Regardless of race, gender, age, or ethnicity, people across the United States are increasingly choosing death as the only way out. More people take their lives than die from opioid overdoses — only with suicide, there are no drug dealers to blame or people to throw in jail (or punish with the death penalty) as a scapegoat. This past week alone saw the high-profile suicides of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. And these deaths come on the heels of the results of a Centers for Disease Control study that demonstrated that suicide rates continue to rise and suicide is now a “leading cause of death for Americans.”
The response EVERY SINGLE TIME is: More treatment. Better treatment. More accessible treatment. And, of course, greater awareness of “mental illness.”
Kate Spade had been in and out of treatment for at least the past five years, likely with some of the best that New York City has to offer. Anthony Bourdain was no stranger to long, intensive treatments, having been in rehab for addiction to heroin and cocaine. Most people who have suicided did so after having sought out help.
America has seen an enormous boon in the past several decades of “advancements in treatment” and “promising new discoveries” about mental illness, yet suicide rates have increased by 30 percent and rates of disability from mental illness increased by two million adults between 1997 and 2009.
Interestingly, the go-to treatment for people who are feeling depressed and hopeless is associated with an actual increase in suicidality, violence, and murder. While drugs of all kinds (legal or not) can be helpful coping tools for some when in pain, they are not a panacea — and “antidepressants” can sometimes be the complete opposite of what they are hoped to be.
When do professionals and the public alike finally acknowledge that WHAT WE’RE DOING ISN’T WORKING? When do we say “If we want things to change, maybe we should change our approach”?! When does the media start to widely question what is happening in society rather than jumping to analyzing the individual?
As it stands, the public continues to be bombarded by trite clichés and empty suggestions that always end with some kind of message to “go to someone, anyone (just not me).”
“Call the suicide hotline. Know that you are not alone.”
The problem is, most of us are alone. The US, and most of Western society, centers around an individualistic culture that puts “success” above relationships, leading many to focus their lives on the pursuit of a fragile and fleeting illusion of proving oneself. This endless pursuit leaves a person crushed the moment the illusion of success disappears (which it always will). And, so, the chase is always on for more, more, more.
People accrue “friends” on social media in some kind of bizarre popularity contest, yet so often have no one to actually talk to when they are in need. A post on Facebook about cats or someone falling on their face might garner 50 “likes,” while a vulnerable and honest reflection of pain, need for connection, or hopelessness will tend to go ignored and result in lost followers. A selfie of a person in the midst of their happy, perfect life will result in a torrent of “Congrats!” while a picture showing what’s behind the mask might receive a couple of pity sad-faces while most rush to scroll quickly past such disturbing reality.
The thing is, no amount of talent, accolades, attention, intelligence, or beauty will ever replace love, intimacy, empathy, or human connection. No matter how many things a person buys, no matter how much status a person gains, and no matter how many admirers follow a person’s every move, this will never fill the gaping hole of loneliness — at least not for long.
Calling a suicide hotline when desperate and in need can be extremely helpful for many. There is something powerfully calming and healing about having someone really listen, seem to care, be curious about why a person is suffering, and be willing to be patient and calm while just sitting with a person’s story and pain. Therapy can also be extremely helpful for the same reasons.
What people need, however, is human connection, empathy, understanding, patience, tolerance, and a reason to love themselves and to feel loved by others. So, why have we come to a point where the only way people can really receive this is by going to a professional? What is wrong with our society?
“It’s about mental illness.”
Telling a person they are “ill” for suffering or being sad serves to further alienate the individual. It often results in the person feeling defective, and puts the problem inside the individual instead of recognizing that cultural and circumstantial factors are a problem. Studies have demonstrated over and over again that a biological illness perspective on human suffering leads to decreased empathy, increased desire for social distance, and increased prejudice and discrimination.
Worse, this focus on mental illness and individual suffering can sometimes lead those who are diagnosed to develop a lack of responsibility for how one treats others, lack of empathy for those not seen as sick, and a preoccupation with one’s internal state to the detriment of connection with others. Internalizing an illness explanation for one’s suffering leads to alterations in identity, reinforcement of abusive dynamics, decreases in hope and self-esteem, and decreased likelihood of seeking help.
In other words: we, as a society, are being told that if someone is suffering, the correct approach is to convince them of ideas that will likely lead them to feel marginalized, helpless, hopeless, worse about themselves, ashamed, retraumatized and less likely to reach out to others for connection and support when, in fact, connection and support are the very things most likely to heal. Logic at its finest.
Suicide rates, in fact, are highest in areas that report the highest levels of happiness. Maybe making a person feel different and abnormal for suffering deeply is not so helpful?
An aversion to pain and suffering does not negate its existence. A lack of empathy for self or others only results in greater pain, regardless of how deeply hidden it may be. Scapegoating a purported unseen “illness” may provide temporary comfort from acknowledging the horrors and injustice of the world, but it is a delusion — and one with fatal consequences for many.
“Make sure they/you get help.”
The current mental health paradigm is born out of a society that values short, immediate fixes. A society that harbors a sense of entitlement to some idea of happiness that corresponds to an almost complete lack of tolerance for pain or suffering. A society that isolates those who disturb the status quo, proselytizes that all problems will be fixed if you just buy X or go to Y expert, and actively fosters hatred and chaos to distract from the advancements of the privileged of society.
And so, when a person is sad, hopeless, anxious, fearful, experiences a spiritual crisis, or is angry and fed up with the hypocrisy and oppression he or she cannot ignore, the experts proclaim that the answer lies in mostly short-term fixes, an almost immediate effort to suppress any uncertainty or pain, marginalization through assertions of individual illness, and implicit blame (on the character and/or brains) of the individual for not being able to accept and deal with an insane and cruel society.
Interestingly, as a direct result of their training, professionals who take on this bio-technical perspective of suffering tend to perceive their patients in less human terms.
The doctors get paid, the insurance companies get kickbacks, hospitals thrive, and individuals frequently become lifelong users of a system that increasingly ignores relationship over that of technical, supposedly “sophisticated” interventions that often make things worse.
Despite all the proclamations that mental health professionals are experts and that treatment has advanced greatly over the years, we are no better off than we were 100 years ago. Further, disability rates have risen, suicide continues to rise, diagnosed mental illness continues to rise, and, well, people are just miserable.
When 45,000 people a year would rather die than live in this world any longer, it might behoove us all to consider what is happening in the world to cause this.
Perhaps we can stop blaming individual defectiveness and poor genetic stock, and start acknowledging that our society is sick. Perhaps it’s time we do something different.
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.
“Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.“wrote English poet John Milton of the devil. Is this true?
And hell on earth is what is brought about, when the psychiatrists are allowed to reign on earth.
They’ve brought us a multi billion dollar, iatrogenic illness creating, primarily child abuse covering up, thus also pedophile empowering, satanic system of coercion, torture, and the mass murder of innocents.
Definitely, it’s past due for the “mental health professionals” to “do something different.” Thanks for pointing this out, Noel. A good start would be getting rid of the scientifically invalid DSM and all the psych drugs. And, of course, no person should ever be given the right to force drug any other person ever, period.
As always, historically, upside down and backwards, psychiatry. Some us of know psychiatric holocaust, after psychiatric holocaust, after psychiatric holocaust, in nation, after nation, after nation is repugnant.
Indeed, how long will it take for the psychiatric industry to acknowledge that everything they believe in and do “is not working,” but your luciferian psychiatric system is destroying Western civilization.
The information starting to come out is that Mr. Bourdain did consult a clinician before he committed suicide, but didn’t listen to the advice.
That’s the popular spin no doubt. Anthony Bourdain already wrestled with substance abuse problems. Psych “experts” would have just put him on other crap. Aside from patents, there’s no difference between their drugs and the street kind.
Take this drug, not that.
and if that was the advice he got, who can blame him for rejecting it.
This is how I maintain equilibrium in my mind.
Knowledge is with the society.
Wisdom is in the individual.
Here is a song to go with this quote.
Society has some great things, but I believe in me. I don’t try to emulate somebody else.
I’m ashamed of American commenters due to how other countries read this site. Have so much easier here. Don’t need you to post George Carlin video again about American living.
Americans have a lot more STUFF–mostly high quality–than citizens of other countries. But we’re often lonelier than poor people in South America or Africa. Loneliness leads to unhappiness.
Might be true for the devil but not for me.
I think the system we have in our society must be defined to include the family of origin, and how dysfunctional it is. I came from a very dysfunctional family, and so were the families before them. It gets passed down until it is interrupted by chance or intention. This is the part of our society’s “system” that, if changed, would really do something good. Once the damage is done, I don’t think the methods to correct it are very effective, at least not in my experience.
dfk – Same with me – I’ve come to realize that one of the major causes of my depression and anxiety was a (covertly) abusive upbringing, not a chemical imbalance after all.
A lot of unhappiness leading to psychiatry and/or suicide comes from dysfunctional families. But not always. My own did not.
My dad was betrayed by a bunch of family friends who used their influence at work to get him fired so we wound up homeless. And I was bullied and sexually harassed for two years straight. This led to extreme social phobia which led to my big mistake of seeking out psychiatric “help.”
Thank you for your observation, Rachel. And yet, many of us can feel united by what you wrote in the last part of your last sentence – that we made the ‘big mistake of seeking out psychiatric “help.” I hope you’ve now found better alternatives.
The alternatives were there inside me all the time. Psychiatry convinced me otherwise for a while, telling me I was diseased and so hopelessly insane I’d morph into a psycho killer or at least kill myself without them. Now I know I’m alive IN SPITE of their “treatment.” Not because of it.
Whether or not it came from your family, you still point out the role of trauma in your path to psychiatrization. Psychiatry thrives on blaming the victim (their brain, their behavior) rather than holding those who harm others to account.
Here’s Reagan’s solution:
THE TAKING OF ONE’S LIFE DUE TO THE INSUFFERABLE AGONY OF SSRI/SNRI INDUCED AKATHISIA IS NOT SUICIDE.
IT APPEARS THAT MOST PRESCRIBERS CANNOT DIAGNOSE AKATHISIA, NOR DO THEY KNOW HOW TO MANAGE IT.
AKATHISIA IS A COMMON, IATROGENIC, PREVENTABLE CAUSE OF DEATH. WHY DO WE NOT PREVENT IT?
“DON’T DIE OF IGNORANCE” — UNDERSTAND AKATHISIA!
TRM 123. Retired Consultant Physician.
Anti-psychotics also cause akathisia. It’s not just SSRI’s.
Agree absolutely. Thank you.
About 50% of those on antipsychotics – and 20% of those on SSRIs will develop clinically significant AKATHISIA.
Several other iatrogenic causes.
All are more likely to be misdiagnosed as “emergent mental Illness” than to be recognised as a life-threatening adverse drug reaction and correctly treated.
More Labels For A Lifetime
Once misdiagnosed, will be “treated” with (enforced) psychotropic drugs which cause even more intense AKATHISIA. Then “diagnosis” changes to “Treatment Resistant”.
Doctors have a duty to understand and recognise the adverse reactions to drugs which they prescribe.
SSRI induced Akathisia was reportedly hidden from prescriber awareness for many years by both manufacturers and regulators.
Patients and their loved ones have paid a terrible price. Why has there been no apology?
TRM 123. Retired Consultant Physician.
Reducing the antipsychotic dose also can unmask akathisia. It’s a catch-22.
Agreed. Thank you.
Very important, and again prescribers not well informed.
Yes – Also dose-reduction/withdrawal from SSRIs/SNRIs can precipitate akathisia.
Prescription psychoactive drug withdrawal induced akathisia is also likely to be misdiagnosed as worsening or emergent “mental illness”.
ADRs should be at top of differential diagnosis list – Always!
This wasn’t an article on only drugs. It was on suicide and society.
SSRIs can also cause depression and suicide. Ironic.
My depression went away after I went off Effexor. 🙂
Thank you TRM 123 for speaking out, with rage, against the psychiatrists’ crimes. That’s unfortunately much too rare amongst the physicians. Although I do understand the reality behind the concept that, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
I agree, “Doctors have a duty to understand and recognise the adverse reactions to drugs which they prescribe.” The psychiatrists, and many of today’s mainstream doctors as well, have less than zero clue about the adverse effects of the drugs they prescribe, but some are now admitting to this. An example in regards to the antidepressants, which when read from the patients’ perspective, is highly disrespectful of all patients.
“Why has there been no apology?” The answer is the lawyers won’t take cases against the psychiatrists, possibly because the number one function of today’s psychiatric industry is covering up child abuse for the paternalistic religions and all others, according to their own medical literature, outside the law, as well as proactive malpractice suit prevention for the mainstream medical community. It was confessed to me, by some ethical pastors, that such systemic crimes were “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”
Why this massive psychiatric child abuse covering up is happening is because the psychiatric DSM system was actually set up as a paternalistic, child abuse covering up system, by design. Evidence of why NO “mental health professional” may EVER bill ANY insurance company EVER for helping a child abuse victim, without first misdiagnosing them with one of the scientifically “invalid,” but insurance billable DSM disorders, is pointed out in this article.
We need to move back to a system that respects the rule of law for all. And that’s the opposite of what today’s “mental health professionals” were, and still are, being taught in school, thus such is the opposite of what they believe.
But some of us Americans still believe “all people are created as equal,” so were initially totally confused by these satanic, and scientifically invalid DSM deluded, so called “mental health professionals'” insane belief system. The bottom line is either our society believes in the rule of law, or it believes in psychiatry, which is outside, thus anti, the rule of law.
AKATHISIA:- I had no control whatsoever when I attempted SUICIDE twice on Fluphenazine Decoanate Depot Injection. I’m also quite sure that if I FELT the same way again I could easily attempt SUICIDE again.
It’s not just that Prescribers in the UK don’t know “much” about AKATHISIA – its that they are NOT allowed to represent ‘patient reported’ AKATHISIA in Patients Records. The reason for this I believe, is the existence of an historical ‘ICEBERG’ of Neuroleptic Induced AKATHISIA DEATHS in the UK.
TRM 123 – totally correct, but you will not find many of your former colleagues who will agree because doctors are so arrogant and lack accountability on it. They know about it alright, especially psychiatrists, this is why it is a crime . I do not understand why MiA and others do not focus deeply and consistently on Akathisia. What will nail it – to clearly distinguish it from ‘mental illness’ – is pharmacogenetics, something MiA, it seems, will not engage with…why ?
streetphotobeing, can you elaborate on how pharmacogenetics can distinguish akathisia from “mental illness”?
Yes, we all have different metabolising enzyme phenotypes (strengths) which means there is no such thing as a safe one size fits all dose. If you can’t metabolise the drugs to get them out of your system you can become toxic and hence go into Akathisia. These videos may help explain as well:
The test has been around along time – from 2000:
“It is already possible for us to assess patients with psychiatric illnesses and provide them with drugs and doses that will have a maximum effect while minimising side effects. ”
But NO ONE gets it and very few know about it.
“One day it may be considered unethical not to carry out such tests routinely to avoid exposing individuals to doses of drugs that could be ineffective or even harmful to them.”
Ofcourse you can guess why – can’t have anything affecting pharma profits now can we.
Shall we add that to the crimes of psychiatry?
When do professionals and the public alike finally acknowledge that WHAT WE’RE DOING ISN’T WORKING?
When they (professionals) figure out a way to make money from such an acknowledgement. One way might be to start a new field of medicine aimed at helping people detox from psychiatric neurotoxins; there would be plenty of customers.
“Call the suicide hotline. Know that you are not alone.”
LOTS of people want to kill themselves. just like you. Feeling better already, right?
Perhaps we can stop blaming individual defectiveness and poor genetic stock, and start acknowledging that our society is sick
Um, excellent article all in all, but the latter seems to be in contradiction to the position that people are not “sick” but reacting to social conditions; if “society” is defined as the people who live in it, how can it be “sick”? As a metaphor fine, but most discussions of psychiatry exhibit zero comprehension among many participants of what metaphor is; they cannot distinguish it from concrete reality.
I agree completely with all of this, sad as it all may be. Thanks oldhead.
No problem. Please don’t be misled by the sardonic tone of many of my comments — I find most of your observations to be consistently on target.
Oldhead I doubt anyone will think Noel is proposing we give society a booster vaccine. Not sure WHERE the shot would be given. 😀
I don’t think they’ve ever located the mind either, but that’s never stopped them. 🙂
Some people’s minds may be located where booster shots are given. Lol.
Rachel, I DO know where the vaccine should be given – it’s with our Community Primary Care system. As a Pediatrician for 30 years and Family-Person Advocate my entire life, it seems, as well as a suicide loss survivor (my son at 20 yo), I am convinced everyone needs, and deserves, to have access to a primary care provider they trust to bring up all issues of health – physical, emotional, and ideally, spiritual. This provider needs to be trained in mental health issues, especially suicidal ideation and depression. The work-up and possible treatment plan is not the end of this concern, but the beginning, and the plan should ALWAYS include “family.” Every person should sign an ‘informed consent release of information” form with their primary care team listing who their trusted “family-friends” are to call if they should not be able to make life-sustaining decisions for themselves. (We were not called when our son make it known to an acute care clinician he was suicidal.) The time to discuss this is on first meeting when the person is hopeful they can BE healthy, in mind and body, NOT when in crisis and pain. Our current approach excludes families out of some displaced fear that healthcare needs to be ‘protected’ and ‘private.’ As mentioned in this blog, health results from belonging and being able to participate and contribute to society. Let’s fix our ‘sick-care’ system and give a ‘shot’ to rebuild a “Health Care System!” I’ve already been given the ‘vaccine’ by losing my son, and too many others, to suicide. I’m on board. When do we meet, where, people?
Truly sorry about your loss. Can’t get behind your proposed solution. Suicide is not a matter of health, but of a society unable or unwilling to meet the aspirations of its citizens, and which is more concerned with keeping order than addressing human needs. If someone truly wants out they will find a way no matter how fervent their loved ones’ attempts to anticipate and prevent their actions. Again, this is not a about “health,” but how society is organized and the priorities we choose. It would be nice of everyone had a personal healer/guru on call but few people such as you mention even exist.
Yes, it is about our society, and culture, and attitude(s). A ‘healthy’ society would not ostracize and alienate those struggling with thoughts of being a burden or discriminate against them because they are in pain, whether physical or mental. We will never get to the solution (or vaccine) for this if we keep saying “you just can’t stop some people from killing themselves.” Actually, we can. Our society must change, and its citizens must begin to value and clamor for health. The sub-populations of our society where it has happened have been led by local medical and community leaders who establish compassionate health teams basing services on a person-centered, family-driven way to achieve ‘zero-suicides.’ (The current term for this is “Patient-Centered Medical Home” or PCMH.) These clinics and communities, ‘cultures,’ have arrived at zero-suicides against all odds (see The Henry Ford Health System in Detroit who went 6 quarters without a single suicide once they decided it was possible and focused their approach to what the ‘client’ wanted and needed, not what they were currently able to provide). When our citizens recognize this is possible and start clamoring for more providers and clinics like these, we will begin to do something about suicide as an all-too-common event in our society. When we value the ostracized “guru” as legitimate health care delivers, not pie-in-the-sky outliers, we will begin to address these issues. There are many of us out here, but you are right, not enough. (Note: Just because a clinic puts up a shingle saying “Patient-Centered” doesn’t mean they are…most are still driven by the productivity business office outcomes rather than health.)
You bet your ass healthcare needs to be PROTECTED and PRIVATE! Many individuals at the end of their rope are there BECAUSE OF the trauma they suffered at the hands of their family! And you would put these individuals who’ve managed to ESCAPE their toxic families right back under their thumb!
I am truly sorry you suffered the loss of your son, and I have no idea the reasons he may have had for choosing to end his life, or the relationship he had with you, but he did not turn to you. And if he HAD trusted you enough to reveal his reasons, I guarantee that violating his trust by intervening upon him would have caused even more damage. Go read the June 6 article here called The Forced Psychiatric Treatment of a Child. Parents who are truly trustworthy give their child 1 safe place to land when the world is assaulting them beyond bearable, even if it’s only in memory. I, like so many other children, did not get that. Giving my family access into my healthcare would put me, and many many others, at significant risk of further damage.
I agree in principle. However, the problem right now is that “training” doctors in the area of “mental health” would mean they’d be trained in the crappy DSM/chemical imbalance/Drugs first paradigm. Before we start training doctors, we would need to figure out how they need to be trained. Moreover, just training someone doesn’t make them able to handle difficult issues with compassion and skill. I have no idea how we could assure that all doctors are capable enough to be a safe place to go with this kind of intimate issue. My personal belief is that peer support is a much safer and more reliable option.
All I can think of are varying permutations of the “blind training the blind.”
Dr. George I’m sorry for your loss. I too wish to end suicide, but while I agree with your ends I respectfully disagree with the means you recommend.
Loss of hope for a future and having everyone turn on me, almost drove me to suicide. Being labeled as incurably insane–kicked out of school, shunned by family and former friends, being told my dreams would never come true, enforced idleness and a meaningless existence–these made me think of suicide continually for over two decades.
Psychiatry was the CAUSE of these horrible things. What kept me alive was the belief that it was morally wrong to end a human life despite my loneliness and hopeless situation.
That’s why we need alternatives to psychiatry for lonely, desperate people. Drugs and stigmatizing labels only make the suffering 10 x worse and many people kill themselves while under psychiatric care.
You can’t end emotional pain with mind altering drugs and stigmatizing labels. Human compassion and love end where psychiatry begins. The most reviled and hated people I know are those branded SMI. I was one of these untouchables till I relocated to a new place and assumed a new identity like Richard Kimball.
By the way, being locked up in a psych ward makes you 100 times as likely to kill yourself. So psychiatrizing someone isn’t the answer. Psychiatrists have actually reported a whopping 7-27% of those dubbed “bipolar” committing suicide in their hospitals. Once they are released to their shattered ruins of what was once a human life the numbers soar.
I became suicidal a year after my “diagnosis” because between the Hellish effects of the Haldol and the way my family treated me like a monster I felt life was unbearable. Dad took to slapping me and Mom was verbally abusive. They never were cruel till shrinks told them it was okay; I was defective anyhow.
Cant reply to your last post, but I managed to copy this : “being locked up in a psych ward makes you 100 times as likely to kill yourself. So psychiatrizing someone isn’t the answer. Psychiatrists have actually reported a whopping 7-27%”.
Where do you get that “100 times” figure and the rest. Very, but very interested …
Jclaude, I got the percentage of suicides from Manic Depressive Illness. K.R. Jamison & F.K. Goodwin. Pp. 774, 782. (Not an anti-psychiatry book.)
I will have to ask Julie Greene for her source. She’s a meticulous researcher, but doesn’t always footnote her blog posts.
Unless you are actually sick you don’t need a doctor for unhappiness. Medicine won’t bring you love, hope or a reason to live.
Would you call an auto mechanic to remove your tonsils?
Yes, it’s about the money, but I believe it’s a little more complicated than that.
I remember when I, as a “patient,” used to frequent psychiatric offices. After a while, it became really easy to identify the pharmaceutical reps. They were generally attractive women of a certain young age (perhaps late 20s to early 30s) and always wore black suits of a stylish yet conservative cut. They tended to go a bit more wild on their shoe choice (but not too much). And they had a certain glow about them – an air of quiet, yet upbeat, confidence – that distinguished them from the “patients” in the waiting room (you know, the ones that were supposedly being “helped” so much by the “medications”).
What I’m (hopefully) getting at, is that with the right talk to go with it, I can see how meeting a person like this could be very appealing to the doctor’s vanity. This is a powerful thing for most people. (I’m not sure how this worked for the female heterosexual doctors I had, but I’m sure the reps worked that out somehow.) This, of course, is just one small part of the strategies pharma companies have used to get doctors to prescribe their drug.
Another observation: Perhaps most doctors do enter the field because they truly do want to help people. (However, I did have at least one doctor who, in my opinion, showed marked psychopathic tendencies.) Even so, after a while of prescribing these drugs, I have to say that it must be very difficult for many to admit they were wrong and they have been actually making matters worse. (Imagine the cognitive dissonance! A terrible blow to the ego.) Kudos to those doctors who go ahead and admit it anyway.
I hope this is clear. I still struggle with that a bit. (Nearly 4 years off the “meds” though, so yay for me.)
Edit: I think the above may be giving the psychiatrists a little more of an out than I intended, but I’m gonna leave it for now.)
I would guess it’s even more institutionalized by now, i.e. shrinks not even having the option to say “no thanks” to the drug shills, so the need to impress may not be as urgent. Just a thought.
It used to be said that people went into psych studies in an effort to understand themselves, when the field was more influenced by psychoanalysis. But it seems that all they would be “learning” now is which drugs suppress which sorts of thoughts and emotions. No more fascination with “how people’s minds work,” however specious many theories of such may be; people are simply reduced to biochemical processes.
That’s why I find the DSM to be more problematic than the drugs themselves. It provides a rationalization to distance oneself from both the clients and one’s own personal issues. Instead of making oneself open to hear where another person is coming from and feel compassion and help them figure out what action they might take, clinicians are now allowed and expected to categorize people based on their particular “brand” of suffering, and their suffering IS the problem instead of an indication of some personal problem they may have. It also makes it easy to blame your “client” if your own approach fails, as the article points out.
Steve: I agree, but I think of it a little differently. It seems they have arbitrarily grouped certain symptoms into “disorders” or “illnesses” but there are no medical tests to show whether or not someone has the supposed disorder. And they focus on treating these illnesses (i.e. give out pills) that they can’t even prove someone has instead of the root cause, which could be many things such as nutrition, childhood trauma, poor living conditions, etc, etc.
The DSM is a monster, if I may say that about an inanimate entity.
Steve it also helps to write people off or stereotype them negatively. Like astrological signs.
All leos are thus and so. Watch out for him!
To be considered bipolar you only need 6 out of 9 or 10 criteria. Two symptoms of bipolar are being out of control and promiscuous. Ergo she must be dangerously bad-tempered and a slut! She may be mild mannered and celibate but it doesn’t matter. Her psych label trumps character.
Oldhead – Yes, thank you. I think the biochemical model must be totally ingrained in psychiatrists by now. Because after all, what would they do if they didn’t give out pills? Thank goodness I am out of that system and don’t know first hand what goes on any more.
All negative thoughts and feelings are random chemicals run awry in your brain. Alas. Pass the soma please.
I met a drug rep once (commenting on his Phillies hat in a bar). I didn’t know it at first, but it turned out he had promoted Zyprexa for Eli Lilly, the drug that had killed my son. I led him on a bit, and he confessed he had been uncomfortable touting the “party line” that the drug didn’t cause the “patient” to become obese or get diabetes, let alone profound hyperglycemia and death. When I told him about my son, he blanched, went speechless, and, making some small excuse, walked away. I was shaken to meet the tip of the spear in person.
ebl: Thank you for your post. No words. Except very sorry for the tragic loss of your son. And I would have been shaken to meet the rep, too. I so want to be more open with my experience (which thankfully I’m still alive to tell about), but I’m terrified of how people will take it.
My son used to insist on telling potential employers (and universities) that he had manic depression. He felt he was being a stickler for honesty. One employer in the federal government told him that, while he’d done an excellent job as an intern (at the EPA) she was not going to hire him because of the “special category” manic depression put him in to, thus turning “equal opportunity” on its head. So, while it’s important to tell one’s story, it’s also key to remember the tremendous amount of discrimination of all sorts that exists in our dog eat dog world.
Thoughtful piece, thanks. The psychiatrists reaction to prescribe antidepressants when presented with thoughts of suicide is so baffling. From what I understand, people in that state would not be allowed into a clinical trial for antidepressants because of the dangers, and yet in clinical practise it happens all the time. If the data says that non-suicidal people get suicidal thoughts at twice rate of the placebo group, why on earth would you take your chances with someone who is suicidal? There seems to be no advice given to psychiatrists about this so they panic and feel “they have to do something”.
The situation is even more dire than your comments suggest. If the suicide rate is higher amongst the “treatment group”, and the treatment group has been PRE-SCREENED for suicidality and suicidal people are removed in advance, it means ALL of the suicidality reported is caused by the drugs! So the drug doubles the suicide rate AMONG THOSE WHO ARE NOT SUICIDAL. What it would do when we include people with suicidal feelings into the cohort? Frightening to think.
Agreed Steve. In the real world psychiatrists multiply risks upon risks.
Where they end up is trying to prescribe, off-label, the drugs most associated with suicides to at-risk under 18’s. At that point they are off-scale and off-data, its blue sky country and the risk is unquantifiable. And I’m trying to work out where “but I have to do something” fits into medical protocols.
Noel – Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post.
Question: can akathisia from SSRI’s be successfully treated with manganese salts like antipsychotics can? About 30 years ago, a chap named Richard Kunin (MD) reported on successfully treating a small series of patients with tardive dyskinesia by this means, which was then soon taken up by the orthomolecular community, guaranteeing that mainstream shrinks would pay no (or hostile) attention to his work. I think he might still be still around (though in his late 80’s) and likely still has his own website; maybe he knows.
Could this be his website: http://www.kuninhealth.com/
Looks like it.
You know that something is terribly wrong, but you can’t put your finger on what or why. Life shouldn’t have to be so difficult, so insecure, so insane. The United States, which at least pretended to respect human rights and freedoms, has deteriorated into a criminal empire and a police state…
Great article. “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”. – Jiddu Krishnamurti
We have the right to unhappiness. We need to fight for this right now.
A lot of people feel guilt and shame because they aren’t walking around with permanent grins attached to their faces. What gives? This is stupid.
Prolonged unhappiness is not fun. In the churches I grew up in people would yell at you for saying negative things. “Depression is a sin.” “If you walk with the LORD you are never unhappy.”
Telling a troubled soul God’s mad at them for feeling bad can be a real pick-me-up. (Not.)
Now they have discovered the “science” of psychiatry from drug brochures from the 90’s. “Depression is a sin. Unless you have a mental illness. Then, get help. And take your ‘meds’ or we don’t want you back. Your tears are spoiling our country club for yuppies atmosphere!” Pretty compassionate, huh?
And guess what? The drugs are about as helpful as being told how sinful you are for crying.
No one cares how you feel really. As long as you wear a permanent grin from ear to ear in public and say, “AWESOME!” every time they ask you how things are going, everyone is content and don’t ask for further details. If people cared depression would lessen automatically.
Maybe botox injections could work as “treatments” for depression. If you go around smiling like the Joker from Batman you’re not depressed. 😛
Yes, Rachel I agree with you that we need to fight the narrowing of acceptable behavior. It’s not just sadness that gets people upset (I’ve experienced a flavor of what you’re talking about, just not church flavor)- try being eccentric. We need to fight for our right o be Sad, our right to be Weird, and frankly our right to be Pissed Off in the face of all the abuse and injustice/betrayal we’ve suffered at the hands of those oh-so compassionate souls who want to see us “helped.”
My mom taught me early on that being “weird” is not okay! If you must indulge in odd behaviors do it behind closed doors where no one can see.
I’m not referring to sexual stuff, btw. Still a virgin at 44 thanks to psychiatry’s “diagnosis.” 😛
More like trying to translate Chaucer into modern English for kicks. Or reciting a play in my head out loud and laughing at the humor. Nothing immoral, illegal, or fattening. But it’s “weird” cause “normal” people don’t do it. Better keep it hushed or they’ll think you’re crazy. Shhhh!
I don’t want to translate Chaucer, and yet I think it’s incredibly cool that someone else might want to. I say, embrace your uniqueness! (And I will take that as advice for myself, too.)
I’m so sorry, Rachel! As I read your reply, I envision a flower, sprouted proudly reaching for the sunshine, getting stepped on before it ever bloomed.
I was ripe for psychiatry when I met my first shrink at 18. The real me was unacceptable and wrong. Psychiatry helped me crush the real Rachel down. I hoped they would normalize me. But all they did was destroy the good stuff (lowered my IQ, destroyed creative interests) and exacerbate the bad (more than doubled my weight, artificial autism.) Mom thought the “meds” were great because they subdued me so I stopped saying stuff that annoyed her. But she would yell at me for moving my legs too much and overeating. 🙁
Lavendersage – As for eccentricity, there are pockets here and there within our sliding downhill country where being so is still acceptable. Portland, Oregon, is one such spot.
Yes, there are still those pockets. I saw a bumper sticker once that read “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” and it is 🙂 I’ve never been to Portland, but I know many college towns are bastions of eccentricity. Problem is, they are also pretty high cost of living.
Did you know that the FDA has approved a drug for the annoyingly cheerful?
Love it! Unfortunately, it’s probably in the pipeline. “Excessive cheerfulness disorder” – ECD!
The exclamation point in your reaction suggests that you may be suffering from an incurable case of ECD. I recommend immediate treatment. Does MIA have an official psychiatrist to deal with such disorders?
Watch out, buddy, or I’ll start sending you smiley face emojis! You can’t intimidate me!
No! Not smiley faces! Noooo!
I seem to have my ED back because I can’t stand okra. That’s really serious you know….
Doubtful. Cheerful is good. Gloomy is evil.
Swallow pills to boost the happy chemicals and some more to suppress the gloomy chemicals.
No? That’s okay. As long as you’re “meds” compliant it’s okay to feel like a pile of crap. But if you felt like a pile of crap OFF your “meds” that would be a sure sign of your “mental illness” coming back.
If you commit suicide under psychiatric control that’s okay cause it’s unavoidable. But committing suicide while NOT under the authority of psychiatry is a tragedy.
We will loudly lament it at NAMI, while warning others of the dangers of disobeying their good, kind, all-knowing, benevolent psychiatrist. WHY you made this choice is irrelevant. The “mentally ill” don’t have motivations like the rest of us normal people. Unless you count “mental illness” itself as a motivation for suicide or villainy. (Like a Blaze article covering the Los Vegas shooter.)
Remember those cartoon villains off Rocky and Bullwinkle. Why? Because I’m evil. Nyah-ah-ah!
Why? Because I’m mentally ill. Broo-ha-ha-ha!
“Excessive cheerfulness”, mania, elation, yep, I think they got it covered already. Don’t go up that mountain unless you want to fall over the side of a cliff, and wind up swinging from a rafter.
I don’t think it so bad though, if one considers the risks before starting the trek, prepares, and looks past a few clouds. That and values the life that they and all other corporal beings share.
Hey Slay The Dragon : did you know it was a parody ? lol
On the whole, Noel’s article is good, and demonstrates an acceptable level of skepticism toward psychiatry. But there are a few things that need to be emphatically restated or clarified. First of all, the rise in presumed suicides – tragedies that psychiatry has euphemistically termed “emotional lability” – is more often than not a direct result of psychiatric intervention. In other words, many of these “suicides” and mass shootings are not merely manifestations of troubled lives that finally bubble to the surface, they are the direct and predictable result of psychotropic drugging, involuntary incarceration, labeling, abuse, and torture. These “suicides” would more accurately be called manslaughter. But who is to be held accountable for these murders?
Psychiatrists are in one way or another implicated in these crimes, although many of them are woefully ignorant of the harm that they are causing. By now it should be obvious that the pharmaceutical industry, combined with psychiatric hegemony, is responsible for untold numbers of deaths and unfathomable suffering. Psychiatry, backed by pharmaceutical hegemony, is CAUSING the deaths and misery of untold numbers of innocent people. It is destroying families and individual lives. Psychiatry preys upon the weak, innocent children, the homeless, the elderly, and the vulnerable. It is a pseudo-scientific system of abuse and torture that masquerades as medicine. In short, psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry have blood on their hands, and the blood of the innocent cries out from the ground against them. God’s justice cannot sleep forever.
Another point needs to be made. Although it may seem comforting to have “professionals” and suicide hotlines readily available, these presumed resources act as funnels into the psychiatric system. There are many lures that draw people into the nefarious web of psychiatry. Hotlines, surveys, screenings, and other methods convince many people that they are “mentally ill” and need “therapy,” which “therapy” then results in labeling, drugging, iatrogenic harm, and sometimes death. These deaths are then used to bolster the same psychiatric selling points, namely, that there is an increase in “mental illness” and that more “treatment” and psychiatric interventions are needed to prevent the tragedies. It is a brilliant business model.
In other words, psychiatry creates the very problems that it purports to cure, and then it “cures” these problems in such a way as to exacerbate them and produce a great market for its “treatments.” The cycle will continue until the myth of mental illness is fully exposed, along with the chemical imbalance hoax. The cycle will continue until the general public understands the true history of psychiatry. Psychiatrists have been harming and killing people in the name of “medical treatment” since its inception, and its tactics have become ever more subtle, and ever more harmful.
Noel’s article is good, but in reality, many of these so-called “suicides” are not suicides at all. It is psychiatric murder, and there is no better way to cover up for murder than to make people think that the person who has been murdered has committed suicide. There is an ever growing list of “suicides” and mass shootings that belongs in the category of psychiatric murder. That is why psychiatry is not just a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, but a thanatophoric (death inducing) regime. How many more psychiatric murders will it take before psychiatry is held accountable for its crimes? How many more innocent men, women, and children must be sacrificed on the altars of the pharmaceutical industry before lovers of liberty and truth rise up in rebellion? What will it take to slay the dragon of psychiatry?
What will it take?
1) $$$$$$ MONEY.
2) AKATHISIA AWARENESS.
All of the above analysis has the basic common denominator in the emergence of psycho-active drug induced akathisia.
If every SSRI/SNRI/Antipsychotic pill packet carried “Shock and Awe” Warning Pictures and Information re AKATHISIA and –
Every patient Information Leaflet (PIL) carried a large bold header –
we could reduce the slaughter you describe above.
“THIS DRUG CAN INDUCE AKATHISIA”
The mighty Tobacco Industry was compelled to provide images of tumours and smokers dying of lung cancer.
It was considered a Public Health Priority.
How can the maiming and death caused by psychopharmacology not equate to a PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY and be addressed as such?
The thought of drug packets carrying images of children who hanged themselves after SSRI induced akathisia is too unbearable to contemplate.
The word Akathisia is not on any pill box Information Leaflet of any psych drug in the UK.
Were prescribers, patients, families, loved ones – for society to become aware of the devastation caused by AKATHISIA – it would be profoundly detrimental to Pharmaceutical marketing and to industry profits.
This is a common, life-threatening ADR.
Such awareness would also undermine the pharmaceutical industry’s “Command and Control” of C.M.E – Continuing Medical Education.
This is the process which enables the regular re-licensing of a doctor’s right to practice medicine, and to prescribe.
This is important everyone and thank you for that Bob Fiddaman-
But there’s a huge difference between cigarettes and psychotropic drugs. There are many differences, actually. The first is that psychotropic drugs produce suffering and death in ways (sometimes violent ways) that cigarettes never could. The second is that people smoke cigarettes for different reasons. There was a time when cigarettes were cool. It was a social, recreational thing. Some people might try to make “recreational” use of psychotropic drugs, but for the most part, these drugs are pushed upon innocent people who are labeled as “mentally ill” or otherwise “disordered.” There ARE black box warnings on drugs. But even if people were warned against AKATHISIA, TARDIVE DISKYNESIA, or NEUROLEPTIC MALIGNANT SYNDROME, these same people might still take the drugs because they wrongfully suppose that there is some possibility of “therepeutic” benefit to the drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. A warning against AKATHISIA or anything else is not enough. These drugs are more dangerous than cigarettes, for one reason because at least with cigarettes, people did not think that they were some sort of medication. I hope that makes sense.
I think the differences are counterbalanced by the similarities.
Lobotomies were also “cool” for a while. (See the excellent “B” movie — starring Meat Loaf(!) — entitled “A Hole In One.”)
I’m pretty sure I remember early cigarette commercials where one cigarette brand was recommended over another by doctors. Many people claim that smoking calms their nerves, though that would be true of anything to which one is addicted. Plus cigarette smoking used to be tacitly approved, even encouraged, on psych wards (is it now forbidden?). Most commercial cigarettes today are also adulterated with many poisons which outweigh the dangers of nicotine itself.
Unlike cigarettes, however, for which TV advertisements are prohibited, commercials for psych drugs with far more immediate and dangerous “side” effects permeate the airwaves.
There was second hand smoke with its dangers. But Big Tobacco never hired goons to grab innocent people off the street, lock them up, and tie them to chairs while shoving lit cigarettes in their mouths. So Big Pharma is even worse that way.
I remember those ads where “more doctors smoke Kools” or something of that nature. Disgusting!
The psych wards I have visited usually have smoke breaks maybe 2-3 times a day. Many of the inmates are pushed into nicotine withdrawal as part of their “treatment.”
They did force rats and other animals to smoke cigarettes. (Which almost makes me reconsider my opposition to the death penalty.)
I was chain-smoking Kools on the ward, 2 packs a day sometimes, and when I decided to quit cold turkey (successfully) they told me essentially that I should be working on more important things.
Those are good points oldhead. I agree. And congratulations on the cold turkey withdrawal from Kools. Well done.
Given a choice between cigarettes and psychotropic drugs (both bad choices), cigarettes are the lesser of two evils. Rachel777 also makes excellent points.
In any case, many people believe that psychotropic drugs are “medication,” which is simply not true.
Just to toot my own horn a little more, I should mention that was while being involuntarily drugged with 1600 mg. Thorazine daily.
I then cut my hair and got elected president of the “patient government.” Cured!
1600 mg! Holy crap! That would put a horse in a coma. You must be one tough dude!
The perverted, sick irony on people with ‘mental illness’ forced onto ‘antipsychotics’ who smoke is that the smoke activates the very enzymes that metabolise the drugs, easing the unbearable nature of a drug such as Olanzapine. I witnesed this for myself in a MH unit. It was smoking like I had never seen before, totally manic chain smoking with a panic to get it lit and then another to what ever their allowance was.
I drank ten cups of strong coffee a day on my psych drugs. It made me feel almost alive. The “cocktail” caused hypersomnia and would have kept me from working full time if anyone had hired me.
Slaying the Dragon
Yes, it is correct to target the critical role of psychiatry in these deaths, but your emphasis on ONLY psychiatry obscures the central underlying message in this blog. In fact, in my view, your total focus on the surface phenomena of psychiatry tends toward leading people away from finding the solutions to the problems of suicide and human alienation.
Psychiatry and their paradigm of so-called “treatment” exists in a certain environment (type of society) and we must ask (and answer) the following questions:
1) How did psychiatry come to gain its pervasive power in our society over the past 4 decades, and whose class interests does it serve?
2) What is the origin and ultimate source of this obsessive focus on INDIVIDUAL success and achievement in society (that is so alienating), and how does it connect to the nature of our economic and political system?
3) AND what systemic economic, political, and cultural changes need to take place in society to reduce emotional trauma and alienation, and give people more of a reason to live and contribute to making the world a better place?
And BTW Noel. a good and timely blog. I am deeply grieving the loss of Anthony Bourdain. In his own unique way, he was truly breaking down WALLS and revealing through his travels how most human beings on this planet want and need the same fundamental things in life.
The only part of the article I don’t quite align with is that emphasis on achievement is a negative force. I was always focused on academic achievement and I was very good at music. Focusing on intellectual things was what helped me thrive in academia.
Sadly, therapy overemphasized relationships. As a result of therapy I became needy and attached to certain people I met in the “milieu.” I was emotionally attached to the therapists. It was a sad change from the academician I once was. None of what therapy had to offer had anything do with using your thinking. You were supposed to “feel.” It seemed too mushy to me. Yet I became brainwashed by the “group hug” and stuffed animal play.
Now, I have gone back to my former self. I stopped emphasizing friendship and am plowing ahead with “career” in the forefront of my mind. This is how I am. I am hard-working, achievement-oriented, prefer to work independently, can create my own goals, and I love to do creative things. I was meant to be like this.
Happiness doesn’t depend on relationships anymore. People let me down far too many times. Humans are fickle and unreliable. Instead, if one happens by, that’s a good thing. If one leaves, I don’t fall apart over it.
What’s cool is that now that I am not in therapy and not labeled, I am free to feel what I want without professional criticism. So what if my bf broke up with me due to his two-timing? Had I been in therapy, the idiot therapist would have said, “Oh, let’s process this,” or, “So now you are grieving. Let’s set up extra appointments to get you through this.” Fuck that.
I don’t need therapy to create a mess for me when no mess exists. When my ex told me he was two-timing me and wanted to break up, I was laughing inside, cracking up, telling myself, “Either he just needs an excuse to end it because he has no guts to admit he’s scared of commitment, or he’s a damn idiot and I do not want him around.”
Who needs therapy? I’m fine. That’s because I am in a secure place within myself and I don’t define happiness as another human being. Oh, I do center life around my dog. I do not think she centers her life around me, though. I think she thinks of food constantly, and the many ways she can trick me into spoiling her even more every day.
Don’t fool yourself, Dog’s entire reality is centered around you.
My dog has been my biggest fan since she realized I am the supplier of kibbles.
I enjoyed the article. Maybe its because I’m a fairly traditional Christian, but I don’t hold out too much hope for society. Human nature is bad enough; add in deregulated capitalism, destruction of the family and communities, and the rise of the great death cult, Mental Health, Inc., and…
its a massive recipe for disaster. No where to run, no where to hide. I do believe that Jesus saves, of course, but I’m now thoroughly disappointed by the church. 12-step programs right in the sanctuary, leading the faithful straight to Hell. Awesome.
So…where to go? What to do? With the whole world headed towards annihilation, no wonder so many people end up killing themselves. No, no; Zoloft/Abili-Quel will -not- “help,” it may very well harm, quite possibly destroy you and maybe even some of those around you, but…
try, just try telling the Truth in today’s world. I cannot prove to anyone’s satisfaction that God exists or that Jesus saves, but…want proof of Satan’s existence? Look at psychiatry, past and present.
That’s an excellent point yeah_I_survived. Some antipsychiatrists and psychiatric survivors fail to fully comprehend the insidious nature of psychiatry because they fail to acknowledge that its founder is quite literally the devil, the prince of darkness. Some consider such things to be superstitious nonsense, which is exactly what the devil himself devises. He whispers in their ears that there is no devil. Those who fail to understand their enemy will have a difficult time defeating him.
Fortunately, as you also acknowledged, Jesus saves. Not only that, He overcame the world, the devil, evil, death, and every obstacle to our salvation and eternal life. Because of Jesus Christ, there is hope. Because He overcame the world, so can we. And that includes overcoming psychiatry. Satan is the dragon of psychiatry, but he will be slain. He was defeated once in the war in heaven, and ultimately truth will prevail and he will be defeated again, finally, and for the last time. The victory is the Lord’s, and to Him belongs all glory.
Satan is the father of lies. Psychiatry has his name all over it.
Double oh my.
Rachel777, that’s exactly right. I’m glad that you see it.
Yeah, thanks god you have psychiatry, it was inquisition before it became psychiatry. Remember Szasz? Theology is the first and the greatest enemy of the human psyche. Read Szasz again, and then Hillman Revision. Spiritualists has got nothing in common with psyche, psychology. There was a nice movie about it -The Master, which shows horrendous effects of spiritualists fraudulence. They are arrogant selfish and blind. Manufacture of madness and Revisioning psychology. Satan is real, god is real and psyche does not exists or is some kind of brain damage. Hellelujah. iF YOU DON’T HAVE KNOWLEDGE WHAT IS PSYCHE, HOW CAN YOU CREATE NEW LANGUAGE WHICH REPLACE PSYCHIATRIC EMPTY NOMINALISM BS? IT IS LOGIC, YOU WON’T DO IT.
Slaying The Dragon
It was wrong of me to use caustic sarcasm to your above comment that literally equates psychiatry to the “Devil.” I apologize for the tone of that past moderated comment.
The point to be made here is that by equating psychiatry to the “Devil” you end up totally abstracting psychiatry from the actual MATERIAL CONDITIONS in the world that gave rise to this profession, and NOW continues to sustain AND increase its power and control.
Yes, psychiatry does evil things in the world, but it is not “pure evil” in the sense that it has always existed as in the myth of the existence of a “Devil.” Human beings are capable of doing terrible things, but in the best of environments they can be very cooperative and loving.
For when you so narrowly focus on characterizing psychiatry as “evil” or the “Devil,” this lead us AWAY from finding the path to eliminating psychiatry and its oppressive paradigm of so-called treatment. This approach will NOT reduce the rise in suicide or end psychiatric oppression.
Right now in the world, psychiatry (with its “genetic theories of original sin”) makes people focus on bad genes, brain diseases etc. and wants us all to NOT look at institutionalized forms of trauma and inequality in the world. This clearly serves the interests of the rich and powerful, that is the pharmaceutical industry and those who want to suppress dissent and other forms of rebellion.
Just look at who are the most highly labeled and drugged segments of our society. In the past these segments of our society (minorities, women, prisoners and other system outliers etc.) were always the most rebellious and more willing to challenge the status quo.
We all need to broaden our analysis of psychiatric oppression and get to the heart of where it comes from and how to uproot it from the actual material conditions in the REAL world.
No problem Richard. Apology accepted. My apologies as well for any of my intemperate remarks. And I appreciate the thrust of your argument here. I agree with you that we need to broaden our perspectives, and to uproot psychiatry from the actual material conditions in the REAL world. Those of us who believe in the REALITY of good and evil, and the authors of both, will continue to fight for the good and resist evil as best we can. All the best,
Yeah-I-Survived, I’m angry and disappointed at how churches mindlessly swallow psychiatry’s lies (pun intended.) They say they have to believe what science has proven. Yet that doesn’t hold or they would fight climate change, teach evolution to their kids, and maybe close the door. Richard Dawkins is a real scientist after all and he says God is a delusion.
The three reasons churches espouse psychiatry.
1. They want to help the suffering, and think this will help. (Good motive. But if they really want to help they need to get more facts. None are willing to dig beneath the surface it seems.)
2. They are tired of unhappy or eccentric people/relatives and farm them out to the MI Center in desperation. (Bad motive. But understandable.)
3. Two of their prominent members make big money at the MI Center. And they tithe. When they ask to “educate” the congregation about how “safe and effective” psychiatry is, the preacher gladly lets them take over the worship service that day. More money for the center means more money for these women who TITHE. (Very bad motive.)
4. Because churches and psychiatry perform similar functions for the system of keeping people in line.
Religion and spirituality are not the same. More often than not they are in competition.
The difference, of course, is that true religion seeks to inspire people toward proper self-government by persuasion, love, and truth, whereas psychiatry, or in other words false religion, seeks to enforce and coerce people into submission through deceit and abuse.
?. Churches are susceptible to the manipulations and seductions of the “mental health” movement. In some cases, often many, church members, and their relatives, have experienced “hospitalization”, or “treatment” (i.e. hostile psychiatric interventions) first hand.
Religion and spirituality may not be identical, but that doesn’t mean they are in competition.
True religion versus false religion? I think that’s rather like when you would oppose true antipsychiatry to false antipsychiatry, and what actually comes of it, in my estimation, is another sect, that is, the psychiatry faith (i.e. worships at the altar of the great God “mental illness”) contested by, and contrasted to, the antipsychiatry faith (i.e. equates psychiatry with “the work of satan”.).
Given a little healthy skepticism, and a broader (more inclusive) perspective, antipsychiatry need not become another religion transposing the psychiatric religion into heresy, and the false faith.
Religion and spirituality may not be identical, but that doesn’t mean they are in competition.
More precisely, most religions have been established to control people’s spirituality, which is the most threatening force imaginable to tyrants since it is not constrained by the fear of death.
An exception could be Buddhism, which is more of a guide to meditation and self-awareness than an ideology. However even Buddhism has regularly been usurped by governments and used to reinforce hierarchies. It is often said that all religions started with the same basic message, arising from an instance of personal enlightenment, which then became distorted and appropriated over time to further the interests of rulers.
A lot of American churches have embraced materialism as a philosophy in practice if not in theory. Especially those made up of caucasians.
Truth, justice, and the American way, or as Dragon Slayer might put it, God, the family unit, and American values…
Why is the church so conservative?
National security, of course!
Frank, the irony is the early Christians were called anti-family, anti-patriot, and atheists. The first two were actually true. 🙂
I think religions have more to do with first explanations (creation myths) than they do with spiritual control. After the first explanation, it’s a matter of coming up with a second explanation, third, fourth, and arguing with the orthodoxy, that is, scientific inquiry.
Once you’ve got an explanation, there is sentimentality, resistance to change, and defensiveness over the established vision. Revision, thus, must for the devotee translate into heresy.
Excellent points Rachel777. Spot on.
you will take down the bad by showing the good…
you will not succeed with hate…
we need to fight with the truth and love..
Everyone could stand to be a bit kinder, a bit more patient, and a bit less judgmental–and this applies to self as well as to others. Being the example of what we expect from others can go a long way.
Still, another issue is that we live in a world where bullies can win (as pointed out in Noel’s previous article). This can be a very rude and discouraging awakening to profound social injustice that can lead to overwhelming frustration, despondence, and, eventually, hopelessness. What is the point of living oppressed, in constant fear, and with our hearts and spirits invisible to others? I honestly do not believe life is intended to be this way, and eventually, it catches up with us in the most unsettling of ways, draining us of our life force. Yet, this is what it has become for what seems to be the majority of the planet.
A world in which kindness and patience can prosper feels attractive to me, where bullies do not win because, as a society, we do not enable power abuse. That will be some radical change, and not without resistance. Yes, livelihoods will be at stake here, and other hard truths are bound to surface, throwing into question a lot of long held personal beliefs. That would be the process of radical transformation which would need to occur here, imo.
Thanks, Alex, you live in the world I want to be in. I want to share a lovely researcher’s work, Tania Singer, PhD, a social neuroscientist, who did a large study, The ReSource Project. showing how meditation, empathy and gratitude practices show tangible, positive prosocial results. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-hKS4rucTY. I am very interested in changing our society into a more compassionate, caring one especially our economic systems.
Thank you so much for sharing this, knowledgeispower. I just watched the whole thing and not only found it extremely interesting–and I definitely agree with her– but also I’m pretty much living proof of what she is saying about how we can totally rewire ourselves and create all sorts of positive changes this way. My years long healing from “mental health/illness” industry-related internal mayhem was made possible by applying things such as neuroplasticity, shifting all sorts of old and outdated thought patterns, beliefs, and impulses based on defensiveness and fear.
In fact, in the middle of my journey through the “mh” system, surrounded by all sorts of clinicians, case managers, and social workers while all the while feeling extremely hopeless, discouraged, and completely alone in my mad mind and in the dark, I did attempt to take my own life and it came scarily close to working. I was seriously fucked up after this, but I got out of the hospital and within a few weeks was at voc rehab. Long story here, but I trudged on, thanks to the hope I was receiving OUTSIDE of the “mh” world. This was 16 years ago and today, nothing could be further from my thoughts now, I love my life, ups and downs, challenges and all.
I was also able to shift my nervous system by taking some risks and really putting myself out there, while knowing where my support was. Over the years, I learned entirely new perspectives based on my experience going through the dark side of life for a while. I continue to learn as I go, and in essence shift my internal landscape.
I’ve lived with my partner for 33 years now who has witnessed change after change after change in me, thanks to the kind of healing work I do. He thinks it’s awesome and miraculous, and has followed suit and, in turn, has also been able to shift his old traumas and outdated brain habits, while nourishing his nervous system with hardy healing energies (e.g., gratitude, as you mention, and easing up on judgments to feel more compassion). We’ve both changed radically over the years–out of necessity!
And, indeed, it has changed our outer world. Thanks to many converging factors, I lived with underlying fears and insecurities for a long time into adulthood, and then with a lot of anger and resentment as I woke up to how this society worked, and the profound post traumatic stress the system had left me with, even after I had finally gotten disentangled from it all and detoxed my system physically, emotionally, and spiritually (energetically). I did so much healing work with a variety of teachers in a few different healing communities, which amounted to allowing our internal systems come back into their natural balance and alignment. From there, life really changes in so many ways. That is quite a transformative process–I’d call it a miracle of nature.
Lots more to it, like learning the process of “transmuting energy,” and also what it means to have a soul journey and purpose.
But yes, I love the work which Tania is doing as shown here because it speaks to change motivated by introspection and self-awareness, each of us responsible for our own energy and what we are putting out into the world, the collective. In turn, I believe the more we can practice inner peace, the more we are creating peace in the world. How can that not be true?
Thank you, Alex, for sharing your beautiful inspiring story of resilience, courage and hope. I wish you and your partner the best. Susan
Thank you, Susan, your kind words are very much appreciated. It’s been a humbling journey, as life can often be. I haven’t spoken publically about this in a while but it seems as though it’s time to lift all the veils if we are to know truth.
And it’s definitely time for soul growth and heart expansion if we are to move forward from what we have going on now, which. indeed, does not appear to be working for the vast majority of humanity. I try to be the best example I can be, although life does wear on us all. My faith is deep now, and that matters more than anything, as far as inspiring me to, once and for all, embrace my life in terms of gratitude, appreciation, love, and infinite creativity.
we can only light our own candle…I am interested
in the evidence…that is what I will follow..
Nice article. I am giving a talk later this week that has a somewhat similar message, though from a decidedly more left wing point of view and from a UK perspective.
We have a prime minister always banging on about mental health, initiatives to combat loneliness are publicly funded and suicide prevention boards in every county now but no one actually wants to discuss what drives people mad or to suicide or makes them lonely. Meanwhile services and benefits are cut, rents rise and landlords can evict at a moments notice for no reason, local pubs close down and are turned into luxury flats, homelessness increases, psychiatric drug prescriptions go up, awful counselling services where you get six weeks CBT to get the mildly distressed back to work get funding while help for the seriously distressed and drug and alcohol and sexual health services are cut – and there are more billionaires in the country than ever before.
Some very good points John. Where is the talk?
john, your comments make me think of the lengthy article I just read about the burning of Grenfell Tower –
“The Tower” by Andrew O’Hagan, in the 7 June London Review of Books. Reading this paper helps me see the clear comparisons between life in the U.S. and life in the U.K. and helps me understand the Brexit/Trump phenomena. Both countries feel like they are on death watch – we have thousands upon thousands of homeless out here on the West Coast. For Theresa May to prattle on about loneliness seems like just one more bandaid on the rot of capitalism gone amok.
Hi. I just want to say that changes are impossible in this kind of society, because of culture destroyed by teology. I do think that, as James Hillman says, language builds society, we have no society, we have only people who are working or dying without money and church and prayers, this is not a society, this is only economics and religion/spirituality/misticism which destroys PSYCHOLOGY. The only true change is to accept death AND create not hospitals but TEMPLES, yeah, it may sounds funny but it is not, believe or not, if people reject dead on the teological grounds, the should learn respect to PSYCHE AND THE DEATH which is psychological,not teological. Without knowledge about roots of teological hegemony over the human psyche there’s no use in talking about changes. Without phenomenology AND JAMES HILLMAN ONE TRUTH VISION OF PSYCHE.ONE TRULY HUMAN. I MEAN THE FIRST 50 PAGES OF RE-VISIONING PSYCHOLOGY SHOULD CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE FOREVER.
Yeah, I am talking about a positive kind of psychological tyranny. There are no changes without knowledge about political medicine which is psychiatry (Thomas Szasz) and about roots of what is psyche and what is not the psyche, which is teology (James Hillman Re-visioning psychology) and economics of psychiatry eg Peter Breggin or Getzsche. Remove teology and church and build psychological hegemony which is TRUE nature of human. Spirituality/teology is a convenient escape from psyche from roots of human experience, it is church hegemony. You must destroy people who believe in psychiatry the same way they destroy psyche by teology. They do no s. about psyche, but know everything about teological vision which is false. Death is not the problem, the problem is teology and spiritualists. People love god and destroy themselves in the name of teology NOT GOD, bahahah. Death is not a problem, you can not help everyone AND YOU WILL NOT HELP EVERYONE, because suicide is also a part of life, we are not the Saviours . It is THE attitude, no respect to death, fear about death and teology which completely remove death from a part of life. Read Suicide and the soul. It is not about help, it is about attitude. Atittude towards psyche and the death THE ATTITUDE IS THE KEY. BUY RE-VISIONING PSYCHOLOGY TO YOUR KIDS, AND TELL THEM THIS IS A NEW BIBLE, A HUMAN BIBLE. Psychiatry is BS. The problem of you people is that,you search for money to help people all the time, ok I understand, but this is only ANOTHER FORM of trap. It is better when someone will kill himself in hospital and they will call him a weak ill freak, or if he kills himself wherever, and the will say ok, I understand I remember what Hillman says —-WE DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE, WE DO NOT HAVE A HOPE – psyche is not teology, WE ARE GOING TO DIE. ALL OF US. Medicine will never ever cure dead,never. No one will, god tries and looks what happend. How stupid weak we all are. Do not search money or cure, search for truth and your balls cut out by false ideologies. Sorry for language, I can’t write, I am just 12 years old.
“A post on Facebook about cats or someone falling on their face might garner 50 “likes,” while a vulnerable and honest reflection of pain, need for connection, or hopelessness will tend to go ignored and result in lost followers.”
That’s exactly how I lost all my friends when I was about 53 years old. I tried to ask my “friends” on Facebook (and other places) for help with my eating disorder and then, very quickly, they were not my friends anymore. This makes me so angry, even now. They even called me dangerous and said I should be locked up. One of them said I “was no longer a person.” Makes me sick.
I have no clue how on earth I made it through 2011, 2012, and 2013 alive. They never realized I had a narcissistic therapist during that time, which was causing me to react by crying out for help. It takes a long, long time to get over therapy abuse. I got over it alone, no help from the unsupportive ex-friends.
Sorry you had this response from your “friends” (or lack of a response – depends how you look at it). As a distraught Primary Care Doctor and Patient-Person Advocate I want to apologize for our broken medical system and the abuse you were subjected to, as well. I sincerely hope, over time, you have developed healthy relationships with true friends and maybe even a trusted healthcare provider who knows they work for you, not the other way around. Glad to hear you got things ironed out and are still with us, contributing to the discussion, Julie.
We need a social media app for venting about the crap in our lives. i’m not entirely joking either.
Hey Julie, that’s exactly how I lost my friend group – Facebook posts about my struggles. My friend group even ostracized my boyfriend (now husband) for dating the crazy girl. Luckily he dropped them and kept me. He helped me get off the meds and away from psychiatry. They would have let me rot in an institution. I’ve since decided with friends like that I don’t need friends.
Congratulations on finding someone who loves you that much! Drop those fake “friends.” They can cause more harm than in-your-face enemies.
An open foe may prove a curse.
But a pretended friend is worse.
Letting doctors off the hook…the psychiatrists will love this:
“the appointment of experienced doctors as medical examiners to look at all deaths and engage with bereaved families “
Were psychiatrists ever on the hook?
Well some of them have got struck off and banged up for dugging people , but no where near enough
Here is one psychiatrist:
and ofcourse the history of psychiatry is a vast crime against humanity:
I was thinking they may be on the hook for other things but not often for patients dying as a result of prescribed drugs. As far as the UK is concerned, I googled “psychiatrist struck off” and looked at the first three pages. It was sex, plagiarism, sex, sex, sex, sex, inappropriate behaviour and inappropriate behaviour and lying. One mention of a historic case where a psychiatrist who had been working I seem to remember with addicts had prescribed drugs to someone who then died. I had another go for “psychiatrist convicted” and it was illegal drugs (the Royal College podcaster), sex, sex and sex, plus one mention of a historic case of sex. Sex in these convicted cases meaning something criminal whether you are a doctor or not.
It would be interesting to ascertain of any UK psychiatrists have been convicted of killing their patients as a direct result of prescribing SSRI’s, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics or lithium. Ofcourse it has got to be in the many thousands dead.
Couldn’t find any in the first three pages of google, even searching “psychiatrist manslaughter”.
Wonderful and important article, thank you! There are movements in therapy that are political and powerful, viewing sickness as lying in society not the individual and the ‘cure’ lying in breaking our alienation from one another. Jenn Bullock http://www.letsdevelopphilly.com
What is MIA’s policy on “mh” professionals posting advertisements?
I would be interested to see numbers related to how many people take their own lives while receiving “services.” I was surrounded by “professionals” at the time of my attempted suicide, none of whom thought to ask me what was going through my mind that I felt that suicide was the answer for me. I wasn’t asked how I was feeling, I was told by how I looked what I was feeling.
And I remember this one psych nurse who, on my first night in the hospital, laid sooo much guilt on me for not thinking of others in my life. She hadn’t a clue of my life, my past, or what I’d been through, but she effortlessly projected her judgmental opinion onto me. The shrink who saw me while I was in the hospital “accused” me of being manipulative. I was in shock and said nothing, hardly being able to speak above a whisper anyway, and he stormed out of the room frustrated. I thought about doing it all over again.
I remember every moment of my life, including what led up to this, the beliefs I was holding and where they came from, and why I was so vulnerable at that moment. I was seeing a shrink twice a week because I was told I had to–which turned out was a complete lie, but it was the program I was running from the brainwashing system and my mind was so messed up from the psych drugs withdrawal, I really had a hard time thinking for myself during that time; I was painfully confused and disoriented, so I did what I was told, out of fear and intimidation.
I remember every moment of hanging in the balance between life and death, and even my consciousness leaving my body. Nope, things don’t go black–in fact, it becomes an enormously colorful and vivid landscape of energy. It’s as if I learned more in those few seconds than I had in my entire life on Earth.
Somehow, I chose to stick around and got myself back into my body, feeling I now had a mission on Earth, and I’ve since followed that path and continue to this day–to help raise the frequency of this planet. We are, after all, energy, and we do give out vibrational signals which can be felt by others (people with a sense of empathy, who are not walled up, which is another factor in all this), and we are all connected as a field of energy. Like it or not.
After getting out of the hospital after a few days, I never took another chemical drug for anything and went all natural for the remainder of my healing journey, learning radically new perspectives that were FINALLY working for me, and a new and way improved reality began to unfold for me. Never again would I step foot into a psychiatrists office, and instead, I focused on healing my heart and spirit from repeated wounding and the lowest self-esteem ever. I had to own up to my choices and I worked hard to shift my perspective and self-beliefs. Changed me on the inside and led to wonderful changes on the outside.
I’m a different person today than I was 16 years ago, all guided by these monstrous experiences. So at least they were meaningful and useful. Still, I believe there are easier ways to grow and evolve than going deep into an oppressive and dangerous system. That is my main point here. That is what is not working here and going so,so wrong. THE SYSTEM. Personally, I think all systems are failing now and new ways of doing things are being presented worldwide.
But specifically, this “mental health/illness/disability” system is the hub of hypocrisy and fraud. From my experience, I honestly do not feel it is redeemable. It is a toxic beast and needs to be put to rest, for everyone’s sake. That is my conclusion from my experience in it. There are tons of ways to find healing, clarity, grounding, balance, and wholeness. “Mental health services” is not one of them, and to me, seems to mostly rely on making people dependent on them. Sorry to those in the field, but truth is truth. WAKE UP!!!
Hi Alex. This sounds very close to an anti-psychiatry pronouncement, except for the lack of the word “anti” (which I won’t insist on); would you concur?
Yes, oldhead, I believe I am anti-psychiatry, if it is defined as I see it on Wikipedia–
“Anti-psychiatry is a movement based on the view that psychiatric treatment is often more damaging than helpful to patients. It considers psychiatry a coercive instrument of oppression due to an unequal power relationship between doctor and patient and a highly subjective diagnostic process.”
Exactly my experience repeatedly over the years. Although thankfully, I don’t have anything to do with psychiatry or “mental health” anything any longer. For me, personally, that’s a thing of the past and I’ve done a lot of healing from the post-traumatic stress of my experience in the “mh” system. I post here on occasion now to speak my truth about it, feels good to me to do so and hopefully my voice can make a difference here.
I know psychiatry to be an extremely dangerous institution, esteemed members of which seem to all-too-often resort to gaslighting and shaming when challenged by its critics, as though it were second nature. Absolutely ZERO reasonability, totally oppressive. Can’t say enough how sinister I think that is, whether it is conscious or not. I have found it to be intricately woven into the fabric of psychiatry and its ilk.
Would you relate to the phrase “Make Psychiatry History”?
Actually I have issues with the Wikipedia definition, but it’s a start.
I believe that psychiatry is a dangerous institution with only negative value for society. I do understand very well that some people feel that psychiatry is necessary for them to have quality of life, and I am in no position to argue with them. So to say psychiatry should be history would be dismissing the reality of many people, and I do feel this is worthy of pause.
However, at the same time, I know that my experience along with thousands upon thousands of testimonials which I have read and also from stories I’ve heard in person, from those whom I know personally, would add up to the institution of psychiatry being nothing more than a social vampire and extremely dangerous. Considering that psychiatry almost killed me and has killed many—not just with neurotoxins but also with crippling discrimination and dehumanization, causing egregious stress and fear/paranoia—and which certainly has been, at the very least, profoundly dispiriting for so, so many–then yes, I, personally, would like to see it in the dustbin of history, so that we could reroute, in a way more productive and fruitful way, the *enormous* amount of resources which this toxic institution sucks up so recklessly and fraudulently. At this point, just about anything would be more productive than what they are doing.
I actually came to this thread specifically to post this article I just read, to elaborate a bit, because this is yet another thing about psychiatry which bothers me, and it will even further illustrate why psychiatry is dangerous in so many ways. This article is about the kids who have been separated from their families and who are being held in these “detention centers,” getting drugged with neurotoxins to keep them quiet.
“One of the more gruesome details includes allegations that children at the Shiloh Treatment Center near Houston, Texas were routinely dosed with unneeded antipsychotics to keep them quiet and compliant.”
They don’t mention psychiatry or psychiatrists, they just talk about the drugs which psychiatrists routinely use as tools to “serve” their clients. Problem is, I can’t tell where psychiatry ends and government oppression and cruelty begin, the lines are so blurred here. So that gives me pause, as well.
I didn’t expect to find your question here, I just came to post this article. I hope I’m clear about where I stand. I do feel very strongly about it and feel I have so many ways to back up what I say concretely. I do not want to be ambiguous about what my truth is here. Thanks for asking.
Not sure although it seems that you are maybe asking whether I fall into the “reformist” or “abolitionist” category, to which, if that were the case, I’d say that I used to be more of reformist, when I was first waking up to how the entire field was askew and misguided. I figured there was a new dialogue to have, here, given the clarity my particular journey brought me once I had kicked the psych drugs.
But then, after years of attempting to dialogue with so many different people in so many ways–even making a film hoping to start a new conversation–while at first things would seem to rev up a bit, it just always ended up going nowhere but south.
And I noticed the same damn dynamics repeatedly, always amounting to shutting down dialogue just when we were getting to some truth–at least that’s how it seemed to me. Just like in 1:1 sessions, group therapies, and just plain ol’ trying to dialogue for clarity or common ground, there was just always some mechanism of defense which would inevitably deteriorate the whole thing, and usually in kind of nasty ways, it seemed, rife with negative and highly provocative projections. Every damn time.
I keep saying “it seemed” because with all that gaslighting going on, clarity just falls by the wayside, and one simply has to trust their gut.
Anyway, after years and years of going in circles with professionals in the field (I was in the center of things for a good long while), I gave up and now I feel what I feel, that it’s rather hopeless.
Still, I do wonder about the folks who are dependent on the system. They do have their right to what they feel they need, as well. I do not want to dismiss that.
So it’s a conundrum, but for the record, I am absolutely convinced there is no reforming here. I’m done trying to dialogue with the mental health industry, I am more than doubtful that this will lead to anything good. Although speaking my truth about it is vital in my path, it is how I continue to heal and grow in my clarity.
So what are other definitions of anti-psychiatry? I’m curious to know exactly how you define that, oldhead, or by others who’ve been at this a long time as you have. I still consider myself a newbie in many ways, still learning these things.
Looks like we’ve both changed a bit, hopefully for the better; I will respond to some of your questions when I have the time to do this more justice. Just a thought meanwhile:
I do understand very well that some people feel that psychiatry is necessary for them to have quality of life, and I am in no position to argue with them.
Clearly “arguing” about someone’s feelings borders on invalidation — but if we’re talking beliefs, don’t you think your own knowledge and experience regarding the evils of psychiatry is something from which they would benefit, and that at least a strong warning might be in order?
Good to see you and Auntie Psychiatry engaging in some dialogue here as well.
“…but if we’re talking beliefs, don’t you think your own knowledge and experience regarding the evils of psychiatry is something from which they would benefit, and that at least a strong warning might be in order?”
That’s why I’ve been talking about it all these years. I’ve been publically transparent with my entire process over the years. A lot of my information has evolved, I learn as I go. There is so much nuance to these issues and a vast array of conflicting perspectives. How to make sense out of any of it?
While at first it wasn’t as a “warning” but more an attempt to educate from the perspective of my healing, it did eventually become more about calling out corruption and oppression–in addition to institutional malpractice–and to be honest, I was shocked to the degree this became the case. I’d been in the midst of it, so I had a ton of self-reflection to do as to what my beliefs were.
What you’re noticing in me when you say “change” is, for me, specifically, healing. This is how I experience it, certainly feels better to me.
I have a lot of friends and am well-established in my community. I work with clients and I have students. And everyone who knows me knows my story and exactly how I feel about psychiatry and “mental health” anything. I’ve diverted a lot of people away from that, I’m pleased to say.
But other than to share my story and opinion, I have no control over whether or not I will be heard or believed or any of that. I try to be mindful of my communication, to be as clear, direct, and truthful as I know how. I may not always succeed here and I try to grow in this regard.
But communication is also about hearing what is being said, and this is so often not the case. When I detect that, I will honor it, but will not push against it. I do not feel that is productive, and in fact, can feel exactly oppressive, considering how sensitive these issues are.
Beliefs, in general, are very personal and reflect our values and how we perceive anything. There’s a lot to say about how we acquire them and how they impact our lives, personal realities, communication style, and relationship dynamics. Those would be whole other discussions to have.
I do appreciate this dialogue, oldhead, and am glad we have both evolved toward common ground, perhaps? At least that might strengthen these efforts, I hope.
So what are other definitions of anti-psychiatry? I’m curious to know exactly how you define that, oldhead, or by others who’ve been at this a long time as you have. I still consider myself a newbie in many ways, still learning these things.
Mmm, without checking, as I recall the Wiki “definition” reflected an unconscious psychiatric perspective, i.e. framing things in terms of the “helpfulness” of “treatments,” rather than a more sophisticated deconstruction of psychiatric ideology in terms of its basic assumptions.
I’m examining how even “anti-psychiatry” people have different sorts of opposition to psychiatry: a) Those who have been forcibly incarcerated or “treated,” see psychiatry as a police force and just want it off their backs and away from them; and b) those who voluntarily sought out psychiatric “help” and found it to be anything but, and are more prone to holding out hope that if they just make the right arguments in the right way, reasonable people in the “mental health” system will agree with them and everything will change.
What I think needs to be understood is that there are two different things people are looking for here. One is to get rid of psychiatry and/or its power. The other is finding ways to support one another pending transformative societal change. They are related, but they are separate, and the pursuit of one should not be predicated upon the achievement of the other, e.g. “you can’t get rid of psychiatry without something to replace it with.” This implicitly accepts that psychiatry serves a useful function of “support,” however imperfect, without which there would be widespread catastrophe. But of course there already is just that, thanks to psychiatry. The true function of psychiatry is not support, it is control, and when people find support it is in spite of the system, not because of it.
Does that make some sense? This thread is about to disappear, but I’m sure there will be a resurrection of this discussion/debate somewhere down the line, probably soon. All this is just scratching the surface.
Thank you, yes, this is a really good summary, and it makes sense given what I’ve absorbed over the years from reading and dialoguing here.
And I agree, this is so much more than simply “where to get help,” I think the entire perspective from which psychiatry operates, regarding “what it means to be human,” is completely askew–a painfully narrow box into which no one can really fit, it’s just not realistic. It’s pure solipsism, and in turn, inherently oppressive.
So I think psychiatry is based on delusional thinking, to be honest. If that’s the dominant paradigm, then what it is “selling” is 100% illusion, and members of this club are making tons and tons of money committing fraud, at an extremely high cost for its takers, and for society at large. That’s the clearest conclusion I can draw from what I’ve experienced and witnessed.
I just understood why you stated the thread was about ti disappear. It is pretty long, and has taken many directions … But I still want to comment on the following :
“you can’t get rid of psychiatry without something to replace it with.” This implicitly accepts that psychiatry serves a useful function,…”
I agree, there are at least two category of people who write here, moor likely a complex myriad of us in fact. And to only want to get rid of psychiatry is half the job. The void will surely get filled up by “alternatives”. Psychiatry has definitely à control function that serves courts, parents, teachers, employers, prison administrators, residencies and society at large. This means there is a “demand”, a huge one. And, a big part of that demand is by oppressors, opportunistic people or organisations that benefit with the actual situation. But that’s only my point of view. I am in the “reformist” camp. Radical, but not as radical as the abolitionists. After having worked 34 years as a psychologist, I can’t believe, or bear to even imagine it was all so vain. But I will admit, psychology is not the ultimate solution. Part of a bigger, much bigger change. I dont always like the word “spirituality”, but bringing back a little of that would also help a great deal. And the political arena is probably the most promising of all. And that : more and better justice, fighting poverty and human misery, saving our environment, ending wars and giving access to a better, at the very least à decent life, to everybody all over the planet is a very long journey. Worth it, but a bit idealistic I’m afraid.
Given that this blog is about suicide, this thread began with my post wondering how many people take their own lives while receiving “mental health services.”
This came from my experience of feeling driven to take my own life because psychiatry had rendered me powerless in my defenses (thanks to being drained and temporarily disoriented from neurotoxins and subsequent withdrawal), and then as a bonus, I got treated like a worthless piece of crap with, apparently, no rights, and was given a very negative prognosis for my life by therapists and psychiatrists, AFTER I ditched the drugs.
Which, btw, was a false prophecy because my life is just fine after working hard as hell to get back on track once I left this all behind me, thank you very much. But it nearly killed me to hear what was said to me because I was believing it for a moment.
I would say this all drove me to want to kill myself, after all the hard work I’d put into life and into my healing. It was more brutal than I can adequately put into words at this time.
So when do we acknowledge that “something” is not working? That’s the title of this article. I don’t know, when do we?
Regarding “alternatives,” I do a lot of alternative healing, that’s my vocation in life. Healing exists already in many shapes, sizes, and forms. It’s just a matter of researching with an open mind. We have many ways to heal, based on our beliefs about life, spirit, the mind, and the body. Psychiatry is nothing even close to this, does not resemble healing in any fashion, from what I can see.
But the real alternative to psychiatry is humanity and empathy, because I see none here. A sound, just, and progressive society would be psychiatry-less, because this institution only interferes with nature, and it is highly corrupt, that is obvious.
Progress and clarity exists in the world, just not anywhere near the institution of psychiatry nor anywhere in the mental health industry, from what I can gather. I’ve seen nothing that convinces me there is even a hint of “new paradigm” anywhere along this arena. It is a dead horse already, to my mind.
The problem is all this dependence on it. That causes the kind of stress that can lead to suicide, because it’s like being caught in a web of systemic co-dependence.
Ok, I’ve said enough here, I don’t want to keep beating that horse. I just wanted to make clear how this conversation is relevant to this article because I’m saying psychiatry can way too easily lead to suicide, in so many ways. I know people claim it helps them, and there are staunch defenders of psychiatry who are clients of it. Yet it hurt me so terribly, and I know I am not, by any stretch, the only one who can reasonably claim this.
My question right now would be, how to reconcile this profound split? Those are two completely disparate realities. Yet, they co-exist, although not peaceably, that is certain.
I hate to argue with you Alex (either cause I’m afraid to loose or, on the contrary, to win the argument and then deceive you) but.., You, and nobody will ever know for sure what drove you to think about suicide as the ultimate solution. I contemplated that, very long before i got personally involved with psychiatry. Suicide is an existential question or dilemma. “Will I wait until a sickness kills me, or any other cause, or should I take matters in my hands in times of great trouble or turmoil is a legitimate question. I am happy I decided “no way Hossai !” : life can be beautiful and full of wonderful things, so live it up to the end. Many people are not so fortunate thus. In the end, nobody can put the blame on any circumstances for envisioning to put an end to one’s life. There are so many other circumstances, conditions or, to put it in a scientific frame, “factors”. But, where I am in accord with you is my inclination for anarchy. Not a disturbed and chaotic one but, something like a “garden of Eden”. Without appels and snakes, if that’s the only problem. …
“You, and nobody will ever know for sure what drove you to think about suicide as the ultimate solution.”
Jclaude, I stopped reading your response right here. This is exactly the problem with these dialogues, so thank you for this glaring example.
How on Earth would you know my reality better than I would? For the sake of helping to bring clarity around very tough issues, I am making myself vulnerable by speaking publically about something very intimate and transparent from my personal experience—on which I’ve reflected for years and years and about which I’ve spoken with people who know me and are part of my life and have been part of my journey–and you, whom I’ve never met nor do I know who you are–categorically deny it and invalidate it.
There is a form of GASLIGHTING happening here, can’t you see that? Can’t you see that this is purely a projection on your part? How do you think it would feel to hear that you don’t know what you’re talking about with respect to your own life and experience? This is precisely what so many of us psych survivors complain fervently about. It is a personal boundary violation!
This is why people say these environments are “unsafe,” and why we call it courage when we tell our stories. We risk exactly this, complete negation of our spirit, heart, and personal information. Do I take it personally and believe it? Of course not, I’m used to this by now. But I do feel and believe that it is painfully illustrative of a huge problem we have going here.
Well, there’s the mental health industry for ya—in black & white. I rest my case.
“But specifically, this “mental health/illness/disability” system is the hub of hypocrisy and fraud. From my experience, I honestly do not feel it is redeemable. It is a toxic beast and needs to be put to rest, for everyone’s sake.”
Brilliantly well put! It took me nearly 30 years to reach this very same conclusion, but I got there in the end. Now that I know it, there is no going back – it’s impossible to “unknow” something as profound as this.
Same here, Auntie Psychiatry, I woke up to the truth here about 25 years after I first reached out for help. That’s when my system began to completely deteriorate and things got really, really bad all of a sudden because the drugs had been eating away at me all those years, unbeknownst to me. And then there was the introduction of the social abuse and marginalization later in life, to add insult to injury, quite literally!
Connecting those dots was my rude awakening, and getting back on track with my life obviously meant completely annihilating psychiatry and the entire “mh” system from my life and energy. That took some doing, psychiatry proved to be costly in many ways. I had a lot of healing to do from the result of their malpractice. No other word I can use for it, it was purely systemic malpractice, and I will stand by that with all sorts of evidence and witnesses.
And you’re right, we can’t “unawaken” from this, it is so glaring and pervasive. And while I’ve since moved on and have settled just fine into the flow of life again, in a new and transformed way, it’s also hard to forget. Seeing psychiatry continue to thrive at the expense of others is like a kick in the gut.
Thank you, Noel. I think the most poignant sentence in your entire post is this: “please talk to someone, anyone, (just not me).” I can relate. How tragic.
very much agree with this piece we have a mental (ill) health system that does little but obfuscate where the real disorders lie namely in our culture through the misuse of power, ideology, class, jobs people hate and are harmed on mass by, debt, zero community, fear, mass distractions and many other cultural harms.
The mental (ill) health system is also seriously bad for the health of those working within it and burn out is increasing especially in the UK’s ridiculous IAPT service that is a nonsense of target driven short terms sticking plasters – the entire industry has oversold it self so now we have people convinced they have this or that disorder and coming to services looking for ‘techniques’ and ‘tools’ to somehow magically manage away the cultural disorders already mentioned – no wonder distress and suffering are massively on the increase we are looking in the wrong place for the causes of our suffering and most ‘therapeutic’ approaches take these causes and reduce them to mere triggers for some hypothesized personal pathology – madness
Unless I didn’t read very carefully it’s surprising to me that there’s little mention made of the fact that the risk for suicide goes up after being discharged from psychiatric institutions for those who were “hospitalized”. And this is just not people who were supposedly suicidal before they were incarcerated in the “hospital” but those who showed no signs of motivation in this direction before their stay. So what does that tell you about the wonderful “treatment” that people receive? You’re more likely to kill yourself after “hospitalization” than you were before “hospitalization”.
I was “hospitalized” for trying to kill myself. Not one of the three psychiatrists that I had on my case wanted to hear about why I wanted to kill myself. I made numerous attempts to explain what was going on and it made two of them visibly uncomfortable. As a chaplain I understood a little about body language and these two guys squirmed in their seats and looked at their watches while I tried to explain. This was not at all important to them since they knew that my actions were caused by a chemical imbalance and they certainly had the cure for that! I also had the feeling that only one of the three was concerned for my welfare. The other two were worried that if they didn’t hold me long enough and I went out and killed myself that they would be held accountable. They were worried about covering their asses and not about my issues that were causing my behavior. Such is the system where it comes to wanting to kill yourself. They will end up forcing you to take drugs that are known to drive people to kill themselves or others. Go figure. Makes you ask what’s wrong with this picture.
Why were they worried about being held accountable? Shrinks never are.
If they were, they would be tried for criminal negligence leading to mass homicides when a gunman under their care kills a bunch of people and they tell everyone his “meds” make him safe. They’re a menace to public safety when they do that!
It’s the “standard of care” bs.
My cat gets better “standard of care” from his vet than the system gives to people in distress.
And yet they are the ones that the courts and the law turn to when deciding things about us.
It was good that you found the solutions somewhere else.
I received more humane and understanding care from two, young behavioral health care workers who made a real human connection with me and dealt with me in compassionate ways. They led me to care about myself by showing me that they cared about what happened to me. Unlike the psychiatrists who were determined to make me do what they wanted me to do. I received more healing from them than from any of the clinical staff on the unit. I healed in spite of the clinical staff!Of course, neither of these two work at the “hospital” now.
hey I just thought….in the northern hemisphere…
why is the peak month for suicides in MAY…
I have no idea…can we blame psychiatry
I hear you and agree with the multiple comments made in this blog that what ‘we’ have been doing to supposedly help folks with their (mental) health care have not been working, and in fact, have been, too often, detrimental. Glad you were helped by these two people. Compassion and seeking to understand is what’s needed. I encourage all to go back and read my comment above. I get it. The medical community needs to listen and provide person-centered health care delivery to and for the person we have pledged to serve, and include whoever they consider “family” to assist allow us to help others achieve their life’s objectives, rather than what we think they need.
Thank you for responding. I agree that more person-centered care needs to be given but not only by psychiatrists but by all doctors in all medical specialties. Lately, I’ve run into GP’s who were as controlling as the psychiatrists I dealt with. Something has happened to the field of medicine, beginning with medical school, that is not good for our health in today’s society.
Yes, I read your earlier statement and appreciate your willingness to deal with people properly.
Part of our society’s infatuation with psychiatry is it enables us to shuffle off those who suffer onto the backs of “trained professionals.”
Before I got kicked out of college, the dorm mom told everyone in my unit to quit talking to me. She said only trained professionals should talk to people like me.
That is horrible. When such things happen in the office, it is called harassment, psychological torture, bullying etc. But, to inflict this on a child is revolting.
Just noticed this in the latest edition of JAMA : “Use of prescription medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect was common and associated with greater likelihood of concurrent depression.” This kind of news, coming from a very conservative or established journal surprises me, in the good sense. For more info, check out https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2684607. Seems some researchers are doing serious business.
wow, after clicking the article above the clicking what mediations have depression as a side effect I came across this https://www.verywellmind.com/drugs-that-can-cause-depression-1067458
and on the same site this https://www.verywellmind.com/the-chemistry-of-depression-1065137
mad to think we can just pull all of this from the WWmagicspell
And wow, after I clicked your article, I linked in my FB group to psychologists. it will put them at odds with the medical community for sure, but it ain’t my fault, after all ! thanks.
OK maybe this blog has some life in it after all. This is a continuation of the discussion with JClaude & Alex many posts above:
And to only want to get rid of psychiatry is half the job.
You don’t seem to get what I’m saying. If your focus is ending psychiatry that is the job.
Providing human support is another job. Both are important. Both are separate. Neither is contingent upon the other.
I am in the “reformist” camp. Radical, but not as radical as the abolitionists.
This is meaningless without a common understanding of the buzz words you use: “reformist,” “radical,” and “abolitionist.” Plus they’re all basically labels, can you spell what you mean out a little better?
After having worked 34 years as a psychologist, I can’t believe, or bear to even imagine it was all so vain.
We’re talking psychiatry here, not psychology. Maybe that’s part of the problem.
I felt like just ignoring all this, but it hurts and no, I wont elaborate. Not if I’m to feel my writing is not even worth reading (and being told that publicly) and then being told rude comments such as using “buzz words” and meaningless things. I am not english speaking of origin and to write 3 paragraphs cant take me a lot of time. Being answered I lost my time doesn’t give me a big incentive to pursue any form of discussion any further.
It hurts you that I have trouble understanding you (or you me) due to a language barrier? A psychologist of 34 years? Some missing info here I’m afraid, but don’t worry about it.
“Perhaps we can stop blaming individual defectiveness and poor genetic stock, and start acknowledging that our society is sick.”
Whatever we mean by “society is sick”–with which I agree, something is terribly amiss in our society at the core and it is adversely affecting humanity on the whole, I believe this is obvious–I’m sure it would be helpful to be specific here. How, exactly, does this manifest in our society? It affects us all, we are all part of “society.”
When we know the root cause of any imbalance and trace the cause-and-effect ripples, we can do something about it. “Healing” (positive change, coming into balance) for society would depend on specifics, here.
“Perhaps it’s time we do something different.”
Yes, once we figure out/awaken to what “we” are doing wrong. Otherwise, how can we know what to do differently? In essence, that means bringing our own shadow into light, so we can integrate that, somehow. This is how evolution occurs, I believe, when we face our shadow squarely in the eye. To heal it, we have to feel it.
But we have to do it ourselves, no one can do this for us. That will require tremendous courage and humility, which would be great expansion for humanity, I believe.
Awakening to stuff like this is really powerful, and can bring about very strong emotions because everyone’s self-beliefs and core perceptions will be challenged; that is the nature of radical change. It’s vital to keep perspective and grounding while radical change occurs, at the core. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Well, given that the discussion seems to be done here, I’ll just say this at this point and move on—
What has made the idea of “suicide” impossible for me now is what I learned coming back from the dead. Those of us who subscribe to the perspective that, in reality, we are soul/spirit/energy beings who are in the process of having a human experience for the purpose of soul growth, heart expansion, and awakening to our true selves–and there are many, many, so many of us who subscribe to this; it is an ancient wisdom which, thanks to the internet, tons of people now practice this belief openly and teach it and guide and heal from it and it is manifesting the most abundantly fruitful results–know and understand that when we take our own lives and purposely interrupt our life journey due to overwhelm of despair, chronic suffering, shame, powerlessness, and generally fear-based living, then we inevitably will come back to that point so that we can, once and for all, learn what we need to learn there, and jump those hurdles. It is part of our soul growth, and we will not evolve until we get this.
This is a belief from a specific perspective which, as I’ve said, many people all over the planet share. Not everyone sees life this way, however, and might even disparage this perspective, because it is not “scientifically based” in western scientific terms, whatever that means.
Yet, it is a practiced belief for so many because it breaks through all of the glass ceilings, which is what cause the above named negative feelings to become chronic. Again, those damn tiny little boxes. We are soooooo much more than that.
And when we are discouraged and belittled and shamed and diagnosed and drugged for wanting to express these unique aspects of ourselves, the result is suffering. That is inevitable, of this I’m certain. We’ve gotten so used to it and inured, but now we are being asked to awaken to this, and process it one way or another. Too much truth out there to avoid at this point. The elephants in the room are obvious and lit up for all to see.
Point being: it can save lives to explore this perspective. I got over a lot of humps during my time of healing by remembering that I’ve gotten this far, I may as well keep going. Were I to kill myself at any time, I know I’d just have to keep repeating the same thing over and over and over again, until I learned my lessons and expanded my perspective, so that I could get what I needed from the experience, heal whatever trauma I may have incurred, and get on with my life, moving forward and in greater peace of mind.
Exploring new consciousness like this would be the first step in transformation.
I’ve appreciated talking about all of this, it has brought me a lot of clarity on many important things for me right now. I hope what I’ve said here can help others, or someone.