Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Comments by shaun f

Showing 100 of 528 comments. Show all.

  • I totally agree, Bradford. The system is backwards. Clients aren’t brought into the process of how “treatment” is provided in any meaningful way. There are superficial committees that “consumers” can join, but they have no power and limited influence over how the larger system works in these roles. I did intern at a small MH center where they have a 50/50 client/professional board leadership setup. This is rare in the US, however.

  • Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Trump scapegoats immigrants for our social problems. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/03/trump-scapegoats-unauthorized-immigrants-for-crime/518238/

    We also know that he doesn’t care about the well being of marginalized groups (or really anybody else not named Trump). DACA is a perfect target for him. Many white Americans (PS, I’m a white privileged male) are fearful that their power and reign over American society is waning, so marginalizing this minority group is a way to take back their feelings of being in control over society. It’s just a matter of time before we can’t stop the inevitable, when white people are the minority. Building a wall also won’t prevent this from happening. Fear mongering never goes out of style with authoritarian leaders.

  • Steve,
    It’s becoming a running joke with my coworkers that I’m the “anti-pills and anti-diagnosing” therapist here. They often roll their eyes at me when I say something about the systemic BS that is happening to our clients.

    I am talking to my clients about getting off pills, and I expect that I won’t be liked by the doctors or managers real soon. It’s interesting how much people believe in the medical model without much evidence for it’s support, yet we delude ourselves with “evidenced-based practices”. We think we are being rational and sane in our “treatment” of clients, but who ever thinks that they are doing harm to other people for a profit? The more I question the systems I work in, the more uncomfortable I’ve become with the status quo. Clearly our “treatment” works well for some clients, BUT do the benefits weigh out the risks? I know of people who have gained 50 pounds in six months on mood stabilizers. I know of people who have developed diabetes, became zombies, developed addictions because of the pills they were prescribed, and so forth. There appears to lack critical thinking about what harm is being done by these so-called “medications” and other things we subject clients to.

  • The prison system can certainly be improved. Just look at other parts of the world inmates are treated with more respect and dignity. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/vera-institute-european-american-prison-report-2014-5

    One could argue the MH system would be signficantly improved if we removed drugging and forced “treatment.” I know you want the MH system to be abolished (for understandable reasons), but many of us think there are better alternatives which wouldn’t require such drastic measures. Everyday as a therapist I hear from clients who say they are grateful for “the system”. The system works for some and not for others.

  • “Humans are not machines whose software needs an occasional chemical adjustment. The roots of human suffering are often located in traumatic personal histories of abandonment and neglect, larger social forces such as poverty, racism and misogyny, and thwarted existential needs. With their wildly disproportionate access to and flagrant manipulation of the media (as illustrated by the recent Facebook debacle), corporations have ushered in a global culture which concentrates wealth and power in a handful of individuals, leaving the rest of us struggling to secure basic amenities such as affordable health care and housing. Significantly, the corporations enjoying the greatest success today are those that alienate us from our own human nature; tech companies that seduce us to replace lived experiences with virtual ones, and pharmaceutical giants whose drugs alter our personalities and blunt our emotions. Increasingly, deep human experiences are replaced by shallow commodified ones; Facebook ‘friends’ replace realtime relationships, and the curated selfie is more valued than authentic self-expression.”

    Well said. Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the article!

  • In my experience most psychologists aren’t interest much in “social justice”. The only helping profession within the mental health realm I know of who have emphasized “social justice” are social workers. The rest of us rarely deal with the macro issues that social workers tackle. The psychologists who I’ve interacted with over the years are heavily trained in the medical model dogma of diagnosing and patghologizng. They typically don’t address the systemic problems in society in any meaningful way. But hey they can interpret ink blot tests for you! So there’s something I guess.

  • Steve,
    Going old school with your BF Skinner reference!

    PS your posts are showing up out of order on MIA. I get an email notification but then it shows up before other posts have been made on MIA. It’s a little confusing in the order of posts. Let me know if that doesn’t make sense! Maybe it’s based on time zone? See the times on these few last posts.

  • Oh, boy. This must explain why people were so scared of Hillary being president!

    If we really lived in a nanny state I assume we wouldn’t have millions of people who are homeless and tens of millions who are very poor. We clearly don’t provide “care” to those who need housing, basic healthcare, and substance abuse treatment.

  • You are right that our modern computer/phone technology is highly addictive. My point is that it’s designed this way for profit not social control. People make lots of money off of this technology, and frankly many of it’s users are happy to spend our money on it. Certainly many people become addicted to anything which increases dopamine. I think that we do have a choice as adults as to how we use it. My phone doesn’t control me! I do have trepidation when it comes to children using it, because their brains are still developing. It’s a huge industry which is why Apple, Microsoft, et all, are worth so much. We as consumers do have a choice. We can’t blame companies for all of our problems. We do need to take some personal responsibility in this situation. If there wasn’t a demand, there would be no supply!

  • JanCarol,
    Yes, it is a slippery slope. We have a POTUS who is an authoritarian and attacks anyone who he perceives is against him. Not good.

    Regarding social media use, cell phones are ultimately a choice in terms of how we use them. The government certainly isn’t forcing anyone to use “smart phones” if we don’t want to. Frankly, most of what goes on with social media and smart phones is just about advertising and selling products. It’s not about controlling us but maybe keeping us numbed out to some degree. The truth is that if we woke up we would see that the economic system is heavily benefiting a relatively small group of people at the expense of the rest of us. That is what we should be concerned with IMO.

    I’d suggest using a different word to describe the situation than “totalitarianism”. If we describe the current state of affairs as the same as true totalitarian regimes, then we watering down the real thing, like North Korea. That place is nothing like Australia or the US.

  • ““The Russians” had ZERO affect on the election.”

    Did you complete an investigation into the matter? How many Russians have been indicted by Mueller? 12. They did hack the DNC at the very least, which was an attempt to discredit her.

    I was a Bernie supporter and see no evidence that the DNC “screwed him over”. They clearly favored Hillary, but that is how politics goes. Bernie was a long shot to get the nomination because of his leftist views.

    We need to look no further than the Kavenaugh hearings to see which party is still much worse. The Republicans didn’t give the Democrats time to read over the thousands of pages on K before the hearings began. It’s a sham. The Republicans in Congress just want their guy in no matter how corrupt the process is. Sad.

  • I think this article make some important points on this subject:http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/john-mccain-memorial-vietnam-war-hero-pow-hanoi-funeral-patriotism.html

    The truth is that the military industrial complex is driving American politicians to go to war. Money is made when we are at war after all! The Halliburtons and Lockeed Martins of the world make bank while everyday people suffer and die in these conflicts. Our system has been corrupted, and probably always will be corrupted, by monied interests. This is why all forms of big business thrive and have amazing balance sheets while the average worker is not much better off, or worse than, they were 30 years ago. The fact that our laws now consider corporations to be “persons” is just one example of how far we’ve devolved. I agree that both dems and repubs are to blame for this mess. We can’t expect the decision makers to hold themselves accountable. It’s human nature to be self-interested. I do see dems as the lesser of two evils, but frankly both sides are corrupt. We need to have publicly financed elections so politicians can no longer be bought off by corporate interests. We also need to get rid of super pacs.

    Regarding Vietnam, we had no business being there, just as we have no business in Afghanistan. And for the record Trump has pushed for continued military activity around the world and increasing the military budget, so if you think he’s not pro-war, you are kidding yourself.

  • I agree Oldhead that both parties maintain the status quo in most ways. Neither one is particularly radical. They do stand for different values, such as gay marriage vs. marriage for heterosexuals only, environmental protections vs. most things go to make a buck, abortion vs. banning abortion, etc. We do elect our officials, so on some level we are still a democracy. We aren’t Russia after all, where there is only president (I mean, dictator, who will have his opponents murdered) indefinitely. The fact is that in America regular people can and do run for and win political office. Obama wasn’t particularly economically privileged, but he is smart, intelligent, goal oriented, and has clear leadership abilities. In the US his presidency was possible, but in most other places around the globe he would never had a chance to get to that level of politics. I miss him everyday. He is a good man, much like McCain, and now we have a man child running the free world. God help us all. Obama was truly inspirational. Trump only inspires me to throw up into my toilet.

  • Oldhead, this is false. Corporate news isn’t necessarily “fake” news. It’s only inconvenient for people like Trump who can’t admit their fallibility. Most news reported on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox is factual. But some people can’t handle the truth. Fake implies completely made up, which is hogwash when it comes to mainstream news. Of course it’s biased, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true, at least to some reasonable degree.

  • Oldhead,

    Chiropractors are potentially dangerous. I know one person who had a stroke after receiving subluxation on her neck. It’s a pseudo-science that is mainly a business venture to make lots of money (many similar comparisons to psychiatry if you ask me).

    https://edzardernst.com/2013/10/twenty-things-most-chiropractors-wont-tell-you/

    I went to a chiro once who told me that diabetes and other chronic conditions are the result of spinal misalignment. I walked out of the door after I heard his trash. Granted some people like you do report benefit, and that’s excellent. If you believe it is helpful, that is good for you. But I do think the public is misinformed about this “medical specialty”.

  • How many journalists and political opponents has Putin have murdered?

    Sure Putin is smarter and more strategic than Trump, but that doesn’t make him a moral leader. He’s sure good at getting positive attention for Russia through the Olympics and World Cup in order to try and legitimize his corrupt ways.

    For the record you have bashed Democrats, calling them the greatest threat to democracy. So pot, kettle.

  • Stephen,
    It’s a real head scratcher. The Reagan supporters in the 1980s would be very confused by what is happening today. Seems to me that until Trump came along, Russia was not viewed positively by the American public. Certainly, one would think that Russia’s meddling in our election would concern most American people. The fact that Putin murder’s his political opponents and journalists should be reason enough to be weary of Russia. I would say that Trump’s base is highly emotional and rarely has much logic for their support of the man. I mean, how did anyone think a billionaire who has always cared about himself first would somehow change his ways and prioritize the middle class and poor? Not gonna happen. His base will not be economically better off in the next decade, and somehow they’ll blame the democrats. Certainly Trump has made that case anytime anything hasn’t gone his way. “It was the Democrats fault!!!!!”

  • Well said, Richard. I do think it’s important to also distinguish from social and economic conservatives. The former is concerned with things such as abortion and gay marriage, whereas the latter group is most interested in lower taxes, increased profit margins, deregulation, and reducing the size of the government (but usually still support military spending). At the end of the day most conservatives believe in the capitalist system, and thus it would be difficult for them to support abolishing psychiatry and limiting big pharma from attaining their profits.

  • Let’s be clear, I doubt many folks are coming to therapy primarily because of their anxieties about Trump. I have yet to see it. In the first six months of his presidency, many of my clients expressed concern and worry that Trump will harm them in some way. But they had other anxieties which were more pressing, like basic survival of paying their rent or being homeless.

  • Nobody in the mental health world is seriously treating TAD as a real thing (It’s not in the DSM yet!). People get anxious about a number of things which are scary, and no surprise that marginalized people in particular are worried how Trump will make their lives more difficult given his rhetoric and unpredictable behavior. Trump is scary and dangerous, so we have all the reasons to feel concerned for our future. People willingly seek out counseling to talk about any number of reasonable anxieties they face in life. Trump is just one of many reasons to worry about the state of the world.

  • Well, Trump lies like his job depends on it. He doesn’t like it when anything critical is said about him. That is why he falsely proclaims this information is “fake’. This is dangerous behavior.

    “The Democratic Party is the biggest enemy of democracy…”

    Next you’ll tell me that Trump is the second coming of Jesus! Frankly, there are many enemies of democracy, none of which you listed. It really has little to do with party affiliation. The real enemies are super pacs, big business, Russia, and people like Trump who reduce peoples’ faith in our government and system in general. When people stop believing in our government, they will stop voting and participating, which will allow very powerful, wealthy interests to further take hold of our system.

    Sure seems like the Trump administration is following a certain Putin-esk playbook: https://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/01/31/the-12-early-warning-signs-of-fascism/

    Just remember what Trump said about the election if it doesn’t go the Republican’s way. What a lovely guy. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/28/donald-trump-midterms-private-meeting-church-antifa

  • Sam,
    You are correct that all sides of this feel some level of distress. There is a reason that both Bernie and Donald had large audiences and support, because the middle class and poor are hurting in this country and have been for quite some time. Part of the problem, however, is that all criticisms of Trump are basically ignored by his base. It doesn’t matter what Trump says or does, and they look the other way. So the truth doesn’t really matter to them. They believe what they want to believe and ignore the realities which should be smacking them in the face. Trump is dangerous because he’s an authoritarian and a bully. There is no convincing his supporters that this is true. There is very little which is redeemable about Trump, and until people on the Right acknowledge this, we aren’t getting anywhere as a country. The man panders to his audience and lies with reckless abandon. Stephen is right, Trump is a malignant narcissist. Trump will turn on anyone, except maybe his closest family members, if he perceives they’ve wronged him. If people have wonderful things to say about Trump, he’s their buddy. Just look at how Trump treated McCain.

    The author probably should have left out the name calling. But when the shoe fits. By the way, most centrists these days don’t support Trump, either. They don’t need to be convinced that he’s unfit to be president. There is ample evidence which the middle of this country actually pays attention to.

  • Richard,
    I’m just not sure what the viable alternative to capitalism is? I mean, most of the industrialized world is capitalist to one degree or another. Humans have yet to perfect any system which avoids exploitation of land and people.

    Regulation doesn’t have to be a sham if the regulators are righteous, but far too often politicians are corrupted by the system. In America, for instance, we now treat corporations as people. We have super pacs which wield immense power. The rich run things. The rest of us fight for the scraps. The current system is unsustainable, but I just don’t see what we could realistically replace it with.

  • Richard,
    Conservatives value deregulation because it helps them make more profits. I think there are many examples of regulation which has protected the environment and people. The creation of the EPA helped to eventually clean up the polluted waters in America. Regulation also helps prevent consumers from being exploited by creditors. The concept of regulation isn’t a sham, but when industries are deregulated, everyday citizens usually suffer in the long rung.

  • Sam,
    He’s right in his characterization of Trump. Some people will not like this reality, but the facts certainly indicate that Trump is a narcissistic egomanic who makes too many (dangerous) impulsive decisions. If someone needs to defend the size of their manhood in a national debate, we should immediately disqualify the person from political office! Of course there is no DSM category for TAD, so it’s not really being patholigized. But it is a real phenomenon. Many of my clients over the last 18 months have expressed significant levels of distress with this man being in office. He does impact all of our lives, after all!

  • Lawrence,

    I was talking about regulation in general. There are many good examples of how regulation has protected consumers; for instance, requiring that cigarette packages have a warning label has probably helped to reduce tobacco use over time (as well as rising the costs through taxation). When it comes to MH treatment, regulation has done very little to protect consumers. The FDA has failed, as well as state boards.

  • Frank,
    NO, I never said any abuse is “ok.” Wwhen it comes to psych drugs, the FDA and state licensing boards are there to help “regulate” the industry, and many would argue they are doing a poor job of it. Many people do get excessively drugged by their doctors. I see it all too often. I understand why people think psychiatry is a sham; PCPs, however, are also largely responsible for their prescribing practices. They are the ones who often start people into the world of benzos, SSRI’s, opioids, etc.

  • Regulation isn’t a sham. We need regulation to prevent excessive abuses within the system, like monopolies and sub-prime loans. Of course regulation will be controlled by those in power; this is the case all around the globe. We need regulation that protects the poor and middle class, but unfortunately this isn’t a priority for the 1%.

  • Oldhead,
    Conservatives want to reduce government spending in general (although clearly they don’t practice this belief when it comes to benefiting themselves), which is why they don’t support spending for “mental health treatment.” Many of them, do, however, believe that mental illness is a legitimate concern. They just don’t love the idea of universal healthcare. There are plenty of conservative veterans who believe in PTSD.

  • Oldhead,

    “The primary clash in the AP movement is between anti-psychiatry survivors and “mental health” professionals, regardless of ideology. And currently the so-called “left” is probably more supportive of psychiatry than the “right.””

    What evidence supports that the left is more supportive of psychiatry?

  • Medicare expansion has been a godsend in my state, which has benefited the working poor the most. That is what my clients tell me anyway. They say they went years without getting therapy because they didn’t have coverage. They tell me they are grateful for the ability to see a therapist. I think when it comes to psych drugs, yes clearly this is increasing healthcare costs in the US. I would love to see national healthcare in the US, because people could then, in theory, get preventative medical care which would reduce suffering and long-term costs (and thus could treat real medical issues). That would be lovely.

  • Capitalism is exploitive in practice. This is why regulation is necessary. Humans have yet to find a balance where everyone wins. There always seems to be “losers” (in any system) in reality. I think income disparities will only grow as the human populace increases. About 1 billion of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to clean drinking water!

  • I’d say that psychiatry is currently problematic because it assumes there is a biological component to mental suffering and “symptoms” without any proof. We simply don’t know if there will be any real science to back up psychiatric belief systems. “Belief” is the operative word here. I am still open to the idea that there are possibly differences in the brain or DNA which lead some people to experience excessive distress, BUT until the day comes that science has proven this, we should continue to challenge psychiatry’s continued assumptions about “mental illness” as a valid concept. If psychiatry would go back to it’s roots of psychotherapy, I think more people would benefit. Maybe we should leave concerns with the brain to neurology?

  • Slaying,
    I think you inserted “socialist” with “capitalist” by mistake. Remember it is capitalists who put their aim at making the most amount of money they can, often without thinking or caring about the long terms risks. Just ask all the rich investors who buy drugs and then jack up the prices. Remember Martin Shkreli? Lovely capitalist human right there. Or the 2008 housing bubble which was driven by greedy lenders and deregulation.

  • Thank you Nancy for adding your thoughts to the conversation. You articulately pointed out why I think mindfulness can be useful.

    Steve, the clients who volunteer for the DBT programs at my clinic are never told “you need to do your mindfulness.” While I’m sure this message gets conveyed elsewhere, it is ridiculous to demand anyone do anything. It is certainly counter-therapeutic and doesn’t actually increase the likelihood that the “skill” will be practiced more regularly. The truth is that for mindfulness to be effective for anyone, they probably need to practice this for years if not decades. DBT superficially addresses mindfulness in the sense that coming to a group once a week isn’t likely going to lead to substantial change for the individual in this regard.

  • Steve, CAN is the operative word here. Doctors CAN be held liable, too, but it rarely happens.

    Streetphotobeing, there are some similarities between drug pushing docs and beer pushing bartenders. The difference, however, is that doctors study, take an oath to do no harm, and they state that pills are “medicine”. While bartenders may joke that their liquor is medicine, we all know this isn’t true.

  • Out,
    Thanks for your response. I guess we can agree to disagree. The way mindfulness is practiced and taught in the West seems to be secular, so I’m not sure what faith it’s directly connected to?

    And can you clarify what problems arise from mindfulness? I am serious about wanting to understand where you are coming from. The main downside I’ve seen to mindfulness for people is that it requires such a shift in how one relates to oneself and the world, and this is very challenging. Many clients tell me that they are uncomfortable with the idea of taking a nonjudgemental stance towards themselves, as they have been taught for their entire lives that they are worthless. So these messages have been internalized. We also tend to judge certain emotional states as good or bad, and mindfulness is difficult because it teaches something radically different–that emotions are neither good nor bad. They are just temporary states of feeling.

  • And let’s not forget that deinstitutionalization occurred in the during this same period when psych drugs started becoming available in the 1950s-60s. All these folks who had been traumatized and institutionalized were drugged up “so they could live independently” (or were homeless).

    Humans have a desire for short-term fixes (e.g., feel better now), and I think doctors and big pharma exploited this reality in our brains. Nobody really enjoys feeling any emotional pain, and luckily for us these drugs numb us or change our emotional state, so we like them (sometimes)! Once someone is physiologically hooked, they are dependent on the system to maintain that status quo. Doctors, one could argue, are no different than bar keepers, liquor store owners, or local corner drug dealers. But they have the law on their side.

  • Out,

    Mindfulness is not some sort of doctrine or dogma. Mindfulness is one of the least controversial concepts in the mental health world. Albeit it is difficult to practice, it has immense value to the human psyche and daily life. In one form or another it has been practiced for thousands of years by humans. I hope one day it will be taught to every human on the planet. Our world is the opposite of mindful much of the time, with constant distraction, judgement, attempts at multitasking (which rarely work), and the like.

    Do you think math or science is unfairly “imposed” on students? Should that not be the case? Maybe we should let kids play on the jungle gym all day? Heck, I would have loved that as a child. I didn’t want to learn anything at the time, but I’m glad adults imposed learning into my life. Mindfulness is just one more form of learning. Especially considering the insidious nature of technology in our lives, mindfulness becomes evermore important. Both kids and adults are less happy because of social media and it’s impact on feeling “not good enough”. Mindfulness can help people, all people, to practice letting go of our judgments towards self, just notice them actually, and to be in contact with our inner world and the present moment.

  • Thank you for sharing your insights. PVT is integral to my use of EMDR with clients. Many of us are in a constant state of increased arousal due to trauma. I personally think mindfulness is one tool that people can use to tap into their parasympathetic nervous system, which is key for social engagement and increasing positive emotions.

  • There are different types of judgement. Many people are their own worst critics, making negative comments about themselves that aren’t really based in fact. The negative judgments I’m talking about are distorted and usually messages people received in childhood. You are right that some judgments are fair and based on the facts, but I would say that this isn’t the same thing as saying “I’m stupid”, “I’m unworthy”, “I’m a bad person because I’ve made mistakes”, “I’m unloveable”. These judgements are detrimental to one’s one view of self and make it very likely that the person will suffer more.

  • Out,
    I do try and practice it. I find that it is easy for me, as well for many others, to be judgmental of ourselves (often based on what we experienced in childhood). I’m no expert on the subject, but I know it’s value. It’s not about telling people they are wrong, but rather encouraging a nonjudgemental stance. If we can’t agree that is a good thing to work towards, then I don’t see how any common ground can be found.

    What was my knee-jerk response, exactly? I have no idea why you think my comments were patronizing, but maybe we are in a PC world here on MIA where we cannot express disagreement, otherwise we risk being called “patronizing” or “gaslighting” (I’ve seen this elsewhere on the site)? I do find it strange that anyone would find mindfulness offensive. You clearly see value in it for yourself, so why protest so much? I don’t get it.

  • If you find it wonderful, not sure why you would protest? Like I’ve said before, mindfulness isn’t pathologizing. It’s a life skill. Being mindful of one’s thoughts and feelings is just as integral to life as any other subject taught in school. It’s pure hyperbole if anyone is suggesting that people are being forced to practice mindfulness and being punished for not practicing it. Where is this happening? DBT is the only modality in counseling (and community MH centers) which heavily focuses on mindfulness, and only a small minority of clients attend these classes (voluntarily, mind you).

    What is more oppressive is the current education system in America, which focuses on standardized testing and removing many “electives” like art and music.

    Mindfulness isn’t about telling people what to think. Mindfulness is encouraging self-compassion and non-judgement of self. If that is controversial, then we are really screwed. You might as well protest math, science, art, and gym being taught in schools if you think mindfulness is problematic.

  • I’m not sure how encouraging non-judgement of self and focus on the present is problematic or dangerous. Seems to me that in order to be successful and/or content adults we need to be mindful. If we aren’t in the present, we can’t enjoy what is happening right in front of us! Like a beautiful ocean, reading inspiring poetry, or spending quality time with loved ones.

  • Steve,
    I agree that the DSM is social construction. My point is that many clients don’t view “mental illness” as an invalid construct. Mental illness as a scientific concept is yet to be proven. I tell my clients these days that there is no evidence to support the labels; nevertheless, many of them still conclude that the description is helpful and makes sense of their experience.

  • Correlation and causation are two different concepts. Maybe DFW’s mental makeup or personality lead to his suicide? Should we blame his domestic abuse on psych drugs or ECT? Maybe he was just an abusive, egomaniacal, controlling jerk towards women because he felt entitled to have what he wanted? We will never know these answers, but no doubt people will focus on “the facts” that fit their worldview. Maybe he couldn’t accept that he couldn’t be a brilliant writer all the time because he was a perfectionist? It’s all speculation.

  • I have to laugh at some of the criticisms of mindfulness. Mindfulness is about trying to adopt a nonjudgemental attitude towards self. To notice our thoughts, notice being distracted, redirect our focus onto the present moment, and to try and do one thing at a time. Our current world doesn’t support mindfulness, as we have constant distractions in modern life. It’s a nonpathologizing view of the human experience. The fact that anyone would get offended by such concepts is to me quite confusing. All children should be taught to practice mindfulness, as it helps someone develop self compassion and focus to be present in one’s life. Not sure how this is controversial.

  • Sam,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to support someone like you do who experiences severe disassociation.

    I do think it’s important to recognize, like you said, that we all experience some level of disassociation. I certainly did some of this in my childhood, sometimes out of boredom in school, other times due to by home life dealing with an alcoholic parent. Disassociation can keep us “sane” in a world which is often crazy. The problem is that for some people they lose control the ability to bring themselves back to the present moment with their core self. I do believe we all have parts, and these parts come out at different times for different reasons. When we are under duress, it is more likely that whatever MH symptoms we are likely to experience will come out in an effort to cope. I, for example, deal with anxiety, and when I’m under more stress I tend to excessively worry about things out of my control or worry about my own decision making. Luckily when my anxiety flares up I’m still usually able to function, but I know not everyone is in this same category.

    I do think you make an important point, too, that many people who suffer from various maladies, like dissociation or chronic suicidal thoughts, never have been in the system. I have met many clients over the years who have suffered for decades without asking for any professional help. Clearly the cause of their suffering was not and never will be psychiatry, therapy, or psych drugs.

    I believe that childhood trauma is the number one cause of human suffering, and the consequences of such treatment in childhood is why people feel disturbed and ask for professional help in the first place. No doubt the mental health system is problematic, as MIA as clearly elucidated. I am disturbed by the excessive use of psych drugs, and I also know that it does provide real relief for some people. I feel torn about the way we “help” in the modern world. I see why people are critical of the system. I also think, however, that the system is not the root cause of most of life’s problems.

    For people who have been stuck in the system for decades, nevertheless, they are likely to be victimized by the horrid “side effects” psych drugs create. These folks are justified in their anger at the system. I have met such people my my work and here on MIA, and am angered myself when I see ambivalent responses from supposed helpers. These providers seem to just accept that the pros outweigh the cons of such “treatment”, but what is key here is they don’t have to live with the consequences of whatever chemical compounds their clients are ingesting. Psychiatrists will never get TD, akathesia, metabolic syndrome, or diabetes from prescribing pills. No, it’s their “patients” who do.

    I wish you well, too.

  • Truth,

    We really don’t know what killed DFW. All those factors you mentioned probably did contribute to his early death, but we just don’t know. Like the article states, there are many reasons people die by suicide. It’s difficult to know for sure but we can make reasonable theories that his “treatment” played a large role in his behaviors. Clearly ECT and psych drugs did not help him to “feel better”.

  • DFK,
    Well said. Fully agree. The culture of competition at all costs is toxic because it falsely sets up perfectionist attitudes which crush the human spirit. None of us us perfect. Very few people “are the best” at anything. If aren’t “successful” in life, we are also blamed for “not working hard enough” or whatever. It’s probably one reason Americans, and Westerners in general, aren’t terribly happy, despite our relative wealthy to developing countries.

  • Oldhead,

    People have the right to conclude whatever they wish about their treatment in the MH system. If they feel or think it is helpful, that is what matters to them. You may not agree with their conclusions, but that might be more to do with your experience than theirs.

  • Fred,

    I know how service user feels/thinks because I listen to them. I have talked with hundreds of such folks, most of whom say positive or neutral things about their treatment. I have read little turtles comments for quite some time, and it is clear where they stand. While you think “mental illness” is “mythical”, service users like little turtle and others clearly disagree. They have said so in their posts.

    I agree with your concerns and criticisms of diagnosing and the DSM. I plan to get out of the MH system because I’m sick of being required to use these non-scientific labels on people. The main benefit to diagnosing is that the service becomes billable. But of course the client doesn’t benefit from this!

  • Alex,

    Thanks for the comment. My comment was more of just saying hi and hope all things are good in your world. I use smiley faces to try and convey friendliness. This is exactly what I meant when I said that online communication is rife with challenges and people can easily be misunderstood in their messaging. It is helpful to me when people are clear about their concerns or wanting clarification. If I don’t know what the issue is, I can’t address it.

  • Alex,

    Well I guess the confusion is mutual, as in this most recent thread. I’m not sure how we started with you thanking me for expressing my feelings and then it quickly moved into you expressing a feeling of vague confusion (without any clarification about what, exactly, is confusing). It’s a head scratcher. Now you are claiming that I’m “triggered” by this feeling you are having. If some online acquaintance feels confused by me, there could be so many reasons for this. All I asked for was clarification which you haven’t provided. Honestly, peoples’ emotions change all the time, and “confusion” is more a cognitive concept to me than a feeling like love or anger.

    Truth be told as I am processing your feedback, I feel annoyed. If you want to get down to feelings, there you have it. After all this back and forth I still have no clarity on what you have felt confused by.

    Be well.

  • Alex,

    It’s pretty easy to get confused by others over the internet. The truth is that most communication is nonverbal anyway, which is totally missed here. I really don’t have anything else to add. I’ll continue doing my thing, as you will continue to do yours. Have a good afternoon.

  • Alex,
    I can’t speak to your subjective emotional experience of my posts. If there is something that seems confusing, giving me some concrete examples may help me understand where you are coming from and maybe I can clarify.

    I will tell you that I have some ambivalence because I see merit to the various perspectives on the MH system. I think people have good reasons for how they feel, such as LittleTurtle with liking their psychiatrist and believing in the concept of “mental illness.” I can also see why other posters feel that the system needs to be abolished. I am still trying to figure out exactly where I stand in all of this. I am not anti-psychiatry per se but also have become dismayed by the practices psychiatry endorses. All I can say is it’s a journey and I don’t expect to have it all figured out anytime soon, if ever.

  • Alex,

    “I have to say, Shaun, after all the dialoguing we’ve done on and offline over the last few weeks, I honestly don’t know in the slightest from where you are coming. You confuse me, and I do wonder why it is I’m feeling this from you?”

    I don’t know what you are talking about. Can you clarify with examples?