FROM PSYCHIATRIC COERCION TO LIBERTARIANISM: A PERSONAL JOURNEY
Tristano Jonathan Ajmone‘s first contact with psychiatry dates to when he was 14, in trouble with the law, and the court-ordered to be taken away from his parents, put in a half-way house and followed by psychiatrists. In 2003 he managed to gain freedom and become actively involved in the critique of psychiatry. He is president of Italian Observatory on Mental Health (OISM), an international non-profit association critical of psychiatry. OISM has as honorary members: Dott. Claudio Ajmone, Dr. Fred Baughman, Dr. Giorgio Antonucci, Prof. Loren Mosher, Dr. Mariano Loiacono, Prof. Emeritus Thomas Szasz. He is a libertarian psychiatric survivor, much influenced by Thomas Szasz’s writings — Szasz and he were friends and kept in touch until he died. He does not believe in the existence of mental illness, drug addictions, nor the mind, but rather only in the person, and that we should respect and protect individual autonomy, liberty and freedom, and that psychiatric coercion is a crime. Psychiatry is a political issue, not a medical one.
He writes: “My psychiatric experience has change me for good. What I saw brought me revise my view of our society, of our so-called civilization. I came out of my psychiatric journey a changed man; for the greatest part a better man, I believe; but also a wrecked person in many ways. After taking many years antipsychotic drugs I’ve started earing voices, and since I’ve stopped taking psychiatric drugs I’ve experienced many difficulties in coping with life. I am convinced that psychiatric drugs have damaged the quality of my life, and to it I would add that the inhumane treatment I underwent strongly contributed to shred all illusions about the society I live in and empoverish my expectations about life. Hopefully, one day I’ll start living again. In the meantime I keep surviving.”