“Mental Illness”, the DSM-5, and Dreams for a Post-Psychiatry World

Laura Delano
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If, a little over three years ago, you asked me who I was, my one and only answer would have been, “Bipolar.”  It was the word that defined me, that explained my emotions and behaviors, that gave me answers to the questions, Why am I so unhappy?  Why do I want to die every day?  Why is it so hard to get out of bed in the morning, to shower and brush my teeth and leave the house and interact with the world?  Why do I find it impossible to keep a job, a relationship, a responsibility?  Why do I never feel OK? 

The answer always was, “Because I have Bipolar disorder.”  “Treatment-resistant Bipolar disorder”, to be exact, and that was the reason why I continued to get worse, more hopeless and suicidal, more dysfunctional and dependent on my family and my “treatment”, less and less connected to the world.  I knew this to be true, because it’s what Psychiatry told me, and as a good patient, I believed what I was told, even as the drug dosages and pill bottles and DSM diagnoses increased.  For all the chaos and muddled pain and confusion in my world, I knew with perfect clarity that I was “Bipolar.”  It was the only thing I truly knew.  That diagnosis was my anchor in the stormy sea of my life, though it took me nearly thirteen years to realize that internalizing a “Bipolar” identity did nothing to clear up my skies.  These days, the further I get from my psychiatric indoctrination, the more I realize how limiting and damaging, how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy, being “Bipolar” truly was.

During my most formative teen-aged and twenty-something years, I looked to the DSM, and to the psychiatrists who “cared” for me, as my beacons in the darkness.  They promised me answers, they promised me resolution to my pain, they promised to help me understand myself.  They promised to take care of me, to give me medicine that would help me not want to die or hide away from the world anymore, to help me learn how to manage my “illness” and function in the world in a way I could “handle”, given the severity of my condition.  These were powerful promises, promises I desperately wanted to believe, and did believe, for a long time, even as I got progressively worse.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on that time in my life with all the recent news surrounding the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the DSM-5, the medical model of “mental illness”, and the very legitimacy of Psychiatry itself.  The NIMH has announced it will no longer support the DSM-5 because it “lacks validity.”  They and the APA have also acknowledged that despite years of neuroscientific research searching for the biological causes of “mental illness”, they have nothing to report.  Zippo.  Nada.  [Side bar: While the content of these announcements is a big deal— essentially, the governmental and professional representatives of the entire psychiatric Industry have conceded that there is no current evidence supporting the claim that “mental illness” is a valid, medical entity at all— I believe the reasons for the announcements are very ominous and worrisome, as the NIMH is leading the United States down an even more reductionist, dehumanizing path of neuro-based Psychiatry.  This is a topic for another time, however.]

Had this news about the DSM and the entire medical model come out just over three years ago, when I was deep under the spell of Psychiatry, I have no doubt that I would have been faced with a profound identity crisis (one that I have, in fact, worked through these last two and a half years in a much slower way).  What would all of this have meant for me at a time when my day-to-day life consisted of driving to my Intensive Outpatient Treatment program for “Borderline personality disorder”, sitting in intensive psychotherapy for “Bipolar disorder” and “Substance Abuse disorder” two to three times a week, and taking five psychiatric drugs every morning and every night?  What would those thirteen years of “treatment” have been for?  Those countless hundreds of bottles of pills?  The hospitalizations?  How would I have explained all those years of intense emotional ups and downs, scary and painful acts of self-destruction, thoughts of suicide, inability to stay in relationships, and complete disconnect with the human race, if they weren’t in fact “symptoms” of “Bipolar disorder”?  What would my life have meant?  What could it have meant, if I was never “mentally ill” to begin with?

I wonder how many people this past week have asked themselves these same questions, faced with the incredibly painful and confusing realization that what they’ve been told by Psychiatry is, in fact, not true.  I’ve had some time to work through all of this and make sense of my Self and my life in a new way; it has been the scariest and most difficult time of my life, but also the most incredibly transformative and beautiful.  I wish I could hug each and every human being out there who’s believed the “mental illness” story told so persuasively by Psychiatry, and trusted in it, just like I did.  By the time I was twenty-seven, Psychiatry— my psychiatric labels, my psychiatric “meds”, and my therapy— defined my entire world, and shaped the lens through which I saw and made meaning of everything I was experiencing.  I was lucky enough to have a family who never gave up on me, no matter how dark things got, but I believed that because they weren’t doctors, they didn’t know how to truly help me… only Psychiatry did.  I look back to that old ‘me’ and feel deep love for her, for she was kept so in the dark by an Institution that promised to never cause her harm.  If only she saw that it was the “care” she sought from Psychiatry, as well as the internalized “Bipolar” identity, that caused most of her suffering, and the majority of her “symptoms” throughout that time.

Today, in my human family, there are millions of people who wake up every morning to their bottles of pills and their calendars of doctors appointments and their mood charts and their DBT distress tolerance skills and their monthly phone calls to the pharmacy with the elevator music on repeat while they wait on hold.  At least, I can imagine that might be what people’s days look like, for those were my days, and that was me, for many, many years.  That is still me, today, only now it’s a part of my past, a part of the foundation of who I’ve become.  I can never forget my relationship to Psychiatry, nor do I want to, because if I do, I’ll forget what it was like to believe deeply enough in an institution that promised to help me that I was willing to sacrifice my humanity for it.  I see myself in the faces of those who believe in Psychiatry today, whether as patients or as “mental health” providers, and I feel so much love and empathy for them, for the fear and insecurity they might be feeling, for the panic at what life would look like without “mental illness.”

Every day, I awaken to a society under the influence of Psychiatry.  I see evidence of this intoxication in newspapers, on television, on the radio, in conversations overheard on subways and coffee shops, in voicemails and emails from friends, on Facebook status updates, on flyers seeking research subjects, on ad campaigns plastered above the highway, in Homeland and Silver Linings Playbook and Demi Lovato and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Every day, words are written, read, or purchased in the name of Psychiatry, in books, journals, textbooks, essays, articles, and Industry-funded studies.  Every day, Psychiatric knowledge is created and disseminated on the mass scale, solely to expand the breadth and depth of its social control disguised as medicine.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of people are educated by the knowledge institutions of Psychiatry, surrendering their minds to it, whether as high school students, college undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, residents in training, fellows, teachers, instructors, or professors.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of people go to work for Psychiatry, whether as mental health workers, counselors, social workers, psychologists, or psychiatrists.  Primary care doctors, too.

Every day, families say, “I am the proud family member of a person with mental illness,” and every day, families and self-declared “mentally ill” people fight against the so-called “stigma of mental illness.” [For more on this, see Sera Davidow’s great post.]  International non-profit organizations thrive on these campaigns, raising millions of dollars for Psychiatry and the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Every day, thousands and thousands of institutional spaces pump energy into and create profit for Psychiatry, from clinics to day treatment programs to group homes to outpatient programs to inpatient units to detox facilities to buildings in general hospitals to private and public psychiatric hospitals to prisons, and to schools.

Every day, millions and millions of people surrender their bodies, their minds, and their human spirit to Psychiatry as patients, consumers, and clients, whether “voluntarily” or “involuntarily”, whether through overt or covert force, whether they realize it or not.

Today, Psychiatry, bolstered by the psychiatrically dependent industry of “mental health”, is society’s master storyteller about the human experience.  It has effectively constructed medicalized language out of thin air, taught this language to the Western (and, more and more, the non-Western) world, and reinforced its pseudoscientific tenets so subtly, yet with such insidious force, that those who hear these stories receive them with no hesitation, no question, no push back.  Psychiatry thrives on passive acceptance, because people desperately want the story that suffering is a medical “condition”, treatable with a pill and a doctor, to be true.  I know I once did, so very much.

Psychiatry has, with brilliant success, taught our human family to forget its humanness.

Few question Psychiatry’s story that certain emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are “symptoms” of “mental illness.”  That our genetic makeup determines whether or not we have these “mental illnesses.”  That there are life-saving “medicines” out there that will act “against depression”, “against psychosis”, and “against anxiety”, and that will pharmaceutically ease people back to emotional and psychological “wellness”.  That people who hear voices, or go days without sleep and become God, or think about life and death on a daily basis, or have anxiety so intense they want to rip their skin off, are faced with life-long “conditions” that must be accepted and managed with Psychiatric “help”.  That despite decades of failed neuroscientific research, it somehow remains an unquestionable fact that these experiences are in fact brain “diseases” caused by biomarkers that will, some day in the future, be found.

That the human experience, the human mind, and the human soul, can somehow be reduced to neurotransmitters and “brain circuitry.”

Since the dawn of humanity, there has been suffering in the world, and modern Psychiatry has effectively disconnected us from its environmental causes.  On the grand scale, Psychiatry has worked hard to ensure we forget that suffering, so-called “psychosis” and “mania”, and other “abnormal” experiences are healthy responses to racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, religious persecution, war, exploitation, violence, and trauma.  That it is completely healthy to feel disoriented, profoundly sad, anxious, and afraid when faced with the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, the pressure to pay bills and put food on the table, the societal pressure to look a certain way physically, or to be financially successful.  That emotional and psychic pain are a healthy response to being a child or adolescent in the world, as well as to puberty, bullying, pressure, school stress, witnessing divorce, physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, social isolation, or just being “different” from the entirely socially constructed concept of “normal” (whatever the heck that means, anyways).  What does any of this have to do with “chemical imbalances”, biomarkers, and “brain circuitry”?  Why do we think that the true explanation of these experiences must lie in the hands of medicine?  What expertise does Psychiatry have on each of our unique human lives?  Why have we come to believe that human suffering is somehow only seen as valid when it’s been translated into medical, psychiatrized language?

Upon learning about the NIMH and APA announcements, someone asked me yesterday, “Well, if this is true, what should those people out there suffering do?  Where should they go?”  A very valid question, one to which I believe there’s no easy answer.  What I can say for myself is that I started to find these answers when I discarded the idea that I was broken, “ill”, “diseased”, or faced with a life-long “condition.”  The answers came to me when I remembered that I was a human being, and that life on life’s terms is meant to be hard, painful, confusing, and scary, and that there’s nothing “abnormal” about experiencing emotional and psychic pain, however agonizing it may be.  They answers came to me with the recognition that suffering is not something to be dismissed, denied, numbed, drugged, or “treated”.  That suffering carries a deeper message I should take the time to explore and understand with people who treat me with dignity and respect.  That pain can be a catalyst for growth.  That there is inherent importance to the experiences we as a society have deemed “unacceptable” and thus “abnormal”, like sadness, anxiety, panic, fear, or so-called “mania” and “psychosis”, and that these experiences never just happen out of thin air, even when there may be no apparent causes for them.  Just being alive in today’s industry-driven, patriarchal, selfish, and violent society is enough of a reason, in my opinion, to experience any of what Psychiatry would cause “mental illness.”

Thomas Insel, the leader of NIMH, recently said, “Patients with mental disorders deserve better.”  What I will say to this is that human beings who’ve been psychiatrically labeled deserve better.  They deserve the right to be human, just as they are, without being called abnormal.  They deserve to be supported (and only if they desire to be supported) by people who will not claim expertise on their experience of the world, and by people who will not pathologize them or see them as brains with flawed biomarkers or lists of symptoms.  They deserve to be given the opportunity to find their own inner wisdom, instead of sacrificing their agency to doctors who know nothing of their life stories.  I know I deserved that when I was fourteen, instead of being told by a psychiatrist that the intense anger I felt towards myself, my family, my school, and my town was a sign of “mania” and that I was “Bipolar.”  The suffering that we as human beings experience is worthy of dignity, exploration, understanding, and human support; to call it “symptomatic” of a phantom “illness” is to do just the opposite.

I have dreams for a future in which our collective humanity will fully embrace being human for all its pain, beauty, individuality, and opportunity for transformation.  A future in which we don’t need categories, classifications, and medicalized language to describe the often indescribable experience of being alive on this planet.  A future of acceptance, unconditional support, and human rights for each and every one of us, no matter how we feel, think, or experience reality.  I know I’m not alone when I dream this dream.

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Laura,

    Great job. As to your question,

    “I wonder how many people this past week have asked themselves these same questions, faced with the incredibly painful and confusing realization that what they’ve been told by Psychiatry is, in fact, not true”

    It is not very difficult to answer, many, surely, are sticking to their labels, such as in,

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/05/07/bipolar-writer-comments-on-debate-over-crisis-in-psychiatry/

    (I’ve been posting there as “softwarematters”). No question that for a lot of people it must have been frightening to learn that they have been living by a lie, but the temptations to go back the the old regime must be resisted and probably that is our survivor next’s challenge: educate those who find themselves in the same situation we found ourselves when we said NO to the psychiatric pseudo science. It is OK, and we are here to help you make the transition.

  2. I am very sorry that you wanted to die. On the whole, it wasn’t until the baby boom that youth suicide was really considered a problem, with rates next to nill before it. I am a feminist and an anti-racist, and the only thing that works for me, to not feel like I want to die, is effective human communication, workouts make me feel dehumanized and fat, and I just don’t want to be around people who can’t talk to me, I feel are subtly berating me, and generally have a false sense of reality in the form of I came in with assumptions about a nationality called the united states. We are all narcissists and stavers and stupid, and responsible for the ecological crisis, all of which is not true. Yes are energy consumption is too high, yes these accusers are the same types that spend too much when recognizing their own faults and having some humility would easily relieve loans on impoverished countries so they could build better sanitation. On the whole I only find comfort in science, in ecology, in sincere linguistic technologies and modes of being which inspire me to look at an organism instead of a commodity. Instead of something that is going to be my next meal, or my next degree, or my next compliment. I don’t personally believe the desire to die is abnormal human behavior, but on the whole, it is sad, I think.

  3. Hi Laura,

    At the risk of seeming ineducable, I must say…I’m still having a hard time understanding why you’ve adopted an “anti-brain-science” position with respect to reforming – or, in your phrasing, abolishing – the mental health system. That is, why must the study of the brain itself be an inherently futile and/or misguided approach to understanding and alleviating severe impairment and/or distress related to psychological functioning? Setting aside the mired ethical terrain of forced treatment, endeavoring to relieve such suffering, as myriad philosophical traditions (Buddhism and Stoicism among the most notable) have done, surely makes sense — doesn’t it? Accepting that such an endeavor is a reasonable one does not logically entail commitment to endorsing the development of pharmacological agents, of course, although searching for drug treatments may also make sense. I’d argue that it does; however, I’d also suggest that pharmacotherapies ought to be understood as adjuncts to psychosocial interventions, rather than the other way around.

    We can also set aside persistent, extreme mental suffering and simply look at what we might call ordinary psychological stress, anguish, suffering (dukkha, in Pali). Assuming we agree on the reasonableness of attempts to understand the causes of this suffering and relieve it to whatever extent possible, what reason is there to summarily dismiss any attempt to do so by way of brain science? Whether we’re talking about the extreme mental suffering (sometimes occurring in the absence of identifiable factors responsible for causing and/or maintaining the relevant state) or what I’ve termed, in a way that admittedly minimizes the phenomenon, “ordinary suffering,” it seems from previous comments of yours that we are in agreement when it comes to this: experience is the phenomenon in question, the mind is the seat of experience, and the brain is the seat of the mind. Thus, the brain is the seat of experience. We are seeking to alter the nature of experience, so we are seeking to alter the seat of experience, i.e., the brain. Surely it is the brain we alter through meditation, exercise, changed perspectives on gratitude or serenity, triumphant rejection of or liberation from an identity which putatively induced one’s suffering…no?

    I’ve come to believe that what we currently call mental illness — a term I use heuristically here for the sake of expedience — is, fundamentally, dysfunction in learning and memory. I should note that I intend a broad construal of those constructs, as memory is not one function at all, but rather numerous, dissociable systems for which the term “memory” is, again, a useful heuristic. At the level of neuroscience, this view can be conceptualized in terms of cell growth, survival, and synaptic plasticity. The link between dysregulation in the neuroendocrine stress response and mental illness (again, a heuristic here) has long been recognized. Now, with major technological advances in recent decades, the link is becoming more completely understood. For each individual, stress response is determined, it seems, by a complex set of factors including the type, duration, and severity of stress that the individual experiences as well as a host of genetic and other environmental factors. For those in whom stressors lead to stress system dysregulation (e.g., the overproduction of glucocorticoids in the adrenal gland, hyperactivity in the hypothalamus, dysregulated glucocorticoid receptor activity in various regions, etc.), the cellular and molecular processes governing neural survival and plasticity can be disrupted such that psychological functioning is compromised. I would argue that just about everyone has less than optimal psychological functioning, but some individuals (myself included), at some times, fall extremely far from optimal on the continuum.

    You throw around terms like “neuro-reductionist,” but what, exactly, does that mean? That we somehow exist outside our physical embodiment? Even if that’s true, the manner in which we do so is obscured from earthly knowledge and, hence, not a promising avenue of research. We know that the brain – thus, experience – can be changed by, e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy. Do you think it is quackery to employ CBT as a means of alleviating a condition someone perceives as problematic, a hinderance to their flourishing (where flourishing is meant to denote the Greek (e.g., Aristotelian) concept of “eudaimonia”)? If so, why? Do you think Epictetus was misguided in teaching the value of what today we might call decentering or psychological distancing? Do you think if Epictetus could have used scientific knowledge regarding the link between stress, neural survival and plasticity, and psychological functioning, he should have ignored it and approached theorizing about distress and mental suffering as though nothing were known of the cellular and molecular processes involved therein?

    As for pharmacological agents…for the sake of simplicity, I’ll first use specific phobias to illustrate the general point I’d like to make. Let’s say someone has a severe phobia of spiders, so severe that it is, by their own account, impeding their flourishing. We know that exposure therapy works very well for helping people to overcome phobias. There’s also a growing body of evidence that d-cycloserine (DCS), an antibiotic used to treat TB, can facilitate extinction learning and memory consolidation. There’s also very tentative, preliminary evidence that DCS paired with CBT for psychosis can substantially improve outcomes with respect to real-world functioning and subjective well-being. DCS operates on NMDA receptors, which are crucially involved in regulating glutamate, a neurotransmitter known to play a central role in regulating plasticity (i.e., memory and learning). I’d argue that while there is unlikely to be any “magic bullet” or panacea in the form of a drug for mental illness (again! heuristically!), there may very well be agents (perhaps DCS will turn out to be one, perhaps not, I use it for illustrative purposes only) that can aid psychotherapies in restoring those cellular and molecular – processes responsible for regulating the growth, survival, and plasticity of neurons. Why shouldn’t we pursue this avenue of research? It does, unfortunately, involve a great deal of what I see as reprehensible cruelty to animals, but so does nearly all medical research, so unless one wants to advocate the abolishment of any medical research that uses animal models (a position toward which I am sympathetic), there’s no reason to support singling out psychiatric research.

    Your experience was one in which you perceive labeling as preceding the problem, and you’ve inferred that the labels caused the problem. I don’t mean to suggest here that you’re wrong; you may be entirely correct, and I’m certainly in no position to say that you aren’t. But, what about those of us for whom the problems are understood to have come prior to any labeling? It can’t be the labels that caused the problems, as the latter existed prior to the former. You seem to be advocating the abolishment of the system that is in place to serve the needs of people who come to be labeled after they themselves have identified a problem(s) which we currently label psychiatric disorder X, Y, or Z. Why not reform the system instead? Otherwise, those of us who seek help in moving closer toward optimal on the continuum of psychological functioning are stuck hoping that our friends, family members, or the wisdom of authors whose books we’ve read will suffice. My understanding of myself did not change when I was labeled “mentally ill,” so I did not need to recover any lost identity (nor have I needed to reclaim one that was obscured). I did need help getting to a place where I am able to achieve (loosely, Aristotelian) flourishing. Meditation, CBT, DBT all helped. Whether or not the psychiatric drugs helped or did nothing is unclear (I have absolutely no reason to think they hurt), but it’s not inconceivable that, say, the SSRI I took for a while may have helped to increase the expression of proteins involved in neural survival and plasticity in certain regions and thereby facilitated the recovery process. Either way, it seems totally reasonable to me that some pharmacological agents — be they known or unknown at present — could facilitate the alterations in learning and memory systems that therapies like CBT accomplish.

    I know this is getting insanely long, and I’ll bring it to a close here. Just finding myself frustrated again…Neuro-reductionist and similar buzzwords/phrases sound threatening, but all it really means is recognizing that our experience can be studied at the physical level. What is wrong with recognizing that and pursuing such study?

    (ducks for cover)

    Best wishes,

    Layla

    • Laura is pretty good at defending her points, I just want to address one point that hits me personally,

      “There’s also a growing body of evidence that d-cycloserine (DCS), an antibiotic used to treat TB, can facilitate extinction learning and memory consolidation”

      When I hear “growing body of evidence” in the context of using some drug to treat some of the DSM invented diseases my mind automatically raises the alarm: some scam is coming. Have you heard about the so called “placebo effect”?, which is so strong that it can be shown empirically that antidepressants are basically “active placebos”.

      I was put on all kinds of “serotonin enhancers” (SSRI and clomipramine) at doses higher than what is normally prescribed for depression (that’s the recommended dosage by the APA) to deal with my phobia to HIV that some shrink labelled as “OCD”. It did nothing whatsoever to it. What the scam did was to cause me all sorts of side effects (dry mouth, short term memory losses, lethargy -so much so that I was given ADHD medication to counter it-) and more importantly, these meds almost killed my liver and kidneys.

      So you can keep your “growing bodies of evidence” to yourself and provide scientifically tested treatments. Other sciences do not appeal to “growing bodies of evidence”, they just make planes fly, they cure cancer, they make HIV a chronic disease, you get the idea, don’t you?

      • “So you can keep your “growing bodies of evidence” to yourself and provide scientifically tested treatments. Other sciences do not appeal to “growing bodies of evidence”, they just make planes fly, they cure cancer, they make HIV a chronic disease, you get the idea, don’t you?”

        Well said! We are being scammed all the time in mental health.

        • If you have followed any of Dr. David Healy’s recent posts, you might be inclined to leave the scientifically tested treatments behind too. These are not without their own biases, observer error and misapplications of the scientific method, a method which philosophers and quantum physicists don’t necessarily embrace in part or whole either.

          I appreciate Laura’s concern and desire to start with our individual human attempts to make meaning from and negotiate our suffering, and to work patiently, lovingly and respectfully from there.

          Laura, I also appreciate your compassion for those for whom diagnoses, labels, and potentially harmful treatments are still part of their meaning making process.

          It is a tangled web we have woven and it may take quite some time for the unravelling.

          Like you, I worry that NIMH’s new direction, brain mapping and other wildly expensive “brain science” research may be the birth of even more powerful spinnerets whose entrapment may extend well beyond that of the current DSM or, at the very least, keep us stuck in a web of diseases and despair.

          • You certainly nailed it Jennifer! Insel has a long sordid history with BIG PHARMA and the mental death profession, so we can expect more of the same and worse under his ongoing horrific eugenics agenda!

        • You both expressed my thoughts and feelings about more mental death junk science presented as facts and science in the guise of mental health! YUK! URHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

          Consider all the atrocities perpetrated in the guise of eugenics, psychiatry, DSM bogus stigmas, mental health, brain research and other evil victim blaming frauds to serve the power elite.

          Such advocacy for more of the same makes me sick to my stomach, a real physical problem unlike the problems the mental death profession itself creates for the many victims they pretend to help and treat while destroying their lives and profiting from the added suffering and trauma they inflict.

          Thanks cannotsay and Rossa for saying exactly what I felt reading this seeming ad for more brain junk science.

          As far as cognitive therapy goes, this is just one more fascist way to force victims to adapt to toxic environments that traumatize and destroy many people.

    • Layla,

      I would have to say that I don’t think Laura is identifying a label as the cause of her distress per se – I would say it is more the use of power and deception to “sell” such a label and thus invalidate the beingness of the person being labeled in this manner which increases rather than diminishes whatever distress a person may already be feeling.

      To reduce someone’s lived experience to a “chemical imbalance” is to eliminate significance and meaning from the person’s response. I would suggest that a “neuro-reductionist” view is one that suggest there is nothing beyond our neurons that defines us as human beings. The natural extension of this hypothesis (and it is only a hypothesis, not a proven law of science) is that the brain causes all behavior and therefore the only thing we can do to change behavior is change the brain.

      The fact that CBT or meditation do result in changes in the brain doesn’t necessarily mean that those changes are the cause of changes in the person. The fact that choosing to meditate can actually alter the brain should be enough right there to suggest SCIENTIFICALLY that there is something more than the brain at work. After all, who decided to meditate? How did that person maintain their commitment/motivation to meditate? What were they trying to accomplish through meditating?

      These are questions of what I can only call a spiritual nature, that regard the meaning and purpose of behavior. These issues of purpose are assumed by the psychiatric model to be irrelevant. You have “symptoms” because your brain is broken. The symptoms have no meaning. Hence, your decisions and reactions have no meaning. The only thing we can do is try to fix your broken brain. That’s a depressing viewpoint!!! And NOT a viewpoint that is a necessary conclusion from being “scientific.”

      I sense that you don’t believe in the possibility of an extra-physical existence beyond the body. You’re certainly entitled to that belief, but it’s not one that is axiomatic. But even if you do, it’s hard to deny that the issue of intentionality and purpose is not adequately explained by any neurological model you can suggest. Perhaps it’s a matter of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, but it seems very clear that a person’s sense of meaning and purpose dramatically effects his/her behavior and mood and thinking. And since it is the brain, in your view that is doing the thinking, feeling and behaving, SOMETHING is affecting that brain that is outside of or beyond its scope. Otherwise, the brain is opposing its own neurochemical imperative, and that makes no sense to me.

      So I don’t think it’s that a label causes distress. I think it is the process of a person in a position of power using that power to invalidate the meaning and purpose in an individual’s experience and hence reducing or eliminating their sense of individual identity and power. I’ve been a counselor over many years, and I can tell you from my own direct experience that people improve generally in direct proportion that they are able to act effectively to control and direct their own lives. To have someone come and tell you that 1) you don’t really direct your own life, it’s your messed up brain that does it, 2) there isn’t anything you can do about it except take my drugs and hope it gets better, and 3) you can look forward to a life of dependency and disability and need to give up on your life goals – well, it would be extremely disheartening to the staunchest of souls.

      The only real defense against such a system is to rebel and refuse to participate. It doesn’t mean science or brain study is out the window. It means that each of us gets to decide for ourselves what our lives mean and what we believe is helpful to us. And it also means that nobody can force or manipulate us into doing something that benefits them more than us in the long run. If brain study leads to something helpful, it can certainly be made available for anyone to see, think about, and use. But seeing people through a distorted lens of assumptions that convey the message that we are not the authors and evaluators of our own lives is inherently destructive and needs to end.

      I hope you can see the difference.

      —- Steve

  4. The suffering that we as human beings experience is worthy of dignity, exploration, understanding, and human support; to call it “symptomatic” of a phantom “illness” is to do just the opposite.

    How right you are, Laura.

    It took so many isolated and dark years for me to learn I deserved better than what psychiatry offered me. I was worthy of the dignity of finding out who I was–or could be–without the pills I was told I would need for life and were “like insulin for diabetes”. Indeed, I could reclaim my dignity by not seeking it in a doctor’s reassurance of an underlying illness. I was not (or would no longer be) just a profit engine for a misguided, faulty industry that proclaimed to reduce human suffering but actually magnified it with tragic consequences for all of society. I did not know it all those labeled and drugged years, but eventually I would walk right out that door and not return.

    I did not die (by suicide) in a pas de deux of therapeutic alliance with my doctor of pseudoscientific lies, chemical arrest/assault, instilled hopelessness, Stockholm syndrome codependency, and adding insult to injury shame of “treatment resistance”. I did not develop the permanent movement disorder of tardive dyskinesia from my neuroleptic consumption. I survived. Miracle of miracles, I survived the barbaric offerings of 21st century American healthcare.

    Here is part of a letter soliciting funds that I received this very day from Brain and Behavior Research Foundation:

    This is a tremendously exciting time for neuroscience. The President’s [Obama] new BRAIN Initiative acknowledges that neuroscience is flourishing and that new technologies are offering never-before-possible vistas into the brain’s complex functioning. The BRAIN Initiative calls for public and private collaboration to support a multi-year, broad-based research program to unlock the mysteries of the brain. Our Foundation’s history of funding innovative brain research places us in a unique position to provide leadership in this important initiative.

    One of our current NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantees, Rafael Yuste, M.D., Ph.D, of Columbia University is involved in launching the project. He says, “The BRAIN Initiative will enable the development of novel methods to identify the root causes and improve the treatments of complex mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and others. We aim to visualize the activity of neural circuits so that we can identify abnormal activity patterns or abnormal firing of neurons and then correct abnormalities. This should also lead toward prevention and cures for these devastating illnesses.”

    The extra hubris of adding that prevention and cures can be expected in the future in that last sentence goes beyond the pale. I remember so well from my doctors at McLean on down through the years telling me that someday with enough research a “cure” could come about (to fix my abnormal, genetic derived brain illness). And how I wanted that to be true! I finally found the beginning of my cure in India when I was compassionately and convincing assured, “There is nothing wrong with you.”

    My cure continues on here at MIA in finding you last May with the video of your protest the APA in Philly speech. Instantly, it changed me and how I saw myself. A sweeping moment of real recognizing real all over again. Who knew then that I would get to be one of those I wish I could hug each and every human being out there who’s believed the “mental illness” story told so persuasively by Psychiatry, and trusted in it, just like I did. in person?

    • Emily,

      I find it amazing that this great proposed brain neuro-fraud research claims that it will find treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar when they’ve just been declared invalid by the NIMH who I guess will be doling out any grants. Of course, most if not all in the survivor movement have known that the DSM is junk science and their VOTED IN stigmas to push the latest lethal drugs on patent were/are total 100% fraud and the worst medical crimes ever perpetrated against humanity per Dr. Fred Baughman, Neurologist. Dr. Breggin advised anyone falsely accused of being bipolar or some other bogus stigma to ask for the X-ray, blood or other tests that proved the great bipolar or other diagnosis. This did get mental death experts to back off at least many years ago. They have also admitted there is “overlap” between bipolar and PTSD (Same with borderline) Hmmmmmmm! Something smells rotten in Denmark when I find that abused women and children suffering from PTSD and related symptoms are routinely misdiagnosed with bipolar, ADHD, paranoia, delusions and other insult stigmas like borderline more in the past to aid and abet the abusers with more power like themselves. Dr. Fred Baughman suggests something similar by asking the mental death profession to produce the scientific research the proves without a doubt that bipolar or other DSM stigmas are real brain diseases and what kind. NOT.

      Anyway, I have no doubt that the great wizard of Oz, Dr. Insel and his cohorts will just come up with more junk science to push more life destroying stigmas and deadly treatments on more and more victims in the guise of mental health.

  5. Hi Laura!

    A few months ago, you help facilitate the opportunity to share my story here at MIA. I wanted to reply and thank you for the outstanding article here and again state how much I appreciate your voice in these issues.

    After writing “Corrections Officers, Not Clinicians” I have since resigned my position at the secure residential treatment facility (i.e. psychiatric incarceration center) where I worked. I tried to fight the good fight for as long as I could, and it touched my heart to hear persons trapped within that structure tell me that my efforts to change that system and treat them like the human brothers and sisters that they are made a difference. But in the end my soul could just bear it no longer.

    I left without another job, and I’m still unemployed. But even though the money’s running out and I don’t know what I’ll do next, I can’t regret my choice. Here’s what I believe:

    I believe that institutional attitudes toward persons with “lived experiences” of extreme cognitive and emotional states are exactly on par with racism, homophobia, sexism and any other form of bigotry and prejudice. The system talks about persons with lived experiences as “those” people and is more than comfortable with sentiment like “they don’t think like we do” or “they aren’t capable like we are” or “they’re diseased” and “they’re defective.” And yet, most of the time many of the people who much push back against this sentiment never go any farther than talking about the “stigma” of “mental illness.”

    This isn’t just a stigma. It’s pure bigotry. And that bigotry has decimated lives. The history of this bigotry is lobotomy, electro shock, life spans decreased by 25 years on average for persons with “severe mental illness,” drug induced brain damage, physical damage, rampant “patient” abuse in institutions and the dehumanization of an entire “class” of human beings.

    It’s socially acceptable to discuss racism. It’s socially acceptable to discuss sexism, homophobia, ageism. It’s not socially acceptable to discuss the bigotry of society toward persons THEY label “mentally ill.” This MUST change.

    No one is denying the reality of persons experiencing severe cognitive and emotional distress. *I* am denying that the experience of such distress makes a person into another, special “class” of sub-human people. The experience of even severe cognitive or emotional distress is part of the SHARED HUMAN experience. It has never been “us” and “them.”

    Keep the faith, and keep in touch!
    Andrew Yoder
    Eugene, Oregon

  6. Laura,
    You wrote: I believe the reasons for the announcements are very ominous and worrisome, as the NIMH is leading the United States down an even more reductionist, dehumanizing path of neuro-based Psychiatry.

    The path is called jobs for the boys (and girls) in neuroscience, government, pharmaceuticals, etc.

    Thomas Insel, the NIMH, Allen Frances, the Brain Project, are part of the psycho-industrial complex that keeps the economy running.

  7. Changing personal identity requires adapting to different, unfamiliar expectations, social roles, occupations, ect. Even when the current identity results in great suffering, change is difficult. Many people will refuse to hear that they can be free, and will defend against it, especially at first. They will deny it.
    Most people I speak to who have “recovered” in the way you did (ie, by realizing that there never was anything wrong or damaged in the first place) feel really angry a few years later. One woman told me she had assumed that her providers had only her best interests at heart, that this was a fundimental agreement in therapy. She was very hurt to realize that her doctors and therapist were actually “assuming the worst” about her. She was in treatment over 15 years!

    • I think you give these so called providers too much credit about what they assumed about this unfortunate woman. Her suffering was just a profit center for them for as long as they could con her and milk her by pretending she was damaged, mentally ill and something was wrong with her to deceive her that she needed their bogus treatments by medicalizing her all too common human problems and suffering and stigmatizing her and invalidating her in the process making her far worse off in the long run.

      Once such victims catch on to the fraud of the mental death profession, hell hath no fury like a normal person scorned, stigmatized, scapegoated, blamed, drugged and filled with self doubt by a con artist mental death expert no better than other snake oil sales men or Elmer Gantry’s of the past.

  8. I’m really sorry for going back on the earlier promise to cease and desist with comments after that last one. It’s just that I realized I didn’t explain something that I think is really important, which is why I care so much about all this today. First. although I did not think of myself differently because I was labeled (still am, I suppose), I was and continue to be very aware of how other people may view me differently…I don’t disclose anything about my “history of mental illness” in my grad program because I know that it would likely be to my detriment to do so. I want to shake many of my fellow students and yell, “don’t you understand!? The label doesn’t mean anything!” I have absolutely felt the stigma and I think it’s a major problem that our society now understands the psychological phenomena commonly referred to as “mental illness” to be permanent conditions of “faulty brains.” I think that’s an absurd notion — there are no “faulty brains,” in my opinion. Second, I am very concerned about my girlfriend, who is on a whole slew of psych meds. I look at the line-up and think, why? You’re not even diagnosed with the disorders these are supposedly efficacious in treating. Then I think, what is this cocktail of powerful chemicals – the effects of which we know so little about – doing to you, the person I love? What are they doing to your brain? What are they doing to the rest of your body? My psychiatrist (whom I still see despite not being on psych meds myself) has agreed with much of what I’ve said to him about my concerns around her regimen – he doesn’t know her and always points that out, but nonetheless, he has voiced agreement. She’s not receptive to hearing about my concerns. I don’t know what to do. It is personal for me, the movement to stop the abuses of power. I think I got really lucky – I had a very wise mentor going into the system, I happened to find truly amazing treaters, and I emerged a “success story” (so far…). I do believe everything I’ve written here about the brain as the seat of experience and all that. But my reason for caring — for coming here to argue about it with patient, friendly Laura over the last couple days — is not that I must convince MIA bloggers and readers that I’m right. It’s that even though I’ve come to see myself as a supporter, in many ways, of this movement, I still get annoyed by the “my suffering isn’t something physical” talk. Not that there’s anything wrong with believing that – I wouldn’t think it necessary or appropriate to go on and on about why I disagree if there weren’t what I perceive as high stakes involved. But I’m as sympathetic as one can get to the views here – and the movement more generally – without being a part of it, per se yet it does bother me. Finally, I figure it’s good for activists to sharpen their arguments through practice with sympathetic but not convinced folks as much as possible 😉

    Anyway, just want you, Laura, and you, everyone, to know that I don’t come here to defend psychiatry, but to do my best to strengthen to grassroots movement that I hope will topple the current psychiatric establishment. Commenters/bloggers here helped me arrive at the position of advocating for that toppling, and the more I learn, the more it troubles me (professionally, but moreover personally). My nagging suspicions around the gf’s regimen that I tried to push out of awareness have become impossible to ignore since the last time I showed up in the comments here at MIA, and I think everyone here for forcing me to stop ignoring or trying to silence those thoughts.

    I do hope we can keep trying to use scientific inquiry to figure out how best to help people who suffer more than they must, but even I would prefer no science to corrupted, abusive, dangerous science.

    • Thanks for that clarification. You were, indeed, lucky. You found an empowering clinician, which I find to be an increasingly rare commodity. And you have had other privileges that made it possible for you to move in and out of “the system” with some capacity for survival, something many psychiatric victims lack.

      I’m glad to hear you talk about the abuse of power, because that’s what this comes down to and that’s where our interests overlap. Lies are not science, even when they’re put out by doctors. We need to take the power back to define our own experiences, and I’m glad you’re on board for that fight!

      — Steve

    • A perfect example of the blaming the brain approach being bogus and pernicious is when one considers that most of what is falsely labeled as “mental illness” is the normal human reaction to others’ abuse and bullying in homes, schools, work, community and any other place humans gather causing PTSD INJURY and not illness.

      If you read experts on bullying, the target of bullying has normal stress reactions that continue on a downward spiral based on the intensity, time span, more or less viciousness, threat to the target’s safety, ability to perform in school or at work, added stress and damage to the victim’s family, career and so on. If the bullying or mobbing continues, it is simply a matter of time before the target has a stress breakdown because as stress expert, Hans Seyle, shows, all humans have limits as to how much stress they can endure. Some people may react with migraine headaches, some may react with IBS, colitis while others may have insomnia, develop self medicating addictions to deal with the ongoing psychological torture that turns their own body against itself and so on.

      Now, when the target of such bullying and mobbing sees a mental death expert guided by the bogus DSM, the person’s so called symptoms will be taken totally out of context since biopsychiatry refuses to acknowledge it despite their lies to the contrary. All of the above and any other stress symptoms that may have deteriorated to complex PTSD injury given the duration will be superficially matched with junk science DSM stigmas while completely invalidating the victim’s agony from long term bullying and mobbing. If the victim tries to explain such bullying and abuse, the mental death expert falsely accuses her/him of being paranoid, delusional, bipolar, borderline, a substance abuser and any other degrading victim blaming stigmas to further bully and silence the victim to fill them with self doubt, terrorize them into silence to avoid further harm and subject them to lethal cocktails of drugs without informed consent.

      Since our medicalized society demands that we must have a mental death expert validate our reality to get any justice in the courts, work, schools, homes and elsewhere while the whole system is set up to invalidate such victims while supporting the more powerful bullies and perpetrators, it is clear that anyone subjected to such bullying, mobbing or any other social/environmental distress is doomed from the start.

      The mental death profession lies and denies domestic violence, school/work bullying and mobbing and other severe stressors known to cause PTSD INJURY and even suicide per mobbing/bullying expert Dr. Heinz Leymann and many others including Dr. Gary Namie, Dr. Tim Fields, etc. Thus, psychiatry and the so called neuro scientists under fraud BIG PHARMA shill Dr. Insel (see his relationship with PHARMA shill Charles Nemeroff exposed by Senator Grassley) are in no position whatsoever to say anything about the brain until they get honest and acknowledge all the ways that the brain can be made to appear that it is abnormal when it is the bullies and other abusers including themselves that are abnormal or insane causing all the brain and other injuries in the first place!!

      As Robert Whitaker says when exposing this societal delusion, all the targets/victims need is for the mental death profession to tell the truth.

      Once the bullies/mobbers are identified and stopped and the target is validated and reinstated as recommended for decent work environments (See book MOBBING by Noa Davenport)and prevention policies are put in place, the target can resume their lives, the stress reactions will subside and they can become normal again. The brain will recover just fine once the target is no longer subjected to such daily psychological terror and torture.

      So, Lyla, would you say that when the target starts getting stressed and becomes traumatized by long term bullying because he/she needs the job, it’s the target’s faulty brains that caused their PTSD injuries and symptoms?

      How about women and children subjected to domestic violence? See Dr. Judith Herman and Dr. Carole Warshaw, both psychiatrists exposing that biopsychiatry’s sole focus on symptoms while ignoring environmental stressors to inflict life destroying stigmas of borderline and bipolar for abused women and children which greatly harms the women and children all the more and aids and abets the abusers. Again, was it their bad brains that caused their PTSD INJURIES as well as their hopelessness of escape given the invalidation from the mental death profession?

      What you say makes no sense whatever since context is everything when considering somebody’s so called mental state and reactions.

      Otherwise, if someone chopped off your leg and then your leg was examined by a leg chopper denier who wouldn’t consider the context of the chopped off leg, could it be theorized that you had a leg chopping brain disease?

      When you think about it the absurdity is just too much to bare! And to think we can look forward to more of this reductionist garbage pseudoscience that ignores all of human reality. I think it is all too clear who is insane here and it isn’t us!

      • Hi Donna,

        As I said, I don’t agree with the “faulty brain” notion at all, so I certainly don’t think “faulty brains” cause PTSD. I’ve also been diagnosed with PTSD (the description fits for me, whether or not the designation “mental illness” does), and I don’t think I have a “faulty brain” any more than the next person (in a sense, I think every one of us has a faulty brain…that is, no one is a Platonic form). I’m not sure where you got the idea that I don’t think context is of crucial importance, as I don’t see how what I’ve written implies that at all. Reductionism need not be dehumanizing…I’m about as loving and compassionate as a person can get, perhaps even to a fault at times, and I do endorse a reductionist view. That’s where I get frustrated — it’s not reductionism’s fault, it’s a corrupt system’s fault. I can honor my – and others’ – experiences, see a human spirit – in all of us – that needs nurturing, see the importance of relationships, believe that experience is deeply personal and something no one but the experiencer can be an expert on, and still think we’re composed of atoms and only atoms. Neuroscience doesn’t even rely on such a strong view, the science of the brain (which is all neuroscience is) only needs to assume that the brain is involved in experience. Neuroscience is not the enemy – a system that incentivizes hurting innocent people is the enemy.

        Best wishes,

        Layla

        • Hi Layla,

          Glad to hear that you don’t use so called neuroscience to blame the victims for their abuse induced trauma symptoms and other very normal human reactions to life’s many challenges, crises, losses, etc. Sorry to hear about your own bout with PTSD.

          I do find your language very confusing and I must say that the word, “neuroscience” is poison to me because “Dr.” Insel a well known BIG PHARMA shill with cohort “Dr.” Charles Nemeroff is using the term to engage in the latest eugenics agenda to continue to target people abused, bullied and harmed by those in power and toxic environments and stigmatize them as “mentally ill” to keep the evil psychiatry gravy train going no matter what they call it.

          Also, the term neuro is fraudulently being applied to every new fad around, so it’s pretty meaningless now. I am disgusted how everything to do with the mental death profession now has neuro in front and behind it just in case anyone didn’t know they are now about neuro science BS rather than DSM BS! It’s the same old fraud!

          I guess I just don’t understand your take on reductionism since it sounds very negative to me especially when combined with terms like science, humanity and others. Perhaps you might want to read the great book, THE TAO OF PHYSICS, for a very different take on those atoms and molecules you cite.

          Say you want to study a beautiful butterfly so you capture it and pin it to a display board. The problem is when you destroy life to “study” it and make it conform to one’s own beliefs as psychiatry does all too often, the real essense or spirit of the creature or human disappears. That was also the theme of the book, THE COLLECTOR.

          I think we are far more complex than just our atoms and molecules. That reminds me of a woman who went to a great hat maker to purchase one of his famous, highly acclaimed creations. He took some ribbon and created a gorgeous, unique and very fashionable hat and let the woman try it on. When she asked the price and he said $500, the woman complained that the hat was only made of ribbon and shouldn’t be so expensive. Finally, fed up, the creator of the hat pulled on a part of the ribbon so the whole creation came apart. He then handed the woman the ribbon and said the ribbon is free with my compliments.

          I think that is a good example of reductionism similar to what happens when we try to reduce vital humans to separate body parts instead of a more holistic approach.

          Anyway, I find your comments rather confusing and I know you are entitled to your opinions, but as Winston Churchill said, you can’t have your own facts. And wishing or thinking doesn’t make it so.

          Thanks for responding.

          Donna

      • Donna I like referring to PTS and leave off the ‘D’ bit, I also refer to ITS [Iatrogenic Traumatic Stress] because I can’t abide professionals denial that health services can induce their own trauma which can become as or more painful than what took us to services in the first place.
        What saddens me about some psychological interventions is that they can seek to help people ‘cope better’ with their crap circumstances. If someone is being bullied, they need the bullying to stop, not to cope better with being bullied!
        What distresses me for those deemed to be BPD is that if they have experienced appalling lives [which they commonly have], that the diagnosis frames the person as having failed to cope with their trauma, AND it’s their fault, and their expressions of distress are ‘maladaptive’. It’s total invalidation.

  9. I always knew psychiatry was fundamentally wrong from my first admission, I just didn’t know why, how to articulate it, and how to survive as soon as I walked away. I sent a ‘Do you think you’re God?’ kind of letter at 18 yrs old to my psychiatrist who wanted me on depot injections for life, and I looked at others hollowed out by it and thought there has to be more to living than this.
    Surviving psychiatry wasn’t in itself the end point for me,despite a strong sense of self [I used to be an activist] as there are very few places I fit into now as I failed to ‘recover’ by most definitions. I experience enduring difficulties but we rarely see such accounts other than ‘before’ and ‘after’. Many of my dreams for change in my country haven’t been realised but I hold the hope that others will achieve them.

  10. Laura,

    I want to thank you for another insightful heart wrenching post about the horrible bipolar fraud fad. In the past I have thought about various eras where seeming horrible human abuses were perpetrated such as witch burnings, the Inquisition, the NAZI Holocaust and many others. I would feel grateful that I had seemingly been born in a better time. Thanks to biopsychiatry I realized how very wrong and ignorant I was about that and those in power and our social institutions given that now everyone is a target for psychiatric inquistions, witch hunts, eugenics, torture, Mengele type experiments on human guinea pigs, and the neverending rights abuses perpetrated against those falsely accused of being “mentally ill” that Bob Whitaker describes so well in MAD IN AMERICA and ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC that helped save you. Dr. Thomas Szasz warns that it is our responsibility to learn about such institutions so that we won’t be destroyed by them and he sure was right.

    Since I’m older than you, I grew up in a time when biopsychiatry didn’t really exist and children and teens didn’t get stigmatized with bogus psychiatric disorders to push lethal drugs. Since we grew up believing doctors were ethical, honest and wanting to heal people and keep them healthy, it was very hard to imagine the coming crimes against humanity being plotted by the APA and psychiatry in the 1980’s to sell out to BIG PHARMA to give themselves a bogus medical aura with the creation of the junk science DSM.

    As Hitler says, the greatest lies are most inclined to be believed since people can’t imagine that anyone could lie to such a great extent.

    Anyway, I grew up believing that the so called mental health profession was there to help people and talk to them about their problems and I was right for the most part I guess until I wasn’t. We still see so called psychistrists supposedly counseling people and giving talk therapy on shows like ANALYZE THIS, THE SOPRANOS, IN TREATMENT and many other TV shows and movies which is a total lie and fraud meant to trick more victims into this toxic system as Dr. Breggin warns. The so called psychiatrist doing hundreds of 15 minute med checks per week portrayed as the modern day psychiatrist in the NEW YORK TIMES is the poster boy for this bogus profession slapping on DSM stigmas to push lethal drugs.

    So, when the new bogus DSM psychiatry threatened to harm my loved ones because we/they assumed that such so called doctors provided help, we were saved by finding Dr. Peter Breggin’s books like TOXIC PSYCHIATRY and YOUR DRUG MAY BE YOUR PROBLEM among others as well as many other books/articles about abuse, bullying and related trauma.

    Anyway, because you were subjected to biopsychiatry’s toxic garbage of DSM stigmas for most of your life, it must have been harder for you to see through the fraud and lies and realize they were bogus.

    On the other hand, it was hard for me to see it in that I was blindsided by it due to thinking that the mental health system still consisted of talk therapy and actually helped people. Yes, go ahead and laugh…I was pretty naïve. However, given that background without the DSM for most of my life, after my loved ones were exposed to several mental death experts, I finally saw how bogus, fraudulent and evil this system was in that it blames and scapegoats the victims, lies and denies any injustice, abuse or bullying and falsely accuses the victims of being mentally ill or increasingly having the bipolar fraud fad to push the latest lethal drugs on patent that Dr. David Healy describes so well in his book, MANIA, and articles about bipolar psychobabble and bipolar disease mongering. I highly recommend this book to you if you haven’t read it.

    Anyway, forgive me if I get upset with more neuro babble shoved down our throats which makes the exposure of the DSM being invalid junk science somewhat of a hollow victory since we have known that for so long and we don’t need so called complicit experts like Insel to define our reality or expose the truth any more now that we are older, sadder and wiser.

    Anyway, as I’ve said in another post, finding out the truth about bipolar is like finding out Santa and the Easter Bunny don’t exist except at least the latter brought treats while the former doled out poison and life destroying stigma.

    I know I am hard hitting about the outrageous bipolar fraud epidemic, but I think that is all too necessary to counter the mental death profession’s toxic brainwashing and lethal, useless drugs. I give you lots of credit for unbrainwashing yourself and making so much progress. You are a beautiful, intelligent, accomplished and impressive young woman and I am so glad you escaped this despicable fraud.

    I also appreciated your visit to Boston about the new gun laws and making us aware of more proposed rights violating legislation. You are also a very brave woman!

    Always,

    Donna

  11. I look to the UK as an example of this, with all the news coming out about the demand for the de-medicalization of so-called “mental illness.” If people in “provider” roles here in the US got together, I believe they could make significant strides, although of course we are more medicalized and pharmaceuticalized, I think, than the UK (maybe I’m wrong in thinking that, though?)

    Laura, we have a tradition of collaborative working and ‘user involvement’ although I’d question how meaningful some of the latter is now. In research funders outcome measures broadly remain the same – treatment adherence and symptom reduction. As for service providers seriously standing together to demand change I wouldn’t be cracking open the champagne yet. There are many issues and negative developments they have failed to stand up and speak out against publicly both for and with us. There wasn’t public outcry over the introduction of ‘Care Clusters’ [I’ve posted that elsewhere] and ‘Payment by results’ [meaning payment for putting people through “evidence based” treatments]. Many nurses and social workers feel quite down trodden with little power, and psychology, psychiatry and survivor groups can also be in their own corners. We have some truly inspiring critical thinkers like Lucy Johnstone and Phil Thomas, and a sizable and growing group of professionals, but that’s some way from dismantling and replacing existing service provision. I doubt British service users are envisaging psychiatry’s replacement just yet and we don’t have as many developed survivor-led services as I suspect you may have.
    A nurse friend who works in New York tells me that housing is taken more seriously by your services but it is much much harder to get out of US services than it is British services. I think your services are more pharmaceuticalized, we have a big CBT drive here.

  12. This made me smile, especially the bit about getting a priest because I once asked that and got one! I’m not religious [at all] but at that moment I needed to talk about spirits and their souls and I knew the bloke in a dress and dog collar would listen wher the nurses wouldn’t, and he did.
    http://speakoutagainstpsychiatry.org/how-to-escape-from-a-psychiatric-hospital/

    My tip for escaping: when you’ve got leave ‘with a friend’ do it once or twice going for a walk with someone known to staff, then get someone in who isn’t known with someone else waiting outside in a car then drive off somewhere to stay. This means known friend maintains credibility [if needed]and unknown friend can’t be traced.