Belief Makes You Schizophrenic

(Originally posted November 2, 2010) “It is important that contemporary psychiatrists continue to seek to diagnose the type of mental illness that causes vampiric beliefs and to offer treatment.” That’s it folks, the experts have spoken – if you believe you’re a Vampyre, then according to the genii at the Mater Hospital in Dublin – you’re a fruitbat.

In an article published on IrishCentral.com, “Dublin psychiatrists try to help real-life vampires”, on Sunday, October 31 – it was reported that Dublin psychiatrists have completed a study into vampirism after a man visited a hospital claiming that if he did not drink blood he would die – nearly 20 years ago.

In the article it is claimed that “the condition was brought into the public consciousness in the early 1990s when a 21-year-old Eastern European asked medical services for access to blood stocks as he did not want to hurt anybody. The condition is thought to be linked toschizophrenia.”

After all this time, they have concluded that all people identifying as real Vampyres are mentally ill, possibly schizophrenic. Right. What took them so long to complete this astonishingly two-dimensional assessment – and if they were going to take so long about it, could they not at least have tried to get it right?

I suppose the Vampyre community shouldn’t expect impartial and insightful reports from them – they are after all, not actual doctors,  and in isolation therefore know little of the physical attributes of “the condition”. In fact, these Freud fans probably know a great deal more about Nietzsche than most of the vamps I know.At any rate, this rather narrow, dismissive and short-sighted view of real Vampyres places the Vampyre community wholly into the scope of mental illness, and completely disregards a great deal of evidence which suggests physical causes for the real Vampyre’s need for blood or Prana. Granted, some of this evidence may be circumstantial, but it is likely that some portion of it is not. Sadly, for us as a community, this type of conclusion is far from unique.

The prevailing bias evident in many “serious studies” of Vampyres by such “medical professionals” who ride rough-shod over the subject of their “research”, seems to exclude the probability that Vampyres do not have some kind of mental illness. In fact, it would seem that they start out with a preconceived opinion, and then set out to prove that opinion, rather than look at the subject objectively, and with an open mind.

Yes, many Vampyres do sometimes manifest some symptoms, but this may be due – at least in part, to the emotional and physical distress caused to the Vampyre by their inability to feed, or to feed often enough – or because of the stress resulting from social pressures and prejudice at the hands of co-workers, friends and family – and wild claims such as made in this article.Taking the above into context, neither the article, nor the psychiatric team interviewed, mentioned the detail that “conditions” traditionally associated with vampirism (such as Renfield’s Syndrome) have been removed from the current DSM manual for psychiatry – and are no longer regarded as having anything to do with the condition of being Vampyre.

“Brendan Kelly, a consultant psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital, in Dublin’s city center, has studied the mental illness behind the condition of vampirism.  A study carried out by Kelly, and his colleague Seamus MacSuibhne, found that psychiatrists should engage more with their patients beliefs to be in with a chance of helping them.

And right there we have confirmation of the bias of the journalist who wrote the article – one Antoinette Kelly –  who calls vampirism a symptom of mental illness outright. What happened to journalistic impartiality? Granted, I doubt it is a very nice thing (in either Vampyre or Mundane eyes) to have to feed off Prana or blood, but yet is it really to be considered a mental illness, especially when to us it is a need – and one which none of these “experts” has been able to prove nor disprove with their methods – yet.
If we were to follow the logic of their premise – if a person’s beliefs make them schizophrenic, then everyone can be considered mentally ill simply because of what they believe. You see, belief is relative. You could claim that people who believe that because of how “good” or “perfect” they are, they will go to warm, loving places in the afterlife when they die – are delusional. Yes, I didn’t think that would go down too well. But I hope I have proved my point.Kelly continued: “We looked at reports into vampirism stretching back hundreds of years and found interest in this subject matter has always been a feature in society.”

No doubt adding a stigma of mental illness adds weight to bullies and “vampirophobes” out there, who already view us with skepticism and disdain.  Although I doubt those two would worry about reinforcing bigotry, after all, it’s something which might boost their income. Meanwhile, many real Vampyres hope for a serious research group to take an in-depth and  objective look into the nature of the Vampyre in future, in order to disprove clearly biased theories like that of Kelly and MacSuibhne.

Kelly, told the Sunday Times: “It is important that contemporary psychiatrists continue to seek to diagnose the type of mental illness that causes vampiric beliefs and to offer treatment….Helping these individuals, and their families, find some clue as to why they were drawn to a particular belief like vampirism can aid in their over all recovery.”
Hmm. So it’s all in our heads? Ok doc, tell that to the Vampyres out there who suffer serious physical illness when they stop feeding…
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