Friday, June 18, 2021

Comments by mantronimus

Showing 3 of 3 comments.

  • I read this stuff. I’m a nurse working in critical care, and also someone who has chosen to interact with psychiatrists as a patient for many years. I think its good you highlight the tricky nature of raising this issue. Clearly psychiatry is in need of a major re-think/re-structuring. Then again, the world in general is in need of a major re-think/re-structure. That is to say, the issues in psychiatry are part and parcel of larger fundamental problems we face in terms of the privatization of healthcare, the capitalist global economy, etc. If we are able to take an even broader historical perspective, it becomes clear that we are in this mess not simply because of bad actors such as Kupfer, etc., but for particular conceptions of the mind, body and self that originated hundreds of years ago. Without a recognition of the specific ideas that have helped lead us to this mess, we have no hope of ever finding true freedom for ourselves, or our patients. Thank you for raising the issue of how to address these issues beyond the dualistic paradigm that is so troublesome to break out of.

  • I very much enjoyed reading about the development of the mad pride and anti-psychiatry movements, in the context of our current historical moment and especially in relation to the earlier work of Laing and Szasz. Although I am a spiritual person, I have to admit I skipped over the latter portion that advocated for a “messianic” movement in the mad pride movement. It sounds like a nice idea, but is not sufficiently inclusive of alternative viewpoints which will never embrace the idea of god or spirituality.

    Part of this is undoubtedly connected to my belief that the most successful mental health consumer groups ever, all have “anonymous” at the end of their title. Despite this success, I am of course in complete agreement that there is urgent need for fundamental systemic reform regarding how we view “mental illness.”

    I distinctly remember being in a bookstore around the time I started work in mental health advocacy, seeing Szasz and Laing on the shelves and dismissing them out of hand as dangerous and wrong. As I take meds, part of this was fear that in reading them I would stop believing in medication and suffer another bout of “madness.” Thanks in part to Mr. Whitaker, I now have a bit more perspective on things and acknowledge how sad and closed-mindedness my view was then.

    Besides my fears both of death and madness, I wonder after reading this essay, if my position in society as a straight, white, upper-middles class man led me to end up in the more conservative, pro-pharma camp. If we fail to address of how our varying identities and biographies inform our experience of both madness and recovery, the movement will not only fail to achieve change in psychiatry, but may well replicate existing inequalities in treatment of those labeled mentally ill as well as society at large.