Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Comments by kindredspirit

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  • As a survivor of high ACEs, I’m appalled and deeply saddened for California’s children and families who will be targeted by this program. After decades of continual assaults of welfare programs, the government is now going to directly target families and children for “interventions” which will likely greatly expand the number of children who are removed from their homes. This is the most backwards way to “help” and is completely consistent with the current harmful ways we “help” children, individuals and families.

    I grow ever more ashamed to call myself an American.

  • But we’re also treating screening for trauma as if it were a preventative, but identifying children experiencing or that have experienced trauma is an intervention – the very first step. This intervention does not prevent trauma and interventions often do more harm than good with little ability to predict ahead of time who might benefit and who won’t.

    Preventing trauma, if we’re indeed serious about it, will require a much more complex conversation about many other facets of our current societal structures, values and norms.

  • This is so sad. The LA Times article, written by her personal friend, gave a fitting tribute to her.

    “With her words, Elizabeth had in fact expressed the paralysis — and trauma — she’d experienced watching the World Trade Center being emulsified from the building next door. Two years later, her dog Augusta was trained as a PTSD service dog, and went with her everywhere; when Augusta died, her beautiful dog Alistair had the same training. Elizabeth with her dogs was a whole Elizabeth.”

    Of course, I can relate to this so much.


  • It’s funny that at the same time I was being fed these same lies, Rachel, I was an honors student, a voting representative for my school’s PTK chapter, volunteering for multiple organizations, traveling with friends and family – even internationally. It seems the only place I’m not allowed, indeed expected not to be CAPABLE of thinking for myself is where it concerns psychiatric drugs. How convenient…

  • Would that be the treatment process that causes one to pile on the pounds or the treatment process that psychiatrizes Lyme symptoms (for many the first major symptom is a swollen arthritic knee). My arthritis knee was chalked up to an “athletic injury” when I was trying to run off the pounds caused by the drugs, so I got the “benefits” of “treatment” coming and going!

  • Well, I can testify that neither SSRIs, nor McMindfulness are effective for depression associated with Lyme infection. It’s possible an anti-inflammatory that crossed the blood brain barrier might “work” to reduce depression associated with cerebral inflammation but it still wouldn’t cure the underlying disease. “Working” in this sense is relative.

  • I agree with Fiachra! Alex, there is so much wisdom in this one comment I’ve had to come back and read it several times to let it all sink in. We are definitely on the same page here and, although I think my light has been flickering an S.O.S. pattern for a while now, I very much appreciate your encouragement!

  • I’m sorry to butt in here but, Dr Cornwall, I have come to realize I need very similar things, not to be a therapist, but to simply be whole and happy and not to be torn apart by this modern world we live in.

    “For me, feeling merciful love for myself without negating that crucial love with toxic guilt and shame for my human failings and limitations, is needed. I also need to risk pursuing deep connection with people who can really love me. I need to reach out to every source of sacred, benevolent, loving and healing energy that I can find to sustain me”

  • I respectfully disagree. I read the blog and see a young woman trying to spread love and light in what seems like a very dark world these days. While such efforts might seem disingenuous when not accompanied by a clear understanding of very complex sociopplitical issues, I think these fledgling efforts should still be encouraged. Nobody wins a Nobel on their first attempt at anything but criticism of a genuine effort threatens to extinguish the spark that created it.

    Maybe this kind of outreach isn’t up your alley or “enough” for your expectations, but it’s a pretty good start with clearly the best of intentions. If we could all let our light shine just a little brighter, imagine the possibilities…

  • You are true guiding light here, Alex. Keep preaching that radical self love and connection with others!

    I am finding that the more time I spend loving myself and others, the less time I spend in fear or anxious or despairing. It’s definitely a shift in perspective.

  • “Previous research has also found associations between children who have a secure attachment style (their early interactions with parents were loving and made them feel safe) and adult psychological well-being. Other studies point to an association between psychosis and avoidant and anxious attachment style. The causes of anxious, insecure, avoidant, or disorganized attachment styles are believed to be uncaring, neglectful, controlling, or threatening parenting. These styles are believed to define people’s relationships into adulthood.”

    It’s very tempting to respond sarcastically to this because it’s hard to understand how this isn’t understood to be a universal truth. Without secure attachments, you cannot learn to trust. Without trust, you can’t feel safe in the world. Without safety, you can’t form a cohesive narrative and stable sense of who you are. In these cases, there is no solid ground to leave footprints upon and to retrace your steps to safety.

    “Drowning typically occurs silently, with only a few people able to wave their hands or call for help.”


  • “It is akin to finding someone as marriage/partnership material.”

    Actually, I think you have made a very good point. Finding someone you’re compatible enough with to like their company and trust their judgements/wisdom is a monumental task, and not one that can be accomplished with just a phone screening aside from weeding out the truly bad apples.

    But in our insurance based system, finding someone you can afford to see and whom you mesh well enough with to really form a therapeutic relationship is Herculean, and rather unlikely.

    The people who have helped me most were not involved directly with the mental health system. When I was younger, the actual helpers included a catholic priest (I’m not even catholic!) and an art therapist.

    The idea that most people in need of help are also able to effectively shop around for that help is a very privileged concept!

  • There are unfortunately two issues being conflated here. One is whether an individual should have the right to access the knowledge and means to self-administer their own Final Exit and have supportive family and friends with them (which would currently be a crime.)

    The other issue is whether doctors should have the right to administer life-ending treatments. They already do this: my fathers death was proof enough of this for me. Administering enough morphine to end his pain was also enough to stop his heart a few hours later. He could no longer tolerate dialysis and the other option would have been to allow toxins to build up in his blood until sepsis took him over a course of days to a week. So let’s be clear that families and doctors already make the decision to hasten death for incapacitated patients in pain.

    The stigma against “mentally ill” patients ending their own pain has gone on for long enough. It’s origin is religious and the effect is cruel.

    For anyone who thinks people already have the knowledge necessary to end their suffering, exhibit A is the number of unsuccessful attempts. The handbook on taking one’s own life – The Final Exit – is not for sale to under 50s, last I checked.

    Jim Gottstien isn’t wrong about mission creep and a slippery slope, but let’s not pretend that “euthanasia” or hurrying death compassionately doesn’t already happen.

  • Thank you, Bob, for letting us know about Zel’s (Helpstillneeded) passing and for respecting his framing of death with dignity. He and I were certainly on the same page on this topic. The dignity part seems very hard for many to grasp still, but all it ultimately means is having supreme agency over one’s own passing as a final act. It’s a choice I fully intend to make for myself when the time comes.

    I have appreciated his comments over the years and will be sad not to see any more of his postings. He understood the anger and despair felt by those of us whose lives have been robbed and bodies destroyed by a forceful, coercive, and deeply harmful therapeutic state.

  • I am regularly reminded of what Avril Levine said about how Lyme Disease patients are treated by the medical system. She said, “They treat you like you’re crazy.” Left unspoken is that she got a taste of how “crazy” people are treated by medical “care” providers. It should be a wake up call to the abuses still shown toward anyone perceived as “crazy”.

  • “Similarly, research shows that common factors like the client’s perception of the therapist’s openness and authenticity are of greater significance than using a particular modality.“

    It’s not a huge leap to understand why seeing someone who validates you as a person instead of someone who is clearly judging you would produce a better outcome at the end of “treatment”. Therapists who view their clients as disordered are more likely to think they know what’s “wrong” with the client and what the client needs to do to “fix” their problems, or believe a particular manualized therapy is the answer. Therapists who view their clients behaviors as ADAPTIVE are more likely to listen to what the client thinks their issues and needs are and allow the client to drive the therapeutic process.

    One is an expert-provider-driven process (One much like medicine has become with matching symptoms to treatments instead of causes) and the other is collaborative and cooperative. The problem is that collaboration doesn’t lend itself well to rigid manualized therapies. It requires a willingness on the part of the provider to view the client as the expert on their own lives and individual problems. It requires a humility that the provider is performing a service at the request and discretion of the client. And it requires knowing who the client really is. The client in many cases not being the person being treated but rather their parents (in the case of minors) or the institution they’re in (hospital, group home, outpatient service, prison), foster care, school, etc.

    In a lot of cases, the providers should really step back and ask, who am I really treating and who is this narrative of disorder actually serving? Therapists, unfortunately, do a great deal of damage by not actually serving the people sitting across from them.

  • That’s not really true and it undermines the rest of your argument. The sanitariums were quite literally nearly emptied in the late 1930s after antibiotic treatment was discovered to cure late stage Syphilis. Incidentally, Syphilis is caused by a spirochetal bacteria very similar to Lyme’s borrelia.

    In 1994, researchers published a study in Schizophrenia Bulletin showing a nearly identical geographic overlap between areas of greatest risk of schizophrenia diagnosis and areas of greatest Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis diagnoses.

    Copper truncheons were discovered to cause madness in the Middle Ages due to reactions from acidic foods leaching toxic amounts of copper into people’s food.

    And frankly, our environments are so polluted now, and our food of such poor quality (for many debatable reasons) that it’s perfectly plausible that some of the rise of neuropsychiatric illness now seen is a direct result of these things.

    The problem arises when the person’s distress is removed from their environment and placed within them, which is what the DSM does. The focus on the brain and genetics doesn’t allow for infection (except sometimes for PANS) or nutritional deficiencies or lead leaching from urban pipes, or pharmaceutical contamination of water systems, or Roundup in our food (killing off our microbiome), or toxic stress from living under constant surveillance in a racist, sexist, nationalist, capitalist-driven, materialist-obsessed culture, or bad parenting, or neglect, or domestic violence. Or just having the terrible bad luck to have dealt with many of these things at once. That’s where the DSM does it’s best work to create a narrative where none of these environmental causes matter.

    You may very well have an illness or a state of disease in your body causing you mental distress and extreme states as an effect from a toxic environment, but adjusting your neuro chemicals and searching for causative genes will NEVER discover or cure those causes.

    The DSM has worked very well to classify behaviors as if they were the actual issue needing treatment, and the psychology industry (Therapy) has played right into their hands for their share of the profit pie.

  • You know, if they were honest about neuroleptics being major tranquilizers and didn’t wrongly and euphemistically call them “antipsychotics”, which they aren’t, I’d bet a lot of people would still choose to try them. I’d bet that if the public knew the truth about these drugs and the damage they can do long-term (and sometimes also short-term), a great deal of deeply distressed individuals would still beg to try something, even just short term and perhaps lower doses.

    What I find really appalling though is the number of people like me who were originally prescribed a psychiatric medicine off label and whose lives fell apart. I didn’t see a psychiatrist for six months after the male OB/Gyn at my primary care doctors office had drugged me with pain killers, muscle relaxers, gabapentin and psych meds. All this for “fibromyalgia” which was Lyme Disease. And at home, my drunk husband was beating me and neglecting our child while I worked. And so when the SSRI was added in and I became hypomanic and attempted suicide, it was decided I had bipolar.

    My story is not unique. Even with all the trauma in my early life, I was trying very hard to care for my second daughter, I had a fulll time job and a small apartment, and I was sick with chronic Lyme. And I was made disabled by my primary care doctor who decided all of my problems were psychological.

    I wasn’t crazy or seeing/hearings things, or suffering delusions. I was working hard and making wiser choices but with no family support and being physically ill and being beaten at home and being drugged with psych drugs, I was victimized by an industry that has spent decades lying to doctors and the general public in pursuit of runaway profits. And I’m done pretending that I was or am somehow mad. This is something that is common and has happened to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people.

    Additionally, as early as 1991, a graph was made showing the geographic prevalence of Lyme disease overlapped pretty closely with area of high numbers of scitzophreania and psychotic disorders diagnoses, which the insurance industry has collided with the IDSA and the CDC to prevent proper treatment of Lyme disease and therefore funneling a large percentage of people into psychiatric care as pyme is a neuropsychiatric illness for so many.

    So while I do think that people would still choose to use these drugs in perhaps more limited ways if the truth was widely known about them, wouldn’t it be really smarter to addrsss the issues causing widespread and growing mental distress in the population? There are well known causes of extreme states and even just unrelenting depression that drives people into psychiatric care and it behooves folks to stick to finding cures for causes and not just sedate people even if that were preferable in some extreme cases.

    The Lyme disease community has made major inroads in 2019, we have reason to celebrate.

    Unfortunately, nearly twenty years after I needed assistance of that kind, there are still VERY LIMITED resources for women (especially impoverished, young, traumatized, ill educated, minority). And the school system seems to be the perfect reservoir for inducting large numbers of children into psychiatric care. A recent NPR article speaks of the alarming rate of restraint and seclusion (and lack of oversight) in public schools with almost no palpable alarm in its tone.

    We’re almost all fat and sick and malnourished and polluted and surveilled and quantified and stratified and bought and sold on the open market and we wonder what’s wrong and what can be done and we drive ourselves to therapy and take our prescriptions and vitamins and argue about politics and religion and read our bubble news and associate with the like minded.

    Somewhere the ghost of George Carlin is whispering for the sheeple to wake the fuck up.

    So, how do we truly measure, once and for all, whether the drugs actually work? Well, with one simple question. Are the profits still rolling in? If yes, the drugs are working great for our owners. The sheeple are exactly where They want them. Sick, stupid, and entertained.

  • I find it interesting that the group that received both the ketamine infusion and the alcohol reward task had a much higher baseline of drinking than the other two groups. I suspect this is the biggest reason that group had the most improvement over time. They had the most room for improvement. I’d find it very hard to believe that this group wasn’t specifically cherry picked for that very reason and it underscores the need for both double-blinding and random assignment of participants. Great reporting, Peter!

  • Why is there such a push for individuals to do more? Because there is ZERO political will to hold the US Military (Industrial Complex) responsible for being the world’s worst polluter. 116 Democrats voted this week for the Military Defense Reauthorization Act so that the US Empire can continue dominating and polluting the world.

    As long as voters continue to prioritize ONLY social issues such as abortion and kindergarteners right to transition- Dems for/Rethugs against- we will continue to get screwed by leaders who vote against ALL of our interests. Speaking of rich neoliberals screwing us over, please see the number of billionaire congresspeople. They don’t represent us. They are slowly killing us.

    Here is my plan as an individual with very little control over the votes of rich sociopaths in Congress:


  • I loved this whole piece! Honestly! And this part especially:

    “Take the recommendation that children should be screened for signs of mental disturbance. Will the psychologist tell the parents: “Your little Johnny is playing up at [kindergarten] because of all the arguing at home, he’s just copying what he sees.” Or “Your little Emma is seriously anxious because her father yells and punches walls while her mother is out doctor-shopping for drugs.” That won’t happen. What will happen is that the parents will be told “Johnny has ADHD and needs to be on drugs for life,” or “Emma has ASD and Social Phobia and needs to be on drugs for life.” And they won’t get better.”

    But, that ending… Could you maybe not refer to people experiencing extreme states as “mentally disturbed”. Language really does matter. Thank you!

  • Don’t forget those of us who were psychiatrically drugged for physical illnesses. Like many chronically ill women, my Lyme disease was called “fibromyalgia”. I didn’t go to my doctor with emotional issues. Even with all the early trauma I’d survived, I didn’t develop serious psychological issues until I was given psych drugs for a medical illness. Psych drugs are poor substitutes for antimicrobials when someone has a systemic infection. It took 17 years after I was drugged to get a Lyme disease diagnosis, and only because the doctor can deny the seriousness of painful swollen joints but they can’t deny pericarditis!

    Suicide is strongly associated with Lyme disease. How many more people have to die before we get a cure and before women stop having their real physical illnesses dismissed as psychosomatic?

  • “Effective treatment consists of helping them learn to use their thoughts, emotions, intentions, perceptions and behavior to love the way they want to love and express themselves the way they want to express themselves.”

    This is typical treatment provider speak, assuming that the problem is within the patient and not within their environment. One reason I greatly respect Robert Whitaker despite our differences in outlook on the potential redemption of psychiatry is because I believe this is one aspect of psychiatric harm that he truly understands.

    Psychiatry harms because it pathologizes the “patient” and attempts to correct the “patient” when the malfunction is in the space between people in social relationships. This is the crux of the medical model, no matter how many nice sounding psychology terms you couch it in.

  • “Al, I don’t see what yoga, exercise, sports, dance, meditation, and spiritual practices have to do with psychotherapy.”

    I want to piggyback on this one and add both agreement and disagreement.

    I agree completely that these things should not be viewed in the context of alternatives to psychiatric care. These are things that are good for everyone and should be available to folks, but largely aren’t. And I am of the mindset that people who want to see these sorts of things available socially should work to create community spaces where these sorts of group activities can be offered. I am entirely against the idea that these things should become part of the medical paradigm.

    On the other hand, I also believe that alternatives to psychiatry – things like Soteria House and Open Dialogue and RLCs and peer run respites – are absolutely critical to providing safe places for folks who are in or recovering from extreme states. If “we”, the patients and former patients, don’t take these initiatives, “they” will continue to believe that “we” need “help” which “they” have deemed themselves to be the “experts” on providing.

  • I am of two minds. You seem very sincere and have taken great risks to stand up to the psychiatric and medical establishment at the governmental level. That should certainly be applauded. I’m sure you’re a wonderful person that it would be a pleasure to know.

    I am also in agreement with those who say “no thanks, not interested in ‘professional’ ‘help'” – those are two words that when strung together should be considered an oxymoron. I’d sooner declare mad pride than trust a treatment professional again.

  • Thank you, Leah. I always appreciate the clarity and depth of your reporting.

    One thing I think was not well spelled out in this piece are the environmental conditions that contribute to the mental distress that disproportionately leads minorities and the impoverished (two groups that overlap considerably) into forced treatment. It isn’t just racism in the doctors office causing these disparities, let’s talk about lead in the urban water systems, police patrolling of certain communities, food and housing insecurity, the school to prison pipeline, the gig economy, wages that haven’t kept up with inflation, the unbanked, generational trauma (which is a much deeper and more nuanced topic than simply familial abuse), never-ending wars (see the newly released ‘Afghanistan Papers’) that siphon money away from maintaining basic infrastructure (crumbling bridges, aging water systems, and mold in schools).

    We’re hearing a lot about the effects of trauma these days but very little in policy proposals to address that on a societal scale (beyond taking children away from home and subjecting them to the additional traumas of foster care) and the so-called “trauma-informed“ community is still largely taking an individualistic and responsive approach to traumatized individuals (a la teaching mental health and coping strategies in schools, for example) instead of addressing the conditions that are causing it. I find these efforts to create “trauma informed” spaces to be extraordinarily disingenuous. It’s almost as if there is NO political will at all to see the extraordinarily oppressive conditions so many people experience in the third world country known as the United States of America.

    One last note is that Kamala Harris spent her career locking people up – including many POC without her own privilege. It’s not in the slightest bit surprising that her approach to emotionally distressed individuals is similarly laced with the language of force and control. If anything, these efforts bolster the arguments of those of us who understand psychiatry to be an extension of law enforcement for the purpose of social control.

  • I appreciate your comments on this, sam. I understand the author’s intent but I too struggled with feeling like doctors don’t need any additional ammunition to claim pain, or any other symptom, is all in our heads.

    The head of infectious diseases at the CDC referred to chronic Lyme Disease patients as “Lyme loonies” in internal documents. I am literally fighting my own government to have my illness taken seriously. The fact that Lyme Disease is now an epidemic, and that Maryland is second in new cases only behind Pennsylvania, is a direct result of suppression by the most powerful And influential health agency in the world. That they’re charged with controlling infectious diseases raises the absurdity to new and historic levels.

    So while I understand that a particular person may understand their own pain and depression in this way, I believe it’s neither scientific (e.g. cytokines and “sickness behavior”) nor helpful, to promote the idea of a psychosomatic origin of physical symptoms.

  • I have no words for this. Not so soon after Stephen. Julie and I didn’t always see eye to eye but I was lucky to know her in a private space where she spoke even more freely than here at MIA and I had a secret admiration for her fighting spirit. We agreed on far more than we disagreed over. I thought of her when driving through SWPA recently and I almost mentioned so to her on her last reply to me here. I’m so sorry now that I didn’t.

    Julie was a fellow comrade in struggle and won’t soon be forgotten. Rest in Power, sweetie.

  • On the face of it, this sounds like a good thing. Let’s find out exactly what “they” think of “us”. But I wonder how many people would approve of this is we rephrased it to “Measuring How White People View Black People’s Rights” or “Measuring How Americans View Middle Easterners Rights” or “Measuring How Israelis View Palestinians’ Rights”. Or how about “Measuring How Endocrinologists View Diabetics’ Rights” which is absurd and illustrates how some groups are seen to have rights and others not so much. It quickly becomes apparent that the opinions of dominant groups over subordinate groups is largely irrelevant. And we all should know that appeal to expertise is a logical fallacy. We all deserve human rights as detailed by the UN, full stop.

  • I remember Stephen not just as a tireless fighter for the voiceless, but as someone who in the face of his own cancer battle continued to exude care and compassion for others. When I reached out to Stephen earlier this year to offer support, without batting a virtual eye, he reached back to comfort me, offering to answer any questions I might have about his cancer and treatments. That was just the kind of person he was. He will be dearly missed.

  • Well put, Frank. Especially the difference between crazy and “mentally ill”.

    I’ll add that this is why I don’t identify as “mad”. Anyone can become mad under the right circumstances and it isn’t a solid state one becomes but rather one that is passed through. It isn’t something binary that some people are and others aren’t.

  • I found this part worth repeating:

    “We talk a lot about #selfcare on social media and it has this trite kind of consumerist association, but I’ll tell you, self-care is the path for so many survivors to get their lives back. Every survivor I know who went from frequent hospitalizations to thriving lives like a monk with their own rules and is all-in with maintaining their health and well-being.”

    This has been my experience. I put myself to bed on time. I eat healthy, avoiding sugar and other junk foods. I meditate and practice gratitude and strictly control my environmental stimulation. I exercise as much as I can and get appropriate sunlight using the Army’s Vitamin D calculator. I avoid social media and toxic “bubble” environments that are highly conflictual and socially coercive. I do all of the self-care all the time. And it’s still hard. But it’s the only way.

    I’ll be honest that the Mental Health Media site doesn’t appeal to me due to its overwhelming acceptance of DSM slurs by its authors, nor do podcasts about living with “bipolar” or any other label. I am sure there is a segment of the population who does believe they have a definable illness to treat who might find it helpful, but I really wish we could get away from the illness model and reframe to a distress and recovery model. As long as people think there is an illness to treat, the medical profession (and overall culture) will continue to place the origin of the distress inappropriately within the individual being “treated”.

  • Bob, it was your Mad In America book that gave me the knowledge I needed to muster the determination to get off the drugs. This month marked three years pharmaceutical free for me. December will be 6 years since my last (overnight) hospital stay at JHU Mood Disorders Unit, where they removed my bipolar diagnosis and replaced it with MDD. It’s been 9 years since my last actual hospitalization for more than one night. My diagnosis was further downgraded last year to PTSD and Mood Disorder Due To a General Medical Condition, reflecting my ongoing struggle with Lyme Disease and coinfections. I embrace these only as they help me get my basic needs met – specifically my service dog. I don’t know where I’d be right now if it were not for the information and support I’ve found through MIA.

    Although I am regularly critical of articles posted here, please count me among your biggest fans. I do think that your book and this site are very slowly changing the narrative in the public discourse. When I read mainstream news stories praising psychiatric advancement and its newest “treatments”, it is very heartening to read the massive pushback in the various comments sections. Whether using real names or pseudonyms, it takes bravery to put oneself out there at all to stand up against the prevailing narrative. But people DO seem to be seeing through the lies and it is truly unique to have this site in particular where former patients have been given space to tell their stories of harm. I have particularly appreciated the recent articles written by those who are currently under ACT orders – a particularly marginalized group. Please keep up this focus on those who are most directly impacted by mental health treatment and policy – current and former patients.

    In short, thank you.

  • I think it’s time to start involuntarily detaining all the diabetics who have been rationing their insulin in the face of ever expanding profiteering by Pharma. They clearly show lack of insight into their disease and their risk of death increases if they don’t take their meds as prescribed. Then after we detain and hospitalize them against their will in a for profit general community hospital, preferably with a costly ambulance ride on the way, we should sue them in small claims court for the medical bills they can’t pay since they’re now forced to buy their insulin as prescribed by the Assisted Outpatient Treatment team. It’s such a brilliant plan, I’m surprised Pharma Bro didn’t think of it first!

  • Interesting research, breaking down the various bases of criticism of psychiatry. Of course, they’re all valid in their own way and some of us have quite comprehensive antipsychiatry analyses that incorporate some or all of these positions. That the current systems require embracing some diagnostic labeling for many folks to get their basic needs met is also not the same as actually believing in the labels, although I suspect that last “necessary evil” group includes a number of folks who consider the labels a “necessary evil” insofar as they facilitate forcing their loved ones into any kind of “treatment” that could relieve them of their own distress caused by being a caregiver to someone else in acute (or chronic) distress. (Say that three times fast!)

  • This is, of course, nothing new. George Washington Carver Intermediate School in Chesapeake Va utilized isolation booths in the early 1990s. They didn’t have doors or padded walls but I otherwise see little difference. I was suspended for cursing when describing how I was attacked by two boys. Suspension meant sitting in a desk in a three sided concrete booth by yourself in silence for the entire day (or 3 days as ISS was usually doled out). The black male principal at this school instructed my father to whip me below the knees in order to avoid child abuse charges or cps interference. Schools appear to be inherently dangerous to children’s health and yet we send them day after day to the miniature prisons. This is child abuse and it is sanctioned by people who are supposed to be caring for kids.

  • ‘Marijuana’ is a slur leftover from the days of reefer madness. The plant is cannabis. Furthermore, there can be zero conclusions drawn about cannabis as a plant when different forms have vastly different chemical makeups and hence vastly different effects on the body. I’m surprised and disappointed MIA would publish such a sloppy and utterly unscientific story.

  • As a survivor of childhood trauma and intensely harmful professional intervention, I DO NOT IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER support governmental efforts to tackle childhood trauma as a public health issue. I have zero doubt this will produce tragic results as children are funneled into mental health treatment and families are destroyed by CPS involvement.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all that…

  • I think there’s still a lot of static on my channel but you’ve clearly got a better signal. 🙂

    “From a spiritual perspective, healing happens through the heart. I believe the idea of a higher power is to have a foundational focus of Faith, which can inspire the feeling of love. When we feel love, our hearts are open and expansive, and this creates an entirely different self-perception and experience of life than when our hearts are constricted from chronic fear and hopelessness.”

    Keep preaching, Alex! The world needs more of this.

  • Better yet, how can we dismantle the “mental” healthcare system entirely and instead focus our efforts to ending all of the negative SDOH that drive the majority of psychosocial distress? Then we could refocus those “mental health care” dollars to curing the diseases that contribute to poor emotional wellbeing, like Lyme disease. The overlap between Lyme endemic areas of the US is identical with the geographic distribution of schizophrenia and this has been known by researchers since 1994.

    When will the medical community return to curing physical illnesses? As importantly, when will our politicians care about those without deep pockets?

    This is a farce and trying to make a form of social control more culturally diverse is akin to sticking lipstick on a pig and calling it Sarah Palin.

  • “They determine that exploration which leans on the interconnections of “mind, body, and society” and interdependence of “mental, medical, and social health” is needed in order to expand the field’s ability to meet the needs of individuals requiring relational care to effectively and humanely relieve suffering.”

    Thank you for this article, Hannah. Lovely job, especially at the end. ‘Relational care’, also sometimes referred to as ‘spiritual care’ was what Jesus practiced and preached, and is also a familiar concept in Judaism. I think a major challenge of an increasingly secular society is learning how to provide this kind of care for each other. (Can we learn to care for each other absent religious dogma and judgment?)

    I think it’s also highly telling that the only presidential candidate preaching this message of love and caring for each other – Marianne Williamson – has been roundly criticized in the mainstream media as “nutty”, “kooky” and similar derogatory descriptors. I find myself increasingly on the side of Dr Breggin’s Team Love. To love and be loved is what it’s all about. Everything else is window dressing. But how do we bring this into mainstream consciousness? That’s where I despair.

  • Excellent follow up and acknowledgment about the perils of using the term ‘psychiatry’, as well as the harms inherent in the current system of “help”.

    “Help” is definitely needed. I think people get caught up in thinking there is an either/or. If we don’t want psychiatry then we must be denying the need for “help”, which couldn’t be further from the truth – speaking only for myself, of course.

  • Great blog, Dr K. I abandoned religious faith almost two decades ago, so I didn’t take any offense from your criticisms and comparisons.

    I agree completely that psychiatry is structured like a religion – with faith in the drugs and doctors being the core tenet of its belief system. The individual diagnoses are, to me, simply another manifestation of The Devil (borrowing from Christianity) or “bad” demons/spirits. Psychiatry also requires faith, of course, because it’s beliefs of “chemical imbalances” and “genetic diseases” continue to be disproven or else responsible for only a tiny fraction of what is euphemistically called “mental illness”.

    I have opened my heart to the concept of spirituality and the interconnected nature of all living things, which is a giant leap into the unknown for me. I call this energy Gaia – the great primordial mother – but I struggle to envision this as a conscious being and instead see it as an energy flowing through and connecting all living things.

    I still get a giggle out of the term ‘sky daddy’ in reference to the Judeo-Christian concept of God. The God of the Bible is such a vicious, vengeful, frankly immature “toddler” like being that I can’t bring myself to respect it all as a concept, much less a “loving father”. Any half functioning adult human aught to be able to behave better than that so I just can’t give it any creed.

    Thanks for this article. It seems to still take some bravery to criticize religion as from the comments, I can see that even some outspoken people take offense at their deeply held beliefs being challenged. I appreciate that MIA published this anyway. Good one, Dr K!

  • Thank, Will. There is a lot of wisdom in this article. I especially liked these parts:

    “Instead, at each step remember your truth and trust and love yourself, knowing you are doing the best you can. You got mistreated, you are trying to heal and live in the world and be a responsible person to yourself. That’s enough.“


    “Be absolutely uncompromising that the people close to you must love and support you…”

    Honestly, if the people close to you don’t love and support you, stop everything else and fix that first.

  • The problem in a super competitive society like ours is that people take great pride in winning. Just look at Trump or the First Lady’s ‘Be Best’ motto. There’s no good in winning if you’re the only person on the dais celebrating.

    When you’ve been through hell, there’s nothing wrong with being proud of emerging intact on the other side. But if you’re not reaching back in to pull others out behind you, then your accomplishment eventually rings hollow as it was entirely self-serving. Unfortunately, cooperation and seeking a collective purpose is not heavily emphasized in this culture.

    Pride can be fuel for doing good, or it can be a stepping stone to vanity.

  • My understanding is that loneliness is actually much worse among Millennials than any other generation. Specifically, the number of Millennials who report having ZERO friends is more than double that of seniors. Although the problem may be compounded for seniors by isolation, which isn’t quite the same issue. There have been stories about renting units in senior housing to younger people that commit to socializing with the older residents and I’m sure there are other ways to address senior isolation. Maybe programs should aim to address both issues of senior and millennial loneliness by creating more opportunities for intergenerational socializing and friendships to form.