I have schizophrenia and have been practicing yoga and eastern philosophies for almost 20 years. For the past two decades, I have found that psychiatrists persecuted me and tried to "rape my mind" because I do not recognize and accept the dogma of the American Psychiatric Association. Furthermore, my psychiatric chart is saturated with things I've spoken about concerning yoga that teams of psychiatrists labeled severely psychotic. I have received many forced high-dose injections because of such circumstances.

As you are a doctor versed in eastern philosophies, do I not have a right as an American citizen to practice my religious beliefs outright? Why are psychiatrists blinded by the fact that Karl Jung mentioned yoga as the highest way of life in his epic book Modern Man in Search of a Soul?
(Column: Ask the Doctor)
Clash of Eastern & Western Philosophies?
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Wow! Your letter involves so many issues some of which I feel comfortable commenting on, some of which I know little about. For some of the things you raise, I can only make educated guesses but fear I'll be saying more about my issues than yours. Still, I'll give it a shot!

One of the most difficult tasks psychiatrists face is how to assess what is delusional and what is true. There are, of course, beliefs that are easy to verify or prove untrue. If someone tells me I am an FBI agent, or a Martian pretending to be a doctor, I know they are delusional. Religious and spiritual beliefs, however, are among the most difficult to assess, and I personally believe cannot be the sole source for a conclusion that someone has deluded thinking. If someone were to believe that wearing a certain color would cause the world to end, most clinicians would consider them delusional.

However, large portions of the world believe that eating cows, or pork, or milk and meat together will damn them eternally. Yet as a society, we have decided that such views, since they are a part of organized religious thought are to be considered spiritual and not delusional.

You most certainly have a right, independent of your diagnosis, social status or almost any other quality to believe and practice your religion as you see fit. Your beliefs are probably not nearly as familiar to psychiatrists as are those of Judeo-Christians, and so are probably more likely to be evaluated by them as delusional. I intend only to try to explain why, as you say, your charts are "saturated with things [you've] spoken about concerning yoga." I must, however, share with you that it is almost certainly not solely on the basis of your yogic beliefs that you were diagnosed and treated involuntarily. I bet there was at least some dangerous, or threatening, behavior.

That said, I find no incompatibility between eastern philosophy, modern medicine, and mental illness. How we construct our inner spiritual lives, how we understand our bodies' physical functioning, and what particular frailties or disabilities we are born with, or later develop, seem to me quite separate, albeit inter-related issues. Jung, in discussing what differentiated his own explorations of the irrational from those he treated, said: "They sink. I dive." Generally, psychiatrists treat sinkers, not divers. Few of us, I can assure you, pay a whole lot of attention to "the dogma of the American Psychiatric Association," even those of us heavily involved in aspects of the organization.

I feel this is not quite the answer you were looking for, but hope you will recognize that I neither can, nor would want to, speak as either an apologist, or even an explainer for all of my colleagues and their practices.
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