Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Comments by oldhead

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  • Hmmm. The misogyny of “Big Nurse” being blamed for everything, rather than her male superiors, has been noted for some time, and the “emasculation” theme certainly runs through the movie (didn’t read the book).
    Still, I think there are many aspects of the film that ring true and qualify as anti-psychiatry.

    The Chief didn’t suffocate Murphy to “free himself,” btw, but because he didn’t want the post-lobotomy McMurphy to have to live like that.

  • Despite Matt’s well-developed critical and intellectual understanding about psychiatric diagnoses, the ‘illness’ model had been deeply absorbed in his younger years. Ultimately, for all his intelligence and courage, he found it impossible to escape from his identification with the labels of ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘Borderline personality disorder’ and the frightening, hopeless messages that accompanied these non-valid but intensely powerful constructs.

    This is accurate from what I can see, and I wonder if others are drawing the same conclusions: Why are we still constantly “rethinking” a pernicious practice which has been proven to be based on absurdities, yet maintains such a hold on many of its victims that, even when they know they’re being lied to, the power of that lie, backed up by guns, seems so formidable that death appears to be the only option?

    Instead of “rethinking” this shit over and over why aren’t we making it a collective goal to purge all psychiatric/”mental health” ideology not only from our minds but from our souls (or whatever word you choose)?

    Just as indigenous people refer to “Thanksgiving” as the Day of Mourning, we should rename this World Anti-Psychiatry Day.

  • Reading this again, there are so many contradictions, many of which are endemic in US society so I don’t hold Will Hall responsible for the confusion.

    Will’s article is interpreted by Sera and maybe others as “anti-capitalist,” maybe because he mentions the “1%.” However, the essence of this article is not “anti-capitalist,” as it addresses “corruption.” By labeling a problem as due to “corruption” one implies that it is not the system itself that is to blame, but a flaw or abuse of an otherwise acceptable system. This is similar to talking about “rethinking” or “reforming” psychiatry as opposed to dismantling it. But the true problem in both cases is that the system is inherently oppressive, by design. Will says, correctly, “We have a money-driven circus posing as democracy” ; however he doesn’t seem to understand that this has been the case since long before he was born.

    It doesn’t really matter in the end how one tinkers with the electoral machinery via regulations concerning funding, etc.; if it interferes with business as usual the system will find a way to outlaw or neutralize it.

    Capitalism must be abolished. Psychiatry must be abolished. No coincidence.

  • The fun part of this all for me is that, while the ruling class and its Democrat/Republican mouthpieces support in principle everything Trump is trying to do, Trump is making the strategically unforgivable mistake of talking about his motives and goals, rather than masking his actions behind a curtain of pretense and claims of goodwill. In doing so he’s exposing their agenda big time, which will be a liability for the .1% even after Trump is replaced as the figurehead.

  • We risk becoming a professional complainer class — funded and salaried ‘advocates’ calling for change who have no real incentive to switch strategies when the reforms fail, because the money and influence for being a professional complainer continue to flow.

    On the other hand, this is absolutely true. It seems to be the essence of the “peer” and “advocacy” rackets.

  • Sorry but capitalism IS the problem. Thing is, no one here agrees on what is meant by the term. Capitalism, like psychiatry, cannot be reformed and must be abolished. It represents the reduction of human needs and aspirations to meeting the corporate bottom line as the be all and end all of existence. We cannot discuss capitalism without a clear understanding of what is meant by the term.

    Likewise, what some people mean by “our movement” bears no resemblance to what is meant by others. Mr. Hall wants the “transformation” of the “mental health” system. My movement, as well as that of many others here, is the elimination of the “mental health” paradigm completely. So we are arguing about different things in many cases.


  • If you think it’s not possible, if you think a real total transformation of our mental health system is not possible, then you have no business advocating for change in the first place. It’s hypocritical, and you should get out of the way of people who are taking real change seriously.

    The nerve. So unless someone is essentially delusional and willing to pursue pie in the sky they can stay out of your world. Sorry, but a “transformed mental health system” is a contradiction in terms and no, in your terms, it is not possible. And don’t try to pretend you’re more “serious” than those of us who have forever removed the rose garden-colored glasses. It’s really offensive. When your “strategy” has actually produced some actual victories you will more entitled to pontificate.

    A warm shout-out to Human Being. Abolish psychiatry!

  • Good to see people are thinking this way. And I like Frank’s “Imaginary Disease Awareness Day.”

    What I do have some concern about is that when you “protest” something you are to a large degree conferring legitimacy on that which you are protesting. Rather than “protesting” psychiatry we should be working to expose it and take its power away, in which case there would be nothing to protest, as people could then just say “no thank you.”

  • Great article, and very interesting. The Pentagon has long supported “meditation” to help calm its employees who are engaged in god-knows-what (https://parabola.org/2015/12/10/the-pentagon-meditation-club-by-tracy-cochran/); also check out this article about Wall Street and TM: http://www.businessinsider.com/wall-street-trend-transcendental-meditation-2016-10

    There are many other examples of “meditation” being used to further capitalist/imperialist ends. Good to see that some who use these Buddhism oriented techniques appropriately see the inherent contradiction between capitalism and spirituality.

  • I don’t think this is the case with this shooter due to the very elaborate planning

    The elaborate planning is more indicative of SSRI-triggered mass homicides such as Aurora and Columbine, rather than the effects of benzos — but don’t forget the possibility of benzo withdrawal. Consider this from Peter Breggin:

    Alert 18 : Las Vegas Shooter on Valium!

    Stephen Paddock, the worst mass murderer in US history, was prescribed benzodiazepines in the form of fifty 10-milligram diazepam (Valium) tablets on June 21, according to records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). I have also received an unconfirmed report that he was prescribed antidepressants, which are commonly given along with benzos. Unlike Valium, antidepressant prescriptions are not reported by physicians to the PMP, which monitors scheduled narcotic-like or addictive drugs. For decades, it has been known that benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and Klonopin can cause impulsivity, disinhibition, or loss of self-control resulting in violence. See my book, Medication Madness: the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime. Check these Frequent Alerts for the breaking news on this story.

    Peter R. Breggin, MD

  • I agree it’s curious that this is considered “my” obsession; I would think everyone would be demanding to know what the study is/was. And no, I don’t know either; I do remember some sort of vague allusion to something somewhere here that I didn’t bother to follow up on or try to research. Either by Matt or one of his close associates.

  • With the popularity of “conservative” talk radio it would seem that at least some of the hosts’ eyes would pop out (even if only opportunistically) at the mention of Eric Harris, Aurora, Sandy Hook and the SSRI connection. That’s the only place you can ever get any anti-VAX info too.

    Also Breggin is a regular guest on “Coast to Coast,” formerly the Art Bell show.

    Any and every way we can get the info out.

  • Registered — I hear you. It is of course much safer (and certainly less offensive) to be called an asshole than to be “diagnosed” as a “BPD,” although both are nothing more than slurs. The latter is more dangerous as it assumes the pretense of a medical determination rather than a form of hate speech.

  • I mean, every time this kind of thing happens I wait to see what drugs they were on. Hoping each time that THIS will be the incident to blow the lid off the psychiatric drug connection. Breggin says that often Valium is prescribed with other “anti-depressants,” presumably SSRIs. So we’ll have to see what develops. Meanwhile people should be talking about this and posting this alert around.

  • Many people have pointed out that instead of adjusting individual children’s behaviour through brain-modifying chemicals, we should devise an education system that accommodates a wider range of developmental trajectories; one that is better able to cope with children who need more physical activity and stimulation than the average child of their age 6.

    The scary part is that the average person responds to such an observation as though it’s a deep, radical new concept, rather than with a jaded “Duh”…

    Not criticizing the article, just sayin’.

  • So what’s the problem with gun laws? Oh, you mean the way nonviolent psychiatric survivors face unfair discrimination when they try to buy weapons to defend themselves? I totally agree.

    Sorry to hear that about Bruce, how disheartening. Probably took a lot of the edge off his writing; we may never hear what might have been his best stuff.

    If psychiatry is a massive fraud, using standard dictionary definitions, why should people call it something else just to avoid offending the ignorant?

  • Because you never were a “patient.” I’ve considered answering “no” if I ever have to fill out a legal form asking if I have ever had a “mental illness.” If I were charged with lying I’d try to make it a political trial and bring in Szaszian experts to explain that there is no such thing.

  • OK since this seems to be a free-for-all at the moment let me add this latest from Peter Breggin to the mix in you haven't seen it:

    Alert 18 : Las Vegas Shooter on Valium!

    Stephen Paddock, the worst mass murderer in US history, was prescribed benzodiazepines in the form of fifty 10-milligram diazepam (Valium) tablets on June 21, according to records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). I have also received an unconfirmed report that he was prescribed antidepressants, which are commonly given along with benzos. Unlike Valium, antidepressant prescriptions are not reported by physicians to the PMP, which monitors scheduled narcotic-like or addictive drugs. For decades, it has been known that benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and Klonopin can cause impulsivity, disinhibition, or loss of self-control resulting in violence. See my book, Medication Madness: the Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide and Crime. Check these Frequent Alerts for the breaking news on this story.

    Peter R. Breggin, MD

  • Oops — that last line was supposed to have been discarded, however what I was getting at is that “traditional” resisters are generally fairly well-spoken and can express themselves in identifiable political ways. Those who fall into the psychiatric lair tend to be instinctively disinclined to “get with the program” but express their rebellion in more idiosyncratic ways.

  • [I just wrote a long response and had only started getting into it when this motherfucking windows 10 upgrade erased the whole thing. That does it, I'm switching to Linux. However I'm not letting technology gain the upper hand here so I'll try to start over.]

    Sarah makes clear here that she recognizes the psychiatric system is not a rogue branch of medicine, but essentially the psy-ops branch of the penal system. Its function is to neutralize those who are inclined to fight the system just as the gulag state imprisons Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners. She also notes with great insight that the system is far more concerned with the “fighters” than those who freeze or run (although I would add there is at least some degree of concern as well for lost productive capacity among the working class; this is capitalism after all).

    Those who run this system, largely through knowing how to keep the people fighting each other instead of them, understand that the system is inimical to a healthy and fulfilled life, and can thus knowingly predict that a certain portion of the population will be inclined to resist. The official repressive apparatus, i.e. the penal system, will be used to contain the most outspokenly articulate, bold and overtly political spokespeople and fighters for the resistance. However, it will try to keep confused those who sense a problem but don’t know how to put their finger on it, and try to convince them that what they experience as a fault with society or government is actually a personal inadequacy. This is the function and strategy of psychiatric oppression, to nip resistance in the bud.

    So once we realize that psychiatry is the enforcement arm of the system that made us crazy to begin with we understand that its true purpose and function is not to help people understand their confusion, but to perpetuate and exacerbate it, and that this is not the result of a misunderstanding or flaw but the way the system is intentionally designed. Understanding what and whom we’re fighting and why is key to developing a successful anti-psychiatry strategy.

    Turning to more concrete suggestions, I have been arguing for some time now that we should start a legal campaign to demand that Miranda laws apply to psychiatric interviews, so I’m glad to see Sarah mention it. This is not only needed, as anything we say in such can and will be used against us, but it would be educational and the debate would help focus people on the contradictions involved.

    So I hope to return but in any case, great article and please don’t disappear or anything.

    The difference between psychiatric prisoners — those who, for the most part, express their resistance in less articulate or organized ways — and officially recognized political prisoners

  • You’re talking like a shrink, Larry.

    If this study had the power to sway Matt after he saw through so many others it might contain some sort of devious new twist of logic which needs to be immediately deconstructed, and its bankruptcy exposed so that it doesn’t so influence others.

    It’s also possible that on an “unconscious” level Matt was searching for a rationalization, nevertheless if the article in question was persuasive-sounding enough to provide an effective “trigger” it should be identified and explored from that angle alone.

  • This is a really brilliant article, Sarah! I just read all the way through after only skimming it before. I don’t have time to comment in depth now but I will later. It takes my posts a while to go through, but hopefully this discussion will continue for another day or two at least.

  • As for “positive” suggestions, I think it is incumbent upon us to thoroughly expose Torrey as the renegade hustler he is. This could be done on many levels, and there would no doubt be those in “the field” who resent Torrey’s lying and manipulative tactics and would cooperate. It shouldn’t be that hard to pull together what we know about this clown and organize it into something the public can grasp.

  • Psychiatrists are very infrequently left-wing, but a great many are liberals. As I mentioned earlier, ne’er the twain shall meet.

    Under true communism there would be no government hence no forced psychiatry. However that’s a long way off. But even many of those who identify as socialists today are totally clueless about the repressive function of psychiatry. However this is an affront to true socialism as well.

  • I didn’t understand your “answer” (actually I didn’t offer an answer, just posed a question). You seem to be trying to make their arguments for them, better to just let them collapse under their own contradictions.

  • Thanks for not ceding the semantic high ground to psychiatry, ever. A thought or two:

    One person calls it extreme experiences, another calls it alternate realities, another calls it spiritual emergence

    That’s because “it” is different for everyone. Actually there is no “it.” So this divergence of descriptiveness is not a bad thing. Anything but “psychosis.”

    I believe that a conference of some kind, or some other kind of organized communication, and some sort of organized body, such as Mind Freedom might be capable of organizing, should be brought together in order to sort through the various language paradigms

    A conference right now would be premature and chaotic, and would collapse under the weight of everyone’s ego. Plus a Mind Freedom conference would not be antipsychiatry unless MF changed it’s entire raison d’etre. (The allusions in the article to “revolution” and surreptitious activity also strike me as politically immature, and romanticize the nature of our struggle.)

    HOWEVER we SERIOUSLY need a survivor-controlled anti-psychiatry website, though creating this in a democratic way is not a simple endeavor. But there’s a way, once we have the collective will and determination. Out of this could come dialogue which could eventually lead to the creation of a conference that’s more than window dressing, or fodder for someone’s agenda.

  • This sort of validates some of the stuff in my own post speculating about Matt still having too much residual internal, unconscious attachment to the fraudulent tenets of psychiatry. He repeatedly, as I mentioned, would base his conclusions largely on statements made by shrinks of varying sorts, rather than by those with a political analysis of psychiatry as flawed in principle, not simply in practice. Like many he was caught in the space between reform and abolition.

    My suggestion to you all is that the lessons that you hope to learn as a result of this include the understanding of how clinging to psychiatric ideology (that’s what it is) in any form can be deadly, as it seems to have been in Matt’s case. You seem to know the article in question, yes? It needs to be immediately deconstructed and condemned. Can you tell us what it is?

  • MindFreedom served a valuable function during the period when the movement had been destroyed via cooptation, and that should be commended. However we need to progress “back to the future” and resurrect the original movement, which was ANTI-psychiatry. Those who call for “reforms” at this point are merely propping up the system. SAMHSA has always been our enemy and those who hold their tongues and refuse to speak the truth because they fear losing their SAMHSA blood money should not be surprised when they/we get screwed and worse.

  • A concern I have is that some of the many who have relied on Matt for support and self-affirmation will be affected negatively by his actions and draw the wrong conclusions. I hope you all are watching over one another. Matt’s loss of hope was short-sighted and would have been temporary if he had worked through it. I don’t know why he felt he couldn’t, but I’m sure he would not want to end of hope to be his legacy. So try to take care of yourselves.

    I’m sure that “study” will surface sooner or later.

  • You would not survive a simple two minute talk with me, buddy. For your information, and I gather that you are fairly young, it is liberals who have been fighting for you to even have a forum such as this.

    Give me a break please. If I were a liberal I would find your tone embarrassingly egotistical and macho. And please tamp down the ageism while you’re at it, it cuts both ways.

  • Good article, again. One thought:

    Granted, many individuals who work within the mental health system have plenty of experience with oppression, poverty, discrimination, and pain. I am not speaking to you; I’m speaking to the doctors, to the folks with fancy letters after their names who hold the power

    Actually I think you should speak to the underlings as well, because they also acquire “relative” privilege as a result of carrying out their superiors’ wishes, and participate in the professional/client power relationship, even without the fancy cars. Many “workers” from lower income settings also compensate for their own unsatisfactory lives by seeing themselves as “healthier” than their charges.

  • I assume you are responding to Dragon Slayer.

    The problem with the typical “privilege” rant is that it generally doesn’t go any further than name-calling, or what has been referred to as the “politics of denunciation,” rather than addressing the function of white and male privilege in a capitalist culture and how to level things out, other than eliminating men and white people.

    I also notice that people whose politics consists solely of denouncing others’ privilege have often barely scratched the surface in terms of recognizing their own.

  • I will leave it regular readers to appreciate the humor in this characterization.

    You just identified yourself as a liberal, I believe. So you shouldn’t be calling yourself a leftist. There’s a big difference.

    I understand completely the stereotypical charges Dragonslayer is making and largely reject them, although I won’t deny a grain of truth, however overgeneralized. But as long as you cling to capitalism your criticisms also ring hollow. Psychiatry is a tool of capitalism in a capitalist culture. So is liberalism.

  • DS you need to define “left wing,” as I suspect we have markedly different ideas about this. So do you, “Conscious.” For one, liberals are NOT left wing, they support capitalism big time. My guess is that Dragon Slayer could hold his own with you for far longer than two minutes. However, DS, this is also “sloppy thinking”:

    This also applies to the false notion that a profit motive in psychiatry must mean that socialism is the answer.

    I guess you should also define socialism as you conceive of it. Anyway, the “profit motive” is not the problem with psychiatry any more than it is with anything else. However psychiatry does serve capitalism by labeling its malcontents as “mentally ill,” and neutralizing them by giving them the “treatment.” This does not preclude other potential ruling systems from doing the same, socialism included — but it would be an infantile and undeveloped form of socialism that would embrace psychiatry, and if it didn’t dispense with it psychiatry could be a big part of its downfall and subversion by counterrevolutionaries.

  • How about referring to “that awful experience I had”?

    By referring to an “it” (i.e. “psychosis”) you allow your individual and uniquely personal experience to be lumped together with other people’s uniquely personal experiences and their meanings reduced to expressions of “symptomology.” Plus the “-osis” has a distinctly medical flavor, as in “coronary thrombosis.” There is simply no justification for medical or pseudo-medical terminology here, even — or maybe especially — metaphorically.

  • The outrageously and unnecessarily tragic nature of all this is beyond words. It was hard for me to not like Matt even from a distance or when I was in disagreement with him about something. Unfortunately he probably didn’t realize this, as he often took my criticisms of some of his ideas as personal attacks or as “negativity.”

    What I was always sort of picking at in Matt’s posts — which now I feel that I should “double down” on as I believe they are confirmed by what has happened — is that he never really fully rejected psychiatry on an internal level, even though he was up there with the best at being able to discredit and deconstruct it on an intellectual one. It frustrated me that he rejected most psychiatric “diagnoses” but insisted on referring to “psychosis,” which I remember us locking horns over a time or two. More frustrating was that he seemed to feel compelled to “justify” his critique of psychiatry by referring to writings by psychiatrists and psychologists, however “progressive,” rather than “street level” survivors and those whose analysis of psychiatry is as a conscious vehicle of political repression, not a well-intentioned field of human support which simply needs a better understanding of how to “help” people. And I never got him to agree that terms such as “schizophrenia” et al. were not simply invalid in and of themselves, but the supposed categories of thought/behavior they purport to describe are also artificial constructions and equally invalid.

    So, this sucks. There’s room for anger here too and people should not hide from it, wherever they feel it should be directed, but explore it and try to understand it. I would also like to know what this “study” was that triggered Matt’s downward spiral.

    At any rate, with things like this these initial reactions are only the start of a collective process which will continue for a long time. Matt Stevenson Presente!

  • First mention of Matt I’ve seen on MIA so far, thank you. While it is premature to speculate I believe whatever may have led to this needs to be discussed on MIA lest it affect people privately in destructive ways. Our adversaries may also attempt to exploit this tragedy in cynical and defamatory manner and we should be prepared to defend Matt’s memory, courage and skill at defanging these vampires and exposing their bloodsucking schemes conducted in the guise of medicine.

    As for the rhetorical question in the title — sort of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

  • Good article.

    This [forced drugging] is not imposed as a punishment for misbehaviour (at least not explicitly), and would not be acceptable in modern, western society without the implicit assumption that having a ‘mental disorder’ is equivalent to having a bodily disease.

    Yes, however if a fully conscious person has a bodily disease they are not forced to undergo treatment, so the further question becomes why, if both mental “illnesses” and physical illnesses are equivalent, only the “mental” ones justify force. No one over 18 can be forced to accept treatment for cancer or even HIV.

    Part of the answer of course is that psychiatric “treatment” is a form of punishment, sometimes subtle, sometimes glaring.

    Although we recognise that numerous common life events (relationship breakdown, loss of a job) can make it difficult for people to cope with their daily duties, only a medical certificate verifying that someone is ‘sick’ (the ‘sick note’) entitles them to time off work, or financial assistance…

    And why is that — perhaps because anything more would constitute an admission by “society” (i.e. government) that it cannot adequately address human needs and should maybe be replaced?

    There is a tendency within mental health circles to fudge or avoid the issue, however.

    You think? 🙂

    Although the term ‘mental disorder’ appears to avoid criticisms of the concept of mental illness, in reality it serves the same purpose, and hence ‘piggy-backs’ on the concept of mental illness.

    Yes, absolutely. I think Frank would call these “weasel words.” (No offense to weasels.)

    To summarize, nothing really “new” here it’s true, but that doesn’t make the debate unnecessary. Capitalism or any other oppressive ruling system stands much to gain by redefining the destructiveness of its rule as individual pathology and unrelated to society at large. It’s much easier to deal with a collection of individuals, each with a “me against the word” (or “me against myself”) mentality, than with a united group of people who recognize and fight their collective oppression collectively.

  • Occasionally I’m surprised by something but nothing here does the trick.

    Let me just repeat that to be guilty of “corruption” an institution first needs to serve a valid purpose. If its basic tenets are invalid there’s nothing to “corrupt” in the first place. What is being described here as “corruption” is simply more of the same repression in the guise of medicine.

  • Why descend on the APA? — it only validates them to follow them around and scream at them. Our goal should be to make what they say and recommend irrelevant. (Just a thought from one who has attended many APA demos in his day.)

    We should instead be demonstrating where children and others are being “screened” for depression and ADHD, at nursing homes where elders are being drugged to death, and the like. Not that these are mutually exclusive.

  • Thank you Monica!

    I’ve been trying to get people here and in general to recognize that all psychiatric “diagnostic” categories constitute HATE SPEECH and should NEVER be used without quotation marks — and not even that sufficiently addresses the situation. Since you’re harder to dismiss as a “radical extremist” maybe a few more people will now take this observation seriously.

  • Unfortunately Mad In America does not have an editorial stand that is consciously anti-psychiatry, which is a drawback since people who come here on one hand have this or that suspicion validated, yet at the same time are led to believe that psychiatry’s crimes are simply misunderstandings that can be corrected without dispensing with the entire institution/mentality.

  • I’m sure I’ll agree with Richard when I read his post. I just need to say right off for now that saving psychiatry should NOT be a goal. Psychiatry is a faux field of medicine and should be abolished.

    “Psychotherapy” is not psychiatry and, despite its misleading name, can be of help to some people depending on the particular interaction between “therapist” and client. Psychiatry is a major cause of the decline of competent “psychotherapy.” Psychoanalysts and other “psychotherapists” with integrity should fight to expose and eliminate psychiatry; there can be and should be no “salvation.”

  • Sorry if I yawn but most of these anti-marijuana arguments are mere variations on the same propaganda that’s been propagated since I was 16. The new twist now that legalization is on the horizon is the “anti-corporate” angle as a way of attacking herbal aids to meditation, pain relief, etc.

    The neat part of this however is that with some education anyone can grow their own pot to meet their own needs and specifications. Then they’re free from any capitalist exploitation vis. a vis. the potency of the herbs they consume. Maybe the author and other “mental health professionals” with similar concerns could lend their expertise to helping people learn to cultivate marijuana at home, and produce the most beneficial strains for whatever ails them (if anything does)?