Sera, Caroline—- This is such a beautiful post: philosophically rigorous, and comprehensive. I wish everyone involved in the mental health system could read this. Heck, I wish everyone in the country could read it. It dances through the false dichotomies and distortions as if they were paper-thin. I don’t know how you do it. Struggling through this conceptual territory feels to me like drowning in molasses. I know it is populated by straw men, but those straw men are backed by immense sums of money and mass prejudice. I am never able to forget for a moment that anyone who wishes to can call the authorities and attempt to have me committed. They can speak five minutes of boilerplate, and put me in a trap that my best eloquence cannot get me out of: all I can do is shut my mouth and rely on the kindness of strangers with guns. Indeed, momentary eloquence is part of the diagnosis! My only recourse for preventing this seems to be clipping my own wings, pretending to be stupid, and flying below the radar. And keeping an eye on all the tinpot bullies in my life, because I know it only takes a few words for them to have the full power of the state on their side. We realize we have grown in wisdom when we obtain a balanced perspective. It is so hard to find a balanced perspective when you live in fear of power. I feel like I’ve grown personally through reading this. It also gives me a little more hope that we can turn things around and become free human beings, some day. God, I am so sick of not being a free human being. I may have begged a judge for my physical freedom, and gotten it, but the virtual asylum seems indestructable. Too much of my waking time, and too much of my dreamtime, is ensnared in figuring out how to protect myself. When I read something like what you both have written, I know it is possible to free your mind even when you lack civil rights. I just don’t know how.