Saturday, April 17, 2021

Comments by evan1

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  • kindredspirit,

    For some reason I wasn’t notified that you responded, and I found your comment after sort of randomly checking my original post; sorry about the delay. I’m glad I rechecked!

    That is all very, very interesting what you say. I resonate with so much of it. I certainly wish you good luck and strength with your complex nexus.

    I want to clarify two things though. I really referenced ‘chronic’ pellagra and vitamin B3 ‘dependency’, both of which are related to but technically different from standard pellagra and vitamin B3 deficiency. The Hoffer, et al, literature on all these differences are really interesting, and the work is virtually never mentioned in ‘conventional’ circles and outlets.

    Thanks for your response.

  • 2 comments, one more psychological, one more physical:

    This article would have greatly benefitted from analyzing Freud’s work through Dr. Carl Jung’s work & his relationship, interpretation, & understanding of Freud’s life/work. For example, Jung’s notions of the personal (largely via Freud) & collective (via Jung) unconscious, relationship of both the psychogenesis & neurology of schizophrenia, neuroses & psychoses, the movement away from Freud’s ‘psychoanalysis’ to Jung’s ‘analytical/complex’ psychology in the broader field of ‘depth’ psychology. As well as comparing & contrasting the notions, research, & experience of psychosis vs ‘individuation’, spiritual experience, archetypes, & dreams.

    The fact that there was NO mention of Jung borders on ignorance, certainly unfortunate. I suggest his book The Psychogenesis of Mental Illness and his specific essays & letters on Freud’s work and Jung’s relationship/ex-relationship with Freud.

    Here, I would prefer not to have an extended discussion on the ‘reality’ of ‘mental illness’, although I will try to briefly qualify my statements below.

    The authors suggest there are no scientific ‘findings’ on specific brain abnormalities in schizophrenia, but they emphasize ‘exclusively’, while they give credence to some people that have/are labeled with schizophrenia do show certain ‘neuropathological abnormalities’, just not in ‘most’ and are not ‘exclusive’ to schizophrenia (which they still accept IS a DISORDER, usefully subsumed under one term). Here I would refer to Dr. Hoffer’s & Dr. Osmond’s work on schizophrenia, which generally considered schizophrenia as a ‘syndrome’, not always a single ‘disorder’. Rather a syndrome that has many etiologies, but a possible common end-pathway, though most are connected with chronic pellagra & vitamin B3 dependency. On the authors statement that a ‘majority of those diagnosed with schizophrenia show no neuropathological abnormalities at all’: the ‘majority’ of people ‘diagnosed’ aren’t ‘studied’ (let alone completely & competently) so they can’t ‘show’ anything. Nor does this postulated ‘population’ consist of those who ARE’NT diagnosed.

    One reason neurologists haven’t understood why the same ‘disease’ shows such heterogeneity of symptoms is partly a false pretense, assuming there is one disease, ‘schizophrenia’. My impression is neurologists aren’t equipped to study the psycho-social-environmental-political contexts of their ‘disease’ inquiries, so no wonder they are often stumped, & the authors do a fair job of realizing this, without following up on ANY neurological leads, which granted, are so much of a jungle, with so many false trails in an already infinite matrix of the nature of the human body. The authors feel comfortable using the phrase and judgment of a ‘significant percentage of schizophrenic patients recover…..’, reinforcing that ‘it’ is a ‘population’. This comment is made in regards to using psychotherapy ‘only’ as a means to ‘recover’, recovery here being assumed to be easily understood and measured/evaluated; although the reference that the article links does put ‘patients’, ‘schizophrenia’, ‘mental health’ professionals, & ‘recovery’ in quotation marks, so this suggests a great sensitivity to these areas. The MiA authors say ‘a significant percentage of schizophrenic patients recover with the sole aid of psychotherapy’, and it’s not clear to me what ‘significant’ could mean here. The notion of psychotherapy being ineffective as a ‘sole treatment’ of schizophrenia has long been used as a sign that it IS schizophrenia, in that psychotherapy ISN’T properly effective for schizophrenia. However, psychiatrists like Hoffer suggested that ‘schizophrenia’ has a 50% ‘natural recovery’ given good food, good shelter, & dignity/respect. This, while not explicitly including psychotherapy, no matter what type of ‘psychotherapy’ we are actually talking about. Jung felt the same to a degree, yet both were not convinced nor optimistic that many ‘cases’ of schizophrenia could be dealt with so easily. They each used the word & diagnosed ‘schizophrenia’, studied ‘it’ in hospital, in-office, historically, and in the larger society. Unfortunately, they readily used the descriptor ‘schizophrenic patient’. (Note, so do the authors of this MiA article). Yet upon close analysis, Hoffer & Jung had a remarkably complex & nuanced view on all this, helped—really helped—many people, & largely transcended stereotypes while questioning their own many assumptions.

    Having said all this, I am fully aware that I have skipped over & not qualified many of my statements, suggestions, and references, although I have tried. Any reality, social construct, conventional & unconventional ‘treatments’, & total contexts of schizophrenia & psychosis are EXTREMELY complex, any one angle being enough to fill a lifetime of either lived experience or research, or BOTH. So much is open-ended if not apparently closed. I haven’t had to arrest or imprison people like the Unibomber (was he diagnosed simply with ‘schizophrenia’?), nor have I had to involuntarily commit a ‘gravely disabled psychotic patient’ in a hospital. I hope to do my work on these issues in other roles and by different means. Sometimes I’m glad I can think & reflect on all this at all, rather than deliver pain & control as a means AND an end to this issue.

    I hope someone gets my drift here.

  • oldhead,

    Generally, I don’t disagree. However, in a sense, it takes ‘just one’ other, or a ‘leading minority’. It certainly need not be ‘the masses’ or ‘the people’.

    Also, ‘a vision’ can be made real in one’s own life, and not be reduced to a ‘pleasant dream’. In this way, it requires one, who pioneers, so to speak. A hard as granite act. Actually, the vision/dream IS a real act, experienced through the individual. In this sense, it’s the spark of change. So here the ‘change’ isn’t first ‘made by an individual’, but ‘happened to or with an individual’. The individual brings it through. Is how I’m framing it here.

  • kindredspirit,

    Sorry to wedge in:

    I’m not sure if you imply this, but I would add that your comment ‘change is, in fact, created by how we relate’ includes how one relates to oneself, both as a conscious part and as a whole, relating to dream information for example.

    Also, you say you know logic and facts have their place in creating change, yet you say we are feeling creatures, not logical creatures.

    The George Floyd court case will be an example of prosecutors using logic and facts that are often not inherently devoid of feelings and vice versa. In an effort to create justice and change.

    We should remember that personality traits and functions can vary, and certain tactics may work differently depending on the person, theme, or context.

    Although I ‘feel’…and ‘think’….that you dealt with some of my points here.

  • oldhead,

    You said change isn’t made by individuals, although it sometimes appears that way. I find this so absurd, that I’ll just say, oh good grief. Then again, I don’t equate the individual/individuality with the common definition of individualism that permanently lives in spite of or against all community/collectivity and doesn’t see the context. Put another way, 10 is meaningless without 1.

  • bcharris,

    I enjoy Abram Hoffer before he ‘retired’ as a consultant and what not, and I’m pretty sure you do too based on many of your orthomolecular comments. Can you reference your statement on his assistant/secretary? Might I have seen that on their http://www.orthomolecularvitamincentre.com/links.php website? Maybe the personal ‘touch’ she used. I wonder what she did differently in terms of the bio/chemicals side.

    Even though I don’t always agree with his work, he’s given me much. I would never simply want to ‘abolish’ his entire psychiatric practice. Though at times, I do supplement (no pun intended) and contradict his thinking on matters, for example, psychosis. I find putting his work with medical psychologist Carl Jung, is a profound synergy.

  • Peter G.,

    I disagree with one area mainly.

    Medical treatment-induced sickness, iatrogenesis, is not at all limited to psychiatry. Not in drug-induced and hospital-induced sickness and death, not in poly-pharmacy to treat the treatment, not in some arrogance and disrespect and bureaucracy, not in malpractice lawsuits, and not in price-gouging. I don’t know why you would say that there are no ‘survivors’ of other specialities, medical fields, or healthcare systems.

  • Let’s try not to freeze the role of ‘patient’ so freely by using the word so often, no matter how progressive the mode. Doctors get vaccines and go to the dentist and become the professional’s client, their patient. I sure am sick of the word patient. Then again, I’ve had it daily in my back pocket and glove compartment for a long, long time. I’ve perhaps ‘doctored’ myself for even longer, so I pay myself, although any patient status doesn’t mean I’m a bad doctor. Wait, what? Goodness.

  • (Note to moderator) Steve,

    Could you please delete some of these repeats above and below? I had issues with my original post being marked as spam so I tried again and also tried a part 1 and 2.

    The above comment from ‘Thanks for the respectful article and response.’ ending with ‘Thanks again.’ will be the only one to keep posted. There are 5 posts that can be deleted as basically repeats plus this one about spam above.

    Thank you.

  • Sandra,

    Thanks for the respectful article and comment. Please forgive this somewhat long-winded comment. I understand if you don’t give a thorough response:

    I suppose I raised the issue because I’ve often heard things like OD is ‘more successful’ at ‘treating psychosis’ than the conventional paradigm (an abomination), which on the surface, I agree with. I do need to know more, but I did watch a documentary on the subject, and my impression is that the spot-lit individual is called a ‘patient’, therefore necessarily designated sick (to be healed), and that the goal is, like you say, some form of ‘recovery’ (which also implies overall inherent dysfunction). The usual ‘reduction of symptoms’ is still used from what I can tell, especially when the model is compared to other models. Even Mr. Whitaker works within similar frameworks and assumptions, using terms like ‘psychotic patients’, symptom elimination, etc. Even if the experience involves ‘symptoms’, it may also have another side that in no way should be reduced and negated. It may be profound and vital. I do appreciate OD’s apparent lack of need to place the ‘patient’ at the bottom of a hierarchy, but I do wish it goes further.

    Through examples like Carl Jung’s complex psychology, ‘individuation’, and himself, we see how visual/audial hallucinations of the ‘personal and collective unconscious’ can be considered natural phenomena albeit non-conventional and often difficult. (Here I’m not directly speaking of delusions that are dragged into the community, extreme dissociation, suicidal depression, etc.) In many ways, Jungian psychology and the associated medical psychologists were OD 100 years ago to the present. The nature and interpretation of dreams is a more common way to understand this. But he showed that one can speak and listen to the ‘soul’ and still continue the day work of paid work, professional obligations, family life, etc. He was never called a ‘patient’ (although according to him it did involve ‘sickness’), not force-drugged and forced-secluded, swarmed by medical professionals (which he himself was), forced into ‘group therapy’, and told when to get up, eat, and sleep, etc. But even if his mind-bending interfered with the day work, he should have been given similar allowances. I might add that Jung used the terms ‘patient’ and ‘psychosis’, as he was a doctor who tended to designate people into sick roles. On the other hand, he did not consider his ‘individuation process’ as psychotic. In any case, we see how ‘set and setting’ can influence the extreme/states, just as they can make the difference in a psychedelic ‘good or bad trip’, and OD seems to recognize much of this. Here, I’ll leave out the ambiguity and ambivalence inherent in psychology and nature. Some statistics show the natural recovery rate of ‘schizophrenia’ is 50% (given good food, shelter, respect), with normal drugs 10%. I won’t go into the definitions of schizophrenia or recovery right now, but I find the statistics relevant in the OD context and to what extent OD is needed for that ‘50%’.

    Also, ‘bringing in the family’ can be a hindrance on some levels, especially when it is they who need to change, and therefore the ‘therapy’ wouldn’t need to revolve around those identified with psychosis and would require a separate line of education and therapy to even the playing field.

    I also suppose if the ‘psychotic patient’ wasn’t perceived as bugging anyone else, a harm to himself or others, and also paid the bills or fulfilled school duties, then there’s less chance of being medicalized, even without conventional pathologizing. I made the mistake once of telling a prescriber I heard my dead grandmother’s voice (who told me she was here to help), and he increased my ‘med’. He later told me he’d ‘rather see a fat Evan than a psychotic Evan’. Had I experienced OD, I surely would have been better respected, even though I believe I needed and continue to need clinical nutrition and other chemical/biochemical methods. My impression is that OD doesn’t go out of its way to deal with clinical nutrition although I’m sure ‘diet’ is highlighted.

    Thanks again.

  • Sandra,

    Thanks for the respectful article and comment. Please forgive this somewhat long-winded comment. I understand if you don’t give a thorough response:

    I suppose I raised the issue because I’ve often heard things like OD is ‘more successful’ at ‘treating psychosis’ than the conventional paradigm (an abomination), which on the surface, I agree with. I do need to know more, but I did watch a documentary on the subject, and my impression is that the spot-lit individual is called a ‘patient’, therefore necessarily designated sick (to be healed), and that the goal is, like you say, some form of ‘recovery’ (which also implies overall inherent dysfunction). The usual ‘reduction of symptoms’ is still used from what I can tell, especially when the model is compared to other models. Even Mr. Whitaker works within similar frameworks and assumptions, using terms like ‘psychotic patients’, symptom elimination, etc. Even if the experience involves ‘symptoms’, it may also have another side that in no way should be reduced and negated. It may be profound and vital. I do appreciate OD’s apparent lack of need to place the ‘patient’ at the bottom of a hierarchy, but I do wish it goes further.

    Through examples like Carl Jung’s complex psychology, ‘individuation’, and himself, we see how visual/audial hallucinations of the ‘personal and collective unconscious’ can be considered natural phenomena albeit non-conventional and often difficult. (Here I’m not directly speaking of delusions that are dragged into the community, extreme dissociation, suicidal depression, etc.) In many ways, Jungian psychology and the associated medical psychologists were OD 100 years ago to the present. The nature and interpretation of dreams is a more common way to understand this. But he showed that one can speak and listen to the ‘soul’ and still continue the day work of paid work, professional obligations, family life, etc. He was never called a ‘patient’ (although according to him it did involve ‘sickness’), not force-drugged and forced-secluded, swarmed by medical professionals (which he himself was), forced into ‘group therapy’, and told when to get up, eat, and sleep, etc. But even if his mind-bending interfered with the day work, he should have been given similar allowances. I might add that Jung used the terms ‘patient’ and ‘psychosis’, as he was a doctor who tended to designate people into sick roles. On the other hand, he did not consider his ‘individuation process’ as psychotic. In any case, we see how ‘set and setting’ can influence the extreme/states, just as they can make the difference in a psychedelic ‘good or bad trip’, and OD seems to recognize much of this. Here, I’ll leave out the ambiguity and ambivalence inherent in psychology and nature. Some statistics show the natural recovery rate of ‘schizophrenia’ is 50% (given good food, shelter, respect), with normal drugs 10%. I won’t go into the definitions of schizophrenia or recovery right now, but I find the statistics relevant in the OD context and to what extent OD is needed for that ‘50%’.

    Also, ‘bringing in the family’ can be a hindrance on some levels, especially when it is they who need to change, and therefore the ‘therapy’ wouldn’t need to revolve around those identified with psychosis and would require a separate line of education and therapy to even the playing field.

    I also suppose if the ‘psychotic patient’ wasn’t perceived as bugging anyone else, a harm to himself or others, and also paid the bills or fulfilled school duties, then there’s less chance of being medicalized, even without conventional pathologizing. I made the mistake once of telling a prescriber I heard my dead grandmother’s voice (who told me she was here to help), and he increased my ‘med’. He later told me he’d ‘rather see a fat Evan than a psychotic Evan’. Had I experienced OD, I surely would have been better respected, even though I believe I needed and continue to need clinical nutrition and other chemical/biochemical methods. My impression is that OD doesn’t go out of its way to deal with clinical nutrition although I’m sure ‘diet’ is highlighted.

    Thanks again.

  • I like Open Dialogue. However, I’d like to point out that hallucinations can sometimes be the epitome of meaning (which Open D. generally allows for), part of personality development, and that individuals sometime benefit from ‘talking to/with themselves’ (or experience with gods or infinite other figures, ideas, sensations, etc.). Therefore, the goal to pathologize unusual states as ‘psychoses’ that need ‘treating’ (in this case usually without drugs & by a sizable team that constellates/swarms around, yes with, the individual), should be considered in light of psychospiritual transformation. This, even if physical transformation is desirable as well. And that sometimes rather than pouring resources to a multi-pronged care team or family, resources should go to the individual, including privacy and techniques of working with imaginative states, even if these ‘states’ are restricted to an active/over-active dream life, and whether or not they bleed into waking life. Note throughout this I say ‘sometimes’, and of course the individual’s wishes should be considered, including wanting to escape the ‘psychosis’.

    So we shouldn’t simply consider the goal of Open Dialogue to be removing psychosis, and that this is what defines success. Either that, or broadening the very definition of psychosis to include very normal instinctual experiences that may be useful to oneself and others. Or could be if given the opportunity. Even if the ultimate goal is to pass through the threshold to the other side and exit the ‘liminal’ space into a future personality which the ‘psychosis’ tried to anticipate and provoke, or could re-occur under certain conditions. Open Dialogue deals with much of this, but I’m not convinced it has fully reckoned with the implications. I hope I’m wrong.

  • cabrogal,

    Campbell’s quote seems rather similar to me. The question becomes, is the water — or location and creatures in the water — the same? Is the shaman with scuba gear swimming in the same ocean as a person labeled schizophrenia/psychotic without proper gear & training? In any case, Campbell’s ‘swimming’ seems preferable to ‘drowning’. We should never generalize too easily from one person’s bliss or one person’s pit. ‘Madness’, like dreams, can take ANY form. No matter what form, conventional psychiatry and society have a drug for you, a place for you to go, & a conversation they won’t have. And easily replaces one madness with another. Swimmer beware, but try it naked under moonlight at least once! And bring a towel.

    It’s interesting you mention $120, which is what it cost 10 years ago. (*Oh wait, I guess you saw that number from my essay). I see it’s now ~$200 (roughly what it’s been for a long time), but after The Black Books were published last October, The Red was going for ~$280. The Black Books are equally heady & important as well, & long awaited. My illustrated Red Book is literally falling apart from how many times I’ve read it and referenced it. The cover is torn from the binding. Poor thing, bless it’s heart. Yes, the images are astonishing, & there were many more created but not in the book. Most during that period can be found online if you haven’t seen them already. I actually tore to pieces a couple of the images in my own fits of ‘madness’ & odyssey; that, along with my endless underlining, notes, & scribbles, is how I digested it. I ate it up. I was more tame with The Black Books.

    I’m sure you’ve noticed the Goddess Kali is mentioned once or twice (briefly) in The Red Book. Bloodthirsty. Same with Brimo: http://01greekmythology.blogspot.com/2013/10/brimo.html?m=1

  • cabrogal,

    Also, there’s a section with the cabiri (gnomes) where Jung is relating madness (I don’t necessarily believe here it’s only ‘divine madness’) and the ‘knotted entanglement of the brain’, which he spiritually cuts through with an alchemical sword that the gnomes give him. The gnomes had played a role in creating the very entanglement that they wanted him to cut.

  • rebel,

    *I should have made clearer my point on evil and dysfunction. I don’t simply support these things. But we cannot finally get rid of them, and I believe the art is to replace a greater evil with a lesser evil in many cases. It’s built in, but if you always understand it and can cast it forever into chains, or always purge it outside of you, all the more power to you. The Biblical wrath and vengeance of God, not simply the Devil, should make us mindful of evil.

    Dysfunction is another thing and has always been there, but we should try our best.

  • kindredspirit, etc.:

    I disagree in two ways, and I sympathize and relate overall. This should probably be my last comment on this thread.

    I use and support chemical strategies for mental health and overall health, and I use chemical in the broadest definition and not just pharmacology. Nutrient supplements, and especially food, are clear examples. The face of conventional pharmacology and the consideration of ‘brain chemicals’ and prescribing has been so appalling that it’s easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Part of the reason people have these discussions is not only because it is NOT clear what the common parlance means exactly, but also as a means to evolve and change the dynamics of what we’re dealing with. The people who identify or don’t identify with terms like neurodiversity or schizophrenia also have the most complicated time fleshing it all out, and it’s not always about REJECTION. Of course we can’t always hash it out like this, but that’s why people do homework, go to workshops, and then bring it into the world. Anyone is welcome to use a term how they want it, especially if they clearly define how they use it, recognize the context they are in, and that there are expectations people have, sometimes with repercussions. Part of my mentioning Jung is that he used the term ‘mental illness’ in a way that I relate to, but he didn’t necessarily use it in a way that the DSM-eras have come to use it. You do seem unconcerned if and how there could be more than one definition within ‘psychiatry’ rather than the ‘common’ one. Even though there can be overlaps, if words were always frozen into a single meaning and context, we’d be all the more poor. I certainly would hate to have to not use a word, phrase, or symbol just because some norm has cornered the market, although that has occurred, such as the rejection of the rigid Nazi swastika vs. the centuries-old multi-cultural use of it, whereas the circular rounded 4-winds symbol is still used. Having said all that, I now know that you, Steve, and oldhead would prefer ‘mental illness’ not be used, so if I were to continue speaking with ya’ll, I would be more sensitive to that. In that way, it’s not just about commonly acceptable forms but commonly unacceptable forms.

    But I see your thrust, and I’ll easily admit I understand where you’re coming from with your comments on mental illness, neurodiversity, and madness. Also, if I say ‘blue’, a person wants to know that I mean ‘blue’, and you don’t necessarily want to inspect its etymology, distinguish between sky vs. indigo, go into the nature of the perceiving eye vs. inherent object, or how a painter might use it vs. a physicist. I personally don’t think of ‘psychiatry’ as a monolith, and I find much value in the history of psychiatry. So I’m thankful that I don’t have to think within the bounds of what I’ll call a common psychiatry even though its full of loaded and controversial terminology. If I want to free myself from a common psychiatry, I will use my language in a way that allows me to do that, as you seem to be doing too. I feel free to pull from alternative, complementary, and critical psychiatries as well in order to do that.

    Anyways, this kind of forum allows people to ping-pong all this out, and hopefully there’s value in sharing and disagreeing along the way. Much of Steve’s comment had me thinking a lot. I first brought this as a question because I wanted to know how someone could consider ‘it’ non-existent, unreal, metaphysical, and/or metaphorical. I’ve learned a lot. Thank you.

  • cabrogal,

    I get your point about the enslaved, and that is ideal of course. Although I wasn’t really suggesting that freedom SHOULD be postponed UNTIL the most efficient way could be implemented. But can you imagine what would happen not just to the mental health industrial complex, but to the point here, to existing or new customers/clients/patients, if ‘psychiatry’ were to be made illegal overnight or over 3 years even? I completely see that the ‘system’ holds back alternatives, and that there are already numerous alternatives that prove more effective (each in their own way) in the mental health spaces. I have no issues with all that, and I fight daily to play my part in this type of awareness and transformation. But perhaps you see my point about anyone who is or could be a ‘patient’ if the ‘systems’ were to be disrupted abruptly? I’m sure the history of slavery does have much to teach us in this respect, which is of course still being reckoned with. My guess is it that some important work will change ‘from within’ as well as from without, but legal and financial pressures will have to continue.

    Thank you for all your nuanced anarchy histories. I’m glad someone is keeping track. I’ll probably have to make this my last comment.

  • oldhead,

    I’d clarify that many of my comments such as this one are not addressed to the public, but to you, a specific individual. If you want me to take you seriously, you should not provoke me, or whatever lesson you were wishing to give, indirectly in the third person. Say it to ME, not the public, if also addressing my comment specifically. Just as you did on your previous comments to me. You knew very well that I would read it. Ego and insecurity are beside the point.

  • cabrogal,

    Slavery & Anarchy:

    Slavery is a good but extreme example, but my argument still applies. The ideal goal was never to simply kill off or abolish slave owners as people nor leave slaves in the lurch. To take a less heady example than slavery, the need to end coal mines and fossil fuel industries should be respectfully yet firmly transitioned toward renewables simultaneous to a reduction of energy consumption. People want jobs, and they see that in what they’re accustomed to. It takes a comprehensive plan. Banning fossil fuels while saying you are on your own to figure the rest out is not the way and builds resentment and a feeling of resistance and revolution against the proposed alternatives. As I don’t align myself with a destruction of the entirety of psychiatry or government per se, I don’t require each to be simply abolished. There have been some fairly smart innovations over the last 100 years, and certainly lesser evils, which may be as good as we can expect. Evil and dysfunction are intrinsic to human nature, so we will have to learn to live with them. However, conventional and industry of psychiatry is not my friend, and they should be ashamed and forced to look behind the mask in the process of transition and atonement. But I’ve learned that conventional psychiatry at large doesn’t change and political and financial pressure is necessary just as slavery and its after-effects.

    Given the diversity of anarchists you mentioned, it still seems that individual communities would be small unless they all gathered under the Great Anarchy Banner at the anarchy convention. If anarchy unification could really meaningfully stick given the different styles, that’d be interesting. I still feel certain anarchist goals are inimical to group development, especially large groups where it gets ever harder to limit hierarchy and conflicting leadership and agreement.

  • rebel,

    Once again, I resonate with and appreciate your insights. I responded more thoroughly about grief and illness above. I would find it easier right now if the word ‘ill’ was dropped and replaced by suffering and pain. Both of which should not necessarily be suppressed, but also should not go on indefinitely or constantly interfere with the necessities of life.

  • oldhead,

    As no one else elicited my name to you, once you begin speaking of me indirectly in the third person while still responding to my comment knowing I am a reader, I see there’s little use in continuing. Although I do see it as a clever way to try to ridicule me and distance yourself while trying to align with others.

  • Steve,

    Part 2:

    You seem to necessarily define illness based on the nature of the body or the ideal physical sciences, so your argument that being depressed is not an illness makes sense on that level. But I, and medical psychologists like Carl Jung, do not require this restriction. I personally use ill as including distress, (relative) disfunction, and suffering in general. So I could replace mental illness with mental suffering or mental injury, with no need to call it a metaphor. It would partly be a matter of from what direction the perspective is coming from. I realized I also don’t want to use ‘mental disorder’ as I would use psychic sickness. I normally wouldn’t consider grief of a dead loved one to be a disorder how it’s typically used in the DSM, although some people’s anguish lasts an exceedingly long time and requires continual care — self, communal, or professional.

    It’s part of the nature of mind/psychology not to be easily located or proved, and to remain subjective no matter how objective we aim to be (or actually are). I do believe even the mind can incorporate objective psychological facts, since otherwise we wouldn’t ever understand each other, and dreams can portray accurate qualities of other people and things, not just the subject. Jung showed us that the mind has a nature just as the body does; with functions/disfunction, problems, pathologies, etc. I admit I harken back to Jung’s use of ‘medical psychology’ and don’t like to restrict the term ‘medical’ to a physical definition. I also respect his work in the psychogenesis of mental illness (elaborated in the book by that name). My impression is that we’d be able better sit at the same table if the definitions of ‘ill’ were expanded or replaced, including those beyond ‘emotionally upset or reaction’, which you seem to reject anyway. Mental illness can affect all psychic functions. Certainly beyond the DSM models, and no one should ever assume I abide by the DSM or most of conventional psychiatry. I don’t feel a need to see psychic suffering — systematic, categorical, conceptual — as a metaphor, unless I’m only defining it based on physical premises and assumptions, which you seem to be doing and take for granted. Not to go too far afield, but Hitler was pathological, and there’s obviously no immediate need to tie it into the body. Should we really need to sever the terms ‘mental pathology’ and ‘mental illness’?

  • Steve,

    Not sure if this is a re-post, I had trouble with my first posting. I apologize if this is redundant.

    Part 1:

    Should I assume your recent comment is directed toward me? I try to put the name of those I’m talking to in order to clarify this. I hope I’m right, and I will respond as if this is true, and it seems clearly to be directed to me, given some of your specifics. However, I want to be clear that none my recent comments on this particular thread were directed toward you nor responding to your own commentary. This would immediately explain why you ‘still don’t get why (I) don’t get what (you’re) saying here.’ I don’t even see where you’ve addressed this on this thread, but please forgive me if I have overlooked it.

    I try not to use cheap simplistic definitions of mental illness, and it seems that much could be overcome if I simply replace ‘mental illness’ with ‘mental suffering’ or ‘sickness’. And yes, I would say that if a person’s low thyroid was the (only) cause of their depression, they would have symptoms of mental illness. But it would primarily be seen as a physical illness including mental symptoms. Incidentally, there are many physical ailments that can’t be tested, directly proved, understood, diagnosed, or specifically located, yet they exist and cause suffering. If I use psychic pain and disequilibrium as being mental illness, I don’t necessarily mean A or THE mental illness, per the DSM. Certainly not necessarily a ‘disorder’.

    When I talk about depression, it should never be assumed that I personally would use it in such a cookie-cutter way as ‘major depression disorder’. I’m perfectly aware of many of the issues you raise, and in that vein, I support your views. However, I don’t need any condescension implying that I don’t appreciate the nuance of your lists of influences of depression. But it appears that you yourself don’t deny that there really are depressions, and they can be caused by both physical and psychological influences. I’d note that even though an emotional or mental quality is not caused by physiology, it in no way implies that there aren’t immediate and complicated physiological reactions, some of which can also feedback as further causes and correlations of mental anguish or problems. This seems obvious, but this puts your comment ‘There is a clear and distinct difference between a physical illness that has emotional effects, and an emotional situation that has no physiological cause’ in a particular light, as the mind and body are so intertwined that it is NOT always clear and distinct. Even if ‘depression’ was not the ‘illness proper’, it still would be part of the state of suffering and seen as a symptom and therefore an element of sickness, of illness. The side-reference implying I’m beyond stupid because I consider devastating grief of the death of a parent (or dog) as psychic illness is interesting. I would not belittle my heartbreak as generic by using the term illness, in this case psychic illness. I’m sick, I’m ill, I’m suffering. Here it’s probably worth pointing out that I see ‘ill’ as encompassing an entire spectrum, not simply a state or even a quality that should define the person, such as when the term ‘patient’ is used. If the comment about nervousness when asking a girl out or school boredom was used to counter my example of grief of a dead mother as being sickness, being ill, then there’s an unfortunate disconnect, although those qualities may be included on the spectrum of psychic discomfort and
    ‘dis-ease’. And when I say ill, I also wouldn’t want to imply that it’s chronic. Whether we call the grieving person ill, we still give them all the concessions of someone who is physically ill and in a sick role. We give them leave of absence, send them get well cards and phone calls, and know that there suffering’s primary cause was psychological/experiential but has enormous physiological reactions, some of which can be managed with rest, Tylenol, good food, yoga, etc.

  • cabrogal,

    That’s very thorough, thank you.

    I suppose being an anarchist group, though small like a bookstore, is as autonomous as you’d get still being a citizen of a country, paying taxes, using public services, using currency to buy groceries, and so on.

    My immediate feeling is that I resonate more with the ‘attempt to address current social problems without (necessarily) overturning the existing social order’ or ‘promoting anarchist principles and outlooks within existing groups and communities’. Those who are ‘tearing down dysfunctional and oppressive institutions’ need to do so in a way that remembers that the people composing them have to go somewhere and do something, and shouldn’t be told ‘too bad’, ‘get a life’, or ‘get used to it’. A hard question would be how the transitions could occur with dignity and understanding, even if it is legal and financial compulsion that forces change. Anarchy brings up many important issues within very difficult and complex circumstances.

  • cabrogal,

    I knew I was treading incompletely with my anarchist comment. I was referring to the themes of negation and deconstruction of government and authority (anti-capitalist, anti-psychiatry, anti-etc.). Sometimes I get the impression that oldhead wants to replace these into a void (completely get rid of rather than radically reform), but others I sense that oldhead wants to replace them with complete alternatives, though unnamed and unknown to me now. I feel that to the degree that anarchists have freed themselves from the structures and institutions they oppose, it is an ideal, but that to the degree that they still interact with the institutions, it will inevitably be deconstructive and dissolving (or destructive), unless they compromise their own will and principles. But I admit, I’m not a wiz at the history of anarchy, including anything related to The Sex Pistols. If you have a link to examples of anarchic ‘politics’ or ‘society/groups’ (especially completely autonomous) that didn’t implode/explode or splinter into ever smaller pieces, then please link it here. A favorite writer of mine held anarchists IDEALS, and I sympathize with some of this, such as limiting hierarchy and realizing personal responsibility and liberty.

  • Steve,

    Are you suggesting that the legal historical use of ‘insanity’ in courts is somehow more reliable and that a judge would know better than a psychiatrist? That legal authorities are any less biased and non-scientific? As we’ve seen over the last few years at least, we certainly wouldn’t want a police officer to make any final decision, or act as judge, jury, and executioner. What ‘outside party’ would be used to make a decision, if not a ‘mental health professional’? I admit, I’m not saying that they would fit the bill either. I’d like to know more about the concept of insanity in the justice system, some day at least. I know Carl Jung had occasion to be summoned to court in Switzerland as a psychiatrist for very difficult cases involving the psychology of the charged, and that was around 100 years ago, certainly absent any DSM Manual. He sometimes used his ‘word association experiments’ to give insight into guilt or innocence, as well.

  • oldhead,

    I sense that the very real ‘mental symptoms’ I described, from the standpoint of experience and psychology, are given their due as long as we don’t call them ‘mental illness’. This reminds me of the ‘chemical imbalance theory’ although here, brain damage can be structural/functional, and not limited to primarily or simple disfunction of neurotransmitters. But of course we know that psycho-social and environmental influences can also create the very symptoms I listed, in which case the physical causation would not have been the primary cause. I’m trying to see how someone can call mental illness metaphorical, or rather non-existent, yet be so open to both physical illness and apparently mental illness as long as its cause is physical. Even if the disease proper is physical, there’s ultimately no reason to see the psychological correlates as any less ‘ill’. But you should probably know that if my mother dies, and I go into deep depression, crying spells, non-constructive rumination, chronic anxiety, etc., that I consider this illness and not simply understandable grief of a lost love.

    But I get it, conventional psychiatry is so full of itself that these highways and byways are inevitable. And I wouldn’t just accept that my grief over my dead mother would require an SSRI antidepressant, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or a support group for those whose family member has died.

  • oldhead,

    I suppose I’ll be glad you didn’t try rake me over your coals, but the intimation is enough.

    I realized that ‘legal’ and ‘political’ may be synonymous, but there are subtle differences that I would have to do more homework on.

    My impression is that you want a ‘revolutionary society’ and use an anarchist stance, but I’m not sure how these translate into your ideal community standards and practical political realities, or fit into existing politics without playing only a role of destruction. Then again, I know almost nothing about you.

  • oldhead,

    Let’s say model of human behavior and deviance. You’ve accepted that criminal physical violence, unjustified violence not for self or other-protection, can me sanctioned and controlled legally on a basic level, but not put in a context of mental illness or a medical model. Model of deviance. Violence would be defined legally since you denounce criminal (only physical?) violence, but it could be defined and explained in other terms such as a moral wrong or sin, or a physical/mental medical sickness or even criminal insanity, and this kind of thing. You, yourself, used ‘bad behavior’ as a basic premise, and above you use ‘basic principle’ and ‘basic responsibility’ as if these are common sense or come from a higher authority perhaps. Part of my concern is that restricting it to a legal one, which if you notice has an ostensible moral one as a background, is insufficient and often ends up reducing and limiting the captive just as much as a narrow-minded medical one. Legal and moral concerns can be filled with just as much illusion and projection as a medical, so my impression is that each of these areas, including medical and mental, have something to offer as well as hinder.

  • Thank you, very important.

    Clinical nutrition or orthomolecular medicine should always be part of the puzzle here as a possible partial answer. (High dose vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin E, lecithin, manganese, etc.) Also, based off my recent experience and research of oral and IV ketamine, there may be a role there as well in combatting and relieving akathesia and suicidal considerations. I mention these here since they weren’t mentioned in the article.

    I voluntarily went to the ER (then overnight psych hospital) due to extreme akathesia-like symptoms from a newly used neuroleptic. But I’ve experienced various gradations of neurological and psychological severity which the nutrients and ketamine have greatly helped.

  • oldhead,

    I see you are comfortable with highlighting physical illness such as brain damage. Why such a reluctance for mental illness? Does this mean, in reference to a comment above, you would reject ‘violent mentally ill offenders’ but accept ‘violent brain damaged offenders’? Would the brain damage influence your reckoning of the violent offense and any legal punishment, or would it once again simply be a matter of personal responsibility? Surely you would agree that brain damage has psychological correlates even though it may not directly imply a straight forward conventional mental illness. Just trying to feel this out.

  • oldhead,

    Are you using a ‘model’? You don’t seem to be explicitly using a moral model and definitely not a medical model. Are you using a legal model, but an unconventional one? Or are you using a moral model, that is, using notions of good and bad, with according redemption and punishment? I see you use violent, criminal, and irresponsibility similarly. I’m not being especially clear myself, but since you reject psychological pathology as deviance in a medical model, I thought I would ask. Can you elaborate?

  • oldhead,

    A fireside chat would be useful, wouldn’t it?

    Yes, I chose ‘see’ to emphasize my point of view, stay away from ‘believe’ or ‘feel’, and to add a level of familiarity, concreteness, and even a common aspect of the mind itself. I didn’t mean to use a material example as simply code for ‘real’, but I assumed there would be no question of the reality of the hand. There doesn’t seem to be a need to describe the hand as metaphysical or metaphorical. When I see color, see a dream image —or someone’s description of their own — or see someone crying, I’ll maybe consider your suggestion that I can’t see the mind. Perhaps I can see my own but not someone else’s? Or only indirectly or by inference? But I won’t linger next time I see and hear a baby cry, whether it be from hunger, sheer loneliness, or fear. Either way, I’d prefer if the mother, or father, ‘treat’ the baby accordingly.

    In many ways for people, mind and body are two sides of a coin and infused throughout rather a ‘real’ dichotomy.

    But again, what I’ll call ‘conventional psychiatry’s worldview’ is not my friend nor colleague, so I sympathize with you.

  • Steve,

    That’s one reason why I qualified my statement as including the ‘hardcore’ definition. I’ve found that metaphysical can be used as non-empirical, non-experiencable, unprovable, or as flights of abstraction. In this case, I meant none of these uses. My impression is that the response was using it in a way that was reducing or limiting my original comment, and also associating my phrase with metaphor. I wasn’t trying to be metaphorical.

  • oldhead,

    Under usual circumstances, I see the mind as being real as my hand. So I have no need to fritter it away, cheapen, or desubstantiate it — consider it an ‘only just’ or ‘as if’ — by calling it metaphysical or metaphorical. I’m talking about real healing, real mind. Maybe metaphysical in the most hardcore sense.

    The etymology of ‘psychiatry’ is simply healing of the soul or psyche, so I also don’t feel a need to deconstruct the word because of how it’s been misused. However, no one feels the weight of conventional psychiatry’s fraud and malpractice more than I do.

  • Carl Jung knew that often it is the parents of the ‘problem child’ who need to be ‘taken by the ear’, and by extension, ‘society’. But often we get the child a ‘team’ and ‘do’ something ‘to’ them. It sucks when parents would only admit guilt (REAL guilt, not the ‘common’ guilt of ‘good parents’) because they ‘failed’ their child because of how they act, in other words, diverting the true object of guilt. We should remember that life itself is guilt, and no one is completely free. And not once did they have to pay for their own couple’s or individual therapy or drug prescription….and guess who never changed? No ‘service-provider’ or ‘clinician’ ever looked close enough and recommended it, for in a sense, the provider would then have to take their own therapy, their own drug, because they so often unconsciously identify with the parents. It only changed when the child (who is a parent’s child no matter what the age) becomes the parents’ ‘therapist’ at the moments when he doesn’t have to leave the room during their arguments, making sure he can’t hear it in the background, all those ‘contagious emotions’. They were always there. But it was the child who got the label, the infinite ‘services’. In this way, one source of the ‘infection’ was never pulled from the roots. It began only to return again.

    And also no one ever mentioned nutrient supplements (even diet?), not even the most ‘enlightened’ ones like this author. Not once.

    Man, I certainly ‘quoted’ this comment up.

  • oldhead,

    I wouldn’t dare speak for the author, but I’d note that she didn’t simply abolish psychiatry as a convention or system, but gained insight using the words ‘symptom’, ‘syndrome’, and ‘condition’, while maintaining an openness to ethical research and healing of her psyche.

    Psychiatry as slavery should be banished, but healing of the soul should not. My immediate impression is that you would agree.

  • Till Bruckner,

    I see that you only point out negatives to using ketamine, as one would given only its misuse and risky complications. But are you aware that there are positive and constructive uses and applications, as well? Here I’m referring to psychiatric or other off-label uses and not anesthesia in war or veterinarian medicine, for example, which have long been accepted and valued. There are many examples of safe chronic use for pain conditions and not just acute use in battle or for dogs.

    I’d point out that disassociation occurs at middle to higher levels of ketamine, not lower. It’s clear that you are unfamiliar with the spectrum of ketamine since you think that disassociation is simply something it’s supposed to do. The dissociation is probably one area that benefits its anesthetic uses, but my guess is there’s potentially some therapeutic use of mild disassociation for psychiatric reasons too, such as is found in carefully run IV clinics.

    Illegal use helps show that people are desperate (sometimes due to the failing of the ‘system’) and that legal and regulated markets of some sort or another, even if only medical, could reduce crime and risk. These are in addition to the pleasurable/party element that gets mixed in. Decriminalizing drugs while providing a strong social safety net and reliable education would, in the long-term, save both individuals and society money, pain, and stigma. Low to mid-dose use through a prescriber has not shown to lead to unusual levels of addiction-seeking behavior, often quite the opposite, and especially compared to benzodiazepines, opiates, and those sorts of things.

  • There are many good/useful things about this article, but here I will not dwell on those.

    The words ‘medication’ and ‘patient’ are conveniences for those providing a paid service. I see that ‘medication’ is at times replaced by the more accurate ‘drug’ or ‘substance’, ‘chemical effects’ being used, too. Rather than use ‘medication’ when the author uses it in his ideal way, we should just bypass it, as it betrays the neutral, harmful, or mediocre elements, even when used as wisely as possible. Even if one word is preferred, it would be useful to always use it consistently rather than bounce back and forth. Also, why not use ‘client’ instead of ‘patient’? It’s partly due to the doctor’s ‘Aesculapian authority’ and its designation of the ‘Parsons sick role’ that doctors so easily dole out despite not being absolute, and despite creating a disempowering framework upfront in many cases. Apparently, in order to pay for a doctor’s service, accepted or not, you have to be put in a patient/sick role. Patients too often are put in the lowest position in the medical hierarchy, almost making it seem like they always start from the beginning and don’t at times know more than the professional they are paying. The author knows very well the negative conventional tendency toward ‘patienthood’, while he still creates and keeps it during the entire relationship with his service. When the usual doctor breaks his or her leg or gets a vaccine, is when the role-blurring and mask-swapping become more apparent.

    I see that once again nutrients are not mentioned once. Nutrients CAN modify a ‘chemical imbalance’. Nutrient deficiencies are obviously ‘incorrect’, but if I don’t produce enough NAD/NADH from tryptophan or the RDA of vitamin B3 from the diet, higher levels of supplemental B3 will assist with this. Additionally, if I smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, supplementing with vitamin C will help compensate for the large quantity of vitamin C that is destroyed by each cigarette. This is not including how to generally ‘optimize health’ with diet and supplements.

    While drugs don’t ‘have agency’, they can moderately or radically alter the person’s agency, just as foods can. My ability to think smoothly or creatively, for example. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ (put in your mouth) is both true and untrue.

    Ketamine is an example of a drug that, for many people, does not build a tolerance when used in low doses for certain forms of depression.

  • Low dose generic affordable oral ketamine helped save my life. I don’t mind if people are turned off by bio/chemical strategies for health, and I don’t mind if ketamine is seen as a street drug. I’ve been around the block a few times, and I recommend ketamine for some people (along with nutrient supplements). This method transcends the expensive, time-consuming, and clinical over-control of the nasal spray and IV. Generic ketamine not only can’t be re-patented and studied in the same ways that patents promise, but its long history in anesthesia and pain control tell us much. Many studies of additional ‘off-label’ uses for depression, etc. have been done over the last 2 decades, between prescribers and ‘patients’.

    Don’t be fooled, we need not pursue this research solely through the lens of esketamine, it’s marketing, and corporate shape-shifting and rose-tinted glasses with $-signs in them. There’s already been much research, experimentation, and anecdotal and clinical experience, if only the authors dig deeper, well outside the esketamine black hole.

    Remember: so far, ketamine (with my other modes) has saved my life, and I am not a white crow in a flock or ‘murder’ of black crows. I am simply a crow that did not pluck his feathers out and break his beak since generic affordable oral ketamine was prescribed by an innovative and exploratory prescriber.

    I recommend the book Ketamine for Depression, which, though imperfect, is highly revealing and trail-blazing:

    https://www.amazon.com/Ketamine-Depression-Dr-Stephen-Hyde/dp/1503509559/ref=nodl_

  • Open Dialogue still needs work, too. And while the effort is made to put quotes around ‘mental illness’ and ‘disorder’, let’s not throw around ‘patient’ so easily, as well.

    While I, of course, like Open Dialogue compared to the conventional monstrosity, and link it on my website, I wonder if while the ‘team’ constellated around the ‘patient’ and apparently with an intent to rid them of ‘psychosis’ no matter what, what happens when we find that the individuals of the family or, yes, staff, need to make a change, learn something fundamentally new, or ‘fix’ themselves? It seems to me the onus is solely on the ‘psychotic’ to change, via a humane lens of non-compulsory story and freedom.

    Are we to only see ‘psychosis’ as something to be removed in order to judge treatment as successful? Has Open Dialogue gone far enough in forming a nuanced understanding of psychosis? If I have 4 long lucid dreams per night that make me spooked during the day and unfit to work, is that considered psychotic, or only if the ‘dreams’ break through while I’m awake? It’s not so much neo-Freudian psychoanalytical ideas that bring us a nuanced notion of psychosis, but rather Jungian depth psychological approaches and Jungian therapies, which bring in the psychoanalytical but go beyond them. Psychoanalysis and Jungian psychology DO have special access to the inner workings of the mind; that is, they point to the potential: the keyholes of dreams and active imagination, a.k.a. the unconscious. Look, experience, write down, paint, interpret, pay attention, have it ‘click’. We need not call our preference ‘philosophy’, but we can use ‘psychology’. Also, saying cognitive behavioral therapy is no ‘better or worse’ than other therapies seems to imply that any therapy is no better or worse than any others. No?

    And what about alternative/complementary therapeutics like nutrients? Is there any direction and guidance on these, or are only minor and short-term pharmaceuticals/neuroleptics used as a last-resort biochemical method? Clinical nutrition and micro/macro-dosing psychedelics ARE technical breakthroughs that have improved outcomes, unless I misunderstand the use of ‘technical’ breakthroughs or innovations.

    A Buddhist dis-attachment of a false sense of self is not the same as ‘dissolving the individualist ego’, at least not really. Unless you keep in mind the importance of the ego in the individual-community relationship instead of criticizing and negating the ‘individualist ego’.

  • Jennav,

    I talk about my positive and negative experiences with B3 under ‘B3’ under ‘Vitamins’:

    http://www.evanhaarbauer.com/orthomolecular

    I realized I need to update it with my inositol hexaniacinate experiences, which is what I take now, seemingly without problem. I will continue with occasional blood tests.

    Right now, I take 1.5 grams of the no-flush inositol hexaniacinate, 4 times a day, spaced out about 4 hours each. After 3 meals and before sleep. This form is very ‘smooth’, kind of calms me, yet I keep good focus. (I use other prescriptions and nutrients, too.) I’ve been on one form of B3 most of the time for 9 years now. It has been very interesting.

  • Dunwithpsychslavery:

    I recently learned the concept of the ‘nocebo effect’ from Ivan Illich’s 1970’s book, Limits to Medicine, Medical Nemesis: Expropriation of Health. If only I had all the terms and resources in the early thick of it all, when I was mostly flying on instinct, intuition, feeling, and sensation.

    I dedicate part of my website to orthomolecular medicine:
    http://www.evanhaarbauer.com/orthomolecular

  • Caroline and Joanna,

    My two cents: My U.S. social security disability income does not consider what drugs I am on. They may have when I first applied, but not simply in order to receive benefits. However, I don’t know how a ‘review’ would affect this; it probably depends largely on the doctor(s) opinion rather than any particular drug. I personally have not had a review in probably 6 years for some reason. Often it’s every 3 years, which is what happened on my 3rd year, I believe. Good luck everybody.

  • Hi Joel,

    Thx for sharing. This is an old post, but I relate to your story. I wanted to offer a certain part of my website on my experiences with all this. Most of this section deals with clinical nutrition, but there’s plenty of others intermixed. It may not be your cup of tea, but as you expressed ongoing concern, I wanted to offer it. I hope you have found more peace over the last 4 years: http://www.evanhaarbauer.com/orthomolecular

  • Nijinsky,

    I must admit, hard to follow, but rather poetical with a flow and drive of spirited ongoings, in which I catch things. Are you breaking chains very carefully? Either way, in one of my songs, Psychic Straitjackets, I rap ‘Worldwide word expansive. Systematic random hogtied spontaneous passion….May be montage, death and laughter, hodgepodge coinage too rare too cash in. Runaway train of meaning’s all that I’m asking.’

  • SPHancock,

    Well done, all around. Very interesting. I followed on Twitter, and good-looking website.

    I noticed one of your ‘signatories’ says ‘life transforming in a very good way’.

    I do wonder how a ‘placebo-controlled’ ECT study would work. I have a feeling I’d be wary of being a test-subject, either way. And how ‘confounding variables’ would be confidently handled, without preventing all those ‘complex’ people from entering in the first place, as so often happens.

    Abram Hoffer, orthomolecular psychiatrist, used ECT early in his career. He used high-dose nutrients along with it and didn’t recommend it without that approach. From what I can tell, he abandoned the technique.

    An overall lovely book, Ketamine and Depression, is written by Dr. Hyde. I have gained immensely from ketamine and this work. However, he says that ECT has been the ‘quickest and most effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression in (X) years’. And that ketamine is the most exciting breakthrough in depression in multiple decades. Then briefly mentions ECT’s quick relapse rates and (usually) short-term memory loss. (Apparently unconscious of most of your citations, activist groups, and testimonies; as well as clinical nutrition and, hell, any ‘effective’ psychosocial methods, although he deals with them some as part of a ‘comprehensive plan’). He notes ECT series given (by his prescription or others) that go up to over 100 sessions, as I believe I saw happened to you. It is interesting how they are often pushed onwards, ever hoping for the switch to be turned, so to speak. I find this similar to ‘antipsychotic’ use and other conventional pharmaceuticals. Press the same buttons over and over, maybe a slight tweak here and there, or a different ‘class’, and surely the answer is just around the corner.

    Anyways, I hope I see the further fruits of your extensive and devoted labors.

  • Marie,

    I am curious what your elderly relative thought about his situation? Is the situation such that he is more stable, to himself and others? Or is it that everyone else must speak for him due to his predicament? It is interesting that a person with dementia had to additionally be transferred to a ‘memory care clinic’.

    It is interesting, and frankly tragic, how we all have to needle our way through the great ‘risk/benefit ratio’. I support freedom of speech for the ‘benefit’ just as I do the ‘risk’, just as I do for the amalgamations and the none of the aboves. It’s all very tricky.

  • Magdalene,

    I suppose I won’t really try right now. But it made me think that maybe it’s ‘Sunday’, and that Friday(night) and Saturday(dawn) come before Sun-day. But while nature has days and seasons, the 4 winds, it has no weeks. I don’t often drink my kool-aid though, but I do dip into my organic juice pouches. I also find (non-sarcastic) humor and an ability to smile and laugh are ‘symptoms’ of an (ideal?) mental health, even if it is roped to pain, grief, and incapacity. Perhaps like a blues musician. If we can laugh, we should at every opportunity. Same with getting goosebumps from experience of art, beauty, and meaning. Laughter and goosebumps are signposts to mental health. Know what I mean? But the ability to cry can also be a sign of health in its own way.

    Lol, I have a feeling this doesn’t fit a ‘universally agreed definition’. Take care.

  • Jeffrey & Caroline,

    I relate to most of this in some way. (I am on social security disability income for ‘schizophrenia’, and get family assistance. Able to live alone after unbearable living with parents or others (and ‘self-medicating’, some legit, some not), dating apps, etc. My ear (eye) has listened (read). I breathe it in and exhale confirmation and some kind of energy directed toward new ways, synergism, and something I cannot describe. I was suicidal for a long time. Aside from my skin cancer and stomach inflammation, the Virus Epoch has been a transformative positive year for me, as odd as that may seem. Is it useful for others, I do not know except in my immediate circle.

    My website is my Way. My email is there. I am an orange leaf falling, drying, and seeping into the soil when it rains. I am sap that moves upward, sticky with leaf nutrients. I don’t mean to seem egg-head, but rather trying, trying. Ok then: http://www.evanhaarbauer.com

  • Rebel,

    I’m a very spiritual person and think on this a lot, especially through Carl Jung’s work on these ideas. I would just like to say that God had placed the snake in the garden (evil existed before creation of humanity), Yahweh radically and unjustly punished Job, God forsook Jesus on his cross (a cross that doesn’t seem to be simply the Roman Empire’s doing), seemed fully comfortable debasing homosexuals to Hell—on earth and in the hereafter, and that it was God who unleashed the Seven Plagues. All this tends to highlight God’s wrathful and vengeful side, a side which perhaps Jesus tried to reform, or provide as an incarnation where God tried to offer ‘His’ right hand. I’m very wary of God’s ‘discipline’, as I’ve been abused in its name by certain ‘Christians’ and see the ‘punishment’ (often unjust) throughout history, society, and biology. The degree to which something is deemed ‘God’s doing’ vs a person/society, is notably difficult.

  • Ron,

    I see what you mean in response to the earlier comment (and saying ‘up to a point’). However, bc you agree that the diagnostic labels are ‘not real’ and ‘somewhat or sometimes very misleading’ is where one could point to fraud, and systemic misappropriation of the ‘real complex problems’. The fact that the potentially unreal diagnostic labels, partly or always, are used for professional and coordinated financial gain and efficiency, and isn’t entirely justified and based on truth and accuracy, this is fraud, right? A soft deception, one rooted in the momentum of the past, gigantic social movements and habit? But a partial/potential untruth for accruing money (even sometimes taking away rights), isn’t this a type of fraud, no matter how well-intentioned? No matter how cordial and invisible? I see a kind of quasi-doublespeak that therapists/doctors are often stuck with.

  • Sam,

    I would just like to add, and I know it may be off-putting, but I know a psychiatrist/author who has decided not to retire (as planned) due to people and him who think they need his ketamine prescribing practices, which most doctors would not use. At my next appointment, I’m going to ask my psychiatrist what I should do if I can’t see him. There are a couple or a few other people who would prescribe ketamine in town. My guess is most doctors will eventually use the FDA nasal spray rather than off-label cheap generic ketamine, but they’ll have to get the pens and writing pads with the Spravato name on them, the free seminars, and the drug reps’ smiles and samples first, perhaps. It would take time for the insurances to decide to cover a nasal spray that costs perhaps $1500 or more per month. My doctor doesn’t allow drug reps. He’s only very briefly hurt me, indirectly, twice. Terrible drug reaction (without an apology or much said at all), and a postponement of further action when extremely suicidal and uncomfortable (which ketamine helped greatly).

  • Sam,

    That is interesting that a 24 year relationship with your doc ended. But I guess that given 40-50% of marriages end in divorce, and people/circumstances change, perhaps it is not surprising.

    I didn’t think we were talking about ‘averse effects’. You and my previous reference was ‘adverse effects’. But I understand your ‘aversion’ comment.

    Given that what psychiatrists did with/for/without me for 16 years, I find that they never changed, always doing the same things. The fact that most of them thought they were good enough is more than disappointing. Were they even good, let alone good enough? One trouble is that although they have an ‘arsenal’ of endless things to try, they often do the same things, and ‘trial and error’ becomes a waste of time, energy, and money…and hope. A person in a perpetual fog is less questioning, less of a ‘bother’, and a way to kick the can down the road without ever changing, learning, or finding a new way.

    I agree that there should be more ‘non-hospitals’. I have found some are better designed than others. But the psychiatric drug use and ‘group therapy’ programs, etc. are still the same, regardless of the better design. Then they stick you with a bill of thousands of dollars. California did pay for my 2 week psyche hospital stay (voluntary turned involuntary) because I applied due to low-income. It’s not clear who profited the most, but it wasn’t me. Soteria House and the Finnish Model are alternatives, but hardly the norm.

    I found that even though I sought ‘help’, one of the primary responses was pushing ‘antipsychotics’, as if that was progress and sufficient. It’s very clear to me that psychiatrists have never taken antipsychotics or most of the drugs they’re so fond of and profit from. In medical school, they should take each class of drug as experiential education. 🙂 So should drug company CEO’s and drug reps. A cook tastes his/her food while cooking, and knows what it’s like to eat it. A week of antipsychotics, Haldol to Zyprexa, would be sufficient perhaps. And go ahead and try the higher doses….hell, take the injections. Most likely they would have to take the week off of their work, normal classes, and homework.

  • Eric C.,

    Wonderful article, I’ve read multiple times. Had my parents read it and referenced/linked in a comment recently. I also bought one of your books, Hearing Voices: A Memoir of Madness, an older one that was written before a great deal of your later journey and insights and probably shorter than what you would write now.

    Do you mind me asking if you still take Saphris or a neuroleptic, that doesn’t affect your creativity and mind as you’ve mentioned on this comment?

    I also went from Zyprexa to Saphris. I continue to describe it as a ‘revelation’ although there were other factors going on too. Early this year, I decreased my Saphris by 75% when using ketamine and was no longer suicidal or brutally depressed (with my other modes of health), and not that the 20mg Saphris really helped. Tried to sedate me into ‘health’. I’ve always only taken Saphris before bed (limiting daytime unwanted effects), unlike it’s recommended twice daily. This is one reason I prefer it to all others, which I have hated and resented due to effects and prescribing rationale. Oddly previously, Zyprexa seemed to be the least worst and quasi-modestly-tolerable. I always gained/lost 30(plus!!)lbs every time starting or stopping, never being overweight in my life. This occurred multiple times over about a 10 year period with various interludes of nothing or others. They used dissolving Zyprexa at times in the psyche hospital (I wonder why?!). But I can’t sleep without Saphris. Nor can I sleep without eating a lot.

    I found out that my insurance retail cost of Saphris is ~$1500 no matter dose or times a day! I’ve recently got a years worth from their patient assistance program (having ordered the highest amount despite my 25% dose, which means I’ll have 4 years worth if I disregard the expiration date). This was after my doctor had been ordering free ‘samples’ every so often. Of course I hope to get off some day, but I have no qualms that they are giving me the equivalent of $18,000 for free given their clever history of profit-making and price-gauging. It’s off patent this year, but no generic is available yet.

    Thank you.

  • So ‘do no harm’ is in the oath, just not ‘first’. The sentence you quoted doesn’t seem to require a ‘first’, it is simply a fundamental. It is odd to me that ‘do no harm or injustice to them’ is added to the previous statement on dietary regimens, rather than standing on its own. Also that it disallows abortion and puts the surgical responsibility away from the physician, if that’s the word they used back then.

    The ‘modern oath’ that is linked on the page does not have anything explicit about doing no harm, although it gives a general sense of love, care, and respect.

    “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required….”

  • I require other’s perspectives, and I need to revise everyday. I resonate with a great deal of what he says, and he certainly fills a void in many ways. I agree we have to stay out of the worst of psychiatry, but that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Especially for children, as the author rightly emphasizes, and as you have pointed out many times. Here are some further thoughts on how I thought I differed or amended the author.

    In terms of ‘professionals’, psychiatry works in conjunction with psychologists, social workers, and counselors, the one’s who are the main people who allow the story and meaning of pain to be given space and unfold. I don’t believe all psychiatry frames pain as meaningless, or something to be simply axed by synthetic chemicals. Especially not the psychiatrists and medical psychologists I read, who I don’t associate with 95% of psychiatry, and who started work before pharmacology overflowed into and dominated practice. Even for my favorite author’s, I find I have to find their blind spots and supplement what one doesn’t have with what the other one does.

    Although pain may not be ‘valueless’ or that it has something to ‘teach us’, I think it should be prevented or ameliorated swiftly or effectively, I just don’t think it should only be done through physio-therapy, whether that’s falsely professed or actually effective. But psychiatry does not usually play the role of the psychologist, social worker, or counselor, even though they should. The author has an unusual combination of psychiatrist/psychotherapist, but I don’t know how he combines them, uses them as separate hats in different appointments, or if insurance pays him. It would be great if we could all just move to a cash-pay system and afford it, but I find that many people would fall through the cracks, despite that sometimes being seen as a good thing. I also don’t get the impression that he uses ANY prescriptions, supplements, or general chemistry in these ways. I was trying to say that the ‘simple easy-to-consume soothents’ have never been limited to psychiatry and its diagnoses or corporate industry. It’s not so much the idea of soothents, but the masquerade, the form, the how, and the why. But I agree that psychiatry, or medicine at large, has played their substantial part. If any substance or soothent was ethically used, not-for-profit, effective, safe, and appreciated, this criticism wouldn’t even have to be made. It’s just that the realities that we are talking about are so often unethical, greedy, non-effective, harmful, and not appreciated that we have to cast it in such a negative light. It is interesting to me HOW MANY people who use psychiatry and take prescriptions DO NOT bother dwelling on the negative sides of theirs or others. I’ve dipped into NAMI quite a bit, both their ‘recovery support group’ and their affiliate meetings. Needless to say, I’ve had to mostly dip out after my research project. It was not the recovery group or doctors who taught me what ‘iatrogenesis’ meant and how common it was.

    The author claimed childhood depression was considered rare, as a ‘condition’, before the past 3-4 decades, that it’s grown through pharmaceutical company marketing, prescribers and exaggerated diagnostics, simplistic chemical imbalance theories, and a gullible public. I understand that further back pharmacology was not used as much, especially given that it largely didn’t exist, except for things like ‘narcotics’ or barbiturates. Some doctors were using nutrients, others were using more psycho-social-environmental methods and who did not find it primary or necessary to inject a child or give them a daily cocktail of drug tablets and capsules. But childhood depression was not rare, and it didn’t NOT require intervention. Unfortunately, it is often difficult if not impossible to change parents, the environment, the culture, the workplace, and the doctors themselves. These are some reasons why the easy use of chemicals are seen as a short-cut or the only remedy that people have control over.

  • Sam,

    I also always consider your words, and they often feed my hunger.

    I should clarify that my ‘getting a beer’ doctor reference was a family physician and not a psychiatrist.

    I’m not sure it is a positive thing that regular docs have no time in the sense you said. Psychiatrists often have even less time with people it seems to me. My ‘beer’ doctor never rushed me though, it’s just that he mainly did what the psychiatrists do with regard to mental health, and failed me, even though he was much more amenable and accommodating, except for his bad attitude toward nutrient supplements.

    But you didn’t give me an alternative to ‘adverse effects’. I understand you want to just call these psyche drugs ‘poisons’, but I guess I was wanting something else. It took me a long time to replace the common usage of ‘side-effects’ by sheer common momentum, so I changed to adverse effects, while always noting the ambiguity of all this. It was actually an MIA article, https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/10/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-side-effect/, that pushed me further in that direction. I related to his experiences, including his use of both Zyprexa and Saphris.

  • Steve,

    I found this Harvard Medical School article on this oath taking. Apparently some schools mandate the oath, others a different oath, and others none at all. It says the ‘first do no harm’ is not from the technical Hippocratic Oath, but from another of his works, Of the Epidemics. It also goes into how this plays into medical practice. I by no means accept all this article says, but it is interesting to see how this doctor explains and rationalizes it. It is short.

    “But it is a reminder that we need high-quality research to help us better understand the balance of risk and benefit for the tests and treatments we recommend. Ultimately, it is also a reminder that doctors should neither overestimate their capacity to heal, nor underestimate their capacity to cause harm.”

    He could learn a lot from Mad in America’s website, much of which needs no further research, scientifically, journalistically, or from lived experience.

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/first-do-no-harm-201510138421

  • Thx. 3 feathers I’ll slightly ruffle as a supplement:

    I’m not convinced that childhood depression would have been considered rare before more than 3 or 4 decades ago. Although it sometimes went under other guises, like neuroses, anxiety, not to mention child labor and child abuse. ‘Environmental’ causes included parental influences, who had their own problems bleed into children, although they were also collective problems. I’m sure a lot of this is implicit in ‘environmental’.

    It’s not just psychiatry or the medicalization of society that thirsts or itches for ‘soothents’. Human beings have always sought them out. I’m very familiar with things such as pharmaceutical company and prescribing practices on opiate use/abuse/overdose, and criminalization of opiate or illegal drug use, but people seek out changing consciousness, whether that be for reducing pain, making a cocktail party more slippery and fun, or religious trance. Right or wrong or mixed, human beings and human nature itself push toward the use of ‘soothents’, even if framed as a good meal (and hopefully not McDonald’s).

    Illich’s book Medical Nemesis is one of my favorite books of all time….all MIA readers should read it. He had much to offer on the art of suffering and the pain-causing nature of healthcare systems. His colleague Nils Christie was a moral imperialist and simply advocated for the reduction of pain. His book Limits to Pain: The Role of Punishment in Penal Policy discusses much about pain and pain-alternatives. I agree with the notion of ‘storied’ pain, giving meaning to it, but I don’t think it should be required or be reduced to just a part of life. Illich btw treated his (non-chemo-treated) face cancer pain with substantial amounts of raw opium in his later life, with yoga and acupuncture. Illegal opium which he found more effective than what could have been prescribed and which gave him a sense of control rather than institutionalized pain-management. (He also got tax write-offs for large amounts of wine as ‘professional expenses’ for his teaching/student relations.) He preferred staying out of the traditional healthcare system, but we should remember that he eventually hurt beyond his usual art of suffering and sought medicaments and techniques in his own way….always alongside his persistent lit candle among friends that represented Christ, his Messiah.

  • Sam, what do you propose as an alternative to ‘adverse effects’? Preferably a word, phrase, or a couple phrases that encompass the undesirable or unwanted, from the minor to the major. ‘Harmful effects’, I rather like. What if the effect is simultaneously helpful and harmful? I know that often it’s the harmful effects that are even seen as desirable, completely tolerated.

    I recently heard a rephrasing of the Hippocrates Oath (although apparently this oath is misattributed): not ‘first do no harm’, but rather ‘do the potential benefits exceed the potential harm?’. Some replace ‘exceed’ with ‘outweigh’.

    I am well aware that for most psychiatry (and other healthcare systems), this second form is what is preferred, and so often rises to ignorant and abusive levels of what constitutes ‘benefit’, ‘exceeds’, & ‘harm’. Very often with me you’ll be speaking to the choir. But not always.

    I don’t remember the exact context, but I had a doctor suggest an interaction of ours would not need to be in his office, but rather getting a beer someplace. I thought that was good, a way to even the playing field. But it never had a chance to take place. I’ve never had one who offered to pay ME for something they learned from me, let alone a series of things. Often they’ve given the appearance that they can’t or shouldn’t learn from me. They would be bad biographers.

  • Steve,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, the concern about oppressive environments, for example in schools, is definitely an important issue in all this. Institutional, social, physical, psychological, even architectural oppression, stress, compulsion, and fitting in can all influence this subject. The consensus on what constitutes oppression is not only not simple, but in many schools is not even a question that is raised. Everything runs along according to schedule. I find this very relevant in psychiatric hospitals, where the staff and institutional rules are like a machine. When one is in the patient role, it is a position where a resistance to or even simply questioning of an authority is least likely to succeed. They prefer you to submit at every stage, even if that means remaining silent. The same applies when one is a student. Over-accommodation disorder is a way to prevent punishment and going against any grain that is the norm, even if it’s a norm that really should be modified.

  • Paula,

    I have enjoyed your articles. Keep up the good fight in whatever ways you can.

    I will send you my email address. I tried to donate a very modest amount to your Execution by Numbers doc, but it required $5, and I was only willing to do under that. Please keep me updated if you can.

    In line with your doc, I recently read Limits to Pain: The Role of Punishment in Penal Policy by Nils Christie. It is an oldie, but a goodie, if you haven’t read it:

    https://www.amazon.com/Limits-Pain-Punishment-Penal-Policy/dp/1556355971

  • * I need to add for my above comment that the ncbi article above does not recommend routine clinical application of ketamine until further research is made (published 2015). But the book linked above (also 2015) disagrees, as well as do I and a great many other professionals and people who know extreme suffering. Hesitation/prevention due to the perceived lack of research is mostly transcended by many mindful doctors such as Dr. Hyde and my psychiatrist in Birmingham, AL. Like I said, we can’t simply postpone (push into the future) the suicide issue. It often doesn’t wait for those who abide by their preferred schedule and routine.

  • * I need to add that the ncbi article above does not recommend routine clinical application of ketamine until further research is made (published 2015). But the book linked above (also 2015) disagrees, as well as do I and a great many other professionals and people who know extreme suffering. Hesitation/prevention due to the perceived lack of research is mostly transcended by many mindful doctors such as Dr. Hyde and my psychiatrist in Birmingham, AL. Like I said, we can’t simply postpone (push into the future) the suicide issue. It often doesn’t wait for those who abide by their preferred schedule and routine.