From The Fix: “This is the reality of where mental health remains—just as stigmatized and embarrassingly disentangled as it was last year at this time or 45 years ago when our mom read Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Lots of unfortunate confusion here, including the implication that a higher “mental health” budget is what is needed. Basically, lots of misunderstood psych terminology (particularly “schizophrenia”) and insufficient understanding of the consequences of taking FOURTEEN different drugs. And this is the way the system wants it.
It sounds like the person in question here needs some controls on his behavior, followed by a realistic understanding of the forces undermining his existence. Not that this will be easy after all he has been through.
the link of the article is this:
That article of Kevin Chroust has: 3.848 words. Is long. Is wordy.
Is a confused narrative has: no beginging, no middle and has no conclusion.
Is “NOT NOT” worthy to read 🙂
From the article:
quote 1) “Its Yelp rating is one-and-a-half stars”.
re: Could have no stars and be better.
quote 2) “Illinois can’t afford a barber”.
re: this is silly. No need of a barber to self-cut the beard. And to cut hair is not that hard to do.
quote 3) “He seems heavily medicated and his eyes don’t always seem to link up with mine when we look at each other”.
quote 4) Also countable, known medications prescribed as—or in unison with—anti-psychotics: 14. I don’t know if that’s a lot.
re: So he looks heavily medicated… and he takes fourteen (14) medical drugs, and you dont know if that is a lot?!
Little help here: “Polypharmacy is the use of four (4), or more medications, by a patient”.
FOUR! 4×4=16 (near to 14, yes?)
quote 5) “deemed unfit to stand trial”. “14 ]medical drugs, daily[ I don’t know if that’s a lot. It’s probably very average”
re: With a family like this, and the typical psychiatrists… the mental health/justice system can do whatever they want with him… for how long they want… and sleep likes babies… every… single… nigth.
quote 6) “He started drinking and smoking weed when he was probably 14”. “He smoked a lot of pot and years later got around to a lot of harder drugs”.
re: the same thing badmouthing… over and over again.
Hey…those of you with SZ? Dont you see the trend?
Psychiatrits put themselves under by the best ligth possible: They are sucessful, educated, rich, powerful, the best of the best.
And the scapegoats… the SZ, those gravely sick folks…
1) have broken brains;
2) chemical unbalances;
3) genetic problems;
4) drug problems;
5) are tobaco adicts;
6) have alchool problems;
7) are violent;
8) are dumb, lack short term memory;
9) cannot marry,
10) cannot hold to a job;
11) are slow, lazy, weak;
12) and so on…
Yet… the same Psychiatrits that deal with them, that are so good at what they do, have such full understanding of SZ… and 1-11) is the result?
Just “like insulin for diabetes”? Rigth mr. Lieberman?
quote 7), from the comments section, full quote:
” ejunge • 5 days ago
thanks for a very moving essay. Imagine a country where the mentally ill have housing readily available where they can smoke (is there anyone diagnosed with schizophrenia that doesn’t smoke?) cigarettes or weed, where medications are carefully calibrated, where police are well-trained on handling mentally ill people, where facilities are clean and comfortable….. it wouldn’t stop the pain but would go a long way towards a civilized approach.
My comment (here at MIA) to ejunge:
“If cows had wings, they would fly”.
Civilized approach…. MY ____ 🙂
This kind of narratives of Kevin Chroust, perpetuates the Pharma chains.
You know what?
There is even worse. I know a SZ that takes 21 (twenty one medical pills… daily). Sure, he wont last 5 years. Very civilized.
Forgot the link of the Polypharmacy:
AntiP: I didn’t interpret the article in the same way you did. I was left with the distinct feeling that the author had been very supportive of his brother, visiting him regularly and at times, housing him and he genuinely loves his brother. I read the grief and the hopelessness behind the lines but I don’t think he overly blamed his brother and I think he questioned he medical model but maybe not as vociferously as you would like.
As a family member who has logged 1,000+ hours in psychiatric facilities which were, in my opinion, highly restrictive, harmful, and disempowering , this article resonated slightly; it certainly didn’t whitewash how these places appear. The comparison to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was not lost to this reader and it reminded me that people who are incarcerated have very few visitors. The author was an exception to this trend. In cases where families are abusive, good riddance. But there are non- abusive families who stop visiting their loved ones in secure, psychiatric facilities. Why? What happens to families that they would stop visiting their loved one at his/her time of greatest need, even if that time of need stretches out to years, even decades?
Most families want stability for a loved one, i.e. a life off the streets and shielded from being the victim of crime, or worse, being a perpetrator of a crime, even if this ‘stability’ comes at a very high price. Most families cannot sustain the desire to help a loved one become truly re-empowered in the sense that their rights are fully restored and the psychiatric harm they experienced in the system is atoned for; because to do so would mean taking on the entire system against great odds, even while trying to mend the very fiber of a relationship which was horribly ripped and leveraged by the system which doesn’t favor outsiders who question the ‘treatment’
I think that many family members do eventually come to question the harmful nature of the medical model of ‘mental illness’ and family members themselves have been traumatized and treated shabbily when they speak out and advocate from this perspective. Maybe this isn’t in your experience but it is my experience. You rarely hear the stories of families who are demoralized and crushed but it happens frequently. Families have no supports, only NAMI, the pseudo consumer organization that is a shill for big Pharma.
Family members may be victims themselves. An individual may have the memory of being assaulted or had every piece of their furniture set on fire by a loved one while he/she was in a state of medication induced akathisia or during a rebound psychosis caused by a medication withdrawal during which the person withdrawing had no social or medical supports whatsoever. This is traumatizing not just for the diagnosed one but for all of his/her loved ones.
Most families, visiting the back wards, can quickly size up how useless, crazy-making, and harmful the system is it is yet it is like trying to fight Darth Vader and the Dark Star. We are as powerless as our loved one, caught in the grips of a mad system, we are like little freedom fighters down to a small star fleet on the margins of the universe.
Are family members to blame if we see how crazy our entire system is and we run away out of terror? Yes, it haunts us if we at times, have left our loved one to fend almost entirely for him/herself in these institutional hell-holes which are rife with corruption, neglect, and psychiatric harm.
But we too, have been marginalized by questioning the medical model. We have whispered conspiratorially to our loved in the hallways of the back wards: “You will get emanicapated from this place” “You will wake up from this nightmare” We too, have had to go underground with our hope. We too, have had to lie to a cynical or sadistic clinician to keep from having something negative about our loved one documented, making their fate even worse. We too, had to secretly reject the opinions and pronouncements of those who would have us ‘accept’ our loved one’s permanent status as a mental patient and to set the bar low for him/her. We whispered words of encouragement to our loved one on the phone of the back ward, because hope itself is a forbidden fruit of the mental health system so it must be whispered. MindFreedom brochures questioning shock and other atrocities must be smuggled in like contraband.
Yes, it would be nice if family members like me were the most noble of creatures and be willing to risk everything: property, careers, friendships, whatever we possess in order to stand by a loved one who has been stripped of their humanity and fight with them in the trenches every single day against their diagnosis/labeling their ‘treatment’, their homelessness and criminalization, discrimination, stigma, helping them reject all of their labels and legally challenge their involuntary treatment (drugging) while helping them stay housed and fed and clothed, out of the reach of the law against overwhelming odds.
Some family members are noble and and never let go. But family members who can hang on for decades are rare. Most, like me, are weak and tired and scared. We want to see our loved one happy, have sexually and romantically satisfying relationships, have lives of meaning and purpose, a place to call their own but in helping our loved ones pursue these things, we are often not willing to risk those same things in our own lives, the things we have worked hard to attain, a marriage, a home, a life. Standing in solidarity with a person on the margins is a noble pursuit few are able to accomplish for decades.
Michael Cornwall once remarked that at the beginning of his career as a therapist, it was ‘music’ to his ears if he heard a family member came to him during the ‘first break’ or crisis involving a loved one, “She is the apple of my eye. I would give up everything to see her better!”
But I would caution you not to judge family members too harshly because you may be harboring unrealistic ideals of how much hell a family member is able to wade through.
I witnessed a dearth of visitors at nearly every facility where I visited my loved one. Countless times, when I was visiting my daughter on the ward, other patients, people who by my estimation were hungry for companionship and stimulation (apart from the people who are paid to ‘babysit’ them) would ask if they could participate in whatever activity my daughter and I were doing, whether it was cards, or Scrabble, singing, or just having a raucous conversation. Sometimes visitors can bring a little craziness, a little laughter to the sterile, suppressed environment of a back ward. This is light, this is healing. Sometimes staff support and encourage outside visits and on rare occasions help ‘break’ the rules or make exceptions to policies in order to make such visits pleasant and frequent. Often though, clinical staff do not favor outside visitors because of the potential exposure of their harm and corruption. Visitors can witness psychiatric harm and human rights violation and increase the likelihood that such harm will be reported on and exposed.
In this story, the brother was clearly bringing a breath of fresh air to a dilapidated, terrible environment to bring ‘normalcy’ to his brother. Did you not read the part about how they threw food at the televised game and whooped it up? Surely, this had staff squirming. Why did you not see any of the positive aspects of this story?
As a family member, we too, have been traumatized by the restrictions placed on our contact with our daughter, by the nonsensical multiple subjective diagnoses and the terrible nature of the social control that is masked as ‘therapy’ or ]’treatment’, such as restraints, isolation, forced medication, etc. When people are at their most vulnerable, rather than help people build up their boundaries/shields and empower people back to healthy, we strip them of every last dignity and consolation and take away their rights, in effect, compounding their original trauma that led them to be diagnosed in the first place, dis-empowering and making them chronically, socially isolated.
My reading is that the author is aware of the conflicting and hypocritical nature of the mental health system. He questions whether the system propagates illness rather than wellness. Rather than judge this person, I think it is prudent to support such individuals.
Agreed. Plus try to educate them.
You wrote a long post. Will take me some time to read it.
The links/motives/hlep or lack of it between one person that got the diagnostic and got under psychiatric drugs and their relatives/family are way to many.
From my experience, families have their own interests and agenda. Not always.
You likely live at the USA. Well do you know that there are countries that… every year… thousands of women get killed by their families? Grown up women. Adult women.
So, i will read your post and will reply tomorrow.
First, let me add some proof of what i said yesterday (related with the violence at the family). I did not posted it before, as i had to find sources at english. Here:
Title: “The silent nightmare of domestic violence in Russia”.
Quote from the article: 600,000 women victims of domestic abuse every year. 14,000 die from injuries inflicted by husbands or partners each year. Source: Russian interior ministry estimates.
And i translated (from other sources):
Between 12 thousands and 14 thousands of Russian women were killed by their husbands during 2008, acording to numbers of the Russian interior ministry.
Acording to Routers, a report from the ONU (of 2010), says that at Russia about 10 thousand of women are killed by their husbands or relatives, every year.
Acording to the journal Moscow Times, about 36 thousand women are spanked by their parteners every day. And that 26 thousand kids are spanked by their parents at Russia every year.
So… FAMILY = EQUAL TO LOVE ?
You have every rigth to interpret the article of this blog (or any other), as you like.
You after reading the article were left with some positive feelings. Is okay. There is no need of all of us think the same way… when we read something. We are humans, so we have our preferences, our experiences, our own goals and our own standards.
About the movie: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. I like that movie, but havent seen it for a while. I dont think the article of this blog… and that movie are in the same leage. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is way better.
Quote 1) from madmom: “Most families want stability”.
re: Is hard to generalize. Some families want stability, peace, and the mother/father want to stay in the control position. And often the sun/daugther has no where to go.
My position is not as a father. Is at a position of a son. And i know abusive families. I know abusive psychiatrits. Some health professionals just dont care, just want to get paid at the end of the month.
So… can a mother try to point the failures of the system and get stoned by all sides? Sure, yes.
Quote 2) from madmom: “Family members may be victims themselves”.
re: True. Can be a daily burden (often the heavy part falls on the mother), with litle hope (at some cases), that anything improves.
Quote 3) from madmom: “But family members who can hang on for decades are rare”.
re: Yes. And that is understadable. Happens all over the world. At some point… most people break.
Quote 4) from madmom: “Why did you not see any of the positive aspects of this story?”
re: Well, as i see it the article has too many faults. In a way is very passive, wont change anything. Will just remind those who read that blog… some not-so-nice-confused-realities.
Polyfarmacy? Any definition at the article? No.
Lazy article, low level… in my opinon.
Quote 5) from madmom: “Rather than judge this person, I think it is prudent to support such individuals”.
re: Every little helps. If you thing so, do it, support Kevin Chroust. You can post a positive comment at his site. You can contact the author, know more about his articles and activities, buy his works, support the same causes he likes.
We all have a limited time to live and a limited amount of energy. So i pick my choices. Some work, some dont. Is life 🙂 Good luck at your path.