Thursday, July 9, 2020

Comments by Whatuser

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  • My regrets in advance for doubting you Frank. Health care provision is obviously in ennourmous difficulties. I agree you can’t blame so called ‘anti-psychiatrists’ for failing to ensure the adequate provision of resources to support people struggling with difficulties. Most of those labeled such rejected the accolade. They were a diverse bunch after all and hadn’t the resources themselves. I also agree the conclusion seems wrong-headed, but maybe just badly worded. I was listening to journalists recently report that the financial result of medicare for all might result in something like $17 Trillion in savings to the American citizens in the first decade if enacted. I support so called ‘socialised’ medicine and while agreeing professionals deserve decent rewards for their hard work I’ve also realised that the profit-motive is bad for health in all manner of other ways. The researchers who do basic research to develop ‘treatments’ usually do so in non profit situations-universities, government labs, philanthropic organisations etc. To give the fruit of their labours to private corporations to feed private greed is wrong. The profit motive isn’t the funder of research often enough but it seems however that sometimes it does result in motivations to be less than candid in the evaluation the resulting ‘treatments’.

  • Thank you Frank. The forces sustaining “mental health treartment”s continued rise are indeed sustained by the current neo-liberal consensus, prioritising profit over people’s needs, wants and ignoring human rights as it does. Sorry for doubting, you are obviously reflecting such cynicisms rather than generating them. My point was merely attempting to respect the intentions of social care employees who might be assumed to respect as much as possible the wellbeing of people attending their clinics for ‘treatment’ – The reasons they find themselves there being of another import. And indeed the profit-motive seems to see recommendations for ‘treatments’ which sustain people in ‘treatment’ pointlessly. It would be a sad day indeed if we damage those systems trying to support people who need such support and end up buying into the marketing scams of anyone responsible for causing and/or sustaining people’s troubles in order to profit from selling ‘treatments’ of dubious provenance!

  • Frank, are you not being overly cynical about the expertise of mental health professionals? Might it be worthwhile considering if they want to be ‘treating’ their ‘patients’ effectively and maybe more qualified to know and as often as not equally disgusted at the exploitation of people’s vulnerabilities which drive up Bad Pharmas profit margins. In my extensive experience psyche professionals avoid trying to sell anything, they don’t see themselves as businesspeople but rather as professional carers. If we can take the profit orientation out of psychiatry and allow the experts to do their work we might be all the better for it.
    Of course as a sometime Libertarian DemocraticSocialist I want the enactment of Social-Democratic policies that reduce the possibility of damage occurring to people in the first place and offer resources and support workers who work with people to solve their problems. Broadly equalitarian dispensations being to be proven as more effective than any others tried so far.

  • Peter, please go and immerses yourself in some critical psychiatry/psychology texts at least. The first sentence evokes the taught – they would say that wouldn’t they! ‘Early intervention’ meaning treating people before they become ‘ill’, you can’t argue with ‘prevention is better than cure’ can you? Well actually if you treat people for a condition they don’t have, (regardless of if it’s an imaginary disease or not) then lo and behold after treatment they still don’t have this condition (usually).
    A verifiable miracle cure is it not? Who determines if these predictions are correct, after all doctors can’t even agree on who has these conditions independently of each other more than 50% of the time and that’s when a person is troubled or troubling in their behaviour.

    I think your doing good work here, some of the best work on these problems comes from journalists. But please get with the program already. Be critical, assume every claim is wrong for starters.

  • Good point Steve, and true for the ‘clinician’ obsessed with power. But also follow the money. The producer can charge 1,000 times the cost of manufacturing generic pills with its new patent. Already Olanzapine has been repatented as a dispersible tablet, also for reasons of ‘compliance’ – and it is handed over to all and sundry regardless of the presence of ‘compliance’ issues or not. And Ely Lily have already scored 250 billion in profit on that one. I think Abilify was the most profitable drug in the early years of this decade. Have these people no restraints on their greed at all?

  • Brilliant posts, detailed responses from Oldhead and some others as usual. I am sorry for the time wasted however, a lot of time on my hands being no excuse. Maybe it’s not so rare to witness so many words articulated to say so little.

    As for bipolar didn’t there used to be manic depression, a real enough experience maybe, bipolar is just another unreliable, invalid diagnostic monster, a vast expansion for obvious reasons. Depression has the purpose of teaching us not to be depressed, another real enough experience (and horrible too), mania, according to some is built upon a melancholic outlook might have the purpose to also teach us – not to be manic, maybe! At least according to some admirable wise woman. As for bi-polar who can tell what that might be.

    Chris congratulations for having moved a few step from the central ideology of bio-bio-bio-psychiatry, if you have, realising that other people exist and that our relations, current, past and our hopes of the future are key to understanding our minds, in extreme states of distress or otherwise – whatever you imagine is the need for ‘psychiatric’ interventions the answer to our perplextion is always away from any system of care, unless you work there. – – Anyway keep moving!

  • Sorry Robert but surely the mainstream media can afford to be more questioning and avoid merely rewriting a press release they know to be the product of a marketing agency. The mainstream media often hype themselves to be ‘the first draft of history’, to be, like you, avid stubborn fearless investigators or holding a mirror up to society and sometimes they are. Surely with so much at stake here and not withstanding the current revenue crisis in media they can afford to do better or are we always to be badly served by media quiescent in the face of authority, manufacturing consent?

  • Maradel – You make a good point. May I answer it this way, – Those of us who see an injustice in the world may choose (or feel compelled) to attend to it, to challenge injustice and hopefully do something about it if not actually end it. We don’t have to identify as ‘victims’ to acknowledge that we or others have been and are the victims of adversoties and that the systems employed to support us often result in additional adversity rather than any remediation.

  • Good article, another unnecessarily sad tale but so glad to end happy, for now. The current housing shortage across all anglo-saxon countries is devastating for the homeless obviously and the resulting extortionate rental rates are causing huge stress for renters, particularly those in precarious employment, and it even affects those purchasing property as the result is not just higher rents but higher prices for property everywhere. Huge profits for some, obviously and more stress = more ‘customers’ of the mental health industry which must cost enormously. Can this be a deliberate strategy?

    No country has ever housed all its people satisfactorily, at least not for very many years. And of those that do they gave up totall reliance on the market and employed construction workers as required. The results proved amongst the best health care measures as well. Slum clearances and stable housing proved a great boon to people’s physical health through disease control and considerable mental wellbeing is also apparent. We need to seize control of the housing market from those merely seeking to profit and reassemble the atititude of homes for all!

  • The profit motive has no place in health care. Healthcare as a business is motivated to supply the most expensive treatments for the greatest duration. Without the desire to maximise profits Doctors are free to use the best most effective treatments for the least amount of time. And avoid treating people for conditions with no effective treatment or conditions which aren’t diseases at all!

  • If it’s true that elements secretly control the universe, their not doing such a wonderful job are they. People probably could do just as well left to themselves.

    We should maybe just ignore them and they’ll go away. Or maybe not, in which case another answer might be in order!

  • Hi Lawrence, in relation to zombies again I’m afraid, for your information I was reading about sleep. They have discovered that adolescents body clocks change to keep them awake at night and wake up later. But school starts to early and many children are thus deprived of vital sleep, particularly REM. The consequences are irritable, moodier, distractible and unfocused children – These you will recognise as ‘syptoms’ of ADHD (and also core features of fear.) We could do with resetting school start times to 10am or later to assist developing minds apparently. When the schools of Edina Minnesota changed opening time from 7:25 to 8:30 SAT scores increased from 605 to 761!

  • Binra – Certainly a vibration will follow us around for sometime after important events and adversities, maybe even into subsequent generations, changing, dissipating and influencing our choices and reactions.

    Here’s another similar story –

  • I would ask those wont to demand ‘personal responsibility’, well ‘Responsibility for what?’ Having, obviously, deliberated long and hard the answer was that they come up with nothing!

    We can only accept responsibility for that within our powers. It’s good to know our personal power, reflect on how best to exercise them and learn to counter threats and overcome adversities.

    However the leader of a health service was caught splitting hairs over this distinction. He tried arguing that just because he was responsible for running the service he should not be held to be to blame for a scandal in the running of the service,?! Y

  • Sorry for delay in getting back to you, Jclaude. Was a bit blue. Not sure how to elaborate or if an actual study has been completed. I’m a slow typer and all that.

    But Penal colonies where established in New South Wales, Van Diemens Land and other parts of the continent now called Australia. The great majority of the settlers where thus convicts Transported, as punishment, to those Lands in the first half of the C19th. It would be a personal observation of mine that it stands to reason that if ‘offending’ behaviour was coded in the genes then this would be detectable by the behaviours of present day Australians as they would have these genes over represented in their genome. This appears not to be the case however – case closed!

  • Before Churchill the Empire ran a convincing experiment in behavioural genetics, they did not mean to but they did. It was called the policy of Transportation wherein many, very many people with proven behavioural difficulties, usually time inside, where transported to Australia. Did these people prove to be recidivism offenders and begat generations of ner-do-wells?
    Eh, No, case proved it would seem, but many, even great admirers of Empire still cling on beliefs in hereditary, breeding and eugenics. The good news is that they are in the minority with, for instance, some 97% of ‘patients’ believing their psychic disturbances are rooted in environmental adversities etc. Even a majority of psychiatrists give a role to such and aren’t strict bio-determinists but then strict social determinism is not viable as resources balance adversity and our agency in determining responses is a vital lever in determining ‘outcomes’.

  • Alternatively, when people stop believing they turn to anything or everything, not nothing then slowly and only rarely. Which leads to a sense of emptiness, a trembling fear, a profound terror and confusion. Even people with enemies or other adversities still get paranoid, in fact having enemies or adversity would seem to be a pre-requisite. Or as some analysts like to joke sometimes, insight and/or catharsis only lead to why we do what we do to get us into trouble. What to do about it is another story!

  • The popularity of eugenics is still manifest in the 21st century. I notice the recurrent race/iq spat has resurfaced again as it does in the popular media every 20 years or so. Pointless and nasty. And all those twin studies done or funded by professed eugenisists still have unquestioned authority in ‘research’ assuming the genetic ’causes’ of ‘mental illness’ despite there methodology, analysis and reporting having been totally critical many times going back many years.

  • The British citizens thanked Churchill for his part in winning the War, gladly but thankfully voted the then socialist Labour Party to win the peace, dismantling the empire, setting up the NHS, bebuilding Britain including massive house building for ex troops (exposed to The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist in the trenches) their wives and nationalising the commanding heights of the economy. Churchill accepted all this to later regain power, promising to build even more homes.

  • Hi Oldhead, in this highly alienated, alienating world ‘Professional support’ might seem the best that people can get to some – it is often delivered with some charm, kindness and seeming concern. However, we must point out that ‘service’ not ‘care’ is their business and have no particular monoply of ‘understanding, compassion and wisdom’ as you say. The expanse of therapy culture and psychiatry is maybe rendering some feeling helpless in the face of their fellow man’s suffering or giving others excuses not to care. After all even if sometimes we feel the need for professional advice life is lived outside of those circles which often focus inside are own characters and ignore the real world struggles, adversities and limitations we face.

  • Churchill did suffer fro manic depression, the black dog as he called it. And it should come as no surprise he looked down on the afflicted, he was a colonialist, first of the Liberal variety and later a Conservative when he was largely responsible for saving the world from Nazism.

    In fact about then many people who relied on a mono crop diet where afflicted with the consequences of food processing which stripped their diets of key nutrients, in the South many of the poor relying on corn as mainstay found in consuming processed corn (which has a longer shelf life) that they developed Pellagra from B3 deficiency.

    And many concerned with the scandal of Psychiatry have a contemptuous view of the afflicted, even here, right on this thread, overlooking the many obstacles, hurdles and absence of resources we face. Actually there was a guy who was very concerned, saddened and angered at the 6 false messiah locked up in a psychiatric ward because he knew he was the true second coming and they where all deluded!

  • A case of putting the cart before the horse maybe OldHead, certainly changes. The 40% of America’s homeless who work (another 40% are out of work merely on account of their housing lack) and just need a reasonably priced home! They might appreciate the Profesional concern often delivered with kindness and care, but the profound housing shortage in the Anglo-Saxon world won’t deliver a home. But it is very profitable for the few who own rental'(about a 1,000% raise in rent over the past couple decades heavily disadvantages even those in work).

    And changing the subject seems to be the main idea. The long term cost in health, people getting mixed up in the criminal justice system or/and suffering mental distress might prove more costly than decent stable housing. The best advice followed in places like Finland and Denmark is for housing first even for people with a period of chaotic lives or substance abuse. Well since a 1bed is got for about €500 /month in those places working people don’t enter homelessness much or at all. But the idea you need to get your head straight beforehand has proved to be wrong, providing the resources, stable housing first and then supports proves to be not only more effective in giving people stability but cheaper than long term hostel care, for the vast majority anyway.

  • No Oldhead I was saying that calling people lazy, feckless and irresponsible as an alternative to calling them mentally ill might just suffer from the same base assumptions. It is an understandable response but well, appearencescan be deceiving!

    It is after all a common stigma that the unemployed and persons in poverty have to labour under. In an era of the working homeless it will come as no surprise to you that much effort is put into providing therapy for those afflicted before such considerations as actual housing.

  • That’s sad really – But maybe you misunderstand, I’m not suggesting we care for adults the same way we care for children – We might care for people wherever their at otherwise we might care not at all. What kind of care did you have in mind?

    Nevertheless it does seem strange that a society placing such a high regard on responsibility finds it easier to medicate a troubled and/or troubling child than recommend parenting classes which have a better success rate.

    And the Placebo response at 50%+ is a not unattractive ‘success’ particularly as it applies to such a disabling state as depression. In fact it seems that almost any ‘treatment’ seems to get as many positive responses as negative ones!

  • Lawrence you’ve illustrated the dangers of adopting the patient role here, it would probably regrettable if this area took too keenly to regarding this as a form of identity politics, there are already many industry supported groups where people have little in common except their ‘mental illness identities’.

    However one reason medicine won the debate over who cares for the insane, over the purveyors of moral treatment, is because Doctors can uniquely have authority to relieve us of our responsibilities when overwhelmed by illness. And many overwhelmed by extreme mental states can expect equal relief. It is robbing us of our futures by overly pessimistic prognosis, peddling dubious theories and prescribing toxic treatments which is wrong.

    And biological medical notions are far from the only such ideas, being told that your suffering from unresolved incestuous libidinal wish fulfillment is no more helpful than assertions of chemical imbalance or genetic deficiency, unfounded, unproven and untrue.

    In a month when the UN rapporteur on poverty releases a scathing report on how America treats its poor you are in danger of going from the fact of people alleged to be ‘mentally ill’ being accused of being feckless, lazy and irresponsible. Maybe neither? Maybe damaged, frightened and denied access to resources, suffering the limitations of being human in a world that doesn’t often care well for human frailties and vulnerability?

  • Well yes, but the thought that came to mind was the wanton hypocrisy in co-option threats to the system while nothing really changes, adverse events being sidelined as triggers for underlying vulnerabilities rather than accepted in there own right as disturbing. And all the while genuine critics are marginalised, silenced or destroyed.
    But your right ‘mental illness’ is culturally constructed to explain away such horrors that we might otherwise feel overwhelmed by.

  • Indeed Frank not just Russia, here too and they even write it down. Some decades past I was on a weekend furlough from a place I came to call ‘The venus fly trap’, reading the Sunday paper a piece of economic propaganda in the interests of wealthy elites called for disagreement. My assertion that this was self interest masquerading as economic fact would have some empirical evidence to support it yet it was duly recorded as potential evidence of madness by the shrinks.

  • Hi Frank, whether we are ‘condemned to be free’ or hold our freedom in esteem might depend on circumstance. Living under Nazi occupation and other adversities may have gifted Sartre with more difficult choices and responsibilities than Szasz.

    Most peoole here are presumably concerned about how bio-determinism is oversold, without evidence (accepting the effects of various neurotoxins) in relation to conditions ill defined by psychiatry and subsequent or prior abuses and excuses for harmful acts. We should be aware as you are that some theorists even regard free will itself as an epiphenomenon of the brain, not always even as a necessary illusion presumably. I’m not sure how we account for occasions when some people lose conscious awareness and control of their minds however. That’s a bad way of putting it as no one ever has total awareness or control of their minds but you know what I mean.

  • Hi Emily, congratulations on putting together what seems like an excellent educational opportunity.
    Something I noted was that in the first edition of The Primal Scream Janov (a therapist) promised primal scream therapy could cure a person of their homosexuality, then a decade later in the second edition of the same text he was promising that the same therapy could cure you of repressing your sexuality!

    Or putting it another way don’t you find it a tad suspicious that a group of professions (the mental health professions) can go from denying the very existence of childhood sexual abuse to a few decades later declaring themselves the ‘experts’ in it’s ‘cure’ or ‘management’ (more insidious still.)

    Just a thought! Good luck in developing and spreading a more informed understanding therein.

  • I didn’t say no one is distressed by mania. I’ve been distressed by mania a number of times – other people’s. It isn’t always distressing, for me or the person in a state of mania. I said someone somewhere (not usually the person in the alleged manic state of mind, maybe a family member) must be distressed enough to go looking for help and the subsequent treatment must be approved by persons claiming to offer or authorising such treatment.

    I’ve never approved of or suggested such treatment myself but do realise their is some call for interventions to ‘deal with’ extreme mental states like these. I wish humanity might progress to a point where the ‘annihilation of personhood’ was a not infrequent consequence of such ‘treatments’ and they where used sparingly if at all.

    You accuse wrongly – ‘you annihilate positive experiences, you negativise the fullness of peoples’ subjective experience’ – Having neither the inclination nor the power I avoid these common features of said treatments. So where did you get such notions from, you don’t know me?

    You seem like an intelligent person who has suffered great trauma, the best of luck to you.

  • ‘If your not confused you’ve been misinformed’. At least if you operate within the limits of being human. Psychiatrists might admit no such limits! Thus there’s often a natural confusion from honest appraisals. Part of psychiatry charm is to appear to remove confusion from some by asserting ‘mental illness’ but the confusion is deepened and hidden. This is an artificial confusion which robs people of the potential for truthful understanding of their troubles if any.

  • They diagnose ‘mental illness’, hard to avoid that phrase it seems. The prognosis can indeed be an iatrogenic self fulfilling prophecy Rachel. Even Prof Anthony Clare once the public face of psychiatry in the UK stated that the neurotoxin used to treat psychosis induced the ‘negative’ symptoms of these conditions.

  • It’s good to see someone realising the politics of psychiatry. But ‘re-politisiation’ mental health is always nothing if not political. The absence of discourse about power dynamics therein hides the fact that it usually operates like other disciplines with a peculiar silence on power (economics/ psychology etc.) in the interests of power. So congratulations on opening a debate……

  • Nobody with a wit of sense could think you wanted the patient role Frank, nobody does, it’s rather foisted on people usually these days with vague threats that ‘it will go better for you if you go’ voluntary”!
    It’ s possibly better to suggest that the ‘mental health movement’ could co-opt any ‘sanism’ movement as part of their increasingly successful ‘anti-stigma’ campaigns, which as you know are anything but – psychiatrists/ psychologists continue to stigmatise people by diagnosing these so called pathologies, frequently retraumatising or otherwise compounding the presenting troubles, if there are any!

    In the meantime psychiatry continues to increasingly act as bad pharma marketing executives and dominate the discourse. The fact that you found it easy to walk away from such a fraud is inspirational to many and fair play to you for doing so. Long may it last. Such acts are not always so easy however. Anyone who can free themselves from neurotoxins, stigma, shame, often considerable social pressure, the Katy Bates of the psychiatric world, poor work histories and social isolation. Often improvements are not greeted with joy but resentment, restlessness and others doing the othering beginning to miss the handy scapegoat they’ve come to enjoy. People frequently tapper off mess with little or no support and then are confronted with their original problems of living maybe even less equipped to deal with them than before the great explaining away cover up. If you can do that your something of a hero it can’t often be that easy.

  • Matt, ‘Mental illness’ is a part of a whole lexicon of confusion surrounding human distress. It has the direct effect of medicalising distress and compounding our confusion, diagnosis explaining away any context and a helpless need for ‘expertise’ rarely if ever to be found.

    I agree it’s a bit mean spirited to argue the point but I’ve never bought into the concept and using the term as a metaphor, which most people, in these parts anyway, still do, only serves to confuse matters further as different people take a different read on it.

    The notion of ‘sanism’ might help pinpoint the othering which takes place and the legitimising for people to project their fears unto sufferers maybe an alternative to ‘mental illness’ or a recognition of its fraudulent qualities is more pressing?

  • We’re counting on genuine ‘fools’, who being prepared to risk societies ire by pointing out the obvious defiencies and outright coercion, fraud and self-deceit involved and suggest better means of responding to despair, vulnerability and desperation than manipulating, coercing or exploiting the troubling situation to the max.

  • And not much if any medical basis either beyond the allure of medical authority.
    No the basis of psychiatry is always political, they are in the business of social control after all, something frequently demanded!
    Best to look at your shrink as a politician not as a doctor. And sometimes rare as it is they even use their power benign, but moreover they can usually call on their ace in the hole – The placebo effect – take credit for that and any confounding effects, time limited healing, the person’s own efforts good luck, others efforts and your laughing

  • Agreed, but why did they hand over their power so readily even the so called left have collapsed in the face of a corporate charm offensive?
    You’ll recall Corby said opponent to lead Labour was a former senior pharma employee, when did that ever make sense?

  • Psychiatry serves a useful function to all institutional structures, they provide one means of silencing and getting rid of the awkward squad, anybody who fails to fit in with their expected role, asks to many questions or threatens the status quo. Simply firing someone isn’t always possible and the institution of the family for instance may balk at the cruelty of just showing the door to a troublesome member if they appear to be in no state to care for themselves or simply want to keep a handy scapegoat close at hand.

  • Thanks Rachel you’ve inspired me to find a long lost word! When growing up we we’re warned about or threatened with psychiatry but since the invasion of the community care teams and the monumental bad pharmaceutical marketing campaigns we’ve all been made fools of. No the word might be people or person but we’re called ‘patients’ the appropriate term for legitimate health services, or user, client, survivor an apt description of those who’ve survived this fraud, rarely done on your own, thus the tendency to ostracised unbelievers, no the term I’ve failed until now to realise is ‘dupe’! The mental health movement has made dupes of nearly all of us by now, sadly!
    Ohh and a handy notion when confronted is to realise that many of us might have a tendency to misdirected or angst, it’s safer that way. Just so long as you have the decency to check our own contribution, many learned folk fail to do so and automatically assume it’s nothing to do with them often misdirecting their own fears onto the mythical mentalillness. Often people’s angst is done no end of good by staying clear of those who get their goat up, that would be my default approach, and wish that the same was true of others! But I get the message you express yourself loud and clear. Less of that talk of duct tape you’ll be giving people ideas

  • Institutional protection rachet
    They said ‘you have a chemical imbalance’ They lied. They ‘diagnoised’ mental illness, which finding to be a myth, they never shared (do as we say not as we do) but finding out anyway they said ‘we had to put something down’ – did they mean me? – did it have to be so profoundly stigmatising excusing such poison?
    Then they told the truth ‘we’ re concerned about your quality of life’ which subsequently lay in ruins! After ‘predicting more and more breakdowns each subsequently worse than the other’ my family and friends abandoned me. No one can predict such a future but some by these and other means can make it happen
    Try again, fail again, fail better.

  • Would it be that the confidence they portray in making their pronouncements is inversely proportional to the confidence they feel about the evidence base for those pronouncements. Certainly the quick resort to articulating the party line and name calling and isolating serious critics of their thoughts and practices would suggest they don’t feel positioned to either counteract or ignore such critics?
    It is baffling considering other professionals honesty and openness about the limits of what they can do, but that’s when they have something useful to offer!

  • It would take Warren Buffet to declare victory in a one horse race in the age of TINA. I do suspect that psychiatries fundamental argument is the same failure to construct viable alternative narratives – for now it seems the neo-liberal thought collective, like bio-psychiatry, have found viable means of countering most opposition usually with considerable recourse to intellectual dishonesty.
    It still surprises me however that even the radical left seem unable to get the insidious influence of not just bio-psychiatry but also highly individualist psychologies the product of bourgeois academia, self-help gurus and motivational thought which creep about the edges of disaster responses of all kinds trying to save people from the evil of feeling injustice. It is of course always worth knowing that ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar’, ‘we do not see the world as it is but as we are’ and ‘its better to act your way into a feeling than feel your way into an action’ etc. But the almost conscious refutation of power dynamics and indifference to life’s genuine horrors if not pleas and praise for such resilience cloud a hidden agenda of libertarian survivalism and total deference to power and wealth accumulation. ☹️

  • Never really thought about it that way before. But our crowd don’t even go as far as negotiating the amount of abuse people receive, they’ve seemingly been happy to be co-opted by the beauracracy with no protest, at best they might act as a valued listening ear but mostly call for more consideration of people’s maladaptive attitudes and bad choices, always impossible to ignore and the most obvious victim blaming stance. I had got involved because it seems that activism at least allows for making some common cause about injustice and history would teach that even within revolutionary change it is incremental progress that happens, nothing happens all at once and within the current clampdown the policy of the neo-liberal revolution is one of incremental regression. So for now anyway most of us at least some of the time may be negotiating how much abuse we’ll put up with as well as what benefits we demand.
    But my point really concerned those who see the malevolence at work in their lives are often still heavily resistant to any concern with power. It’s easy to see when psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, economists ignore power that that shows how they serve power but when the oppressed so to speak ignore such forces even in private, it takes some courage to stick your head above the parapet, well it’s quite odd really isn’t it?

  • It’s never been put so well.
    It did however ( does) surprise and confuse that so many survivors (anti-psychiatry or otherwise) fail to see the problem with identifying as ‘consumers’ of ‘mental health’ or any actual health services for that matter?
    We did at least manage to advocate for statutory reviews of committal but as you note these safeguards have been neutralised by the powers that be and user lead advocacy has been seen to be in collusion with those forces, sad if it weren’t so tragic.

  • Oh and I can avoid pschiatrists/pschologists for the most part – I only wish I could say the same about them – they seem quite keen to help for some reason and are quite willing to reach out into the community to do just that nowadays. And some of them as students of the consequence of repressive forces are worth attending to. I don’t generally critic them as individuals but attacking their ideas seems to get them even more angsty.!

  • There certainly are quite sinister activities ongoing. The continued increasingly successful attempts by the neo-liberal thought collective to monopolise understanding through a market understanding and monetise everything. Their aim ultimately to destroy democratic citizenship and any other type of understanding in social affairs. Even with the potentially calamitous nature of climate change humanities need to respond is being hijacked not merely by denial is but also by an insistence on market solutions, at this rate the planet may become a near totally hostile environment before they succeed!
    It’s some 17 years since a group of survivors tagged our group as defenders of the ‘ consumers’ of mental health services seeming to forget their involuntary and coercive nature. I recognised a lost cause right there!

  • Rachel is quite right there. And empathic relationships with ourselves or others are key to responding to distress. Postulating biological causes renders the need for empathy, a difficult process at the best of times, pointless which serving the interests of power is probably just the point of such reasoning. ‘your loved one is ill, there’s nothing you can do, we’ ll take care of the problem’. Although for people diagnosed they often have few if any potentially empathic relationships in their lives and I suppose that is often why we can overvalue the role of professional help.

  • I think it was Steve Biko who said the the greatest weapon in the arms of the oppressor was the minds of the oppressed. Psychiatry/psychology operate increasingly in the interests of elites to do just this- to colonise people’s minds and suggest various propaganda to explain away the consequences of poverty, abuse, trauma, victimisation, discrimination etc. I like you would imagine it a no-brainer to oppose such re-traumatisation but folk seem to be rendered increasingly helpless to oppose such violence! But they ‘respect’ the expertise usually delivered with the veneer of kindness never questioning the true allegiance of their ‘helpers’. Maybe it is help itself that might be the problem?

  • I don’t mean to be so pessimistic but big corporationsl have heard Marx clearly and have been busily changing the world to suit their own interests for quite some time
    Some of the $250,000,000,000 from Olanzapine has gone for just such a purpose no doubt ☹️

  • And next you’d say organise!
    Which is where things become problematic and people start to jockey for position as activities are professionalised people may start to sabotage those activities – it may be that it’s the 90% of professionals that give the 10% a bad name. How do you get from a position where the vast majority have no problem realising the origins of distress in life itself to a profession which now increasingly has colonised our responses and insisted the answer lies totally within? And it’s not just psychiatry, psychology and therapy that does this but seems to be universal amongst elites and their neo-liberal acolytes.

  • Indeed Steve diagnostic labels are seen as intrinsic to the individual leaving us dependent on expert cure or management, their biological nature fundamentally disempowering and stigmatising. Whereas the idea of patterns of distress rooted in a response to circumstance leaves us free to explore the means of addressing those circumstances and whatever it is in those circumstances or our responses that trap us here.

  • Well good on you so. I’m not familiar with that book, psychiatry certainly can be hazardous to your health! Toxic psychiatry was one of the scariest reads avaikable!
    But I did a course in choice theory psychology, read a book of the same name and he struck me as a right creep, maybe it’s a different fella?
    And the nun teaching us showed some training video about how this fellas work was used to help beak the air traffic controllers Union under Reagans watch. In it the shrinks where describing stress due to excess workload as a mental illness and encouraged to abandon solidarity with their colleagues accept disability and take the tablets. He was a psychiatrist after all!