Over the last 40 years as a dissident therapist and activist, I’ve known many people who were so negatively impacted by their subjective experience of receiving and indefinitely enduring a psychiatric diagnosis that I’ve come to see such dehumanizing labeling as the infliction of what amounts to a medical curse.
A curse is defined as: “A solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment to someone.” Of course, mental health professionals don’t intend harm when they solemnly proclaim from their position of medical authority that a person has a lifelong psychiatric disorder/disease, as is defined in the psychiatric disease model of human emotional suffering and is codified in the DSM. But over and over I’ve seen the aftermath of that powerful ritual of receiving and internalizing a lifelong, pathologizing diagnosis. Such disease model labels don’t consider how personal losses, unmet needs, isolation, traumas and social toxicity impact our lives in painful ways.
Many people struggle for decades or actually succumb and take their own lives because of the emotional pain and corrosive weight of their experience of being so unequivocally labeled. Their psychiatric label is objectively and powerfully reinforced by the injurious psychiatric treatments that accompany and always follow the officially decreed label.
Again, even the harmful treatments are always given with the expression of benevolent if not benign intention. But every hospitalization, clinic appointment and prescription written and handed over for psychiatric medications is an objective, real-time verifier and reinforcer of the indelible “fact” of the validity of the diagnostic label that must be maintained for the very necessary medical “treatment” to be continued.
In my MIA article “Does the Psychiatric Diagnosis Process Qualify as a Degradation Ceremony?” I outline the social dynamics that allow medical ritual specialists in our society to be invested with the power to permanently redefine the personhood of the identified “mental patient” that they assess, diagnosis and treat.
In that diagnostic/degradation ritual scenario, I believe an ancient human subjective experience occurs that does have the elements of the diagnosed person becoming the recipient of what can only be described as a curse.
A few years ago, a good friend, now in her eighties, who was struggling to start writing a book about her life that she’d been wanting to write for decades, told me that when she was a young patient in a psychiatric hospital, she had told her psychiatrist that she wanted to write a book about her life. Her psychiatrist told her: “The idea you’re having about writing a book someday is a grandiose delusion, it’s a symptom of your mental illness!”
My friend asked me, “Do you think her saying that so long ago is possibly still holding me back, Michael? I remember that awful sinking feeling of hearing her tell me it was only a grandiose delusion of my illness every time I’ve started to write my book, and it always seems to somehow make me quit trying to write it.”
I replied, “She cursed you.”
My friend’s eyes got big and her jaw dropped as she asked, “What did you say?”
“I said she cursed you. I believe she gave you what amounts to a medical curse from her position on high of power over you, and from her total belief that only she knew the truth about your capabilities. She believed you must be grandiose, given how she saw you as forever being impaired and mentally ill because of the diagnosis she’d given you.”
My friend then softly cried as she shook her head and said again and again, “She did curse me. She really did curse me.”
And finally she vehemently said, “I’m going to write that damn book now if it’s the last thing I ever do!”
I don’t think we can underestimate the uncanny power of receiving such proclamations about our personhood by people sanctioned by our culture to serve as arbiters of truth, much like the priestly power of their predecessors who roundly cursed those who they believed deserved such consequences.
Part of the distortion, confusion and mystification of experience that RD Laing described, that happens when we are caught in a bind by receiving two contradictory mega messages about ourselves from others, helps to create the murky aura of a medical curse when we are labeled.
This untenable double bind takes place when in essence we are told, with kindness: “I am a medical professional that only has your best interest at heart, just like all the many doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff you’ve been helped by since you were a baby and small child. Based on my training and the best medical science today, you need to recognize that you are now diagnosed to have a major mental illness or psychiatric disorder of mainly, genetic, biological and neurological causes. When we hospitalize you against your will, force powerful drug injections into your body against your will as you are immobilized by several leather restraints, it’s always for your own good. Your anger, fear, and sadness that you express in response to us doing these necessary things to you are symptomatic, emotionally defiant expressions of your mental illness that we’re doing our best to treat, just like we’d treat someone who has diabetes or some other illness or disease.”
In other words, the mixed message says: “We care about you even when we hurt you and you can’t accept that yet because of your illness that requires us to keep hurting you indefinitely as we continuously care about you.”
I think it’s human nature to get regressed and feel very vulnerable when we’re frightened and isolated, and that the quasi parental figures that doctors, nurses and other mental health staff become to us in our hours of need contributes to us taking their words about us to heart.
But that internalizing process can destroy us too. Because they are wrong about what is causing and has caused our emotional suffering.
They don’t know they are wrong, so they come on like professional caregivers only wanting what’s best for us because they believe they know what’s best for us. Tragically, their grossly untrue views about us, that they impose on us, can become as destructively powerful as if they have cursed us.
It would be much better, because we could then understand it, if the medical curse was given with them snarling in fury and condemnation rather than being given from their placid, professional faces — faces that often, unbeknownst to themselves and usually not known to us, are expressing friendly fascism.
In memory of dear Matt Stevenson, MIA blogger and heart-filled comrade.
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.
Thank you very much, this subject is very Pertinent to me right now!
My GP Surgery,
Newton Medical, Central London
18 September 2017 at 11:27
SUBJECT: MENTAL HEALTH FRAUD
Please find attached 9 attachments:-
1. A character reference from Ireland from 1986
2. An employer’s reference from Ireland 1986
3. A Subcontractors Inland Revenue ID Card from 1997
4. A House of Commons Subcontractors ID Card from 2003
5. A Construction Skills Certification Scheme ID Card from 2003
6. A Construction Skills Certification Scheme ID Card from 2008
7. A Construction Skills Certification Scheme ID Card from 2016
8. CSCS ID Card 2008 Reverse Side
9. CSCS ID Card 2016 Reverse Side
Please save these attachments to your system and please inform me of their location on your system, as I would like to refer to them again.
Please acknowledge receipt of this communication.
FORWARDED EMAIL TO :-
My Member Of Parliament
From 16 August 2017 at 12:32
SUBJECT: MENTAL HEALTH FRAUD
Dear Karen Buck MP
Severe Mental Illness is supposed to be more disabling than being blind or in a wheelchair.
My GP Surgery keeps playing around with terms like “schizophrenia” to the Point that I am now too frightened to go on to a building site.
(I sent you an email earlier today at 11.15 with the details).
My friend asked me, “Do you think her saying that so long ago is possibly still holding me back, Michael? I remember that awful sinking feeling of hearing her tell me it was only a grandiose delusion of my illness every time I’ve started to write my book, and it always seems to somehow make me quit trying to write it.”
I replied, “She cursed you.”
This is for me the finest blame-shame account for writer’s block I have yet encountered. And I’ve encountered some quite remarkable excuses.
A psychiatrist does not have the power to prevent someone writing whatever it is they wish to write.
The problem of any individual not writing boils down to three factors, almost always.
– they do not wish to write (but enjoy talking about the wish to write)
– they cannot write (although have attempted multiple times)
– they wish to write, and can write, but the writing is so dreadful that it is best they do not write
Psychiatry did not curse this woman. She cursed herself.
There are a lot of really bad memoirs out there that should never have been written. I prefer not to write a memoir because unless you’re a celebrity no one wants to read it. Journal if you must, write a memoir for the few grandchildren who might care after you die. Most memoirs don’t sell, because no one is interested and many (not all) stink too.
Once, at a hugh yard sale at a huge house that had obviously been the home of a large family, I came across a book by a child of about 10 years of age. It wasn’t published; she had used colored pencils and an otherwise unused scrapbook for her project. It was a book of fairy stories with ambitious but not entirely competent illustrations. The illustrations did one thing, which was to convey her sense of the beauty and delight in fairyland. The first story was okay, although not memorable. She launched into a second story after that, but the lettering of the title tripped her up. I think I know what happened. She was so careful to draw the edges of the letters cleanly and fill them in completely that she didn’t notice a spelling error. It was more akin to a typo than a spelling error, actually. The absence of spelling errors elsewhere makes the “typo” label seem appropriate. In any event, she inadvertently titled the second story “The Glass Sliggers.” The vision she had of crystal-clear, gleaming slippers of glass and the fairies that would discover, enchant, or bestow them will never be known. She didn’t write a word in her book after that. I wondered if her big sister or brother had spotted it and if they teased her for the rest of her life about those glass sliggers.
Most people are disinclined to write, because it’s tedious, hard to do well, hard to evaluate, and unlikely to lead to compensation. It takes a lot of optimism and confidence to start writing, given that there’s so little in favor of it as a way to burn one’s time on earth. It makes sense that it wouldn’t take much of an attack on one’s optimism and confidence to stop.
I agree with what you said about the factors that are almost always at play when people don’t write books despite saying they want to. I do believe in the “almost,” along with the rest. However, there’s a question about applicability. I can’t say whether the woman described in this memorial for a friend who was unable to shake the meaning of words said about him, even though he knew they were meaningless, would have written a single word had the nasty bitch and others not discouraged her in the cruelest way: calling her desire to write a sign of what they regarded as her mental illness. I have sympathy for her whether the blame as laid was laid appropriately or not. Her tears were no doubt shed for more than the book she didn’t write. Babies she didn’t have? Men she didn’t marry? The curse is a curse of separation: you from others, you from your belief in yourself, you from any future that bears contemplation.
Amen. I always wanted to marry and have a family and become a children’s librarian. Psychiatry killed those dreams thoroughly!
I’m trying to resurrect some, but it feels pitiful. I actually found a male friend who supported me in coming off my psych drugs. He said those were poison–a lot of his family members take them so he knows more than most about them. (And he doesn’t shill drugs through books like Crazy or speaking engagements through NAMI either. A real conflict of interest in the situation presented here.)
Anyhow, he and I are now moving beyond friendship. Not the same at 44 though. Sometimes I wonder if it’s fair to him since I’m only a damaged, empty shell of a human being now that the Psych Industry has thoroughly destroyed me and vaporized my reputation.
Sometimes I feel like throwing in the towel and becoming a hermit. Only going out for groceries and a few other necessary errands.
….”….only a damaged, empty shell of a human being”…. “thoroughly destroyed” and “vaporized” your reputation!? WTF? Stop feeling so sorry for yourself! Just stop the PITY PARTY! 44 is NOT OLD! Why should you let a painful past deprive you of a happy future? You know, it’s never too late to have a happy childhood. I’m hearing some serious issues around toxic guilt, and toxic shame. Maybe your new boyfriend KNOWS what he’s getting into with you. He’s probably got his share of scars, too. New sweeties CAN bring up old hurts, traumas, pains, wounds, etc., Just be honest with yourself, honest with him, and try to have HOPEFUL, REALISTIC expectations. Expecting only bad results or pain/failure is just as unrealistic as expecting Prince Charming on a dashing Arabian steed. What’s wrong with a manly valet on a burro? Just don’t try too hard to go too far too fast. Sorry, I just felt like I needed to jump in with some words of encouragement! “He” sounds like he’s got a fair idea what he’s getting into with you, from experience with his other family members….. (BTW, I am NOT old enough to be your Father, but I’m plenty old enough to be your BIG BROTHER!…. If “he” dumps you, send me an email. I’m tired of being a singleton! LOL Something can be taken seriously, yet still have a large dose of humor, too! I hope you at least got a smile out of this comment….
Thank you Bradford. Yes, pity parties are my arch nemesis. Like alcohol to someone who loves to get drunk.
I think Bruce Levin said self pity is more addictive than heroin. 🙂
Lots of folks are worse off than me. I need to see how I can help them!
Thanks for the “glass sliggers” anecdote. Evocative.
@Rasselas- You have clearly bought into the belief system that says everything in life is made up by our choices. i.e. This woman chose not to write. If she had this amazing book inside her, she would not have let one mean comment stop her. This is total bull and this idea seems to exist just to exculpate people from the consequences of bullying. The important part of the cursed writer example is that anyone labeled mentally ill is no longer allowed to have any ambitions at all. All your future plans are just delusions of grandeur. You are not allowed to have a decent job, get married, have kids or even pets, travel or retire because you are broken and diseased. All you can do is work a crap job for crap pay, live and die alone, again because you are broken and diseased. And while people can decide not to listen to these insults, it’s hard when the bullying comes in the form of a doctor’s diagnosis. And every doctor is trained to say the exact same thing. And we have celebrities constantly adding their assurances that depression is caused by brain chemical imbalances and can easily be treated by talk therapy (professional bullies) magic anti-crazy pills.
Also would like a moratorium on this idea that if you aren’t the second coming of Shakespeare you should just put down the pen or walk away from the laptop. Everything does not have to rise to the level of high literature. Maybe I would enjoy reading this woman’s memoir. It’s not up to you or her psych doc to say it’s all a delusion of grandeur. I feel like you and your snob friends are the reason why I am constantly walking out of Barnes and Noble empty handed.
People will put you down. They will ridicule you. Tease you. Mock you. All sorts of hullabaloo.
But who gives power to the pessimism?
I was once told by a psychiatrist that I had a degenerative brain disease. And that I would have to take antipsychotics for the rest of my life.
As it turns out, the psychiatrist had a diseased imagination and I haven’t popped an antipsychotic for 20 years.
That said, some of the best unwritten books I’ve not read have had a remarkable influence on me.
If the woman deeply desired to write a memoir and enjoyed reading it to herself the book would be a clear success. Just not a sure fire path to dollars. Kind of like playing the lottery only a lot more difficult!
Uh-oh! We have a troll, here! Quacks can ABSOLUTELY cause people to self-censor, and that manipulative gag CAN sicken them!!! Psychiatry KNOWS that self-expression is an escape hatch from its totalitarian #fakescience. It attributes people’s “problems” to their “broken brains”, while claiming that “a good patient is a silent patient”. And psychiatry’s victims buy into that manipulation, due to its covert melding of obedience and health. If that woman had spoken, maybe someone would have heard her and VALUED her words. Then, psychiatry’s curse on her would be broken . . . Now, why do I think you don’t want that?
“If that woman had spoken, maybe someone would have heard her and VALUED her words. Then, psychiatry’s curse on her would be broken . . . Now, why do I think you don’t want that?”
I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me.
There has long been a rich canon of survivor literature, dating back at least 200 years. If you were aware of this — which you don’t seem to be — then you’d maybe think about this differently.
That is a very pull your socks up or shut up attitude.
I find that people don’t do things, including writing, for all sorts of reasons.
As an example, I sometimes teach voice work. I have worked with people who mumble. I found more than once that they would start talking more clearly once they had talked over some trauma. I did allsorts of technical work with someone who was really hard to understand. It helped a bit, but not a lot. For some reason we started talking about how we had both seen our fathers try to strangle our mothers. His voice grew clear and easy to understand.
If you have faith in a professional you may well do what they say. If they say you will never write a book and you have faith in them you may well believe them and act appropriately. It is the opposite of the placebo effect.
John Hodgett, I am not sure whose comment you are replying to. I studied voice with Frank Baker as part of my music study and a few others and I also am currently going through the Toastmasters program. I know what you mean about the dreaded “mumbling” and “trailing off at the end of a sentence” that so many people do.
I also did teaching as part of my masters degree in creative writing. The philosophy we were taught, which I feel is a good one and also aligns well with what I was taught in Frank Baker’s classes, is to find that part of a student’s work that is truly magnificent, whatever it is, and ask that student to do more of it.
So if a writing student, for instance, does a really good job of depicting dialogue, stress this in feedback. If there’s a passage of brilliant description, but only a paragraph of that, tell the student that more could be added. That way, students don’t leave feeling bad, they are instead encouraged.
I wish therapists did the same, but I don’t remember their doing that much at all. I recall insults, their telling me how stupid I am, that I did stuff wrong and moral put-downs, telling me how disordered I am, insults to my family that these therapists had never met, gross assumptions, even calling me alcoholic or violent, threats, or telling me if I didn’t follow their instructions and treat them like gods I’d be locked up or I’d die, or the dreaded vague threat of relapse.
According to Szasz, and I think he was right, is that most will fall into the predicted path that the diagnosis carves for them. Some, however, will rebel and reject the diagnosis. Given that I was a rebellious kid who admired the hippies as role models I am surprised that I didn’t end up the latter, but along with rebelliousness I also enjoyed being a stellar student (almost part of the defiance), so sadly, I enjoyed playing stellar patient (probably defying the student role) for far too many years. I admit it was a huge waste. That isn’t easy.
I am very sorry to hear about Matt, I didn’t believe it initially.
My Member of Parliament
19 September at 13:28
MENTAL HEALTH MISREPRESENTATION
Dear Karen Buck MP,
I would like to attend your surgery to discuss Mental Health misrepresentation with you. I think this is a relevant issue.
Please read below.
On the attached July 20 2016 Appointment information sheet in Capitals my GP Dr Simons has written:-
“…I SEE NO REASON WHY MR XXX COULD NOT WORK ON A BUILDING SITE..”
On the attached Legal Advisers Information sheet (from Dr Simons during the July 20 interview) Newton Medicals Legal Adviser has written:-
“…The fact that this patient has a medical diagnosis of schizophrenia is a key part of his medical record and this cannot be removed as to do so could prove detrimental to his care…”
“..It does not seem in this case that the fact of the diagnosis is disputed and it is clearly relevant information for the purpose of the medical…”
IF THE 2 PARAGRAPHS ABOVE ACCURATELY REPRESENT ME, THEN I SHOULDN’T BE ANYWHERE NEAR A BUILDING SITE.
ABOUT ME VERY BRIEFLY
I was disabled and in and out of hospital, between 1980 and 1984. I have been WELL since 1984 when I carefully stopped drug treatment suitable for any SMI.
Thank you for your comments Fiachra.
Thank you Michael. Those email reproductions (above) are real and the dates are real. And what I have stated in them is real and can be substantiated.
My GP is a nice person (as are the other staff at the GP Sugery), but he is taking dishonest and unfair advantage.
(The “Diagnosis” from Southern Ireland was not “Schizophrenia” either – It was “SchizoAffective Disorder”).
EMAIL FROM ME TO:
My Doctor Surgery, Newton Medical, Central London, UK.
SUBJECT:- CHALLENGE TO DIAGNOSIS
On Thu, 27 Apr 2017 at 11:20,
Please examine the email and attachments (below).
I am keen to challenge the 1986 Irish Record Summary and any Mental Health Diagnosis you might hold on me.
Please record the exact location of the attachments to this email trail on your information system, so that I can refer to them at a later date.
(Resent Emails dated 29 August 2013 + 16 October 2014 – also contain more background information).
I would ask for the Amendment of the 1986 Irish Record Summary (not Removal).
Please acknowledge receipt of this email trail + attachments.
Forwarded Email From Me To Ombudsman :-
On Thu, 16 Feb 2017 at 10:58,
Would you please pass this Information email on to Joanne Dawson. I apologise for any unpleasantness attached to the contents.
Please find attached:-
1. The Relevant Sections of my November 8, 1986 Handwritten Adverse Drug Reaction Warning Request Letter (3 pages).
2. The November 24, 1986 Irish Record Summary (2 pages) – With Requested Adverse Drug Reaction Warning Intentionally Omitted.
3. My January 13, 2012 ‘Near Fatal Modecate Experience’ – ‘Statement’, sent to;- Galway University, Depot Side Effect Research & Monitoring Team
4. Admitting Doctor, Dr Fadels description of me ‘on presentation’ at Galway in November 1980.
5. The November 1986 False Reassurance Letter From Dr Donlon Kenny
MALPRACTICE AT GALWAY 1986
Please examine and reconcile the attachments to this email and please read through the background information to the offending drugs for perspective. My recovery after April 1984 was as a result of discontinuing these drugs.
MALPRACTICE & DIAGNOSIS
I don’t think a Medical environment engaging in Malpractice can be trusted to represent a Medical Opinion.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE OFFENDING DRUG
Associated with Akathisia and depot Fluphenazine (Modecate) treatment
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/16313058_Suicide_Associated_with_Akathisia_and_Depot_Fluphenazine_Treatment 1983 (Dr K Shearer, Dr A Frances..)
Dr A Frances went on to become Committee Chairperson to DSM 4.
I think I describe the symptoms of Akathisia fairly well in my November 1986 Handwritten ADR Request Letter + in My January 2012 ‘Statement’ to Galway University.
Wikipedia:- ‘Signs and Symptoms’
“….Neuro-psychologist Dr. Dennis Staker had drug-induced akathisia for two days. His description of his experience was this: “It was the worst feeling I have ever had in my entire life…”….”
Adverse Drug Reaction
“…The side effects most frequently reported with phenothiazine compounds are extrapyramidal symptoms including pseudoparkinsonism, dystonia, dyskinesia, akathisia….”
Absolutely! I was ‘diagnosed’ with anxiety, depression, agitated depression, major depression, adjustment disorder, bipolar, vegetative depression, psychotic depression, somatization disorder, dissociative identity disorder, DEMENTIA, plus paranoid ideation (when I questioned the role of pharmaceuticals in creating this mess) Of course all disappeared like magic when I tapered off drugs. Of course, the brain damage from forced ECT will never disappear.
The only thing I did was take a benzo during a time of great stress and exhaustion and cold-turkey off it. I was never depressed until the doctors got their hands on me. The curse DEMENTED – I left farewell notes for my husband and wrote a living will I was afraid I would kill myself and I was afraid I wouldn’t kill myself. I gave away all my most precious belongings. Those psychiatric labels stick on medical paperwork and in my subconscious. I lost my self-confidence. I will never lose my hatred and my will-power.
amnesia, I’m very sorry all those psychiatric labels were forced on you. I see you bravely fighting off the impact of them.
My psychiatrist thought I had religious delusions. I disagreed with him when he said he was God! Ha ha.
I gotta laugh. Every time I paced, my shrink called me manic. After I got off the drugs I never paced again. Gee, I must have recovered. Ah, nyah nyah…..
I got the religious delusions one too, because my psychologist lied to my psychiatrist, she claimed I thought I was the second coming. I told the psychiatrist that was untrue, I believe Jesus is a man. But, according to the psychologists’ medical records, it was the psychologist’s pastor who “thought she was the second coming” and claimed “voices of God talk through her to other people.”
All I wanted to know was what a dream about being ‘moved by the Holy Spirit’ meant. Thankfully, I got away from those loons and an ethical pastor was kind enough to say such a dream just means God has chosen you to help Him with something.
The ironic thing was I later learned the religion that the psychiatrist claimed to be a member of believes all in their religion are the “saviors,” so the psychiatrist was actually the one with delusions of grandeur he was Jesus. Those crazy God complexed doctors.
Thank-you, Dr. Cornwall. This should be required reading for anybody in the whole, sordid, “mental health field”. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology with potent neuro-toxins. The DSM is a catalog of billing codes. ALL of the bogus “diagnoses” in it were INVENTED to serve as excuses to $ELL DRUG$. There are currently 100’s of such CURSES in the DSM-5. So-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as “real” as presents from Santa Claus, but not more real. There is nothing objective, scientific, or medical about psychiatry. It is purely subjective. I really like your characterization of bogus psych “diagnoses” as curses. I’m not sure that “madness” is much of an improvement over “mental illness”, but you’re on the right track, so KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!….
(….”personal losses, unmet needs, isolation, traumas, and social toxicities” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as quickly and smoothly as “mental illness”, and besides, “m.i.” has such stigma and social blame. We humans seem to be *SUCH* a blaming and stigmatizing species!….
Certainly curses and psychiatric labels are similar, in that both are verbal pronouncements that ruin people’s lives. But at least since 1990, they differ in that in a majority of cases, people voluntarily present themselves (or their children) for psychiatric labeling/”treatment”, due to being lured in by the bait of lies which build up false hopes, and once hooked, they are reeled in and never released. So maybe a fishing analogy also applies.
And returning to our previous disagreement about your faith in the “good intentions” of psychiatrists, I believe it is this misplaced faith that enables people to be fooled by lying psychiatrists who have learned to profit by taking advantage of it. Every one of these psychiatrists is an integral part of the whole system which only exists because of their voluntary participation in the scam. Maybe the reason they seem to really believe what they say, is that since they lie all day long of every day, lying becomes totally natural and comfortable for them; It’s their identity, so they do it without having to think about it.
Lawrence, the 40 plus psychiatrists that I knew and worked along side as a dissident therapist at several different clinical locations within a large public sector mental health system for 28 years, were not in it for the money. They were not motivated by greed as you have suggested. They all could have made probably double their civil service salaries in private practice or other private psychiatric settings. Many of them had gone to some of the best medical schools in the country. They weren’t slouches. Many had been in the Peace Corps or served as Doctors Without Borders physicians on their vacation times. But all of them but one, had totally bought the psychiatric disease model of human emotional suffering, which was reinforced constantly for decades by the neuroscience stance of the APA and NIMH. But those psychiatrists did, with the best of intentions as altruistic civil servants, harm their patients as I describe in this article by indelibly labeling/medically cursing and harmfully treating their patients based on the true believer ideology of the psychiatric disease model.
This Psychiatrist in the UK gets about
£170,000 per patient per year in funding
I know I am late to comment here, but the topic hasn’t grown old, and I just read this post for the first time. Micheal’s posts resonate deeply with my own truth.
I’m responding to the comment by Lawrence Kelmenson and to Michael’s reply. I agree with Kelmenson that even kind-hearted, well-meaning, psychiatrists and psychologists are culpable for the harm the whole system does because they benefit from that system, but I think this idea that they’re motivated by greed, which Michael objects to, muddies the argument. They profit in ways that have nothing to with money. Greed gets mixed up in it for some people, but I doubt its the primary motivation for the majority of psych workers. I think the motivation is often about identity and the desire to play an important role in society. The role of competent expert who also serves as cultural gatekeeper and savior is a pretty heady role to build your identity around, even if you earn a lousy social worker’s salary – and social workers are often mixed up in the harm being done. You’d be hard pressed to argue they’re doing it out of greed, but a shining identity is worth more than money. We are all searching for a way to matter in the society we depend on for belonging. The sin is believing that a desire to be good and do good can ever impart the right to wield authority over another person’s beliefs and autonomy. Sins done under the guise of good work are often done with real conviction. Good intentions aren’t enough to clear guilt, especially when there’s an extreme power differential like that created by huge institutions holding legal authority. They may make it easier to forgive, but the wielding of power requires deep humility and a willingness to recognize the potential for harm. Psychiatry hasn’t recognized its own potential for harm. I think psych workers tend to believe in their own myth because it reinforces the meaningfulness of their lives in way that is very self affirming. The harm they do still exists, no matter what their motivation is. The desire to be valued and valuable can’t be used as an excuse.
In due fairness to the psych establishment there are many people willing to gain the curse of a bipolar or schizophrenic label. In exchange, they get a free pass on all sorts of nasty and irresponsible behaviors that “normal” people don’t. I have known abusive partners who would smash valuables,, hit, or say hateful things to their significant other/spouse then try to beg off with “it’s my illness” or “my meds are off” or similar garbage. An insult to those with SMI labels who behave themselves! It also enables them to shun adult responsibilities and not have to work for a living. I have heard people brag that they can now collect a “nut check” from the government.
Thomas Szazs made a lot of “consumers” angry when he claimed that madness–especially long term madness–is a choice. But a tango takes two. Without the “grateful consumers” who refuse to grow up and think about others; who enjoy lives of childish dependency, laziness and self centered behaviors while high on drugs, psychiatry would be much less of a force to reckon with.
“YetAnotherAccount” = a rare TRUTH, well-spoken!….
Maybe in your circle of friends someone can just claim they are rude or violent because of an illness. Society at large does not allow you any kind of free pass for being diagnoses as mentally ill. Instead it is quite the opposite. One example is a rape victim being labeled bipolar. Now her accusations are just delusions. The only person getting a free pass is the rapist.
Yes. But there are also rapists getting their “Get Out of Jail Free” cards by claiming that they are “suffering from bipolar.” Untreated of course. Then some expert will get on the air and say that the rapist/mass murderer must be “Bipolar” or “Paranoid Schizophrenic.” Why? Because only a severely mentally ill person would be capable of committing such crimes!
Even when I drank the psych kool-aid this kind of thing disgusted me. I saw it as an insult to all the “severely mentally ill” who obeyed the law, cared for sick relatives, and volunteered at soup kitchens. Now, I find it more disgusting still. At least the cocktail may prove a good chemical castration for the rapist/mass murderer. He will probably wish he’d gone to prison before long.
I can say for years I honestly believed the diagnosis. When I tried to come off the drugs I went fairly wobbly and this reinforced my beliefs. I was happy enough to get down to non intrusive levels. But the low levels would not have been suitable for “Severe Mental Illness”anyway.
As I said, I also drank the psychiatric kool aid for over two decades. Looking back, my “good insight” encouraged me to act crazier than ever. My psycho-therapists were confusing me by telling me to be an adult and assume responsibility while encouraging I behave in a childish, dependent and gullible way to be a good mental patient. Never noticed it’s impossible to assume both roles at once. Talk about “mixed messages!”
I also wondered if I was immoral or stupid or both. The shrinks never clarified this for me. They probably never figured it out themselves and chose to play it by ear with their make-believe chemical imbalances and other lies.
Wow. Just wow. I guess you have everyone figured out.
Just wanted to share something – it’s not only psychiatry – all branches of medicine.
Oncology: Doctor: Stop waiting for a miracle . You have only two to three days to live (with acute leukemia). Me: Who do you want to believe? Your doctor or me? Patient: I can still remember his expensive polished shoe on the side of my bed. We did imagery and Therapeutic Touch.
Outcome: The patient went into strong remission. The doctor died a week later of a heart attack on the street outside of the hospital – he was 43 years old. A perfect ending.
Cardiology: He (my husband) could drop dead any minute. He needs to have a pacemaker /ICD immediately. Me: He is feeling better. Cardiologist: People often feel better just before they drop dead. I was devastated and terrified and sick for weeks. My husband got over it quite quickly. A few years later, a few micrionutrients later my husband is no longer a candidate for any type of invasive measures.
Be careful how you hex your patients..
First mention of Matt I’ve seen on MIA so far, thank you. While it is premature to speculate I believe whatever may have led to this needs to be discussed on MIA lest it affect people privately in destructive ways. Our adversaries may also attempt to exploit this tragedy in cynical and defamatory manner and we should be prepared to defend Matt’s memory, courage and skill at defanging these vampires and exposing their bloodsucking schemes conducted in the guise of medicine.
As for the rhetorical question in the title — sort of a no-brainer, don’t you think?
I just read your blog
What has happened to Matt? You write in memory of dear Matt
I am internet friend of Matt’s and we have also spoken on occasion on Skype. Just a few weeks ago he wrote this time with a list of questions which I was in the process of answering but was delayed due to traveling commitments. I have an awful sinking feeling because Of what your words in memory of are saying.
Olga I’m very sorry to say it, but I learned yesterday that Matt took his life on Thursday.
There will be a memorial here on madinamerica tomorrow I’m told. There is a large group of people who knew Matt on the Facebook group- “Drop the Disorder” who are supporting each other and sending messages to Matt’s family.
Matt produced some brilliant insightful work on Personal Independence, on Mad In America and other platforms. I thought he had the potential to produce lots more. I didn’t believe the news that he had passed away.
That’s horrible. You probably aren’t at liberty to tell us why Matt made this choice. But something must have been going wrong for him to decide to suicide. Often it’s an act of despair, grief or a way to avoid a lingering and incurable disease like cancer or alzheimer’s.
The pro-psych team would probably say his MI killed him. Bunch of hogwash! I have friends who died from psychiatric treatments and known folks who killed themselves because they were very unhappy. But no one ever died from an SMI!
Such devastating, devastating news. I only knew Matt from when he first commented profusely on MIA , and then later when he started blogging using his real name.
His blogs and his comments helped me enormously as I struggled to understand and support my loved one. I felt in awe of how he had overcome so much adversity, and felt so grateful that my loved one would one day see that her peers included people like Matt. What an amazing, intelligent and compassionate man: This is such a loss to our community.
If anyone knows how I could pass on condolences to his family please let me know.
Such sad news about Matt. He made many meaningful contributions here (and elsewhere) and will be very missed. RIP.
Thank you for letting me know. This is just so incredibly sad and makes me at the same time so angry with this thing called psychiatry. Your blog makes complete sense one is cursed and caste out of society while being ‘treated’ for the curse they caste upon one and I could rage on. But a kind and gentle soul has left us and that is at the moment the thing that fills my mind.
Dear Michael it’s good to read your blog post and to hear your voice again denouncing the abusive power of psychiatry. Hello again!
Since we last spoke I’ve been busy getting through another psychosis in 2015, without psychiatry this time around, had no option but to avoid it. Wouldn’t have been safe within their walls after I’ve been speaking out and exposing the human rights abuses done to my son February 2012.
I’ve never believed in mental illness or psychiatric dogma which meant that their Dx labels had no power over me. I have my Mother to thank for this. She was a psychiatric abuse survivor and her example was a great inspiration to me. Labelled with Schizophrenia and given many courses of ECT in earlier years because of externalising her mental distress. Yet she led a dignified life, productive despite their bad treatment, on a Depixol depot almost until the day she died 19 November 1998. My hero.
I’ve got an Opinion Piece getting published in the Psychosis Journal, strapline: Risk of Relapse in Psychosis: facing the fear, resisting mental illness. I hope to write more pieces for journals from the survivor perspective, a testimony. My youngest son is doing a lot better now, it wasn’t easy the first few years after they abused him, physically, mentally and sexually, in the locked seclusion room of our local psychiatric locked ward Feb12. We got no psychological or community support. They tried to blame me for it in their Notes. Therefore I listened to my son and kept on listening, as best I could. Then he did the same for me in 2015 when I experienced a reactive psychosis after years of campaigning and getting No Justice. I am still fighting for justice and expect to get it, at some point.
I’m also working for Safe haven crisis Houses in Scotland, had tried to start a PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, should have been starting this week but it fell through. I’m pursuing other avenues so as to research and develop Safe Houses for Psychosis. And will be working on this until I leave this earth. For the sake of my family.
All the best to you Michael, I hope at some point we may meet in person. Meanwhile I shall endeavour to read your words on MIA.
Kind regards, Chrys
Hi Chrys, thank you for your comment. I’m so happy to hear from you and to learn of your news and of your family!
You’ve always been one of the bravest of advocates and I’m always inspired by you.
Best of wishes my friend,
Very sad to read about Matt, did not know him and have not read his words, it sounds just appalling.
With regards the attitudes/incentives of psychiatrists, and I fully accept Michael’s experience, however..
In this video, this top of the range forensic psychiatrist – sitting next to the UK head honcho – makes an analogy of patients subject to CTO’s as pigs before a court:
It was clear from my interaction with psychiatrists that they know, full well, how toxic these drugs are and they believe the ‘patients’ deserve them, but not all. And they know about the work Joanna Moncrieff and David Healy .
The psychiatric hospital that I had – to my immense relief now discharged – to attend in the UK, is in one of the most deprived areas in the country. That large car park, was full of top of the range cars: Mercs, BMW, Maserati, Porsche, Ferrari. Those cars, are not owned or leased by the very poor patients. It is way easier to become a consultant in psychiatry than another area. This woman who is talking about training to be a psychiatrist in the UK, states that most of her colleagues who came to the UK have become consultants:
Thank you for your important comment streetphotobeing and for the 2 video links. The first video was awful as the psychiatrist compared his “patients” to pigs!
What? On TV all the psychiatrists are benevolent humanitarians who work pro bono, like St. Teresa of Calcutta, solely for the love of humanity.
On the show, Longmeyer, the hero was dating a psychiatrist. She was worried that not enough veterans were able to see her. Instead they had to get drugs off the black market. She tearfully explained that without the “hours of testing to determine which illness they had and what exact medications were required” none of the VA’s could get the treatment they deserved.
Anyone else have a Bovine Excrement detector getting tingly?
To argue, “Hey, you shouldn’t watch TV. It’s a waste of time,” is pointless. 99% of Americans watch hours of television a day and believe EVERYTHING presented as the Gospel truth. Disgusting!
On a forum of “schizophrenics”, one person asked if dreaming of having a horse or flying in a fighter plane was a “grandiose delusion”.
She explained she is a reserved nature, she has very few friends and does not speak much; one day she confided in her psychologist by telling him these two wishes, and her psychologist immediately replied that thinking like that was a psychotic symptom.
She was very upset because she thinks she does the difference between dreams and reality; we reassured her on this point, I sent her pictures of horse and fighter plane and after she was better.
Today, tomorrow, and Weds., at the local airport, are several WW2 vintage airplanes. One of them is a P-51 Mustang fighter plane, specially converted to a 2-seat version. For a (hefty!) fee, anybody can get a ride in this fighter plane. Even if they’re NOT having a “grandiose delusion”!…. Rides in the B-17, and B-24, both 4-engine, propeller-driven bombers, are a little more $$$$….
“Medicinehorse” is a Colorado-based group that both rescues horses, and provides horse-riding experiences for various types of disabled and non-disabled persons. We have a similar group, “Miracles In Motion”, locally….
You can daydream about riding unicorns and griffins if you like. Why do we need to agonize over how “normal” this is? At least you aren’t getting drunk, robbing convenience stores, or beating your partner.
Albert Einstein often daydreamed about riding moonbeams around the universe. During one of these daydreams he came up with the seed for the Theory of Relativity.
I am saddened to hear this. I always felt that Matt had been swept away too much by the fake BPD diagnosis, and yet at the same time, he claimed to have shaken it off. He tended to be arrogant in my eyes, I didn’t write to him much. I was saddened that he still clung to his therapist and was still very much addicted to the process, and held “the therapeutic alliance” in such reverence. I tried to tell him that therapy is invariably a false construct, a power structure that exists solely to degrade the patient and keep him disabled and needy. I felt the need to stop my involvement with the ISEPP mailing list (“therapy is good and drugs are bad” bullshit) and pretty much didn’t hear from Matt anymore. I know he kept his activism and his personal life separate, which is notably admirable. I recall he used a pen name for a while.
No suicide is done alone. There is always a perp. Sadly, almost always, these things are shrugged off as “mental illness” and the perp walks without a scratch.
Julie, I’m not at all sure that I understand what you mean by, “there’s always a perp”…. Could you please clarify, explain, and expand on what you mean by that? Say “WOOF!” to Puzzle!…. ~B./
Maybe the guy who wrote the “study” convincing Matt that things were hopeless for him? Certainly qualifies as a perp more than Michelle Carter.
Bradford, when a person commits suicide I first ask if there was a therapist. Often the therapist drove the person to suicide without even knowing it. Therapy sustains the disease state, upholds it, and nurtures it,keeping the person sick. Poor Matt never stopped therapy, and if you read his eloquent blogs on so-called BPD, he seems to worship that therapist just a bit too much. It is a classic sign of abuse. He sees her as his savior, that God on High. I tried very hard to confront him on this, to get him to see that maybe he should consider becoming independent of her, but no way would he hear me out. I have just done a radio show on this sort of abuse as I myself was subject to it in 2011, in Boston. The initial signs are worship of the therapist. Adam Lanza was abused by his therapist also, and the therapist fled the country after Adam did the Newtown shooting and killed himself. So sad that this is overlooked. Drugs are not the only problem with the mental system!!!
Abusive therapists are not all that rare, either. Matt and I argued over this, and he actually said I was psychotic to call my therapist abusive. I don’t think so. My name has been cleared.
The term “therapy” simply describes an interaction between two people, even if one is considered an expert. As such, since there is no consistent theory or practice from “therapist” to “therapist,” it’s really hard to say anything pro or con that would describe more than one specific situation.
Oldhead, were you ever harmed by a therapist? I know a few who committed suicide because of therapy. Actually most I knew who killed themselves successfully did so due to the harms of therapy.
I was harmed by a therapist, too. I had a narcissistic one. And one decades ago who was antisemitic. One who made sexual advances toward me. These things are done in privacy, with no witnesses, and almost always, the patient has no recourse and is simply called delusional.
Julie, – THANKS for the link!….just listened to your blog. I mostly knew Matt S. as “BPDTransformation”, and I enjoyed reading his comments, and some very limited exchange between he & I. What I DO remember, is that he seemed stuck, or “hung up”, of “not getting over/past/beyond” whatever his personal trauma/abuse/issue was. It kinda raised red flags for me, so I’m disappointed, but not too surprised to hear he suicided out. And it’s very sad. I have my own share of “abusive therapist” stories, but nothing really horrific. For me, it was the system as a whole which was abusive. And, MOST of my “therapy” and recovery occurred OUTSIDE “the system”. I worked with some VERY excellent licensed clinical psychologists who were NOT part of the local “community mental health center” system….. And, A.A. meetings, and especially WORKING the 12 Steps were lifesavers for me. And getting away from the pseudoscience drug racket of psychiatry, of course!
But I’ve got a Q?, Julie? I’m not clear in something you wrote above. Are you saying that it was Adam Lanza’s therapist who fled overseas, then committed suicide? I’m kinda’ “agnostic” on the subject, but there are MANY unanswered questions about that incident…. Yes, the *possibility* that it was staged, or a “false flag” remains, as far as I’m concerned…. WOOF!, Puzzle!….
No, the therapist didn’t commit suicide. A Lanza did. Just another screwup I did due to not being able to see the computer screen, and I deeply apologize for that.
The therapist fled the country knowing he was guilty of abusing Adam, and he knew he was the perp. That I know of, there was no publicity over this. Adam (and his family that raised him) was seen, and still IS seen, as a subhuman monster. He was an innocent kid who was horribly abused by a therapist. Period. Newtown was the consequence of therapy abuse. The person kills him/herrself, and sometimes, takes others, too. I’m lucky because I got over the trauma without doing something like that.
There’s a cool blogger named Cathy Eck who talks about Black Sheeping. Read her entry (sorry I don’t have a link.) She claims to have insight into school shooters. The entry does show a lot of clarity into what it feels like to have no friends, to be totally disenfranchised, and to be feared by others for completely arbitrary reasons. It was like that for me in 2012. I’m lucky I got through it.
(NOTE: I no longer feel that way. I’m way way past that now.)
I believe sometimes therapy can help some people. If the therapy is one that will enable them to accept responsibility for thoughts, feelings, and behaviors or figure out how to improve relationships or just make better life choices. Needless to say it must be between consenting individuals or it’s pointless and traumatizing.
I can no longer see most therapists because they insist that psychiatry is magic and taking pills will solve all your problems. Often they seemed to think I’m hopeless as an “SMI” and they were only listening/talking to fill in their patient quota.
I am not seeing any therapist now and am doing much better!
Matt’s arrogance was probably a defense mechanism. It may have been what kept him alive.
In this civilization with its oppressive laws, if you do anything against ‘The Law’ there is no excuse for being ignorant of the law. YET these shrinks who claim to be doing what they do for the good of ‘patients’ when in reality they are harming them, and contributing to a toxic oppressive system that gets deep down and personal, their ignore-ance of there being no medical scientific evidence to support their quackery is FAR worse ignorance than disobeying an oppressive law like picking psychoactive mushrooms for example!
I’m very sorry for the loss of Matt, may he RIP. And for all deaths that have been caused by, or contributed to, psychiatric treatment.
Thank you for your insightful article. You are so right. I believe any and all DSM enterprise “diagnosis” (labels) are harmful and truly function as curses. The curse you write about was very real for my brother, who was poly-labelled over the span of ten years, from 1991 until his sudden and unexpected death in 2001. The short and long term effects of this curse on my dear brother spanned a multitude of inhumane and harmful effects, ranging from physical ruination to spiritual degradation and everything in between. I need not spell it out, as we are well experienced and read in this sad arena, and most readers will know the usual horrors.
And in my lived experience, this curse also enveloped me as a sister, as well as my entire family, causing further fear and upset as we couldn’t understand what was happening (hospitalization, restraints, locked wards, massive bottles of drugs, cyclical psychosis interrupted by intermittent zombie existence, revolving door of “benevolent” “caring” facilities only to start the process over again. This was not normal, though it became routine). Through my ignorance, distress, fear, (etc) over what was happening to my kind and loving brother, I bought into the description you tell of above, “mental health professionals don’t intend harm when they solemnly proclaim from their position of medical authority that a person has a lifelong psychiatric disorder/disease, as is defined in the psychiatric disease model of human emotional suffering and is codified in the DSM”…
Psychiatry’s curse managed to get me to turn against my inner voice. My intuitive gut instincts knew there was nothing “wrong” with my brother’s brain when they used big neuro immunology words that even though at that time I didn’t understand them, my heart and soul knew were wrong. As a sister who grew up with my brother and friend for decades, I knew my brother much better than they did though they wouldn’t listen. He suffered a breakdown primarily from unfinished grief, and its many consequences. He never had any disease or illness until he met them. On an intuitive level I knew what was happening at their hands was all wrong, but the curse had also spread to me, which perilously caused me to ignore my inner voice. If I had only acted on my inner voice, I believe my brother would still be here today.
I’ve spent years contemplating the “how” and “why” of my brother’s unfathomably cruel and inhumane treatment by psychiatry, which lead to his death. It was truly a curse as you so accurately spelled out above. And I can say that as a sister, the curse was deeply felt and held by me for many torturous years after. It was only after my brother’s death that I finally found the truth. My advice to any family or friends reading, is to follow your intuitive voice, it will never fail you. Put your hands over your ears when those big psychosynapticobasalganglialneuroimmunological words start reeling forth (messy nonsensical word intended). Instead, put your arms around your loved one suffering this curse, and never let go. Never let go.
….the language of psychiatry is psychobabble and gobbledygook…..
“T’was brillig and the slithy toves,
did gyre and gimbal in the wabbe,-
all mimsy were the barrowgroves,
and the psychiatrists outgrabbe….
(with apologies to Lewis Carroll…..)….
Thank you Patrice for giving your invaluable, compassionate advice to loved ones and family members who struggle and are impacted as they are also enveloped, as you say, by the psychiatric curse that greatly is harming their beloved ones as happened to your brother. Sending prayers and condolences for you and your family. I’m so sorry you lost your dear brother.
I hope many people read your comment.
In solidarity dear friend,
It certainly had the effect of a curse on me, the diagnosis of schizophrenia when I was 17 in 1965. After 53 years it still does, even though in 1974 I was “declared innocent” by subsequent psychologists and psychiatrists of ever having had any kind of mental illness and was able to stop taking all psychotropic drugs by 1975.
Four years ago when I experienced “triggers” from prolonged chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, I consulted a psychiatrist at the cancer hospital, who told me I had PTSD from the electroshocks and drugs I was coerced into against my will when I was a teenager. That was helpful — to be told my “diagnosis” is a “disorder” that in my case was caused by psychiatric treatment (electroshock, and many many drugs) — but it did not take away the nightmares, triggers, and other problems.
In my case, the original diagnosis was based on “diagnostic” comments my mother made such as “since she turned 14 she has not wanted to help around the house.” And my symptoms of fatigue and need for sleep were counted as psychiatric symptoms, even though the psychiatrist knew (or at least had in my medical file, although he might not have read it) the fact that three months previous I had been diagnosed by blood tests as having Epstein Barr virus, which was known even in 1965 to cause fatigue and sleepiness.
If anyone had bothered to interview me or attempt counseling sessions they would have soon discovered that things at the home of my teenage self were chaotic, with two alcoholic parents who were monumentally unhappy and close to divorce. I was the classic “identified patient” or scapegoat, the youngest and most vulnerable member of my family.
For almost four years I kept trying to tell them I was not crazy, that I needed someone to talk to and my parents did, too, but no one listened to a “schizophrenic” who was being shocked weekly, and coerced into taking neuroleptic drugs.
After a 5-week hospitalization in 1966, initiated by my mother because she did not remember ordering me to come home from college (she was drunk when she did so) and thought I had just flown home on a whim, the psychiatrist was questioning me on the day of my release (from the hospital, not from the three more years of coerced out patient shock treatments, it later turned out).
His most pressing question was whether I had attained a certain insight: “You must have known that if you came home from college like that, your parents would put you in the hospital, didn’t you?” He looked at me closely and I realized that my release from the hospital hinged on being able to lie successfully to him. The cat and mouse dynamic of this conversation was palpable. This man, who had hurt me over and over and who had blasted me into unconsciousness with an electrical surge when I was paralyzed and utterly powerless to resist, was now quizzing me, trying to seem casual, reasonable, trying to get me to be “reasonable” too, and agree that I should have known my parents would force me into a mental hospital if I came home from my first semester of college. (Nevermind that I had repeatedly told him during the 5 weeks that my parents had ordered me to come home — this was ignored when my mother was interviewed and, not remembering having done so, denied ordering me home.)
I knew he was on the lookout for anything I might say that would reinforce his definition (diagnosis) of me, anything that might indicate a need for stronger drugs, more shocks. I knew what the truth was, I saw the situation clearly. But he had the power to destroy me and there was no way to convince him or anyone else that I did not need this kind of treatment, that I was not crazy. If I protested that I was not mentally ill, he would see the protest as a symptom of mental illness and conclude the treatment had not “worked.” I had no choice but to agree.
I was one of the lucky ones. After three more years of outpatient shocks while attending a local college, I was able to get away from the psychiatrist and from my family situation. Having secured a job, I moved away to another state and found a psychologist who realized how grossly maltreated I had been. I attended therapy with the psychologist, who also referred me to a psychiatrist friend of his, who helped me withdraw successfully over a two year period from all psychotropic medications I had been taking (Thorazine, Compazine, Stellazine, Norpramin, Artane) for the past 10 years. By 1975 I was free of all psychotropic drugs, but not of the recurring nightmares, sadness, and other problems caused by the trauma of the treatment I had been subjected to; some of these consequences of the trauma of psychiatric abuse continue to this day, although I have been able to have something of a career and have been a partner in a stable and loving marriage of over 40 years.
So, yes, psychiatric diagnosis was indeed a kind of curse for me.
Thank you Welton for sharing some of your very powerful personal story!
Your welcome. Thanks for thinking too! I also have thought about pregnancy as a metaphor for trauma coming from the underrated, often disqualified female point of view.
Once it happens, it. can never, ever be forgotten now matter what happens. It can be both a curse and a blessing. It can be an awful , awful result of rape, it. can be something very beautiful. Usually it is so to speak a wide and large mixed type of blessing. Like the song “Sunrise,Sunset” an aching awe.
Not a perfect fit. I guess I was thinking about can curse be a blessing? Ever? I still think you need more than oneself and a concrete metaphor ritual to turn it into something good. Fairytales and folk tales, and liturgy might have hidden or open answers. Community and refuge are in important. I think of “Into the Woods” songs and story and the one titled “No More.”
Dante’s journey into the woods. Our journey into the ugly briar patch or do harm medicine or do harm by ignorance, sanctimony,patraicharchy, racism, agism, sexism. We weren’t really given a choice to where we journeyed. This is key. Friends, docs, family, those we went to for support led us there through good intentions or not. Remembering the path to hell is paved with good intentions. And can we ever truly get out of this country not of our own choosing?. I think the wind pulls, and invisible hands still have power to send us nightmares and ghosts. It takes a lot to totally pull away and some are endowed with magic shields others through no fault of their own not as gifted. No More.
PS: This quotation from Thomas Szasz summarizes one way of regarding the curse of psychiatric diagnoses:
From Thomas Szasz, Psychiatry: The Science of Lies (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2008), pages 2-3 (italics in original).
Objective (biological, chemical, physical) tests for diseases are based on the assumption that diseases are somatic phenomena. Accordingly, the claim that mental illnesses are brain diseases is profoundly self-contradictory: a disease of the brain is a brain disease, not a mental disease.
Because there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or establishing the absence of mental diseases, and because psychiatric diagnoses are stigmatizing labels with the potential for causing far-reaching personal injury to the stigmatized person, the “mental patient’s” inability to prove his “psychiatric innocence” makes psychiatry one of the greatest dangers to liberty and responsibility in the modern world.
The legal system recognizes the elementary distinction between innocence and guilt. The psychiatric system does not: it proudly rejects the concept of personal responsibility. Crime is a well-defined act. Mental illness is an ill-defined mental state. Criminal prosecution is defined, and popularly understood, as adversarial. Psychiatric treatment, even when forcibly imposed by law, is defined and widely accepted as nonadversarial. Those differences, together with the notion of mental illness, are the two great lies and injustices that undergird the psychiatric enterprise.
It is possible to establish that a person accused of a crime is not guilty, that is, has not performed the illegal act attributed to him and is the victim of malicious prosecution serving, say, the personal-political ambitions of an unscrupulous district attorney; it is also possible to punish the person responsible for such malicious prosecution. In contrast, it is impossible to establish that a person diagnosed as mentally ill is not mentally ill and is the victim of malicious psychiatrization serving, say, the economic-ideological ambitions of the diagnostician; it is not possible to punish the person responsible for the injurious diagnosis that may be erroneous but, by definition, cannot be malicious.
In the Anglo-American adversarial legal system, the accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and the onus of proof of guilt is on the accuser. In the psychiatric-inquisitorial “medical” system, this relationship is reversed: the person diagnosed as mentally ill is presumed insane until proven otherwise, and the onus of disproof of insanity is on the (usually powerless) individual incriminated as “insane.” A priori, psychiatrists disqualify such claims of “psychiatric innocence” as evidence of the “insane patient’s” denial of his illness.
Thank you Welton for sharing the great Thomas Szasz quote.
The foundation of the “what amounts to a medical curse” is where the curse/labeling takes place.
Does it take place in a hospital or in a prison?
Why was the person forced to hear/listen to the curse/labeling? In most cases they were in a prison called a hospital. Most cases “helped” by medicinal cement to prevent the performance of the wrong actions or behaviour. A punishment BEFORE the crime has occurred.
If a crime has not happened, then society can not imprison and drug physically healthy people ( no brain chemical imbalance), and give the subjects/”patient” (temporary and current) actions a permanent label/curse. Curse written down on paper so it can not be forgotten or forgiven.
Psychiatric survivors have to keep the duality of the hospital/prison in their mind their entire lives. When speaking to others who do not know psychiatry, must use the word hospital, but with other survivors might use the word prison.
Once you can logically question the legitimacy of where and who placed the curse, you can dampen its power.
In the Christian bible Jesus is reported to have said ” A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit”.
What kind of work do you do?
Psychiatrist’s poison people with drugs and give electroshock to make the victim/patient apathetic and indifferent.
“Apathy and indifference is the final result of all of the most potent psychiatric treatments.” Peter R. Breggin, MD
Abram Hoffer – Canadian orthomolecular psychiatrist – now deceased – treated more than 5000 clients with the schizophrenia label – he did use pharmaceuticals in urgent situations until the individual was stable and then he tapered them and gave them micronutrients. Most became stable on micronutrients and didn’t need pharmaceuticals . Whenever a new client came to his office Dr. Hoffer asked them what they were going to do when they got well Many broke down in tears – no one had ever suggested they could get well. Most of them ‘got the idea’ and they did get well.
Abram Hoffer’s encouraging words probably helped his clients every bit as much as his micronutrients.
I think there is a ‘curse’ alright, but it’s more than ‘medical’ actually. It starts in the family, and extends to school, job, and society in general. Some people, a shoulder-brushing uplifting complement to those ‘groomed for success’, are ‘mussed for failure’ and put on a ‘failure’ track; a rut that you will find doesn’t take you very far in the real world, or the world purported to be real anyway. While the rest of the world is acting like a bunch of schoolgirls who decided, well, if we get together, and give each other awards, we will have some kind of sympathetic emotional support and a head start over everybody else by being award winners. Even Alt psych has it’s pets, and it’s unmentionables. The problem with the ‘medical curse’ is that it’s anything but a fix it measure. It only affirms the ‘failure’ track, and gives society further justification for manufacturing more and more such ‘losers’. One reason the entertainment industry is such a monopoly is because people don’t pay attention to the world around them. I mean, entertainment is everywhere. Sooner or later, the credential of ‘lived experience’ is going to have to matter a little more than the credential of your highly trained overlord and master. I’m happy for your ‘success” but…all the lipstick traces on that brilliant ass still don’t make it shine like a star. There is a brilliant ignorance that is pretty fetching, given that who and what you are ignorant of, only adds to your brilliance. It has been pointed out that once a certain amount of filthy fortune has been achieved accumulation is no longer a matter of merit. It assumes a certain momentum all its own that only gets stronger and more powerful with time. Enough said. All those eyes looking down and heads shaking, I’d be awful curious to know what it is they are looking at. Once you’ve put certain individuals at such a great disadvantage, such a handicap, the only corrective there, and corrective of ignominy (death, disorder, destruction, and deterioration), can be is recognition and promotion. Until then, I guess tin badges, Mardi Gras jewelry, and dime store ribbons will have to suffice. There is an underground, there are people holding up there, and they are going to break through to the surface. Just wait and see.
“gives society further justification for manufacturing more and more such ‘losers’.”
This goes to people loving to judge and label others. 2000 years ago it used to be judging sins like adulterer , but back in that time they did not have inexpensive PAPER to write the sins down on. Today with technology, everyone’s mistakes (or alleged sins) are recorded forever on paper.
They priests/psychiatrist do their job mostly for the power , not the money. Otherwise doping people senseless and claiming it is medicine is an easy job with no one in power to critic the doping.
The drugs sold as medicines to prevent further mistakes, make tones of money. But people will always make mistakes. Worse mistakes when on drugs that affect rational thought, but this will lead to calls for more-better magical medicines.
I prefer the idea of sin to psychiatric illnesses. If you steal you can pay back what you took and then some. If you commit adultery, you can repent and sin no more. Even if you murder, you can pay back your debt to society through a life in prison or simply face a lethal injection (better than a life in a psych ward!)
But according to the myth of Psychiatry you don’t do bad things; you are bad to the core! You can never make good choices. Unless you engage in the fine art of self flagellation with expensive disabling drugs, periodic imprisonments called hospitalizations, having your brain fried, and being treated like a pariah by all around you regardless of how devout you are about “meds compliance” and therapy.
Where the ‘mentalism’ (some say ‘sanism’) aspect of the ‘classism’ prejudice abounds…resist, resist, resist! One is, at least, in theory, made stronger by the fight (while possibility resides outside the oppression/degradation system entirely).
When you’ve got a murderous society, I don’t see anybody bucking the trend in a particularly negative light. The state, a puppet of the bourgeoisie, wants mechanistic automatons. When people don’t oblige, you’ve got a strike for better days.
All the psychiatry going on seems to be with the complicity demagogues from both political parties. Besides hoping to drug nearly 30% of the population–not all to the same extent of course–the real plan seems to be “divide and conquer.” Get idiots at the Boston Globe and Times writing about how we need to drug and lock up all the folks guilty of mental illness and the sheeple can run around bleating, worried that the spotted lambs and black sheep of the flock are a threat to the flock. Meanwhile the wolves pick us off one by one!
Matt was an articulate voice defending the disenfranchised; he will be sorely missed by many.
Thank you for this blog; it is an excellent tribute.
Thank you for writing Steve- Matt surely was a uniquely passionate and brave voice. He will be greatly missed as you say.
I highly recommend How to Become Schizophrenic by John Holden. It recounts how he was groomed from infancy to become the “crazy” member of his family. His mom had issues after his birth. When he was a preschooler she took him to psychiatrists who told her he would become permanently psychotic in less than a year. It took twelve years–surprisingly–but he lived down to his family’s expectations by going nuts after high school. He came back without drugs too and wrote this book.
Torrey thought this book was important enough to personally insult it and compare Holden with Szazs. Kind of an insider’s insult. IMO that’s a complement of the highest sort, I bought the book. I was not disappointed.
I went into the field as a dissident social worker and still became entrapped and suffered the curse or maybe irrevocable harm. I also am so sorry about Matt. It is a thin wire we all walk on a times. I will add hi to my memory bank of those who choose to leave. There are many in my life. And that I think is worth a whole blog – the secrets that people carry about don’t tell the hows of a death. The church and its concern about being able to be buried in sacred ground. The trauma of unknown entity, the trauma of family members caught in a web they can never totally talk about in society.I have known folks and have known family members And there is the gossip – the neighborhood stories – this where the women killed herself in the garage. No name only that story with what – the intelligent question is what had or was happening to her?. It’s pain all over. I know even harder stories but that is for a someday writing.
Your words meet what I have been grappling with – the before and after person. For some it happens during childhood, others adolescence, and for a few of us in mid -age when everything was going okay until non locus of control events created a landslide, an avalanche, or avalanches as Mexico has shown us – lightening can and does strike twice.
I was never a label person but did fall into using it because eventually there was no other way to work in a system. It was a shortcut that never should be able to be shown in the light of day. I still struggle with my use but wonder how to get an idea across to someone else without spending a long time and with keeping stories private. Another issue that needs a blog.
For me, there were several layers to the curse working. And maybe you or others could address that. The spell or curse has to have a ritual, it has to have effective energy and the submission of belief from the accursed. I am thinking stereotypical Vodoo here with the representation of a figure and several pins not just one being stuck in its shape.
Many times, I would rise up and continue on. I had a background and history but the hard things kept on coming fast and furious so I could shake the curse off with time and effort and energy that could have been better spent elsewhere. And the false starts, and going in not the best direction also created fertile ground and space for the curse to work. I am talking NAMI here at least my local version – I am talking trying to search for the “right”doctor/’right’ therapist/”right” method.
I am talking of wearing the curse as a badge of honor – Thank you Glenn Close.
The psych docs NEVER EVER listened to the extent of trauma I had or was having in my life. I was other and I could see the fear in their eyes – literally. I was typhoid mary to them. And I think there was anger – many were male, many from foreign countries with a patriarchal system eons in the making. How dare I question and give them troubles? And they cursed me and finally it worked.
After having a Lithium toxicity reaction and put in seclusion because it was never properly diagnosed until I found the correct dx in the charts several years after.
In the more very prison like secure unit I was told by an aide that they were going to put me in a Nursing Home.
That was their curse by proxy. It worked very well. I still at times
My family members have no idea, no ability to conceptualize the horror of that experience. Friends and family continue to think I will rise again and go on and be the self I was prior to my time in country. They don’t understand that they and I lost the me who was.
It doesn’t mean that I can’t continue on in life or do things, or learn things. It just that I do not have the self concept factor I had before the system ate me up. Things got worse after that so the pink slipping which was a visual and experiential cursing made the recovery that I had obtained in trying to lift the curse – it was basically obliterated. And now once in a while small things – unexpected encounters- can make things so much more difficult and other landslide happens. The curse is redone and revealed again.
One really needs closure. I in fact have used empathy rage to curse back the invisible perpetrators. But wanting those others to feel my pain and angst is only reharming me with echoes.
I would love for their to be a ritual to take away the power of the curse. Even if someone took the place of the various professionals who harmed me. And I could make a grounded truth story to them. It would be helpful.
The other issue is the recovery issue. If you talk about cursing how can you recover? If some folks like many here on this site have been repeatedly cursed how to overcome?
Not all of us will have the opp for truth and reconciliation most not.
Can we have a OZ moment where the three friends are given awards not for what they had but what they struggled with? So the Cowardly Lion is given a badge of Courage despite his fear issues.
There has to be a solution. You don’t want a curse to stop expectations just the acknowledgement that pieces of who you were have been lost and scattered. It’s a different you and that takes time for all to mourn , to grieve, then adjust and make any need accommodations.
Maybe the ability to tell the hard truth to family and friends so that they understand completely how and why the pieces were lost and scattered. Even professionals need to hear this . How?
And trauma so much in the world, so little ability for humanity to cope well with it and in these times my cursed life mirrors the world at times. Grace and grit and maybe a miracle or two would help. thanks again. mary
Thank you CatNight for your moving and very important comment.
Does a Psychiatric Diagnosis Have the Impact of a Medical Curse? I hope that this is a rhetorical question.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis
Hi Slaying the Dragon of Psychistry, Thank you for sharing that powerful CS Lewis quote.
More truth is on the way… 🙂
The robber barons fund and unleash the moral busybodies to torment us until we are so broken down no one wants us around anymore , then we don’t want ourselves around so we check out and everybody misses us .Who was that masked man anyways .
To what purpose ? Experimental subjects for evidence based scientific research into what parts of the human brain can be most easily targeted with suggestive brainwashing curses , chemicals , biological agents , electricity , heavy metals , poisons , or whatever , to make a human being into an isolated individual, incapable of organizing a revolution or working for a mutual determined goal with others, and into an even more vulnerable easily targeted isolated subject for further exploitation , experimentation , or disposal , and all under the guise of “health care”.
Sounds like the new world order, brave new world on steroids . There seems to be method to the madness of the oligarchs . After all they believe themselves to be royalty and entitled to rule .
When I listened to a video on youtube that explained what 4 substances do that are released in the brain I realized how big pharma is funded to purposely target their “drugs” in such a way that weakens the human being . The delivery systems of their poisons and Monsanto’s can be through any industries the oligarchs control and through various means , like through food , water , and through the air . While at the same time , the teachings of Traditional Naturopathy and other modalities in line with nature are suppressed . Herbs for example are seen by much of the population as ineffective because of media propaganda and because the standardized strength of most of them that are allowed to be sold over the counter by the bottle , are so regulated as to make them too weak to do anything . People need to learn to make there own medicines (to make their own herbal extracts out of herbs gathered or bought in bulk amounts and used in industrial strength along the lines of historical use . Richard Schulze ND is a great teacher of that . Has many youtube videos . Organic foods are priced so high it seems you almost have to be on a psychiatrist’s salary to afford them. We need to be able grow our own somehow.
Anyways the first video I wrote about can be found by typing in the search line at http://www.youtube.com
Simon Sinek : The Video That Will Change Your Life
The ways to oppose the psychiatric system are simply to refuse to cooperate, and then finding further ways of fighting back.
But talk of therapy, recovery and healing are simply turning it back on the survivor, turning justice into a self-improvement project.
And any psychotherapy done on a minor when that minor is not currently being represented in court by an attorney, is simply accomplice child abuse. The therapist has zero authority over the parents, and is actually a hired minion for the parents.
1st off, my condoleances to all who mourn Matt Stevenson.
2ndly , I might hit your snares the wrong way in my comment, this is/was only my intent if you create something positive from it. If I hurt you , I truly am sorry….
I feel humbled by all the effort Matt has done in just a few years but also by his accomplishments !
I understand the why, but how did he do that ?? It’s a shame that he succeeded in taking his life but I do understand. The dogma (given to us by some unknown benefactor centuries ago) entails that life ends after death and you either spend eternally there or there. What bothers me (and this is my lifelong thought since I was 5) is that people accept telepathy as an existing inner sense (we don’t talk openly about it but that’s a different thing) but somehow keep ourselves in the dark when a loved-one has chosen to end his-her suffering in this part of life, while we in facto could simply comfort each other with his-her continuation in his-her after-humans-life … I know its a sport to deny all things spiritual and wiggle our opinions in difficult constructs such as HSP, empathy, alternates to them-voices-being-nothing-but-a-hallucination type-casting, off course the famous ‘talking in tongues’-contests that some churches like to have each year in May or spreading shamanistic news-views while tripping on some ancient mushroom, dangerous fruit or by ‘rimming a frogs ass’ BUT couldn’t we all just drop the pretense and simply get ‘it’ over with and speak the truth about our experiences with our inner-senses ?? I know, y’all don’t know what I’m japing about, right lefties with no clue ?-) Well, I don’t give up but also don’t really care much more about this ill-begotten stigma that has been placed on me from the 1st day I refused to ‘stay silent’ about our ability to have a shared-conscious-mind whenI was 5 years old till the current day, I do not comply to be assimilated by you or even by a network of trusted-love-ones… I rather stand alone confronting you by verbally thinking, talking, writing, feeling because I know you cannot resist me and my undying passion to love above truth….
And now I’ll honor the truth : Matt was plagued by other humans who formed a network of people that was created by accident but maintained in spite of all (y)our efforts to “talk sense” into the various individuals. Some listened and stepped out of this viscous-terror-circle (which is a mighty strong act) and some heard about his fears by sheer accident and were in a bad mood so threw more wood on the fire. Some of these ‘terrorists’-self-image became linked to Matt’s predicament and his demise was thought of an accomplishments for one or more…. Those of them who lack any remorse are what is named in holy-scriptures as ‘demons’ in today’s literature we named them – psychopaths (especially those who prefer to be called sociopaths…) and they are very often confused on the internet with narcissists (narcs). The ones that do feel sorry for what they have contributed to Matt’s decision to act on the pain, are for the most part changed/changing for the better. They are becoming/became persons we want to care about because they are starting to care about us. And then there are those, who I encounter in my own life and consider being a weak-link in my network-of-feelings but since we all are one and many at the same time, I always prevent myself from pointing blame onto them because 1. it doesn’t diminish my suffering but creates another gap that needs to be filled. 2. I could better try to see if I’m able to help him or her. 3. To know he or she is actually a part of me, makes me accountable for his or her feelings when we are ‘joined by the same feelings’ 4. what I perceive as being ‘my weakest link’ could be a totally wrong assessment and any actions taken because of this are wrongly based, to say it simply. 567etc…
I bet Matt was in that aspect just like me and cherished all life in the same manner we all were taught from birth. It’s just we over-emphasize the value of this human-experience and should be more tolerant of those who want to ‘skip-it’ and take their chances in the life that follows-up this one. We can cry out loud and mourn this terrible loss (exactly what I did while reading the article above) but I’m able to step aside from this and take on a whole new POV but as I know this discomforts people and I’m always doubting whether I should ‘stay silent’ and don’t upset grieving people……. it’s never a good time for telepathy, yet it is there in my mind that I spend practically most of my life that was, will become and is at this very moment.
To Matt’s family & friends I would like to apologize to what may seem as parasitic-behavior but the above is my message to the world and after reading testimonies to the force that was driving Matt to right psychiatric wrongs , my message was given a pair of new batteries and my eyes were fortunate to may have glimpsed through the eyes of Matt. His last wish is a shout out to me to behave honorably and to create laughter and happiness and off course treat psychiatry righteously…
I may hope I will not easily forget him.
“In the emptiness of knowing, all that I see is but an illusion of sorts. You see, my eyes too are an illusion.”
“If I think I forget who I am. That I never forget….”
I don’t understand my comment above because as I remember I read intensively about Matt’s life, his life in the past years and about his non-wavering attitude to be a happy person. I’ve read he visited/attended many conferences where he spoke eloquently about the “bad-psychiatry”. In my comment above, I even speak about his last wish and I clearly remember having seen a picture of him with his blond hair and huge smile towards the camera (on a very sunny day). And I know most of this ‘information’ I found in the comments. but as I read through them just now, none of that is found here !
As if almost all comments through which I got to know Matt were deleted or perhaps found in another article.
I’ve thought occasionally about Matt and the sadness I feel about this bright young man who could easily have lived longer as a human. I also miss the text that states Matt’s ‘last wish’ as I clearly say in my comment above and now only partially remember :”we should strive to never stop pointing out the bad things in psychiatry with verve!” and I recall many comments about Matt being a vibrant, happy young man who was cunning and could always crack an intelligent joke in difficult times.
And now, it is as if I’m the only one who has read this and seen his photo because in this article + comment-section Matt cannot be found anymore besides people speaking about the loss and unbelief about his parting.
I totally understand that my comment above looks very eerie and will confuse people who know Matt and read it. I’m sorry folks, I don’t know what happened to the article and it’s comment-section.
Matt did inspire me and as such I’m a fierce warrior in the anti-psychiatry army (stronger, more stable then in 2017) – even when there is no-one who stands next to me or supports me (just like in 2017) and that’s sad because I keep noticing that in the UK and US there are so many receiving mass support from peers and I’m fucking always alone !
I would really appreciate people at my side cause the only real supporting company I have are the tears rolling out of my eyes , like is happening now.
I hate being so fucking alone !!
[my real name is Alain Bos and I live in the Netherlands]
You be cursed.
The CIA literally invented this all to label and kill and discredit citizens so makes sense this guy is talking about the obvious.
The idea is if you join the MEDINT/spy side at the local hospital, county clinic, or even many other clinics you have clearance and are expected to wield the CIA created DSM to get rid of the poor, kill them, drug them, and steal whatever money they got. Coordination works over multiple cities and states as they the nurses and doctors communicate over the remote view system a highly classified space weapon..
That way they can kill and lock the targets up in any town even if they relocate they can’t escape.
They been running this fraud awhile.. think the mortality rates was secret from them? Nope.
Wonderful piece, Michael. Thank you.
Michael, great blog.
It all depends on how strong the person is, to be able not to feel uglified.
But after all, we went for ‘help’. We did not think it would result in being told we are asses.
Of course they know it is a curse, not un intentional, not if you have been told repeatedly that it is not conducive to feeling positive.
Although intellect, not to be confused with 8 years of useless gobblygook.
I think it is best to go to a priest with sins, at least we can be forgiven, over and over.
Certainly psychiatry does not need to be forgiven, they have not asked for it.
Lots of great comments.