Vampyres and vampyric people have long been fielding questions about what makes them think they are vampyric, or if there are any “markers”, “symptoms” or “signs” that people could use to figure out whether or not they are really vampyric – or dealing with accusations that they are simply “delusional” or “mentally ill”. Unfortunately, most of us have, either directly or indirectly felt the burn of such accusations, or when they are frequently applied to the Vampyre Community. Sometimes though, individuals come along who claim that they are no longer Vampyres, that they have either “outgrown” the need to feed, or somehow been “cured” – or otherwise make claims which appear to invalidate our whole community, along with our own need to self-identify as Vampyres. How should the VC and real Vampyres handle such claims?
Many people asking us such questions are often attention-seekers, but also sometimes there are those among them looking for serious answers. The questions are often the same, regardless of where they come from. They wonder about everything from sunlight to stakes, and from “turning” to eye-color. Sadly, movies like “Twilight” are often a common frame of reference, and those basing their views of us on fiction rather than developing their own first-hand experience of our community, are bound to find fault with anything presented to them in argument.
Critics of the community will most often be people who first and foremost attack what they don’t understand – and they will frequently attack from the perspective of an inflexible religious opinion, or from the viewpoint that “people who think they are vampires, are mentally ill”.
Typically these people will base their attacks on stereotypes, and the assumption that the need for real Vampyres to self-identify as such, is brought about by either “too much” occult fiction or non-fiction in popular media, involvement in “satanic cults” (Satanic Ritual Abuse) – or because they have “lost touch with reality”. Naturally, the quickest way to deflate the argument of any religious fanatic making attacks on the beliefs of others is to challenge them to “prove” their own, or to point out the detail that someone who believes in an invisible sky god, and who has absolutely no proof to back up their resulting opinions, is criticizing the beliefs of others, and to present little sketches of blackened metal cooking ware.
For the most part, we can assert that Vampyres are stable, productive members of society who do not go off breaking the law, or languish in psychiatric institutions while playing with silly putty – but when it comes to certain medical and psychiatric issues, Vampyres – like everyone else, also have their share of issues.
One of the more accepted hallmarks of the modern Vampyre, which is recognized within the community – especially seen as fitting of those who underfeed for whatever reason, appears to be the manifestation of various forms of depression. This seems to have been investigated by at least several internal community entities at various times, in various forms.
An article on Darkness Embraced dating from 2003 “The Psychological and Physical Effects of Vampirism” states: “The most common form of psychological condition found among vampires is depression. Depression is a distortion of the mind’s perception of the self, and can stem from many things ranging from a chemical imbalance to insecurities brought on by outside forces. In the case of vampirism, the two simplest reasons would be lack of feeding or the effect of the energies around the vampire. Feelings of melancholy, self-criticism, insecurity, and self-worthlessness are predominant emotional states for those suffering from this condition.“
The article states that it was based upon a survey of the VC held at the time. Another article which discusses the prevalence of vampyric depression was just published yesterday, and provides some valuable insights into not only one person’s experiences, but also allows them to be compared to others – and our own.
It is widely held within the Vampyre Community that depression is just one symptom of under-feeding, or which manifests at the time when feeding is due, and either reduces, stabilizes, or vanishes completely when the Vampyre has fed adequately. This indicates that while Vampyres may suffer from various symptoms relating to depression, that the causes indicated for their depression would be stemming from not being able to feed enough – which in effect serves to corroborate a Vampyre’s insistence that feeding is essential for them to maintain their health – both mental and physical.
Depression therefore may well turn out to be one part of the “curse” of being us – but if so, is it not rather more of a result of a biological or even chemical dependence, or a dependence on energy than a “mental illness” or “disorder”?
As many others in the community do, I assert that over time I have determined that my depression is completely linked to my feeding cycle. When I am well fed, I experience no depression. When I do not feed enough, or go without feeding for a significant time, I sink into depression (and also experience other physical symptoms). As soon as I feed again, within minutes or hours, the depression is entirely gone. And yet, current medicine and science insist there is nothing in blood that could do that – and science does not yet officially recognize the existence of pranic energy – and so people choose to dismiss us as “delusional”, or try to paint us as a “religion” or even “a cult”.
Further, a blood-sister of mine, who was unable to get access to her donor for over a month, recently experienced something of a melt-down, after many months of stable, normal every day life. Having access to her donor every week allowed her to maintain the balance – and when the donor moved away, she began to experience a slow, downward spiral into depression. At the time of her breakdown, she was forced to see a psychiatrist, who expressed a suspicion that she is bipolar – and while we all know the truth – that what she really needs is just a little blood to go on, nobody is actually going to tell him that. We might not see her again, except through a reinforced glass window.
In the midst of her despair, after a first session with the shrink, she sent me a message, detailing her intent to discover the effect of bipolar medication on blood cravings. “This experiment kinda goes with the theory of “Vampyres don’t exist, they just have a mental illness of sorts. Think about it… Blood-drinking may cause the release of serotonin.. Blood-drinking may be the body’s way of trying to counter-balance a serotonin imbalance.” And no, still no sign of a replacement donor in her area.
If that were true, with the number of doctors and nurses in the VC, you would think that “pop some pills” would be on the list of placebos or sources on VC information sites. The body also produces much serotonin during the sleep cycle – perhaps she should just sleep more? But we don’t see that on the VC sites, do we? A checklist with “sleep more, pop a few pills” on it – because we try these things – and they don’t work. We sit in a corner, smiling and telling people we’re fine. But we’re not. We’re still hungry, starving – and inside, the people you used to know – we are made up of wires.
As if to strengthen my opinion on this matter, a few days later, I saw the following posted by someone I have never heard of before, in an international forum: “Sometimes doctors and psychiatrists can be a real vamps worst enemy. My pre-awakening years gave me so many symptoms of psychosis and the medicines made me gain weight, become manic, never slept. Once I awakened and then after I stopped being afraid of being a vamp, I started leveling out. I quit all meds cold turkey, met a sang female and fed from her daily. Ironically, being so close, her psi side developed and she would call me from work and curse at me for giving her “that psi vamp shit!!” LOL!! Both of us had been misdiagnosed and treated for mental illnesses ~ Duh! Just a vampire!“
On the far end of the scale, we have people like “Whatevernotso”, a video blogger who posted a commentary on YouTube about his time as a vampire. The individual claims to have been a Vampyre, a conclusion brought about (according to him) by his chronic insomnia and nocturnal sleep cycles – and now says he isn’t one anymore. Hmm. Perhaps he slept on it? He takes his charade one step further to claim that those who believe they are Vampyres, drink blood or feed off psychic energy, are “delusional” or “mentally ill”.
And why shouldn’t people believe him? After all, he says he used to be one of us, so he should know what he’s talking about – shouldn’t he?
I decided to leave him a comment on YouTube – and it sparked off a brief exchange: “Your claim that self-identified Vampyres or vampyric people are either mentally or physically ill, or both, callously dismisses and attempts to invalidate the collective life experiences of an entire community of people, without any further thought. Someone who claims to have “been a vampire” and that he now “isn’t anymore”, is only adding weight to the argument that ANYBODY can drink blood or feed off energy – but ONLY real Vampyres NEED to.”
“I agree.” he commented back. “The problem is that you cannot know whether a need is perceived or actual except through evidence. In the absence of compelling evidence—in particular, that vampires are physiologically indistinguishable from humans—my conclusion is that vampirism is an effect, not a cause.”
If you agree with my statement, your video commentary contradicts your present agreement. In absence of compelling evidence to support your theory, you have nevertheless condemned an entire community of people who do not claim to be physiologically indistinguishable from humans (because we are human) for exhibiting a need which science cannot presently confirm OR deny, but where there is sufficient compelling evidence to investigate.
“I don’t really see a contradiction. If a claim can’t be confirmed or denied, isn’t it better to err on the side of caution? For example, I am nominally agnostic, yet by default also an atheist because, by definition, it requires no evidence to *fail* to believe a claim. If indeed vampirism is a disorder in and of itself, and not merely a side effect of other disorders, then that fact will become clear by ruling out the other possibilities. So we should do that.”
Is labeling and inciting intolerance of an identity group, by claiming to have been a part of it and then attacking it when you no longer see fit to identify with it, “erring on the side of caution”?”
“No. Luckily, I haven’t done that.”
No? You do claim in your video that “I was a vampire – now I’m not” and “Those people who believe they are Vampyres and feed off psi energy or drink blood are crazy/mentally ill/delusional”? And you do defend that position and promote it in your video? Seriously? Interesting.
“If you mean to imply what I think you do, then I can’t argue with a person who holds the repugnant view that “mentally ill” is an insult.”
In this case it is undeniable that you are using the concept of “mental illness” and “delusion” to undermine the legitimacy of a group of people to exist or to be tolerated by, at the very least, your audience.
In short, this fella is himself guilty of using the terminology of mental illness to portray the community of real Vampyres in a poor light. At any rate, this fella used his view that anyone objecting to be labeled as being mentally ill because they identify as vampyric “holds the repugnant view that “mentally ill” is an insult” as an out from a public debate where he was clearly going to lose.
What effect did he think such a claim, coming from a “former Vampyre” might have – especially for those who are specifically looking for such admissions which they obviously would use against the community any chance they get?
Vampophobic individuals such as Don Rimer and Bill Schnoebellen and others have used that sort of information to attack and undermine the legitimacy of our community, and have been feeding authorities and general society misinformation and disinformation about our culture, for decades .
This sort of claim and insistence that it is so, is exactly the sort of thing that fuels belief in the notion that people who identify as Vampyres are in effect nothing less than what “Whyevernotso” says they are – delusional or mentally ill – or just a bunch of sad lonely social outcasts looking for attention. It is the same sort of propaganda-fueling gem that has supported belief in the so-called “ex-gay” movement for the past 40 years – by claiming that certain immutable characteristics are a “lifestyle choice” and in terms of religion at least, are “sinful” – and that those identifying as gay or transgender (and in this case, Vampyres) can “just decide to stop” being what they are or self-identify as – and most typically, should do so just in order to please an intolerant few.
Was “whatevernotso” really a Vampyre in the true sense of the word? I don’t think so. He may have participated in a few forums, he may even have consumed human blood – but anybody can do that. That alone doesn’t make him vampyric, or a Vampyre. People have done dumber things just to win a bet, like the Russian who cut his own foot off with a chainsaw to prove what a “man” he was.
It is probable, and even likely that through his own circumstances at the time, he chose to believe what was convenient to believe, and experimented. It’s safe to say this did not work out for him – and the realization that he did not NEED to feed as he thought he did, is in fact nothing less than a revelation that he is not what he thought he was – a Vampyre, or vampyric person.
Instead of accepting this realization and moving on, he has chosen to believe that because HE does not need to feed, and because HE is not a Vampyre, then everyone else who self-identifies as a Vampyre, and claims the need to feed, is “deluding themselves”. The simple fact here is that he is not us – and we are not him. What is true for him, is not necessarily also true for others. As one who appears to rationalize things in a logical and analytical manner, this should have been obvious to him.
This individual’s prior inclusion within the Online Vampyre Community suggests that an indefinable percentage of our communities globally at any one time, are either uncertain of what they are, don’t know what they are – or for whatever reason, are claiming to be something they are not.
Incidents like this one highlight the risks real Vampyres and the real Vampyre Community take in accepting new members – and in taking people at their word. Since we self-identify, and do not lay claim to dictating to others who or what they are – anyone can basically assert that they are vampyric, and then later change their minds, as this individual has. Just as anybody can join any public forum of any kind, and claim to be anything or anyone – unless a group knows exactly who is participating, and has the occasional opportunity to meet members in real life, we are all at risk of falling foul of people like this who don’t even know themselves well enough to know what or who they are – and therefore have no basis to be taken seriously while making claims about what others are.
As a high risk group for attracting criticism or claims of “mental illness” from our detractors, how should the VC handle similar situations where people come into the community, and then leave after a time – and then make such claims? What can we do to ensure that those who participate with us – and who later speak for us, or attempt to speak for or about us as a community or subculture, are what they claim to be?
Personally, I aim to have a stock of good substantiating material on hand to deflect these attacks, work hard to not get hysterical about the intolerance, bigotry or hysteria demonstrated by them, and resolve basically to outlast them. The nuts will go away eventually, and we will still be here.
At the end of the discussion though, the simple fact of the matter is that someone else’s own personal experience – however true for them – does not necessarily invalidate my own personal experience, or provide justification for the vilification or erosion of the rights of others to honestly and openly self-identify in accordance with their own conscience or desire to understand themselves, or to do so in a safe and tolerant environment.
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Update: After one particularly negative reaction to this article, I decided to add the following:
1) Not all depression is “mental illness”. People who have issues to deal with in life, which bring them down – such as the loss of a partner or friend, being retrenched for the third time, having a home or car repossessed, being unlucky in love, or just being overly emotional – are not necessarily suffering from “mental illness”, but feeling quite understandably that life is tough for them at the moment, and dealing with life as they do best. Should they be described as being “mentally ill” for their pains?
2) You can not claim with any authority that all such depressive moods induced by external real-life issues are the result of a “temporary disorder of brain chemistry”. To do so is to arbitrarily describe all kinds of reasonable reactions to “mental illness” – and all “mental illness” as being rectifiable by the application of medication. This is the point where psychiatry crosses the line from institutional medicine to plain old guess-work.
3) I did not use Mikyla’s article on GYP “to prop up” my own. Nor did I misrepresent anything. I mentioned the article and linked to it to show that the DISCUSSION of the matter has been an ongoing feature of the discourse of the OVC for years – which is why I also linked to the 2003 article on Darkness Embraced. Further than that, this article was entirely my own theory and argument.
4) The point of my article was to raise awareness in the mind of the reader, that some of the common experiences we share as Vampyres may far more commonly include depression, in whatever form – and also looks at how mundane psychiatry (known for its blatant guess-work and occasional bungling rather than any actual science) argues that people are “clinically depressed” – prescribing medication which addresses the symptoms, but not the supposed root-need of the individual as a Vampyre. I have encountered psychiatrists who would just take one look at a patient and say “you look depressed” and then dole out schedule 6 habit-forming medication like a packet of sweets, without even asking why the patient felt depressed in the first place.
In such cases, Vampyres would wear the misapplied badge of “mental illness”, and be dosed into oblivion with chemicals – when what they really need is to feed. This is borne out by the personal testimony of many in our community, including myself, who are able to function normally on regular feeds, without any such medication – and that while medication may address some of the symptoms of “vamping out” or the hunger, it doesn’t address all of them. It is an argument for a more in-depth look at our state of being. In effect, because our condition is unrecognised at this point, I argue in this article that people may be misdiagnosed, stigmatised and given medication instead of what they really need. All of this only serves to reinforce a stigma and continued view globally that anyone who self-identifies as a Vampyre and suffers from depression, is “mentally ill” – and therefore argues that real Vampyres do not exist, but are people who suffer from “mental illness” and delusion, by default.
5) The YouTube video by “whatevernotso” argues that self-identified Vampyres are either physically or mentally ill for believing that they are Vampyres, and for feeding. Presented by a self-proclaimed “ex-Vampyre”, this is most damaging to the cause of the Community – as the average mundane will accept that someone who was part of our community will know what they are talking about when they make such claims about the community. Further, it shows how while he appears to be arguing that “mental illness” is not intended to be taken as an “insult” – his own argument shows how he himself applied it in that sense in order to detract from the credibility of real self-identified Vampyres.
6) Assuming that someone identified as a real self-identified Vampyre, and then after some time turned around and said they were deluded or mistaken – and then goes on to apply the same assumption to everyone else, is the point of the statement that “whatevernotso” never really was a Vampyre to begin with. Our community has long held the view that we are not “made” or “turned” and that we awaken – and has also held the view that the opposite is just as true – that vampyrism is not a curable state or something that “just goes away”. Yet what this person is suggesting is either a) yes, it’s possible to just stop being a Vampyre, or b) Vampyres are delusional or “mentally ill”, or c) both – because he says he did it. Well, bless me and pass the tinfoil hat and battery clamps.
7) I stand by my statement: “All this video is proof of, is the fact that not everybody who drinks blood or feeds on energy IS a Vampyre, or does so because they NEED it.” This clarifies that not all those who call themselves Vampyres, are what they claim to be – least of all because they happened to be on a Vampyre forum for a while, tattooed “vampire” on their foreheads, or drank blood a few times, or psi-fed on occasion. Anybody, as we know, can do these things – but only Vampyres HAVE to feed off energy or blood, or suffer for not doing so. If they don’t, then why call themselves “Vampyre”?
Further, if we don’t feed, and we suffer the consequences of physical pain or discomfort, including depression – whatever the medics say about the chemical roots of this depression – does this make us “mentally ill”, or “delusional” – or just misunderstood?
At the end of the day, the article discusses the links between Vampyres and depression, under the shadow of diagnoses of mental illness, and the accusations we face, both external and internal, of mental illness – and also how we who also experience depression in the absence of feeding, experience the effects of feeding on such depression. I trust that this lengthy explanation will satisfy.