Thursday, July 19, 2018

Comments by oldhead

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  • As soon as the “peer service” movement got on its feet, the big guns in psychiatry set out to undermine its credibility

    Keep in mind that the “peer service movement” was CREATED by psychiatry to subvert the mental patients liberation movement. What you describe was Phase II of that effort. Very similar to COINTELPRO in ways.

  • We don’t need to set up an alternative “system” in the sense that we currently have “systems.” People need to learn/be taught to reclaim their own humanity, which includes the capacity to support one another through hard times. But right now “hard times” are supposed to be considered the “norm” rather than the root problem, hence freaked out people are seen as part of the “norm” as well — a steady stream of business with no end in sight, or even any serious hope for such except in the remote future.

  • Maybe Pies was just playing with words:

    “Psychiatrists think all mental disorders are due to a chemical imbalance!” … [in] 30 years, I don’t believe I have ever heard a knowledgeable, well-trained psychiatrist make such a preposterous claim

    The supposed qualifier here might be the word “all”; how many of those well-qualified shrinks might hold that only “some” so-called mental disorders are caused by chemical imbalances?

  • Hi Steve. Nothing to really argue with here.

    However, MIA has in the past gone to what I consider absurd extremes to disavow any “official” position on anything, except for supporting “critical psychiatry.”

    Two years ago on the July 4th holiday, Murphy et al. took advantage of the break to sneak the Murphy Bill through the House of Reps. while no one was looking or aware. I remember frantically attempting (along with “Surviving & Thriving”) to get MIA to at least post an announcement that this was happening, to no avail; we were told that this was not MIA’s purpose. I still think this was ridiculous and irresponsible on MIA’s part. There has to be some acknowledgement by MIA that it takes SOME moral positions on matters affecting its “constituency.”

  • To me all these discussions among white Americans about who is “most” oppressed reek of “American exceptionalism.” Almost none of them are concerned with global racism or imperialism, except to the extent they can be used as analogies to someone’s personal “oppression,” implying or stating straight out that they are “just as oppressed” as Africans, Palestinians and other colonized peoples. This is what I think of whenever the word “privilege” is brought up by liberal Americans, especially upper-middle class white Americans. Needless to say it turns me off.

    (This is probably not the best placement for this comment, as it is not a direct response to Emily’s preceding post. It’s just on my mind.)

  • Actually the “conservatives” AND “moderates” in your terms are equally dangerous, the “moderates” perhaps more so as they are presented as the “good guys,” while promoting psychiatric control in a more insidious way.

    Recent discussions among anti-psych survivors, both on MIA and elsewhere, have gotten hung up in defining anti-psychiatry. Specifically, most anti-psychiatry survivors tend to identify themselves as “abolitionists” (a term which, as I mentioned above, also has several connotations). However, a not insignificant minority consider themselves “anti-psychiatry” but not “abolitionists” (though the term remains largely undefined); their concern centers on “civil liberties” aspects of psychiatric oppression, rather than, for example, seeking to end the legitimization of psychiatry as a field of medicine. So, even among those who have come to a personal “anti-psychiatry” position, there are real differences as to what this means, which have to date substantially hindered the development of a working consensus. The latter is necessary for a network or organization to focus on specific goals and projects. I don’t know the answer to this conundrum, other than to continually fine-tuning our analyses, goals and approaches until there is a critical mass of AP survivors prepared to say “these are the principles we share, and these are our unified goals and demands.”

    Good to see you i.d. yourself as AP. I see no reason why this sort of discussion can’t be continued on MIA. Also, if you have an email or something you can post publicly, I or someone will make sure you are contacted should there be any further rumblings along these lines.

  • Maybe we should have left things where they were. 🙂 Because you force me to respond.

    While you don’t technically misuse the word “abolition,” I think most people who call themselves “abolitionists” in the anti-psych sense have a more far reaching goal than simply ending involuntary “treatment,” which is more of a civil libertarian position. Even if it were possible to separate out “voluntary” and “involuntary” psychiatry, and eliminate the latter, the equally oppressive psychiatric function of encouraging people to regard their troublesome feelings and perceptions as “symptoms” would remain unscathed. The latter serves a greater social control function in my view than the “treatments”/punishments meted out, as it serves to suppress any inclination to rebel.

    It is also a distortion of the concept of “choice” to frame the issue of neurotoxins in this context. These are not substances which were created to meet a popular demand, but to control people, and are administered to desperate or unwilling people who are lied to about what they are and why they are being given. This is not characteristic of something undertaken as a “choice,” and presenting it as such confuses the issue.

    Finally, “abolition” is not always synonymous with “outlaw,” and this is not necessarily what all psychiatric abolitionists mean by the term. Many people support psychiatry being decertified as a field of medicine and denied the right to prescribe neurotoxins as treatments for diseases. This would throw a big wrench in the works right there, even if psychiatry per se remained totally legal.

  • Emily, despite our pretty clear disagreements on matters such as the above, I want to thank you for your hard work and commitment to making MIA discussions accessible to all (well, almost all) points of view without undue bias in favor of staff beliefs or MIA’s editorial line. While there are exceptions to this I find the general direction of the moderation here to be absolutely positive, and thank you for your sincere responses to the concerns I have brought up with you on occasion.

    Hoping that with some time to think things over you will come around to an anti-psychiatry position eventually. I assume you’ll be posting here on occasion? Anyway good luck with whatever you do next; I’m sure you’re not going to be too far from a computer so look forward to reading your dispatches.

    I’m sure Steve will be an excellent successor btw, and welcome him to his new position as MIA moderator.

  • Oh Emily.

    There is no “critical psychiatry movement.” This seems like an attempt to somehow justify the overriding contradiction between the information MIA puts out — which shows clearly that psychiatry is a destructive and fraudulent practice which should be abandoned — and its desire to court favor with liberal elements within the “mental health” profession.

    I feel that it is disingenuous to talk about a “movement” which exists only in the minds of those who see the pursuit of “critical psychiatry” as a career move, or something close. To start, a “movement” must have goals; what is the goal of a “critical psychiatry movement” if not to eliminate psychiatry? To “improve” it? Who are the spokespeople for this “movement”? Can they articulate a coherent description of their aims and analyses?

    I’ll be waiting. Meanwhile I will stipulate that the only thing close to a real movement to be found amid these MIA discussions is the ANTI-psychiatry movement. And even that is hanging by a thread.

    I’d be interested in seeing those posting here who consider themselves ANTI-psychiatry (by any definition) identify themselves as such.

  • And I really don’t want to take that away from them.

    But would you be willing to approve public funds — even in the form of tax breaks, etc. — to finance a factory to make a drug to alter your friend’s biochemistry so that he/she feels “just right”? Maybe we all have our personal “chill pill” formula of choice; is having access to this now to be considered a human right? Is what’s important not what we do or what happens but how we “feel” about it?

  • OK since this commentary still seems to be going strong, let me add two considerations:

    shaun spoke of an “abuse of power.” However the real abuse is in the existence of that power, not whether it is exercised brutally or “compassionately.”

    Second, I think we should “abolish” the term “consumer” as an at best obsolete and at worst oppressive term. It was adopted in the first place as part of a strategy to undermine the mental patients liberation movement. It stands for “consumer of mental health services,” which contains the denigrating implication that “consumers” are “mentally ill.” Let’s just stop using it and acquiescing when others do.

  • Fuck Tom Cruise.

    I think also he would be very willing. The general public despite the publicity Tom has had regarding scientology has not dismayed them has it.

    Yeah, and the more “willing” he is the more dangerous the whole proposition is. Ten foot pole time! People really need to get over this celebrity thing. Scratch the surface and a lot of people here actually worship these “name brand” people themselves and would genuinely feel “humbled” if they stooped to throw us a few crumbs.

    Fuck “celebrities,” period. Leonard and his colleagues should do some fundraising to get Auntie Psychiatry some funding and some technical consultants. She would do a far better job than any of these zillionaire modern-day pseudo-deities! 🙂 🙂

    Bippyone maybe you could assist with the bureaucratic part…

  • I don’t see COS as “right wing” in any traditional sense, or Breggin’s appearance on Savage as much more than the same Szasz-like cluelessness as to how to create a movement. Nonetheless, to repeat, the motive of Scientology in fighting psychiatry is not altruism (other than that they believe in what they’re doing); the goal is to replace psychiatric mind-control techniques with their own. I guess that would qualify as an “alternative to psychiatry”?

  • Glad you get what I’m getting at. That said, they are connected in a yin-yang sort of sense.

    I am actually no more a champion of “social and political reform” than I am of “psychiatric reform,” if you get my drift; they are both illusory contradictions in terms under capitalism.

    While the political/support functions are distinct, we also can’t just have one bunch of lovey-dovey-grouphuggy people “supporting” one another over here while the “political” people hold the barricades and take the bullets (literally or figuratively) over there. So that’s something to consider too. When push comes to shove it’s not always a responsible option to say “nah, confrontation isn’t really my thing” as you watch the crowd from your hiding place.

  • As for the drugs, there are people who like taking them, and as long as they are not forced or lied to, I see no reason why people should not be afforded this opportunity if it works for them.

    This is a slippery slope, and more complex than an issue of “free choice.” Psych drugs aren’t like cannabis, opium, alcohol, etc. for which humans developed a natural demand; they were designed specifically for behavior control, and “users” introduced to them coercively and deceptively, and encouraged to become dependent. No one is talking about forcing anyone into cold-turkey withdrawal, but the degree of consent here is not cut & dried. No one ever came to me when I got discharged looking for extra Thorazine.

    So this needs to be explored some more. Is there also a demand for handcuffs and straitjackets that should be respected and obliged?

  • Bigotry is based on fear

    Maybe we need a better word than bigotry in this case, as psychiatric denigration is not based on emotion, but programmed into the system.

    But that’s not the theme of this post. It is rather to make a hopefully helpful distinction. There are actually two basic orientations among people who frequent MIA. Both are valid.

    A) One goal is to develop effective means of human support. (I balk at calling this “alternatives to psychiatry” since psychiatry does NOT provide human support, so calling TRUE support an “alternative to psychiatry” gives psychiatry too much credit.)

    B) The other is to eliminate the power of psychiatry to defraud and, more importantly, COERCE people into submitting to its “treatments.”

    These are separate functions calling for different approaches. The first is about feelings, social supports, etc. The second is about political struggle, analysis, and sometimes confrontation. Neither is more important than, or a prerequisite for pursuing the other.

    However, these functions often get conflated in the course of MIA discussions. I think recognizing them as both important, but reflecting different priorities, might eliminate some confusion. It is particularly important not to get drawn into pitting one against the other. (As in “you can’t oppose psychiatry without having an ‘alternative.'”)

  • One thing you can say about the Church of Scientology, they are very, very clear about who is in charge and what the chain of command looks like.

    Not sure how you would know that. Is there something you aren’t telling us?

    Lee Remick following her leaving COS spoke of Cruise as someone you could get in trouble for challenging.

    However, Morton, I believe, is also the reporter who went after Michael Jackson. So I’m not vouching for this stuff, just reporting it. I do remember the statement about Cruise being part of the top leadership from watching Nightline.

  • Oldhead, it does matter what their misconceptions are, because their beliefs drive their actions to treat suffering people in a certain manner.

    Which is why the “mental health” narrative must be exposed and eliminated and people educated to avoid “mental health professionals” like the plague. We need to make it so they don’t have the power to make us care what they think. Simply understanding that psychiatry is destructive and based on fraudulent principles doesn’t change anything. A system designed to keep people down can’t be miraculously changed into one that liberates people, nor would there be any reason for it to sabotage the purposes for which it exists. People concerned about the root causes of suffering should be focusing on political and economic structures, not individual reactions to such. But the latter is far more profitable, and the stuff careers are made of.

  • SPB — Szasz was apparently not much of a strategist or organizer, but at the time saw CCHR as the only game in town. He wasn’t a secret Scientologist or anything. Frank or Dragonslayer might have more precise knowledge of this.

    What’s interesting to me is that, considering Szasz’s distaste for the term “anti-psychiatry,” he collaborated with people who surely did, for whatever reasons, want to abolish psychiatry.

  • One challenge I see is that many providers within the system genuinely believe in the model of mental illness, and thus they think that anti-stigma campaigns are important so that people get the help they need.

    It doesn’t matter what their misconceptions may be. The state of ignorance of “mental health professionals” is their problem to solve, not ours. It’s what makes them dangerous, and makes the abolition of “mental health” systems most urgent. It also illuminates the need for their colleagues who have a bit more awareness of the destructiveness of psychiatry to help set them straight.

  • I’m obviously the dissenter here.

    I don’t see what you’re “dissenting” from — that “stigma” is actually bigotry?

    That some people can learn to inure themselves from internalizing the effects of such bigotry — I certainly have, at least at any conscious level — does not negate the fact that “stigma” is not something that is imagined, or that arises from within, or has something to do with one’s attitude; it is, again, straight up prejudice, inherent to the concept of “mental illness”; it is objectively the way you are viewed by others as the result of being labeled “ill” (or “weird,” or what-have-you). What you do with that realization or how you cope with it is another matter.

    This is a vital distinction. Humans are resilient and can overcome many things internally, even solitary confinement and death sentences. But that’s beside the point here. Why should we have to? Why should stigma or any other form of oppression exist in the first place? The ultimate answer is to eliminate the root cause, in this case psychiatric name-calling, i.e. “diagnoses.” Then we can find better things to “overcome,” or otherwise spend our valuable energy on, and stop playing mind games with “concerned” mhp’s.

  • This is crazy talk Lawrence.

    If his doing a video interview here led to MIA having to fend off accusations of being connected to Scientology, it would be worth the trouble, since mixed publicity is much better than no publicity –- it would greatly expand the audience hearing the truth about psychiatry.

    You seem to believe this this is about reasoned debate. What it would actually do is put a powerful propaganda weapon in the hands of the psych establishment — a plausible-enough argument that MIA is in the pocket of Scientology, period. (This is coming from one who has cautioned against becoming “hysterical” at the mention of Scientology.) I hope this is merely naivete or political inexperience on your part.

    Also you refer to the the U.S. govt. and ruling class as “we” — what’s up with that?

  • This is all I could find offhand:

    Neither Cruise nor any of his close friends spoke to Andrew Morton, but that hasn’t stopped him making some surprising claims — first, that Cruise is not just a member of the Church of Scientology but is now effectively the second in command.

    “They will deny this; they say he’s just an ordinary parishioner,” Morton said.

    Morton believes that to suggest that Cruise doesn’t hold a special place in the church is “disingenuous.”

    “If they could, they’d have him working there full-time,” Morton said. “It’s nonsense to say that he’s just a parishioner like everybody else. And when he’s within the faith, when he’s within Scientology, he’s treated differently.”

    Also (which I have always said myself):

    “The motivations for attacking psychiatry are multifold, and one of them is to eliminate a potential challenge and critic,” said Kent. “Scientology is at war with psychiatry and the mental health system. Its goal is to eliminate psychiatry and related mental health systems and replace them with Scientology techniques.”‘

    https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/drives-tom-cruises-true-mission/story?id=4155022

  • Back again to “stigma,” one of the most misused concepts ever.

    “Stigma” is what results as soon as someone is given a psychiatric “diagnosis,” which is analogous to branding someone with a label that society is conditioned to see in a judgemental way. It is part of what has been done to people by psychiatry, not something which is dependent on how the branded individuals “feel about” their designation as “mentally ill.” “Stigma” is part & parcel of “mental illness” labels; eliminate the psychiatric name-calling and the “stigma” will evaporate.

    But then there would be no careers available in the “anti-stigma” field.

  • The post by The Cat which sparked this conversation has been removed. I try to avoid commenting on moderation, but I suspect someone decided the post was racist because it raised oft-debated political positions regarding the relative significance of race vs. class in our current state of oppression, even though maybe it wasn’t phrased that way. Cat’s point — that all races need to unite to fight this oppression — is admirable for one coming from a “conservative” orientation (I think). It is not racist to discuss such seeming contradictions; it is more racist to ignore them. Obviously Cat made enough sense for people to respond to him with thoughtful posts. Not seeing the post that started this is weird. And I’d hate to see Cat driven away again by this sort of attitude, his perspective has always been refreshingly provocative.

  • Maybe this will help:

    Understanding depression and its causes

    Depressive disorders often co-occur with anxiety or substance abuse and are a leading form of disability in the United States. Depression may strike any time without warning. Researchers have identified the five primary causes of mild, moderate and severe clinical depression:
    1. Imbalance of key chemical neurotransmitters in the brain;
    2. Chronic low-grade hopelessness generated by early childhood trauma;
    3. Marriage to the wrong person;
    4. Sudden realization of the essential absurdity of life;
    5. Ecological catastrophe on a scale never before seen in human history.

    Other factors which might trigger a depressive episode include:
    * having either too much or not enough of something;
    * being trapped in an utterly hopeless situation with no way of escape;
    * remorse, guilt, shame, failure, disappointment, frustration, grief, heartache, pain or loss of some kind;
    * infestation of household pests such as termites or rodents;
    * omega-3 deficiency from not eating sufficient quantities of cauliflower and other vegetables;
    * leaky faucet, clogged drain or similar plumbing problem;
    * global economic collapse, thermonuclear war, mass starvation, genocide, etc.

    from “Asymptomatic Depression: Hidden Epidemic and Huge Untapped Market” http://www.bonkersinstitute.org/asymptomatic.html

  • If the rules of language (not just English) apply, no one could ever “prove” that metaphors are concrete, and/or that the mind is part of the body, hence subject to “illness.” There’s nothing to “prove” or to “research,” or to speculate about. Words mean things; the “proof” is in the definition.

  • This is making my head hurt. Whatever the particulars, the Freud angle is fairly tangential to what I see as important here.

    The main subject of this “around the web” piece is Ruffalo’s contention (which he apparently lifted from Pies) that “mental illness” is NOT a metaphor and in fact is a useful term. I think he has already been thoroughly refuted. I was just trying to examine his logic further, esp. the apparent contention that regular use of a metaphor changes it into something else.

  • I don’t even remember how Freud came up, or see its particular relevance to what I see as the overriding issue, which is Pies’/Ruffalo’s redefining “metaphor” to suit their own purposes. However, if Ruffalo tries to use Freud to discredit Szasz in any way (which I guess I missed), it would be ludicrous, considering Freud predated Szasz by some years and probably never heard of him.

    On the last point, I was simply saying that in Freud’s day it was likely that he and other psychoanalysts had a firmer grasp of the metaphors they were using as being metaphors, and knowing the difference between metaphorical diseases and real ones. But it remains just a hunch.

  • Sort of what I was getting at. Sooner or later we’re going to also have a “mental health” celebrity poster child (who is not a Scientologist) break through the bs, change sides and start trash-talking psychiatry. Maybe after secretly reading MIA. That would get the junior high/high school crowd paying attention. Maybe we should even encourage them to start out thinking we’re a cult just to get them interested, so they might then discover what’s actually going on here is worth paying attention to.

  • “You would think that, whether in psychiatry or general medicine, drugs for almost any other condition would be a better place to start [with digital technology] than a drug for schizophrenia.”

    You would only think that if you still see psychiatry as something as other than a tool of social control. “Schizophrenia” is still the all-encompassing ogre of choice serving to keep people terrified of crazy people, so a new way to control “these people” is a good tactical, and marketing, decision.

    Since they want to tamp down “sensationalism,” social media types should immediately get to work getting these “digital” drugs to be popularly nicknamed “spy drugs,” “1984 drugs,” or maybe something even catchier.

    What is the effect of hundreds of microchips collecting in ones bowels, I wonder. It should be also examined whether the components are known carcinogens.

    the requirement that patients “actively choose whether to share their information with clinicians and caregivers” was added based on recommendations from a team of bioethicists

    So that should mean no AOT people? (At least not until they make a “wise” decision, huh?)

  • You need to stop seeing MIA as the anti-psychiatry mother ship, it clearly distances itself from anti-psychiatry analyses and always has. The “tacky” reference is in terms of how it is perceived by teens as, unless tacky is now cool, being seen that way would not encourage viewership.

    I would never try to tell anyone NOT to pursue any project they feel good about, unless it would be clearly destructive.

    As for those public service spots, once you get a bunch more rebellious shrinks in your corner we should have access to some pretty decent funds, right? 🙂

  • Sounds sort of tacky, plus you’d maybe get sued and Facebook/Youtube would zap it as “pill-shaming.” On the other hand — and this extends beyond children — we should consider how to do some fundraising for stuff like this produced “professionally” in a way that would be entertainingly captivating as well as informational. Every time I see an ad for “bipolar” toxins or some such I have to restrain myself. If we could somehow find a way to produce educational public service announcements and infomercials setting the facts straight it would be phenomenal!

    Back to the kids — you do need to be careful with that kind of talk, Lawrence, lest you be equated by corporate psychiatry with the Pied Piper and made an example of.

    [Why aren’t my imogees working?]

  • Here’s a slice of what Ruffalo offers as an example of Pies’ supposedly illustrative thinking:

    Some have argued that if and when so-called mental illnesses are exhaustively explained by disturbed brain function or structure, we will no longer need the term “mental illness,” on the supposition that neuropathology and psychopathology are mutually exclusive constructs. The author argues that, on the contrary, the locution “mental illness” is not rendered useless or unnecessary when neuropathology is discovered, nor is the term “mental illness” a metaphor. Rather, it is an instance of “ordinary language” that we apply quite literally to certain types of suffering and incapacity in the realm of thought, emotion, cognition, and behavior.

    In other words, the fact that the term “mental illness” is commonly used demonstrates its legitimacy, or something, and hence the rules of language may be waived.

    Dragonslayer, you still around?

  • Sounds interesting. I don’t think you should be the screenwriter though, to wit:

    “Is there a blood test to verify his abnormal biochemistry?” Rafiki answers: “Actually, no chemical imbalance has been found despite 60 years of research…”

    Kids don’t talk like this or think in these terms, it is a predilection of people ensconced in “mental health” issues. But, if a sympathetic screenwriter should endeavor to present the blatant absurdities of child psychiatry in more cartoon-like terms, there’s a wealth of ironic humor to be mined, much of which might be more understandable to kids than their parents.

    Don’t know where that production budget would come from. But if you find it I totally recommend Auntie Psychiatry as the cartoonist, don’t know if she’s ever done animation but it might be a welcome challenge.

  • Everyone just want to feel good, it is not enough. Mental health fixation is destructive utopia, we need courage and truth about psyche, not mental health utopists and their drugs or witamins or theologic BS, for building that utopia.

    Language barriers suck. But this is pretty easy to understand. “Feeling good” is overrated when the world remains colonized and enslaved to corporate profiteers.