If you haven’t been labeled mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association, you have to ask yourself what’s wrong. Perhaps you were ahead of the game: you knew not to reveal yourself to them, you knew how to avoid them, you found other social support, and if so, a big congratulations. If not, what’s wrong? Why have you conformed?
Why have you not gone, in their words, psychotic, yet? At least a few times. Why haven’t you let the inequality and injustice in the world upset you enough to warrant a diagnosis of clinical depression? Why haven’t you allowed yourself to reach heights of ecstatic joy and celebration, so high you want to take off your clothes and run around the neighborhood, introducing yourself to strangers and giving away all of your possessions? Have you conformed so much to consensual reality that you never experience the intense anxiety that comes along with challenging it?
Perhaps you have felt or done all or most of these things, and if you are listening at all, it’s likely. Maybe you have received a diagnosis and maybe you have even identified with it at times. Taken drugs for it. Allowed the APA into your living room and learned how hard it is to get them out once you did.
Now you keep them at arms length. You rely on yourself and your close friends. You’ve developed good eating and exercise habits, you’re committed to getting enough sleep. Maybe you even practice yoga, meditation or prayer. Please, though, for the rest of us, don’t be afraid to go bonkers, don’t deny your need to go to extremes sometimes. Don’t shut off your grief or tone down your ecstacy. Don’t shut yourself up or shut yourself down.
I say all this because, to some degree, I have. I don’t speak up as much as I did before I was invaded by the APA. I have a hell of a lot more impulse control and I’m a heck of a lot less free. This is in small part due to my own traumatic experiences of psychiatric drugs being given to me against my will. I was on 7 pharmaceuticals at the age of 21, and bedridden for the greater part of 2 years due to the debilitating effects of these drugs. It took me another year to withdraw from them, yet I don’t feel the APA robbed me of those years. There was a part of me that got stronger, even as they robbed me of my physical and mental capacities against my will and coerced me into addiction to their products. Yet, my story is one in a million in that regard. I’m more of the haystack than the needle, and that’s the primary reason I’m a lot less free.
Millions and millions more Americans and people worldwide have been, in effect, castrated and made impotent before and after me and the numbers are growing everyday. Let me assure you, the DSM 5 would have every single one of us on psychiatric pharmaceuticals, which is why grief, PMS and adult onset ADD are mental illnesses since May 18th 2013 when the DSM 5 was officially released. When I say castrated and made impotent, I am not only referring to the loss of sexual potency that often come along with taking psychiatric drugs. I am talking just as much about other drives that are lost. Other parts of you that end up going missing, such as your creativity, your voice, your rebellion, your desire to take risks, your ability to dream big, your sense of safety, and absolutely most importantly, your trust in yourself, and others; your sense of inner knowing and integrity.
As millions of people lose these parts of themselves all around me, everyday, in the hands of the APA, I am vicariously silenced. The mirror all around me reflects our patriarchal society’s fears rather than mutual support towards authenticity and liberation, much of the time. I hardly see happy people anywhere anymore. I hardly meet people who aren’t on pharmaceuticals. More Americans take prescription drugs than vote. They are in our drinking water, we’re all taking them. This issue effects absolutely everyone: those who are good at fitting into the patriarchy, those who successfully climb the social ladder, especially anyone who is not conscious of the fears the APA has implanted in them.
The primary thing I believe each of us can do, is break our own silence. Tell our own story. Make our own media. Spread our story as far and wide as it will go. The APA is a large scary body of social control, yet the primary power anyone has over me, is the power to silence me. So I’d like to state my personal commitment to you: I will no longer be silenced. I will dig inside myself to find those things I’m still scared to say, and I’ll keep saying them. Please, please commit to finding your own sense of safety to do the same for yourself.
I’d like to end with a quote from Martha Graham:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
Now I ask you, if this keeping the channel open is our business as humans why ever would we take psychiatric pharmaceuticals? Or encourage anyone else to do so?