Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Daughter of Babylon
I would like to post a rebuttal to Mr Douglas 's comments about Herbert Armstrong in A Brief History of Herbert W. Armstrong, at least just to give a different viewpoint.
I had the opportunity of working as the supervisor of the Intake office at Bakersfield's Memorial Center for Behavioral Health for about a year and a half while in graduate school at Cal State. In my position, I had the opportunity to interview hundreds of psychiatric patients as they came to the hospital. I then had to document their symptoms and make an initial Axis V diagnosis which I relayed to staff psychiatrists and insurance companies before the patient was admitted. I have a BA in psychology and am nearly completed with my MS degree in psychological counseling. During my years of education, I took many courses in psychopathology, personality, and patient diagnosis. Many of the patients that I have interviewed were either in a state of mania, deep depression, or psychosis. I don't claim to be an authority but I do have enough experience to say that Mr. Becker is wrong in his claim that Herbert Armstrong was "manic depressive" or that his "hitting rock bottom" in the 1920s was a psychotic break.
The term "manic depression" is no longer commonly used by psychiatrists. This is now referred to as being bipolar. There are two types of bipolar patients-both cycle in and out of extreme moods which they are unable to control. The bipolars that I have met are usually very miserable people. The true "manic depressive" will cycle from suicidal depression to a bizarre type of euphoria where he or she often engages in out-of-control grandiosity and delusions. The key phrase being "out-of-control."
It is quite common for a bipolar I patient to hear demonic voices, hallucinate, howl at the moon, go on wild spending sprees until completely exhausting the family finances, or wake up in bed with a total stranger after a rampage of sexual activity. Bipolars often say they cannot remember what they did while in a mania. Many wake up on a psychiatric ward unaware of their behavior. To be admitted to a psychiatric hospital one must be out of touch with reality. Out of touch with reality means that if the staff were to let the patient leave, they can be held liable for the patient wandering off and jumping off a bridge.
One other striking symptom of someone in a mania is what is known as pressured speech. This is a speaking pattern that is so fast it is hard to keep up with. Coupled with pressured speech is the symptom of "flight of ideas." A true manic will tell you that they cannot keep up with their thoughts and I have had many experiences where the patient could not answer simple questions like "Do you know what day of the week it is?" because they couldn't slow their minds down long enough to concentrate on the question itself. If I were able to peel the manic off of the ceiling long enough to listen to me, the answer is usually given at the speed of light and is bizarre like "Day of the week? May I now speak? I'll touch my cheek. A gazelle runs so sleek. You think I'm a freak? What are you writing? Can I take a peek? Anything at that point would not surprise me. I have seen manic patients run down the halls singing operatic arias, grabbing staff members and other patients and hugging and kissing them, turning cartwheels, attempt to disrobe, and all in a childish frenzy of bizarre giggling.
If one were to isolate symptoms like grandiosity from the giddy frenzy of the manic, Mr. Becker might seem to have something about Armstrong but this is just not true.
Armstrong clearly appears to have had a psychiatric disorder of another type. It is called Narcissistic personality disorder. This is a far more sinister disorder and the main difference is that the Narcissist is not out of control but very much in control and calculated. Another writer hits the nail on the head by writing about that. (I think it's William Meyer's "HWA's Narcissistic Personality Disorder "). Read what he says about the Narcissist and you will see exactly who Herbert Armstrong was.
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