Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Comments by Malaika Puffer

Showing 18 of 18 comments.

  • This is a good one, Sandy! I was just about to watch a Russell Brand video on youtube when this commercial popped up and I immediately started researching. Glad to see that you are others (including the NY Times!) are on top of it!

    I’d love to see someone do a parody video reframing binge eating disorder and suggesting Meth or Cocaine or something like that.

    Also, I’m curious about NEDA’s role in this….do you know anything about that?

  • “But I just can’t understand how anyone who has been abused by psychiatry can think that changing the minds of psychiatrists (which is rarely possible) is more important than changing the mind of the general public.”

    Thanks for bringing that up! I agree with you 100% that changing the minds of general public is what matters. As I mentioned in my comment above, it’s the opinion of the general public that allows psychiatry to maintain it’s power (and, conversely, it’s psychiatry’s power that maintains public opinion….)

    Just to clarify, I spend about 1% of my time (or less) talking to psychiatrists so that’s not where a lot of my time and energy happens to be going at this time, though I do believe in engaging psychiatrists or anyone else in the same honest, respectful way.

  • Thanks for your comments, Ted. I agree with you that direct action has been hugely important in all civil rights movements that I’m aware of, include ours. I’m not arguing against that at all. I’m arguing for that and other efforts being done with intentionality, intellectual humility, and respect. I feel justified in my rage but I don’t know if people listen to me very well when I direct that rage towards them. I think it can have the effect of actually making people more rigid in their thinking because when we cast someone as our enemy they are likely to construct an enemy image of us as well. On the other hand, I do think yelling and fighting and picketing are effective strategies at times!

    I realize a lot of people will not agree with me about this but I’m currently questioning whether it’s helpful to consider people whose actions I find oppressive as “oppressors,” or if, instead, it might be more helpful for me to think of them as victims of the same ideas and systems as I am but in a different way. I just read this fascinating article about public concerns about wrongful confinement in 19th century England: http://jsh.oxfordjournals.org/content/11/3/366.full.pdf+html. It’s incredibly relevant. In particular these sentences:

    “The greatest danger to civil liberty arose not from an unlikely collection of evildoers, but from ignorance, arrogance. and narrow-rnindedness…Someone had to make such a division [between the sane and insane]: the system of involuntary confinement demanded it. Winslow and his colleagues [“mad-doctors”] were the agents of a society determined to banish the. mentally disturbed from its midst. The doctors made the immediate decision to confine, but ultimately the responsibility rested with the society which gave them the power to do so. The Victorian public tended to overlook its responsibility by treating the asylum as something apart. at once indispensable and disreputable…The outbursts retlected the anguish of a society convinced of the need for a system of involuntary confine- ment yet uncomfortable with the implications of its existence. and suspicious of
    the abilities and intentions of those charged with its operation. The attacks on the doctors and others connected with the system were often irrational, hysterical, and misdirected.”

    In other words, railing against individuals who are carrying out the acts we find oppressive may not be most efficient use of our energy if our goal is to change the societial thinking that necessitates that people fill these roles. If that’s the case our efforts may be better spent on changing public opinion and modeling the change we want to see (ex: not “othering” those who we think have “othered” us). I don’t really know the best way to help make this happen but I’m very interested in learning and this article articulates the approach I’m trying to use now based my current understanding.

    Thanks again for your comments and for hearing me out. I genuinly look forward to learning more from you!

  • You might be right…but if I believe that there’s no hope then you will definitely be right 🙂

    Why not expose the system while we improve it? Those don’t seem mutually exclusive to me. In fact I see some clinicians doing this.

    Thanks for your message!!

  • I hope you write that blog post called “How to Do Revolutionary Work in the Community Mental Health System Without Getting Fired or Going Crazy”!!!

    I love how you articulated this: “This DOES NOT mean, however, we do not call out and expose those things that are clearly wrong; we just have to find the best ways to conduct that struggle.” Well said and I agree 100%.

    In terms of change coming from inside or outside of the system, it seems clear to me that it’s both. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that it only comes from within the system because that would be obviously wrong. I think you’re probably right that the impetus or the spark is outside (survivors, dissidents) but the actually internal transformation and restructuring involves a lot from the inside.

    Thanks for your thoughtful response!

  • Hey Alex,

    Thanks for your reply! I can relate to the “toxic and crazy-making” experience for sure.

    I think you’re right that taking risks and challenging that kind of “playing it safe” is important. I totally agree with you. That’s one of the main struggles that I have– that balance between challenging the status quo and keeping my efforts sustainable and effective. The main reason for me not sharing those anecdotes that were coming to mind is that I want to maintain a collaborative relationship with those individuals and organizations. I am up for challenging them (and I think I do, though not always) but broadcasting them on the internet is not the way that I want to do that. The program I work at is pretty progressive compared to a lot of the other service providers we interact with and this already creates difficulty without me publicly critiquing them 🙂

    Thank you for the reminder and encouragement to take risks!!!!

  • Is it possible to be all three of the sub-types on the left? I want to see the current system reformed for the sake of those people who are and will be in it but I also want true alternatives to be created that are not at all a part of the current system and behind all of it is human rights concerns about coercion, inequality, pseudoscience, etc. Maybe I haven’t been involved long enough to see the conflict/distinction between these three types of advocates?