Don’t Tell Me to Shut Up: The “Et Tu, Brute” Stigma of “Mental Illness”

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From Psych Central: “After sharing my eccentric journey to recovery in a new book, I’ve been accused of being anti-psychiatry. I’m not anti-psychiatry. I’m only anti-psychiatry if it means questioning the long-term efficacy of antidepressants, drug-biased research and the accuracy of making quick diagnoses without objective evidence. I’m anti-psychiatry if it means campaigning for a better mental health system that views a patient in a broader, holistic light and meaningfully addresses things like sleep hygieneexercise therapy, workplace social capital and diet. I’m anti-psychiatry if it means talking about my horrible experience on antidepressants and how I luckily stumbled on an unconventional path to healing that worked. I’m anti-psychiatry if it means thinking our heavy use of medication, and how fast we jump to medication as a first approach, is dangerous, especially in kids and the thousands of functioning individuals who fall in the middle ground between severe and symptom-free.

By merely telling my story, I’ve been accused of pill-shaming and fueling the stigma against those with diagnosed mental illness who take medication. I’ve been told that my message is dangerous and to ‘shut up.’ This is a bitter taste of irony, because now I — and anyone else who has a story in which psychiatry or prescribed drugs aren’t the heroes — are being told that our stories aren’t wanted. Our stories can hurt people. Our stories are the regurgitations of bitter, uninformed, daft activists. I’d call it reverse stigma, but since we’ve also experienced symptoms of mental illness, it’s more sinister. It’s an Et Tu, Brute moment. The Et Tu, Brute stigma. Questioning the effectiveness of drugs and current clinical practice doesn’t fit the mainstream advocacy narrative, so shut up.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Erin, we’re largely in agreement about a lot of what’s wrong in the “Mental-Illness-Industrial-Complex” these days. MY problem with, and argument with, the term “anti-psychiatry”, is very simple. It gives psychiatry more credit than it deserves. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. Psychiatry has done, and continues to do, far more HARM than good. Yes, of course, there *are* *some* good, kind, compassionate, competent psychs. But they’re the minority, and their existence sadly doesn’t negate the damage they do.
    Also, psych drugs are far less effective, far less safe, and far less necessary that PhRMA wants you to believe. So, while I am in major agreement with you, at the same time, I think you’re doing little, if anything to correct the gross errors and harms which are psychiatry’s stock-in-trade. Given your CV, you of all people should know what I mean when I say, “I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” Psychiatrists are liars, cheats, and thieves. You do the math…. RSVP?
    ~Bradford
    (c)2018, Tom Clancy, Jr., *NON-fiction
    ps: My words come from painful, lived experience. Psychiatry and psych drugs ruined what could and should have been the best years of my life. I’m now well over 20 years psych and drug free. If I knew *then*, what I know NOW, I never would have engaged in the DANCE with DEATH which psychiatry is….

  2. The stigma is not just against those who reject pills but those who take them and get worse. By deteriorating you are showing how psychiatry does nothing but destroy, steal, and kill. The devout disciples of the Church of Psychiatry will not forgive you.

    I gave psychiatry a try. I’m thankful to be alive after 25 years. 🙂