Fighting Outpatient Commitment in Massachusetts

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Several people wearing blue 'Mad Pride' shirts are visible walking down a wide, paved pathway. Two people in front are carrying a purple 'Vermont Mad Pride' banner. Grass and trees are visible in the background, and a trashcan is visible in the left foreground.
Marchers arrive to the park at Mad Pride in Burlington, Vermont

On July 15, I spoke (about Involuntary Outpatient Commitment, 988, and more!) at a wonderful “Mad Pride” event in Burlington, Vermont. This annual gathering was organized under the umbrella of MadFreedom, founded by Wilda White. It began with a march replete with calls for justice, followed by an afternoon in the park with a variety of tables from local organizations and artists, opportunities to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, and a speaker line-up that—in addition to myself—included Robert Whitaker, Rajnii Eddins, and Wilda herself.

I especially appreciated Wilda’s closing statement in response to folks who question the language of “Mad.” In brief, she explained that it was a word that helped hold the importance of leaving no one behind; that this couldn’t just be a movement of people who once struggled, and now can so eloquently explain the darkness from which they emerged. Space must also be held for so many others, no matter how much they’re still struggling, or how much they may forever buck societal norms. Their value is in being, not how well they can fit in a box or play a role.

Male, light skinned individual with a beard and mustache, wearing sunglasses and a hat, shorts and a t-shirt is visible looking toward the camera, smiling and waving with his right hand while carrying a sign that reads "Nothing about us without us." A couple of individuals are visible in the background behind him, as is grass and trees.
Wildflower Alliance and IPS Central team member, Calvin

Toward the end of the day, I spoke to someone I’d just met about how frenetic and relentless the world feels right now. I wondered aloud how much distance we might need to achieve from the pandemic’s epicenter and all the other chaos and awful of the last few years in order to catch a bit of a breather; a peaceful moment or two.

Their response has stuck with me, probably because I fear it to be true: “I think that time might be permanently gone for our species at this point.”

But, what does that mean for some of the signature fights of psychiatric survivors over the decades? Particularly pressing right now, what does that mean for Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC)?

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment, That Old Chestnut

Involuntary Outpatient Commitment is better known as “Assisted Outpatient Treatment,” (AOT) or “Community Treatment Orders” (CTO). However—other than to explain the connection—I generally refuse to participate in language that essentially attempts to trick people who are against IOC into speaking in terms that make it sound benign and helpful. (Okay, occasionally I’ll cave and slip into “AOT” language if it means being able to challenge its existence in mainstream media, but that’s the only exception!)

IOC has been around in one form or another since the 1980s. Some of the earliest adopters were California (Laura’s Law), and New York (Kendra’s Law). Note that it is no accident that each law is named after someone who died tragically, as the opportunistic use of horrifying events has always been a common and effective strategy to silence resistance. At present, some form of IOC exists in 47 of 50 states, the exceptions being Maryland, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

As one of the three holdouts, Massachusetts has gone around in this circle many times before. Legislation is proposed. A public hearing is set. The Treatment Advocacy Center and their allies gear up, often shipping in families from other states to share tragic stories of people who might have been saved were such laws already on the books at the time. (Or… who engaged in tragedy-inducing actions even though those laws were on the books, yet are still somehow being held up as proof as to why the laws are needed, but never mind that “man” behind the curtain.)

It Only Takes One Yes, No Matter How Many Nos Came Before

This spin around the repetitious wheel does feel a bit different.

We’ve lost real ground in the fight against force already, perhaps most notably when New York Mayor Eric Adams announced plans to substantially expand the power to involuntarily commit unhoused and other vulnerable citizens. Meanwhile, mass shootings in the United States have surpassed 400 in 2023 alone, and any sign of a psychiatric history in a perpetrator remains the most popular explanation. But in spite of all that fuel to the fire, so many people’s chaos-sapped energy to fight much of anything is flagging in ways I haven’t seen before. Do we have enough collective strength to keep holding back the waves?

Perhaps we’ve met the formula to end the fight once and for all:

[Employ in peer roles some of the only people who know how to recognize psychiatric oppression, thus silencing many of them for fear of losing their financial stability]  +  [Exhaust pretty much everybody through relentless national and international crises, one piled on top of another, until they can barely think straight]  +  [Strike with new legislation before anyone has a chance to bounce back]  =  [End of pushback on IOC?]

The humane thing almost always requires more energy—both emotional and intellectual—than the measures that employ force and coercion. It doesn’t matter that they rely so heavily on illusion, because by the time anyone really figures out their promises of health, wealth, and/or happiness don’t hold up, most people have stopped paying attention. Plus, most media outlets are typically at the ready to help maintain the impression that things are going just well enough that no further eyes are needed on board.

Enter H.1694/S.980

New bills were filed in Massachusetts in January of 2023. That included the latest attempt to get IOC on the books: H.1694/S.980, An Act to Provide Critical Community Health Services. The bill is sponsored by Representative Matthew Muratore in the House and Senator Cindy Friedman in the Senate. Neither is a stranger to advocating on this issue.

The Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH) offers the following brief summary of the bill and some of its implications:

This bill allows a judge to order a person to participate in involuntary medical treatment while living in the community. Individuals could be ordered to accept “critical community health services,” an undefined term which most often would mean antipsychotic medication. Judges could impose a mandatory service plan on anyone whom they determine is “gravely disabled” – another vague term that could apply to anyone a mental health provider believes is not taking adequate care of themselves, including people who are unhoused. Non-compliance with the plan triggers a hearing. If the court finds the person non-compliant, it could require an evaluation of whether failure to hospitalize would create a likelihood of serious harm and potentially order hospitalization. In this way, the bill expands the existing bases for involuntary commitment to a psychiatric facility. The bill does not require that services be made available or indicate who will provide or pay for them. The burdens appear to fall on the individual as opposed to the care system.

We’re all braced for an uphill battle.

If the Story Doesn’t Fit, Just “What If” It Into Place

The legislature is required to offer a public hearing for each bill. Of course, that hearing usually comes with no more than a week’s notice and is lumped together with a dozen other bills to be heard on the same day. Each speaker (who manages to sign up before the short-notice deadline) is allotted only three minutes to make their points. Woe is the plight of the being who wishes to speak on more than one bill slated that day! They still only get three minutes. No exceptions. (Well… No exceptions for us.)

The hearing for H.1694/S.980 was slated for Tuesday, July 18 before the Joint Judiciary Committee. True to form, we were notified exactly one week before. A group of advocates and disability rights attorneys had already been readying themselves and tapping others to join. We were mostly prepared.

On the day of the hearing, committees make no promise about who or what topic will be heard when, though they do allow their legislative colleagues to “skip the line” regardless of the overall plan. In this case, on July 18, that meant that we heard first from Sponsors Representative Matthew Muratore and Senator Cindy Friedman, as well as Muratore’s special guest, psychiatrist Jhilam Biswas.

They knew what they were doing. Muratore brought the “lived experience” vibe, as the father of a woman who—as a teenager—was in a car accident resulting in a head injury and subsequent bouts of emotional distress. He played to the sympathies of his legislative colleagues, largely leaving the intellectual elements to Friedman and Biswas who recited the facts… as they see them.

The scene was a bit bizarre, albeit also apparently effective as they seemed to win favor with other legislators in those first moments of the day. Everyone glossed over the fact that we were talking about the impact of a head injury, and not the far more mysterious “severe mental illness” that is typically at the center of this debate. More importantly, Muratore seemed to be testifying mostly in “what ifs” rather than “what is.” He openly acknowledged his daughter—now employed successfully as a nurse—was well equipped to notify her family when she was struggling, and to identify when she needed to reach out for more support. But what if she stopped being able to do that, he wondered. The implication was that there might come a time when his family needed something like IOC to keep his daughter safe.

What if, indeed. One of the main ways proponents of this bill attempt to overcome objections is to claim it would only be applied to a very narrow group of people who are “gravely disabled.” Would a young woman like Muratore’s daughter suddenly meet those qualifications if she stopped wanting help? It seems doubtful, and as such, I’m not sure these claims—that she would qualify and that IOC will be applied only in a very limited fashion—can both be true.

It’s Not Punishment If We Just Call It Something Else… Right?

Enter Senator Cindy Friedman who openly admitted that she has been a part of finagling bills like this for years, massaging their content a bit differently each time in hopes to slide successfully by the human rights watchdogs. This time, Friedman leaned heavily on the idea that this bill isn’t anything new. She claimed it’s basically just like the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment (BOAT) program, now reporting positive outcomes. Except… BOAT is strictly for individuals subject to criminal charges who voluntarily choose to participate. That’s a pretty glaring difference to fail to mention. Granted, the pressures of criminal prosecution make anything “voluntary” seem a little less than, but it’s still not quite comparable to when there’s no choice at all.

Friedman then followed that assertion up with something even more bizarre: This bill, she pleadingly stated—as if to beg “just please let it through this time!”—has no punitive element at all…. What? Let’s unpack.

First of all, it is highly likely that a significant number of people who would be subjected to IOC under this bill would also be criminally involved. There is just this side of no chance at all—if someone is put on an IOC order while, say, on probation—that failure to follow the order wouldn’t be seen as a violation with clear consequences lined up. Sure sounds like punishment to me.

And what of folks who have no criminal involvement? Unlike some IOC bills, this one doesn’t automatically jump to an involuntary hold if someone is found to be out of alignment with their court order (see the film Crazy by Lise Zumwalt for an example of how that can play out). Rather, it says that they may be required to go through a process of evaluation for “danger to self or others” under existing Section 12 laws. Okay. (Deep breath.) Back to the unpacking:

In reality, even that Section 12 statute allows for forcible transport to an emergency room for said evaluation, so there’s that. (And I promise you, many people will experience forcible transport as fairly traumatic “punishment” all on its own.) Then, once there, a clinician is assigned to assess their risk, and the advisability to further detain them for review for up to 72 hours (not including weekends or holidays, and still possibly subject to a longer commitment after that).

Perhaps most importantly, are we really to believe that a clinician responsible for evaluating someone’s “risk to self or others” is going to be able to do so fairly when a court has literally already declared that that person is exactly that type of risk under precisely those conditions? Seems like a punishing set-up to me, with just enough vaguery peppered in to allow legislators to continue to make the dubious claim that this isn’t about force at all.

Giggle It Just a Little Bit

Perhaps one of the most perplexing parts of the hearing was all the nervous laughter about the pronunciation of “anosognosia,” particularly from Friedman. What sense does it make that a Senator who’s been pushing IOC for years can’t accurately pronounce the diagnosis associated with every IOC proponent’s favorite pro-IOC argument? Fumbling pronunciation honestly seemed like a ploy designed to further elevate the only supposed expert in the room: Psychiatrist (and pronunciation pro) Jhilam Biswas.

And ready she was to take the reigns. Biswas—known best for her former post at the highly questionable, human-rights-violating institution, Bridgewater State Hospital, as well as for her tendency to promote misleading information to further her own agenda—went so far as to make the absurd claim that many of her patients “thank her” for subjecting them to force.

Biswas also referenced notoriously questionable brain scan research to substantiate the term within the field of psychiatry. What is the average legislator to do but accept that at face value? We’ve all been trained that we are supposed to bow to the word of doctors.

Ann-oh-sog-nose-ee-uh.

Ann-oh-sog-nose-ee-uh.

It’s long, but not really that hard to say. Psychologist Xavier Amador once got thousands of people chanting the word all at the same time at a National Council conference. If they can do it, so can we.

I’m told anosognosia was coined by a French neurologist (Joseph Babinski) in 1914. He reportedly created the term to describe someone who’d lost the ability to use or feel the left side of their body. In other words, it refers to a neurological condition common in people who’ve had strokes and similar. It did not come to be used in psychiatry until the late 20th century and has never achieved scientific validity (unless we’re accepting relentless repetition of a theory as meeting the threshold these days).

Although brief, one of the most compelling retorts I’ve seen to the use of the term on folks with psychiatric diagnoses comes from a “letter to the editor” courtesy Larry Davidson as published in the Hartford Courant:

I can reassure Drs. E. Fuller Torrey and Xavier Amador that I know of their theory linking anosognosia to schizophrenia [May 1, letter, “Neurological Basis For Denying Illness”; and May 3, letter, “Condition Obscures Mental Illness”]. Anosognosia is a neurological condition in patients with nondominant parietal lobe lesions, who deny their partial paralysis.

I can understand wanting to apply this notion to mentally ill persons who refuse treatment, but there are at least five reasons not to:

1) No such lesions have been found in schizophrenia, despite over 200 years of research looking for them. What Drs. Amador and Torrey have is a theory, not a fact. Other than justifying outpatient commitment, this theory has led to no breakthroughs in treatment.

Not only are such theories dangerous, but they 2) do not explain how so many people with schizophrenia gain insight and recover over time; 3) do not take into account the power of stigma, which persons with mental illnesses identify as the major barrier to accessing care; 4) do not take into account the limited effectiveness and responsiveness of much mental health care; and 5) do not support outpatient commitment because schizophrenia is the least likely condition among the mental illnesses to be implicated in the extremely rare acts of violence that occur.

One Time at a Legislative Hearing, There Was an Electrical Fire and…
Several fire fighters in full gear stand outside the state house with the end of a fire truck visible behind them, and the fire truck ladder going into one of the building's windows
Firefighters and fire truck outside the statehouse (Sam Doran/SHNS)

Unfortunately, before anyone other than Muratore, Freidman, and Biswas were able to testify, an alarm went off in the State House and everyone was evacuated. We waited around—in person or on-line—each trying to decide if we were hoping for things to continue or be postponed.

Turns out there was an actual fire at the State House, an electrical one in the basement. The hearing would not resume. So, we’re back to the waiting game, hoping the same folks will be available to testify the next time they sound their seven-day call.

In the meantime, let’s all please be reminded:

  1. There are lots of reasons why people deny they’re struggling that are separate from “lack of insight,” including (but not limited to):
    • Risk of loss of liberty is too great.
    • Risk of experiencing discrimination (in housing, employment, child rearing, and more) is too great.
    • Treatments most readily available are often ineffective, and sometimes harmful (and clear harm is often not reason enough for providers to concede that they should be stopped).
    • Cultural beliefs and practices related to emotional distress may be incompatible with mainstream perspectives.
    • Even if someone wants help, they may not want it from you.
  1. There have been no substantive improvements in outcomes in the mental health realm based on the treatments that IOC would seek to force for several decades. Instead, we’re continuing to see the mortality gap (between people deemed “mentally ill” and the general population) grow, right alongside rising suicide rates that are increasingly associated with loss of power. Like the loss of power that comes when someone is subjected to force. For example.
  2. An intervention that helps a minority and hurts the majority is harmful, particularly when you can’t tell who will be who and proceed accordingly. These systems would have us believe that the “helps” are great successes, while the instances where it doesn’t work are just harmless misses—often the result of someone’s “treatment resistance”—and signal the need to simply try harder or more. Imagine if a particular medical procedure—open heart surgery, for example—had the same reputation. No one would tolerate it, let alone force it on each other just to see if it might work out.

The bottom line is this law will be far harder to get rid of once it’s on the books than it’s been to keep it from getting there. However low our energy might be right now, we better make sure the emperor is recognized for his utter lack of clothes, or else know he will be haunting us with his buck nakedness for many years to come.

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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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52 COMMENTS

  1. Forced psychiatric treatment will be impossible to sustain in a state like Massachusetts, which can be fled in under an hour by car. And, once the individual leaves the state, they’re safe: To date, no forced treatment legislation has included a provision which would permit the extradition of Mad people who quit their court-ordered “treatment” by moving away. Basically, Mad people will have to prepare for life on the run, just like women who may need abortion services.

    This country is becoming an absolute shithole.

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  2. Hi Sera, I am dismayed that Massachusetts is about to fall, just as Maryland will certainly fall during the 2024 legislative session from January 2024 to April 2024. I fought as hard as I could as soon as I heard about the MD attempt of 2022, and I came to the State House in Annapolis and did my best in 2023…but as of April 8, 2023, I felt it was in my best interests to flee to a different jurisdiction, and am now in Latin America with no intention of returning. Turns out it was split, with the MD Senate voting no, and MD House voting yes, and in the old days that meant that it was up to the governor, and I was watching in dismay from my refuge in Argentina to see what would happen next. Turns out these days, both houses need to vote yes before it gets sent to the governor´s desk, but it is sure to pass in 2024. Seeing my so called allies testify, in a similar process where each person gets two minutes, ha, unless you are the head of Kaiser Permanente´s public relations department…it was just worse than seeing my opponents. I can link to the video archive from MD General Assembly website, from the hearing, where I am testifying, and also to an earlier video where I testified against more 988 funding. It is just hopeless. I also tried engaging with Christian Scientist lawyers to see if they could do anything useful. Christian Science was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in Boston, MA around 1880, so it is not Scientology which was founded by Elron Hubbard a few decades ago. MD Christian Science lawyers did not feel like engaging with the issue, but they told me to contact the center of their activities, which happens to be in Boston, MA. You may or may not like that idea. I happen to avoid Tylenol and oncology for my own reasons of 40 years of negative outcomes, but if you are engaging with so called disability rights groups, then it seems you are willing to collaborate with sketchy so called allies. At least, the Maryland and Baltimore disability rights groups who posed as allies were more terrifying to behold than the Kaiser Permanente vice president, which you can see for yourself if you watch the video link for the entire half hour. I will look for the link and put it in the next comment. You can reach me at my business and financial email resolami at hotmail dot com if you have any questions or comments, but please be aware that I am done writing, speaking, fundraising, or journalistic efforts, and have transitioned to direct action that most people both in the United States and here in South America, including my local antipsych mentor Alan, find abhorrent and terrifying.

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      • Hi Sera, I can write more about my direct action to you at an email or call you from a Argentinean phone, email either from my business email resolami at hotmail dot com or from a server such as proton dot me or riseup dot net. Writing about my direct action here might cause liability issues for Mad In America as a law abiding nonprofit, and open the madinamerica server up to legal challenges at the level of their ISP and hosting provider. Two months ago, I was dismissed from working with a publishing firm in a different activism movement as soon as I told them about my direct action lifestyle. In accordance with previous communications, they said people of my lifestyle are obviously doers, not writers, and I put their writing in legal danger just by the way I live in my personal life. Their boss laid out long ago, that some folks should write stuff, and some folks should do stuff, so please keep it separated. That is totally fair and reasonable, and I can see at some point all the others, Sarah, Whitaker, Yulia, Adele, and even Alan saying the same thing.

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  3. So, here we are in a mental health crisis in America. Yet you are advocating for pushing back on treatment plans that are mandated by healthcare professionals after much vetting?

    Would you rather be inpatient? Mental illness is sad. But if you are a danger to yourself or others, it must be dealt with one way or the other.

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    • You are assuming that treatment plans mandated by “healthcare professionals” are going to be helpful. Read some of the stories below and you may begin to question that assumption. Saying something “must be dealt with one way or another” does not mean that the one way currently being used is the best approach.

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    • Nobody cares how much “vetting” is involved in forced-psychiatry “treatment” plans for LAW-ABIDING Mad people. Mad people who refuse psychiatry are unlikely to harm anyone else and experience a higher incidence of suicide and suicidal feelings AFTER forced-psychiatry. Most of us will NOT OBEY a court order for psychiatric “treatment”. It doesn’t work and it targets us for surveillance and punishment that other people aren’t subjected to.

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    • Doctors are a danger to everyone but no one does anything about that. People who are labeled with mental illness are most often their victims not the aggressors not the ones who are a danger to anyone, maybe a danger to capitalism but that’s about it.

      I would agree that you need to read some more articles on this site and many others and get educated before saying so many assumptive things that really just show a lack of knowledge and a dismissive shallow understanding of the people you’re talking about “helping”.

      No, hospitalization is not better, a dismantling of the attitudes and beliefs that allow people to be seen as “other” and as objects and not as solely self-governing and able to decide things and live their lives and make mistakes that is the problem. The DSM is the problem, the power inequities it allows, the ignorance it propagates, the falsities, the lies, the way it makes life into a disease. It is in my opinion a major actionable situation which needs correction or the damage will continue to be done, suicides will continue to exist, murders, because even if the person is never diagnosed with mental illness living in a world that does this to people is a difficult one apparently and it is society that needs changing not the individuals that are so unfairly focused on. It is a society that needs to take responsibility for one another and be accountable and caring and most of all inclusive (not to mention, informed, just and fair). This is so overdue I have been waiting my whole life for truth to come out and for our population to be seen and heard for who We are, which is nothing short of amazing.

      http://www.loveneverlost.com

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    • Matthew,

      Perhaps I was remiss in not including more basics about the problematic nature of IOC and its overall lack of efficacy and harms in this piece.

      A handful of things:

      1. I wonder where you got the idea that IOC is helpful? Too often in this society people take action – fight for a new law, establish a new policy, etc. – simply to feel they’re doing *something* to address a problem. However, all too often, the ‘something’ they end up doing to feel like they’ve done ‘something’ is more illusion than anything else, and may even be counterproductive. IOC fits in that category.

      2. You note that there is a ‘mental health crisis’ in the US. Yet, 47 states and territories of the US not only have IOC, but have had IOC for quite a while. I wonder where the idea comes from that – when things keep getting worse – the answer is more of the same?

      3. You refer to people being “a danger to self or others,” but in actuality there are already provisions in every single state to respond when that is the case. For example, in Massachusetts – where there is no IOC at this time (hence this piece) – there is nonetheless the Section 12 (a and b) that allows for someone to be taken in involuntarily to a facility for assessment (12a) and held for 72 hours (12b) for further observation to assess their ability to be “safely” in the community and otherwise seek further psychiatric commitment through due process if found not to be “safe.” Now, we could have a whole nother argument about how that process works and its value and efficacy, but for now, my point is that that process exists as an entirely separate thing from IOC. IOC is expressly billed as something used when people are NOT a ‘danger to self or others’. More specifically, its billed as a way to keep people from getting to the point of being a “danger to self or others” based not on what is going on right now, but on perceptions about their past and/or future risk. But:

      * Does taking away power (well demonstrated to have a negative effect including increasing risk of suicide) and pushing “treatments” that are so often ineffective (as also demonstrated by research) really *keep* people from getting to that point?

      * And even if that may work for a fraction of people, what if it still harms more people than it helps?

      * And even if it were helpful (I’m not saying it is, just *if*), can it be applied ethically and without being influenced by racial and other biases? (Research says no)

      And so on and so forth.

      If you are interested in learning more about IOC, I recently created an IOC info center on Wildflower Alliance’s website that may be of interest:

      https://wildfloweralliance.org/involuntary-outpatient-commitment-information-center/

      In any case, thanks for reading!

      Sera

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      • Even the deprivation of rights of movement, association, speech, autonomy, privacy, intimacy, familiar relationships, reading the newspaper, etc., is a bunch of harm. Hence the balance of rights that require a court to mandate anything that touches on a single one. With all that involves, good or bad. Harm IS done by coercive treatments, even if it is JUST on the rights part of a human, that is not hypothetical as the benefits in a given patient are, even if all appearance of improvement is there in a particular case.
        “You will take my rights only from my cold dead hands”, comes to my mind, ironic.
        AND those are only the rights. We are all obligated, have an obligation of not depriving OTHER people of THEIR rights without “due process”. Heck, even sometimes we are or can have an obligation of NOT advocating for someone else’s rights to be violated. Which is the case, particularly, for groups of people who have actually suffered persecution, discrimination, stigmatization, alienation, forced migration, arbitrary/illegal detention, torture, or genocide…
        AND people with mental illness have suffered genocide BEFORE the gas chambers were actually developed/perfected. Maybe they sufered genocide before or after somewhere else, but my memory probably refuses to provide another example. I think in pre WWII in Japan, but, reluctancy to remember, I can’t confirm.
        In the US there is a book of a bunch of experiments done on orphans. before the 1960’s, some of them probably with MI.
        People with MI have experienced mutilation (e.g. forced sterilizations), incapacitacion (tardive syndromes), persecution, torture, etc.
        To my mind, not personalizing or being aggresive, is like asking for other people to loose their rights based on skin color, religion, nationality, age, disability, reproductive status, gender, education or just rabblerousemness by calling them generically: dangerous. Worse when all they are doing is actually defeding their rights.
        Those things have been done in the past: calling them dangerous to justify taking away their rights and do to them what I just mentioned in previous paragraphs. It’s in the history “books”.
        And that particular manouver, rethorical one, is in the book of despotic rulers/state manual for oppresion, and sadly genocide, among others.

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      • I am not trying to be offensive and certainly not hurtfull.
        So, to sum up: those ideas that “THESE” people are dangerous, SOMETHING has to be done about it, and ANYTHING can be done about them, sounds to me like an OLD evil cliche.
        It has been used since long ago with the results that I just mentioned in my previous comments. And some others…
        Difference in the 20th centrury is that those dangerous and harmfull ideas were dressed in pseudoscience to put the weight of real science into them.
        To justify them, and allow and encourage the results I also mentioned. Just because it was blabbered by professors and supossedly caring profressionals, without proof, without evidence, just mere words and ideas. And some irrelevant meassurements passed as scientific, without ANY basis, scientific, to use those meassurements as that: meassurements of illness, deviousness, inferiority, criminality or precisely DANGEROUSNESS (particularly for the OTHER part of society). Heck, even because “those” people are “just” a burden for the rest of society, and/or they don’t contribute to it.
        Another difference is that now, some good old folks are saying something relatively new or not well trodden: They, “those” people, NEED help, badly, and they needed it yesterday, not tomorrow. The old “lockem up!”, now with the twist they need help, badly, NOW. Now, as in this review, apparently without trying to lock them up. That sounds relatively new, but it was, as I imagine below or behind the forced migrations. Excluding them FOR society is also to me an old evil cliche: taking away their citizenship rights and forcing them to move somewhere else.
        And in some cases also PREEMPTIVELY, before they show deviancy, inferiority, criminality, illness or dangerousness. Even before they were as they say: in the womb…
        Funny in a dark kind of way: legislators, administrators, physicians, nurses, social workers, etc., seem to not have EFFECTIVE knowledge of what I mentioned previously. That is, they might know about it, but they can’t identify it when they see it. Their caring brain just does not go into panic or emergency mode when those phrases or ideas are proffered to them.
        Maybe I am wrong, deluded, confused, ignorant, etc. But the parallels in a causative fashion seem inescapable to me. Maybe I am just being politically incorrect or exagerating.
        Or… maybe… it’s all happening again in the pseudoscientific Boudoir and that makes it difficult for OTHERS to see it.
        Hey. maybe it is my complex of grandeur after all…

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    • When I was a teenager I was decided to be dangerous by a doctor who talked to me for all of fifteen minutes in the emergency room during an unrelated physical health issue. She had seen i had depression on my chart and decided my injury (a sprained ankle from figure skating) must have been self inflicted. This doctor coerced me into giving a method of suicide I would use despite me not being suicidal and used that to forcibly hospitalize me. This hospitalization was so traumatic I have nightmares about it. I have lost faith in the psychology industry entirely-a for-profit industry, I’ll remind you-because of repeated incidents like this, in which my rights were violated on someone else’s whims. Extending the government’s power to abuse and force unwanted treatment on vulnerable people only adds to the trauma and pain they cause. What makes you think this system, like the one that’s already abusing millions in other states, won’t be weaponized against anyone they deem ‘crazy’? What would you do if the government tried to force you to take pills that keep you sedentary? Sounds pretty dystopic doesn’t it? People with psychosis like me already live this reality.

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      • “Tired”,

        You write really good and I hope that you will find a way to be a voice for us because you describe complicated things in simple ways that are exact and truthful and help others, perhaps, if they care to read it, to understand the realities of what is truly going on here and we need more speakers and contributors so that this nonsense can come to an end. I would like to see this happen in my lifetime, please.

        Thank you for sharing.

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    • “First do no harm” is doing something. Not getting into a burning building when one does not know what to do inside one is doing something useful.
      Caring for the rescuer, putting him or her safe first, before helping someone else is not selfishness, the person in need, among others, need to be cared under safe enough and caring conditions.
      Even if I knew how to do a heart transplant, the patient needs one, etc., I am not supposed to do that except under certain conditions, that also include the legal ones.
      Etcetera…
      It is difficult always to justify that because there is a need, even if urgent, dangerous or otherwise compelling, anyone, just by handwaving has the obligation to do anything about it. Among others, because it can cause greater harm, in which case, it is better to do nothing, which seen that way, to me looks like actually doing something.
      And funny, I’ve heard paramedics that KNOW that emergency room physicians ARE ill qualified and unprepared to care for an injured individual ON the street. That’s why some physicians are actually required to take first responder courses: to learn they are not the appropiate carers to do many things in the street. Among learning other things. The old: “leave it to the professionals”.
      AND on top of that. the danger to others and to self has low predictive value. That is, if only 5% of either actually IS a danger, how can it be justified as a compelling need to do ANY treatment that just by depriving the 95% of their rights actually, seen that way, seems to me actually harmfull.
      And if that 95% is deemed incapable of giving informed consent the actual way medicine works: patients take a risk to obtain a benefit that might benefit someone else is gone…

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    • Okay. Maybe I imagined wrongly the context of the comment.
      I can see myself in a situation where I am somehow under treatment, I abandon it, and I need it, somehow back again.
      I’ve read some patients have experienced that: they feel good, even great, and leave the medication, they experience a withdrawal or a “relapse” and then, unable to realize they need treatment, bad things could happen.
      I’ve read about it, but I bet it’s not the majority, and then there is still the problem of the people who do not fit that pattern and are forced or will be forced into something HARMFULL for them in the name and benefit of the OTHERS.
      Well, there are non coercive alternatives for that: advanced directives, peer support, trusted partner/person, etc.
      So, maybe that is what your comment is about? The rare case that does need guidance, assisted decision making, accompaniment and can ACTUALLY benefit from “proded” treatment?.
      Well, there are non coercive alternatives and they might work better because they usually use a trusted person for the patient who ACTUALLY is at risk of a bad outcome that CAN benefit from a little “prodding”, etc. A contact, a partner, a companion, even several!, when someone feels exhilarated enough that may or may not do something outside his or hers usual behaviour?
      Is that where your comment comes from Matthew?

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  4. Anosognosia (the ability to be unware) is a broad social issue.

    “All” men are created equal in the face of fully ignoring those words is an example. Separate but “equal” is another example.

    It is a socio-political facility of long-standing.

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  5. And, to my mind, a hypothesis, even a set of them is NOT a theory. It is refered as one in non scientific contexts, but, in science a theory is actually a collection, a set of statements about REALITY (not about belief or what exists only inside peoples minds, even brains!), that are necesarilly true, that is beyond reasonable doubt. And that because are about reality and not just ideas that exist ONLY on one person, some people or ALL people, can be experimented in the REAL world. Necessarily true and empirical, to overly simplify.
    So psychiatry has none of those. In that sense is closer to philosophy or theology, even the humanities if not for showing inhumanity.
    An inhumane humanity might be accurate, as a collection of unempirical and or not necessarily true ideas, but rhetorically counterproductive, but there, I wrote it deliberately…
    One thing that strikes me, not just from this narrative, is that HARMS are actually never clearly, accurately and timely articulated when arguing for any forced or coercive treatment. Almost never.
    “The humane thing almost always requires more energy—both emotional and intellectual—than the measures that employ force and coercion.”… in the short term. In the long term imperialism, colonialism, zealotry, hate, violence, bigotry and oppresion pass their true costs to future generations, that well, we can’t avoid now, even if we were the IPCC panel, to admit. Kicking down the can because it looks easier or cheaper now.
    Order someone to participate!, like ordering me to go to my civil funerary rites!?. “…while living in the community.”, geez, the choice seems obvious to me, I’ll have to leave if I disagree, forcefully…
    This bill sounds like what some Louis monarch did in France when he and/or his courtiers had enough of the paupers annoying their delicate sensibilities for roaming around the streets of Paris.
    In old Rome they would have been given free wheat, not lashes. But I guess exploting the resources of Egypt is not available anymore for the honorable state of Massachussets…
    ‘…make the absurd claim that many of her patients “thank her” for subjecting them to force.’ easy to suggest an explanation from my point of view: it makes me less likely to be sujected in the future to such thanks deserving violence on meself…
    ‘What is the average legislator to do but accept “that at face value?”‘… require judges, legislators and administrators to be competent in basic epistemics and science, before pushing a pencil, literally. If they didn’t pass the basic science bar exam, they should be barred from writing, applying or interpretating legislation. At least because they fail, to my opinion, the “due diligence” standard, they didn’t prepare for such roles in this modern world. They are, to me, being reckless, just depending on the “good faith” of ideology pushers. Without being able to actually tell the difference in a given case whether it is an ideology or actually science. Blind faith, not naivete, in a mostly evangelical world sounds explanatory enough to me. With all respect. But I can appreciate the “return to the Classics!” part, sophistry is still alive and well, despite “critical thinking classes” sounds so prevalent in modern discourse. Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus and Hippias would be delighted. While Kuhn, Lacan, Bunge, Popper and Quine, all AQM/AGR, after quantum mechanics and General Relativity would be crying…
    I’ll add a Sixth reason why using anosognosia out of context “looks” bad: Because it comes from experts that when used in such way it gives ammo to the enemies of the psychiatric establishment, eventually. It reveals their ignorance, inability or unwillingess to use SCIENTIFIC language as Athena would have commanded. Not sure it’s a bad thing, but it does look bad. I’m not sure if Apollo was slept, Artemis would have disagreed, Hades encourage it or Asclepius would have joined…
    “An intervention that helps a minority and hurts the majority is harmful, particularly when you can’t tell who will be who and proceed accordingly.” … that’s one of the arguments to outlaw somethings, like “hard” drugs, or the despot’s “hobbies”.

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  6. Sera please exercise a high degree of caution. You might accidentally conjure up Dr. E. Fuller Torrey. He might show up and act as an “expert” witness. Worse yet he might add “oppositional defiance disorder” to your current diagnosis and others who would speak in opposition to this bill, clearly this is a “humanity add bill. Speak his name with reverence, besides he just might have “anosognosia”, so how would he know.

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  7. Psychiatry has been tasked by our culture to provide a cadre of ritual specialists to serve as deviance enforcers via a degradation ritual in the name of medicalizing and labeling the occurrence and expression of human emotional suffering, which society dictates must fall between proscribed limits of acceptability.

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  8. Imagine if the Humungously big pharmaceutical companies were in charge of the weather, it would rain psychiatric pills and those on a C.T.O. would be made to stand outside with our mouths open at the sky.
    The M.H. team can’t be bothered discussing treatment issues and pill issues I was picked up by police for walking, which is “violent and aggressive” to prove not taking meds is unsafe- what a joke.

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  9. So maybe anosognosia in psychiatry, not in neurology, is like Oedipus complex, like Electra complex. Like phallic envy, etc. Electra and Oedipus exist in another context: as characters in mythology. The phalus exists, and envy exists. But neither Oedipus complex, Electra complex, and phallic envy exists, EVEN if they existed as WORDS in another context.
    Their new use might seem to give creedence to a NEW use of the word, and that is why they are used to validate now a new set of beliefs using words out of context, and therefore outside or even against their original meaning. In Freud’s psychoanalysis.
    In my opinion the good old doc Freud NEVER even understood the meaning of the greek myths, and didn’t even understood the meaning of the Hebrew myths, but, it’s MY personal opinion.
    As an example I can narrate as myths, as part of mythology, not as RELIGION, that after the stones with the commandments, as fas I understood, the god with no name, forgave the sons of the now/then fathers, that the god with no name promised to “smithe” if they disobeyed him, both fathers and sons for FATHERS to disobey him.
    So, he “forgave” the sons of the fathers he promised to punish for disobedience, and several generations of their descendants.
    Similar thing happened, as far as I understand, when king Solomon had 700 wives, some of them foreign, which apparently in those days, in those places was a very bad thing indeed. The god with no name promised to the now “kids” after Solomon to “go at peace”, but, I am definitively talking, and probably punishing Solomon.
    That kind of god that forgives the sons, punishes the fathers, explains the sons why he is letting the sons go, and why he really, the god, has to punish the fathers, for disobedience, seems an unlikely figure to create the myth of a castrating son, a castrating father or a severe and punishing father. After all he, the god with no name, spoke a LOT about the importance of the seeds, which leads to me to believe he CARED more about the sons, than about the fathers, unlike, very definitively Sigmund Freud.
    Sounds more likely like a Jesus’ father, sacrifice the father to forgive the sons, but I am not geting into that, too controversial (after all Jesus was a son, not a father, as myth! as part of mythology!, not as RELIGON!, reminding myself acording to myth, Jesus was NEVER a father, that’s a more likely origin of a castrating father, but, I am not getting into that either, too controversial)…
    I can see why punishing Solomon, and why punishing those that originally, after the commandments were written, in the god’s eyes, disobeyed the god, had to be punished. But not the sons!, even if the god with no name promised to punish BOTH, fathers and sons, for the FATHERS disobeying the god. The sons didn’t disobey the god, it was the fathers!, those are the ones, that according to my understanding, following the myths, not the RELIGIONS, had to be punished. Since at least at that point in the myth the god with no name hadn’t even spoken to the sons, just the fathers, the sons had no idea what to obey or disobey…
    But!, the god both times, apparently promised to “smithe” their descendants too, if THEIR fathers disobeyed the god!, and he forgave us, the sons!, for the sins of our fathers, so, maybe, he is not even going to punish Solomon, since Solomon was a descendant of some others fathers, the he promised, etc., etc., etc.
    Yet, Freud invented THOSE myths, the castrating father, the castrating son, the phallic envy, to my mind, totally ignorant of what the old testament at least on those stories might have suggested, to an average reasonable person. Maybe because he thought he was SOO smart, educated, and, probably above all, never accepted criticism… or explanations… he has a very stuborn fellow…
    So anosognosia existed as an unacknowledgement of paralysis in a part of your body, which to my mind is in itself a poor choice of words for anosognosia, since the appropiate new word THEN, even if based in greek should have meant unacknowledgement of PARALYSIS, not unacknowledgement of DISEASE. What would an average reasonable patient would have know what a disease is?, that’s why they went and still go to the doctor!.
    So an even more appropiate word, to my mind, for the psychiatrists’ use of the word anosognosia would have been: UNACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PSYCHIATRISTS DISEASES/EXPLANATIONS or even WORDS!. In greek of course, maybe latin, dunno.
    Regardless that psychiatrists themselves then, didn’t even UNDERSTOOD what words MEANT when ALL of them used MYTHOLOGY to UNDERSTAND the human mind!, according to Freud, of course. 🙂
    After all, until about the 1980’s ALL of the psychiatrists practiceD and trained in PSYCHOANALYSIS…
    But psychiatrists picked out the literal meaning of a new word based in greek, to use the literal meaning of this THEN new word, despite the fact that originally wasn’t even appropiate for what it meant to mean at the BEGINING!.
    “irony abounds”, to my mind.
    Sorry for the tirade… 🙂

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    • I wonder what the greek word, latin, dunno, for the related symptom of not recognizing one of my arms, assuming I am the patient, as my own and answering to the question: who’s arm is this one?: “dunno, it’s not mine”.
      Maybe anosognoseemyarmasmine?
      But that might afflict more psychiatrists than patients, extending my analogy and somehow psychiatrists missuse and missunderstanding of anosognosia at least as a word: I no see my problem as psychiatrist with psychiatry!. Anosognoseepsychiatrysproblems?
      Ah!, a light bulb!: Anosognoseemyproblem!

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    • Hey 27/2017,

      That’s an interesting comparison (Oedipus complex, etc.)! I’m sorry I haven’t done a better job of responding to your comments, but I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts, especially this one breaking down anosognosia and comparing it to other manmade creations.

      -Sera

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  10. To me it all boils down to one thing: the real goal. If the true goal is to support people who are struggling, and hopefully ease suffering, then coercion, surveillance, and control make no sense. Anything that erodes quality of life, creates additional stress, harms people physically, emotionally, socially or financially makes no sense as a form of “help”. So what’s the real goal of these laws? Social control? Making people feel like someone is doing something about “the problem” so we don’t have to make real changes, listen to each other, treat each other as human and do the hard work of improving the world we are helping to create?

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  11. I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to move to Massachusetts. I came here as a psychiatric refugee, after being told there were services here for people with lived experience. There are no services . What there is is huge snobbery and if you haven’t lived here your whole life and don’t have family here and you’re not one of the cool kids no one wants to know you.

    The way to avoid forced anything is hide in your apartment, while you still have an apartment, never ask anyone for anything. Never be seen.

    Massachusetts is no different from Texas or South Carolina or anywhere else in this country. It’s not unbiased, it’s just differently biased. The infuriating thing is people pretending it’s different.

    I wish I never came here.

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    • I feel the same way as you, and I send you a virtual huggy if it is ok with you.

      I was even warned never to come back where I am. That “I’ll figure out” who the bad apples in this town were.

      I guess psychiatrists, their minions, the activists too freaked out for their previous suffering, and their trauma of being precisely locked up. The nice woman who sees in me something that reminds her of her “trauma” when locked up. That akathisia look alike is scary.

      Now, I don’t want to freak out anyone, but it gets weirder.

      Even if one stops showing what they think is a side effect of psychotropics they freak out!. Like one is a danger waiting to prey on them. Just for showing what a normal rational individual would call improvement. Even if it never was caused by psychotropics.
      I knew a physician who spook first year residents inside the hospital, in the corridors, hardly a legal or moral place to do “diagnosis”, by faking akathisia, every year while I was there, when the new crop arrived.
      He even said he wanted to know who had been previously hospitalized. And obvioulsy traumatized by just being locked up in a psych hospital, exposed to severe akathisic violence. Not in such clear terms but clear enough. The faking akathisia I’ve seen in public offices when at least I am on official bussiness!.

      Now such victims are gonna organize, demand, spend and be proactive in the community or THEY won’t feel safe on the street. Authorities, psychiatrists, policepeople, lawyers, notaries, judges, clinical laboratorists, even pharmacists are more than happy to mobb a single individual serially, specially if the can relate from lived experience.
      I’ve seen some suits harasing a homeless person a few blocks from here, oddly, it took years to catch the big drug dealers 50mts from there…

      Even asking for a lithium level, or a neuroleptic blood level requires validation with a prescription, despite the fact they ask for no such prescription in VERY, VERY complex lab studies (one of them had to be shipped to another country for analysis and it was the only place in which it was available). I know because for my diseases I went to the lab frequently when there was a chance I could die, way back when because of them.

      I never told anyone I was a physician and they never asked me for one. Why I speculate deny a lab test when it’s against their economic interests? to cover for covert medication and toxic levels of psychotropics.

      The patient might get angry, legal or just stop taking them.

      They call it paranoia, but it resonates with what people who believe in Illuminati, the New World Order, the mind invasive satellites, etc., relate in their narratives. And I sure as hell don’t believe in those, but I have an alternate explanation.

      I have read narratives of people who have spoken about their “symptoms” in those communities, and they sound like side effects of COVERT medications, since they don’t narrate taking one, but I admit they might omit that being stigmatic/stigmatizing.

      Even the “weird” beliefs might be caused by medication, a tardive delusional syndrome, or an emerging delusional syndrome. That in some folks gets “rigid”, difficult to change.

      Some of their narratives even suggests breaking and entering to drug an individual. And some.

      There was the narrative of a famous female writer that suggested to me covert ACT. Apparently she stopped writting after one can guess what they did to her.

      Some speak of mind control, hence the satellites, and it could be because of extrapiramydal abnormal movements and intrusive thoughts, without apparent reason, without apparent cause. So, who else? I haven’t taken any drug! no one put one on me! no one told me the ones I took cause that!, Of course!: the aliens or the CIA MK satellites are doing this to me.

      And could explain the proliferation of “conspiratorial” thinking, but I recognize my data does not reach that far without other sociological forces. Like folie a deux and social networks. More prospective clients if they hallucinate, drug induced or in reality testing…
      But I try to ignore their obvious “clinical exploration” on me, their weird looks, their hit me with their cars when I walk on the sidewalk!, honk and all! on the sidewalk!. etc. Mostly females, 2 or 3 males. But the males do look for inducibility, so, it might balance out.

      I used to have a young female harraser with a nice van, might have been two vans, but the female looked a lot the same. And three different young ladies accompanying her molesting me in public!. One every time with the “official” one. I even saw one of them with a white coat outside a neighboors house! (I saw that white coated lady somewhere else but I’m not talking). Then some other lady from that house was dancing, dancing! on the middle of the street outside my house!. It’s in the cameras!.

      And me being creative since I did not “react”, I must have negative hallucinations! I must be psychotic! I failed the reality test!, on the street…
      And I used to bump frequently with a female physician I saw in a GP office, actually exploring if I had induclble abnormal movements!, on the street!. More than once… I never authorized that, hence the notaries and the forgeries, or the simple “I don’t care, I’m getting paid for that. But the first harrasing is on me, compliments of the house, it makes my job easier down the line!”

      But I guess I was the dangerous one and she, my harraser finally got what she wished for me. It’s more than a year I think I haven’t seen her. Maybe she moved?.

      So, I am not stating misogyny, but those are a lot of females to molest me, a very physicialy ill individual that might die because of his diseases in at most a few years, and apparently there’s no much to do about it, safely for me, all diagnostic and treatment options are too risky from my point of view. Even without the harrasement and in top hands.

      I can’t avoid feeling there is a not corresponding sexual component in them, and most definitively from me. So much that just by association like from a big old five in the preference scale I might move a notch to another preference involving very sophisticated robotics…

      And patrolling here happens in what migh be considered heavy numbers because organized crime. So, most likely is not about me. When there are even discrete swarms, it’s usually safer to avoid the streets, somehting is about to happen, the newspapers have shown me that in a crude way.

      Oh, but the police took photos “on” me on the streets in a not very discrete way. I suspect why they came up wth that hypothesis as provocation. I know because I made the person who told them believe that deliberately, he was searching for a vulnerability in me, something to exploit. So, I tricked him with the first dumb thought that came to his mind, I saw that and threw it back at him. He swallowed it!, he didn’t trick me, and then he tricked the rest of the “force”. But they stopped doing that a long time ago. So, I have experience with covert “diagnosis” of the only talking kind.

      And I noticed that he wanted me to be affraid, like the mythical “meassure the background” response in polygraphy or “interrogation”, so I was affraid he was another victim like the rest, presumably of my other harrasers, and if I didn’t threw a bone at him it was bad for him!.

      So down the road, they will eventually take away my empathy if they are going to keep exploiting me with explorations without my consent and in places where it is illegal. See, the cop never paid for the lesson I gave him, and he took an hour of my time, and for that I should charge a lot.

      I have the impression some people might even threat another by braggin their phone in ready to push for the police just because I am a single male of a certain age outside working hours, despite they don’t look too different from me in that circumstances. But I don’t wear an iPhone, so I guess it’s understandable. But this paragraph is an educated hunch.
      So do I go to my representative, my council(woman) to “complain” even with evidence so I get further molested with a clinical exam that I did not authorize and in a place where it is actually illegal?

      Sure, I just packed my evidence, I’m going tomorrow, as count Dooku said: “I’ve been looking forward to this…”, so maybe I’ll get Yoda’s wisdom back!. Even if it comes with some dueling, and I’m not Dooku but I hit like Yoda…
      Hahaha, that did sounded great in my mind…
      And no, I won’t go tomorrow, I rather wait they change their mind, or not… and I am looking WAY forward for that.

      Oh Oh Oh. I just remembered, in another town some young lady was showered with a bright light on her face to fake a prosopagnosia on me, so the victim dumbly opened here eyes during the “reality testing” and I assume got a retinal damage.

      In that town apparently prosopagnosia was somewhat common, they tested kids for that in school…

      And they even didn’t knew how. Usually for the severe ones just a card with faces, smilly, angry, sad, etc. The testers didn’t even knew that, it was so secretive, they had some other “weird” beliefs that I never quite figured out. But they asked me covertly how to do it… There was more but, I’m just conjecturing.

      But, a few weeks later, guess what “they”, uuuuuh, the mythical “they”, did to me? They burned part of my retina with a laser. Mildly, and my ophtamologist asked but never gave me an official diagnosis. Talk about conlusion, I thought my retina looked divine, but the ophtalmologist spookely guessed… after a few years…

      So, the weird beliefs apparently involved me opening the eyes of a yet more aggravated victim with thelepathy? See I wore dark glasses for my other “diseases” back then. So how did I cause her to open her eyes if she couldn’t see mine? hum? that’s inducibility, and she could not see that…

      So I would not be surprised if that test, in that town at least, actually measures for someone resistance against telepathic eye opening… and it goes on and on with weird belief, medications, persecution, around and around…

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    • I’m sorry, KateL. I hear you. I always find it troubling when the answer is portrayed as just move to X place. Sometimes moving can be the right thing if one is escaping orders of force or other critical conditions… It does afford an opportunity to take what you’ve learned and stay off the radar in the new place a little better hopefully… But there’s NO place that really has some magic solution to offer and basically the same issues are rampant everywhere. On top of that, movie itself is super stressful and disorienting a lot of the time and can just make everything feel worse. I’m sorry you’re stuck in an unfamiliar place that really isn’t any more supportive than where you were.

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      • Thanks, Sera.
        Well, I had to get out of CT in any case because of serious, ongoing problems with my neighbors (who at one point made false statements to police which led police to barge into my home and interrogate me at length since they were under the false apprehension that I had threatened someone with a knife), the local police and the local hospital, where I’d experienced repeated abuse and which I lived in fear of winding up at for any reason.
        When I moved to Massachusetts during the height of COVID, I still had a car. I had to surrender my car after my rent was increased twice in two years until it was half my disability income.
        No, there is no magic, you’re right. There’s no one to accompany me to a Dr appointment, no one to write as my emergency contact, no one to mediate problems with my misogynistic, bigoted landlord. No one to check whether I have food and clean clothes when the impact of decades of forced drugging, ECT and institutionally inflicted trauma leave me bedridden.
        No magic, indeed.
        I am hopeful that Massachusetts will enact MAID for people who have been abused and thrown away. That’s about the only thing to be hopeful about, knowing that one way or another, it will all be over.

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        • Why retraumatize people who have been destroyed by the mental health system by adopting it’s language? The language of invalidation and oppression? “There’s NO place that has some magic solution…”
          Or Project Lets, in response to my criticism of their gatekeeping peer support (“you’re not in a geographic area we serve”. Why should it matter when it’s all online and by phone.)
          “We’re not saviors.”
          There’s no call to speak to people in this way, as though they haven’t heard it before. How many therapists tell drug-daamaged, traumatized patients that they “wish I had a magic wand” while ushering them out the door (once they’ve collected the co pay). I’m 57 years old. It literally makes me sick that people still talk to me this way.

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        • It’s no safer at the Dr here than anywhere else…you’re not allowed to be sick because of psych drugs, that’s not real, but they will conduct a “mental health screening” at the start of every visit and then offer Zoloft just because, while the local “clubhouse for people with mental illness” still only admits people with “Axis 1” disorders (hint: no borderline) but if you call them to ask about it they’ll tell you Axis 1 and Axis 2 don’t exist anymore and when you say “but it’s on your admissions paperwork” they tell you they need to make sure anyone they admit is struggling with a real mental illness.

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      • “Space must also be held for so many others, no matter how much they’re still struggling, or how much they may forever buck societal norms. Their value is in being, not how well they can fit in a box or play a role.”

        Juxtaposed with:.

        Moving (to a place that promoted itself as a haven for those with lived experience) “does afford an opportunity to take what you’ve learned and stay off the radar in the new place a little better hopefully…”

        Wow. That says everything.

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  12. Clearly magic doesn’t need funding. I’ve never seen so many social service organizations employing so many people as in Western Massachusetts. I’ve been rejected by all of them. My hunch: they take care of their own.

    There’s the “system adjacent” but also system funded wildflower alliance, the recover project, the people’s medicine project, the Salasin project…I’m sure I’m forgetting something.
    Then there are life path, the senior center, CSO, CHD, ServiceNet, community action agency, several housing authorities, employing how many hundreds or thousands of people? But who do they help? that’s my question. I know for sure they are not being funded by magic.
    Unless there’s a secret code to use?

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    • I almost forgot Stavros. How could I forget, they promised to help with x y and z and then told me that I belong in a psych ward and should contact NAMI.
      There’s something very fishy going on. So many agencies and organizations that promise help that is never forthcoming and instead subtlety or unsubtly threaten with forced treatment. Someone should investigate; what kind of grants are these places receiving to advertise help and never provide it?

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