Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Comments by Hayden Hall

Showing 35 of 35 comments.

  • There is a dude named Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, M.D. –author of book, “Bedlam,” that was made into a documentary– who REALLY should attend to what Christopher James Dubey has to say here. This fella, Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, who is admired by another certain fella named E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., has experienced inner torment by what happened to his sister who, after coming home from a psych hospitalization, refused any further treatment, and ended up dying in self-imposed isolation while NOT in very good shape, mentally. That other fella, named E. Fuller Torrey, also had a sister with a serious psych condition for which he, E. Fuller Torrey, thinks the sister needed to have forced medical treatment. It might not ever have occurred to these two guys, who I believe are very very smart, to consider their loved ones might have had sound reasons to refuse psych care, even when these same loved ones were not functioning well, mentally.
    Psychiatry today appears to thrive on its concept of ‘anosognosia.’ Practitioners in that field evidently do not, do NOT want to look at what they do not know about their own biasses and preconceptions.
    End of rant.

  • The Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center matters to those of us who are wanting all care for people with psychiatric diagnoses to transform into providing “a loving, caring haven,” when that is truly needed (and not otherwise).
    Ole Andreas Underland reports of a positive response to their work from among psychiatrists, with so many wanting to join in that there is a wait list. At the same time, there may still be opposition from mainstream psychiatry: It was at the “first conference where… [Ole Andreas Underland] was asked to give a review of one year’s experience” that the Board of Specialists declared they would exit the conference if Ole Andreas Underland should speak; we do not know if the Board of Specialists would like to hear of positive results with with Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center, even still today.
    In a separate article within this week’s newsletter, Bruce Levine, PhD brings forward words psychiatrist Allen Frances intoned (in Gary Greenburg’s book, “The Book of Woe,”) to the effect that “A lot of false beliefs help people cope with life.” Dr. Frances wanted to support “false beliefs [that might help] people [with psychiatric diagnoses to] cope with life.” However, it might be said that “false beliefs help… [psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians to] cope”, by giving them some mental structure that allows them to continue attempting to serve people who are not doing so well.
    And, Richard Sears has drawn our attention to dramatically rising numbers of people with CMD (=Common Mental Disorders) in the U.K. in the last two decades, increases that are most likely to be explained in other ways than by some dramatic rise in chromosomal deficiencies in the U.K. population!!
    More concerning, is news that more antipsychotic medication is now being administered to children in the U.K. who do not have psychotic difficulties. The article from The Guardian that is cited quotes an expert (at least so-called) who supports this dangerous off-label use as being, she thinks, helpful.
    In what Ole Andreas Underland said in this interview with Bob Whitaker, a crucial requirement for the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center to be able to continue its work is for the public foundation that funds that work to be maintained. For reasons that are not well explained here, Underland told Bob Whitaker that “the Labor Party, who now is in charge,… are against this financing system.” It is all very well for us to continue to bemoan the fate of the Soteria Project (that could, possibly, have been scuttled from fears about patients running the asylum), but, in wanting to help the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center in realistic and practical terms, it could help to look at what are the real or feigned objections that the Labor Party in Norway has to the funding of the Hurdalsjøen Recovery Center from a public foundation. So: If any Mad in America allies have wherewithal to take on such concerns, their contributions could be very much wanted, now.

  • boans I’ve been thinking of you and now I find this reply you wrote that I’d missed somehow.
    I guess, a word I’d have for what happened to you is, it’s “involved.”
    I believe you are on another continent from where I am in U.S.: Perhaps you are in Australia?
    I believe it may be Tim Wilson who has been advising that the Mental Health System there is NOT working at all well, over all.
    Which is not to say it’s working great in the U.S.! – and, there have been pressures here to mandate more widespread coercion of people who have received psych diagnoses; I’m not up on things, to know how widespread such mandates are in the U.S. now.
    Just reflecting some on the law, I expect your legal system, like ours in the U.S., has traditions from U.K. law. Perhaps where you are (Australia?), you also are inheritors, as we are, of the ancient legal doctrine of ‘parens patriae.’
    And you may know what that is, but, just to review: Under the legal doctrine of parens patriae, anyone who is found to be (sigh) ‘mentally incapable’ is, in the view of the law, as a kind of de facto child whose parent is The Sovereign — with The Sovereign historically having been the British Sovereign, but, for us, in the United States, The Sovereign is The State.

    This doctrine of parens patriae is a way of trying to see that someone will look after folks who are (sigh) mentally incapable. As I would understand, though, in actual practice this legal doctrine may not play out very well in many instances, for those it is supposed to help.

    Not to impugn those who become charged to serve as Guardians and Conservators, who go above and beyond in selfless care for their Wards or Conservatees.

    Anyway. My take, boans, for what it is worth, is that there may be a general supposition that people who have been subject to the Mental Health System are mentally incapable, whether or not in fact they are: My hunch is, it may be social custom to treat them as de facto children, so as to diminish such people –as, perhaps, you, and, me– instead of building them up to be at their/our best.

    In the U.S., we now have a relatively new law that may shift the legal landscape some, however: This is the Americans With Disabilities Act; and, as distinct from parens patriae, it seeks to make the most of the capacity that any of us have.

    So: Let’s say someone is reading your somewhat involved account of harms you have received from people. If that someone presumes ‘boans is like a child; we can’t make much of what boans is saying,’ that is one thing. If that someone presumes ‘boans has something going on that we can’t quite make out; it’s necessary to find the necessary supports to discern what’s going on here,’ that is another.

    I don’t know that this helps.

  • In what I have seen and understood, people can become quite addicted to benzos.

    I once listened to a guy recount a horror story of his experience with one of the benzos. At first, the drug had worked very well for him. Then, it brought no benefit. Getting off of his benzo, however, was extremely hard for this fellow. Much as he wanted to be off of the drug, I don’t think he had been successful up until that point.

    It was awful. Total nightmare, brought on by a clueless application of the ‘medical model’ in treating emotional/psychological/mental distress.

  • I agree with Steve that “Miranda rights are appropriate before every ‘mental health’ detention evaluation, including the right to not answer and the right to legal representation.”

    Many years ago, when subject to civil commitment I said I would not speak to anyone at the hospital before I could speak with an attorney. “It’s Saturday. Here’s a phone book” was the response I got.

    While under medication, I forgot all about this. During a reprieve from medication load, I was advised to request the hospital record of my mental health incarceration. It brought back to me what I had forgotten.

    In subsequently looking into the mental health law of my state (which was made easier by there being public county law libraries — that still exist in some form), I read that when there was a move to affirm that psychiatrically disturbed people have rights, initially people had de facto Miranda rights in a civil commitment situation. However, I gathered that hospitals found this to be cumbersome, and it was taken out of the law.

    No one should minimize the clout of institutions that provide in-patient care. Those of us who in any way quarrel with what those institutions do and fail to do may appear, to the world at large, as ingrates — in the supposition that we’re such nogoodniks we must be grateful if anyone will do anything with us, for us.

  • MK-ULTRA grew out of Operation Bluebird.

    I expect Russian intelligence probably did use ming-altering drugs. And, it may be even much harder to find out what they did do, than it is to learn about what people working for our government (Army, C.I.A.) did.

    Remembering that there were (and are) probably very real things to be afraid of in what Russians, Chinese, North Koreans could and would do can provide some perspective.

    It’s important to maintain some perspective, but, that does not at all lessen the harm that people suffered –and may still suffer in interrogation situations: I don’t know that we know– at the hands of our own government.

  • Operation Paperclip was a U.S. endeavor to appropriate the skills of Nazi scientists, as an aid in opposing the Soviet Union. Some of the Nazi scientists —one or more— was/were doctors who had conducted experiments on people without the people’s consent. Our Army and C.I.A. then put a key Nazi doctor to work in experimenting in ways to interrogate people. They euphemistically called the endeavor Operation Bluebird, as dosing subjects with all kinds of drugs was supposed to make them sing like birds. No relation between Operation Bluebird and our own Birdsong, I am sure!

    So, yes, Nazi doctors enacted psychiatric torture before American doctors did; and, yes, American doctors and researchers studied to learn what Nazi doctors knew.

  • Birdsong writes, “Psychiatry is predatory medicine.”

    Very heartbreaking stories concern what happened when the C.I.A. and Army used psychiatry as a mode of finding how to control people, use people, break people down. Those are very concrete, definite histories of some very predatory uses of psychiatry.

  • It can be hard to access good legal help as a psych patient. Or, seemingly impossible sometimes.

    A suggestion, boans, would be to try to say what is at the core of your complaints about how you were treated.

    In order to be heard, we have to be understandable to others: They have to be able to make sense of what we say.

    In candor, I’m not following you here.

    Try to explain to your readers as if we are in kindergarten. It might help.

  • Tammy, I am so sorry you’ve been experiencing such an ordeal over so many years. Very sadly, the fact of your writing to the Mad in America blog, and entering into conversation with others who have been subject to the Mental Health System, do not alone protect you from more of the same of what you have been going through.
    For what it’s worth, here are some off-the-cuff thoughts towards helping yourself to be more safe.
    1) Acquaint yourself with the terms of existing mental health law in your state. My impression is, you might be in Missouri. Here, for example, is a link to a web page with some information about the rules in play there: https://dmh.mo.gov/behavioral-health/help/civil
    As I glance over said web page, it suggests to me the rules are skewed in favor of those who may somehow perceive something is the matter with another person. It might be said, the rules are less oriented towards helping a person who may be deemed mentally ill than towards providing comfort and support for those who are concerned about such a person. It must still be the case that there are protections in Missouri as elsewhere against abuse of vulnerable people. I encourage you to try to find what protections there are, and to write those protections on your heart.
    2) While faith and belief can be important and life-sustaining, in maintaining them I suggest you must become wise as a serpent, to coin a phrase. In my own life this year, I interfaced on one occasion with a psychologist who seemed to me very clearly to be of the conviction that religiosity, so to speak, constitutes mental illness per se. Concurrently, I could see that this clinician maintained what was, in my view, a naive understanding of the DSM — as, if you will, a literally inspired and infallible Word of Psychiatry. Not!!!! Being wise as a serpent requires you to become discerning in regard to all of the clinical people you encounter along your life’s way. It is not necessary to demonize them in whatever way; but, in order for you to keep yourself safe, it is imperative that you grow in insight as to what is going on with these people.
    3) Learn to understand and know that you are the keeper of the secrets of your own heart — and psyche, so that, whatever concerned family members and clinical people you encounter may say is the case about you, those things do not separate you from the reality of what is going on inside of you.
    4) Learn to practice a delicate balancing act, of cooperating to the extent you must with what is unhelpful on the one hand, and, on the other hand, asserting your own awareness of what would be more helpful when it is safe to do so.
    As I would understand, contemporary psychiatry has a lot riding on a concept of ‘anosognosia,’ as, a lot of what they do harmfully to those of us who are subject to the Mental Health System presupposes that we do not know what is going on inside of our own minds and bodies. Becoming aware of this concept that they have is another step towards effectiveness in navigating the Mental Health System.
    5) Be aware that you do not know what your loved ones have going on inside. For example, your two sons could be quietly torn up inwardly, from witnessing injustice while also having been told the injustice is somehow ‘necessary.’ If you are able to become more skillful at managing the Mental Health System instead of letting that System always manage you, this could aid in improving relationships with those loved ones who matter most to you!! Only, just be aware always that healing of any sort can take time, and may require much patience.

  • I cannot say the article we are more and less responding to grabs me at present.

    It makes complete sense to me to say, a society or culture that’s tightly focused on people making money from what they do is not going to be mentally and emotionally healthy.

    There are deep waters to swim in, here, plenty to explore beyond a discussion of this article.

    If we were to say, people may ONLY support each other’s inner health out of generosity and kindness, period, my experience has been, this can lead to difficulties, too: as, if I or someone am/is very distressed, there can be legitimate concerns about overburdening others who have their own matters to attend to.

    It could be said, money and labeling go together too much in a system that focuses too much on finding reasons to pay people for doing things — as though what people do does not matter unless the system puts a price tag on it.

    For sure, TLC that is delivered without expecting something in return is what I’ve found most deeply helpful.

    And a question can be, can we affirm the value of what is not monetized. Can we support delivery of TLC so that people who give this can live.

    Anyway, I’ll exit the discussion now.

  • People out there in the western world opine strongly that coercive treatment of mental health conditions is necessary in certain situations.

    I say, OK.

    OK, but.

    Maybe we should not term those emergency measures as human health care.

    They might, at best, be something like veterinary treatment, that is administered to an animal whether the animal likes it or not.

    We should strive to clarify, in how we consider these matters, that coercive mental health care is sub-optimal, always.


  • Coercive health care is an oxymoron.

    Genuine health care involves collaborative relationships between providers and recipients of care.

    Trust is a key element of any true collaboration between people.

    Trust is not engendered, fostered, or encouraged with the use of force.

    Absent trustful relationships between providers and recipients of care, communication as to what works and doesn’t work in treatment is grossly impaired.

    Coercion is normative in delivery of mental health care to people in our society who experience mental disturbances. This coercion runs contrary to aims of improving modalities of care so as to achieve best outcomes from treatment.


  • Birdsong wrote, “relationships based on money and labeling are disgusting ”

    Any kind of professional who requires some kind of remuneration in exchange for a focussed application of their skills might be said to engage in “relationships based on money.”

    It is in that sense that I inferred Birdsong thinks all people who work in a professional capacity are “disgusting.”

    Birdsong has clarified that this is not what Birdsong thinks. I am grateful for this clarification.

    Signing off now.

  • When someone will listen very carefully, will exercise disciplines that teach them not to look down at the speaker whom most people might look down on, and will pay attention with a focus that, many times, a friend or relative cannot provide, that may be something a speaker can place monetary value on.

    My hunch: Some of the push to diagnose absolutely everything (as, a person is supposedly ill just in showing up at a therapist’s office) may be from wanting to get insurers to pay for appointments. As we know, private pay for psychotherapy is prohibitively expensive, so as to be quite unthinkable for many if not most people.

    Plus, even when anyone can afford private pay, taking cost off of the table is one less worry on their minds: as, who really wants to be thinking of cost per minute during a professional appointment?

    Nonprofessional ‘lay people’ can do wonderfully at many things, and their skills may be underutilized. Sometimes, in limited circumstances it can make sense to look for someone with professional skills, in whatever field of endeavor.

    You can represent yourself in a court of law. In so doing so, you may reduce your chances for a preferred outcome; but, going “pro se” is your right. Lawyers will say, some one who represents themselves “pro se” has a fool for a client; medical doctors may say similar things about people who practice medicine on themselves.

    Although, in a perfect world, there might be no paying jobs, in the world we live in people have to earn money to pay the rent and put food on the table. In contracting with a qualified professional to provide their skills in service, you are helping them to eat, and live.

    And some of these people work very, very hard. Some of them provide benefit in what they do.

  • While respecting your opinions and wanting to learn from them, I note at a glance two places where our views diverge.

    1) I do not, not understand psychotherapy to constitute brain surgery

    2) While I agree that psychotherapy has to be client-focused, I opine that pretending the therapist is not a human who is in the room (or at the other end of a remote electronic connection) tends to exacerbate client self-absorption that may hinder best outcomes.

    People have narcissistic needs, and focus must be on healing the hurt person. Part of becoming more well, though, is being able to think of others.

    End of rant.

  • Becoming a psychotherapist is a way to make a living.

    And, the costs of psychotherapy for an uninsured client/patient are prohibitive.

    It bears noting, though, that in the spectrum of work that are deemed “professions,” psychotherapy –and even psychiatry– are not well paid.

    Psychiatrists who become shills for the pharmaceutical industry get paid bonuses for saying the magic words: “This drug works.”

    There are financial incentives for pushing pills: Psychiatrists get more remuneration in less time.

    Plus, they don’t have to deal with folks like Birdsong, who may get sent to them, but don’t want to give any helping professionals the time of day.

  • I have also thought of Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” in connection with our modalities for navigating people’s experiences of mental, emotional, psychological — &, yes, sometimes, brain distress.

    When families are worried about a loved one’s mental state, at least in my state the reasoning may be, “you can’t do anything for them unless they become dangerous, at which point you can institute a psychiatric incarceration that will result in (allegedly) appropriate medical treatment.”

    Something is very, very wrong with this picture!!

    In dark imagination, I am positing the following: Contemporary western psychiatry waits expectantly for distressed people to become mentally incompetent, on the theory that once the mind stops functioning, then they can address what they think is wrong with the brain.

    So, yes: “The Chicago Boys” whom Naomi Klein referenced wanted economies to be in crisis so that people would accept their dire prescriptions. Similarly, our contemporary psychiatry wants individuals to be in crisis so that psychiatrists can have their pharmaceutical (and sometimes ECT) way with them.

  • I am thinking, maybe this article suggests that in a clinical relationship, a therapist and their client can create meaning together? This might be someone’s fantasy.

    In a less than totally imperfect world, psychotherapy could be a trustful relationship. Commenters on this article show that, for them, psychotherapy cannot be a ‘safe container’ — for anything.

    To me, this goes to show how coercion –explicit or implied– in the healing arts causes real and lasting harm.

    The “higher power” thinking of AA has helped many, but may not be for everyone.

    I encourage attention to Marshall Rosenberg’s book, “Nonviolent Communication.” Even if full use of Marshall’s offerings is impossible for some (such as me), his work can be used to establish a template for self-empathy that may bring liberation!!

  • Thank you, Dr. Gøtzsche, on behalf of all affected people for your courage and perseverance in bucking the trend in Europe towards prescribing more and more anti-depressive medication!!

    There is much to feel sad about these days, including for children. With whatever else might be tried as remedies for emotional difficulty, I hope we might all remember the benefits of good old TLC.

  • With experience of a parents’ friend who was severely damaged by ECT in “the bad old days,” I have never trusted the claim that “it’s so much better now.” I did also read psychiatrist Daniel Carlatt’s account (I think his book might be called “Unhinged”) in which he would see patients lining up for their ECT treatments, and would reflect that there must be something wrong with that picture.

    I had not read an account of actually going through ECT. Really it was the other comments on your article that helped me find courage to read your entire account, Kathleen. ECT has always seemed so totally awful it was hard to bear to look!! Thank you for letting us walk through your memory of what you went through.

    It is my belief, also, that psychiatric drugs and ECT are being over-prescribed. And, in the ‘age of the brain,’ IMO we may lose track of wisdom and skills for navigating — call them the vicissitudes of living.

    In my own case, my brain has recovered some from the effects of medication. I hope, slowly on, you could regain some of the function that you lost.

    Sometimes, or always, it can be necessary to take one day, one step, one breath at a time.

  • Kimberley McLean can be said to have mashed together some different source material as though it all adds up to a single statement that she summarizes in her blogpost. A close reading of her blogpost and the sources she cites would, however, indicate that that is not the case. The statement is her own.

    As she wraps up her blog post, McLean notes “the sheer volume of people seeking relief” from mental/emotional/psychological distress. She notes “the scope of the problem”, suggesting the scope is large.

    McLean opines that there is too much use of pharmaceuticals in addressing mental/emotional/psychological distress. She does not, however, suggest doing away with what might be termed, ‘the Mental Health System,’ altogether. Instead, she advocates “for safe and effective treatments” for what is widely called ‘mental illness.’

    The Open Dialog approach that McLean touts departs from predominant practice, but still exists within the Mental Health System, and is unlikely to continue without support from within that System.

    A concluding assertion, from me personally: Fragile people may not benefit from throwing bricks at each other’s glass houses. People with emotional/mental/psychological distress do not benefit from making others into enemies. It is much better for us to follow Fred Rogers’ advice, and to seek out and find ‘the helpers.’ Helpers come in various guises and disguises.

    To say again: Fragile people do not need adversaries. Instead, we need allies who will hear our just complaints, and affirm whatever in us is sane and sound.