Sunday, October 20, 2019

Comments by John Hoggett

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  • I listened to the song, looked up the lyrics. Reed is very bitter. I bet no one apologized to him for the cruel injuries he was subject to.

    They never apologies.

    We must fight back.

    All your two-bit psychiatrists are giving you electro shock
    They say, they let you live at home, with mom and dad
    Instead of mental hospital
    But every time you tried to read a book
    You couldn’t get to page 17
    ‘Cause you forgot, where you were
    So you couldn’t even read
    Don’t you know, they’re gonna kill your sons
    Don’t you know, they’re gonna kill, kill your sons
    They’re gonna kill, kill your sons
    Until they run run run run run run run run away
    Mom informed me on the phone
    She didn’t know what to do about dad
    Took an axe and broke the table
    Aren’t you glad you’re married
    And sister, she got married on the island
    And her husband takes the train
    He’s big and he’s fat and he doesn’t even have a brain
    They’re gonna kill your sons
    Don’t you know, they’re gonna kill, kill your sons
    Don’t you know, they’re gonna kill, kill your sons
    Until they run away
    Creedmore treated me very good
    But Paine Whitney was even better
    And when I flipped on PHC
    I was so sad I didn’t even get a letter
    All of the drugs, that we took, it really was lots of fun
    But when they shoot you up with thorizene on crystal smoke
    You choke like a son of a gun
    Don’t you know, they’re gonna kill your sons
    Don’t you know, they’re gonna kill, kill your sons
    They’re gonna kill, kill your sons
    Until they run run run run run run run run away

  • I had one really good experience of group therapy and one mediocre one which I walked away from. I think it depends on the group and the skill of the person hosting it, same as one to one therapy.

    Often it is seen as cheap but that doens’t work well if it is not run well.

    I once went to a hearing voices group with a friend. He went a few times after that and said it was the best thing he had ever got from services.

    So I think we can’t generalise, but I do think bad group therapy is just the pits, boring and stressful.

  • The Dr’s said “I think in that case our hands are quite tied if someone is to dictate that we are not allowed to give the treatment which I think is best for that patient’s illness.”

    Good, as it should be.

    I think this shows there is a fightback happening by Dr’s and drug companies, that these meagre reforms are at risk and it will be a long struggle to ensure psychiatric patients have their full human rights.

  • No, I’m resting and wibbling away on facebbok and websites.

    I’ve done my bit, I set up speak out againsy psychiatry, I’m now bitter and as the modern boys say, burnt out.

    Get back to me when you, or anyone else has a decent strategy and maybe I’ll be, ‘in.’

    In the meantime I’m thinkonh of setting up a prize for the best escape from my local looney bin. I’m looking for prizes. Let me know if you want to offer anything

  • I agree that re educating clients, or just people, that distress does not need to be seen as illness or disorder is entitely sensible. It is an approach that Sammi Timmimi takes in his oo clinics. I am glad you have been succesful in helping people with this approach. However yor style seemrd to have little sympathy for people falling for the trap of diagnosis in your original article, something I fall into too and which I am trying to ameliorate.

  • I certainly think the arguments outlined work like this for autism and adult ADHD.

    However I think the blaming of patients for not taking responsibility for themselves is not pleasant to read and counter productive. Most of society refuses to take responsibility for themselves and those whose lives have been especially hard do so more than most. It also is an individual response and not a systemic analysis.

    An analysis which looks at poverty, racism and other systemic injustices in the manufacture of distress and how psychiatry is a distraction from those and how these play out in individual choices would be more interesting to me.

  • Here in the UK anti-capitalists have worked with anti-psychiatry, survivors. It has not happened a lot but it does happen occasionally.

    At the moment I am working on an anti austerity project that did for a while work with survivors. So although it is not a common alliance it is possible.

    One of the problems is that politics is now dominated by the middle class, who find challanging professinals very difficult. For example I spammed the wellbeing e-mail list for Occupy in London with an anti psychiatry protest flyer and all the professional on it, who were helping support the homeless people that Occupy attracted, were appaled. I was most gratified to see the uproar I provoked on their e-mail list!

  • I am interested in your point. I’ve been thinking and learning about co-option a lot in recent years. A friend who is in the disability arts movement said that it used to be about attacking the system and pointing out how disabled people are excluded from society. Now it is brave artistic cripples showing how great they are funded by big lottery money.

    Disability Arts on the whole lost it’s bite and got co-opted. Some think the LGBT+ movement did too. All same sex marriage and queers in the military while young queers are at risk of homelessness as benefits are cut to young people in the UK making those in homo and transphobic homes at risk of homelessness.

    Government funding always comes with strings – and that means criticizing the government is weakened as organisations get paid off. The rebel is never paid for by the master.

  • From what I have read asylums were developed for pauper lunatics in early industrial capitalism. The families of paupers could not afford to look after their mad relatives so putting them in asylums was probably essential to the family and lunatics survival. The asylums for the well off didn’t grow so quickly as those for paupers.

    Dr’s convinced people they were the experts in dealing with lunatics so people dumped there lunatics, ie those who they considered difficult, in asylums and definitions of madness grew as more and more people were considered mad and outside the normal bounds of society. Psychiatry became a social control agent in early industrial capitalism.

    I therefore suspect the early asylums with the legalisation of the locking up of pauper lunatics, ie the odd and unproductive, is one of the sources of stigma, ie shame of being distressed.

    Tranquilizers and ECT became the new and additional social control mechanisms of psychiatry as well as profit driven industries.

    Now we have state funded anti-stigma campaigns that normalise being tranquilized or given ECT and which arguably makes the acceptable range of behavior narrower, disguises the causes of distress and increases profit for drug companies. Meanwhile any good help, and long term counselling can often be effective, is cut and short CBT aimed at symptoms, and thus is a psychosocial tranquiliser is increased.

  • I skimmed this article.

    I think it should have stayed as a heart felt conversation over coffee between the author and a mate, not a confessional morality tale where serious abuse by a therapist is mixed with Mr Hall’s, “When I was younger I made a massive mistake, I was a plonker and….”

    I am left wondering if the women concerned read a draft before it was published?

    I want MIA and other media to cover sexual abuse by therapists, and when therapists blame the client that very much deserves investigating and bringing to the attention of the public. I want to read articles about abuse by therapists that cover how serious it is, whether it is endemic and who, these days it tackling it. I especially want to hear the survivors side of the story.

    I do not want such articles dressed up with personal moral quandaries where someone who is saying they made a mistake and may have hurt a women and which the women concerned may read. I am wondering if the women in the story Will Hall has told may not have seen a draft of this article and whether she consented to this article being published? I hope she did. If not this is a serious error of judgement by Will Hall and the MIA editorial team.

    If no consent was given by the women in Will Hall’s story then I think MIA need to review their editorial policies.

    I think Will Hall needs to get some advice on how to publicly address the serious issues around of sexual assault in therapy. If no consent was given by the women in Will Hall’s story he needs to review whatever he learnt about confidentiality and respecting people who he comes into contact with in self help groups and therapy situations and get some advice on how to write about those situations in a way that respects people’s confidentiality, especially if he thinks he may have abused his power in such situation.

    Perhaps I skimmed the article too quickly. If so please correct me.

  • I have been reading some books, Training for Transformation manuals, that are based on the ideas of Paolo Friere. They seem to combine therapy and politicising the poor and marginalised communities. I may use this work with down and outs.

    Consciousness raising could be seen as a form of psychotherapy and was used by a variety of groups, notably the Gay Liberation Front, in preparation for action.

  • Interesting point. There is evidence that I find compelling (though I have not looked into it sufficiently to have have a well grounded understanding of the work or how significant it is) on how the lack of micro-nutrients are linked to unquiet minds.

    Whether this is mental illness, or symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency is an interesting debate.

    I can see where your stand on that issue and I tentatively join you in that position.

  • I found out tonight that my step-mother died about a week ago.

    I hadn’t seen her for over 25 years.

    In your terms I guess she used protective identifications a lot. Or as a friend of hers said, ” Suzannah put the knife in when you were feeling vulnerable.” That’s why I hadn’t seen her for 25 years.

    She had a hard life and I know her life story well enough to know some of why she felt so bad that she was horrid to people around her and why she drank herself to a relatively early grave.

    Once I was sleeping in a squatted building on my own when some people broke in and wanted to smash it up. For a while I talked them down.

    Sometimes I can let the threats come and go, reflect on them, reflect them back with empathy for myself and the other person. Sometimes I can’t. For some people, such as my step-mother, I was and maybe will never be able to.

  • I think the extreme measure called for in extreme situations is knocking on someone’s door, offering to be with them, telling them how you feel, and listening to them. I’d never call services, or go to them for help unless I knew what they were offering something useful. Usually they aren’t.

    But when someone does’t answer the door, the phone or online contact and is at risk for physical medical reasons or is so distressed that they could have committed suicide already (or be in the process of committing suicide) is a real possibility I will call the police. They could be dead, in which case it needs dealing with, or they might not be in which case it might lead to them being sectioned, which while worse in most cases could lead to a constructive convesation about how to proceed when the person gets out if something similar occurs in the future.

    They were difficult choices.

  • Beautiful piece.

    Tonight I am visiting someone in hospital who will die soon. It is cancer and she has chosen no more treatment other than palliative.

    I have called the police on someone twice. They have type 1 diabetes and are also long term MH service survivors. They stopped answering the door for a few days. His blood sugar was often out of control and I knew he could go into a coma and die. Both times when the police arrived he answered the door to their knocks so they didn’t have to break the door down.

    Each time it was a struggle.

    I nearly did it another time when someone was not answering the phone or door but in the end she had been sectioned so that was why she was not answering the door.

    Most cases though I’d do what you did, maintain contact as best I could, allow them freedom, but insist they not to kill themselves where and in ways it interfered with me or people I know.

  • That is a really good question. I have been looking into, and using complaints procedures a lot this year.

    Whether one would be relevant to MIA is a also a good question as MIA is not a service or public body, which is what I have been putting in complaints about. It is an online magazine, has a forum, has educational projects and recommends resources. I think ways to complain about all of those should be available, easy to find and done in a fair an transparent manner. So I eagerly await to see if Steve answers your question.

  • I look forward to seeing how your moderation of the comments evolves.

    Personally I think that skilled moderation and clear guidelines are essential in managing blogs, especially ones dealing with subjects where people’s personal experiences of being hurt both emotionally and physically, are addressed.

    I have seen unmoderated online spaces used in ways that were used to settle scores and air grudges. Those need dealing with in other ways.

    I am also someone whose comments have been deleted or moderated. Often I know when what I have posted is likely to be moderated. I tend not to engage in discussion about that.

  • Nice article. I am giving a talk later this week that has a somewhat similar message, though from a decidedly more left wing point of view and from a UK perspective.

    We have a prime minister always banging on about mental health, initiatives to combat loneliness are publicly funded and suicide prevention boards in every county now but no one actually wants to discuss what drives people mad or to suicide or makes them lonely. Meanwhile services and benefits are cut, rents rise and landlords can evict at a moments notice for no reason, local pubs close down and are turned into luxury flats, homelessness increases, psychiatric drug prescriptions go up, awful counselling services where you get six weeks CBT to get the mildly distressed back to work get funding while help for the seriously distressed and drug and alcohol and sexual health services are cut – and there are more billionaires in the country than ever before.

  • but they sacked him for his work on recreational drugs. He kept classifying drugs and not very harmful and the government wanted them all to be very very bad. He was quite honest about recreational drugs, it’s the psychiatric ones he gets his knickers in a twist about. But then he was in the pay of GlaxoSmithKlien.

    If only he had stuck to saying what the real risks of recreational drugs were and telling it as it is all would have been well.

  • Wow, either Nutt is very busy and thought the book he helped put together is enough or he is an arrogant t****er (English word that should not be translated in polite company.)

    He is an interesting chap who got himself into hot water with the government over the classification of illegal drugs. He said a lot of them are a lot less dangerous than the government would like so they sacked him from his job assessing such things for the government. His views on depression however make me wonder who he is in the pay of.

  • In the UK psychiatric services have been cut but the government is stressing mental health at work and, “Parity of Esteem.” Something else is going on apart from there being psychiatrists selling stuff. There is a growing market in mindfulness teachers and aromotherapists and such like, mainly aimed at the middle class, while services are taken away from the working class. Those services are not just mental health, but also children’s centres and youth centres and women’s aid.

    So I think there is something else going on. Part of it is the marketing of psyche drugs and GP’s prescribing them but also mental health being used as a distraction from the misery caused by extreme capitalism.

  • Power, Threat, Meaning:

    To be, or not to be: that is the question:
    Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause: there’s the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life;
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
    The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
    The insolence of office and the spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, puzzles the will
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
    The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins remember’d.

  • except that as a poofy woofter homosexulist I didn’t define my experience by a psychiatric label or definition. Autism is a Dr’s definition.

    Nuerodiverstiy sounds like science but has not scientific basis.

    Behavioural diversity I can understand.

    Queer Freaks I can understand.

    Nuerodiversity is still something that I don’t know what it refers to. Maybe i’ll look it up?

  • As it happens I looked up the symptoms of Aspergers and such like on google this very evening.

    I found a prestigious UK site and looked up it up. What I found was a list of vague symptoms that could apply to almost anyone and a lot of circular logic.

    Controversial though init, as a lot of people with the diagnosis like it and get really narked if you say it has no validity.

  • I agree institutionalisation plays a part in creating chronic patients.

    I have no convincing evidence to counter the arguments that Whittaker et al have proposed that psyche drugs are harmful and stop recovery in most people.

    I would welcome an article on learned helplessness and institutionalisation caused by psychiatry. I would not want to share this one because it conflates those ideas with an investigation into the effect of psychiatric drugs.

    I would welcome an article on the psychological damage of psyche drugs based on psychological theories and challenging biochemical ideas, eg the nocebo theory, but I would need more evidence for me to take it seriously and for it to be one I would share.

    There are non psychiatric drugs that cause psychological harm. I was prescribed one for asthma and having read the potential side effects I decided not to take it. I have a friend who was prescribed another drug that is an antibiotic that affected her state of mind badly, it is a known effect of this drug. Therefore you argument that psychiatric drugs do not cause mental distress seems unlikely and unproved.

  • I have just had the second ADHD post in my facebook feed from friends this week.


    I may have to cut then out of my friends lists if they do it again.

    I have posted this article on the ADHD ACTION website though. I hope she doesnt’ try and message me again. I’m not up to a polite convo with an angry Big Pharma shill (OK, I’m making that one up. I have no idea why the women behind this loves her diagnosis and is proselytising to wildly)

  • The thread above is closed so I will reply here.

    Thanks Frank. The Michelle case was a mess. Bullying someone by text or in some other online manner, who then kills themselves, should be a crime. That was not happening here but that was what the prosecution was alleging. The whole situation was a mess and legally what happened was appaling. However I dont’ think it is the same as standing by and being a witness to someone who want to end thier life.

  • Frank wrote about Szasz, a professional, not a friend or family member, which was your point.

    Here in the UK mental, someone in my local bin set fire to themselves and the room they were in and died. There is an enquirey but I doubt anything will happen to anyone.

    I can understand your concerns about professionals trying to restrain people who are suicidal but I think the answer to that is to end forced treatment. Indeed I doubt the problem you raise there will not end until forced treatment end.

    Actually I think sometimes offering understanding does change minds, and sometimes it doesn’t. However I doubt that neither you are I are going to scout the internet to find evidence of our claims.

    I’m still interested in news stories of those who were prosecuted for being witnesses to those who killed themselves.

  • I have saw the letters on two days ago.

    The goal would be let the person know that you cared about them and you would miss them but to be open to listening to what they have to say. The effect is that often people change their minds. That for those who care about them is a pleasant out come as they still want their company.

    I have never heard of people being persecuted for non intervening witnesses. Could you put up a link to a news story about that?

  • There is no law against suicide. The majority of the UK, where I live, are not religious.

    There are suicide prevention strategies which have some sensible ideas like making it harder to jump in front of trains. There are suicide prevention strategies that ignore that poverty and bullying at work are big drivers of suicide.

    There are laws against helping people kill themselves in most, but not all countries.

    I am in the UK and I have a friend who contacted Dignitas, that Swiss assisted dying organisation. He has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. A few years ago they offered to kill him at a discounted rate.

    He didn’t take up the offer, is slowly reducing his psyche drugs, gets therapy sometimes, and is now hopeful of a pleasant future.

    He still gets letter from Dignitas, which makes money from killing people. I think he asked them to take him off their database and so far they have not. Perhaps the death business is profit driven, just like psychiatry?

    Disability organisations in the UK oppose assited dying for a host of reasons. Here is an article about it

    I am undecided on the issue of assisted dying.

    I think offering suicide to unhappy people when thier lives could be transfromed by proper social provision, better benerfits and taxing the billionaires until the pips squeak is in most cases immoral, espcially when people make money out of it.

    The most anyone can offer anyone who wants to kill themselves is to try to understand why, often that will be enough for them to change their mind, though sometimes it isn’t.

  • I am not actively involved in this struggle in a big way these days. When I was I thought that support services that were named as being run by antipsychiatry organisations would be a good tactic. If peer run orgs said they were providing services because psychiatry was dangerous it would have an impact.

    Some think that the most dangerous thing that the Black Panthers did was to run breakfast programmes for school children. Implicit in that action was the idea that the state is starving black children. They didn’t have to mount protests to show what they meant. This was a big threat to the white government. Perhaps peer support got coopted because it was a threat?

  • Well done in breaking free and taking this to court and especially well done on acting as your own lawyer.

    “Since the summary and technical judgment, it has come out that the defendant psychiatrist’s legal defence has been paid for in whole (or at bare minimum, in part) with taxpayer money. I have not received any taxpayer money to fund the plaintiff’s side.” I think this is worth investigating more and seeing if it contravenes any human rights or other legislation and taking up with your politicians as this seems a hugely important issue an seems to me to be contrary to natural justice.

  • I think psychiatry is a mixed bag. While I realise this is rubbish as a figure it lets you know how I feel about things: I think psychiatry is 80% harmful and 20% useful. The useful things are listening, talking, understanding, encouraging, providing sanctuary and even drugging people into some semblance of peace when nothing else is available. None of that needs to be provided for by psychiatry and often isn’t.

    For myself I usually the functions of psychiatry are to be the drug delivery agent of Big Pharma and to make sure no one thinks about why people are distressed.

    If on a societal level, ie the powers that be were held to account, thought about why people were distressed then the powers that be would have to have a lot less power as poverty, racism, sexism, violence and sexual assault are at the bottom of so much mental distress. Plainly the powers that be would not welcome that, so yes I agree psychiatry on the whole is about social control.

    So I suspect our positions are not too far apart. I am saying it is politically sensible to acknowledge that a lot of people do, and will always need support.

  • I almost entirely agree with your excellent sentiments, especially, ” the collective trauma of living under a corporate dictatorship,” however human distress is universal and societies need systems of care to address this. It doesn’t need to be psychiatry but I suspect most societies needs something that is organised to help address the needs of the severely distressed.

  • “psychiatric illness can best be viewed as a biologically based socio-cultural expression.”

    Not in my book. First I’m not keen on the term, “Psychiatric illness.” Second, the biologically based bit is a red herring and a dangerous one at that. If this drug don’t work, try that one, etc etc etc. Forget the biology.

    The only thing that is good about ecstasy is that is it about as dangerous as horse riding, according to Proff Nutt, and therefore a whole lot safer than other psyche drugs.

    Personally I’d prefer a good friend to drugs any day.

    Nuff said.

  • In the UK if a patient wants to reduce their drugs their requests are usually ignored the staff.

    “Like insulin for diabetes,” is often said to patients by staff.

    The psychiatrists I hear about seem to know anything about drug reduction or dopamine super sensitivity.

    Maybe Robin will let them know his opinions soon?

    I’m not holding my breath

  • The author writes: “….an extraordinary level of arrogance, condescension and even narcissism.”

    Nothing extraordinary there, those are the character traits displayed by the most memorable psychiatrists I have met.

  • we have everyday problems being psychiatrised in the UK too, but with an NHS.

    I read a bit of propaganda recently from a particularly bad anti-stigma campaign that said, “We all have mental health.”

    Yuk is my response. We all have states of mind but why bring medicine into it?