modern-day alienism



an alienist, in 19th century medicine, is an asylum doctor, one who specializes in finding cures for the illnesses of the mind. in the film stonehearst asylum, we see the adorable jim sturgess suit up as a would-be alienist-in-training from oxford, only to find out that the asylum he visited is overrun by the patients themselves. at first glance, we see how preposterous the situation has become, but flashbacks to the cruelties of the real asylum doctors make us wonder: who is more insane?

a more modern take on mental illness is the film the babadook. it presents a mother & son story confronted with the coming-to-life of the titular book character. at first the son presents with paranoid delusions & visual hallucinations of the babadook, and then the mother begins to develop auditory hallucinations as well -ba ba ba dook dook dook. while the son takes the pill regularly at the urging of his psychiatrist, the doctor misses out on seeing the illness of the mother as well. her crazies begin to take its toll, and the babadook begins to take over their lives.

both films are definitely weird, but it is this wonderful weirdness that endears a psychiatrist to this specialty. it is easy to see how a person suffers with a physical illness, but an illness of the mind is one that takes forever to treat, a suffering that is greater than any one can imagine.

perhaps it's not in my genes to become an alienist - i have the attention span of a cat - but i certainly would want more individuals with mental illness and their families to stand up against the stigma and actively seek help.

admittedly the facilities of the national center of mental health is farthest from ideal, and here i am asking for your help to sign up for the petition to lobby for the passage of the national mental health act. the website for the online petition is at https://www.change.org/p/mhactnow. bendakt, en goedendag! (thank you, and good day).