03:03 am
Em Hotep!  Henu

Thanks for bringing up this topic.  I am certain you are not possessed by demons.  I have wondered that about myself sometimes, but I think the challenge in it was to learn to embrace myself as I was.  I am still working really hard on that, not just self-acceptance, but self-love.  The wounded parts of me won't heal or quit overwhelming me unless I can give them the tlc they need.  Does that make sense?

And, in a way, we owe that to Netjer to take good care of ourselves because that is how we learn to take good care of others and to be helpful toward others and to serve netjer by helping others when they are in need.

I attend a clubhouse and I know a lot of people with a lot of psychiatric conditions and I am absolutely certain none of them are possessed.  In fact, most of them are probably blessed by angels (I am not sure what angels are called in the Kemetic religion...hope someone will let me know if they read this).

Even those with very severe conditions are people who I find have the same amount of ability and disability as most of the rest of the world.  Just as cancer, heart disease and arthritis are not caused by demons, I am convinced that the mental challenges some of us have are there for us to learn from.  Maybe it teaches us to take good care of ourselves or gives us compassion or educates us in ways we can be there for others.

Also, I know many people who society considers "normal/healthy" and they have toxic levels of anger or greed or are have been taken hostage by materialism.  In our society, some of this stuff is considered not only normal, but sometimes they are even admired.  A person who is a millionaire is often viewed as superior to a blue collar worker who exhausts himself working 80 hours a week at a minimum wage job.

Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Blissi on December 15, 2010, 11:30:14 am
Lets face it, Mental Health science and understanding is still in its infancy. No one really knows truly what medication is doing, look at what newer medication does, like Abilify, Some Consultants treated it like a miracle drug, but now its not really used where I work anymore.
Look at how ECT was discovered and found to be effective, schizophrenia has theorys of why and what is happening, but medication doesnt work for all.
ECT - background info -

I would also advise that it was discovered by some one visiting a slaughter house: but I won t go into it on here.
I beleive it is genetic, social, environmental and some times bad luck, but your challenge is to fight it.
I also beleive before incarnation, people some times choose their challenges - and perhaps disability and mental health problems is one of those?
Who knows.

I also like to some times take the view of Thomas Szas who opposed mental health care, challenging many held beleifs at his time, such as freud theorys and what IS mental illness.
 Szasz wrote: "If you talk to God, you are praying; If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist; If you talk to the dead, you are a schizophrenic"

Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Wolf_Cub on December 19, 2010, 07:49:15 pm
I have a very wide, pantheistic view of God (the ultimate reality, not individual spirits or deities). I do not see the grand celestial harmony as something that purposefully gifts burdens or tests to we tiny mortals. Because the ultimate reality is the burden. And it is us. Pain pops up like bubbles in the ocean spray. But nowhere in this is there cruelty, because it hurts nothing but itself.

Sometimes the ultimate reality, in its infinite playfulness, whilst cooking grilled cheese sandwiches in a skillet on the stove, will chance to burn its hand. And there will be pain. But as is sometimes said: these things just happen of themselves.

Not everything in existence needs to be purposeful. There is a temptation to try to force purpose onto things that really aren't so. Sometimes, this is because the fear is that if it is not purposeful, then it must be meaningless. And who wants his or her pains to be trivial and meaningless? This fear is incorrect, however. The purposeless is not necessarily meaningless. The purposeless can, in fact, be very meaningful.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Iaityinepu on December 19, 2010, 08:19:12 pm
I think that we all have the ability/disposition to have any and all of these 'so called' disabilities.  I think they are labelled a disability, because noone really understands them and thus we can not integrate them fully in our minds.  I believe that they are just a means to access the 'world'/'universe' on a different level, and that given the right circumstances (whether that carried in your genes, or exposure to stimuli) then our brains are switched on to be able to function in that 'means'.  

I can physically hear the Gods speak to me.  Is this a disorder or a skill?  Depending on who you are talking to will depend on your answer.  I believe this to be the same for other disorders - only that society dictate them to be considered more of a 'disorder' due to their lack of understanding.

(Sorry if I have repeated myself or don't make sense, I'm not really feeling the best today)
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Seta on December 19, 2010, 08:26:25 pm
I don't think anyone can speak as to what the ancient Egyptians thought of mental disease.  I can say that I am confident it was not unknown of.  Of course, there could be surviving documents, though if there are, I do not know of them just yet.

One story regarding Set and Geb has Geb giving some fluid from his back to Set to (hopefully) help calm the latter's rages, which makes me feel Set would be a fitting choice of deity to go to for mental health matters - He understands.  As much as I love Set, I do not think I'm far off from saying that Set was considered mentally impaired, at least at times.  (Just as Heru was physically impaired, at times, by total blindness.)

I don't know what they did for mental illness; I'm sure (but have no proof) materials (medicine of sorts) were procured and put together as some form of help.  Perhaps there is some clue in that story about fluid from Geb's back to calm Set - what could that fluid be?  If not a straight story about Set's near if not clear cut polar opposites.

For myself, 'hard' is an understatement.  I'm sure you'd agree.  Issues come and gone but do not leave the head and the heart easily; words do have power and sometimes they leave scars physical wounds cannot and will not.  Hence, why many ancient cultures believed in watching what one says as well as does, not to mention think.

Mental disorders come from the same place that other disorders come from; no one knows why they exist.  Sometimes it's because of unhealthy lifestyles, but sometimes it is because of nothing known.  The mind affects the body, and vice versa - if one is sick, the other shall follow in some form.  If one is in an unhealthy atmosphere, be it mental or physical in ill, one will become ill in suit sooner or later.  Some people are more elastic while others are more prone.

I'm sure that there are spiritual aspects to illness, be they causes or consequences.  I strongly believe that the lower astral - evil spirits - would be attracted to someone not well in some way, due to the fact that they are spiteful. In ways not unlike predators to prey, they seek out the weakest or most important to make their killing easier - and if they can get more than one, at times, so much the better.  Of course, this is my own beliefs.

I cannot speak for the House of Netjer, but I can speak for my own issues and beliefs.  Hopefully my ramblings have helped if only a bit.
Title: Re: Where Do Mental "Disabilities" Come From?
Post by: Kehawiitu on December 20, 2010, 09:43:59 pm
I'll have to echo some of the other responses and say that I don't think there is anything particularly spiritual about these issues.  Mental differences, disabilities, and disorders are like physical ones and are just a part of the world.  I dought they are caused by demon attacks or a divine conspiracy to make your life difficult.
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