Nidal Hasan: Homicidal and Suicidal Psychoses Is Not Terrorism, Rather, It Comes From Being Psychotically Terrified
Brain Chemicals, Not Will Alone
We don’t know the qualified diagnoses of Nidal Hasan. But it may have markers of a serious chemicological and brain disturbance.
The subject about how the brain chemicals in the body can go haywire, wrongly signaling a person about events and stimulii around them, causing interpretations and behavior that are either too much or too little– is a subject so large that it would take several libraries to trace what has been researched and written about these matters over the decades.
Once thought to be the province of will, that people ‘decide’ to be a certain way, it is clearly held now that persons who suffer from extreme distortions of reality in every part of their lives, familial, social, work, relational… are not willfull most often.
Neuro-biology tells us that there are vast storms that cross the brains and bodies of those afflicted so deeply, and their ability to have relationships, to work, to find consensual reality with most others, deteriorates… forcing the person so suffering into isolation socially and otherwise… except for those who have complementary mental conditions who may then ally with them.
Regarding persons who are homicidal and suicidal, there’s a form of schizophrenia that is unfortunately common. I am thinking of the horror that was brought by the undone mind of Harris at Columbine, the undone mind of Cho at Virginia Tech, and now the grave possibility of the same ‘undone’ condition of the mind of the alleged shooter, Maj. Nidal Hasan, at Fort Hood.
There are many many others, including women suicide bombers, Charles Starkweather and Carol Fugate, Charles Manson, and others who were not recognized for the extreme storms raging in their brains before they unleashed their terrified and distorted interpretations of the world on others.
This form of homicidal and suicidal schizophrenia, in its extreme, causes the mind to literally divide the world into good and evil, with usually the person suffering from mental illness as a warrior who must destroy evil.
The paranoid overlay to this illness then causes the ill person to target people who are often innocent of doing anything other than resisting/ rebuffing the mental illness of the person. The person who is ill takes this as proof of their evil. And is often terrified by it, by the images it brings into their minds… and so plans to strike out.
Also, persons with this particular illness are often deeply attracted to any religious system that revolves around death, world’s end, bands of warriors killing everyone, the defense of the one true God by murdering the ‘infidel’ or ‘unbeliever’, etc.
Except instead of hearing these as recordings of previous writers who may or may not have been in peace with God, they hear these religious ideas as concrete, as exhortations to go do likewise.
EVERYTHING is then filtered through the illness which divides the world into the dark and the light.
The rebuffing of the ill person by others is not taken as a mere social snub. It is taken as rebuffing the Warrior of God, as an insult to the Great God Himself. The retaliation is for that: the offense against the warrior and against one’s God.
None of this extreme way of ill thinking makes sense to a rational person. But, it makes perfect sense to any man, any woman who is living with a psychotic storm coursing through their brains night and day… storms that cause one to be highly easily offended, that cause distortion of others’ intentions, that cause one to feel not just unsafe, but hunted down by others.
There is more to this illness. As I said, its many aspects, case studies, medical research about it all spans literally millions of papers and books.
The only semi- and excellently effective ones we know at this time are educating society about the symptoms of the often adolescent onset of this disorder, and accurate diagnoses instead of thinking the increasingly psychotic behavior is merely ‘freedom of speech,’ and ‘freedom of movement.’
Anti-psychotic medicine, to gentle and still the storms, and to slow or stop the psychosis, is what we have to offer a person who suffers from this at present.
A large number of persons with this form of paranoid schizophrenia often take their own lives and sometimes, the lives of others. They have, whether man or woman, come undone and are incapable for more than moments at a time, to think of others as human.
In the end, they are terrified, even despite their bragadoccio. The believe everyone is the enemy. And the enemy must be exterminated.
With help and the minute amounts of daily medicines that regulate the brain’s pathways to a more normal way of thinking that does not take homicidal or suicidal offense at everything in one’s environment, that leaves the person without the hypervigilance and feelings of dread and terror that are made up in one’s own mind, a person can often live a life at peace… for themselves, for others.
‘Peace for others,’ meaning, there is often great and unrelieved suffering in the families and friends of those who dearly love someone whose chemistry of the body is bounding to extremes, or else burning far too low. The families and loved ones are often beside themselves to protect the person who is ill, from themselves. And also to protect vulnerable people in the family, such as children, from the one so afflicted.
For loving families and friends, having their loved one returned to them in some way that allows peace for all, is often nothing short of a miracle.
There is as large a body of work about the cruel interventions regarding those who are suffering from serious mental distortions of reality: ice baths with patient laced in under leather over-cover causing hypothermia and death; being chained to lie in one’s offal day after day until the infection from supperating bed sores literally kill the person, deadly assault for aggression, rape of over-drugged patients, surgical removal of brain parts without legal standing, liberal use of stun guns for minor infractions in institutions. The list is very long and very very heart rending.
Poor diagnostic skills, lack of awareness
I’d also just mention that sometimes even those who are most qualified to diagnose, dont see the conditions right before their eyes. It could be because they dont want to have one more very difficult to deal with client at the center who takes up substantial resources. It could be they are book-smart and street-stupid. It could be not being perceptive in spades. It could be that they think being kind will help, and diagnoses is stigma. But kindness alone will not stop the storms in a person’s mind that rage and rage unbidden and ceaselessly.
For homicidal and suicidal psychotic ideation… which is fierce, relentless and obsessive…. only an accurate understanding of the symptoms, and as best we have at the moment, those minute amounts of medicine that can create calm so the person can think clearly, rather than one obsessive disorganized and often deadly scatter-shot thought over and over. I have seen it and seen it wherein someone in charge would not pay critical and informed attention when I and others said more than once, This person has homicidal and suicidal ideation repeatedly. Sadly, in my personal experience, extremely with grief that never goes away, twice my and others’ warnings were brushed off by those in charge. One family is missing a son. Another family is missing their father and their mother.
Whether a person suffering from such a deeply distorting illness will continue their medicine, is an issue. In another situation altogether, we have a person in our foster family who wanders several states away. They have a different form of schizophrenia than we are talking about. But, because of extreme mind fantasies, they wander… impulsive and unprotected from predators on the streets. They are now nearly 70. They’ve given to criminals all their family inheritance from their parents. By impulsive insults to others, they have been beaten up by others, further injuring head and eyes. They have injured others as well.
We’ve made the calls and received the calls for decades. Sometimes they will be found and helped. Other times they insist aggressively and ragefully that all doctors, all who help, are bad people. They cannot grasp how dangerous it is to be at the mercy of a mind that projects evil and badness on others. They beg for money for imagined surgeries, based on self-diagnoses of some condition they read about in the newspaper. All their immediate family has closed them off. They are often angry and terrified by ‘what others do,’ yet insist nothing is awry in their life or worldview… and then lurch into the deadly streets to wander buffeted by psychosis again.
The saddest distortion of all; that the mean streets are safe. They are not. And our foster relative is not safe, either. Can talk a good game, but the sum of their life is a shatters. And laws are such where they wander, that nothing can be done to intervene. The reality is, as always, far more complicated than armchair observation. And far more helpless making in some cases.
Unintended consequence of laws
In the case of Nidal Hasan, I think too, if there is a serious mental disturbance present… then a thorough analyses of ‘failure to see/ failure to report’ would have to look at the laws of the military and his domicile state, that would determine… if he were suffering a psychosis… whether as in some other states in the U.S…. no person can be held and treated against their will.
The issue with such laws that were put into place to stop abuse of those ill, those not ill but merely contrary, and those not ill but purported to be by their greedy relatives, etc., is that the unintended consequences of such laws is… also far too often… they prevent the most extremely ill and vulnerable from being brought to a true helping place where the mind’s storms can be quieted and peace returned to the person.
Some think differently
Though there are some who speak of letting people with extreme psychoses wander and be at the mercy of street thugs and criminals… that it’s just another form of the diversity of human nature to be so ill, that ‘freedom to be not well,” is a human right that ought not be interrupted, despite the person not being able to work, not able to raise one’s children, not able to return love other than in rote ways, not able to carry their own weight, not able without huge financial resources from somewhere to live a half-way safe life…
and there are some who attempt to assign mystical proportions to a person of extreme psychosis… even though they can clearly see that person can in no other way live life with some decent and ongoing sense of security and peace and productivity.
I see it differently. I’ve noted the abuses that can occur with and without laws in place. However, leaving it up to a poor suffering person with extreme mental /chemical disorders to self-diagnose accurately and go for real help that can actually help, is like asking a person at an accident scene with severe internal injuries and who lies on the ground semi-unconscious … to self-diagnose their own life-threatening conditions and walk themselves to the ER.
Sometimes mercy must be bold if possible
Usually someone has to call it like it is. Forget political correctness. Forget ‘boys will be boys’, ‘girls will be girls,’ set aside, ‘this is a harmless state of mind,’ ‘just an opinion I have,’ ‘just a religious belief I have,’ when one is talking about cruelty to self and others, violence of imagination unrelenting.
Someone has to call it like it is. Out of mercy. And true regard and concern. Without backing off because the person so afflicted says they are just fine, can carry on a conversation, dress themselves, eat food, drink coffee, and do what is called basically functional– yet their minds are fragmenting at the speed of thought and not with love, but with resentment, hatred and inhumane thoughts (and actions) toward others.
It ought not be that school administrators, military officers or others STILL not be well trained in symptomatology of the most serious chemical disturbances that violently afflict a person outside their own will… those in charge not realizing out of ignorance or their own biases… that not intervening usefully, compassionately and decisively, can multiply incidences of violence toward others.
There is an elaborate science of war including the study of underlying causes and ways to fight war, but there also has to be a science of peace… knowing its underlying premises and how to build it strongly… starting with studying and learning underlying causes of mental disasters ramping up if intervention are not undertaken. Or, if ‘being nice’ or looking away for personal reasons… overtakes being wise.
It makes sense to take extreme care to not harm a person who is harmless. But, in the same vein, it is insensible to wait to name and help until after all relationships are ripped asunder, after all dreams are in shreds, after relentless day after day high tension in one’s mind has created havoc with the other organs of the body, after worklife becomes impossible, after one’s loved ones flee, after all financial resource is drained, and in the cases of extreme psychosis… after great harm has been done to the person and to others.
It is owed to the human being who is relentlessly chemically fragged day in and day out… to have peace instead of war in their minds. To have calm instead of overly tight triggers that break down other parts of the body with excessive corisol and other chemicals which flood the body corrosively causing other critical health issues.
It is also owed to society to have all souls, insofar as possible, not left without help that truly helps. And in a timely manner.
the drawing is by Rami Al-Ramahi