Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Comments by Frank Blankenship

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  • The choice, for Gandhi, was not between doing nothing and violence, it was between cowardice and violence. Gandhi called violence preferable to cowardice.

    “When there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advice violence,” the lawyer-activist from South Africa said in 1920.


    I imagine, in some instances, not interfering where one could interfere might be seen as a sign of strength and courage, given this view.

  • My feeling is that it’s the institution that needs abolishing and the language will take care of itself. I’m not out to abolish the word unicorn, but neither am I out to demand the establishment of a percentage of the population as unicorn herders, nor do I support the notion of putting aside a portion of federal acreage for unicorn reserves.

    I think it is also important, in order to prevent any confusion, to be quite clear about the type of survivor we are speaking about. I have to qualify the word survivor with the word psychiatric so that nobody can confuse survivors of psychiatric oppression, incarceration, treatment, or what have you, with rape survivors, domestic violence survivors, holocaust survivors, shipwreck survivors, etc. I’m not one to ever forget that I am talking to people who have had quite different experiences from my own.

  • I don’t like the way it is being used in this instance. “Mental illness” being a fiction, there’s nothing to “abolish” in “abolishing” it. *Snap* “Abolished”! No “mental illness”.

    In the last few years or so I’ve heard the term “mental illness” survivor bandied about, too. I’m not one of those. “Mental illness”, the fiction, never killed anybody. It’s psychiatric treatment, and the oppression that goes along with it, that are deadly.

    Usually, when the term ‘suicide survivor’ arises, we’re talking about the surviving family members of somebody who took their own life. I’d say, in such cases, that suggesting that the suicide had anything to do with “mental health” is a matter of supposition.

    I wouldn’t, anyway, call a ‘survivor’ of death by one’s own hand a “mental illness” survivor. I’d just call that person somebody who experienced a change of mind, and with it, a change of direction.

    Suicide, in other words, in my opinion, is the result of a decision, and not the result of any “lack of self-control”. People kill themselves because they chose to do so, and not because they were fated, in some fashion, to do so.

  • If the object was to lock up immoral people, even in the 19th century, the wrong people were getting the shaft. The thing about the “mental health” system that is so alarming is its circumvention of ‘rule of law’. What they were saying in the 19th century is that some people’s morality was “sick”. Today they are saying it’s their brains. Either way, it’s a loophole in “rule of law” that allows the “mental health” system to operate at all. People have talked about ‘othering’ here. The whole process could be referred to as a process of ‘othering’. Other peoples “morality” or “thought processes” are “sick” because “ours” are well, says this particular brand of an ‘us versus them’ dichotomy. It’s no wonder that “mental patients” served as the guinea pigs for Hitler’s final solution to the Jewish problem. People could conveniently avert their gaze. “Mental patients” have always fulfilled the role of the scapegoat’s scapegoat.

  • ‘Full moral status’ is outside of the “mental health” system entirely. What is the ‘moral status’ of inethical behavior, the behavior of doctors, overlords of the system, and their henchmen, every other worker in the system, contrasted with that of their charges, “mental patients”, 3rd class or lower citizenry? I don’t think the system very salvageable, and, yes, Virginia, there is life beyond the “mental health treatment” fantasy game.

  • Typically, withdrawal estimates of this sort are more likely to be under estimates than they are to be over estimates. This is true for any negative effects associated with drugs in which such blind faith has been invested. Psychiatric drugs are the mainstay of contemporary psychiatric treatment programs. I’m not saying that the use of these drugs is scientifically justified thereby, but I am saying that doctors are not looking for any problems regarding the use of their panacea. Either way, you don’t have war, you have an advertising spiel. In the public “mental health” system, drugs are going to win, but perhaps there is hope for doing things differently in private practice. Should healthy practices win out in private practice, then I think you’d probably have more material with which to bring such a debate into the public sphere. As I imagine that the most important consideration in the public realm is custom, I would think it is probably in private practice that any major, and scientifically valid, contributions to this argument might advance.

    I’m not sure ‘a war on antidepressants’ would be such a bad thing. I think, in fact, that it could mean that some people would be a lot healthier off drugs than they are currently on antidepressants.

  • Does this “injury” exist within a time frame? Permanent “injury”, together with eternal “healing”, strikes me as somewhat, to say the least, over the top. I mean a person can paint him or herself into a corner, however, not painting him or herself into a corner, that might require a little more tact.

    I understand that there are people who make their living pretending to heal those people pretending to be injured, however, I also understand that there are possibilities beyond pretense.

  • You can only elucidate those “principles (and facts)” in the discussion going on in the commentary? I know better. Sure, the struggle is about “ideas” and “statistics”, but the struggle is also about “personalities”, “personalities” with egos. Outside of “personalities”, and “personalities” with egos, there is no struggle. The ego-less don’t struggle, they surrender. I kind of wish you didn’t experience such publication fright in such situations, OldHead. I’m not a great fan of turning down opportunities myself.

  • Psychiatry as a commodity? If a person gets committed to a state hospital [sic] does that make him or her a “client”? I really have to wonder about all those “clients” of the federal penitentiary system, too. This is not a response to any ‘buy in’ because I am not ‘buying’. I know somebody is ‘selling’, but, please, permit me the liberty to decline ‘purchase’ of your product if for me it represents unwanted goods. Way up there with unwanted goods is the term “peer”. Are we supposed to be any more favorably disposed for being disenfranchised prisoners with the claim that we are somehow united in negative experience? Let the system correct you, if you like, I want no part of it.

  • Lots of anti-psychiatry survivors are,,,.

    Stop using the term “anti-psychiatry survivors”! I survived psychiatry. Anti-psychiatry was never such a threat to my physical existence as psychiatry was. If you’re going to specify a type of survivor, make it a psychiatric, or psychiatric oppression, survivor.

    I don’t see this great division you seem to see, OldHead, between psychiatric survivors and dissident “mental health” professionals. Between “mental health” professionals, and psychiatric survivors in general, sure, but that is something different. Either we ally with each other, or we form exclusives clubs, and we don’t get so far as we would if we had allies.

    Practicality means something from where I’m standing. If people just want to be difficult, no problem, the oppressors love that sort of thing. They’ve even got a couple of words for it, they call it “mentally deranged”. “Fight it out among yourselves, why don’t you, and we will just observe”, they must be saying among themselves.

  • I would pay a little more attention to the language you use, OldHead, if I were you.

    I also believe that the natural moral leadership of the anti-psychiatry movement — even when it not is not “officially” organized — is the unsolicited bequest, and duty, bestowed by psychiatry upon conscious anti-psychiatry survivors, just as it is with the proletariat in a standard class analysis.

    I’m a survivor of psychiatric treatment. I’m not a survivor of anti-psychiatry. (Sounds, to use Jeffrey Lieberman’s term, pro-psychiatry, doesn’t it?) I don’t have a problem with anti-psychiatry, with or without the hyphen. It’s kind of like referring to anti-rape survivors. I don’t think promoting sexual assault would be a good idea either.

    I am not, in any way, shape, or form, an anti-psychiatry survivor. I am a psychiatric treatment survivor. I’m perfectly okay, in fact, with anti-psychiatry. Get rid of the system. It stinks.

  • I’m as nostalgic as anyone for the movement we had before 1985, but we don’t have that movement anymore. I think we have to deal with the reality of things the way they are. The psychiatric survivor movement is one thing, the antipsychiatry movement another. Sure, there are places where those circles intersect, but there are places where they don’t touch at all as well. I’m not looking for an exclusive club. I think we can get more done if we all work together than if we work against one another.

  • I don’t see much organizing going on. Did you have a psychiatric survivor group with an AP orientation, and you wanted to reject professionals, that is your prerogative. The question then becomes, do you have an AP group, or a survivor group, or both? I can’t answer that one. I have a little problem with OldHead’s contention that psychiatric survivors must of necessity play the leading role in any AP movement that arises. I tend to think that leadership here is mostly a matter of personal initiative. I don’t think the core membership of an authentic antipsychiatry movement would consist of nothing but psychiatric survivors, and I can’t see allied professionals being drug around by the nose so-to-speak. Anyway, if you have formed some kind of “inner circle”, good for you. I hope you can manage to get to the next level of action from there if possible. Certainly NOT the end of story.

  • I have to acknowledge that divide between antipsychiatry and psychiatric surviving. A lot of people, so-called experts in lived experience, are making deals with so-called experts by credentialed training, and even working for, and in, the system. We have, among credentialed experts, only so many allies of any persuasion. My view is that we should be working together against psychiatry and the “mental health” system, essentially a “mental illness” system. I could take a leap, and call it the “mental distress” system. Either way, I would be willing to work with people like Bonnie Burstow, Phil Hickey, Lee Coleman, and Richard Lewis on the goals we have in common, the abolition of institutional psychiatry, and the liberation of people oppressed by psychiatric oppression. Should we not be working together on these goals we have in common, they do not get any closer to us than they are thereby. Anyway, for what it’s worth, and a very little at that, that’s my two cents of sage advice.

  • There’s a little bit of infighting between the two professions going on here, surely, but the situation is more severe than that. This campaign for pill pushing psychologists is, in my estimation anyway, a lot like those campaigns we’ve been seeing, and which I support, to legalize recreational marijuana use. Psychologists can prescribe pharmaceuticals in 5 states now, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, and Louisiana. 10 states have legalized recreational weed use. At this point, I think we’re fated, some might say doomed, to have both eventually. The argument regarding a scarcity of shrinks is completely bogus. Into the 19th century it wouldn’t have been medical doctors that we would have been talking about so much as lunatic asylum superintendents, and if it were drugs, the drugs would have been opium derivatives and laudanum, that kind of thing. Funny thing, too, with the opioid crisis we’ve heard so much talk about. I’ve still got this idea in my head that there isn’t much difference between an opiate and an opioid. Now if only professionals were prescribing recreation instead of drugs we might be getting somewhere.

  • If antipsychiatry is a form of resistance when it comes to psychiatric oppression, would surrender be an improvement? Think. It was a great number of years that chattel slavery existed in this country before it was finally abolished, and people in such bondage emancipated, wasn’t it? Given no movement against slavery, nothing but surrender, the story would have been a different one, wouldn’t it? You know where this argument leads, don’t you? It goes exactly where it should go, towards defiance, resistance, and opposition to psychiatric oppression in all of its manifestations.

  • Antipsychiatry has been “criticized” for being excessively negative. I consider this “criticism” essentially null and void. After psychiatry has engaged in all sorts of destructive activities, including slander, defamation, abduction, sterilization, imprisonment, brain mutilation, all sorts of heath destroying methods of “treatment” (AKA torture), and even mass murder, it has the unmitigated gall to call its opposition negative. I, on the other hand, tend to see such forms of devastation as the pseudo-science implements as negative, and anything to counter it a highly positive matter indeed.

    Antipsychiatry is a way of flipping off the entire mental health system, and I couldn’t imagine a better use for one’s Mad Pride than in returning the disservice that psychiatry has offered one with the constructive and positive use of this word, except perhaps, given a little bit of poetic justice, and a passage in the Bible, you know, “an eye for an eye”, in the sterilization, imprisonment, brain mutilation, mass murder, etc., of psychiatrists.

  • Apparently Mike Finkle is the executive director of On Our Own of Maryland Inc. If I met him, which is quite possible, he didn’t make a lasting impression.

    NAMI seems to have started in Madison Wisconsin. It now has affiliates all over. I just relayed what I picked up on the origin of the organization from wikipedia. I suggest that possibly Jim and Carol Howe had something to do with the founding of NAMI Maryland, the Maryland chapter of what is now a national organization.

    According to NAMI Wisconsin…

    NAMI was formed in 1977, when Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young, two mothers, each with a son with schizophrenia, met over lunch to discuss the similar challenges they shared raising a child with a serious mental illness. At a second lunch, the women, both active in civic and charitable activities, decided to assemble people with similar concerns.


    What do we do with our problem children, I ask you? Well, some of us would lock them up and throw away the key.

  • I think we have to go outside and beyond “our movement” in particular and embrace other movements. I was agreeing with Will (and MLK Jr.) on the need for us to do so. Admittedly, I’m not as invested in respites as much as you are, nor am I invested in the profession of psychology as much as Will Hall must be. That’s not the issue. The issue is going beyond such to embrace other movements and causes, and as such I think his was a much needed tribute and perspective. I also think that the bill he mentions is a very important one, and that supporting such legislation might help get some of the dirty money out of politics, and doing so would affect all sorts of other issues for the better. I see this article as being about Martin Luther King Jr., expanding ones reach, and joining political action movements. I’d like to thank Will for giving us a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., and for making his tribute so relevant to what is going on here and now. I don’t think the post had so much to do with either the psychiatric survivor movement, nor the mental health movement, in particular, as you might credit it with having, but that is that. I think it has more to do with the overall struggle for change and social justice around the world.

  • First, every year, on MLK day, “mental health consumers”, and people impacted by “mental health” and “intellectual disabilities” services in the state of Virginia march on the state capital in Richmond. Of course, the big demand is for more money, and the marches themselves, almost state planned, are far from anything Martin Luther King Jr. might have wanted his name attached to. Will Hall’s article is spot on when it comes to critiquing this sort of thing.

    Second, I had to search a second time for any mention of “peer respite” in the post, and eventually I found it. I don’t, in other words, think Will was focusing on “peer respites”, or, with you, the need for more “hospital alternatives” as he calls them. I think his piece is about going beyond that sort of myopia of vision. I have my own issues with the matter when it comes to the “peer respite” thing. Is the world really improved by opening more adult baby sitting centers, and should expansion, in that form, of social services be the sole aim of our protests and organizing? I have to say I’m will Will on this one, or rather, I’d go further than Will on the matter. I don’t have a big investment in the proliferation of “peer respites”, should it ever come about, but I do think our movement is connected to other movements, and that the matter of being human, irregardless of race, rather than a number in the DSM (for insurance company billing purposes, of course) is what counts.

    When it comes to creative maladjustment, or Mad Pride as some people put it, and joining the larger movements for social change and justice everywhere, I kind of have to agree with Martin Luther King Jr. and Will Hall in saying that, yes, that is something we should be doing.

  • Much like the APA when it underwent a facelift by ousting the psycho-dynamic with the DSM-III and reactively defending itself as a “medical” profession, that is, a matter of “biology”, NAMI arose from a group of family members who lock up family members worrying about the way they were being depicted and characterized. That’s right, just in case anybody was wondering, NAMI was not started by those family members who were being locked up. It was started by those who were putting their kin into institutions.

    NAMI was founded in Madison, Wisconsin by Harriet Shetler and Beverly Young. The two women cared for sons diagnosed with schizophrenia, and were tired of their sons being blamed for their mental illness. Unhappy with the lack of services available and the treatment of those living with mental illness, the women sought out others with similar concerns.


    I’m saying the above is primarily myth. The two women were NOT tired of their sons being blamed for their [sic] mental illness. The two women were tired of these boy’s mothers being blamed for what were seen as their son’s emotional disturbances. You see, in the seventies there was a lot of blaming family members who lock up family members for the state those family members that got locked up found themselves in. Letting everybody off the hook, the serious business of treating people who don’t want to be treated can go on unimpeded.

    NAMI is a later development of the same mental health movement that earlier gave rise to the MHA. In all truth, it is not a mental health movement at all, it is a mental health treatment movement, and, more fundamentally, it is a medicalization movement. A medicalization movement is a movement to treat people who are not sick as if they were sick, and as such, it is something that all decent and honest people should oppose.

  • You got that right. What happened to the original Soteria House? The same thing that is happening, in some areas, to attempts to establish an OD approach. It’s not a big money maker, like pharmaceuticals, and it costs money to develop. “Realism”, in some people’s minds, becomes succumbing to the pressure of corporate influence. Given a steady inflow of money, and few immediate health gains, potential health gains take a backseat to ‘business as usual’.

  • I don’t disagree with you here. I’m just not going to promote a social welfare system as a form of socialism, or a worker’s state. A bum’s state is not a worker’s state.

    There’s a lot wrong with our world and it’s elites. This is more reason to work to change things. Many, many people are under appreciated. Acknowledge that, and you can work to change it.

    Any one person’s notion of him or herself as the misunderstood genius and artiste, or even unemployed CEO? I’d say, the world is bigger than that, get over yourself.

  • You could decide these matters democratically, too. Of course, the majority would probably want to be slave owners, and, well, slaves, they don’t get a vote.

    I’m being sarcastic here.

    Replacing a ‘work ethic’ with a vegetative welfare state ethic, I don’t really want to go there. In my eyes, productive activity, regardless of what you want to call it, is still a virtue.

    I’m sure there’s a place for lounge lizards, slackers, and wastrels, I would just hope that that place isn’t everyplace.

  • For oneself, and for others. Isn’t that the way it usually works? As to why, I think purposeful action makes more sense than perpetual lethargy and permanent vacation. We could go to Aesop, and he’d tell us about the grasshopper and the ant, but the idea is essentially the same, because we are the agents through which morality enters the world. The person who is more fit to survive, in other words, is the person who has had more exercise.

  • We need the right to employment, too. Decent employment. I think there are a lot of “disabled” people who are only “disabled” by convenient theorizing, lack of opportunity, and corporate scheming.

    What is “automation” but “robotics”? Who are those “robotics” working for? My guess is they’re working for rich people and their corporations. Give jobs to poor people, and not robots, then we’d be getting somewhere.

  • I see much more misuse of King’s legacy, when it comes to the way “mental health movement” proselytizers employ it to support their positions, than I see any understanding of the man himself there. You point to this at one point, but you hardly go far enough. One psychiatrist, Nassir Ghaemi, has gone so far as to diagnose Martin Luther King, Jr., posthumously, and after the fact, bipolar. I agree that we do need to, as King himself put it, “join the movement”, however, that in itself might cause a little confusion. While I embrace the mad movement, I also embrace the antipsychiatry movement, psychiatry being primarily a medicalization movement, or a movement to pathologize what in itself is not pathological.

    I would qualify one statement you make: Promising to fix the mental health system without fixing the world it exists in is a false and fraudulent promise, by saying instead, fix the world and you will have gotten rid of the need for a “mental health” system altogether. I guess that is another way of saying, “fix the world and you’ve fixed the mental health system”. Get rid of it, in my estimation, and you’re that much closer to ‘fixing’ the world.

    We used to have a saying, the personal is political, and in Martin Luther King, Jr.s case, I think his support for creative maladjustment (no quotation marks) and ‘joining a movement’, were, to some measure, personal.

    King suffered from depression through much of his life. In his adolescent years, he initially felt resentment against whites due to the “racial humiliation” that he, his family, and his neighbors often had to endure in the segregated South. At the age of 12, shortly after his maternal grandmother died, King blamed himself and jumped out of a second-story window, but survived.


    The above sounds like a few lines from the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg if anybody has read it. Usually, “suffered from depression” means the “mental health” system had an excuse to march in and “intervene” with labels and ‘treatment’. Judging from his position on creative maladjustment, maybe these attempts to ‘adjust’ King to an “unjust” world didn’t go over so well as the system would have preferred.

    Given this little disagreement, when it comes to the “mental health” or “mental illness” system, I’m in complete agreement when it comes to joining a cause and tackling governmental corruption. From the corruption of government by big money follows much of the corruption that effects this country elsewhere. “Fix” that, and it will go a long ways towards correcting a lot of other things, powerlessness, impoverishment, and disenfranchisement among them, that are wrong here.

  • Great point, Rachel. If the sexes are more or less evenly divided in the mental hospital, why do you need more males? Oh, because theory has it that “mental illness” is the root cause of some violence in the country, and men are more prone to become violent than women. If the “mental health” system is basically a form of pre-criminal pre-punishment, the public safety (“mental hygiene”) issue, there you go. Boys are more of a threat to the public than girls, in theory. We need fewer people in the “mental illness” system irrespective of gender. The idea that you need more dudes than chicks in the “mental illness” system is sexist from the beginning. Wowee! What do you think of those women? Unfit for life outside of the kitchen and pregnant. They don’t even make good “mental patients”, do they?

  • In my view, the hospital IS the disease, and closure is the cure. So long as these places have locked wards, they are prisons, not hospitals. Open the doors, and anybody who doesn’t want to be there will have exited.

  • What is an “organic mental disorder”? You mean these people don’t have “brains”? An “organic disorder”, to my way of thinking, would be a “brain disorder”. An “organic mental disorder” is a side of the argument as to whether “mental disorder” is “organic” or “functional”, and to what extent. I simply don’t think they’ve won it by implying that involuntarily committed patients (sic) tend to have it while voluntarily committed patients (sic) don’t tend to have it. I would also question whether, if we’re dealing with “brain injury”, the best treatment for it would be imprisonment. How do you get people involuntarily committed, circumscribing human rights, in the first place? You make a mountain out of a molehill in exaggerating the extent of the problem. Doing so could mean ascribing “brain disorder” to erratic behavior. I know public safety is the issue, but sometimes the fear of harm to the public is disproportionate to any danger emanating from the facts. My point? I seriously doubt that some kind of bias wasn’t behind this study to begin with. Just consider, how convenient? Involuntary patients have “brain disorders” while with voluntary patients it’s merely a matter of “behavioral issues”. You think?

  • The results attained in Finland are still a beacon of hope for those of us looking for some kind of exception to the dismal record of business as usual in the “mental health” field. Dr. Mueser’s conclusion is cynical. Too cynical. Were the issue scientific investigation, and were we to conclude that because of the steep price involved there should be no more experimentation, science would stagnate. Implementation, with all sorts of dilution taking place, has to be part of the problem, but it’s written into the equation. I can only agree in so far as difficulties and challenges exist, however it would surely be a mistake to conceal the potential good under the negative shadow of this sort of temperamental belt tightening. How do you gather data without doing research? You don’t. I would suggest, on the other hand, that the status quo isn’t everything, and, therefore, a certain amount of spending on experimentation is justified for it’s own sake alone. Not giving a little to OD, or any other new and different approach, is surely a way of not giving, and I’d think we could do better than that. You can’t make gains without research, the present dismal record in treatment outcomes alone is all the justification we need for investing in further research, even if that research is into the potential expansion of OD type practices.

  • Not unless one has attained a position (i.e. status) does wisdom, in my estimation, edge one towards conservatism. I would think that, to a certain extent anyway, people’s politics reflect their interests. For some it may take longer to attain a position of power however. Wisdom itself need neither be conservative nor liberal, nor even, ahem, radical. The restraining of power that comes with wisdom, I don’t know, you tell me where that falls on the political spectrum.

  • “Boys need more help with mental health”, unless, of course, they’re f**ked up girls.

    I would expect as women gain more power and status in society, it only stands to reason that they will also be “marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression”.

    The issue is probably arising, among males, in part because of the shift in power dynamics that has occurred in recent years. “Stoic, competitive, dominant, and aggressive” women spelling more and more f**ked up boys.

    I don’t see “mental ill health” in the matter so much. If somebody new is going to succeed, somebody else is going to have to endure sacrifices, and/or take a fall.

  • Dragon Slayer, above, was referring to prosecuting psychiatrists, and perhaps even forbidding their practice, as “tough love”. I think it kind of a stretch to call that “love”. I was trying to point out that, in many cases, “tough love” is what people think they are showing by admitting people into psychiatric prisons AKA hospitals. To more precisely reword what I said in my earlier comment, the “mental health” system is no way to treat a friend.

    I imagine there is a great deal of acceptance to love. Acceptance that would rule out excluding and ridiculing people.

  • Yeah, OldHead, I’m not knocking love.

    Blaming people for evading responsibility is a very human thing to do. I don’t consider it “victim blaming” to suggest that a person could slough the “victim” role now and then. Not realizing there are other roles in life besides that of “victim”? What can I say? If you don’t choose your fate, you certainly choose how you react to it.

  • I have a problem with any struggle for justice that ISN”T based upon one’s feeling for his or her fellows. I think there is always a danger of becoming too abstract, too ideological, and essentially too obtuse in one’s way of thinking to see beyond the tip of one’s nose.

    Yes, “tough” “love” is what you get in the “mental health” system, but “tough” “love” can kill you. How could I best put it? Oh, yeah. “Mental health treatment” is no way to treat a friend.

  • So nice to read a love story here for a change. I think it a good thing when a little of that victory can rub off on the rest of us. Suppressing emotion, or closing oneself off to it, doesn’t improve one’s take on reality one iota. Being open to experience, and accepting, yes, I’d have to say, there is something to that.

  • One needs to look more at the madness of so called normal people to get a different take on the subject. Often it is the most ordinary people in the world who are the most nuts.

    Shedding a rational light on madness isn’t enlightening, not because madness is uninteresting, but because madness isn’t rational.

    It’s not the madness of mental patients that is fascinating, because that’s only a matter of prejudice and slander, and it becomes incredibly old incredibly fast, it’s the madness of the species as a whole, and especially those members who are in denial when it comes to their own fallibility.

  • Buddhism isn’t science, but neither is philosophy. It’s the difference, and an important distinction it is to make, between physics and metaphysics that we are dealing with. Metaphysical speculation is a basic necessity, but at a remove from the exact sciences and their inflexible mechanisms.

  • Gee, wouldn’t it be great if we had an antipsychiatry website and more antipsychiatry organizations? Unfortunately, I have my doubts that 2019 will become The Year of Antipsychiatry. I guess, when it comes to bursting that not so little “mental health treatment” system bubble, we’ve still got a little more work to be done. If there’s a resolution to be made then, may it be to push in that direction, and not stop until forced treatment is a thing of the distant past. So if this blog-post is about making money oppressing people, I’m not interested, however, if this blog-post is about liberating people from oppression, keep talking, I’m all ears.

  • One of the main reasons for going after “biological markers” for so-called “mental illnesses” is to be better able to sell drugs to people, people that consume drugs as treatments for fictitious illnesses. I don’t think it any wonder that, for instance, a direct to consumer DNA testing company like 23 and Me would make a deal with a pharmaceutical company like Glaxo, Smith, and Kline. Which treatment drug is the least debilitating for you, in other words. Well, no drug, but don’t listen to me, and seek “biological markers” for a so called “mental illness”. and, of course, we can find a drug for you that isn’t as debilitating as whatever drug it would be that you might end up taking. A “designer drug” let us say. It’s just that none of these drugs are likely to be as non-debilitating (i.e. non-damaging) as no drug whatsoever.

  • I only know that there is a lot of physical damage associated with “treatment”. Physical damage that is a direct result of attributing so-called “mental ill health” to biology. Where do we draw the line? Ending “treatment”, in these instances, can be a way of reducing or, at least, containing iatrogenic damage. Given excessive treatment, such as people receive today, disability is often a certainty. I find it not at all surprising that some people would want cover up this damage, or plead blissfully ignorant of it, by attributing it to faulty biology.

  • My view of the matter could still be described as social constructivist. “Mechanism of disorder”? What is that? Some kind of “chaos” button? “Disorder” here is another way of trying to say “disease” or “sickness” without using the word “disease” or “sickness”. You are saying some people’s neurobiology is out of whack. I have serious doubts about that conclusion. Anxiety, for one thing, is neither symptom nor disease. Anxiety is an evolutionary and natural survival mechanism, a human trait. The way to overcome excessive anxiety is through mastery and facility of any particular ability or talent. The only “disorder” that anxiety is a “symptom” of is the “disorder” that accompanies inexperience. My point? Use any language you want to to frame the matter the problem is still the same. Medical doctors who treat diseases that don’t exist are quacks. Perhaps it is time to come up with a more valid explanation for what people are doing when they use “medicine” as an excuse to meddle in social relations on a wide scale basis.

  • A non-practicing Jew, and an atheist, I wouldn’t call that pro-religion, although I wouldn’t call it militant atheism either.

    Exposing “mental illness” as a fabrication is a political statement of sorts. How moral reform becomes an issue that reflects upon so-called “mental health” is one thing to consider. The moral bone connecting to the….fantasy bone, and that kind of thing.

    Szasz was an opponent of what he called the therapeutic state. He supported the separation of powers when it came to medicine, and the state, certainly an interesting and political position to take. Today this is somewhat problematic, yes, now the state has medicine to try to control us with, but also medicine itself, often real legit medicine, is being priced out of the range of most people’s ability to pay for it without federal assistance, voila more and more public (as opposed to private, the thing Szasz supported) health programs.

    Ultimately what does the privacy matter leave us with? Scrooge McDoctor gloating over his or her ill gotten gains.

  • I don’t really have a great deal of fear of self-control, Alex. In the social realm, it seems, a lot of people have a great deal of fear of the opposite of self-control, that is, they are possessed of the fear of ‘losing it’. In the been there done that department, eventually, this Jesus pushed that stone aside.

  • Kay Redfield Jamison is a disorder label and treatment saleswoman with quite a promotional spiel. Multiple book length in fact. One might call it the patient doctor doctor patient gimmick. I treat it the way some people treat hard liquor, that is, never touch the stuff.

  • I’m not so sure that power is our deepest fear. It was Lord Acton, an influence on Thomas Szasz, who said, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Power in the wrong hands is a real fear.

    It wasn’t too long after the Emperor Caligula woke up a deity, that some people figured he was “off his rocker”, and that he needed to be deposed, or put down like a rabid animal.

  • Considering all the elites I’ve encountered in my time, mad in quotations marks doesn’t seem to really qualify. It’s like ‘somebody else said that’, huh?

    Mad without quotation marks people with hidden powers, I dunno. Mad superheroes. Okay. There may be something to that, however, as of yet, in the domain of SciFi and Fantasy.

    On the other hand, and I must stress this matter, glamorizing and glorifying the mad experience is often the reverse of the disqualification, dismissal, and invalidation you get in society and the system. Pretty mad in quotation marks things to do to people. Have you ever read Dostoevsky’s The Idiot? The protagonist is a rather Christlike figure one might characterize as “too good for this world”.

  • Psychiatry isn’t posing, it pretty much is our official Pre-Crime Division. Insanity, after all, is defined in our legal system as a danger to self and others, that is, they lock people up in hospitals (sic) for that, being a danger to self and others. Seeing as no crime has necessarily been committed for them to do so, I’d have to say that Insanity and Pre-Criminality must be pretty much the same thing, or, in other words, interchangeable terms.

    I’ve heard psychiatrists say the very same thing you say about sooth saying about diagnosis.

  • Well, it would be nice if people were able to work outside the “mental health” penal system as well.

    I’d like to see the numbers of people labeled and treated GO DOWN. Unfortunately, things are NOT going in the direction of a diminished therapeutic state. Instead such rates are on the rise, and part of the reason is…that they have no problem getting people employment within the system, and an expanding system it is. Getting people out of the system though is another thing altogether, and for that reason alone, I’d have to say that many of these “mental health workers” really need “help”. Uh, anybody out there up to signing a few pink slips?

  • Crazy became a positive some time before the Jefferson Airplane went there. The beat/beatnik movement gave it a positive slant on the cusp of the sixties.

    As for positive slants, it is my view that the Mad/Mad Pride movement does the same thing with the word “mad”. I’ve got no aversion to celebrating my madness.

    Right now, I see a lot people complaining about antipsychiatry, however, given the negatives of contemporary psychiatric practice, I see it as a very positive term myself.

  • “Crazy” etymologically, OldHead, means “cracked”. “Cracked” is okay, and there is a lot of charm to it. One could even twist it into a “Look at me. I been” traumatized kind of thing. I suppose it would not be so charming though to a puritan.

    “Mad”, on the other hand, pre-dating by a long shot any medical model, went back to “changed”. One could, in this instance, ask, particularly with regard to any taint of prejudice, would you rather be “changed” or “cracked”?

    Mad, btw, goes back to the 13th century (1200s), Crazy to the 16th (1570).

    Actually both words are related to silliness and folly, and I think that is a big part of the problem, particularly in pathologizing traits and characteristics (arguably a foolish thing to do), error being, basically, a very human foible.

    The “mental health movement” people, shrinks included, have a problem with both words. Mad and crazy are pejorative terms in their view, and insulting when, in their view again, what we are dealing with are “sick” people in need of understanding and pity.

  • I swear, this is a subject with a great deal of potential for development. Collaboration with Fascists Improves Quality and Value of Oppression. Collaboration with the Rulers of Totalitarian Regimes Improves Quality and Value of Research into Community Surveillance Techniques. Collaborations with Partisans of Totalitarian Regimes Improves Quality and Value of Subjection. There are all sorts of spin you can put on it. The possibles are, so to speak, infinite.

  • Am I to assume we are not all “adult” here? This idea of healing people of their “psychic” pain is, frankly, a little hokey.

    If I were to accept your claim that, “We cannot simply reject all notions of help just because of some connection with the “Mental Health Industry”.” I have to qualify it with a, “but I can.”

    As long as we cannot reject it, without having it imposed upon us, I think “help” is the wrong word to be using. “Help” that is offered against my will and wishes, to put it mildly, is not “help”.

  • Do we have any evidence that “mental disorders” are biological? No. Do we have evidence that MS is biological? Yes. I think you have to make that kind of distinction. In the “mental health” realm it’s mostly a case of the treatment being worse than the “disease”, or, to be blunt, most of the disabling damage found there is iatrogenic in origin and nature.

  • What we take for “mental” or “emotional disturbance” has always been a matter of social adversity. Finally, a few researchers get around to recognizing it as such.

    As the above report points out, how can you diagnose “emotional depression” in ignorance of economic depression? Here, it is human relationships that must make all the difference.

    Remember the land of opportunity? It belongs to 1 % of the population now, but, collectively, we have the power to change all that.

  • As I keep trying to point out, “mental health law” represents a loophole in “rule of law” by which people can be deprived of their freedom for reasons that are ostensibly “medical” in theory. Close that loophole, and, once again, you’ve got laws against abduction, false imprisonment, torture, and poisoning, even if those crimes are committed by the federal government. Laws that “mental health law” allows law enforcement, the “mental health” authorities, and the court system to circumvent. Get rid of “mental health law”, and these atrocities no longer occur on a regular basis.

    I wish the whole motivation of this website were to remind people of the history of “mental health treatment”, but, as the site is primarily used by “mental health professionals” and their victims, I don’t think that can be the case. Ice-pick lobotomies, all sorts of shock, sterilization, and even mass extermination, all of these things were developed and happened in the twentieth century, a new low in the treatment of those folks called “the insane”. You go to the turn of that century, and you’ve got the social Darwinism that eventually created this matter. WWII may have exposed and helped to end the eugenic era in which all of these practices originated, but since the 1950s, post (in the main) eugenics, you’ve had the development of psychiatric drugs, a development that looks to be equally sinister as those drugs are maiming and killing so many people managed by them.

    “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”…”Liberté, égalité, fraternité”…Should we return to the values of our founding fathers, we’d be getting somewhere. So long as paternalism prevails instead, you’ve got a muddy rut. “We know what’s best for you better than you do yourself. It is whatever insures our life, liberty, and happiness at the expense of yours. You got out of line, and now we have to rehabilitate you. We have to put you back in your place. Those slogans above, forget them. They don’t apply to you. They apply only to the privileged elites. The elites who have to do something about those people who don’t know where they stand in the pecking order.”

  • Thank you for this story. I had looked for the words to describe myself as an antipsychiatrist activist that didn’t connect myself too closely with the practice of critical psychiatry. I now suppose the term I was searching for to be social constructionist. As regards so-called “critical realists”, humoring people seeking treatment for imaginary diseases isn’t what I would call particularly “real”, nor is it something I would call “transparent”.

  • No. Only mental hospitals are prisons. On most wards of the hospital, people are free to come and go as they please. Only the psych-wards have locked doors.

    Patients can opt for death except where so called “mental health” is involved. Mental patients are prisoners. They are not prisoners because they are hospitalized. They are prisoners because they are imprisoned.

    This is where we get back to discussing the difference between urns and chamber pots. They are not, as any dictionary will explain, the same thing.

  • You have the right to be stupid.

    I guess I’m not in the majority.

    The concept of “mental illness” is a cardinal belief of the “mental health treatment” religion, and people who subscribe to it are protected from persecution by the US Constitution.

    Potentially, the US Constitution can protect people who aren’t converts to the “mental health treatment” religion from persecution (false imprisonment, torture, neurotoxin poisoning, slavery, etc.) by that religious sect as well.

  • Okay, you have the right not to be stupid.

    Basically, if you were in a situation where you would be incriminating yourself it would matter. Here, as we don’t have criminals confessing to their crimes, it’s a little different.

    I still see the matter as reformist though. If one is talking incremental change rather than complete abolition, this is just one more little increment among many, and another excuse to hold off on abolition.

  • You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?


    Usually we’re talking about people OUTSIDE OF A COURT OF LAW.

    Sometimes the public defender doesn’t do much vigorous defending the suspected precriminal. There is nothing in these Miranda rights compelling him to do so. He can manage by doing pinky exercises, and SO LONG AS WE ARE OUTSIDE OF A COURT OF LAW, get away with it.

    Do you understand the rights I have just read you?

    SO LONG AS WE ARE NOT GOING TO COURT those rights mean nothing. I’ve experienced commitment hearings in hospitals (sic) where it was just me, the magistrate, a public defender, and a ‘mental health” professional. If you are saying that if some cop read me the above it would put me on an equal footing with people who have jury trials, in which burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt means something, I will have to tell you to your face that you are full of crap.

    Anybody else want to use the constitution as toilet paper. If so, great, because that’s all you’re getting here.

  • It would not put them on an equal footing so long as no crime has been committed, and due process doesn’t apply in civil commitment hearings. I take it you are not talking about so-called forensic cases where an actual crime has been committed. If that is the case, it would be even crazier to detain people on the basis of having read them so-called rights than if they were actually guilty of breaking a law. Having read people so-called rights, in my opinion, is not a good reason to hold innocent people prisoner despite the fact that you want to give some goon the power to do so.

  • I still think we should be ending ALL forced treatment instead of even considering the idea of instituting any kind of Miranda rights for innocent people. Miranda rights, or wrongs, are still “reforms”, and sometimes it has got to be better to end a bad thing than to continue the farce. Rather than “reforming” the “unreformable”, scrap it, and hospitals can go back to being hospitals, ditto prisons. No Miranda rights without, what they serve anyway, and that is due process. Seriously, I don’t think you’ve got due process when you try people for pre-crimes. Should we return to rule of law, and get out of the rule of thumb business, so much the better. It makes sense that a criminal case can be dismissed because a person was not read their Miranda rights, however, should a person be kept in a ‘hospital’ simply because they were read their Miranda rights? I just see that as one more instance where the US constitution would not be coming to one’s aid when it should.