Editor’s note: the author has chosen to write under a pseudonym, due to concerns about the impact her suicide attempt could have on her career as an artist.
For weeks I had been trying to get released from the psychiatric ward of a private hospital in NYC, and none of my arguments, compliance, or attempted air of normality had made an impression on the barely-visible ward psychiatrist who had 2pc’d me. I had, I was told, made a very serious suicide attempt and this was a predictor of future attempts. They would let me know when they thought I was sufficiently remorseful and stabilized to be released.
I did want to process my attempt, which had been terribly frightening. It scared me to think that I was capable of such a thing. But there was no psychotherapist on the ward, and no private room where such therapy could take place. There were, of course, drugs – that is, “medications” – on the ward, from which I had been attempting rather frantically to detox. But I was duly warned by others on the ward that to refuse to take those meds (selected without my input) was to delay my release. So I complied. The most therapeutic element of the ward was my fellow inmates who counseled me and commiserated with me and kept me somewhat sane.
Although I am an adult, I was infantilized and dragged back to an earlier century in the ward, away from my job, my computer and the internet. So my mom was my advocate. After meeting with the resident psychiatrist and social worker, my mother was dismayed. They had told her that my stay was indeterminate and that no, there were no criteria upon which to base the release; just their judgment. Weeks did not fly by but rather crawled, leaving me tense and irritable and immensely bored. Finally my mother called the head psychiatrist, Dr. L, asking once again why I was not being released – what more was necessary, what could we do? Dr. L responded that if we were so intent on release, why weren’t we going to court?
Court? Yes, there was a poster by the nurses’ station saying that there were legal services available, but I had been told by others that they were basically inaccessible and ineffective. I hadn’t mentioned it to my mom.
My mother stuttered, confused, “But we’d need expert witnesses, a lawyer, it would take so much time, money. I don’t know where to begin.”
Dr. L, purportedly my doctor, advised her that all of that business was not necessary. “There is a free legal service here, Mental Hygiene Legal Services, and you don’t need experts. You don’t even have to go yourself.”
Excellent advice. My mom asked him how often he was successful at arguing against release in court. “Oh, about 95% of the time,” he said. He later entered my room (he seemed to be able to find it) and announced that I would lose in court. I was where I belonged, he said. My mother nonetheless hired a social worker to testify for me, and googled mental health courts to learn more. Under that label she found a scattering of information about forensic mental health courts (for those accused of a crime but deemed mentally ill), and she found lawyers who offered to help commit your family member, as well as some descriptions of non-forensic courts/panels in the UK, but nothing written about the courts in the US.
I had called Legal Services earlier, but they never returned my calls. After my encounter with Dr. L, I was very upset. I made one more attempt, leaving in my message that I wanted to go to court. Those must have been the magic words because the phone call was returned the same day. A meeting was set up for the next day, with the court hearing six days after that – plenty of time for preparation, we were assured.
My mother and I met with the Legal Services lawyer who was wearing shabby clothes, indicating to me that she was dedicated but not well paid. We met in the coat room of ward interns who occasionally popped in to collect their jackets. My attorney was overjoyed to hear that we had hired a social worker to review my files and testify in court. Wow. This was rare for her. She smiled and said that with an expert witness and family support we were in good shape. She was also pleased that I agreed that I had a mental illness and needed treatment. “They like to see that a person has insight,” she told me. Just like a parole board. Going against us was not only the fact that the psychiatrist won 95% of the time, but also that the judge was up for re-election the next year. “No one wants to release someone who goes on and kills herself,” the lawyer explained. I nodded. Of course not.
* * * * *
On the day of the trial, an ambulance brings me and a few others to a court housed upstairs at Bellevue hospital, still grand in appearance and scary in reputation.
We arrive at 10am sharp. Dr. L, whose time is decidedly more valuable, makes his appearance at 1 pm, shortly before the trials are to start. Finally we are called. I wait my turn to testify, appropriately in the waiting room, watched carefully by several guards lest I try to escape.
While I am waiting, Dr. L and then our social worker testify. Dr. L states that I am not only bipolar but have borderline personality disorder, and thus am able to manipulate my family into siding with me and trying to manipulate the court (frankly his diagnosis seemed manipulative to me). Our social worker testifies that she reviewed my files and there was no such diagnosis given, only reiterations about how well I was doing. Good for her. Dr. L will be more careful with his notations in the future.
Then I am called. It is daunting to go up before a crowd of people and sit in a witness box defending my sanity. The attorney for the hospital begins asking me general questions, pressing me to admit that I have a mental disease, which I did, and to recognize that I need treatment, which I do. It is so absurd. I imagine a patient hospitalized with a badly broken leg trying to go home against doctor’s advice and having to go to court first. The judge asks, “Do you admit that you have a broken leg? Do you recognize that you cannot walk normally yet?” The patient nods. The judge says, “Do you have remorse for having been running so carelessly before you fell?” The patient mumbles a little about uneven broken pavement, but no one cares. The judge says, “Past carelessness is a predictor of future carelessness. Why should we trust you now?” The patient looks remorseful. I remove my thoughts from these imaginings and pay attention again.
The attorney asks if I am compliant with my doctor’s orders. I nod. “Absolutely,” I say.
“Why then,” he says, moving in for the kill, “do you persist in wanting to leave the hospital against the unanimous advice of a team of doctors and specialists?”
I can see my mother’s face scrunch up in alarm. But it is unnecessary. I might be ill, but I’m not stupid. I can answer this. I say, “I’ve always worked with my doctor to come up with plans and make choices. I’ve been on medications for about seven years.”
“But,” I continue, “these doctors here on the ward are not my doctors. I haven’t met with Dr. L since I was first admitted, or should I say committed. How could he be my doctor? In what way? The resident stops by every day to ask me how the meds are and if I am feeling suicidal. In what way have Dr. L or the resident been doctors to me?”
Then my mother is called up to the witness stand. She looks very composed. My attorney asks her why she wants to see me released rather than kept longer on the ward. She says, “I think that the doctors on the ward have done a very good job stabilizing her. She is much better now.” I am not sure why she said that, but it may have been her attempt to seem sober and moderate, not a rebel, like she is.
Then she goes in for the kill. “In fact, Serafina is ready for therapy now; she needs it. But there is no therapy for her on the ward while she is waiting to be released. To keep her from being healed is so damaging to her, so counter to psychiatry as I know it.” She shakes her head in dismay.
Then she continues, sitting up very straight, “And we’ve set up a crisis management team for our daughter when she is released. She’ll be safe.” She goes on, “My daughter has gone through so much to overcome her debilitating depression – she worked terribly hard to save herself, but even her doctor had come to the end of his rope. Her suicide attempt came out of desperation, not because she wanted to die. When she woke up from the coma, she felt hopeful again. But instead of treatment that feeds that hope, she has been locked up for weeks. She is stabilized, but she needs more. She is seeking recovery, but each day that she remains locked up, she feels worse. Her hope declines.” She pauses and goes on again, “What she has gone through, I don’t think I could have done. She is a hero; we should honor her and help her to heal, not lock her up and tell her to be remorseful.”
There is no cross-examination from the opposing attorney. The judge looks sympathetic and suggests to me, “Well, couldn’t it be arranged that your outside therapist comes to visit you in the hospital? Then you will be under supervision and still get your therapy. A good solution.” The judge turns happily to Dr. L, sitting in the audience, and asks, “Could you provide a room where Serafina could meet her therapist within the ward?” Dr. L nods enthusiastically. They are all happy. Problem solved.
This is a terrible solution. But our attorney is on it. She turns to me and asks, “What happened to you just a few days ago?”
I describe how I warned the staff that my roommate was increasingly agitated and then I was attacked by her with her walker (in the middle of the night) while I slept.
The judge asks, “After your alleged attack, did the hospital not take any action?”
I agree that my roommate was removed.
Our attorney continues, “Do you feel safe now?”
“No. There is no protection. Anyone can come in my room.” This information might be shocking to an outsider, but the judge nods without apparent interest. Alleged attacks do not phase her. It’s just part of ward life.
Our attorney presses on. “And do you get sunlight and exercise on the ward?”
“No, and it’s very hard for me. It’s depressing. I’ve been in there for more than five weeks. I need to feel safe, to have sunlight. To go out among people so I can start healing from all this. I’ll be fine with my mother,” I say.
I can feel the judge becoming less and less interested. She liked my mother’s impassioned plea. It was a bit of distraction from the usual. But now it is sinking back to the old routine of patients claiming that they suffer on the wards. The court and the hospital do not seem to be interested in possible trauma within their walls. They are worried about possible suicide attempts of patients who are released. This is the drama that makes the newspapers, not the quiet trauma of everyday life on the wards.
But our side is not finished. Our attorney, who is quite excellent, gets up to cross-examine Dr. L. She asks, “It says in the files that you will release Serafina to an unlocked facility when they have space for her. She can leave it at any time. Yet you will not release her to her parents’ care on a temporary basis? Why not?”
Dr. L responds that he does not understand the question. Odd. It seems clear to me that it is all an issue of liability, for the hospital, for the judge, for the doctors. Amongst all this, the health of a person is not in consideration.
It reminds me of what psychiatrist Loren Mosher wrote, that when he encountered, early in his practice, the dehumanizing conditions of psychiatric wards – the perpetuation of powerlessness, dependency, and prioritizing of institutional needs – he suffered a personal existential crisis. His colleague Richard Warner wrote: “In the general mental health culture of the United States we take our most frightened, most alienated, and most confused [people] … and place them in environments that increase fear, alienation, and confusion.”
And then we offer them a court system that is a mockery of justice.
The judge looks over at the audience and says, “I will announce my decision at the end of today’s session.”
We sit in the waiting room and wait.
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.
Not only the mental health system but the ” Justice” system and the feeling or proofing, your own sanity, ulimatly YOUR SELF and basically YOUR HUMMAN RIGHTS to go through a life process ( because , ultimately THATS IS WHAT ALL OF THIS IS) is ABUSE. Plain and simple abuse: discredit a persons experience, more nimizing or exaggerating….cover abuse and pleasing a Judge ?!!! The ultimate slap in the face , that’s not even cover abuse that is in your face MAYOR ABUSE.
I hope things turn out well for you Serafina.
I have encountered similar situations with mental prisons. The people in them may not be innately bad, but the political-legal system, which is so distorted by the disease model and by the massive fear of legal liability, turns the workers at mental prisons into little more than predatory oppressors. Then of course the treatment offered, drugs and disease-model therapy, usually does nothing. No wonder so many people make suicide attempts right after escaping from the mental prisons; it is very depressing to realize that the professionals are not willing or able to help you.
I wrote about my experience in a mental hospital at bpdtransformation (dot) wordpress (dot) com, maybe you’d like to check it out.
Here – https://bpdtransformation.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/21-the-nightmare-of-psychiatric-hospitalization-in-america/
Furthermore, nobody should be required to admit that they are “mentally ill” to ignorant judges within a psychiatric system that has already been exposed as having invalid pseudo-diagnoses, with even its leading figures such as Frances, Kupfer, Hyman, Insel admitting that there are no real valid illnesses in psychiatry.
Such a system only stays in power by systematically profiting from and abusing the vulnerable, disempowered, and financially vulnerable, not through any semblance of honesty, fairness, or accuracy in describing nor addressing the nature of humans suffering.
The abuse and profiteering occurs via a maze of lies within which the myth of valid psychiatric diagnoses and the illusion that psychiatric drugs are medications treating illnesses deceive a majority of Americans, unfortunately including the parents and loved ones of very distressed people. It is unfortunate in this regard that poor, minority, younger people are so often targeted by psychiatrists and mental prisons, given that these people tend to be less educated and less able to stand up for themselves.
It must be so hard to deal with this stuff in court when the (supposedly impartial) “judges”, in a truly Kafkaesque and perverse situation, even believe the lies of the oppressors.
And what about “defense” lawyers who encourage clients to admit “illness”?
Yes that too.
But if you’re a private patient you can experience the miracle of the Insurance Cure, where you’re released the instant your insurance is maxed out. Few formal experiments have been done to truly comprehend the nature of this miraculous event, but it seems to be widespread.
Should this be considered an “alternative treatment”?
Yes, I experienced “Insurance Cure,” I was let out of the hospital as soon as my insurance company refused to pay for the hospital psychiatrist’s desired, ‘institutionalization for life.’ My insurance company didn’t want to pay for that, and this pissed the psychiatrist off big time! In hindsight, I know it was unwise I trusted any psychiatric practitioners. But I guess it was at least wise that I’d paid for most the iatrogenesis that resulted in my hospitalization, out of pocket, instead of through my insurance company.
There is evidence that “suicide prevention,” a widespread medical-psychiatric practice, may increase the incidence of suicide rather than decrease it. Doctors must not ignore the fact that “civil commitment” is the law of the land. All it takes for a judge to order the involuntary hospitalization and treatment of a citizen is the word of a physician to the effect that the person is a danger to himself and/or others. Faced with such “preventive” alternative the citizen is compelled to exercise his existential need of (fatal) freedom. Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Wolf, among others, are people whose suicide may, in part at least, have been provoked by fears of psychiatric incarceration and involuntary psychiatric treatment, Dr. Szasz says.(2) Quoting another famous polemist who said give me freedom or give me death, Szasz adds that the psychiatrist’s posture inverts Patrick Henry’s cry thus:”Give him (the patient) commitment, give him drugs, give him electric shock, give him lobotomy, but not let him choose death!” Dr. Szasz further states that “by so radically illegitimizing another person’s wish to die, the suicide-preventer redefines the aspiration of the other as not an aspiration at all. The result is the utter infantilization and dehumanization of the suicidal person.” http://www.aapsonline.org/jpands/hacienda/szasz.html
Comment pending moderation.
And those who are comfortable with their expanded parameters of emotional experience, and have no wish to be “healed,” can avoid reading psychological studies altogether.
LOL, like that response, oldhead. But I do agree with BPT on the invalidity of “bipolar” as a “lifelong, incurable, genetic” disease, as it was brainwashed into my husband’s brain, by my psychologist.
And I’d like to add, today’s “bipolar” drug cocktail recommendations include combining the antipsychotics and antidepressants. Despite the fact every doctor that goes through medical school, including all the psychiatrists, is taught combining these two drug classes is unwise. Since doing so is known to make a person “mad as a hatter,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. Which isn’t “bipolar,” but the symptoms are indistinguishable to the doctors from the “classic symptoms of schizophrenia.”
Just keep in mind that there’s no “real bipolar” vs. “misdiagnosed bipolar,” as “it” is not a real thing, just people experiencing their lives. There’s no “it” there.
You expressed it better than I did !. 😉
After doing so much therapy and learning about abuse, I encounter a lot of people basically using the words ” they don’t care” ” they don’t do enough ” or ” nothing ” …….THEY ARE GIVEN THE POWER TO DESIDE PEOPLES LIFE AND FUTURE ( criminal
system , records, mental records) HOW CAN WE JUST USE THOSE WORDS?!!!!!! This drives me crazy THEY HAVE A RESPONSABILITY AND THEY ARE BEING NEGLIGENTS!, manipulative AND MAL USING POWER!: mayor ABUSE. What is it people can confront this reality and call it what it is??!!!!!!!
The way I see it, it’s basically no different than what the psychiatric industry did in Germany, pre-WWII, defaming people with made up and scientifically invalid “mental illnesses,” torturing, and murdering millions. And the psychiatrists’ educators, and pay masters – the same European banking families and corporations that have now taken over the US – are playing the exact same game in the US today, as they did in Nazi Germany – and with the same goal. So, basically, it’s essentially a neo-Nazism. And today’s psychiatrists have already killed more US citizens with their drugs in the past couple decades, than they killed Jews in the whole of WWII.
Lots of people are starting to awaken to what I, as an ethical, fiscally responsible, bank president’s daughter knew just after 9.11.2001. Glad my “delusions” / concerns are now being pointed out by many on the internet.
I should correct that to say, “knew in my gut just after 9.11.2001.” I didn’t know the magnitude of the evil in my waking hours, I just knew there was a real problem with 9.11, on the morning of 9.11, since I had a powerful religious dream that night.
Thank you so much for writing this exquisite piece. I found it riveting, and am in awe of the courage and integrity which you and mother exemplify with grace, in the face of such blatant and oppressive stigma, not to mention, ‘clever.’
You tell the story beautifully, and because of that it is maddening to read. I do relate to this kind of crazy-making dialogue with legal and clinical professionals. What a life-sucking system. It is voices like yours which will bring about the radical changes we so desperately need. Thank you again, for sharing your truth with such eloquence.
End of first paragraph, meant to write–” ‘clever’ manipulation.” That is, without a doubt, systemic.
I second what you said. A very well written piece. There is no life without reasonable risk taking, and any system that seeks to avoid both reasonable risks to itself and to avoid allowing those it is “serving” to take such risks, is truly “life sucking!”
Very well put, Ron. I agree, risk-taking is vital to our growth and evolution at some points in time. Speaking up for one’s basic rights is actually a high risk venture in the mental health system, which is why I applaud and deeply encourage efforts such as Serafina’s. Takes guts and trust in one’s process because one person’s risk is another one’s boat rocked, and there is a lot to go through in ‘healing’ from the system.
Everyone has the opportunity to grow when one person speaks their truth against the system–aka “breaking the system.”
I’m sure your article will reignite repressed or forgotten feelings of rage in everyone reading this who has gone through such Alice-In-Wonderland proceedings. Sentence first, verdict…whenever. Clearly feeling hopeless enough to try to kill yourself is considered a crime — not of a toxic culture, but with you as the defendant.
I take it you had already been court committed, otherwise you could theoretically have walked out at any time. I guess the kamp you are/were in was pulling in some big bucks for your “treatment.”
If this were a standard criminal proceeding your lawyer would advise you not to concede any of the charges (“mental illness”). He might decide not to put you on the stand at all — Constitutionally you are not required to testify against yourself — and/or rest the defense after demonstrating on the basis of the facility’s own testimony that they haven’t proven their case, or request a preliminary hearing at which the facility must prove that its case has enough substance to proceed rather than releasing you immediately. Also any testimony the shrinks elicited from you without your being told that you have the right to remain silent, and that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law, would be thrown out of court.
Next, if they insisted on making the case that you had a “mental” disease and needed to take drugs, the legal team might present testimony that the “diagnostic” allegations and the very claim of the existence of a disease cannot be proven, hence the use of drugs is not only unreasonable but likely to be dangerous dangerous.
Of course there is almost never a defense presented along any of the above lines, and the best anyone ever gets, should they even make it to court, is some sort of “plea deal.” This highlights the immediate need for legal volunteers and legal training which addresses our actual legal issues and needs — in this case regarding false imprisonment and torture — and doesn’t suck up to psychiatric oppression.
So…what’s with the suspense — what was the verdict?
I am not sure how mental health law differers between the UK and the USA but I do know what the criminal law is and I agree that a comparison shows a shocking lack of human rights.
Even if you are not detained against your will in some wards they will threaten to detain you if you try to leave. I have seen that happen
That’s what’s sometimes known as the “one way” voluntary commitment. When you try to voluntarily leave they immediately put you on a several day “hold” during which they file the involuntary commitment papers.
That’s what happened to me. And, according to my medical records and court documents, the voluntary consent forms were forged, to take away my day in court. But the good news is, the idiot internist who had me medically unnecessarily shipped a long distance to him, who had admitted me with a non-existent “chronic airway obstruction,” which magically turned into “bipolar,” resulting in a “snowing” with ten days of varied drug cocktails of about nine varied drugs a day, and all those drug cocktails were already medically known to cause “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. That internist has finally been convicted of, at least the tip of the iceberg of his, similar subsequent crimes against many.
I must confess I find it sad that the mainstream US media did not seemingly report on this doctor’s conviction, but India’s media did realize the importance of reporting such medical crimes. I would imagine this is given the knowledge of India’s caste system, that it’s widely stupid to put doctors at the top of a caste system, which is wisdom the western nations do not seem to have.
Well said ;)!
That was a very moving and horrifying story! It seems completely wrong that the psychiatrist has the ability to manipulate the facts and have his/her opinion prevail without any objective discharge criteria. Whatever happened to the “danger to self or others” standard? You clearly didn’t pose a danger to anyone. Without that standard, anyone could be held for any length of time for any reason. Talk about a Kangeroo Court!
Thanks for sharing your story, and I hope you’re able to escape from their scrutiny soon.
Another thing she mentioned was being expected to be “sufficiently remorseful.” Which is again the kind of standard applied to people seeking parole — they’re supposed to take responsibility and express remorse for their offense (in this case “attempting suicide”). Even if they steadfastly maintain their innocence. If they lie and “take responsibility” for something they didn’t do they get released; if they refuse to lie and express inappropriate “remorse” they sit. There are political prisoners with integrity who could be on the streets but remain locked up today because they refuse to play.
EXACTLY! And that is monstrous!!!!! Manipulative = ABUSE.
Why as citizens , who are more mindful and we are millions by now, not to mention pay their salaries; are not STANDING UP??!!!!!!
It is all about the money the facility receives. It has nothing to do with her mental health or the likelihood of her committing suicide later on. She is clearly expendable. Just the money. Dr L may even get paid by the number of patients he can keep incarcerated in his hospital. Serafina is simply a number. The world is full of numbers. The USA regularly kills the numbers or erases them as just recently 17 civilians killed in Afghanistan by a drone. No tears for those who are simply numbers.
“Sufficiently remorseful” seriously ?
” get released from the psychiatric ward of a private hospital” Conflict of interest making money keeping the beds full.
I usually do a long descriptive post about my month in a psychiatric hellhole but Ill just say the part about the the threats made at me, impending injection, penetration with a needle into my body with disabling drugs, a violation like a rape if I didn’t swallow a dangerous handful of pills made me feel anything but safe or helped. I took many different psychiatric drugs over the years and knew much better better than these people that just met me that I would react very badly to the over dose they ordered me to take.
I refused, they can attack and assault me with a needle later, later was a better choice than taking a three drug overdose including Haldol by my own hand right then as directed and getting sick and passing out and who knows what maybe death that many pills those dosages.
I didn’t know at the time that threatening patients with assault and violation of bodily integrity was standard pill coercion procedure for these heartless people.
So my reaction to all this and being locked into an environment full of violence all around me and then threats made at me was labeled ‘agitation’ and ‘bipolar’ and was used as proof I was sick and needed more of their so called “help”
My mental health offense was to drown my problems in alcohol for a week or so until I finally woke up shaky as hell and said no more alcohol today and went the ER looking for detox instead of buying more and got transported to the psychiatric hellhole for so called “help”. And I never even got detox meds !
“Sufficiently remorseful” psychiatry can go to hell, back to the place that spawned it.
I actually went to the hospital remorseful that I screwed up and needed detoxification, help and couldn’t man up and kick it alone in a hotel room cold turkey. I left that hospital full of hate and much more aware of how many heartless psychos really exist in this world.
The court and the [private] hospital do not seem to be interested in possible trauma within their walls.
It often works like the “kids for cash” scandal that unfolded in 2008 over judicial kickbacks at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Keeping the beds full and money is everythingto these people. Way to often the people these courts and hospitals are the kinds of people that are called superpredators. No conscience. No empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.
People do manage to kill themselves in hospital wards too. I had a friend whose father was so depressed that although he was locked up in a psychiatric ward, he found a way to strangle himself. His mother sued that hospital, but I don’t think she won.
Sometimes I wonder why They want to keep us alive seeing what low-quality of life they expect us to settle for. I doubt that they honestly care about our happiness or well-being. Hmm. That’s right. If enough of us kill ourselves they won’t be able to bill Medicaid/Medicaire for our expensive drugs.
If Hitler had had a system like that set up for “lunatics” in Nazi Germany he might have let the mental patients live.
When you are being raped and fight back, the more the rapist beats you to comply with their demands.
When you are involuntary committed in a mental hospital, the more you fight back against their medications the longer you stay.
Came across a reference to this article at: https://cantmedicatelife.com/2016/04/09/living-in-a-personality-disordered-society-part-6-and-last/
I can commit a truly heinous crime and be found painted in the blood of my victims, but I’m still presumed innocent, have a right to counsel, to plead the fifth, strict limitations exist on methods and time periods that I can be questioned by the police, and a ruling requires a beyond a reasonable doubt standard to restrict my liberty.
Involuntary civil commitment requires a 72 hour observation period where there are no limitations to the questioning or methods employed for my evaluation which will be used against me in court that only requires clear and convincing evidence (a fact is more likely true than not), but not just in acts I have committed… It’s applied to the possibility that, in the future, I will. That standard, BTW, is used because the state was concerned that psychiatry, lacking established proof, would make any other standard impossible for the state to overcome. However, psychiatry still makes the doctor an expert witness and the diagnosis automatically makes me less credible. Ooh, and it can curtail my liberty for the rest of my life. It’s truly frightening when you consider that dancing in the blood of your victims actually promises you more chance to fair treatment and legal recourse than merely being diagnosed with a disorder that can’t be medically substantiated.
Like then the Boston Marathon terrorist had a whole lot more rights than Justina Pelletier.
Bare in mind, that Tsarnov was convicted under a federal statute, because the murders involved explosives or arson. MA does not have the death penalty. Also consider the youth of the offender, the influence of the older brother, and the fact that Turkey could not be considered for membership in the EU unless it abolished the death penalty.
“Boston Marathon terrorist had a whole lot more rights than Justina Pelletier”
So, revisiting these scenarios makes it all so clear to me that a coalition to abolish involuntary :”treatment” should, morally and strategically, be the prime emphasis of the anti-psychiatry movement, irrespective of any person or group’s particular emphasis. It should be a relatively case to make, as it doesn’t take a radical analysis to understand the basic legal and moral principles involved.
What I’m starting to wonder is why people at MIA, with a few exceptions, are seemingly content to constantly reaffirm the horrors of psychiatric oppression yet remain at most lukewarm to, if not completely uninterested in, discussing concrete strategies and actions which might lead to some actual change. Every time a thread drops off the home page the conversation stops; meanwhile we have the ability to make these discussions ongoing by utilizing the Organizing Forum, which is mostly ignored. There have been fleeting attempts to come up with some basic positions and demands, but so far these have been limited to a few motivated (and frustrated) people. Just sayin’.
Oldhead: I am running for the state legislature here in West Virginia. My involuntary commitment from 1989 and 1990 is pretty much an open secret, including a letter to the editor of mine to the Charleston Gazette alluding to the fact. I welcome getting this out in the open as several other issues, but at this point, it is basically anyone’s guess as to how it will play out.
It is, because we don’t have the sorts of support structures in place that we should. If it’s an “open secret” maybe there’s some way you could make it an issue yourself rather than waiting for others to bring it up as a way of undermining you. Of course this might not be possible depending on your specific circumstances, or could end up with you losing as a result.
Go Chris! 🙂
“Mental Health Court”
A thoughtcrime is an occurrence or instance of controversial or socially unacceptable thoughts. The term was popularized in the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, wherein thoughtcrime is the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question the ruling party.
“I am not sick and those drugs make me feel worse” Try expressing that belief in mental health court. See how that works out.
“The criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question the ruling party [psychiatry].
There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance or DNA tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” in order to sell drugs.
Thought criminal ! Guilty !!!
Super work, Serafina. You and other people might be interested in the law review article I wrote, Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course. http://psychrights.org/Research/Legal/25AkLRev51Gottstein2008.pdf.
I started to read it & will read more.
Here are some problems more at the heart of things:
— There is no evidence for the existence of any “mental illness,” and the very concept is a semantic absurdity.
— Other “medical’ patients are not subject to involuntary treatment.
— Other categories of “diseases” may correlate more strongly with violence than “mental illness” so why aren’t those victims involuntarily incarcerated?
— If “mental illness” is an accusation which may deprive one of liberty why isn’t it treated with standard rules of proof (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) and why aren’t “mental patients” Mirandized before speaking to a psychiatrist who may testify in favor of their incarceration?
I remember your art from Icarus! Good to hear what you’re up to now, give em hell!
The 8th amendment in the constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment.
Side effects of neuroleptics :
17 warnings on antipsychotics causing heart problems
15 warnings on antipsychotics causing death/sudden death
9 warnings on antipsychotics causing weight gain
8 warnings on antipsychotics causing involuntary movements or movement disorders
7 warnings on antipsychotics causing strokes
7 warnings on antipsychotics causing withdrawal symptoms
6 warnings on antipsychotics causing convulsions, seizures or tremors
5 warnings on antipsychotics causing diabetes
5 warnings on antipsychotics causing birth defects
4 warnings on antipsychotics causing agitation
1 warning on antipsychotics causing mania and psychosis
1 warning on antipsychotics causing sexual dysfunction
The main effect is of course is often Anhedionia and having the ability to enjoy anything in life shut down.
If they decided the punishment for real crimes included being subjected to these drugs they would call it barbarism but for those convicted of mental illness it’s what they inflict on people with force every day.
This is just wrong.