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From: [email protected] (Iain L M Hotchkies)
Newsgroups: uk.misc,uk.legal,uk.politics,uk.media,soc.culture.british
Subject: Corley FAQ (v0.1)
Reply-To: [email protected]
Date: Sat May 4 19:30:34 1996

Mike Corley FAQ
version 0.1
first edition 5th May 1996
last updated 5th May 1996
Iain L M Hotchkies [email protected]

Mike Corley is a 'net personality' who has been active on the following
newsgroups (uk.misc,uk.legal,uk.politics,uk.media,soc.culture.british)
since....? Well, at least as far back as the summer of 1995.

He posts long tracts, the tone of which approximates that which one
might expect from a reasonably intelligent paranoid schizophrenic.

No details are known of Mike's 'real' personal life or background.
Once would presume that he came from a reasonable family and was
reasonably well educated before the first symptoms of schizophrenia
began.

Schizophrenia: Clinical features
(from the Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry, 2nd Edition)

The acute syndrome

Some of the main clinical features are illustrated by a short
description of a patient. A previously healthy 20-year-old male
student had been behaving in an increasingly odd way. At times he
appeared angry and told his friends that he was being persecuted; at
other times he was seen to be laughing to himself for no apparent
reason. For several months he had seemed increasingly preoccupied
with his own thoughts. His academic work had deteriorated. When
interviewed, he was restless and awkward. He described hearing
voices commenting on his actions and abusing him. He said he
believed that the police had conspired with his university teachers
to harm his brain with poisonous gases and take away his thoughts.
He also believed that other people could read his thoughts.

This case history illustrates the following common features of acute
schizophrenia: prominent persecutory ideas with accompanying
hallucinations; gradual social withdrawal and impaired performance
at work; and the odd idea that other people can read one‘s thoughts.

In appearance and behaviour some patients with acute schizophrenia
are entirely normal. Others seem awkward in their social behaviour,
preoccupied and withdrawn, or otherwise odd. Some patients smile or
laugh without obvious reason. Some appear to be constantly
perplexed. Some are restless and noisy, or show sudden and
unexpected changes of behaviour. Others retire from company,
spending a long time in their rooms, perhaps lying immobile on the
bed apparently preoccupied in thought.

The speech often reflects an underlying thought disorder. In the
early stages, there is vagueness in the patient‘s talk that makes it
difficult to grasp his meaning. Some patients have difficulty in
dealing with abstract ideas (a phenomenon called concrete thinking).
Other patients become preoccupied with vague pseudoscientific or
mystical ideas.

When the disturbance is more severe two characteristic kinds of
abnormality may occur. Disorders of the stream of thought include
pressure of thought, poverty of thought, and thought blocking.
Thought withdrawal (the conviction that one‘s thoughts have been
taken away) is sometimes classified as a disorder of the stream of
thought, but it is more usefully considered as a form of delusion.

Loosening of association denotes a lack of connection between ideas.
This may be detected in illogical thinking (knight‘s move‘) or
talking past the point (Vorbeireden). In the severest form of
loosening the structure and coherence of thinking is lost, so that
utterances are jumbled (word salad or verbigeration). Some patients
use ordinary words in unusual ways (paraphrasias or metonyms), and a
few coin new words (neologisms).

Abnormalities of mood are common, and of three main kinds. First,
there may be sustained abnormalities of mood such as anxiety,
depression, irritability, or euphoria. Secondly, there may be
blunting of affect, sometimes known as flattening of affect.
Essentially this is sustained emotional indifference or diminution
of emotional response. Thirdly, there is incongruity of affect. Here
the emotion is not necessarily diminished, but it is not in keeping
with the mood that would ordinarily be expected. For example, a
patient may laugh when told about a bereavement. This third
abnormality is often said to be highly characteristic of
schizophrenia, but different interviewers often disagree about its
presence.

Auditory hallucinations are among the most frequent symptoms. They
may take the form of noises, music, single words, brief phrases, or
whole conversations. They may be unobtrusive or so severe as to
cause great distress. Some voices seem to give commands to the
patient. Some patients hear their own thoughts apparently spoken out
loud either as they think them (Gedankenlautwerden) or immediately
afterwards (echo de la pensee). Some voices seem to discuss the
patient in the third person. Others comment on his actions. As
described later, these last three symptoms have particular
diagnostic value.

Visual hallucinations are less frequent and usually occur with other
kinds of hallucination. Tactile, olfactory, gustatory, and somatic
hallucinations are reported by some patients; they are often
interpreted in a delusional way, for example hallucinatory
sensations in the lower abdomen are attributed to unwanted sexual
interference by a persecutor.

Delusions are characteristic. Primary delusions are infrequent, and
difficult to identify with certainty. Delusions may originate
against a background of so-called primary delusional mood -
Wahnstimmung. Persecutory delusions are common, but not specific to
schizophrenia. Less common but of greater diagnostic value are
delusions of reference and of control, and delusions about the
possession of thought. The latter are delusions that thoughts are
being inserted into or withdrawn from one‘s mind, or broadcast‘ to
other people.

In acute schizophrenia orientation is normal. Impairment of
attention and concentration is common, and may produce apparent
difficulties in remembering, though memory is not impaired.
So-called experiences result from illness, but usually ascribe them
to the malevolent actions of other people. This lack of insight is
often accompanied by unwillingness to accept treatment.

Schizophrenic patients do not necessarily experience all these
symptoms. The clinical picture is variable, as described later in
this chapter. The table below lists the most frequent symptoms found
in one large survey.

The most frequent symptoms of acute schizophrenia (World Health
Organization 1973)

Symptom Frequency (%)

Lack of insight 97
Auditory hallucinations 74
Ideas of reference 70
Suspiciousness 66
Flatness of affect 66
Voices speaking to the patient 65
Delusional mood 64
Delusions of persecution 64
Thought alienation 52
Thoughts spoken aloud 50

Various theories exist about Mike Corley:

1) he exists and is disturbed and has net access and for reasons
uncertain spams a selected number of newsgroups on a regular basis -
if you are reading this FAQ then you will almost certainly have seen
one of his posts.

2) Mike Corley is a 'virtual schizophrenic'. Mike displays the
relevant features so well that some people think he may be a
construction of one or more people with intimate knowledge of mental
illness and the mentally ill. Perhaps they wish to monitor the effects
on the internet of the posts of a schizophrenic. Moving into X-Files
territory a bit, ourselves, here.

Mike's posts attract different responses:

1) cruel, humourous, dismissive posts from those who've seen his
posts many times and have become generally irritated by his behaviour
while accepting that he probably has a mental illness.

2) posts from Corley-newbies - those who have come across relateviely
few of Mike's posts. These may be humorouous or disbelieving.

3) posts from people who have been sucked in (for one reason or
another) into Mike's Wild & Wacky World (TM)

That's enough for now.

comments, suggestions, additions, corrections to [email protected]

1139


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