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Joel Pigeau

Student in Languages,

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If one's mental illness could be cured by a single pill, would you choose to do so?

In the talk by Elyn Saks, Seeing Mental Illness, she mentioned that, if a complete and permanent cure was offered, she would take it.
I found this sentiment highly interesting for many reasons. I am a high-funtioning autistic person with Obsessive Compulsive disorder. My symptoms are not debilitating, but they have had a profound impact on the way I live my life. I'm no stranger to social rejection and high-anxiety.
That being said, if I were offered an complete and permanent cure for my condition... I can say that for my anxiety issues at least, I might be interested. However, despite the focus on a cure for autism in the public sphere, I would approach a cure for my autism with extreme reluctance. For myself, there is to deep a connection between what are considered to be clinical signs of autism and what I would consider to be my personality, my "self."
I suppose that this difference in opinion is related to our own individual experiences with the unique manifestations of our conditions. My own condition occationally strips me of control, but never in so stark a manner as discribed by Saks in her talk.
I would be interested in hearing others views on this topic.

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  • Jul 15 2012: Who's idea of abnormal and what gauge do you use to measure distress?
    • Jul 15 2012: Unfortunately, what is normal and what is abnormal can only be determined by monitoring how the majority of the population behaves. So, normal by the measure of the social scientist.
      Distress on the other hand is entirely subjective and can only be determined by reports by the individual in question.
    • Jul 15 2012: I suspect I'm misunderstanding your meaning. Are these questions perhaps rhetorical? Or is it your wish to point out the difficulty in finding a dividing line between the normal and the abnormal? I would certainly agree that the difference is not always clear, even when stringently defined. However, I do not believe that a stricter definition is needed to discuss this particular question.The thin line between health and illness on a mental level was rather the point.

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