Editor’s Note: Over the next several months, Mad in America is publishing a serialized version of Peter Gøtzsche’s book, Mental Health Survival Kit and Withdrawal from Psychiatric Drugs. In this blog, he focuses on how the psychiatric establishment blocks the dissemination of information about withdrawal. Each Monday, a new section of the book is published, and all chapters are archived here.
MIND Denmark doesn’t want to help patients withdraw
In June 2017, I held a full-day course about psychiatric drug withdrawal in Copenhagen. I had planned it for quite a while, but my initiative was too much for mainstream psychiatry, which tried to sabotage it.
The first pushback came when I tried to get an ad for the course in MIND, the member journal of the most important organisation for psychiatric patients in Denmark:
“How should you withdraw from psychiatric drugs and avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms? The course is for everyone, both patients, relatives and health professionals. It consists of lectures and discussions in small groups. Lecturers are professor Peter C. Gøtzsche, child and adolescent psychiatrist Lisbeth Kortegaard, pharmacist Birgit Toft, psychologist Olga Runciman, and pharmacist Bertel Rüdinger.”
On 6 February, I called MIND‘s journalist, Henrik Harring Jørgensen, who is also responsible for the MIND magazine, to ask if they would be interested in telling their members about our course. When this wasn’t possible, I asked if I could place an ad in the magazine. Jørgensen became considerably uncomfortable and said that, being an official, he shouldn’t get involved in the debate about psychiatric drugs. I explained that he didn’t need to, because whatever one might think about psychiatric drugs, it was a fact that many patients wanted to quit, but couldn’t get help, and this was exactly why we wanted to offer our course, which was for everyone, both patients and doctors.
I couldn’t get any commitment from Jørgensen to get my ad in the magazine. I was convinced that he couldn’t make this decision himself, but needed a green light higher up, and that they probably wouldn’t take my ad.
I knew very well that MIND’s National Chairman, Knud Kristensen, disliked me, which he has told others about, and that he is very fond of psychiatric drugs, which he always praises in the media when I criticise them. When I lectured for MIND in Copenhagen in May 2016, Kristensen travelled from the other end of the country to chair the meeting and to ask critical questions after my speech. His questions were unfriendly, and he was very critical of me as a person. But the participants repeatedly challenged him and said that what I had told them was true, for example about withdrawal symptoms and how difficult it is to stop psychiatric drugs, which they had experienced themselves.
I sent my ad to Jørgensen the day after I had talked to him on the phone. Total silence. I called several times and was switched to Jørgensen by the secretary who said he was in his office, but he didn’t pick up the phone when it was me calling. I sent a message that he should call, which he didn’t do.
I got increasingly nervous because the MIND magazine only comes out every two months and the deadline for the ad was 2 March. It was my only opportunity to advertise in the magazine.
On 17 February, I wrote to Jørgensen, noting that he didn’t pick up the phone when I called him. I told him that many of MIND‘s members write to me and ask who they should go to for help with psychiatric drug withdrawal. I also wrote to the general email address of the association, but still no reply.
On 22 February, I went to MIND‘s headquarters to get an answer. I met with three people outside who were making documentaries about psychiatry and who joined me into the building.
It became clear immediately that MIND did not want to announce our course. MIND‘s director, Ole Riisgaard, treated me incredibly rudely and condescendingly, as when a school master reprimanded a naughty student in the 1950s. Apparently, Riisgaard was also unable to make a decision about my ad without Kristensen’s approval; he said he would come back “within a few days.”
We all concluded that the director was fully informed about my case before he knew we showed up at our unannounced visit and that MIND had planned to prevent my ad from being placed in the MIND magazine. When I told him that this was my impression, also when I talked to Jørgensen on the phone two weeks earlier, Jørgensen became highly aggressive and asked if I had recorded the conversation.
The next day, Riisgaard wrote that they would bring my announcement, adding: “In continuation of your very bad and totally unacceptable behaviour yesterday where you showed up without agreement or permission, and with cameras turned on filming MIND‘s staff, several of whom are mentally vulnerable and employed under special provisions, the condition for bringing the advertisement is that you, before the deadline, will send me a written (signed) guarantee that none of MIND‘s employees will participate in any kind of broadcast without written consent from each of them.”
The cameras were not turned on, and the three of us who were in the room had all been very calm. The only people displaying bad behaviour were Riisgaard and Jørgensen, which we recorded with a hidden microphone because it is important to document bullying and other abuses of power.
One of the filmmakers wrote to Riisgaard that his people had followed me for some time and therefore also followed me to MIND, and that he had asked for permission to film, which an employee of MIND had granted him. As soon as this was rejected on another floor, the film work stopped. The only one who had been filmed was me.
I wrote to Riisgaard that our perception of the events was different. We had complied with all the rules, but as Jørgensen never answered the phone, we had no other option but to visit MIND‘s headquarters to find out if MIND would bring our ad.
“You explained that MIND is a small association and that you have a lot to do, which was why I had heard nothing. Allow me to point out that there was plenty of time when I called Henrik to inquire about a possible ad. And that it would only have taken him a few seconds to respond OK when I sent him the ad the next day. It is not more difficult than that.
“It would have been natural for you, when we met, to say that I would of course get the ad in the MIND magazine, because it so obviously is a helping hand to the many MIND members who want to stop psychiatric drugs but have been unable to get help from their doctor, among other things because very few doctors know how to do it.
“Other doctors have the misconception that you need to take your drugs for the rest of your life, which is scientifically proven to be very harmful. Instead, you said I would get a response in a few days’ time. Do you think this is a good way to treat a customer who pays you to get an ad in your magazine that, on top of this, is very relevant for your members?”
The day before we visited MIND, Riisgaard received an email from a local branch explaining that they had discussed at a board meeting a correspondence I had had with Jørgensen about an advertisement for a withdrawal course. “Based on this, it looks as if some form of censorship is being applied. It is our impression that many of our members are interested in Peter Gøtzsche’s work. We do not understand this attitude.”
Riisgaard replied to the local branch, after we had met with him and had corresponded with him: “With regard to advertisements we certainly have censorship (editing), for example we do not accept advertising from the pharmaceutical industry. But Gøtske [sic] has not been denied the opportunity to advertise. If he gives another impression, it is just to make himself interesting.”
Riisgaard lied and continued being arrogant. I wrote to the local branch that someone at the top of MIND believes that psychiatric drugs can only be good for people and that no one should get help with stopping.
MIND’s National Chairman, Knud Kristensen, has too much power and nurtures his own interests, not those of his members.
The psychiatric guild doesn’t want to help patients withdraw
The second pushback came when I informed Psychiatry in the Capital Region in January 2017 about our course. I wrote that I collaborated with skilled psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmacists in several countries, and with many users with extensive experience in withdrawal; that we were 11 people from 7 countries who met in Göteborg in October 2016 and decided to establish the International Institute for Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal; that one of us was a Norwegian psychiatrist who had just opened the first drug-free ward in Norway; that I had a PhD student who studied how to withdraw psychiatric drugs safely; and that we would do our best to meet the needs and interests of the participants.
Three days later, psychiatrist professor Poul Videbech complained to the Patient Safety Authority: “A Peter Gøtzsche, who is a specialist in internal medicine, has announced the course below for patients and others. Of course, it is my view that he takes on a tremendous responsibility, which he has no knowledge at all to bear. Can doctors just do that kind of thing without having the necessary professional knowledge? It is also a private enterprise that abuses the Cochrane Centre’s name.”
Videbech’s arrogance cannot be overlooked. “A Peter Gøtzsche” is a phrase you use about unknown persons, and I was very well known, both by Videbech and by the people at the Authority.
The Authority didn’t take Videbech’s complaint seriously. It took them four months to ask me for an opinion indicating to which extent individual health professional advice would be provided to the course participants. I informed the Authority on 19 May that there was nothing in the course description about giving individual advice. A withdrawal process takes time, and we obviously didn’t intend to start withdrawing participants during the course.
I was also asked about which qualifications or experiences I had with individual withdrawal of neuroleptic medication. I replied that this was not relevant because the purpose of the course was that we should learn from each other, including hearing about current and past patients’ experiences. I added that there would be psychiatrists as well as other health professionals in the room.
Finally, the Authority asked me to state what role the Nordic Cochrane Centre had in organising the course since I had used this affiliation in my email to the Capital Region. As there was no mention of the Centre in the announcement of the course, I didn’t reply to this question, which was irrelevant and beyond the Authority’s control tasks.
On 1 June, the Authority asked me for the information I had already sent to them, which they had overlooked. Four days after we had held our course, the Authority announced it did not intend to take any action.
I uploaded videos of our lectures and other information on my homepage, deadlymedicines.dk. We also held several meetings for the public and I gave many lectures in several countries. We always explained that withdrawal needed to be much slower than official guidelines recommended. Hence, the Patient Safety Authority should have taken an interest in the guidelines, which were unsafe, and not in us!
We considered the pushbacks bumps on the road and in our growing international network, we felt we were moving forward. In October 2017, there was world premiere in Copenhagen on Anahi Testa Pedersen’s film, Diagnosing Psychiatry (see Chapter 2). She asked me if I had any suggestions for a title, so I suggested that one because the film shows that psychiatry is a sick patient that infects other patients as well. I could have chosen the same title for this book, but I did not want to use the word psychiatry but rather the positive term, mental health.
In November 2017, psychiatrist Jan Vestergaard tried to get a two-hour symposium about benzodiazepines on the programme for the annual meeting of the Danish Psychiatric Association four months later. Even though the meeting lasted four days, with parallel sessions, the board declared there wasn’t room for the symposium. It was about dependence and withdrawal, and I was scheduled to talk about withdrawal in general, not limited to benzodiazepines.
As the conference hotel is huge, I called to see if there were any free rooms. I booked one and held a two-hour symposium for the psychiatrists in the morning, which we repeated in the afternoon. I gave them the opportunity to learn something about dependence and withdrawal, even though the board had little interest in the subject.
Then came another bump in the road, which was professor of clinical microbiology, Niels Høiby, elected for a conservative political party in the Capital Region. I wondered why he felt compelled to interfere with our altruistic initiative (we took no entrance fee), as bacteria do not have much to do with psychiatric drug withdrawal. He raised a so-called political question and mentioned that I had written a book on the use of psychiatric drugs and conducted courses to get patients to reduce their use of psychiatric drugs.
Høiby asked if the National Hospital’s Executive Board and the Capital Region, possibly in collaboration with the Health Council for Psychiatry, had informed the region’s psychiatrists, psychiatrists in specialist practice, and general practitioners whether they supported or distanced themselves from the activities of the Cochrane Centre’s director regarding the use of psychiatric drugs.
The answer is as interesting as Høiby’s silly and malignant question. Psychiatry in the Capital Region declared that they had informed all their centres about the activities Høiby mentioned and were critical of my offer and had requested that attention be given to patients that might accept the offer. Moreover, they noted that several department heads and professors had publicly expressed their disagreement with me and my activities, e.g. at the event “The art of discontinuing a drug” organised by the Capital Region and at a public debate about psychiatric drugs organised by Psychiatry in the Capital Region. “At both events, Peter Gøtzsche himself participated.”
Oh dear, oh dear, the man “himself” showed up at our precious events and even dared ask questions! So, it is wrong when someone does this and when some eminences—which I call “silverbacks,” as this is how they behave6—disagree with him? These are bleak perspectives. Obviously, it is unacceptable for the establishment that I try to meet the needs of the patients when the psychiatrists don’t want to, even though the establishment constantly talks about putting the patient at the centre of their activities.
I advertised the symposia in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association and my PhD student Anders Sørensen also lectured. Later, when we strolled around in the corridors, we learned that the young psychiatrists had been scared away from attending because their bosses would see them as heretics and might retaliate. This bullying behaviour is also seen in a pride of lions—if a lion leaves the pack and comes back later, the lion is punished. It explained why most of the 60 participants were nurses, social workers, patients and relatives. Only seven identified themselves as psychiatrists, but there were likely eight more, as these omitted giving their background despite being asked to do so when they entered the room.
On other occasions, psychologists, social workers and nurses who wished to attend my lectures or courses have told me similar stories about receiving dire warnings from their superiors that if they showed up, it would not be well received at their department. This is frightening and also diagnostic for a sick specialty. It tells a story of a guild that behaves more like a religious sect than a scientific discipline because in science, we are always keen to listen to new research results and other points of view, which make us all wiser.
We had two lectures in our programme: “Why should by far most people who receive psychiatric drugs be withdrawn?” and “How should it be done in practice?” We mentioned in the ad that several psychiatrists had urged us to hold a course on withdrawal of psychiatric drugs at the same time as their annual meeting.
The symposia were successful. The most experienced psychiatrist in the room later told one of his junior colleagues that I dwarfed leading psychiatrists. That is why they didn’t want their junior doctors to listen to me. It might become too difficult for themselves when they came back and asked questions. They also appreciated Anders’s lecture. He has a lot of experience in withdrawal and is a very good speaker.
In June 2018, we held an afternoon research seminar in Copenhagen. As guest speakers we had Laura Delano, a psychiatric survivor from USA, who presented risk-reducing taper protocols based on an overview of methods that had yielded the best outcomes in the layperson withdrawal community, and pharmacist Bertel Rüdinger from Copenhagen, also a psychiatric survivor.6 Psychiatry stole 14 and 10 years, respectively, of their lives and caused both of them to come very close to suicide.
To read the footnotes for this chapter and others, click 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.
Peter, you are a most awesome person.
Of course we know why this resistance by the industry. It is so scary to them, they belong to the family, the whole setting is indeed a cult.
“patient centered” is just gobblygook.
Of course you dwarfed them, and that is sad, when in fact you are always leaving it wide open for them to join you.
And bottom line is that any shrink knows proper withdrawal, but he wants to do it rapidly so he can blame the suffering on illness.
All we can really do is educate those who never started with psychiatry.
People like Peter are dangerous. If people are told the truth about the effects of these drugs the liars selling them might be sued, shunned, and become the social lepers they turn others into with their stigmatizing labels and drugs.
The truth is dangerous for those benefiting from the lies. But the truth can’t set us free while the liars have power. That is why a major aspect of psychiatry is to take away its victims credibility and power.
I think truth tellers, like Peter, are invaluable. Since people do need to be told the truth about the horrendously adverse and withdrawal effects of the psych drugs. And I believe the medical and pharmaceutical industries, who lie, should be “sued, shunned, and become the social lepers they turn others into with their stigmatizing labels and drugs.”
I agree, “The truth is dangerous for those benefiting from the lies.” But I believe it is the truth that will set us free, from those sick liars. And we have come a long way in discrediting the psychiatrists.
Whitaker’s book did a great job pointing out that the ADHD drugs and antidepressants create the “bipolar” symptoms.
And in my medical research, I found the medical proof that both the antidepressants and antipsychotics can make people psychotic, via anticholinergic toxidrome.
Not to mention, the antipsychotics / neuroleptics can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.
Meaning that the the two “most serious” DSM disorders are iatrogenic illnesses, created with the psychiatric drugs, not “genetic” illnesses.
And we were able to get the head of NIMH to confess to the “invalidity” of the entire psychiatric DSM “bible” in 2013.
We’ve also pointed out that the DSM “bible” is a child abuse covering up “bible,” by design.
And that the primary actual societal function, both historically and today, of both the psychological and psychiatric industries is – indeed – covering up child abuse and rape.
Not to mention, the head of the NIMH did confess that “8 million” innocent people are being killed EVERY year, due to the “invalid” DSM disorders, and no doubt, with the psych drugs.
And all of this systemic child abuse covering up and murder by the “mental health” system did, of course, also function to aid, abet, and empower the pedophiles and child sex traffickers. So the world now knows we live in a “pedophile empire,” where child sex trafficking is running amok.
But, if I’m not incorrect, I do believe both the “mental health” industry, and pastors – at least some, or most, of whom have “partnered” with the systemic child abuse covering up “mental health” system- were both declared to be “non-essential” in the insane Covid world, in which we all now find ourselves living.
Getting the truth out there is a process, and the truth is a bitter pill to swallow. But I do still believe the truth shall set us free. Let’s hope and pray that by getting the truth out there, we may actually admit to the sick reality that “a small group of dominant men” created. So we may actually work to fix our societies’ systemic problems, and bring about a better world some day.
I cannot thank Peter enough for his “expert” truth speaking.
“Meaning that the the two “most serious” DSM disorders are iatrogenic illnesses, created with the psychiatric drugs, not “genetic” illnesses”.
I have the serious mental illness called schizophrenia, as by now I am sure everyone knows. I do not understand everyones wish to cancel my illness with what to me feels like “fake news” that tries to broadcast that my illness is “fake”…so everyone seems to be chanting “fake news about fake illness”, Mine is an illness everyone does not have. They are not an expert on my illness. They are not an authority on my illness. I will have you know my illness came on TEN YEARS BEFORE I took antipsychotics. I have no trauma history. Your theories are not a healing for me at all.
I shall leave you with two quotes from me…
“Only LOVE can set you free”
“THE ILL HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ILL”
That is why a major aspect of psychiatry is to take away its victims credibility and power.
And also why the strategic goal of anti-psychiatry is to take away its (false) credibility and power.
Peter, whoever tries to bring beauty into society will be deemed a threat because pioneers who bring beauty into society are like those wise visionaries who are newborns. And anyone who is lost inside cannot ever remember feeling like one.
Thank you for this really fascinating account of your experiences with psychiatrists and the people from the MIND magazine!
Some of your experiences sound a lot like dealing with NAMI and the Mental Health Association of America, both groups who claim they have been created to assist “patients” but are really organized to do the dirty work of what I call psychiatry, etc. probably especially including the role of Big Pharma in all this. And that Big Pharma and psychiatry, etc. loses big time when people wake up and get off the drugs and realize they don’t need either the drugs or the psychiatry, etc. because it was that that was making them sick, not that they were sick beforehand. No, they were just human-unique individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses (non-strengths) who are trying to deal with life’s changes, some predictable, some not and just trying to get though the 24/7 life. Thank you.
“Psychiatry stole 14 and 10 years.” They were still lucky. It was the combination of lack of awareness about proper way of discontinuation of the toxic drugs AND close monitoring by my own father who immediately reported a “swing” “in my own best interest” for repeated commitment and more aggressive drugging at every next turn. At every turn I tried to run from the drugs – and kept being pushed back into forced treatment again and again on a tightening descending loop. That took – between 1984 and 1997 13 years away between over 10 commitments. Along the way I lost my profession and further on was forced into disability. All but obliterating my life prospects by the sheer fact of time and opportunities lost – combined with debilitation by sustained brain damage itself, forced ECT and aggressive drugging. What was still worse and even more traumatic was a relationship with a mental health professional who completely embraced – not me but the sickness model and ratified the debasement wrought by the institution also on the most personal level there is. I never truly recovered after that. Fortunately my other former fellow student from the medical school acknowleded me as a person I used to be. She dealt with akatizia and thus with the sharp edge of suicide ideation by allowing me a limited say regarding the “meds”. I could study. I left for another country but I never escaped. It was already too late to start anew.
If only I knew back then the correct protocol – or was just aware of sheer existence of the withdrawal reaction (as opposed to “relapse” cover up and misdirection) the deadly descent could have been prevented right at the start. Drugging must stop. Deadly drugsters !!!
The role of my own father and my ex gf – both “mental health” professionals, both indoctrinated in the deceptive creed of drugging and “mental illness”, only spiked the misery.
stillalive, Imams sorry that psychiatry, etc. stole 10 and 14 years of your life. Psychiatry, etc. stole approximately 17 years of my life and that does include the withdrawal. Of course, in a sad way, it is still stealing a part of our life, because we will never be who we were before their interference into our life and now after the withdrawal, we must deal with what I call the adaptation, in which we must learn to adapt the brain damage we received from the drugs, the therapies, including psychotherapy, and in your case, forced ETC. Luckily, they did not try ECT on me. The issue we must now encounter is that usually we must deal with the withdrawal and the adaptation alone, We have no guides, as perhaps, others who have experienced traumas to their brain and body. I say, we are the invisible ones who hide in the shadows. In a sad way, we are almost like the lepers of the 21st century, because there are many who would like not to think we even exist at all. But, despite it all, even on the bad days, I do thank God I am as your “id” says, Still Alive. But, I must confess the last 24 hours or so as I considered this: because of what I can do, I am defective in the eyes of some and because of what I cannot do, I am defective in the eyes of some. And, yet, this has honestly nothing to do with the brain damage I have sustained and must adapt. But, the boundaries and the “intensity” you might say between the two seem so much greater and pronounced. And, it was that very thought that sent me into psychiatry, etc. thinking it was the holy grail to my “questioning.” I could use the word “misery” but it doesn’t really apply. But, the thing the psychiatry, etc. people seem to refuse to tell me or not want to tell me or I guess they hid from me for their evil motives, is that this is how I was uniquely made by our Creator. This is how I am meant to be, so it must not be bad, but I went to psychiatry, etc. hoping beyond hope they would make me feel better about I am, how I was made — my natural gifts, talents, and skills– that is — and all I got was evil drugs, and therapies about how evil I am! But I am still alive, like you and now I can discover, explore and learn all I can about myself on my terms and God’s terms, not their terms—never their terms again because I WANT TO LIVE and I CHOOSE TO LIVE! Thank you.
Wow – corruption always seems to go with bullying. I admire your persistence. Keep it up.
Dear wonderful Peter, I left two comments for Linda on the ERNI article thread. It relates to the comment I made there at the start of that thread about “oneness and difference” and the sad erasure of “difference”, an erasue or cancelling that is a woeful tendency in the darkest aspects of A L L imbalanced humans.
I hope you hear what I am referring to.
Peter, it is a sad thing when those who have been discriminated against are left so unsupported by their thought leaders that they take out their frustrations by discriminating against their ill and already discrimated against bretheren. It reminds me of the way Caesar used to spectate Christains fighting Christains just to pull in the paying crowds to the Colluseum.
And Someone Else, I wish you all the best. I really do. I am not inclined to read or reply to your comments anymore, I feel ridiculously “traumatized” when I read things about my illness that to me sound simply not credible.
Well DP, I doubt we get accepted as credible by everyone right? And there are plenty of Mental Illness sites where you get all the acceptance you want.
I think that many times we forget that there could be other causes than the evil psych drugs to the many aggregate of symptoms addressed as different alleged illnesses by the DSM. One serious cause could be environmental toxins, from those that pollute the natural environment to those that pollute our indoor environments; radiation/electrical, etc. waves from all the electrical, technological equipment in our homes and other place that we use daily; the chemicals, (many synthetic), residue pesticides, other chemicals, etc. that cause sensitivity that are in our foodstuffs, our toiletries, our shampoos, our perfumes, etc., living near an odorous chemical plant that processes paper products and other products. Vitamin, mineral, protein shortages or overages in one’s bodies and brains can be problematic. Even living in the wrong place. Perhaps you live in a high desert, but, you are better suited for the coast or vice versa. I have spoken to people whose loved ones could never tolerate moving from one topographical region to another and they sadly never recovered. just a few. And, how all those toxins, and other “causes” are processed by the body and brain are definitely highly individual. I should also include those who are working in jobs not suited to their strengths (or trained for such) and even perhaps in jobs that utilize their weaknesses. There are so many. Perhaps, we should commend those who created the DSM to see how how all these evils create symptoms that they think needs their interventions. Or, perhaps, we should confess that we have been taken for a loop and life just doesn’t have to be the struggle that it is if each one of us would only live our lives true to who we are created and as naturally as we can despite it all. Oh, yes, and one last thing, we need to practice that old-time religion of FORGIVESS AND LOVE. Thank you.
Dear Steve the moderator, In response to something Sam Plover brought up I would like you to clarify for all new visitors to MIA who it is welcoming of. Who does MIA “accept”? It is just that I was under the impression that MIA welcomes everyone who is interested in “rethinking psychiatry”. It seems to me a visitor may struggle to discuss their ideas about psychiatry without using words like psychiatry or psychiatrist.
POSTING AS MODERATOR:
Everyone is welcome to post at MIA, as you say. There are no restrictions on language, other than what is listed in the “Posting Guidelines.” This does not mean that others will always see things similarly or won’t argue or disagree. It’s OK to argue and disagree about concepts/ideas as long as you’re not attacking a person or group or people. It gets stickier when one person feels that attacking a particular concept or idea is attacking them personally. This can lead to difficult conversations, but again, that doesn’t mean anyone is not welcome, it just means that words/ideas have different meanings to different people. It is always my hope that such conversations lead to some kind of Hegelian synthesis where everyone understands each other at a higher level. But sometimes we have to agree to disagree, and that’s OK. MIA doesn’t take sides, we just try to make sure the conversation is fair and respectful.
Hope that clarifies things!
My brain is affected by a sugar rush just now…something that happens to the cognition in our brains. Thus my comment may be drivel.
Your comprehensive reply, which I cheerfully thank you for, contains more than one use of the word “attack”. I am not criticising you for what may have been a very understandable world weary impulsive word choice. I simply wonder about the possible popular unconscious use of such a word on a site visited by the emotionally vulnerable. Do ideas really need to be “attacked”? I never saw gracious Peter Goztche “attack” an idea, nor equinanomous Robert Whitaker. They may have felt like doing so but like most people of an inquiring and pioneering spirit, they seem to uphold the sanctity of debate by “discussion”. A discussion is the “antidote” and “remedy” to the chaos of an “attack”. A discussion is a polite and open “dialogue” involving and even cherishing “two” sides, that is not are couple of shouted attacking monologues.
When various people forgoe discussion in preference to “attack” it may be because they feel insecure and vulnerable themselves. But when the emotionally vulnerable “attack” the ideas of the visiting emotionally vulnerable, rather than welcome those ideas for interesting mature debate, I see no remedy but only grievance and tension coming from it. Peter and Robert know all about the pain of not getting their ideas maturely and calmly debated.
There are more ways to “attack” than hurling abuse. The toxicity on the internet is built upon the apparently “logical” arguementaton streaming from teen trolls in garages with no interest in discussing anything but their greatness. Anyone can discredit anyone’s viewpoint. It is not clever. A toddler can do it. The point of adult discussion is not to discredit for discredits sake. This website welcomes the “different”. The ideas of the “different” may not be abolitionist. The abolitionist should be eager to have the chance to persuade the “different”, more than just pummel them with a requirement that they should “convert”. It is like having a shop window of a coffee shop, it is best to “welcome” any customer by having an attitude of “the customer is always right”, if there is any hope of getting them to stick around long enough to buy an irresistible brick of banoffee pie. Selling the pie is the desire, not helping the customer feel “wrong” and “attacked”. The customer might go home to twenty friends and neighbours and tell them not to visit the “debate”. Those twenty may each have known twenty more, my brain’s to stupified just now to handle the math. But that works out at alot of loss of potential customers or converts to abolition.
The internet is great for freedom of speech, but quite separately it is awash with brazen hostility that everyone is shrugging about in unwholesome acceptance. The thing about “attacking” ideas is nobody likes it when their own ideas are being shamed. Everyone feels their ideas are fundamental to the very survival of the planet. So ideas are “emotive” no matter how “logical” we all like to prèen and polish them up as. The very fine line between a persons favourite world saving ideas and their personhood is next to invisible in a discussion, never mind an overt “attack”. And like I said of trolls, or racists, an exhausting barrage of recruitment style “logic” with no welcome or love in it becomes subtly evokative of micro-aggression. What I am driving at is not the notion of “attack” per se, but…intimdation. What I like about MIA is it seems to strive to give breathing space to folks to debate an article. But the excitement of finding “a community” in the comments section is as irresistable as looking through a window at banoffee pie. But on other sites of a similar arrangement, the newcomer experiences “emotive” confusion about how to join the festives of the community at the same time as only focus on the elegant ideas sharing aspects of the article, an article enticing polite discussion. The community begs a “personal” heartfelt connection but if there is a “difference” in the debating of thè article it seems to get met as if a “betrayal” of the community, or even an “attack” on the community, who then “attack” the “ideas” of the “different” almost simply because they are just “different”.
I had thought maybe there should be a comments section wholy for the community of abolitionists and a comments section wholy for a community of those into critical psychiatry. Each discussing the same article. I think that would be clearer and more gratifying to the composers of their articles. Maybe it could be innovated. After all I believe platforms like facebook have such helpful dedicated communities. A world is made up of millions of tribes. To squash Tahitians in with Aborigines does a mischeif to both. “Oneness” is made up of “differences” that like staying “different”. Psychiatry’s error was in squashing everyone of “difference” into the same hospital pyjamas.
Anyway. Dont respond. I am feeling like MIA has become a part time job. And I need to do my laundry.
I am hoping MIA will sack me for insuborddination and free me to stare into space picking my nose.
Someone muttered something somewhere about environmental toxins. I am not sure specifically why. But let me add a bit of what I have always known. Certain creatures ARE changing sex due to environmental toxins. And the human sperm count IS lowering. Environmental toxins ARE making creatures change on a BIOLOGICAL level.
So, potentially on a long term GENETIC level and therefore a BRAIN level life is drastically and irrevocably altered. Microplastics have already been found in the human body. Some cross over the placenta to the developing infant, and presumably its BRAIN. We may never know where the ill symptoms of schizophrenia are coming from. If they are not coming from chemical imbalance, or the disturbance in the brain’s electrical waves, they may be coming from environmental toxins that have been affecting the BRAIN for aeons, such as radon or mercury or lead or solar flares or fungi or encephalitis bacteria or viruses or who knows what, environmental toxins that have affected our brain and genes just like certain environmentally caused cancers can. Cancer is a REAL illness, and for most cancers we simlly DO NOT KNOW what exact biological mechanism or toxin causes them. Just because we do not know much about cancer does not mean cancer is not a disease that causes ILLNESS. We just dont know HOW and WHY cancer exists, but EXIST it does. Schizophrenia is like cancer in this regard.
Depression also EXISTS and makes people very ill indeed. There are many theories about HOW and WHY depression is what it is. New theories are looking at gut inflammation, which is a very BIOLOGICAL idea. Inflammation anywhere in the body sloshes chemical and hormonal changes, some of these DO involve the brain. It would be arrogant, insulting or cruel to a depressed person as to say to them that their illness of depression does not exist or that their depression is FAKE or is not REAL. That would be foolish and even dangerous. Some critics might say depression is not an illness and it is just “normal”, well then so is suicide. Try telling that to the call handlers of a million suicide hotlines.
I am done listening to this.
Ps. In a fiercely radical website I have been enjoying the recent gratifying uptick and mention of the word “love”. LOVE IS RADICAL. It may interest some to know that as a word it can be hijacked by bullies. Think of Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot. “Love” of ones country can be used to decimate other populations. “Love” of ones religion and deity can be used to wipe out innocent populations of other faiths. Many founders of faiths, such as Jesus saw this bullying coming, which is why he extolled everyone to not only love their neighbour but moreso to…
“LOVE YOUR ENEMY”.
I guess on this website that might mean radically loving people you loathe with a passion, possibly psychologists, psychotherapists, peer workers, psychiatrists.
Hmm, maybe LOVE is TOO RADICAL.
I gotta say I am thoroughly impressed by your stamina for the hard slog, Peter. I got a bit glum for a while after reading this uphill battle. If even the co-founder of the Cochrane Review gets pilloried and blocked for trying to share the science and advance the practices around withdrawal, then how on earth can a little fish withdrawal researcher and Lived Ex psychologist like me find a way to do this here in NZ. And then I got inspired. If The Peter Gotzch can get pilloried and blocked but carries on anyway, then thats my how question answered: we carry on. It’s rough working for these changes here on the other side of the world. Linking in with IIPDW is a help but the 12 hour time difference makes participating in things tricky.