Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • The institutions ARE addicted to pharmaceutical use. The many times that I was held in psychiatric institutions against my will, I was never given a choice when it came to taking psycho-active drugs. Had I been given a choice, I would not have taken them at all. The neuroleptics anyway. I didn’t like what they did to me. If it’s bad in the psychiatric hospital, it’s got to be much worse in prison, or that place where the two systems come together, forensic psychiatry. I like the liberation oriented slant of your interview, and hope something positive might come out of your efforts to do something about the matter. Thank you for what you do.

  • I have a little problem with this idea that the receipt of “mental health” trickment should serve as a gateway to a career in the provision of “mental health” trickment. What was madness again? Wasn’t it something like not learning from experience, and repeating your folly ad nauseum?

  • A great article about a great scholar and a great activist. We’ve lost so many in our movement over the recent years, and this is a loss that it is certainly going to be difficult to recover from. I sincerely hope you’ve got the people in Canada to take up where Bonnie left off, to continue her work, and to strengthen and support her legacy.

    As for the struggle in the USA, maybe we could take a few lessons from Bonnie on behalf of the struggle here. I hope so. Our struggle certainly needs more people with her kind of determination and resolve.

    Thank you, Bonnie, for everything you’ve done. I wish you were still around so that I could say so in person.

  • The abuse excuse saved James Holmes life. All the experts in court claimed he had a “mental illness”, and the jury couldn’t bring itself to execute (sanction state homicide of) such a “damaged” individual. What do we get out of this crime and trial? Certainly, not justice. I feel the Holmes case itself must have been the main inspiration behind the movie Joker. As one might expect, if one were rational, not being too fond of the “insanity defense”, I’m not very fond of the abuse excuse (i.e. trauma informed care) as it is applied outside of the criminal justice system either.

    If I expressed anything in a offensive manner here, then, childhood trauma didn’t make me do so.

  • I agree and disagree in some regards. You’ve got more “mental patients” than ever before (medicalization), in part, because of this expanding “service industry”, that is, in some cases, an expanding bureaucracy employing present or ex-patients. I’m not particularly fond of “mental health” world myself. One solution is to fund it, and another is to defund it. Socialism, the psychiatric institution, well, I have a few problems with the very suggestion. By expanding the human services industry we aren’t exactly getting people out of chronic pseudo-medical model care. I’m not, in this instance, going to be tipping my hat to, and winking at, a certain amount of cynicism and oppression entertained by the paternalistic mob and the newly minted wards of the state of their creation.

  • I’d call the problem here ‘the long reach of those “mental patient” gloves’. The looney bin is, quite literally, where they stash trash people.

    Thanks for trying to do something constructive about the situation. Xmas, on the wards, can sure be a bummer.

  • Or are we supposed to overcome our “sanity” in order to gain pride in our newfound madness? War, environmental degradation, and putting profit over people all along have been equated with “sanity” while our present head of state is about as big “a danger to self and others” as you are likely to run across in several lifetimes.

    Regarding “flawed”, I don’t know about “deeply”, but you find “perfection”, and you’ve just performed an instant lobotomy on yourself.

  • Organizations are what make organizing worthwhile. Organizations that can effect change. The factionalism remains, even with organizations. As is, organization has benefited the more moderate and compromising apologists for the system. Given the great failure of these compromises, as illustrated in the recent passage of the Murphy bill into law of one sort or another, I see hope for the more radical, and less compromising, factions, your milk toast moderate having become his or her own worst enemy.

  • “Schizophrenia” isn’t a disease, it’s an insult. You don’t know how many times I’ve talked to people about “mental illness”, so-called, and have gotten this thing about the hopelessly deteriorated and deteriorating “schizophrenic”. Most people seem to “know” one. This person or that deemed beyond “recovery”. Far be it for me to explain that I once had a “schizophrenic” diagnosis lodged against me. I don’t think confessing would help me one iota. Also, I’d have to admit, I don’t have anything to confess. I would never be one to apply such an insult to myself.

  • Stop labeling and drugging foster children. Okay, if you’ve done that, now stop labeling and drugging children and adolescents. Labeled and drugged children all too often grow into labeled and drugged adults. Note: ADHD, for example, has morphed from a mostly childhood and adolescent affliction into what is now termed adult ADHD. Is there no end to this nonsense? Stop the psychiatrization (throwing away) process early, and what do you know? They have a future again.

    Good suggestions at the end, too. There is no homeless problem in this country although there is an affordable housing problem. Make housing affordable and automatically you do something about all the poor people living in tents on the sidewalk. Children, of course, too.

  • “Mental health treatment” = brainwashing, indoctrination, terror, abduction, imprisonment, assault, torture…

    There is a great deal of paternalism involved in this desire to detain the deemed dangerous while much of the deeming requires a leap to judgment or prejudgment on the part of the deemer. Donald J. Trump claims we need to start locking up dangerous people. At the same time, there are mental health professionals who claim that Donald J. Trump is one of the dangerous ones, and that he himself needs to be locked up, or, at least, “treated”. I’m not sure those mental health professionals quite realize that, were they able to do so, this “treatment” would make them a danger to Donald J. Trump, and, of course, certain other human populations.

    I don’t think the desire of the community to preserve itself is behind involuntary commitment. I think the real basis for involuntary mistreatment lies in the desire to lay blame on a scapegoat for problems that the community has created for itself, scapegoating made easy by the designating label “mentally ill”. The community is a community that, quite literally, is the community of a species that is not threatened with extinction in the slightest. On the other hand, it is because of this community that certain other species are on the brink of extinction think of it what you will.

  • Okay. I’m not bitching about any drug free hospital going up then. That’s a very rare phenomenon actually. I’m more concerned about protecting people from some of the harm that comes of psychiatric drug use. I never had an option when it came to drugging in the hospitals (sic) to which I was imprisoned. I think it is a very positive thing that this one private facility is going to be doing something different.

  • I have a few issues with the title of this piece. Rather than Is Australia’s Psychiatric System Redeemable, like a sales coupon, or a lottery ticket, or a government bond, how about Is Australia’s Psychiatric System Salvageable, like a scuttled vessel, a scrap of antiquity that we’ve grown too sentimental about to thoroughly trash, or, say, a relic from the Third Reich.

  • Drug therapy versus talk therapy, basically, that’s a big difference in my book. Boring Neo-Freudian or Jungian revisionist talk shrinks aren’t Neo-Kraepelinian drug pushing bio-shrinks. Thing is, they discovered, just the other week, you don’t need a medical degree to administer talk. I guess the idea is…the more cooks the better the stew. A popular saying, of course, folk wisdom, has it the other way around. Most of these talk shrinks dish out a few drugs and most of these bio-shrinks offer you 15 minutes of fame during rounds. It’s the exceptions that are helpful, but the problem is, there are just too darned few of them to make much of a difference. Peer pressure, but not from those peers, I think, is one of the reasons that this is the case.

  • I spent time in a day facility where the man in charge, a psychologist, used to go sailing in the Virgin Isles on his vacations. You think any of the screw ups in his charge got to go sailing in the Caribbean, too? Heck no. Most of them had been robbed blind by the mental health system. Specifically, by people like him. Believe me, I wasn’t shedding any tears when eventually he lost his job.

    I generally don’t go in for such places anymore. I don’t see the benefit in setting people like him up at my own expense. I’ve got better things to be doing. Almost anything you can imagine has got to be a better thing, in the sense of goodness, than what he was doing. I think the unfairness of the world was in a way his expense account, and I’m happy not to be there to foot the bill.

    Am I crying foul as far as his case is concerned? Yeah, I think that’s exactly the way I’d put it.

  • Way beyond force? Like if you choose to be deprived of your liberty? Or if you boarded ship in chains and bound for some colony somewhere? Deception, in my view, complements force because if people were open and honest about it, if it was all open and above board, they wouldn’t be resorting to force in the first place.

    Another matter is that this isn’t completely about “disease”, it’s about morality or something else. People are being punished for some transgression or other, for disobedience, for rule breaking, but not, and this is important, law breaking. Quasi-medical, quasi-legal, in this instance, sort of detours both. All the more reason, in the authorities view, for lies and non-transparency.

  • I don’t know about cannonizing Thomas S. Szasz, nor demonizing R.D. Laing and Michel Foucault, however, labeling all three iconoclasts is rather like demonizing the lot of them. (Rather them than the lot of us conformist pro-shrinkery shrinks perhaps, huh?)

    I don’t think the critical arguments against standard practice have grown any stronger since the exit of the three above mentioned “iconoclasts”. If anything, the matter has degenerated, in the boring department, to the extent that it could put almost anybody to sleep. Maybe they can use them to cool the tempers of people labeled as “suffering” from bi-polar disorder, a disorder that grows more popular with every sales pitch.

    If you’re going to demonize all three, please, I beg you. Let me join the ranks of the condemned.

  • As long as psychiatry is forced on unwilling victims, I have no use for it. When psychiatry is entirely voluntary, I will cease having an issue with it. The biggest “fix”, if ever a “fix” was needed, would be the “fix” that would end forced treatment, and. in the process, restore full citizenship rights to people abused by the psychiatric system in their respective countries. As long as you don’t get rid of forced treatment, mental health treatment is nothing more than an excuse to abuse certain people. Yep, that’s right. Criminals and mental patients are not the only people who routinely use the abuse excuse.

  • “Mental health treatment” is the problem, not the solution. Go imprison, insult, defame, torture somebody else. You want a “cure”? Stop imprisoning, defaming, and torturing people. Once you’ve imprisoned, defamed, and tortured them, then you start talking “recovery”. I’m saying the “recovery” is “recovery” from abduction, imprisonment, defamation, and torture, not “disease”. The “disease” is a fiction, and a convenient way for a person to get rid of people that that person disapproves of, or finds annoying.

  • In realistic terms, OldHead, part of the problem entails treatments that arose out of viewing so-called “mental disorders” as physical conditions requiring physical remedies (shock, drugs). The problem is that the physical remedies invariably involve doing physical harm to the patient/client. Any hospital that doesn’t use drugs, in my opinion, is an improvement for the simple reason that less drug use is going to mean a less physically damaged population. I would think that less or no drug use is, under almost all circumstances, going to mean less iatrogenic disability and, that it is, therefore, something to be desired. As is, everywhere you go, on every hospital ward, it’s always the same drug, drug, drug approach, practice, and mentality. Oh, yeah, everywhere you go besides this private place going up in Norway. Okay. Iatrogenic harm is a separate, but related, issue beside that of physical segregation and imprisonment. Two wrongs certainly don’t make a right, however, a right is definitely to be considered an improvement over any additional wrong. If you were working for many rights, one right is, I imagine, a good place to start.

  • Mental health treatment now being the gateway to mental health work (found jobs?), we’ve got an even more slippery story here. Out of those 50 and 75 %ers respectively, X % of millennials, X % gen zers, used the mental health excuse to swing a career in mental health treatment provision. That’s the kind of research that you might be delving into more deeply. Are there better things they could be doing? You betcha!

    When it comes to mental health treatment and work, I will bet you’ve had drop outs and second timers in both as well. The plot thickens….like fly paper.

  • You have the right to take your own life. Alright. Suicide issue, dealt with, settled, out of the way. Now when you try to prevent a person from committing suicide you are violating that person’s human rights.

    I think the problem started long before there was a medical specialty called psychiatry. In other words, the root of all evil is not psychiatry, nor did evil doing begin with psychiatrists. I think the problem first began with locking people up and forcing treatment on them for being disobedient or unruly, and second, when an expanding profitable enterprise grew out of this imprisoning and torturing of such dissidents (i.e. the violation of their human rights). There was a point in time at which the profit motive, coupled with job stability and careerism, made such an exploitative racket take off. How do you derail a run away freight train? How do you end it? Well, certainly not by making more and more investments in it.

  • “Anxiety” is a natural survival mechanism, not a “mental disease”. Any wall of abstract “suffering” you are facing can completely collapse when you understand that basic fact. Should your “suffering” be caused by toxic chemicals though you will have to withdraw from such chemical abuse to cease “suffering” so much. Drugs, in this instance, are the problem, not the solution. The solution is to trust your instincts and your senses, to be wary of the false promises of pill pushers, and to stay safe by staying healthy.

  • Basically if you get 25 % of the world, if I’m not being too conservative (today’s estimates have risen to 50 % and beyond), to buy your crap, you have job security. I find that there is a limit though to the amount of crap I personally can take. Necessity, it would seem, is a lot less necessary than it should be.

    I’d like to see a campaign directed against mental health treatment addiction. If we could wipe mental health treatment addiction off the map, we might be getting somewhere.

  • Julie was a fighter, and she will be missed greatly.

    We need more people with the strength to reject psychiatric interventions altogether, and in that sense, Julie was one of us.

    In the long list of casualties of treatment, here’s another. People need to know about lithium. I would say it’s a much more dangerous drug than people give it credit for being, and here’s another example of the consequences of putting people on it.

    Julie was, she claimed, gathering material for another anthology. Others should take up the challenge. I can’t help but wonder, if MIA were to publish such a volume, who would be censored, exiled and de-voiced, further victims of a conspiracy of silence (and silencing). We need more collections of the narratives of psychiatric survivors in solidarity against the graveyard making system. Hopefully, the example of Julie, and people like her, might draw more people into the movement for change.

    Anonymous was never so anonymous as he or she who bore a name.

  • I think Rachel777 has got a point here, OldHead. Lewis Carroll was a master of nonsense, a type of sense, not absurdity. His modus operandi was not satire, a severe criticism of what is going on, but rather, if you will, a form of resignation, at least, acceptance of the way things proceed. Nonsense, for the Victorians, of which Carroll was one, was a fact of life, not an exception to it.

  • I like 1 and 2. 3 has created a BIG problem, and it’s growing BIGGER all the time. Now “treatment” is the gateway drug into a career in “mental health” work. Yuck!! “Trauma informed care”, for instance, the abuse excuse carried over from the criminal justice system into the mental health treatment system, and vice versa. “My childhood made me do it.” 4 complements 3, double yuck. Some of us have better ways to make use of our time. (Rather, study the system with the goal and intent of critiquing and destroying the system.) 5 is not an option. Don’t be a victim. Switch gears to instinctual mode. Be a survivor. 6 scrap surveys. How many of youse out there are complete idiots? Don’t we get enough dishonesty from the mental health coppers and the corporate backed politicians? 7 deny the system, it’s going to get tied up in the courts by somebody no matter what you do in particular. 8 move, and further more act, but act in ways to destroy the behavioral intervention system and to save people from it. 9 develop your logical thinking skills, excessive reactive emotionality and stratospheric vacations get people permanent careers in the adult baby sitting business. either as adult babies or as adult baby overlords. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about folly. Wise up!

  • “…we are not monsters, we are mentally ill…”

    Don’t you think psychiatrized is a lot like demonized? The shrink establishment and the cop establishment are totally in cahoots when it comes to slandering people with the “monster” and the “sick” labels. Especially when merged.

    Crazy is not as bad a term as “mentally ill”. Crazy we all are to one degree or another. Silly, anyway. People, on the other hand, are very “serious” about “mental illness”. “Mentally ill” is an expression demanding converts.

    “We believe in your bipolarity.” Etc.

    Nobody is frivolously “mentally ill” except for people who are not “truly” “mentally ill” which says a lot for frivolity.

  • It’s Frank Blankenship, not -stein, and things could be pretty bad in Canada, but they’re pretty bad throughout the USA as well. Ditto, the world. The old idea about getting people out of the country and into Canada if you’re from the states, or into the USA if you’re from Canada, when you free them from an institution. still apply, as far as I know. We’re talking about outpatient situations here though where the situation is, frankly, not quite so severe. In the USA, lacking a federal mandate, a person is generally out of hot water once transported to another state. If simply moving a person from one province to another doesn’t work, moving them to another country should. I’m not talking strictly legal means. Underground is underground, and there the public record goes blank.

  • Great blog post, Francesca. It is my view that we need a more effective underground network of support, a railroad so-to-speak, to help people escape from forced treatment of all sorts, and even, very much so, the threat of such forced treatment that comes with Assertive Community Treatment teams, another one of those lying acronyms like Assisted Outpatient Treatment for forced drugging. I’ve had first hand experience with ACT teams, and what people need, by and large, is protection from them and the people behind them. Transport a person threatened with forced treatment to another part of the country where that threat doesn’t exist, and where they have the resources and the means to subsist and thrive, and “mental illness”, *cough, cough*, the “mental health treatment” system, death and destruction by another name, have lost that round while independent living and human rights have won the day.

  • Anarchism is a word with a definition. The definition of anarchism is, by the way, NOT disbelief in rules.

    In a Google search, the definition that comes up first, top of the page, is that from the Oxford Dictionary.

    Anarchism is, then, according to Oxford Dictionary…

    belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.

    Given that psychiatric institutions are very much into the use of force and compulsion, it would seem that the existence of such institutions, as they are presently constituted, must be incompatible with Anarchism in theory and practice.

  • Parachute NYC did have difficulty sustaining itself after the grant ran out, and it is now kaput. The story is the same with practically all of the better programs. The original Soteria Project was defunded because it ran counter to the direction charted by the NIMH. I’m pretty cynical about the matter because I know that even new programs manage to expand the “mental health” treatment system, and in that manner contribute to whatever “epidemic” in personal problems we may be experiencing. The demands for additional patient/ex-patient “mental health” workers and paraprofessionals could not be sustained without an inexhaustible reservoir of potential patients to keep the “experts” in business. I can’t wait until archeologists puzzle over the historical role of psychiatrists, unfortunately, I think I’m going to be a rather longer wait than I would like. Nonetheless, I’m already there.

  • We are certainly not arguing “medicine”. People are not imprisoned and tortured for medical reasons. The reasoning is more social, say, we can’t have a coo coo bird like that running around loose. It makes the rest of “us” look bad, therefore, coo coo bird facilities. People are entitled to rights, of course, but the people designation doesn’t include coo coo birds and ex-felons. We’ve sort of trashed the constitution in their particular cases in that regard.

  • Governments need to stop intervening in our thought processes and behavioral options, that is, in our chosen ways of living. To call such interference annoying is to understate the case. One is not “wrong” or “sick” for thinking and acting outside the proverbial box of standardized conformism, somnolence and ignorance. Abduction, segregation, imprisonment, torture, and chemical control are totally uncalled for. If the mental health treatment police state were brought down entirely, we’d be none the worst. Its treatment tends to be all trickment anyway. It is high time we popped the mental health bubble.

  • I agree about any efforts to distance socialism from communism, but I wouldn’t equate communism with Marxism.

    “Capitalism causes bad parenting, “mental illness,” homelessness and poverty.’

    Not to mention, and this is something I would definitely add to your current list, let’s see, bad parenting, medicalization, homelessness, poverty, and, oh, yeah, global warming. Rampant unregulated capitalism is, as anyone should be able to see, hell on the environment.

    To modify the Ursula Le Guin quotation a little, if we don’t start imagining an end to capitalism we might be facing the end of the world.

  • If only Wilhelm Reich had come up with a device that was able to damage the human body instead of his rather innocuous orgone accumulators, maybe then the FDA wouldn’t have been able to prosecute him for fraud. His device was absolutely safe, a claim that can reliably be made neither for deep brain stimulation, nor ECT, despite industry sales blurbs to the contrary. And while I’m on the subject, psych drugs aren’t exactly sugar pills either. Deep brain stimulation has got to make you wonder, it’s so over the top! Isn’t this just another throw of the dice in pursuit of the next big therapeutic sales gimmick? Thanks for tackling the subject.

  • Mental health law allows people to have treatment forced on them against their will and wishes. You do what mental health law allows you to do to a mental patient to anybody who is not so labeled and you’re breaking the law. I would have no problem whatsoever with this discriminatory and oppressive practice being thrown out of the law books. In other words, in clear and no uncertain terms, I think forced mental health treatment should be abolished–ended, scrapped, terminated, kaput.

  • Sticks and stones. The DSM is the mad doctor’s grimoire, but its come under much criticism in recent years for being, essentially, a piece of garbage. Magic spells, to my way of thinking, require a belief element on the part of the accursed in order to work. Phony sickness would be nowhere if not for hypochondriacs. As for the cure for folly…You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

  • Okay, no need to quibble about whether abolish means end or quibble.

    How do you propose we get no psychiatry? By declaring it no more? Forced treatment is the law. Psychiatry isn’t the law. It would seem that you’d need two things to get rid of psychiatry and forced treatment. 1. You’d have to outlaw psychiatry. 2. You’d have to outlaw forced treatment. I have a problem with telling people they can’t be shrinks, and I have a problem with telling people they can’t consult with a shrink if they want to do so. I don’t have any problem whatsoever getting rid of the deprivation of liberty that comes with forced treatment.

  • Regarding your first statement, you get rid of forced psychiatry by outlawing it. Forced sex is rape. Forced sex is illegal. Forced psychiatry has been legislated in. It should be legislated out. Psychiatry is not law. Forced treatment IS law. Forced psychiatry is legal. It should be illegal. Psychologists have the right to administer drugs in some states. Get rid of psychiatrists, and some other profession, psychology, for example, will be performing the same function. Forced treatment is law, bad law. Psychiatry is a profession and a choice, unlike forced treatment.

    I use abolish the way it is used in the dictionary, to put an end to, as in chattel slavery has been abolished in the USA. Forced psychiatric treatment should be abolished.

  • Again, I see involuntary “hospitalization” as the problem, not psychiatry. If we look at the matter historically, psychiatry grew out of forced treatment, forced treatment didn’t grow out of psychiatry. Psychiatry is just a word, and a psychiatrist is little more than a glorified fortune teller. Strip him of the power he has been granted by the state, and he is just like anybody else. Involuntary “hospitalization” involves abduction, imprisonment and torture, that is, state sanctioned violence, all without benefit of a trial by a jury of one’s peers. Treat adults like adults and you don’t involuntarily “hospitalize” them.

    I don’t want the abolition of psychiatry without the abolition of forced “mental health treatment”. If you’re not going to abolish forced treatment, I can’t support you.

  • I think to say “There is no solidarity in this movement, and that is failure,” is a bit of an over generalization. There is solidarity in this movement, and there is success, even if you don’t see it and acknowledge it. The system is like a destructive machine that destroys everything in its path, however, some of us have bucked that system entirely. Outside of the system their labels mean nothing. Before the institution of slavery was abolished in this country, there was an “underground railroad” set up for people fleeing bondage. Today, we have our own “underground” network to help people fleeing psychiatric oppression, and don’t get me wrong, we’ve got our own “success stories” as well.

  • If I can interject a few comments here without appearing to be persona non gratia for the effort let me do so.

    The book sounds like it has a lot of great things in offer, but the price, unless it is not actually populist but addressed to a professional caste and elite is, I would think, for the majority of us, rather prohibitive. I don’t, as a rule, have 60 ready $ to lay down on a single book.

    I have a somewhat different take on matters in that I don’t think forced treatment and the harm that goes along with it grew out of psychiatry, but I think the medical specialty called psychiatry grew out of the imprisonment, forced treatment, harm and segregation that proceeded it. Involuntary hospitalization (forced treatment) then is what needs to be abolished, not the bogus medical profession, aided and abetted by all sorts of other bogus professions, that feed on this socially controlling “legit” drug trade and updated “trade in lunacy”. If psychiatry is forced treatment, sure, abolish it, but if it is anything else, why bother? The palm reader still hangs her sign out from the corner of a street, and she isn’t going anywhere any time soon either.

    One talks about joining the workers movement, okay, but blue collar workers make more money, as a rule, than some of us are used to seeing. Poor people, on the other hand, need to forge a movement of their own, and former “mental patients” after state confinement, defamation, robbery and displacement are by and large poor people. It’s an uphill struggle for simple survival skills, and the economic opportunities that go along with them.

    Would embracing the movement of other oppressed groups lead to incorporation in the movement as a whole, yes, I’m all for dismantling the “mental health” system as a part of dismantling the state. Dismantling the “mental health” system, however, need not be dependent on dismantling the state. I don’t think you need to dismantle the state before you can dismantle the “mental health” system. If your focus is on dismantling the “mental health” system, to suddenly turn your attention to dismantling the state is to change the subject. I support abolishing forced psychiatric treatment, I don’t support changing the subject when it’s going to unnecessarily complicate the simple matter of abolishing involuntary mistreatment. We need to join with other people fighting the undue use of force everywhere, surely, but we don’t need to have that unity slow us down or stop us from following through in so far as abolition is concerned.

  • So, the mental health preachers have made it their task to alleviate human suffering. I think the vastness of this project is one of the things that makes psychiatry a religion rather than a scientific discipline. Disease is one thing, and definitely physical, suffering is another. I’m sure everybody by now knows the adage about ‘the road to hell’.

    “They suggest psychiatric training programs need to promote multiple perspectives of psychiatric research rather than endorsing a linear approach grounded in biologic perspective.”

    Not only do we have behaviorists, and psycho-dynamic counseling, but we’ve also got Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews.

    I’m personally not looking for a savior. Please, don’t pretend to be one.

  • I’m all for practicality, OldHead. I just have an issue with nonsense, not nonsense as nonsense, but rather nonsense taken for sense. Nonsense as nonsense is silly fun. Nonsense taken for sense is a pain for everyone.

    Look up “praxis” sometime. It’s a word that is big in some Marxist circles, and for good reason. Unreason is simply not going to take anyone very far in any direction they should choose to go in.

  • Scapegoating “the mentally ill” (sic) may placate the NRA, but I fail to see how the mass manufacture and sale of weapons of mass destruction makes anybody safe. Right now, what do they do? Blame “mental patients”, and downplay gun control because of the lobbying efforts of the NRA. This doesn’t have so much to do with second amendment rights as it does with a person’s right to gun down a large number of other people, and it’s either blame ‘nuts’ or blame guns. I say spare the ‘nuts’ and trash the guns would be a much better direction for us to go in than the one we’re currently going in.

    Everybody is ‘nuts’ to one degree or another, but every bodies favorite toy is not always a machine gun. When that toy though is a machine gun, watch out, somebody is going to get hurt.

    I’m much less concerned about people losing their guns than I am about people being put on this list of people who are not to own guns. Many, if not most, of the people on that list never owned any guns anyway. I don’t see this matter as very fair in the least. Being put on that list is a matter of profiling, but the profiling itself is fiction because you’re talking about a population that doesn’t tend to be violent in the first place, in fact, a population that tends to be less violent than the rest of the general public.

  • Hopefully they won’t get away with passing this bill into law. It doesn’t have bi-partisan support, but such was also the case with the Murphy bill, and what happened? The outgoing Dems used it in a deal-making maneuver with the incoming Repubs. Both parties are just made up of the same old snakes, although their appearance, the colors and patterns on their scales, differ.

    We need to fight this type of oppressive legislation tooth and nail. Thanks for being there, on the alert, and informing people about the continuing danger.

  • If you’re talking about abolition of involuntary “hospitalization”, I think of reform as merely a means of not making your objective. Do you really want a “kinder and gentler” form of slavery? No, thank you. Let’s opt for emancipation instead. What goes for chattel slavery also goes for psychiatric slavery. You don’t get rid of it by putting up with it, and you don’t abolish it by reforming it.

    Reform is all about more or less restrictive “treatment” while abolition is about having no restrictive “treatment” at all. The conservative reformers want more restrictive “treatment”, the liberal reformers want less restrictive “treatment”, and the radical non-reformist abolitionists don’t want any restrictive “treatment”. Reform, in the context of involuntary “hospitalization”, is just a dirty word for more of the same.

  • But it was that long ago. The “sanity” coppers have been imposing treatment on people for a few centuries now (torture, drugging, confinement). “Mental health” is supposed to be an outcome of this treatment. Who buys “mental health” treatment? The so-called “mentally ill”. Why? Because the so-called “mentally healthy” don’t need it.

    “Mental health” is not an ideology as far as I’m concerned. It’s the heaven of the “mental illness” religion. As long as people don’t “get well”, er, ‘act regular’, we’re going to have “consumers”, that is, “mental illness” religion converts. We can’t “fix ’em”, say the would be “sanity” repair people. No. That would bring business to a standstill. As long as people buy “mental health”, the obverse of “mental illness”, somebody is raking in the cash. For what, you might ask, and the answer is basically for doing one’s small part in supporting human misery.

  • “There’s nothing new in dying now
    Though living is no newer.”
    ~ from Goodbye, My Friend, Goodbye
    Sergei Yesenin


    When you become afraid of something necessary for survival, you don’t survive.

    I put a lot more stake in decision making. A brain didn’t do it, a person did.

    If one wants to cut through the crap, not deciding (indecisiveness) is also a decision.

  • The mass of college grads think in more practical terms than to major in art history. If you go there, of course, it’s the old college adage of “publish or perish”. Either one writes or one teaches or…one flips burgers, changes tires, what have you…

    I imagine the blue pill comment is in reference to so-called sex “workers”, and I’m not going there. Blue pill manufacturers, on the other hand, are part of the problem. All sorts of people are getting rich selling drugs of one sort or another while only so many people are saying, whoa, maybe drugs are not the solution.

  • There is something to be said for higher education. I’m not sure what though. Right now you’ve got a professional caste lording it over everybody else. This professionalism, in fact, ends up being more important to some people than the truth. Go to school and get a 5 or 6 digit salary, your other option is complete and utter failure, relatively or socially speaking.

    Aw, I dunno. If it’s alright with you, I’m just going to forgo the blue collar thing. Thanks anyway.

    ….On the other hand, I think there is a place for mad studies and the like in academia. Getting there, if anybody has the strength, stamina and patience to do so, certainly wouldn’t be a matter of falling on your face.

  • Black pride, red pride, gay pride, mad pride, I think it’s all good pride. Pride is not healthy or unhealthy, it’s good or bad. White pride, for example, is bad pride.

    Our present meritocracy isn’t always meritocratic. That’s something you’ve got to realize. A person can take a lot of pride in a very bad thing, and that pride can become an impediment to people doing good things.

    I’d like to see more pride for the good that people have achieved rather than pride for the bad (i.e. selfish) things that they’d accomplished. Pollution, impoverishment, and war pride, for example, we might be more highly critical of those than we currently are. Pride for displaying a little self-control and suppressing one’s hubris? There you go, that’s another one, on the good side.

  • I tend to disagree with what you are saying. I don’t think we’ve experienced any great shift in perspective basically. I think the numbers tell a different story. How do you increase the numbers of people “suffering from a mental illness”? Obviously, you make treatment a consumer product. If there aren’t then more people “suffering from mental illness”, there certainly are more people “suffering” from mental health treatment. Sure, there are some people that have a more health conscious approach to treating people for being caught up in unfortunate situations, but, generally, it’s a matter of the health conscious people striving to compete on the market with more mainstream, and blatantly harmful, approaches. In short, two wrongs don’t make a right, but eventually the wrongs have to add up to an even bigger wrong.

  • Resistance to the unfair power disparity we face is the only strategy that we can take to the “aggressive powers” you mention. The system imposes these unfair power relations on people. As “appeasement” supports the system, a system based on this power disparity, no appeasement is possible. (In other words, appeasement supports the status quo, an unfair, oppressive status quo for many, and the only past the status quo is in opposition to appeasement.)

  • “Time keeps on circling, circling into the future.”

    If it weren’t for inhumane psychiatry there would be no need for humane psychiatry. Problem. When inhumane psychiatry has marginalized and disenfranchized, one might say, subhumanized and decitizenized, a segment of the population, humane psychiatry is going to bring it back into the fold again? Let me say that I have serious doubts about the matter. Once inhumane psychiatry targeted a population, humane psychiatry is still targeting them but in a different way. If you really wanted a humane psychiatry, you would automatically and directly address the need to end forced treatment. Leaning on the potential for international law to do so, you’re first point, is a way of addressing the problem obliquely rather than directly. I get the idea, through this, that you are more interested in promoting your profession than in maintaining and protecting human rights. Here’s more ‘incremental change’ chicken feed. Someday, sometime in the future, perhaps…in a universe far, far away…we will be ready to dispense with forcing unwanted treatments on people. Uh huh. When it comes down to it, in my view, there’s no day like today for doing so.

  • Too bad we don’t have any antipsychiatry journals publishing at this time. If we did, we could give…or not…psychiatry a space to address our objections to interpersonal interventions in the name of that abstraction, “mental health”.

    I think it great that Bonnie Burstow managed to launch an antipsychiatry scholarship. You want ‘mad studies’ in the classroom? Even, perhaps, a ‘mad studies’ scholarship? Then we could use more of that sort of thing.

    Expecting psychiatry (that academic discipline in particular) to listen to our concerns, ironically enough, is expecting a little bit too much.

  • Suicide and institutionalization are symptomatic of “mental illness”? I don’t think so. People have their own reasons for offing themselves, and institutions of detention hold people who have no physical (i.e. no literal) illness whatsoever.

    President Trump though is playing the violence card here as if there was any evidence that treatment, often a violent matter in its own right, prevented violence. People who commit massive acts of violence are only “mentally ill” after the fact, and after the fact, it’s too late to prevent them from having committed their violent crimes. To do so, the mental health treatment system would have to become a pre-crime unit, perhaps it is already, and if all people are “innocent until proven guilty”, doing so is very problematic, especially with regard to constitutional rights, and the right to due process of law in particular.

  • One strategy is to find allies, people we can work with, and one place to find them is in academia. I don’t think we want to shortchange ourselves in the tactic department. Not having people to work with is less conducive to change than having people to work with. We find people to work with, in the process of resisting harm. and fighting for change in the system. The “alternative” is more oppression, and with it, more injury, that is, non-action, or passively ‘aiding and abetting’ the enemy.

  • I’ve often wondered about the potential for Parkinson’s disease to develop out of parkinsonism. I would suspect that the numbers of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder who develop Parkinson’s disease could be showing us just that.

    20 % + 20 % = 40 %, the research in the article above estimates run for the showing of symptoms of parkinsonism. I would suspect that, as neuroleptics are dopamine blockers, the numbers of neuroleptic users experiencing symptoms might be even higher than that, something like around, say, 100 %.

  • I think, in one sense or another, you have to deal with the benefits to psychiatrists of giving shock treatments. This is to say, that they take home more money, and in that sense, are served by the treatments more than their captives and “clients” when they give them. ECT is a “most effective” treatment because there is an industry behind it, and it pays more than other treatments.

    Not towing the mainstream line is heresy as far as some of these psychiatric professionals are concerned. They are very protective of the power that they’ve amassed, and they consider it impolite to be questioned about the science behind it, or lack thereof. I think that there may be ways into academia, I just doubt that those ways are going to be through the conventional psychiatric journal. Typically they are very much funded by big pHarma, and a matter of singing to the choir, that is, telling the converts (evangelicals of the mental illness faith) what they want to hear.

  • Corporate influence has grown in the last few years making an uncorrupted presence, in academia or elsewhere, that much harder to come by. I imagine that in order to keep things less than tainted we will have to get the ‘money out of politics’. When corporations, like mob bosses, buy politicians it has a negative effect on the system as a whole from top to bottom. Changing academia will probably require a changing of the guard in politics as well. I’m a little chagrined that we could elect a president such as Obama just to have him appoint a corporate drug lord head of the FDA. We really need a better grade of statesmen to keep the level of such travesty down.

  • You mention in your article Clifford Beers, the guy who helped turn moral management’s asylum building movement into a mental hygiene/mental health movement. Few people take note of the fact that he died in an asylum.

    “In 1939 Beers’s symptoms of mental illness returned, and he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, where he later died.”


    John Thomas Perceval in Great Britain, too, another actor in the field of sorts, more to my liking, suffered a similar fate.

    “He died in Munster House asylum in 1876 aged 73 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.”


    Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard, the exception, because she was able to sell subscriptions to the articles advocating change she wrote. was able to stay afloat to the end of her life. One of her daughters, once her mother had passed away, was not so lucky, and died in an institution.

    I see a need for more paying gigs outside of the “mental health” sickness system itself. If you’re going to pack people off to your institutions because they don’t have a paying gig, creating this “trustee” system of “mental health” paid patient/ex-patients paraprofessional employees, becomes a problem in its own right. Surely, there are more ways to make a living besides making your career a matter of compounding the initial problem. IN the “mental health” system is not OUTSIDE of the “mental health” system, and as such, not so securely “healthy”, or supportive of an independent lifestyle, as it might be.

  • When “mad voices” are locked out of academia, you are really at where we’ve always been at, relatively speaking, under lock down. I’ve ceased to consume mental health services myself, no longer being a mental patient, but seeing myself instead as a member of the general public. Too much patience is a vice. If the chosen people had as much patience as some so-called “consumers” have, they would have never entered the “promised land”. I don’t have that much patience. I guess you would call me impatient.

    I don’t think the psychiatric survivor movement has benefited, credibility-wise, from becoming a consumer/user, or, in other words, a mental health treatment bondage movement. Buying and selling diagnoses, and the treatments that go along with them, is its own best critique. At one time mental patients were expected to become non-mental patients, and as such, fully functioning citizens. That expectation is no longer with us. Mental patient as a career just took a big shot in the arm with the introduction of peer specialists and disability workers, and this subtle expansion of the service industry has to work against any aims we might have for full equality and human rights.

    As for ECT, how can they continue to lie about the practice so much? There isn’t that much difference between ECT and insulin shock or metrazol shock therapy, but each of those practices were tossed into the dustbin of history. Why? Because they were not so “safe and effective” as claimed, just like ECT. If we look at this history of damage, and the deceit that facilitated it, the lies of the industry become transparent. With more and more mental patients, oops, excuse me, consumer/users, how can anyone claim that the “mental health” of the nation is improving? More and more patients means your epidemic is letting up? I really don’t think so.

  • The mental health system literally held me prisoner. Do I want a job with its prison system? No, I don’t. Where, actually, one has to wonder, would so-called “peer support” be without such a prison system? I don’t want any sort of certificate that says I agree with this sort of thing when I don’t. People speak of recovering from mental illness when the real thing they must recover from is mental health treatment, torture and imprisonment under another name.Torture and imprisonment that is literally killing people. I’ve learned my lesson. Its time for another subject.

  • I can identify with the ‘family scapegoating’ experienced there, but it hasn’t gotten so severe yet as to require a divorce from my family on my part.

    “The people”, especially families and their ilk, are why psychiatry is in the position it is in today. I’d say we need to work a little harder at informing and changing the hearts and the minds of “the people” than we have. They are, after all, not completely lost. Some of them might even be said to be ‘with us’.

  • I kind of think the “emotional upset” definition derived from the “physical injury” definition, and, therefore, somewhat metaphorical, or null and void. If you look into the origin of the word, trauma is the Greek word for wound, and “emotional wounds”, in the main, are metaphorical wounds.

  • “Coercive practices”, as they are called, have a different term for other contexts, and that different term is tyranny. If we’re going to criticize “coercive practices”, maybe we should be criticizing the entire system that has produced them, perfected them, excuses them, and apologizes for them. Antipsychiatry, as I see it, is pro-freedom, pro-democracy, and anti-tyranny. Why reform a system that should never have arisen in the first place when you can do away with it. More simply put, wrong is wrong, and “coercive practices” are not merely “dehumanizing”, they are wrong. Talk “reducing coercive practices” and you’ve already justified them. No, let’s not talk reform. Let’s abolish involuntary hospitalization and involuntary drugging. Tyranny is unjustified in all instances and under all circumstances. Limited tyranny has had its day, but let’s make sure that day is finally over by putting it to sleep once and for all.

  • Trauma as the catch-all cause…? I dunno. Averse childhood experiences are not the cause of averse adult experiences, but they certainly don’t represent a change of course away from them.

    I’d say the best course of action is to dismiss the diagnosis altogether, especially when that diagnosis is one of BPD. When other diagnostic labels can get away with insinuating that the cause is biological (requiring medicine, er, drugs), it is much harder to do so with the much more dubious diagnostic category of so-called “personality disorders”.

    Of course, a person could also spend the rest of their life in “treatment” for being difficult, too, but only if such was their inclination.

  • I wouldn’t expect psychiatrists and professionals on “the inside” to work to destroy “the inside” rather than reform it. I think the only good place to oppose that system, without being complicit, to one degree or another, is outside of it. “Top down” or “bottom up” are irrelevant outside of that system, instead, you’ve got other systems to deal with. Get rid of that system, and it’s kaput. A pin prick is all it takes, conceptually speaking anyway, and *pop* you’ve got no more mental health treatment system bubble.