On the links and references page, we added a new category with a link to a fascinating article that explores the topic of the inner voice in persons with congenital deafness. Most of us can relate to being able to “hear” our inner voice. We have suggested that conceptualizing psychotic disorders or severe mental illness requires contemplation. Reflections on thought disorder, consciousness disorder, auditory (hearing voices) and visual hallucinations, schizophrenia-type autism, confabulation and other neurocognitive symptoms in severe mental illness led the writer of this blog article to consider the constructs of ‘the mind’s eye’ and the ‘inner voice’.
In the “Today I found out” article, particular note is taken of a passage that refers to language as the “device driver”, so to speak, that drives much of the brain’s core “hardware”.
In this article is a fascinating quote attributed to Helen Keller: “Before my teacher came to me, I did not know that I am. I lived in a world that was a no-world. I cannot hope to describe adequately that unconscious, yet conscious time of nothingness”. This cognitive state was a consequence of the absence of acquired language. We consider that the unfathomable neurological complexity of the brain that drives thought generation, language input and output, and all other sensory and motor activities under the command and control of this language “device driver” can be severely disordered in Schizophrenia (chronically and transiently to some degree). This is the disease that is so commonly misconceived of as a “split-personality” or the afflicted person described in media reports as “emotionally disturbed.” – a gross fallacy when we consider the severe neurological deregulation that can be present in Sz.
Some neuroscientists have suggested that certain distinct diagnoses such as Schizophrenia are artificial constructs. The notion of pathophysiology, the spectrum, the continuum… are relevant to a complex human mind, the inner-workings of which are still far beyond the capacity of medical science to so rigidly classify. This concept is meaningful in the context of criminal justice. If a particular neurological phenomenon is arbitrarily assigned to a discrete diagnosis and that symptom has exculpatory implications, then the presentation of that symptom in an alternate diagnosis or condition may be relegated to criminality rather than disease expression.
It should be noted that certain hallmark symptoms of Schizophrenia, considered to be the most severe of the psychotic illnesses, can be present in phases of other brain disorders and diseases. We consider the shocking neurological disorders discussed under this new category to be relevant to all severe mental illnesses.