Monday, May 17, 2021

Blogs

Essays by a diverse group of writers, in the United States and abroad, engaged in rethinking psychiatry. (The directory of personal stories can be found here, and initiatives here).

bipolar

Reappropriating Bipolar Beyond Pathology

It’s still not easy for me to say, “I’m bipolar.” Know that I’m bipolar for good reason, reappropriating a painful word, so those in pain can find me—so you can find me. This is how I reappropriate a term used to strip me of my humanity, a term used to sell me counterfeit versions of reality. I refuse to let go of a label that helps me find my people, no matter how painful it is to retain.

The Astonishing Zyprexa Cover-Up

Back in 2006, when my son Franklin was in his late twenties and living in a group home in the Boston area, he refused to take Clozaril any more because of the required bi-weekly blood draws. His doctor prescribed Zyprexa as a substitute, and Frank suddenly began to gain weight ... a lot of weight. Later, I would learn that UCLA psychiatrist Dr. William Wirshing had said of Zyprexa prior to its 1996 approval by the FDA: “It is just un-stinkin’-believable. It is the best drug for gaining weight I’ve ever seen.” The doctor indicated that taking ten milligrams of the medication was equivalent to ingesting 1,500 extra calories per day. My outrage knew no bounds.
Evan Durst Kreeger

Jinxed: The Persecution of Evan Durst Kreeger

I am very concerned that Evan is about to be devoured by psychiatry's maw. Things could be different if Evan were able to hire an attorney or attorneys to deal with all of these different legal actions coming at him and otherwise protect his interests such as sue the trustees for their unconscionable actions, but as I have indicated, his trustees have cut off his money so he can't hire such an attorney or attorneys.

Out of the Bubble: Now or Never?

Never in human history did a powerful institution, no matter how harmful and corrupt, slide into self-inflicted irrelevancy. Institutions like the current psychiatric system can only be toppled by a powerful social movement.
pill shaming

The Pill Shaming Phenomenon: What’s It Really About?

At best, the underpinnings of the ‘pill shaming’ accusation are misguided. At worst, they represent a concerted effort on the part of the current power structure to use us against ourselves (and they don’t need any more help). It’s the same old story packaged up as if it were something new and ultra woke.

The Mirror Repeats: The Art of Phoebe Sparrow Wagner

It is uncomfortably difficult to look at Phoebe Sparrow Wagner’s art. That much is intentional. She shakes up the viewer’s sense of wellbeing and security so that they can better identify with the plight of the mental patient.

Antidepressant-Induced Mania

It is generally recognized in antipsychiatry circles that antidepressant drugs induce manic or hypomanic episodes in some of the individuals who take them. Psychiatry's usual response to this is to assert that the individual must have had an underlying latent bipolar disorder that has "emerged" in response to the improvement in mood. The problem with such a notion is that it is fundamentally unverifiable.
doctor pointing finger

No, Jill Biden Should Not Be Called “Doctor”… But Only Because No One Should

Jill deserves all the defense she is receiving. However, this rush to defend Jill’s honorific usage is missing a much bigger and far more pervasive point: NO ONE should be called “Dr. Last-name.”
self-care

We Need To Talk About Self-Care

Self-care the way we’re currently practicing it is unfulfilling in the dangerous way empty carbs are: it requires more and more to sustain itself, further sinking us in isolation and the illusion of self-sufficiency. We are not going to create a society that works for everyone by approaching the task of meeting needs as a zero-sum game. We need each other, because isolation kills.
card reads "did you know?"

12 Essential Facts About Psychiatry

With these twelve facts, you are equipped to defend against the misinformation propagated by academic psychiatry, Big Pharma, and the laypeople they target. You are encouraged to use this knowledge to (firmly but respectfully) challenge statements you hear in passing or from loved-ones such as “He is mentally ill,” “I have a chemical imbalance and these drugs help correct it,” or any other commonly accepted falsehoods that the above facts expose.

Psycho-Bizarreness Theory: A Rational, Anti-Psychiatric Theory of Madness

Contrary to the traditional view, Psycho-Bizarreness Theory sees madness as a rational coping mechanism which individuals adopt out of expediency.

The Scarlet Label: Close Encounters with ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’

To help my non-recovery oriented colleagues understand the stigma/resentment associated with ‘borderline personality disorder,’ I simply mention this: “Let’s say I call you and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a referral for you. She’s been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder . . .’” I need to go no further; without fail, my colleague will smile or laugh. We both know that such a referral is a no-no, so much so that it doesn’t even have to be mentioned; it is a given.

Interview: Is Forced Treatment Deterring Youth from Seeking Mental Health Care?

Researcher Nev Jones, Ph.D., talks about her study of youth hospitalized against their will, and how their experiences affected their attitudes about mental health treatment and providers.

Back to Basics: What’s Wrong with NAMI

It seems one mostly needs to already know what they’re looking for in order to find the most established criticisms of this particular organization. And even with knowledge and intent, it can require some fairly persistent Googling efforts to unearth all there is to be found.

I Love … Stigma? Reaching Out to College Students & Beyond

Apparently, May is ‘Mental Health Awareness’ month. However, the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) counters that with ‘Mental ILLNESS Awareness’ week that reportedly falls in October. Meanwhile, ‘Mental Health Awareness ’ day lands on April 16 (from 10am to 4pm, to be exact). ‘National Brain Awareness’ week picks up the baton on March 10 (passing it along to ‘World Bipolar Day’ on March 30). Other dates of note? Apparently, ‘Self Injury Awareness,’ day is on March 1, and the Disability World site cites an absolutely staggering list of dates to remember, including National Sauce Month (!?). But I digress. Suffice to say, my head is spinning

Mental Health Survival Kit, Chapter 2: Is Psychiatry Evidence Based? (Part 4)

It requires extraordinary mental gymnastics by psychiatrists to conclude that neuroleptics, which cause obesity, metabolic dysfunction, diabetes, tardive dyskinesia, lethal cardiac arrhythmias, and so on, protect against death.
psilocybin mushrooms

How Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy Changed My Life

I don’t drink or smoke. I’ve never taken any drugs till four years ago. Yet today, my life revolves around psychedelic medicines—heavily stigmatized substances still illegal in this country and most others across the world. How did this happen?

In Memoriam: Birgitta Alakare

On February 19, 2021, the world lost Birgitta Alakare, the former chief psychiatrist at Keropudas Hospital in Tornio, Finland and a pioneer in the development of Open Dialogue.

Why We Must Strike the Terms “High Functioning” and “Low Functioning” from Our Vocabulary 

As I have various discussions about mental health and disability on the internet, I am disturbed at how many people continue to use the terms “high functioning” and “low functioning” when referring to people with psychiatric or other disabilities. I have heard people refer to their family members as “low functioning.” I have seen these terms used by advocates to bully and discredit other advocates who critique calls for increased levels of involuntary treatment as “high functioning” individuals who don’t know what they’re talking about.

Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness

In Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness, Bruce Cohen explains the expanding power and influence of psychiatry in terms of its usefulness to the capitalist system — the more useful it is, the more power it is given, and the greater its power, the more useful it becomes.

Appealing the FDA’s Denial of ECT’s Harms

More than 200 people signed an open letter to the FDA requesting electroconvulsive therapy’s safety studies and electrical dosing protocols.

My Daughter and Prozac

While our daughter was growing up, my ex-wife treated our daughter’s body like a temple. She was the only kid among her friends not allowed to drink soda or cow’s milk as they might negatively affect her health. But Prozac for mild anxiety? Sure, no problem. I was honestly and genuinely shocked.
twins using a phone

Three Recent Genetics Books and Twin Studies’ Indefensible “Equal Environment Assumption”

Although Mitchell and Murray cited twin studies as the main source of evidence in support of their claims, these studies are based on a long-controversial assumption which they were unable to defend in their books, or on Twitter.

I Don’t Believe in Mental Illness, Do You?

In November 2000, I anxiously stood before the gathered four hundred and fifty mental health professionals, administrators, peers and academicians and said, "Hi, I'm Michael Cornwall and I don't believe in mental illness!"
helpful help

I Get to Decide What’s Helpful for Me

If you’re in a “helping” profession, remember this: it is really arrogant to assume that you know enough to be able to decide what’s helpful for other people. The best thing you can do to help is advocate for people being treated well — which starts with asking them what they need — and say out loud that the harmful ways they’re being treated aren’t okay.

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