Thursday, March 30, 2023

Comments by Simon Barnett

Showing 7 of 7 comments.

  • MIA has a wealth of old-but-completely-relevant material. Exploring always turns up gems like this article by Bruce Levin.

    I came across a Quora question which I’m sure was a form of baited sarcastic joke, but nonetheless it was taken seriously by several psychiatrists who asserted their power rather blatantly and un-ironically.

    I was shocked at the knee-jerk defence of their guild power and corresponding lack of insight in relation to coercion, which surely they would have reflected on as a matter of academic discourse at the very least.

    The question was:

    I prevented my psychiatrist from exiting my room by blocking the door.
    He said that was coercion, and I had to let him out. What if I didn’t?

  • Ignoring psychiatric diagnosis and taking a page from evolutionary psychology which hypothesises that in relation to “mania” and “depression”:
    The homeostasis of the group is achieved at the expense of mood change in the individual.
    (longer explanation here:

    Evolutionary psychology implies genetic origins, however it is not suggesting – as psychiatry does – that a faulty gene in an individual has been passed down via a family line, but rather that a genetic predisposition exists in everyone to experience or get stuck in these states. They are functional in relation to the survival of the species, not the individual.

    And as one would expect from this function, the states of “schizophrenia” or “bipolar disorder” are entirely contextual. They include individual factors such as childhood trauma and personality styles, and social factors such as economic status and societal responses to ethnic groups or marginalised communities.

    It has been said that there’s a fair degree of overlap between manic depression and schizophrenia, and the common element is loneliness (as experienced as opposed to “being alone”).

    In introverted individuals or individuals in an environment where expression is suppressed due to being part of a marginalised culture, on might expect to see symptoms of isolation without expression, currently lumped together within “schizophrenia”.

    In more middle-class and privileged environments one might see more changing of rank, or at least more opportunity and possibility for a change in rank, and here one could expect to see drives to change self esteem. Mood change is the only rapid method of changing self-esteem, and hence a more episodic and hierarchical form of distress would naturally result: “bipolar”.

    This is only a theory, and one from a particular viewpoint, and it should not deter from the fact that schizophrenia might well be over-diagnosed in marginalised communities. It gets the worst response: mega-doses of “antipsychotics” (aka neuroleptics = literally “brain disabler”), and is by far the most stigmatised.

    But as people have been saying here: any “diagnosis” aka lumping an individual person – devoid of context – into a clustered group of diverse behavioural symptoms is badly motivated and asking for – perhaps even intending – bad outcomes.

    Territory, Rank and Mental Health: The History of an Idea – John S. Price, Russell Gardner, Daniel R. Wilson, Leon Sloman, Peter Rohde, Mark Erickson, 2007

  • You say “again”, Lilla. Did someone say your were on or off meds? I haven’t read all the comments.

    My reference to your original article only served to define the contrast in motive and response. You expressed your decision calmly, and it was different to my wife’s situation, which is expressed as a response to unbearable distress and loneliness which neither me nor anyone is able to alleviate.

    Then I started a tangent which I thought might have value here because of the connection to this website’s primary topic: medication-induced psychosis, including suicidality.

    My soulmate wants to kill herself because of a hidden snag which exists because of neoliberalism, greed, laziness, authoritarianism, an unhappy childhood insofar as she describes it, and simple misunderstandings between people which is quite tragic.

    It’s been said by apologists (not Alan Frances) that the rising mental illness rates are because we live in hard times, which is simply not true when compared with times in history when one part of the population was being bombed while the other part were considered cannon fodder by the decision-making class.

    I can’t help thinking that people like my soulmate are effectively regarded as the new cannon-fodder, or at the very least disregarded in a banal unnatural selection process.

  • Good article. My family is academically of this view, although this is probably the first article I’ve read by someone with an actual plan.

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I did search the page for antipsychotics, neuroleptics, antidepressants to see if they were mentioned yet. I think they bring a factor in which is somewhat relevant to this website, rather muchly.

    I haven’t engaged with someone on the path of ending it for unmedicated reasons, but I am currently assisting in a care capacity with someone who is more than likely having a temporary state brought on by meds known to bring this on.

    In their case it just seems unthinkable to allow a temporary chemical state to dictate the course here. I’m not suggesting it’s been suggested anywhere, by the way. This narrative is stock for me because it’s my soulmate I’m talking about here.

    Once they were off the meds, if it carried on, then I can’t guarantee that I’d stop going bezerk to keep them here. That’s just me and my stuff talking. It does seem to work to some extent insofar as sticking around goes.

  • I agree with the other comments on this page’s thread. The primary aim of CBT is to teach the patient which thoughts are unhelpful, and how to change those thoughts.

    In that sense it locates the problem entirely within the patient, and in practice the unhelpful patterns are predetermined according to a script which has little to do with the person’s own psychological needs.

    In another sense, if, say the person’s financial means were limited, and their social situation was inflexible, judgemental, and dangerously reactive, then they might decide for themselves that changing their thought patterns, and hence behaviour could be desirable to them. Learn how to at least play-act when in enemy territory, so to speak.

    So if you say something “worked” (with all considerations applied), then perhaps it did.

    Given that CBT can be any of dozens of modalities, can you say what they did specifically that helped you?

    Ok, I just found a comment by you, here:
    ..where you describe it as Buddhist in nature, so it sounds like a variant of the third wave of therapies which utilizes “mindfulness” aka MCBT.

    Thank you.

  • The path of the ordered man is beset on all sides by the inequities of schizophrenia and the tyranny of bipolar disorder.

    Blessed is he, who in the name of profit and political will, pathologises the distressed into a cycle of dependence, for he is truly his funder’s keeper and the finder of undiagnosed children.

    And I will prescribeth upon thee with whatever mine favourite poison is, then abruptly withdraw thee!
    And thus proveth via thou latest syndrome t’were of an underlying illness.

    And you will know my name is psychiatry when I lay my diagnosis upon thee.

    Kraepelin* 25:17

    * new testament, revised edition

    (..with all due – and indeed much – respect to insightful psychiatrists, of course, such as the article author)