The ERNI Declaration: Making Sense of Distress Without “Disease”

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The ERNI (Emotions aRe Not Illnesses) declaration is based on the idea that distress does not equate to disease, dysfunction, dysregulation, or chemical imbalance. Signatories believe that there needs to be a shift from illness and diagnosis ideas to personal narratives and understandings.

The declaration was created with the appreciation that there are many like-minded people out there who share opinion, research, ideas, and experiences with others within many contexts but are frustrated by subsequent lack of action or change within mental health and other related systems.

The Disease Model

The disease model for understanding emotional distress has been the primary paradigm in Western cultures for a hundred years, with roots that stretch back even further.

So, how well have we done with it all? We certainly have the privilege of many years to look back upon. A hundred years on, have the developments of such ideas and technologies been roaring successes, resulting in a happier, more reasoned and free society?

The evidence is to the contrary. Whilst the language of science and medicine has prevailed, we have seen poorer and poorer outcomes of the associated regime. Growing evidence suggests that the drugs don’t work and that the cultures most heavily influenced by psychiatric medicine have the poorest long-term outcomes and disability rates in populations of distressed people.

But, as clinicians and users of services, we don’t need studies to convince us of this. We have first-hand knowledge of the harm the medicalisation of distress can do. We are aware that, unlike other branches of medicine, this is the only one where outcomes have got worse as “treatments” have developed and where cultures that do not embrace specialist medicine do so much better.

Without belabouring the point: it hasn’t worked.

We would argue that not only do the drugs not work (and cause harm) but that the system itself brings with it endless opportunities to rob people of the resources they have for getting on with life. Some of the processes through which this may happen are listed below.

1. Identity Theft

Alongside encountering physical harm, we work in contexts where “identity theft” is the norm:

A person + distressing experience = new (externally imposed) identity / personhood

Many people experience catastrophic attacks on their sense of certainty brought about by loss, illness, poverty, abuse, or physical injury. These experiences overwhelm and it has become the norm to look for expertise, power, and science to help. The result is all too often a denigration of the whole of the person’s identity.

How do you move on, for instance, when you are told that your whole personality is disordered? How long before your experiences are seen as something you have “got” and then something that you inherently “are”?

2. Lost Meaning

The Power Threat Meaning Framework is a British Psychological Society (BPS) publication that builds upon the 2013 Position Statement of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the BPS, inviting a paradigm shift from the classification of behaviour and experience in relation to functional psychiatric diagnoses. It invites a move from the question of “what is wrong with you?” to that of “what has happened to you?”

How incredibly damning that this has proved controversial!

A focus upon the medical metaphor and the notion of “symptoms” has resulted in the subjugation of people’s lived experience and ability to story it. People who are victims of harm are so often named as the problem themselves—their victim status reaffirmed by the very system that is meant to help.

3. Outsourced Parenthood and Community

It is almost impossible to open a magazine, watch a day-time chat show, or step outside your front door without being made sympathetically “aware” of the importance of mental health. Our children’s schools send home leaflets or newsletters with workshops about depression and anxiety to help parents to become more knowledged. They attach links to ever growing numbers of agencies that might be able to help—all of which sound medical and important.

“Mental Health” awareness, though well intentioned, is, more often than not, a recruitment drive. It leads to the scrutiny of “symptoms” in ourselves and our children and a sense that we don’t really know our own embodied self. And, with the mantra of “de-stigmatising” help seeking, it pushes us all to those experts who claim to know us better than we know ourselves.

This might be okay if the approach was working, but we know it is not! Richard Bentall, in a recent piece for The Guardian, cautioned against viewing the current pandemic as a “Mental Health Tsunami.” He suggested that people fare better when disaster is a shared experience with the potential for new community understandings to emerge. He expressed a concern that the emphasis upon harm could potentially become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We now live in a culture where parents and teachers believe they lack the knowledge and skill to help their children in distress without calling on the experts. More often than not, they wait months, if not years for the help and, whilst perhaps this could be useful work in the end, what has happened in the meantime? How often have we heard our friends, family, and colleagues venting their frustration at having to wait for help? It is not their fault—they have been bombarded with messages that they need the medical experts in order to do the right thing by their child.

4. Medicalising existence

Skirting any sort of metaphysical debate and selling to the masses the belief that any feeling, drive, behaviour, action, or thought has the potential to be indicative of “mental disorder,” we have been sold the most unconvincing metaphor on the planet as concrete truth. We have bought, hook, line, and sinker, the false story that chemical changes in the brain are causal of mental disease.

In the era of “fake news,” should we be surprised that powerful people (with much to gain from the outcome) sit in a room and vote for new disorders that seem more or less convincing to them, package them up in manuals, and sell them to the world and his drug company?

The upshot of the all-encompassing global sales pitch is that we have come to believe that strong and shattering and unusual emotions are somehow disease-based. We have also come to understand that there are medically disordered ways to grieve, to worry, to feel sad, to get angry, and to do relationships with others.

5. Disincentivising Dissent

The former processes lead to the obvious question of why people working in services don’t seek to change them. It is too broad and important to reflect on power in the system here, other than to say “reality” is all about who has the power to define and the purpose it serves to define it thus.

On a day-to-day basis, as a professional trying to help others, there are surprisingly few opportunities to dissent from “treatment as usual” approaches without the person seeking help being caught in the cross-fire.

Imagine a ward round (yes, we still have this language). Faced with the subjugation of an individual’s experience and identity in favour of a professionally imposed, medicalised alternative, how easy, useful, or understandable is it for the lone clinician to stand up and seemingly discredit the very foundation of all the intrinsic beliefs held by one’s colleagues? How might the already terrified subject of the meeting understand the dissent in the room?

Would any empathic professional who disagreed with colleagues on a fundamental level choose the existing side-show being made of another’s life as the arena to air it? How would this be understood by everyone there? It would take incredible strength and thought in the moment to be able to do so in a way that does not further disempower the person you are there to help.

So, what is the ERNI declaration?

The ERNI Declaration evolved from the sense of impotence felt by lone individuals forced to access or work in mental health services that are fundamentally flawed, unhelpful, or harmful.

The ERNI Declaration is a clear statement that positions its signatories alongside allies. It moves us away from the position of being the lone advocate in a powerful system to being alongside international peers. It makes visible what we believe and how we approach our professional work or the care we receive within mental health services. Anyone can sign the declaration if they feel it represents their view.

The objectives of the declaration are:

  1. To connect and make the voices of ERNI-minded professionals more audible
  2. To connect and make the voices of ERNI-minded users of services more audible.
  3. To make the principles of ERNI more visible.
  4. To influence the development of services.

The declaration currently exists as a google form, available here. It outlines what signatories believe and asks a series of questions about how visible people would like their support to be.

It states:

We support a history and context informed approach to distress that invites everyone to make connections between life events/situations and the various ways distress is expressed. Sense can (and should) be made of distress and we do not need scientifically unsupportable narratives of abnormality to provide explanation.

Implicit within this paradigm is a move from ‘Illness & Diagnosis’ to ‘Personal Narrative and Understanding.’ We ask ‘what has happened to you?’ rather than ‘what is wrong with you?’.

Redundant therefore are ideas that distress (even extreme distress or psychosis) are:

Disorders
Diseases
Dysfunctions
Dysregulations
Chemical Imbalances

We believe in the need for a move away from the concepts of treatment and cure to those involving helping people understand the impact of psychological injury and the role of many different types of adversity.

We believe people experience a range of emotional distress including misery, a sense of failure, despair for the future, self-loathing, worry, loneliness, heart-break (and so on). These things can and do result in great suffering, but they are not illnesses. This medicalisation of distress is largely responsible for the unacceptably ineffective mental health services we currently have.

In support of the ERNI declaration, Dr. Sami Timimi (author and consultant psychiatrist) states:

“To clear up this abominable mess we must first rid our trainings, services, and culture of the pseudo-science that has delivered the diabolical outcomes we have where services are better at creating long term patients, being slowly poisoned by neurotoxins erroneously labelled ‘medication’, than alleviating understandable distress.”

How did it come about?

The original steering group have crossed paths in many different ways over decades. Some of us have been involved in creating new services which we hoped would offer something fundamentally different from “treatment as usual,” but where there was a sad descent to the same old ill-informed illness paradigm that has been ultimately ineffective in creating contexts where people feel validated in their experiences and getting on with their lives.

We were all experiencing what we now refer to as “ERNI moments” on a daily basis. These, we think of as waves of heart-wrenching panic when we realise that someone is being spoken about or defined in a way that will result in a negation of their experience, their reaction to experience, or their whole identity. ERNI moments occur in ward rounds, multi-disciplinary meetings, individual appointments with psychologists and psychiatrists, when watching documentaries on TV, when watching the news, when noticing a new book that has been published or a new support group.

ERNI moments infect our lives and make us feel that we cannot do anything to help share the idea that this is a fundamental human rights issue: people have the right to self-definition, and emotions (however they are experienced) are just what they are….not a symptom of disease, but a normal reaction to what has happened to people.

Our frustration and ambivalence about whether we could ever make a difference has eventually led here. We know (from many wonderful publications, research, and social media groups) that there are huge numbers of people who share the understandings we have, so we now hope to connect in as many ways as possible.

The sad truth is that we had largely given up locally on sharing ERNI ideas with those who are invested (for many reasons) in the medicalisation in human distress. So, we decided to collect allies in order to allow each of us to fall back upon the number of signatories when we need to make statements to change how services run or how we are treated.

Introducing some of the ERNI steering group
Photos of the ERNI group members
Top row, left to right: Paul Blackburn, Anna Doughty, Chrissie Blackburn, Maddy Hurd.
Bottom row, left to right: Kate Macdonald, Andrea Court, Emily Magowan, Cheyenne Heap.

As the number of signatories grows, so too do the possibilities for using it to actively shape policy and care. We hope:

  • Individually, it allows like-minded people who access services or work within them to make visible how they think and how they will (and won’t) approach their work in the system.
  • To see ERNI registered organisations emerging.
  • That those who use services will ask their workers if they have signed the declaration.
  • That people using the services will request ERNI-registered practitioners.
  • To see commissioning of ERNI-compatible services.

There are already over 400 signatories from all over the world. Please help by telling everybody you know who you think may be ERNI-minded.

Editor’s Note: The ERNI Declaration is available here.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Paul Blackburn
Paul Blackburn, PhD has worked in the UK within education, social care and national health service settings for over forty years. A French teacher and systemic family therapist by background, Paul has worked within child and adult mental health services for much of this time. He clinically led the development of Early Intervention Psychosis Services in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Ever the optimist, he retired but returned with the belief that it is not too late to shift services to allow the privileging of personal narrative and context focussed understandings of distress.

85 COMMENTS

  1. Dear kind Sir,

    Please, please allow my silly wit and take no umbrage from my mad observations.

    I have schizophrenia. I know my schizophrenia is a real disease. Forgive me kind Sir for suggesting that you have never personally experienced my schizophrenia. Nor have your 400 “experts” with their years of experience in the “field”, a “field” all of you flag up as meaningful yet seem to equally disregard as poppycock. So why allude to “the field” in your bios at all? Why not let it go?

    The problem seems to be the want of professionals to claim gnosis of mental illness enough to debunk it. But why can’t gardeners debunk it with their gnosis of nature? Even better, my dear, why can’t “I” debunk it? I who have not a “field”. And why can’t I enshrine it rather than debunk it? Why can I not debunk mental illness on Wednesday, then glorify mental illness on Thursday, then debunk it on Friday? Why can I not change my preferences according my whims. Why can I not be such an “expert” in my own “field” that there is no need for “the field”? And if I can freely be my own expert what do I need the new Frameworks for? I already know it all, all of what I feel and think and experience, and I am telling your 400 that I HAVE AN ILLNESS. I feel really very, very, very ill. Ill enough to need a cosy Soteria bed. Ill enough to be with Soteria people who will never tell me that what my raving horrific illness is is just “emotions”. I have had emotions all my life. This schizophrenia illness is NOT that, not for me. The problem seems to be one of the understandable human desire to cure someone who is dying of a terminal illness by telling them faith healing will shrink their illness to the size of an emotion. Often behind it is the healers perfectly natural feeling of impotence in the face of a formadible depth of suffering being borne by someone. But dealing with helplessness by demanding the ill one think themselves well again may have more to do with the healers inability to tolerate their own sense of powerlessness. A sense of powerless Elizabeth Kubler Ross recognized as painful. A painful helplessness that may find manifold relief in creating a delusion of “expetize” for everyone. It is a helplessness the Guild of Psychiatry could not stomach. It is a helplessness few really can.

    But the terminal schizophrenic person often copes with helplessness like a pro. The schizophrenic ingeniously makes all sorts of extra cirricular delusions for themselves, to be a buffer against the chill of their helplessness, a wadding of hope to stop the horror show of their unending hallucinations. But that is why a schizophrenic can spot the telltale signs of delusory false hope a mile away, and paradoxically it also how a schizophrenic feels the general desire for comforting delusions is somewhat sweetly human and endearing. But a in all of this mix the schizophrenic may have no patience for being told their comforting delusion about traditional medicine is “wrong” and that they must now abide by new delusory laws that say they only have “an emotion”.

    What I feel is that there IS a Heirarchy of ill feelings or illness. Having been a depressed person in the past and having been a self harmer and having been an eating disorders gal and having been lots of those mild to moderate disorders I know that back then your ideas would totally work for me. They seem not different from psychotherapy but presented clearer. However, a depressed person CAN read a self help book. A depressed person CAN make it to their therapy appointment. A depressed person person CAN have a relaxing hot bath and try self care. A depressed person CAN get political an wave a placard and feel redeemed by joining a party. A depressed schizophrenic will not be able to read because their book has whispering turning the pages. A depressed schizophrenic will not be able to make it to the appointment because their spooky nightmare voices tell them the therapist is a giant African Snail. The depressed schizophrenic will not be able to relax in a bath because their cruel, barbaric intrusive hallucinated being is in the bath telling them to hurry the fuck up and save the Arctic ice caps.

    There IS a Heirarchy of madness. I know this because if there was not there would already be a million homes opening their doors to welcome the dangerously mad to relax and read books in their conservatories. That this sentiment is not in vogue suggests people are aware there are some mad people who suffer greatly and need more than just some middle class lady in a sunlit room asking “what happened to you?”.

    I have been telling a cast of a hundreds of people in the “field” what has happened to me for over two decades yet my terminal schizophrenia wont budge. They all hate me because they felt helpless. But one or two recognized the astonishing beauty of our mutual shared helplessness and respected me as the “expert” in my helplessness and I respected them as the “expert” in their helplessness…and we embraced.

    I suspect because I do know it all, in terms of being my own expert, this is why the framework lot and indeed the world will never listen to me. It erodes their delusion of grandeur. And what if my “expertize” on “me” really “knows” my schizophrenia is a real illness on a level of disease? What if it gives me huge consolation to think of my nightmare hell this way? Who are you to deprive me of that just because you decide it does me no good to think how my intelligent brain chooses to think. You who do not know one moment of the misery of real schizophrenia? What if in my “field” of “expertize” on “me” I decide I want to see a proper shrink with a clipboard sitting disinterestedly in an old fashioned office? Will you call me mad or even bad if I do? Deluded “experts” used to force everyone to consult astrologers and apothecaries and monks who diagnosed ill humours of the body that affected mood. Then other deluded “experts” felt embarrassed at that obvious delusion and so to sweep it all under the rug in order to revamp the delusion of “expertize”, to preserve its powerful healer trope, people were then forced to debunk astrology and apothcary leeches and monkish broths and bretheren humours and those who still felt they wanted the old style “expertize” delusion were treated as freaks and New Agers and witches. Nutters. Mad people who were even madder for not realizing the new delusion of “expertize” would “cure” them. Indeed their whinging that they liked Monk soup and suction cups and herbal poultices marked them out as traitors to the very notion a new world saving “cure”. Not only were those schizo throwbacks idiots who did not know what “expert” was good for them, they were slowing down the mass delusional hope in a new magic fix for everyone else. Until those actually ill schizophrenic choosy types who wanted tradition for themselves, were deemed so rebellious they were sent to the gas chamber.

    • Ps. Dear Sir article writer, I say what I say because whilst I totally believe the travesty of pharmaceuticals must stop and ect, and forced treatment, I regard psychiatry as like “a religion”. And all religions can be disatrous and in need of complete reform and reigning in. But many derive the type of help for their helplessness that they like from even the most absurdly old fashioned authoritarian faith. Where I live there are still buildings called cathedrals that people do not want to bulldoze. I am not at the moment a cathedral goer but that does not give me any right to tell others they shouldnt get married in one or call themselves Catholic….or schizophrenic.

      Plenty of wise people revile religious leaders and mostly with good reason. But the arrogant fallen “humans” that run religions are the ones that go awry and not the core healing symbol of religion itself. You want to tear down the Notre Dam of Psychiatry. Good on you. I am not kicking you. I am with you on much of your endevour. But maybe mad, happy, healed, schizophrenic Quazimodo loves it there.

  2. “Would any empathic professional who disagreed with colleagues on a fundamental level choose the existing side-show being made of another’s life as the arena to air it? How would this be understood by everyone there?”

    I believe that when the patient’s diagnosis is borderline personality disorder and particularly in an inpatient setting where, in my experience, there is more blatant hostility and dismissiveness toward people with this diagnosis, if a staff member/colleague speaks up in defense of the patient/makes an effort to humanize the patient in the eyes of colleagues, this can lead to more harm and be blamed on the patient. In my understanding this is what the term “splitting” is about and how it gets applied in a way that blames the patient for any disagreement among the psychiatric staff. The concept of splitting always bothered me because I used to be told on many occasions that no one could make me behave in any way that I didn’t want to behave and no one can make me feel any way — that my emotions and my behavior were completely up to me. But a “borderline” gets accused of splitting, which in my understanding is a fancy way of saying that the borderline “makes” the staff fight amongst themselves or “makes” staff angry at each other. Looking back, it’s no wonder to me that the more treatment I had the sicker I got.

      • Yes. I think borderline is basically when a person is surrounded by people who need to project all their negativity unto someone and a borderline gets chosen, like the hen that the other hands peck to death. Once a person has that diagnosis there is no correct response to anything. There is no correct way to be. You can’t get angry you can’t get sad and depressed and suicidal you can’t give up you can’t defend yourself you can’t disagree. There is no right answer once you have that label. Looking back I see it as a form of psychological torture. The treatment that I got made it impossible for me to have any kind of relationship with another person. Of course any of my former treatment providers would say that’s because I’m so mentally ill and because I didn’t comply with treatment etc but it’s because of the damage the system did to me on top of the damage from my childhood which was never addressed.

          • Oldhead,

            Yes, that’s been my experience.
            After ECT which was followed by a borderline diagnosis (“you have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”), I wound up in a DBT program at the Yale IOP building. The whole building was devoted to people getting intensive Outpatient Care for whatever “psychiatric” problems they were having. The building had at one point been a morgue. It was built as a morgue. When Yale made it the home of their intensive outpatient program, there was no major renovation, so it was pretty easy to see how the building had functioned before. In the back parking lot there was a ramp that went down to a large door to the basement. Stuff like that. Most of the groups and the “morning meeting” were held on the ground floor. The DBT program was on the basement level, where the bodies used to come and go from. It was bleaker than the main floor, and windowless.
            I looked at that as a pretty good metaphor for how borderline is seen in mental health settings. Borderline patients are the stigmatized of the stigmatized.

            There’s also the whole deal with the DSM Axis 1 and Axis 2 categories (the personality disorders being classified as Axis 2 diagnoses, whereas things like depression and anxiety are on Axis 1). Of course it’s all made up, but I believed in it for long enough, and “complied with treatment” for long enough that I sustained some pretty severe damage, and caused it as well.

  3. It sounds good on the surface, but I am naturally skeptical. I like the idea that this group has recognized the concept that these diagnoses don constitute a a form of “identity theft” a very serious form, in my opinion. It seems the goal is to get away from the “medicalization” of “distress” but would it stop the drugs and the therapizing that augments the drugs and is also dangerous. Additionally, there are many associated activities the diagnosed might engage in: including forms of adult daycare, sheltered workshops, adult day-camps, etc. that fill up the diagnosed days. but leave the person further questioning their self-esteem and self-worth. I would like to think that this is a decent alternative, but, it is still an alternative, when we really need to dispose of this whole rubbish. What do most people need? A chance to be treated as an individual and to succeed on their terms not the terms of anyone else, no matter their expertise. Thank you.

    • Dear Rebel, great points. However, I would not like to live in a world where my support structure is gotten rid of as if it is rubbish. I would suffer enormously if it was. I do believe there should be alternatives, lots and lots. But that the rubbish in the ambition of many humans that tells them they are “right” without qualms is tendency I would want to call rubbish and get rid of. Core symbols if healing, that reside in religions and politics and philosphy and new paradigms of care are innocuous healing ideas. Even in the religion of scientific psychiatry. The symbol of healing is marvellous in all these fruits on offer. But it is the human muddle in the leadership that turns those fruits into poison. I do not think you will ever get rid of that tendency in humans, no matter what new paradigm of care comes into ascendency. It will ALWAYS be behind oppression of “free choice”. So I prefer not to have a Polyanna attitude that any human innovation will be harmless and untoxic. I prefer to keep vigilant to the notion that humans will always fail at being your “expert”. BUT they can be your friend. Though this requires equality, and external “expertize” likes to trump that. So what I welcome is the “friend frameworks” rather than the “expertize” frameworks. But to be my friend they would probably ironically need to chime with the theatre piece of old school psychiatry and call my awful illness schizophrenia and not big sad.

      I see it all as like a dressing up box of the sort children used to enjoy. The more costumes that are in the box to try on the better. I like romping around in my schizophrenia. Someone else may not want to be seen dead in it. The more “choices” we offer people as to how they understand their predicaments the better. I love this ERNI whatsit paradigm. It is the birth of another “religion” with a different set of devils and angels in the form of traumas and catharsis. Psychiatry saw other factors as the devil that bedeveils the human. And it saw other sorts of angels, like miracle wonder drugs. But all religions grow and improve on past mistakes. There used to be a black line in Cathedrals to corrall woman in the rear of the narthex. Things can improve.

      Anyway, must go get covid vaccine now.

    • Rebel,
      You are right on the mark with this.

      ” but leave the person further questioning their self-esteem and self-worth. ”

      When people’s self doubts cause them to look inside, they are perfect fodder for the system.
      It is very difficult to create a system that catches the doubters.

    • And the entire mentality is based on the fraud that the problem is to be found within the person rather than in the system which systematically produces people who are alienated from their humanity as a condition of survival.

      As for the Declaration, all well and good, but it is still addressed to those who consider themselves “professional” human beings, and change will not primarily come from the ranks of those whose self-esteem and livelihood are dependent on a particular narrative or approach.

  4. A brilliant piece! The profound wisdom in this article made my day! I am happy to add my name and grateful and hopeful to see this humane, much needed plan go forward. Psychiatry blindly and haphazardly puts labels on human suffering without any regard for cause or context. Labels are disempowering, demoralizing, stigmatizing and discriminatory and too many are harmed or die after psychiatry labels normal, often temporary, reactions to difficult life circumstances a permanent ‘disorder’ within the person.
    A big thank you to Dr. Blackburn and everyone else involved in this project!

    • Yes, I echo you. I agree too. I think ERNI sound fabulous. I just want better recognition for the fact that severe mental illness like schizophrenia, whether one calls it “caused” by trauma or “caused” by lemons, IS a severe mental illness that needs alot more care and support than just therapy. I do not want to see a billion schizophrenic people made homeless because some fat cat in government says they “only” have trauma like a fed up teen has depression.

  5. I am glad to see that you are making an effort to catch some people before they get sucked into the system, but likewise, it is important that we try to create an alternative to chair therapy.

    Chairs in offices are great, but therapy should really include doing with the person, helping little successes and overcoming failures and helping in real time.

    You are so dead on about so many things Paul. The stigma campaign, the identity theft are all too real.
    It is really so sad for society, such a horrible tragedy and mess.

    Perhaps we do most of our damage to each other before we are 50, and psychiatry likewise. We all see the errors, but it’s really difficult to admit to oneself that our jobs hurt people. I mean how does one live with that? I think for some it seems to come easy.

    • Just about everyone who doesn’t actively resist the system can be considered morally complicit to some degree. Not that this means a whole lot while we’re all being held under water. Nonetheless it’s important to distinguish between a compromise and an alternative.

      Hope your increased posting means you’re feeling better Sam.

  6. I dream of the day that psychologists are required to display a declaration of this sort on their walls and websites to give the reassurance they will try and figure out what goes on and will work for each individual instead of applying the cookbook approach: Therapy “A” for Disorder “B” resulting in Outcome “Unknown”

  7. Paul I want to bring up the industry’s buzz word “STIGMA”.
    That is like slave keepers telling the public not to look at their slaves in disgust and treat them nice.
    But the slave is not free, he has no rights in courts, he knows that wherever he turns for help or assistance, he is less than.

    The mental labeled, cannot ever lose his label. It is part of his branding and will only really affect him when he seeks assistance from hospitals, courts, or cops.
    He is less than.
    And shrinks say, “oh you should not stigmatize the one I branded”.

  8. Dear Sir, Paul.

    What happens is a nomads tent gathering of outcasts come together and describe that they are all suffering as one. The tent leaders feel no interest since they are too busy being outstanding. The middle men think this is shocking and inexcusable and so they feel inspired to create a new paradigm of care for the outcasts who are romantically blended into a “oneness” grouping, who are “the victims”, by virtue of being largely overlooked by society. That homogenized category who are “the victims” are easy to generalize about and this makes decisions about their needs and their treatment simpler to chalk up. They are a bunch, a gang, a flock, a congregation, a movement, a worthy cause. A one.

    The fact the “one” is formed from many is all to the good, since the more “victim” voices there are the louder they will shout and “change will come quicker”. So in order for change to occur it is essential to preserve the integrity of “oneness” in the “victim” group. Deviating away from that, by for instance allowing someone with a contrary voice to be an “outspoken difference” means the “oneness” is no longer “one” but is disintegrating. This dissolving of the “united” shout feels disempowering to those in the “one” grouping who identify as “victims”. And so they may “fear” unending victimization from society if they cannot be united and big and populous and “oneness”. And so in a state of unbridled fear they see the person who was contrary as being a huge disappointment to their ambition and vision of a new paradigm. The “different” then may come to be synonymous with that which causes “fear”. And the original oppressor who caused the “victims” to feel unjustly treated also causes “fear”. So what you now have is the original oppressor being equated with something “frightful” that is not the “oneness” ANd you have anyone “different” who is within the “oneness” also being equated with “frightfulness”. And often these two sources of “fear” get regarded as being the same huge lump of fear that threatens the “oneness”. The oneness grouping calls itself “us” and the original oppressor ANd the “different” are deemed to be the horrible arch nemesis called “them”.

    So in the evolution of a “oneness” group as it grows in power there is an ever tightening boundary that stifles flexible creative listening to the “different” who threaten to dissolve the “oneness” or the “us”. Indeed the “different” are deemed a far worse “them” than the original oppressor who victimized the victims because the sense of betrayal and disloyalty to the “oneness” of “us” is Earth shatteringly intimate, almost like an incorrigible act of family abuse. At least the original oppressor was just a distant professional.

    So in any “oneness” group of “victims” there may be a few “different” voices who if they speak of their “differentness” may be responded to as if their very difference is an obscenity. The “different” get to be so “different” because they are ruled by their own freedom of choice, as informed by their authentic feelings. They are not ruled by anything else. They are certainly not ruled by an authoritarian allegiance to the “oneness” group, even though they may agree on much of what it srands for, and even though the “different” are victims too.

    The “oneness” group may huddle tight to silence the “different”, and they may victimize the “different” who is already a victim.

    But by taking this stance, the “oneness” group are victimizing the notion of their own “freedom of choice to be different”.

    And when any group enshrines its own death of “freedom of choice to be different” it utterly victimizes itself.

    That’s not healthy!

    Many, many, many activist groups, and you can see em all on YouTube, can stray in that direction. The direction of mistaking “oneness” for a grouping of apparently powerful “sameness”.
    Oneness, like in the garden of Eden, is a biodiverse gathering of “differences” that are freely allowed to remain “different”. And proudly so. As the orchid is “different” from the moss, and the rainbow is “different” from the beautiful boulder. All of these “differences” stay different to form “oneness”. You dont want a garden of Eden with only primulas.

    The early proto Guild of Psychiatry undoubtledly did not come out of the backsides of the Emminent or the Leaders of the nomads tent, but came from the middle men who were “appalled” at the Leaders of their day doing nothing for the romantically bundled together “victim” group who were encouraged by the middle men to bond tighter into a vocal, protesting, seamless, formidable “oneness”. A force to be reckoned with. But those circus ring masters who were the middle men, full of passion for a new paradigm, which is only all to the good, ceased listening to the “different” within the “oneness” group also.

    Oh never mind about that. Lets build a lovely community for the “oneness”. A place where they call all get better as a unified one lump if victimhood, maybe by doing occupational therapy innovations like making macrami or bunny stuffing. Cures can be tried. Ice baths. Insulin. Card games. Those unified victims can be an “us” that can be recorded on ward notes as “them”. No need for individuals or those with a “different” voice. Even the unified group agree that those paradigm-soup refusers are troublemakers who are obviously really wicked and insane. For who is not insane to dismantle the powerful “oneness” by being recklessly ruled by “freedom of choice?”.

    Psychiatry is a long slow dinosaur of an establishment that started off by responding to the needs of the nomads tent “oneness” gathering of victims. It build a lovely hotel called an asylum with free food and nightdresses and sums and mirrors and felt it was doing alright by that lump of “oneness” otherwise known as “them”. But soon more are more “different” voices hollered in the long corridors and some said they had nightmare hallucinations, and some said they felt manic, and some said they felt gut wrenchingly sad. And all raised their “free choice” voices asking to be seen as “different” and needing “different” kinds of care. An orchid is not a pillow of moss. There is nothing wrong with being “different”. Madness fantastically celebrates being “different”. As the garden of Eden is a riot of mad “differences”, none of whom are victimized. Well…sigh…dont get me started on very “different” lovely Eve…

    Psychiatry started with the same “oneness” zeal as all the new frameworks are starting with. They see a romanticized grouping of “them” who are all unified in “victimhood” as if they represent each other and can speak authoritatively for each other, as if “we are all the same”. But borderline personality disorder is not the same as anorexia or bipolar. The needs are “different”. And whether the new paradigm does away with those old terms is meaningless in regard of how the tree of mental illness or mental disturbance shatters off into various branches like very very bone thin girls who never eat, or insomniacs up all night seeing photons in their hairbrush, or distraught women who feel beaten by a relationship. There are “differences” just like there are tree branches. The later problem of psychiatry lay in gathering all the similar people of each branch and making them into a “oneness” lump without their consent and within that lump of samey anorexics or bipolar people, never allowing for the “freedom of choice” of the “different” therein.

    I can see why historically the DSM became a response to recognizing a tree of victimhood or illness with its many branches springing out of a homogenized lump of “oneness” of victims. From “oneness” springs the seedlings of “difference” because the kernel of “oneness” becomes death to “freedom of choice”. But “difference” will often want to merge into “oneness”, like in soccer stadiums.

    I think all of this has always been in the human tribe. That is why I think it is wise to see the recognition of “difference” coming, before a new paradigm says to “oneness” lets pretend we are all the same and only suffering from trauma and there is no such thing as that “different” person who keeps saying they have schizophrenia.

    • “I think all of this has always been in the human tribe. That is why I think it is wise to see the recognition of “difference” coming, before a new paradigm says to “oneness” lets pretend we are all the same and only suffering from trauma and there is no such thing as that “different” person who keeps saying they have schizophrenia.”

      No one here has said this, ever. Not even once. Not to you or anyone else. What we’ve said is that what gets labeled as “schizophrenia” has multiple known etiologies, including trauma, infection, genetic variants and mutations, nutrient deficiencies, etc. This is the opposite of what you allege, saying that we believe it is all due to trauma. And this is also why this collection of symptoms is called a disorder and not a disease. There is little unity between you and others labeled with this disorder. Labels with little descriptive value do nothing but stigmatize experiences that are largely unwanted by the sufferer, as you yourself have expressed. And yet you continue to choose to frame the rest of us labeled with other disorders (and Oldhead, who was once labeled with your disorder decades ago) as a group who is alienating you from inclusion because we do not share your unscientific views of what you describe as “schizophrenia” and as a unifying “mental illness” with others who share your label.

  9. Psychiatry, etc. “A Rose by any other name smells the same.” Is that what the authors of this system are proposing, even though they may not quite know it. Psychiatry, etc. can be described as danger and damage at any age. Although, the authors are trying to dispel the notion of diagnoses (labels) as long as we are working in “alternatives” rather than “abolishment” the labels (diagnoses) will return. It will probably just sound a little different. Still, when one receives a diagnosis or label, could be construed as something like a “death sentence.?” Maybe not, if one chooses to redeem oneself through the free will of saying no to it; saying no this is not me. Children of God need not labels or diagnoses? Aren’t we all Children of God no matter what we think we believe? Thank you.

    • Even without opining on God, which is a personal and subjective matter for those who see the world in primarily religious terms, your point about being sucked into the “alternatives” trap is well taken. As long as our alienation is considered a personal rather than collective issue it will be channeled into some sort of “system” charged with mystifying it and interpreting it as an individual defect of some sort, either physical or moral.

  10. When a person accepts a diagnosis (or label) and states that yes that does describe my “distress” then one essentially becomes part of the “psych system.” From that point on, all life decisions from the trivial to major are based on the that decision, whether the person is aware of it or not. I know as I did this when I began to accept these diagnosis and own them as me. I was no longer me, Rebel, I was the diagnosis, which did very from time to time and even included several different diagnoses at various times. My whole life revolved around who I was according to the diagnosis or diagnoses given to me at one time. In a way this ENRI system is trying to avoid this. All the correct talking points as to why these diagnoses are basically faked are illuminated in this article and in their ENRI system. Perhaps, one could think of ENRI as a “bridge” to the actual abolition of psychiatry, etc. I don’t know. Words and labels are still given to our many distresses and when, we do that, we give power to the pain. There is really in only one way out of this; we need to stop talking like my mother would tell me as child when I would tell her that I didn’t feel good, She would point to my head and say “it’s all in your head.” I love my mother and yes the brain is the primary organ. To really live, we must feed the brain, physically, spiritually, mentally, etc. and all this must be accomplished and considered individually. We may be our brothers keeper, but not one is our brother. There are no duplicate, “Xeroxed” copies of humans, unless humans do it and it always fails. However, by saying something is all in one’s head, which is the basis of psychiatry, etc. complicates things. The head (or skull) only houses the brain. The brain stands separate, but protected, specifically and specially created for a unique purpose. Any way we try to mess it up rather through drugs, therapies, or even the words of others rattles that unique wiring. ENRI sounds good at the outset, but it must be extremely careful not to further rattle that wiring until it gets to the point humans may not recover from the evil done to it, that we, at the present time in history, seem to resign ourselves to mindlessly. And, please, remember that I would be hazard to guess that very probably 95% to 99% “diagnoses of mental illness” are “psych drug induced or other drug or chemical induced, including environmental chemicals.” I do not think that we even know how far-reaching all these “chemicals” are causing “illnesses” that in reality probably do not exist. And I still believe that “psych drugs” cause most of the illnesses they allegedly treat. Thank you.

    • we must feed the brain, physically, spiritually, mentally, etc.

      Let’s back up here. Again, this is feeding into the psychiatric conflation of brain and mind, even if in a “positive” sounding way. You can not “spiritually feed the brain.” The brain is an organ and needs the same nutrients as any other parts of our bodies. Most important, THE BRAIN IS NOT THE MIND — one is physical, the other an abstraction. If pressed I would say that the brain is the servant of the mind in the material world, but so is the entire body for that matter. The equation of brain and mind is at the heart of psychiatric deception and needs to be recognized and pointed out when it arises.

      • The brain is not the mind, you say, Oldhead. I like your opinions. I like everyones opinions. It is good to have a variety of opinions.
        I salute anyone’s bold statement as coming from their “freedom of choice” to blissfully be left in peace to their know their own knowing. Like I know I have schizophrenia. It is nice when people can cherish their “own” gnosis.

        Although Nobel Prize man Penrose is here on record as saying we have no idea what the relationship to brain and mind (consciousness) is. He would say there are a numer of theories but mostly these are “tentative”.

        https://youtu.be/hXgqik6HXc0

          • In keeping with the comment made below by Daiphanous Weeping, I would ask, “Who writes the definitions on which fact is based?” So many of the definitions in psychiatry/psychology seem to be based on “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” Many of the “definitions” there are actually checklists of symptoms–check off more than 50%, and you are defined/classified/categorized with that illness. The fact that there are now five editions of the book suggests that the checklists and, therefore, the definitions, change over time.

          • a) A fact is a true statement.

            b) DSM is comparable to the Canon of Saints, instead it’s a canon of “symptoms,” and as with all psychiatry is completely subjective and inconsistent.

            I suggest everyone put http://www.Szasz.com on their favorites list, and go there on occasion to read a random article of interest. You won’t regret it.

  11. Dear Paul, and LC johnstone.

    I really like my schizophrenia diagnosis. It heals me of my nightmare. Just knowing that the montrous hallucinations I suffer are just a mental illness comforts my distress.

    I am aware of the sometimes bullying push to get schizophrenics to say their mental illness is “caused” by distress. To the extent where they should say their distress causes their distressing hallucinations. Like telling an epilleptic their feelings “cause” the seizures that give them weird feelings. Try telling that one to a million seizure sufferers. Or, like telling a child her distress is causing her distressing, tormenting, hellishly horrific screaming. I just do not buy that. I have had two decades of screaming. Of those seven thousand and three hundred days I have had one or two wonderful days of deep joy and yet my hallucinations are always there. Even moreso on the joyful days. I have sat i
    well over ten years of talk therapy and had my childhood gone over with a fine tooth comb. I have had every antipsychotic at maximum doses. I have been rich. I have been poor. I have a keen interest in a hundred other things besides my schizophrenia. I have no distress in my life. No distress whatsoever. No trauma. And yet my awful schizophrenia is still utterly destroying me.

    I like all the alternatives that therapy is ingeniously coming up with. ERNI and the frameworks. I have the highest regard for therapy. It can fix just about everything. But it cannot fix schiziphrenia. That does not mean that it cannot vastly increase the stamina of long suffering schizphrenic. Nutrutious soup is given to cancer sufferers in the hope it will strengthen their resilience to cope with cancer, but cancer is not lack of soup, cancer is cancer. Schizophrenia is schizophrenia.

  12. I will gladly add my name! The concept that emotional distress is not an illness is certainly one I understand–all too well. After my 29-year-old son died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, I was experiencing extreme emotional distress–grief, of course, as well as anger at the system that had continuously pushed the drugs. I wanted only one thing–to be with my son again. And so I attempted suicide. NYS saw fit to lock me in a mental institution for a month. In that hospital, I definitely experienced “identify theft.” An adjunct instructor at a college as well as a published author, I had been supporting myself and my son for years. Now, the hospital was imposing a new identity on me; I was no longer, intelligent, educated, capable, responsible. Now I was a person who was incapable of making any decisions–not even what to eat, what clothing to wear, what to watch on TV or whether to open or close a window. I was now a person whose questions were not worthy of response. It is a very obvious question “why people working in services don’t seek to change them . . .” In an attempt to change minds, I wrote a book that tells my son’s story and my own. “Broken: How the Broken Mental Health System Leads to Broken Lives and Broken Hearts.”

    • Sorry to hear this, and congrats on your initiative. I would however add, as would many others, that the system is not broken, but doing what it is intended to do, which is marginalize those who express dissatisfaction with the smooth running of capitalist society and minimize the degree to which they disrupt business as usual. Those who have the nerve to express anger are even more of a “problem.”

      • Thank you for your comments. My horror about the system would be increased a hundred-fold if I believed its seeming flaws were “intended…to marginalize…and minimize.” Those are most assuredly the results, and some people may even intend those results. However–as the research I present in my book indicates–a multitude of cracks in the system have lead to its break (first and foremost, an overdependence on drugs). That break may still be repaired if we work together.

        • “My horror about the system would be increased a hundred-fold if I believed its seeming flaws were “intended…to marginalize…and minimize.”

          Consider my horror increased a hundred fold having been targeted as a child by this system, which is most-assuredly not broken but functioning exactly as intended – behavior control and population management.

          I always love it when someone has a brush with the system and fancies themselves an expert on where its “broken” and yet those of us with decades of lived experience – either first hand or by association – are clearly not as well informed. The hubris is stunning.

          • I’m not sure if the intent is specifically to marginalize and minimize, but marginalization and minimization are required to accomplish the actual goal of making money and amassing power and deflecting attention from larger social issues. Marginalization and minimization may be “means to an end,” but it doesn’t make a lot of difference to the patients. The most important, certain knowledge is that the intent is NOT to make the patients’ lives any better, whatever else may be intended.

          • Kindred spirit, I agree completely. After three and a half decades of hell, not help, as a patient in the mental health system, I do not see myself and would be delusional to see myself as a victim of cracks in the system. Over dependence on drugs is not a crack in the system, it’s a result of a clear financial benefit for multiple parties (obviously not the patient). I would argue that it is the prescribers, the drug makers and the other players in the system who benefit financially from polypharmacy and chemical imbalance bogus theories, who have an over dependence on drugs and the money it puts in their pockets.

          • Kindred Spirit, Yes, you are right. This is annoying. It doesn’t only happen to us as psych survivors, but, in other areas, too. However, as a psych survivor and firmly and staunchly anti-psych, it seems more poignant, more frustrating, and more likely to produce righteous anger. And, the even sadder thing is that those of us with way too many years of lived experience will not be heard, perhaps even silently cancelled and ignored. Thank you.

          • Talk about hubris! Your assumption that I had a mere “brush” with the system is out of line. I suffered through more than 20 years of my son’s experiences with the system followed my own “incarceration.” That makes me one of “those of us with decades of lived experience.” In addition, my belief that the system is broken is based on extensive research as documented in my book

          • I think the question of whether the “system is broken” depends on what we believe it was designed to accomplish. I think it is fair to say that the system works quite well for a certain kind of person, in particular, a person who is gaining money or prestige by pretending to know things about “mental illness” when they actually have little to nothing to contribute. To such people, any “improvements” in the system are seen rather as threats to their control. They don’t see the system as broken, they see those who challenge it as deluded or hostile!

          • I think it is fair to say that the system works quite well for a certain kind of person, in particular, a person who is gaining money or prestige by pretending to know things about “mental illness”

            This is an individualist argument, not a systemic one — it limits the pernicious role of psychiatry under capitalism to that of private profiteering and individual gain. Pharma similarly will gladly cooperate with mass drugging for a cut of the action, but the ultimate function of all this is keeping the social facade intact, perpetuating and reinforcing the mass hallucinations needed to keep the assembly lines running.

          • Linda, I may have misread what you wrote about your son. Having looked at the Amazon page for your book, it appears you believe in the concept of “mental illness” and that the systems you thought would help you with your son’s “mental illness” weren’t helpful and so you want to reform the “mental illness” system to better help those of us with “mental illness”. It’s a condition you clearly don’t believe applies to you, though you don’t seem to have learned that this system targets anyone and everyone who steps out of line with society as shown by your personal brush with such.

            I believe your message will be better received by NAMI or MHA. Hawking your book and beliefs here got a very predictable response. ‘Know your audience’ is a phrase that comes to mind…

        • That is ABSOLUTELY the intent. I don’t think it can be seriously argued, though I probably would if I had more energy. For now I’ll repeat the principle from our little “underground” AP group (now approaching 20 members):

          Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order.

  13. What we forget is that although the system broke for us, there are still those out there–those who remain “patients or consumers” of the system who would as they say “swear on a stack of Bibles” that it is not broken. It works fine for them. They see their therapists. They see their psychiatrists or prescription providers. The find both comfort and identity in their diagnoses. They find a community in those they feel are on the same road of life. It is its own little culture within a culture. They feed off the psychiatry, etc. world and the psychiatry, etc. world feeds off of them. But, all of it is false, a sham, a lie and a deception. It is an expose of the fake world we have created to avoid the naturally dirty world, the reality that is the imagination and the imagination that is reality. This is the world our parents warned us about and yet many times it is our parents who support us in this fake world. And, there is one other little niggling problem with this world. The other thing it creates is a monster and that monster is the damage done to each bran and body who indulges in this world. And this damage affects not only those who experience the damage, but, the whole world, too. It is like a snake who slithers around looking to be stepped on accidently so it can strike and kill with horrific pain and even immunity to prosecution. After all, it was we who stepped on that snake. We, who refuse to take the proper precautions to check and see what is under our feet as we walked because we wanted the easy way out of life, but, the easy way is really the hardest way. But, how can we know as we have so bitten by this snake. Thank you

    • The word you seem to be searching for is ‘propaganda’. The cultural messages that we are all hearing and that take a critical view to deconstruct is systemic propaganda. Americans, generally, are not taught how to think critically even when they learn “logic” or about logical fallacies. Critical thinking involves deconstructing the messages themselves, examining their source, and figuring out who actually benefits from the message gaining cultural popularity.

      There is a reason that television and radio are called ‘programming’. Deviating from cultural norms is a good way to find yourself very lonely. Although it took me a long time to fully construct my understanding of this culture and society, generally, it began with social services removing me from my home in 1985 for not knowing who Bugs Bunny was – this was labeled as “culturally deprived”. That condition of being is not allowed, is associated with poverty and “work shyness” and was originally a racist concept mostly applied to Black children to imply a specific character defect inherent to Blackness.

      There are parameters within which our thinking must not deviate because to do so on a large scale would fundamentally threaten the structure of western society which depends upon a constant supply of mindless laborers disconnected from the output of their production in order to produce wealth and continuous growth for relatively few at the top. We are generally only allowed to argue amongst ourselves along the supposed Left-Right divide. We are not supposed to question the authoritarian top-down ruling system which both Left and Right engage in and benefit from with regular exchange of power every 2-8 years. And we are not supposed to even know that a Z-axis exists on the sociopolitical map that reflects the class and monetary divide.

      Without the ability to critically deconstruct these systems and see what motivates them and who benefits, it’s difficult or near impossible for most to reject the propaganda that keeps the machine operating.

  14. Dear Linda,

    What a pitiful thing it is for a “oneness group” to fail to hear the deep grief of a mother who will ALWAYS feel like she has just lost her baby. First the hospital you were in did this wilful deafness about your anguish but there are plenty of other “oneness groups” who will also dismiss your grief as less important than their inconvenienced chummy underground agenda.

    But please keep being the difference that makes up actual genuine biodiverse natural “oneness” as seen in nature, that is formed of multitudinous “differences” all treasured by the gentle, unaggressive welcome espoused by “freedom of choice”.

    Let me know the title of your book again. I feel it offers an unusual and interesting “different” perspective.

    Luckily the video link I sent shows that we are all free to make up our own minds about the truth of our own pain without heckling from know-alls.

  15. I’ve struggled with this article all week. I’ve watched all the positive comments about it show up. And I keep reading it, trying to see if I’m misunderstanding something, and I freely admit that may be the case. And I truly am deeply sorry for all those on this website who have had their normal, reasonable feelings used against them to take away their humanity and strip them of their agency and dignity.

    But this document seems to be guilty of some binary thinking, if I’m reading it right. I unequivocally stand against the biochemical model of mental health, and ‘mental illness’ and ‘chemical imbalances’. I stand against the weaponizing of people’s distress to use against them. I stand against any form of dehumanizing others just because they are struggling…but have none of these cosigners ever dealt with someone who experienced extreme trauma in early childhood? Any unaddressed trauma eventually causes systemic dissociation. ISSTD (international society for the study of trauma and dissociation) with whom I generally disagree because they adhere to the typical model despite dealing with trauma victims, still gets it right when they talk about ‘structural dissociation’ and how a little child’s mind who is subjected to extreme trauma will desperately attempt to sequester(dissociate) the trauma in order to find a way to keep living. But after a time, that coping mechanism becomes ‘structural’ and it causes a host of dysfunctions and dysregulations that are real, not imaginary.

    I love my wife. Just yesterday, I told her for the 1000th or more time, “I don’t blame you. NO ONE would ever choose this” but it’s kind of insulting to people in our situation to minimize the extreme damage she’s suffered and which has infiltrated so many parts of our relationship. I’ve spent 14 years helping retrain my wife’s brain so she could access all those areas that she literally had NO access to previously. I work a full time job, often 55 hours a week, and yet I come home and do all the house work, inside and out, and then I spend all my free time, building a relationship with my wife, using our tandem bike, using our tandem kayak, doing everything we possibly can do TOGETHER so that the strength of our relationship enables her to face the past pain and fears and tear down those ‘structurally dissociative walls’. It’s hard on both of us and so exhausting even today, 14 years later, and it still brings me to tears many nights when I wonder if we will ever get thru this.

    I don’t know. I hope I’m reading this wrong, but the choice isn’t binary. It’s not the biochemical model of mental health or simply empathizing with a person’s past. When the trauma is early enough, and the dissociation becomes structural, it takes real, daily, concerted effort to undo all the effects as you retrain the person’s brain/mind, and I truly am happy if none of you have ever had to deal with what is still an overwhelming task to me and my wife.
    Sam

    • Sam, before I go on holiday I just want to say that maybe its not a case of finding a perfect solution that suits everyone in society but honouring the many ways we are all “different” and need entirely “different” care plans. There is absolutely no problem with finding a way where the people who deserve your compassionate kind of care can access it, and those who want a more old style psychiatric care can access it, and those who want Soteria can access it, and those who want open dialogue can access it. There has to be care as oppossed to no care at all. Abolisionists may feel well enough to blithely walk off into a sunny utopia. If that is their care then they can go there. Nobody is stopping them. Nobody is stopping anyone from cherishing the practical care each unique person prefers. I think the comments section often develops a bickering sense that it all has to be “one” way.
      That is nonsense! The world is big enough for a million ways.

      Sam, check out Gestalt therapy if you like. It’s not for everyone but it may help your wife, since it deals creatively with the idea of bodily trapped trauma and ego splitting.
      I am sorry life gets dismal. No life does not know pain. But when it is your own pain or that of your beloved you cannot see beyond it. Don’t let pain stop tiny stolen sips of pleasure.

      I must go now.

  16. Several people have commented on my use of the word “broken.” The disagreement may be nothing more than semantics–what do each of us mean by “broken”? I am not alone in my use of the term: Google “mental health system is broken” a number of results appear, including the very recent title “How to fix America’s broken mental health care system” from February 16, 2021. Also the following quote, which echoes my use of the word: “America’s mental health treatment system is broken, leaving those most in need to fall through the cracks. An estimated 8.3 million adults in the United States have a severe mental illness. At any given time, 3.9 million go untreated.” https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/fixing-the-system/features-and-news/4112-americas-crime-problems-being-fed-by-a-broken-mental-health-system

      • Yes, you are both right about this.

        The “mental health” system has now become an essential component of class control by the top one percent of profit seekers.

        The psychiatric labels and drugs target the most potentially rebellious sections of our society. The labels become psychological chains, and the drugs numb anger and other emotions that can be channeled into various forms of resistance.

        Overall, these “genetic theories of original sin” that form the basis of the Medical Model, are used to focus people’s attention on so-called personal human flaws, as opposed to the inherent “sickness” in the capitalist institutions and unequal class structures within our society.

        It is very important in all future organizing efforts to link the struggle against psychiatric oppression with the struggle against a profit based capitalist system.

        Richard

        • What I see coming out of your statement is that the new secular religion to replace especially Christianity and Judaism, what have been the most popular religions in America is this psychiatric religion. Please note I am not here to discuss God and His place in our recovery from psychiatry, etc. as a psych survivor. This is only to point out psychiatry, etc. seeks to replace our commonly known religions and how it is dangerous. In this religion, acknowledgement, confession, atonement, even forgiveness for any sins; because now we have drugs and therapies to wash it all away. Instead of daily prayer, we take a daily drug or drugs (polypharmacy). Instead of weekly worship, we have weekly or bi-weekly therapy, sometimes even group therapy. Instead of a Bible (the Good Book) we now the DSM Bible and other training materials, etc. Instead of being defined as a carpenter, artist, mother, father, even tax collector, we are now defined as to whether we have depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. We can worry less about being “sinners and saints” but more about being the “mentally ill and mental health providers.” And God? Well, who needs God, when we can skate through life with a diagnosis and accompany drugs, therapies, and treatments, etc. And like Rip Van Winkle, we can sleep through life. But, what happens when we wake up? Who fears that the most: the keepers (those designated mental health providers) or the kept (those designated mentally ill?) By, please don’t confuse “waking up” from this psychiatric Rip Van Winkle with the “woke” thing talked about in mass media and other places. It is something entirely different and yes, deserves, honest discussion, but not! in reference to what I have discussed here. There may be crossover, but, on this subject, we need to “stay in our lane” to avoid a devastating crash. Thank you.

  17. Dear Oldhead,

    You say a fact is something that is true.

    As with the virgin birth, you are at liberty to believe what you want to.

    I prefer to keep a paranoid schizophrenic’s suspiscious gaze turned on the notion of conventional “truth”.

    Einstein’s son was schizophrenic. It seems he should have maybe listened to that genius schizophrenic questioner, with respect to Einstein’s own sacred fact or truth of The General Theory of Relativity, being as it is now being thrown into a maelstrom of doubt. It now seems that the “true” “facts” that Einstein outlined are already evolving into quite different “true” “facts” that make his original “true” “facts” seem infantile. This would imply that neither “facts” nor “truth” are ever “fixed states” that guarantee absolute certainty. “Facts” and “thruth” are merely knowledge that is limited by the vagaries and inaccuracies of our sense perceptions and the way in which the phenomema pointed to by the claim of “fact” and “truth” may be phenomena that are evolving and changing. The way our pursuit of clarity finds new things out about “facts” or “truth”, often necessitates certianty to flip and reverse back to previously mocked standpoints. Hospitals now use leeches and maggots for wound healing, for instance. Both “facts” and “truth” are slippery sand castles upon which to base an overly confident sense of “rightness”. But belief is easier. Any person is free to say they “believe” something feels “right” “to them”. But the downside side of merely using their belief in an arguement is they cannot make someone feel “wrong” for choosing not to hold their belief. And often in an arguement the ego gets hurt and needs to think itself “right” by making the other feel “wrong”. Such a tit for tat “right” versus “wrong” focus on “logic” with its “facts” and “truth”, in order to make the other feel “wrong”, rather than honour their freedom to have a different “belief” is a favourite tool used in an arguement gone toxic with narcissism.

    I went to a famous holiday retreat once and was impressed by a flyer they handed out. It was about to cope with falling out with anyone on the retreat. It had about twenty recommendations. Mostly they were recommendations to go directly to whomever had hurt you and say that their behaviour had hurt you. It saves time and effort. Because to sit and simmer and bicker in resentment is bad for you and bad for the whole group. What I particularly recall is that there was an instruction not to sideswipe at the other, by that it meant avoiding the tendency to talk over the other, or talk about things they hold dear with a cabal within the group, like a separate threesome, all within the hearing of the holder of “different” beliefs. Rather the recommendation is to come clean, talk directly and cleanly to the opponent about an undercurrent of hurtfulness and hostility. But, the flyer suggested, people who feel a need to be quite narcissistic may never want to admit feeling hurt, since that exposes vulnerability. And they may have had alot of trauma in their childhood that taught them to equate being easily hurt and vulneranle as “wrong”. And “wrongness” may have caused a sense of shame. Thus the need to be “right” all the time to rectify the shame. But by having to be “right” all the time they may need others to be “wrong” all the time and this can spiral into a bickering shamefest.

    Anyway, it is a fascinating discussion. Truth, facts, logic, beliefs, feelings, mockery, narcissism, shaming, bickering.

    But to be honest, I am going to put it out of my mind now, since the reports hint it may be a sunny day and I am eager to pack a picnic and enjoy the puzzles of nature that fascinated Einstein and his beloved schizophrenic son. Both of them might say bickering is fun but a waste of lovely weather.

    https://youtu.be/A36FqMSEMVM

  18. Oh, and Dear Oldhead, in addition to my last comment involving a mention of narcissistic tendencies, I just want to say how disappointed I am that whilst many people seem comfortable declaring that they were given a borderline personality disorder, nobody dares to admit to the current societal taboo of having been given a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. Why this is the case is a bit of a mystery. I should have thought a steady queue of those people would have been anxious to confess to having been given that snub and overturn that particular diagnosis. Why are they not filling up the comments section to refute their specific diagnosis? Perhaps it is because nobody who has it wants to be seen with it, nor wants that mud to stick. Perhaps it is that whereas a dismissable slur of a diagnosìs needs to be sensational enough to derive comforting outrage from a party of fellow believers, it cannot sound so heinous as to cause anyone to wonder. This is amusing, since by openly declaring oneself to be a tad narcissistic at times, as we all are, and as I certainly am, this nullifies one of the central diagnosable features of narcissistic personality disorder, which is the feature of feeling such embarrassment at having the narcissistic wound to begin with that there is almost complete denial of being anything other than a paragon of perfection who isn’t narcissistic. Apparently since a very narcissisticly inclined person cannot possibly entertain ever ever ever having ordinary human tawdry thoughts of oneupmanship, they would prefer not to own ever ever ever having a narcissitic thought cross their congenial mind.

    Therefore the easiest way to demonstrate not being a narcissist is to shout from the rooftops that one loves being a narcissist.

    I do not have to be “right”. So I do not need others to feel shamefully “wrong”. So I am going to let everyone see me as “wrong” all the live long day, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

    Like a school punishment excercise might have me endlessly scribbling..

    “I am wrong” “I am wrong” “I am wrong” “I am wrong” “I am wrong”.

    I must away now. Things to do.

    • DW, the problem here is that you continue to confuse your own right to use whatever words you wish to use to describe your own experience with the widespread use of these diagnostic labels by the medical system. One is an individual right, another is a demonstrably unscientific slurring of the mental experiences of millions of people upon which medical “treatment” is based and upon which laws that effect our freedoms are written.

      I don’t know whether you don’t care that there is a difference or are actually unable to discern the difference. But the fact that not all those who have been labeled “schizophrenic” or any other label agree with you should give you pause to stop speaking for all those labeled.

      On an intellectual and scientific level, speaking of medical practice and not your feelings, these labels (and their consequent “treatments”) are unsupported. The DSM’s collection of “mental illnesses” are scientifically meaningless. Therefore, any books based off of these concepts would be best used as emergency toilet paper and kindling for the fireplace. Anyone purporting to know how to fix a “broken” “mental health” system is similarly scientifically without basis.

      You’ve been repeatedly invited to use whatever terminology suits you and you repeatedly take what others say out of context. So let me repeat: it ain’t about you, honey. It ain’t about me either. Its about intellectual integrity and fighting back against unscientific concepts that do vast amounts of harm.

      I assume most of us can see through these charades by now.

        • It’s healthy to disagree! I disagree with my bestest of friends and we have a right good time of it, too!

          I mean, it’s nice when people agree with me, but I live for a hearty debate. I even change my mind once in a while when I realize I can’t defend what I think I know. That’s where growth comes from, not from being right or being on the same side.

          I just thought I’d mention that so you know there are no hard feelings when we disagree.

  19. Dear Linda,

    I just bought your glorious book! I am glad you cheerfully hawked it here or I would never have seen it. Phew!

    Robert Whitaker’s website is apparently??? for anyone and everyone who wishes to “Rethink Psychiatry”. I dont believe that means…

    “think Robert’s way” or…
    “think their way” or…
    “think our way” or…
    “think in the opposite way” or..
    “think in the same way” or…
    “think in traditional way” or…
    “think in an alternative way”…
    unless you freely want to…

    and I dont believe it means “think critically” or “think politically” or “think spiritually” or “think rigidly” or “think flexibly”…I believe their are NO DEMANDS here on Robert’s wonderful website. So I believe when it mentions “Rethinking Psychiatry” it means you can…”Rethink Psychiatry”….

    ***Your Way***

    (Duplicate Comment)

    • I totally agree with you about this site: There are a multitude of ways to rethink psychiatry. Thinking, discussing and eventually advocating for changes is, I think, what the site is about. Perhaps my book will give you new things to think about and new avenues to explore. Thank you for all your kind, supporting words.

  20. Dear Linda,

    I just bought your glorious book! I am glad you cheerfully hawked it here or I would never have seen it. Phew!

    Robert Whitaker’s website is apparently??? for anyone and everyone who wishes to “Rethink Psychiatry”. I dont believe that means…

    “think Robert’s way” or…
    “think their way” or…
    “think our way” or…
    “think in the opposite way” or..
    “think in the same way” or…
    “think in a traditional way” or…
    “think in an alternative way”…
    unless you freely want to…

    and I dont believe it means “think critically” or “think politically” or “think spiritually” or “think rigidly” or “think flexibly”…I believe their are NO DEMANDS here on Robert’s wonderful website. So I believe when it mentions “Rethinking Psychiatry” it means you can…”Rethink Psychiatry”….

    ***Your Way***

  21. Dear Kindred Spirit,

    You said this…

    “DW, the problem here is that you continue to confuse your own right to use whatever words you wish to use to describe your own experience with the widespread use of these diagnostic labels by the medical system.”

    Let me respond to this Kindred Spirit…

    A person of colour really likes to have the “freedom of choice” to define themselves in their own words, even if ten other people, or the population of the planet disagree, and want to call them something they do not ask to be called, nor want to be called, nor choose to be called. By that distinction the same person freely chooses to use DIFFERENT words to describe themselves that they personally do like. That too should be RESPECTED It is really that simple. There is no “fight” about. If everyone kept that in mind, the importance of respecting each and every individuals right to define themselves as they wish the world would be pleasant. I would have thought that most activist sites would agree. That is WHY the INDIVIDUALS right to this is of PARAMOUNT importance, MORE than the ten people, or group, or regime. What I think you maybe ALSO want to see in the world is this “freedom of choice” being RESPECTED. So actually my position in this regard IS IDENTICAL to yours. Where we may not match is over the word RESPECT. I have NEVER insinuated or blatantly told ANYONE on this site that they hold FAKE views of themselves. If I ever played with that tendency it was only once or twice and only to turn the tables to let others see how it feels to be having their personhood mocked, in order to put a stop to “mockery”, which goes against the grain of any of the world’s INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice”. What many here do not like is the VERY same thing, which is when the medical system repeatedly refuses to RESPECT “freedom of choice”. So you see my championing individual freedom of choice for all, for each individual to be called what they prefer without mockery… IS what is FUNDAMENTAL to your ultimate goal. Or at least I think it is. You have an illness that you prefer gets called what you wish it to get called. Now suppose there is a person who believes they have an illness caused by quartz crystals. A person with it does not want it to be called FAKE. They just want their own understanding of it to be RESPECTED. If ten people mocked their “freedom of choice” within their hearing, and by the way that is what mockery most often does because it is too cowardly to bully directly, then that person who may have an illness such as yours is having their INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” cruelly berated in favour of the ten people. Or group. Or collective. Or elite. Or medical system. Or political system. Or masses. When the masses come before the right of the INDIVIDUALS “within” the masses to have their godgiven birthright which is INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” there stops being a thing called FREEDOM. So I dont know what exactly that “fight” by “the masses” would be for, if NOTfor the FREEDOM of everyone, including me and including you, to call their illness what they wish to without fear of mass bullying. My tireless assertion of my INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” IS your campaign. I am doing exactly what your campaign ultimately seeks which is emancipation from mockery and mass bullying. But it is not easy. I can see that. It requires simply believing and honouring your own free self more than focusing on how bullies in the past undermined your free choice.

    Let me respond to another quote if I may…You said..

    “I dont know whether you don’t care that there is a difference”

    I would say YES yes yes you do not know me AT ALL. You dont know if I have terminal cancer. You dont know if I am about to spiral into a profound depression. You dont know if I have just lost my baby daughter of five months. You dont know if I work in a field hospital in Syria. You dont know if I pilot a rescue boat for refugees to come to Europe. You dont know if I go around whistleblowing on corrupt medical authorities. You dont know if my last hope for survival was in getting a friendly outstretched comment here asking me who I am, eager to know all about me. But I forgive it, because everyone here is in some kind of pain.
    So we are ALL IN PAIN HERE.

    That should be a source of bonding. But I suspect bonding is not wanted. I suspect retribution is only what is wanted here. And the irrate are in too much pain to want to know who other people are unless they too want retribution. But this may be what makes being on any site where only that is occurring, where only the masses matter, where nobody bothers to want to foster the sort of ambience where you feel treasured for your “different” freedom of choice and deliciously known, a somewhat lonely experience. And that loneliness will only delay healing, and therefore lead to more PAIN. Which then gets shouted out in the comments section, as if coming from somewhere oblique, like general trauma.

    Let me respond to this next quote…

    “So let me repeat: it ain’t about you, honey.”

    Actually it really is. And it is about you. And it is about him. And it is about her. And so on and so forth. For ALL the above reasons connected to an INDIVIDUALS “freedom of choice” as informed by their INDIVIDUAL “feelings”.

    The “honey” bit is unnecessary. I do get lonely but not that lonely.

    I am chuckling here because you are fighting me over something you want.

    That’s maybe a little obscure and existential.

    Lastly, I do not repeatedly take things people say out of context, I float above “context” to study higher universal truths. I am spiritual not political. That is my interest, which again is so much MY INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” and is so dear and enjoyable to me that I celebrate it…in me….and in you….when your choice is to study politics and context. Isnt it lovely we are BOTH free to be so MUCH MORE of who we are not less?

    I look forward to more of this freedom for everyone in our SHARED world, which is your world….and is my world. Because we are ALL different and we ALL live on this world, we need to stop WORLD WAR THREE arriving by tolerating each others differentness. Which is another reason why I am anxious to be objectionable enough to confront people with my differentness. Tolerating difference spreads harmony. Even if that difference seems loathesome to an individual. You can tolerate the different without changing their “freedom of choice”.

    I am going to bless what I imagine may be the favourite “freedom of choice” amongst some in the MIA comments section. I imagine that choice is that I should stop “speaking” as you said…I imagine that choice is that I should shut up and not express my own “freedom of choice”. I imagine it is a choice that I should take my schizophrenia and my long experience of withdrawing from antipsychotics and leave.

    It is my birthday tomorrow. I will give you this gift.

    I shall block tempting email notifications and unsubscribe from MIA immediately after this comment. No need to respond. Forget me.

    • “I have NEVER insinuated or blatantly told ANYONE on this site that they hold FAKE views of themselves.”

      No one here has done this to you either.

      “I am chuckling here because you are fighting me over something you want.”

      What is it you think I want? I have never suggested you shouldn’t have the freedom of choice to refer to your own experiences as illness. I have shared why some people object to that framing because of the implications it has in perpetuating beliefs about psychiatry which are not scientifically supported. I also immediately backed off when you became very distraught over what I thought was an intellectual conversation. I have treated you and your struggles with empathy and compassion while holding my right to believe and unequivocally state my own truth backed up by the science that is regularly published here at MIA.

      “Which is another reason why I am anxious to be objectionable enough to confront people with my differentness.”

      You came here and attacked the very act of being an activist and then went on to behave like such yourself, which I find very confusing, to be totally honest.

      I do hope you enjoy your birthday.

  22. D.W. If you are still signed on to read this, Please know I read what you wrote to Kindred Spirit and I am responding. I think what seems to upset many about your posts is that you appear by what you write to feel very positive about your diagnosis and all that seems to imply. Depending on the diagnosis, most people do not usually have that kind of response to their diagnosis. Many feel relief as to an explanation of their symptoms. Many feel dread and terror. Most are concerned if there is a treatment and what the outcome is to be. But, when we read your posts, it seems you are upholding your diagnosis as if it is something special. Maybe it is something so very special to you. Maybe you do have a right to be sick. Maybe you do have a right to define yourself by a label of a diagnosis. However, so many of us who actually undertook that route of defining ourselves by the labeling of our diagnosis or diagnoses have suffered so very much underneath those labels, that sadly we can not understand your unusual position. Also, it is a continual reminder of how we might have had to live while under these labels. Most people here on this site do not mean you any harm, but, so many are trying so very hard to leave their years behind when we suffered so greatly under these labels. Each one realizes our experiences are somewhat uniquely tailored to each one of us. And, I don’t think you mean anyone any harm; only that you are asserting your right to freedom of expression. But, so many are hurting. All I can sadly say is that seems to be a point where the freedom of expression seems to collide. Thus, all we gently ask is that you attempt to see our point of view just as we have tried so very hard to see yours. Thank you.

    • Hi D.W.

      As far as I’m concerned you can call yourself a fluffy little pink bunny rabbit and declare to the world to be identified as such. I don’t care. That the shrinks would is another story…

      What I’ve noticed about your comments I’ve read is that you assume everyone else here has an unproven by science illness like you have.

      Why are you taking away peoples autonomy by giving them pedantic labels when you don’t actually know if that’s the case? You only know what you feel to be true about yourself that’s all…

  23. Dear Jack,

    A fluffy pink bunny is a delightful name. I prefer to call myself a schizophrenic because this illness of schizophrenia is what I know myself to have. I am an adult and I can call myself anything I wish to and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. If I want to call my disease blue orb illness, or green bicycle diagnosis or scvyhtrwaustrizipitoch disease I shall do so. You are quite right not to care what I call myself. This is the whole theme of my message in all of my comments. Nobody should poke their nose into what other people want to call themselves. If that was a new constitution you could call yourself whatever you want to call yourself too.
    I believe that if you read my comments and not the thrilling noise surrounding them you will see that I have never judged what anyone else chooses to call themselves. If anyone has dropped their diagnosis I have not done anything to coerce them to pick it up again. I have no need for anyone else on the planet Earth to ever say they too have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I actually prefer to be the only person in the world who has ever had it diagnosed. It makes me wonder why I ever left MIA comments section, where everyone seems okay to let me be the only schizophrenic. Just like why would I want there to be two fluffy pink bunnies? As you can see, I have absolutely no assumptions about anyone else and no agenda to reform anyone away from what makes them contented. How you yourself “assume” that I assume things about others is a bit intriguing, as if maybe you have astounding gifts to be able to be inside my private mind, but I can assure you I do not have much curiosity about others to be so preoccupied with their views or opinions. Life is too hectic with other demands on my time for me to sit all day and fathom out the inner workings of anyone. So no, I do not assume everyone else here has my diagnosis of schizophrenia. You claim to have had eight days of hallucinations. Someone doing party drugs can clock up that many days. I have had hallucinations for twenty years, every hour of the day. Even right now as I am typing. Gonna call it something! Schizophrenia is beautiful to me, as a word, and as a spiritual endurance. And Im not going to put tricksy little speech marks around what I do choose to call it. And nor shall I ever call what I choose to call my lovely wisdom bestowing illness “a label”. I am not able to take away peoples autonomy. I do not have Marvel Comic Superpowers like that. And why would I want to? What would I do with a load of obedient zombies who are not able to choose things for themselves. I have never liked zombies. They bore me. I prefer everyone to be themselves, whoever they like to be. I have never given people pedantic labels as you said. I am busy writing all day. By the time I stop I am not interested in applying any more words anywhere to anything. My descriptive inspiration is drained and I am wont to gaze into space completely blissfully speechless. The only labels I can marshal any focus on are the ones on the rear of my readymeal micowave packages. I am not your psychiatrist. I am not anyones anything. I am just me. Is it possible I can just be me and you can just be you?

    I leave you with this to make sense of or make no sense of. I am not invested in “proving”. I only champion everyone to have their “free choice”, including you.

    I am glad I found your comment today. I have pretty much got a ton of stuff to do in my life just now so took myself away, away, away….goodbye my friend.

  24. Hi D.W.

    Thanks for your reply.

    You said this:

    “You have an illness that you prefer gets called what you wish it to get called.”

    I’m saying who are you to say others have an illness? You don’t know them or their lived experience.

    I claim to have had eight days of what shrinks call hallucinations. How do they know?

    I told them “I assume you’ve proved the non existence of the supernatural?”

    They said “We can’t do that!!”

    I replied “Then why are you drugging people against their will when you don’t actually know what’s going on?”

    Also please don’t use the term ‘your psychiatrist’ to me.

    I prefer the names ‘state sponsored stalkers’, ‘traitors to their nation’ and immoral ignoramuses’ to describe those blinkered, narrow minded highly paid individuals.

    Enjoy your day.

    • Dear Jack,

      I use the word illness as meaning anything from an ill feeling of foreboding about climate change to an ill feeling of being traumatized to an ill feeling of merely feeling fed up to an ill feeling of having nightmare hallucinatons for twenty years whether they are caused by supernatural entities or not. I also use illness to include any other way a person may choose to describe their sense of feeling ill like in anorexia or bipolar or schizophrenia. Yes some people on this site do not feel any ill feelings at all. They are maybe just angry and like feeling angry.
      I do not think trauma is a well feeling. It is not how one wants to feels on a birthday. And I do not think many people with real schizophrenia want to experience schizophrenia. What one does not want to experience invariably makes one feel ill. Many things make one person feel ill but not another person. That is just life. This website should be welcoming of all diverse people who just want to talk about feeling ill without have rules about how and when and why and why not and what correct words they should use.

      Now, as for your remark “who are you to say others have an illness, you dont know them or their lived experience”

      I say….

      “Who are you to tell me who are you?”

      “Yeah, who are you to tell me I cannot generalize or be grandiose or be all-knowing or be clairvoyant or be plugged in to supernatural schizophrenic global universal wisdom that knows exactly what the president and everyone on this website had for breakfast last monday. Who are you to berate me when you do not know if I am a deity or a sea sponge with psychic xray vision and an ability to discern everyones lived experience. Who are you to tell me I cannot judge anyone I wish to if I choose to without even knowing anything about them. Who are you to say I cannot be thick or stupid or biased or messed up or mad, mad, mad?”

      I am a child of the universe. I can be who I be. As all children freely can.

      And by the way there are a great many people who read the comments section who are not always going to align with “the norm” in the comments sections, people who may applaud every comment I have made. Not that I care one way or the other. This website is for inclusion, that means of a diversity of opinions and feelings and thoughts. So “who” I am, is just not some other person. I do not “have to” be another person.

      And I am no fan of the term “lived experience”. Surely every person has experiences. Surely “every” experience is “lived”. Perhaps people say it like it means “authority”, like being an authority on an experience. Well surely a person must be free to be an authority on an authority, otherwise we live in a totalitarian state. There is a respectful aspect to authority, in freely choosing to value someones welcome knowledge but there is a dark side to authority when it is used to bicker and control. The term “lived experience” has increasingly been used to control or hush anyone with a different opinon.

      Hushing the different is where psychiatry went so wrong. Psychiatric survivors are at risk of following that example.

      Let me save you the bother of replying. I really must press on with my other concerns now. I shall not be reading any ripostes. I get too easily sucked back in….

      Taraah!

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