My Operation Tomorrow: Mental Health Justice, Speaking Out for Our Rights, and Creative Maladjustment


In a few minutes, I head up to Portlandia with my darling Debra, to get my throat slit tomorrow.

Do not worry, I have not been captured by ISIS for a beheading. My throat operation to insert a Gore-Tex  little implant in one of my vocal folds to help me, hopefully, be louder. For the past 42 years I have been a psychiatric survivor, and in the last few decades I have seen how working with the disability movement can amplify our voices.

Three-and-a-half years ago, I broke my neck in an accident, involving our cat, Bongo, really! Because of a pre-exisiting condition and complications, I ended up with not just a power chair, the new status of quad, but also about ten other disabilities, but who is counting?

I never expected the idea of trying to find my voice to become so literal!

And with good results, I hope to contribute my voice to Creative Maladjustment Week, which begins in two weeks, Thursday, July 7. This year the celebration week will become eight days long to include the birthday of the late psychiatric survivor, author, and friend, Leonard Roy Frank, July 15.

So what will be my first words after surgery? A documentary film maker David Zupan, another good friend, will be there to record it. I do not expect I will be as articulate as the late Charlie Chaplin, below, but you can enjoy him as he sums up what I would like to say!

For more info about CM week please go to the CM website and also please connect via the Facebook page.

Here is Charlie:


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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  1. May the surgery have the desired effect (or better than!) and may you heal well and quickly!

    Also, I checked out your page about creative maladjustment week and I love it! I want to celebrate, probably in small ways, hopefully with friends! An excuse to celebrate embracing the different, the quirky, the tellers of the twisted truths? Sign me up! Perhaps I will spend a day wearing a pair of fairy wings (I make those) while I run errands. I love the idea of guerilla kindness (and gorilla kindness, why not?), leaving handmade notes to uplift, inspire, or ‘make you go hmm’ in places for strangers — and also myself, and my wife — to find. Maybe I will host a Mad Hatter Tea potluck, and serve tie-dye cake! Ah, the possibilities!

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  2. It ain’t easy dealing with more than one did! You handle it well. Good luck with surgery any more agency that you can achieve is a victory.
    I liked your clip
    I think we all need to look into how Germans not only acknowledged their guilt through actions or nonactions but have now a long sustained reconciliation movement.Not perfect. not big headlines but it exits!
    See today’s nyt holocaust article.
    I would strongly suggest that along with your efforts we follow their example
    A Shoah of our own with a museum a list of names and histories trees planted for those who saw and helped and a stone marker for every death.
    See Dr G’s latest contribution to this site. and his speech
    It is time to say the word holocaust.

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  3. David,
    I hope this is a very successful procedure! I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the little gathering you had at your house. I enjoyed the gathering at your house that took place earlier in the year! I’m looking forward to hearing your new voice! Gail

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  4. David, you warm our hearts and fire our bellies with your joyful spirit and sterling instincts of all that is realistic and just. So many people (including me) have more advantages than we truly appreciate, and, yet, we still cop a shitty attitude most of the time. I’m both buoyed and put to shame by your ability to bring amusement and information to total strangers at such a stressful time in your life. Good luck on your operation tomorrow! I’ll be praying for you.

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  5. David,

    You’ve been involved in these matters for so long now. You must have a tremendous wealth of experience.

    Of the people who eventually end up being subjected to involuntary abuses in the mental health system, how many of them initially entered into it voluntarily and in fact went along with it voluntarily for quite a while? And why did they do this?

    How many of those abused by the mental health system were first put into it as children? And what do you think should be done about this?

    You speak of the Creatively Maladjusted. But aren’t you also talking about those who have been abused and rejected?

    Don’t you think we should be fighting for some more concrete political reforms to get a better deal for those who have been abused and rejected?

    You keep talking about this as though it is going to happen in terms which are completely peaceful. But don’t you think that there is already conflict which underlies it, and that what it amounts to is those who are deemed unfit by The Family, versus those who use The Family to socially advance themselves?

    People rejected are often living on alcohol, street drugs, and prescription medications. They will often be found living in psychiatric hospitals, homeless shelters, and evangelical brainwashing camps. Don’t you think that this already is violence? And if it goes to internment camps, gas chambers, and ovens, are you still going to be advocating for non-violence? Are you concerned about maintaining a claim to moral superiority? Isn’t the situation already so severe that we shouldn’t need to be worrying about that?

    You speak about multiple times ending up in psychiatric hospitals, starting when you were still a teenager. Now I know that there is con artistry involved here. The idea of mental health treatment is widely promoted, and people have for a century been taught to believe in psychotherapy. So the chances of being duped and sucked in are high.

    But there must have been things going on in your life which led you to turn to such bogus remedies. Am I right? Have you looked at what some of these things were? Could any of them be considered forms of familial child abuse or exploitation?

    Have you ever seen this video?

    In such situations do you think there should be outside intervention?

    Do you think a more aggressive position in making doctors comply with the mandatory reporting of suspected cases of child abuse would help?

    Do you think there is something to be gained by people taking a more forcible stance in standing up for themselves, and making sure that there are more concrete political reforms?

    As it looks to me now, taking what appears to be a completely passive stance, you are just helping those who see this all in terms of the pseudo-science of eugenics. They feel that some portion of the population is already not fit to live, and so it deserves no better than it already has. Do you agree?

    Would you welcome someone like the Abolitionist John Brown into Creative Maladjustment Week? Do you think he would want to be a part of it?

    Those leading the racial civil rights movement in the US, ended up in solidarity with the global anti-colonial movement. MLK was quite slow to understand this.

    Do you think that those who have survived the mental health system, are really just those who have survived the middle-class family, that which is held up as the ideal and the standard for who is acceptable and who is not?

    If so, don’t you think we should have some more concrete and tangible goals we are fighting for, and don’t you think we should be going further than just a week of creative maladjustment?


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  6. Familial Abuse

    The middle-class family is an institution invented for the exploitation of children. The reason for this is that the middle-class lives in bad faith. We have never had anything like this before, except perhaps involving royalty.

    So most children accept this, and they become exactly like their parents. But once in a while, for whatever reason, the child can feel early on that something is wrong with the situation, and so animosity develops.

    So the way the world divided then is into those who aid and perpetrate familial child abuse, versus those who tell the truth and oppose and resist familial child abuse.

    Those who aid and perpetrate familial child abuse usually include psychotherapists, psychiatrists, pedagogues, politicians, and most clergy. It is anyone who tries to use familyism to advance themselves.

    Those who of us who resist familial child abuse are few in number. We do not promote familyism. Instead we work to expose it and expose who it preys on children. But most of us are already so harmed that we are lost. Seeking recovery, therapy, healing, and just plain seeking pity.

    So the pain is not just of the past, the pain is of having to live without social legitimacy RIGHT NOW!

    We get abused in the family, in the school, in the peer group, in the work place, and with intimate partners and potential intimate partners.

    And it is not going to improve at all until we who resist familial child abuse start organizing and start wining some concrete political victories.

    We cannot follow Mind Freedom and seek pity.

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  7. People say they want to end coercive psychiatry, but they keep playing footsie under the table with psychotherapists.

    “Please don’t subject us to forced medication and psychiatric treatment. We have already been rendered non-violent. Have pity on us. Give us a chance to try psychotherapy and recovery.”

    So given that the reason that we have psychiatry and psychotherapy is to legitimate child abuse and to perpetuate an underclass using eugenic arguments, the anti-psychiatry movement is not being very effective.


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