Sunday, May 28, 2017

Comments by uprising

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  • I consider NAMI, just like any other company. Look at Chevron… Polluting the planet, but still people need gas, right?!

    No, people need better public transportation and renewable energy. This is actually a pretty great analogy, though. Psychiatry and Big Pharma – and by extension, NAMI – are standing in the way of people getting actual help with their problems, just as the oil companies are standing in the way of all of us getting better public transportation and renewable energy. And both problems are caused by the profit motive.

  • (In the end, he decided he was “a woman in a man’s body” and I moved out, but that’s sort of another story …)

    Yes, that is an entirely different story, and it’s unfortunate that you felt the need to include it here. That said, congratulations on your successful tapering and new employment.

  • aside from helping me come to terms with an illness and encouraging that I listen to recommendations by a psychiatrist, NAMI has done nothing to sell me or feed me drug information.

    Let’s keep it real, though; psychiatrists almost always push drugs (and/or electroshock). It’s all they have. Considering your problems to be an illness leads you to psychiatry, and psychiatry leads you to drugs. Therefore, NAMI leads you to drugs.

    I’ve been to a NAMI “peer support” group once and it was heartbreaking. The facilitator mostly read from a script as he shook from tardive dyskinesia. It was all about encouraging us to accept the reality of our “illnesses,” to follow the psychiatrists’ orders, and not to be afraid of “going in-patient.” In other words, the message was that we were sick and needed to take our “meds.”

  • Thank you for this much needed reminder of the history of psychiatry and the “mental health” system. I think it’s brilliant to ask what an “anti-stigma” campaign would have looked like in 1940. Couldn’t have actually happened in 1940, though, because psychiatry was thoroughly tied to the eugenics movement at that time. The whole point was that “mental patients” were seen as sub-human.
    “The 1942 ‘euthanasia’ debate in the American
    Journal of Psychiatry” by Jay Joseph.

  • I’m sorry to hear that, Andrew. I remember wondering what happened to you when you stopped posting, because I liked a lot of what you had to say.

    I really don’t know what to make of all this, though. Is it really not possible for “mental health” pros to not understand that some people out there on the internet are going to oppose anything related to the “mh” system? I wouldn’t have expected that since most people are here, after all, because of the rottenness of the “mh” system.

    Does everyone who doesn’t care for a particular “mh” guild need to be silenced in order for professionals from that guild to feel comfortable publishing a blog? If so, then what does that say about said professionals?

  • “Anxiety medicine”??? I think that a quote from Philip Hickey is in order here:

    Benzodiazepines have a legitimate use in general medicine, and in that context are indeed medicines in the proper sense of the term. But when prescribed for anxiety on a routine, daily basis, they are drugs. They fall into the class of drugs that addictionologists call sedative-hypnotics, and are similar in their general effects to alcohol and opiates. I worked in the chemical dependency field in the late 80’s – early 90’s, and even then we were admitting large numbers of people addicted to benzos. It was, and is, an extremely difficult addiction to overcome. Withdrawals are typically difficult, protracted, and sometimes dangerous.

  • I believe it. When I was going through acute withdrawal from Paxil, I had several psychiatrists tell me that my withdrawal symptoms must have been the return of my “preexisting conditions,” even though I had never before in my life had any problems eating or sleeping. That period of acute withdrawal was so dark and torturous that I still get flashbacks from it.

  • Yes, MiA has a legitimate problem in terms of moderating ad hominem comments. It is the same problem that any website with a comment section faces. This new policy doesn’t solve that problem.

    What it does do is give a small minority of random authors the ability to silence the voices of others in the MiA community. MiA has a history of tolerating opposing viewpoints that it should be very proud of. It also has a noble history of making space for everyone to have a voice. This measure represents a break from these traditions of tolerance and inclusion, and it creates a bigger problem than the one it is meant to solve. Ironically, it does this for the sake of a small handful of potential bloggers who are themselves intolerant of criticism.

  • There is some expectation that MiA bloggers engage with the comments, only because that’s what usually happens, but this has never been compulsory, and there have always been some bloggers who don’t engage at all, or who engage very little. That’s why the new policy doesn’t make any sense. All it does is take away the opportunity for others to participate in discussing an issue.

    It is the very definition of “safe space” (in the most noxious sense) for bloggers who do not want to have to defend the arguments they make in their blogs, because it creates an environment that protects said bloggers from anything that they might find upsetting, including challenges to their opinions, ideologies, and world-views. It’s a very strange decision for a website that seeks to promote discussion.

  • No, I don’t. In fact, I even have a hard time with glibness such as yours.

    However, your argument here is preposterous. It is not the job of your readers to provide “safe space” for your bloggers, especially when the majority of your bloggers are “mental health” professionals, and the majority of commenters have been psychiatrized.

    Please take responsibility for your own website and moderate comments that cross a line, and tolerate comments that don’t.

  • Richard, I know that your suggestion about MiA encouraging writers to engage in the comment section is coming from a good place, but I would disagree with you on this. MiA’s whole problem is that they need more people to write. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for them to place additional expectations on bloggers.

    I think that they should do the opposite, actually. They should make it clear to all bloggers that they have no duty to participate in the comment section unless they want to. As has been mentioned, there are already bloggers who don’t. That’s why this whole business of now allowing bloggers to “opt-in” to comments doesn’t make any logical sense. They could always opt-in or not. This is more about protecting bloggers from questions and criticism, and it is a horrible idea.

  • Octavian decisively defeated Marc Antony’s and Cleopatra’s naval forces at the Battle of Actium. Russian intelligence interfered with the 2016 Presidential election.

    Last time I checked, one of these was a historical fact and the other was a politically expedient partisan allegation that was not backed up by any evidence. I’m always open to new evidence, though.

  • Hey, have you all heard about the anti-racism website where the disproportionately white bloggers have the option to preemptively block comments if they think that people of color won’t like what the authors have to say?

    How about the LGBT rights website where the disproportionately straight-cisgender bloggers can preemptively block comments if they think that LGBT people won’t like what the author has to say?

    Or the women’s healthcare advocacy website where the disproportionately male bloggers can preemptively block comments if they think that women won’t like what the author has to say?

    Yeah, I haven’t either.

    MiA, if you are going to do something like that, then please take the phrase “social justice” out of your tagline immediately. Thank you very much.

    (If you don’t see the parallels, then you are not taking psychiatric oppression seriously.)

  • I have a lot of respect for all the “mental health” professionals who write here challenging the current paradigm of “mh” care (i.e., psychiatry), even if I disagree with them on some issues. But holy shit, does MiA really need to be “safe space” for “mh” professionals?

    Can we really not expect “mh” pros to have a sense of boundaries and an ability to consider the source of comments that might be abrasive? When, occasionally, comments cross a line, why not just moderate them?

    And if they don’t cross that line, then they cannot be considered “attacks.” Frankly, I am astounded at how some of the professionals who post on MiA seem to expect the same creepy “professional courtesy” from commenters that they get from other “mh” professionals, and how bent out of shape they get when they do not get it. I am astounded at how often criticism of ideas gets taken as “personal attack.”

    I think that allowing certain authors to close the comment section is a horrible idea, because there is already moderation (right?) and it’s not like author participation in the comments is mandatory anyway. I recognize that MiA is in a difficult position with this, because they obviously need bloggers, but I think that this is an overreaction.

    Furthermore, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the majority of bloggers are “mh” pros and the majority of commenters are people who are motivated to comment because their lives have been negatively affected by “mh” pros. There are class issues at play here, and closing the comments seems a bit like silencing the victims of the very system that MiA exists to “rethink.”

    As for the “survivors” who are reluctant to post blogs, let me ask this (also relevant to “mh” pros): How many sites on the internet insist that comments be agreeable to the author of a blog? I swear it’s like MiA exists in some kind of wormhole in which no one knows how the internet works. This is not group therapy, it’s a fucking website.

  • No samruck, I am not denying “Brett’s reality.” Clearly he and I have very different ideas of what constitutes a personal attack. (Please also note that I have already defended the existence of objective reality on this page.)

    Meanwhile, I’m glad that your wife is okay with you posting anonymously about her life. You definitely deserve support; it’s just that most of your comments are about how much you have helped her and how broken she was before you found her, how much of a burden it is on you to be her husband, how long-suffering and gallant *you* are in the face of your wife’s terrible condition. I suppose as someone with “mental health” disgnoses and a history of trauma – someone who is probably in your wife’s position in the stories of people that I know – it just bothers me. That is “my reality.”

  • I feel that the last sentence by Dr. Epperson is only problematic if one is focused solely on the empirical truth value of other people’s beliefs while overlooking the metaphorical truths that such beliefs may contain.

    One fundamental mistake I believe is repeatedly made today when it comes to working with those who feel disenfranchised, marginalized, discounted, or discriminated against is believing that the opposite response must be the best response. By this I mean that it seems that there is a certainly prevailing notion by some that in order to truly be a caring society, we must accept all beliefs as if they hold truth.

    Can you provide examples for this? Because it doesn’t sound as if you are talking about children here.

  • At some point, if MIA is serious about influencing those who work within the system to see the light, it will have to wrestle with the conflicting motives of those who wish to reform it vs. those who wish to blow it up and demonize all who work within it.

    What is it that you think MiA should do in order to have a greater influence on those who work within the system? What would it mean for MiA to wrestle with these conflicting motives you have mentioned?

  • Just to be clear, I don’t agree that anything needs to be addressed by a psychiatrist. I see your argument as similar to one I’ve seen from reformist psychiatrists who say that psychiatry needs to go back to the “good old days” when they were able to focus on the “real mentally ill” as opposed to dealing with the “worried well.” The problem with that is that psychiatry has never had a golden age in which it had anything helpful to offer.

    There are no “anti-psychotics,” only major tranquilizers. Thorazine tranquilizes people, so psychiatry got a hold of it and created a story about why it “worked” to treat “the seriously mentally ill.” It’s not medicine in the sense that insulin is medicine, and we don’t need a fake medical specialty to make up stories about why a tranquilizer tranquilizes people.

  • I don’t think you understand where I am coming from. I believe you about your experience of mania, and I believe that taking tranquilizers helped you sleep.

    The question about psychiatry being good because it still exists in 2017 is just silly. Plenty of things exist in 2017 that are shit. What you did is called an “is/ought” fallacy of logic.

    You continue to say how psychiatrists (“experts”) are so badly needed even as you say how shit they are and how you got fucked over by their cluelessness. That argument doesn’t make any sense.

  • I have read Mad in America and Anatomy of an Epidemic, and have seen several presentations by Whitaker, and he has been very consistent in saying that tranquilizers do seem to be useful *sometimes* in the short term. What else was he supposed to say about that?

    The usefulness of tranquilizers (in the short term, to help people sleep) in no way validates psychiatric theories.

  • Okay, so you needed a major tranquilizer to sleep. I believe you. I don’t see how it follows from that that there is anything worthwhile about psychiatry. In fact, you made the case that you would have done better without it if you would have had the short-term access to major tranquilizers that psychiatric gate-keeping initially prevented.

    The time has also come for the anti-psychiatry movement to rally around a few key points rather than paint psychiatry dark with broad brush strokes.

    By definition, that would not be anti-psychiatry. Psychiatry deserves only to be abolished, because it is an illegitimate medical specialty and as such will always harm people. Your own story attests to that fact.

  • She had a stone cold look on her face and didn’t show any emotion for most of the hour while I cried hard.

    I told her I felt like she didn’t care about me. She replied, “I care about all of my clients,” but still with no feeling.

    Boundaries are one thing, but heartlessness is another. This is revolting behavior on her part. I’m sorry this happened to you.

  • “By labelling someone with an anxiety disorder, we see them as an individual with a disease. We ignore how the failings of late capitalism can make people miserable,” says social work lecturer Emma Tseris.


  • Hey Robert,

    My internet time is running out for today, unfortunately, but I want to say this before I have to go: Believe it or not, I have nothing but respect for you. I didn’t intend anything I wrote as any kind of personal criticism. When I said that one blurb struck me as elitist, it was mostly because it sounded like a Democratic talking point as to why they lost the election. I didn’t like it and I still don’t, and I do disagree with you on several other points (though there are also many points of agreement), but that doesn’t mean that I dislike you or question your integrity in any way. I hope you will change your mind about commenting in the future. Seriously, I’d like to talk with you more, and I feel like your comments really add a lot to the discussion. Sorry that I gave you the wrong impression.

    another person who is trapped on disability because of psych drug damage (including from Klonopin)

  • Yes, there is an inherent contradiction even in the term “social democracy.” We had a lite version of social democracy in the US, beginning with FDR’s New Deal, but as soon as they could, the 1% rolled it all back. This is the central problem of social democracy: The workers’ relationship to the means of production is not changed. The 1% retains control and eventually uses that control to dismantle social democracy. That’s what happened here to our watered-down version, and that’s what is happening elsewhere. Another problem with it is that it has been predicated on (neo-)colonialism and/or fossil fuels extraction.

    Furthermore, the 1% formerly had a good reason to invest in infrastructure in places like the US, because so much production was happening here. Now it is not, and they don’t want to pay for the infrastructure. They will now only do it for direct profit, which is why we see the proliferation of toll roads. And we can expect to see even more under Trump.

  • Wow, Robert, you have a lot to say. I’m pleased to read much of it, but some of it… not so much.

    I have not watched regular television since election night. American voters unfortunately have no world view. We are provincial. We do not travel or work outside the states. We never learn a second language, but we labor under the delusion of American exceptionalism, when most have no idea what’s happening on the global stage.

    Only the word “we” keeps this from being completely elitist. To the extent that any of it is true, why do you think that is? How did this situation arise, and who benefits from it? It’s like you are blaming other poor people for not having had the same opportunities that you may have had.

    As far as capitalism is concerned, I side with the moderates, like Jack Klugman. We cannot abdicate capitalism entirely, or we lose our global competitive edge. People have traded goods and services for profit since the advent of civilization, since we started to specialize in certain professions, based on the law of competitive advantage.
    It does work to our mutual advantage. I have no problem with that, within given ethical constraints that tragically no longer exist.

    How come 8 human beings have as much wealth as half of the planet’s population? How come over half of the citizens of the richest country that the world has ever known live in poverty? Why do we have higher inequality than we did in the Gilded Age? How come scores of places in the US have water pipes contaminated with lead and no one is fixing them? How come there are more houses sitting empty in the US – often times rotting, as it benefits the landlord – than there are homeless people, who continue to go without assistance? How come one in thirty American children are homeless? I could come up with questions like these all day, but I think you get the idea… This is not the result of a lack of ethical restraints; this is what capitalism is designed to do.

    I know the daughter of the founder of a major grocery store chain. He recently passed away at 95 without ever exercising a stock option. He split his stock more than 14,000 times. He treated his employees with dignity. He succeeded by figuring out how to drive prices down through greater efficiencies – that’s the upside of capitalism.

    Okay, well, it’s obviously better to be under the control of a benevolent dictator than it is to be under the control of a tyrant, but the former is a dictator none the less. Liberals always always focus on the “free market” when they talk about capitalism, but they rarely mention the relationship between the employer and the employee. That relationship is inherently exploitative. That fact may not be as obvious to well-educated people who are fortunate enough to do meaningful work with some autonomy, or who are lucky enough to work for themselves.

    I’m sure there must be some millionaires and billionaires who are decent people, but they are the pampered beneficiaries of a system that destroys the lives of countless other human beings (not to mention all the other forms of life; the Great Barrier Reef is now dead, for fuck’s sake) and will likely cause our planet to become uninhabitable.

    President Obama was/is full of shit about most things, as is the entire political class in this country. What you are advocating for is called social democracy (the attempt to use regulated capitalism as an engine to meet social needs), and the Democratic Party has proven time and again that they are 100% against it. They proved it by undermining Sanders in the primary, and they just proved it again by “electing” Obama-ite/Clintonite neoliberal Tom Perez as DNC chair. The Democratic Party has nothing but utter contempt for social democracy. They are a fully neoliberal party now.

    The problem with social democracy is that it only arises when the 1% is forced to compromise with workers or risk losing everything. Globalization has undercut worker power in all the industrialized nations that were formerly called “The First World,” even in the social democracies of Europe, and that is why we see a rightward trend there politically as well, as faith in the old arrangement deteriorates and opportunistic politicians use the opportunity to blame workers from other countries for the problem rather than the economic system itself.

    (edited, as I had misread a sentence initially.)

  • Your conclusion is flawed because your premise is flawed. Our elected “representatives” do not represent ordinary voters, but rather the interests of corporations and the wealthy – as per the Princeton study that I linked to in my other comment:

    “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

    Most of our so-called representatives do indeed pass through a membrane on their way to becoming officials, since it takes a lot of money to compete in our political system.

    George Carlin also said, “It’s a big club, and you and I ain’t in it.”

    Saying that average Americans get what they deserve from politicians is blaming the victims of an abusive system.

  • “As I have stated in other places at MIA, the base for organizing within this movement will be among psychiatric survivors and their families; other dissidents within and outside the mental health field will also play an important role. While of secondary importance, there IS definitely some value in attempting to win over and unite with dissident and open minded psychiatrists.”

    The complete quote doesn’t leave anyone out.

  • Check your privilege, oldhead!!! When you bring up the many many men, women, and children of color who have been slaughtered and displaced all around the world because of decisions made by people like Obama and Hillary, it’s almost as if you think that’s a more important issue than the discomfort that liberal Americans feel when Trump says offensive words! You’re ruining their safe space.

  • AntiP, I think that Marie’s comment is respectful and makes some valid points. Not everyone wants MiA to be turned into a de facto organ of the Democratic Party. That said, Sera arguably denigrating Trump voters is not the same thing as MiA denigrating Trump voters. The bloggers here seem to have a lot of leeway in terms of personal opinions, and that is as it should be, imo.

  • I am definitely not advocating a Democrats vs. Republicans debate here. I think that they are two sides of the same coin, both run by the rich and for the rich. The reason I shared my criticism is that your take on Trump in the section that I quoted is very similar to the Democrat apologists I have read. To me, the use of “societal ill” in this way is just as decontextualizing and victim-blaming as when an individual gets accused of being “mentally ill.” There is no mystery about what the real problems are. For one: Over half the population is poor in the richest country the world has ever known, and this is the result of deliberate decisions made by the 1%. There was no solid candidate because the the 1% do not want us to have one (see

  • Thanks for this. I agree with the main argument of the piece. This section, however, is problematic:

    Trump is a man who many (albeit not the majority) voted into office. People liked what he had to say. At least on some level, they admired his wealth, his sexual conquests, his capitalist nature. They were willing to excuse or ignore those pesky little signs of his ‘occasional’ over-indulgences, or impulsive episodes of mouthing off. They even lauded some of his transgressions, suggesting it demonstrated he was all the more ‘real.’ And those of us who disagreed — well, we apparently lacked the momentum and togetherness to create an effective blockade.

    Sure, we can now point fingers and say there’s something wrong with Donald Trump, but what is wrong with those of us who saw his behavior and elected him anyway? What is wrong with those of us who saw the signs of danger descending upon us and still couldn’t pull it together to sufficiently fight back?

    Trump is a symptom, not an illness. He would never have made it to the oval office if not for society being sick.

    Only around 25% of eligible voters voted for Trump, and he already has lower approval ratings than George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina and at the beginning of the Great Recession. Certainly some people did vote for Trump because they liked the xenophobia, sexism, etc., but there were many other potential reasons for them to have done so. Like, maybe they thought it would decrease the chances of war with Russia (that the Democrats seemed to be clamoring for), or because they didn’t want to get screwed by the Trans Pacific Partnership (that Obama had wanted so badly and which Hillary had called the “gold standard” for trade deals), or because *Trump actually acknowledged the reality their economic struggles,* even if his “solutions” are nonsensical. Maybe it was because the Democrats ran the worst candidate in recent history, who promised nothing but more of the same neoliberalism and imperialism under a thin veneer of bourgeois identity politics.

    Hey, remember that time that the “Democratic Party” stole the primary from Bernie Sanders, who was running on an actual left-liberal/social-democratic platform and who actually would have likely beaten Trump? Hey, remember that time that The Democratic Party used its media organs to “elevate” Trump in the press because they thought that he would be easy to beat? Hey, remember that time the Democrats said on record that they didn’t have to worry about losing votes from their base, because they would pick up 2 professional-class Republicans for every working class liberal who didn’t bother to vote? Trump is not in the White House because of a sick society. He is in the White House because of the Democrats.

  • “The groups – or, more correctly, categories – of people SJWs claims to defend (women, LGBT, people of colour etc.) no longer require defense. They have struggled – sometimes literally, physically fought – against oppression to which they were once subjected for decades, and they have won. Nowadays, structural – that is, institutionalised and practiced in systemic manner – racism, misogyny and homophobia are over. They no longer exist on a social large-scale.”

    You must have some killer weed.