Part 1: Siddharta
It has been a little more than a year since you perhaps read Rob Wipond’s story about Siddharta and I, From Compliance to Activism: A Mother’s Story. Some of you may remember that in August 2014, Siddharta was freed at last. His recovery from years of being drugged and treated as less than human, and the traumatization of confinements and imprisonment became my main focus; my advocacy scaled down to mostly phone calls and one-on-one personal email advocacy for Mothers and others across the country.
And how is Siddharta doing now? Well as his Mother, I would say he has made remarkable progress! He is living independently with support! It is clear that our victories are in the journey, and what full recovery will look like is yet unseen. Much of his progress in the eyes of most of his “mental health treatment team” and to outsiders looking in, is not visible, but thanks to the most unlikely angels in our community, and my allies, he has said phrases such as “I feel safe here, I like it here.” Those words are music to my ears… My prayers are being answered.
However, although there were many very significant experiences that happened, I only had time to share them on a small scale. There was one that I think is critical for as many people as possible to know about. It concerns the bill that was initially billed as the Murphy Bill, but keeps changing names and faces. However; the content holds the same danger — except on a larger scale — that we in the trenches, as marginalized and “labeled” people, have already experienced on a small scale.
Please take a moment and read this one-page story, which I call “Murphy and 1984.” Although this is not the real title, it very much presents what I believe the book 1984 and Murphy Bill symbolize. This story was highlighted as an example in the paper Suggested Questions and Recommendations for Universal Periodic Review of the United States, presented to the U.N. by Tina Minkowitz and others. Tina also authored the description of the dangers of the Murphy bill in an earlier paper submitted to the U.N. You can find that here, under Murphy Bill (beginning on page 12), along with year 2013-2014 of my timeline on psychiatry as a weapon used against the African American Race.
Part 2: Patterns of Abuse of Power/ We Are All in this Together
In my years of becoming aware of and advocating for those caught in the Institutional oppression of psychiatry, others have called and asked for support in other areas of institutional oppression. Slowly I began to recognize a pattern of abuse of power by institutions that seem to be shielded from justice, with no – or very little – accountability or consequences for their actions. Although their missions, as stated, are extremely important and thus have been embraced and given legal status, and at one time public support;
Each institution has a track record now of using or manipulating their power to cause serious harm to many many people; and I have listened, researched and advocated enough to know they are not isolated cases in certain states, but appear to have the right to such abuse of power and shielding from justice across the U.S..
Will Hall, in his Madness Radio article on 6/12/15 addresses the fact that indeed there are many pressing social issues and, I would add, many pressing social issues where institutional power is abused and shielded from justice. He says;
”I can’t summarize or persuade you of the pressing social issues of our time: child poverty, climate change, species extinction, homelessness, violence, the prison system, the disappearing middle class, endless war, financial giveaways to those responsible for financial crisis.”
And yes there are ever more pressing issues like fracking, the lowering of our water table for bottle water, Human trafficking and ?? and ?? and ????….
But, as he suggests, can we begin to see that we are all in this together. One struggle may be more dear to your heart, because of its personal effect, but if you open your eyes and heart, is it possible you will see that your destiny and the destiny of the “other struggles” are deeply intertwined and is in essence up against the same abuses of power.
I would like to challenge you to begin investigating the “other stories.” Pick one or two, and after you are able to identify similarities in the abuses, go to a meeting, talk to those individuals and groups targeted, begin the conversation with the intent of building bridges, building coalitions, building a win-win community.
Part 3: Coalition Building with the Four “Other” Struggles I Have Chosen
My experience as MOMS advocate, and follow-up research, has led me to identify four major institutions — including psychiatry — that have similar undeniable track records that flagrantly abuse their power and that often result in grave injustices and bodily harm, with almost no accountability or consequence.
- The institution of Guardians and Guardian ad Litems
- The institution of Child Protections Agencies
- The institution of Psychiatry/mental health systems
- The institution of the justice systems, including Police and courts
I am starting to share information with my circle of mental health survivors and allies about the abuse of power by Child Protection Agencies across the country. For example, here is a link to a story, Kidnapping in Maryland, Part 1, that started with a child protection agency and ended with the commitment of the mother, who had legal documents that were ignored and yet critical to the charges against her.
And, yes; I agree some folks in these institutions are making a real difference in people’s lives, protecting and serving those in their care. But the main influence present now is corrupting; power is being consistently abused; and serious injury is more common than not.
Matter-of-fact, to me each of these institutions have become a form of human trafficking; making huge amounts of financial gain from abusing and using another human being.
I also am sharing with as many people as possible the award-winning new documentary “Arresting Power.” It will be for sale on DVD October 12, 2015. It is a great documentary for building a coalition between Mental Health activists, Black Lives Matter Activists, Police Accountability Activists, and other groups. The Department of Justice used many of the cases in this film to cite the Portland Police for using excessive force on people diagnosed as mentally ill.
Part 5: Is it More Than Just Profit?
Having just finished Robert Whitaker and Lisa Cosgove’s new book Psychiatry under the Influence, (it is a MUST READ) I am willing to step back and concur that it is not so much a bad apple in every state in these institutions as it is the “economy of influence.” But I would like to take it one step further and ask, what was/is the goal of those behind the economy of Influence, that finance the influencing. Is it more than just profit?
The social injuries that I have witnessed over and over again often cripple physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually individuals, families, and even communities. And the power to abuse seems to be growing, such as with the expansion sought in the Murphy bill.
What is to be gained by such crippling? Referring back to my experience with the armed guard who was at my door to ensure that my son complied with the order of his outpatient commitment (mandated injections that continue to cripple his body and tranquilize his mind), I am seriously pondering the essence of 1984‘s message; is Social Control as much or more the goal than profit?
Part 6: Preventative Measures from Above Have Failed Us Over and Over and Over Again
Research has shown, I believe, that preventive measures that were/are put in place from above, without local and community input, oversight, accountability, and control, can and are — over and over again — manipulated. And just like a chameleon that can change colors to camouflage itself, so those institutions were/are able to look like they were/are now on track, and safeguards have been put in place to assure us that we’re now protected. The reality is, I believe, that the economies of influence have gears that are turning, that cannot be stopped by laws, outside experts, and centralized oversight solely from above. The goals of social control and profit are too well entrenched. We will need We, the People to create real and lasting transformation that includes community visioning, accountability, and real control at the local level.
We, the people; Individuals, Families, and Diverse Groups Must Come Together, and Build Coalitions
We can ask the professionals and experts to sit at the table with us, only if they recognize that their destiny is intimately intertwined with ours. And then, together, we must talk, strategize, laugh, cry and believe we can build a better, saner community; where hearts can heal, dreams can come true, and accountability to the community/by the community is at the core. The Community Rights Movement is one example of how that might happen.
But there is no one right way. How healing and dream-building will look in each community might be very different. Nevertheless, hand to hand, heart to heart, I believe we can do it. I know we must; for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the coming seven generations.
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.
1984 ? I guess so. I know I alienate some readers when I call what psychiatry does to people NAZI , but its a better fit. Unless you have stared down the barrel of one of their needles leave it alone.
Its like a holocaust in slow motion that substitutes drugging for death.
Yes… More than one of the MOMS I have worked with has referred to their horrendous experience as “what it must have felt like during the holocaust.” One Mom had to barricade her door to prevent the illegal entry into her home, a second time, by police accompanied by a DHS agent (Department of Health Services) who were trying to force her adult daughter into a mental hospital, even though she had a diagnosis of brain injury, and an appointment to see the nation’s leading brain injury specialist. Their nightmare hasn’t ended and no help seems in sight. We have been in search of a lawyer willing to take her extremely well documented case of for 2 years.
However, psychiatry is just one of the institutions that has been given the power to harm, cripple and confine indefinitely with almost no accountability or consequence (and please remember not all psychiatrist practice in this manner). The 1980’s not only brought on the war WITH drugs, the war ON drugs was also engineered in the media in much the same way, during the same era. It is no accident that we have the world’s largest prison population and very little has to do with crime. To those who have suffered massive incarceration, drugging and torture as a form of social control, 1984 was/is a reality.
And yet, I truly believe that as we wake up and realize that our struggles have a common origin, we can begin to collectively rewrite the script and create neighborhoods and communities where all hearts can heal and we can support each other to begin to live our dreams!
Well stated Cindy! Thank you for your activism to protect our children and help build sanctuaries for them.
Thank you for adding your voice to the need to create grassroot sanctuaries for healing our children and all of those who have been harmed. In Corrie ten Boom’s story about the Holocaust she spoke of such a need for the survivors, and indeed she and others did create such sanctuaries after being freed. There is no less a need today for such healing sanctuaries for the survivors of abuse from all of the institutions mentioned above and others not named.
Remember during WW2 when they ask every family to create a victory garden (not that I support war)… well we are living in the middle of a war with drugs that was/is being waged against us and other sanctioned legalized abuses and so now I believe the call should be that every neighborhood create a grassroots respite house and healing sanctuary;.
Thank You Cindi,
“Remember during WW2 when they ask every family to create a victory garden (not that I support war)…well we are living in the middle of a war with drugs that was/is being waged against us and other sanctioned legalized abuses and so now I believe the call should be that every neighborhood create a grassroots respite house and healing sanctuary;. ”
The most timely, doable, practical , and necessary action ever proposed on MIA.
I for one will never fault you for your comparison of psychiatry and it’s so-called “treatment” to the Nazis and the things that they carried out against people.
Few people seem to know it, but German psychiatrists, with the permission of the German government, were the ones who created the gas chambers and the ovens to be used against the so-called “mentally ill” as well as the physically and developmentally disabled. They referred to such people as “useless eaters”. They murdered tens of thousands of people long before the Nazis came along a appropriated the chambers and ovens for their “final solution” of the Jewish people.
“I for one will never fault you for your comparison of psychiatry and its so-called “treatment” to the Nazis and the things that they carried out against people.”
Hear, hear. The “studies” conducted by the University of Minnesota on people subject to involuntary holds are right out of the Nazi medicine playbook. When the Nazis embarked on murdering the mentally ill (i.e., “Life not Worth Living”), the only therapy afforded by Nazi psychiatrists was to absolve families of any unwarranted guilt.
Yes, the German psyhiatrists did murder tens of thousands of people in the asylums long before the Nazis soldiers began the horror in the concentration camps, and they also sterilized thousands. Indeed the ovens were later dismantled from the hospitals and rebuilt in the concentration camps
However, it is critical to be ware that…
“The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.
After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it was spread to Germany.
California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.
By 1933,[before mass sterilization and cremation began in Germany] California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. ”
The majority of the California subjects were not only people labeled as “defective” because they did not fit the “normal” label, but also were people who were considered less than, including the poor, women, and people of color.
However, We the people, I would like to believe are moving toward a higher spiral of evolutionary consciousness, and will join hands, hearts, and brilliance; ignoring the artificially created differences in our humanity and not be willing to allow the sacrifice anymore of our sisters and brothers (irregardless of the label) to be tortured and abused. We must build from the ground up conditions that no longer destroy hopes and dreams and use the broken bodies for profit , but instead build communities that are inclusive and empowering; communities that inhale our dreams and exhale them into the life of the community.
I am glad that you made this very important point.
In fact, there were many in the United States who felt what German psychiatrists were doing in Germany should be done here in this country. At the American Psychiatric Association’s 1941 annual meeting the keynote speaker stated that the “mentally ill” should be put to death, just as they were doing in Germany. Only two people stood up to protest such a statement. Then, in 1942 in the official journal of the APA there was an anonymous editorial penned by two people who supported the killing of people with “mental illness” and those with physical and developmental disabilities. This is not that long ago. So, I have no reason to trust American psychiatry any more than the German people did to trust German psychiatrists, especially during these times where there is a concerted effort for more “treatment” and forced “treatment”.
Yes, the eugenics movement in America was actually the impetus for what German psychiatrists did in their country. And, eugenics programs were supported by many of the large philanthropic foundations and rich families that still exist today. The Rockefeller Foundation was in the forefront of all this stupidity.
Don’t forget that Eugenics which along with Nordic Sepremacy, anti-semitism were the pillors of Nazism. Eugenics was an American export.
I am just so happy to hear that your son is doing well and feeling safe. I understand so much what that must mean to you and him.
Thank you for caring. I do want to say, though, that although I am extremely grateful for his progress, he was severely abused and harmed, and the road home is long and still a major struggle for him.
Believe me – I hear you on that one too! I would like to echo madmom’s comment above and thank you for your activism to promote the safety of all of our children.
Hi Cindi, Since I just started sleeping again several nights ago, after having stayed awake and alert on account of psychiatric and psychological services back East here showing such lackadaisical attitudes toward men returning from battle during my lifetime, please allow me some time to get deeper into your track of information here… and get back for further replies. The footing of your narrative discourse on evidence seems nice and everyday to me. We hardly need to repeat the insufferable and dilemmae laden tales of stupidity regarding institutional oversight from the past and recent past as far as it implicates the fear of “no new journalism” “because of the journalist’s bad day in transition to online data feeds”. As though the Left arises from the nothing itself is…. Your more worldly and broadly seen scope of humanity in detail is refreshing, and as a survivor I am really, really with you on this page, today!
I am celebrating your survival and I look forward to future conversations with you!
It would be wonderful if Siddhartha posted on his experiences and the remarkable progress he has made since he was freed in August 2014.
Indeed it would be wonderful, and perhaps someday he will find himself ready to be a blogger himself. However, as I mentioned earlier, he is definitely on the road of recovery, and yet it is not clear what “home” will look like… my celebration is in each step he is taking on the road home.
I hope people don’t gloss over this article because it contains key insights and raises key concerns in developing a strategy to actually defeat the psychiatric behemoth.
I laud the connections you are making with the struggles of prisoners and other caught up in the “justice” system; as many are beginning to realize, institutional psychiatry has nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with keeping the lid on the dissatisfied and disenfranchised. Glad as well to see you understand that the function of “watchdog” agencies, etc. is to contain dissent before it becomes serious enough to have an effect. I look forward to reading your timeline on racism in psychiatry and to commenting here further when I have more energy than tonight.
As for the question of is it about profit or social control, the answer is not either/or but both. The social control is necessary to maintain the overall capitalist/corporatist system which serves profit. That’s the short answer, of course. Hopefully the next time I check out this thread there will be many more responses to fuel the discussion.
Your short answer has many powerful truths in it. I look forward to learning from you. Rest and then return…
Well, looks like no one wants to think too hard this week or something from the relative lack of commentary here. Anyway, I read your racism timeline, it’s excellent. My only head-scratching sort of observation is that after the first few pages the specific relevance of the info to African-Americans is not real clear unless one is experienced enough to instinctively recognize it. But I think something like this would be a good link to have listed on MIA’s homepage; white people don’t like to think about racism too much so generally it needs to be stuck in their faces. And liberals like to think that they aren’t racist, so ditto. (I know, I used to be a white liberal a long time ago. Even though I believed I was radical.)
Is psych.rights.org “your” site btw?
Sometimes I am so close to it, that I assume others recognize that if children in general are targeted for harm that marginalized groups will fare far worse.
Psych-rights is Jim Gottstein’s website, the famous attorney who fought the Meyers case. He is on sabbatical this year.
I started mine 5 years ago as a complete novice and just kept adding to it. Today, I keep the site alive because folks from around the world visit it, albeit just 30-50/day now, but it is in desperate need of a web designer because I added too much. I have added very little for the last year. My site is MentalHealtRightsYES.org . Also the site has not been updated to include my latest understanding about the similarities of corrupt institutions and how they abuse, harm and are shielded from justice. I think I will try and create a facebook page to share about the dangers of the Murphy bill with more people and the other institutional threats. Do you have a web page?
No web page, sorry. Actually I’m not sure which is the biggest threat, Murphy or FACEBOOK. If you only plan to upload announcements, articles, etc. for people who have already surrendered much personal data to FB simply to register that’s ok I guess. But I think it’s a bad idea to encourage others to put their personal info, stories, etc. there; from what I can see FB is primarily in the business of collecting data, the “social” aspect is simply how they lure you in.
Do you have a public email address?