In the west the almighty “professional” is the guru. The educated “expert,” in general, takes on many different guises but we are systematically taught not to trust ourselves and to, instead, submit to the expert opinions of people who do not know us and who, all too often, believe they know far more than they actually do. The party line in mental health care is that we should find a professional for just about everything. What happens if an appropriate professional is not available? The reality on the ground is that is often the case as much as we’d like to think otherwise.
I once wrote this for another post: “my journey to healing from the iatrogenic injury psychiatry imposed upon me has been extremely isolated, by necessity and because there has been NO available professionals with the appropriate skill sets, I’ve had to find my own healing path. This is, I imagine much more common than is ever let on. There are NO appropriate professionals available in a large number of individual cases. And if people are traumatized in particular ways they risk retraumatization when they approach systems supposedly set up for such care.”
I find comfort in Krishnamurti’s words:
You must know for yourself, directly, the truth of yourself and you cannot realize it through another, however great. There is no authority that can reveal it. –Krishnamurti
You yourself have to be the master and the pupil. The moment you acknowledge another as a master and yourself as a pupil, you are denying truth. There is no master, no pupil, in the search for truth. – Krishnamurti
You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. – Krishnamurti
If you are very clear, if you are inwardly a light unto yourself, you will never follow anyone. – Krishnamurti
I wrote this post because I wanted to share a response I made to a comment from my last article on Mad in America. It is copied and pasted below, with a few edits. Someone was speaking to how most of the time when they encountered professionals they do not recognize what is going on with psychiatric drug withdrawal. This is sadly true. Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal issues are widely not recognized in the medical communities which sets up those suffering from them for further harm. It’s a rough world out there. We do need to learn to doctor ourselves and each other as much as possible. We also need to develop our discernment and intuition so that we learn to find what we need without getting harmed. There are certainly times when professional help is appropriate, but those of us who’ve been gravely harmed come to see working with professionals in a very different way. No professional is better than the wrong professional. Coercion and a sense of superiority has no place in real healing. We need to stay away from such people when they can have power over us. We need to learn to make boundaries to keep ourselves safe.
So with that as an intro, here is the response I made:
Yeah, it’s toxic to spend time with professionals that don’t take the gravity of these psych drug withdrawal syndromes seriously. I’ve been able to find lots of folks who can hear it now. I also don’t have relationships with professionals that are not both friendly and collegial at this point. I simply cannot deal with anything else…also I don’t consider professionals more knowledgable than the peers who I get info from…sometimes they have different info but it’s not superior in any way. I simply don’t have any expectation that professionals are going to offer any sort of meaningful help. I think it’s good for folks to develop that capacity…to not expect anything from professionals. It helps me a lot. I find help wherever it comes from and most of the time it’s not attached to a professional. On occasion it is.
Professionals are people…like everyone…sometimes they’re helpful and sometimes they’re not…I simply don’t expect that their qualifications actually guarantees anything…that simply sets me up for disappointment because quite often they are not helpful and worse, they have also been very harmful.
Most of the time at this point in my life I find I don’t actually need professionals (to be clear, when I do there is no hesitance to utilize them, I simply select them very carefully)…I just need to pay attention to what is going on in my body/mind…and then the universe brings me what I need in all manner of different ways…
We can be far more self-sufficient than we are conditioned to believe!
We do need people. Building community is the most important thing to me these days. Community comes in many different guises and does not require giving up your autonomy and self-determination. Psychiatry and the mental illness establishment often steals both.
My own process has led me to learn how to find numerous lovely and healing human beings who I’ve been able to come to love and trust. It can happen. I had to learn to let it happen.
With perfect synchronicity I just woke up to this quote that arrived in my email this morning. So I will end with it.
We accept responsibility for ourselves when we acknowledge that ultimately there are no answers outside of ourselves, and no gurus, no teachers, and no philosophies that can solve the problems of our lives. They can only suggest, guide, and inspire. It is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day-to-day details of our lives that will transform us. – Judith Hanson Lasater
A collection on topic:
- A doctor who talks sense about the all too frequent use of coercion in medicine
- Medical compliance? Adherence? No. My MDs are my PARTNERS
- We have internal guidance. Learn to listen to yours
- Bridging Patient-Professional Divide
- Being the empowered patient
- Do Rebels Who Defy Treatment Do Better? (“non-compliance” often saves us)
- truth is often ugly… (what people are up against when they choose to free themselves from psych meds)
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This article first appeared on Monica Cassani’s website,
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.