Standing Still and Looking Back: A Memoir by Stuart Shipko (Independently published)

cover art for "Standing Still and Looking Back"

“I like to think of myself as a healer,” says Stuart Shipko in the introduction to his latest book, a compact volume that’s part pandemic diary, part memoir of his career in psychiatry—and part reflection on the profound, often-indescribable nature of healing itself. And as he makes clear, that can include more mystical transformations that fall outside the strictures of medicine.

Early on, he explains, he tried his hand at such alternate approaches, incorporating the lessons learned: How healing happens, and what healing is. He peppers the book with tales of such transformations, including a few that ultimately resolved in death. Among them are the woman, unconscious and nearly gone, who suddenly popped awake to say goodbye to her family; the man he healed of leukemia only to die of an abdominal aneurysm; the woman dying of heart failure whom he hypnotized, helping her eat again; the man with the horrifically fractured femur who healed overnight (“You did it doc, I’m fixed”) and promptly threw a party, overdosed, and died.

Ultimately, Shipko stepped away from such efforts and turned his career toward hospital consultations and expert testimony. (He’s also the author of Xanax Withdrawal and Surviving Panic Disorder: What You Need to Know.) But they were formative experiences, he writes. “I retained a sense that people are not machines, not easily reduced to an algorithm. . . Medical science may be less important than I thought.”

For readers of MIA, the most compelling parts of Standing Still and Looking Back are his reflections on the shifts in psychiatry and the ever-creeping influence of mechanistic thinking.  When he first trained in the field, depression was treated with therapy and regarded as “limited”—a duration of 6 months, perhaps. Some tricyclics were used, but short-term only; Prozac and other SSRIs didn’t arrive on the scene for another six years. Once they did, clients started going on them forever; depression became a “chronic relapsing condition”; medications became the “centerpiece” of practice.

Supporting people in their pain, and getting them off of medications, meant supporting them as human beings. “It did not require magic healing powers,” Shipko writes. Even when he did heal people outside the realm of medicine, he was only giving them permission to heal themselves—to “do what they needed to do,” whether that meant living or dying.

Sprinkled through the book are COVID-19 diary entries tracking the course of pandemic and politics, isolation and fatigue, emerging vaccines and hesitancy, all of which will feel familiar (almost too familiar) to an exhausted populace. But such ruminations dovetail with his tales of psychiatry, from which he retired at the start of the lockdown. Its practice had become “almost too painful,” he says. “It’s too much about the medications now, medications that are generally harmful over time and often never needed in the first place. Practicing psychiatrists are just shooting in the dark, drug dealers with a fancy credential.”

In the end, he adds, “The drugs often create mental illness instead of curing it.”

*****

The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss by Mary-Frances O’Connor (Harper Collins)

cover art for "The Grieving Brain"With this clear, confirming, compassionate, beautifully readable book, Mary-Frances O’Connor has written something more than a neurological exploration of the brain’s behavior as its owner grieves. She’s pulled together more than a discourse on the neurons scrambling to problem-solve when a beloved someone dies, on the neurological stamp that lingers on gray matter, and the real sense—verified by research—that someone we bond with in life still holds a place on the map inside our brains.

She uses all of that science to underscore the profound humanity in all who, moving forward after some terrible loss, feel themselves pulled into competing realities at once: Into the past, filled with death. Into the present, filled with life. In the odd conjunction of both, tacking from a neural landscape where the departed still takes up residence—and in the nitty-gritty dimensions of the world around us, where they’re unquestionably, irrevocably, painfully gone.

Anyone who has ever buried someone they love will feel seen by O’Connor, who uses both her research bona fides in neurobiology and her humanistic grounding in psychology to counter so many enduring assumptions about grief: That it plays out in neat chronological stages; that it reaches an end-point of closure and healing; that the gaping hole left by someone’s absence should close within some set time; that it isn’t normal, whatever that means, to collapse in tears and fling a coffee cup across the room before picking yourself up and getting through the day. (And if you find yourself saying I did that, too, you’re not alone.)

It’s the picking up, she notes, that makes the difference—and reminds us that the “dual process” of sorting through death in the past while pursuing life in the present is, well, messy. Resilience means pushing ahead in spite of it. As she writes: “It is not about believing that you are now a broken person . . . . It is about noticing how it feels at that moment, letting your tears come, and then letting them go. Knowing that the moment of grief will overwhelm you, feeling its familiar knot in your throat, and knowing that it will recede like the rain.”

The Grieving Brain was published before the latest DSM revealed its freshly minted “Prolonged Grief Disorder,” which caps grief at one year. But her book feels like a rebuke. Throughout, she makes a distinction between grief—the huge, acute wallop that knocks people sideways in repeating spasms of pain—and grieving, an ongoing effort in which the bereaved forge new lives and connections against a backdrop of loss.

Grieving is learning, she tells us. Living after a death doesn’t mean wiping it clean and moving on; the loss will always be there. It means “moving our attention from thinking about the past to thinking about the present and future. . . If we can stop judging ourselves, if we can have compassion for ourselves because we are human and because this human life comes with grief,” she writes, “we may find it easier to connect with others as well.”

*****

I Hear the Black Raven: A Petite Memoir by Claire Ishi Ayetoro (Equal Age Publishing)

I continued to wander the woods. Naked, unashamed, and unafraid. In and out of conscious awareness. I was driven reflexively, my brain and body hostage to my subconscious mind.

cover art for "I Hear the Black Raven"

That’s just one brief excerpt from just one account of extreme states experienced by the author—and the paths she took through them, both literal and figurative. She does not shy from any hard truth or difficult revelation. As the subtitle suggests, the book is, indeed, small—in print, 4×7 inches and 164 pages. But it is as poetic as it is petite, full of plainspoken reminders that life is neither linear nor tidy. It’s far too complex.

“Listen to the raven,” says Claire Ishi Ayetoro in her “prelude,” underscoring the creature’s significance in varied cultures as a harbinger of good or ill. We all have black ravens in our lives, she says, revealing truths that we might not want to hear. The book is, in a sense, an account of her own efforts to listen; each chapter opens with a poem paired with a shadowy image of the bird.

Ayetoro—a nom de plume—is, as she makes clear, not skeptical of the standard disease model. She accepts her own diagnosis (“bipolar disorder is a beast”) and the drugs used to treat it, no matter how problematic they are, and cautions against resisting treatment. Yet she’s also candid about the side effects, rattling off the list from weight gain and insomnia to apathy and suicidal ideation.

And no matter what her stance on psychiatric drugs and the disease paradigm, she’s still human. She still has her own story to tell, and she tells with frankness and gut-punching impact. Late in the book she describes another extreme state—sparked by a prayer conference—that led to rocketing ecstasy, then spiraling doom, then the conviction she possessed two souls. After that, she bluntly details the gun she purchased and the plans she made to end her life.

Gradually, quietly, her small document of emotional and mental darkness turns toward light: After years in therapy, in and out of hospitals, trying different combinations of drugs, she’s “now in a good place.” And the black raven, we realize by the end, is not a harbinger of death but a messenger of hope.

Her song reached the depths of my soul. “My dear, light has come to you. You are transformed. Ayetoro, peace is coming. When it comes, embrace it and keep it close,” she says. “It is hard earned but can be lost.”

*****

Sickening: How Big Pharma Broke American Health Care and How We Can Repair It by John Abramson (Mariner Books)

cover art for "Sickening"Readers of Mad in America and other platforms critical of psychiatry will find nothing to raise eyebrows in this latest book from John Abramson, author of 2004’s Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine and a frequent, dissenting voice on the topic of practices corrupted by Big Pharma and practitioners who fall in line. His new work brings that same skeptical perspective on a range of drugs—not just psychiatric drugs, per se—that have been widely pushed despite sketchy efficacy and documented harm.

These include Merck’s Vioxx, the now-recalled anti-inflammatory drug, which “more than doubled the risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots” and caused between 40,000 and 60,000 American deaths; Pfizer’s Neurontin, originally marketed as an epilepsy treatment but prescribed off-label for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder; new generations of insulin analogs, no more effective against Type 2 diabetes than long-established treatments, which “jacked up the price to unimaginable levels” and likely led to uncounted deaths among those who couldn’t afford it; and the statins being prescribed for those at low risk of cardiovascular disease without any real benefits.

In each case, the history of each drug’s ascent is an account of science stained by money—overtaken by it, subsumed by it, wiped out by it. In the rush to make wads of revenues, the actual, rational, methodical weighing of negatives versus positives fall by the wayside.

As he points out, six out of every seven clinical trials are commercially funded and, as a result, 34 percent more likely to “report favorable conclusions.” Not surprisingly, “97 percent of the studies most frequently cited in the literature are funded by industry.” This same pro-Pharma bias is evident, too, in review articles, meta-analyses, and clinical-practice guidelines, which are seven times likelier to recommend a drug when one or more authors had financial ties to its manufacturer. Also not surprisingly, roughly two-thirds of industry marketing budgets target prescribers.

Physicians are, he says, the “unwitting agents” in this wholesale dominion of a system, corrupted by money, that has contributed to sagging American healthcare and downward trends in American lifespan. He uses Plato’s allegory of the cave—“mistaking the shadows cast on the cave wall in front of them for reality”—to explain their unhelpful prescriptions and propagation of lies.

“My purpose in writing this book: to show how, by the skillful use of the tactics. . . pharmaceutical firms influence the behavior of health-care professionals,” he writes. “No longer the learned intermediaries our patients expect us to be, we have unwittingly become ‘unlearned’ intermediaries, serving the drug companies’ financial interests rather than our patients’ medical needs.”

Again, none of this will surprise anyone already versed in the problems—the harms and horrors—of psychiatry’s business-as-usual. But it’s still worth saying, and saying loudly.

***

MIA Reports are supported, in part, by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.

42 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry to have to be the baddie here. But you start off with a book talking about “Healing”.

    Well that is the anti-chamber to the mental health system. It makes victims responsible for their own suffering.

    It is how people get shunted away from the quest for justice, and how they compromise themselves by disclosure.

    We need instead to look to examples like:
    From Victim to Victory: Child Sex Abuse Victims Using California Law to Expose Abusers
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2fq0pxDLZc

    We have the mental health system because we allow a steady supply of people to be fed into it.

    Joshua

    • If you were to read the book you would see that when I write that I like to think of myself as a healer, I am referring to energetic healing of physical conditions – not psychiatric conditions. My experiences working with the healing of physical, medical illnesses are key to the book. I agree that mental health practitioners who refer to themselves as healers are suspect – so are mental health clinics with the word healing, health or wellness in their names.

        • With all due respect to what you say, and I mostly and very politely disagree. I, personally, think the words, “healing, healer, and recovery” are excellent words. However, sometimes they can get used in the worst way and by many who really don’t understand these three words; they are over-used. I, personally, look at “healing and recovery” in this way. I consider myself in both “healing and recovery” from the psych drugs and therapies, etc. And I am following my own personal path in “healing and recovery.” I am learning more about myself than any psychiatrist and their enablers, the LSCW therapists could tell me. In my opinion, this drugging and therapizing they do blunt everything and hide the real truth about the patient. All of this is either a misdiagnosis or an unneeded diagnosis due to the laziness, etc. of the psychiatrists, etc. And, sadly, so many suffer–so yes, we do need “healing and recovery” from such “mistreatment.” And
          the word, “mistreatment” may be a big understatement for many, too. Thank you.

      • I have been floating around Spiritualist healers for two decades. I have met many. I have knowledge of how most healers of that natural tradional variety tend to ALSO heal psychiatric or mental conditions. They plunk the client in a chair as if about to lobotomize them and proceed to waft their hands over the clients crown chakra. We need not be so shy of having a crown chakra to which things can seemingly go wrong. Call it psychiatry. Call it crown chakra. Call it kundilini snakes. Call it any paper and ink words you fancy. It is what it is. It always shall be. Which is why bearskin wearing preverbal cave dwellers were at pains to trepan the odd spot of problematic melancholy. And in a thousand years people will still be needing healed of their space age melancholy, their futuristic very very long covid blues. The attempt to get rid of psychiatry is not going to get rid of the melancholy that brought about psychiatry, any more than joining an evangelical choir will get rid of temptation.

        • Oh, Daiphanous Weeping, your prose is so poetic! I love it! But, BUT!, I just cant agree with something you wrote. Temptation does NOT create choirs, any more than melancholy created psychiatry. Study history. The American Psychiatric Association grew almost directly out of the trade group for Superintendents of State Mental Hospitals. First called “alienists”, early shrinks rubbed shoulders with licensed, practicing phrenologists. Psychiatry was a key factor in the horrors of Stalin’s murderous rule in Russia, & in the Nazis’ 3rd Reich. Germany was the
          early seedbed for the poison-pill dead flowers of psychiatry. They even invented “draepetomania”, the supposed “mental illness” that caused slaves to run away from their masters! Really! I have found psychiatry & genocide together in scientific papers as early as the 1970’s. Psychiatry is genocide via pharmaceuticals, for profit. In other words, psychiatry makes money by waging a campaign of terrorism against persons, by dosing them with drugs. No, D-Weepy, psychiatry is NOT NEEDED! Except to make $$$ for rich white supremicists….

          • Friend, I feel you misconstrued my line about how just joining a choir will not get rid of temptation.

            My angels are telling me to “pack it in!”.

            What they mean is we are entering a global phase where absolutely everyone is fighting fighting fighting with absolutely everyone else. It is ENDLESS all the BICKERING.

            But maybe I will stop listening to my angels for a moment.

            Self righteousness feels lovely.
            It heals terrifically.
            But in order to feel self righteous and get that delicious perk of elevation a person has to define a self wrongfulness and indentify who is wrong wrong wrong.
            Healing feels like love and so finding it via self righteousness makes being self righteous seem like a lovely mending and wholesome way to be. It is a bit like espousing strict moral decency. All the person needs to regard their way of being as “correct”. And this “correctness” seems “healing”.

            But it is not love.

            True love is the absence of “right” or “wrong”.

            Here in the comments section a person wants to be self righteous and healing themselves by calling those who like psychiatry the self wrongful others.

            But at the same time another person may want to be self righteous and healing themselves by calling those who loathe psychiatry as self wrongful.

            Neither person is loving the different. This is due the awful predicament and misconception that IF self love is ONLY predicated on being proven “right” then then there has to be someone identified as “wrong” for the love to happen at all.

            But authentic…

            LOVES EVERYONE EQUALLY.

            Nobody is “wrong”.

            Love is a “feeling”. It is not a “judgement” of “rightness” or “wrongness” based on “thinking”, thinking such as comes from something like a totalitarian regime.

            There ARE wrong BEHAVIOURS such as murder and so on. These need stopped. But behavious are not feelings. Behaviours come from thinking. Good behaviour. Bad behaviour. Acts.

            But actions are not the feeling of love. Actions are actions. Actions may be critiqued as “right” or “wrong”, but feelings just ARE.

            I do not need you to be “wrong” to make me find my way of being loveable and lovely for me.

            And I do not need to bend you to my will and make you “right” according to my ideology or beliefs.

            You are FREE to be YOU.

            And I am FREE to be ME.

            And that FEELs like authentic LOVE.

  2. These books look lovely Amy.

    Gems.

    The first one by the psychiatrist looks wonderful.

    I am nae sae sure about the word healer these days. It is like the word healthy. Like saying I have “the” health and you do not, but I will bestow it on you as an act of atruistic greatness. It seems similar to the word logic, or wisdom. Both of those accumulations or credentials can get in the way of just love. The best healers I have met are nakedly unable to heal themselves.

  3. I may add to my prior comment that I am not averse to anyone calling themselves whatever they want to. I am not averse to people calling themselves healer.

    Healing aspires to be “of love”.

    I feel the dilemma is often over the notion of “love” and “justice”. Or more recently “love” and “vengeance”, as if vengeance is a form of justice. The desire for vengeance comes from a sense of injury.

    Love cannot be vengeance without destroying what love is.

    The frustrating knowledge of this becomes a secondary type of wound. And in the destruction of love by being vengeful, such that the result is lovelessness, there grows an impulse to be vengeaful even about that, about being apparently driven to exist in an state of vengeful abject lovelessness.

    The seeking of vengeance comes from a raw wound. Vengeance wants to make sure the wound never happens again. Vengeance is like the building of a boundary that was bulldozed. But vengeance can also spill over into the wish to demolish someone else’s boundary. Vengeance is like a plaster cast on a shattered limb that tries to protect the limb. Vengeance stiffens the shattered limb, but it also can do so enough to hit and hit and hit who caused the shattering. But vengeance is not love and is not healing of the actual wound. Any more than a plaster cast is the knitting together of plasma and blood cells and new skin cells of wound healing.

    There are many reasons why vengeance seems healing. But it is like a rag bandage rather than a nice healthy scab restoring things to how they should be.

    Often the people seeking vengeance are not interested in healing at all. They want to become who “did this”. They want to have “power over”. Power and dominance. Dominance is fear based and comes from a wound, a wound that festers and becomes illness. A wound “caused” by a shatterer who was ill and therefore vengeaful and dominant.

    This week a justice seeking soldier opted for vengeance as a form of healing. He raped a baby.

  4. I am not against the term “healer” or those who are truly gifted in being “healers” or “healing” Unfortunately, people with such worthy gifts will leave the “health care system.” And if they have stumbled into psychiatry, it doesn’t take them long to wise up. If they stay, those natural God-given gifts of “healing” get tragically abused and they are no longer doing the will of God, but “dancing with the devil.” I do appreciate the quote at the end of the piece about the first book, where the “healer” mantra is mentioned. The author states, “The drugs often create mental illness, instead of curing it.” However, I do disagree somewhat. The drugs DO create mental illness. I would say that without the drugs, we would have little to no mental illness amongst the populations. It is not brain chemistry, genetics, pollution, or even modern urban life that create “mental illnesses.” It is the drugs. However, we have yet to be able to access how many and what all the drugs are that create mental illness. We know that the psychiatric drugs do; but we have not been able assess non-psychiatric drugs and their contribution nor even those things that may not be considered drugs at all, but in reality, they are “drugs.” Thank you.

    • As in my post above, the word healing refers literally to my explorations in energetic healing of medical conditions. Your comment about how people who do have such talents will quickly leave the medical system is appropriate. Yes, I stumbled into psychiatry where such talent is wasted. Perhaps I stayed longer than I should have. But by no means was I referring to my work done as a psychiatrist as ‘healing.’ The key medical healing experiences are central to the book, as are the reasons that I chose not to continue my work in energetic healing.

  5. “Health” (and especially “mental health”) is the newest religion, and “healers” are its priests. They are authorized to decree what constitutes “health,” who is entitled to be deemed “well,” who gets to have “treatment,” and upon whom the rituals of self-abasement followed by absolution are forced.

    There are no longer good habits or bad habits; rather they are “healthy” or “unhealthy,” with the judgement of virtue (or lack thereof) no longer openly acknowledged, yet more intense than ever. You may no longer be seen as suffering due to abuse, toxic environments, injustice, social ostracism, inadequate resources, lack of access to crucial goods and services, or the constant judgement of strangers, or even if loved ones. . No, now you have simply not made adequately “healthy choices.” The assumption underlying this is one that serves the system of social, political & financial power for the few very well—that each person is an island, entire of itself, in full control of what happens to it. Is someone impoverished? They should have made “better choices.” Depressed or ill? Didn’t make “healthy choices.” Physically or emotionally Different? Need to modify themselves with “healthy” coping skills or “healthy” food or “healthy” attitudes. Living in a sick, broken society? It’s not “healthy” to feel anger or despair at that; rather, one must set that aside and change oneself to better fit in to that brokenness. The role of the priests is to make the definitions and sustain the power structure that relies upon those definitions.

    I don’t trust anyone who calls himself a “healer.” It’s way too much like the people on social media who call themselves “empaths.” Nobody “heals” someone else. At best, they might be able to help support life while healing takes place, or help remove certain obstacles to healing. But any healing that occurs takes place in the damaged individual, to whatever extent may be possible in the desperately broken world, in which they have very little control.

    • I only agree with what you say partially. Yes, we do have a society that seems to divide people between the “healthy” and “unhealthy.” It is very arbitrary. But those making this alleged division are not “healers” or “priests.” at all; although as with everything there is usually some sort of religious component or you could not get people to go along with the ideas, however stupid. No, these people are just “snake oil salesmen/women types. If they have a religion; it is “scientism.” And, it is all False, Fake, etc. I read your questioning of the word, “empath.” I understand why you reference that. However, in my opinion, the only reason this word might get a bad reputation is that it is used by mass media; usually in an exploitive, aggrandizing way and that is the way of the mass media; at least in this century. “Healer” and “Empath” are not bad words. They have just been used in a negative light more to hurt and harm; rather than help and assist. So, it is completely understandable how these words can be viewed in the way that you express. I would warn anyone to always take what you hear through any form of mass media with a grain of salt; as they say. It is imperative that each one of us find ways to receive information that we can trust. However, because each one of us is very unique with unique brains, etc. that way can only be determined by each person. Thank you.

    • Please see my other replies on this subject posted above. I could not agree more with you about how the word healer and healing is used/abused in contemporary society. As a young, gutsy medical doctor I explored energetic healing of medical illnesses. The experiences were quite remarkable. Energetic resolution of congestive heart failure and osteomyelitis is what makes me identify as a healer – but there were also unintended consequences that scared me and caused me to question what I was doing.

      It distresses me to think that I would be seen as referring to my work as a psychiatrist as healing. That is not at all the case.

  6. My schizophrenia is due to my brain chemicals. My schizophrenia is not due to trauma. My schizophrenia is not due to poor choices or poverty or wealth or education or lack of education. My schizophrenia is not my fault. My schizophrenia is the not the fault of a psychiatrist. My schizophrenia is not due to cold parenting. My schizophrenia is not due to psychiatric medication. My schizophrenia is a real illness. My schizophrenia is not a label. My schizophrenia is the right diagnosis for me. My schizophrenia is nothing for me to be ashamed of. My schizophrenia is not a social embarrassment. My schizophrenia is not a political pawn. My schizophrenia has brought me many wonderful experiences as well as huge suffering. My schizophrenia hurts nobody. My schizophrenia makes me feel really desperately ill every damn day. My schizophrenia helps me see who is compassionate and who is not.

  7. I know a psychiatrist who is so keen to come the healer that he has jumped ships from psychiatry into antipsychiatry to continue to feel good about himself. The need to feel good about oneself is achingly understandable but it may come from absorbing “consenus opinion” that preaches a need to feel “bad” about oneself. There is only one time anyone should feel bad about themselves and that is if they are actively and deliberately and willfully bullying the free choices of another human being. You can argue that they must be if they are ensconced in a regime. This has a grain of truth. But very often those lured into a regime do not know that is where their need to “feel good” about themselves has driven them into. They think they are being “the healer”. And if they are told to “change” and adopt new beliefs they may simply import their need to “feel good” about themselves on board that new ship. They have not really considered “why” they are succeptible to “feeling bad” about themselves. Who has taught them that about their harmless free choices? A people pleaser is a person apt to want to be obedient to the idea of decency since through society’s idea of decency is the possibility of being recognized as “a good person” or “a saint”.

    Decency causes abuse.

    So the very thing that draws a person who feels bad about themselves into medicine to feel all good about themselves can betray a wound rather than a healing. And that needy wound can travel to any new institution or regime or church or cult.

    Decency causes abuse when it becomes no longer a “feeling” of compassion and morphs into the robotic obedience to totalitarian “rules” that are advertized as the latest hotch potch of decency. In time the travelling psychiatrist, longing to feel good about themselves, and jumping onto a new ship or paradigm, imports a succeptibility to “people please” enough to unquestioning endorse and follow new “rules” AS IF the “rules” alone are decency or compassion.

    Rules are decisions. Decisions are thoughts. Rules are not “feelings”.

    A mother does not swaddle her baby in “rules” to be decent to it. A mother is a being of emotional feeling and it is this that generates care and compassion. No thoughts or rules are needed for “healing love”. No squeaky impeccable buying into the “right paradigm” with the “right rules” is needed to…

    BE LOVE.

    The Christain priesthood was chock full of the “decent”. Many of whom were anxious to “people please”, enough to win approval from “consensus opinion” RULES. Look where that kind of decency and “feeling good” about themselves ended up in. It wasn’t always the narthex or pulpit.

    But the problem with following “consenus opinion” rules is that a person is apt to no longer be following their own unique intuitive gut feelings.

    Rules are NOT gut feelings.

    I envisage that many psychiatrists will leave the truly ill in the lurch, abandonning genuinely schizophrenic individuals, because “consensus opinion” is beginning to make caring compassionately for them no longer a “feel good” thing that could heal a psychiatrist of their fashionable “consensus opinion” that looking after those sick and suffering has become the latest “feel bad”.

    Healing the sick is not about “the healer”.

    I am no apostle for psychiatry. Most of psychiatry in its current form stinks. I just take a dim view of anyone who dumps the “ill” because it no longer makes them “feel good”.

  8. I did not write that consideringly. Mr Shipko, please do NOT think I am referring AT ALL to you. I really do not know you. The fact you have crystals on the cover of your book says it all to me…that you are a beautiful guide and healer of the highest merit. You have shown enormous courage in joining with the voices of people who have been broken by the regime that psychiatry has been. Your gut feeling undoubtedly told to you to leave that damaging insitution. You discerned the disgraceful pitiful degree of bullying within it and wanted no part in that “anti healing”.

    I suppose all I was trying to say was that I suspect many will leave for the same dubious reasons they became psychiatrists…to control the different.

    Todays “just like us” become tomorrows “different” too rapidly.

    I have experienced being told I am too “different” because I know that my illness is schizophrenia.

    Those who tell me that have invariably NEVER experienced MY schizophrenia. As far as I am aware only one or two psychiatrists actually HAVE experience of my kind of “difference”. So I do not buy it when activists turn to psychiatrists as if they are suddenly “experts” on me again. NOBODY is an “expert” on me.

    All “expertise” that purports to “know all” about someone’s “difference” is bystander conjecture. Speculation. I think it is right to treat people like you have not got a clue who they are. As if they are a sovereign of their own spirit, a baron of their own brain and body, a regal anathema. That way you will not be tempted to make them “you”, since you will not have entertained the possibility that they are “not you”.

    Children assume everyone is just like them and there is no problem. All “differences” are no barrier but beautiful bridges.

    I am finding my mind going blank, like a neanderthal gazing at a crystal, and so I will let my rumimation hit the buffers without tying it up reed string or bison hide wrap.

    We do not “have to” know everything anyway. It is a relief to come across a ravine barring our search for answers.

    I struggle to be coherent to myself, let alone anyone else. Many may wonder at my illness given my penchant for verbosity, but I am among the few schizophrenics who have wrestled free of brain sedating anti psychotics. If I were still on such pills I would compose the sort of comments that only have three words for my nowadays ten or twenty. An irony is that as some schizophrenics come off their pills some psychiatrists assume they are not still suffering from their devastating disease. So they get no help at all. Even Soteria House knows some hallucinations are so insufferable that more than a group hug is needed.

    Today I wanted to buy a rug. I got all ready to dive on out of the house but crumpled into a heap of screams because the hallucinations are destroying me continuously. There is not just one size schizophrenia fits all. There are levels of torment, just as you can have levels of being off your face on LSD. Some people do have schizophrenia light. They may be happy to call what they have something more optimistic.

    I believe in healing. Most definitely so. I am sure healing will come to me one day soon.

    (As I have been writing this I have been bothered with two angel voices in my head, one keeps telling this to me…

    “You are NOT responsible for THIS”.

    and the other one keeps whispering that…

    “Mr Shipko likes Elvis Presely”.)

    Blessings be upon your head.

  9. Friend, I feel you misconstrued my line about how just joining a choir will not get rid of temptation.

    My angels are telling me to “pack it in!”.

    What they mean is we are entering a global phase where absolutely everyone is fighting fighting fighting with absolutely everyone else. It is ENDLESS all the BICKERING.

    But maybe I will stop listening to my angels for a moment.

    Self righteousness feels lovely.
    It heals terrifically.
    But in order to feel self righteous and get that delicious perk of elevation a person has to define a self wrongfulness and indentify who is wrong wrong wrong.
    Healing feels like love and so finding it via self righteousness makes being self righteous seem like a lovely mending and wholesome way to be. It is a bit like espousing strict moral decency. All the person needs to regard their way of being as “correct”. And this “correctness” seems “healing”.

    But it is not love.

    True love is the absence of “right” or “wrong”.

    Here in the comments section a person wants to be self righteous and healing themselves by calling those who like psychiatry the self wrongful others.

    But at the same time another person may want to be self righteous and healing themselves by calling those who loathe psychiatry as self wrongful.

    Neither person is loving the different. This is due the awful predicament and misconception that IF self love is ONLY predicated on being proven “right” then then there has to be someone identified as “wrong” for the love to happen at all.

    But authentic…

    LOVES EVERYONE EQUALLY.

    Nobody is “wrong”.

    Love is a “feeling”. It is not a “judgement” of “rightness” or “wrongness” based on “thinking”, thinking such as comes from something like a totalitarian regime.

    There ARE wrong BEHAVIOURS such as murder and so on. These need stopped. But behavious are not feelings. Behaviours come from thinking. Good behaviour. Bad behaviour. Acts.

    But actions are not the feeling of love. Actions are actions. Actions may be critiqued as “right” or “wrong”, but feelings just ARE.

    I do not need you to be “wrong” to make me find my way of being loveable and lovely for me.

    And I do not need to bend you to my will and make you “right” according to my ideology or beliefs.

    You are FREE to be YOU.

    And I am FREE to be ME.

    And that FEELs like authentic LOVE.

  10. I think Mental Illness has turned into a kind of a brand, like the names on clothing and the badges on automobiles.

    Learning to live in one’s own skin is a life’s work. But if you believe that you have Mental Illness, then you don’t need to deal with your own life experience, and you don’t need to face the nature and depth of past abuses or the nefariousness of the abusers.

    You don’t need to take a look at where your life is, or how it got that way.

    Joshua

    • How about we live in a world where you are entirely free to heal your mental distress in whatever way you choose to…and I be free to heal my mental illness in whatever way I choose to.

      When we all live in a world where…

      Freedom of choice

      is respected no matter how much spectators may disagree with that individual choice then we live in a world

      WHERE THE ABUSER CANNOT THRIVE.

      What ALL forms of abuse are is the IMOPOSING of an unwelcome choice on the individual who prefers THEIR OWN FREE CHOICE.

      Your choice is regard your sense of illness as being caused by oppression from people.

      My choice is to regard my sense of illness as being caused by a bogeyman hallucination that I prefer to believe is coming from a dis-ease in me. Much like epilepsy causes seizures. So according to my choice it is not personal. It is not that people are personally oppressing me to that godforsaken extent. And even if people were oppressing me, I do not want to burden myself with that additional frightfulness on top of being a daily, hourly hallucinator.

      There is much talk of social injustice generally, which is commendable, but I think the truly broken seldom seek it. Why this is so is perhaps because when you have known actual torture for decades the very last thing you want is to waste any more of your life in fighting. You are instead yearning for your life to actually begin. And this is why time and time again, those schizophrenics and hostages and prisoners of war who know what it feels like to have a stolen life ONLY want to FORGIVE their wrongdoers and move on from tyranny and move into a state of grace not bitterness. They recognize that bitterness is what dulled the glazed look of the unforgiving who did heinous acts to them. Often the tortured are enriched by this REVELATION. And because the tortured see clearly that bitterness is at the centre of world oppression then bitterness and its cousin of cynicism is NOT what the beaten and broken want dominating what is left of their miserable lives. What the actually tortured really want is for everyone to live in peace and harmony again. But this is ironically what makes the genuinely tortured more dangerous to listen to. The heart and soul of FORGIVENESS is dangerous to those seeking the type of justice that is really just bitter vengeance.

      But if you are feeling a sense of injustice you are almost certainly about to commit an injustice.

  11. Bradford, my unease over the casual daily use of the word genocide is it sometimes comes from eugenic fear of being wiped out by the “different”. What I mean is that it can be used as a totalitarian accusation to legitmate vengeance not justice.

    I am yet to meet a psychiatrist or psychologist who was not a caring individual.

  12. How about we live in a world where you are entirely free to heal your mental distress in whatever way you choose to…and I be free to heal my mental illness in whatever way I choose to.

    When we all live in a world where…

    Freedom of choice

    is respected no matter how much spectators may disagree with that individual choice then we live in a world

    WHERE THE ABUSER CANNOT THRIVE.

    What ALL forms of abuse are is the IMOPOSING of an unwelcome choice on the individual who prefers THEIR OWN FREE CHOICE.

    Your choice is regard your sense of illness as being caused by oppression from people.

    My choice is to regard my sense of illness as being caused by a bogeyman hallucination that I prefer to believe is coming from a dis-ease in me. Much like epilepsy causes seizures. So according to my choice it is not personal. It is not that people are personally oppressing me to that godforsaken extent. And even if people were oppressing me, I do not want to burden myself with that additional frightfulness on top of being a daily, hourly hallucinator.

    There is much talk of social injustice generally, which is commendable, but I think the truly broken seldom seek it. Why this is so is perhaps because when you have known actual torture for decades the very last thing you want is to waste any more of your life in fighting. You are instead yearning for your life to actually begin. And this is why time and time again, those schizophrenics and hostages and prisoners of war who know what it feels like to have a stolen life ONLY want to FORGIVE their wrongdoers and move on from tyranny and move into a state of grace not bitterness. They recognize that bitterness is what dulled the glazed look of the unforgiving who did heinous acts to them. Often the tortured are enriched by this REVELATION. And because the tortured see clearly that bitterness is at the centre of world oppression then bitterness and its cousin of cynicism is NOT what the beaten and broken want dominating what is left of their miserable lives. What the actually tortured really want is for everyone to live in peace and harmony again. But this is ironically what makes the genuinely tortured more dangerous to listen to. The heart and soul of FORGIVENESS is dangerous to those seeking the type of justice that is really just bitter vengeance.

    But if you are feeling a sense of injustice you are almost certainly about to commit an injustice.

  13. My “way of being” is correct for me. It is not meant to be correct for anyone else or someone is trying to live my life or be on my life journey or path. This is just as if I tried to consider someone else’s “way of being” as my “way of being” which would be very incorrect for me, because I would be trying to live a life or life path or journey that is not mine. This may be one of the most dangerous things in life one can do. It is that, in my opinion, which cause so much illness and strife, etc. in the world. In fact, in my opinion, it could be one of the causes of “premature death.” I think, when people try to do this, it causes them to fall into the hands of psychiatrists and believe things about themselves that aren’t true and disregard the things that are true; this is both the “negative and the positive” of each person because the “negative is wrapped in the positive” and the “positive is wrapped in the negative.” I should say I know this; because way too many times I have tried to live someone else’s “way of being” or attempted to conform to another’s “way of being” which is something that God did not mean for me to do. It has caused me much grief and distress and yes, led me into the clutches of the psychiatrists. And this caused me to miss the real truth about myself, that if I had known would have caused me much less grief and distress. However, some of what I do know about myself is information that was probably not available when I did fall into the clutches of the psychiatrists, etc. So, what do I wish for everyone; “Be Happy and Joyful in your Way of Being”- no matter what- the “positive and the negative of it” because it is correct and right for you and you, alone. Thank you.

  14. Diaphanous wrote,

    “How about we live in a world where you are entirely free to heal your mental distress in whatever way you choose to…and I be free to heal my mental illness in whatever way I choose to.”

    You have this freedom now, just so long as we don’t have coercive care. But there are many situations in which care is coercive, and CA Governor Gavin Newsom is targeting the homeless with coercive care.

    As long as we go along with the myth of mental illness then survivors will always be stigmatized and disempowered, and more people will be thrown into the mental health system.

    This system exists in large measure because we benefit from advanced industrial and information technology, so we have a huge labor surplus.

    https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Mental-Illness-Foundations-Personal/dp/0061771228/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=thomas+szasz&qid=1650923641&sr=8-1

    Joshua

    • If you want a million happy to call themselves schizophrenic people to come and help create a new better health care option then let individuals freely choose to call themselves whatever they want to without them being stigmatized for doing so. I am sure many want to help.

      Sadly I suspect that no help is wanted because this would mean dropping the therapeutic boost of pontificating, self righteous anger. Sadly it seems the anger IS the new health care option. Just be angry and feel a whole lot better.

      Whilst I am the first to say that accepting feelings IS the WAY to HEALING, I also have to say that my merely accepting my feelings does NOT “fix” my epilepsy, nor does it “fix” my schizophrenia. Therefore I need something more in terms of my health care.

      However, Joshua, I think it is great that you are illuminating systemic cruelty in your part of the world. I am not here to change you, or change anyone. I just do not see why I “have to” change me just to join the discussion.

      NOBODY should be trying to CHANGE ANYBODY.

      You and I actually agree on this point, on this I feel sure.

  15. If you want a million happy to call themselves schizophrenic people to come and help create a new better health care option then let individuals freely choose to call themselves whatever they want to without them being stigmatized for doing so. I am sure many want to help.

    Sadly I suspect that no help is wanted because this would mean dropping the therapeutic boost of ponificating, self righteous anger. Sadly it seems the anger IS the new health care option. Just be angry and feel a whole lot better.

    Whilst I am the first to say that accepting feelings IS the WAY to HEALING, I also have to say that my merely accepting my feelings does NOT “fix” my epilepsy, nor does it “fix” my schizophrenia. Therefore I need something more in terms of my health care.

    However, Joshua, I think it is great that you are illuminating systemic cruelty in your part of the world. I am not here to change you, or change anyone. I just do not see why I “have to” change me just to join the discussion.

    NOBODY should be trying to CHANGE ANYBODY.

    You and I actually agree on this point, on this I feel sure.

  16. If you want a million happy to call themselves schizophrenic people to come and help create a new better health care option then let individuals freely choose to call themselves whatever they want to without them being stigmatized for doing so. I am sure many want to help.

    Sadly I suspect that no help is wanted because this would mean dropping the therapeutic boost of ponificating, self righteous anger. Sadly it seems the anger IS the new health care option. Just be angry and feel a whole lot better.

    Whilst I am the first to say that accepting feelings IS the WAY to HEALING, I also have to say that my merely accepting my feelings does NOT “fix” my epilepsy, nor does it “fix” my schizophrenia. Therefore I need something more in terms of my health care.

    However, Joshua, I think it is great that you are illuminating systemic cruelty in your part of the world. I am not here to change you, or change anyone. I just do not see why I “have to” change me just to join the discussion.

    NOBODY should be trying to CHANGE ANYBODY.

    You and I actually agree on this point, on this I feel sure..

  17. Daiphanous, people can call themselves whatever they want.

    But if people are using the terminology of the Mental Health System, like Schizophrenic or Mentally Ill, I am not going to go a long with them.

    And as far as healing, that is the way people are roped into the idea that they are mentally ill. People need to find truth so that they know there is no such thing as mental illness.

    Joshua

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