Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Back From the Dead" in Newsweek

The cover story for the latest NEWSWEEK magazine, 7-23-07, is called "Back From the Dead." The subtitle is "Doctors are reinventing how they treat sudden cardiac arrest, which is fatal 95 percent of the time. A report from the border between life and death." Another subtitle is "Oxygen deprivation is merely the start of a cascade. Dying turns out to be almost as complicated as living."

Originally, I had considered copying certain paragraphs and commenting on them, but that appeared too tedious for me. I encourage all of you to read this article, as it does present up-to-date ideas and procedures which should become commonplace in the emergency treatment of people with disorders which can cause sudden death.

What I want to comment on are the more philosophical issues that underly the use of any of these techniques and procedures. We, in our culture, have been taught that being alive is the highest value of all, one that supercedes all others. I spent four months of my 12 month internship in emergency rooms, where we were expected to keep alive all who entered there. Fortunately for us interns, there were no magic machines which could bring back to life those who had been severely injured or who suffered major strokes or heart attacks. But this article now shows where we have come to, and doctors are expected to use these machines to resuscitate those who have gone into comas and have no vital signs.

Also, in this article, they wonder where the mind goes when the brain is not functioning. There are philosophers, called "physicalists," who believe that all thinking is caused by brain cells, so if brain cells are dead, there can be no thinking by any "thing" called consciousness. Near Death Experiences (NDE) are mentioned as occurring in terminally injured patients who then revived to tell about how they thought while their brains were without oxygen.

First, the idea of a "time to die" has been repeatedly mentioned to me by the CIE, my spiritual teachers. They say that each of us has a Life Plan, provided by The Creator, and it includes the conditions for ending this phase of our Master Life Plan. The rest of the Plan will be in future incarnations. So the CIE do not see physical death as something as terrible as our culture does; it is "coming home," at the very least. They are there, in Thoughtspace, to welcome the Essence and Personality of each of us, when our time comes, and they are full of agape love, nothing else. They do not judge us, they do not condemn us, they do not find us failing in any way. What a difference from our society here in Physicalspace!

So when the medical staff decides to use extraordinary means to keep a body alive, is that always wise? Nothing in this world is "always," so the answer has to be "no." There are some times when the doctor's Essence will contact the patient's Essence and get the message that it is OK, even mandatory, for this patient to die at this time, in this place. Every doctor who has worked with dying patients in the ER knows when this has happened. The doctor may feel stressed by not being able to revive this man or woman, but inside he or she knows there is no point in being heroic and expensive about it. The proper time to "cease to exist" (as the CIE call dying) has come for this man or woman. Only a doctor with an ego problem will get distressed about what appears inevitable to others, a doctor who feels like a failure if his patient dies. Such doctors exist, and they are the bane of existence for hospice nurses taking care of their patients.

Another question posed is - where is the mind of the patient during the coma? Here I refer to my work with dissociated patients, whose Essences have separated from their Personalities. The Essence has no emotions at all and claims to be able to exist and communicate by thought when out of the body, visiting its "supervisory CIE" in Thoughtspace, which it does every night during sleep. It can also be aware of the surroundings of the person when the sensory organs, such as eyes and ears, are not working properly. This ensures the safety and survival of that person.

The Personality is another matter, however. Since it operates with emotions, it must be able to use the neurohormones and sex hormones of the human body. So it cannot function if the physical organism is not functioning properly. When the body "ceases to exist", I envision the Personality as going into a state of hibernation until it is implanted into a new body which is born of a new mother in the next incarnation. Then it can function again, with all the emotions possible to be expressed. But it is a "bundle of Intelligent Energy", so it does exist in a latent form between physical lives, in my opinion. It just cannot usually express itself during its time out of the body.

As with everything I say on this subject, there are exceptions to this rule. In the case of Marie, my former MPD patient, her Original Personality dissociated from her Essence at the age of six months, when her mother tried to kill her in her crib. Her Essence, Becky, then sent Marie's Original Personality off to Thoughtspace to be "raised" by the CIE, Faith, Hope & Charity. Marie remembers those 30 years quite well. She reports that she never, during that time, experienced any emotions, as so she was always calm and peaceful, being filled with the agape love of her "mothers." Only when she returned to her physical body, following my therapy, did she have the capacity to feel fear, jealousy, anger, lust, etc. It took having a body to allow her to experience those very human feelings. They do not exist in the absence of the body, it seems.

Nothing I say here should be understood to stand in the way of trying to resuscitate anyone who comes to the attention of trained medical staff. We outsiders do not know which one of them is meant to be saved and which one of them is meant to "cease to exist." Only the patient's Essence knows that fact. But if we humans then interfere in what is planned by The Creator for their future fate, another chain of events is brought into play, with some results we would rather not see. Each Essence has been trained to deal with expected events. But if a person meant to die is kept alive on life support machines, the Essence simply has no idea of what it is supposed to do. During coma periods, it will go to Thoughtspace to consult with its CIE, and then will do its best to be of help to its "charge." But it can become quite dissatisfied with the status quo and develop a negative attitude. In its next lifetime, it can more easily become a "turned Essence" and create a sociopathic individual, a habitual criminal. We certainly do not need more of those in coming generations.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Jekyll & Hyde on stage

This past Sunday afternoon, I attended the live stage performance of "Jeykll & Hyde" at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande, CA, produced by Chameleon Productions, an apt title for this performance. The story, by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a classic story of the duality of good and evil in human beings. While it is fiction, I have learned that scriptwriters and other artists have often understood human nature better than we psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. This story is NOT about a case of MPD or DID, but is one which is based on the possibility of an evil psychic entity being created by the ingestion of a powerful chemical. Personally, I don't know if there is any chemical which can do what is shown in this play all by itself, but the idea is a powerful one to make us think seriously about the subject.

Since I had not read this story before, or seen the play or movie, I watched the drama unfold, with powerful stage settings and magnificent vocal renditions. The lead character is a medical doctor named Dr. Henry Jekell, who is doing research in a conservative hospital. The program states, "Convinced the cure for his father's mental illness lies in the separation of man's evil nature from his good, Dr. Henry Jekyll unwittingly unleashes his own dark side, wreaking havoc in the streets of late 19th century London as the savage, maniacal Edward Hyde."

Dr. Jeckell goes before the Board of Governors of St. Jude's Hospital to plead for permission to use a human subject in his experiment. He has concocted a chemical which he thinks will separate the evil self from the good self in a human, and thus he might remove the evil from the good, benefiting all mankind. The Board turns him down and he then decides to secretly use himself as the human subject. [For those who are interested in the methods of pharmacological research, this is a major error in procedure. To do a safe experiment, one must have three persons involved in the experiment (or in the religious ritual, or in medical treatment). One is the person to take the drug, one who can be able to report on the effects accurately. The next person must be the pharmacist or chemist who guarantees a pure drug is being used. The last one is the doctor or experimenter (or religious leader) who decides how much drug to give and is responsible for the safety of the the human subject. In this story, all roles were played by only one man, so failure of the experiment was guaranteed.]

At the same time, Dr. Jekyll is engaged to be married to a lovely woman, the daughter of his best sponsor and mentor. He also goes out on the town with his best friend, who is an observer of the events to unfold, and they visit a local watering hole frequented by prostitutes. One of them, Lucy, is most attractive to Dr. Jekyll, as she is the prototypical "prostitute with a soft heart." He gives her his business card in case she ever needs medical help.

When he takes the dangerous potion, he loses control of his body and it is taken over by a monstrous Henry Hyde, who loves to kill people. He starts with those on the Board of Governors which turned down Dr. Jekyll's request, and then starts killing off one actor after another.

Hyde meets often with Lucy, who fancies herself as one gal who can take care of herself. But Hyde assaults her and she then goes to see Dr. Jekyll for treatment of her bruises. Dr. Jekyll does not have any memory of having been in her bedroom as Edward Hyde, of course. After he treats her wounds, he kisses her before she leaves his laboratory. Lucy then sings a powerful song of how she must be worth something because she has a doctor in love with her.

However, at the next visit to her bed by Hyde, he slits Lucy's throat and kills her. Then he has gone way over the edge in just being evil to those who were critical of Dr. Jekyll, and Dr. Jekyll thinks he can control this powerful "killing machine" inside him. He then marries his fiancee, and on his wedding day, he loses control and Hyde takes over in front of all his friends. Hyde then tries to kill his bride, Emma, and a great tussle ensues. Dr. Jekyll's best friend, John, finally shoots Hyde with a pistol Dr. Jekyll had handy for suicide, and he dies in the arms of his bride. The curtain finally comes down for the last time.

If anyone is wondering whether or not this is a fictional case of MPD or DID, let me assure them that IT IS NOT. It is more like the case of Ken Bianchi, one of the LA Hillside Stranglers, whom I saw for his own murder trial. Ken was a nice enough guy to have around, but his "Steve Walker" was a killer of prostitutes and those other women he chose to rape and kill. We had quite a intellectual battle as to whether or not he was a "multiple" and my final conclusion was that he was not one. He had not created any real alter-personalities (which are designed for self protection and survival), but he had used his emotional imagination to create Internalized Imaginary Companions or IIC. One of these was created in response to his mother's very odd and irritating behavior toward him, and so wanted to kill woman, after raping them.

In this drama, we have no indication of such a bad mental attitude towards women by Dr. Jekyll, so we have no psychological basis for his creating this monster with his own imagination. I can't think of a way any chemical can make de nova a mental entity with desires, goal making abilities, and social attributes of any kind. However, I did see one man for court evaluation who exhibited several different IIC, which he mentally created in childhood because of sexual abuse by his mother and sister. Two of his IIC were woman and two of them were men. But they only came out when he was intoxicated with liquor. When he was in jail and sober, then never showed up. So, if Dr. Jekyll had made an IIC in his boyhood, the chemical he brewed could be an intoxicant which allowed them to show themselves in adulthood. This is what happens with such dissociating drugs as alcohol and sleeping pills.

There is also the question of whether or not there is inherent evil in every human being, as is implied in this story. Obviously Carl Jung seemed to think so, as he taught that each of us has a "shadow side." In my multiples, I looked at all kinds of "sides" and never found a "shadow side." I did find a lot of angry alters, who were angry at specific adults in the person's past who had abused them. But is anger the same as being evil? I think not.

In my education on how the Essence works with the person's Emotional Self (or ego or personality), the Essence is nonemotional. But it can develop some very bad attitudes, by which it becomes a "turned Essence." Then it can lead the Emotional self into hating innocent people and doing harm to them. An evil entity wants to destroy someone he is angry at, not just yell and scream at them. He may want to destroy their ability to earn a living, or take away what is most valuable to them. This is a whole package of intentions, none of them good to have. It is a lot more than just being angry. Such turned Essences cannot be "unturned" by psychotherapy, which is aimed at the Emotional Self. Only after they leave this mortal coil in death can they be rehabilitated in the other universe I call Thoughtspace. So, in the terms of this story, the death of Dr. Jekyll was the only proper result, when his body had come under the control of something so evil that it succeeded in killing a woman who was kind to him, the prostitute, and then tried to kill Emma, his new wife, who loved him through all of this. There is no way he could have been rehabilitated in this physical world. In Thoughtspace, the forces for good were available, at no cost to him or the state, for as long as all eternity.