Friday, July 1, 2022

Comments by Tracey Cannon

Showing 13 of 13 comments.

  • Thanks for sharing your journey Elizabeth. There was so much i could relate to in it; the transformative experience, the force and violence that that was met with, the imposition of an alien way of understanding it, the rebellion, the post-traumatic stress, but also luckily one person that accepted, understood and shared your journey of recovery. My first ‘psychotic break’ came with so many of the de-humanizing experiences you describe, in my second however i ‘slipped through the cracks’ of the mental health system (partly driven by terror on my part and determination not to be captured again…and/or sheer good luck….but most especially i believe my inner spiritual guidance) . This led to my becoming pregnant and almost at the same time meeting someone (all while still in the throws of the ‘episode’ ) who was my ‘that one person’ . For the next 11 years i buried my ‘sacred knowledge’ as you put it so beautifully. I put it all behind me….so it sat invalidated and unacknowledged or honored. Then i started working as a mental health consumer adviser and found that garden of kindred spirits and I’ve been on the ‘change’ path ever since. My passion for this knows no boundaries or limits as i know whats at stake, what we are losing and how badly the world needs what we have to offer. I love love love so much how you describe ‘holding allegiance’ and honoring the ‘harrowing greatness’ of your experiences. I think that the garden is growing in size, variety and strength all the time and i get so excited when i read of someone else contributing to it. All the best with your novel – I’ve got an op-ed on MIA here but am also writing ‘my story’ ….which is such a fun, validating, awesome journey to be on -good luck with yours…will look out for it. thanks again for sharing this. XX Tracey

  • You are right Jonah, the shift in small stages is not enough anymore. No i am not honest at all. My post is printed off in colour and on my office wall – but very few patients are ever in my office and i wouldnt bring it to thier attention unless they asked about it. – i rant away in places like this…..and have started an ‘alternatives’ group as a place for people to discuss, plot, plan and gather support for the changes we want to see – but its not enough anymore and i have to get out. Its hard because although it might sound strange i think the ‘best’ of what i take when i go into the ie inpatient units is my profound love and respect for the involuntary patients – i have known some for 13 + years and to me they are freinds – i dont care about boundaries (just about getting caught) because we are human to human in there. I make no attempt to conceal the impact the pain i know people are in has on me….and i NEVER lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day i walk out free and they are being forcibly drugged and are often unaware they have been insidiously convinced they are better off being ‘compliant’ and accepting all that goes with that. So yes i must get out as soon as possible; am working on that right now….and i LOVE your ‘consumer analogy thanks – am gonna use that one !! XXX

  • I do know what you mean markps2. I have worked in ‘involuntary patient’ care for 13 years (in a forensic hospital) – it is my role to ‘represent’ the interests of the patients (we call this a consumer adviser) – and of course to get out of there they have to completely accept the medical model. The very occasional person will manage to ‘play the game’ without the powers that be discovering this, but this hardly ever happens. I have successfully managed to get current patients sitting alongside staff in ‘consumer rep’ type roles in decision making forums and we have just appointed another part time consumer adviser who has been through the hospital and is now a health board employee. There are quite a few staff who are aware of the charade of ‘mental illness’ but they choose (like i do) to stay and try to help shift things in tiny stages away from the medical paradigm. I have seen some of these shifts in my time.

  • hi ssenerch, thanks. I guess my take on the ‘problems’ we experience is that they would not even be thought of as ‘problems’ if we responded differently ….and from a constructive and compassionate framework. Currently we are totally socialized, schooled and brainwashed into believing that some kind of supposed ‘consensus reality’ is the only normal that should be tolerated. I think that even the framework of prevention and/or healing of ‘problems’ is part of this. We (well many…i don’t anymore) believe that there is something wrong with mental experiences that are ‘other than the norm’. I have come to know that for myself the experiences that i had were essential to my growth process….mind you i had no idea of this at the time and i became completely isolated and had to go through my own personal hell alone. If i had have had a cultural framework that included and valued altered states as meaningful and important then most of the distress an fear that was associated with my experiences need not have happened….so i think we need to head for a place where these experiences and the full range of human response to …well being human i guess is accepted, embraced and supported…am sure that’ll be easy to achieve 🙂

  • Hi Pauline, Thankyou ! …its great to know there are people who feel the same way !! – Please do get in touch…not sure what the right way to do that is here – maybe get in touch via the facebook page Pot of Gold – if you are on facebook…or let me know how to get in touch with you ….we’re keen to form a NZ wide network…and are working on a website etc, but all in my spare time so might take a while – actually you could also call a work number with your contact details – and leave me a message if im not there…only there half time – (09) 8155164 extn 5253

  • So how can this change if we don’t change the beliefs…and expose them for what they are ?…i think it will only be when the lies are exposed and ‘gain traction’ with the general public that the establishments will have to change – i don’t know much about sharia law, but the ‘bar’ for what is considered ‘normal’ gets lowered every time the drug companies need or want to expand their markets a bit further, thus the growing push to ‘psychiatritise; children – the expansion of the ‘law’ is happening right under our noses anyway…whats the alternative to speaking up – just letting it happen ?

  • Phew ! – yes i completely agree. But we can choose -at least we could if there was a choice….and i guess that’s what im trying to highlight. If you read about where there has been alternatives to the psychiatric system like Diabasis (John Weir Perry) in the late 70’s, its clear that given a completely different approach to ‘altered ways to experience the world’ it is wholly possible that people can go through these experiences and out the other side without having to take on any of the forms and assumptions that are imposed on them by the current mainstream system. In fact they are able to move through these transformative experiences to a place of integration and can benefit hugely from what the experience itself is trying to achieve….that is healing and wholeness – you may be familiar with this but if not I’d highly recommend reading ‘Trials of the Visionary Mind by John Weir Perry – it doesn’t have to be this way !!

  • Thanks someone else. my point is that so called mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar don’t actually exist other than in the minds of those who collected together a group of random experiences and decided to label them as something.

  • But the belief system is imposed isn’t it ? – The concept of mental illness is a total fallacy, but its one that is held in place by those who benefit from it; ie the providers of the services who make their extremely good living from it and the drug companies who rake it in by the billions. Its a particularly cynical and evil concept because it preys on people who are at their most vulnerable and gives a completely false impression of what is actually going on. I don’t think there would be any ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ if people were asked ‘what happened to you’ and what do you need instead of being told ‘this is whats wrong with you and this is what you need’ – oh and ‘if you don’t like it we’ll force you !’ or at least the ‘self fulfilling’ part would at least be free choice – at the moment there is no free choice so there really is no ‘self’ in the ‘self fulfilling’ prophecy is there ?

  • Really ? – how much more ‘severely’ do you imagine the law could be enforced ? Currently people can be held down, tied down, forced into solitary confinement, locked up and forcibly injected with mind altering substances against there will, have their children removed if they refuse to allow them to take psychiatric drugs and be forced to have electricity zapped thru their brains….how much more dangerous do you think it can get ?

  • yeah you are right of course oldhead. ‘Consumer’ is just as awful as anything else we get called ! Its hard to know how to describe the people i work with. They are actually ‘inpatients’ in that they reside in a hospital. These hospitals (in NZ anyway) are really the last bastion of institutional care and are in dire need of transformation !

  • Maybe the draining part is trying to be an activist in a system that is structured around mental illness Ted ? I do still work in the ‘system’ but my work is in such a narrow and restrictive area (forensic psychiatry) that in some ways there is quite a bit of freedom to advocate for better treatment of consumers who are subject to many more forces than are usual in mental health ie pressures of extreme public and societal opinion and government responsibility and the very real protective measures both for and from the people subjected to treatment in the services. My ‘activism’ is now outside of mental health as i have come to believe that the belief system of mental health and ill health is so fundamentally flawed as to be irreparable, so the information i am aiming to spread is that of people deciding for themselves what their experiences mean.

  • Hi Paris, what an awesome article ! – what i love is that you’ve picked up on the insidious entrenchment of ‘mental illness’ and how it permeates even the de-stig campaigns. I pick up on this kind of stuff all the time, but my comments about it so often fall on ears that have ‘mental illness’ ear plugs so firmly shoved in them that the message cant or wont be heard….such is the risk and fear of jumping into the unknown without the pre-designed ‘mental illness’ paradigm to simply explain it all as a brain disease. Ditching the medical model paradigm in the face of greed, deceit, power imbalance and a society where so many believe in ‘experts’ over their own instincts can only happen when people have access to education and critical reflection – and at the moment many just don’t get exposed to this at all. There is such a need for a network of consumer peer support groups that don’t just replace one paradigm with another, but that validate and compassionately invite people to explore what their lives might look like if they questioned all they currently accept as ‘fact’ . Of course this is a hugely scary and brave thing to do…and we are all at different stages of that journey; so we need to find ways of helping each other. I’ve envisaged a network of ‘radical recovery’ groups for ages now but don’t really know where to start – any ideas ??