Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Comments by Susan Rosenthal

Showing 8 of 8 comments.

  • As someone who has been on both sides of the patient/provider divide I can totally relate to your comments.

    Those of us who enter the medical industry are taught that the priority is patient well-being. We soon discover that the reality is something else – protection of the profession (cover your ass) and subservience to the hierarchy (mind your betters).

    Professional training takes people who truly care about others and teaches them that those ‘others’ are nothing like them. In dividing us from our patients, they divide us from our humanity, and they block our efforts to do anything else.

    Jeff Schmidt’s book, Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-battering System That Shapes Their Lives (https://www.amazon.com/Disciplined-Minds-Critical-Professionals-Soul-battering/dp/0742516857) explains that the role of professionals is to help manage capitalism, so professional schools weed out those who won’t go along. Those who slip through the cracks are ‘sidelined’ or ‘frozen out.’ I have been ostracized and threatened with the loss of my licence to practice for treating people humanely. That is the true meaning of insanity.

    Nevertheless, I am hopeful. Medical workers are under attack from the same system that attacks our patients. More of us are suffering burnout from impossible demands, suffocating red tape, micro-managed working conditions, etc.

    Patients and providers have a common enemy and a common interest in defeating that enemy.

    We cannot let them divide us. As you pointed out, we all lose when that happens.

  • Privatized reproduction lies at the root of many problems, including women’s oppression and the oppression of those who are seen as less productive.

    When the weight of caring falls on individuals, they cannot do it all, so caring becomes ‘control.’ In contrast, when caring is a shared social responsibility, there are more than enough resources to meet everyone’s needs.

    Diversity is a threat to class societies and an asset to egalitarian societies.

    In societies where human needs comes first (meaning everyone’s needs), there is more acceptance of, and support for, those who are different – for whatever reason.

  • I totally get your frustration and rage. However, your anger is misdirected.

    People to come to realizations in their own time in their own way.

    I admire Stephen for showing his vulnerability, for how far he has come, and for how much he is helping young people to stop blaming themselves for how they manage overwhelming emotions.

    When you are ready, I encourage you to watch the rest of the TED talk.
    I think you will find that his views and yours are not so different.

    We all internalize our pain – that is inevitable.
    And we all need support to work our way out of self-blame.

  • This statement,

    “the base for organizing within this movement will be among psychiatric survivors and their families…While of secondary importance, there IS definitely some value in attempting to win over and unite with dissident and open minded psychiatrists”

    leaves out the many working-class people who form the base of the psy-industry, the ones who do the grunt work.

    Most front-line psy-workers are also psychiatric survivors or are closely related to them. They are overworked and underpaid. They are expected to solve complex social problems while being denied any power to actually do that. This powerlessness defines them as workers and not as managers or directors of the industry. They direct their frustration against themselves and their clients, and rarely against their impossible situation.

    On the other hand, psy-workers are the base and foundation of a powerful industry. They have the collective power to challenge it and (most important) transform the system that requires it. We got a tiny glimpse of what is possible in the strike of mental health workers at Kaiser Permanente in California. http://www.beyondchron.org/when-workers-fight-nuhw-wins-battle-with-kaiser/

    Ultimately, the demand for better working conditions runs parallel to the demand for better life conditions for those we serve. ‘Better conditions’ means the right to choose what happens. Every psychiatric survivor has experienced that right being violated – the right to be safe, understood, accepted, and cared about.

    We can join forces. We can choose to over-ride the needs of the system in order to serve the needs of our clients and patients – as YOU communicate them to us. We can go forward together.

  • I am sorry that you have suffered such oppression.
    Other oppressed groups have organized in self-defense and, if anything is to change, we must too.
    The first step is telling the story, and I so admire your courage in doing that here.
    A Canadian psychologist told his story of self-harming behavior in a TED talk (The Skeletons in My Closet – https://youtu.be/G17iMOw0ar8) and also in an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Cutting Through the Shame – http://www.cmaj.ca/content/188/17-18/1265.full.pdf+html)
    I wish you all the best.