Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Comments by ThereAreFourLights

Showing 72 of 72 comments.

  • Sorry about your situation. I’ve been through a lot of trauma too and then psychiatry very nearly killed me, I now say “I’m old before my time”. I still haven’t fully regained my health, either, have some mystery ailment doctors are dragging their feet about identifying. I had a few things help me out though, allowed me to recover from some of the worst aspects of the pill harm, though I’m not sure how far they’d go in helping out others. It sounds over the top but one thing I learned to do was forage for wild plants for food and medicine. Obviously it can be helpful to be out in nature in general to feel better, but wild food has more nutrients than grocery store stuff so if you know what you are doing, can be a huge help to health. Now a very useful skill to have given the current grocery store shortages…Of course there’s a lot that goes into studying this subject, took me about three years to be really proficient at identifying the herbaceous wild plants in my area. Also I did a few other things I feel helped me too.

  • All I could picture was some kind of online map anyone could access that positioned all of us as little blinking moving lights, and that they’d let the online Lord of the Flies types sort everyone out…

    And then meanwhile, they apparently are still allowing international flights into the country. From affected areas. I swear if you watch the news long enough everything they say gets canceled out later by something else they say. We were led to believe they were going to shut down the flights save for shipping concerns. Now suddenly that has disappeared. Or we had one report here a while ago from a doc who said the virus was no big deal and stop panicking, literally the next story on the same news station was the WHO rep screaming “THIS IS NOT A DRILL!!!” and telling us how we were all going to die…

  • I see now what you mean about the difficulties in leaving boans. In spite of them, I feel like there has to be a way you could leave, just not seeing what it is right now. Maybe I’m wrong, too naive, too hopeful. And of course you’d know far better than I would what the chances are. At any rate, for what little this is worth, I’m thinking of you, from the other side of the world.

  • The Venice story in circulation is a hoax. The reason you would normally not see the fish in the canals is because the boats would churn up sediment on the bottom making the water murky. It may actually be more dangerous for fish there, now, because the clearer the water the easier it is for seabirds to catch the fish.

    And the dolphin photo was taken somewhere else from what I read.

    Not that reduced water pollution is a bad thing overall though.

  • In Canada we are now under the Emergency Measures Act, which was an act that apparently replaced the older War Measures Act and allows extra powers for the Prime Minister and Cabinet. They have already tried to abuse our rights by decreeing they may try to put everyone under surveillance to ensure they stay home. They came up with a ridiculous suggestion–that they actively trace all people’s movements via their Smartphones. Obviously, if you don’t have one or just leave your phone at home, the entire plot fails rather miserably. I haven’t followed the news on what happened but others I know who did said that the idea was rebuked, and the public from what I saw were largely complaining about them even trying to track us all.

  • I’m not in the UK, does anyone know if it is even possible TO get around being detained under the three doctor rule? Just wanted to point out that though I don’t agree with the UK measures going on now (and am not for forced psychiatry), it occurred to me that it may be that roughly the same number wind up detained under the one doctor rule as the three doctor rule because let’s face it, usually once a person is put in front of these psych panels, you can pretty well assume they are not going to be let go. Three doctors, one doctor, what difference does it make really in a way, these processes work like a one way street the end result always seems to be the person gets held, only exception being if there is a shortage of beds. I would imagine a three doctor panel is like a dystopian American Idol where all the judges always put everyone through to the next round…(Although admittedly American Idol always was dystopian…)

    Really, the underlying violations of rights that is forced psychiatry is still there no matter how many doctors are on these panels. And that’s the core issue.

    And do they even have any extra space TO detain a huge mass of new people?

  • I agree with you. We need a massive deprogramming campaign, like they have for people who have been in a cult. Maybe the (few) therapists who are critical of psychiatry and want to be real allies could create a deprogramming campaign they could run with pro-psychiatry “clients”. Basically make it the opposite of what psychiatry does. Maybe have some deprogramming commercials running in the waiting room.

    And if it’s family therapy, at the beginning of each therapy session family have to swear on the Bible or some other text of personal significance to them that they will not say you have a “mental illness”.

  • boans, I’ve read a bunch of your posts, sorry you have wound up in such a ghastly situation. I was just wondering and maybe it’s none of my business, but, is there any way you can leave where you are (obviously when this whole virus issue has calmed down)? I’m in Canada, it’s no grand utopia here either, but, it sounds leagues better than there. Honestly it seems like some parts of the world are so horrible re psychiatry the only option really may be just to get out (for the time being at least.)

  • Thanks sam. I feel like helping people out is kind of a personal obligation, where feasible. I think people being on the street has become so normalized a lot of people stop registering it as an emergency. I was always willing to help, when I saw people, but it hit me in the last few years that if you found someone say lying on the ground who looked hurt who didn’t appear to be without somewhere to live, and you wouldn’t just leave them, why are so many people just walking by if they are homeless (or appear to be)? I mean it’s understandable if they haven’t the means to help, but I’ve always believed that if someone’s on the streets and they speak to you you should at least answer them, say something kind. I’ve also known some people who were out there too, actually know a guy a little who is right now. Getting worried about him as they’ve now shut the usual places he goes, and I don’t know if I’d be able to track down where he is now.

    And about the large homes…I hear you about how they can feel clinical. I used to live with people who owned a huge home. To be honest after doing that there is only one large house I’d ever really deeply desire to live in and it’s one that has a personal significance to me. The trouble with large homes aside from the wasted space and the cost to heat/cool them, is the amount of work you have to do to run them. The one I used to live in was so big it could take a full day to vacuum basically. So honestly, when I see a lot of them I’m usually thinking mostly about all the time they would take to clean!

  • Yes exactly, where is the integrity????

    There is a group in the UK called Big Brother Watch
    pushing for a total ban there of facial recognition tech, and also trying to address other aspects of surveillance culture. I think we need to work with those people and all people who are critical of psychiatry or anti-psychiatry NEED to get up to speed on surveillance culture if they aren’t already learning about it.

    Good doc to start with, Surveillance Capitalism:

    The overall privacy violations we are suffering are far worse than many people probably even understand.

  • I hated doing stuff like that when I was in hospital. I remember they made me draw up a list of pros and cons over being involved with someone I was dating trying to get me to break up with them. Meanwhile, I’m there because I was having bad reactions to pills and I knew that was the problem. It was almost like you had a drug overdose and instead of being given medical help, they ask you to fill out a Cosmo dating questionnaire before they’ll do anything, only when you’re done, they still do nothing.

  • Really frightening development. I had a naive hope when I read the title what they meant was that they’d be releasing some of the people held against their will. This seriously violates international law.

    I am guessing they intend to do hardcore lock downs of the general population at some point and anyone breaking that will find out what the psych system is really about.

    Very worrying too, they’ll pick up more of the “sane” crowd, stick them in hospitals and give them drugs only for violating quarantine rules, then they’ll be in the system for life.

  • Well quarantine isn’t so bad as long as you are not on a psych ward. And have enough toilet paper. If you haven’t there are reasonable substitutions. Kleenex, paper towels, napkins, pharma ads, CBT workbooks, the DSM…If you are looking for the latter you will want to watch for the label that says “not soft enough to cushion the blow of landing in abject poverty”. If it says that you know you have the right brand!

  • I do a kind of informal volunteer work with people out on the streets in Canada (as well as underemployed people who have homes) and I’m so upset about the fact we can have a state of emergency declared over corona, but none over there being so many people with nowhere to live.

    We have a major ongoing escalating housing crisis all over the world, and it should have been addressed long ago.

  • What I love is when you have some major trauma you want to talk about, and the person you tell acts like just hearing about it is an even bigger trauma than living it. What is that about?

    And pretty well everyone I know except immediate family now recommend professional “help” for even the slightest problem now. I don’t know how anyone is expected to have friendships or an intimate relationship anymore, when any time there’s a problem the person needs to be farmed out to a professional. A lot of therapists I met seemed to enjoy creating interpersonal dramas between people…and then there are psychiatrists who can do far worse!

  • Excellent piece, thank you so much for writing it. I constantly tire of hearing this comparison too and have pointed out to people before that likening “depression” to diabetes especially when the latter can cause blindness and loss of limbs via amputation is not a valid comparison. I’m glad to hear someone else say it too!

    Also regarding this statement:

    “It seems more and more common for people who consider themselves mental health advocates to make some version of the argument that “mental illness is like physical illness” as they are trying to expand services, empathy and compassion.”

    I’d be so thrilled if people just entirely stopped advocating for more mainstream “mental health” treatment since that means more drugs and ECT. Whether people realize this or not, usually mainstream advocacy is basically begging for more of a torture regime. It only really makes sense to do advocacy around more drugs if you live somewhere where you are being denied access to drugs you need to taper safely, or to prevent a withdrawal.

    Also it’s a bit..bizarre to think that asking for more paid “help” is advocating for “more empathy”. Can a person really buy empathy? (“Excuse me, I haven’t much time..can you tell me in what aisle you keep the empathy?” ) It reminds me of that old Simpson’s episode where they have Millhouse’s dad trying to draw dignity….

    Lastly it seems to me that people should really rethink most “we need more mainstream mental health treatment” advocacy because many of them are just acting like unpaid spokespeople for pharma.

    Not that I think anyone should be doing their work for money either, but, well, what’s with volunteering to do free work for a trillion dollar industry?

  • Boans, I’m sure you love a good buy one get one sale like most everyone else does, I mean, Biederman knows my doc loves gift shopping at a good BOGO too… but didn’t anyone ever tell you to stay out of the Comorbidity Department? That limited time offer BOGO “sale” they have going on, well that’s just a ruse…It runs every day of the year…

    And anyway, there’s a sale going on elsewhere right now…You can get a pretty good deal on a nice off-season Seasonal Affective Disorder…I checked it out and they threw in a free ankle bracelet no charge…

  • Hey thanks for your reply Leo, and your sage advice. It’s great to speak to someone who gets it. I’m trying to go with my gut here in more than the way of following my stomach to food.

    Regarding the poem, I’m frequently stumped about poetry too, but T.S. Eliot’s was another story. Sometimes a composition will just jump out at me, I’ll find something that really speaks to me. Oddly, I got this one off a car commercial, very strange venue for poetry…I fear they did a way better job advertising the poem than the vehicle, as I can’t even remotely remember what kind of car it was…But the poem was so fitting to me that I was able to recall enough of it to track it down, even after only hearing it the one time.

    Yes it would be lovely to discuss the merits of herbal teas. I noticed you had a short list of teas that help with anxiety here…all familiar to me except I’ve not tried Gingko Biloba.

    I have also taken pineapple weed (Matricaria matricarioides), mullein (Verbascum thapsus–it has to be brewed in cheesecloth due to the little hairs it contains, not something you really want to drink), and chamomile for anxiety before. There are a few others I know of too but I haven’t tried them before so can’t really vouch for their sedative qualities. Personally I love pineapple weed, love the taste, but it’s so hard to find where it’s not been trampled on. (Anyone else reading this please note if you were hurt by psychiatric drugs or have a withdrawal syndrome going on, it is possible you may not be able to tolerate herbal teas. Some herbs also can’t be mixed with certain pills, or other herbs, and if you have other health issues sometimes they can’t be tolerated either. Always a good idea to research any herb before you try it to make sure it’s suitable for you, speak to a medical professional and if you take pills look into interactions between the two.) I believe there are a few others that treat anemia too. I’m sure they’ll come back to me as soon as I stop writing…

    And yes hopefully we will be able to move past the overthinking to seize the day!

  • Hey I really like this article. You sound like me, only in male format. I’m totally into the overthinking, I have often been the “don’t rock the boat” person, and I love tea. Nice to come across your writing and it’s a bit timely for me..I was just looking to buy a little pin I saw online that had “overthinking” written on it. I can overthink the smallest of things, like labor a whole day over worrying about the consequences of sending an innocuous two sentence email or stand for an hour staring at one item I might want to buy in the grocery store wondering if I really DO need it or not..In fact you can assume I spent many hours deliberating before hitting the send button on this post…

    My favorite poem is even partly about overthinking, T.S. Eliot’s poem The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock. These passages really speak to me:

    “Should I, after tea and cakes and ices
    Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis
    Though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed
    Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter
    I am no prophet, and here’s no great matter
    I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker
    And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker
    And in short, I was afraid”

    “Do I part my hair behind,
    Do I dare to eat a peach?…

    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
    I do not believe that they will sing to me”

    (Hope I got that right, it’s written from memory…)

    Guess it’s really quite fitting here, though your “moment of crisis” was not taken down by fear!

    p.s. I have helped heal some health issues with herbal teas, the actual teas themselves can heal as well. I spent years of my life learning to forage for and identify wild plants to be taken as food and medicine, in so doing I’ve found a rather lengthy list of remedies for a variety of issues. Stinging nettle is a great friend of mine, for instance, helps my anemia, and anxiety, because it contains magnesium and oftentimes anxiety is driven by a lack thereof, and it totally stopped a symptom I had of a bad reaction to psychiatric drugs too. And about the personification of teas, in some cultures there is a literal belief that plants have their own spirit. Probably the most renowned example now is in the Amazon the famed Ayahuasca which is a combination of certain plants brewed as a kind of tea is seriously spoken of as a real person–in visions people report on the tea they often see the plant as a woman with no head (because she deals with emotions more than the intellect.)

    I wish I could say I had permanently solved the overthinking issue but it still crops up again and again. It’s sort of like dealing with a game of Whack-A-Mole. Now I am trying to push through it, let go more. I keep reminding myself of quotes I have read that help me do this..For instance, I read a quote recently attributed to Florence Nightingale, she apparently once said “I attribute my success to this, I gave or took no excuse.” While the “took no excuse” bit sounds a wee bit..tyrannical to me (no offense to Florence) the “I gave no excuse” is something I’m using in moderation to make myself move past the worst instances of overthinking, so I can finally send those two sentence emails already.

  • Hi Rachel, sorry I took so long to respond to your comment. My memory is terrible thanks to psych drug damage, so I rapidly forgot I even wrote here. Thank you for posting about the Violence Initiative. While I was aware that psychiatry started the holocaust I had never heard about what happened in any great detail so this is a good resource to have on hand. Someone I know well studied history in university, and despite focusing a lot on the WWII era, had not even been taught about the history of psychiatry’s involvement in the holocaust. It’s so shocking how well they’ve managed to cover over what happened.
    I will have to look up Karl Binding too.

    Regarding racism, I think a lot of it is covert but, in the days of slavery it was quite overt, they had a diagnosis they gave anyone who wanted their freedom. Drapetomania I believe it was called, it was believed to be a sort of “mania” that caused people to wander away from slavery. The argument went that people needed to be whipped to cure that “mental illness”. Just awful stuff.

    And as far as I can see euthanasia is still something psychiatry believes in. In my country there have been recent open calls for “assisted suicide” for the “mentally ill”, which if it goes anywhere will be a way for them to cover over the “mistakes” they have made. It’s really very alarming as I’m sure many of the people who might be for it won’t be told that the bulk of their problems may be coming from treatment, and that they may well recover from most of them if given sufficient time.

  • On a related note, there is a group now in the UK trying to address some issues relating to tech and mass surveillance. See Big Brother Watch, here:

    They are pushing for a total ban of facial recognition in the UK hoping this will also impede it being used in some other parts of the world.

    On their site they list that one of the databases the police have of people’s images includes images of innocent people in the UK who are suspected of having “mental health” problems.

  • Another issue that barely gets discussed is sensitivity to medication arising from past harm by psychiatric drugs. People who have had either adverse reactions or really severe withdrawal syndromes can wind up really sensitive to pills including some they may need for physical health issues.
    Some people wind up so sensitive they even report having adverse reactions to small amounts of vitamins.
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of even one doctor who wanted to believe these sensitivities can occur too.

  • I am in the same camp with oldhead and Frank, I am not part of the movement described in this piece either.

    Psychiatrists are largely guilty of a list of crimes including torture or other ill treatment, arbitrary detention and fraud (on such a massive scale it’s arguable it’s the worst case of fraud ever in the history of humanity, due to sheer numbers impacted.) As such, this means we are really dealing with a group of criminals. What this also means is that survivors and victims of psychiatry really are/were victims of crime.

    When framed like this several conclusions follow…one, that talk of reform becomes an unacceptable demand to even be making of survivors. It is not appropriate to ask survivors of such serious crimes to be constantly centering the perceived needs and rights of perpetrators. We owe most psychiatrists precisely nothing. We most certainly do not owe them an ounce of time or energy to help them keep their jobs or to figure out ways to slightly re-tool those jobs so they can keep working.

    The second understanding that should flow from the realization we are really victims of crime is that the main way of framing activism around the issue of psych system harm then revolves around a movement for legal justice. Not a movement for alternatives. The fact is that as victims of crime we already have the alternative implied–it is implied IN the actual laws that they have broken. Simply not doing the crime to start with was THE alternative and anything else misses the point. Were we in a court, it would not be acceptable for a judge to tell the victims to either generate a list of acceptable alternatives behaviors for the perpetrators or the judge will let the perpetrators go.

  • I was on a ward once and there was a guy there who kept coming on to me, telling me he would come into my room at night, and no matter what I said in protest this guy wouldn’t desist with his idea. Finally I had no choice but to report him to a staff member. Of course they didn’t take it seriously at all, and even refused to lock me into my own room for my own protection. And of course actually just being allowed to go home to avoid him was not on the table even though I’d done nothing wrong.

  • Hey everyone, it would appear that the University of Toronto is still accepting donations to the Dr. Bonnie Burstow Scholarship in Antipsychiatry fund as well as the two other scholarships she established, Burstow’s Scholarship for Research into Violence Against Indigenous Women: In Memory of Helen Betty Osborne and Burstow Scholarship for Research into Antisemitism. If you can spare a bit (or a lot) of cash, why not consider making a donation in memory of her?

  • lol, the black balloon booth…Better watch out Rachel or Dr. Oz will steal your idea…

    Yeah I guess making a job out of asking “how’s that workin’ fer ya? ” didn’t really work out too well for Dr. Phil, at least in terms of aligning himself with pharma…Oh well he’ll be policy advisor when Oprah becomes president, and hopefully the worst that will happen then is she makes us all join her book club…

  • Thank you for this piece and for speaking out. I wish the Special Rapporteur had not said “overmedicalization” which of course implies there is a need for psychiatric drugs to treat some “medical issues”. Aside from their use to prevent people from going into withdrawal, for tapering purposes, or to reinstate to stop an ongoing withdrawal syndrome (which only works some of the time) I’m really not seeing of what value they are otherwise. I would like to hope that is what he meant but I suspect it was not. The vast majority of psychiatric drugs never should have made it to market to start with and they only got there because of corruption or pseudo-scientific thinking. If they can’t even prove to start with that most of the “mental illnesses” are due to disease processes, that right off the top means the research is suspect. But arguing for a right to have these drugs around for reasons outside of what I just wrote above seems to me like arguing in favor of lax research and regulatory standards.

  • So, in essence, what this piece amounts to is an open admission that psychiatry intends to monitor survivor spaces so that they can gather info to be used to find new ways to put people in the system. I find this sentence really worrying : “But to rethink the clinical encounter is not to rethink the entirety of mental health practice.”

  • Hi, I noticed that the book launch that was announced prior to Bonnie’s passing is still posted on this site. Is there a memorial book launch still going to be held in her honor then (or have they just not taken that post down in the events section here?)

  • Melissa this brought a smile to my face. I think you are doing valuable work especially in that you hopefully made the person who would not let you in think a bit more about how ridiculous their policies are. If we had more people like you doing the same thing then it would maybe send a message that people outside the ward are paying attention. I don’t think that can hurt.

  • Nice choice of someone to obsess over. I wish I had read more McLuhan before psych drugs messed me over, used to be a prolific reader back in the day. I read everything from Thoreau, to Dostoyevsky, to Dante, to sic fi, to the backs of shampoo bottles.. But somehow never got to McLuhan really, it is a terrible oversight on my part. I had my tech critiques coming more from other writers. (Sadly Pert Plus bottles did about nothing to teach me critiques about tech culture). Agree very much about walking up asking for the handcuffs too. It is continually shocking to me how many volunteer so much personal info whom are apparently not on drugs or drunk at the time they do it. I mourn the world that knew what boundaries were! Now the very idea of boundaries seems a quaint notion.

    P.S. Appreciated the link a lot, there are some aspects of Facebook I was not aware of..just solidifies my urge to avoid it.

  • I don’t have a Facebook account. This piece leaves out that people like me who deliberately refused Facebook and other social media sites, and also forms of tech, can become basically ostracized for having critical thinking skills and anticipating how the sites or tech will be used badly against people. Since being harmed by psychiatry, I lost most of my friends. I have tried and tried to make new friends, and I am good at meeting people, people I meet will want to keep in touch with me…but the second you say I don’t use Facebook, I don’t text, etc, well then they just disappear like you told them you have a contagious illness. When cell phones started becoming popular I immediately anticipated how they’d be used by workplaces to track employees all the time, and I thought better of getting one. I told several friends they were a bad idea, when they told me to get one, and later those same people came back to me complaining that now their bosses followed them wherever they were and they regretted having bought them.

  • I have been reading here since the site started and though I don’t often comment (partly because oldhead tends to cover most of what I have to express) I wished to say that I appreciated Stephen Gilbert’s participation here and his voice. Without knowing him personally my sense from his comments was that he was an honest, down to earth, ethical person who truly cared what became of people in the system. A rare individual the world badly needed. That he could work at the hospital that had mistreated him to try to help out other people in the system shows a great deal of strength and courage. As a psych survivor myself I know if it were me I’d probably have a heart attack just walking in the front door of the hospital where I stayed, so well and truly I have no idea how he did it. RIP Mr. Gilbert, you sure had guts and you will be tremendously missed.

  • Stumbling into this discussion groggy so hoping I’m following this accurately….I am a survivor and have been around this site since its inception, and wanted to pick out something here as it spoke to an idea I had a while ago:

    “We badly need to develop a cohort of legal and political theorists who develop critical positions towards the systems that oppress us and towards the society as a whole, from an outsider standpoint as people with psychosocial disabilities. ”

    I realize quite a few survivors haven’t a dime to spare, but, I had thought about organizing some sort of informal scholarship type fund people could pool money into to help put select survivors through law school or other relevant disciplines such as med school, so that when they get out they can help us. Even a partial scholarship of sorts given to chosen survivors might be of benefit as an incentive for people to go through school for relevant disciplines…And aside from legal and political help we also badly need doctors who are critical of the system to among other things address the many health issues people are coming out of the system with that are iatrogenic in nature. Instead of acting to cover over the damages claiming what they are seeing is Mental Illness™. Even a few doctors who are also survivors who could help out other survivors would make a fair difference.

    Aside from this I believe until we have sweeping legal changes that forbid forced psychiatry we will have to get pretty creative in terms of how to help currently detained people and how to prevent others from getting entangled in the system. More in a bit, I am too sleepy to continue writing right now…