Critical Psychiatry Network Calls on Institute of Psychiatry to Cancel Charles Nemeroff

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The decision by the Institute of Psychiatry, Britain’s leading centre for psychiatric research, to invite disgraced Professor Charles Nemeroff to speak at the inaugural lecture of the Institute’s new Centre for Affective Disorders has caused a great deal of controversy;  news that was recently featured on Mad in America. In the latest development members of the Critical Psychiatry Network in UK have written an open letter to Professor Pariantes, the Director of the new Centre for Affective Disorders, requesting that he cancel Nemeroff’s invitation.

Members of Critical Psychiatry are angered that the Institute’s invitation flies in the face of recent attempts by the profession to clean up its act in respect to its links to the Industry. Nemeroff  lied to his then employer, Emory University, about his income from GSK while holding large grants to run drug trials from the company. He is regarded by many as the most egregious example of the dishonest and unprincipled relationship between academic psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry.

The Critical Psychiatry letter can be accessed at Letter to Institute of Psychiatry re: Nemeroff Lecture, and there is also a link to a British Medical Journal rapid response on the subject by Derek Summerfield, a member of the Critical Psychiatry Network.

70 COMMENTS

  1. Two posts on Nemeroff. OK. Can we have one post outlining the Critical Psychiatry Network’s complete political stance on coercion?

    I know the CRN is against ‘outpatient’ forced drugging. That’s good. But that only keeps us theoretically safe on the ‘outpatient’ side of things.

    Where does the CRN stand on forced drugging inside the walls of a psychiatric facility aka ‘hospital’?

    Where does the CRN stand on the insanity defense?

    Where does the CRN stand on forced electroshock (including for the elderly)?

    Is the CRN aware of the provision in Scottish legislation for forced psychosurgery? where does it stand on that?

    Thanks.

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  2. Dear Anonymous

    Thanks for your comments, which strictly speaking are off topic, but they are so important they merit a response.

    In broad terms, CPN is opposed to any form of forced treatment in psychiatric care. This would certainly apply to ECT and psychosurgery (for anyone, regardless of age), and drug treatment too. As far as the latter is concerned the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of neuroleptic drugs, and the accumulating evidence that shows that the long-term use of these drugs may contribute to chronicity, as well as having major adverse consequences for physical health and reducing life expectancy, means that it is ethically indefensible to force people to take them long-term, either in hospital or in the community. It follows that this evidence seriously undermines the argument for a ‘mental health’ act.

    It is also important to say that circumstances may and do arise where people’s behaviour and distress is so severe for short periods of time that it may be necessary to detain them in hospital, and to use medication for short periods of time (i.e. no more than a couple of weeks). However, the need for hospital detention (and medication) would be minimised if people were offered greater choice in where they received help, which is why I support Soteria Network UK (as a trustee) in its aim of supporting and developing alternative systems of care for people experiencing severe distress.

    I should make it clear that CPN has not formally discussed this, so it’s my personal view. That said, I think that many in CPN would agree with this position.
    We haven’t specifically discussed the insanity defence, but personally I am opposed to it, and I think that many colleagues in CPN are too.

    I don’t know who you are or where you’re based, but your spelling of the word ‘defense’ suggest you are in the US, so you may not be familiar with the position, and activities undertaken by CPN since 1999. Here are some links to some of the policy statements we’ve made on coercion and the exposure of trainees to ECT – we recently tried to get the RCPsych to ditch the requirement for trainees to opt out of ECT training. Of course they refused. I think CPN would be keen to work in alliance with UK-based survivor groups opposed to the use of ECT so if there are any out there please do get in touch with me.

    Finally I am not aware of the Scottish legislation for forced psychosurgery, and I am horrified to hear of it. Could you please post relevant details and I’ll look into it.

    Here is a selection of links that provide further background to your queries.
    CPN letters on ECT and training – http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=278:ect-and-training&catid=35:documents&Itemid=56
    CPN evidence to MHA scoping committee – http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=199:evidence-submitted-to-the-scoping-study-committee-for-review-of-mental-health-act&catid=35:documents&Itemid=56
    CPN response to MHA scoping committee outline proposals – http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=136:response-to-the-draft-outline-proposals-of-the-scoping-study-committee&catid=35:documents&Itemid=56
    CPN response to consultation on draft mental health bill http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=130:response-to-consultation-on-draft-mental-health-bill&catid=35:documents&Itemid=56
    CPN statement on government proposals for managing people with ‘Dangerous and severe personality disorders’ http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=133:managing-dangerous-people-with-severe-personality-disorder&catid=35:documents&Itemid=56
    Letter of resignation of CPN from MH Alliance (Because the Alliance finally supported compulsory treatment in the community) http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=121:letter-of-resignation-from-the-mental-health-alliance&catid=35:documents&Itemid=56

    Thanks

    Philip Thomas

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    • “It is also important to say that circumstances may and do arise where people’s behaviour and distress is so severe for short periods of time that it may be necessary to detain them in hospital, and to use medication for short periods of time (i.e. no more than a couple of weeks).”

      Thank you for your answer. I can only urge you to reconsider your stance, which as I read it, is a stance in favor of forced drugging as ‘chemical restraint’ and behavior control. Hopefully one day you’ll come around to a position in favor of the human right to bodily integrity for all humans, without exception. Noting too that the state manages to corral, control, detain, and imprison some of the most vicious violent criminals in the UK without resorting to forcibly blockading their neurotransmission. Like opposition to the death penalty, I believe some lines should just not be crossed, and that forced drugging is an affront to basic human dignity, regardless of any death row prisoner who wants to be executed, and regardless of any practitioner anecdote on the expedient ‘calm’ forcibly tranquilizer drugging a detainee can bring about. Please see my recent comment on this matter of invasive ‘chemical restraint’ versus noninvasive restraint. And please consider the chilling effect on help seeking behavior is brought about by state psychiatry having this reserve power you currently believe is justified, in its arsenal, plus the inevitable collaterally damaged lives the result from this violent and extreme use of state force.

      My comment in opposition to ‘short term’ human rights violations…

      http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/mad-in-australia/#comment-25723

      Scotland psychosurgery laws…

      http://www.mind.org.uk/mental_health_a-z/8014_making_sense_of_neurosurgery_for_mental_disorder

      I applaud the CPN’s position on community based forced drugging. But that is only halfway to human rights if the threat of being rounded up and injected still exists, in a thought experiment alternative universe where CPN runs the world, it’d still be a world I wouldn’t want to live in, and all I can hope is that in the coming years you’ll be persuaded to change your position. Thank you, see my comment below.

      http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/06/mad-in-australia/#comment-25723

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      • Oh and thanks for the extensive array of links, I’ve said in the past, you are madinamerica.com’s most studious author when it comes to references, hands down. You simply must be a man who keeps his references highly organized on his computer, which is a good thing. Again, I appreciate you going to such lengths to answer my questions, and I hope one day you can change your position on forced drugging.

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      • Dr. Thomas: “It is also important to say that circumstances may and do arise where people’s behaviour and distress is so severe for short periods of time that it may be necessary to detain them in hospital, and to use medication for short periods of time (i.e. no more than a couple of weeks).”

        Anon: Thank you for your answer. I can only urge you to reconsider your stance, which as I read it, is a stance in favor of forced drugging as ‘chemical restraint’ and behavior control.

        I can’t speak for Dr. Thomas but I don’t read it like that at all. I am taking “circumstances arise” to include circumstances where people with equivalent levels of “distress” do not have recourse to 24hr social supports, family and friends, with the commensurate skill and disposition to support and keep a person safe.

        By denying people with diminished social circumstances the chance to be detained/socially controlled and offer/coerced/finally forced to take medication you are in fact discriminating against them.

        Anon, your eloquent arguments fall down because even within a family unit (however you define that) you will find a social control element at work. When those social supports don’t exist, the moral imperative is for society to take its place. Psychiatric services take on this role by proxy. That it is not explicit is a pity and wrong. It needs to be addressed but denying people help is not the right answer to difficult situations.

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        • Theinarticulatepoet said:

          “By denying people with diminished social circumstances the chance to be detained/socially controlled and offer/coerced/finally forced to take medication you are in fact discriminating against them.”

          Abolishing forced drugging is “discrimination”? I think your comment speaks for itself. I never expressed absolute opposition to detention, or the offering of drugs, as is claimed in the above quote. Offering is the polar opposite of forcing.

          “Anon, your eloquent arguments fall down because even within a family unit (however you define that) you will find a social control element at work. When those social supports don’t exist, the moral imperative is for society to take its place. Psychiatric services take on this role by proxy. That it is not explicit is a pity and wrong. It needs to be addressed but denying people help is not the right answer to difficult situations.”

          I didn’t know that state psychiatry was established to replace the family. If it’s assault for a family member to forcibly drug a member of their family it is assault for the state to do it. Slavery isn’t “help” getting a job, forced abortions in China are not “help” with family planning, the death penalty isn’t “help” committing suicide, and forced drugging isn’t “help”. No, forced drugging is discrimination against people who want to have their will respected, their will and decision not to take psychiatric drugs. A person isn’t safe when they are having their consciousness assaulted by the state. And as is obvious, people can be controlled without resorting to invasive forced drugging. It’s all there in my original comment.

          So called difficult situations abound throughout all spheres of life, there are gamblers who someone may say “need” help, overeaters who someone may say “need” help, overspenders who someone may say “need” help, these subjective “needs” don’t see governments throwing out every human right in the book and embarking on an invasive coercive social engineering scheme, and they shouldn’t with the problems psychiatry has declared itself the “experts” on.

          There are laws on the books that enable forced psychiatry workers to take a citizen who enjoys the right to own their own body, take them from their home, strip their clothes off, enter and alter their body and brain by force, ignore their pleas for mercy and screams of non-consent, and I want these abolished, and you’re telling me that without forced drugging laws, if all citizens had the equal right to bodily integrity, then the level of discrimination victims of forced drugging experience would INCREASE?

          If you believe the repeal of discriminatory laws is an act of discrimination, then up is down, and down is up, slavery is freedom, and toxic tranquilizer drugs are “medication”.

          Take this 1933 speech in favor of forced sterilization. Proponents of violent force against the groups in society they see as unworthy of human rights have since time immemorial framed their violence as good, their coercion is “help”, as not punishment, but liberation.

          http://www.uvm.edu/~eugenics/primarydocs/onbfpst030531.xml

          “Sterilization is not punishment. It is rather an effort to allow
          these unfortunates as much freedom to live their own lives, as it is
          safe for the State to allow them and still prevent the spread of mental
          incompetency.”

          It takes a true believer to believe forced sterilization is not punishment, and to carry it out out against the screams of the victim. The same goes for forced drugging. It’s not news to me, that the world is full of people who justify this violence by telling themselves that invasive forced drugging is “help”. This kind of logic can be seen from most of the perpetrators of forced drugging and of course those who lobby for more forced drugging powers.

          Universal respect for human rights, the abolition of the state having the unjustifiable power to take more human rights from the detainees of psychiatric facilities than even convicted felons lose in supermax prisons, that is, the right to own their own body, is and remains the goal of human rights advocates in this area. No spin, no polemical re-framing of the abolition of forced drugging as “discrimination” will prevail. A profession that has not made a single discovery proving its detainees are brain diseases has not earned the right to assault and tinker with the brains of strangers by force. This discussion was off topic in the first place, I got my answer from Mr. Thomas and I was happy to get his answer. If you poet, view an end to discriminatory laws as “in fact” discrimination, then I can guarantee you, neither you nor I will profit from any further engagement.

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          • Depends what you mean by profit. If you are concerned that I might bring to the table a different perspective that makes you uncomfortable because it challenges your absolutist stance then I can see why you don’t want to have a conversation. My challenge to you is rooted in the practical reality that some people do challenge society and responding to them appropriately requires a legal and professional context that balances the interests of everyone.

            Conversations that deal with these issues require thoughtful consideration. As much as your invective might make entertaining reading it does nothing to actually advance your argument or even address the issues at hand.

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          • Nobody “challenges society” so much that they deserve to have their brain assaulted. This violent and human rights abusing practice needs to stop. ‘Absolutism’ appears to be a dirty word in your lexicon. I’m sorry but human rights should be for all humans. Even those who “challenge society”. There are people who call for the death penalty in ‘really serious crimes’, and people who are for a blanket ban on that inhumane use of state force. I am proud, not ashamed, not made ‘uncomfortable’, by my political position against government forced brain function disablement by means of forced tranquilizer drugging. Nobody deserves to have their body entered by force and its function meddled with by quacks who cannot prove their bodies are diseased. This power exists in the first place on the basis of the public and politicians being lied to that the people targeted for this use of force have something wrong with their bodies. You can repeatedly declare that my argument “falls”, “does nothing”, is mere “entertainment”, all you like. I’ve seen you advocate in favor of forced drugging on this site before, and it is very distressing to a lot of the visitors to this site, myself included. Very distressing. I’d ask you to consider that this is a safe space and that a not insignificant portion of the readership are survivors of forced drugging. I asked Mr. Thomas a question about his organization’s stance, because I wanted to know what that stance was, and as I said, I was happy to get his answer to my question to him. Nobody deserves to be forcibly drugged. There are other ways to control people without being so incredibly invasive and abusing their human rights. These terrifyingly invasive powers to forcibly drug detainees need to go. For all.

            Than you for reminding me how much ingrained resistance and illogic we are up against in the fight to disarm those who would put down a conscious human being like a tranquilized animal for expediency. The government doesn’t own our brains and it shouldn’t be inside them tinkering around. I repeat, if the right to own your own biology isn’t ripped from you when you are convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, it certainly isn’t justified to rip it away from people using civil law in psychiatric facilities.

            “By denying people with diminished social circumstances the chance to be detained/socially controlled and offer/coerced/finally forced to take medication you are in fact discriminating against them.” – theinarticulatepoet.

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    • “…off topic, but they are so important they merit a response.”

      Dr. Thomas,

      Thank you for your opposition to Nemeroff’s work; it’s certainly strange how all but completely *Teflon* are certain ‘researchers’ in your profession — like Teflon Dons.

      For a definition of Teflon Don, see: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=the%20teflon%20don

      Hopefully, you’re not regretting your having offered such a thoughtful ‘off topic’ reply, to Anonymous — as we now see the many similarly ‘off topic’ comments accruing, below.

      You’ve allowed for the opening of a real can-of-worms (as the expression goes), but these are important questions you’ve addressed, and I quite appreciate that you’ve done so — and am curious: Am I reading your comment correctly?

      In reply, to Anonymous, you explain: “…it is ethically indefensible to force people to take them long-term, either in hospital or in the community.” I’m very glad you say that; but, you also explain, “…circumstances may and do arise where people’s behaviour and distress is so severe for short periods of time that it may be necessary to detain them in hospital, and to use medication for short periods of time…”

      You say, “necessary… to use medication…”

      Exactly how necessary is “necessary” — I’m wondering?

      Do you mean to imply that psych-drugs are sometimes absolutely necessary?

      Personally, I don’t believe psychiatry has *any* absolutely necessary treatments to offer.

      Containment may be necessary, at times; but, that needn’t involve any ‘treatment,’ in my humble opinion; there are always potential alternatives to ‘treatment’ by psychiatry.

      Of course, only a small percentage of citizens in most societies — and *very* few psychiatrists — would ever agree with me, on that point.

      (Probably, not even the Critical Psychiatry Network would be willing to admit that psychiatry is an expendable profession, I image.)

      And, so, when you speak of “necessary…medication,” I’m inclined to presume that you — being a psychiatrist — are actually meaning to imply a supposed ‘absolute’ necessity — i.e., referring to *psychopharmaceutical* drugs that may, indeed, be *forced* upon the individual (especially, if/when s/he might attempt to refuse them) — ostensibly, for his/her own good; and, that is why you mention, “necessary…”

      Am I making sense?

      Basically, I am requesting a somewhat clearer answer than you’ve provided.

      I am wanting you to, please, speak of your view (and CPN’s view) of *forced* psych-drugs.

      Simply put, I ask: Do you say, in your view, *forced* psych-drugs may, at times, be necessary???

      (I am almost certain that you are meaning to imply that; however, I hope to avoid making assumptions.)

      By this point, you may have begged out of the conversation; so, I won’t hold it against you (will not blame you in any way) for not answering…

      But, I suggest, should you care to keep your commenters — as much as possible — on the topic, of Nemeroff, then you can surely say so; just make the request; personally, I would respect it; and, certainly, if you do reply to this question of mine, you needn’t offer an extended comment.

      A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer suffices.

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

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  3. As for an on topic comment, I can only say the CPN lobbying to get this Nemeroff guy disinvited is fair enough. I particularly admire how it was done in a nonviolent way. One way to stop a guest presenter giving a speech would be to slam him to the ground, inject him with tranquilizer drugs, and disable his brain. That would be uncivilized, and criminal assault. There is no reason to believe it would a civilized response if it were to occur inside a psychiatric facility either.

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  4. Dr. Thomas,

    Re: Legislation for Forced Psychosurgery in Scotland

    This came up on a post by MIA blogger, Chrys Muirhead –

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/03/brain-surgery-for-mental-illness-in-scotland-going-under-the-knife-when-treatment-resistant/

    Anonymous,

    I appreciate your comments on forced treatment.
    MIA blogger, Jim Gottstein, J.D. has a lot to say on the subject:

    http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/03/the-illegality-of-forced-drugging-and-electroshock/

    Be well,

    Duane

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    • My apologies, but it’s been a while since I read Chrys’ piece.

      She was referring to psychosurgery in Scotland, but after reviewing the article again, I’m not sure there is an effort by the government there to use force with psychosurgery.

      Unless I’m mistaken (not from Scotland).

      Duane

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      • Forced psychosurgery laws were approved by Scotland as recently as 2003.

        http://www.mind.org.uk/mental_health_a-z/8014_making_sense_of_neurosurgery_for_mental_disorder

        In the above link click on the tab entitled ‘availability and consent’. You’ll see this:

        “Scotland
        In Scotland, NMD can be performed without your consent if you are not capable of giving consent and do not object, and the Court of Session (the Supreme Court in Scotland) has made an order declaring that the treatment may be lawfully given.

        Procedures performed in Scotland come under the provisions of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003. They are overseen by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, which provides independent clinical assessments for all patients.

        NMD can be carried out only after a designated medical practitioner, appointed by the Mental Welfare Commission, has given an independent opinion that it will be beneficial for you.

        Two lay people appointed by the Commission must then certify whether or not you are capable of consenting;

        if you are capable, that you do consent; and
        if you are not capable that you do not object to the treatment

        If you are not capable of giving consent, the Court of Session must make an order declaring that the treatment may be lawfully given before it can go ahead.”

        Thank you Duane.

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          • My fault for not telling people in the first place to click on the tab that said ‘availability and consent’. It’s just that I hadn’t visited the link in question in some time, because it disgusts me so much that Scotland’s lawmakers think they have the right to slice pieces of its citizens brains out.

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          • It looks like it affects Scotland, but not England and Wales.

            This was difficult to get my head around:

            “In Scotland, NMD can be performed without your consent if you are not capable of giving consent and do not object, and the Court of Session (the Supreme Court in Scotland) has made an order declaring that the treatment may be lawfully given.”

            Confusing…. not capable of giving consent and do not object?

            What would keep them from insisting that if you are not “capable of giving consent” you are also not capable of objecting?

            It all sounds pretty frightening.

            Duane

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          • “Confusing…. not capable of giving consent and do not object?

            What would keep them from insisting that if you are not “capable of giving consent” you are also not capable of objecting?

            It all sounds pretty frightening.”

            Certain countries have a very peculiar government mantra called “unable to consent”, this should never be read literally, it is after all, a government assertion declaring by fiat that the things said, such as ‘no’, by the targeted citizen the government agents label “thought disordered”, shall count for naught, and that the person will be treated as if they are an unconscious ER patient with life threatening injuries, when in fact they are a conscious human being who has not consented to any doctor/patient relationship at all in many cases, and who does not have any demonstrable ‘medical’ disease.

            The bizarre ‘does not object’ wording in the Scottish forced psychiatry laws certainly needs to be seen in light of the duress that the detainee is under and the pummeling the targeted person’s brain is under at the time they would object. And the most likely target for lobotomy-like surgical psychiatric ‘procedures’ in the modern era is a middle aged or elderly person, with problems that have garnered them a ‘depression’ label or an ‘OCD’ label, that has been pummeled into the ground with years of electroshock, ‘biopsychiatry’ lies, and dozens upon dozens of different psychiatric drugs. While very rare, this is an issue that should not be ignored. The real issue here is, nobody gives informed consent to so called ‘psychosurgery’, everyone who gets this barbaric brain destroying procedure done, is a person who has been thoroughly convinced by charlatans masquerading as doctors that there is something wrong with their biology/brain. We know this cannot pass the smell test, but we know the smell of burning brains has been in the air when the Gamma Ray Knife is used in Scotland. It is terrifying I agree Duane. Only a parliament that has mindlessly bought into psychiatry’s unproven brain defect theories would even consider passing such a grotesque line of legislation. Psychiatry never ceases to contort decency worldwide, it’s been dining out on its genius tactic of hitching its wagon to real modern biomedicine’s authority for generations now, and legislators worldwide have deferred to these self styled experts and betrayed their citizenry over and over again. It’s a huge tragedy, infinitely more significant than any drug company graft.

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          • The game is rigged in regard to advance directives too:

            They can show as much contempt to your advance directive as they do for your right be free of brain assault:

            “Advance directives have no validity in relation to detention and treatment under the Mental Health Act in England and Wales because capacitous refusal of treatment can be overridden. (The Mental Health Act 2007 amends this in relation to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). A patient cannot be given ECT in the face of capacitous refusal, other than in an emergency (under section 62(a) or (b)). This also applies to advance directives refusing ECT.) It might have been argued that, given that a person who retains full decision-making ability cannot be detained in Scotland, an advance directive refusing detention, made by a fully capacitous person with a full understanding of the relevant circumstances, should be applicable and honoured. This was presumably a step too far. Account has to be taken of advance directives, as in England and Wales, but they can be overruled by the Scottish Act.”

            http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/14/2/81.full

            There no penalties for not “taking account” of them, a cheap scrawled handwritten note in the detainee’s forcibly established government dossier aka ‘psychiatric medical record’ can just note something like ‘considered advance statement, overruled’, than that legally covers the force-initiating psychiatrist if the patient was later to try and take action.

            Basically its the hubris of psychiatry saying that no citizen in society’s brain, man, woman, child, is off limits to them. The consideration of the citizenry as persons gets shoved to the side in favor of psychiatry’s bizarre conception of the individuals that make up society being nothing but a bunch of bubbling brain function, brain function labeled ‘defective’ or ‘healthy’ depending on what the DSM / ICD bibles say. There is very little psychiatry could do to dream of becoming more expansionary. To graduate in medicine and become a psychiatrist, is to be handed a skeleton key to the biology of unwilling strangers. Awesome, awful, terrifying power. To treat the bodies and biology of living, non-consenting, conscious human beings as though they are yours to tinker with, (especially when you cannot prove disease in said biology) is just so enormously inhumane, the heart sinks, words fail me. Man’s inhumanity to man.

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          • Thank you for posting that document Chrys. I’ve read a lot of these government “rights advice” flyers etc written intended to be read the human beings whose brains are currently owned by the government. Invariably they are sad, tragic documents that distress me to read. The hubris of putting in a document that someone can ‘complain’ right alongside laying out the laws that enable their consciousness to be hammered into the ground by government forced drugging, is just so tragic to read. The deck is always stacked, when those ‘complaining’, are expected to rely on a thinking organ ravaged by government forced drugging at the time they are lodging said ‘complaint’. It is a travesty of justice and anathema to basic human decency in every respect that people are targeted by these obscene laws. This is not to single out Scotland.

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  5. @anon

    Your making assumptions about my experiences now. Invalidating other peoples perspectives is what mental health services do, you might like to consider that before you jump to conclusions and demark what you personally feel is a “safe” opinion.

    What you are trying to do is close down the conversation rather than open it up because you don’t like where it leads.

    Life isn’t as simple as you are making out. I am afraid you are wrong to say that people who challenge society to such an extent that the use of force is wrong is incorrect. Many people pose a significant threat to society and society is quiet within its right to expect to be protected from those people.

    I’ll say it again. A legal and professional framework needs to exist for this to happen. At the moment it is a covert system that undermines professionalism. This is what needs to change.

    Your solution is just putting ones head in the sand as to the complexity of the problems.

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    • I’ve said numerous times that there are ways to control people without resorting to invasive forced drugging.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zv5_qh0orY

      This is a video (trigger warning), of Canadian teenage detainee Ashley Smith. She’s locked inside an institution, restrained, she can’t “threaten society”, yet the last place left untouched by the government, her inner world, her consciousness, is invaded by government forced drugging. To understand the position of opponents of forced drugging, consider that we do know the difference between “using force”, isolating, detaining, restraining, a detainee, and forced drugging. And we regularly highlight, the invasiveness factor, and the human rights at play in this government activity. The human right to bodily integrity is something we want respected for all. This isn’t about life, or “professionalism”, it is about government power and people’s political positions on human rights, the body, and the threats to those rights from these inhuman laws. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has had a lot to say this year on this too. He calls for the repeal of forced drugging laws.

      https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/03/after-the-statement-by-special-rapporteur-on-torture-taking-stock-of-where-we-are/

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  6. @Anon

    When I refuted your assertion that their are no people who threaten society at large I wasn’t suggesting that no abuse occurs. So posting a video about a 15 yr old girl does nothing to advance your argument. It only suggest that you aren’t prepared to looks at the issues and find practical solutions.

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    • “When I refuted your assertion that their are no people who threaten society at large”

      I asserted this? Doesn’t sound like me. Please stop misrepresenting and claiming I said things I didn’t. Pretty hard to refute an assertion I never made, I’d say.

      All forced drugging is an abuse of the human right to bodily integrity. This is why this issue has been revisited again and again by consecutive UN Rapporteurs on Torture. The video is the singularly most powerful filmed depiction of forced drugging released into the public domain in recent years, far from being ineffectual, and doing nothing for the abolitionist cause, it speaks thousands of words about every, every, instance of forced drugging. She wasn’t 15. The solution to a human rights abuse is for it to end.

      Please stop claiming I said things I didn’t say. I’m not going to be leaving another comment on this thread. If in high probability theinarticulatepoet makes yet another claim that s/he’s “refuted” something I didn’t say in the first place, the readers will understand why I stopped participating in this thread.

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      • @Anon

        You wrote on this thread: “Nobody deserves to have their body entered by force and its function meddled with by quacks who cannot prove their bodies are diseased.”

        The point is that it is not a matter of deserving, the point is that their exist in society people who would willfully and with malice of forethought do others significant harm. Society is quite within its rights to balance its need to protect itself with other considerations.

        At the moment, society through the auspices of the state delegates that technical job to psychiatrists.

        There are many problematic aspects to this. The fact that you don’t want to talk about them is fine. Those conversations will take place regardless and with out you anyway.

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        • Poet,

          The decision along the way to *delegate* the job to psychiatrists is the problem.

          Here in the U.S., the civil rights of an *individual* are paramount. This does *not* mean the state cannot intervene, when there is probable cause to suspect someone may be a threat to society.

          It *does* mean however that the person suspected of such threat is given due process. This is *not* happening at this time. Psychiatrists are allowed to make decisions that are in violation to our common law, our Constitution.

          In short, I’m with natural law, common law, due process, the Constitution.

          Duane

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          • Duane,

            Thanks. Yes, I agree with what you are saying. What I would say is that for historical reasons what has happened is that the technical job of deciding when to intervene, in the case of people who would willfully do others harm is one job. The second job is the more ordinary and routine professional work of engaging people who are distressed and clearly need something.

            Both of these roles are at the moment with in the orbit of psychiatry and both are bounded by essentially the same legislation.

            What I am positing, in part, is that disentangling these two different jobs is the first step to a solution.

            Not recognizing the difference between the two sorts of very different cases and trying to ban all forced “interventions” isn’t going to be helpful because society is always going to need to protect itself.

            That’s not very nuanced and a bit simplistic but that is the point I was getting at.

            Psychiatry isn’t the only profession that the state delegates to…

            I’m sure you are not anti-profession….

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          • To clarify, I am not referring to ‘common law’ as it pertains solely to precedence, but to the larger issue of a judge or jury being given some latitude.

            It is more malleable than either statutory or administrative law. It is in many ways ‘common sense’ law – and if exercised properly, would ideally lead to more options being offered as the new paradigm is created.

            A deeper appreciation by the courts in these particular ‘mental health’ cases of natural law and the Constitution, to include the due process clause of the 14th amendment should get it done.

            In liberty,

            Duane

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        • “There are many problematic aspects to this. The fact that you don’t want to talk about them is fine.”

          Theinarticulatepoet,

          Anonymous has done yeoman’s work on this page, speaking the truth. He has been purely brilliant, helping to inform us, regarding the most serious dangers that exist in the realm of Psychiatry currently.

          (Of course, others on this page have helped too; e.g., Chrys deserves special mention for the blogging she’s done on neurosurgery for so-called “mental disorder”.)

          Anonymous gave very good reasons for signing off, at last.

          Mainly, he explained, that you are misrepresenting his views, and that makes speaking with you impossible.

          Indeed, you have misrepresented his views, repeatedly.

          You have done so previously, with me, but you did a fair job of clearing that up; and, I’m inclined to feel that this was not something you did intentionally; so, here I’m speaking with you — because you seem to want to go on…

          And, I have just a bit of time, on my hands.

          So, I am engaging you, where Anonymous left off. Naturally, I cannot speak for him, of course; but, I do quite agree with all his major points, as conveyed, in this thread.

          So, here I am — less eloquent, necessarily, but surely interested in carrying on, however I can, this discussion, which you’re apparently craving.

          So, whether or not you are interested in my P.O.V., here it is…

          Of course, society protects itself from, “people who would willfully and with malice of forethought do others significant harm,” by way of developing and maintaining a *variety* of Systems-of-Control.

          That’s plainly obvious, I think.

          And, yet, you conclude, “At the moment, society through the auspices of the state delegates that technical job to psychiatrists,” i.e., from what you say, apparently, you believe it delegates that job to the Psychiatric System, period.

          I don’t believe that psychiatrist have gained that much control, throughout society, generally speaking; but, maybe they have gained more of that sort of control where you live (in the U.K.).

          But, you mention no other system; and, wonder: Do you truly believe that society, generally speaking, has gone that far, where you live? It has turned all its security needs, over to psychiatrists???

          You believe that, really?

          Or, have you inadvertently misspoken?

          Is that all-powerful psychiatric system which you describe, perhaps, just wishful thinking on your part?

          I seriously wonder.

          Meanwhile, I know that’s just one System of Control; arguably, in every democracy, the most powerful system of control is the Criminal Justice System.

          But, there are Civil Courts, too, which maintain social control (of course).

          Here I’m speaking of The Justice System, in general.

          In your view no such system exists, as apart from Psychiatry; and, in your view, Psychiatrist control those systems, ultimately???

          Or, you’ve simply forgotten about the certain limits of existent psychiatric power???

          Please, do tell…

          I am sincerely interested — largely because I do believe you are onto something, which is intriguing; I believe you are (in a very real sense) helping to educate me, as to why I should more dearly appreciate the fact that I am a U.S. citizen.

          I believe, quite possibly, you are revealing certain, extremely grave features of your country’s ‘socialist’ system.

          Respectfully,

          ~Jonah

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          • Support your views Phil.

            Inarticulatepoet – lack of social supports – even with them sometimes that isn’t ideal and doesn’t work out for everyone. Yes there are some circumstances for very very limited use of short term detainment and use of medication [not of the holding down variety].

            Absolutist positions can sometimes appear familiar to what is purported to be fought, just the flip side of it [recovery can be a fine example of that].

            ‘Necessary’ Jonah could mean severe sleep deprivation at a level there is serious physical decline, or a young person who’s eating distress is close to death, or a person who is visibly and immediately a danger to someone else whilst in a state of differences of perception/mistrust, a danger to self in a way that is potentially lethal but not intended to be so i.e. self-harm without suicidal intent but using methods of lethal risk [paradox but it happens]. Very short term i.e. for sleep, get an IV in, for dire emergencies but not endless forced drugging forevermore.

            No one is the bearer of the absolute truth for everyone.

            This bizarre term ‘socialised medicine’ reveals much about some deeply ingrained American fears [thankfully not all]

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          • “‘Necessary’ Jonah could mean…”

            @ Joanna Care,

            I would like to respond to your comment (of June 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm) concerning that point, which you’re addressing to me — but am finding myself at a loss, not knowing how to read your words.

            Quite possibly, this is my problem, not yours (i.e., a failure to clearly read you — as well as failure to clearly read Dr. Thomas).

            I had asked Dr. Thomas could he please be more clear about his (and, perhaps, CPN’s) position on *force* — specifically, in regards to this question, does he or does he not consider it ‘necessary’ to *force* psych-drugs on some people.

            You seem to be attempting to respond as a proxy for Dr. Thomas — but I’m unsure.

            In any case, I would like to know what you are saying now, as I believe that (according to your choice of user name) you are presenting yourself as a professional “care” provider; and, you do seem to be offering suggestions of what would be (in your view) ‘necessary’ kinds of care.

            It’s my feeling that any professionals who, in the midst of their fleshing out ‘mental health care’ policies, are considering the *forced* imposition of psych-drugs to be sometimes ‘necessary’ should, at least, be *clear* that they do are thinking that way.

            They should be very clear about that, hopefully — as is Theinarticulatepoet (s/he is quite clearly a supporter of force, in certain instances).

            I really appreciate Theinarticulatepoet’s upfront honesty, in these regards.

            After all, I like to know who can or cannot be trusted to administer care that is genuinely caring.

            Your statement, that, “Absolutist positions can sometimes appear familiar…” etc., is truly unintelligible, from my point of view.

            (Can you please clarify yourself, on that point, too?)

            It seems to me, that Dr. Thomas (who presents certain positions that I do *greatly* respect, in many ways) is not yet perfectly clear on this matter (at least, not on this Web page). That’s OK, especially because we really are going way ‘off topic’ by discussing all this.

            Yet, Theinarticulatepoet is perfectly clear, on this score; he is a promoter of forced “medication” (presumably, that refers to psych-drugs); and, Anonymous has done us MIA readers a great service by highlighting this.

            Now, I am wondering, do you or do you not think it’s sometimes ‘necessary’ to *force* psych-drugs on people?

            You say, “Support your views Phil” (to Dr. Philip Thomas is not doing enough to promote his own positions); i.e., it seems to me that you feel Dr. Thomas should be more fully expressive of his views, than he has been, on this page, by this point in time.

            Meanwhile, I would like *you* to support your views, in this instance.

            I.e., I wonder, simply: Do you, in fact, advocate *forcing* psych-drugs upon some people.

            Any direct answer, from you, would be *greatly* appreciated by me; even a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer would be nice…

            Respectfully,

            ~Jonah

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        • Poet,

          The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that forced treatment is a “massive curtailment of liberty.”

          These situations each deserve real court trials, because there is so much at stake.

          The State has the responsibility to prove its case for dangerousness. Unfortunately, not beyond a reasonable doubt (criminal case), but beyond a preponderance of evidence (as required in a civil case).

          According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the State must show “clear and convincing evidence” of dangerousness.

          And the States don’t.
          Psychiatry does not.
          And there simply are no *reasons* why this continues to take place.
          There are lots of *excuses*, but I’ve yet to hear one good reason.

          For anyone who argues that someone does not deserve a real trial, with a real attorney… Anyone who would argue that it’s okay for the State to arbitrarily force treatment, based on the testimony of a shrink in a mental health court, I would say,

          “Okay, you first.”

          Duane

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  7. Jonah

    “You seem to be attempting to respond as a proxy for Dr. Thomas — but I’m unsure”.

    No, I can categorically reassure you that my views are always my own, I wished to say to him that I supported his position, just as I have have with other writers.

    “you are presenting yourself as a professional “care” provider;”

    I am not a paid professional care provider, I am a psychiatric survivor, activist, and many years ago [20] worked in ‘service provision’ in a NGO and the NHS as a non-professional care provider but ended up leaving as it drove me mad [I was not prepared to lie to anyone I worked with and was not able to do anything against a person’s expressed wishes].
    Otherwise the support I have offered friends and other survivors has been unpaid; advocacy and simply ‘being with’, listening, practical asssistance.
    You can judge me as to whether I am ‘caring’ or trustworthy as you so wish.

    “Absolutist positions can sometimes appear familiar…” etc., is truly unintelligible, from my point of view”.

    That’s easy for me to explain, here’s a simple example – biological psychiatry = you have a biochemical imbalance take these drugs and get on with it, and the mafia end of recovery = you must not take drugs/take professional support/take any state support.
    Two fundamentalist positions. If you haven’t come across it, I have, you can choose to believe/disbelieve.

    “You say, “Support your views Phil” (to Dr. Philip Thomas is not doing enough to promote his own positions); i.e., it seems to me that you feel Dr. Thomas should be more fully expressive of his views, than he has been, on this page, by this point in time”.

    You’re over analysing, I say to many people when I support and don’t support their views. It’s entirely down to those individuals as to whether they express more.

    “I.e., I wonder, simply: Do you, in fact, advocate *forcing* psych-drugs upon some people”.

    I’ve never advocated forced medicating, but I am saying that there are very limited circumstances where it may be necessary to strenuously persuade a person to consider taking something for a few days i.e extreme sleep deprivation but I just couldn’t see anyone held down and injected. Likewise, a teenager near death because of anorexia needing some immediate life saving i.e. glucose/electrolyte correction, if you’re asking me would I see that young person held down to get an IV in I’d have to say no, but could I live with their death on my conscious? I don’t know to be honest. These sorts of questions are not easily answered YES/NO, maybe they are for you but not me. I agonise over them.

    Do I think there is sometimes a place for very limited short term detainment in extreme circumstances without forced treatment? Yes I do. Who should take that decision, I don’t know.

    Judge me as you wish, but I won’t apologise for not having all the answers or the “right” answers according to you

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    • Joanna Care,

      Your response is clarifying.

      Reading it has helped me to see that I had been *completely* misreading the meaning in your first line; i.e, I had misinterpreted the meaning of, “Support your work Phil.”

      So, please, forgive me for mis-perceiving, that you might have been attempting to speak for Dr. Thomas (as opposed to your simply concurring with the gist of his words).

      You say I was “over analysing,” but I think I was just failing to realize that you’d left the subject “I” out of your sentence.

      In any case, you say, at last, “Judge me as you wish, but I won’t apologise for not having all the answers or the “right” answers according to you.”

      To that I’ll respond: Actually, I like your answers. I find them *very* respectable — and, really, much better than I could possibly have anticipated — in this sense, of their being far more positively informative than what might otherwise have been derived from your simply saying, ‘no’.

      You really could have said ‘no’ — quite honestly, it seems to me. This is to say, that: In my view, from all that you’re saying in your very clarifying comment, indeed, you have *not* ever (nor would you ever) advocate *forcing* psych-drugs on anyone.

      That’s truly wonderful, especially considering all the extensive involvement that you indicate you’ve had, over many years, with those who require caring.

      IMHO, from all you say, you do care, *quite* a lot; so, you have every good reason to consider yourself caring…

      It’s a very good user name you’ve chosen for yourself — very fitting.

      Again, thanks for responding…

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

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  8. That’s ok Jonah, we can all misperceive sometimes.

    To clarify further on the forced drugging issue – because I’d like to – although we’re often referring to forced injections, being pinned down, pants down, needle rammed in – yes I’m against that – but there are other ways to force drugs or give without knowledge and clear permission. For example liquid form drugs in a cup, or put in a drink.
    In my stated position that there are some very limited circumstances where I feel it is reasonable to detain a person for a short period [I don’t know who should take that decision], let’s say I’m looking a 14 yr old anorexic close to death or someone close to serious physical breakdown because of sleep deprivation then I can’t rule out that I wouldn’t agree to using a cup or put it in a drink as a means of inducing sleep, get an IV in.
    So that is a form of forced treatment, I won’t delude myself otherwise, could I do it myself to someone? No. Do there need to be people who can? I think so. This doesn’t mean it rests easy with me, it doesn’t, but then it shouldn’t.
    I’d have to weigh up can I live with the least violent means of saving a person’s life, or can I live with the person’s death when that might have been saved. I’d probably have to go with living with the guilt of using the least violent means to save.

    Yes I do care a great deal, and not solely about the state of psychiatry and my fellow survivors, but also deeply about the state of my country and what is happening to citizens, I wish I could switch off sometimes because I can end up feeling saturated with the distress all around me to the point of feeling ill. My voices can then grab it and hold me responsible for global atrocities.
    My user name was quite by default, I’m not that media savvy, and when I registered I put in a first name and assumed I needed a surname too, I just looked at the nearest paper to me taking the first word I saw ‘care’, it could just as easily have been ‘cupcake’!

    Thanks for hearing me out

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    • “…can I live with the least violent means of saving a person’s life, or can I live with the person’s death when that might have been saved. I’d probably have to go with living with the guilt of using the least violent means to save.”

      Joanna Care,

      In the essence, of your statement (directly above, in quotes), we find, I believe, an extremely common rationale, amongst psychiatric workers (and amongst many or most families who rely most heavily upon the ‘services’ of the so-called “mental health systems” everywhere); that rational keeps medical-coercive psychiatry alive and kicking.

      It reflects a terrible lot of well-meaning ignorance, I believe — as does your entire comment.

      Compassionate though it may sound (in theory), it leads millions to endless misery.

      And, while I do believe it is spawned from a genuine sense of caring and desire to do good, it should be refuted.

      I wish I had the time and energy to refute it now, but I don’t.

      (Please understand, I’m not just saying that; it’s really true: I haven’t time or energy now — am currently in the midst of dealing with a bit of a health crisis, in my immediate family, which has greatly deprived me of sleep, lately. I should be sleeping now, but couldn’t sleep — as I had read your comment and it stayed on my mind, keeping me awake…)

      Please know, all I feel is grief as I read this second — even more clarifying — explanation of your position on *forced* use of psych-meds.

      To find that you would condone *secretly* “medicating” people, is very disappointing.

      Respectfully,

      ~Jonah

      P.S. — Joanna, IMHO, that sort of ‘care’ is at least as bad (and, could even be far worse) than forcibly sticking someone with a needle.

      (At least, the person who is forcibly stuck with a needle has a chance to recognize that s/he is being drugged and that such is *causing* any and all subsequent “medical” so-called “side-effects,” which s/he may experience. Whoever is, on the contrary, drugged superstitiously can, then, be very easily convinced that the subsequent effects of that drugging are supposedly part and parcel of a supposed “mental illness”. In fact, as soon as s/he is drugged, s/he will, almost certainly, take on the appearance of a typical “in patient” of psychiatry — slowed mentation and delayed reflexes, etc.; and, that appearance goes a long way toward convincing one and all that s/he really ‘needed’ such ‘medical treatment’.)

      I am terribly disappointed in you, but I thank you for your honesty.

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      • I referred to the most extreme of circumstances which many taking absolutist positions often refuse to look at as though they don’t exist and simple black and white answers of live/die/sink/swim.

        My views are not carved into tablets of stone, I’m open to evolving but it’s ahuman response Jonah, I can live with disappointing you with my honesty which you can write off as ignorance.

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        • So you tell me what you would do then Jonah?

          If you’re a survivor not condemning millions to misery in stupid ignorance like me you tell me what you would do if faced with a situation where sleep or an IV meant the difference between life or death?

          Got any comment on the insanity plea as well?
          Should those women just go to prison and screw what they’ve been through as abused children?

          Where is your compassion [and humility]

          ps don’t sign “respectfully” unless you actually mean it

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          • I am with Jonah here, 100%.

            Jonah has been very respectful in all his interventions.

            It seems to me that your only problem with the current system is not what they do (forced incarceration, forced drugging, etc) but the degree to which they do it and the target of their abuse (ie, it seems you would let them do it in much narrower circumstances than they currently do it). But in essence, you are fin with “involuntary treatment” which I would call “involuntary abuse”.

            That is a very different perspective from mine, and from what I read, Jonah’s and -Anonymous’. I am against ALL so called “involuntary treatment” which to me is nothing more than a legally sanctioned human rights abuse.

            And the reason I am against these abuses is twofold. First because it is an abuse; that alone should be enough to convince those who care about human rights. But second, psychiatry’s legally sanctioned status as a coercive force is the root of all its evilness. Its ability to impose both its “treatments” and, even worse, its “reasoning” -even though it is not scientific- is derived from its status as a coercive force.

            As long as people are fine with psychiatry having that status, psychiatry will have a free reign to continue perpetrating abuses and ruining lives.

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          • Joanna Care writes,

            “Got any comment on the insanity plea as well?
            Should those women just go to prison and screw what they’ve been through as abused children?

            Where is your compassion [and humility]”

            What???

            Joanna Care,

            This comment of yours (on June 9, 2013 at 7:38 am) does not make any sense to me, as you are bringing in the issue of the ‘insanity plea’ — which you raised, in a *separate* comment, below.

            You were not addressing that comment to me — nor to anyone in particular.

            If one presumes it is directed at anyone, one should presume it is directed at the blogger (Dr. Thomas), I believe.

            Or else, we can presume it is simply an open-ended comment.

            No one has replied to that comment (yet).

            Maybe someone will, soon enough; in fact, I might do so…

            But, in any event, I wonder: Why do single me out, making me seem like a bad guy — lacking compassion for the women you mentioned in that comment?

            ?

            Am I somehow ‘wrong’ for my not having addressed matters you raised in that comment?

            I don’t get it.

            Respectfully,

            ~Jonah

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          • Joanna Care,

            Now, I see Matthew has addressed that comment of yours; great.

            Meanwhile, hopefully, you can understand my sense of confusion, at wondering why you’ve thrown the ‘insanity defense’ issue into your complaint, about me…

            Again, here, I emphasize: That comment, of yours, was not addressed to me (and, I have said nothing on this page about that issue).

            Respectfully,

            ~Jonah

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          • cannotsay
            “I am with Jonah here, 100%”.

            You’re 100% with anyone who disagrees with me, it could be anything.

            “Jonah has been very respectful in all his interventions”.

            No Jonah has not otherwise the moderator would not have felt inclined to say something, but you would say that of anyone who disagrees with me, it could be anything.

            Very obvious pattern, happens on most websites with discussion, there are always people who do that so it no longer bothers me because I see it for what it is.

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          • Joanna Care,

            This is what I said,

            “I am with Jonah here, 100%”

            This is what I have NOT said,

            “You’re 100% with anyone who disagrees with me, it could be anything.”

            Those who have followed previous exchanges with Jonah know that there are areas in which he and I disagree, namely, how US coercive psychiatry compares with European coercive psychiatry.

            However, here, the matter at hand, ie, that coercive psychiatry is not justified under ANY circumstance, I am 100% in agreement with Jonah.

            Do I disagree with you more often than not? Sure, but that’s an entire different matter altogether :D.

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      • As a moderator I want to point out that this post is pushing an edge. To write (I paraphrase for concision, but do not mean to negate the full content of your comment) “you’re ignorant and I’m disappointed in you but I can’t be bothered to tell you exactly why right now,” is not a civil form discourse. I know I would feel pretty perturbed reading something like this directed toward me, because this kind of language is often used in personal attacks. This is not to delegitimize your family issues, which I’m sure are serious and genuinely keeping you from spending more time on this comment!

        To me, an amazing benefit of online communication is that it can span across time and space so we have the freedom to only post when we are at our best. I think I should add something about this to the posting guidelines.

        It my mind it is better to simply delay response until I am am able to do so thoroughly. That being said, I don’t want to get into judging subtle intricacies of peoples’ communication style, so please take take this as a suggestion, and not as a new rule being invoked.

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        • Matthew,

          I have just now come back to reading this thread (after catching 3.5 hours of sleep) and am surprised at finding your comment to me.

          You have paraphrased my expressions in a way, which is unfair.

          In fact, from my albeit subject viewpoint, as I now reread my preceding comment (the one which you are critiquing), I find *nothing* about it indicating what you say.

          You paraphrase me with these following words, “I can’t be bothered to tell you exactly why right now…”

          That’s absurd; I can’t even begin to imagine why you read me that way; you are putting words in my mouth; nowhere have I said anything even remotely like that.

          “…I can’t be bothered with…” ???

          That is a total distortion of my expressions.

          You have a hard job, monitoring these conversations; I do not envy you that job; but, it is an important job, I feel (very important), and you will inevitably make mistakes. Here I feel you’ve made a mistake.

          But, in no way do I condemn you for it.

          In order to avoid repeating such a mistake, please, next time you are inclined to critique a commenter, don’t paraphrase.

          Respectfully,

          ~Jonah

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          • ‘Compassion’ was not meant specifically in relation to my criminal justice system comment [which was to anyone] more about inviting you to comment on issues such as these along with forced containment/drugs where you don’t tend to offer a view on what you would do. You questioned whether I care, cast me in a certain light, when you thought I agreed to your views I was recast, you shift pretty easily.
            Before you comment on my not being clear, may I remind you that you made several incorrect assumptions yourself about me which we cleared up earlier.
            ‘Humility’, because you effectively called me a stupid waste of space and that is not conducive to persuasion or learning, I know you’ll not apologise for that. Your communication style can come across as arrogant, asking questions you think you know the answer to with a sarcastic edge, belittling, you can paraphrase, and pull apart every word and sentence structure. You’re adversarial in a way which would be great in a public debate with a psychiatrist, you’d wipe the floor with them, but I am not your enemy, nor the enemy of fellow survivors, you’re quick to be judge and jury on people.
            At least I’m prepared to take the risk of putting thoughts out there as I wish to broaden my thinking, you often don’t give people a chance to breathe and reflect. I know that you wouldn’t view me as offering anything you could ever take something useful from, but your communication style can makes it difficult for others to learn from you..your attitude gets in the way.

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  9. I’d also like to say something further on the ‘insanity plea’.

    I feel there needs to be some provision within the criminal justice system to recognise a crime committed within extreme distress from premeditated cold blooded maliciousness.

    I say this because of the women I met in our high secure hospitals years ago [we have 3], their words and lives remain burnt into my memory. Some had committed arson but ensured no one was in the building. The fire service ‘save’, whereas the police/ambulance service can manhandle/cuff you and convey you to a cell/hospital. I know we can pick holes with this rationale but I’m relaying their words.
    They had typically been victims of the most horrific crimes as children, many had no one outside, had been let down by social services, and it was a like a form of ‘self-defence’ against a world that stood by and did nothing, and a very desperate cry for help, well a bloody big scream really.
    They had committed a crime. They should not however be in prison, they don’t belong there, they need help.
    They also don’t belong in a high secure hospital being drugged up for years. So this is why I can’t go with an absolutist position of go die if you want/go to prison if you commit a crime, because there are shades of grey, and that’s one of them.

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    • I think it’s likely that most people who commit major crimes have some history of trauma, neglect, or being failed by social systems. Many do benefit from efforts toward psychological and emotional rehabilitation when they are (rarely) offered in prisons. What you’e raising is a good point that ought to involve an overhaul of the entire criminal justice system, not only the “prision or hospital” double-bind.

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      • Yes Matthew, that is what I’m saying, that we have to address the “mad/bad” arbitrary divide, some of the crimes are also not major, there are far too many people in prison for low level crime when they simply need social and psychological help. I’ve said before that psychiatry does not exist in a vacuum, there needs to be an overhaul of the criminal justice system, health and political systems

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        • Oh dear, this does smack of a call for revolution, or am I projecting my own ideas?

          If so I’m not a one to dissagree, just a bit tired right now.

          But basically I did some work with a psychiatrist who did work with people who were violent in prison. Some were serial killers. They all had horrific histories, often with being victims of extreme violence in childhood.

          Once you have this viewpoint, that violence is a reaction to trauma, the whole criminal justice system looks stupid, nasty and often irrelevent – much like psyhicatry really

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  10. Dina Poursanidou, British survivor activist:

    “I strongly distrust paternalism of any kind and wherever it may come from – be it biomedical psychiatrists, psychosocial therapists or mental health activists. Members of all three groups very often behave as if they know best when it comes to ‘the right’ way of dealing with mental distress”.

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  11. Joanna Care,

    Here I am responding to your last reply to me, above (on June 9, 2013 at 11:39 am). First, and foremost, I object to your repeated declarations, that I’ve called you stupid.

    “you effectively called me a stupid waste of space and that is not conducive to persuasion or learning…”

    A “stupid waste of space”???

    What???

    To the contrary, it is *you* who are calling yourself stupid; *you* did so, in your immediately preceding comment to me (on June 9, 2013 at 7:38 am).

    You wrote, “If you’re a survivor not condemning millions to misery in stupid ignorance like me you tell me what you would do if faced with a situation where sleep or an IV meant the difference between life or death?”

    Ugh. That is such a sad response.

    You have apparently merged two fairly disparate concepts — that of ‘stupidity’ and that ‘ignorance’; this is terribly unfortunate.

    IMO, to be ignorant, on some level, is not being stupid; it is simply being blind to something.

    “Stupid” is a pejorative word (applied as a personal label, it is an unmistakable insult — a real slap in the face, that you *won’t* find me applying to anyone, ever, online).

    In fact, in ‘real’ life (i.e., in my daily life, offline), I am a parent who has very carefully taught his child that it is *not* right to call other kids “stupid” — not even kids who seem most ignorant. In fact, I have made very clear to my child that she should not, for any reason, consider herself ‘superior’ to others.

    (Note: In daily conversation, I *might* possibly use “stupid” to describe someone’s specific political agenda or *idea* that seems ‘stupid’ to me, but I don’t often use that word much — and would certainly *not* do so, in my comments critiquing anyone’s ideas on this website — absolutely not.)

    Why do you feel I called you stupid?

    What I wrote to you yesterday morning, above (on June 9, 2013 at 7:01 am), was that I feel a certain statement of yours, “reflects a terrible lot of well-meaning ignorance, I believe — as does your entire comment.”

    I explained, “Compassionate though it may sound (in theory), it leads millions to endless misery.”

    You took *huge* offense at my saying so (clearly); that’s understandable, now that I happened upon other comments which you’ve recently left, on another thread; I don’t blame you for taking offense, because I see where you’re coming from; but, it was not my intent to offend you, nor was it my intent to imply you are waste of space.

    (I have subequently read some of your recent comments on Jill Littrell’s recent blog post — “Talk Therapy Can Cause Harm, Too; thus, it is obvious to me that, because you have been treated poorly — and, perhaps, as though worthless — by some others, including psychiatrists, you may be someone quick to take offense now, thinking that I am disregarding the value of your contributions, on this website.)

    But, please know: I do feel you contribute much good to this site. I have not said that to you previously; perhaps, I should have; but, another commenter has (quite recently) insisted that my complimenting others with whom I am in disagreement appears as though empty flattery.

    In fact, about that first comment I offered you, yesterday morning: I probably would have begun it by explaining to you, that I appreciate many of your comments, on this site, but I very deliberately chose to resist doing that, because this other commenter has been rather convincing, at last, in arguing that I should just be direct, get to my point — if/when I am to critique someone’s views.

    In particular, she said she literally cringes every time I mention that I know someone is well-meaning. I have, to some extent, taken that message to heart. (Though, I do surely believe that people’s well-meaning intentions are meaningful — and, thus, should not be discounted, ever.)

    Anyway, in my comment to you, early yesterday morning, I was just being straightforward.

    You took offense, and I can understand that; but, I was not meaning to offend.

    So, about your most recent comment to me (on June 9, 2013 at 11:39 am), I must say now, you offer various opinions of me, which are quite jolting.

    You say to me, “Your communication style can come across as arrogant, asking questions you think you know the answer to with a sarcastic edge, belittling, you can paraphrase, and pull apart every word and sentence structure. You’re adversarial in a way which would be great in a public debate with a psychiatrist, you’d wipe the floor with them, but I am not your enemy, nor the enemy of fellow survivors, you’re quick to be judge and jury on people.”

    Wow.

    I am speechless each time I reread that paragraph. Really. I don’t view my comments that way — at all; I view my comments as being highly respectful, always. [One exception: Roughly a year ago, there was one brand-new MIA blogger who’s first blog was, I felt, so *totally* offensive, because it was so *pro* psychiatric labeling (and, thus, so triggering for me), I left a couple of brief, sarcastic remarks — which were very quickly removed by the moderator. A couple of other commenters were similarly sarcastic, toward her; they, too, had comments removed. Having been rebuked by the moderator — and, feeling afterward, that maybe I could have expressed myself more directly — since then, I have been quite careful to *avoid* being sarcastic in my comments, on this site.]

    About you saying, “Your communication style can come across as arrogant,” I think anyone who is explaining anything can come across that way, to those who are sensitive to ‘authority’ figures.

    I try to be direct, about what I feel I *know* from personal experience; overcoming the hesitancy to speak my truth, in writing, is part of my process of healing from psychiatric abuse. (My feeling is that medical-coercive psychiatry teaches — or ‘brain-washes’ — people into being hesitant.) You may find that style of mine troubling; but, that is just life; you can ignore my comments, if you wish to…

    Meanwhile, about your feeling that I seem arrogant and sarcastic, I suppose you could be referring to how I’ve addressed Theinarticulatepoet, on this page.

    Theinarticulatepoet offered a few lines and comments, above (which were *very* well addressed by Anonymous) — which required serious rebuttal. My comment to Theinarticulatepoet was self-assured (not arrogant, nor sarcastic). Indeed, I would have loved to have got an answer the the question I posed, to him.

    Never (i.e., not ever — not on this site, nor elsewhere, online) do I ask questions which I know the answer to — at least, not any more than might any Socratic questioner. (Note: There is a style of questioning which I highly admire, but I don’t feel I use it on this site.)

    In fact, I’d love you to, please, give me even one example of where you feel I’ve questioned someone while actually knowing the answer — as I’d like to know what you’re referring to; because, as far as I know, you’re simply reading such a supposed tendency into my words, which simply does not exist.

    I assure you: if I knew the answers to the questions I was asking, I would *not* ask them — especially, in my comments, on this website. I ask questions only when I am sincerely curious.

    Respectfully,

    ~Jonah

    P.S. — Later I will offer another comment — moving on — hoping to get past your having taken offense, addressing the real issues, at hand…

    Please (I beg you), do not take offense at my leaving off here, for the time being. (As mentioned previously, we are in the midst of a bit of family health crisis, here at home; and, I must tend to my family’s needs.)

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  12. Dear Joanna Care,

    I have deliberately begun this comment with the word, “Dear” — as a gesture of kindness — in all sincerity, as I am hoping to dispel your sense, that I ever came to see you as an adversary.

    On June 9, 2013 at 11:39 am (above), you wrote, to me,

    “You’re adversarial in a way which would be great in a public debate with a psychiatrist, you’d wipe the floor with them, but I am not your enemy, nor the enemy of fellow survivors, you’re quick to be judge and jury on people.”

    Really, from my point of view, you do *not* seem to be (nor have you *ever* seemed) an adversary; and, of course, you are not an enemy.

    (Note: I believe the concept of ‘enemies’ refers to a *much* more *extremely* conflicting sort of relationship, than that of ‘adversaries’; many people are adversaries, in various ways, without ever becoming enemies.)

    From what little I know of you (from reading some of your comments, on this site), I think of you as a fellow psychiatric survivor.

    Furthermore, in many ways, you are someone whom I can and do learn from, by my reading, of your comments.

    In fact, I will say this: I like you, and I appreciate your presence, in these MIA discussions. You contribute a great deal of good to the atmosphere.

    Now, in the interest of avoiding overwhelming you with more compliments, I will, here, go on, to add this:

    In my ‘real’ life — i.e., in my daily life, here, at home (in the U.S.) — I don’t socialize with *anyone* who advocates for *forced* psych ‘treatment’ (i.e., psych-drugs, etc.).

    Of course, *many* people do advocate that — at least, informally…

    If it’s not a major preoccupation for them, then, I can be fairly congenial with such people, as defined by this dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Congeniality

    But, if they present themselves as “activists” in the realm of ‘mental health care’ and are, simultaneously, expressing a sense of condoning *forced* ‘treatment,’ then I take issue with them — or simply dismiss them (i.e., I may aim to just plain have *nothing* to do with them).

    Why might I become dismissive of them?

    I think it is mainly because I feel I haven’t the time or energy to deal with such people.

    Maybe you sensed my tendency to become dismissive, of ‘activists’ of that kind. (Almost certainly you did.)

    And, maybe that is why you subsequently explained, “My views are not carved into tablets of stone, I’m open to evolving but it’s a human response Jonah, I can live with disappointing you with my honesty which you can write off as ignorance.”

    I deeply appreciate your having said that; it means a lot, I feel; that comment of yours (on June 9, 2013 at 7:24 am) was really quite good; I liked it the moment I read it.

    (Unfortunately, you quickly posted a couple more comments, which may have been overkill.)

    Had you left me with just that one brief comment, to consider, then, surely, rather soon, in the course of time (i.e., when I had cleared my plate just a bit, here at home), I would have addressed you with a certain, clear appreciation, thanking you for it.

    That never happened, and I’m sure you understand why; it’s because you offered more comments, some of which (as already mentioned) were confusing to me.

    Now, I am posting this — because it is nearly 24 hours from the time of my last comment, above, in which I’d said I would be posting my next comment sometime within the next 24 hrs.

    Please, stay tuned for more — later on today…

    Respectfully,

    ~Jonah

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  13. Hey thanks Jonah, for extending your hand as a survivor to me as a survivor, that means a lot.
    May I share something personal by way of explaining something of my ‘overwhelm’ sometimes.
    The suffering around us and the excruciatingly difficult decisions within that I can soak up like a sponge to the point where…I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of the ‘sin eater’..I can’t properly put this into words because it’s enmeshed with my voices but also a part of me in relation to the world. The general ‘unfeeling’ in people about many issues – I’m speaking generally not about you – I can’t grasp it, it’s like when you’re on a train, someone dies on the track [suicide] but people around you make comments about how pissed off they are because they’re late/how selfish, and I want to scream out ‘they’re someone’s brother/sister’. I’ve seen some of my friends die unnecessarily, through traumatic experience, psychiatry, social circumstances, and I rail against the unnecessary loss [not the loss which was right for some people, as right as it ever can be]. I don’t know if this makes sense it just matters to me that you know my ‘overwhelm’ sometimes is about feeling so much about the state of everything. Sometimes I have to stop myself from screaming out to people on the street or when over hearing them at a bus stop when they pass comment about ‘that community care case’ or ‘those down and outs’..why don’t you care, how can this not matter to you??
    I know that I can carry this like lead weights around with me, and sometimes it’s frankly exhausting.

    I accept your point about overkill, maybe I can misplace some of my anguish within other things or people, and if I did with you, please accept my apology.

    I really do appreciate where you’re coming from about forced meds, and I can understand you not wanting to be around anyone who does, I feel that way about some things too. The only difference we have on that issue is on potential loss of life where it might be of the ‘unnecessary’ variety. As I said, it’s something I wrestle with massively – it’s a gut human response I have, not one of ideological righteousness. I so wish I knew what was right..

    Anyhow, I want you to know that I understand a little more about you, where you’re coming from – and that I value you.
    I sometimes think we learn more through the differences and challenging of each other, all of us are individually and collectively carving a really hard path to make it easier for future generations.

    Now may I be nerdy and hopefully raise a smile for you – 3rd picture at the top in the gallery, the ‘Borg’ – that sad git is me.Have a good laugh at my expense: http://www.startreklondon.com/gallery?limitstart=0

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    • “I sometimes think we learn more through the differences and challenging of each other, all of us are individually and collectively carving a really hard path to make it easier for future generations.”

      Joanna Care,

      Yes, that’s true. And, surely, I accept your apology.

      And, by the way, please know: my sense of disappointment, as conveyed to you, in my comment, was enlarged by the stress and sleeplessness of the family health issues I briefly mentioned – and by my laying awake, recalling having been traumatized by medical-coercive psychiatry, decades ago. It came directly from all that; and, this was quite clear to me, as I felt it; but, it didn’t occur to me, to say so, to you.

      Perhaps, I should have said so? But, I had no energy or will to articulate myself, that way — and, instead, expected you to automatically understand that my distress and my feeling unable to get to sleep was a matter of all kinds of issues; so, I apologize if my disappointment was conveyed in a way that seemingly suggested you should feel disappointed in yourself — or suggested that I might view you as the ‘adversary’; and, oh, thanks, too, for being momentarily nerdy. As a kid, I enjoyed the first Star Trek series – but never saw anything of the subsequent ‘generations’ of shows and films. (Though, I appreciate good sci-fi; and, yes, I do get the idea behind the ‘Borg’ characters; the theme is germane to our discussion, you must well realize.)

      Wikipedia explains, “The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to ‘the hive mind’; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of cybernetic implants. The Borg’s ultimate goal is ‘achieving perfection’.”

      You are *not* really a Borg (you only play one at Star Trek conventions). You are against being a Borg, in reality; that is clear from your caring expressions.

      Were you ever a Borg, really? in a past-life, maybe? I don’t know if you believe in them (I don’t, really).

      Meanwhile, I do know, that: by violence, abductions, and injections of psychopharmaceutical drugs, I was, in fact, forcibly robotized for the better part of three and a half years (that was in the heart of my early twenties); that was thanks to medical-coercive psychiatry (which is not aiming for ‘perfection’ – only hoping to “save normal” …as the famous Dr Allen Frances puts it).

      You shared your sense of ‘overwhelm’ and where it comes from. I think I know what you mean.

      Where I live, I do not have any occasion to hear of people throwing themselves under trains while other people complain that their time is, thus, being wasted; but, I do often get over-saturated with news media — especially, heavy current events -– and must remind myself that it’s *not* my job to stay abreast of it all….

      (Why do I feel a persistent need to know everything horrible that’s happening in the world? As with many psychiatric survivors, looking back, it becomes clear, such was my role, as a child: there’s *always* been a part of me, which felt responsible for saving the world — because I was raised in a way that allowed me, at a very young age, to feel as though I was responsible for my family’s happiness… my mom’s happiness, especially – and, also, my sister’s.)

      By the time I was in college, I was reading at least three newspapers daily — and attempting to devise a way out of the U.S./Soviet Arms Race.

      Of course, I was never so powerful, that way, as I imagined I might be — but was, indeed, somewhat effective, in getting others to align with my views; I got myself published, on campus; and, that fed my sense of being, potentially, if not necessarily, somewhat responsible for saving the world.

      Truly, I never thought I was all-power — just more powerful than I really was; this sort of thinking, born of the role one takes on, as a child, in his/her family, is not at all unusual; it is quite common, really (especially, amongst many who wind up psychiatric survivors).

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      • Yes Jonah I think it is useful for us to say something of our inner landscape, experience in the material world, immediate stressors, as they all inform what we say, how we feel. I hope your family health issues are less acute.
        The divide between ‘support’ and ‘discussion’ sites is never completely clear cut. I’ve been a moderator on a support forum where there was serious activist discussion, and likewise on a history forum there’s been discussion of personal experience. Ok essentially sites have a clear bias one way or the other, but I believe it is not only useful but essential to veer a little to the left and right of the dividing line as our painful experiences shape us in part as activists.
        We’re emotional beings and I’m glad there are people who are very informed with references of hard evidence which are needed but I also know that we can touch people [including medics] by other routes. I remember Richard saying something about crying with a client over their dead dog, and when I’ve used art forms to convey mental distress, I’ve found it’s made some psych staff stop intellectualising and face the emotional reality of human pain because with art forms they can’t hide behind their ‘evidence bases’ and have to look at their emotional responses, it’s a leveler.

        That’s powerful what you say about your younger years, feeling responsible for others happiness is a heavy load for a young person, and I relate very much to what you say about needing to save the world .The need to help affect positive change is a powerful drive, and although not unusual in itself I do believe our struggles are not the same as sitting in a Greenpeace boat in front of a harpoon. If I hadn’t gone mad I probably would have been an activist in some shape or form, even as a small child I went around my school with a petition to stop the forced smoking on beagle dogs for lung cancer research and had no problem with standing alone in my position on whether to save a certain building or not, but what we do does have a different impact internally and externally. I guess it’s the last civil rights struggle, but it’s the hardest because ‘mental illness’, how it’s viewed, responded to, how societies and governments use it and define it is like the raspberry ripple of an ice cream, maybe it’s even harder than race – although I’d really like to hear perspectives from black minority ethnic survivors on that. I’d like to see a blog by a black survivor on race and madness and their perspective on activism, the similarities and differences given they experience a double whammy in services.

        Ps Borgs are one trek character which are fun because we like a good ‘baddie’, equally I’m at home in Starfleet uniform saving the universe from them!

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  14. Lol thanks, it’s good fun David, hadn’t done it in over 10 years, makeup is water based cake, the purple is just blended eyeshadow. I think the guys look magnificent as Klingons, gives them a safe and playful way to be macho. It’s quite good taking costume out of context, many years ago I once gave a talk alongside a very straight laced psychiatrist in full Starfleet uniform – you should have seen his face, he didn’t know whether to shake my hand or section me.

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