My Reply to Pete Earley: Do I Have Blood On My Hands?


Since I spoke at NAMI’s national convention last month, the writer Pete Earley has invited people who listened to my talk to send him their reports of the event. Earley wrote a book titled Crazy, which was both about his son’s struggles with mental illness and the criminalization of the mentally ill, and in his book and other writings, he has told of his frustration with laws that prevented his son from being forcibly medicated. Yesterday, on his website, he published a letter from a mom who attended my talk with her adult son, and she told of how, after returning from the meeting, her son apparently abruptly stopped taking his medication and has now gone missing.

In her letter to Earley, she blamed both me and NAMI (for inviting me) for this bad turn in her son’s life. “In my heart, I wish I could hold [Whitaker] and NAMI legally responsible for what is happening. They gave an alcoholic a bottle of whiskey for Christmas and asked him to join in a toast  . . .   I damn them (NAMI and me) and if my son ends up dead, I believe his blood should be on their hands.”

Earley then put this headline on her letter: “Mother Condemns NAMI and Whitaker: Blood on Their Hands.”

That is quite the letter and quite the headline. To accuse someone of having “blood on their hands” is to accuse them of something akin to murder.  It is a headline asserting that I now bear culpability for whatever bad may happen to this unnamed son. This is now my fault, and NAMI’s. Many readers wrote in to express their support for the mother, and how irresponsible it was for NAMI to have invited me.

I, of course, can only hope and pray that harm does not come to this mother’s adult son.  But, as I thought about this letter today, and Mr. Earley’s headline, I saw this reason to publicly respond: Who has really failed her son?

Here is the framework for thinking about that question. Should we, as a society, discuss what science tells us about psychiatric medications, or should we, for some reason, keep that discussion from public view? That may seem like a rhetorical question, but, in fact, much of the science that would lead society to question the merits of antipsychotics has in fact been kept from society in the past, and in essence, Earley, with this headline, is urging that to remain the case. The general idea is that discussing such information, particularly in the presence of people who take antipsychotics, is dangerous, because it can lead people to decide to stop taking the drugs, which in turn can lead to a bad outcome.

But here is the other side of this “culpability” question: If we, as a society, had discussed such information in the past, would we now have treatment protocols that provided this man—if he had wanted to stop taking medication—support for doing so in a gradual manner, with his reactions to that tapering program carefully monitored? If that is the case, then what is irresponsible is to avoid discussing the science in the first place, because we then fail to provide an opportunity for  someone who wants to taper from the medications to do so in a manner that minimizes the risk and maximizes the likelihood of a good outcome. The lack of discussion leaves the individual isolated and alone as he/she tries to think about what to do.

My presentation at NAMI was titled “A Case for Selective Use of Antipsychotics.” You can see in the title the point of my presentation:  It is stating that science is telling us that the best use of these drugs would involve using them in a selective manner (i.e. in a way that sorts out who benefits from them and who can do okay without them.) It is an argument for amending our current drug-use protocols, which emphasize continual drug maintenance for all patients with a diagnosis for a psychotic disorder. Instead, we would use them in a way that science tells us could markedly improve recovery rates.

You can see my NAMI slides here. Readers can see that basically what I do in the presentation is this: I review the extensive evidence,  stretching across fifty years of research, that supports two conclusions. The first is that there is a significant percentage of first-episode patients who, if they were provided with psychosocial care (and possibly made use of benzodiazepines for sleep purposes), could recover from a psychotic episode without being exposed to antipsychotics, and that this group could then be expected to have favorable long-term outcomes. The second is that there is a significant percentage of patients who, after being stabilized on antipsychotics, could then successfully withdraw from the drugs and do fairly well off them long term. However, that still leaves a place for prescribing the drugs: They could be used to help some patients recover from an initial episode, and they could be continually prescribed to those patients who can’t seem to do well off them.

As readers can see from the slides, I didn’t speak about the many adverse effects of antipsychotics, or how they have been found to cause a reduction in brain volumes over time. I focused instead on the abundant evidence that a selective-use protocol could lead to better overall outcomes, and higher recovery rates.

Now it is noteworthy that shortly after I spoke at NAMI, Lex Wunderink published his study showing that at the end of seven years, first-episode patients who had been stabilized on antipsychotics and were then randomized to a treatment arm that involved “guided discontinuation/reduction” of antipsychotics had much higher recovery rates at the end of seven years than those maintained on antipsychotics at a standard dose.  Wunderink’s article in JAMA Psychiatry was accompanied by an editorial, written by Patrick McGorry, stating that it was time for psychiatry to rethink its use of psychiatric medications, with the expectation that they would be used more selectively, “now that we are armed with stronger evidence to counter poor practice.”

In essence, the editorial endorsed the very conclusion I made in my presentation at NAMI.

The public is often surprised to hear of research that tells of people diagnosed with a psychotic disorder who are doing well without medication, and there is a reason for that. Such information has been kept from the public (and to a large degree, out of psychiatric textbooks.) When Martin Harrow published his findings that schizophrenia patients who had stopped taking antipsychotic medication had much higher recovery rates over the long term than those who stayed on antipsychotics, the American Psychiatric Association didn’t publicize his results and neither did the NIMH. As a result, no newspaper reported on this startling outcome, even though we can be sure that if the results had been the reverse, the APA, the NIMH, and the manufacturers of antipsychotics would have trumpeted this finding to the media.

I should also note that NAMI, having invited me to speak, arranged for a followup session where people who used the medications could talk about what they had heard, and my understanding is that many at that meeting spoke of how they felt that antipsychotics helped them.  So NAMI, having invited me to speak, provided people with a way to think about such information, without seeing it as a prescription for guiding anyone’s individual care. I don’t see how the organization could have handled my appearance in a more responsible manner.

I am now thinking about the mother’s adult son. I do believe that we, as a society, failed him. And I say that—that as a society we failed him—because psychiatry is an institution that is part of our society, and for the past 50 years, psychiatry has not communicated research results that question the merits of psychiatric drugs freely to the public. Furthermore, the public has not insisted that psychiatry freely discuss such information. You can see that impulse to suppress such information on display here: Pete Earley, with this headline, is saying that it was grossly irresponsible of me to have presented such research findings in that forum. I have “blood on my hands.”

What has been the result of that suppression of information? We, as a society, have not developed a system of care that provides support to someone who might want to taper from his medications, and help that person try to do so in a safe manner, even though we know that it can lead to a good outcome for many. And the absence of such support may put a person—such as this mother’s adult son—into a perilous place when they do, in fact, learn of such information.

In 1976, Jonathan Cole, who had been the head of the NIMH’s Psychopharmacology Service Center for many years, and who had personally conducted some of the early seminal research on antipsychotics, co-authored an article titled: “Maintenance antipsychotic therapy: is the cure worse than the disease?” He then made this plea:

“The major principle we wish to stress is that every chronic schizophrenic outpatient maintained on antipsychotic medications should have the benefits of an adequate trial without drugs.” Cole concluded, after his review of the scientific literature, that “the proportion of such patients” that could do okay without antipsychotics “may be as high as 50%.”

His voice was not heard then. And now here we are, 37 years later, and still we, as a society, are still struggling to hear such thoughts.


Update: In a  post on Tuesday, July 23, Pete Earley reported that the woman’s son had gone to a homeless shelter, and agreed to be hospitalized. Earley also wrote that, writing as a journalist, he believed there should be discussion of research results.



Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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    • Exhibiting extreme behavior early in life my son was not “officially diagnosed” with Juvenile Onset Bipolar Disorder until he was 11. And like Mr Earley I finally succumbed to the pressure from everyone (school and medical professionals) to drug my child with adult psychiatric medications.
      My son is/was highly intelligent reading at a 6th grade level in second grade, understanding complex 12th grade math problems in 5th grade but his behavior was out of control.He was labeled Emotionally handicapped and placed in Special Ed classrooms. For years I took him to every specialist, therapist,any professional I thought could help us. Although the multitude of psychiatrists who observed my son did not want to diagnose him with a severe mental illness at 6 years he was prescribed Zoloft,at 7 years he was prescribed Depakote,at 9 years Zyprexa. The list goes on and on. I was desperate to help him but what were the drugs never tested on children doing for his growing brain?
      He could not complete high school,cannot attend college or even look for or hold down a job. Just getting through any given day is a challenge.
      A year ago he decided to stop all his medication. He eats well, exercises and takes supplements. But his brain is still on fire. Although he has his own apartment he can rarely stay there suffering from extreme paranoia. Two nights ago he baker acted himself as he felt he wanted to harm himself and others. Now he waits in a lock up refusing medication. He called me last night and excitedly shared his thoughts for over an hour.He will be 22 years old on Friday.
      Before he was born I was a known photographer I lovingly documented my son since birth including the mania and I recently published our story; with my son’s permission.
      I resisted sharing it for years as I did not want to do anything further that could harm my son.
      Your comment on how you feel Mr Earley writes about mental illness in his family to further his popularity struck me as unfair. Mr Earley like myself has continued to do what he knows best to write in hopes he can bring these complex, controversial issues to light. Mr Earley believes medication helps the mentally ill and his son. I am not convinced and greatly appreciate alternative research and points of view.
      Knowing I took a risk of being misunderstood I still shared our story because I feel those with personal experience need to be the voice to promote change. We all want to end suffering and stigma for the mentally ill.
      Knowing what I know now I do not agree that pharmaceuticals should be forced on growing brains. I used to think there was a “magic” pill for my son but I am afraid his brain was damaged (especially by antipsychotics) and I blame myself for succumbing to the pressure that pharmaceuticals were our only route to mental health.

      I cannot make these choices for my son any longer and would never refuse to help him if he no longer wants to be a guinea pig for Big Pharma.

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      • Iwarberg,

        I highly recommend the book “Misdiagnosis, and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults” to you. I also had a child reading at an eighth grade level, in first grade. And, after having a school social worker accuse me of pushing my other child too hard and keeping him up nights studying because they weren’t expecting him to get 100% on his state standardized tests, when in reality he was playing World of Warcraft constantly because he never had homework and I was a “mean” mother who had her children in bed by nine. I was thankfully able to explain to my local school district that intelligence was a genetic trait and well behaved children who aren’t within the bell curve, on the high end, don’t need to be force medicated for life.

        The book basically covers the problem that the DSM is a “bible” devised by people completely unaware and ignorant of the traits of gifted people. And the inability to deal with the most intelligent and gifted children is a problem the social workers within the public school systems apparently try to avoid confessing to, by medicating the top 2% now. In my opinion, this is criminal, and insanely stupid. Thankfully for my children, my school district did eventually concede they were not equipped to deal with the gifted children, recommended I find a private school, and my sweet son just graduated as valedictorian of his prep school class.

        But I only knew enough to truly fight for my children against the supposed authorities because I already knew how toxic the psychiatric industry’s drugs are, because I had already been misdiagnosed and egregiously miss-medicated for being more intelligent and insightful than most already, and because I’d dealt with malpractice paranoid doctors wanting to cover up a “bad fix” on a broken bone. The psychiatric industry’s goal is to cover up malpractice for incompetent doctors, and kill all those more intelligent than they, so they may maintain control, or so it seems to me.

        I am so sorry for what happened to your son and family due to the ignorance and stupidity of the power hunger, but in my opinion apparently completely pharmaceutical industry deluded, and disingenuous psychiatric community.

        As to the problem of your son’s “brain on fire.” I, too, still suffer from this long run known and common side effect of antidepressant, or in my case, “safe smoking cessation med” withdrawal symptom. Although it still seems to be not yet a medically named, or confessed to side effect of antidepressants, by the main stream medical community. On the Internet it is known as brain zaps. Google brain zaps, I was grateful to learn, finally in 2007, I wasn’t the only one who suffered from them, despite being misdiagnosed (according to the DSM) as bipolar due to them in 2001.

        And Mr. Whitaker, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for initiating discussions on the truth about the adverse effects of the psychiatric drugs. I completely agree it is the lack of confession and honesty on the part of the medical community regarding the adverse effects of the psychiatric drugs that has led to all the problems. You are an angel, exposing medical and pharmaceutical greed, the blood is on those who’ve been claiming drug induced symptoms are “life long incurable mental illnesses.”

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        • Thank you for sharing your story “Someone else”.
          I will order the book and research “brain zaps”. I appreciate your kind words.
          My son was hospitalized this past week ( it was his idea ) and prescribed the same meds as when he was 11.
          He was released Friday (his 22nd birthday) and told me he had a confession to make. “Mom,I spit out the medication after they gave it to me, just like in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, he said. “I am not going through withdrawals like I did 14 months ago from the Benzos”. I will ask him about the “brain zap” symptoms…

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          • Iwarberg, I am glad your son is home again, and I pray you stand by him and help him heal. You have no idea how heartbreaking it is to me that so many children were turned into bipolar patients with drugs.

            Mr. Whitaker, it is doctors like the one I was sent to, to cover up the “bad fix” and subsequent “Foul up” with neuroleptics that have the blood on their hands. Thankfully, one of my doctors was just arrested by the FBI. Please read about V R Kuchipudi, a man who no doubt has blood on his hands:


            I know most doctors are good, but the Wall of Silence problem within the medical community is why medical “mistakes” are the third largest killer of Americans. How sad Advocate Good Samaritan hospital is still telling me that being illegally (according to court documents) held against my will, and egregiously forced medicated by Kuchipudi’s partner Saiyed, was “appropriate” medical care. We need a return of ethics, honesty, respect for patients, and humility within the mainstream medical community.

            Thank you, Mr. Whitaker, for opening a dialog about the adverse effects of the psychiatric drugs, since the medical community is still apparently having trouble coping with the magnitude of their “mistakes.”

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          • lwarberg, I wish the best for you and your son. You were lied to, like many of us, and had him take what you were told were life-saving medications. Instead they were mind-altering drugs similar to crack or heroin.

            The lying creeps who deceived us should be locked up for life. God has compassion on the poor and downtrodden. He will punish them.

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      • In Portland, in response to Robert Whitaker’s book, we invited him to speak, then grew a peer presentation symposium around this topic. It is Rethinking Psychiatry and the life saving result is that now doctors, therapists, survivors and families strive to find real paths to healing from mood and altered state conditions-that aren’t psych meds.
        As a therapist, I hear of depression and anxiety compounding marriage difficulties. My protocol is now to refer every one with any mood state that is interfering in their lives to a holistic mental health naturopath. To me it seems criminal for anyone who “treats” clients to whip out an rx pad for psych meds without automatically doing a nutritional assessment-especially when we have identified that there are precise deficiencies that can cause mood and perception problems. Or it can get more complicated with a glitch in the way a body uses or stockpiles things as in issues with the methylation cycle. I much rather use a vitamin targeted to remove extreme anxiety and thus freakout of my child (which we did) than give her toxic psych meds with known side effects some of which are lethal.
        Look up the book that came out from the Brain Bio Institute in New Jersey or other more recent orthomolecular guides. Read about the 23andme test and how the results are being used to craft a healing plan. Look up Paul Stamets (HuffPost articles) on medicinal mushroom supplements and research. There are so many ways of getting at healing than your doctor is even aware of or will discuss-unless you are lucky.
        Wouldn’t it be better if doctors, hospitals , shrinks-everyone actually considered steps to wellness and real assessments of causes-not just assessments of suffering? Let’s do that.

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        • REPLY IS FOR “PAMGON” December 10, but I don’t see a reply button under that comment.

          Search for a Holistic Mental Health Naturopath. Just put mental health and naturopath in a search engine for your city and start calling them up asking what are the typical things they have seen they need to check for in terms of causes for psychosis. If they are not clear and knowledgeable-move on. There are KNOWN causes of altered states and deterioration -even crashed B vitamins can cause this. If you body doesnt process nutrients correctly then you can be living with deficiency or stockpiling that disables you over time. SO YES-there is something you can do.
          Let us know what you learn.

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          • My son is 31 years old and his first undeniable signs of psychosis occurred 8 years ago. His diagnosis is paranoid schizophrenia. This is approximately his 20th hospitalization, almost all of which were involuntary. He never really went voluntarily. He caught on that if he told the police or ambulance driver that he would go voluntarily, he could change his mind later and be discharged.

            After 7 years of cycling in and out of hospitals my husband and I told our son he couldn’t come back to live. When he isn’t taking any medication it isn’t possible to live with him. He constantly hears voices and is completely immersed in his other “world”. He screams and yells all night long, constantly pacing. He sleeps off and on throughout the day. He smokes incessantly and leaves his cigarette butts everywhere. He doesn’t flush the toilet or clean up after himself. He’s left the gas burner on. He never shuts the door at any time of the year and we’ve paid multiple leash law fines because the dog gets out. He’s been beaten up and stolen from. The final straw came about 16 months ago when he moved into the unfinished basement and started urinating in a corner.

            He was homeless for less than a week when the police picked him up and went through the 302 process. It was one of the worst weeks of my life and there have been many in the past 8 years. He spent more than 3 months in the hospital because there was no room at the 6 bed extended acute care facility in our county. When room opened for him there he stayed more than 5 months. He was discharged to a group home where he lived for 7 months, steadily becoming sicker and sicker, until they told him he had to leave in 24 hours for breaking the rules. They found a knife in his drawer and he was smoking in his room.

            Where do I go with this? How can I help him? I don’t know how he can be safe without medication which I know he thinks he doesn’t need. He was on an injectable haldol for a few years before it stopped working altogether and most recently for 3 months intramuscular abilify. To be honest, nothing is really working anymore. I would really appreciate any advice.

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          • My thought is to talk to others who have “been there,” both those who have provided family support, and more importantly, those who have found their own pathway to a better place despite suffering from psychosis.

            If you have read Robert’s book, you’ll know that it is not uncommon for these drugs to “work” at first and then stop working, due to the physiological changes that happen in the brain as a result of long-term use of these drugs. So he really is physiologically impaired at this point, even though he may not have been at the start. So just stopping the drugs cold turkey is probably a recipie for disaster. But I do think if he says he wants to stop taking the drugs, the place to start is to understand and accept that this is his goal and help him start working towards that goal.

            I know that sounds impossible, and maybe it is, but there is a lot of expertise in the “survivor” community on how to do this. Will Hall’s book, “The Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs (see for a downloadable copy) might be a good place to start. I also suggest you find a “hearing voices” group or similar support group for “voice hearers” in your community, as well as any kind of cafe or other social meeting site where folks who can relate to your son’s struggles might hang out.

            The starting point to helping anyone with any situation is empathy. You seem to have a lot of it. Try to put yourself in his situation and not invalidate his observations or concerns, but see how things look from where he sits. That may lead you to some further insights on what to do. But the truth is, there is no magic bullet or golden pathway to health or sanity or “adjustment” – these are things that he will have to struggle to determine for himself – where does he want to go, what does he think is important, what kind of life does he want to live. And he may decide things you disagree with. Accept that and see if you can help him figure out what he wants and how to get there, with the help of others who have traveled the path before him. That’s my best thinking.

            Good luck, and thanks for caring!

            — Steve

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          • Hi pamgon,

            Do you have any clues as to what may have precipitated his psychosis? Was he having trouble launching into his adult life, for example – did he feel lost as to where to go & what to do after college, perhaps? Were there clues from earlier on in his life that things weren’t going so well, or did he lose important friendships/relationships/activities shortly before he started to act psychotic?

            I think it’s important to understand what the psychosis is about in order to help someone find their way out of it.

            Unfortunately, what can often happen is that someone is going through a traumatic moment which makes them feel & act in seemingly bizarre, scary ways, and the typical reaction of mainstream psychiatry is additionally traumatic which actually makes the problem worse. I wonder if that’s what happened with your son.

            You may want to read some books that illuminate examples of psychosocial causes of extreme distress/psychosis, if that is indeed what your son is suffering from. One that comes to mind that I would recommend is Ty Colbert’s “Broken Brains or Wounded Hearts: What Causes Mental Illness.” His other books are good as well.

            The only caveat I would add to Steve’s otherwise great advice is that at the part at the end where he says “these are things that he will have to struggle to determine for himself – where does he want to go, what does he think is important, what kind of life does he want to live,” I think it’s essential to stress that while he does need to be in charge of determining what he wants to happen with his life, it is virtually impossible to act & decide this in a vacuum – in other words, it’s likely that he’ll need a great deal of support/solidarity/assistance, at least at first, but it’s key that it be the right kind of support & interaction, which really understands where he’s coming from, what he’s going through, and what he ultimately wants to have happen, and helps him get there. I highly recommend that you read some books that can help explain this more, such as the one I mentioned above – and if I can think of other helpful resources (there are many, but I don’t have at the top of my head which ones may be most helpful, at the moment) – I’ll come back & post them.

            I’ll echo Steven is saying that a Hearing Voices organization (, or an alternative psychotherapy/healing/respite center may be very helpful. Depending on where you live, some examples are Sequoia Psychotherapy Center in Fresno, CA, Associated Psychological Health Services in Sheboygan, WI, and the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community in Western Mass (actually, here is a longer list: Or you may want to consult an alternative (non-mainstream-psychiatry) psychologist such as those recommended in the Mindfreedom Directory of Mental Health Alternatives If you would like to listen to some stories of people who have recovered from extreme states and ‘psychiatric diagnosis,’ I recommend the videos at, particularly that of Dr. Dan Fisher, Lauren Sprio, Daniel Mackler, Amy Long, the “Voices Matter” video, etc. Additional resources: Emotional CPR (eCPR); Mother Bear: Families for Mental Health

            Best of luck to you & your son.

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  1. From the letter Pete Earley ‘wanted to share’ with his audience:

    ‘ when we practiced “tough love” and told him he couldn’t live with us unless he got treatment, he walked out and disappeared.

    Only a parent who has a child who has disappeared on the streets can tell you how horrible it is to go to bed at night not knowing where your son or daughter might be.

    So the son didn’t just ‘go missing’, he was threatened with homelessness, threatened with eviction from the family home, by his parents, if he refused to be coerced into opening up his never-proven-diseased body to psychiatric drugging. The mother laments going to bed at night, not knowing where her son is. She’s also made clear that if her son’s sleeping body was safe in his bed at home, such a body, if it didn’t have psychiatric drugs coursing through its bloodstream, was unwelcome in her home. These tactics are sadly something that millions of people who have had psychiatric labels slapped on them have to face, told they are unacceptable, unwelcome both at home and even in free society, if they aren’t wearing their chemical leash.

    If the son saw a documentary on youtube she’d probably demand it be taken down. The pro forced drugging, pro ‘brain disease theory’ indoctrinated audience of Pete Earley’s forced drugging lobbyist blog, has got a problem with Whitaker’s freedom of speech. Has got a problem with the person labeled “ill” having the right to listen. Even Early says he’d rather his own son didn’t see Whitaker’s speech. They’ve also got a problem with innocent human beings owning their own body, that’s why they seek to increase use of state sanctioned forced drugging social control techniques. Techniques the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has repeatedly condemned.

    The forced drugging lobbyists have shown time and again the underhanded smear tactics they will engage in. Earley, Jaffe, Torrey, have all shown they will throw enough mud and hope some sticks, hence the fact Earley has opened himself up as the go-to blog to publish ‘blood on hands’ diatribes from mothers who view their sons as ‘diseased brains’ needing to be flooded with major tranquilizer drugs. This really shows their inner anxiety that they are now facing strong resistance to their anti-human rights pro forced drugging agenda.

    MindFreedom founder David Oaks released a statement on Mr. Earley’s forced drugging lobbying activities some time ago. In 2010, Pete Earley lobbied against federal funding of the Alternatives Conference for the thought-crime of having Whitaker, David Oaks, and Will Hall in attendance. Earley said:

    ‘But what did trouble me was how this conference was bankrolled. MindFreedom didn’t pick up the tab, nor Robert Whitaker or Will Hall.

    You did.

    Yep, the conference was paid for by the United States Department of Health and Human Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, commonly called SAMHSA.’

    He went on to lament that SAMHSA dollars weren’t being used in the push to rip away more human rights:

    ‘Nor do I believe SAMHSA financially supports or endorses my belief that involuntary commitment laws need to focus on criteria other than “immediate dangerousness” – to make treatment available to persons who are clearly delusional but are not dangerous’

    Note the classic, banal, forced drugging lobby trick, when he says make treatment available. Yes, forced drugging is simply making treatment available, like it wasn’t in the Yellow Pages, nobody knew where to get it, until goons armed with a syringe forcibly stripped them naked and stabbed them with a needle. This is the disingenuous, hot/cold passive/aggressive kind of way the forced drugging lobby plays things. We can see the same tactics with Earley headlining the ‘blood on his hands’ smear, followed a day later by a coy, disingenuous defense of Whitaker’s free speech and Earley adopting some pose of journalistic neutrality. Earley is an active forced drugging policy lobbyist, he couldn’t be less objective if he tried. He wants to use force, the terrible power of the state, to make sure there is nowhere to run from a forced needle in all of America for anyone with a psychiatric label. Note that while he laments the use of SAMHSA funds to promote alternatives to psychiatric drugging, he has no problem lobbying for the use of taxpayers money to fund the forced drugging policies he advocates. Taxpayers have shelled out billions over the last couple of hundred years to pay the government psychiatrists, government psychiatric facilities and psychiatric ‘treatments’ that have seen millions of people lose the right to own their own bodies at the hands of forced psychiatry.

    The forced drugging lobby’s position is simple. They believe in psychiatric drugging, they have taken the leap of faith that unusual behavior is a ‘brain disease’, therefore every man, woman and child in the land should only enjoy the right to own their own body only at the pleasure of their local forced government psychiatrist. They believe that actual physical violence should be used against people who refuse to consent to psychiatric drugging, forced government injections. Your heartfelt, well considered, well-evidenced, deeply held position of informed refusal of consent, and your human rights, are just an irrelevant barrier to be overcome by a court order, a pack of armed goons, and a forced needle. Your lifelong trauma after being treated like a subhuman object, terrorized by the government psychiatric goons? Well that’s shoved to the side just like they shove the side effects to the side.

    The re-traumatization, stigmatization, and scapegoating that the forced drugging lobbyists engage in, is so hurtful to recovery, so destructive of hard-won self esteem in those labeled ‘mentally ill’, so terrifying, that I cannot even fathom how they are still part of polite society. I pity any family member of these people. Can you imagine having a father who makes it his mission to extend the tentacles of government power by force INTO THE NEURONS! of perfect strangers. This is pure fanaticism on display folks. Scary stuff.

    See what David Oaks had to say of Pete Earley:

    “Thank the universe and all the Gods and Godesses and stars in the sky…. that you were never my father. ”

    Harsh words, for a harsh opponent of our human rights. I second David Oaks’ statement and say I am so thankful that I don’t have pro forced drugging ideologues for parents, for if I did, I’d run away too. The forced drugging lobby wants to rip away equality and choice, and make their spurious pseudoscience based beliefs the law of the land, only unlike Iran, they don’t merely want to force young women to wear a veil, they want psychiatric goons to be on hand to forcibly pull down the jeans of 19 year old women, hold them down, ignore their screams for mercy, and stab needles full of brain disabling drugs into their naked buttocks when they are at their weakest. This is the proverbial ‘kicking someone when they are down’. Where they have succeeded, lives have been destroyed by their forced drugging policies. That all the likes of Earley, Jaffe and Torrey can talk about is what the proponents of choice, dignity, and critical appraisal of psychiatric drugging are saying and doing, shows they are on the back foot. May it long continue. I pledge to do my best to ensure it continues long after the increasingly irrelevant forced drugging lobbyists are gone. They are on the wrong side of history.

    Researchers, writers, critical thinkers like Robert Whitaker, like the dozens of authors who write for this website, like the many, many people speaking and thinking critically about the status quo in ‘mental health’, are helping people help themselves. If a young man tries to help himself a bit too rashly, impulsively, like the son in the letter, that’s not Whitaker’s fault. And I’m sure being threatened with homelessness by his mother if he didn’t drug himself played a large part in that bed in the family home laying empty too. Evasions, flights from responsibility, smears, cries of ‘Aids denier’, ‘blood on his hands’, ‘scientologist!’ from the forced drugging lobbyist/parent peanut gallery, is the thanks Whitaker gets for giving people information, that adults can use judiciously to reorganize their lives after un-indocrinating themselves from psychiatry’s false assertions.

    Earley says on his blog that he resents those he is lobbying against saying they are glad he isn’t their father. People positing that they are glad of this fact, is mere speech. He can choose not to listen to this free speech. What I resent, is Mr. Earley and his collaborators seeking to use the state to institute policies that see us live in fear, policies that strip us of our right to own and control our own bodies. Mere speech, versus actual state sanctioned force. You decide who is more entitled to be resentful. Who is doing something more invasive. Speech, versus the forced government alteration of never-proven-diseased conscious brains of innocent strangers. It’s an absolute horror what this guy is advocating. Far from blood being on the hands of Whitaker, we ought to look at the fact those who carry out the violent forced drugging policies Mr. Earley lobbies for more of, always put latex gloves on their own hands before they pick up their forced needles. Why are they wearing rubber gloves? Could it be they don’t want to get blood on their hands when they are stabbing needles into the forcibly held down bodies of those they have decided don’t deserve the right to say no?

    We deserve the right to say no Mr. Earley. And while you may believe the violent hands of state force are the best tool to get what you want (put in others’ bodies), we will use nonviolent persuasion to win our human rights.

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      • Not possible, as Earley’s blog no longer allows comments. Strange, too, as I received in my in-box a rebuttal after the comments were closed, from another blogger friend of Earley’s, who invited me to reply to HER! As if! Had I replied to her comment, I assume that my answer would not be visible.

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        • If the young man was threatened with homelessness if he did not get treatment and he chose to leave home then the parents are responsible for thier choice.

          I’ve made choices like that, though not about psychiatric drugs. I have said to people, unless you do such and such a thing you can’t stay here. Sometimes they were hard choices but they were mine. I had to live with the consequences. I could try to understand why I made the decision and why the other person acted as they did and see if in any other way our relationship could improve but essentially it was my choice and I had to live with it.

          I could indulge in charater analysis here but I might get censored!

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  2. Bob,

    A young man is “missing,” and we all hope he finds safe shelter, food and support – but that has nothing to do with your making a presentation on scientific research behind neuroleptics.

    The scientific facts have been hidden for years, and you tried to bring them out. That’s a good thing.

    The two things are not connected. You did nothing wrong. I hope the “lost” man finds support. I also think the reaction should be a wake-up call in regard to the politics behind maintaining the status quo.

    This is why I’m in no rush to join hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ with these folks. They will stop at *nothing* – including saying a journalist has “blood on his hands”…


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  3. Entrenched power systems (and their dupes and minions) have always responded to their critics in this fashion…particularly their most brilliant and effective critics. Sorry to hear of this ugly affair, but it is clearly a sign of Robert Whitakers effectiveness in his challenge to status quo psychiatry. “Demonize, Trivialize and ignore“ are the standard techniques of the power mongers and par for the course…Carry on Robert Whitaker and thank you for all of your efforts.

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  4. Keep spreading the message. I was given Zyprexa after my complaint of insomnia and took it for a wile. When I tried to stop taking it cause I didn’t like the way I felt from it, the withdrawal reactions CREATED a scary psychosis, something I never ever had before. That’s how I know these drugs are causing much of the chronicity in many disorders.

    These emotional side shows won’t change the facts.

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  5. What interests me about the NAMI reaction to Bob’s talk, is not so much the reaction itself, but the fact that he was invited in the first place. I am sure the complaints about Bob are as nothing compared to the flak that the more enlightened members of the NAMI board are getting right now.

    I’m dying to know that inside story, and I’m sure someone knows it.

    I also want to say that I have changed my mind somewhat about the effectiveness of talking with NAMI. I have always known there are some sincere family members there, who drug their children because they don’t know that there are other choices. But I felt the possibilities of real change were so small that spending energy on NAMI was a waste of time.

    But I am starting to feel that it’s possible that enough people within NAMI could change to the extent that NAMI would have to change. Of course, if that point is ever reached, the drug companies who make up most of their funding will take it away. Whatever would happen after that will be very interesting.

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    • Judging from frequent applause interrupting mr Whitaker’s speech, his nuanced, scientifically honest, hope-giving presentation was warmly received by many in the audience at NAMI’s convention.
      Most parents do love their children and want what’s best for them, but are easy prey for doctors overselling psychiatric knowledge and their own incompetence and the dangerous drugs they’re pushing on the badly informed/uninformed.
      My guess is that some of the people condecendingly labelled “NAMI mothers” are terrified of the possibility that they’ve somehow contributed to their children’s suffering, and/or that they’ve been misled and lied to by doctors whose responsiblility it is to help and not harm the patients.
      It took me years to penetrate the fog of misconceptions and outright lies doing more harm than good to my vulnerable son and so many others. Reading Richard Whitaker’s articles in the Boston Globe, then his books, was eyeopening, though sadly, too late for my son and the uncounted millions harmed and killed by iatrogenic illnesses.

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    • NAMI has blood on their hands. They are responsible for the death of a friend of mine at 29.

      Her shrink had her on a medicine that caused grand mal seizures. When my friend complained of this to the shrink, she said to call her in a week if the seizures continued. She then went off on a nice vacation to Bermuda or someplace.

      NAMI emphasized she obey her shrink’s orders without question and remain med compliant NO MATTER WHAT. A few days later my friend quit taking her drugs, but even NAMI couldn’t blame her. She hit her head during a violent seizure and died.

      Isn’t it wonderful that she died med compliant?

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  6. Dear Bob,

    As I was reading your post, I started to feel very angry at those who had a negative reaction to your presentation at the NAMI convention. And then I remembered something. Your book took my own journey in a new direction that is very literally saving my life – not in an easy or predictable way, or even a way without lots of risks, but a very authentic and fulfilling way. Your book and discussions around it are saving the life of the friend who introduced me to the book. Your willingness to have my story published on your website has educated my closest family members and friends about what I have been through, and has increased their compassion for those suffering in the current mental health system. The discussions I am having about your work with friends, clients, other parents, and other therapists have been enlightening. I am mindful to discuss these sensitive issues only as I feel inspired, and with every effort to be responsible and free of an agenda that would lead to harm. I try my best not to bring the topic up in a heated or impulsive manner, and the results are extremely positive from my perspective. I am sad for the parents who took out their frustrations with their own experiences in the mental health system (and what they report of their sons’ experiences) on you. My experience in the mental health system over the past twenty years – as a patient, a client, a parent, a volunteer (with NAMI), a peer counselor, and now as a mental health counselor – has consistently confirmed what you have discovered in your research. It has been extremely validating to finally have written evidence of what I already felt to be true.

    Your courage to reveal research evidence that is contrary to what we often hear in the psychiatric system is a monumental catalyst for real change. I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing. I fully agree with what you said in this part of your post:

    “I am now thinking about the mother’s adult son. I do believe that we, as a society, failed him. And I say that—that as a society we failed him—because psychiatry is an institution that is part of our society, and for the past 50 years, psychiatry has not communicated research results that question the merits of psychiatric drugs freely to the public. Furthermore, the public has not insisted that psychiatry freely discuss such information. You can see that impulse to suppress such information on display here: Pete Earley, with this headline, is saying that it was grossly irresponsible of me to have presented such research findings in that forum. I have “blood on my hands.”

    What has been the result of that suppression of information? We, as a society, have not developed a system of care that provides support to someone who might want to taper from his medications, and help that person try to do so in a safe manner, even though we know that it can lead to a good outcome for many. And the absence of such support may put a person—such as this mother’s adult son—into a perilous place when they do, in fact, learn of such information.”

    With Gratitude,
    Mary Anne

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  7. Never let a good tragedy go to waste right ? This guy has hopefully just had a hiccup though.

    “Patients” getting lied to, knowing they have to do something about it, but then not really having anywhere to go or knowledge on how to play it smart. There’s the problem.

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  8. It’s good to hear that the young man is – well, perhaps ‘safe’ isn’t the right word given what we know about the things that can go on in psychiatric hospitals, but certainly alive.

    Of course you don’t have ‘blood on your hands’ and would not have done so even if the outcome had been a tragic loss of life. Did you stand up in front of NAMI and say ‘By the way, I advise everyone here who is on medication to stop it immediately and run away from home?’ I don’t think so! But the worrying underlying message seems to be that people who are psychiatrically labelled should not be informed about the evidence on neuroleptics. This is not a defensible position – either scientifically, professionally or ethically.

    What this incident does expose is the depth of the resistance to challenging the psychiatric orthodoxy, the enormously strong feelings that are stirred up – such that rational debate can get entirely lost – and the tactics that some people are prepared to use to silence critics. It’s not pleasant.

    There are, of course, people and organisations with ‘blood on their hands’ for the enormous harm caused by psychiatric medications – but this is a classic case of ‘blame the messenger’ not the perpetrators.

    Keep up the good work!

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  9. I had a staff member of a day centre refuse to put up a demo for Speak Out Against Psychiatry. She said people might come off thier drugs and she did not want that.

    The leaflet did not say, “Come off your drugs.” It did say that they cause more harm than good. So it might have prompted some unwise withdrawals but it could also have prompted some useful conversations which staff could have facilitated.

    For a long time I said the service needed a, “making sense of psychiatric medication,” group becuase the members of the day centre were so distessed and confused about thier drugs. It never happened.

    I’m sure Bob’s experience of being blamed, and possibly scapegoated, will not be the first and he will not be the only person who will experience this.

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  10. I’m glad to read in the update that this man is all right. “All right” is, of course, a relative term here since he has been hospitalized. What will happen to him while he is hospitalized? What kind of help will he receive?

    If one puts aside the manipulative use Pete Earley makes of the letter (David’s “Assassination of Marat”? Oh, please), the letter itself is worth reading. My first reaction is to wonder why this man’s “voice was telling him we [his parents] were devils, our house was haunted by evil spirits and we were  trying to poison him. He said God was commanding him to not live with us anymore”. I know very well that this will be dismissed as the meaningless delusions of a diseased brain, random neuronal misfiring. And indeed the mother tellingly describes his son’s words, his desperate attempt at communication, as “nonsense”. What a sad, heartbreaking story indeed.

    I wish this man the very best, I really do. And precisely because I do, I hope Robert Whitaker never stops doing what he is doing, but that he does more of it, and that more people do it. I also hope that this anonymous “schizophrenic” eventually finds someone who listens to what he has to say.

    With that in mind, I would invite anyone reading this (Mr Earley? Broken Hearted and Angry Mum?) to read Chaya Grossberg’s recent post in MIA, “Many Ears Make Light Listening” and to really think about what she says there.

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  11. I managed to get in several comments on the mother’s post, before comments were closed. I was quite dismissive of the mother’s story because she was blaming anybody but herself as to what went wrong. Tough love is not love in these particular circumstances and shows no understanding of the pain the person is going through. I’m glad that her son was found, but where was he located? In a homeless shelter. He chose a homeless shelter probably because he knew he wasn’t welcome at home. I sincerely hope this mother learns about what it means to “work together” as they go down the road to recovery. Yet, a lot of NAMI members, mothers in particular, are scared to death of being “blamed” in any way for their child’s problems. That’s why NAMI got started in the first place. Mothers were sick and tired of being caste as refrigerator mothers. We have since suffered the consequences of their refusal to even go down the road of self-examination in order to develop a more nurturing environment. I know enough of these types of mothers from their blogs, and they are almost uniformly hostile to recovery programs, like Practice Recovery, that teach empathy, non-judgment, and healing oneself, too. These mothers insistently and erroneously believe that the agenda of these kinds of courses is to part the “loved one” from their medication. Bob is quite correct when he writes that we as a society have failed the young man because of refusal to provide programs and information about supporting the person through medication reduction, but the larger picture includes teaching families to lovingly support their family member. This mother hasn’t a clue. If she is truly interesting in helping her son, let’s hope she puts pride aside and stops blaming her son and others. It’s a losing game.

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    • Wonderful comment, Rossa. I think this may be one of the biggest issues in our so-called treatment of the so-called mentally ill, since these issues can often stem from familial dysfunction/inadequacy/etc. – many families who are trying to help have to first realize what they may be doing which contributes to the problem.

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      • I personally think it is THE biggest issue. Big Pharma/psychiatry would not have the power that it has today if it had not been given to them by families all too eager to avoid having to look at themselves too closely.
        If this is not addressed it doesn’t matter whether we defeat the DSM or the biological model, something just as bad will come to fill in the vacuum (see the “vulnerability” model) and nothing will really change.

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        • Exactly. David Bates, and this is my understanding and interpretation of what he writes about so I want to own that up front just in case I’ve misinterpreted what he says, constantly points out how blind people can be when it comes to our very own motives. We can see how messed up the motives of others are but when it comes to our own we are as blind as bats in daylight. We are often tricking ourselves when we think we really understand why we do and say the things that we do.

          I believe that this is very true of families who have someone who is supposedly “mentally ill.” Buddhism teaches that what you think you’re upset about is not really what you’re upset about! Seeking to be more self-aware and having a better understanding of what our true motives are is not something that many people want to indulge in. I believe that ssenerch and Morias have hit the proverbial nail on the head when they stated:

          “….many families who are trying to help have to first realize what they may be doing which contributes to the problem.”

          “Big Pharma/psychiatry would not have the power that it has today if it had not been given to them by families all too eager to avoid having to look at themselves too closely.”

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  12. I wonder Bob if the adult son hearing the scientific evidence presented at the NAMI conference was sickened by the confirmation of evidence coupled by the knowledge the meds he has taken have created havoc in his body?
    My son knew and ultimately stopped after four months the neuroleptics, mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines forced upon him during the ten days of hell he endured in a locked psych unit that we,his parents, asked him to enter the night of his breakdown. My son’s first-time psychosis was triggerred by a sea of stressors plus his toxicology screen was positive for cannabis and later my son confessed to me he had used one-time “shrooms” which did not show up on his drug screen. The psych hospital ignored the significance what illicit drugs can do to the brain, rather labeled him ” mentally ill for life, bipolar for life, meds for life” and gaining 55 lbs so rapidly it caused stretch marks all over his abdomen forever a reminder of “the system” mantra. Massively drug, label, stigmatize this young man who never showed a second of mental disorder until an overwhelming number of stressors which included recovery from a serious boating injury, loss of his job, insecurity of his financial ability to marry his girlfriend but sacrificing his fears to marry anyway out of unconditional love. Did the system attempt to unravel the causes for his break? No, yet my son’s forced use of all those psychiatric meds did not help his psychosis abate. It took him 10 wks to clear from his psychosis. I believed my son who repeated ” these meds are blunting my feelings, like I’m in some fog”. I dare Pete Earley or the mother of the NAMI son to take just ONE neuroleptic and feel its effects. As I was horrified my son was given Haldol round the clock because the hospital told us they were afraid of him. Yes, he was 6’5″ and tried to bolt ( despite his knee injury) once he walked inside the locked unit. I still think that was the most normal, lucid reaction. . My son feared for his life and any person who has the unfortunate experience observing the inside of a locked ward knows exactly what I mean. How in this country could this be the system we accept to supposedly provide the best treatment for mental health recovery? What hope does a young person have being drugged and humiliated and shamed into accepting a mental illness for life? Where are the alternatives for those who feel victimized by the drugging and labeling? No one offerred my son, or his family, the knowledge -yes people can and do recover from psychosis. Smart, intelligent people but naive and ignorant to alternative help and belief that the health care system would not fail our son.

    My irony is I believe had my son received the same scientific evidence presented at NAMI, he would be alive today because it would have empowered him to know his label of a ” mental illness” was not just treatable, but even curable with the right help and support. This would have given him hope again, the key to survival.

    I can’t bring back my boy, but I sure have a voice now after reading the abundance of scientific facts and why the ” brain dx theory” isn’t valid. Keep going please, if this happened to my family,It can happen to any family. The truth will ultimately win out.

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    • Thank you, great comment and sorry for your loss. Forcing the narrow, drug and label based psychiatry interpretation down people’s throats, as forced drugging lobbyists like Earley seek to do, has destroyed so many lives, and tragically warped so many parents’ view of their children. Thank you for becoming a real advocate for truth, evidence and choice. It is a tragedy that so many parents, (thankfully not you) when their loved ones are touched by the problems that get labeled ‘mental illness’, turn hard right in the other direction, and become forced drugging lobbyists like Earley et al. Nobody who strikes fear and terror into those they allegedly ‘advocate for’, nobody who openly calls for the sort of disgusting thing I’m about to link to from the NY Post, has the right to call themselves a true advocate. May the forced drugging lobbyists one day take a walk down the hall of mirrors and see that people with psychiatric labels deserve the same human rights they have.

      Trigger Warning, NY Post, ‘Scoop the Nuts’, New York City’s roving forced psychiatry pre-crime round up squad targeting the innocent homeless for the crimes of other homeless, the penalty for being caught walking with a psychiatric label? forced tranquilizer drugging:

      That is the America the forced drugging lobbyists want.

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  13. Thank you, Robert Whitaker, for your persistent scientific, journalistic integrity, which I see as ethical exploration and exposition of the toxic vipers nest of global Big Pharma with lackeys high and low in medicine, media, governments and family- and users’ organizations, so many on the take from Big Pharma’s enormous coffers.
    The blood is on their hands, who are willing to close their eyes and keep hiding the dark truth of millions of ruined lives, early death and rampant corruption in Big Pharma’s wake.
    Your articles in the Boston Globe and the book Mad in America explained to me what my son had been exposed to as a psychiatric patient in Norway. Some of the horrors I was a shocked witness to, but did not understand fully to be able to protect him while there still was time. He died in his sleep, 28 years young, 8 years with continuous medical treatment doing continuous harm, finally killing my highly sensitive, vulnerable, gifted son.

    You, mr Whitaker, deserve praise and thanks for enlightening me and countless others to the dangers of psychiatric medications and the abysses of corruption making naive trust in not only this sector of medicine an irresponsible, dangerous folly. I look forward to listening to you in Oslo in August!

    Thankfully, Berit Bryn-Jensen

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  14. Even though we all have the common sense here to see that the accusations were of course completely without validity it’s still not nice on a human level to hear/read that. Of course you don’t have blood on your hands Robert and these sorts of tactics have been around for a long time.
    I remember before the hearing voices movement started of similar sorts of slurs. Before the terms ‘voice hearer’ and ‘psychosis’ came about talks (from survivors, allies and professionals) were about ‘Schizophrenia’. When I did such talks questioning the lack of full information, lifelong medication, the possibilities for alternatives, no where in my papers did I state “everyone must come off ALL medication NOW”.
    A member of the former NSF (National Schizophrenia Fellowship), which was mostly a relatives organisation for a while seemed to follow me around at events and would jump up immediately after I’d finished speaking always to say the same thing, “You’re telling people to stop taking their medication!”. It almost became comical as audience participants would end up answering this person before I did saying “No she didn’t”.
    Equally I would find myself on the wrong side of survivors telling me that I was lucky I didn’t need to take daily medication as they did and would die if they didn’t, through to, unless I did take daily medication then my condition could not have been that serious.
    It’s not easy being an activist Robert – but don’t let it deter you, take support from your friends and allies, of which you have many here.

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    • I’ve had people ask me if I’m saying everyone can cope without medication or asking if I think the drugs should be banned when what I actually said was something quite different and much milder. I don’t have enough evidence to say that although some people would like that.

      But then people have been told that people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar must take thier drugs everyday for the rest of thier lives or something awful will happen so any challange to that can result in a backlash and freequently does.

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  15. It has always amazed me how, to people like Pete Earley, death seems to be acceptable, maybe a little tragic, but still acceptable, as long as it occurs as a ”side” effect of psychiatric ”treatment”, while the mere possibility of a fatal outcome is unacceptable as soon as it occurs in context with free and informed choice.

    We’re not born into this world knowing everything about how to make the most constructive choices. We have to learn it, and we all learn it by making our own choices. But nobody can make constructive choices if they’re denied access to all the information important to the specific choice. Keeping information from people, lying to them about the facts, will almost inevitably lead to ”bad” choices being made. What I find particularly interesting here — alongside with the phenomenon that in fact grown-up people consistently are referred to as “children”, i.e. human beings who still haven’t learned enough about this world to be able to make constructive choices concerning all parts of their lives — is that, in general, I experience quite a bit of secrecy, mystification, outright lying, and sweeping things under the carpet in the families of labeled people. Usually more than in other families. And it doesn’t start with, or is limited to keeping for a truly constructive choice important information about, well not just psychiatric ”treatment”, but the nature of the labels themselves, hidden from the labeled person. It starts with the family secrets, the skeletons in the closet, the elephant in the living room, the existence and nature of which the ”bad” choices of the labeled person threaten to reveil, which again has earned the person in question their label. The secrecy, closedness and lying toward labeled people Pete Earley and his likes openly advocate for indeed are necessary if the family secrets are to be kept secret, the skeletons are to be kept inside the closet, the elephant in the living room is to be kept unseen. And so ”bad” choices and, in the end, fatal outcomes are passed on from one generation to the next. If anybody has ”blood on their hands” it’s these people, who’ve decided that being able to continue and live their lie is more important than facing the truth and being able, they themselves as well as everybody under their influence, to make constructive choices on the basis of it. If their offspring is “mentally ill”, i.e. keeps making “bad” choices, choices that don’t take all the important information about the subject into account, then these people should ask themselves who it is that kept important information hidden from their offspring, who it is that kept their offspring in the dark, and about as educated about the world as the kindergarten child they themselves fancy to reduce their, mostly, grown-up sons and daughters to.

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    • I love this site and Bob and all of you!! This comment in particular strikes a chord with me. I wish I had the ability that you and so many others here possess to articulate your ideas, arguments, and “things” you know are true. I’ve always struggled with expressing myself through words – which contributed to my falling victim to the “mental health” system in my teen years (am now 41). Thank you, Bob, for helping us. I think any reconciliation with my family members would have to involve their reading your books.

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    • I agree, Marian; I don’t think the infantilization of labelled people is the consequence of the labelling but rather its cause, or at least part of the process which in many cases leads to the superconcentrated anger, pain and fear which goes by the name of “mental illness”.

      Children who must always be wrong so that their parents can always be right. Adult men and women forced to remain childlike so that they can continue to be wrong while the “adults” around them can continue to be right. Unfortunate scapegoats into which dysfunctional families can pour their dysfunction so they can continue with their functional pretense.

      People will say that this is not true of every case, and it probably isn’t, but it is true of many, many cases, and for as long as it is not acknowledged—in each family, in society at large—the chain of darkness and misery passing from one generation to the next will remain unbroken.

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    • Marian,

      This is a great post and exposes the traits of very dysfunctional families who always need a scapegoat or two to continue their family myths of the perfect family they enforce on one and all with impunity and much bullying. Usually, the perpetrators suffer from narcissistic traits and dole out the type of abuse and dictates they would never tolerate themselves as injustice collectors per the counselor and author of the great book, Healing From Family Rifts, Mark Sichel, describing these types of painful, traumatic situations:

      I would also like to add that Early is a perfect example of why mothers should not be the only ones who are always blamed and scapegoated for the problems of their children/families. Those like Early sure show that fathers can contribute greatly to the suffering of the entire family including the children and their mothers. Many such men are emotional and psychological abusers if not physical abusers too in the guise of discipline and acting like “the man of the house.” This is described all too well in Lundy Bancroft’s great book on the male abusive mindset, Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men.

      I have watched many videos of Bob Whitaker’s presentations and he always cited the dangers of going off medications abruptly and warned people not to do that. I would assume Bob said something about that in this presentation if applicable?

      Finally, like other posts from seeming Big Pharma/psychiatry trolls on many sites including Amazon touting the wonders of psychiatry and their “great” life saving drugs for their bipolar and other “mental illness,” I find this “blood on his hands” letter from a supposed mother highly suspicious right after Bob Whitaker’s talk. Like others, I question the veracity and validity of this letter as much as I question psychiatry’s stigmatizing and drugging agenda Early and NAMI fascists are so determined to force on one and all even if lying, force and violence are necessary per Jaffe and Torrey cohorts.

      But, if as I understand correctly whether true or not, the son wanted to go off the drugs even eventually and the mother gave him the ultimatum he must choose between sure death from toxic psychiatry’s life long predation and its lethal drugs versus the possible dangers of homelessness with freedom, no wonder the son chose to leave. I would say such a mother has blood on her own hands that she is projecting on Bob Whitaker due to her own narcissism and scapegoating of her son. At the same time, she is refusing to even question her fascist ideology of nonexistent brain diseases “diagnosed” to push lethal drugs in the guise of medicine to help scapegoat the modern identified patient of toxic families with parents and others not having to share any responsibility or examination of their own problems or ways they could be truly helpful as Rossa and others have wisely pointed out.

      That’s not to say that anyone is necessarily to blame in all situations since severe emotional distress can have many, many causes from real medical problems to school/work and other community bullying/mobbing. Yet, given that those in the most emotional distress or the targets of the new bogus bipsychiatry paradigm were able to find out the truth about Toxic Psychiatry and its deadly drugs, any parent blindly pushing this harmful agenda without researching all the evidence is in deep denial while scapegoating the victims due to probable fear of blame whether guilty or not or just laziness and/or gullibility. The fact that Dr. Thomas Insel, Head of the NIHM, has now admitted the DSM and its voted in stigmas are invalid due to lack of science and evidence despite his bogus brain disease ideology and admission of biopsychiatry’s overall very poor results should most certainly cause NAMI and other parents to sit up and take notice and seriously question their beliefs and the motives of those who have misled them so badly.

      Finally, I believe it is truly evil for a certain group of people/parents to promote a bogus, fascist ideology to pass horrific human rights violating laws to be imposed on all children with impunity while other parents are horrified by their children being at risk for such abuse and vehemently opposed to such draconian laws. More evidence of narcissism flowing from this dangerous group violating the constitutional rights of one and all including the many parents who do not agree with them in the least bit to force their horrific, abusive, life destroying agenda on one and all families even when they are tragically misguided and wrong in so many ways.

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    • Thanks so much for this comment. Being scared of skeletons in the closet doesn’t change the fact that people don’t really care about them. When they are discovered by others, and seen for what they really are, they are as glad to let you let go of them as they are to clean out their own closet. To find those people all you have to do is not try to hide your own, and not make it out to be worse than it isn’t…..

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  16. I ache for this anonymous mother’s son yet her letter and accusations hurled at Bob Whitaker made me furious. Blood on his hands — good grief! The only blood on anyone’s hands belongs to those perpetrating the mental death system and the colluding families of mental patients.

    We are so lucky to have you on our side, Bob. It’s sickening that they imply those diagnosed with mental illness should be protected from valid science, i.e. the truth. This is, I believe, part of what Sally Satel refers to as “benign paternalism.” Well, it’s not benign; it’s toxic.

    Had our social policy reflected this science, this anonymous man would have been provided safety, shelter, good food, psychosocial support, a judicious tapering off his neurotoxins, and an opportunity for counselling to deal with his obvious fear of and rage at his parents.

    I actually like Pete Earley, though I vehemently disagree with him on most things. We’ve emailed a couple of times and he seems to me more thoughtful and moderate than would be obvious from his blog.

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  17. Nicely stated. I think the dramatic counter argument against those who think being homeless is the worst thing that could happen to a person is to see someone who has been on antipsychotics for twenty years. My friend, who had graduated top in her medical school class, now appears to have severe dementia. Through the years, moving toward her end state, she was extremely obese. Her body was twisted because of the high prolactin levels (attributable to the antipsychotics) cause osteoporosis. I never saw her distressed, but she also never laughed. Although she never roamed the streets, in my opinion, she never had a life. For those of us who remember the state hospitals before they were closed, that is what it looked like: a warehouse for zombies.

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  18. As far as I can determine, it was an anonymous letter from “A Broken Hearted and Angry Mom” that started this firestorm.

    I have to use a nom de guerre because when I first started to comment on my experience using my own name on Margot Kidder’s website years ago, I triggered a barrage of vile personal attacks.

    “Broken Hearted and Angry Mom”, however, has strong support from her fellow NAMI members. Why doesn’t she go public and write about her and her son’s experience like Kathy Brandt? Perhaps her son could be found quickly if she disclosed his identity and last known location like so many other missing children and adults.

    We need to be assured that this story is genuine and that Mr. Whitaker is not being set up for a take-down, starting perhaps even before his invitation to the NAMI convention.

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    • I must admit, because of the wild accusations and focusing on the sensational aspects of her son’s homelessness,I was wondering whether the mother was fictitious. I don’t appreciate hearing the horror stories because we’ve all been there and the retelling is pointless, unless sympathy is the goal. Earley would have done better to insist that she post a name (fictious first and last name will do), not just A Broken Hearted and Angry Mom.

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  19. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do – in an attempt to encourage our society to move towards an honest dialogue about science and particulary “psychiatric support” within the current realities of our communities.
    We as a society should discuss what science tells us about psych-drugs. And we as a society should not keep this discussion from the public. We have a collective responsibility to pursue and promote experiental truth.
    Not pursuing this conversation leaves all of us with blood on our hands. I took “anti-psychotics” for years and the quote you incorporated at the end of this post deeply resonates with me. I don’t know that these drugs did anything to adress “psychosis” – whatever that is – but they definetly disabled my brain’s ability to acknowledge my perceptions thoughts and emotions and disabled my ability to care about my perceptions thoughts emotions and much of anything. Oh yeah, and the effects of the drugs also included weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and involuntary facial movements. “Is the cure worse than the disease?”
    You aptly stated that in the absence of talks like your recent one at this NAMI event in Texas – our society won’t have enough mechanisms for people who want to come off of psych-drugs to do it more thoughtfully, safely, and hopefully with a better chance of positive outcomes – than just doing it cold turkey without much external support. Not having these conversations you have been championing increases the blood on all of our hands for another reason. Accepting the 25 year life disparity that atleast partly results from a med. first, med. second, and med. third approach to “psychiatric treatment” without analyzing the costs and benifits of these psych-drugs – prohibits or society from ever pusuing “psychiatric treatment” approaches that might allow, encourage, and facilitate people who are suffering to build or rebuild meaningful and active lives without psych-drugs and the harmful effects of psych-drugs. I believe that a bell-curve analysis of the history of mankind reveals that people can and have overcome intense emotional distress without psych-drugs. If we don’t have the conversations you are championing and if our society views people acting on what they percieve to be the truth based on honest and thoughtful rational analysis of science – and potentially getting hurt – as more appalling than the number of people recieving “mental health services” who are obese and have diabetes – we are not a society comitted to supporting humans in extreme states – we are a lazy society comitted to being comfortable. I also want to express that I believe that the number of people who feel that taking psych-drugs does more good for them than harm – is exagerated by our culture’s mass modes of thought. And that I believe that the number of people who despise taking psych-drugs every day and want to stop – is grossly under reported and minimized by our culture’s mass modes of thought.

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  20. Bob’s books, this site, and his presentations are invaluable sources of sound, fairly-presented information pointing us toward the reality of human suffering.

    At the same time, I find the mother’s letter compelling – not as a policy prescription or depiction of fact, but as the expression of someone who has done their best with what they knew, and who has suffered greatly in the process. She wrote in the midst of a replay of the catastrophe she had endured many times before, under the reasonable fears that she may never see her son again.

    We must not dismiss her feelings simply because she misses the larger contextual problems with her position that Bob so clearly points out. The trick to correcting vast social wrongs is not to shout down those who support those wrongs, but to understand the profound reasons why good people come to embrace such harmful ideas. This mother is not an odious PhARMA marketing executive who makes incredibly dangerous decisions just to increase market share; she is like the rest of us – struggling with often-overwhelming stresses and feelings, and doing the best she can. This mother is the target – a victim – of the cynical PhARMA executive. She is not “the enemy”; she is a potential ally we need to reach.

    We need to get good at maintaining human contact with people like her. Biological psychiatry and PhARMA have figured out ad-biz ways of “connecting” with people like this mother, and they will continue to beat us like a drum unless we find more profound ways of establishing genuine human connections that are better than that.

    We see clearly that those struggling with mental and emotional problems respond when they are offered attention and humanity – they deserve nothing less. We are less clear that the same is true for all people, including those who believe whole-heartedly that NAMI’s vision is the only thing standing between them and profound personal disaster.

    One lesson from this episode: any presentation should contain a very, very clear warning that stopping psych. drugs abruptly and without a lot of support is very risky. As Bob said, the danger is increased by the system’s lack of resources to support gradual withdrawal. I would refer people to Glenmullen’s and Breggin’s books on withdrawal, and to the many groups and individuals who are working to provide real support.

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    • very well put about critiquing the unacceptable realities within which the Mother does her best to formulate decisions and pursue the best available options – and not attacking a loving Mother for doing her best within a broken system of misinformation.

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      • Greg, as someone who did criticize the mother, here’s a partial explanation for why I did so. She, assuming the letter was not fictious, as I briefly wondered, (see above) was invited or encouraged by Pete Earley to post the letter, presumably as part of his stated commitment to have people who were in the audience comment on Bob’s presentation. I believe many of us are long past pretending that what happens in the home, how our relative is treated, has no relation to how well someone does or does not recover. Too many people bend over backwards to not say what needs to be said because they are afraid of offending. Just like “take your meds for life” is a mantra that many people don’t question, so too is the belief that the family environment is off limits because, well, it’s a brain disease, isn’t it, and therefore the family environment is irrelevant. That’s how NAMI got to be NAMI, by telling parents that their actions had no bearing on a brain disease.

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        • point well taken. I think criticizing the Mother is warranted and can be constructive. I guess it is a matter of whether the criticism is done with compassion for the realities she may be facing and confined within. And whether or not our criticism allows for the possibility of people like her to start demanding that society no longer fail them with misinformation. I completely agree that the Mother needs to be criticized for believing and promoting damaging misinformation. That said I think it should be done in a way that acknowledges that she may have been manipulated by the psych-industry’s monopoly on scientific info. regarding psych-drugs and doesn’t attack her character or her as a person for believing misinformation but rather attacks the misinformation she believes and leaves a little possibility for her to question what she has bought into.

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          • Greg, IMO the mother is not just the victim of the psych industry you picture her to be. She writes in her letter that she was worried when her son wanted to go and listen to Whitaker’s talk. Why would she have been worried, unless she knew what the talk would be about? And if she knew what it would be about, it means that she’s known, probably for some time before the NAMI convention, that there’s a different story out there than the one she’s chosen to buy into, and to sell to her son as the one and only truth. If it really is her son’s wellbeing that is her main concern, why wasn’t she curious to learn more about this different story? Why didn’t she discuss it with her son (all she mentions is that he heard about it from others)? Why didn’t she start to educate herself about psych drugs, withdrawal, different views of what “mental illness” is, etc. etc., and get her son interested in these things too, like Rossa for instance has done? Why is it as important to her as it obviously is when you read the passage in her letter about Open Dialogue working for some, but not for “any one else”, read: not for her son, to maintain the belief that her son is brain diseased and in need of “medication”, no matter what? Why does she, although she knows about Whitaker and his message keep dismissing her son’s voices that told him “we were devils, our house was haunted by evil spirits and we were trying to poison him. He said God was commanding him to not live with us anymore,” as “nonsense”, when actually these voices become pretty meaningful seen in context with what the science, quoted by Whitaker, tells us about neuroleptics, and we know that the mother doesn’t support any attempt by her son to come off them, actually even tries everything to keep him from even thinking about it?

            She’s had her possibility to question. She didn’t make use of it. IMO misinformation from the psych industry alone doesn’t explain this mother’s rejection of anything but the “it’s a brain disease that needs to be medicated” stance. There are other forces at play. It is my experience with the forces that I see at play here that the only chance one has to comment and not offend the person under the influence of these forces is by agreeing entirely with their point of view. Anything else they will regard a personal attack on them, no matter how respectfully and compassionately one words it, and the way they know how to appear as the Victim, capital ”V”, will probably even make others see a personal attack where there really only is a pointing out of what the person herself already has reveiled herself. So, one has the choice, critique their point of view, and risk to be seen as the ”bad guy”, even by others, and even by those who otherwise share your opinions, or – well, if you can’t agree, do nothing, don’t comment, don’t critique, unless you want to be the ”bad guy”. Which means that, once again, the facts are hidden away, can’t be mentioned and talked about openly. It’s a win-win situation for her. At least to the extent that people buy into the ”I am the victim here!” thing.

            I wrote this several hours ago, but had no chance to post it before now. Reading Seth’s comment, I wholeheartedly agree, you might as well talk to a wall. Still, I think Rossa’s comments are important. Not because I would have any hope that they could change the mother’s mind in any way. But it is this kind of stonewalling that drives people crazy, and understanding what drove you crazy in the first place is the first step on the road to recovery. So, somebody following the thread at Pete Earley’s blog and reading Rossa’s comments might be helped by them. Even if it’s not the mother.

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          • Marian,
            You make a lot of very good points and I agree with the vast majority of what you, Rossa, and Seth expressed regarding criticizing the mother. I did not intend to suggest that it is good or even ok to give the mother a pass or by default even credit for doing the best she could within her victim status. Admittedly my comments did in some ways seem to suggest this and that is due to a combination of me not being thoughtful enough before posting and poor word choice on my part. What I believe is that the Mother’s approach with her son needs to be disputed and criticized and she deserves criticism for buying into, carrying out, and selling this approach. That said I don’t think it is an all or nothing dynamic – i.e.criticize and attack her or don’t even criticize her. I think that one can not attack someone without not criticizcizing them. And I think that one can criticize someone without attacking them. When I was locked up in psych wards I sometimes to some extent bought into medical model psychiatry and viewed organizations like mindfreedom as romantic idealists. I came to believe what I now see as the truth through people challenging my beliefs and through personal epiphany – not through people saying that I was ridiculous and hurting society by believing what unfortunately most of our society believes or that I was ridiculous for not exploring research by Robert Whitaker which unfortunately most of society views as uncredible without taking the time to read it and see that it is far more believeable than the stance of the biological psychiatric industry. I can respect people who decide to right off mothers like this and believe that it is impossible for them to change their ways. That said, that is not my stance. I believe that people other than the mother can benifit from criticism of the mother absent of personal attacks just as much as they can benefit from criticism of the mother which includes personal attacks. I also believe and feel that I have to believe that people like this mother can change. In short, I think you are right that it is vital to criticize the mother’s beliefs and to criticize her for buying into, acting on, and selling damaging beliefs. At the same time however, I think that in the name of compassion and in the name of strategically advancing our human experience movement – I should temper such criticize with awerness that genaral public sentiment reinforces this mother’s beliefs and general public sentiment reinforces her decision to dismiss research such as that done by Whitaker without reading it because the general public views this type of research as lacking credibility – even though they haven’t read it. I know I did this for years.

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          • The mother attacked Whitaker’s character–or someone did (Earley?) by using the ‘blood on the hands’ narrative as well as the mother stating she wished she could sue Whitaker or NAMI or both–perhaps next time she should say “No” to public events if she thinks that will keep her adult son on his medications.

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          • Greg, it wasn’t my intention to say that it’s an all or nothing dynamic per se, and that to criticize someone’s actions, beliefs, etc., one has to attack them. In fact, I believe attacking people is pretty unlikely to open their minds to whatever the critique of their actions, beliefs, etc.. What I was trying to say is that it is my strong impression that the mother in question here out of her own powerlessness has developed a set of coping strategies which includes the conviction that, whatever it is that doesn’t pan out in her life, it is somebody else’s fault. She isn’t responsible for any of it herself, she is the incarnation of perfection, she’s never wrong, or makes a mistake. And if things go wrong, if anybody dares to doubt her perfection, the 100% correctness of her beliefs to be the one and only truth, doesn’t agree 100% with her, doesn’t follow her orders to the letter, she is always the Victim, and the Victim only. The possibility that she might be just another imperfect human being, like everybody else, doesn’t exist in her universe. People who employ this set of coping strategies usually have an exceptional ability to twist and turn things that makes even the most polite and compassionate critique look like the worst personal attack on them. Never mention what happens when you, matter of fact and straight forward, unravel what they’ve made an effort to obscure and mystify, and see right through their tactics. I’ve quite some experience with trying to debate these people. It’s plain impossible.

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        • The question how can this young man be helped. Unfortunately he now has voluntarily chosen to go back into the hospital.
          You can criticize the mother Rossa but you might as well talk to a wall. AS an anti-establishment psychologist I’ve encountered these NAMI mothers before–they’re almost always inaccessible, and self-righteous.
          This young man cannot live at home and get off the drugs. Even if the mother were to agree she’d sabotage it. (See The Loony Bin Trip) What she should do is to help her son financially get a room somewhere.”He left us a long handwritten note filled with nonsense about how a voice was telling him we were devils, our house was haunted by evil spirits and we were trying to poison him. He said God was commanding him to not live with us anymore.” He’s right! I’m afraid now when he comes out of the loony bin he’ll forget this.
          They might even give him ECT, depending on where he is.It’s too bad we cannot get in touch with him.
          It would help the son to be able to connect
          even on the Internet with other people who have gotten off the drugs. Once he does that he will not go back into the system. Whenever Bob speaks at these places (goes into the lion’s den) he should give–maybe he did and the guy wasn’t listening–the website of several places. I could name several but I’m sure Bob knows them.
          Seth Farber, Ph.D.

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          • Hi, Seth,
            When I wrote my comments critizing the mother, it wasn’t to attempt to change her, nor the other NAMI mommies whose opinions are virtually identical to hers. (Not all NAMI mothers are cut from the same cloth, may I add.) I chip in my two cents worth for the newcomers who may not know the full picture, and for those who are beginning to question the status quo. Also, while I appreciate the idea of helping the young man get a room somewhere, this may or may not be a good strategy. For one, since his parents had practiced “tough love,” it’s very likely he was already living in a cheap room somewhere, feeling lonely and unloved. For some people this may work, but I bet it works better for those who are older, more “recovered” and those for whom the family is clearly toxic. I can only go by my own experience. For a while, I longed to get my son out of the house, away from the rest of the family. We were exhausted, we felt he was old enough to start being responsible for himself. Despite being 25 years old, he was very attached (too attached) to his family, and is, to a lesser degree, at 29. Being socially isolated breeds paranoia. I believe that people like him are deeply empathetic, and need caring people around them. They will regress in isolation. In many Western cultures, having an adult child living at home is an embarrassment. We keep wanting to push them out “for their own good”, when it is usually “for our own good.” Getting off the drugs may not be the driving force for the young man in question. Establishing trust within the family relationship might be a better first priority. The mother might do well to learn to let go, and be there to support her son when he chooses a different path than the one she might have chosen for him.
            Best regards,

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        • The Biology of Belief cites a lot of medical research, showing families have a great deal to do with mental health:

          “Findings in the peer-reviewed literature establish, beyond any doubt, that parents have an overwhelming influence on the mental and physical attributes of the children they raise.” (p.125)

          “programming of lifetime health by the conditions in the womb is equally, if not more important, than our genes in determining how we perform mentally and physically during life” (p.126-7)

          “For the growing brain of a young child, the social world supplies the most important experiences influencing the expression of genes, which determines how neurons connect to one another” (p. 127)

          “humans unavoidably restrict their growth behaviors when they shift into a protective mode” (p. 116)

          “the experience in the womb shapes the brain and lays the groundwork for personality, emotional temperament, and the power of higher thought” (p. 143)

          “What the father does profoundly affects the mother, which in turn affects the developing child” (p. 143)

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    • Peter, i so appreciate the points you make here. I read the mother’s letter on Pete Early’s site and had many of the same feelings you express. I am deeply appreciative of Bob Whitaker and the excellent work he’s doing. I’m also a parent who has been in a similar place as Pete Early and the mother who wrote this letter. The place i’ve come to, from what I’ve observed and experienced throughout my daughter’s ongoing saga and through my own personal research, is much different from where they are. I believe that as a society we’ve been duped into buying a very reductionistic and scientifically flawed view of mental illness, which needs to be strongly challenged (as Whitaker and others are doing). But having said this, i don’t see any easy answers for my daughter at this point–or for the many others who have been ensnared in the net of highly dubious and clearly harmful biopsychiatric “treatments”. In our zeal to shed the light of truth on these issues and rescue those who have become entrapped, i think we need to respect that the majority of family members of people in these situations have not arrived at where they are blithely or lightly.

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  21. Giving people information or a different opinion, is what freedom and democracy is all about.
    “A slave is he who cannot speak his thoughts.” Euripides (484-406 B.C.)
    The guy who ran away is suffering from Drapetomania. When they find him they can’t cut off his toes like in the past, so that is progress eh?

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    • hi Rossa
      The NAMI mother that I tangled with would not talk to her son for 12 even though he was doing fine off the drugs.
      NOW there Aare probably many mothers in NAMI who are ambivalent. This was not true in 1990s. And there were “NAMI mothers” who were not in NAMI. These women would rather have theirchildren locked in a cage their whole life, than become independent. R D Laing showed this in earlky 60s in nthe transcript he published Sanity Madness and the Family.
      There is no way this mother could tolerate her son getting off drugs. Did you never read The Loony-Bin Trip.
      Remember I said his ability to get off drugs and to remain stable depends upon his connecting–even on the Internet–with others who have done it.
      trust within the family relationship might be a better first priority.” I don’t know how you could possibly think thatb is a priority with this mother who wants Bob Whitaker’s head. I worked as a family therapist in lte 80s before I became unemployable because of my position on drugs, and the NAMI mothers–I use the term figuratively aswell as literally– are not willing to tolerate their adult child’s independence. Furhermore at that age peers are far more important than parents.

      ” The
      mother might do well to learn to let go, and be there to support her son when he
      chooses a different path than the one she might have chosen for him.”
      You are not being practical. If this could not happen with Kate Millett’s radical lesbian friends it won’t happen with her. If he had help procuring his own living space he could make friends.

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      • Hi, Seth,
        I think getting off drugs and remaining stable is a lot more complex than connecting on the internet with others who have done it. So many people (you may not be one of them) think that simply getting off drugs is a guaranteed fix. It’s not. You also seem to assume that all families are toxic to the struggling child. I sense a lot of anger there.

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        • Rossa,

          This goes far beyond toxic families and struggling children. This goes to the heart of public policy. Here in the U.S. we created public policy on the anger of these NAMI mommies.

          Now, we have mental health courts and case law that threaten the freedom of anyone who has been unfortunate enough to have been given a psychiatric diagnosis.

          In short, these NAMI mommies took away civil rights – not only for their own children, whom they failed as parents, but those they never met.

          Most frightening is that they still seem oblivious to these facts. They seem hell-bent on continuing to do what they know best – mess other people’s lives up – their own children’s and others as well.

          No, I’m still not interested in joining arms with them. Not interested at all.


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          • Totally agree Duane. I don’t want to obviously generalize but alot of the comments remind of the attitudes in old Soviet Russia. Shut up and take your meds. You must have complete obedience and not question a darn thing.

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          • Nor am I. I live in a very backward state where NAMI is the only recognized voice in so-called “mental health.” They are some of the most controlling, maternalistic/paternalistic, unwilling to listen to anyone not just like them people that I’ve ever met. They push and drive their agenda very easily here since there is no group or organization that stands up to voice a different opinion. And if you don’t support NAMI absolutely then something is obviously wrong with you. You obvioulsy don’t want the best treatment possible for the poor people who are “mentally ill!”

            Thanks, but no thanks, no holding hands and singing Kumbaya with this group, at least not where I live. Maybe other NAMI groups are more open and accepting of ideas other than what they push, but you won’t find them where I live.

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          • Stephen,

            My friend John Breeding and I testified on several bills in the Texas senate and house. It was an eye-opening experience.

            NAMI was ruthless with their politics. They were pushing to get a bill passed that would give the police the authority to immediately place a person in a psychiatric facility – if the person had been diagnosed with a severe mental illness and the police officer “suspected” the person had committed the crime. Never mind that pesky constitution!

            The other bills were to target more Pharma/NAMI money from the most vulnerable – children in Medicaid and foster care. The lobbying by NAMI was outrageous – committee chairs and members we thought we had won over to our side were inundated by hundreds of calls from NAMI members to reps and senators.

            Public hearings for committee meetings were literally standing-room only – NAMI mommies telling their stories, those long, tear-filled stories… As if their out-of-control child should effect public policy – making it easier to drug a six year-old, or lock up the crazy uncle in the attic.

            David Ross with MIA has said he’s up against the same thing in Ohio. I would expect this takes place in every state.


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          • I’m empathetic with what these families go through. I’m saying we should not build public policy on raw, unfiltered emotion.

            And, it’s time we recognized as a society that there are treatments that are *much* safer and *far more* effective than the ones NAMI lobbies for at the state and national level.

            We need to take back constitutional rights for people who’ve been diagnosed, and IMO, NAMI is the *last* group we need to be working with. We need to be fighting the bills they continue to introduce in state houses and Capitol Hill!


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          • I looked at this disturbing blog. Pete Early’s. Quite full of incredible statements. To quite a few, it seems, for anyone to actually report scientific findings, they have to be a scientist. And these are findings that are suppressed in mainstream media, mainstream media they are all happy to repeat without questioning it even though TV or The New York Times aren’t “scientists.” Someone says Bob isn’t a scientist and the choir repeats it. Whitaker is simply reporting facts that are scientifically verifiable. Something any good reporter does. When another reporter reports things in main stream media which can’t be scientifically verified but are pro drugging, then they have no problem it’s not a scientist.

            One lady at the end (when I looked) mentioned that they have all tried non medication, all 100% of them. That’s an interesting way to promote a treatment, mention that everyone who hasn’t followed that treatment has already tried not having the treatment. If you’re not immediately fixed because you haven’t tried blah blah blah treatment, you’ve tried what happens without it, and it’s failed. You can say that anyone needs THAT treatment that way (despite side effects, lack of life, a plumetting in rates of recovery in comparison to other methods). It just happens to be that people who don’t receive “any” treatment in regard say “schizophrenia” (which means no forced drugging) do better statistically in levels of recovery. It’s the ones who are drugged and having so many relapses, and can have extreme withdrawal symptoms when trying to get off of the medications without help, that cause most of the problems which are then used to promote forced drugging. Those problems don’t exist in such an extent with those not “treated,” something she says they’ve all tried (100%) while apparently dismissing the statistics of those who actually have (and have they been treated or not; since if they have been treated but not “treated” then they’ve not been treated, because everyone who hasn’t been treated has already tried not being “treated.”). And she says Whitaker is trying to use a disease to promote his method. Because he offers methods which do better statistically, and he can back it up….and simply offers it as a possibility without promoting forcing it on anyone.

            The facts are that probably none of them have experienced the Healing Homes of Finland method, which actually is treatment where the statistics speak for themselves, or Orthomolecular, or Soteria or Inner Dialogue. If one is to say that they all (100%) have tried the none drug method….

            (how many times can you say treatment, and still have tried not being treated while you were saying it!?)

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          • I agree with you Duane.
            What I’ve tried to explain to Rossa is that many of them are not going to change. Like that father.
            Yes if the whole culture changed they might. But now it’s easy for them to reinforce their worst habits but joining with a shrink.

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        • First of all Rossa I must comment on your psychoanalysis of me. Your implication that my perspective is a result of (suppressed or unacknowledged?) anger. It’s wrong and it’s silly.
          I would bet that I have had more experience directly or indirectly–through their adult children– with these NAMI mothers than you have. So I would bet my difference from you is a result of this experience. I have spoken to many adult children labeled with some kind of “psychosis” who were banned from their parents houses, involuntarily locked up and subjected to all kinds of abuses by parents–usually mothers–to keep them on drugs. I ‘m somewhat angry but not on my behalf. I have a good relationship with my 89 years old mother and father and girlfriends over the years etc etc.
          I was trained as a family therapist (after I got my PhD) by 3 of the top people in the field. Before I was fired
          I was very successful with all kinds of families including parents–except for some parents of “schizophrenics.” Have you read Sanity Madness and the Family? It is transcripts so one cannot blame it on Laing’s ostensible anti-family attitude.It’s a classic–about this topic.
          If you want to talk to a couple of these adult kids they will tell you how their mothers did not want them to be “healthy.”
          The one I’m friendliest with now–over the Internet– is happily adjusted, and has been off drugs since several months after he last saw me in 1989.His mother would not talk to him for 12 years. Her condition for meeting him was he go back on drugs–even though he was having no troubles, and had a job and girlfriend. (I was fired for encouraging kids to get off drugs.)On her death bed she finally relented. She was a member of NAMI. I also told you that this is generally NOT true with black parents.
          I must admit to you Rossa that this sentence really irritates me:”I sense a lot of anger there.” It’s not only the psychoanalysis. That particular hackneyed therapeutic cliché reminds me of that therapeutic culture I worked in years ago. I’m surprised at you. Jesus were you trained as a therapist?
          You write,”You also seem to assume that all families are toxic to the struggling child.” There is nothing in anything I have written to warrant that assumption–your assumption I mean.I challenge you to find one statement where I ever said or implied that.
          In fact you can find many statement under the article by Julie this past week(I’d have to look up the title) in which I argue AGAINST that theory! It is the psychoanalytic theory and I find it misanthropic and fatalistic.I have written many deconstructions of it. That is right. That is the reason I repudiated psychoanalysis)I was seduced by Freudianism for a few years in graduate school.Eventually I realized how destructive it was.I became an apostate.
          It’s why I became a family therapist–although I don’t get families now that I’m excluded from the public sector.
          It’s one of my abiding regrets. I loved doing family therapy.But these were working class
          and middle class people who would not be likely
          to call me on the basis of reading one of my neo-Laingian books. Fortunately I discovered
          the survivors movement in 1988 and co-founded The Network against Coerive Pychiatry–no longer extant.
          To briefly describe family therapy: As a ft I had found I could resolve problems by modifying family members’ interactions IN THE PRESENT. That is I rejected the idea that children are damaged by inadequate parenting in the first few years.
          I rejected the idea of pathology and focused on
          families strengths, not their weaknesses.These ideas are expressed in al my books. Except for the NAMI types I always got along with all the family members.I cannot think of any exceptions–except NAMI mothers, and fathers sometimes.
          For awhile I was going into Court on behalf of black mothers who had their kids taken away from then–not because they were alleged to be abusive, but because they picked on and examined by psychologists who said they were borderline personality disorders etc But the judge almost always did what Child Welfare wanted.But my point is I fought for the family against the State.
          When I worked as a family therapist I was spontaneously as empathic with the parents as I was with the kids. Except with these kids who had NAMI mothers. They NAMI mother (not always a member of NAMI–we areusing it figuratively) had kids who all had labels of psychotic–schizophrenic or schizoaffective since it was before the bipolar labeling mania.
          Well this has taken up some time. But I have to defend myself against the idea that I am some sort of cold ideologue filled with unacknowledged rage, and a nihilist who wants to destroy the family. I am what one might call opinionated–strong convictions combined with intellectual orientation– so maybe that was the basis of the imaginative portrait you have painted of me. It’s amazing how you could be so condescending and wrong about my basic beliefs in just 4 short sentences You see it is exactly what therapists do.
          OK finally
          You write, “I think getting off drugs and remaining stable is a lot more complex than connecting on the internet with others who have done it.” I did not say that it wasn’t.Here again you have made an assumption based your own fantasy. I said that if the young man connected on Internet with people who had gotten off psych drugs and were involved in movement, this would be a start and he would never go back into the system again. I believe that is all I said. The rest I did not go into.
          After that he might have made other connections. I’m always willing to talk to these people at least once pro bono.Sometimes more. But because I know a lot and have written books these kind of people usually find me helpful. And my books are helpful–particularly if like this young man they are inclined to read. Often I know other people I can connect them with. And there are other people
          who would do the same. I know a lot of people who got off drugs with little resources.It;s being part of a community which sometimes can
          take place on the Internet, because they do usually have some other resources. Though I usually would encourage them to leave home if they have NAMI parents
          The people in the studies Bob cites–Harrow and the new one–had less resources but they did it. But it took too long.My point was that Bob should include these URLs in his lectures so these young people who want to get off drugs can get support for doing it. If you think leaving this sensitive person I n the parents home–like this father- then I think you are naïve. Read THe Loony Bin Trip. BTW after 17 yrs on lithium and not being able to get off living with her girlfriend Kate got off in 6 months by talking with 3 people in the movement once a month.
          I have to run.
          I suggest you don’t play therapist again and reduce someone else to a cliché that does not even bear any resemblance to them. I’m sure you’ll say you sense anger. Yes I was angry for your condescending letter. I’m angry at therapists who do that all the time. But my statement about NAMI parents was based upon experience.
          You ought to at least read one of my books after you’ve psychoanalyzed me. Here is my latest


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          • Seth,
            I wrote I sensed anger, and now I’m reading anger. I’m not worth the time and emotion you have spent psychoanalyzing me. I have “noticed” (it’s perfectly acceptable to write about impressions)that you sometimes resort to pulling the I am a PhD psychologist card, trying to make the hapless soul on the receiving end look small and ill-equipped to play in the big leagues. Guess what I didn’t like? “Did you never read The Loony-Bin Trip?” I sensed anger there big time with me. Perhaps you meant to write “ever?” There’s a huge difference in tone had you written “ever.” I feel my experience with a family member is perhaps even more valuable than anything a PhD psychologist might have to offer. I do my reading, too. Perhaps I remind you too much of a NAMI mother? I don’t know, but I sure struck a nerve with you.

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          • Rossa
            First of all I did not psychoanalyze you. I did not discuss your emotional state. I did not attribute your ideas to your inner feelings or character–specifically to negative emotions. Analyzing the content of what you say is not psychoanalyzing. I was having what seems to me a friendly dialogue when you lashed out at me.
            You said that I assumed that all families were toxic to the child (which as is known by anyone who has read any books by me is not my position, but rather a position I have critiqued) and you imply that I took this alleged position because I was angry. When you attribute someone’s argument to “anger” you are psychoanalyzing them–using the term loosely. It is also considered an insult. Out of nowhere you insult me.
            You say it is not out of nowhere. I did not pull “I am a psychologist card” in order to make you feel small. I was not angry at you at all until the preceding email. Because it makes you feel small does not mean that was my intention.It was not my intention. Or my assessment. I had a favorable impression of you or I would not have chosen your letter to respond to in the first place.
            You write well and your ideas are clearly organized. In this last letter I notice you express yourself at times with imagination and humor: e.g., “trying to make the hapless soul on the receiving end look small and ill-equipped to play in the big leagues.”
            It is admirable and courageous for you to acknowledge your feelings of vulnerability, of insecurity. At least this way I can assess and see if it matches my feelings and intentions. AS I said I find nothing matching what you attribute to me until AFTER that letter–the I sense anger letter.I had no intention of hurting your feelings.
            I don’t know what you mean when you say that I sometimes “resort to pulling the “I am a PhD psychologist card…”
            I AM a psychologist– a dissident or anti-establishment psychologist and it is part of my experience and what I do.I draw upon my experience when I make arguments on this topic.Is that what you object to? It does not seem fair to expect me to censor myself. Anyway I don’t know your background and did not assume anything. You could be a Rhodes scholar for all I know. (I thought you had training as a social worker therapist after you wrote “I sense anger”–seriously.) I put my credentials at the bottom because OTHER people sometimes read these things and they do think, rightly or wrongly, it means I have studied the field and thus have knowledge that the lay person would not have. There is a grain of truth to this. Just as it is true that activists in the psychiatric survivors’ movement have
            similar knowledge and experience–to dissident therapists or scholars.
            Excuse me but I did not remember everything you said.I read and study hours each day and I don’t retain all this, but my impression of you was positive until the letter preceding this one. You write. “Guess what I didn’t like? “Did you never read The Loony-Bin Trip?” I sensed anger there big time with me. I don’t know how to find that formulation w/o spending hours. It’s not in my previous 2 letters. Believe when I get angry I remember it, and I had no anger at you until the “I sense anger” letter. I;ll explain what I probably meant. I meant I was surprised that a woman as intelligent as you and as involved with the movement as you had not even read The Loony Bin Trip. (I have no reason to lie to you.) There is an element of criticism there perhaps–that you should have read it– but there is also an element of praise.It is an important anti-psychiatric book. Take the alternative
            “Have you ever read The Loony Bin Trip?” That formulation to me means that I did not expect you would have read the book. Asif it’s not really the kind of book you would read. But you see I did think it was the kind of book you would have read, especially as a literate woman. Of course I assumed you were a survivor but now I’m thinking that maybe you’ve taken an interest in this only because of your son. Anyway considering that i thought (up until now) that you were a psychiatric survivor
            and intellectually inclined that it was surprising that you had not read the book.
            I’m beginning to see the misunderstanding. I’ve seen your name a lot and read your comments but I don’t retain things unless I’m reading for research or in a one to one conversation so I assumed you were a psychiatric survivor, and you could have also been a therapist. Now that you tell me you’re not a survivor it makes sense why a literate woman like you would not have read this book.
            Anyway I did not think after reading your comments on this page that you were a NAMI mother–figuratively speaking. You would not be here if you were. So I commend you for that. I DO think you are naive about NAMI mothers. I don’t know how much experience you have with women in NAMI because you do not say but I notice people on this website have had experiences similar to mine with NAMI mothers. I take your word for it that your son could live with you comfortably and not take drugs. But that is rare. And I also have been a therapist for years so i may have a broader range of experience than you. You don’t say.
            It has taken a long time to resolve this. I hope you believe me. I wish you would agree that you ought not to have lashed out at me like that. I always thought you were a thoughtful and sensitive person–and I really did not have this huge anger you attributed to me– until your “I sense anger” letter. Then it bothered me so much that I have spent a huge amount of time to try to resolve it.I hope we are closer to a resolution. I hope you will admit some responsibility here.
            Got to run.

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      • I’ve met one “NAMI mother” who was a Norwegian father. He declared in public that he only felt safe when his son was in a locked ward. Sad. As he also was a very frail person, giving in to authority even when he had expressed other views on matters at hand for the family-organization of which I was one of the founders, but no longer a member, he dared not stand his ground.
        But of course, we have our share of “NAMI mothers/fathers”, desperate, ignorant, brainwashed, scared, single, divorced, poor… Still, MOST parents love their children, however imperfectly. Many can become wiser, given that they are met respectfully, patiently and informed at a pace they can handle.

        Big Pharma have strategically placed, well-paid minions all over the field of Mental Health and Medicine. They slow us down, but they cannot win. The facts are in the public domain. The truth is out.

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        • Where are you? You say “We have our share.” Are you in Norway? I expect them to be more open–minded. Some of the NAMI motherswon’t change–no matter what. They might change if the culture changes.
          You notice here a completely different attitude toward Psychiatry and drugs on the part of African American parents. The contrast is amazing. They don’t want their kids on drugs.
          So nif some of THEM were in NAMI they’d probably be more receptive to change. Indeed the new President who iscritical of the drugging IS black.

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          • Yes, I’m in Norway, high on forced drugging and involuntary commitments, in fact, at the top of the European tables for these sorry statistics, even forced drugging at home!
            I think your point about African American parents is very important, that they are less willing to drug their kids.
            Could they be more sceptical to authority? More critical of powerful people and systems?
            One “NAMI mother” here, who to my eyes seem incapable of change, was awarded a prize by a professional psychiatric organizaton for being a model parent to her medicine-compliant, schizophrenia-diagnosed son. Just one exmple of the well-used strategy of divide and conquer. I think any family organization can be attacked and rendered more or less impotent this way, not just NAMI.

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          • This is in reply to Berit, 5:22 am. I’m not sure that it’s because African Americans are more skeptical to authority. But theirs is a very different culture than modern western civilization one of whose main characteristics I see is the worship of the individual and the general alienation it brings about. Psychiatry is a product of modern western civilization. Its labels and drugging target the individual, the identified “mental patient”. Believing that all things and all beings in this world are connected, which is an accepted truth in many cultures, actually can be interpreted as a “symptom” of one’s “illness” in modern western civilization. Because it threatens the delusion our culture, modern western civilization, suffers from that the individual would be the be all and end all, and that community, connectedness, and social accountability mean nothing. Among African Americans, and other people from a cultural background different from modern western civilization, you’ll often find a somewhat higher developed sense for the community, and if you value the community at least the same as the individual, and maybe even higher, you’ll almost automatically look for answers/solutions to the questions/challenges you face in the community, instead of in the individual, as modern western civilization increasingly does, also by labeling and drugging the individual.

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          • Marian, I generally really like your posting here. In this case I’m feeling a little confused, and wondering about the assumptions underlying your comment. It appears to me that African Americans have been just as much a part of the development of modern western culture as white people. The vast majority of them have family lines in America that go back to well before modernity. In fact, there have been far more non-western caucasian immigrants to the United States since the cessation of the slave trade than African ones. Your formulation of African Americans as either premodern or non-western seems very strange to me.

            If by “modern western culture” you mean “white culture” or “the privileged class” then I think I understand you, and it seems likely that both you and berit are correct. Present-day marginalized groups, whether black, gay, immigrant, psych-survivor, or whatever, may tend to form tighter community bonds and a lot of justified wariness than privileged whites. They may also tend to be more wary of the practices and standards of the privileged group. In this way, white, male, middle-to-upper-class privilege is a sword that cuts both ways. The oppressor class can become trapped by its own need for control and power in the form of harmful practices like coercive psychiatry.

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  22. Bob, thanks for hanging in there and having the courage to continue speaking despite the crap you’re being unfairly given. I posted on the website to register my dismay with the characterization of affairs as somehow being “your fault.” Notably, there is no blood, but there is a lot of fear and drama. On one level, I understand the tremendous anxiety these parents feel as they are unable to control what they feel are bad decisions by their own offspring. On the other, that need to control is part of what is wrong with the system and is most likely contributing to their children’s ongoing distress. They have been heavily brainwashed and don’t really see other options, and are so invested in their views that even the idea there might BE other options creates immediate defensiveness, perhaps because of their own guilt that they really do know they and the system may be failing their adult child.

    It is somewhat ironic to hear this “blood on your hands” rhetoric when the treatment these folks so fervently defend is killing off its recipients many years prematurely. It seems very reasonable that a person receiving such “treatment,” especially for such subjective and potentially spurious “disorders,” might consider dying early and being miserable in the present a pretty poor tradeoff.

    Bottom line, speaking the truth has gotten lots of people in trouble throughout the millenia, especially when the truth threatens the power base of the status quo. The fact that people are attacking you means you’re having an impact. Keep up the good work – you are making a BIG difference!!!

    —- Steve

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  23. Psychiatry has the bloody hands,

    CAICA is an informational and educational website that provides news articles, reports, etc.,
    regarding children and teens abused, neglected, and who have died in residential treatment settings.

    NAMI wont address this blood at all cause of sponsors like “Universal Health Services”

    More blood,

    Info for Parents who are pressured to diagnose and drug their children for ADD or ADHD. Story behind our Sons death caused from ADHD drug, Ritalin.
    Between 1990 and 2000 there were 186 deaths from methylphenidate reported to the FDA MedWatch program, a voluntary reporting scheme, the numbers of which represent no more than 10 to 20% of the actual incidence.

    9/1/1985-3/20/00 Our 14-year-old Son Died from Ritalin Use

    NAMI won’t address this blood cause of pharma sponsors I guess…

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    • My edit button doesn’t work , sorry for the mudslinging.

      Anyway how is NAMI going to censor the internet so mental patients don’t find this information heard at the NAMI convention ?

      Information that made my recovery possible by the way.

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  24. No, you don’t have blood on your hands–and wouldn’t have even if Earley’s son had fared worse.

    My very honest opinion, given the information given/linked here? Mr. Earley, I have no doubt, believes that he is trying to do the right thing for his son, and believes that “tough love” is a perfectly useful tool in motivating people to live up to their families’ and cultures’ expectations of them. But what I think I see is not at all unusual in the culture I live in (US, “western”, anglo-american–lots of names and none of them sufficient): our emphasis on individualism and personal responsibility often passes into brutality and abuse despite good intentions and in spite of every bit of love we believe we hold for those close to us.

    Take your meds or get out of my house? It looks to me that Earley’s son was given a choice between two barely tenable alternatives, and the son took the one that he himself considered less painful, less risky, less likely to cause him great harm: he left home, alone, knowing what he surely knows about his capacity to handle difficult situations.

    Being diagnosable with mental illness does not render us incapable of looking out for our own interests. Not knowing anything about Earley’s son, I can only speculate about why he chose to leave home rather than continue treatment when those were the only options available to him, but if I were going to analyze the situation further, I sure would want to know why he made that choice. I suspect the answer as to how best to serve his son could be found by listening to his son–for Earley, for anyone else.

    Earley instead blames you for daring to uncover empirical facts and pointing them out where his son could see them. Controlling information access is a display of power. Possibly an abusive one. But it is endemic in our paternalistic culture and, for too long, has been an acceptable practice in “caring” for those whom we deem incapable of caring for themselves.

    And yet Earley’s son cared for himself by leaving home. This seems plain to me from here. The missing side of the story is the story his son could tell if given an audition. Earley maybe finds it easier to look outside for others to blame for “things going wrong”? I don’t know for sure, but I cannot see how you can be held responsible for his son’s decision.

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  25. Glad to hear this man found some shelter.

    What’s next?
    A man hears a lecture and decides to shave his head and sell everything he owns?

    I guess Bob gets a bill from a NAMI mommy – for the haircut and cost of new furniture for the basement?

    Give me a break.

    IMO, “Friends don’t let friends join NAMI.”


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  26. Mr Whitaker;

    First, let me Thank You for all the heavy lifting you’ve done.

    Second, Blaming you for whatever happens when someone decides to stop ingesting these drugs or changes their own personal life routine in any way, is ridiculous.

    Considering the damage these drugs do, a simple cost/benefit analysis says we’re better off without them, and yes, that Does include the un-drugged individual who takes their own life.

    Since the drugs are already prohibited under Federal Racketeering Statutes and punishable by up to 10 years in a Federal Correctional Facility per script, How on Earth You would end up wearing ‘blood on your hands’ is beyond me.

    I’ve back-linked to my own page so often on this issue already I feel as if if I’m spamming MIA. For those who haven’t already read the statute and explanation, enter 18C95 in my search box.

    This ‘Therapeutic Privilege’ thinking that consumers need the drugs so badly that prescribers are allowed to lie about what they really are – again, cost/benefit – is as asinine as billing the Treasury to put in rubber sidewalks in every city in America to protect every pedestrian with a trick knee.

    For every person who dies Without these drugs, how many More die Because of them?

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  27. Is she willing to conscientiously consider all the consequences of her actions? As she’s probably driving a lot of attention to this site, does she think that then puts blood on her hands? The truth is that the AMA has blood on its hands. It denounced energy machines that were popular and considered effective over a century ago. Proof was called for. (I read this in The Biology of Belief around page 89.) Now, “energy machines” (computers with EEG sensors)can give proof that they coordinate brain activity. This occurs as symptoms are relieved. The graphs of the brain activity are more proof than psychiatry uses when medicating patients, (especially given skewed, bias trials). This proof of real-time brain activity shows medications often destabilize brains.

    Energy machines were probably considered effective decades long ago because they resolved problems. That’s some proof. They became widespread. Instead of letting problems be corrected all these years, the AMA controlled almost everyone via controlled substances. It developed as a upper class version of a good ol boys network, like frat guys using drugs to overpower people unhealthily. It’s well-knonw how men with all their testosterone are driven. If they use their drive to effectively care for a person’s whole life, it’s OK. If they use it in ways that overpower people with drugs, it’s a huge problem. Female doctors often conformed to the norm established by the drug-controlling men.

    The AMA forcibly stopped what worked before that the people wanted – that’s blood on their hands. Abusive, male-dominant networks also raped and drove out the natural healers as “witches,” which is centuries upon centuries of blood on their hands.

    This continuing tragedy is enabled by parents who tell their children this drug network is best. In 1990, the AMA also lost a court battle as they were found guilty of using illegal tactics to destroy the chiropractic profession. (The Biology of Belief, ~p.89.

    Currently, energy machines that work are offered by companies like Sharing information on this technology is the best way I’ve found to best protect everyone possible.

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    • AA,

      That’s a great question.

      As I recall, the verbage was “history” of a mental illness; in “close proximity” to a the crime scene… and police officer “suspected” it was committed by such person.

      But never asked the house rep who drafted the bill. We were more interested in seeing it defeated. It was – thankfully, it never made it out of committee.

      For the live of me, I don’t know why these people (most are lawyers) think they can draft this kind of unconstitutional garbage. And it is no surprise that NAMI rallies behind these bills. Taking away civil rights is what NAMI does best.


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        • Yes, thank you Duane! You did a fine effort at trying to stand up to the recent onslaught of forced drugging lobbying that NAMI Texas engaged in. You were up against a phalanx of forced drugging lobbyists in the lone star state. Mr. Greg Hansch, of the Lily and Pfizer funded NAMI Texas, lobbied very hard for home forced drugging laws. Even Mr. Earley has in recent times paid a visit to the Texas state house. Doesn’t surprise me, after all his own blog says he has ” has visited 46 states and three foreign countries advocating for mental health reform”.

          Not enough to impose his brand of ‘help’ on his own son, not enough to lobby his local area, not enough to lobby 46 states, he thinks the bodies of citizens in foreign countries should be forcibly shot up with drugs too it seems. The fanaticism of these people is just off the charts. I guess he’s got the money from somewhere to go on this crusade against other people’s right to choose.

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    • Police are told by NAMI parents. In fact, DJ Jaffe, a collaborator of Pete Earley’s, put out a newsletter some years ago encouraging parents to ‘turn over the furniture’ before calling police, so it would look like the ‘loved one’ was more violent than they are to enable more rapid forced psychiatric commitment.

      A grossly irresponsible move that could get a person with a psychiatric label shot or tasered to death. But, that’s what the forced drugging lobby does, they put the safety and lives of people labeled ‘mentally ill’ second to their fanatic desires to have government haul everyone away for forced drugging.

      Here is the newsletter Mr. DJ Jaffe put out, the most reckless and disgusting NAMI newsletter ever written, it’s infamous. If you haven’t seen it, here is a copy:

      ” the fact is that some families have learned to ‘turn over the furniture’ before calling the police. Many police require individuals with neurobiological disorders to be imminently dangerous before treating the person against their will. If the police see furniture disturbed they will usually conclude that the person is imminently dangerous.”

      DJ Jaffe advocates lying to police, to make the family member look ‘imminently dangerous’. What could go wrong? cops armed to the teeth with guns and tasers, and fake scenes of furniture turned over!

      The forced drugging lobbyists are true fanatics.

      If you want to understand more about the forced drugging lobby, see this page:

      They are actually funded by a billionaire family. A billionaire guy was convinced by Torrey that his son had one of psychiatry’s “brain diseases”, and now the rich guy funds Torrey and his minions to the tune of millions.

      There is a well funded, organized, deeply politically connected forced drugging lobby operating in America. Every single jurisdiction will fall under the control of their preferred draconian laws if we don’t counter them.

      The forced drugging lobby, aside from telling parents to ‘turn over the furniture’ and claiming Whitaker has ‘blood on his hands’, also smeared human rights group MindFreedom. DJ Jaffe, who seems to be the hatchet man for the forced drugging lobby, slimed and smeared MindFreedom with false accusations they are tied to Scientology:

      DJ Jaffe says ‘By presenting these facts, we do not mean to cast aspersions on Scientology, by suggesting any connection with Mindfreedom’

      This man is taken seriously by people like the Huffington Post, where he writes, and the New York Times, where he has published op-eds.

      For the record, MindFreedom’s attorney has refuted these false charges:

      The forced drugging lobby ‘google bombed’ MindFreedom, disseminating smears and lies about false Scientology links. Now, the forced drugging lobby turns its head toward Mad in America. Expect it to continue. They are anti-human rights propagandists. Earley is in league with Jaffe and Torrey, who runs the (forced) Treatment Advocacy Center.

      The rich benefactor of this lobby has just died.

      Torrey said of her:

      “we agreed that changing state laws to make it easier to get treatment for individuals with serious mental illness – especially those who were not aware of their illness – had the potential to improve things. Vada and her husband, Ted, then committed funds to get the Treatment Advocacy Center started.

      Vada Stanley was the kindest and most caring person I have ever known. ”

      Her family said of her in her obituary: “She could be and was a charming dinner companion for people like Bill Clinton and Prince Charles. After their marriage in 1961, they moved to Westport; and have lived in New Canaan since 1996 with, at various times, second homes in Manhattan, Santa Fe and Vermont.”

      Elsewhere on Torrey’s website, news that they have lobbied Nevada to become the 45th state to pass home forced drugging laws:

      “Once signed, the new law will authorize a court to require a person who has severe mental illness and meets strict legal criteria to participate in treatment as a condition for remaining in the community.”

      45 states have fallen to this small wrecking crew of well funded forced drugging lobbyists. America has been asleep at the wheel while ideologues have lobbied police departments, state houses, and governors, to pass the most disgustingly violent laws against people with psychiatric labels.

      Only 5 states left to flee to. Once every state has these laws there will be nowhere to run if you’re targeted by forced government psychiatry. When will America fight the forced drugging lobby? America’s commitment laws are being written by fanatics who tell people to turn over the furniture and rich old ladies who dine with Prince Charles.

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      • And don’t forget that E Fuller Torrey’s ‘brain bank’, a collection of remains of people with psychiatric labels that he desecrates and ships all over the world in the name of his quack research, has come under investigation for harvesting remains without consent. The billionaire Stanley family, the nice lady who dined with Prince Charles, funded these efforts too:

        “From the mid-1990s to 2003, Stanley Medical Research Institute used a network of “brain harvesters” in Maine and three other states to collect hundreds of brains for use in the study of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The brains were packed in dry ice and shipped by FedEx to the institute.”

        This is who is writing the commitment laws in America.

        The forced Treatment Advocacy Center is keeping an eye on the latest Earley ‘blood on hands’ controversy too:

        The forced drugging lobby has rich benefactors propping them up so they can harvest brains, propagandize and scapegoat those labeled ‘mentally ill’ and take away their rights. Rich families like the Stanleys have been misled into handing them millions. This is all the more reason why all readers need to donate to

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        • No problem. The forced drugging lobby, funded to the tune of millions, financially comfortable all, have been rattled by this site, by MindFreedom, by activists internet wide and world wide, a movement with very little funding. Imagine what the future holds. These forced drugging lobbyists like Earley et al, are on the wrong side of history. Their great grandchildren will be DISGUSTED with their anti-human rights lobbying. We must make sure that their activities are chronicled for the world to see long after they are gone.

          History has not been kind to the psychiatric goons, the stereotypical asylum orderlies of old, history has not been kind to those who were involved in pushing for forced sterilization policies in the 20th century against us, and history will NOT be kind to the forced drugging lobbyists of our era. Mark my words. They will be remembered for the demagogues that they are.

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      • The really sad thing is when families claim a member is mentally ill, so they prevent social connections to that member. They don’t communicate with the member, saying the person is a problem until he gets treatment. They don’t give the community a clear impression of how well-ordered the person’s mind is.

        I’ve heard it recommended that people call around to other organizations to get them on the same page with their ideas, if they want someone committed. Family-on-family-member social abuse is some of the most difficult to take – it’s a core foundation of social connections cut away from one person. Such social treatment would drive some but the most resilient insane!

        It’s often done to someone who is not protecting the reputation of the family, as they see it – someone lifting the veil, someone bringing light into the family’s dark places. More people are less enlightened than the exceptionally enlightened, so they are naturally allied to claim the exceptional are the problem. This is why objective proof of mental function is needed, because those of average sentience are subject to a conflict of interest to claim those with far above-average sentience are more problematic than the average are.

        Great Turn Over Furniture reference!

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  28. Disobedient patients can die from “psychotic delirium” or “excited delirium”.
    Newspaper article “… the 52-year-old man died of psychotic delirium…Casey, described by his mother’s lawyers as a highly functional schizophrenic, was confronted on his 52nd birthday by officers with the mental health warrant at his mother’s home in the 4100 block of Meyerwood after she called his psychiatrist’s office to report her son had been acting oddly and had stopped taking his medication.”

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    • [In the warrant application, Green wrote that Casey was having

      homicidal thoughts and had threatened his mother,

      but Nagel denies that she said these things.

      In a “rap sheet” Green prepared for the deputy constables who would be assigned to execute the warrant, he again wrote that

      Casey had homicidal thoughts and added that Nagel was afraid of her son;

      however, he also wrote that Casey would not be violent or try to flee when the officers arrived.]

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      • “Young shocked Casey with the taser approximately eighteen times… more than a dozen pattern burns from the taser…”
        It only took five or six taser shots to kill Robert Dziekanski Oct. 14, 2007 at Vancouver International Airport. Robert wasn’t “crazy” he just spoke another language and couldn’t understand what was going on.

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        • In my one and I think only experience in lock-down and involuntarily commitment I saw a nurse speaking loudly to a large but very gentle man and describing him as “resisting” when he simply couldn’t understand a word of English, no matter how loud she yelled it.

          Although there were 3 NAMI posters listing the names of people posthumously diagnosed with mental illness who were more successful than we’d ever be (what they think makes people feel better is very strange), there wasn’t a single sign in Spanish.

          All of the staff recommended that family members go to the NAMI website. I called my friend and asked him to look it up to see if it were an astroturfed drug company lobby. Of course it was.

          What a corrupt field. Once I had enough sleep, I understood exactly why I cracked which is why I was “lacking insight.”

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          • Sounds like you’ve got plenty of insight to me, into the total conflicts of interest that drive most of this field. The system is really more invested in you having LESS insight. Their definition of insight is “the wisdom to realize that you’re better off doing things my way because I can punish you if you don’t.” I suppose that’s insight of a sort, but doesn’t have much to do with “mental health!”

            Thanks for sharing your story.

            —- Steve

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    • So the mother gets a payout after she gets more than she bargained for. I guess she only wanted to call the government in to get heart disease causing drugs forced into her son’s body, not taser electricity. I wonder if she followed DJ Jaffe’s advice to ‘turn over the furniture’ before the government goons arrived.

      To the forced drugging lobbyists, these deaths are a small price to pay to get their idea of ‘treatment’ to be the law of the land.

      RIP in Joel Don Casey, another corpse piled onto the heap, killed in the name of expediency. Murdered in the name of government forced psychiatry. Like so many others, someone else’s desire to put drugs in your never-proven-diseased brain, was more important than your life.

      “When deputies arrived, Casey was sitting on the couch smoking a cigar with his cowboy boots propped up on the table and listening to Alan Jackson on the stereo”

      I hope Mr. Casey at least had some final moments of pleasure listening to his Alan Jackson record, before forced government psychiatry gave him the final moments of his life, sheer terror. The penalty for sitting with cowboy boots listening to the stereo when you’re a person with a psychiatric label? Tasers, hogdied, and terror, followed by death. And then final indignity, to be described in the media as a “high functioning schizophrenic”. Could have been worse though, hundreds of people have had the medical examiner break out the bone saw and remove their brains and FedEx them to Torrey’s “lab”.

      First you become overwhelmed with life.
      Then you get a dehumanizing label slapped on you.
      Then you lose the right to own your body.
      Then you lose your human equality and dignity.
      Then you become the object of ‘research’.
      Then you die young.
      Then they crack your skull open and ship your brain to Torrey.
      Then Torrey goes on Fox News to explain why we need laws to round up people like you and forcibly drug them.

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  29. Perhaps if taking the son to hear public speaking influenced a decision to go off of medications, then the choice to expose the son to any public speaking events was a poor choice. There is no concrete way to determine how a patient will remain on medications, and using this event as blame is ridiculous. If the medications truly worked, there would be no need for hospitals or inpatient care–how many patients are locked up involuntarily “without hope” while on meds? If one cannot be open-minded to others who have successfully removed medications (Successful atty Jim Gottstein for one) as well as statistics showing negative impacts that are REAL from being on long-term psychotropics, then one has no hope for a long-term future. The writing is on the wall with efficacy and side effects, permanent movement disorders (lip-smacking, tongue movements, hand tremors). NAMI has taken pharmaceutial industry funding which is a fuel to the pro-med NAMI platform patient) as well as mandatory drugs that are proven less than efficacious with severe side effects to boot. — At least NAMI finally had another viewpoint represented other than the Fuller Torrey Fan Club!

    There is a pro-med/pro-NAMI discussion at Huff Po regarding this mother’s defamation of Whitaker’s character:

    There is no blame– find a cure for mental “illness” because it sure isn’t pills and lock ups which is all that is offered in America!

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  30. Bob,

    When I first read Pete’s book “Crazy” in 2008, I immediately contacted him about concerns I had with his book.

    Because I noticed “Crazy” developing a strong influence on both our mental health care and criminal justice systems, I felt Pete’s efforts should be closely scrutinized and I have followed his blog since its creation.

    Among the concerns I brought to Pete’s attention was his investigation into the life and death of Deidra Sanbourne.

    Deidra’s symptoms were diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder and she spent over 20 years being “treated” in psychiatric wards.

    Twenty years is a very long time to be “treated” and not get any better.

    In 1988, Deidra was named as plantiff in the landmark civil rights case, Sanbourne v. Chiles. The case challenged the conditions of Florida’s mental health institutions.

    Diedra’s 2003 death, as reported by Pete, occurred from a bowel obstruction while being “treated” in a psychiatric unit at Westchester General Hospital.

    Many reviews of “Crazy” falsely state Diedra died after being neglected in a boarding house.

    The medication Clozapine is used to treat severe
    cases of schizophrenia.

    Clinical research suggests Clozapine has caused bowel obstructions leading to death in individuals being “treated” for symptoms considered to be schizophrenia.

    Deidra’s “treatment” could have caused her death.

    It is important for those who take antipsychotics to be aware of the wide range of possible side effects, so that they can recognize them, alert their prescribing physician and seek immediate help.

    It is irresponsible of Pete to ignore the possible cause of Deidra’s death and for his readers to be mislead. Pete has repeatedly shown a blatant disregard for the psychiatric drug-induced death of others.

    Pete takes a position of advocating for forced medication management, yet continually fails to warn his readers of the possible harmful/deadly side effects.

    Forced medication management, should be considered as forcing consumers to contract the services of select providers/facilities, and forcing them to purchase certain, potentially lethal, products.

    In the State of Florida, the patient is primarily responsible for the payment of “treatment” as an involuntary Baker Act commitment.

    Forced to stay, and forced to pay, just does not seem right, but that is the way it is for our mental health care patients.

    Those who advocate for forced “treatment”, that only includes medication management, should consider the fact they are forcing other consumers to purchase products that may result in their own death, at their own expense.

    They have contributed to a medication management monopoly.

    If a contract is not mutual, it should not be viewed as legal.

    Forced consumers deserve treatment options and an alternatives to being forcibly “treated”.

    While I admire Pete for his fierce stance and dedication, I do not believe he has the patience to tediously sort through and digest vast amount of research comparable to your efforts as a medical journalist and author of very well-researched books.

    Pete accurately describes himself as a “storyteller” and I do not believe any of his books site any research.

    “Storytellers” are not required to be fact checkers. They fabricate from whatever information they gather and seems to fit their opinions and supports their own beliefs, in order to create a believable story, from their own perspective, while ignoring, or belittling the perspectives of others.

    In this blog title, Pete had no right to change your presentation title from “The Case for Selected Use of Anti-Psychotics”
    to “Robert Whitaker’s Case Against Anti-Psychotics”.

    He changed a pro-best practice stance that many agree to, to a negative-based claim that you alone are making. Was he trying to create discussion, or a lynch mob?

    Pete recently wrote about medication management that, “While it may not be effective for everyone and may, as Mr. Whitaker claims, harm some, it has helped keep my son…”

    It is not YOUR claim that medications “harm some”, it is a fact.

    Where does he think the FDA warnings came from?

    Does he not understand, “possible side effects” means someone else actually did experience them and the drug company is now obligated to warn others?

    Does he not listen to the commercials?

    For the NAMI – “National Alliance of Mandatory-medicating-mental Illness” members like Pete, it is not a matter of opening Pandora’s Box, or pointing to bloody hands, it is a matter of taking the blinders off, putting down the boxing gloves and opening their hearts and minds to the suffering others have gone through and what they may go through as well.

    Despite the very sad “psycho-feud” going on among advocates, “it’s better to light a candle, than curse the darkness”

    Thank you for being committed and supporting individuals like the professional members of the International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP).

    Without the providers, patients would have no choice.

    Kind Regards,
    Maria Mangicaro
    ISEPP Volunteer

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    • Tolstoy and Dickens were definitely storytellers, but they didn’t write fiction under the guise of journalism. They also used their stories to advocate for the oppressed. If Pete Earley had written Oliver Twist, would Mr. Bumble have been the sympathetic hero?

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  31. I tend to believe that the tendency to alarmist and scapegoating rhetoric must really tie up N.A.M.I. and true believers in the psyhiatric and behavioral research establishment, and agree that the least self-proclaimed journalists like Earley is enter into a responsible examination of such obviously inappropriate modes of “free” speech.

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  32. I understand you’re French but the last part of your sentence
    does not make sense: “…the least self-proclaimed journalists like Earley is enter into a responsible examination of such obviously inappropriate modes of “free” speech.” I am wondering what you intended to say. I suggest you formulate so people can understand.
    Maria provided some critical information. And keep in mind that as someone noted this Earley character is a worldwide missionary for forced
    psychiatric drugging.


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    • Hi Seth,

      The real testimony comes from Pete’s son himself.

      These videos are very sad.

      Kevin has to remind himself everyday that he is “crazy”.

      He is brainwashing himself that he is “mentally ill”…and now he is a peer-to-peer counselor to help others become “recovered”.

      His parents gave him dirty looks when he would not take his meds, his brother told him he could no longer be part of the family, if he did not take his meds, because he and his wife were having a new baby and they did not want him around if he was “crazy” and off meds.

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      • Maria
        It’s typical.
        It’s amazing some of the things these NAMI parents will do.
        Have you read SAnity Madness and the Family. It is mostly transcript of seven–or was it 11– families.
        It was done by R D Laing Esterson and Lee. THese transcripts are amazing because these parents are terrifiedof their 18-30 yr old chldren becoming independent. The “schizophrenic” talk in these beautiful metaphors which as metaphors are comments on the interpersonal violence and manipulation.
        Of course there were methodological questions like Can we be sure the parents did not become like this AFTER the son or daughter became “schizophrenic.”?
        But this is a common theme in these families. Jay Haley
        has similar data but a different interpretation.
        I’ll look at these later.

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    • SethF–uh-oh, I forgot to write the words “could do” although I had the sentence formulated like that.

      Thanks for noticing my slip, and it is good to have such attention paid to comments.

      So I meant to type “the least that the self-proclaimed journalist could do is…”

      Obviously, the man comes across strident and in opposition to what seems right to me, but I wanted just to call him a self-proclaimed journalist. Robert Whitaker held him accountable along those lines, and that struck me as very astute and respectable on his part.

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  33. I have read books by both Pete E. and Robert W. from cover to cover. I must say that Roberts books offer a whole lot more hope for the healing process. What sane mind would offer up a whole lifetime of nothing but drugs. There but for the grace of God go I.

    I read in Mr. Earleys book Crazy that Phychitrist and Witch Doctors have the same success rate. With Phychitrist handing out drugs like candy you might actually be better off seeing the Witch Doctor.

    Please hang in there Robert otherwise the entire population will someday be medicated.

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    • Hi,

      If you recall, Pete’s book offers the only choice of stay on your meds and have an abortion to women who are on meds and get pregnant.

      He discouraged his son when he caught him searching on the internet for alternatives.

      When I read his book I thought, why would any parent want to take advice from a man who admits, as a father he didn’t have the skills to help his own son in a mental health crisis, so he used his professional skills to write a book to help others?

      With so many different perspectives, what gives anyone the right to call themselves a mental health advocate in the first place?

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      • “With so many different perspectives, what gives anyone the right to call themselves a mental health advocate in the first place?”

        Support from drug company front groups, such as CHADD and NAMI.

        I mean, just look at how CHADD’s link appears on google:

        “CHADD – Nationally recognized authority on ADHD”

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  34. I appreciate all the words of support here, and the larger discussion. There is an important issue, given that others–Treatment Advocacy Center, Marvin Ross in Canada–are using it to basically further the idea that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak. I am going to write more on this later.

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    • Bob, all the best with speaking out the facts and standing with the oppressed. You can’t keep a good man down.

      You are obviously having an influence and making an impact if certain people in power are advocating that you should be silenced. It’s a positive sign and an encouragement.

      Cheers, Chrys

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    • Bob, That is a far more serious and nefarious response. That may require both an organized political response and a legal response. (I’m sure you’ve investigated the latter.) It’s a token of your efficacy, as Chrys says. I must say you books and blogs hAve had a tremendous impact. It’s almost miraculous. No one else in this field since the 60s has had such a powerful impact in such a short period of time.
      It’s a phenomenon. Obviously the Internet helped.
      But unfortunately contrary to Chrys you can keep a good man down. I could name quite a few recently, not to mention
      the great martyrs of the 1960s. But in your case I think they would be overplaying their hand. I think it would backfire. In fact I was partially disappointed when Alternatives rescinded its ban–I thought it would have been a way to get you national publicity. I was ready to call up Democracy Now–and I think they would have covered it. Even Peter Breggin
      said his career did not take off until NAMI tried to take away his license in the late 1980s. Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl became a bestseller (the only bestselling beat poem) because of the obscenity trial. His publisher Ferlinghetti was delighted when he learned the government was going to try to ban it. Of course the judge was very sympathetic to Allen.
      You never can tell but I’m sure it would only mobilize support for you. Of course it’s must be rather unnerving.
      Seth Farber

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    • Robert, I think your greatest strength is that you always stick to the facts and never get personal or speculative; in other words, that you are a journalist and a very good one. If I can offer a word of probably controversial advice: don’t become too much of an activist. Not because the cause is not worthy or you would not make a great activist, but because you’ll be far more effective as a “whiter than white” independent journalist, unearthing the inconvenient truths and presenting them to the public in ways that make people stop and pay attention. Don’t let the goons take up too much of your time and energy.

      They want to stop you from speaking here or there? I don’t know, maybe you should let them and use your time to write them off the face of the Earth – I think you have it in you to drive into their lies the wedge of truth that will bring the whole thing crumbling down (yes, this is a convoluted way to humbly request “Anatomy of an Epidemic Part II”).

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      • Morias, You’re eloquent, but wrong, I think. Bob through no planning of his own has become a political phenomenon. As I said in a previous post if there were an effort to ban him that would be a great way
        to get more publicity for these issues.It could be a blessing in disguise.
        I’m not saying Bob should become an activist in the sense of leading marches. But he should call for an organized political response on the part of the movement in response to any and all efforts to ban him. The movement would grow much stronger that way. Books are only one tool. Education itelf is insufficient to produce change, as Karl Marx once said.
        You write,”They want to stop you from speaking here or there? I don’t know, maybe you should let them and use your time to write them off the face of the Earth..” That would be a terrible mistake, an opportunity wasted. Your idea that speaking truth to power is enough to reduce to dust the walls of Jericho is unfortunately not true. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power never concedes anything without a struggle….”
        Seth Farber, Ph.D.

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        • Seth there are different ways of “speaking truth to power” and the beauty of collective action is that we can all “do our bit”. And struggle is the cost of having an effective influence, in my opinion.

          There is a time for everything. And sometimes it makes sense to retreat before advancing in another area or going back to a former path, reinforced. Such is strategic warfare as I understand it.

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          • Chrys, This is also eloquently formulated but I don’t see how it necessarily contradicts anything I said.
            I think you mean to disagree with me but I made a specific statement
            and this is general.
            I said that any attempt to ban Bob should be met by a call to resistance because it is a great opportunity to publicize and build the movement. To get people off their computers for a day. Sure there is a time for everything and an effort to ban Bob from speaking would be the perfect time to supplement Bob’s books
            with a political mass based response. I gave some reasons why in two posts above.
            For instance I said had Alternatives not rescinded their ban there was so much momentum building up–I could sense it on the Net–
            that it would have been a boost to the movement had they not retreated and had we responded vigorously. I said that often movements have grown precisely because the Establishment foolishly gives the protesters an opportunity. I’ll give you another example. Everyone who has written on Occupy Wall St agrees that the qualitative change from a little group to a mass movement was precipitated by the cops brutally pepper-spraying 2-3 women in NY’s Liberty Park–it was all over TV. That launched the movement. The opportunity would have been lost though had people not responded spontaneously by going out all over the country. Very often the arrogant Establishment hands us these opportunities. We have to be astute enough to realize that we can seize victory from the jaws of ostensible defeat. Sure there are times to retreat, but not now.

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          • Seth I think that we see the whole situation from different perspectives. And that is OK to my mind. If we all had the same opinion think how boring that would be? Anyway I live in Scotland so it will look different from over here.

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        • I don’t think we are going to agree on this Seth, and you could very well be right. But as Chrys says “wind-up merchants” can be a very effective way of silencing critics, even when you manage to beat them, because no-one has infinite stores of time and energy. I’m not sure these people are so much interested in stopping Robert from speaking as they might be in getting him involved into some ugly spat with an expendable goon so that they can tarnish his reputation as a credible objective journalist and make it impossible for him to write more books that hit them where it really hurts.

          Karl Marx might have said that education itself is insufficient to produce change, but all Marx ever did was write books, and those books changed the world. Not that I’m comparing Robert to Marx, obviously Robert’s books are much better researched.

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          • Morias, Well I made my argument already. We don’t know the specifics. My example of a great opportunity was when Alternative bowed to pressure to rescind Bob’s invitation.(But
            as soon as they saw opposition they changed their mind again.)
            But I do have to concede you are technically right about Marx. (Marx did send quite a lot of time organizing First International, but that had far less effect than his books)Marx himself wrote the books but others influenced by him acted upon them. That included brilliant intellectuals like Trotsky and Lenin who were also shrewd organizers–that is not to defend their authoritarian policies.
            But had they just written books there would have been no Bolshevik revolution.
            The same is true of Martin Luther King Jr. AND of the abolitionists. Theory AND praxis , to use a lefty term, are both necessary. I was not advocating–as I stated–that Bob himself lead protests just that he call for mass political action in opposition to efforts to suppress him.
            Bob’s books and blog, as I stated, has already had a major impact. Probably more than any book in this field since Szasz and Laing in the 60s. Within a few years his two books–mostly Anatomy– had more impact than Peter Breggin’s did over many years. I don’t know why. Maybe the blog or Internet or the cunning of history. (Although Breggin will tell you about the impact of his activism in decades gone by.)
            Are you joking? Whatever you think about Marx you must know he did not spend his days getting drunk in the British Museum– Library.
            Mad in America is a movement that is due for political expression. The people who converse below the articles are more radical, more anti-psych drug, than most of the leaders or spokespersons for The Icarus Project.Or “Radical Mental Health.” And MindFredom has no such forum. So MIA has a distinctive kind of spirit, although there is also diversity of voices. So that says something about what Mad In represents.
            Bob himself had no intention of becoming
            a full time speaker for the movement. Destiny led him to a role he never anticipated.

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    • According to your speaking schedule, Mr Whitaker, there’s hardly any possibility that the Fuller Torreys & companies can shut you up. As far as I’ve seen, you’re due to speak in two venues just in Norway this August, that’s three times in a year here, after Italy, Ireland, UK, Sweden, Denmark, Poland…
      The Fuller Torreys are stuck in Big-business-friendly psychiatric orthodoxy, while you are on your steady, scientifically and ethically sounder course, rapidly gaining ground.

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    • Marvin Ross’s blog post (link here), quoting Torrey’s disingenuous critique of Anatomy of an Epidemic seems like a low-blow take-down piece. He does little to address the ideas you present, instead choosing to criticize your station and your identity, as if these should automatically preclude you from having an educated, well-delivered thought about an important public issue. This same sort of language has been used for ages to shut down dissident thinkers, women, non-whites, and so forth. His article could just as well be an attack on Socrates, for “corrupting the youth.”

      I see Ross expressing no issue with the journalists who mindlessly parrot the heavy-drugging, brain-disease paradigm without convincing data to back up this view. While it’s certainly sad to see something like this published, the paper-thin quality of these attacks against you, and the relatively small audience they garner, should be seen as a reflection of the strength and resilience of your work.

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      • Matthew,

        After viewing this exert on the website of his publishing company, “”Marvin Ross is a Dundas, Ontario writer and publisher with a particular interest in mental health. He is the author of Schizophrenia, Medicine’s Mystery Society’s Shame. His company, Bridgeross, publishes a number of books on schizophrenia that have been recommended by NAMI in the US, EUFAMI in Europe, The Mood Disorders Society of Canada, and the World Federation for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders.””, I wondered if he has any connection with drug companies. Has anyone looked into this?

        It seems like this would be fair game in light of your points about him wanting to shut Bob up and stick to hearing the journalists who want to parrot the heavy drugging mantra of psychiatry without any scientific evidence to back it up.

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        • Yes, I’ve asked him and fellow Huffpo blogger Susan Inman about pharmaceutical company support and they say “no.” The common denominator is the Treatment Advocacy Center. There are at least three Canadian Huffpo bloggers writing about mental health who support forced treatment (TAC). Odd, isn’t it?

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          • Isn’t Huffpo writing for an audience that is large because it congeals around some fairly common-denominator values of the political left? Aren’t they common because they are often aligned with the Democratic Party, whose politicians (like those on the right) receive funding from pharmaceutical companies? So, messages that promote healthier ways to avoid mental illness — ways which don’t profit rich investors — are less common for that political group. They rally around what their politicians rally around, so they can all congeal together and participate in something more politically powerful.

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      • This Marvin Ross blog is precisely the kind of drivel I think Robert should not waste his time with. I am not however all that busy, so:

        Mr Ross’s actual writing we can put aside, it really is beneath comment, but this quote from Dr Torrey is interesting:

        “Whitaker clearly believes that schizophrenia should be treated without medication if at all possible. However he fails to focus any attention on the fact that on any given day in the United States half of all individuals with schizophrenia, or about one million people, are not being treated. This is a huge natural experiment to test his thesis.”

        Mmmmm, let’s look at Dr Torrey’s beautiful deductive argument:

        Premise 1: “Whitaker clearly believes that schizophrenia should be treated without medication if at all possible.” Correct.

        Premise 2: “on any given day in the United States half of all individuals with schizophrenia are not being treated.” Correct (give or take)

        Inference: “This is a huge natural experiment to test his thesis”… er… no, please refer back to 1) “should be TREATED without medication”, which is not the same as “not being treated”, so I’m afraid premise 2 is not a “huge natural experiment to test his thesis”. A modestly sized man-made experiment to test his thesis, on the other hand, might easily be found in the Open Dialogue project in Finland, for example.

        Poor Dr Torrey, I’m afraid he gets and F in logic.

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    • Bob,

      You have my full support here.

      I think that what is really happening is that many in mainstream psychiatry have become alarmed that the word is finally getting out and they see their salaries threatened.

      One of the few psychiatrists who spoke at the Occupy the APA even this year said very candidly that the vast majority of psychiatrists are well aware of these issues, but that there were many people’s livelihoods at stake with the current model.

      I also think that this whole “blood in your hands” affair -including the attack from that TAC organization- might be a teaching moment for all in the Mad In America community.

      If somebody like you, who has a very mild position when it comes to the role of medications in people’s mental well being, can be so viciously attacked just for presenting for the general public hard scientific data that speaks of a failed system, what hope can there be to reform psychiatry as it is currently practiced?

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    • The most important thing is to present the facts to the public. Once the facts are clear, the choices people want to make will be clearer. People can make their own choices. Information can be controlled by publishing it, for example. One cannot control what others in a political movement will do, but one can be seen as trouble by association.

      Obama provided context for racism in his recent speech about Trayvon Martin. Mental patients are often denied context. Their mental states reflect their larger situation, with their family often central. This context is often not recognized by diagnoses, which focus on the person as the problem, rather than the context. People who secure their social position, by not expressing how much their social structures harm them, naturally see people who more honestly express the whole truth of their experience as a problem.

      Many people respond to mental states in a way which utilizes the ancient freeze response, based in the reptilian brain. They freeze up on the problem, staying focused on it. (Mental illness!) They don’t instead primarily engage more evolved, higher brain functions of soothing communication. Harmonizing brain activity actually solves mental problems.

      Patients’ social structures are reacting to problems in a less evolved, unhealthy way. The evolutionary model of the parasympathetic freeze response is described in minutes 10:30 – 17:00 of the Webinar, “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain?” at the bottom of

      I share this unpaid, because I care!

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  35. Seems to me as if there was a great deal of scapegoating going on here from the mother.

    “In her letter to Earley, she blamed both me and NAMI (for inviting me) for this bad turn in her son’s life. “In my heart, I wish I could hold [Whitaker] and NAMI legally responsible for what is happening. They gave an alcoholic a bottle of whiskey for Christmas and asked him to join in a toast . . . I damn them (NAMI and me) and if my son ends up dead, I believe his blood should be on their hands.”

    I don’t doubt she cares for her son but maybe she should look closer to her own backyard for responsibility here. She appears to be projecting outwards, laying the problems at other peoples doors because she can’t seem to accept that maybe, just maybe somewhere in there she could be one of those people responsible for how her son is and how he reacted recently. I guess if something had happened to her son she would project outwards even more and blame anyone in sight other than considering she and her immediate family could be the ones who have ‘blood on their hands’. Seems her son may have been the intial early scapgoat in the family – hence him wanting to ‘e’scape after Bob provided him with that ‘eureka moment’- “Yes! Someone finally understands me! Me! Bob a lone voice in a very long, enduring and painful wilderness for this young man it seems.

    You have nothing here to blame yourself for Bob

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    • Forgot to add…if you read this quote from the mother:

      “In my heart, I wish I could hold [Whitaker] and NAMI legally responsible for what is happening.”

      I think in her heart, deep down she knows she cannot hold Bob and NAMI legally responsible (even if she would love too) because somewhere in her own psych…she knows the truth, and it probably lies closer to home.

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    • Lots of research shows the maternal environment (including prenatal and perinatal), and the mother’s larger environment, affect the child’s state. This was discussed in The Biology of Belief. Mothers often feel they will be seen as responsible for the fruit that came from their tree. She may be motivated to deflect the blame she already feels people may direct toward her, even if they do so silently, by just radiating their feelings toward her, or focusing on her.

      Is metaphorically “throwing stones” the best way to solve mental problems? Many mental problems are resolved by working together harmoniously, focusing on our inner strengths, reflecting those back to each other. Obviously, she hasn’t always been able to focus on what she appreciates, to follow that healthy model. She may be painfully aware, even if somewhat subconsciously, that this is glaringly obvious to many people.

      Since she may be seen as a problem, she may be motivated to gain the support of the larger social structure’s authorities, to follow the model of the doctors who have political power. This social protection can compensate for her vulnerable social position in the role of mother, due to her problem relating with her son. Ditto for so many other parents who cozy up to politically powerful authorities in the face of their failing relationships.

      Their relationship with their diagnosed child may suffer when their priority is getting such political protection rather than becoming closer to their child. If they resolved their relationship problem (which is a social/mental problem) with their child, there would be no need to cozy up like that, because they’d be a productive, healthy social unit, serving the overall good and harmonious function of society. So, authorities would welcome them. But, some parents have difficulty being interpersonally close with children whose sentience they’d rather overpower. They don’t like the child’s sentience of the parent’s problems.

      Families would not be wedged like this if the politically powerful enabled the most effective, least harmful treatments. But that’s not what profits the companies that fund politicians, who oversee law enforcement. Still, the current running through the law is really that government should best protect life. It’s what most people want to do.

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  36. What did we expect?

    IMO, these folks are “enemies.”
    That’s right…
    There, I said it.
    Somebody needs to.

    I remember being taught a commandment: To love our enemies.
    I do not remember being taught not to have any enemies.

    Let’s get real.
    It’s the only way we are going to be able to defeat these people.
    The only way the battle of *ideas* will be won.
    And the use of deception and force will be stopped!

    Let’s get it done!


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          • Dear Duane and Julie,

            I’m always the odd ball out, I’m in it to unite, stand together, share knowledge and experiences, and work together for the highest good of all involved.

            “one thing I know–that I was once blind and that now I can see.”

            I am blessed that in my darkest hour a kindhearted stranger came into my life and spent the time to show me there were alternatives, and that I was able to educate myself on what my alternative options were, options were available to me, I had the resources and the senses to make informed choices and that no one stood in my way to try them.

            “Great truths pass through 3 stages: First, ridiculed; second, violently opposed; third, accepted as self evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

            “Any smart fool can make things more complex or violent. A little genius and a lot of courage move in the opposite direction.” A. Einstein

            Wisdom from the Peaceful Warrior.



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  37. Bob,

    You say in your comment (on July 26, 2013 at 12:33 am), that, “There is an important issue, given that others–Treatment Advocacy Center, Marvin Ross in Canada–are using it to basically further the idea that I shouldn’t be allowed to speak.” I’m not sure of your meaning, there — especially, as some of the subsequent commenters suggest that maybe you should call for protests, from your readers. (In response to those suggestions, I wonder: Who would we be protesting? NAMI?) I’m inclined to assume you’re meaning to indicate, that Pete Earley’s “Broken Hearted and Angry Mom” post is being used, by some, to suggest that you shouldn’t be allowed to speak at more NAMI gatherings?

    You say you’ll post more, on that, later. For now, I’ll assume that’s what you’re saying. And, here, in this comment, I address issues pertaining to NAMI – including, very briefly, firstly, this one question of, ‘How might NAMI members lose out, if you are forbidden to speak to their groups?’

    Bob, frankly, I don’t think NAMI members would suffer greatly, if their leaders forbade you to speak – because so many of your talks are available on Youtube. The Internet makes your message entirely available to anyone with Internet access; thus, to whatever extent your message may be censored within NAMI meetings, NAMI members can find it, nonetheless, on the Net.

    Meanwhile, there’s this other question: ‘To what extent may NAMI be changing?’

    On that question (which various MIA commenters have raised, in the past, couple of weeks), Ted Chabasinski posted a comment a couple of days ago (above, on July 24, 2013 at 12:50 am), which concludes:

    I am starting to feel that it’s possible that enough people within NAMI could change to the extent that NAMI would have to change. Of course, if that point is ever reached, the drug companies who make up most of their funding will take it away. Whatever would happen after that will be very interesting.

    To Ted’s having said that, Theinarticulatepoet replied (on July 24, 2013 at 10:28 am),

    It’s analogous to working inside services to change them. The work goes on in private, bound by confidentiality, it’s no less vital and can pay dividends as well.

    Battles are won, that no one ever hears about them makes them no less important.

    Though I often find myself in sympathy with Ted’s expressions, I respectfully disagree with Ted, on this matter; and, simultaneously, I wonder if that analogy, which Theinarticulatepoet offers, makes any sense — as NAMI is a private organization, not really akin to a public service. (I believe Theinarticulatepoet is a Brit, referring to the workings of the ‘mental health system,’ in the U.K.; public ‘mental health services’ are expected by many in the U.S., just as they are expected by many in the U.K.; but, the two systems are organized differently; in particular, there is some tradition of bottom-up planning and development of those ‘services’ in the U.K., which does not compare to the ways that most presumably comparable ‘services’ in the U.S. come in being; the structure of the ‘mental health system’ in the U.S. is quite different, IMO, so that an organization such as NAMI would never gain a foothold in the U.K..)

    Also, I wonder who’s changing, within NAMI, really? How are they changing? And, will NAMI members change so much, that they actually change the mission of NAMI? I really wonder if Ted is (and, I wonder if you are) thinking clearly about that…

    You’ve invited a few NAMI leaders to blog here, on your MIA website, in the course of the past year; questions of who may be changing within NAMI and questions of whether or not NAMI itself is changing (and/or, questions of how NAMI might change, ultimately) could be addressed, in comments, to them.

    It’s probably important to distinguish between mere ‘rank-and-file’ members of NAMI (who’ll come and go from the organization, without fanfare, never fully buying into the NAMI message) and dedicated leaders of NAMI, who have more oversight of what’s going on, within NAMI… and who strive to advance NAMI’s goals. We might ask ourselves: Can such leaders, having forged connections by advancing reputations built upon their leadership roles, be expected to tell us what kind of changes may be coming down the pike, at NAMI? Or, won’t they be more concerned with publicly downplaying organizational infighting, struggles and potential shortcomings? As far as I can tell, your NAMI bloggers are all proud of NAMI, so I doubt they’ll be willing to offer anything but a public face, regarding NAMI matters, and it seems that Ted and the Theinarticulatepoet realize this.

    What may or may not be obvious is that any real changes in NAMI must eventually point to doctrinal issues (very nearly ‘religious’ in nature – i.e., matters of faith) …as NAMI is, indeed, a cult (I call it “a dangerous cult”), that’s long been dedicated to advancing the power and influence of medical-coercive psychiatry, in our society; and, medical-coercive psychiatry is, arguably, a sort of religion (albeit a non-traditional, ‘medicalized’ sort of religion) which ‘serves’ our modern society’s family systems.

    Medical-coercive psychiatry performs the duties that traditional religions did (a hundred and fifty years ago and more) – in terms of intervening, when certain, individual family members were in psychological and emotional (or, ‘spiritual’) crises; but, it does so primarily by denying that ones budding ‘spirituality’ may literally require the development and the endurance, of such crises.

    What may be needed, in many instances, are good rites of passage; but, medical-coercive psychiatry is mainly interested in manipulating its subjects’ brain chemistry, mostly with psychotropic pills and, occasionally, other brain-invasive ‘treatments’ (of course, always without reference to deities and to traditional mythology and associated systems of belief).

    Medical-coercive psychiatry is, thus, in significant ways, a ‘medical’ religion, substituting for what traditional religions once were.

    NAMI is a cult supporting that religion; and, it may be changing a bit, inevitably, as its members are made aware of your work and the work of others who are likewise sharing ‘alternatives’ to medical-coercive ‘treatments’ for supposed ‘mental illness’; nonetheless, like any huge cult that’s likewise dedicated to advancing a certain religion, it can only change so much – and no more; for, it will never buck the fundamental doctrine(s) of that religion.

    Certainly, NAMI will never eschew the medical model itself, which is the very basis for medical-coercive psychiatry’s existence and its claims to power, in our society; after all, that model is advanced by medical-coercive psychiatry — because that model provides a basis for advancing the very core of psychiatric doctrine.

    Literally every belief the average psychiatrist ascribes to, professionally, is based on that model, such that, despite this fact, that no “mental illness” has any bio-marker to prove that ‘it’ exists, people (called “patients”) who are widely considered (by psychiatric fiat) ‘mentally ill’ are routinely declared incompetent to make the ‘right’ choices, regarding their ‘medical care’; they’re said to be in need of psychiatric ‘medical care,’ whether they want it or not, because they supposedly aren’t capable of reasoning wisely, due to presumed brain disorders. (Really, it is a fantastic racket: )


    There are those who post here, on this MIA web page, with so many comments (including, now, mine), each one of us, in our own way, offering whatever little insight(s) we may possess, doing what little we can do, to speak the truth, of these matters, of supposed ‘mental illness’ and the typical (as opposed to ‘alternative’) ways of ‘treating’ those who’ve been officially deemed ‘mentally ill’; each of us, in our own ways, aims to alert each other and any other (non-commenting) readers of your website, that: in many ways, medical-coercive psychiatry threatens to undermine our society.

    It threatens to undermine our society mainly by its persistent attempts at pushing its ‘treatment’ (mostly in the form of drugs, but also ECT) into our lives, thus making more and more citizens, of all ages, into pill-popping and/or brain-damaged slaves. Many of us have been severely traumatized by having had psychiatry’s ‘treatments’ forced upon us, but we would not, ultimately, accept those ‘treatments’; we would variously reject and denounce such ‘treatments’.

    Those of us who are familiar with NAMI, know that NAMI has long been a promoter of such ‘treatment’ (i.e., of psychiatric ‘treatment’ by force and/or coercion).

    I presume that certain, individual NAMI members are less inclined to advocate such ‘treatment’ (and, maybe, there are even some few NAMI members who oppose it?), I consider NAMI a dangerous cult mainly because it promotes such ‘treatment’.

    Now, I suppose there are NAMI members who could be good friends, just like members of any other cult or religion can; really, I don’t doubt that for a minute; but, NAMI itself is a commercially backed cult, wholly dedicated to promoting the religion of modern medical-coercive psychiatry and the doctrinal faith upon which that religion is founded.

    Hence, I am most skeptical of NAMI’s leaders (no matter how well-meaning they may be); I am especially skeptical of those who clearly have all the resources to fathom the actual truth, of what ails themselves and/or their loved ones; for, if I believe they have the resources to see that so-called “side-effects” of psychopharmaceuticals and of “hospital” trauma are causing “patients” harm, then why do they continue to promote the “mental illness” equals “brain disorder” hypothesis?

    Is that proposal of theirs not a matter of faith? Are they not blindly devoted to their organization (NAMI), which is born on the wings of Big Pharma funding and which has got the full the APA behind it?

    Those are powerful ‘mainstream’ influences (Big Pharma and the American Psychiatric Association), which do not yield to the idea that ‘alternative’ ways of addressing ‘mental health’ issues are feasible.

    Indeed, NAMI forwards the standard view of medical-coercive psychiatry (which is reiterated continually by TAC), that concludes, there are certain so-called “diagnoses” of “serious mental illnesses,” which are, necessarily, “severe” conditions, which ostensibly necessitate brain-invasive ‘treatment’; so, every time a NAMI member pays dues, s/he effectively empowers NAMI lobbyists who seek the passage of evermore laws, aimed at forcibly drugging NAMI’s identified “patient” family member(s), who are said to be afflicted with such “serious” and “severe” ‘mental illnesses’; that’s a matter of adding ever-more executive, governmental authority to the accrued influences of the pharma-psychiatric faith, which is forever attempting to further impose itself, in the lives of U.S. citizens — especially, those who have ever been called ‘psychotic’.

    The general public fears ‘psychosis’ like nothing else it fears (except for, perhaps, ‘terrorism’).

    Perhaps, Ted’s hopeful view of NAMI, that it might “change” (as expressed in his comment, above), is influenced by the comment you posted, two weeks ago (July 12, 2013 at 9:38 am, under Matthew Cohen’s blog post titled, “5 Things You’ve Taught me about Civility, Empathy, and Asking the Hard Questions”); in that comment, of yours, you wrote,

    Let us imagine, for a moment, if NAMI national got behind the idea that first episode psychosis treated in the manner of open dialogue would be a good thing. Or if NAMI national got behind the idea that people on antipsychotics deserve to be supported and helped in whatever way possible if they wanted to taper from the drugs. If NAMI national were to get behind those ideas, which I am quite confident is supported by good science, then the conventional paradigm of care re the use of psychiatric drugs WOULD CHANGE.

    (I presume Ted read that “Let us imagine…” remark of yours — as he commented a couple of times, on that same web page.)

    I have a NAMI brochure from the first NAMI talk you gave (which was barely over a year ago); whoever imagines that NAMI could become the benevolent sort of organization you’re describing, would do well to study it (and/or, study any other seminal NAMI literature).

    The back cover of that brochure reads (in full),

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a grassroots, self-help support, education and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with brain disorders (mental illnesses). Most NAMI members are the families and friends of people who suffer from severe illnesses such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, clinical depression, panic disorder obsessive-compulsive disorder, dual diagnosis, and borderline personality disorder. People afflicted with these disorders form a vital and growing part of the NAMI membership and leadership.

    Mental Illness is a term used for a group of disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and relating. They result in substantially diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Brain disorders can affect persons of any age — children, adolescents, adults and the elderly — and they can occur in any family. Several million people in this country suffer from a serious, long-term brain disorder. The cost to society is high due to lost productivity and treatment expense. Persons with mental illness occupy more hospital beds than do persons with any other illness.

    Mental illnesses (brain disorders) are far more common than cancer, diabetes, heart disease or arthritis. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one out of four families in the U.S. will have a loved one with a mental illness. Mental illnesses are NOT the same as mental retardation, which involves deficits in learning ability and intellectual process. Mental illnesses are NOT the result of weak character or bad parenting. Serious mental illnesses are brain diseases, biologically based, and are NOT anyone’s “fault”.

    Bob, NAMI calls itself a “grass roots, self-help support, education and advocacy organization,” despite this fact, that it was built with Big Pharma grants and the fact, that, still, the majority of its funds come from Big Pharma. Ted indicates that he knows this, so I don’t know why Ted imagines that Big Pharma would stop investing in NAMI. In my opinion, it will never stop doing that…

    To offer an analogy, I’d suggest, that: Big Pharma is no more likely to cease investing in NAMI, than are the major corporate lobbies, in the U.S., likely to cease investing in the Democratic party – regardless of this fact, that, yes, especially since the financial collapse of five years ago, now more than ever, new voters are joining the ranks of the Democrats, who feel comfortable openly criticizing corporate power.

    Plenty of people who rely on psychiatrists are highly skeptical of psychiatrists, and they know that psych ‘meds’ have many terrible effects; but, most people who rely on psychiatrists are hoping to get their prescriptions filled (and, perhaps, changed or adjusted), by them. NAMI is full of people with that ‘practical’ mindset.

    And, Big Pharma is no less ‘practical’; it loves to do direct marketing (as we can see from so many TV commercials produced and aired in the U.S..) It sees that NAMI is full of ‘consumers’ of prescribed psychotropic drugs. Thus, no way will Big Pharma remove itself from NAMI.

    Surely, it would not remove itself from NAMI; and, it will do everything possible to see that NAMI’s literature continues to reflect the “brain disorder” view of “mental illness”; but, will NAMI promote that view forever?

    I think it probably will; for, again, I emphasize: NAMI is *fully* dedicated to the medical model of “mental illness” — such that all NAMI families need rely on psychiatrists; thus, not only will Big Pharma continue to pump funds into NAMI, American Psychiatry (via the APA) will naturally seek to maintain power and seek to further empower itself (often, forcibly, with the help of laws promoted by NAMI) through NAMI. The APA will send its speakers to NAMI, and, certainly, the APA will be guided by the “brain disorder” hypothesis for a very long while to come.

    NAMI will be guided, in the main, by the most widely accepted ‘wisdom’ of the APA and the current head of the NIMH, and NAMI’s most active lobbyist-parents will continue fighting to reduce the individual rights of psychiatrically labeled people, at least to the extent that they can control the ‘medical care’ of their psychiatrically labeled family members (hence, radically limiting their freedom of self-determination).

    Is NAMI changing?

    Perhaps, NAMI’s hard edges were softened, somewhat, as it agreed to listen to you; but, now there’s bound to be push-back within NAMI, such that, possibly, an organization even more thoroughly opposed to individual civil liberties will spring up, from within the ranks of NAMI.

    I.e., maybe a group of NAMI defectors, adamantly opposing the message of scientific truth that’s being conveyed and disseminated through your work and that of other notable Pharma-skeptics, would bring such a new group into being. Such a group could form as a counter-reaction, to your having been invited, by NAMI, to speak to its members. If/when such a group gains prominence, then NAMI might possibly have room for members who consider your message reasonable.

    But, no way shall NAMI ever become an organization dedicated to Open Dialogue, let alone shall NAMI come around to helping *everyone* who wishes to taper off neuroleptics, taper off them. Even if it softened its stance on the “brain disorder” hypothesis, it would not become the organization you’re describing.

    IMO, it is highly unrealistic of you to offer such a Utopian vision for this one, simple reason: NAMI members are not, by and large, dedicated to openness, of any significant kind.

    While, of course, there are people who get involved briefly with NAMI (becoming members), who are genuinely in search of truth, most NAMI members are, for the most part, ruled by fear – being very deeply scared of what they call “serious mental illness”; they want ‘psychosis’ drugged out of existence, by psychiatrists; and, truly, they are not interested in exploring and illuminating family-system dynamics, to discover that so-called “psychosis” develops between people, in relationship to one another (such as is suggested by Open Dialogue). Simply, they’re interested in identifying certain family members as “psychotic” psychiatric “patients,” and they’re concerned that ‘heavy meds’ (i.e., neuroleptics – a.k.a. “antispsychotics”) be made not only accessible – but, furthermore, that such ‘meds’ be made mandatory – for many (if not most) of those family members.



    P.S. – I think many psychiatric survivors and their most genuinely caring and loving supporters presume that if we could all just effectively denounce the “brain disorder” hypothesis (e.g., if we could convince society that much or all of the apparent sufferings called “mental illness” are actually psychosocial phenomena), then we’d find ourselves altogether free and clear of unwanted psychiatric meddling. To them, I’d say this: Though psychiatry’s “brain disorder” hypothesis is, in fact, key to mainstream psychiatry’s views, it is not always key to convincing legislators that certain “patients” of psychiatry supposedly ‘must be medicated’ (by force and/or by coercion). IMO, those who support the psychiatric survivor movement in the U.S. must reject psychiatric force and coercion based on the Constitution, including this principle, that such ‘treatment’ amounts to slavery (which is, of course, in violation of our constitutionally guaranteed rights); we, who have experienced the worst effects of medical-coercive psychiatry must not hesitate to call such ‘treatment’ what we know it to be. That is “torture”.

    After all, much of the general public will not be swayed in favor of protecting civil liberties based on ‘nurture versus nature’ arguments. Here’s a link to a study abstract that briefly elaborates upon what I’m saying there, at last:

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    • I found that study you linked to at the end very interesting I hadn’t seen it. I think far more than 28 percent of the population are against our human rights (in favor of forced drugging).

      Just witness the universal admiration for the state of California ‘finally’ giving former child star Amanda Bynes ‘the help that she needs’.

      To the public, there are ways to ‘help’ people labeled ‘mentally ill’, the government knows these ways, and all is fine and dandy in the world when one of us is taken out of play, into the machine shop, and ‘fixed’.

      In the view of the majority, it is perfectly normal, kind, helpful, mutually beneficial to society and Amanda Bynes, win/win, acceptable, a fait accompli, beneficent, desirable, that the penalty for Amanda Bynes lighting a tiny fire in a driveway, is to have her brain meddled with by the state.

      The designated mental patient’s body is about as sacred and private and protected by constitutional rights as the asphalt being run over by 400 cars a minute on the freeway, it’s public property once its signed over to the so called ‘obvious brand of help that you’d be crazy to say isn’t help’.

      Showing the world that it is a perfectly rational choice not to take toxic brain-disabling tranquilizer drugs, may go some way to convincing society to stop handing us over to the government brain rapists to have society collectively hock a loogie in our much maligned brains and consciousnesses. That is, exposition of the bad science, and harmful effects, surrounding psychiatric drugs, the kind of work Whitaker excels at, is also good for the fight against forced drugging. That’s the quantitative side. But there is another side.

      The way I see it is this, society must really hate what they see as the ‘mentally ill consciousness’, if there is an awake, alert, conscious human being in their midst, who believes the prohibited thoughts, dares to entertain the trains of thought that have been declared ‘medical emergencies’ by psychiatry, society has given psychiatry a license to kill that consciousness. Psychiatry, the police, families, are on the lookout for that consciousness, and it will be detected, hunted, and killed. Only when replaced by a more acceptable consciousness, will that human be once again seen as fully human to society. When the person still believes the prohibited thoughts, they are considered subhuman, but when they come back around to society’s way of thinking, and confess they were wrong (‘ill’), they are welcomed back into the human race in a limited and provisional way, providing they agree to harness up each day into their chemical chains. Society reserves the right to re-enter their body at any time.

      What has never, ever, ever, been understood or dealt with by society, is just how these people targeted for forced brain alteration, are ever supposed to go from ‘rights holding free adult’ in society, to being told others are going to constantly have their way with the most intimate part of their bodies, their consciousness, and just ‘accept’ this inhuman situation. The ONLY ones who do accept it, are those who are living in fear that psychiatric drugs are the only prophylactic standing between them and certain oblivion. An indoctrinated falsehood, that seems to obviate their need to consider the political and civic reality of the rest of society forcibly entering their bodies.

      In my opinion, and I’ve said it many times, there is not a more thorough, more devastating, more invasive thing you can do to another human short of murdering them, than raping their consciousness. It is an atrocity. When done in a systematic, industrialized fashion, as official state policy, to millions, it’s of a kind with the worst horrors of modern history.

      But right now the majority see Amanda Bynes being forcibly drugged and say ‘Great, I’m glad Amanda Bynes is getting the help she needs’, whereas the survivor of government forced psychiatry, if they could be in the room watching what the California government is doing to Amanda Bynes right now, would retch, and feel that unmistakable pit of the stomach churning horror one feels when one witnesses inhuman violence.

      Psychiatry’s mere unproven theories about the bodies of people unfortunate enough to become very overwhelmed with life, have been enough to convince society that psychiatry’s alleged ‘need for a free hand to work on these people’, is viewed as far more important than those people’s right to own their own bodies. Even when the government impounds a dangerous vehicle, it doesn’t even pop the hood open. The vehicle sits in the impound lot, and it is left alone. The other motorists are now safe, the vehicle is off the roads.

      Psychiatry doesn’t have a clue what it is doing, and yet society eagerly lets it pop the hoods of the brains of living, actual, conscious human beings, and poke around. I will never forgive those who did this to me so long as I live. Only when NO means NO, will anything mean anything. Because when NO doesn’t mean NO, so much of life loses its meaning. For expediency, for ‘shut that person up’, ‘stop that person thinking those thoughts, doing those things’, society crosses a line that should never be crossed. The individual’s relationship to his or her society, and their government, has a variety of distances to it. For most, government is at arm’s length, for those in prison, government is constantly a few feet away, for the survivor of forced psychiatry, that relationship extends to neurons, into their consciousness. This is a line to cross, so obscene, that society hasn’t even begun to come to grips with its horror.

      The most heinous violent crimes involve the forced entry into the body, because it is universally understood what an unmitigated horror that is. That government drugging the consciousness of human beings, proxy violence on the part of every single citizen in society, is considered a GOOD thing, is singularly the most devastating thing that I learned in my life. I am confident that no matter if I lived to be 100 years old, that this would still be the case. It broke my heart. It decimated so many things about the connection I used to have to the rest of the people in society, things I wasn’t conscious of before they were smashed, things I took for granted before I was forced to become a survivor of state sanctioned violence on this scale.

      I am a heartbroken man. I am. The betrayal never goes away. You learn to slowly reach out and foster a few relationships, and it takes a long time to let anyone get ultra-close. Since the government raped my brain, I don’t like to be touched. I suffer flashbacks, nightmares, disgust at my society, my sense of equality with my fellow citizens has imploded, I can’t even wipe my ass on the toilet without sometimes being hit by remembrances that this was the butt cheek where the brain rapists from the government entered my body, where they spilled their deadly seed deep inside me, and spread their poison throughout my being. I remember how my heart betrayed me, by pumping that liquid to my brain, as I lay face down, held down, pleading with my attackers. I fantasize about wearing a suit of metal armor that is impenetrable by government needles, I think about every cell in my body and how my government thinks they have the right to mess around in my consciousness. I think about how drugging me, shutting me up, getting me in and out of ‘hospital’ fast, is more important to these people than acknowledging the wreckage they’ve left me with. I think about how their faces have become the permanent fixture of my nightmares, but they’ve probably forgotten my face, moved on to thousands more faceless ‘diseased brains’, their pleas for mercy too, ignored. To them, that’s not a human splayed out on the floor shrieking ‘NO, please, don’t inject me’. If they thought it was a human, they wouldn’t cross that line. They sleep sound in their beds. They get society’s praise and respect for doing this to me.

      Will Hall said the most amazing thing in a speech last year, that deep down in our human essence, there is a part of us, that has not been touched by psychiatry. If some part of me didn’t believe that, this brain of “mine” that my society seems to think is government property, would be splattered all over the wall. I choose to keep living, because I envision a future where these lines are no longer crossed, and where every decent human being retches when they even think about forced drugging. Nobody deserves to be forcibly drugged. Forced drugging doesn’t deserve to exist. It’s a policy founded on hundreds of years of contempt for sanctity the ‘mental patient’ body, a policy that inevitably harms, kills, or decimates the lives of some, for the dubious benefit of others, and it can be objectively proven that less invasive social control measures suffice for those ‘dramatic’ situations people love to endlessly debate.

      A culture of respect for the inside of the bodies of this one class of human beings considered public property, those labeled ‘out of order’, needs to be fostered. I don’t know how we are going to do that, but we must try. Being one of these people considered unworthy of basic human rights and the right to feel safe from outside intrusion in my consciousness, has taught me a lot about man’s inhumanity to man, and frankly, it’s utterly terrifying, constantly. If anyone thinks the designating of outgroups and the systematic stripping of their human rights is a thing lost to times past, they are just lucky. I only wish I still thought that, how peaceful life used to be, when I was just another guy, going about my life, and didn’t have to worry about a full frontal assault on my basic humanity taking place and baying mobs cheering it on as ‘the help that I need’. We around here, truly need to stick together, it’s very lonely being a nonbeliever in a world that practices this psychiatry religion. Even lonelier when you know the believers are standing ever at the ready, little droplets of liquid squirting out of their poised syringes, ready to ‘help’ us again at a moment’s notice. Those within the system are trained and paid to ignore us when we try to assert our rights. Only when a majority in society agree we don’t deserve this will our rights be ensured. May that day come.

      It’s hard to win equality for your right to own your body, when hundreds of thousands of quacks are basically motivated by a desire to prove your body is defective. We’ve got Tom Insel of the NIMH, literally GUNNING, for his lifelong fanatically held beliefs about our innate inferiority to be proven true. These people want their Nobel prize. Hundreds of thousands of researchers, quacks, have thrown enough utter lies about our biology up against the wall that is the public consciousness, and propagandized for centuries that people who dare become overwhelmed with life are defective human beings, we are at a grave disadvantage. In their desire to be seen as ‘real doctors’ psychiatry has desecrated our very humanity, in the eyes of the rest of humanity, we are defined by a narrative devised, implemented, and fostered by psychiatry.

      Nobody who ignores the screams of non-consent of their ‘patients’ is fit to call themselves a true healer. Psychiatrists work for the narrative. The narrative is in charge.

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      • -_anonymous,
        I deeply appreciate your comment (to say the least). It should be published, in print, IMO. It’s amazing prose (and then some). I’ll need time to contemplate it further before responding in full — especially, as I’d not yet heard that the Amanda Bynes story had gone in the direction you’ve briefly described. (Will be Googling around, reading up just a bit, on the news, of all that, before posting again, offering my two cents.) Really do appreciate your entire comment, very much.
        Respectfully, ~J.

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      • -_anonymous,

        Late yesterday afternoon, I left a comment (above), letting you know I’d come back to post again, to offer my “two cents” on the Amanda Bynes news story. I explained that I’d not yet looked into it. Now, I have looked into it, but only briefly — just barely long enough to get a cursory sense of what’s going on there.

        That quick study suggests to me, that this story is similar what was reported, on events in Britney Spears’s life, a few years back. (Actually, the Spears family “hospitalization” drama played out twice, in the news, a couple of years apart. The second ‘episode’ was high drama, indeed.)

        This Bynes story is somewhat less dramatic (by this point), as far fewer police have been mobilized, to capture the would be “patient”; and, I presume, no helicopters were involved?

        Simply, here’s another young woman, former child-star, who has been testing limits, with her social media platforms and has been, to some extent, gradually ‘breaking down’ in public; it’s been a relatively slow process (months, at least); now, the parents are taking over, via legal maneuverings that have catalyzed some amount of forced “inpatient” psychiatric medicalization.

        Of course, the parents hope it shall be an extended period of such; right now, I think it’ll be up to two weeks, as the “judge” has yet to decide on anything more than that.

        As was the case with Spears’s parents, Bynes’s parents have grown fearful that their daughter is “mentally ill” and needs ‘treatment’ for her supposed “illness”; ‘illicit’ drug use (and, perhaps, ‘addictions’) could be a contributing factor; repeatedly, in the news, over the course of past weeks and months, I’ve heard (again and again) that that she threw a bong out a window, hoping to outsmart the police…

        (Ironically, ‘non-medical’ marijuana use is simultaneously being legalized in a couple of states…)

        I presume her parents are worried that their daughter may be vulnerable to parasitic relationships.

        Bynes’s parents describe their adult daughter as being “paranoid” — even as they’re ‘tracking’ all her moves and reporting them to the authorities.

        IMO, most pointedly, (as was the case with Spears’s parents), Bynes’s parents report that their daughter is throwing her money away (or, at least, she is making large cash withdrawals); presumably, they worry that she may wind up blowing a small fortune in savings (Britney’s fortune was quite massive in comparison); they won’t risk the possibility that that could happen; no matter what, they won’t let her burn through her millions.

        (You may recall, if you followed the Britney Spears story, that Britney might, possibly, have been under the ‘spell’ of a ‘boyfriend’ who was feeding her drugs and leeching off of her; but, wasn’t she old enough to make her own decisions, regarding whom she’d sleep with and how much crap she’d take from him? IMO, she was. And, yes, she was, legally “of age” …as is Amanda Bynes; i.e., we’re discussing young women, old enough to be considered, legally, adults.)

        Who knows why Amanda Bynes was making cash withdrawals, but wasn’t it her cash to withdraw?

        Well, her parents are doing everything ‘necessary’ to establish, in court, that she’s supposedly unable to manage her own affairs, so she’ll be declared legally incompetent (that’s what eventually happened, in the case of Spears).

        Unlike millions of others, she won’t be able to learn from the would be consequences of any ill-advised investments (at least, not at this point, in her life).

        Spears’s dad was eventually made into executor of his adult daughter’s affairs; I am not sure if he still maintains that status; but, the deal went down, such that, maybe she can prove herself ‘competent’ — eventually.

        Of course, that means she must ‘comply’ with all her psychiatric (“doctor’s”) orders.

        Like Spears, Bynes will have to ‘accept’ her so-called “diagnosis” and the ‘meds’ that the psychiatrist decides are ‘necessary’ for her “patient’s” well-being.

        I.e., Ms. Bynes’s life story is going to be re-framed, first and foremost, in the ‘light’ of psychiatry’s medical model.

        (You can tell me if you think there’s much more to the Amanda Bynes story that, perhaps, I’m not seeing. Maybe I’ve missed something vital here, I don’t know, but it’s certainly possible…)

        For me, it’s just such a frightful story to watch, being played out, on TV (and/or, on Youtube); glimpsing, only momentarily, the few brief clips that I’ve seen, apparently, of Bynes, as she’s in ‘medical’ custody… really horrifying stuff, IMO.

        I barely spent more than ten or fifteen minutes looking into it, and, to be honest, I haven’t the stomach (or the nerve) for more, right now. Probably, I won’t look into it further, as part of me simply resists focusing on such miseries, any further, as I find it brings up grief.

        It takes me back to my own distant past; though, of course, I was never a child star…

        (Really, I’m somewhat ashamed to confess, but WTF, I’ll confess here anyway, that: I won’t focus on it, any longer, as I don’t want my weekend ruined by it. Really. Spending too much time on this — even a few minutes too many — could all-too-easily lead me to so many seemingly unavoidable flash-backs to my own experiences, of having been forcibly ‘treated’ by psychiatrists, at age 21 and age 23. I don’t want to end up with those flash-backs and the usual shame-spiral that accompanies them. And, yes, that can happen when I focus too much on news stories of this kind.)

        Those traumatic experiences of mine are now more than 25 years ago, but recalling them, in any detail, can still have the power to more or less totally unnerve me (for days, if not weeks).

        Watching various news stories like that unfold can really floor me (and has done so, more than a couple of times, in just the past few years); studying stories like that, as they unfold, has been like a monkey on my back, in the past. It’s not anymore — because I’ve chosen to limit my intake of ‘news’ media.

        The news of so much encroaching psychiatry, after “mass shooters” emerge, in the news… can, likewise, be unnerving.

        So, here I’m very deliberately moving on…

        Your comment (above) was/is absolutely excellent.

        I’ve been reading through that comment of yours (above, on July 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm); undoubtedly, it’s one of the most powerful pieces of psychiatric survivor literature I’ve ever read …e.g., very much on a par with “The Manifesto of a Noncompliant Mental Patient” by MIA blogger Aubrey Ellen Shomo. (I first ran across that particular piece some years back, long before it wound up posted here, on this MIA website: )

        madmom’s comments are great, too.

        So, I concur with Richard D. Lewis, as he explains (below, on July 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm) to you and to madmom,

        Your above comments on forced treatment and forced drugging are two of the most powerfully written pieces of prose ever posted at MIA; they each deserve an independent blog presentation at this website. I hope the moderators make a special note regarding these posts.

        Only, I must add and emphasize, that: It’s the forced drugging (and other forms of brain-tampering) that are the worst ‘treatments’ of all.

        IMO, it’s inevitable that, on occasions, societies small and large will need to briefly contain some individuals — truly, for their own good and/or for the good of others.

        I.e., sometimes, people will need to be briefly held, against their will, without a trial.

        A trial can come shortly after their being contained.

        That would guarantee due process.

        I will accept that such procedures may be reasonable and well warranted, at times.

        On the other hand, to create so-called “mental health courts” in which claims are made, that some individuals supposedly need to be drugged (ostensibly, ‘for their own good’) is not morally/ethically defensible — especially, when the drugs are of the psychotropic variety (i.e., psychiatric ‘meds’).

        To claim that some individuals supposedly must be forced to accept such brain-invasive ‘treatments,’ is to assert a morally and ethically indefensible position.

        Of course, ‘medicating’ people who supposedly don’t realize that they ‘need’ to be ‘meddicated’ seems like a very ‘civilized’ thing to do.

        However, tampering willy nilly with people’s brains, against their objections, is the very apex of uncivil behavior.

        What people who make the claim that such ‘treatment’ is called for, are doing, is, they are reinforcing their own faith in medical-coercive psychiatry, which is really a faith that they have in psychiatric ‘medicine’ (so-called); simply, they are convinced psych ‘meds’ must be forced on some people, because they believe such ‘meds’ are ‘life-saving’.

        But, really, they can never prove that such a necessity exists.

        Psych ‘meds’ can be helpful for some people, but there’s no proof, ever, that they’re absolutely necessary.

        One reason that many people come to believe they are absolutely necessary, is that they’ve seen or felt the effects of coming off those drugs precipitously, and they could not bear what they saw or felt, in that respect.

        What confuses so many people, including very decent ones (i.e., this confuses even many of the most genuinely well-meaning ‘mental health’ professionals, who are charged with addressing young adults, who wind up medicalized by psychiatry), is this fact, that: Those drugs are all variously habit-forming, such that coming off of some of these drugs rapidly, especially after being on them for a while, can create ‘withdrawal’ effects that are more or less ‘maddening’ and/or are ‘just’ extremely uncomfortable for a time — even, in some instances, to the point of being seemingly unbearable.

        The ‘withdrawal’ effects of going ‘cold turkey’ off some psych ‘meds’ can lead some people who attempt to eschew them, to feel, not long afterward, that they’re making a mistake; they feel they should be back on ‘meds’ after all.

        And/or, seeing someone in the midst of such ‘withdrawals’ becomes seemingly unbearable for observers (e.g., observing parents and/or therapists… and, especially, for many observing psychiatrists).

        Simply, many people will not be able to bear watching others go through those effects; hence, going through such effects may require having ones own place to live, in complete privacy for a while; if that can’t be managed, then very slow tapering may be ideal. (Really, that may be best for those who’ve been ‘medicated’ continuously for a long while.)

        I say all that about ‘withdrawal’ effects and tapering for the benefit of those who may read these words, upon visiting this website for the first time, as I visited Pete Early’s above-mentioned blog post today, and, reading comments there, I see some commenters are providing links to this page.

        I ran across one line there, that sticks in my mind — a comment from Virgil Stucker, the executive director of CooperRiis Healing Communities (a nonprofit, but apparently expensive “therapeutic community”); it’s really what ultimately prompted my commenting here, now.

        (Note: I don’t feel like creating an account and commenting on Pete Earley’s site — because, generally speaking, I don’t choose to comment on websites, where the blogger so adamantly favors forced psychiatric ‘treatment’.)

        Mr. Stucker is very respectful in his references to Robert Whitaker, and he talks a good talk, about the goodness of his ways, in leading his “healing” community, and I don’t doubt that there are many who benefit from his offerings, there. Yet he concludes,

        “It is also clear to me that sometimes involuntary medication must be used and that its use can be life-saving.”

        After posting that comment, Mr. Stucker is prompted by a challenging reply (a comment that was from AA, you can read it if you visit that page); Mr. Stucker responds by elaborating, as follows,

        “In regards to involuntary commitment, I am reminded of a west coast leader in the ‘consumer’ movement, who today leads a successful life but also told me that had he not been involuntarily committed at one point he would have died. He is glad to be alive.”

        The first problem there, of course, is that, one person reports to Mr. Stucker on having benefited from a certain ‘treatment’ — just one person.

        Meanwhile, how many suffer terribly from that same sort of treatment, who are not reporting to Mr. Stucker?

        The second problem there, is that, forcibly drugging someone is not differentiated from “involuntary commitment”; clear distinctions should be made, IMO, between forcibly containing someone and ‘treating’ his/him with brain-invasive procedures.

        I don’t care that he may be legally authorized to do so (and/or, the psychiatrists who he hires may be legally authorized to do so), choosing to modifying another person’s behaviors by forcibly rearranging the workings of his/her brain is not right. Period.

        And, in any environment where that sort of ‘medical treatment’ is being proffered, I assure you, others are ‘accepting’ certain ‘medical treatments’ in ways that seem ‘voluntary’ only because they don’t want it forced upon them.

        It seems to me, that, what Mr. Stucker is doing, is creating a professional life in which he can simply dismiss this fact, that, some people will never really believe in Psychiatry, its precepts and its practices.

        Meanwhile, some people will never believe in the religion of Psychiatry.

        He explains his view of psychiatry, in his comment,

        “Relatively speaking, we have too frequently over-medicated willing users with negative, serious side effects being the result. In addition, our forceful, rather than collaborative approach, has led to a reaction where 40% to 50% of people who have been prescribed psychotropic medication are ‘non-compliant’. On the other side of the bank, we have the anti-medication group that can be just as dogmatic and non-collaborative.”

        It seems to me, he surrounds himself with people who will agree with his views and dismisses those who feel they have absolutely no need for psychiatry and/or no need for psychiatric ‘medication’.

        He speaks in plainly demeaning terms of, “the anti-medication group that can be just as dogmatic and non-collaborative.”

        Do you know of any “anti-medication” group?

        I certainly don’t know of any such group.

        Really, I highly doubt that any such groups exist — because what “anti-medication” implies, is that one would not only refuse to accept psych drugs, but s/he would attempt to deny others access to such drugs.

        I don’t know of anyone who would keep people from being “medicated” with psych-drugs, if they want to be.

        I only know that I believe everyone should be afforded the right to refuse such drugs, because I know that, having had them forced on me, they made me seem as though “mentally ill,” such that I could, thereafter, be tagged with a psychiatric label that suggests, to one and all, that I’m supposedly “seriously mentally ill.”

        Then, of course, each time I’d choose to eschew those drugs and eschew psychiatry, I’d be viewed by everyone who knew me (friends and family), as ‘crazy’.

        Of course, I wasn’t trying to deny anyone access to ‘meds’ of any kind.


        What really bothers me is how this “anti-medication” label gets thrown around.

        It really is quite misleading, don’t you think?

        I should be able to refuse psych drugs, you should be able to, as well; anyone should be able to refuse them, at any time; and, we should be able to do so without being called “anti-medication” by those, such as Mr. Stucker.



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        • One thing is that Stucker only quotes one single person who thinks he would be dead had he not been committed. I hear these statements actually all the time, “Had I not been committed/forcibly drugged/restrained, I would have died!” Would have. Subjunctive. During my last crisis, almost 10 years ago, I often asked myself, ‘What am I going to do, if I get locked up/forcibly drugged/restrained?’ And I was pretty sure that the answer was that I’d off myself at the first occasion. Especially in case of forced drugging, as I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to live with myself not being me anymore. But I wasn’t committed/forcibly drugged/restrained, and so, if I’m honest, I can’t tell with the absolute certainty I see expressed in statements like the one quoted by Stucker what I actually would have done, what would have happened — subjunctive. And so I wonder where such absolute certainty about the outcome of something that never happened comes from.

          The subjunctive IMO is of no further interest to a factual debate. Which is of interest are the actual results of what actually happened. And while people in crisis sometimes, and probably also more often than the average person, do make bad choices, there are at least as many who’ve died while under involuntary psychiatric “care”. Add to these all the many many people who end up severely re-traumatized by it. And frankly, somebody trying to tell me that torture and abuse was what saved their life, I can’t help it but I always smell a big fat Stockholm syndrome rat…

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        • Thank you Jonah, I agree with everything you said about the Bynes case.

          ‘they are convinced psych ‘meds’ must be forced on some people, because they believe such ‘meds’ are ‘life-saving’. But, really, they can never prove that such a necessity exists. Psych ‘meds’ can be helpful for some people, but there’s no proof, ever, that they’re absolutely necessary.’

          Nobody, nobody in the history of forced psychiatric tranquilizer drugging, can point to anything forced drugging did for them that people touching the outside of their body not the inside could have done just as ‘effectively’.

          I am disappointed to hear that Mr. Stucker is pro forced drugging. CooperRiis, a place that charges $17,000 a month for what? How could they possibly justify such expense? What a joke. You could rent a penthouse in New York City for that. My God.

          If the CooperRiis guy, Virgil Stucker, is going to say this:

          ‘“In regards to involuntary commitment, I am reminded of a west coast leader in the ‘consumer’ movement, who today leads a successful life but also told me that had he not been involuntarily committed at one point he would have died. He is glad to be alive.”’

          Then that’s outrageous. People who make this argument are essentially saying that the destruction of some people’s lives is acceptable, JUST so that other people can falsely claim that forced tranquilizer drugging ‘saved’ some other people, when LOGIC shows that whatever this person who claims forced tranquilizer drugging ‘saved his life’ means, he means only that it ‘prevented him doing something’, he doesn’t mean that the drugs halted a bodily disease that was eating away at his body’s ability to stay alive, like in real medicine, he means that he was prevented from doing something that he’d regret, that’s all. And there are ways to prevent that dude, whoever he is, from doing something he might regret, (if he likes being treated like a child), without putting ALL OUR RIGHTS to own our own brains on the line.

          IMO, anyone who claims they were ‘saved’ by having their human right to own their own brain tossed aside, cannot prove that such invasive techniques were the only option, and ought to think long and hard about why perfect strangers had to be sucked up in the forced drugging dragnet just so he could reap a ‘benefit’.


          That the CooperRiiis biological psychiatrist says these things, is good in a way, we can stop considering CooperRiis anything worthwhile. At 17k a month, to be counseled by a pro force ‘slightly critical of meds’ psychiatrist, with all the other rich kids, I hardly think it is worthwhile bothering.

          And if the guy who is running it is just another pro forced drugging ideologue, ready to delusionally claim there is some ‘anti medication group’….. my god….

          ‘He speaks in plainly demeaning terms of, “the anti-medication group that can be just as dogmatic and non-collaborative.”’

          Is forced drugging ‘collaborative’ is it Mr. Stucker? Are people who are opposed to the death penalty, slavery, and forced marriage ‘dogmatic’? I’m sure you could find some third world forcibly married people who ‘don’t so much mind it’.

          CooperRiis ought to know it UP UNTIL NOW has been painted in glowing terms by various people in the critical psychiatry community and brochures handed out and events that psychiatric survivors attend. It might be bad for business, to get a reputation as a pro forced drugging, in bed with Pete Earley, type organization. If the head of CooperRiis is saying ‘“It is also clear to me that sometimes involuntary medication must be used and that its use can be life-saving.”’ on a forced drugging lobby blog, he basically just finished off that place’s reputation in my eyes. In a way, it’s kind of good we have horrific and hateful blogs like Pete Earley’s, it draws out the true beliefs of people like Stucker…. people who were previously surfing a wave of goodwill in the minds of people like me, I really thought they were a harmless, rich kid ‘healing community’, now I’ve clearly reconsidered.

          Had Stucker not made those comments on Pete Earley’s forced drugging lobbyist blog, I would still maybe have kept CooperRiis in mind as a place to publicize and tell people about. Mr. Stucker just ensured any good will that place might have had from the psychiatric survivor community is now steadily diminished. No organization headed by someone who is against our basic human rights, can call themselves a true ‘healing community’. If we aren’t considered equal members of the human community, with the iron clad right to be free of biological/chemical assault, then I’m afraid CooperRiis won’t have my support.

          But we should really stop talking about what’s happening on forced drugging lobbyist Pete Earlley’s blog, we don’t talk about it for months, and now all week, we are talking about it, even now that Earley’s blog is now onto newer posts that don’t deal with the ‘blood on hands’ smear. Earley’s blog gets very little, VERY little web traffic, and it’s not a good idea to give these people the oxygen of attention. It ought to be automatically assumed, that every day, on Torrey, Jaffe, and Earley’s website, that people are spouting off against our human rights, it’s what they do. That the CooperRiis guy is doing it, is disappointing, but at least we know the score now.

          The score is this. If you think CooperRiis is a safe place to experience extreme states of mind without Mr. Stucker calling the authorities and getting you ‘stuck’ with a needle, think again.

          End of story.

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          • Thanks Anonymous and Marian for confirming my thoughts about Mr. Stucker. This discussion reminds me one I had with an African American co-worker several years ago.

            She said she would rather deal with someone from the KKK vs. a closet racist because at least she knew where that person stood. That is the way I feel about dealing with NAMI folks vs. people like Mr. Stucker. You know where alot of the NAMI folks stand whereas Mr. Stucker comes off as this “reasonable” moderate who is nothing of the kind in my opinion.

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  38. Bob, the only blood I see is the blood of thousands of nameless children in industrialized nations who are dying slow, agonizing deaths due to psychiatric harm, abuse, and neglect

    My beautiful, creative and gifted 19 year old daughter was put in five mind numbing neuroleptics during the most vulnerable time in her life. That and a ten day ‘hold’ and being slapped with a label and told to take medications for the rest of her life was our system’s way of dealing with her crisis and our family’s introduction to the mental health system. She continues to relive that horrific abuse time and again, cycling through jail, hospitals, foster homes, and the streets for the last three years.

    The failure of our mental health system to recognize and treat abuse, poverty, racism, trauma, family dysfunction, and iatrogenic illness, as well as the failure to adopt a more humane, collaborative, and transparent treatment model during a crisis (such as the models already used successfully in other developed countries) is harming our children and delaying their recovery.

    Our mental health system has become a mammoth disability industrial complex, converting loving parents into compliant sheep who will not raise a peep to protect their children from psychiatric harm and abuse for fear that they will lose whatever crumbs the state awards them for being ‘disabled’ or for fear that they will end up in jail or on the streets.

    As parents, we should question if there are worse things than ending up in jail or on the streets. I posit that the hopelessness and despair one feels when one is told one is permanently disabled and that one is not ‘important’ or valued by society may be worse.

    We fear that our children will be ridiculed and spat on, or that people will cross the street to avoid them. We fear that they will have body odor and look funny or they will make people feel uncomfortable at family gatherings or that our vanity will be slighted in a myriad of trivial ways. We cringe at the way society views our children but rather than demand individuals learn how to be inclusive and tolerant, we spend all of our energy desperately coaching our children on how to act normal even if it requires them to take massive doses of neurotoxic medication.

    We fear that they will squander their meager funds or be victims of crime on the streets. I posit that abandonment by family members and friends is worse than the coldest night on the streets.

    I’ve spent some time searching for my daughter on the streets and its not as bad as one would think. Some of the homeless kids I’ve met during my darkest hours and the kindness they showed me brought much more comfort than any psychiatrist in a white coat, giving me the usual lecture about my daughter.

    People on the streets look out for one another more than we housed individuals know. People who are ‘suffering’ are often giving one another peer support on a daily basis, sharing socks, smokes, hotel tokens, and showing more kindness and dignity than the so-called mental health ‘professionals’ who are paid to care for our children.

    Instead of cowing with fear, we parents should be shielding our children from our society’s harsh judgement and bridging the shameful disconnect between the wealthy and the poor.

    Our children are unwilling to live and work in cubicles, nor are they likely to behave ‘normally’ unless we drug them into compliance. Our system defines what is valuable at the expense of individuals who find value in the whimsical, the abnormal, the absurd. A system that only rewards individuals who have the ability to produce something that our society deems valuable while rejecting and discarding those who are unwilling or unable to do so is not ready for the evolutionary leap necessary for creating lasting peace and justice, or to stave off ecological ruin.

    Even kings in medieval courts knew the value of fools. The last documented court fool in English Court was in the sixteenth century, around the time of the reformation and beginning of the age of ‘enlightenment’ After western industrialization, the fool became extinct.

    ‘Normal’ behavior is wrecking the fragile ecological balance of our entire planet and led us to the edge of nuclear Armageddon, yet we continue to find the gene for ‘abnormal’ and the magic pill that will correct those who have it.

    Instead of focusing on making our children compliant, and coercing them into taking their chemical straight jackets everyday, maybe we parents could try something different for a change, such as dropping our judgement of our children, and holding a mirror to the cruelties directed by society on those who are ‘different’, the homophobia, the bullying, etc.

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    • madmom,
      Wonderful, enlightened comment. Few parents who contribute to discussions on ‘mental health’ can ever realize or admit that life on the streets may be far preferable to life as a subject of pharma-psychiatry. In fact, I think almost any given day of ‘homelessness’ is (in almost all instances) going to be far less punishing than a day of so-called “involuntary hospitalization.” (But, of course, ideally, society would provide alternatives, such that no one would ever be faced with only those two choices.) More power to you and your daughter…
      Respectfully, ~J.

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      • Jonah: Thank you. When my child, in an altered state chooses to flee from psychiatry and goes underground (the streets) I can understand rationally why she would choose life on the streets over being restrained, forcibly medicated, labeled, institutionalized, etc. On one level, I can empathize with my child and I even see myself making the same decision, in her shoes but emotionally, it is a different story.

        There are simply no words to describe the feeling of despair when one feels that one’s child is at grave risk and one is powerless to do anything. I would never judge a mother in distress, or even someone who made an awful choice given the fact that parents have not been fully informed. Parents are not taught to listen to their children; they are taught to trust authority.

        People say and do terrible things when they are afraid. When one does not know if their child is safe and one feels powerless to do anything to help, it is like one’s heart is a door that has been ripped from its hinges. It is a big gaping wound that nothing can fill, closure in any form, even confirmation of the worst case scenario is better than the suspension of not knowing.W

        A mother finds it difficult, if not impossible to be detached emotionally. One lies in bed, unable to sleep, ready to jump at the sound of the phone. The sound of a phone ringing is nearly as terrifying as the silence of hours and hours of no sound. One drags oneself to work daily by pasting on a smile, greeting clients and customers, then fleeing to the break room to make phone calls with trembling fingers. Have you heard from my daughter? Did anyone get booked in jail last night? Did anyone get admitted to the ER last night?

        Hundreds of lurid scenarios torment a mother’s mind when a child is living on the streets. Will my child be raped? Will she be brutally beaten by a policeman? Will she wash up dead on a riverbed?

        I am not suggesting that we remain passive about homelessness. The discrepancy between the very wealthy and the very poor in this nation is shameful; it is nearly as chilling as the human rights abuses that routinely occur in states with commitment laws or assisted outpatient treatment which give rise to the desire for some psychiatric patients and children to flee underground in the first place.

        But what we should do is stop lying to our children and ourselves. Even saying, “I don’t understand” is better than “You have a chronic disease.”. Learning to live in a state of non-knowing, is one of the most difficult things for a parent but I believe that is what we must do at times.

        Parents and family members have been victimized too. No, we may not fully understand the pain and terror of someone who has been pinned down and forcibly injected or shocked but our trust has been shattered as well. We took our children to the doctor because we were taught that we could trust doctors. We were not fully informed of the risks, nor informed of any viable alternatives.

        It is the hardest thing to admit that we parents failed to protect our children when they needed us the most.

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        • Madmom says:

          But what we should do is stop lying to our children and ourselves. Even saying, “I don’t understand” is better than “You have a chronic disease.”.

          That is just so key. If the rest of humanity, to whom these states of mind are alien, admitted their ignorance, that would go a long way. You are so right, even just being told by another human ‘I don’t understand why you are making sense of the world right now in this unusual way, but I am going to be with you’, would be better than being forcibly converted into their psychiatry religion. Which is exactly what it is, a forced conversion. Believe the crap they believe, or get the needle.
          Believe the crap we believe, or get out of the family home you ‘lack insiqht’!

          And thank you

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        • Dear madmom. You are right. We have been deceived and betrayed by most of those who pose as helpers, who live comfortably off the pain of our loved ones and us. They are no longer to be trusted.
          We have to muster the purposeful anger of mothers and fathers who are refusing to be deceived, who will do battle against the naked emperors, for the human rights of all who are enslaved and exploited – as our children are.
          It is the hardest thing to do. Yet this is life, our lives, and our task to do.
          Good people have gone these roads ahead of us, roads to greater freedom.
          Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi, Tina Minkowitz,Jim Gottstein, Loren Mosher, and multitudes of annonymous parents, fighting for a better future for their children – the good fight for human rights and justice for all – as MIA and Robert Whitaker contribute mightily to, and most madmoms, however imperfectly. Thank you, from another madmom.

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          • Speaking as a mother of 3 sons, my child will always be my child but that doesn’t mean I don’t want them to grow up and be independent. Every one of my sons has been in and through the psychiatric system. I’ve stood with them in the process. My survivor experience has come in handy.

            A person has to take responsibility for their own independence, in my opinion.

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          • Hi Mark. My greatest wish is for my daughter to be ‘interdependent’ rather than independent. I want her to have a place in a community. We need to have a community dialogue on what it means to ‘grow up.’ I think it means different things to different people. What does it mean to you?

            I would like my daughter to have autonomy and be safe from any physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse. I would like her to receive caring support when she asks for it and never be the victim of psychiatric harm or abuse. I would like for her never to be the victim of a crime of course, and I don’t wish for her to be dependent on others to make every decision, but I hope that she will
            find her ‘tribe’ (people who share her values and will commit to being her friend) and I hope that her friends will be loving, loyal, and trustworthy, and that she can find that some, if not all, of her family members are potential mentors and allies who could be consulted and relied on to give good advice during important times such as vocational discernment or how to choose a good mate, etc. She has enjoyed some privileges growing up. I hope for her to ‘give back’ by helping others one day and I hope she finds a mission in life (or that her mission finds her).

            I wish for my daughter to have the same kind of love that I enjoy.

            I think our society places too much emphasis on ‘independence’. It has become a sickness. I wasn’t aware of this until my friend David Oaks invited me to participate in a roundtable discussion coordinated by MindFreedom and Mobility Rights USA with leaders from the international disability rights movement, many of whom were from Africa. One of the women shared that in her country, young people typically do not move out of the household when they turn 18-21 years of age, as in the U.S. She believes that this is cruel and robs young adults of the extra support that they deserve at a critical time in their lives.

            Children and young adults should not live with abusive families or try to adapt to chaotic households if they need calm and peace. People need stability, kindness, and safety, especially when healing from trauma. But with enough support, families can do a world of good by simply being lovingly present for one another and sharing their resources.

            I can honestly say, that I’m not proud of everything I ever did or failed to do as a parent, but wishing for my children to be ‘dependent’ on me, isn’t on my list of egregious errors.

            When you figure out the secret formula for how parents can occasionally extend a helping hand to an adult child without enabling learned helplessness or without sending the message ” I don’t have confidence in you” be sure to let me know!

            Not knowing when to engage and when to disengage is the hardest balance for a parent to learn. My daughter went off her meds and ran away from her foster home.

            I was torn up as it was one day before I was scheduled to go on a vacation. You know what? I went anyway.

            I worried about her so much while I was gone but I needed the break and I kept my commitment to myself. She lost 20 pounds on the streets in only three weeks. She was as skinny as a rail when they picked her up, dazed, in the middle of a busy boulevard, supposedly in the middle of ongoing, rushing cars.

            I don’t regret going on that vacation! But I did find it difficult to have fun while in a beautiful foreign country, not knowing if my daughter was safe or not. guess that makes me interdependent.

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        • Words obviously written from the heart. Thank you for expressing it all so well.

          Yes, society is taught to trust doctors but most of us here now know that most psychiatrists are not true doctors. If they were doctors they would not bulldoze their way over the First Mandate of Medicine: “First do no harm!” Instead, they create harm in the lives of everyone unfortunate enough to be trapped in their so-called “care.”

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    • Madmom and Anonymous

      Your above comments on forced treatment and forced drugging are two of the most powerfully written pieces of prose ever posted at MIA; they each deserve an independent blog presentation at this website. I hope the moderators make a special note regarding these posts.

      As an activist who writes here, I must say that your contributions to our movement only deepens my understanding of why Biological Psychiatry belongs in the museum of history next to other forms of human slavery, and only strengthens my resolve to devote even more energy to make that happen as soon as possible.


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      • The most vulnerable individuals in the mental health system are people who are catatonic. When the ‘pioneers’ of the lobotomy procedure were devising a way to cut the nerves by sticking a large sharp probe between the eyeball and the eye socket, making a sweeping motion, the doctors boasted that it was a painless procedure because they had practiced on catatonic individuals who appear to be oblivious to pain.

        My daughter was once so catatonic that her eyes were stuck in an ‘open’ position; they became gummy. You could stab her with a large needle and she wouldn’t flinch or cry out. I weep when I consider how many of these individuals were used for medical experiments or even sexually assaulted.

        After she recovered, she revealed that she had been able to listen to and perceive much of what was going on in her environment! How little we know about the mysteries of the human mind! Our consensus knowledge of ‘reality’ and our book knowledge is like a tiny craft floating on an immense ocean of experience.

        She wasn’t able to go to the bathroom, eat, or get about in that state. We washed her in bed and she was hydrated through a tube. From a parent’s perspective it is frightening to have a loved be an altered state of consciousness assumed to be a grave mental illness. The doctor said that catatonic individuals in the olden days simply died and I believed him.

        Doctors can sometimes bring comfort but they also bring pain and suffering. Doctors often project an omniscient aura and they assume that our children’s lives will be improved with a grave medical diagnosis because they assume it will open doors for them, making them eligible for social security and free medical care.

        While a diagnosis may be greeted with genuine relief by some patients and their family members, unfortunately, in the context of our failed mental health system, a diagnosis for many others goes hand-in-hand with learned helplessness, dis-empowerment, and despair.

        It would be far more prudent to adopt a wait and see approach before diagnosing individuals. A label can be spell binding and damage sensitive individuals, sometimes for life.

        Treatment providers should wait until a person can articulate what is going on in their lives, even if it takes months for someone in an altered state to regain their power of speech.

        I think that doctors really believe that their treatment model is more ‘humane’ because in the ‘olden days’ people in altered states were considered to have ‘demons’, were burned at the stake and run out of the village.

        I am proud of how far my daughter has come and I am trying hard every day to forgive psychiatrists and mental health care workers who inflicted harm on my daughter. Not everyone in the mental health system is bad; far from it. The field attracts some of the most empathetic and remarkable individuals; but I also realize that ignorance and good intentions are no excuse for not speaking out against psychiatric abuse.

        Not informing individuals under your care is a form of abuse. If you are a practicing psychiatrist and you are not talking openly with your patients about the risks of medications, and you are not opening a dialogue with the entire family about the risks/benefits of having a loved one taper off his/her medications, and at least prepared to help individuals do so safely, then you are not using best practices and this is wrong.

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    • madmom , you are a two-face . Speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You write “told to take medications for the rest of” then next you write “taking their chemical straight jackets everyday”.
      Please call the drugs, drugs, not medications. Medications are for diseases.

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      • markps2 it’s the psychiatric system that calls them medications and therefore it follows that it’s the system that has two faces.

        I think it’s useful to challenge the system which has the power and influence rather than the mothers, like me, who are doing the best we can with what the system has done to our families.

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  39. @ Duane,

    O ye, of little faith.

    Please read this brilliantly written piece written by a dear cyberfriend and look in the mirror to see the remarkable person who wrote it.

    “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ― Albert Einstein

    All of the King’s researchers, and all of the King’s journalists, could never have crafted that brilliant masterpiece.

    It is a gift to us all.

    Someday the children of NAMI will thank you.

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    • Maria and fellow readers,

      Pete Earley has now posted an article on Cooper Riis, a healing community, which many of us appreciate:

      So, how do we “unite”, “come together” etc?

      I cannot see how we can possibly do so without a few issues being addressed – front and center – an end to coercion and deception.

      In short, fully-informed consent. Also, an end to the lobbying for “off label” use for the most vulnerable – children, elderly, war-traumatized vets.

      Maybe others have some ideas on how to do so.
      I honestly don’t know how.

      Maria, you challenged me – with words of peace, to include those of Einstein.

      I don’t know how this gets resolved “together” – furthermore, if it can be done.


      Anyone else?


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      • My turn to be negative. I responded to a comment Mr. Stucker made on one of the blog entries in which I expressed concern that he discouraged people from going off their medication even though he was in favor of it being lowered. I also didn’t like the fact he was in favor of involuntary commitments although he did say not frequently.

        In response, I felt he was unfairly implying that I was dogmatic because I opposed involuntary commitment which I thought was extremely unfair.

        Yes, Cooper Ris sounds like an improvement over NAMI. But in my opinion, instead of the hard cohersion that NAMI seems to offer, this sounds more like the subtle variety.

        Sorry for my cynicism. If anyone on this site feels I am missing something, I am willing to listen.

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        • Dear AA,

          You have every right to be cynical.

          We are in a critical time period.

          Our U.S. mental health-care system is a multibillion-dollar industry

          Transparency and close scrutiny of those who have the most influence on advocacy agendas, fundraising and government spending is needed.

          One way to help those who are currently in the system would be to divert money that goes into researching the problems, and invest it into the existing hands-on nonprofit organizations that have been providing solutions.

          Researchers easily skew data, information can be misinterpreted resulting in convoluted and conflicting opinions.

          Investing in more and more research is not a proactive solution to the problems we know are taking place in the here and now.

          The Delancey Street Foundation is one of my favorite nonprofits.

          “In 1971 Delancey Street began with 4 residents, a thousand dollar loan, and a dream to develop a new model to turn around the lives of people in poverty, substance abusers, former felons, and others who have hit bottom, by empowering the people with the problems to become the solution.”

          Started with $1000 and is the country’s leading residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom. No mention of “mental illness”.

          CooperRiis donated $2 million dollars as seed money to start the Foundation in Excellence in Mental Health Care. It is my understanding the cost of CooperRiis is $17,000/month, although they do offer scholarships, this model does not consider those from our lower-socioeconomic class and are at rock bottom right now.

          The Salvation Army, the Rescue Mission, the Homeless Emergency Project, our Food Banks/Churches and hundreds of nonprofits in the US help individuals suffering from symptoms of “mental illness” on the most basic level, like food and shelter.

          The problems in our mental health care system stem from the age old problem of “too many chiefs and not enough Indians”.

          Journalism is a very competitive profession and thrives off of societal problems and controversial issues.

          In reality, psychiatrists and “Big Pharma” are not the only professionals who profit from having a broken mental health care system.

          Attorneys defending the “mad” and “crazy” people who commit crimes make money, attorneys suing drug companies make money, the private prison systems make money, treatment facilities make money, researchers make money and many, many others are making their living off of our broken and seriously flawed system.

          Trust comes from faith.

          Keep the faith in yourself, you’re on the right path.

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          • Thanks Maria. Wow, the Delaney Foundation sounds like an awesome organization since it is base on hope and emphasizing people’s strengths no matter what type of background they have.

            I just wanted to clarify my previous remarks. CooperRis definitely sounds like an improvement over the current system. But should we be striving for this type of model that still seems like it is based on coercion even though it is of the subtle kind since people are discouraged from completely going off their medications if they express the wish to do so? In my opinion, we should not be but what do I know?

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          • AA said

            ‘I just wanted to clarify my previous remarks. CooperRis definitely sounds like an improvement over the current system. But should we be striving for this type of model that still seems like it is based on coercion even though it is of the subtle kind since people are discouraged from completely going off their medications if they express the wish to do so? In my opinion, we should not be but what do I know?’

            After the head of CooperRiis goes on forced drugging lobbyist Pete Earley’s blog days after that blog accused Whitaker of having blood on his hands, and this head of CooperRiis, speaks out in favor of forced drugging, I’ve lost any respect or good will I might have had for CooperRiis, I’ll be putting them on my enemies of freedom list.

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  40. I am familiar with the tactics of Mr Early, his anonymous mother and even her son. They are predictable defensive reactions, intended to dismiss unacceptable facts or evidence, and preserve the status quo. We had better get used to them if we intend our movement to succeed. Applause to Cannotsay, Discover and recover, and many others for keeping the discussion honest, without taking the bait to become emotional. The facts of this debate are very clearly on our side, and it isn’t difficult to calmly, but persistently stick to them.
    As I wrote I am familiar with this tactic: My disciplinary “counseling sessions” have always been in response to a “concerned patient, or family member” who is upset by my suggestions that recovery is possible, the diagnosis is far from scientific, or that dependence on meds is not always absolute. In short; I am either “not letting me accept my illness enough”, or “saying something bad about the meds”. In my “final written warning” a young man, taking 4 different addictive medications, threatened to dump his pills down the drain, because I said “you need to do more then take pills and sit in therapy to get better”. (I can only assure you I said this very gently, and the young man was not upset after I said it, although it was clearly not what he wanted to hear.
    The young man threatened to drop out of treatment unless my heresy was admonished. The young man was reassured that he is obviously dependent on meds and therapy, and wont be expected to do anything to recover, aside from take pills and sit in therapy. He stayed 34 days and went back inpatient after the medical folks tried to wean him off Ativan. (he was quickly put back on the Ativan).
    Both the young man and myself are surrounded by people whose faith obscures critical thinking. All the young man had to do was to recite a reluctance to believe: “I hate taking pills”, to provoke this validation. Faith in his incompetence relieves him of expectations to change.
    It could be the same for the young man in the story, the one from NAMI. If whatever version of “sanity” his dependence on meds provided him was preferable to the anguish of “insanity”, he wouldn’t require leverage to ingest them daily in the first place. It reads like a classic power struggle to me, but perhaps Im just cynical. Also it is the fundamental compulsion of the enabler to externalize responsibility of the person being enabled. This is why her interpretation of “tough love’ Is so rigid and black and white. Kicking the son out was obviously much harder for her then it was for the young man to endure 48 hours outside. Not to mention all the attention he receives..
    So for all the drama of Bob’s message, all the talk of “blood” on hands, the only actual harm was done by the status quo, which was probably quickly restored.
    Frankly I am rooting for that young man, as I am for the young man who set in motion the end of my career. Possibly they will find us here someday.

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  41. Well, well, well you are causing quite a stir bob 😉 the psychiatric nation is quaking in their boots. The best kept public secret is getting out and the psychiatric army is preparing for battle anything goes. So you have blood on your hands this anonymous mother says, no all you have done is hold up the mirror and the trail of psychiatric deaths is what is reflected back.

    I feel I want to say you have to watch your back as being the not boy but man saying the emperor has no clothes on and being heard in so many countries is going to make the ’emperor’ very threatened and angry. Yet I know we are many who will look out for your back as we have done for our fellow survivors and victims of psychiatry, for you are changing the face of psychiatry and we are right behind you!


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    • Julie,

      At only twelve-years-old, Ke’onte Cook was able to find the advocate within.

      Do you think any NAMI member could argue with a child advocate who is advocating on behalf of his own peers?

      In the business world, mistakes/poor quality are costly. Improvements are made by implementing the 5 step Risk Management process.

      Step 1 Identify the hazards
      Step 2 Decide who might be harmed and how
      Step 3 Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
      Step 4 Record your findings and implement them
      Step 5 Review your assessment and update if necessary

      This process can be applied to any situation/model or even routine activities that needs improvements and proactive solutions.

      This is a critical time period and all mental health advocates should be closely scrutinizing the situation at hand.

      Our mental health care system has been controlled by a powerful advocacy agenda primarily promoted by a single organization. NAMI makes false and misleading claims to be a national alliance.

      Solutions for our broken mental health care system must come from the bottom, real life situations up and not the research data information down.

      Once the playing field is finally level, we’ll all be meeting in the middle.

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      • Maria
        I’m confused as to where some of your comments are coming from. Where did I say I wasn’t an advocate for change or wasn’t fighting the system? All I recall saying to Duane was that we were trying to win for a change over all of those spreading misinformation and the wrongs of the psychiatric system. Maria, I have been an advocate in this movement for a long time now, so don’t believe I need to find my advocate within as she is always by my side fighting the system . Even my voluntary work at a local psych unit involves advocacy and fighting for people’s rights. Not to mention personal experiences causing me to speak out too. I work from both a bottom up and top down approach, using personal experiences (including my own) but also providing research evidence too. Did you see my recent article on MIA? Is this not speaking out and challenging the system as it stands?


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        • Julie,

          The only challenge I made was to keep the faith.

          Build it and they will come. Duane already put together the floor plans, you’ve done your part in learning how to fit right in, now we just need the materials to start building.

          My comment is actually about how simple legal challenges can have the power to make broad-sweeping changes, very quickly.

          Sometimes, its not about working harder, its about working smarter through implementing the risk management process.

          NAMI has worked very hard, but they have failed to assess the risks and find less harmful options of care.

          The minority advocacy agendas have also worked very hard, but they have failed to organize an effective agenda and communicate through an alliance. It sends out a convoluted message and gives the upper hand to the majority mental health advocacy agenda.

          This case demonstrates NAMI members are not only advocating for universally accepted drug-dependent treatment plans, they are advertising them as the gold standard of care.

          That is not how Ke’onte Cook felt. He earned the right to advocate on behalf of his peers, frustrated and angry NAMI members do not.

          Jeff commented, what gives someone the “right” to call themselves a mental health advocate?

          He hit the nail on the head.

          Considering many individuals labeled “mentally ill” are among a marginalized population, and because of incarceration, hospitalization, low income, poor health, or homelessness, do not have access to the internet, they are not even aware of this case, or who is claiming to be speaking on their behalf.

          Is mental health advocacy a “right”? a privilege?
          a fiduciary relationship to everyone considered “mentally ill”?

          Should mental health advocates be held to the same ethical standards as other professionals?

          Sometimes when you are in a David and Goliath situation, it is very easy to level the playing field when you have a few giants on your side.

          Anyone claiming to be a mental health advocate and using the internet to promote their agenda, should probably start making sure they have all of their ducks in order as there are some heavy hitting watchdogs waiting in the shadows.

          For NAMI members, this is a case of wearing blinders to the problems many journalists have written about, including Pete Earley himself.

          •May 7, 2012, The Wall Street Journal: Abbott To Pay $1.6B To Settle Depakote Marketing Probes

          •April 10, 2012, FOX News: Shocking footage of Judge Rotenberg Center torturing a teen with symptoms of autism

          •January 19, 2012, The New York Times: J & J to pay $158 million to settle improperly marketing its Risperdal antipsychotic drug to Medicaid patients, including children.

          •Nov. 30, 2011, ABC News: Study Shows U.S. Gov. Fails to Oversee Treatment of Foster Children With Mind-Altering Drugs

          •January 25, 2011, The Boston Globe: Tufts settles malpractice suit against Rebecca Riley’s psychiatrist for $2.5m

          •The Boston Globe, March 26, 2010, The Boston Globe: Father convicted of 1st-degree murder in death of Rebecca Riley

          •March 17, 2010, CBS News: After 7-Year-Old Gabriel Myers’ Suicide, Fla. Bill Looks to Tighten Access to Psychiatric Drugs

          • January 21, 2010, The Boston Globe: Social worker warned that Rebecca Riley, 4, was overmedicated

          • January 19, 2009, MSNBC: Eli Lilly settles Zyprexa lawsuit for $1.42 billion

          • February 11, 2009, 48 Hours: Out Of Control: Enough Warning? Adderall causing a psychotic reaction


          DISCLAIMER: This comment is not intended to replace medical information and its author does not give out medical advice. Withdrawing from psychiatric medications can be dangerous; consult your treating physician regarding all such treatment decisions.

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          • Maria
            I certainly haven’t lost the faith that is for sure. I feel the movement is growing not weakening, which only adds to my fight and faith.

            I believe no matter how small a person is, they still have a right to speak – no matter what giants are around. You can’t be silent just because there are many people of great influence and power out there. So what if NAMI and it’s members do not like the alternative argument? That should not stop the likes of Bob or anyone else having their say. We are led to believe we live in a democracy.

            Rather timely, I have just read a piece by Ron Leifer…


            where he states about those in power silencing the dissenters.(Question 1 in the link above) He raises a valuable question…”Who controls the discourse.”

            “A question raised by the repression of the critics of medical model is: “Who controls the discourse?” Who determines which paradigms shall be used for understanding human behavior? How we see the world shapes how we act in it. How we see people shapes how we act towards them. If we see people as machines we will fix them with physical interventions when we think they are broken. If we see people as active agents we will treat them with respect, regard them as responsible, and accept their choices. Classical sociologists recognized that knowledge is a commodity. It has (social) value, either in support of prevailing interests or against them. Paradigms arise in a social context, in relation to the interests and resistance of competing powers. Each society has its own fabric of discourses which establish and preserve its identity and functions. The critique of a prevailing discourse can rent the fabric of society and generate unsettling social change. The repression of critics serves the stability of the prevailing order. At present, there are two principle competing paradigms for understanding human behavior. the deterministic paradigm, of which the medical model is the driving example, and the moral paradigm. The deterministic paradigm explains human behavior in terms of causes. The moral paradigm refers not to any particular morality but to the person as moral agent who desires, intends, plans, acts and experiences the consequences of those actions, for better or for worse. It explains and judges human behavior in terms of desires, intentions, motives, purposes, ideals, actions, values, ethics, context, contracts, and laws.” (Ron Leifer)

            We need to bear this in mind Maria. Do we give in to the majority controlling the discourse or speak out as a lone voice and unsettle those in power controlling the mainstream discourse? Yes, it is always good to have some people on your side for when the giants surface, but not everyone has that. This shouldn’t stop them speaking out though.

            Also you raise a question by Jeff in who has a right to claim themselves as a mental health advocate? Bearing in mind many people who hold themselves up to be mental health advocates have actually experienced the psychiatric system first hand be they professionals who have suffered emotional distress, psych survivors, carers whose loved ones have died as a result of the system, academics etc. The list goes on and I would say these people have a right to speak out and advocate for change because they know by experience that the system is wrong as it stands. Who are we to silence these people? And who are we to silence those who willingly speak out for others because they are too vulnerable to speak out for themselves? I for one would rather people speak out and suffer the wrath rather than allow the prevailing climate to remain, where people are being harmed and the majority control the discourse and say what goes.

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  42. Bob you are in good company.

    My dear friend of 35 years Jay Mahler, who was shocked so bad he lost all memory of who he was for a time, and who founded the oldest consumer/survivor rights agency in the country, was speaking at a public conference in 1996.

    Torrey was there and heard him, and as Jay spoke against involuntary treatment, Torrey estimated that Jay and activists like him were responsible for the death of a half million people who had avoided forced psychiatric treatment. Torrey publicly printed his estimate of deaths.

    A few years after that, I was chairing a public meeting with our guest Dan Fisher, who had flown to California to help us get a Soteria House started, when a NAMI leader said Dan was a Nazi who has the responsibility for encouraging a holocaust of death, because he says people may recover to the point where they don’t need meds.

    You know that NAMI tried to get Loren Mosher fired, and Peter Breggin’s license suspended, for questioning the ubiquitous use and dangers of meds.

    My guess is that Torrey and Jaffe and many NAMI members will now plan some kind of retaliation against you, given that the first publicized attack by a NAMI parent has reached the level of saying you have blood on your hands.

    You aren’t a consumer/survivor/peer or a dissident psychiatrist, but that won’t matter to the people who want to maintain the status quo. Of course that includes pharma and psychiatry as well as demagogues like Torrey, and the thousands of suffering NAMI members who have been duped via the medical model hoax.

    Olga Runciman is right- it is time to watch your back in ways you haven’t needed to until now.

    The powers that be wishfully think that you are vulnerable now because of this NAMI cry that you are a death bringer- but you aren’t more vulnerable.

    You will speak the truth and enough ears will believe you.

    You are in good company- on the high profile list with Loren and Peter and Jay and Dan, and in the good company of a whole lot of anonymous readers and writers here on MIA who are scapegoated everyday for speaking out about the dangers of meds.

    Thank you dear Bob!

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    • The seriously professional, investigating science journalist Robert Whitaker has consistently been reporting the facts as they are found, also when the facts ran counter to what he expected to find when looking into why some suffering people were not medicated, more than 2o years ago.
      A very disturbing fact to be discovered for everyone willing to see what’s in front of our eyes, is that these words – seriously professional, reporting the facts as they are found, even when facts run counter to what’s expected or lucrative – are scientific virtues not consistently practiced in the conglomerates of big pharma, academia, medicine, media…
      This is no secret. The truth is out, kicking up lots of skeletons. Naked emperors, torreys and nami mercenaries are threatened, but lies launched against tides of truth will not last. Read the editorial in the British Journal of Psychiatry, August 2012, quoted by Mr Whitaker in his slides from his NAMI presentation.

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  43. Yes, but this watching Robert’s back might involve understanding that Robert needs to distance himself from MIA and choose very carefully (i.e. reduce the number of) his public speaking engagements.

    Of course I could be completely wrong in this, but I do think that the guiding criteria for Robert should be to preserve his reputation as an independent impartial journalist at all costs, and not become associated or identified with any one group or movement.

    I’m not sure if I’m correct in saying this but my impression is that Robert’s greatest impact has been through his book writing, and I think he should protect that more than anything else. Otherwise his activities as an investigative journalist could be seriously compromised even though he has done nothing wrong. Reputations are very fragile things and can be destroyed with lies and unfair accusations just as easily as with the truth, perhaps more so.

    I do think that Robert maintaining a relatively low-profile might be much more useful in the long term than to engage with critics who are likely to be “agents provocateurs”.

    Anyway, I’m repeating myself now, so I’ll just shut up about this.

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    • “Robert needs to distance himself from MIA and choose very carefully (i.e. reduce the number of) his public speaking engagements.”


      Distance himself from his own website? Are you serious? How would that serve him or anyone else? And, why should he reduce his number of public speaking engagements?

      Apparently, you think Bob should go into hiding?

      I can’t even begin to imagine why you would think good journalism requires that…



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      • Hi Jonah,

        Very briefly regarding low profiles (which is not the same as hiding) and journalism: a journalist needs to be able to approach lots of different people and access lots of different environments, something which might become difficult the better known one becomes. How many members of APA you think will be willing to speak with Robert now? Of course this is to some extent unavoidable, but it is a matter of balance, and the more you can make people wonder what your own opinion is, the better.

        I think Robert combines unique qualities which have made his books stand out in a crowded field: he is a journalist who understands the science, a very rare combination. This is however a very dirty war and his position is not unassailable, he has not got the backing (or funding) of a organization behind him and so he has to be very careful to remain (and be seen to remain) a journalist who objectively reports on facts which can be independently corroborated, and not leave himself open to the accusation of having a personal agenda.

        What if the son of Angry Mum had jumped off a bridge and died and Angry Mum decided to sue Robert after all? It doesn’t matter that she would not have had a chance to win, I’m sure generous donors would have come forward to fund her legal expenses and make Robert’s life a misery and perhaps even compromise his ability to find a decent publisher in the future.

        I think Robert would be more effective providing the ammunition for other people to fire than firing it himself. It’s a basic rule: keep your ammunition factory as far away from the front lines as possible.

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        • Morias,

          You are basically defending appeasement.

          Appeasement against evil forces has never worked. There are just too many numerous examples that prove beyond reasonable doubt that the only valid course of action when confronting evil is to reaffirm assertively, but calmly, one’s position.

          Bob did nothing illegal. Should he be sued (unlikely because any respected lawyer would advise the angry mom against taking such action), the case would provide those in our movement a great opportunity to restrict psychiatry even further. The matter that the court would try to settle would be whether Bob’s findings are backed by science (they are) and whether NAMIs/the APA mantra of “permanent medication” is a protocol backed by scientific evidence (it is not). So if I were in Whitaker’s position, and I had the financial resources to fight back I would say “bring it on!”. The APA/NAMI/Angry mom would lose the lawsuit and with it, probably, there would be even more legal restrictions to the psychiatric profession, something like the obligation by psychiatrists to disclose that scientific research backs alternatives to regimes of “permanent drugging”. These people are smarter than this.

          The “angry mom”/TAC thing is just an experiment designed to test Bob’s resilience.

          If I was Bob, I would probably be more worried about anything that they could bring back from his past that could be used to smear him, as it happened to Glenn Greenwald after he published the NSA stories .

          Keep it up Bob. We could organize a fundraising effort for your defense if it came to that.

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        • Morias,

          Thanks for the reply. You make a number of points. Let’s look at them one by one.

          You say,

          …a journalist needs to be able to approach lots of different people and access lots of different environments, something which might become difficult the better known one becomes.

          So, then, a good journalist cannot be well known? According to that logic, the Pulitzer people should stop handing out prizes for excellence in journalism, yes? (And/or, true journalists refuse to accept such prizes?) And, any aspiring journalists should surely refuse invitations to attend high-profile events, where they might be identified as journalists. E.g., if you were a journalist, you would not be wanting to attend any White House press conferences, for fear of becoming well-knowns, as a journalist, I suppose?

          You also say, about journalists,

          …the more you can make people wonder what your own opinion is, the better.

          So, in your opinion, journalists should not not have opinions?

          Or, journalists should not create journalism that is opinionated?

          Or, they should just try to avoid letting people know of their journalism, so their opinions won’t be widely known?

          Then, maybe they should use pseudonyms when on assignment, collecting material for their stories? (I.e., all journalists should work undercover?)

          You say Bob should be a,

          …journalist who objectively reports on facts which can be independently corroborated…

          OK, that makes sense to me; I agree; and, it seems that Bob is that kind of journalist, precisely.

          So, I wonder how does ‘A’ lead to ‘B’ in this case?

          I mean to say, I wonder: Are you suggesting that, (A) in order for Bob to continue being such an unassailable, fact-based journalist, (B) Bob should now take leave from his website and curtail his speaking engagements? (If that is what you think, ‘A’ necessitates ‘B’, then please explain why you think that.)

          You say Bob should,

          …not leave himself open to the accusation of having a personal agenda.

          Please excuse me for saying so, but I think that’s your real point; and, even if it’s not your real point, IMO, it’s really the only point you make, which is at all logically arguable.

          Some people believe that a good journalist will have no agenda beyond getting the truth out, to the public; other people believe that journalists inevitably have more agenda, than just that; and, some people believe that, journalists need to have more agenda than just that…

          That’s long-running discussion.

          You seem to fit into that first category (recommending that journalists should have no agenda…); however, the reason you offer for presenting that arguable point is not convincing.

          That reason, which you offer, reads as follows,

          What if the son of Angry Mum had jumped off a bridge and died and Angry Mum decided to sue Robert after all? It doesn’t matter that she would not have had a chance to win, I’m sure generous donors would have come forward to fund her legal expenses and make Robert’s life a misery and perhaps even compromise his ability to find a decent publisher in the future.

          What you are describing there, is a “What if” scenario that doesn’t fly, IMO.

          That woman would have no legal case against Bob. No judge would ever accept such a case.

          And, if Bob wants to avoid being blamed for such folly, he can, from this point forward, put a brief, emphatic ‘disclaimer’ in the beginning of his talks.

          E.g., he could state something to this effect, at the outset, of each speaking engagement: I am not a doctor, and I am not recommending that anyone suddenly stop taking their ‘meds’; abruptly stopping ‘meds’ can be dangerous; and, in fact, anyone who wants to cease taking their ‘meds’ should find qualified people who can help them to taper off meds. As it happens, we do have people listed on our MIA website who offer that sort of help for a living.

          Of course, Bob might not want to say all that (nor any of it); however, I presume he could easily put his heart into a statement such as that — or some such similar statement… as, it seems to me, that it reflects the truth. (And, I do believe that Bob is someone who won’t cower from the truth nor fail to express whatever truths he feels need expressing, as he presents his talks.)

          As far as being able to find a publisher goes, I don’t think that controversies surrounding authors discourage authors from finding publishers these days (at least, not in the U.S.); in fact, such controversies tend to sell books, so they also tend to attract publishing deals.

          And, again, the idea of a ‘disclaimer’ comes to mind; if Bob wants to place a disclaimer of any kind, in his next book, he can.

          In any case, from all that you’ve said, I still see no reason whatsoever for Bob to remove himself from his own website; nor, either, do I see any reason for him to cut back on public speaking…



          P.S. — I don’t think Bob would ever try to pass himself off as the sort of journalist who claims to have no opinions; and, I don’t believe that journalists can have no opinions; indeed, I believe they can and do have opinions (all of them do); most certainly, they all have opinions on those topics, which they come to report on most frequently; and, they should not be afraid to express those opinions.

          That’s my opinion.

          Respectfully, ~J.

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        • Hi Jonah and Cannotsay,

          Brief reply as I’m beginning to feel foolish talking about what Robert should or shouldn’t do – he’s a cleverer man than me and I’m sure he knows what to do.

          I’m certainly not defending appeasement, but saying that Robert needs to choose his battles carefully and choose which critics to answer and which are not worth his time (e.g. Marvin Ross). And also that he should be quite careful about his speaking engagements in potentially “hostile” environments such as NAMI (I’ll say more about this later).

          I do think it is definitely true that the better known an investigative journalist (emphasis on “investigative”) becomes, the less effective he or she becomes. Celebrity status closes more doors than it opens.

          As for having opinions, I think you are all forgetting how crazy what Robert has to say sounds to the average person out there, to the kind of people who make up “public opinion”. It would not be very hard to destroy Robert’s reputation by presenting him as an “anti-psychiatry zealot with no scientific training who got some sick people killed”. You and I and a minority of people would know that’s not true but that would be small consolation. Robert’s only defence, the armour that keeps him safe, is the fact that he only reports on facts; he is the messenger, and everybody knows you can’t shoot the messenger. The moment he strays from that role, the moment he gives his opinion, he opens himself up to attack and “they” have a lot more money and resources and don’t mind playing dirty.

          By suggesting that Robert might need to distance himself from MIA I did not mean disappear from it completely, only, I don’t know, be very careful, perhaps more careful that he has been of late. To give a concrete example I think Robert’s last post in MIA, “Harrow+Wunderkin+…” was a very dangerous thing for him to write. Not because I don’t agree with everything he says there, I do agree, but as I say his only armour is that he is only the messenger, and a messenger cannot express his opinions, which Robert openly did at the end of that post.

          About NAMI and hostile environments, I think perhaps Robert does not quite realize what he is dealing with there. Robert is very knowledgeable about what is wrong with psychiatry, about the drugs, the conflicts of interest and about what mental illness isn’t, but I don’t think he has given the same thought to what mental illness actually is, to the aetiology of this thing called “mental illness”. Why am I saying this in connection with NAMI? Because I think Robert might not be prepared for the fact that the people he might logically expect to be his greatest allies, the families of people diagnosed as mentally ill, will be in many cases his most virulent enemies; this seems inexplicable until one accepts certain things about the aetiology of “mental illness”.

          Anyway, I’ve said more that I meant to and I’m sure I’ll regret it later (I always do). I’ll just add that Robert consistently makes it into my list of “the 10 people I respect the most” so I hope he’s really watching his step, because it’s a minefield out there.

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          • Morias,

            Thanks for your reply. It’s all very well said, IMO.

            You’ve made your points much more comprehensible.

            IMO, almost everything you’re saying is quite reasonable, including, especially, your assessment of why NAMI cannot be expected to embrace Bob’s views.

            But, a large NAMI gathering is not a place where people riot.

            The general atmosphere, of large NAMI gatherings are largely (if not entirely) shut-down, emotionally; IMO, these families are typically quite unusually subdued.

            (One can easily imagine all the reasons why that’s the case.)

            NAMI’s unstated (but rather obvious) mission is to deny the aetiology of whatever is called “mental illness” (and, especially, of whatever is called “serious mental illness”); but, the denial is largely unconscious.

            NAMI families are scared, for the most part; they’re mainly terrified by ‘psychosis’; the difficulties that Robert may face, with more than a few NAMI supporters, are all tied to this fact, that Bob’s entire thesis strongly suggests that so-called “antipsychotic” drugs are being wildly over-prescribed, literally to the point of crippling millions of “patients,” who’ve all been labeled with one or another “psychotic disorder,” by psychiatrists.

            The more this thesis is relayed to NAMI members, the more static it will create; it may seemingly close the inroads Bob’s apparently been making, thus far, amongst some NAMI leaders.

            It’s very possible that, soon, he’ll find that he’s not being invited to speak, at NAMI gatherings; and, if he continues to speak at NAMI gatherings, he may be faced with increasingly vocal opposition from some members.

            However, again, I must say: Large NAMI gatherings tend to be very subdued.

            And, I don’t agree with your conclusion, at all.

            You write,

            I think Robert’s last post in MIA, “Harrow+Wunderkin+…” was a very dangerous thing for him to write. Not because I don’t agree with everything he says there, I do agree, but as I say his only armour is that he is only the messenger, and a messenger cannot express his opinions, which Robert openly did at the end of that post.

            Really, I am in complete disagreement with you, on that; for, IMO, that blog post of Bob’s was/is perfect.

            It was/is quite seminal, actually.

            The conclusion, in particular, was/is absolutely key — and perfectly well-stated (IMO).

            So, I’m glad you’ve drawn attention to it, because it really is important to note, I think.

            And, as far as your very last lines goes (you write, “I hope he’s really watching his step, because it’s a minefield out there”), IMO, it’s natural to feel a protective concern for Bob’s well-being.

            In Michael Cornwall’s first comment on this page (July 27, 4:12 am), he stated, “Olga Runciman is right- it is time to watch your back in ways you haven’t needed to until now.”

            But, see (i.e., carefully read) everything else, that Michael is saying, as well…


            Bob is in good company (that’s what Micheal says, quite rightly).

            Those who are daring to speak truth to power (especially, those who are speaking truth to the power that’s represented by psychiatrists) are to be praised and encouraged, ultimately, as there are so many who’ve been more or less silenced by that power (i.e., silenced chemically, with ‘medications’ prescribed by force and/or through coercion), they cannot speak for themselves.

            So, really, IMO, it’s wrong for Bob’s supporters to want to quiet Bob.

            Others, who’ve likewise been studying the work of psychiatrists, for years (including critics of psychiatry, like Micheal Cornwall) have not been afraid to speak truth to power.

            And, they’ve survived just fine.

            Bob will be fine, too.

            Hence, as you say that you think Bob’s last post in MIA (“Harrow+Wunderkin+…”) was “a very dangerous thing for him to write,” I will tell you: It seems to me what you are saying is that you think it was a mistake for him to write it. (At least, you seem to suggest that his offering the conclusion to that post was a mistake.)

            Maybe I misread you, on that? …But, if, indeed, you are aiming to say that you think Bob’s “Harrow+Wunderkin+…” blog post (with its conclusion) was a mistake, then, it seems to me, you’re wishing Bob wouldn’t speak truth to power.

            And, if that’s what you’re saying, then that is where I disagree with you, most entirely.

            You can, of course, let me know if I’ve misread you…



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  44. Bob, you have already done so much good, whether you need to take a break from speaking out publicly on this issue or not (I hope you don’t) your legacy is already assured. Fifty years from now no one will remember Early’s books because there are already dozens and dozens of similar books on the market however, one day, your book will be likened to Rachael Carson’s ‘Silent Springs’ that led to the banning of DTD. Every movement needs a catalyst and you provided it in spades.

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  45. Obviously Bob shouldn’t go into hiding or stop speaking publicly, because look who has come out with an army of backers– the pharma-based, pro-AOT group who don’t like Bob’s message–which is simply that the so-called mainstream drug-based ‘treatment’ isn’t working! The best compliment Bob and anyone else writing or speaking about patient rights, civil liberties and injustices is that of a negative response from that very group! Of course they want his message twisted and or silenced!

    Until there are other ways promoted in mainstream psychiatry for the treatment of “mental illness” other than chemicals there is no hope for anyone afflicted.

    If the pills worked this conversation wouldn’t be happening. If harm wasn’t done to innocent bodies by the chemicals we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If people were treated with dignity in the mental health system we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Anyone here reading who has been strapped 5 points down to a gurney to go against your will for “treatment” knows it is TIME FOR CHANGE. Don’t ever stop telling the horror stories that are associated with mental health “care” in America! What a hidden atrocity!

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  46. In his comment above, Bob refers to Marvin Ross, who along with the Treatment Advocacy Center, is furthering the ides that Bob shouldn’t be allowed to speak.

    Ross published a hit piece on Bob in the Huffington post a couple of days ago called, “Journalists Are Not Medical Experts” where he patronizingly says-

    “Whitaker does not seem to have learned that he is a reporter with opinions and that those opinions are listened to by some very vulnerable people.”

    and- “There is a big problem with the idea that a journalist who is not a scientist is capable of providing new ideas for more effective treatment of a disease and that NAMI thinks that it is OK to have him give a presentation. Well in my opinion, he can’t nor should he.”

    Wow- there is a big problem with the “idea” that someone who is not a scientist may have something to say.

    That kind of Orwellian rhetoric is consistent with what the new president of the APA said recently- that critics of psychiatry are- “spreading scientific anarchy.”

    In the chorus of Bob’s detractors that are going to jump on the bandwagon after the NAMI mom claimed Bob has blood on his hands, it is interesting to see this twisted version of Bob’s perceived transgression by Ross.

    Since Bob isn’t a scientist he should be silent.

    Don’t be surprised if there is a Pulitzer Prize somewhere in Bob’s future, and if so, it will largely be because his impeccable, groundbreaking science reporting, was done in the face of opposition by huge powerful interests that tried to silence him.

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  47. If they can’t refute what he’s saying it doesn’t really matter what he does for his day job.

    If they can’t discredit him based on the actual content he’s going over then I guess attempting to block him and personal attacks is all they have.

    It sure appears like there’s a bunch of professions and an industry that doesn’t have a solid foundation, a justification for doing what it does. It doesn’t really matter how many letters a psychiatrist has after their name if they can’t even prove they’re treating real illnesses, apart from the medical training it might as well be a degree in theology.

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  48. “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

    — Nietzsche, Gay Science

    Just replace ‘God’ with ‘psychiatry’.

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    • “Just replace ‘God’ with ‘psychiatry’.”


      That’s an experiment that’s already been done, many times over — in countless families — throughout the Western world. (And, I strongly suspect that, in the majority of instances, it’s been done quite intentionally.) Whether or not one believes in God, one can easily see that the experiment is a failure of enormous proportions, which has produced mainly endless misery. Sad but true.



      “Psychiatry, like religion, is a belief-system impregnated with rules and values, permissions and prohibitions. Psychiatric principles and practices are irrefutable and inviolable not because they are true or good, but because it is taboo to deny or reject them. Asserting that a respected social institution, such as religion or psychiatry, rests on a farrago of fables supported by force and rejecting it is disrespectful of received opinion and personally risky. Yet, embracing coercive social policies championed by custom and rationalized by fictions-as-facts is inimical to individual liberty, personal responsibility, and justice. We reject coercion in the name of religion and condemn persons who embrace violence in the name of God. We ought also to reject coercion in the name of psychiatry and condemn persons who embrace violence in the name of mental health or psychiatric treatment.”

      ~Thomas Szasz, M.D.

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  49. As i mentioned in an earlier comment, I appreciate these words of support. The larger issue here of course is that what we are talking about here is my speaking about research, often funded by the NIMH, which belies the common wisdom (and as I wrote in Anatomy, ultimately tells of a paradigm of care that, on the whole, increases the chronicity of disorders, worsens long-term outcomes, and so forth. That discussion, or reporting on such information, is what some people want silenced, and they are trying to do so by attacking the messenger, so to speak.

    I just want to respond to some of the questions raised in these comments about how I should proceed in the face of some of the vitriol that has been unleashed, and some of the efforts to keep me from speaking.

    In my talks, mostly what I do is go over the data for a particular class of drugs. I suppose there is an advocacy element to it, because such facts do certainly warrant a change, but my job is to present the information and then hopefully those in the audience will see that the facts combine together to tell a story of science that, in a moral sense, requires rethinking the current use of psychiatric medications. I don’t really need to advocate for that; the facts do so on their own. I am comfotable in that role, which is certainly compatible with the usual actions of a journalist who has written a book. He can be expected to talk about the “facts” that make up his book.

    I had the website ever since I published Mad in America, and about 20 months ago, I decided that I would turn it into a webmagazine of sorts, one that would, among other things, allow for a variety of voices to be heard (with the one common aspect being that they shared a belief that current psychiatric practices needed to be rethought.) Of course people are writing about human rights, and all sorts of related issues, and I must say, the readers comments both carry the conversation further and help flesh it out. That community aspect is such an important part of the website.

    Now the website may be seen as having an advocacy role ( for change), but I am comfortable with that as a journalist, in the sense of publishing a magazine that brings together information, writers, and voices that collectively make a case for change. The voices are so many on this site, and thus I never feel that I am leading the charge, or even that the website is in any way “mine.” It is a collective activity, and I think most people familiar with the site can understand that.

    I also think that some of the animosity now being directed toward me, or trying to stop me from speaking, is related to the fact that this website is proving to be a gathering place for a larger community of voices, which is being heard in ever larger circles.

    What I am trying to say here is that I have tried to proceed in a way that is consistent with a journalist’s role: In my writings, I speak about research (and as one might do in a blog, draw an opinionated conclusion about the importance of the research), but otherwise I try to keep my opinions to myself. You can’t let attacks like this latest one, and all the spinoff vitriol, change what you do.

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    • “…can’t let attacks like this latest one, and all the spinoff vitriol, change what you do.”


      That’s a great attitude.

      And, about your saying,

      “I speak about research (and as one might do in a blog, draw an opinionated conclusion about the importance of the research), but otherwise I try to keep my opinions to myself.”

      That’s fine, too (really, a perfectly respectable tack for any journalist who’s writing books, speaking about the content of those books, and blogging).

      I will just suggest, for the benefit of your readers, that they should realize: the trajectory of your career, as a journalist, can be related to the careers of many great journalists and great trends in journalism; in particular, there’s something called “public journalism,” which has inspired a “public journalism movement” (also, “civic journalism” and, relatedly, “citizen journalism”), and it has the full backing of many highly credible and well-credentialed journalists and schools of journalism.


      The following passage is from a book, by an advocate of public journalism (Jay Rosen, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, New York University):

      “The ideals of democracy on which the nation was founded, the tools of communication as they multiplied and improved, the churning markets of a competitive and expanding economy, the shifting tides of American politics and parties, the changing demands and desires of citizens, the egos and talents of the people involved: with these and a host of other conditions journalism has been experimenting since the early days of the republic. Viewed from this angle, “journalism” is an extended elaboration on the idea of democracy, a laboratory set amidst the real world, where a free people can find the means to convey its thoughts, inform and entertain itself, put centers in touch with margins, and cohere around common concerns.”

      ~Jay Rosen, What Are Journalists For? (Yale University Press, 1999; p. 186)

      Keep up the great work, Bob, full steam ahead!



      P.S. — Hopefully, readers who follow that link, which I offered (above), will not be misled by the critics of public journalism… as, indeed, there are apparently powerful corporate interests who’ve backed some journalists, who call themselves, “public journalists.” Really, they are not what public journalism is about.

      I recommend studying the work of Jay Rosen and others, to whom he refers…


      Respectfully, ~J.

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    • Well said! The facts, the truth, stands on its own!

      This mom’s letter might as well be her opening statement in the court of public opinion as to why she’s not guilty of abusing her child. Leaving people unsheltered is considered abusive. Leaving people homeless to be beaten up, peed on, and ridiculed is not love – not even “tough love.” It’s leaving people to the wolves. Even common mammals don’t treat their group members so unhealthily, unless they purposely leave them at their end of life. People who are less loving than animals are often bonded to a social structure driven by selfish profits.

      Many people secure their social position in such selfish structures. They gain social power together by calling abuse “love.” Leaving people in abusive environments doesn’t counteract mental illness – it creates it. It gives the impression that the abuse occurred elsewhere than in the family (e.g. on the streets). Isn’t calling abuse “love” psychologically abusive?

      Does she give a well-rounded view of family dynamics? The whole truth of almost any human indicates her behavior is more complex than what she presents publicly. She makes this out to be her best-faith effort, as if she couldn’t possibly be more informed about how to enable healthier environments. She is certainly cognitively capable of learning better methods, but is she socially motivated to apply them with her son? If homeless shelters were the perfect opposite of psychologically abusive environments, would so many of their guests end up diagnosed with mental illness? Technology proves brain activity becomes well-ordered in well-ordered environments, made of highly harmonized sounds.

      Is this another mother who’s in a long-standing emotional battle to make her child out to be the problem, rather than herself? Has she the courage to call for better treatments, if she doesn’t want her son to have to choose between the wolves on skid row and the wolves on Wall Street? Big drug companies are bound by law to prioritize profits for investors. Serving the public good was companies’ priority closer to this nation’s founding by our forefathers, who gave their lives for it. If people can’t stand to do what’s best for all of life (the strongest power), aren’t they more vulnerable to seek the protection of the powerful, yet corrupt? They need protection somehow.

      How many politicians and parents won’t admit problems are due to the social environment they provide? Abusers experience so much inner disharmony that focusing all of it on hurting someone actually makes them feel harmonized. They don’t want to stop abusing. They just want social cover, to claim it’s love, so others enable it. They don’t feel effective remorse over harm done by drugs, not enough to find better methods.

      Some families act like members who don’t fit into their socio-economic structure are not welcome. Getting disability meds fits into that structure by enriching those who fund media and campaigns. Do such families effectively place socio-economic status over family?

      An outcast senses the family (and networked organizations) support him in being mentally unwell, so they can be seen as right for not honoring his mental capabilities. Knowing one’s family and community succeeds if one’s functioning fails creates a psychologically unsupportive social structure. Lack of support can manifest as mental problems, as the mind is social in nature. In supportive structures, others succeed when one succeeds. E.g., a teacher succeeds if her pupils do. People do better in harmonized structures.

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    • Seth Farber, PhD
      Good to hear that Bob.
      These attacks are to be expected. In a sense
      this is a battle. What you say is a threat to the psychiatric pharmaceutical industrial complex (to use a variation on Breggin’s phrase).
      I appreciate Jonah’s perceptive remarks about the role of the public journalist. I would also suggest you are conforming to the best ideal of the public intellectual–a threatened species today. (Russell Jacoby wrote a book on that ideal.)
      You write, “I also think that some of the animosity now being directed toward me, or trying
      to stop me from speaking, is related to the fact that this website is proving to be a gathering place for a larger community of voices, which is being heard in ever larger circles. ”
      Yes well put. Indeed this is a living embodiment of the truth you articulate
      since it includes the voices of many people who got off of the psychiatric drugs, the neuroleptics, and are intellectually and spiritually flourishing.
      The psychiatric pharmaceutical industrial complex and those who identify with it would like to suppress the truth. But the truth is not like a non-compliant patient whom they can force to shut up. It abides and endures and finds expression everywhere and hopefully one day will rule supreme.
      Keep going. Thank you.
      Best, Seth
      Seth Farber, Ph.D.

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      • Do some people not think this mother is malicious, since she acts so rashly, so emotionally concerned? Otherwise, might some people consider whether her statement (that Robert Whitaker has “blood on his hands”) was slanderous? Many people have such a stigma against “mental illness,” which is so socially disempowering, that they almost instantly, blindly side with those who want the “mentally ill” rounded up. They turn a blind eye to whether the so-called “mentally ill” are being abused. That’s why their abusers so often do get away with murder.

        The fact that such unjust abusers are allowed to rule over those they label is a humiliating injustice, which psychologically abuses the public as long as it continues. An abused, unhealthy public isn’t most productive in protecting our national security resources. Even indirectly aiding the enemy is still aiding the enemy, which happens when our nation’s healthy productivity suffers due to AMA corruption.

        If a mother doesn’t want her child to know the truth, how can she not end up distorting his perception of reality — disorienting him — which is crazy-making and abusive? If mothers would rather fit in socially, with the politically empowered drug-pushers, than best protect their children’s health, need anyone wonder why their families suffer? Mental and physical health are highly related. If she’s happier with her family dynamics, knowing her child’s health is suffering, how corrupt is anyone who doesn’t recognize that as child abuse?

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        • The reality is that what psychiatry had always lacked in diagnostics, unbiased research, and procedure, they have made up with political psychology, fear mongering, and carefully worded manipulation. People are often glad to have a label they can associate with the misunderstood behaviors of those they love. Having a label makes it less unknown. It’s something that has happened to other people, and they don’t have to feel so alone. I imagine it leaves a parent feeling unsure and lacking control. The medication allowed her some assurance even though it was just an illusion, and now, she’s afraid and lacking out. I think the illusion of security meds create seems safer than trying to get real help.

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    • Messenger is good, Robert; just don’t let your guard down.

      And if I may, one last word of advice, (and for a number of reasons this will also be my last word on MIA): you know how they say that it helps to imagine your audience naked if you have to do public speaking? In your case I think it might help you more to imagine your audience recording what you say with the intention to take it out of context and use it against you. Paranoid? Maybe, but as Joseph Heller said, just because you are paranoid it doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

      Choose your battles wisely, stay safe and keep up the good work.

      It has been great being able to exchange comments with the people here in MIA; I’ll keep reading it with great interest as I keep doing what I can to get the truth out there.

      Thank you and goodbye,

      Morias Enkomion

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      • “and for a number of reasons this will also be my last word on MIA”


        It’s possible that I misspoke, in ways, in my last comment to you (on July 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm). Perhaps, I could have expressed myself in a way that was more accepting.

        Hopefully, I didn’t say something that’s left you feeling ‘pushed out’ of these MIA discussions. If I did, it was not my intention.

        Your voice here is valuable. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments.

        (I’m unsure of how long you’ve been commenting — seems to me that I first noticed you a few weeks back.)

        Hopefully, you’ll be back.



        P.S. — I am pressed for time now; but, later today, I’ll be looking over those few comments I posted to you, above — to see what may require clarifying.

        Will leave another comment for you, under that last comment (of July 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm).

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        • Jonah,

          You drag me back from the dead! Luckily I still remember the random sequence of numbers I had changed my password to in order to lock myself out of my MIA account.

          I would hate for you to think that my leaving MIA had anything to do with our last exchange or with anything you or anyone else has said. I’ve never been offended by anyone here, but I see how you could have gotten that idea and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have made quite as dramatic an exit, I wanted to say goodbye rather than just disappear.

          I have good reasons to kill off “Morias Enkomion”; I’ve been enjoying anonymity a bit too much and I think the time is coming for me to come out in the open in my own field and under my own name and see what I can do. Can’t let Robert do all the work.

          All the best,

          Morias no more

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          • Thanks for the clarification, Morias — or Morias no more or Μωρίας Εγκώμιον or whoever you are. I may yet add a bit of a comment, for clarification, above. (Maybe tomorrow.) Meanwhile, nice to know that you’ve taken no offense, you’re simply on a personal mission, which involves these issues and requires moving on, from your present anonymous form? Perhaps, you’ll return someday reincarnated? In any event, good luck to you. Respectfully, ~J.

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  50. Speaking of Pete Earley, he has a new post on his website: “Virgil Stucker describes healing, building bridges and a ‘recovery college’ concept.”

    I submitted a comment along the following lines:

    You charge $17,000 a month yet you are a “non-profit”? How much is your salary?

    My comment was held for moderation and now appears to have been deleted.

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  51. Dear Bob,

    It’s been difficult reading the recent posts on the Pete Earley article, lots of emotion stemming from unjustified personal attacks. I can appreciate that people may feel challenged and frightened when looking at the treatments for those with psychosis and other mental health issues. I know from experience that when people are prescribed antipsychotic drugs it is often the case that they are not given the full picture about them, and the claims for efficacy and side effect profile are not truthfully portrayed. The rationale given for the lack of accurate information is that the person receiving the drug needs treatment and is unable to make an informed decision (though I know from experience that not all people first given these drugs are in a psychotic state and/or lacking in mental capacity).

    The time has arrived when we have to look honestly at treatments for psychosis, people receiving treatments need to be informed, carers need to be informed. There will be pain and difficulty when looking at these issues, there always has been. This demands being mindful, honest and compassionate and I believe that you are and have been so.

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    • I can appreciate that people may feel challenged and frightened when looking at the treatments for those with psychosis and other mental health issues. I know from experience that when people are prescribed antipsychotic drugs it is often the case that they are not given the full picture about them, and the claims for efficacy and side effect profile are not truthfully portrayed.

      No, many of us are challenged and afraid of people who talk about psychiatry’s labels and tranquilizer drugs as if they are bona fide medical diseases and medical treatments, and then give government the power to force their faith based belief on perfect strangers using force. Forget talking about these drugs as though they are just another part of the pharmacopeia, these drugs are the violent threat that we have to live with every day of our lives in a world that has pure contempt for our human rights. The disparate extreme states of mind you choose to label ‘psychosis’, have not become a bona fide medical event just because some fake doctors invented a scienc-ey sounding name for them, that name being ‘psychosis’. Inventing labels for things and declaring them bona fide ‘medical’ by fiat, is just word magic, and thankfully more and more of us are refusing to play that game. It’s a game that destroys lives.

      And I don’t just ‘feel’ challenged and frightened. I am challenged and frightened.

      Just as I didn’t ‘feel’ like I was forcibly drugged, I was forcibly drugged.

      And it’s not my ‘feeling’ that my basic human rights are under constant threat, it’s a FACT that forced drugging lobbyists like Pete Earley are literally gunning to take away our human rights daily, lobbying governments to expand brutal forced drugging legal regimes.

      And just as I didn’t ‘have a bad experience’, I have a message for anyone who thinks having strangers from the government brutally assault your consciousness with forced drugging can be somehow made into a ‘good experience’.

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      • Dear Anonymous,

        I am not for the status quo, when I wrote about people feeling challenged and frightened with respect to putting treatments for psychosis under scrutiny I was thinking more of those currently with the power to treat being frightened and challenged by the reporting of the facts.

        When I use the word “psychosis” I know it means many things to many people. For me I consider it descriptive rather than clinical, let’s be clear one person’s “disparate extreme states of mind” may be another person’s spiritual awakening or indeed another’s breakthrough or anything else.

        Believe me when I say I have empathy for anyone forcibly drugged.

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  52. “Straighten up and fly right’ – this is the apparent psychological understanding of the family. Unfortunately a quite common response to behavioral adversity in our society and has a lot to do with inherited mass cultural attitudes quite possibly an inherited cultural transmission of ideologies of personal fascism.

    To my mind , despite the hysterical posturing and possible emotional protestations I identify this kind of behavior as loveless and uncaring. Yes, yea, I’m sure there is a defensive protestation of love made often with accompanying anxiety and hostility. A facade of caring like this is often illusory , behind it is a selfish maintenance of ego interests a need to control and objectification or lack of acceptance of others. This is shown in the destructive emotional conflicts with others in society. Where is the base where strong quiet love and acceptance pours form? Is it there? Is it obvious and effervescent?
    The “Straighten up” mind has only one solution for others – “Do the right thing” – “say the right thing” – otherwise all is lost, it is a disaster. They only know this one solution to any behavioral problem, they have no empathy for for consciousness, no ability for the acceptance of others which is the beginning of assisting emotional transformation and stems from genuine love.

    The outer shell becomes paramount importance and the inner state is not accepted nor loved. If Biomeds make the person act right and talk right then it is a success! That the person inside is lost,destroyed and turned to dust is of secondary consequence.

    Here is one of the fundamental “root causes” of mental illness in our society. The lack of understanding and acknowledgement of growth processes stemming from selfless loving behaviour and the lack of condemnation of the behavior of control. We do not teach formally or acknowledge growth processes – teach them and transmit them in or culture. We do not teach that there are transformative growth processes and methods.

    “Straight up and fly right” is one dimensional and doomed to crash with the slightest problem. It is not just an attitude of some dysfunctional or destructive families it is also a problem replicated in the medical bureaucracy where the power of control becomes the ruling ideology far more important the the transmission of love and growth. We have the horror of robot like medical professional, seemingly barely human themselves, rewarded for being vacuous, manipulating others eliminating ‘wrong’ emotions. “wrong’ states of consciousness with themselves totally no understanding of even the simplest psychological process of the interplay of how emotions function.

    Indeed how can these Commander Spock-like clones understand emotional interplay in the ‘humans’ when they are busy waging war on the world of negative and ‘wrong’ emotions. It has now culminated in ‘excessive emotion’ being placed on the DSM. They are waging war on and putting an end to evolution itself.

    Perhaps the family of an troubled person is abusive and the root cause of the problem or perhaps the family is abrasive, destructive, selfish caustic, vacuous, poisonous or non growth encouraging to the offspring. Whatever, it means that person is alone without inheritance. Perhaps I can define the word inheritance here as a transmission of solid emotional knowledge practices and caring. Inheritance of such a kind is almost an intangible , maybe not something often discussed or identified.

    That lack is a tragedy for many people and I’ve met so many of them – adrift in an internecine society without a solid emotional inheritance. The only hopeful thing is that person can get an inheritance from somewhere else because they can never get it from the family.I know this , my own inheritance was nil , nothing – I got what I needed elsewhere and I learned form a life of desperation to identify in an instant – ‘necessity’ – what is necessary to survive and succeed. These assessments maybe difficult to do but they must be made ruthlessly because the consequences are the difference between life and survival versus death and failure.

    What society – mass culture needs primarily is not lessons in Schizophrenia and drugs but first, lessons in how to love and how to identify lovelessness.

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    • So as a extension of this post, Mr Early accuses you of having death on your hands – in a nutshell you can ask him if he has life on his?

      Bio-med psychiatry and it’s supporters have done worse that murder million of people on the globe – they have terminated their emotional life processes -sentenced them to an eternal suspension of themselves as human beings.They live on , the root of their consciousness, despite all outer apparent trappings and false fronts, still remain in a half dream unfinished state, suspended in a chemical tomb of horror, the rest of their lives are robbed and they eventually pass away having been effectively nullified as human beings.

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  53. Mr. Whitaker, the truth is, that while you’re book eventually brought me a wonderful understanding and sense of control over my life, but in the beginning, I felt so lost and hopeless and angry. The reality is, that if her son has spent anything near the time in psychiatry as I have, he probably felt the same facing the reality that the people we trusted or complied with, who often waived our freedom over our heads, were using us or lying to us. The truth that the boys mother has to face is that, while the meds played a part, facing the reality of everything we have sacrificed with no hope of a better outcome is just as likely to have motivated his actions. However, you gave him a choice, and in our lives, we don’t always get many.

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  54. Sad ending to the story, the son is hospitalized The system got him – for now anyway. No place to run, no place to get help, nabbed by the annihilators and a family he is better off without having.

    The dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeath An embassy.
    Their numbers as he watched,
    Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.

    Used to be controlling parents blamed rock and roll or jazz.

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  55. I don’t think it is actually. He did wander off, but he went to a homeless shelter where he could be “safe” and agreed to be hospitalized. That means he is making decisions. It’s not ideal, but it still means he is grappling for something like control.

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    • Thinking is not feeling. I will take it that you meant to say you “feel differently”, Because if you actually meant to say “think” you would be trying to argue that I don’t feel what I feel, that my feeling is invalid and I shouldn’t feel this etc etc.

      So I will take your meaning positively:
      “Hope lies eternal in the human breast” and “the young are forever resilient”.

      As for the young man, he is going through the gates of psychiatry hell staffed by hell’s minions. I feel sorry for him. Certainly it’s not ideal. heh
      I hope he makes it out of the system death, though fewer and fewer do these days as I can attest to in this province.

      I suppose if at that age I would have preferred not to know the future or even understand that present. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.
      If we refuse to see the bones on the beach , we can’t honour them.

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  56. “”Actually, CooperRiis charges $17,400 per month but who will quibble over a mere $400 here. I fell out of my office chair when I found this out.””

    Hi Stephen,

    As an FYI, Mr. Stucker responded in a comment that the charges start out at a maximum of $14,500 per month. He then goes on to say that after the 2nd month, they adjust the fees to whatever the family can afford to pay and offer scholarships for up to 24 months. Additionally, he claims that in some cases, medical insurance will pay for the first few months. Of course, that is still a huge chunk of change but I did want people to know what Mr. Stucker had posted about the fees.

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    • Like most medical, they charge the insurance company more. A majority of insurance companies will pay for 30 days. Of course, it’s likely to exhaust his mental health coverage for the year. In my state, they seize your assets which are then used to pay for your commitment until they let you out. Isn’t that lovely?

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      • I need links, info, various things, documents, about states that do this asset seizure, indentured servitude to have the citizen forcibly pay for their own brutalization in the forced government psychiatry system. I’m going to need help in the future when I launch my website, in building a world map, state map, with every jurisdiction in the world and the extent of forced psychiatry, the laws, the procedures, etc.

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        • I live in Georgia (which also requires disclosure of past hospitalization for mental illness to acquire state licensing or certifications in any job. However, I was checking out TN earlier today and noted that they have a bill up which will allow the same thing as far as assets. I believe the county covers the first month as they can hold you for a commitment trial for 30 days. Georgia has some real doozies though. It’s been a while since I read it, but I believe the state only provides representation at the first trial. If you go back to court, you are responsible for your own lawyer or lack of one. Also, the time period between when you can argue your case again is ridiculous.

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          • Plus, Georgia has a certified peer specialist program that has become one of the darling programs to imitate for other states putting together such programs. Yet, from what I’v heard about it, there are huge questions as to whether it’s true peer work that actually takes place. Supposedly they have peer workers document in peoples’ charts so that they can get Medicare reimbursments. Documenting is power and privilege and true peer workers do not chart on anyone that they spend time with. You can’t form a mutual relationship with someone that you’re documentating on.

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        • Well, you also have to remember the court works differently. A commitment hearing is a civil trial. A criminal trial requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and it only seeks to establish a single past action. An involuntary commitment only requires the evidence be clear and convincing. In simple terms, the judge has to have a “firm belief” that you were a danger to yourself or others AND magically predict the probability that you may pose a threat to either in the near future. For that, they need a psychiatrist who is an expert witness who diagnoses you and predicts your future behavior. Who would you believe? However, you are promised the right to treatment as long as it will improve things.

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    • Hmmmm…..$29,000 for two months. This is a cheaper rate than I was charged for my little two and a half month stay in a state hospital. They are charging about $560/day. I was charged $65,000 for the two and a half months, or about $856 a day. Of course I couldn’t pay a bill like that. I still can’t pay the $4,000 of if that they want. Perhaps someday I can afford to pay their bill off.

      Respite houses can help people at the rate of $250/day/person. Alternative treatments can afford to be cheaper for people as long as the good old “professionals” are not involved. And of course, you aren’t going to get zapped with the toxic drugs, unless you really want to take them and bring them with you. Frankly, I’d rather spend my time of difficulties in the hands of peers running respite houses, at less money and with no toxic drugs, than in the hands of professionals, even if they are at CooperRiis. Thanks for the information though.

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    • AA,

      That’s a chunk of change, but the larger issue, IMO is that Virgil thinks it’s okay to “occasionally” use force. He makes a comment on Pete’s site that having an “absolute” position on this issue isn’t the way to go…

      IMO, it’s another one of those “many shades of grey” lectures about a black and white issue. In short, it’s that pesky Constitution again.

      I have two words – for Pete, Virgil, anyone else who thinks force is “occasionally” okay:

      “You first.”


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      • Yes Duane I’m with you on that one.

        Taste it and see.

        I really didn’t like the grabbing and jagging, the threat of force and having to swallow the psychiatric drugs. And I don’t appreciate people who haven’t been forced saying it’s OK, or even folk who have been forced and like it, to speak on my behalf.

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      • Either you have the ‘occasional’ instance of government sanctioned slavery or you don’t.

        Either you have the ‘occasional’ instance of forced marriage or you don’t.

        Either you have the ‘occasional’ instance of forced sexual relations or you don’t.

        Either you have the ‘occasional’ person who doesn’t deserve the basic human right to own their own brain, or you don’t. Brains incidentally that old Virgil can’t prove are diseased.

        ‘Absolute’ prohibition of human rights abuses, is not a dirty word.

        Virgil has destroyed the credibility of CooperRiis among the survivor community. Not only will you and your family be tens of thousands of dollars poorer if you go to CooperRiis, you stand the very real risk of Virgil calling in the authorities to make you the ‘occasional’ acceptable target for forced drugging.

        Maybe they should just cut to the chase, and install a room there, they can develop psychiatric drugs into a fine mist, then they can spray it out of the shower heads after fooling us that we are going for a shower.

        But it’s OK to do this ‘occasionally’. We all know that the human beings forcibly drugged by psychiatry over recent generations numbers in the MILLIONS.

        I wonder how ‘absolutist’ Virgul Stucker feels about his right not to have his home broken into and the invaders to put things into his body against his will?

        Why these people think advocating a government policy of breaking and entering into the most essential part our human bodies is OK, I’ll never know.

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  57. I apologize. For me, thinking is sort of a vague imagining, not like knowing or arguing or even claiming. However, feel works just as well. It just seemed like a self destructive stance would have been to wander off with no consideration of his safety and then refuse hospitalization (which we both know they were going to take him one way or another). His refusal might have felt freeing, but it would make things more complicated later. So, I felt like he made his decisions less as a knee jerk emotional response, and more of a choice. Also, I agree with you about those places. I will never go back.

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      • That was actually intentional. See, it’s impossible for me, not being him and not having any formal training, to claim that last as a statement of fact or even an educated interpretation. My assessment of his actions is quite literally a opinion I formed by how I felt about his actions. I think our problem in communication may stem from a mixture of text being a poor medium, and my tendency to associate feeling along with definition to certain words. Also, having studied law, I rarely speak in absolutes unless it is deliberate and I would never use think in a statement of fact. Recently, I have discovered that a large number of people seem to view your thought statements and personal and defend-able stances. I have an unusual view of my own thoughts and opinions.

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  58. I’ve look at these blogs, this one and Mr Early’s and another one.

    I’d really like to hear from the son.

    Mr Whitaker is answering from his ethical standpoint of being an investigative journalist and doing so very well.

    We have heard from the mother and her allies. We have heard from those who counter these arguments from the perspective of research and from personal experience.

    What about the son? Has no one asked him how he feels about all this or why he made the decisions he did?

    It feels slightly distasteful for no one to make the effort to see if he wants to say anything publically. Not for Mr Whitaker, he is sticking to his interpretation the medical data and his defence of himself is admirable, but for Pete Early, the other parents who comment on those blogs, and sometimes people who oppose forced drugging but who make assumptions about either the mother or the son. It feels slightly disrespectful, like gossiping about someone in such a way as they might overhear.

    We don’t know what he thinks or feels about much of this and it is people in distress who are so often demeaned and ignored. I don’t like seeing it repeated on the web, wherever it occurs.

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    • John

      You make a very important point here. The very person who should be consulted about what is going on here is never consulted at all. It’s kind of like that Glenn Close interview where she talked for her sister the entire time instead of letting the sister talk about what she thinks and feels.

      It looks like another example of the so-called “patient” being treated as if they’re a child without good sense or an opinion of their own. Our opinions and ideas and feelings don’t count, we don’t know what’s good for us, so we must have someone else speak for us, for our own good of course. Goodness knows, we might make a mistake or something!

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      • Those who really really believe in quack psychiatry’s pronouncements, the truly hardcore fanatics, like Pete Earley, DJ Jaffe, Mr. Torrey et al, truly don’t consider people labeled ‘psychotic’ to be part of the human community, hence their lobbying efforts that we wear chemical chains if we are to have the right to even be in the community, so it is no coincidence that they don’t offer us a say. Pete Earley’s entire M.O. is about denying us a say in what goes into our own body, what makes you think his blog would be about giving the people being spoken about as a ‘problem’ the right to say their piece?

        Globally, society considers the ‘best place’ for people labeled mentally ill, is a place set up to employ people who are paid NOT to listen to us… on the receiving end of a forced needle.

        If society listened to people labeled mentally ill there wouldn’t be people being labeled mentally ill.

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        • You are correct. We are not considered human. Therefore it’s perfectly all right to do with us as they please, all “for our own good” of course! I did not hear it in person but was told about an incident where I work where one nurse told another nurse, “I don’t know why we have to treat them like humans.” I have no reason to doubt that this was actually said.

          What bothers me about this is that there are so many so-called “patients” and former “patients” who accept this and feel that it’s the best that they deserve. They’re willing to accept this idea that they’re not like everyone else and therefore don’t deserve the rights accorded to all human beings. Believe me, I hear it every day out of the mouths of most everyone that I deal with, both staff and “patients.”

          The only time that staff actually listen to people is when they say something that staff want to use against them and enter into their charts.

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          • I don’t know how you do it, work in that environment, but I’m sure you ease the path for many people and contribute worthwhile amelioration to these people’s situation in the face of the inhuman brutality that psych fanatics think is ‘care’.

            In addition to your quotation from the nurse’s station… I think about every time a “nurse” ignore’s his or her victim’s pleas for mercy and cries of non-consent.

            There are only several categories of people who go to bed at night with fresh memories of standing over another human being who is crying out for mercy, and then ignoring them.

            In most other areas of life we call them thugs, and cowards. In forced government psychiatry, they are ‘pillars of the community’.

            I refer here to your colleagues, not you.

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  59. _anonymous

    It’s very difficult.

    There are days that I can barely get out of bed and get myself ready to go to work. I’m a retired hospital and nursing home chaplain so I know a little about what healing is all about and what you do to walk with people making that journey. I had really excellent clinical pastoral training in both psych and medical hospitals. I know good “treatment” from bad when I see it. What I witness now is all bad.

    It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking to watch people out my office window or to meet them being admitted knowing that what they receive at our hands is not the beginning of healing and well-being, but harmful so-called “treatment” that they’re never consulted about nor given the chance to refuse.

    What is most disturbing is the lack of self-esteem in the so-called “patients.” Many of them have been in the system since they were teenagers, most are poor, and many of them are from minority populations. They are beaten down and no longer know how to defend themselves. They believe what they’ve been told to believe about themselves. Most have had at least three admissions to the hospital while I’v met many with 25-30. I’ve only met three people in two years who were experiencing a “first episode.” We’ve created perpetual “patients” who know only learned helplessness.”

    When an individual person does show up who actually stands up for themselves and speaks out they’re “assaulted” in every way possible short of physical attacks to try to force them to comply. You know what I’m describing here; you’ve seen it. They can no longer be beaten with pieces of rubber hose, like I once witnessed in 1971, at the Louisiana State Hospital, but it’s perfectly permissable to assault them in subtle, hidden ways to make them compliant.

    I just grit my teeth and hope that Bob and all of us who come to MIA will cause the tide to turn so that something can be done to release people from what I witness each and every day. And it’s all done “for their own good” of course! And the thugs go home at night and probably sleep like babies.

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    • Most of them do sleep like babies, you’re right.

      Although I know a few former forced drugging perps, who have repented, and I have a lot of respect for their decision to stop hurting people for a living. Out of all the types of forced drugging perps, you have to admire the dedication of the real dyed in the wool hardcore fanatics who don’t even pay lip service to human rights. At least they are honest about what they hope to achieve, total forced drugging for all noncompliant ‘mental patients’, without exception. Actually it is the fence sitters, the two faced, the people who will admit psychiatry is a failed science but still cling to their position in favor of forced drugging, that disgust me the most.

      I look at your position, Stephen, as akin to a chaplain offering counseling and prayers on death row. Amnesty International wouldn’t begrudge the detainees have someone like that come in and try and apply whatever salve, however modest they could, to a person in a brutal situation.

      The way I look at it, if someone is the owner of a face that another human being has seen attached to the neck of a body that is holding them down and putting things in their body against their will, a face that haunts a victim’s nightmares, you’re either in a mug shot on the evening news, or you’re a state hospital psychiatrist or ‘nurse’.

      But you’re right, these people sleep like babies… I have more to say on this here:

      Tragically, humanity seems to be very easily convinced that any activity, even if it is overt brutal violence, is ‘medical’ if the government declares it is.

      Stand by for forced lap band surgery for the fat. And plenty of ‘nurses’ and ‘doctors’ who would carry such a policy out, to sleep like babies too.

      First they came for the ‘mental patients’…

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  60. I solved this in one glance. Mr. Whitaker isn’t responsible for the woman’s son’s behavior and niether is NAMI. omg.

    From Peter Earley’s website and dramatic presentation of the woman’s letter, the answer is in the first paragraph:

    “Dear Mr. Earley

    I have a son, much like your’s, who became sick while in college. Voices were telling him to harm himself. He climbed onto the top of a residence hall and was standing on the edge because he thought he could fly. The police talked him down and thought he was on drugs.”

    Her son did WHAT because of somebody else?

    Hopefully, somebody can RESPOND appropriately to the woman’s son’s OBVIOUS sensitivities and help him to process it all, and learn how to live with being an overly-sensitive person. I know how it is, excruciating.

    You’re off the hook, Mr. Whitaker and NAMI. jeez.


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  61. First and foremost, it is fallacious, not to mention callous and unfair, to attack the mother who authored that letter for being a bad or abusive parent. We might not agree with her decisions or conclusions, but this woman has obviously been through hell, and I doubt her suffering will be ending any time soon. Her experience is unique, we don’t know all the facts, and attacking someone who, like many of us, has spent decades trying to get help for a suffering loved one, is at the very least counterproductive. I personally find it monstrous, and I wonder why we’re so eager to attack each other when we should be striving for empathy and support.

    Instead of assassinating her character and playing “bash the system,” how can we help her, and countless others in her position? Isn’t that what we as a community should be primarily concerned with? If not, what is the point of all of this?

    Knee-jerk reactions, blanket statements, black-and-white thinking and extremist positions–none of this is helpful, whatever end of the spectrum it’s coming from. If we are truly concerned with helping others who share our trials, we need to let the ideology go and have a real, nuanced, thoughtful discourse that recognizes differing viewpoints.

    The antipsychiatry movement has much to offer. It can provide much-needed critique and checks to a branch of medicine with an egregious history of human rights abuses and a problematic (to say the least) relationship to Big Pharma. It can shine the light on alternative modes of treatment, give voice to those who were abused by the system, and demand accountability from the medical community and pharmaceutical industry.

    But the extremist language and rush to judgment evinced by many comments on this thread do more harm than good to both the movement and the individuals we supposedly wish to help. What’s more, they squelch opportunities for the very kind of discourse Whitman calls for. We can’t adequately discuss this issue when we’re painting all of psychiatry as a bunch of “goons,” and we aren’t going to be taken seriously by those outside the movement.

    Medication is not a black-and-white issue. Few things in the mental health field are. Each of us has our own experience and it is dangerous, not to mention hubristic, to act as though our own personal stories are universal. Medication has ruined lives; it has also saved them. Until we appreciate and respect that, we’re not going to get anywhere, and we recreate and reinforce stigma within our community. We don’t need to march in lockstep, but we need to respect each other and keep an open mind to differing views and methodologies if we truly care about improving the lives of people who share our struggles.

    If that is not our primary objective, then we’re no better than Big Pharma.

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    • “The antipsychiatry movement has much to offer. It can provide much-needed critique and checks to a branch of medicine with an egregious history of human rights abuses and a problematic (to say the least) relationship to Big Pharma. It can shine the light on alternative modes of treatment, give voice to those who were abused by the system, and demand accountability from the medical community and pharmaceutical industry.”

      Super fantastic.

      “how can we help her, and countless others in her position?”

      Separate the mom from the son. They are not a single unit.

      What “help” SHE may need is not going to be the same “help” that her son needs. I think people recognized the family dysfunction.

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      • With all of the research supporting family involvement in treatment and recovery, I think it would do her son a disservice to simply sever him from his mother. People manage better when their families play a positive and active roll. If that can be achieved, I’m confident that that would be the best course of action for mother and child. As for the family dysfunction, I don’t see how a family could be anything but dysfunctional in the face of so much stress; it doesn’t mean that the mother should automatically be written off.

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        • Sorry, I didn’t mean a no-contact order or anything like that – just that they need to be seen as two individual people. They aren’t a single unit. Her son is an adult and they aren’t a married couple. An adult man who’s mother is securely attached can be more dysfunctional situation than a supportive one.

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          • good point, but I also understand why she is so fiercely attached; her son hasn’t been able to function and take proper care of himself. I cannot begin to imagine the pain that woman feels, and I think she’s demonstrated through her efforts and level of passion and frustration that she does actually care about the well-being of her son. Do I think it’s fair for her to blame Whitaker for her son refusing to take his meds? From where I’m sitting, no, but I certainly understand her doing so. She accompanied her son to a NAMI convention to support him and instead ran into a roadblock. Imagine how frustrated, terrified, and angry she must be at this point.

            I think everyone who participates in the med debate, myself included, needs to be mindful of the ramifications. Going off one’s medication is a delicate undertaking that can be disastrous if done too quickly. I wasn’t there, but I hope/assume Whitaker stipulated that people shouldn’t just throw their meds out the window. That absolutely, unequivocally must be stressed before any professional presentation on the subject.

            I’ve been misdiagnosed and over-medicated. I’ve also been properly diagnosed and found a med combo that stabilized me enough that I could come back to Earth and figure out what had been going on in my head and how I could turn things around. Shrinks have screwed me over, but I seriously believe that the shrink who properly diagnosed me saved my life. It’s like cops, or any other authority figure: there are good ones and bad ones, and flaws in the system that need to be addressed.

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          • “her son hasn’t been able to function and take proper care of himself”

            The question is, how he ended up unable to function and take proper care of himself. The pattern I’ve seen time and again play out in families with offspring that gets labeled with “schizophrenia” is that the offspring more or less constantly and from early childhood on was/is told — through words and/or actions — that they are unable to function and take proper care of themselves. Whatever they try, it can never be good enough. Why others, namely the parent/-s, need to step in and take control. People don’t learn how to function and take proper care of themselves by having others control — and criticize — every move they make.

            Isn’t it thought-provoking that an approach that recognizes family dysfunction as the cause of “mental illness” has the by far best outcomes? It’s got nothing to do with attacking anybody. But becoming a parent doesn’t miraculously turn people into small gods, perfect human beings who never make a mistake. Like every human being, parents usually have “issues” too. We don’t do them, neither, a favor if we support them in their denial of these “issues” and their projecting them onto their offspring. “Mental illness” in a family can be a breakthrough for everybody involved. But only if everybody takes their part of responsibility for the creation of the “mental illness”.

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  62. I think you’re misrepresenting what I said about family involvement in treatment, which in no way claims that family dysfunction causes mental illness. We can have that “chicken or the egg” argument for days and not get anywhere. I will say that if we’re going to claim that the causes of mental illness are entirely environmental and that the family is usually culpable, then we also need to acknowledge that this is most likely an intergenerational problem passed down through trauma, upbringing, etc, meaning that pointing our finger at the parents and painting them as the villains is reductionist and misses a chance to actually address the inherent problems in the family.

    I will say that while I don’t have a lot of experience with schizophrenia, I am highly skeptical that a grown man was walking around defecating in his pants simply because his parents smothered him.

    None of us knows what happened in that family; can’t we too be accused of projecting if we jump to conclusions?

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    • I didn’t say that you were claiming that family dysfunction causes “mental illness”. I said it is what I’ve experienced.

      “I will say that if we’re going to claim that the causes of mental illness are entirely environmental and that the family is usually culpable, then we also need to acknowledge that this is most likely an intergenerational problem passed down through trauma, upbringing, etc,…” I agree. Still, people who think they’re grown-up enough to have children of their own should also be prepared to be grown-up enough to take responsibility for whatever they pass on to their children.

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      • I get the argument, but I don’t find it productive. To me, that kind of castigation reinforces shame and trauma. We can’t have it both ways–if we’re solely blaming the parents for their children’s mental illness, then we need to recognize that they were likely victims in their turn. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take responsibility for whatever role they played, but how can that cycle be interrupted, how can any kind of healing be accomplished, if we spend all our energy and time focusing on whose fault it is and not on how the problem can be adequately addressed?

        If we accept the environmental explanation, then we need to be fully appreciative of the pain and trauma the parents experienced, not just in the interests of being humane, but because ignoring that, or meeting it with nothing but judgment, reinforces the feedback loop. More often than not, parents are wholly unaware that they’re passing down their trauma. We can be cognizant of that and meet them with patience and the will to educate, or we can be contemptuous and say, “Well, that’s her problem.” Which do you think will yield better results?

        This lady has been through hell and from what I could tell she did everything she could think of to help her son. All she seems to be getting for that from this community is derision. We’re recreating the very stigma that perpetuates this stupid cycle. I am shocked and saddened by it. We are not going to help anyone or accomplish anything meaningful if we put snark ahead of empathy and ideology ahead of individuals.

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        • I agree that healing cannot be accomplished without the insight that parents who pass on trauma to their children are traumatized themselves.

          Nevertheless, healing for the person in crisis starts with having their pain and trauma recognized. Labeling people with “schizophrenia” or other “mental illness” doesn’t recognize any pain and trauma. On the contrary, it denies it. Also, who is actually labeled “defective”, locked up, and (forcibly) drugged with life shortening, brain-damaging substances? Who is put through both psychological and physical abuse (once again)?

          The hell parents with labeled offspring, like the mother, go through, is largely a self-created and self-perpetuated one. The parents usually are the ones who think of themselves as reasonable grown-up people. If they really are, they start asking themselves, seriously, what it is about themselves, their attitude towards their children, that causes their children to react “insane”, and they take responsibility for their pain and trauma, instead of trying to blame their children for what in reality is their own undealt with pain and trauma. Also, if a parent manages to keep their child dependent on them into adulthood, they can’t blame Whitaker, or anybody else for that sake, if they lose control over them. It’s their, and only their, responsibility to stay in control of their — grown-up — child. You can’t have your cake and eat it. Only narcissists think they can.

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          • Marian I’ve been following this exchange and want to say something as a parent/mother with “labelled offspring”. There are various reasons for young people having psychoses that may then be labelled as schizo or bipolar disorder. Blaming the parents is unhelpful. We don’t know the full story of what goes on in families, behind closed doors.

            I don’t agree that the “hell parents with labeled offspring, like the mother, go through, is largely a self-created and self-perpetuated one”. As a mother I’ve had a difficult time, with 3 sons going through the psychiatric system. Being a survivor myself I stood with them on the journey. It’s the system that labels and drugs people, ties them into a regime. Mothers and parents may believe the system and want their offspring to stay in it. But that’s the system’s fault. They are told their sons/daughters need to stay on the psych drugs to be well, to not be at risk etc. They believed it, I didn’t. That’s the difference. I never believed it and recovered. My sons are doing the same, in their own ways.

            We have no choice but to go through the system because there are no alternatives where we live. There are few alternatives anywhere, to the system. Therefore parents will be forced to believe the system’s mantra of mental illness and lifelong psych drugs. The patriarchal decision making and the infantilising of system conscripts. Blame the system not the parents, is what I recommend.

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          • Chrys, I didn’t say parents do it on purpose, intentionally harming their children. I’m with Loren Mosher here, who said: “’With rare exceptions, I think parents do their best. They try. But there are a lot of ways in which they can go astray. One way is if the parents themselves were raised in homes where they didn’t learn to think straight. They grew up, and they can think straight enough to get along, go to school, whatever.’ But when a person with this kind of communication style marries someone from a similar one, ‘You can get two parents who are just loose as a goose.’” None of us is perfect. One kind of imperfection is when there’s a lack of consistency in our communication, when we don’t say what we mean, which in most cases, and although it’s the inevitable result, isn’t done with the intention to confuse the other, but because we ourselves are afraid of and confused about what we actually mean, our own truth. The parents of people labeled with “schizophrenia” are some of the most confused, insecure and scared people I’ve ever seen. At the same time, and without being aware of it, they do whatever it takes to hide their own confusion, insecurity and fear from others as well as from themselves, as it would be too painful for them to face the fact that they’re traumatized human beings themselves.

            The hell I’m talking about is that of “mental illness”. Not the one of not being able to find real help. Too scared to face their own trauma, parents have asked psychiatry to come up with an explanation for children’s reactions to their parents’ trauma that allows the parents to keep denying their own trauma. That’s what psychiatry has done in creating the concept of “mental illness”. Now the very same parents who asked for “mental illness” to be created in the first place keep lamenting the suffering their children’s “mental illness” puts them through. And the maybe strangest thing is that whenever somebody suggests that this “mental illness” thing that puts them through such unbearable suffering might just be an artificial construct, more or less pure fiction, that in reality things might look a lot brighter, there immediately is an outrage, you’re hung, drawn and quartered for just suggesting that the suffering could come to an end. Another inconsistency in these parents’ communication that makes one wonder what it actually is that they want. Do they want to suffer, or not?

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          • Marian we’ve been continuing our discussion on Facebook, back home now and responding here on MIA. I think that until we’ve walked in the shoes of parents’ whose sons and daughters have been diagnosed with schizophrenia then it’s wise to reserve judgement.

            You may be a parent who has been fortunate to have children who’ve not had to engage with psychiatry. I’m a parent who has had the privilege. It’s tough. I’ve never believed in mental illness but that doesn’t matter because we’ve still had to go through the psychiatric system. No alternative.

            Let’s cut some slack on parents and mothers who are in pain.

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          • Chrys, I agree that judging people isn’t the way. But, frankly, the only ones I see really judged in all this are the people who get slapped with a psych label. I posted the link to this article: in our discussion on Facebook earlier today. To say that somebody is traumatized isn’t the same as judging them. It’s to say that they are human beings.

            As for trauma, yes, it results in people getting emotionally stuck. If it doesn’t, it’s not trauma. But getting emotionally stuck doesn’t mean that one necessarily remains emotionally stuck for the rest of their life, and that there’s no way how they could get unstuck. Actually, I regard crisis, “psychosis” or other, an attempt to get unstuck, and thus exactly the opportunity to journey, transition, and become a stronger, more conscious and whole person than one was before, and maybe even than the average, “normal”, person ever has the chance to become. It’s not either – or, it’s both – and. One can’t get unstuck unless they have been stuck. And nobody has yet embarked on a journey to transition because they were perfectly happy with their life. It is pain and suffering, or at least some sort of discomfort that has people embark on such a journey.

            Cutting some slack on parents who are in pain because of, according to them, their child’s “mental illness”, is doing them quite a disservice, IMO. These people’s pain isn’t caused by their children’s “mental illness”. It’s been there long before these people became parents, and also long before their children started to behave “mentally ill” and got labeled so for it. If they are to ever get a chance to heal from that pain, they need to understand that it’s their pain, and therefor their responsibility. Not their children’s, or that of this “mental illness” thing. And unfortunately most people won’t understand this as long as holding their children, or this “mental illness” thing responsible for their misery works for them. The more we cut some slack on them, the more we make it work for them.

            I’m not a parent. I’m a daughter who clearly sees the pain her parents were in. But it wasn’t my pain, and so it wasn’t my responsibility. No matter how much they tried to make it that in their vain efforts to get some relief. The only way out of suffering is through taking ownership and responsibility for one’s pain. And this is not done by blaming others, if it’s Bob Whitaker, a son, a daughter, a “mental illness”, whoever or whatever.

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          • Can I remind you that this is about a woman who kicked her son out of the house, because he wanted to be responsible enough to try a method which statistically correlates with recovery rather than disability!? I’m sure Whitaker says enough that immediate drug withdrawal is dangerous…..

            WHAT slack are we supposed to leave her, to make out that it’s dangerous to even condone a method which correlates with recovery, and you should kick your son out of the house rather than investigate how to do it safely!?

            And this whole thing is used as a publicity stunt to suppress what Whitaker has to say because this woman is in so much “pain.” And Whitaker is then some dangerous reporter, so you can overlook the whole epidemic, and those overwhelming statistics that show that it’s the mental health system that are putting these people in danger, and increasing the numbers.

            And it’s COMPLETELY not true that there aren’t alternatives. Those alternatives are what you make out of it. Simply leaving the person alone is an “alternative” which has better results than treatment in quite a few studies. You decide that the system is supposed to do it, and then yes, you have the excuse you need to not have alternatives, and have your whole “well we just didn’t know what to do, and there were no alternatives,” chipper smile that “yes, we also are victims, what’s your story, and isn’t it just awful that the system just doesn’t work, let’s all bond with that rather than not relying on the system”

            Yes, we ALL understand the care givers didn’t know what to do, and followed the system. But cutting them slack when it should be clear to any reasonable person that it’s not working, is ONLY empowering them to keep making the same abusive mistakes.

            Further more, simply deciding that they don’t get it, and it’s no use to try to debate with them, and they don’t know any better; that’s something completely different than supporting their idea that they are so in pain, because what never could work didn’t….

            There’s actually no need to give them slack, where the whole situation ended up shows they HAVE HAD enough slack to see what’s going on.

            There’s a BIG difference between truly wanting to help and gearing what you do to get points from the system, because that gives you the freedom to say you have the right to control the lives of others, and make yourself look like a hero or a victim, regardless of outcomes….

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          • So Marian you’re not a parent and yet you think you can advise parents how they should act and what they should feel. My advice to you is taste it and see. Try being a parent and see what it’s like, then come back to me and share your wisdom.

            Walk in my shoes. Experience what it’s like to have 3 sons go through the psychiatric system, stand with them in their journey and be bullied by the system for doing so.

            You are an expert in your own life but you’re not an expert in mine. Similarly I don’t know what it’s like to be you, I haven’t walked in your shoes.

            But I do know what it’s like to be a parent, to be a mother. It’s the best thing in the world, there’s nothing like it, and our job is never done. That doesn’t mean that we keep our children dependent but it does mean there is a bond which can never be broken. Or that’s how I see it. As a mother. It’s unconditional love. And as a daughter I still have this for my mother who died in 1998. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t remember her with fondness and appreciation. And keep her memory alive, in stories to my children and grandchildren. She always did the best she could, it is her epitaph and was the message at her funeral.

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          • Nijinsky it seems that mothers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Either they are over-protective or kick their offspring out of the house. Whatever they do is construed as a negative. I know what that’s like, being a mother. Easy to put the blame on us, our shoulders are wide, and we brought them into the world, out of our own bodies.

            You say that alternatives “are what you make out of it” and there’s truth in that. However when a person is in an altered state of reality, in severe mental distress or an emotional crisis that engulfs them then doing nothing doesn’t seem the best alternative. This is when we need a range of alternative ways of working with people in distress. Peer respite, a crisis house, non clinical support, a place of refuge. There’s nothing like that where I live but there is a crisis house in an adjoining area in Scotland, the Edinburgh Crisis House, which only the Edinburgh folk can self refer to:

            Yes I think we should cut this mother some slack, being a mother myself. She’s not perfect. Who is? The fact that she and Pete Earley “shot the messenger”, Bob Whitaker, demonstrates the enormity of the deceit that’s been going on, regarding psychiatric drugs. They don’t cure anything, fix brains or bring balance but are about social control, quietening the critical voices and keeping order in the ranks. By psychiatry, government and society. Exposing the issues around long term chronicity on psych drugs, that people are more likely to relapse on the drugs than off them, and other incongruities, is both bringing about change and upsetting the apple cart.

            I’m glad that change is coming about because I never believed the mental illness mantra or that psychiatric drugs in the long term was a good idea, and so I resisted it and recovered as soon as I could, getting out from under psychiatric dominion. After episodes in 1978, 1984 and 2002. People are not going to be happy that they were duped or not given the full story about psych drugs. For a while I think it may seem that things are going out of control. Here’s to psychiatric system change, for the better, and alternative ways of working with people in mental distress or emotional crisis.

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          • Chrys: No I don’t think it’s an excuse having given birth to someone, to then say you have the right to say he needs to be poisoned with psychiatric drugs. That also has nothing to do with being a mother, that has to do with fear, and societal programming; and making excuses to not actually think about what one is doing, because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do. That’s nothing but an excuse. WHOEVER it is.

            And you say: “However when a person is in an altered state of reality, in severe mental distress or an emotional crisis that engulfs them then doing nothing doesn’t seem the best alternative.” Yes, I understand that’s how you feel; but statistics themselves speak differently. When “schizophrenics” DON’T receive any treatment and are just left alone, there’s less disability, more recovery, less relapses. So you can stop this ad about what “seems” to you to be the best alternative, and then try to back it up with that you’re damned if you do and or don’t, anyhow…..In fact, if you just simply wouldn’t, it would be a whole different story.

            And I’m really not interested in going on in circles about this, having to deal with “mothers can never do right” or whatever when I simply point out facts and it happens to be towards a mother. If it had been his girlfriend, it would be the same story. Or anyone else.
            There are enough mothers who simply wouldn’t have their child drugged, or diagnosed, or “treated” and would listen to what he has to say rather than using him as a publicity stunt (which they as “mother” can do) for Torrey, Earley and Gang.

            Further more, I’m very capable of talking to someone who has been brainwashed to believe that the drugs or the system are the answer, and I have done this, and changed their minds. And look at it from their perspective, relate to them, don’t judge them; and make change where it’s possible in how they approach the situation. However, this doesn’t involve giving them slack because: “well, I had to do something, otherwise I wouldn’t feel comfortable….” and then say that others just don’t understand what it’s like to be a parent. That’s insulting to all of the parents who dare to actually listen to their children, and don’t decide that: “doing nothing doesn’t seem the best alternative,” as if they’ve done “nothing” by simply trusting their child and the process rather than complicating it with having done “something,” because the system said they should, which would have been better to actually have been left at “nothing,” even when you think it’s nothing. Statistics show that’s more something than “something.”

            When Christopher Robin went into the forest to play with Pooh and was asked what he was doing, he would say nothing. That’s the best parts of someone’s youth. And I think it’s better to just leave it that way rather than to say that doing “nothing,” isn’t good enough.

            And you say that people just don’t know what it’s like. I DO know what it’s like when someone has tried to fix me, and have had to deal with it. And I don’t care WHO it is……(mother, saint, preacher, doctor, psychiatrist, the system, the need anti-psychiatry has to hate the system or what have you)..

            I CERTAINLY would never make ANY excuse to assault ANYONE ELSE with it, badges included…

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          • What is this strain to have to do “something” all the time? Someone is stressed out, so they have to do “something” and stress out the person they are doing “something” for; then they are in “pain” because the “something” didn’t work (or this “hurts” me more than it does you); and then along comes the fool who says: “heh you might just not do that and save yourself the stress,” and it’s cause for more investment in stress because “something” has to be done…..
            Oh, excuse me, I need a badge for that; what’s available hurt parent, frustrated authority figure or something else?

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          • Nijinsky do you have experience as a parent or mother? Have you had a son or daughter experience serious mental distress or emotional crisis, due to external circumstances beyond their control, and are feeling desperate? Have you stood with your son or daughter as they go in and through the psychiatric system, giving peer support at clinical meetings, supporting them as they taper psychiatric drugs and completely get off them? Have you done this? I’d be interested in hearing how it was for you.

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          • Chrys, unlike what a lot of parents themselves think is their right in relation to their children, I’m not advising parents how they should act or what they should feel. But whenever a grown-up person tries to tell me they don’t have a choice, they’re the victim — of the system, of its deception, of its lack of alternatives, or, on the other hand, of Whitaker, of “mental illness”, of their “mentally ill” sons and daughters, and whatnot — and that that’s what causes all their pain and suffering, I always draw their attention to the fact that, while their pain and suffering is real, it’s also theirs, which means that they do have a choice in terms of what to do with it. I’ve never seen the “I’m in pain because I’m a victim, and therefor I can’t do anything but being in pain and being the victim,” lead to anything constructive. On the contrary, I’ve seen it create nothing but havoc not only for the person who refuses to own their pain and take responsibility for it themselves, like a truly grown-up person would do, but also for everybody around them, their children very much included.

            In the first chapter of “Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can” Caroline Myss describes an incident she once witnessed at Findhorn. One member of the community asks another whether she would be able to show some visitors around on a certain day. A “yes” or “no” question, that doesn’t get answered with a “yes” or “no”, but with a rather long speech about how it is impossible for the person to show anyone around Findhorn that particular day, and actually equals an insult to them that they were asked about it at all, because they have their incest support group meeting on the same day, and they’d never ever miss that meeting, because blahblahblah… read: I’m a victim! How dare you question my victim status, asking me to do something else on the day of my incest support group meeting (which, never mind, the person asking had no idea was on that same day), and treat me like I was, well, just a person, an ordinary human being, and not a victim, entitled to be handled with kid gloves and special attention?! Which again translates into: How dare you inflict even more pain on me who already is in so much pain?!

            We can choose to engage in this kind of communication where we use our respective pain as a “street currency”, as Myss calls it, buying ourselves entitlement with our wounds, and as a consequence we’ll never be able to heal. Or we can take ownership of and responsibility for our wounds and pain ourselves, and heal.

            I for one have chosen to prefer the possibility of healing, so I don’t accept pain as a currency. “Parents are already in so much pain, so let’s give them some slack,” won’t work with me. Neither will the “You’re not a parent, you have no idea!” thing. I’m a human being, and as such I know pain. I don’t need to be a parent to know it. “My pain is greater than yours”? Won’t work with me either. Or maybe you can tell me exactly how many grams heavier your pain is than mine? Or how many inches longer than mine it is? Let’s be honest, Chrys, you can’t. And it’s not a competition to start with, or is it?

            However, I’m not interested in cultivating wounds and pain. I’m interested in healing. And when somebody chooses to cultivate their wounds and pain in plain public, and with an option, maybe even an invitation like on Pete Earley’s blog, to respond, well, I may respond. To keep my response civil, and the contents relevant to the subject is my responsibility. What the person does with my response is theirs. I can’t and certainly won’t force anybody to take it as good advice, if that’s not what they want to do. Healing doesn’t come from without, it comes from within. But that doesn’t mean that no one is allowed to challenge the victim who’s in love with their pain.

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          • Marian I’ve just read over the Pete Earley mother’s letter again about her son, and it’s a similar story to those I’ve heard from carers where I live in Fife, Scotland, in terms of the years spent trying to help their son or daughter recover or get back on with their life. It’s tough, for both the parents and their adult children. A twilight zone. I feel for these mothers.

            The psychiatric system in my experience does its best to separate parents from the offspring. It happened to me even last year when my 28yr old son had an emotional crisis requiring support. He asked for help, couldn’t get it, was hospitalised then restrained, secluded and forcibly treated. I stood with him as he resisted the system so I was bullied too, by groups of nurses at visiting time and by the psychiatrist at clinical meetings. It was tough.

            I was threatened by the psychiatrist that if I didn’t persuade my son to take the psych drugs in the locked ward then he might have to be transferred to a more secure unit. I resisted the pressure, advocated for my son at meetings, helped him speak out. Eventually he was forcibly injected with haloperidol, made to conform. He was 4wks in the locked ward then 4wks in the open ward, by this time on a 6mth community order.

            He wanted to reduce the drugs by small amounts every three weeks, from a 25mgs daily dose. He discussed this with me at home then we went together to the clinical meetings with psychiatrist and put forward our tapering plan. It was agreed and within 5 months he had completely come off the haloperidol and procyclidine for side effects. This was a year ago.

            He did well coming off the drug so quickly. He’s a great lad, went back to university in the September, part-time, I was scribing for him in class. It wasn’t easy, he was restless, had to go out for a smoke but the lecturers were sympathetic, it was sociology classes and they understood the oppressive system of psychiatry.

            My son was given a bipolar disorder label, because at the time they were forcibly treating him they had to give him a label to justify the coercion. He lives with anxiety and stress, I describe it as a post traumatic condition, following 7 revolving door years of psychiatry, also other physical health issues. I’ve always found that psychiatric treatment exacerbates mental health difficulties that occur in my family. The coercion and drug treatment doesn’t suit us but when experiencing psychoses or altered states of mind there is no alternative support available, for respite or peace of mind.

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          • I have quite a few friends who I’ve helped to titrate off of psychiatric drugs. I’ve also been able to talk people out of a psychotic episode (completely stressed out and “paranoid”), to be there for them to let go of the idea of pain, and stress, and fear which was throwing them into an episode, they learned how to let go of. I’ve also been there for many friends to help them deal with the psychiatric system and; NO, I’ve never told them that they needed a system which statistically makes things worse, something you’ve repeatedly said is the only option, in “certain situations”. When according to you a person has lost sight of “reality.” And no, I don’t need a badge of having been a friend (or parent, or whatever) to someone I couldn’t help, and thus everyone needed to “give me slack…” when I fell back to saying the system that made things worse was necessary for, as you said: “but when experiencing psychoses or altered states of mind there is no alternative support available, for respite or peace of mind.” And then you have AGAIN used the parent badge to excuse this, when it’s absolutely not the case at all that there’s no other alternative. It only shows what you fall back onto, rather than to see what possibility is.

            And I’m not discussing this anymore Chrys, you’d repeatedly gone back to saying that the system which statistically makes things worse for “psychosis,” is the only respite. Well, it isn’t.

            And you repeatedly are adding up that it’s the only way, and using being a parent as a badge to say it was the only way out, simply shows how much it isn’t, otherwise you would NOT need to flash your badge as added excuse.

            I don’t know what kind of an excuse having to deal with the system and how it creates difficulties is supposed to be, except the system doesn’t work (but it’s the only respite supposedly, so if you haven’t been stuck having to deal with it as a parent you don’t know). As if there was no way out; and being a parent excuses it. And I have dealt with the system enough.

            To me, this shows again that these people don’t need “medications” they need people to be able to relate to them, when often their parents (or the system) couldn’t; and they had to deal with this since they were children, and built up a whole vacuum that the “psychosis” fills in. And then when something “beyond their ability to control” comes up, they can’t deal with it, and get “psychotic,” and supposedly need the system for respite. Well, that’s not true. They CAN learn to deal with what’s going on, but not from the people who created the vacuum (whoever that may be). In the end learning to understand themselves and emotions through “psychosis” becomes a gift rather than “psychosis” being a disease. And that they’re not being helped by the system or those who weren’t there for them, doesn’t excuse either one: the system or those who weren’t there for them.

            If I hadn’t been able to help my friends (when often their parents HADN’T been there for them), then yes I’d need an excuse to have fallen back on the system, but that’s not what happened. So, sorry, I don’t flash my: “oh it’s so difficult” badge; and accuse everyone who doesn’t have a group of friends having to deal with the mental health system as not knowing what it’s like, and saying everyone always blames everything on people’s friends (when the parents weren’t there for them)…..

            And Chrys, I will not be reading your responses anymore, I can’t waste anymore time on it. You’ve gone back and used the “I’m a parent, do you know what it’s like to be a parent? everyone blames the parent, it’s damned if you do damned if you don’t” excuse like a synthetic intelligence program would; just to have a response, an excuse. And saying the system which really only makes things worse is the only respite (because “something” needs to be done, when statistically just leaving it alone already has better results), again is just an automatic fear based response, to me. An excuse to not see you’re interfering. I can see the kind of stress you cause with such behavior, and can only imagine what someone in psychosis would have to deal with, with such responses.

            And I shouldn’t have to start using my own personal experience in order to validate what I’m trying to say, when the statistics speak for themselves, as does the information that has been shared. No excuses necessary. And someone with absolutely no experience with people with “psychosis” could put two and two together, and decide to just be there for someone when they’re going through their process, and read the alternative materials (like Lang and others share) and thus avoid the whole system. This excuse that someone had to deal with the system, and thus others have no right to simply point out it’s not working, is self defeating, entirely, I think.

            Also, there ARE many people who have actually been there to help their children, when they might have otherwise ended up in the system. I’m not someone who has children. So, instead of asking me about experience as a parent, I wouldn’t have, try talking to the people who HAVE such experience, because it happens enough. I also haven’t enlisted as a soldier, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know better than to get involved with believing violence creates harmony or to get involved with wars that are about strategic interests and resources to make money rather than what they are even made out to be about. Or there are people who simply have been good enough parents that their children can deal with stressful situations that might throw another into “psychosis.” You could look at how they might have been different parents. I didn’t have such parents and have had to deal with “psychosis,” THAT I have been through, and have been able to find my own healing. How you try to invalidate that by acting like I’m supposed to have been a parent who wasn’t able to help their child enough to avoid being committed before I can make a statement about what I know DIDN’T help me, is more than infuriating, and convoluted. As if I can’t speak out for my own healing (DESPITE MY PARENTS). Psychiatrists would say the same thing: “Have you ever dealt with people that don’t get better and rising numbers of “mental illness?” As if they have nothing to do with it, as if their “method” isn’t a cause. I’ve spent like a whole hour just responding to your remark, and I have better things to do, it’s also EXTREMELY stressful to me given the context, as if something which I know would have ruined me, squelched my creativity, is the only way out. I think that if you had truly been interested in learning how to help your son avoid the system, you could have found that information, and we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and there’d be no need for badges or excuses on your part. There IS such information out there, you just have to look. And the resources you would need are right there with the people around you but NOT in the system. The very fact that you need to start using the excuse of being a parent and disqualify anyone who hasn’t been the kind of parent that couldn’t prevent their child from getting involved in the system; really only invalidates your whole point, and points at how defensive you are.

            And to bring it full circle. I do remember reading in one of your posts that as a child you suggested that your mother needed to be committed, when your father asked you what to do. There IS a different way. And it DOES work.

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          • OK Nijinsky we’ll agree to differ on the availability of alternative treatments for psychosis in Scotland where I live. In my experience of over 40 years with many family members, there was no choice, it was psychiatry or nothing. But we survived the experience and got stronger. However I would prefer choices and alternatives, and advocate for these in my work as a writer, activist and campaigner, taking part in many groups nationally from the carer and survivor perspective.

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          • Sorry Chrys, but as I said, I’m not reading your responses anymore. And haven’t. No need to address a comment to me. I really think you might see that people aren’t attacking you as a parent, simply pointing out what didn’t work. And you won’t find out what life can bring to you until you believe it’s possible. It’s only THEN that you can see it. The mind is that powerful.

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          • That’s fine Nijinsky I’m not expecting you to read this but others might be doing so. It’s why I got involved in this conversation in the first place, having been an observer if you like.

            Scotland has a national health service, we only get what’s on offer, we don’t have health insurance, except for the well off, and that means having to access the services where you live. General medical services are of a good quality but psychiatric services are patchy. A postcode lottery.

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  63. addendum: I had a friend in high school who began showing signs of schizophrenia in high school, and his father also had that diagnosis. His family left him pretty much to his own devices from his adolescence on, in part because his father was too ill to properly care for him. He was in no way overprotected, smothered, or told he couldn’t take care of himself.

    There is a BIG difference between seeking out causes and looking for someone to blame.

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    • What happened before your friend turned into an adolescent? The foundations for “schizophrenia” are laid in early childhood, not in adolescence. And both overprotection and neglect may communicate the message “You’re useless/worthless.” A father who suffers from “schizophrenia”, and who, since he, as I suppose, thought of himself as suffering from “schizophrenia”, hasn’t taken responsibility for himself, is a kid having a kid. Kids having kids is a certain recipe for disaster.

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      • I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with anything you just said, and the quotation marks are wearing thin. You have every right to define your own experience, but dismissing a person’s very real history of illness and pain so off-hand is nothing but stigma, plain and simple. Attitudes like yours are hurting people. Whether the symptoms are caused by biological or environmental factors, they are real and pathological. I’m getting a strong troll vibe so I’ll end it here, but quite frankly I’m disgusted.

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        • Whether we’re talking individual illness, or not, symptoms, or not, pathology, or not is, to put it mildly, debatable. So far, no individual pathology has been proven to exist, and even professionals are divided on the question whether “mental illness” is real illness, or rather a healthy reaction to “sick”, metaphorically understood, circumstances like family dysfunction. I’d say, the proof is in the pudding, i.e. in the outcomes of the different approaches to “mental illness” which are based on their respective view of what “mental illness” actually is. So far the individual “illness”/”symptoms”/”pathology” view and approach have failed greatly.

          I can’t see anything “stigmatizing” in acknowledging that human beings can be traumatized by life, with trauma causing the person to be stuck in their emotional development. The only “stigma” I see are the labels that define people’s reactions to life as “pathological”, an “illness”, something that shouldn’t be.

          You can’t agree that it might turn out problematic, if somebody whose emotional maturity is that of a child, has children of their own? Are you saying that?

          The quotation marks have come to stay until the day a pathology for “mental illness” has been scientifically proven to exist.

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          • I don’t believe in mental illness or psychiatric labels but neither do I think that psychoses or altered states of reality are always or only linked to trauma, resulting in people being “stuck”. It wasn’t like that for me or my family. Our psychoses were journeys, transitions that strengthened us as people, broadened our horizons and made us more “whole”. Whether remaining on psychiatric drugs or not.

            If some folk prefer to see it as pathological then let them, and if others see it as directly linked to trauma, then so be it. But please don’t try and make us all the same. There’s too much of that going on in the biomedical model of mental illness. Forced treatment and lifelong labels.

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        • Quotation marks are our nonviolent way of encasing this hideous biological determinism in its rightful place. We use quotation marks to indicate we don’t take the blind leap of faith most people take to believe that because someone calls something a “symptom” or “pathological” that they’ve proven that the phenomena at hand is medical phenomena.

          Only one side of this debate is seeking to use government to force their beliefs not only on, but into the bodies of the other side. That side, is the pro forced psychiatry side, that side may well have been through hell, but we aren’t going to let them force their beliefs and drugs on us. We deserve human rights, and nobody’s going to stop us fighting for our human rights.

          Viva la Quotations Marks!!!

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        • Um, to lump together the trauma a parent might have had, which prevented them from being a good parent, and put this together with them “suffering” (notice quotation marks) because they have a child with “schizophrenia” (quotations)….
          The diagnosis “schizophrenia” denies that it’s an emotional wound that comes from trauma. This cycle of trauma (from parent to child, and where it started before that) ends when the child sees what’s going on, and heals themselves (or the parent, or anyone who might come along). Becomes their own parent, or finds it in life (or God, or nature, or art, or meditation….anything and everything).
          There’s no sense in saying that what you do to maintain the trauma (see your child as a “schizophrenic” rather than someone who has an emotional wound, or just needs to be listened to rather than analyzed, diagnosed and “treated”), is something that needs to not be pointed out, because otherwise there’s “stigma” (notice quotation marks) going on. Thus if you actually change the pattern to heal the trauma, you are causing “stigma.” In reality stigma would be giving them a label and not allowing a person to say, that’s bogus, there’s no proof you’re dealing with a biological disease; and then denying their experience in life (as if the healing they could experience by looking at trauma to let go of it doesn’t exist). And schizophrenia (if it is to mean anything) would be an emotional wound which allows you to heal from trauma by recognizing it and feeling it and allowing one to feel that something is going on. And to see that compassion does heal. And suffering becomes something existential that allows you to relate to the human condition and see what compassion and forgiveness is, and how that breaks the cycle. To say suffering is how you suffered by causing suffering (because you didn’t know any better); and then mention how much you (or they) suffered because they were causing suffering rather than healing (and this just didn’t work, but it was supposed to which “hurts”); and say that mentioning that: “heh, you could stop it, it’s not working, no matter how much “suffering” you cause doing something that’s not working will not get it to stop” this then is called “stigmatizing” otherwise you have to give up the ghost.
          Ending suffering is stigmatizing because when you make yourself suffer really bad, then you get enough attention for your suffering to ignore your suffering is causing suffering rather than healing!?
          Just because you are doing things that cause suffering, and then overlooking cause and effect to maintain the cycle (because you have to acknowledge they are suffering rather than have perspective); this ISN’T anywhere along the line going to magically fix everything dependent on how much you acknowledge everyone’s “suffering,” and allow it to accumulate as objective object needing attention. But don’t mention you could stop it because stopping it would be to cause more “suffering” since it was supposed to work rather than not work.
          And this is all part of a “treatment” that’s necessary, and denial is causing “suffering”, “stigma”, is “infuriating” and “hurtful”…..(did I get the quotation marks right?)
          If the treatment isn’t working, and causes more “suffering” consequently; this validates the treatment. Everyone needs to feel sorry because it’s “supposed to” work. And healing mental illness means being so mental you can ignore whether it’s working (add medications here because it hurts, and then you won’t feel it, because you’re “suffering”)…

          Sacrificing virgins was “supposed to” appease the Gods. Feeling sorry for all the suffering that they went through, because it didn’t work, (because it’s real “suffering” when to try to appease the Gods with a virgin sacrifice and it doesn’t work, so it’s stigmatizing to not feel sorry for this “suffering”) ….
          And pointing out statistics that there’s no correlation with a sacrificed virgin and a good crop yield, this then is seen as dangerous to the fact that we need to sacrifice virgins otherwise there will be pain and suffering, because all of the pain and suffering we did sacrificing virgins won’t be allowed to do it’s magic; well then you have to deny you might be causing your own suffering; and anyone who causes enough suffering deserves the attention to show that that’s not how it works, by everyone being told it’s “stigmatizing” to say such “treatment” is not working and this causes “suffering.”

          And the more “suffering” you cause the more “attention” you deserve.

          I guess I just don’t feel I’m causing enough “suffering” to be such an “example”….even though, if I “created” enough of it following the “leader”, you would feel “sorry” for me.

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    • A child being “left pretty much to his own devices from his adolescence on,” in this highly complex and individualistic society we’re living in rings major alarm bells for me. Overprotection can cause big problems but so can neglect.

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  64. I grew up pretty off kilter and I don’t think anyone around here should think they have a place to guilt anyone else for their opinion. However, my concern is with the reversal of trends involving involuntary commitment issues. I am not the largest fan of some diagnostic labelling of some things or seeing things become socially acceptable. I grew up hyper and my moods elevate sometimes to the point that I lose it. I have spent many years being drugged with many things to tame the energy and that has made it better and worse for me. I am hyper and will vouch for the argument against ADHD drugging as a trend. However, I have sometimes and have had experience on and off with dexedrine tablets and aside from making my brain seem to go into slow down and take things seriously mode, it doesn’t raise my blood pressure and my body feels less drugged from it than caffeine. That is only all but one generic of the tablet form of that drug. I have tried all of them even the Spansules and Vyvanse and felt like I was going to have my heart blow out, go nuts, get paranioid etc. I don’t see how some of that crap is legal. Dexedrine tablets I can start, take for periods of time and I go back to my funny spontaneous self again. I have the “always in a rush” issue so attention is fine with me.

    Given the history of that, I was a mouthy, “manic”, very antisocial late teen with a very foul mouth and the archetypal “Nurse Ratchets” of every place I landed and I would immediately butt heads. Even people in any place like now are the same way but now I use more intimidation and emotional coldness and basically state, I will say/do_________ when I want I need _______. I don’t expect the answers and solutions ASAP and you will stick to the boundaries of the enforcing rules and me following them. I let them know to check their charts too because I have made an entire group therapy session in a psych ward go into chaos just by adding a point of view from the 3rd party and call the lack if there being equality in dialogue, the dialogue that isn’t respected from some of us that need help because it would interfere with any help and request that they apologize etc. Some staff take pride in their reputation and I saw an old file that said something like.

    [“Pt. can be one of the easiest most laid back clients once the mania is stabilized in hospital settings but he is high risk for two reasons, it is easy to identify with the credibility of the delusions he has and become drawn into it because he is a “highly intelligent paranoid” and the other was that when I have had issues with staff and :”conflict consisted, my behavior pattern was destructive, effective and so insidious that it led to losing 2 employees who were exemplary in being able to often be the only one to manage the most unstable borderlines”]. I have lesser moments of restraint with the “Nurse Ratchet” type staff who are good for some people that end up in mental health care that need a wake up call… However, t have on more than one occasion been put under 72-hour involuntaries for engaging with them and referring to them in vulgar ways. I wasn’t a threat at all, it was just an f*** you situation. At times some meds had short term help… one 72 hour hold probably saved me a life sentence because a friend was raped and I was after someone. There have been great staff, and people who are there for the wrong reasons. This type of employee tends to seem to go the extra mile and are acclaimed by fellow coworkers and every client tell you to watch out for the,.

    The fact that there are these staff and that even with the good hearted ones, group situations show them not doing much to intervene because in the end, all the law, society or fairness fallacy in the world, I still end up responsible for my role and own my place but the feeling I get when I look at the thrill of many online as they are happily shrieking that these women are losing all of their rights is scary. Kind of that whole “first they came for the….” situations in the red herring context.

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  65. Penning a letter from an “anonymous” victim of some tragedy is just about the oldest trope used by any powerful interest group that wants to advance its agenda. I’d be suspicious- VERY suspicious- of any unsigned letter that advances the psychopharmaceutical mafia’s.

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  66. This Pete Early dude himself has a screw loose or more like some screws missing, the dude acts like a prostitute serving the pharmaceutical industry and I guess what is the real irritating thing is the fixed rigid thinking. What part of the fact that treatment is much worse than the condition for many people can’t this dude get ?

    Psychiatry took me through hell and almost killed me but I can admit that it does help out some people but this Pete Early something is wrong with this dude like he is on a mission just to be on a mission. If only these damn mental patients would take the drugs or if it was legal to force them everything would be just great… No it won’t , mental illness just sucks and what this dude is doing isn’t helping anyone.

    What an incredible waste this dudes energy not directed at the crooked abusive mental health industry itself that causes people to avoid it like a modern day plague.

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