Saturday, February 27, 2021

Comments by kindredspirit

Showing 100 of 1523 comments. Show all.

  • I think you’re confusing the greater “we” and “our” with Bob Whitaker who isn’t a part of “us” when it comes to survivors actions or rights. I read his wish in the spirit of a journalist protesting against “his” beloved, yet clearly corrupt, mainstream media. “We” as survivors have different interests and goals by necessity. But as long as “we” pretend “It” doesn’t exist, “we” are going to continue to argue amongst ourselves and make little traction in either eradicating psychiatric “treatment” or in improving the medical care of those who need and deserve it. A grassroots response must be able to acknowledge all forms of suffering in order to respond appropriately to each case. Some are medical, some are psychosocial, some small amount are unfortunately due to genetic causes. The real tragedy here is the inability to acknowledge the diversity of experiences and causes of suffering. The DSM labels are as harmful as claiming there is nothing wrong with anyone. There aren’t going to be easy answers. “We” need more than catchy sound bites and anger.

  • Pretending psychosis isn’t a real phenomena does nothing to advance better care for those who experience extreme states and who aren’t being served well by the current paradigm of psychiatric drug “treatment”.

    You do not have experience with central nervous system infection. I mean this in the kindest way possible, you do not speak for me, Oldhead. I wouldn’t wish late stage Lyme disease on my worst enemy. The 2016 APA yearly conference included a presentation on neuropsychiatric Lyme disease – stating that there are no known treatments for Lyme once it infects the nervous system and asking for the establishment of psychotropic drug protocols to “treat” the symptoms of this very physical illness, which includes rage attacks, derealization, hallucinations, delusions, dissociation, paranoia, depression, anxiety.

    Please, if you want to be taken seriously, stop erasing the experiences of people you want to call allies. I have a systemic illness. It’s as real as the experiences of those with late stage syphillis. I, and the millions of people like me, deserve to have our illnesses taken seriously by the medical system and by medical researchers so that we can have some hope of a cure or actual treatment that addresses the illness instead of psychiatric treatment as usual.

    There is ample evidence that what is called “mental illness” is the psychological manifestation of impaired physical condition, whether that’s a temporary effect of drugs and alcohol, as appeared to be your case, or the long term effects of trauma, stress, malnutrition, infection, etc as it is for so many others. Being antipsychiatry is reasonable considering psychiatry doesn’t even attempt to do anything other than manipulate the brain. It is fatally reductionistic. But repeating over and over that nothing is wrong just because there was nothing wrong with you, does harm to those of us who desperately want to feel better and for whom the absence of psychotropic drug “treatment” is only the first step to recovery.

  • Actually, Cabrogal, I believe that people should be held to account for their behavior regardless of its origin. This is fairly consistent with a 12 step mindset of making amends. I don’t believe that anyone is “mad” and therefore anything they do goes. I think that people who treat their own behavior in that manner ARE a danger to the rest of society because they refuse to be held to a account for the effects of their behaviors on others. Whether the description is mental illness or madness or an alcoholic blaming the booze. There is a big difference between acknowledging understandable contributing factors like stress or illness or other environmental conditions and having no accountability to others at all. Those of you who say “This is just how I am because of my ‘madness’” show no ability or willingness to be accountable for the effects of your actions on others.

    I’m actually strongly against the penal system as it exists and strongly FOR restorative justice precisely because it fits within these parameters. We can both understand people’s behavior and hold them accountable for repairing the damage they cause. I’m truly sorry if the nuance is lost on you.

  • “Last year, in the northern hemisphere, covid cases also dropped around April, and stayed that way till the normal “flu season” came around again in October / November.”

    This is incorrect. The entire world experienced waves around the same times, differing only in their intensity depending on the individual country’s levels of coordinated response. We would have expected countries in the Southern Hemisphere to have little cold and flu over our winter but Brazil had their worst covid outbreak at the same time the US did debunking the idea that the virus dies back during summer or warm months.

  • “Bipolar illness” in my own personal experience looks an awful lot like a relapsing/remitting inflammatory disorder. When I’m too physically ill to do much more than go from the bed to the couch, am I “depressed” or physically ill? When my body is cooperating and I’m trying to get as much as I can done to make up for the length of time I was ill, am I “manic” or catching up? I have a relapsing/remitting illness that incapacitates me at times. I am extremely high functioning when my body and mind cooperate. Calling that “bipolar” and further disabling me with psych (and other) drugs seems like an unnecessary cruelty. My suicide attempts have only been while I was taking drugs that lowered my inhibitions against such. All of this seems pretty straight-forward to me.

  • I appreciated this interview very much. The evolution of my own understandings in this area has also produced similar complexities and contradictions. I have evolved from believing there was never anything wrong with me that needed fixing and that the drugs were entirely harmful to understanding many of the things I WAS indeed struggling with, yet wishing there had been other versions of help that were empowering rather than disempowering. I understand the harms of current psychiatric approaches while also accepting that sometimes people need help they aren’t going to seek on their own and sometimes others need protection from those acting in harmful ways.

    I remain firmly AP in principle while believing in the benefit of therapeutic communities, Soteria, supported housing and employment, crisis teams, Open Dialogue, etc. I believe that what is framed as “mental illness” has many and often overlapping etiologies and that there is not one right path to supporting those who are suffering. I think that the person who is suffering is often not the only one – with families and friends suffering along with them. I think that meeting me where I was at in the moment has been the best help I’ve ever received. That help has rarely come from professionals and most often come from the people who were deeply and personally invested in my well-being.

    I agree that it can’t be an individual effort but needs to come from better policies, social structures, etc. We need to value the diversity of thought and understand that the labels that some find helpful, others find harmful. We should also understand the evolution of an individual’s own experience. Labels may be helpful in some circumstances and at some points along the journey and not helpful at others.

    The disability label is one that I continue to struggle with personally and I think many psychiatric survivors struggle with. It is undeniable that I have physical illness with mental effects. It is undeniable that I have psychosocial struggles. It is also, at this point in time, seemingly in my best interest to distance myself from a disability identity when the greater culture tends to use this label to remove shared decision making from me and assume that others will know what is best for me. It means that I have stayed in bad situations for fear of seeking support in the form of financial assistance, supported housing or employment. That I am afraid of doctors and that hinders receiving medical care I so desperately need for ongoing chronic and worsening illnesses. When disability is used to remove personal agency, it’s no wonder so many survivors go into self-protection mode. This is no doubt a factor in our decreased lifespans.

    We need to not only resist binary thinking, but also make an effort to understanding why we end up there. In a perfect world, I think I would have substantial “professional” social support, someone that checks in with me frequently, who could help me get the resources I need when I’m struggling who would also value my contributions when I am doing well. As it is, I have learned to fake it til I make it, as it were. To do what I can when I am well and relatively high functioning, and do my best not to become a target when I’m struggling. It’s a ridiculous tight rope to walk to always have to wear this mask of being A-OK, for all observers, whether that be professionals or AP folks.

    Before more of us take our own lives, like Matt Stevenson did when he couldn’t reconcile where he existed somewhere in between “mentally ill” and A-OK, people in all these camps – the AP folks, the reformers, and the business as usual professionals need to get a whole lot more comfortable with ambiguity. I am neither “mentally ill” nor A-OK, and I need that to be OK. I need it to be ok to have the agency to choose the supports I need without losing agency on the one hand and without being turned out of the AP community as a “reformer” on the other. Matt might still be alive if it had been OK to embrace the help he needed when he needed it and not been under so much pressure to fake it or pick a side.

  • I appreciated this clarification about the authors merely observing effects at various time points. Especially the part about how some of the patients observed off drugs at two years may have gone off the drugs very quickly after starting them. It is unfortunate that there doesn’t appear to be more data about when the patients actually discontinued the drugs. Even self-reported data would be something.

  • I have *very* fond memories of Thorazine. On the adolescent unit, we used to *go off* intentionally just to get a hit of it.

    I still maintain that those who don’t feel the need to recover from trauma and it’s lifelong consequences shouldn’t speak for those who do. Some of us are in recovery and proud to be so because the alternative for many of us is self-destruction in ways that led us to psychiatric treatment to start with. Psych drugs for many of us serve the same purpose as alcohol or street drugs.

    And weed is NOT innocuous and can have deleterious effects, too. If you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re one of those for whom, like me, experiences anxiety and paranoia from levels of THC that are typically found in both street and legal cannabis these days. I have to go out of my way to find products with low amounts of THC and higher CBD to get the synergistic effect without the negative effects I get from most of the easily available cannabis products. And most people still don’t know that the amount of THC in a lot of those products can cause psychosis. Weed can just as easily become a way to numb out feelings and be used the way alcohol, other street drugs, or psych drugs are used. So making a big distinction between them is not very helpful. The biggest difference between legal drugs and illegal ones is who is making the profit. Alcohol destroys as many lives as psych drugs do, probably.

  • Alex, I hear where you’re coming from, but I also think it’s important to hear the voices of those who have tried and failed repeatedly to come off the drugs. It is disheartening for anyone trying to do something and failing to hear that they just have to hold out hope. I have great experience with this with chronic illness. I do not need hope that my illness will be cured. I need support to live each day to the fullest even when they’re really bad. The people who have stopped trying to come off the drugs and are just trying to live each day to the best of their ability, they deserve the respect for forging the path they’re on and not to be forced to hope they can eventually be on the path you think they should be taking.

    Telling people they need to hope for a specific outcome can be just as harmful. There are a lot of people getting caught up in this fight when it comes to opioids and benzos too. The answer is to stop prescribing these drugs to new users, not torture people who’ve been on them for decades and find themselves unable to come off. I don’t know if I’d have been able to successfully withdraw without the support I had. I live a pretty cushy middle class lifestyle with friends and support and there are STILL days four plus years on that I think about going back to the system. I can’t imagine some of the situations I’ve heard people are in and they’re talking about withdrawal on top of that. So, please, coming from you, this kind of judgment leaves a bad taste. Everyone’s situation is different and we can respect that, surely.

  • Recovery as a concept is not bogus. It’s the disease model that is bogus. Something was wrong even if we don’t call that something schizophrenia or bipolar or what not. But it seems important to me that MIA publish research showing the harms of the drugs regardless of the researchers use of terminology. Would the result somehow be more meaningful if the researchers had said “people experiencing extreme states get better quicker when they discontinue neuroleptic drugs”? I know we’d rather they weren’t taking them to begin with but the way to get from here to there seems to be to show the harm being done by them, no? How do we get there, otherwise? Asking the APA nicely and protesting outside their yearly convention is working so well toward that goal…

  • “Speaking personally, my cyclic mood swings, extreme states, acting out, etc are no more ‘because’ of external social circumstances than they are ‘because’ of internal brain chemistry. Nor are my flashes of inspiration, sustained bursts of energy and capacity to stand up to illegitimate authority. They’re because I’m me.”

    I have no problem with rights restrictions for people with this attitude. If there is no reason for your bad behavior (acting out) and you refuse to try to change it, it seems only appropriate that measures be taken to protect others from you. This is the definition of a jerk – and possibly a total sociopath. And it is exactly why the excuse of “madness” is so ludicrous.

  • Evanhaar,

    FWIW, I do not agree with the idea that the mind is an entirely metaphorical concept as Oldhead contends. In my view, the mind is the entirety of the nervous system and all of its sensations and experiences of the physical world. The condition of the physical body has a strong effect on the mind regardless of where we believe the mind resides. I know this to be true of my own illness – Lyme Disease – as it is with other systemic infections and inflammatory/immune-mediated illnesses. Likewise, my understanding of psychological trauma is that it is physically injurious and that these injuries have long term implications for the individual in terms of physical illness and psychological distress.

    Where I diverge and where I am solidly antipsychiatry is in the knowledge that adjusting brain chemicals does not actually address the etiology of psychological distress even if it produces temporary relief for some. Morphine also relieves pain but it won’t set a broken bone. I appreciate Steve’s references to physical injuries as they seem a perfect metaphor for the disconnect between the temporary relief of distress and treatment of the underlying condition.

    I think the continued focus on mental illness as illnesses in and of themselves rather than effects of other physical illnesses and adverse environments is what I see as the underlying problem with the current approach to mental healthcare and it’s obsession with brain chemicals and states. This may place me at odds with some others in the AP community.

  • What does this have to do with Science, Social Justice, or Psychiatry?

    A small study with serious methodological issues is presented here seemingly to malign “anxious and depressed” patients on behalf of Big Pharma. This continues a disturbing trend here at MIA of painting mental patients as not knowing what’s really best for them. It’s not a good look and I know it’s alienating the very people this website and its founders now appear to only pretend to care about.

  • Rebel: As a turn of phrase, I’ve always understood “There’s a method to my madness” to mean something like “I know this looks crazy, but there’s a purpose to how I’m doing this.” It seems to be a statement that the person is NOT “mad” or “crazy” despite temporarily appearing perhaps chaotic. I wouldn’t say it was a use case consistent with the attempts to “reclaim” the term “madness” by psych survivors. I myself get a little “out of control” at times but I would never call that madness. It is something I understand was harmful and apologize for and try to make right. It isn’t something to make normal, even if the circumstances that produced it are understandable. I don’t believe that holding odd thoughts or appearances are “madness”. It seems that like “neurodiverse”, the words “madness” and “mental illness” are often euphemisms for bad behavior that should be corrected, atoned for, changed and the like. “Mad Pride” sounds about as mature as saying “I can’t help it, I’m bipolar”. I’d rather have the context behind difficult behavior understood so that perhaps actual change can take place, whether that change be in the individual that is struggling or in the environment. And I’d rather allow that struggle to inform me that I need to change myself or my environment in a meaningful way.

    Instead of saying I’m “mad” or “bipolar” or “neurodiverse”, I could say something like this:

    “I know I acted out. I’m really struggling with sudden difficulty sleeping. I’ve been in an unusual and extreme amount of physical pain. I’m not sure what’s causing it so I’m stressed and anxious on top of hurting. My intimate partner has been abusive again. I have another loved one who has been making my life intensely stressful. I am really struggling under all of this. Please forgive my outbursts while I try to sort the situation out and get back to some equilibrium.”

    Another person’s circumstances might be “my kid is getting into trouble at school again, if I’m late one more time, I’ll lose my job, I’m three months behind on my rent, I’ve got a shut off notice on my electric Bill” Etc, etc, etc.

    I think that would be a whole lot better approach than simply saying I’ve got something called “madness” that makes unpredictable appearances, don’t you? It accepts responsibility for doing harm while acknowledging the context under which it occurred. I’m no stranger to extreme states, but I don’t ever expect those states to be acceptable and I think part of the path to healing is working hard to right the harms caused while one is experiencing an extreme state, not demanding they be part of the spectrum of normal. I’ve never seen anyone go mad with literally no explanation at all. They are sick or they are stressed. And spiritual emergencies count as stress in my book. Your culture may interpret things differently, but this is my perspective.

    *** I will fully admit that I’m not good at hearing “what can you change?” while I am in the throes of emotional reacting to whatever I’m struggling with. But it almost always boils down to considering what I have the POWER to change. The serenity prayer seems apt here: God (Creator/Mother), grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength (power) to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The main tenet of Buddhism is that suffering comes from expecting things to be different from how they are. Acceptance of how things are is the first path to feeling better. If you can’t accept it, figuring out what is within your power to change and making those changes is the next step. Wisdom to know when to accept and when to change things is the cumulative effect of surviving long enough on this planet. If I’m going to keep getting older, I don’t want “mad pride”, I want a fuck ton of wisdom. And maybe a tad more power. 😉

  • I think the salient point that is being missed in this discussion is that even if we acknowledge substantial illness with its psychological effects, the answer is not now nor has it ever been to adjust the brain chemicals of the person who is suffering. The only thing this sometimes accomplishes is a relatively temporary reduction in suffering. But as most find, it doesn’t last, different drugs are tried, combinations are tried, and it then becomes a game of chasing mental effects rather than healing the body and subsequently healing the mind.

    Calling a person’s internal distress or outward behaviors a “mental illness” is problematic not because of what some progressive thinking individuals may mean when they say those words, but because of what those words mean in common parlance. We cannot possibly have this discussion every single time we engage with someone about what they mean when they use a word or phrase that has a commonly understood meaning. Therefore, the concept of “mental illness” remains harmful regardless of whether a particular user of that concept has a more nuanced understanding of it. Words have meanings that are both linguistically and culturally understood and it’s important that we stick to those definitions in most cases so that we can understand what people mean when they speak. I will not use “mental illness” for this reason even though I think that I am generally in agreement with both Evanhaar and Steve’s articulated understanding of mental distress and physical illness and how those states interact. Furthermore, my objection to terms like “neurodiversity” and “madness” stem from the same root. “Madness” is defined as “severe mental illness” by all major English dictionaries. “Neurodiversity” implicitly defines some as being outside the spectrum of normal despite the majority of children displaying obvious distress and diverse states of being in this incredibly stressful and toxic culture and world we live in.

    I think it’s important when we are discussing psychiatry, either in terms of eradication or reform, that we are careful to stick to well understood meanings for the terminology we use, lest we repeatedly end up speaking over and past each other and making no substantial forward progress.

  • “In such agony, a loving companion can make the difference between suicide and keeping going. Such companions do not try to persuade us of our worth head on and with cold reason; nor do they go in for any showy displays of affection. They demonstrate that we matter to them in a thousand surreptitious yet fundamental ways. They can tolerate how distressed we are and will stick by us however long it takes. We don’t have to impress them; they won’t worry too much about how scary we are looking and the weird things we might say.

    They’re not going to give up on us, even if it takes a month or six years or sixty. They’re going nowhere. We can call them at strange hours. We can sob or we can sound very adult and reasonable. They seem remarkably to love us in and of ourselves, for who we are rather than anything we do. They hold a loving mirror towards us and help us to tolerate the reflection. It’s pretty much the most beautiful thing in the universe.”

    I loved this. Thank you. In my experience it is a very rare person who offers this kind of love and acceptance. But it seems like a lot more of this would do the world a lot of good. I wish I knew how to be more like this and offer this kind of unconditional love to others. I think self-protection and trauma are comfortable bedfellows.

  • “If your depression puts you in bed full time for months and you can barely resist killing yourself, you may want to risk the drugs. If you do, you must accept the risk that the medications themselves will enable you to get up and commit suicide or harm others.”

    I think the author assumes that a patient will hear about this risk from their physician. Several times recently, I have had emergency and urgent care physicians administer or prescribe drugs with zero informed consent. It has been up to me to ask the doctors involved in my care why I was being given those drugs and what side effects they might cause. In one case, I was only informed the drug was likely to induce severe nausea and vomiting after I asked about side effects and I had to request a prophylactic antinausea drug. For the drugs I was prescribed, I never took two of them, which I believe were prescribed inappropriately. I was never given any counseling on them by the pharmacist even though the paperwork I received with them suggested I had. In fact, the tech had to get the pharmacist to come to the computer and sign off that I had been counseled but I wasn’t. So we’re talking four medications prescribed or administered in which none of two doctors or the pharmacist gave me any informed consent except in one case in which I initiated the discussion.

    This is the norm in my long experience with the medical system. So how is a patient given an antidepressant for moderate depression supposed to know it may make him or her suicidal or violent? This is a complete farce in an era where a significant number of Americans are drugged and “mental health awareness” is ubiquitous.

  • “Working psychiatrists address formidable problems, and we must respect their experience treating severely impaired patients. There is a definite place for their drugs, but they should only be prescribed to a fraction of those who take them now.

    For more healthy individuals—who are victims of the universal overprescribing—the drugs cause much more harm than good.”

    How on Earth does the good doctor propose that we distinguish the severely impaired patients from the less so, especially as severe impairment can be induced by the drugs already given to those with less impairment? Additionally, even among severely impaired populations – a group I might at times include myself in – how are we to say which of us needs psychiatric drugs and should be seen by the psychiatrists he spent the rest of his article/book excoriating, and which need a whole lot more traditional medical care to figure out what is wrong.

    Is someone that is suicidal because of severe chronic pain in need of traditional psychiatric care? Or perhaps should we keep looking for what is underlying the pain? What about someone coping with undisclosed domestic abuse? Or someone struggling with chronically dysfunctional family members? What about the person who is deeply traumatized and holding on to reality by a thread but otherwise generally harmless and well-meaning?

    We need to decide what the end goal of “treatment” is. Is it good coping skills? A productive job? Happiness? Some semblance of physical health? Not bothering others? I’m not at all sure there is any consensus about this even among psychiatrists, much less medicine as a whole. It seems like people are generally allowed to be as miserable as they want just as long as they have financial support and aren’t creating a public nuisance or otherwise disclosing their “depression” to others.

    We will also have to contend with the “mental health awareness” propaganda that Gen Z has been taught in public schools. If we want to move toward more empathic and compassionate responses to distress, we have to stop teaching kids that the answer to feeling bad when bad things are constantly happening is to simply develop better coping skills. Coping is a community affair. If you want psychiatry to stop medicating normal life experiences, a community must exist in which genuine support can be obtained and in which struggle is allowed, without pathologizing normal responses as madness or mental illness or some other moniker to denote othering.

  • It is reasonable to believe that the same factors that lead to mental distress also lead to physical illness. It is not reasonable to suggest that psychological factors cause physical illness. We do not make ourselves sick and any suggestion of the sort is more of the same victim blaming. This is why so many women have had their physical complaints addressed with prescriptions for antidepressants until they become so ill that doctors can’t ignore them any more. This is a costly approach, not just in terms of chronic medical use but that it leads to long-term disability.

    Doing Harm by Maya Dusenbery is a good place to start to understand this. Men are rarely told their physical complaints have a psychological origin.

  • That may be the case, but it would be surprising if it didn’t increase risk for type 1 as well since autoimmunity is well known to correlate with increased ACEs. Type 1 autoimmune diabetes can strike at any age, despite having been colloquially referred to as ‘juvenile’ diabetes. Mixed diabetes is also very prevalent but lesser understood.

    The one conundrum this paper presents is that the researchers didn’t find an increased risk for diabetes in female adults with FMIC as children. But autoimmunity is much more common in women and if they were looking for type 2, I’m left to wonder if type 1 or mixed disease would show an increase in females with a history of childhood FMIC (or high ACEs in general).

  • Lyme Disease patients have been fighting this mindset for years.

    “ Patients need treatments and they need them now. The grindingly slow pace of traditional research won’t do. We need guerrilla research that is fast, agile and “good enough” for now. Research innovation is long overdue. It will benefit all patients everywhere, including those who have Lyme disease.

    In a recent Forbes interview about COVID-19, I said “It is important right now to take the gloves off clinicians and give them access to all available tools. Patients are dying and can’t wait for clinical trials.”

    My comment to Forbes about the need to act quickly drew some heat. Some people countered that we need evidence BEFORE we can treat and that physician reports of what treatments they see working in hospitals are mere anecdotes.

    Sound familiar? Since 2006, that’s what the Infectious Disease Society of America has been saying in its guidelines to deny treatment to Lyme patients who remain ill. The COVID-19 pandemics shines a spotlight on the need to act in the face of uncertainty. Same issue, different disease.”

  • In the past year, my own opposition to the Covid vaccine has dropped significantly. For one, I have learned that RNA vaccines have been largely successful in experiments conducted for the last decade at least. I have learned that someone I know personally has been a subject in one of these experiments several years ago and had no adverse effects. The Pfizer vaccine in particular has shown a 95% effectiveness rate at preventing Covid illness and a 100% rate of preventing severe illness. The few serious adverse events seem almost exclusively to happen with the Moderna vaccine. There have been zero reported serious adverse events for pregnant mothers or their unborn offspring, before or after birth (unlike their extreme risk if they catch Covid). There is little evidence that herd immunity is a realistic prospect with naturally acquired infection. All countries that have taken this route have reversed their official stance because it failed. Indeed, the more community spread there has been, the more and faster mutations develop. The countries that have instituted contact tracing, mandated mask wearing, and severely restricted movement among infected populations have ended up being able to effectively control their outbreaks. Despite the US having a tiny fraction of the world’s population, we have had a fifth of the world’s cases because no political willpower exists even now to infringe upon ‘Muricans Rights.

    It doesn’t matter right now why psychiatric patients are at greater risk. What matters is that encouraging current patients and survivors to flout public health recommendations puts our lives at risk.

    Wear a mask. Get your shot. Social distance. If you can’t or won’t do those things, I won’t be arguing for your freedom. Don’t want ‘Covid camps’? Don’t risk other people’s lives. It’s simple. And those who continue to spread antivax and deeply anti-scientific propaganda without caring who they’re influencing should have to face the consequences of their actions.

  • It’s actually flawed thinking to suggest that only psych drugs are the culprit in psychiatric patients having shorter lifespans or altered immune functioning.

    Teasing apart (controlling for) the many causes including underlying health issues that are ignored and inappropriately treated with psychiatric drugs, adverse living conditions that increase stress and hamper immune response, poor diet (which itself has multiple causes from lack of funds to lack of knowledge to lack of ability or space to prepare healthy meals), poor coping behaviors like smoking and drug/alcohol use, and lack of proper community support are all contributing to the decreased pisfespans and immune response of psychiatric patients. We know, for instance, that once a person has a psychiatric label in their medical file, future medical complaints tend to be taken far less seriously. This is independent of whether that person is taking psychiatric drugs.

  • I support censoring broad antivax positions and I would be happy to see such comments removed here. If you have a problem with a specific vaccination, you should state what that issue is and provide the information you have used to come to the conclusion you have so that the people you’re discussing with can draw their own educated conclusions.

    I agree with Richard that it risks harm in the form of more forced treatment to the survivor community for large numbers of survivors to eschew public health recommendations without providing evidence for their conclusions. I have yet to see any hard evidence in the comments. Twitter photos and fearmongering claims that can be traced back to right wing extremists aren’t scientific evidence.

    Given the stakes here, it is hard to believe these conversations haven’t been shut down yet. I have seen Bob Whitaker end comments for much less egregious infractions and am surprised in this case that nothing has been done about the amount of propaganda about vaccines in general and the Covid vaccine in particular as has been allowed to be posted.

    If those of you participating in this are trying to make survivors look like a bunch of looneys, congrats, it’s working!

  • Everything I’ve heard has attributed the rise and subsequent fall in cases to the holidays. Maybe you have different sources of news. I’ve also heard that anything approaching herd immunity won’t happen until late this year or some time next year. I’ve also heard we may never reach herd immunity due to the speed of mutations, which is what I think is more likely to happen.

  • One of the first scientific advisors for the FMSF was a man named Ralph Underwager. Mr Underwager had this to say about pedophelia, resulting in his resignation from his scientific advisory position.

    “Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God’s will for love and unity among human beings. This is the only way the question is going to be answered, of whether or not it is possible. Does it happen? Can it be good? That’s what we don’t know yet, the ways in which paedophiles can conduct themselves in loving ways. That’s what you need to talk about. You need to get involved in discourse, and to do so while acting. Matthew 11 talks about the wisdom of God, and the way in which God’s wisdom, like ours, can only follow after. Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophiles is an acceptable expression of God’s will for love and unity among human beings.” [8]

    He also suggested that research dollars be allocated for studying “loving” pedophilia on a large scale:

    “It would be nice if someone could get some kind of big research grant to do a longitudinal study of, let’s say, a hundred twelve year old boys in relationships with loving paedophiles. Whoever was doing the study would have to follow that at five year intervals for twenty years.“

  • More from this site:

    William Freyd’s letter. He is the brother of Peter Freyd who cofounded with his wife Pamlea the FSM Foundation. It is Willaim’s answer to a PBS programm:

    “Peter Freyd is my brother. Pamela Freyd is both my stepsister and my sister-in-law. Jennifer and Gwendolyn are my nieces….

    The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a fraud designed to deny a reality that Peter and Pam have spent most of their lives trying to escape. There is no such thing as a False Memory Syndrome. It is not, by any normal standard, a Foundation. Neither Pam nor Peter have any significant mental health expertise.

    That the False Memory Syndrome Foundation has been able to excite so much media attention has been a great surprise to those of us who would like to admire and respect the objectivity and motives of people in the media…. We do not understand why you would “buy” such an obviously flawed story. But buy it you did, based on the severely biased presentation you made of the memory issue that Peter and Pam created to deny their own difficult reality.

    For the most part, you presented very credible parents and frequently quite incredible bizarre and exotic, alleged victims and therapists. Balance and objectivity would call for the presentation of more credible alleged victims and more bizarre parents. While you did present some highly regarded therapists as commentators (Dr. Herman, for example), most of the therapists you presented as providers of therapy were clearly not in the
    main stream. While this selection of examples may make for much more interesting T.V., it most certainly does not make for objectivity and fairness.

    I would advance the idea that “Divided Memories” hurt victims, helped abusers, and confused the public. I wonder why you thought these results would be in the public interest that Public Broadcasting is funded to support.

    William Freyd”

  • Here is a particularly good take on the morally bankrupt positions of the FMSF and it’s adherents:

    “FMS is a political/legal term contrived to systematically discredit any and every person alleging to have been sexually molested and to have discovered this by having recovered memories of the abuse later in life.
    One of the contributing authors of this book, Elizabeth F. Loftus, (“The Myth of Repressed Memory”) has consistently taken the indefensible position that no memory that emerges later in life can be trusted. This means that if I remember a pleasant summer day 40 years ago, it is a ‘false memory’. What is suspect about her and others of like view is that *sexual* memories, in particular sexual *abuse* memories, are targetted for vehement discreditation. This says something. It says that someone is very very nervous about the resurfacing of abuse memories buried deep in the mind because of their traumatizing nature. Who would be nervous but those who perpetrated or were accessories to the abuse?”

  • But psychiatry doesn’t often even get hold of a patient until after the family doctor has already drugged them. Referrals to psychiatrists include a huge number of people who are ALREADY DRUGGED! I wasn’t referred to a psychiatrist until several months after my family doctor had poly drugged me for fibromyalgia. My bipolar diagnosis came from the SSRI-induced suicide attempt. And I’d already had several drug changes at that point, so in addition to being used as a punching bag by my husband, I was going through sudden withdrawals and effects of new drugs. What happened to me was a crime, and it wasn’t the fault of a psychiatrist (yet). My family doctor’s specialty was in gynecology! And even then, when I became so emotionally volatile from the drugs combined with current spousal abuse, that I started opening up about childhood traumas, he couldn’t get me out of there fast enough because his colleague in the practice was my mother’s business partner and financier of her businesses! If there was anyone I ever should have sued, it was that wreckless asshole!

    But as for Dr Pies, I have an entire binder full of papers from various hospitalizations talking about the chemical imbalance. It’s what we learned in our required “medication education” groups both inpatient and outpatient. We were given pill boxes with the names of psych drugs on them to fill with our medications to help us keep track of taking our “meds”.

    Everyone talked about “better living through chemistry” and all you ever heard in the news was some horrific thing somebody did when they “went off their meds”. The entire culture of mental health is built up around the theory that some people “have” this thing called “severe mental illness” and they are “dangerous” when they’re “off their meds”. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m fucking done being the cultural boogeyman so that the people who cause and perpetuate so very much harm can continue to get away with it.

    There will never be any redemption for the likes of Dr Pies and his ilk. He’s trying to rewrite history to assuage his own guilt and he go to Hell.

  • “But even today, few psychiatrists are interested in learning about childhood trauma, as that field has sold its soul to the pharmaceutical industry. And that is unfortunate, as psychiatrists often misdiagnose adult survivors with conditions like bipolar disorder and then overmedicate them.”

    This is a very important point. And this tendency to acknowledge trauma but then label the client with “mental illnesses” unrelated to that has been harmful to me and great many other survivors of childhood trauma and the psychiatric system.

    The going line, for far too long, has been that childhood trauma “triggered” these biologically-based “mental disorders” in vulnerable individuals as if those with no genetic vulnerabilities would or even somehow should be impervious to the effects of childhood abuse. In fact, it is my belief that the search for genetic causes of “mental illness” is very much a search for a way to remove those deemed vulnerable from the gene pool via prenatal testing much like you might expect for other genetic defects.

    Paul McHugh was the advisor for my psychiatrist when she was in her Psychiatry residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Though she warned me to never go to Johns Hopkins for psychiatric treatment or hospitalization, her methods very much followed this route, paying lip service to my dissociative disorder and childhood trauma while also medicating me for “ADHD” and “bipolar disorder”. The cocktail of medications she prescribed made it impossible for me to function, much less to process the traumatic events of my past. After years off of these drugs, I am still paying for their effects. I refer to that time in my life as living like a junkie, despite taking all of the drugs as prescribed. I was given the tools and encouraged to medicate away feelings that could have given me important insights into my own condition and how to make a meaningful recovery from the harm I’d experienced. Instead, I never had to feel much what with stimulants, painkillers, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzos, sleeping pills, and more. The labels and drugs gave me license to do harm that I am still sorting through with the people I love. Psychoactive drugs effected my thought processes, made me indifferent to others, created an affirmative defense for bad behavior and generally wrecked my life until I made the commitment to get clean and confront the traumas I experienced and the emotions they elicit. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be ready to forgive the medical providers that sidetracked my healing in favor of labeling me “mentally ill” and drugging me into a state of complete helplessness. Maybe that step will be there somewhere in the 12 Steps of Recovery From Psychiatric Assault but I’m certainly not there yet. To borrow from a country music song, I’m Not Ready To Make Nice.

  • You couldn’t be more tone deaf here.

    Most of us here consider ourselves psychiatric survivors, not service users, while most of the general population is still taken in by psychiatric propaganda. It would behoove YOU to explore why there is such a strong and vociferously vocal contingent of survivors pushing back against your message here. We are intimately familiar with the harms of the biomedical approach to distress. Most of us have at least read Bob Whitaker’s book Mad In America. Here is a list of other titles you could peruse if you care to actually hear and understand the feedback you’re receiving:

    Anatomy of An Epidemic
    Psychiatry Under the Influence
    They Say You’re Crazy
    Toxic Psychiatry
    Thinking About Suicide
    A Mind of Your Own
    Your Drug May Be Your Problem
    How to Become a Schizophrenic
    The Myth of Mental Illness
    Coping with Panic
    The Emperor’s New Drugs
    Saving Normal
    The Bitterest Pills
    The Collected Schizophrenias
    Lyme Madness
    Big Brother in the Exam Room
    How We Do Harm
    Let Them Eat Prozac
    Resisting Illegitimate Authority
    The Revolt Against Psychiatry

  • Yes, many causes exist that are not specifically trauma-based. Infection is one well-known cause – syphillis is the historic example but Lyme disease also causes extreme depression. Lyme patients describe it as the worst depression they’ve ever experienced. Lyme patients can also experience psychosis due to central nervous system infection and brain inflammation. When lyme is properly treated, the mental effects are relived as well. Autoimmune disorders are another well known cause of mental distress, again due to factors such as systemic inflammation, brain inflammation and poorly controlled pain. Bowel disorders are known to effect the mental functioning and the theories suggest multiple routes from direct messaging from harmful bacterial overgrowths (blautia blooms are implicated in chronic Lyme disease (PTLD)) to faulty enteric nervous system signaling to the brain. Drug abuse is another way to screw up your mental functioning, and the use of high THC content cannabis is correctly implicated in the development of psychosis. Organic brain disorders result from physical trauma such as TBIs and stroke and also tumors. Genetic causes, though rare, are real and include missing chromosomes, duplicated chromosomes, and copy mutations.

    What is completely missing from all of these causes is treatment that treats the cause because the current approach to mental health care does not attempt to discern etiology, instead opting for chemical treatments and groupings of symptoms. My personal experience, and that of a great many others, involved a number of causes from systemic infection to autoimmunity to high ACEs to intimate partner abuse that all converged to produce a barely functioning adult and chemicals weren’t even a bandaid for all of that. They actively did more harm than good from the very start. And telling me the reason for my distress was a chemical imbalance for which I needed a lifetime of drugs produced an extremely poorly functioning person who is actually damn lucky to even be alive at this point.

    So, is it all trauma? No, of course not. But it isn’t a chemical imbalance either. The drugs and psychosurgical techniques used by psychiatry are both actively harmful to the majority who use them and actively disempowering and lead to our disturbingly high suicide rate and our shockingly low recovery rate. The legacy of the last 200 years and particularly the last 40 years of psychiatric “care” will go down in history as one of the greatest missteps in the entire history of medicine. No amount of intensive home treatment involving current psychiatric methods will change this fact.

  • Richard,

    While I agree in principle with your position on Covid and it’s harms, including the extraordinary number of dead, I don’t entirely disagree with Oldhead’s assertion that it is reasonable to question the origins of this pandemic and to whom it is serving. I also agree with him that we are flogging a dead horse and this is distracting and draining energy from more important AP struggles. Survivor solidarity even when we disagree, which is frequent and on a number of topics, is and will remain our priority. And so I am going to personally ask the both of you publicly to bury this hatchet and move on.

  • Anyone who wants to understand the interplay of power dynamics in who gets labeled mentally ill in western culture can just look at the framing between different demographics.

    Young women with sexual abuse histories who attempt suicide are often labeled mood disordered or personality disordered.

    Middle aged white people (mostly men) who are often very successful in their suicide attempts are said to be involved in “deaths of despair”.

    Professionals of all stripes who attempt or complete suicide or experience emotional crises are usually referred to as being burned out.

    There are very clear distinctions made in the framing between those considered seriously mentally ill and those who are unfortunate victims of circumstance. When the poor or those with high ACEs or Black, Brown and sexual minorities or immigrants experience distress, we are generally labeled with one of the more severe DSM labeled and treated until we no longer complain, even if our lack of complaint is because we’re so drugged or brain-damaged that we have no ability to continue to express ourselves sufficiently.

  • So you aren’t a fan of the DSM and yet you’re perfectly fine with labeled Megan with a mood disorder, placing the problem within her instead of within the culture and family. What survivors need is restorative justice that holds abusers accountable. The label of being mood disordered or personality disordered is another subjective judgment from someone in a position of power over someone without it. You perpetuate harm by focusing your attention on the harmed individual rather than those doing harm.

    And yes, physical health problem are a manifestation of abuse survivors. But you cannot properly control for the effects that adult outcomes for abuse survivors often mean struggling financially, experiencing housing insecurity and food insecurity, etc, all of which contribute in significant ways toward those middle aged health problems experienced by abuse survivors. So focusing exclusively on what’s within the harmed individual response to harm rather than providing strong supports housing, meaningful work, good nutrition and non-pathologizing therapy is again, perpetuating harm.

    Psychiatric drugs (they aren’t medications) and psycho surgical interventions greatly harm already harmed persons.

  • The problem, David, is with psychiatric “treatment”, not the location. You don’t seem to understand this as a provider who believes in psychiatric “treatment”. We do not need an alternative to hospitalization that delivers treatment as usual – medication and ECT – in people’s homes. We need an end to medicalized approaches to distress that rely on DSM labels, medications and psycho surgical techniques. Most of us here support psychosocial responses like Soteria houses, “peer” respite, Open Dialogue, mutual aid and similar forms of “alternatives” to psychiatric care either before or in conjunction with abolishing the unscientific field of Psychiatry. But this is not an “alternative” to psychiatric care. This is psychiatric care in a less restrictive setting. That’s what we are objecting to. Whether or not your patients appear willing to accept this in order to avoid medical incarceration is irrelevant. The power dynamics may legitimately be beyond your comprehension for someone in your position. But I can assure you they exist whether or not you are willing to see them and considering how great a percentage of the psychiatrized population ended up that way due to abuse of power and control, and how thoroughly psychiatric drugs and psychosurgical techniques have been shown to do more harm than good, it is indeed surprising to see this here. I can only assume that the funding from Soros Foundation has something to do with the “promoting all sides” approach that seems to be increasingly happening here at MIA.

    I do hope, though, that the MIA editorial staff sufficiently prepared you for the reception this “alternative” would receive here.

  • Thank you. I stopped reading it myself when I realized there are no life preservers in existence buoyant enough to keep my head above the sea of bullshit.

    The take is privileged. It perpetuates harm against harmed populations. It does nothing to hold abusers accountable. And it places the dysfunction within the harmed individual instead of squarely on the shoulders of the powerful who do harm.

  • I have no doubt that your model avoids hospitalization but it still presumes that the best way to help those experiencing an emotional/mental crisis is psychiatric treatment rather than restorative justice and reparations for harm done. Therapy and drugs do not produce long term success for harmed individuals because it keeps them occupied with chasing an internal flaw when their response is the normal response to harm. It creates a situation where the problem is believed to exist within the individual instead of in the family, community and culture.

    Psychiatry is firmly entrenched within a greater carceral state which punishes those whose issues are most commonly boiled down to trauma, poverty, racism, and other oppressions. You can’t fix any of those with intensive home treatment. And it lets the powerful who continue to perpetrate harm off the hook.

  • Let me make it even more clear for you. It’s easy to get away when someone is physically battering you. But the most mentally damaging abuse is not achieved with a man’s fists. It’s coercive control. It’s financial abuse. It’s psychological. It’s emotional cruelty. It’s manipulation to distance her from her family and friends. It’s telling her that if she leaves, all the money will be spent on lawyers and she’ll get nothing. It’s threats to use past psychiatric treatment against her. It’s even more insidious when the abused is disabled and being supported by an affluent spouse. Abuse that leaves bruises is the easiest to escape. Abuse that wears down and breaks a woman’s psyche gets diagnosed as depression and a multitude of other health problems.

    Your suggestion that you can “treat” her emotional crisis in a DV shelter reveals how little you know. I’ll stop here, I’ve made my point.

  • Do you think psychiatric drugs are appropriate treatment for abused women? Wouldn’t prosecutions of their abusers be a better use of resources?

    This also assumes the woman is going to avail herself of crisis services which are almost exclusively directed toward the poor. Class stigma plays a major role here.

    “ But psychiatrists warn that the eleven percent figure masks the true prevalence of domestic violence among the middle classes, upper classes, and even those families in the one percent. Statistics are primarily derived from organizations such as domestic abuse shelters that cater to impoverished victims,

    If spousal abuse is something that happens to “poor people” that society blames for their troubles, then any person who admits to suffering intimate partner violence must contend with the additional shame of being associated with “low class” behavior for which they are somehow responsible. Such contempt compounds the fears of reputational loss that battered spouses suffer, keeping even those who can free themselves from their situation unwilling to seek help. “The notion that ‘silence is violence’ takes on a whole new meaning for the upscale: their silence keeps them bound on the path of abuse,” writes Weitzman.

    In her book, Weitzman maintains that the women she saw in households with annual incomes above a hundred thousand dollars were even reluctant to mention the abuse in therapy. “Only with the greatest reluctance did the women I worked with reveal the abuse they had suffered, even within the safe confines of my office,” she wrote.“

    I was once a poor woman in DV shelter. No woman with any other choice uses those services. And the idea that she needs psychiatric treatment instead of a good lawyer is extremely pervasive. Your response of bringing your treatment to a crisis shelter only makes my point. Poor women are treated so badly that more affluent women suffer in silence.

  • “On average, more than half of the women seen in mental health settings are being or have been abused by an intimate partner. There are specific diagnoses that are commonly experienced by these women: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. In addition, traumatic events produce profound and lasting changes in physiological, arousal, emotion, cognition, and memory- changes that wouldn’t necessarily result in psychological diagnosis.

    It’s important to understand that someone’s mental health can be impacted without having PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Whether or not someone develops PTSD as a result of domestic violence depends on numerous factors, not everyone is impacted in the same way. The ways in which a victim-survivor’s mental health can be impacted can include: difficulties with being productive at work, school, with caregiving, establishing and engaging in healthy relationships, and adapting to change and coping with adversity.

    A victim-survivor’s mental health can also be weaponized and used as another form of violence and harm. Mental health coercion is a commonly used tactic that is targeted toward the victim-survivor’s mental health as part of a broader pattern of abuse and control and includes: deliberately attempting to undermine a survivor’s sanity, preventing a survivor from accessing treatment, controlling a survivor’s medication, using a survivor’s mental to discredit them with sources of protection, support, to manipulate the police or influence child custody decisions, or engaging mental health stigma to make a survivor think no one will believe them.”

  • “ Intimate partner violence may constitute physical, sexual, or psychological harm upon a current or former partner or spouse. In these situations, offenders try to control their victims through fear, intimidation, threats, or force. Perpetrators may humiliate their targets, control what they do, withhold information, isolate them from friends and family, and deny access to money or other basic resources.

    Persons who suffer such interpersonal violence usually report a range of negative mental and physical health outcomes.6 Sometimes, police officers seek this information from individuals caught between reporting their abuser and fearing how the “system” will treat them.”

  • “Know the Warning Signs:

    My partner has injured me badly enough that I needed medical attention

    My partner follows me everywhere I go or needs to know what I am doing at all times

    My partner has threatened to hurt my children or pets

    My partner abuses alcohol or drugs

    My partner has forced me to have sex

    My partner controls my money

    My partner tells me who I can spend time with

    My partner calls me harsh names and makes me feel worthless“

    “Individuals who have experienced IPV may have many health problems beyond any immediate physical injury, including:



    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    Suicide attempts

    Substance abuse

    Gastrointestinal disorders”

  • “The first thing that came to mind when I heard about COVID restrictions and mitigation strategies was how exceptionally dangerous this time could be for women living with abusive partners. “Self-isolate,” “stay at home,” “practice social distancing,” and “recession” are all words likely to be terrifying to many women who are living with intimate partner violence (IPV). The lives of these women are often filled with fear and danger under normal circumstances, but during this new normal of the global pandemic, the lives of these very often “invisible victims” are at an increased risk for more violence — and even murder.”

  • “ Domestic violence stems from a desire to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partner’s lives, often either because they believe their own feelings and needs should be the priority in the relationship, or because they enjoy exerting the power that such abuse gives them.

    Tactics of abuse (in any form) may be aimed at dismantling equality in the relationship in order to make their partners feel less valuable and undeserving of respect.

    Being abusive is a decision: it’s a strategic behavior by your partner to create their desired power dynamic.

    Regardless of the circumstances of your relationship or past, no one ever deserves to be abused and you’re never responsible for your partner’s abusive actions.”

  • “ For over 10 years, researchers analyzed the lives of 1,052 mothers who had no past history of depression. Throughout the study, participants were interviewed multiple times to assess whether they suffered through violence from their spouses and if they had any mental disorders. It turns out more than one-third of the women suffered violence from their spouses from being either pushed or hit with an object. Those same women were at a three times higher risk for developing symptoms similar to psychotic schizophrenia. If they reported a history of child abuse, the risks automatically doubled and they were also twice as likely to suffer from depression.”

  • “ The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence reveals that 50% of women with mental illnesses are victims of violence. More specifically, 50-84% of female victims suffer from PTSD. According to the same source, 63-77% suffer from depression, whilst, 38-75% of women report feeling anxiety. This indicates that there is some correlation between domestic violence and mental illness. In addition to the aforementioned illnesses, victims of domestic violence may also suffer from substance abuse, psychotic episodes and suicidal thoughts.”

  • “ Sometimes I said no, and he kept going, and I… left. I mean, my body stayed, but the rest of me went floating up and to the right. Dissociation sounds scary, but it doesn’t feel bad. Sometimes it feels like sliding into a warm, cozy bed. A secret, safe place where I can stay as long as I want. It’s the coming back that breaks me open. That’s when I always cry.

    Perfect Victim is the model against which all other (normal, flawed, human) victims are judged, and trust me, we all come up short. Perfect Victim says no clearly and often, fights off her attacker like a honey badger, and if she can’t get away, she continues to profess her non-consent throughout the encounter, ideally by shouting “no” and continuing to fight as best she can. Perfect Victim has the courage of a hundred armchair quarterbacks. Perfect Victim bites and scratches. Perfect Victim spits and sobs. What she doesn’t do is give in. What she doesn’t do is get wet. What she doesn’t do is make her rapist breakfast.“

  • “Violence against women is widely recognised as a violation of human rights and a public health problem. In this Series paper, we argue that violence against women is also a prominent public mental health problem, and that mental health professionals should be identifying, preventing, and responding to violence against women more effectively. The most common forms of violence against women are domestic abuse and sexual violence, and victimisation is associated with an increased risk of mental disorder. Despite clinical guidance on the role of mental health professionals in identifying violence against women and responding appropriately, poor identification persists and can lead to non-engagement with services and poor response to treatment. We highlight that little research has been done on how to improve identification and treatment of victims and perpetrators in contact with mental health services, but that mental health services could play a major role in primary and secondary prevention of violence against women.”

  • “But in all this discussion about the realities of domestic violence, one perspective was clearly left out: the people who are imprisoned for defending themselves against abusers. Where are the stories about how the legal system often punishes abuse survivors for defending themselves, usually after the legal system itself failed to ensure their safety?”

  • “Domestic abuse is a leading problem in American homes and it can take many different forms. When the abuse leaves no physical marks, outsiders may not recognize when all is not well and the abused person can find it challenging to translate what’s happening.

    “Gaslighting” — a term that became popular after the 1944 movie “Gaslight,” in which a husband slowly makes his wife think she’s going crazy through a long game of deceptions — is an insidious form of psychological abuse. It’s an intricate web of lies woven to break down one partner’s sense of self-worth and perception of what is real.

    “When you’re black and blue, you can point to the bruises and you can say ‘This happened to me,’” Dr. Robin Stern, associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, told TODAY. “But when somebody is undermining your reality and you simply have this feeling that there’s something wrong … women moreso than men, but men too, tend to point their fingers at themselves and say, ‘I did something wrong.’”

  • “Multiple studies have found that domestic violence survivors have higher-than-average rates of suicidal thoughts, with as many as 23 percent of survivors having attempted suicide compared to 3 percent among populations with no prior domestic violence exposure.

    It’s not just physical violence that’s linked with an increase in suicide. Verbal and emotional abuse are also connected with higher risk, as well as the duration, frequency and severity of abuse, and the presence of other factors such as PTSD, childhood trauma, depression and substance use.”

  • “If intimate partner violence is not stopped, you may develop serious health and mental problems. Examples include headache, body pain, sexually transmitted infection (STI), and diarrhea. Intimate partner violence may lead to severe injuries or become life-threatening. You and your children may feel severe trauma, distress, anxiety, or depression.”

  • “ Marital rape or spousal rape is the act of sexual intercourse with one’s spouse without the spouse’s consent. The lack of consent is the essential element and need not involve physical violence. Marital rape is considered a form of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Although, historically, sexual intercourse within marriage was regarded as a right of spouses, engaging in the act without the spouse’s consent is now widely classified as rape by many societies around the world, repudiated by international conventions, and increasingly criminalized.

    The issues of sexual and domestic violence within marriage and the family unit, and more specifically, the issue of violence against women, have come to growing international attention from the second half of the 20th century. Still, in many countries, marital rape either remains outside the criminal law, or is illegal but widely tolerated. Laws are rarely being enforced, due to factors ranging from reluctance of authorities to pursue the crime, to lack of public knowledge that sexual intercourse in marriage without consent is illegal.”

  • “Science is very aware of biases and it takes into account those variables.”

    Science is not an entity. You are preaching Scientism. Researcher bias and the corporate influence and profit motive has had a massive influence on current accepted scientific wisdom. Here are researchers at the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center just *yesterday* pushing back strongly against the IDSA Guidelines on Lyme Disease treatment, saying they harm Lyme Disease patients. Lyme patients have been pushing back against these flawed guidelines for decades. Just as psychiatric survivors have been pushing back against the scientism used by psychiatry and other helping professions regarding “mental illness” and its treatments.

    Using “science” as a cudgel to prove your point is crude and ineffective on those who actually appreciate legitimate science driven in the name of curiosity rather than the junk science produced at great cost under our current publish or perish system. You can sound as measured and learned as you want and still be wrong.

    It’s also pretty rich to suggest that Buddhist concepts are too complicated to understand so westerners misinterpret them. I wonder if Buddhists misinterpret the concept of a “loving” father drowning all of his children and starting Humanity 2.0 as the Christian SkyDaddy is supposed to have done. As has been pointed out here before, the western practice of picking and choosing bits and pieces of other cultures to try on and thoroughly bastardize is appropriation.


    We are reducing the mind and mental experience to the brain when we conclude that brain changes are evidence of anything. We are also making the mistake of believing that meditation studied until controlled circumstances has any application to people at large.

    There’s been no demonstration from any of these studies that feeling more calm correlates with improved real-word outcomes in functioning in terms of health, housing, employment, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, disability status, stabler rewarding relationships, etc. We also can’t demonstrate that what is seen on an MRI from someone who has been taught to quiet their mind in a controlled environment has any real world effect when they are under duress in a less controlled environment.

    These studies have little practical applicable value besides the benefit to the careers of the researchers who have published. When I see studies that demonstrate mindfulness meditation having real-world applicable effects with confounding variables well controlled and demonstrating a causal relationship between meditating and positive outcomes, I’ll consider it of more value. Until then, I think it does a massive disservice to the people whose stories you’ve attempted to discount with a few links and claims of evidence.

    If a person can’t “do no harm”, they can at least keep their mouths shut and not respond to stories of harm with “but look at these brains scans and this real evidence”. The amount of “anecdotal” evidence in blogs and comments accumulated on this website could fill volumes. A few brain scan studies cannot refute the harms that have been shared over and over and over on these pages. I find the dismissal of personal stories callous but sadly typical of mental health professionals.

  • Oldhead, do you not see “conscious evolution” as a contradiction of terms? The average IQ of the species has actually fallen in the last 100 years since the development of modern medicine and reproductive technologies. A lot more idiots are surviving to reproduce. Is this a good thing? Can humans be conscious without introducing bias that does more harm than good? We have AI that concludes that Black folk are healthier because they utilize fewer medical services? When you say “conscious” are you using this term as a euphemism for “ethical” or “moral”? I see evolution as being on hold as humans have developed technologies and knowledge that effectively circumvent natural selection.

  • Interestingly, well before DBT became the go-to treatment for Borderline, it was well accepted that the associated behaviors were often “grown out of” by the mid-30s, although clinicians still appear reticent to use the word “recovered” even now in favor of “sustained remission” instead. In order to be considered “recovered”, one must have a full time employment outside the home. So sorry to those with any other disabilities precluding full time employment… if you’re not slaving for someone else’s profit, you aren’t recovered. “Functioning” seems conspicuously tied to capitalist interests.

  • Hey Steve, I totally agree with your first statement. It wasn’t until I looked him up that I realized he had developed the concept of allostatic load. He’s no ordinary neuroscientist calling bullshit on psychiatry; he’s basically the godfather of the very concept of there being social determinants of health.

    I’m also not convinced on your last statement. I don’t think evolution gave us our species core need of survival. I think evolution is rather the result of survival. Survival of the fittest being the core concept of Darwin’s theory of evolution. I think our core need, which contributes to survival of the species, is actually reproduction. The drive to reproduce is fundamental to many of the other needs he mentioned such as exploration, risk taking, and regular small rewards.

  • I have noticed an interesting trend recently. As more research has come out showing people can indeed heal from trauma, and borderline has been framed as having a high rate of recovery, suddenly people are tripping over themselves to reveal their borderline diagnoses. Nobody wanted to be borderline when we were regarded as untreatable and now it’s the diagnosis du jour. And why wouldn’t it be? Who would want one of the labels that are regarded as needing pills for life or that are associated with psychosis, like bipolar increasingly is framed as. And move over neurodiversity, borderline and dissociative disorders are what all the cool kids have. Or something…

  • I’m sorry you misunderstood what I meant by individualized treatment. I’m not talking about meeting an individual’s needs in terms of the supports provided to them. I’m talking about the way “mental illness” is framed as existing as a treatable medical illness within the individual instead of a response to abuse/oppression/exploitation. The individual illness/medicalized approach to treatment doesn’t generally address social and environmental causes/etiology of distress.

    Secondly, when I mention adversity, I never mean oppression, abuse or exploitation. Humans learn by trial and error. Sadness and grief and anger and joy are all within the normal spectrum but our culture tends to see only a very narrow range of emotions as being acceptable. Being too happy or too sad or too angry are all pathologized instead of trying to understand why and use them to our advantage. Our emotions exist to drive us to explore and take risks and learn. There is value to experiencing setbacks, keeping our eyes on the prize, being determined. But all of these have been twisted under capitalism and we rarely truly get to experience the fruits of our labor when our labor is exploited for others’ profit. Oppression and abuse rarely teach us anything more than how to exist/survive within harmful power dynamics.

  • Great article but it left unaddressed the individualism that mental health treatment entails. Yes, we need a more equal society but we also need to educate people that feeling bad is a normal part of the human condition. “Happiness” is not actually the goal of life. Character is built through adversity, perseverance, triumph. We need to understand that taking prescription drugs to avoid feeling is no different than taking street drugs or drinking alcohol to excess to shut down those feelings. Our feelings are what drive us to make the changes we so desperately need and so few people are making change because they’re too busy attempting to drug the bad feelings away and be ok on a personal level only. The politicians aren’t going to change the system without the people participating in holding their feet to the fire.

    Also unspoken was the vast number of people who have tried out the mental health system and either got little help or found it made their situation worse. My opinion is that it’s time to flush awareness campaigns entirely. It’s time to do away with individualized mental health treatment and instead start building up cooperative and supportive housing, employment, and mutual aid that doesn’t depend upon individual pathology.

  • Ok, well done. You’ve convinced me to read your book.

    While I agree with Richard above that the current economic system – capitalism – thrives on all of the conditions that make us ill and miserable, I also think it’s probably too late to change the trajectory for humans (indeed, all of earth’s species) as we have long since passed the 3.5C change in global temperature that predicts runaway climate change. I think there is merit to Paul Beckwith’s suggestion to mourn the end of the species rather than fight an outcome that almost seems completely inevitable at this point. Some models suggest a blue ocean event could occur as early as 2024.

    At the most base level, though, that systems change are or would be required to return humans to optimal functioning, I think you’re spot on. Interesting essay and I look forward to reading your books.

  • How exactly is this an improvement when it still categorizes disorder based upon symptomatology rather than etiology? The way a person expresses or manifests their distress appears to have more to do with their environment, upbringing, and their social circles than the actual origin of their issues. If psychopathology is ever to have any legitimacy whatsoever, it must address etiology and stop judging and attempting to interpret behaviors.

    I can assure you that the behaviors of children experiencing abuse at home or school and adults experiencing domestic violence or abuse in the workplace can look an awful lot like most of these “disorders” and without addressing the situation, the response amounts to victim-blaming. Equally, diagnoses of mood disorders or psychosis when someone has an undetected subclinical infection helps no one. We have a medical system that on a good day does a thyroid and rheumatological panel before drugging the life out of people. We have the knowledge that we are what we eat, that the enteric nervous system directly effects mood and cognition, that hunger and malnutrition are rampant despite people getting too many calories, and yet there seems no political will on either side to regulate lucrative industries peddling cheap crap at great profit to large portions of the populous. And on and on and on. One industry after another profits off of human distress that is largely artificially created.

    We don’t need any more research on these issues. We don’t need any more books. We don’t need any more pontificating by academics. We need boots on the ground, we need the folks getting psychology and psychiatry degrees to be raising their voices with us. We need you to read our stories of abuse, of trauma, of illness, of poverty and then elevate our voices to the news and courts and politicians to effect actual change. Fuck this research. Fuck new taxonomies. This isn’t the help anyone needs. This is no alternative to the DSM, it’s just more pathologizing. It’s people getting published in the publish or perish academic environment. You could more good by setting this paper on fire and harvesting the thermal energy from it. At least the PTMF has the guts to point the finger at the power dynamics doing and perpetuating harm.

  • Also Richard, yes, I often think of Matt with a mix of anger and sadness. I know all too keenly how he felt. I know how deep, as you say, the judgements of psychiatry penetrate. I have allowed it to fuel a deep sense of righteous anger to propel me when I might otherwise sink into similar thoughts. I wish I could have shared some of that with Matt. There is a very real way in which Matt’s suicide can be viewed as murder by the system. What it does is a slow murder for all too many who take that path, seeing no other way out, and having internalized the judgments. May he and all those gone but not forgotten Rest In Peace and their memories sustain those of us still fighting the Dragon.

  • Bojana, this is phenomenal. You possess a great intellect along with the capacity for extraordinary creative and illustrative expression.

    Furthermore, I couldn’t agree more with your premise regarding the value of education in its own right, regardless of what one might go on to DO with the knowledge gained. Education, both formal – I have an associate’s degree earned over 14 years of slow and steady pursuit – and informal – time used wisely to learn as much as I could – have served me in many ways above and beyond any work I might have performed instead.

    Additionally, the self—awareness that one’s innermost experiences do not align neatly with the ways they are conjured by others is healing in and of itself. For example, hearing voices versus experiencing obtrusive thoughts or urges. The difference in framing changes everything about how you are treated. My own experience was that various diagnoses were applied depending on how I appeared – they were snapshots in time taken out of context. I have always been kind of shocked that I got the DID label and not the schizophrenia label, though these are each differential diagnoses for the other. My daughter got labeled with RAD which has been changed to Autism. In one, the mother is blamed, the other is seen as a “neurodiversity”. Exactly nothing about her experience changed. As a child, I was labeled as “culturally deprived” for not knowing who Bugs Bunny was at the age of 5, when I had little access to cartoon television and spent most of my time outdoors or with my nose in a book. Again, these labels are others subjective observations of our lives based on their experiences of their lives. It approaches a form of professional bullying and misunderstanding.

    I left psychiatry and therapy for reasons very similar to your own. These systems do not serve me well. They label, pathologize and judge experiences they don’t understand. They “other” and stigmatize what ought to be seen as completely normal. Of course, we all step lightly on a new pair of well-fitting and comfortable (or just adorable) shoes!

    I have always wondered how WE (in the greater cultural sense) can both appreciate creative arts and simultaneously vilify the artist. Van Gogh is at once a creative genius and posthumously diagnosed with every MI label in the book.

    Anyway, “The fear disappeared and I started to recover and gain intellectual self-respect.” This strongly resonates with me. Please keep writing here. I feel a strong sense of identification with what you’ve expressed so far and can’t wait to read more from you. We need more voices like yours in the AP movement.

  • Thank you, Richard. I appreciate your kind words in light of some of the disagreements we’ve had in the past. I’m not sure exactly how to respond; I’m not much of an approval seeker, as I’m sure you know, so I’ll just say this:

    DragonSlayer refers to psychiatry as a Dragon which I think is an extremely apt metaphor as it illustrates how Psychiatry becomes like a living breathing entity in people’s lives with the power to completely destroy. What it took from me were my early aspirations – educationally and career-wise, and severely limited my social status in ways that still follow me despite all I’ve gained. But it did give me time in the form of being declared disabled and left largely to my own devices for many years. And I have used that time to educate myself and learn as much as I can about as many different topics as I could in as great a depth and breadth as possible and I can view that as nothing but a gift. I don’t really suppose any academic or intellectual could ask for more, except maybe fewer labels and stigma. Again, thank you.

  • OK, let’s address what I actually said.

    I’ll start out with pointing out this sentence that you didn’t seem to read:

    “I respect your right and self-determination to identify in this way…”

    Secondly, I was addressing your comment, not anyone else’s. I am not aware of the ethnic, racial or cultural backgrounds of most of the commenters here who use pseudonyms and do not have profile photos identifying themselves. And I am careful to identify my own background since my own photo and screen name also leaves that ambiguous. So with that said, I am addressing what for all appearances seems to be another person in my subculture – white, educated, and female within the dominant class.

    Third, these issues are near and dear to my heart for many reasons but as the grandmother of an Afro-Indigenous child, I am extremely careful to NEVER speak on her behalf when I am talking about my own experiences and identity. I also do not speak for my friends of various descent when I am referring to my own cultural heritage and identity. The experiences of historically oppressed peoples are not mine to use for my own purposes. My oppressions have been unique and within the framework of the still-dominant WASP culture. And I find it abhorrent when other white women within my subculture appropriate these people’s experiences when speaking of their own identity. You are not the cultural spokesperson of oppressed people but you wear the “mad” identity like white women typically wear ceremonial dress without understanding appropriation. I’ve heard “shouldn’t they be glad I’m taking an interest in their culture” too many times to not speak up on this matter.

    Fourth, spirituality is not synonymous with cultural heritage. Your religious beliefs, whatever they may be, are not on the same level as Indigenous and Aboriginal beliefs of connection with the dead, spirit realms, etc. Even the spiritual baptism of Pentacostals speaking in tongues is still operating within the framework of a Judeo-Christian God, being filled with the Holy Spirit. In no way has this ever been interpreted as “madness” – it is fully accepted within Judeo-Christian belief systems.

    Fifth, when advocating for the right of those experiencing altered mental states to be free from police brutality, for example, it has to be acknowledged that other people generally find those states extremely disturbing. We are not just talking about someone who is having a spiritual experience with odd beliefs. We are often talking about someone standing in the road at midnight in their underwear, brandishing a weapon, and completely disconnected from consensus reality. If we want to advocate for those people not to be shot and killed on sight, we have to be able to acknowledge that witnessing these disturbances can be extremely traumatizing, and not pretend that that person represents zero threat to anyone. Otherwise, those who might be sympathetic to dialing down police use of force will dismiss us. So let’s stop pretending that we all fit in the same bowl of skittles when we are talking about the current cultural response to people experiencing extreme states.

    Sixth, as for psychiatry, it is not necessary to use the cultural aspects of Black and Brown people’s experiences to also identify as oppressed psychiatric survivors with our own unique cultural backgrounds. However, under Intersectional theory, it’s entirely appropriate for psychiatrically oppressed people within those subcultures to say “psychiatric oppression” adds another layer to the oppressions I already experience. That is their experience and one you’ll never fully grok despite whatever spiritual and religious views you have. The fact is that Psychiatry as a profession is still dominated by white male figures and that Psychotherapy as a profession is still dominated by white female figures. These people exist within the same cultural subset as you and I. In most of your and my experiences within psychiatric oppression, we will have been oppressed by people who look like us, and who are oppressing us for not fitting within that dominant cultural paradigm in which we were born and raised.

    Seventh, under Capitalism, the dominant economic theory promoted by white, male europeans, there is now a concept of “multi-racial whiteness”, which is the idea that whiteness is becoming more of an economic status than simply a skin color. You are right that many are oppressed by psychiatry for responding poorly to what are largely economic struggles in their lives. Cornell West refers to this concept as the “Niggerization of America”, where poor whites have slowly been “Niggerized” in social status. It’s an interesting theory in economic terms but still never really quite intersects with the lived experience of actual Black and Brown experience. The reason being that oppressed white folk generally have within their reach a much greater possibility of climbing back up and reattaining a respectable socialeconomic status. I personally had the intellect to date and marry my way back into the dominant socioeconomic class. I can piggyback on my husband’s professional status and I can be careful to present in such a way that I am not targeted, which is a luxury that more visually oppressed peoples do not have even when they possess far greater amounts of money and social status than I have.

    For these reasons, I do not ever find it appropriate for white women like you and I to take on the identity of “madness”. I have been psychiatrically oppressed. I am a psychiatric survivor. I am in no way ever going to be oppressed on the same level as my granddaughter, who is likely to be labeled Autistic before long, showing behaviors both I and her mother displayed at that age. Her gorgeous brown skin and natural afro add layers to her oppression I will never experience; You have not and never will experience. When she is old enough to identify in any way, within her Indigenous cultural heritage, it still won’t be “madness” but instead a gift that her people value.

    I am a psychiatric survivor. I am not “mad” and I will not fight for my or your right to assume that identity. Feel free to identify however you wish. I respect your perspective and that it differs from mine. But if you cannot respect that I have a different experience and viewpoint without denigrating it and drawing upon other people’s oppressions to back up your idenity, you are exercising your privilege. That’s not advocacy.

  • Hi Jenny,

    I step into this with some trepidation as I have no real dog in this fight between you and Oldhead and don’t want to get involved in that aspect about what to do with MNN which is way before my time.

    I would only like to clarify that there are survivors that object to the term “madness” for very similar reasons to why you say you embrace it. My own feeling is that these many states of consciousness are not ‘altered’ per se, but exist on the spectrum of normality. It pains me to see references to “madness” for the same reasons I object to terms like “neurodiversity”. It creates an “other” through which we are stigmatized.

    You are correct that in other cultures, these states of being are accepted and even cultivated. The identification of future shamans, for example. In some cultures, the ability to connect to the spiritual realm is seen as a gift. But I don’t understand why should I identify as “mad” or call this experience an altered reality when that concept is so heavily stigmatized in THIS culture that I actually live in? And doesn’t this reference to other cultures approach cultural appropriation were I to use it here as a middle class white female American?

    I see this situation as very similar to the fight for acceptance that the gay community experienced in the 80s and 90s. Many in the gay community that are not flamboyant simply wanted to be seen as being just like everyone else. They’re people with jobs and houses and families who go to church and the movies and are as normal as the straight community. But there is another contingent of the gay community that IS flamboyant, who DOES want their differences celebrated, who DOES want to have all sorts of PDA and participate in big marches and be in your face about their gayness. It turns out that both sides have solid points. And that doesn’t seem to be any different for the mad/survivor community. Some of us just want to exist and do our thing and not be pathologized when we’re struggling. I personally have no desire to be pathologized as mad or autistic or different. Even though the number of autism labeled people in my family has skyrocketed, and though I share their experiences, I personally want to be viewed as being on the spectrum of normal.

    Additionally, there are of studies on prison conditions that show that anyone can become “psychotic” from solitary confinement. It takes about two weeks. Or from sleep deprivation, which only takes a few days. Are these people gifted or tortured? I don’t feel like it is right to appropriate other cultures to suggest that a born and raised American is reaching some other spiritual realm when the likelihood is they are simply severely traumatized.

    I hope that clarifies why some of us do not embrace these labels. I respect your right and self-determination to identify in this way, but on this particular point, I am with Oldhead. “Mad”, “Autistic”, and similar labels do not serve me. “Psychiatric Survivor” does.

    Thanks for the article, by the way. I find the history of the survivor movement fascinating.

  • “ sometimes after the withdrawal think you should return to the horror and terror of the psychiatrists, etc. again”

    Psychiatry is like an abusive partner whose insults get under your skin and wear down your own sense of yourself so that even after you leave for good, and especially during tough times, you might question yourself and think you still need them. You still hear words like “mentally ill”, “crazy”, “noncompliant” etc the same way you might hear “fat”, “stupid”, and “worthless” from your abuser. The whole point of psychiatry is to instill the idea that what is wrong in your life is something wrong with you and that you need them (drugs, therapy) in order to survive. It’s incredibly abusive and destructive, and it targets and grooms its victims just as stealthily as any abuser does.

  • I read a Yahoo Health article yesterday that referred to Serotonin as one of the chemicals that controls mood and how it’s important to have enough of this neurotransmitter. This is part of popular knowledge that continues to repeat itself like a self-replicating virus. Viral falsehoods are extremely damaging. It is through articles such as this one that the next generation CAN be educated on this matter since the mainstream media has done little to correct the record. Why does it matter that the angle of this article is to hold accountable a psychiatric authority who is trying to rewrite his own history of propagating this myth?

    Max Planck’s quote is interesting but new knowledge isn’t absorbed by the next generation by itself. It is transmitted by people like Phil who write the history of prior falsehoods. Another quote comes to my mind: Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

  • There are many who think socialists and communists are self-serving narcs as well. That we’re lazy takers not willing to do any of the work required to keep a society functioning. These people offer their opinions without ever examining the reasons behind our philosophy – reasons that are backed by strong moral and ethical stances against oppression and beliefs that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. That working together to create a more just and fair and egalitarian society isn’t stealing or lazy or entitled or narcissistic. It really quite clearly demonstrates how social labels have very little use. COMMUNICATION so we understand eachother, listening and caring and working together for the betterment of all is what we need. Not labels. Not of the medical kind. Not of the social kind.

  • Ditching the Goldwater Rule will do absolutely NOTHING to address the behaviors of his sycophants in Congress who have ignored Trump’s threat for years in pursuit of political power and personal gain. However, our democratic election in November DID allow the people to act. We not only didn’t re-elect Trump, we also voted out many of his supporters and have a Democratic majority in Congress. (Thank you, Georgia voters!) This is how Democracy works. Now it is up to law enforcement, federal investigative agencies (DOJ, FBI, Homeland Security), and courts to PROSECUTE and hold accountable those who broke the law, including Trump and his allies in Congress and state houses around the country.

    There is ample research to show that psychiatrists and psychologists cannot accurately predict the future or anyone’s behavior. They can’t reliably predict suicide. They can’t reliably predict violence. They are not clairvoyants. Bandy Lee has been promoting psychiatric propaganda for years, playing on the public’s fear and stigma against those with psychiatric labels in her attempt to get us to see Trump as crazy instead of dangerously entitled. He is drunk on power, not mentally ill. It would be a terrible miscarriage of justice to allow that kind of stigma to affect future citizens who struggle with their mental state but do not share Trump’s lack of ethics and morals from being able to hold the presidency. Trump isn’t psychotic or delusional or suffer from any diagnosable predicament – he’s coddled and protected by those who also have no ethical or moral qualms.

    Trump was voted in as President in 2016 in part because of poor strategy on the part of the DNC and Hillary Clinton who called him the “pied-piper” candidate who had no chance of being elected. Boy did he show them! Trump has done this country an enormous favor. He has clearly shown for the second time why the Electoral College method of electing presidents is flawed and should be abolished in favor of a majority of overall votes. He’s also clearly demonstrated what the FBI has been quietly pointing out for years – that domestic white terrorism is a clear and present danger. More so than any other threat. He has brought out into the full light of day just how many people agree with his extreme beliefs, just how many people are itching for a violent revolution.

    Trump has always been a walking train wreck of a person. But to call him crazy without acknowledging the enormous number of people in this country who think like him and would give (have given) their lives in support of him shows dangerous shortsightedness. That segment of the population that is reacting violently to the thought of this country being anything but a White paradise and who are willing to go to such extreme lengths to keep their privilege – that is what Trumpism exposed. Trump was never the real threat. But he did very clearly expose the actual threat. Now the real work begins. We are not out of danger with Trump gone as president. That threat still exists, quietly waiting for the next powerful person who is sympathetic to it. It will rise again if it isn’t dealt with.

  • Caroline,

    I want to jump in here and provide some clarifications on the subject of not taking prescribed meds and how that can affect a disability determination by the SSA. This is a topic area that haunts many psychiatric patients who receive disability benefits. Here is what the Social Security Administration has to say about the failure to follow prescribed treatments during a Continuing Disability Review, meaning this specific section applies only to patients who are already receiving disability and are up for review of their case by SSA.

    “H. Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR)
    When we conduct a CDR, we will make a failure to follow prescribed treatment determination when the individual’s own medical source(s) prescribed a new treatment for the disabling impairment(s) since the last favorable determination or decision and the individual did not follow the prescribed treatment.
    We will also make a failure to follow prescribed treatment determination during a CDR if we find that an individual would continue to be entitled to disability or blindness benefits based upon an impairment first alleged during the CDR and there is evidence that the individual has not followed his or her own medical source’s prescribed treatment for that impairment.
    If we determine an individual does not have good cause for failing to follow the prescribed treatment that we have determined would restore the individual’s ability engage in SGA, we will issue a predetermination notice and, because benefits may be terminated, offer the individual an opportunity to respond before terminating benefits. Individuals are entitled to benefits while we develop evidence to determine whether they failed to follow prescribed treatment. If we determine that an individual failed to follow prescribed treatment without good cause in either situation, we will cease benefits two months after the month of the determination or decision that the individual is no longer disabled or statutorily blind.”

    TL;DR: Unless the medications prescribed would be expected to return you to substantial gainful activity (SGA), your noncompliance with prescribed medications will not effect your case.

    Personal opinion: how this unfolds in practice is another matter entirely and may completely depend on how busy your local SSA regional office is and how opposed to disability for psychiatric issues your review officer is. So I would personally probably still worry about the effect of noncompliance and the risk to my own benefits if I were on them, but others may take this to mean it is safe not to take prescribed drugs.

  • I hear you on the criticism of the population studied, but it is in fact a replication of other studies that have been done in western countries. There have been many studies on the value of a universal basic income As well as studies on paying offenders not to commit crimes, paying drug addicts to quit their addictions and stay clean, and paying parents to go to college to transition them off welfare. Over and over and over, we’ve seen the value of giving those in struggle a helping hand, but we are a punitive culture who see some as deserving and some not. And we continue to dole out punishment to those we don’t see as deserving even though it costs more in the long run to deal with the problems that poverty and oppression directly cause.

  • I disagree Steve. The concept of money and financial value has corrupted the fact that we all have inherent worth and we all contribute in unique ways. A software engineer is not worth more than a janitor or a garbage man or a grocery stocker or cashier. This is the whole crux of the class system – that some people are worth more than others. Not everyone has the ability to be a pilot or a doctor but we sure know the value of quality construction workers when a building or bridge collapses. Road crews risk their lives daily to build and maintain our roads. And we often send prisoners to do cleanup on the sides of busy highways, which will tell you hw much we value that job. Why do we insist on thinking that some jobs and the people who do them are inherently more valuable? Everyone who isn’t in a coma contributes *something*. Without farmers, there would be no way to sustain our population, and yet they have some of the hardest jobs and are among those with the highest suicide rates. Every day, family farms go belly up because they can no longer compete.

    I also don’t believe in what Sanders said. That someone who works 40 hours a week should be able to afford food, rent and “basic necessities”. That’s what we have now, actually. That’s ALL they can afford. Meanwhile, those in positions we value more have jewels, high end cars, fancy things, vacations, savings for emergencies. THAT is the problem. At the end of the day, it’s the menial jobs we actually can’t live without. The guy collecting trash and the one at the sewage plant – those are the essential workers who should be getting rewarded handsomely for the shit their shoveling. The guy in the corner office is useless when it actually comes down to human survival.

    Industrialization and automation were supposed to make life easier on us all. In many countries that has been the case. But not in the US, where we insist that working 40 hours a week should be the norm. The entire gig economy and hustle culture has sprung up out of the fact that there aren’t enough jobs with enough hours to survive on. Something has to give. Better pay and fewer hours for EVERYONE should be the most obvious first step toward bringing equity to those on the bottom performing absolutely essential work for our survival as a species. Addressing consumption and throwaway culture needs to be the next step after that if we actually want to have a planet to live on in ten years.

  • It took a lot of intent, effort, and communication to get here, but using the principles of intentional community worked. So many people are looking for close friendships but don’t know you have to create them. It is work. Rewarding, but work. And that really gets to what Megan is trying to say here. In a hustle culture where we’re all too busy for meaningful interactions with each other, the push to funnel people’s problems off to the professionals rather than tackle them together is very alluring but ultimately leaves most of us feeling lonely, unsupported and disconnected. You have to be a friend first. And you may have to teach others how to be good friends by your example. But I firmly believe we all have the capacity to relearn how to love and care for each other. 🙂

  • “ Stealing from some people in order to keep others unemployed because they can’t find a “good” job only works if there are a lot more jobs than people seeking work or if you think that the people working are somehow morally deficient and thus need to be stolen from in order to provide charity for choosy job seekers.”

    I have no idea why you keep referring to wage equity as ‘stealing’ and ‘charity’. Or why you believe that paid employment is the only valid kind of work. This attitude culturally is part of the problem. My own household which includes four adults as well as children only has two wage earners. One of those makes SIX TIMES the pay for less than HALF of the hours the other wage earner makes, and the lower paid earner has an extremely physically demanding job Where yes he is exploited. One “unemployed” adult cares for the children and part of the home while I do the vast majority of literally everything else that has to be done around here, including cooking, cleaning, maintenance inside and outside, gardening, paying bills, sewing, fermenting, organizing, chauffeuring, liaising with all outside utilities and contractors, vehicle maintenance, backup childcare, etc. We are ALL busting our butts on a daily basis and we all split the take, more or less. There is no charity here. And there’s no reason this can’t work for others except that we’ve built up an incredibly selfish economic system with slogans like ”I built this” which allows the well off to complain about taxation while ignoring all the necessary but unseen work and infrastructure that makes their lifestyles possible. We’ve been propagandized to compete and compare instead of sharing in a more egalitarian way.

    If income sharing isn’t for you, I’m happy to see a resurgence of the labor movement and a revival of #wagesforhousework so that we can value all work fairly and not just that which is currently exchanged for money. There’s no reason for some people to work easy jobs for a lot, some to work hard jobs for a little, and some to bust their ass day in and day out for this kind of social stigma.

  • Well done, Megan! I always love your perspective and couldn’t agree more.

    As for therapy, all I can say is that the most valuable and helpful counsel I’ve ever received has been given for free from a place of genuine caring and love. It is supportive, non-pathologising, and most importantly, it is reciprocal, allowing me to be in the helper position at times. It takes practice to learn how to be careful with someone else’s vulnerability but it is ultimately empowering in a way that therapy will never be able to replicate. I will never sit across the couch from a paid therapist again.

  • Still lacking nuance. Unemployment is actually better for ones health than a bad job.

    “ Being in poor-quality work which, perhaps, is boring, routine or represents underemployment or a poor match for the employee’s skills is widely regarded as a good way for the unemployed to remain connected to the labour market – and to keep the work habit. But Butterworth’s data contradicts this. The HILDA data shows unambiguously that the psychosocial quality of bad jobs is worse than unemployment. Butterworth looked at those moving from unemployment into employment and found that:

    Those who moved into optimal jobs showed significant improvement in mental health compared to those who remained unemployed. Those respondents who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.

    So now we have a slightly different answer to the question about the unemployed being better off in work. Yes they are, as long as they are in good-quality jobs. If they are in bad jobs, there is a perversely strong chance that they will be worse off – especially in terms of their mental health.”

    Income sharing for those in lower paid positions to be supported by those with higher paid positions, as well as cutting out unnecessary positions, and reducing the workload for everyone are better answers than simply having any job that may be available.

  • Standard fare for those who jump down the psychiatric rabbit hole. Sadly, the vast majority learn the hard way by experience as most of us here have. Your story adds to a very large tome that continues its rapid growth unabated by any will of the political class or news media to change anything, power dynamics being what they are. Welcome to the club no one wants to be in. I wish you the best in your path to recovery.

  • Hey, just for the record, the idea that doctors are guided by taking the Hyppocratic Oath is a bit of an urban legend. That’s probably why that psychiatrist looked at you funny. We really aught to stop propagating this myth as it is part of why physicians are so revered, assumed to have such strong ethics. The truth is they are human with the same ethical foibles and tendencies as any other. They don’t, by and large, behave by any proscribed ethical standards beyond “cover thy ass with malpractice insurance”.

  • “What does the term “mass psychogenic illness” impart to a mind(s) trying to understand a speed of learning by which people are coming to know an evolving culture being challenged?”

    Thank you. This is exactly what I was going to address. I can’t help but think that the framing here of illness is an imposition of western cultural values rather than truly being open minded to learning from what another culture understands a behavioral phenomena to mean. We can’t understand until we ask rather than framing our understanding in a medical manner from the start. I think the researchers missed the mark. Anthropology isn’t, or isn’t supposed to be another form of colonization but this is clearly colonization of thought at the very least.