Sunday, June 26, 2022

Comments by oldhead

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  • I just got this message from Cindi, please pass it along:

    It’s day 16 without any solid food. Please go to my website and make a call Monday July 16! And then please share! I am losing weight but I am healthy and strong! I plan to be around and kicking to help my son recover from the abuse and Trauma of hospitalization! My website is

    Thanks for connecting!

  • Not sure exactly what the point of printing this is, other than to demonstrate that MIA has some Black contacts (sorry, had to say it). But if the purpose is really to provide a “forum” what I’m basically taking away from the discussion is a) “Somebody kill me today or tomorrow, I don’t give a shit”; b) “Mental health is bullshit”; and c) “You don’t survive, you’re a dead bastard. The last word is survival. That’s it. It’s over. The interview is over.”

    I empathize with Carlton and admire his insight, which is shared by many others who have been imprisoned, psychiatrically and otherwise, and forced to live on the streets. It is indeed a question of survival. But nothing here is the sort of crisis that can be addressed by “rethinking psychiatry”; psychiatry can only get in the way, as Carlton makes clear. What he actually does very well is make a circumstantial case for revolution.

  • Cindi you know that the cadre of anti-psychiatry survivors stands behind you completely; you’ll be hearing from me, and from us. Unlike symbolic hunger strikes conducted by white academics enamored of Gandhi, this is truly a matter of life and death.

    I’m also wondering what social or political influences Siddharta may have been exposed to recently, as there seems to be some sort of abrupt personality/identity issue at play. Regardless, if Sidd is not being violent or repeatedly disrupting the lives of others there is no cause for incarceration, under any name.

    Everyone reading this should do everything Cindi asks and more.

  • Actually psychedelics are very cheap if you can find them. In the 60’s LSD cost about $1 for a tab, maybe a little more for mushrooms.

    The problem here seems to be that the “middleman” thinks he/she should be paid as a “therapist.” Ridiculous — the last thing you need is for your dealer to be hanging around during your trip.

    And no this has nothing to do with “medication” — I even hesitate to call psychedelics “drugs.”

  • Hi Mad — We never resumed our email conversation. Let’s take some of this up there (at the group address) as I prefer not to splash what should be primarily internal survivor discussions all over MIA — especially as much of this can get pretty nuanced.

    As for “Alternatives” XX — let’s cut to the chase: who have the primary funding sources been for all this “free” money (aside from SAMHSA)? Who pulls the strings? (I stand by my characterization btw.)

    Btw the International Conference On Human Rights & Psychiatric Oppression also was funded entirely by the individuals and groups which attended. The last conference in Vermont was disrupted by at least one person I would describe as a provocateur (who later became a honcho in the “consumers’ rights” movement). This has been portrayed as “infighting,” but in retrospect can be seen as part of a premeditated assault on our integrity, motivated by our growing success.

  • The concept of “alternatives” itself is basically a scam which upholds the unwarranted legitimacy of psychiatry in the public mindset.

    This should not be a major leap of logic for those who understand what psychiatry is. But it seems to require an “aha” moment for many to grasp: that something which is designed as a tool of repression does not need an “alternative,” it just needs to be rooted out and excised.

    To say that anything which addresses true human needs in a positive manner is an “alternative to psychiatry,” which is inherently destructive and oppressive, is an absurd characterization.

    To say that the anti-psychiatry movement — which is designed to eliminate psychiatry — must simultaneously satisfy the needs that psychiatry falsely claims to satisfy is equally absurd. Only revolution can do that.

    This is not to say that people can’t explore ways of addressing their personal pain (as the system which creates it continues to grind on relentlessly and without serious challenge). But even were they to be successful these would not represent “alternatives to psychiatry” but temporary “band-aid” strategies to weather the ongoing assaults on their humanity. Psychiatry exists to reinforce disempowerment and alienation, and should be dismembered before it has another opportunity to rear its head. The last thing we need is an “alternative,” any more than we need “alternatives” to slavery or to drinking arsenic; we just need it to STOP.

  • Judi did make the comment that those who called themselves “antipsychiatrists” did not have the interests of the average “mental patient” at heart, however this was not a reference to anti-psychiatry survivors and psychiatric inmates, but to Laing, Cooper, and other “radical” psychiatrists who did nothing to actually try to eliminate psychiatry:

    Although the terms have often been used interchangeably, “mental patients” liberation” (or “psychiatric inmates’ liberation”) and “anti-psychiatry” are not the same thing “Anti-psychiatry” is largely an intellectual exercise of academics and dissident mental health professionals. There has been little attempt within anti- psychiatry to reach out to struggling ex-patients or to include their perspective.

    Actually Judi’s focus on “alternatives” (i.e. addressing human needs on an individual level) contained the seeds of the basic contradiction that has historically undermined the anti-psychiatry movement, which is the assumption that the purpose of psychiatry is to help people, and that it just does a bad job — instead of the recognition that the actual purpose of psychiatry is to accommodate individuals to the inhuman demands of corporate culture. Which is closer to genocide than “help.”

    Today I would consider true anti-psychiatry and “mental patients’ liberation” (a term seldom used anymore) to be essentially the same thing.

  • To be mad is to be human!

    Which sort of demonstrates the point — if “madness” is a characteristic of all humans, there’s nothing special about being “mad.” So what’s the point of a “movement”?

    Rachel777 has posited that “madness” describes a state of mind, like sadness or confusion — it doesn’t define a person’s essence. How about a “sad pride” movement, wouldn’t that be just as logical?

  • No hopelessness here at all, unless you believe that this governmental and class structure is a given and will never be cast off. But it must be, for everyone’s survival; this is not optional or subject to personal convenience. As Che once said, “A revolution is not a garden party; in a revolution one wins or dies.”

    I didn’t say that the “Alternatives” setup was in itself what ended the movement, but it was part of a COINTELPRO-like scheme in my view, strategically put in place to take advantage of the vulnerabilities, doubts and growing pains to which growing movements like ours are subject. Also to identify and enlist opportunistic movement “leaders” (I think you know what and whom I mean) who would jump at the idea of “official” status and government funding.

    Now the “mental health consumer” industry is morphing into the “peer” industry, which is yet another effort to make human support a commodity best trusted to “certified” experts.

    It was not “infighting” that led to the movement’s initial demise, but a failure to identify, confront and analyze internal conflicts in an organized, intelligent, dispassionate manner, combined with a lack of political experience and historical precedent when it came to fighting psychiatry. I’m not blaming specific people (there are one or two exceptions) but more the tendency of disempowered people to feel important and be taken in when they are given attention by the system that has long oppressed them; they mistake this for actual support or respect. Overcoming this is less a moral matter than one of discipline and experience, and — once people agree on their objectives — of strategy.

  • Can you please tell us all about any currently-existing group that is in your view working well for human rights in mental health?

    Posting comments on websites does not count.

    I’m interloping here because I can’t help pointing out that the problem is with the question — specifically the idea that there can ever be such as a thing as “human rights in mental health.” “Mental health rights” is an oxymoron, and an inherent contradiction. The correct question would be more like “what groups are working to expose and defeat the psychiatric system?”

  • The portion of survivors who identify as having had a misunderstood spiritual experience is SMALL compared to those of us who were desperately trying to survive extreme depression, panic attacks, dissociation, perhaps physical illnesses, intense anger, nightmares, etc.

    Agreed again, for what it’s worth. (Not to imply that those who have had what they consider spiritual experiences invalidated as “pathological” have not also been violated.)

    And yes, it is disingenuous to insert an ideological narrative — here in support of the concept of “mad” pride and “mad” culture — into an unrelated discussion of SAMHSA, then disregard the response as irrelevant.

  • Moving beyond the issue of so-called “madness” to other attitudes and positions which are strategically and practically counterproductive (for those whose goal is to defeat psychiatry and not “reform” it):

    SAMHSA is one of the biggest federal agencies in behavioral health, and of course where a lot of the mental health consumer movement gets its money.

    Got that folks? Anti-psychiatry activists please take note, as it is a clear indictment of the so-called “mental health consumers movement” (which was always and remains a ruse designed to undermine the anti-psychiatry movement). It also demonstrates the true purposes and motives of neoliberal agencies such as SAMHSA, which are similar on a domestic level to such imperialist groupings as the Agency for International Development (AID). Why on earth would survivors who truly want to eliminate psychiatry have anything to do with SAMHSA at all?

    Since 2016, SAMHSA, the large US mental health agency, has quietly supported this rise of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) through two major grants impacting hundreds of American citizens, and this endorsement can carry a lot of weight throughout the nation.

    Demonstrating again that SAMHSA is our ENEMY…

    In 1985, SAMHSA funded the first Alternatives Conference, and continued to bring together thousands of mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors each year for decades.

    Confirming what every serious AP activist and historian already knows — that the so-called “Alternatives” conferences were instituted by the psychiatric establishment, as an “alternative” to the Mental Patients Liberation Movement, and have always been a treacherous betrayal of what the movement stood for. I am stunned that David would use his prominent status to endorse its continuation in any form. As for SAMHSA, what the devil gives he takes away — why should we bargain with it in any form or take its money?

    A growing number of survivors who oppose psychiatry completely have been quietly organizing for over four years to resurrect the Mental Patients Liberation/Anti-Psychiatry movement and return to the true goals of the movement. There are currently close to 20 active members united around some basic anti-psychiatry principles. While there has been some resistance to announcing ourselves publicly I hope this will be resolved soon. Meanwhile if you are a survivor who wants to abolish psychiatry give us a shout at [email protected]

    It is and always will be a losing proposition to waste our energy “convincing” totalitarian government agencies and their bureaucrats to do anything simply because it would be in the peoples interest. The grip of the psychiatric system will be ended only by exposing it and rejecting it completely, and educating others to do the the same. Only then will there be sufficient pressure for such agencies to act in a non-oppressive manner (which will of course only be a tactic on their part). The idea that such people can be “talked into” ending something as basic as involuntary “treatment” is absurd, and ignores some basic realities about what psychiatry is in the first place.

    The sole purpose of psychiatry in any society is control and regimentation, whether on a physical level of incarceration, drugging and other restraints, or a psychological one, by convincing dissatisfied citizens that their dissatisfaction is the result of individual “pathology,” rather than an understandable reaction to a dehumanizing society. The obvious benefit of this to the prevailing order is to keep its subjects blaming themselves for their unhappiness, rather than engaging in political resistance to the conditions which engender it.

    Why on earth would the government ever support ending forced psychiatry? In the end coercive force is the only thing propping up the psychiatric system — if there were a true choice involved psychiatry would wither away within 25 years on its own merits, or lack of such.

    Paraphrasing Frederick Douglas, power cedes nothing without a demand. If our demand is confined to begging mh bureaucrats for favors and cash the results will be predictable. This also applies to hunger strikes and other traditional guilt-based white liberal actions which miss the point over & over — that psychiatry cannot be reformed, and must be abolished.

  • Whole purpose of my blog was to challenge a major federal agency about their support for involuntary outpatient commitment. Rather than discuss that topic, there has mainly been a discussion here about the “proper” use of certain words. Let us get back to the topic at hand.

    The absurd strategy of seeking justice by appealing to and/or complaining about totally illegitimate agencies such as SAMSHA and the mentality that “identifies” as being “mad” — are part & parcel of one another.

    “Mad” is the liberal psychiatric counterpart of “Negro.”

    By citing preliminary sections of the 1982 Principles (which are very similar to the 1976 principles btw) you seem to be attempting to deflect from their crowning pronouncement regarding psychiatry:

    26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.

    Any attempt to “reinstitute” the International Conference which does not put the abolition of psychiatry at the forefront would be as illegitimate as the so-called “ALTERNATIVES” conferences. And it would be unrepresentative without the participation of the anti-psychiatry survivors’ movement. It would be in name only (a favorite tactic lately).

  • Cheers to Kindred Spirit (whether she needs them or not) for her continuing deconstruction of the notion of “Mad Pride.”

    The only thing I would add is that the slogan of the original mental patients liberation liberation movement was NOT “Mad Pride” but “Abolish Psychiatry.” This is documented in the Principles of the 1982 Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, which can be found in the archives of Mindfreedom.

    To imply that the vast majority of anti-psychiatry “mental patients” have historically regarded themselves as “mad” is a distortion of history, pure and simple. The term is a euphemism for “mentally ill,” with flowery “woke” trappings. This is demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of those who consider themselves “mad” never saw themselves as such until they had been diagnosed as “mentally ill,” then defined themselves as “mad” as a substitute label — but a label generated by psychiatry nonetheless.

  • Just responding to a question about evidence. I said before I won’t respond to vague assertions about “the science” but will address specific studies, etc.

    “Conspiracy theory” is just a label used to sabotage discourse and avoid serious consideration of the issue at hand. Any time two or more people agree about something it can be considered a “conspiracy.” Capitalism itself is an open conspiracy.

    Any time W.H.O. is mentioned in any context from now on people will remember its complicity in obfuscating the facts surrounding COVID. This is not RW’s fault but it should nonetheless be taken into consideration, as it would be unrealistic to expect people to ignore the elephant in the room.

  • Democrats & Republicans are a pendulum of sorts, swinging from Coke on one end to Pepsi on the other. Some might call it good cop/bad cop. Right now the Democrat/neoliberal end of the spectrum is in sway, and is the more totalitarian of the two (and looks like it will be for some time) but this changes from time to time and is mostly a question of style. The only way out is to sweep them all away.

  • I believe we were discussing the origins of COVID, no?

    I did post some evidence — how much more do you need? Not that it’s my job to do the research but you might try (in addition to what I posted already):

    Also (mainly because John Stewart is hilarious):

  • The theory of ‘mental illness’ is do obviously flawed, it hasn’t a single compelling line of reason to defend it

    “Mental illness” CANNOT exist. Attempts to prove that it does or doesn’t both miss the point. This is a linguistic issue, not a medical one. Abstractions (such as “mind”) do not and cannot have physical characteristics such as disease period.

  • “Conspiracy theory” is simply a derogatory term for an unpopular belief.

    Let’s forget about Trump, the election and other “straw man” arguments and focus on the origin of the virus. When that’s resolved THEN we can move on to considering whether or not it was intentionally released by China and/or its U.S. partners.

    As for the HOW — I still recommend Peter Breggin’s report from last October, much of which info has since been repeated in numerous “mainstream” publications: It details Fauci/NIH involvement in the “gain of function” explorations which likely led to COVID.

    This is only one domino in a chain of lies that are about to fall. (Next to be exposed in my mind should be the manipulation of PCR tests to produce such seemingly staggering death counts.)

    I’ve been studying and watching this since COVID killed my mother in 2020, and my work is pretty much done for now — at least until the rest of the world catches up to the “conspiracy theorists.”

    Jail Fauci!

  • All of Lawrence’s points are basically accurate, despite the “blame the victim” attitude many understandably sense (or think they sense). Nonetheless we ARE all responsible for self-discipline, which includes not being sucked into exploitative situations and grabbing at easy “solutions” we know at some level are exercises in denial and self-delusion. Even if a professional assures us it’s ok.

  • I’m not clear what you mean re: the linkage between WHO’s handling of COVID and abolishing psychiatry — maybe just the irony of WHO screwing up everything it sets out to do (assuming it’s really a screw-up)? And I’m sure you harbor no personal illusions of “reforming” psychiatry.

    But I do share your distrust of WHO and think that this article is poorly timed in that sense, as the many lies of the past year are finally being seen for what they are, and WHO’s collaboration with U.S./Chinese “gain of function” viral engineering is being exposed, along with Fauci & Co. I’m guessing you and other MIA commenters who have gone against the grain on COVID over the past year and have been attacked for doing so are feeling a sense of vindication as more & more “conspiracy theories” are being borne out — with more to come. I know I am.

    As for CRPD — it is often the international community which initiates moves to remediate crises and human rights violations when the nations affected are unwilling to do so on their own, and I see CRPD as a positive development, despite being wrapped a little too tightly in the language of “disability.” However I see no reason to bring the World Health Organization into this, as, for one, psychiatry is not about health (except for destroying it); and secondly because the World Health Organization over the past year has demonstrated its complete incapacity to safeguard the well-being of the world’s population.

  • Good to see you again Lawrence, especially with Breggin “mysteriously” missing…

    A few notes:

    a) Psychiatry does not “have” a medical model; it is the embodiment of the medical model. If it had a “non-medical model” it would be something other than psychiatry; psychiatry cannot choose from an array of “models.” (In addition it is rarely specified what we are evaluating “models” of.)

    b) our huge brains enable us to flexibly, infinitely work on and adapt to the issues upsetting us.

    Even though this was an afterthought it sounds like you’re on the verge here of validating the equation of mind and brain, also of brain size and brain function — any thoughts or comments?

    c) Psychiatry said the mentally ill suffer from and bravely battle real physical illnesses.

    Psychiatry has simultaneously maintained that, although the mind is an intangible abstraction and the brain is material and palpable, the metaphor/figure of speech “mental illness” is nonetheless a “real” disease which can be “treated” with very material drugs.

    In the end however this is a far more complicated matter than the advantages of “old school” psychiatry over “modern” psychiatry; they both arise from the same contradictions and attempt to address the individual’s reaction to societal corruption and alienation rather than the systems responsible for same. The goal of psychiatry has always been social control; only the tactics have evolved.

  • We all will be struggling until this system is overthrown, and humanity will remain alienated on a collective level at least until that point, no matter what limited compassion or support may be proffered to those most desperately affected by the ravages of corporate tyranny. Objectively speaking it’s not overly relevant what “matters” to me, but I certainly don’t judge those who reach out for whatever emotional band-aids may be offered (though I hesitate to use such a medical metaphor). Nor do i consider any “programs” or “techniques” to be more than that; my standard of legitimacy pending victory is “whatever gets you through the night.”

    The political problem presented by the “peer” label can easily be ameliorated by all of us engaged in direct support of fellow humans — without compensation or hierarchical power relationships — NOT using the term “peer” to describe the sorts of interactions and interrelationships we are involved in. This would help disarm and neutralize “mental health” careerists and others who use the “peer” concept to mystify and exploit.

    I see the development of the “peer” industry as paralleling the manipulation of language and symbolism by those who started the diversionary “mental health consumers movement” in the 80’s & 90’s, when the first incarnation of the AP movement was defeated using similar Trojan Horse tactics.

    Eliminating the “peer” label would eliminate “peers” (i.e. survivors) being subject to “accreditation” and “training,” by shrinks or other “greater than peers.” It would highlight and smoke out some other contradictions inherent in the “peer” word as well. I think it’s something we all should consider.

  • ps. I am operating from non-believe of power in mental health, diagnosing of human emotion and making some emotions into monsters and others to friends and also from the point view of peer support is more than just those who had experienced the system but those who also learned how to become independent in their mind from the system

    Why do we even need to define what “peer support” is or “should be”? It’s one of those concepts that no one needs in the first place, and certainly a far cry from what people such as Judi Chamberlin were talking about during the early days of the mental patients liberation movement. People who are sincere can always find ways of extending genuine mutual support to their friends and comrades — no labels, fees or corporations needed.

    Psychiatry is not a legitimate form of medicine and cannot be reformed, nor should it be; it must be abolished, not mimicked. Survivors (“peers”) working in the master’s house is not a “step up.”

  • It was not intended for your consumption, and frankly isn’t really your business to critique, IMHO.

    ??? I’m responding to your response to my comment, how is that “not for my consumption”? This sounds defensive, or something.

    The “adequacy of your communication” is not my concern, but your addressing the “peer” concept in terms of individual character rather than its inherent contradictions.

  • I think peer support to believe they are “equal” while working and have obligation to a system, organization or other authority is not really equal anymore and forget if there is even payment involved…

    I hope I am not coming off as semantic expert but I think the equality of the peer support and a patient/client can only be real if both actually speak of it as negotiation in such that the client/patient can say something like (and allowed to say)…I do not want that code in billing…

    And to be a “peer” situation, as previously defined by Webster et al., both ends of the relationship would have to receive equal compensation.

    Semantics are what they are — but you are obviously adept at logic and consistency of definition. I don’t know which of us posted first but we’re in synch on this issue at least — I could have highlighted practically all of your comments, not just the the ones I chose. You’ve put your finger on some the multiple contradictions involved in “peer counseling.” Thanks for expanding.

  • Peer support specialists are individuals who have had experience with emotional distress, trauma, or other emotional challenges and have been trained to assist others experiencing emotional distress.

    This makes them “mental health” workers in essence, which is part of a power hierarchy, hence the term “peer” is an oxymoron essentially.

    Who does this “training”? — and what objective standard of correct thought and behavior do the “trainers” base such “training” on?

    If one end of a “peer” relationship is getting compensated and the other end is not this is, again, a power relationship, not a “peer” relationship. It is in the end based on ideology, not humanity.

  • When evaluating the value and effectiveness of programs and campaigns to liberate people from the evil of psychiatry it is necessary to look at the results. Given the miserable track record over the past 50 years of efforts to secure “rights for mental patients” it’s probably a good time to ask what has actually been accomplished and to what degree and how much longer people are content to pat themselves on the head and say, “well we tried” — rather than take a hard look at WHAT WENT WRONG?

    Are we going to continue to accept psychiatry as inevitable and be content to settle for fancier handcuffs or are we ready to finally make a united demand to DEFEAT and DEFUND PSYCHIATRY?
    [email protected]

  • Hmm…I would think their liberalism (and racism) is likely showing in their need to quote an Asian person to promote their own views (it’s relatively easy to find anyone of any race to support a given position). But I don’t want to overgeneralize either.

    And if by “identity politics” they actually mean Asians being concerned with and discussing self-determination they are using the term in a racist way. “Identity politics” has other iterations as well, which CAN be divisive. So it’s hard to say more without some working definitions.

  • To no one (in particular) — yes, true socialism would feature a centralized economy; the difference between socialism and centralized capitalism (fascism) is the element of democratic control; the inability to sustain such in most socialist states to date has been one of the key factors in their demise.

    By “socialism” I don’t mean the “democratic socialism” of Bernie Sanders, AOC, etc., who are basically diversions at this point.

  • Staying away from Google would be a good start. The argument that the “mental health” system is “broken,” rather than inherently fraudulent and oppressive, actually feeds into the false hope that it can be changed for the better. It also makes the assumption that “helping people,” rather than controlling them, is the system’s function. But your experience seems to contradict all this — coincidence?

    PS The Treatment Advocacy Center — founded by the late and evil D.J. Jaffee — is a den of vipers (no offense to vipers) viewed by just about everyone here as one of our most despised enemies. (Someone had to mention it first.)

  • I think it is fair to say that the system works quite well for a certain kind of person, in particular, a person who is gaining money or prestige by pretending to know things about “mental illness”

    This is an individualist argument, not a systemic one — it limits the pernicious role of psychiatry under capitalism to that of private profiteering and individual gain. Pharma similarly will gladly cooperate with mass drugging for a cut of the action, but the ultimate function of all this is keeping the social facade intact, perpetuating and reinforcing the mass hallucinations needed to keep the assembly lines running.

  • There never have been any “communist regimes;” the term is an oxymoron, as communism is the absence of a state, and this has never happened, yet. What you’re talking about are in many cases socialist states, which precede communism theoretically, and are always imperfect. Also I wouldn’t define all the oppressive situations you mention as “racism” per se.

  • Sorry to hear this, and congrats on your initiative. I would however add, as would many others, that the system is not broken, but doing what it is intended to do, which is marginalize those who express dissatisfaction with the smooth running of capitalist society and minimize the degree to which they disrupt business as usual. Those who have the nerve to express anger are even more of a “problem.”

  • we must feed the brain, physically, spiritually, mentally, etc.

    Let’s back up here. Again, this is feeding into the psychiatric conflation of brain and mind, even if in a “positive” sounding way. You can not “spiritually feed the brain.” The brain is an organ and needs the same nutrients as any other parts of our bodies. Most important, THE BRAIN IS NOT THE MIND — one is physical, the other an abstraction. If pressed I would say that the brain is the servant of the mind in the material world, but so is the entire body for that matter. The equation of brain and mind is at the heart of psychiatric deception and needs to be recognized and pointed out when it arises.

  • Even without opining on God, which is a personal and subjective matter for those who see the world in primarily religious terms, your point about being sucked into the “alternatives” trap is well taken. As long as our alienation is considered a personal rather than collective issue it will be channeled into some sort of “system” charged with mystifying it and interpreting it as an individual defect of some sort, either physical or moral.

  • Well part of my basic analysis is that psychiatry IS a branch of the prison system, set up to deal with areas of thought and behavior not normally addressed by prisons and judges, though there is also some overlap.

    What constitutes “crime” or “evil” is often relative and subjective, the issue is verboten thought and behavior, which varies from culture to culture but is suppressed, partially by psychiatry, across the board.

  • Wasn’t addressing my comments primarily to you, except in a positive sense.

    However if Laura has “assumed an abolitionist stance,” please tell me more — Laura was probably my singular inspiration for thinking it might be worth getting back into this stuff, but has been pretty remote since starting Inner Compass. I think we may have a political disagreement in that when we last spoke she seemed to think that psychiatry could be “made obsolete” by getting people off drugs and the like; in my view, while valuable, that just gets them back to square one to deal with the same system they started with. But whatever, she might need to keep me and AP at arms length for what she sees as strategic reasons. Not sure.

    I don’t remember arguing against education btw, if I did refresh my memory.

  • And the entire mentality is based on the fraud that the problem is to be found within the person rather than in the system which systematically produces people who are alienated from their humanity as a condition of survival.

    As for the Declaration, all well and good, but it is still addressed to those who consider themselves “professional” human beings, and change will not primarily come from the ranks of those whose self-esteem and livelihood are dependent on a particular narrative or approach.

  • Psychiatry and neoliberalism go hand in glove. What we are now and will be seeing in the immediate future are all sorts of agendas being pushed by major corporations, and the parties and media that support them, being dressed up as “anti-racist.” When they well know that the only way to eliminate racism is to eliminate capitalism itself, which requires racism as part of its divide and conquer strategy. They also know they can divert the ignorant from this realization by fueling the visceral satisfaction privileged liberals get from calling their peers “white supremacists.” And letting the masses define their angst and confusion in terms of “disorders.”

  • This is not the sort of extended back & forth I’m really up for these days in general; I mainly check out MIA when there’s a lull, or I’m avoiding something more stressful and need some more recreational conversation to indulge in. And if there are undercurrents of hostility I try to ignore them or consign them to the back burner, as the focus of my life is not MIA. It’s back to the thing of people thinking that your perspectives “hurt” them, which to me is a lethal impediment to honest discussion.

    But I digress, as I mainly have to address this one statement of DP (for whom I have always had a general fondness):

    I say this….Who is anyone to examine my language?

    Why would you post “language” for people to read if you don’t want them reading it for comprehension?

  • Yo Frank. Don’t hit too close to home.

    There’s a basic contradiction here. With the prison abolition movement, those who are objectively the immediate oppressors — i.e the guards and wardens — are pretty clearly identified and identifiable, and there is no pretense that they have your best interests at heart.

    Psychiatry is also a branch of the prison system, however Orwell has helped it construe those who are objectively our oppressors — those charged with rearranging our thoughts and behavior to conform to those deemed appropriate — as friends and “peers” who care do care about us and have our best interests at heart. This role confusion lies at the heart of psychiatry’s power, and makes it hard for us to define our political targets. But they’re there.

  • Thanks for the link Maddie, I might follow this up with you.

    While Jay & I represented different “wings” of the mental patients liberation movement (which for the record maintained in its principles since 1976 that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished) I was certainly aware of his presence. As I didn’t know him well it would be presumptuous to say much more than that I respected his commitment, and to give him a tip of the cosmic hat.

  • First, I know of VERY FEW true anti-psychiatry activists who come from the “mental health” or “critical psychiatry” worlds, and their opinions are secondary to the true struggle, which is largely in opposition to the “professional” milieu in which they operate. This is regardless of whether they’re pleasant people to “have a beer with.” Those who respect the concept of survivor self-determination have no problem acknowledging this. And as Steve is indeed one of our very few true “allies” I’ll proceed:

    I don’t hesitate to lay out facts for people to hear, and I don’t for a minute buy that doing so is somehow “shaming” people who don’t want to know the information.

    This is my essential point. How someone “feels” about the information you give them is largely beyond one’s control. Once presenting such info is construed as “making” someone feel a certain way the conversation is no longer reasonable, but based on emotion. Further

    I try to meet people where they are and help them take whatever next step seems right for them.

    Which is often nothing at all for the moment. Simply presenting people with the truth is sufficient, if they don’t want to hear it there’s no need to argue. When people are ready to assimilate the information they will; often they’ll come back with more questions.

    Anyway I think we all agree that the logical end result of rethinking psychiatry would be to conclude that it should be discarded. Though I think it’s more than a matter of psychiatry being “unscientific”; history is replete with occurrences which were clearly “based on science” but nonetheless evil. Think Hiroshima.

  • Can’t turn off the Universe.

    People need to sort out this whole thing about feelings vis. a vis. material reality, and this manifests on other levels as well, beyond simply the psychiatric narrative per se.

    You seem to think that people are trying to denying your feelings, but I don’t see that happening. They’re examining your language. Nor do I see your right to define your feelings any way you want being challenged, even if you take your cues from the psychiatric narrative.

    I don’t if “I” have a mind, or if “self” and “mind” are the same thing. I don’t conceive of the mind as having feelings; feelings are channeled through the body, and in a natural state the mind interprets them. But the mind isn’t an object; it’s an abstraction that people bound in 3D material frameworks often can’t conceptualize other than in material terms, as a “thing” inhabiting the brain or something. Nor would I conceive of the mind as lifeless, as it’s at the heart of all living activity.

    Not trying to imply I have this all figured out.

    If you think of “mental illness” as a tired metaphor, rather than as a literal disease, that’s consistent at least (though you’re obviously creative enough to conjure up some far more poetic paradigms). I’m sure any objections have to do with people feeling wary that you’re generalizing your “personal” definitions beyond your own experience and potentially projecting the “mental illness” identity onto others.


    Right guys. This is an example of why I am tempted to give up hope sometimes.

    The most problematic aspect of the “mental health system” is that IT EXISTS. Repeat after me (and after thousands of AP psychiatric survivors and others over the past 50 years): The psychiatric system cannot be reformed and must be abolished.

    And when you ask “the media” (i.e.the propaganda arm of the corporate empire) to give serious credence to the movement to END PSYCHIATRY you are demonstrating the sort of (at best) naive compliance system shills know they can count on in the end.

  • How many times have you used psychedelics Rebel?

    Don’t get me wrong, articles on MIA talking about “psychedelic therapy” are opportunistic career-minded bs. But psychedelics magnify some aspects of consciousness to which most Westerners have been blinded by the crass materialism and emotional repression of corporate culture. They are not “drugs” in the usual sense of distorting or blunting reality, and can help unlock some self-perpetuating fixations and mental blocks for those who are able to use them properly.

  • “One of the critiques of anti-psychiatry is that it can itself become so dogmatic — that a person, for example, who is taking psych drugs of some sort for whatever reason will feel shamed or excluded or criticized.

    I’m sorry to see Steve repeating this time-worn (and thread-bare) myth. He should know way better than this by now. I challenge anyone, including Steve, to produce a legitimately anti-psychiatry article or statement which “shames” anyone for taking psychiatric neurotoxins.

    Also Steve, if you are going to say that this is a “critique of anti-psychiatry” you should also concede that you see no legitimacy in such a “critique,” unless you do, in which case you should document and defend it. Because people respect you, legitimately, and when you mention such a “critique” you are in effect legitimizing it in many people’s eyes.

    Someone “feeling shamed or excluded” is not the same as being shamed or excluded. By saying “for whatever reason” you sort of acknowledge that this feeling cannot be blamed on the anti-psychiatry movement; however it does little to dissuade those who are already prepared to read the “shaming” narrative into anti-psychiatry, for whatever reasons.

  • I do believe mental illness—although rare— does exist and that medications used selectively, conservatively, and for the shortest duration possible are beneficial.

    No need to go further Dr. “E” — I’ve diagnosed your problem. As long as you believe minds can be ill you will be torn by the same contradictions which have rendered psychiatry invalid as a field of medicine from the start.

    To paraphrase Szasz (whom surely you study in psychiatrist school, right?) — what medications would you prescribe for a sick joke? A sick economy?

    And to quote myself — if you can show us a post-autopsy mind in a plastic bag it will demonstrate the possibility that “mental illness” is real. Certainly not before. But please invite me to the press conference when you do!

    Otherwise good luck with your new career. 🙂

  • Count me out. I for one am no longer going to be be provoked by the standard narrative or its permutations, I have better things to do. Some of us have been repeatedly insulted and even threatened on MIA in the past for mentioning basic truths about the COVID/lockdown scenario, and it serves no purpose to further contribute to such an atmosphere. Those who have been paying attention will notice that some of my (and others’) past observations on this quasi-dystopian situation in which we have been enmeshed for over a year are starting to be borne out. However there are sufficient platforms for such discussions and MIA is clearly not one, nor do I think Steve should be expected to transmute the predictable hysterical cacophany into something resembling reasoned discourse. So I’ll sit this one out. I do have one request of Steve however: should anyone refer to “the science,” please make sure they cite the specific study or studies to which they refer. Thank you.

  • I can only imagine, as you mentioned, the wave of people becoming injured by psych meds they were given due to the pandemic.

    Or more specifically, by the lockdowns. Expect lots of “studies” and lots of disinformation. And good luck with your detox, are you familiar with ?

    Once we come out of collective slow-motion traumatic shock we’ll look back and piece together what has been done to us over the past year in the name of “public health,” and how our fear has been manipulated, and a lot of people will be getting very angry. Count on it.

  • Militarism is a tactic, not an ideology in & of itself. Capitalism needs to be defined before it can be discussed intelligently. “Democratic socialism” is capitalism, but you’d never know it from the way it’s presented by the ignorant as the road to liberation.

    What will be happening more & more is that corporate America will be dressing up its agenda as “anti-racist,” while the corporatocracy continues with genocide as usual. This is the “Biden” plan for achieving neoliberal totalitarianism in the course of one generation. And social media will be there to cool any resistance and assure us that what we clearly see is “disinformation.”

    Your only error is that “mental illness” is fiction. Ask Snopes. 🙂

  • Spirituality and political action are not in conflict, at least not inherently. “Prayer” is often seen as beseeching a Big Man In The Sky for guidance and favors, but this a Western notion; it can also be understood as a meditative technique that helps connect one’s essence to the universal flow of consciousness. This can manifest in many ways.

    So Rebel, are you getting your MIA notifications again?

  • The simple fact is that unless we change the rules of language you cannot have a “mental illness,” as the mind is an abstraction and not subject to physical characteristics such as “color” or “illness.” I have taken of late to telling people that when they can show me a mind in a plastic bag they can start talking seriously about “mental illness.”

    Nor, would I add, is “schizophrenia” simply a bad term that “really” means such and such, as this falsely implies that there is a consistent and definable “thing” signified by similar modes of thought or behavior, when you’re really just talking about how people relate to their experience.

    I’m not sure why you find it reassuring to identify as “mentally ill,” though you certainly have that “right”; however expecting others to enthusiastically accept your self-definitions when they see them as demeaning is a tricky proposition.

    I enjoy the flourishes of your perceptual impressions and writing style, and think you should consider seeing yourself and your life beyond the anemic boundaries of psychiatric terminology. But I don’t think anyone is challenging your right to make your own choices, or trying to bring you down.

  • There is objectively no such thing as a “schizophrenic,” which implies something that can be quantified and categorized. I know you are speaking as a poet and not a clinician; however an unfortunate consequence of the psychiatric mentality is the reification and concretization of poetic, mythical and metaphorical concepts, all of which are subject to being used to justify some aspect of psychiatric ideology and/or intervention. So yeah, psychiatry even fucks with our art.

    Back to the article, as for hearing people’s voices, aren’t those voices supposed to be private? It could go both ways I guess…

  • Basically we always go in circles in articles by these authors. The point is made that good nutrition is vital to health, which makes one feel good. Then somehow it becomes a discussion of “mental” health, and the familiar quasi-medical model discussions ensue.

    Steve made the most significant observation here — that MANY Americans are falling apart on the inside (physically) while appearing “normal.” Which explains why many seemingly “healthy” people have succumbed to COVID. Nutrition is essential to a functioning immune system and should be prioritized; however this has nothing to do with “mental health,” unless you define feeling healthy as “mental.” I would also agree that resilience has a spiritual component as well as a physical one. However to equate the mind and brain as the authors apparently do is fallacious.

  • A collective society is nothing but a communistic society.

    And….? So were the early Christians.

    We are here on earth to be interdependent not dependent on each other.

    “Dependent on each other” is another way of saying interdependent.

    Recognizing and respecting each other’s individuality is not individualism; individualism is putting the interests of the individual above those of the collective. This is what psychiatry reflects when it identifies the problem as originating within the individual rather than resulting from systemic oppression inherent in the external power structure. If this is what Megan means I support her general thrust.

  • The search for an “alternative” to psychiatry/mental health is misguided and destined to repeat the same patterns and assumptions, and serve the continued reign of alienation as our humanity becomes more and more commodified. The only true alternative to human suffering will come about not as a result of programs or techniques but of our values becoming more than dollar values, which can become possible only through revolution. (Just a reminder.)

  • Wrong. What Szasz rejected was the phony “antipsychiatry” then being pushed by psychiatrists such as Cooper and Laing, who were not anti-psychiatry at all, but a “chic” school of psychiatry, and Szasz wanted nothing to do with them, understandably. Additionally, as a libertarian Szasz rejected outlawing psychiatry, nonetheless he rejected all the false premises on which it is based.

    Your attempt to “redefine” anti-psychiatry is what is known as “revisionism,” and is nothing new. Banning forced psychiatry would be a big first step towards abolishing abolishing psychiatry altogether, but if it is the only goal this is simply reformism. Anti-psychiatry is dedicated to eliminating psychiatry altogether, and we don’t need that watered down.

    Regardless of how he parsed certain terms, Szasz remains the godfather of the anti-psychiatry movement.

  • Well, I don’t consider you “schizophrenic” either. “Mad” and “schizophrenic” are two sides of the same coin, and are both forms of “othering.”

    I’m not trying to persuade you to change, just exploring the implications of the term”madness,” which are different for different people. I’m more of the “mad as a hatter” persuasion, or of seeing “madness” as a state of inspired creativity — not describing the characteristics of a “special” sub-class with a separate “culture.”

    While I know there are always exceptions, most “mad ” people don’t originally define themselves as “mad,” though many grew up feeling weird and ostracized. Almost always those who claim to be “reclaiming madness” have initially been labeled by psychiatry then, rather than rejecting labels altogether, adopt new “mad” labels and call “madness” their new “identity.” The “othering” remains constant; only the label changes.

    So what’s in a phrase? I also remember an old movement slogan “Women aren’t mad, they’re angry.”

    Anyway thanks for all the energy, I know this is hardly an adequate response.

  • oldhead, saying “no theory is needed” is a little over the top. Alternatives frameworks for are needed simply to convince so-called professionals that the current paragigm of care for bizarrely behaving individuals is harmful

    What I do is anti-psychiatry. I’m not a “caregiver” or interested in convincing “mh professionals” of anything. I’m more interested in helping people make connections that may lead to them rejecting the whole “professional/client” paradigm, and the political structures which perpetuate the alienation and pain that provide an endless stream of such “clients.” Psychiatry like slavery and genocide requires no “alternative,” it just needs to be rejected and abandoned.

    That doesn’t mean I reject “caregiving,” any more than I reject auto repair; it’s just not my focus. As for theory, how about “Oppression Theory” — could delineating that get me a job as a critical psychiatrist? 🙂

  • I am not sue if psychiatry mistakes the BRAIN for the MIND. Maybe, the entire general public is. Maybe, we are by definition, “splitting hairs.” I would like to think the BRAIN and the MIND are as one.

    Steve is right, at least as this relates to psychiatry (though I don’t consider it a “mistake”). This is a vital point — Rebel I think you’re missing this, if you don’t mind me saying so. Maybe parsing this will be my self-“assignment” for the afternoon, as it’s way more than “splitting hairs; within this contradiction lies the key to deconstructing psychiatry for once and for all. (None of this is my “opinion” btw; it comes straight from Szasz).

    Let’s start with a basic principle you presumably are familiar with already:

    “Mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

    The conflation of “brain” and “mind” is the basic deception of psychiatry. The misleading idea that thoughts and perceptions channeled by the brain and nervous system are caused by the latter is like saying that the content of phone conversations is “caused” by the switchboards and cell towers used to transmit them. Szasz said that calling a “doctor” to “cure” unwanted thought or behavior is like calling a TV repair person when you don’t like the program. (This is sort of a simplification.)

    The “mind” is an abstraction, like the “ego,” and does not conform to physical laws. This doesn’t mean that it’s not “real,” but it can’t be conceptualized in physical terms, which is problematic given that we’re focused in a material continuum. “Minds” do not have colors, shapes, textures — or diseases; once one starts ascribing material characteristics to a non-material concept such as “mind” one leaves the sphere of science and enters that of metaphysics, bad poetry and psychiatry. Even Torrey once said (in his younger, less sold-out days) that one can no more have a “mental illness” than a “purple idea.”

    I would add that arguments about whether “mind” and “brain” are the same, different or “part of” one another, or the mind “leaving” the body, or moving around in physical space, are also rooted in physical experience, viewing “mind” from a material frame of reference, as a “thing”; but the consciousness or energy known as “mind” does not obey physical laws, by definition. And unlike “brain,” definitions of “mind” are considerably more subject to subjectivity. [sic]

    It is the essential deception of psychiatry that “mental illness” is not a figure of speech (such as “spring fever’) but a literal disease. This saddles the “diagnosed” with an internalized self-identification as being “defective,” which in the long run is likely to be as destructive as are SSRIs.

    Going back to the above principle, therefore: once the workings of our mind — including our perceptions, thoughts and emotions — are seen as being “caused” by the neural networks which channel them, it’s a short leap to the conclusion that “bad” thoughts and feelings are the product of defective brains.

    Defining what the “mind” or “soul” comprise would be a highly abstract, philosophical, metaphysical discussion/debate, which I imagine has been had over & over over the years. [sic] Though an interesting one, no doubt.

  • I know Peter is one of the “good guys,” nonetheless I don’t comprehend why we are now on the 5th installment still belaboring what was more or less agreed upon after the first installment — that simply having “evidence” does not connote legitimacy to the conclusions based on that evidence, and is essentially meaningless without considering evidence to the contrary. So the question “is psychiatry evidence based?” is really the wrong question to begin with, which should be something more like “does psychiatry interpret its proffered ‘evidence’ in a legitimate manner?”

    But the real question is always “How can psychiatry conduct ‘research’ on a figure of speech with a straight face?” And maybe also “should high school writing and literature classes contain mandatory warnings about the manipulation of metaphor in everyday life?”

  • I hear you absolutely, and you courageously break down some crucial contradictions. But I don’t consider you a “mad person,” unless you “identified” that way before psychiatry labeled you something else. We shouldn’t “other” ourselves by internalizing the projections and othering of others. But that’s another conversation.

    All I can say is that you’re brave to even broach the questioning of various narratives you bring up here. I will abstain from the debate, as this is something that women and gay people will ultimately have to resolve amongst themselves, other than to note that the conflation of “sex” and “gender” leads to similar confusion as the conflation of “brain” and “mind.”

    Also I’m not clear how this piece is related to psychiatry. I’m not about to engage in a long contentious thread, my main concern here involves romanticizing the term “madness,” which can be positive in some circumstances but I believe overall perpetuates the same myths as psychiatry, but using “identity” terminology.

  • Psychiatry is not a noble cause gone wrong, catering to a systemic and epistemic need. It is not a bad theory that needs to be replaced.

    Hear! Hear!

    Exit just summarized my instant reaction to all this.

    No theory is needed because there is no mystery. And this piece is so steeped in acceptance of the psychiatric mentality, and its implicit assumptions about human thought and behavior, as to be hardly worth responding to or arguing about.

  • Many people were helped including myself but for the most part the responses were insults, lies and logical fallacies followed by censorship. Turns out being pro-science to most people is defined as ignoring the evidence and covering up with illogical assumptions. Many people also view it as stigmatizing if you do not tell people they are mentally defective. It is a brave new world

    Well, this is the state of modern “discourse,” with Newspeak being a major component. “Science” is defined by what “all the cool kids” think — not based on repeatable experiments and bias-free interpretation of data, but determined by taking polls of selected people with “official” credentials of “scientist.”

  • Still far from anything remotely ruling class. Plus the publisher often picks up the tab for those tours.

    50 years ago investors who “only” had 10 million to play with were called “Wall Street beggars.” That’s probably increased at least tenfold.

    Not that I get the drift of this generally odd thread anyway. Should we start discussing Michael Moore’s financial situation while we’re at it?

  • Once there is any kind of “training” required to be a “peer” it sets up a power relationship of “expert” (or “baby expert’) vs. “regular person.” Which negates the meaning of “peer.” There are no experts that can teach us to be human; we all live in a sea of alienation and need to help each other reclaim our humanity.

  • Judi was a friend of mine, and I was there when she was writing On Our Own. She never meant for her use of the word “peer” to be co-opted by psychiatry the way it has. The so-called “peer movement” is a new iteration of the “mental health consumer movement,” which was the first effort to co-opt the anti-psychiatry/mental patients liberation movement. In her younger (and more radical) days Judi spoke often of “consciousness raising,” not “peer counseling.”

    Unfortunately Judi did get somewhat entangled with the reactionary “Alternatives” conferences and other system-friendly enterprises as she got older — a tendency we all need to recognize in ourselves as we age, and try to nip in the bud. Bonnie Burstow was the first to bring my attention to this, which I disputed at the time. But to refer to things that are natural, good and healthy as “alternatives to psychiatry” gives psychiatry way too much legitimacy, i.e. as the standard against which everything else should be measured, rather than something to avoid at all costs.

  • Good to see you back Rachel, hopefully certain people will have more respect for you this time around. Not sure what you’re saying I have bee “venting” about. But I just noticed this (with which I heartily disagree):

    With real support and training based in the “peer” movement, peer supporters can work in “acute” hositpal settings and should definitely be present there

    No, those who realize that psychiatry is a criminal enterprise should refuse to lend it legitimacy with their presence. And the “hospitals” should be razed.

  • I believe that someone mentioned that Peterson did not respond intelligently, to these drugs, etc. That may be true, but as soon, as he started taking one of these drugs, the ability to respond intelligently is basically thrown out the window; like the baby with the bathwater analogy.


    Not sure if the “baby & bath water” reference is a response to an earlier post of mine. However the phrase is often used with the claim that abolishing psychiatry (the “baby”) altogether rather than just the “bad” parts (the “bath water’) would be a mistake. I say throw them both out together.

  • “Mental Health Czar”??? This is supposed to be a credential? Sounds like Peter should re-read The Communist Manifesto.

    We need a spiritual life — you cannot expect to have the human interior life just be stimulated by a screen and pushing buttons on a screen. It involves participatory activities, playing music together, singing together, and a sexual life.

    Correct. However spirituality is not recognized by psychiatry (or by traditional leftists) as legitimate.

  • @Steve — What are you planning to do in the streets? How will you know when it’s time? Just make sure you don’t get hurt. 🙂

    Actually the time never “comes” until we decide to seize it. Meanwhile the whole country can be in the streets “demonstrating” and “protesting” — but to whom and why, if everyone already agrees?

    “Protesting” is essentially a demonstration of weakness, pending the attainment of the power to make and enforce structural changes.

  • Got your “vaccine passport” yet?

    Many are saying that to call this a “vaccine” is a misuse of the term, and that what it actually amounts to is experimental “gene therapy” being tested on a global scale. Apparently there are too many “side” effects being reported to keep track of — curiously, more in younger than older people. Maybe because the old people COVID has passed over have stronger immune systems?

  • COVID has nothing to do with the KGB, it’s a joint US-China creation from what I can see. However you are rightly disturbed that no one seems overly concerned about its origin. A couple more “mainstream” articles for your consumption:

    Plus the original study, I believe, by Peter Breggin:

  • @KS I was not involved in that debate, other than to reaffirm that anyone has the right to indulge in any “self-help” technique or program they choose, and that this poses no inherent contradiction to the movement to abolish psychiatry. They’re simply two different things. Psychiatry is a tool of repression based on fraud, not a failed attempt to “help” people. It needs no “alternative.”

  • Our home is our “Feelings”. Its roof, that protects us from external elements, is our “Thinking”. Both are needed. But a roof, or mind, that is to heavy or oppressive or overbearing demolishes the “Feelings” inside.

    This is good. Or you could maybe call the soul “home” and the mind the “house” in which it “resides” in the material world. Of course enlightened intellectuals aren’t supposed to take the idea of a soul seriously. But Marxist materialism still hasn’t accounted for quantum theory, which is a major failing — though I believe there probably is a valid synthesis out there that could reconcile quantum physics with Newton, Einstein and Marx. (If any of this makes any sense to anyone out there please let me know.)

  • Getting back to the concrete — Psychiatry will not be defeated by feelings alone, but through the skilled application of words on many levels, combined with strategic actions. In other words work. Part of the Western ethos into which we have been incarnated involves compartmentalizing feelings and temporarily “sublimating the pleasure principle” in order to meet objectives in the material world; this applies as well to defeating psychiatry, which is a science, and work; it will not happen as the result of good vibes (though there’s no contradiction between the two).

  • The above was a response to Jan, not KS. But in terms of maturity, for any group of people to effectively work towards a shared goal it must go without saying, as a prerequisite for discussion, that participants will have more respect for the process and each other than to react to intellectual disagreements as personal attacks. It is possible to be kind while at the same time demolishing someone’s argument, then everyone going out for lunch afterwards.

    On one level, as a famous philosopher once said, “Words are the ultimate in horseshit.” But on another, Rush Limbaugh was equally astute when he emphasized that “words mean things.”

  • OK, never knew that part. Sounds like Steve. 🙂

    Mainly I recall his controversial (with some) takes on privilege, “gender,” etc., in which he interspersed solid grains of truth with equally clueless lapses in logic — so this may represent a general pattern.

    But I still see him as a victim of psychiatry — meaning someone who was victimized by psychiatry. Even if he opened the door.

  • Reagan pumped billions into the policing and criminalization of drugs and drug users. In order to continue his public relations approach to the Drug War, he handed off the public-facing duties of the operation to the First Lady, Nancy Reagan. This would eventually culminate in the famous “Just Say No” crusade.

    Ah, sweet memories.

    My friends in the “marijuana movement” used to point out how rude Nancy’s slogan was, and remind people that the proper response would be “No THANK YOU.”

  • Well it sure explains some things.

    When “feelings” (such as for one’s political opponent) are allowed to enter into important discussions/debates, especially collective ones which must rely on logic in order to reach valid conclusions, it compromises their integrity and invites emotional manipulation. So to just back off from one’s convictions and say “it doesn’t really matter” when things seem to be getting “too intense” (or whatever) could be interpreted by your friends as treating their thoughts as frivolous, especially if it does matter to them.

    Being a kind person is always a nice goal, but you are essentially making an argument for individualism, which is the dynamic at the heart of psychiatry and “professionalism. But change isn’t made by individuals, even though it sometimes appears that way. Feelings and subjectivity have their roles, so does objective logic. There’s a time and place for each — not always the same time and place.

  • @Frobex — Your post is a better-written version of some of what I was trying to get at.

    I don’t know much about JP except that he’s an out-of-the-box thinker and drives the “woke” crowd nuts. I never thought of him as a “mental health professional,” just as a social commentator, and still have to ask whether he’s really a “clinical psychologist” in practice, or whether he just has those academic credentials and pulls them out to bolster his credibility on book jackets or whatever.

    Still what strikes me is the degree of “shaming” of JP for “not knowing better,” which in other contexts (“she should have known not to walk through that neighborhood alone”) would be considered inappropriate and blaming the victim. Actually I agree, he should have known better, and was blindsided to something he might have been able to see coming. But despite all that JP IS in the end a victim of psychiatry — no one who saw his daughter’s video reports when he was in Russia, and the obvious toll the situation was taking on her, can reasonably dispute that. (I would also note that MIA has lots of articles by mh professionals who have been victimized by the psychiatric system themselves.)

    Anyway I don’t know if there are “sides” here or what, personally I’m just pointing out what seem to be some curious anomalies in commenters’ attitudes that appear to have more to do with the celebrity than the person. Though it’s possible that some of this is based on JP’s mh credentials alone with no prior awareness of his being well known and controversial.

  • There is no “peer movement.” “Peerdom” was created to function as an adjunct of psychiatry and perpetuate the psychiatric mentality, and as such disempowers those it purports to help. It also encourages survivors to aspire to be baby shrinks, rather than throwing the whole system out with the bath water. Look up the word “peer.” If someone is your peer they shouldn’t need to constantly point that out to you, or be paid for being such — why aren’t YOU getting paid too?

  • Also Lorna — I would be totally remiss not to tell you about our recently passed comrade Stephen Gilbert, who worked for years as a “peer” at Arkansas State Hospital. He constantly exposed the bankruptcy of the “peer ” concept in the pages of MIA at night as he worked there by day, and also joined our budding anti-psychiatry organization and worked to defeat psychiatry till shortly before his death.

    Please set some time aside to read some of what Stephen had to say. I am including this link to his MIA tribute:

    More important, read some of what Stephen had to say personally in his voluminous MIA comment history. I suspect you’ll feel like he’s speaking directly to you at times:

  • Very interesting, well written and well considered.

    I detect some mild hostility to Peterson here and in the comments, as contrasted to the endless sympathy generally extended to other victims of psychiatry and psych drugs, and the frequent concern about not “shaming” people for their decisions to partake in “mh services.” I think this attitude is likely due to Peterson’s social & political writing and general reputation.

    It’s not hard for me to understand someone concerned with “order” suddenly peering into the abyss and realizing there is no such thing, and grabbing at every straw possible to make sense of this, including (or especially) psychiatry. Many people are initially relieved by a “diagnosis” since it seems to make the chaos make sense, at least until the artifice crumbles further. And once one accepts the psych narrative it’s logical to believe that it makes sense to look for the “right” combinations of “medications” to address the “symptoms.”

    Anyway Peterson clearly has a lot to more to work out than he once thought, and needs a few more epiphanies — including about the nature of psychiatry. Unfortunately he seems to have a need as a writer to do this figuring out process in public, in the form of making pronouncements to others, which guarantees that he’ll start out spouting half-truths combined with complete contradictions, then be adjusting and retracting things for some time to come.

    I do question the motivation of someone concerned with formulating “rules for life.” Nonetheless Peterson is a serious thinker with a conscience, and thinking about anything too hard these days will make you crazy, at least for a while. Maybe a little stupid too. The Humanity.

    Good article.

  • Goddamn what an excellent article, and perfect expose of the “peer” scam!

    Psychiatry is a branch of law enforcement, not medicine. And “peers” serve the same role as “trustees” in the prison system (or “overseers” during slavery). You were turned into a pawn to do the system’s dirty work under the guise that you were to be helping others navigate the bullshit. However it can’t be “navigated,” it has to be abandoned. I’m glad you walked away — just hope that “research” isn’t “mental health” research, which is the same scam in different clothing.

  • I thought of this and think it’s somewhat relevant, so I’m going to cram it in.

    A well known chiropractor and natural healer had this to say on the general subject:

    When singer Warren Zevon was diagnosed with lung cancer, doctors gave him three months to live. He refused chemotherapy because it would have interfered with working on his last album. He said in an interview, “I didn’t want any drastic alterations to my health – other than dying.”

    Warren lasted a year. And he kept right on smoking, till the end. Not exactly a holistic approach, but he quadrupled their estimate without treatment. Using their logic, I guess someone could actually make a case that cigarettes are four times as effective as chemotherapy for terminal lung cancer.

  • This is a vital campaign worth supporting, which should unite not only supporters of MFI but also those in the anti-psychiatry/abolitionist movement, as well as human rights advocates in general. With a united AP movement we would be able to do better than plaintively waiting for editors to print our letters — we might even force them to look up from their work and realize there’s something happening here (even if what is it ain’t exactly clear). 🙂

    This is like announcing the date of an execution and daring people to respond.

  • I think you’re deflecting the issue. First of all these places shouldn’t even exist so there’s no “correct” solution. But beyond that, being born into privilege (if this is indeed the case) is not a crime, and Ektarina should not be held personally accountable for the sins of capitalism. (Not that it’s a bad thing for people to be aware of their privilege.) If her shit is being stolen by the employees of the operation supposedly in charge of her well-being and security I don’t see why that should be written off based on her class status.

  • I am neither “mentally ill” nor A-OK, and I need that to be OK.

    Is that really the choice however? Does there need to be a choice? Of course you’re not “mentally ill,” no one is. And only you can decide what “A-OK” is, or whether that’s a goal you even want to aspire to.

    I need it to be ok to have the agency to choose the supports I need without losing agency on the one hand and without being turned out of the AP community as a “reformer” on the other.

    If you feel that sort of pressure coming from “the AP community” it’s sure not coming the “community” I belong to, and I wonder if there have been specific comments made which have encouraged you to feel this way. If so I’d like to know, preferably on a different forum, for as you know I consider many survivor issues “internal” and not grist for MIA consumption.

    However it’s important for all to understand that NO ONE affected by this toxic alienated culture should feel “shamed” for grabbing at whatever straws the system purports to offer. Our critiques and actions are directed at the system, not it’s victims. And anyone who says or implies otherwise is acting in detriment to the movement.

    In regard to Matt I still firmly believe that, while he may have felt the sort of pressure you describe — primarily self-imposed in his case — I see his demise as being ultimately caused by his inability to break away internally from the chains psychiatric ideology had clasped on his mind and spirit. It was in fulfillment of some shrink’s prediction about “personality disorders” that he ultimately took his life — maybe to preempt what he considered the inevitable. And I still want to know that shrink’s name for the record, and the AP Wall of Shame. 🙁

  • “What if you don’t use a “gravatar” image at all” I was going to say — but now you’re making me totally crazy with your completely blank avatar as opposed to the generic “ghost” profile — is that safer and if so how do you do it? And is there a way to check where you might have inadvertently left a trail of bread crumbs?

    MIA really should warn people about this, yo.

  • If you are being asked to participate in a clinical trial with a psychiatric drug, you will need to investigate very carefully what it is about and whether it is ethically acceptable.

    I have a better idea. The original Madness Network News (not the “new” version) used to have a “shock doctor roster,” which was just what it implies, i.e. “doctors” who used shock on their “patients.” Maybe in this case MIA and others could institute a “Mengele roster” listing shrinks who push “experimental” psychiatric procedures on their supposed “patients.”

    Psychiatry is fraud by definition, based on the absurd concept of “mental illness,” so distinguishing between “legitimate” and “experimental” is meaningless.

  • Explain the implications if you would — are you saying that if you use the same username this will be correlated with MIA, or that if you use another gravatar-based forum even with a different name it will identify you as “KS” from MIA? Or something else? Can another more secure system be used w/wordpress or does it only accommodate gravatar?

    Or does this only apply if you use an image by your user name?

  • I avoid the term “gaslighting” but I think by any definition this would be a prime example. And it should be obvious to anyone that the specific material items stolen are secondary to the sense of violation (and invalidation), no matter who might have turned out to be responsible.

    The face mask was the first good thing that disappeared.

    These days some would consider that a good thing.

    I tried to maintain my sense of dignity by disobeying some of their rules…

    A rebel at heart! Too bad maintaining one’s dignity must require “rebellion,” but there it is. And despite my frequent picking at your semantics (which I’ll forego this time) I always enjoy your spirit of creative resistance. 🙂

  • So far no one has knowingly had such a problem that I’m aware of. Though there’s much that I’m unaware of so don’t rest assured on my account. If you’re hiding from a “3 letter” agency or something nothing on the net is safe, but if it’s trolls you’re worried about I think they’d have to be pretty sophisticated.

    But again, who am I?

    Is James Moore around to comment? Steve?

  • I was with you 100& till the last sentence. I would say legislators aren’t the ultimate power, but it’s a good place to start. In any case you’re absolutely right that, whomever demands are addressed to, it takes a “united front” to exert the needed pressure.

    Btw there used to be a similar saying, that “the liberation of mental patients is the job of ex-patients themselves.” Back when we called ourselves that.

    I left you an email address after one of your other posts, did you see it?

  • Sorry David but this has nothing to do with “revolution.” Revolution involves overthrowing the ruling class, reclaiming our stolen resources and seizing the means of production. Psychiatry exists to inhibit the development of revolutionary consciousness. Ne’er the twain shall meet.

    At least as far back as 1976 the principles of the Mental Patients Liberation Movement proclaimed that “the psychiatric system cannot be reformed and must be abolished.” Why do you think this is any different today?

    It took us a long time to recover spiritually and ideologically from the dark days of “mental health consumerism,” and we don’t need to go back, by wasting our energy choosing between figurehead bureaucrats appointed by figurehead presidents. They all amount to “little Eichmanns.” The time spent playing the system game can and should be much better spent on anti-psychiatry education and organizing. Human beings can support each other without imitating the psychiatric/”mental health” paradigm.

    Anyone remember the Murphy Bill? Didn’t think so — but this is what people wasted their time fretting about 5 years ago, when it was obviously a done deal from the start. In the end (as the “21st Century Cures Act”) NO Democrats opposed it, and I think 3 Republicans. So you are right that this transcends parties, but at that point your analysis reverts to liberalism.

    I have been very personally affected by this death of a neighbor who was a mental health consumer peer.

    To me that’s a desultory way of describing someone you cared about. You just made a key connection however, by using the juxtaposition “mental health consumer peer.” “Mental health consumer” is the Orwellian term used which was used by the system to replace the prevalent terms of “inmate” and “ex-inmate” when APA/NIMH were co-opting the movement in the mid-80’s. “Peer” is the Orwellian term the same forces would have replace “survivor,” with its unacceptable recognition that psychiatry is something to be “survived” rather than embraced. So using the two together pretty much seals the deal, and demonstrates that connection.

    “Peer” is a psychiatric term, and the “peer” scam is the same system in sheep’s clothing. And with your support for this whole co-opted mentality you seem to be leading people down the primrose path, implying that there can be “reform” in a system designed to keep us down.

    Psychiatry Kills!

    Otherwise, hope you’re doing well. 🙂

  • Bingo! — thanks for the contact email.

    I appreciate you taking all that time too, and it would be helpful considering these things in smaller bites, and maybe introducing you to a wider forum. I don’t always have prepared answers to everything.

    If people want to talk about diversity, as you can see from the range of comments here, psychiatry unifies a lot of “strange bedfellows” — (with the emphasis on “strange” I guess). 🙂

    Anyway I’ll get back to you in a day or so. Thanks.

  • Yay Phil!

    Another pithy and voluminous contribution, I hope I make it all the way through. However even the intro is thought-provoking to “word nerds.” (I didn’t just make that up did I?)

    “Disorder” is what Frank B calls a “weasel word” — something that provides plausible denial that it means “disease” but still implies that there is an objective “something” to be addressed &/or corrected. It bridges the ambiguous area where physical reality and abstraction intersect.

    Your point about the initial use of the appendage “reaction” is also telling.

    “…psychiatry’s hand-in-glove relationship with pharma had a widespread corrupting effect on the quality of psychiatric research.”

    Yes, but “psychiatric research” is a misnomer in that it accepts psychiatry as a legitimate science, not a semantic obfuscation based on the manipulation of metaphor.

    “but we’re pretty sure that neurotransmitters have something to do with “mental illnesses”…

    Or: “…I’m pretty sure that this transmission thing has something to do with your car’s performance.”

    Many psychiatrists have learned to stop using the phrase “chemical imbalance” but continue to use essentially similar and equally invalid concepts on their websites and other documents.

    Other psychiatrists have abandoned the “chemical imbalance” concept altogether and instead use the pre-biological and pre-scientific notion that the hallmark of disease/illness is the presence of distress or impairment. This I have called the Monster Falsehood.

    All this is important to recognize and point out, especially the last paragraph. The potential extensions of the “distress/impairment” redefinition of “disease” are multifold and I won’t even dabble in them here. We need to take note when they change up their narrative, and adjust our talking points accordingly.

    Thanks again Phil.

  • Not sure what this is in response to — I don’t recall referring to MIA as either left OR right wing (though by my definition even most of what is now referred to as “left” is right wing). I actually believe the terms are at this point essentially meaningless. (See this disturbing new article by Glen Greenwald: )

    MIA is a good place to nurture people’s anti-psychiatry consciousness till they’re ready give up on “reform” and join the anti-psychiatry movement.

  • Arguably, IMO, there is such a thing as mental illness i.e, some sort of physical illness, damage, or genetic impairment within the brain that in turn, affects the functioning of the mind.

    This is a contradiction — what you are describing is brain damage, which is physical, not mental. The “mind” is an abstraction, and not subject to disease or any other physical characteristics. The conflation of the abstract and the physical is an increasingly common tactic for manipulating discourse, and we need to be able to spot it.

  • I know the author is respected for many good reasons, and have no intention of contradicting or disputing that.

    Still, articles like this make things appear way too complicated and worthy of debate, when all one needs in their mental “survival kit” are 2 very basic bits of knowledge: a) psychiatric drugs are poison and will fuck up your life; and 2) the chemical imbalance “theory” is a lie.

    Or, this could be broken down into one rule of thumb: Psychiatry is not a legitimate branch of medicine.

  • Wow. Great post. Are you involved or interested in AP organizing?

    If I’m reading you correctly you are saying that the nature of psychiatric oppression and the harmful self-identifications that come with it change over the course of time, and I agree. And it takes some a long time to see through the game, hence many AP people are “oldies”; however the energy and passion of youth is needed to sustain and perpetuate the movement. So I hope Cassandra finds some strength and value in your words, and mine.

  • What’s most significant is that although KS & I appear to be arguing we are largely in synch on key things, such as psychiatry needing to go — even though we get to that conclusion via different routes and from different perspectives.

    Your own points are hard to respond to in sound bites, to your credit, but it’s a drag when I’m tired. Oh well, poor me:

    Another odd possibility is that, although we may work very hard with good intentions and wise ideas, psychiatry may just end up abolishing itself

    Yes, the entire system may collapse under its own weight, but if it falls on us that will be nothing to celebrate. And the timing is impossible to predict. A controlled demolition might be best. (Metaphors, guys.) It would be a mistake to assume that just because the conditions are ripe the system will just go away. This is the meaning of the Frederick Douglas quote (summarized): “Power cedes nothing without a demand.”

    …one glaring attribute of a convict or criminal is they just can’t stop themselves from engaging in criminal behavior. Just wait a while, these people will show their face.

    Sounds like you’re talking about “overreach,” which happens when the forces in power get arrogant and overconfident, and start alienating some of their support. It’s always something to prepare for and to take advantage of when it happens. (I should also point out that not all convicts are criminals.)

    This doesn’t mean we should stop doing what we are doing.


  • Your fatal flaw here, Oldhead, is in the presumption that you know what other people’s priorities should be. Abolishing psychiatry is a worthy goal but it isn’t the only goal because the need for help doesn’t magically go away with psychiatry gone.

    There are infinite worthwhile goals in the world. My specific goal at this point in time is abolishing psychiatry, not helping people I don’t know with their personal issues. That’s not to say the latter isn’t a worthwhile thing to pursue. But there’s no real connection between the two. The belief that there is comes from accepting the premise that the purpose of psychiatry is to help people, and that abolishing psychiatry thus requires an “alternative” way to help people. But we should be able to reject that reasoning without much difficulty.

    The people I personally and primarily want to “help” are those whose lives will be even further upended by psychiatry if it is allowed to continue with business as usual. Which is all of us in some way, really. But there should be no illusions that ending psychiatry will do more than bring us back to square one; it won’t mean that systemic oppression has ended or doesn’t need to be confronted.

    The purpose of any movement to abolish psychiatry is based on it being a tool of repression, period. The main help those deepest within its clutches need is to be extricated. If individual psychiatric abolitionists choose to also be involved in “support communities” etc. there’s no contradiction, especially if these are controlled by those who participate. However the two functions shouldn’t be conflated, or one considered a prerequisite for the other, even if there is some occasional overlap.

  • You’re extrapolating a little too much from what I said. It’s really not a big deal, I was just exploring the implications of the term, and of using it as an “identity.” By no means do I consider “survivor” to be “negative and counterproductive”; if I did I wouldn’t use it.

    When I left the movement, or more accurately when the “movement” left us in the early 80’s, the going terms were inmate and ex-inmate (to which I have suggested adding “outmate,” to describe those in “treatment” outside institutional walls). By the time I reconnected with the movement’s remnants in 2014 “survivor” had become the term of record, and I have accommodated myself to it.

    The reservation I was expressing has to do with basing one’s “identity” on their worst experiences. But if the identification as “survivor” is inspirational and empowering for some, by all means go for it! 🙂

    There is another distinction to be made here too — when speaking in a political context “survivor” describes a political class, just as “woman” describes a political (as well as biological) class. So, just as someone who in a political context identifies as a “worker” might not see that as his/her identity as a whole, one can identify as a “survivor” when working on AP stuff, while considering their “greater identity” as encompassing more than that one aspect.

    However — I was approaching this primarily in a “chat” mode. I think if AP survivors are ready to tackle a discussion of issues which are integral to the definition and progress of the AP movement, those issues would the “peer” industry and the concept of “madness” as an “identity.” Neither of these discussions should take place primarily on MIA however — if you’d like to move this to a survivor forum give me the word!

  • I’m torn between trying to respond here and elsewhere, but since we have no other current means to communicate I guess I’ll start here; my reticence is because i think some of this stuff is “internal” to survivors and not necessarily public business. Also some of it gets very involved. But I’ll try to respond the best I can.

    I am not saying ALL antipsychiatry people think that, but quite a few of them in my experience, even on MIA.

    I guess you’d have to be more specific. Unless “not compromising with norms” means stuff like playing in traffic or ritually abusing animals I think it’s your call; of course you also should be prepared to deal with potential consequences. And obviously you’re not allowed to hurt people, etc. Otherwise it’s not an anti-psychiatry position that people should “go along to get along”; if anything it would be to defend your right to do otherwise, given the aforementioned caveats.

    I simply consider different traits, even very different, to be a normal part of the human spectrum. Just like different cultures, sexual orientations, political views etc. I thought of myself as “mad” and “weird” as a teenager prior to seeing my first psychiatrist and also as a kid, not because I was ashamed but because it was simply the way I am.

    But now you know that you’re not “mad” — i.e. that “weirdness” is normal, and part if the spectrum of human behavior and experience, as you put it. Which is spot on, and part of my “rap” as well. In that sense “madness” is a capacity we all possess, not a special consciousness accessible only (or primarily) to special people known as “mad people.”

    But I digress, as I realize this is something you originally brought up only in passing.

    I don’t agree with its control on society and want to see forced treatment abolished or at least reduced. Is that enough to be a part of this movement? Can I be a comrade?

    I think you are already. However there is another principle that comes after the two I mentioned at the very top of my first post, which is Psychiatry cannot be reformed and must be abolished. This has been a precept of the AP survivors/”mental patients” liberation movement since at least 1976, and goes beyond “forced treatment.” However we do call for the end of such force as our main demand, in solidarity with all others who do the same.

    I’m sorry to hear of your experiences with people at MIA you identify as “anti-psychiatry.” MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site; it’s mainly for liberal mh professionals. So it’s quite possible someone presenting themselves as AP treated you in a boorish manner. Like I said, there’s a lot of fake anti-psychiatry out there, some of it directly connected to the “peer” industry.

    I respect what you are saying but I don’t know if I feel comfortable calling some people the “true” anti psychiatry.

    It’s not about people but principles and ideas. “Anti-psychiatry” can refer to an emotion or a political stance. Those who primarily hate psychiatry as the result of a particular experience, shrink, etc. are anti-psychiatry on an emotional level, which is personal and subjective, and more fare for “support groups.”

    On a political level, however, it’s important to have a correct analysis of what psychiatry is before effective strategies for defeating it can be devised. At this level there is an objectively “true” AP, in the sense of having a correct analysis and plan of action — one based on material reality and not wishful thinking.

    Any of this ring true?

  • I think you are on to what a lot of people are sensing nowadays but can’t put their fingers on. Maybe a feeling that you are being blamed for the state of the world?

    For example, the media, controlled by the same capitalist interests that once profited from slavery, are now lecturing poor and working class people about their “racism.” But racism an is an entrenched practice serving corporate rule, not (primarily) an “attitude”; there are sometimes ugly racist attitudes among white working class people which help perpetuate the acceptance of systemic racism, but in the end racism is enforced by the system’s guns, not inappropriate language, and serves the interests of the corporate elite of both parties (in the U.S.). White and Black working people are being deliberately pitted against one another, which in the end serves only the super-rich.

    In short, if you get the feeling that your aspirations to a free and just world are being manipulated by people with an agenda, you may just be right.

  • Well, we all have good and bad days but I think you totally get it, don’t underestimate yourself. Extensive public education is needed to set the preconditions for a public groundswell against psychiatry which, when it finally happens, might seem to have come out of the blue, but you’ll know better. So right now “action” means education, much of which is done via words. So the demand for “action not words” is not always as bold and radical as it may seem. Empty words are the problem, not words period.

    HOWEVER we can’t educate the public when we’re confused ourselves, with some calling for abolition and others for nicer shrinks. That’s why it’s important to define what psychiatry is, and what anti-psychiatry is. We can’t pretend there are “no divisions.”

    It’s also important to understand that “activism” is sometimes tedious and mundane, i.e. work. It rarely involves marching through the streets and shouting at empty buildings (because many demonstrations take place on weekends). Currently activism involves adopting a united “platform,” analysis and demands, and much of the initial work towards accomplishing this has already been done — we’re just waiting for people to get on board.

    As I mentioned, abolition doesn’t necessarily mean outlawing psychiatry; it could include a combination of “small cuts,” which start with public sentiment and sometimes result in reformist legal measures. (The biggest cut of all would be the abolition of force, but that won’t happen without a huge campaign conducted in coalition with many other forces, including the prisoners movement.)

    Meanwhile we must continue exposing the underlying fraud and deception at the core of psychiatry, and chopping away at the underpinnings of the psychiatric mentality, which has been unconsciously internalized by many who consider themselves “progressive.”

    Any day I think I’ve fulfilled a tiny chunk of accomplishing the above is a good one, usually.

  • Sounds like Wikipedia. Not saying it’s technically wrong but no mention of how this plays out in real life. Especially no mention of suppressing any cultural discourse which questions its narrative of enlightened compassion. If Wikipedia and Google are now interconnected this is understandable, as Google/Twiiter/FB are the “big three” neoliberal propaganda tools.

    Wikipedia also has a totally pathetic definition of anti-psychiatry, which I suspect was written by someone in the “consumer movement.”

  • It’s acceptable and I understand how and why it became the go-to term. But I think inmate and outmate are more descriptive.

    In terms of self-empowerment, there’s a difference between recognizing that objectively we have been (or are being) victimized by something, and adopting “victim” as an identity.

    My larger point is that All people need to reclaim their stolen humanity.

    FWIW before I discovered MIA in 2014 I did pride myself on being a “survivor” but I thought of it in terms of being a survivor of the system in general; I spent almost zero time thinking about psychiatry. I didn’t even realize that “survivor” had become the prevailing term among the remnants of the AP movement.

  • Thanks immensely for posting this and taking to time to express yourself. Also for giving me a way to amplify and clarify a couple things.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t see myself as needing to change?

    Not at all, it’s just that too many are “underground.”

    The antipsychiatry side wants me to change myself without drugs and “why don’t you just compromise with the social norms a little bit, you silly girl?”

    No, not at all. I don’t know what you mean by the “antipsychiatry side,” as there’s lot’s of fake “antipsychiatry” out there, but none of the AP people I work with would ever tell you to “compromise with the social norms” (or tell you to do anything really). Of course someone will always pop up to say “what if she wants to run all alone through the inner city at 3 a.m. screaming?” — but I’m not sure that trying to answer diversionary hypothetical questions should be something we spend a lot of time on.

    As for taking drugs, likewise — while “we” would like for anyone to get off neurotoxic drugs, no responsible AP person with a clue — except maybe a close friend — would presume to nag or pressure you as to what to do.

    if I am fully honest with my own beliefs and bring them all to my activism then I am only advocating for myself.

    That’s all any of us are doing in the end, arguably — but activism is based on shared beliefs and goals, and being part of a collective energy. No movement worth being part of would expect its adherents to be clones of one another, however. In the case of anti-psychiatry activism, the range of psychiatry’s victims is universal, and crosses race and class lines (even as it serves class rule). So we’re as “diverse” as can be imagined, as the basic principles of anti-psychiatry are as applicable to Mormons as they are to Marxists.

    As for “mad pride,” this is a term which has become a way of diverting the struggle against psychiatry (which is far more than the campaign to abolish forced “treatment”). I was there jamming with Howie the Harp 40 years ago as he performed “Crazy and Proud,” but it was humorous and ironic — craziness and “madness” (except for a few people) was not an “identity” in the way it is being used by some today, which is exploitative and self-effacing when you examine it. I’ve discussed this with quite a few movement veterans, who (almost) uniformly affirm my recollection, and are not at all supportive of “madness” being adopted as another identity politics mainstay. But it already has been among too many, mostly in conjunction with some sort of “certified peer specialist” operation, and I don’t think we should shrink from pointing out the contradictions involved.

    Rarely do people think of themselves as “mad people” prior to being labeled by psychiatry — then they try to compensate for that hurtful and oppressive designation by saying e.g. “I’m not schizophrenic,” I’m a MAD PERSON,” which they romanticize as something positive, signifying that they are “special” (or even superior). Nonetheless they are simply exchanging one label for another and internalizing the “othering” process initiated by psychiatry. Liberation from this particular merry-go-round starts with abandoning the whole mindset of defining our lives from a “mental health” perspective and moving on.

    The primary benefit of psychiatry to the larger system is that it holds the individual responsible for systemic crimes. We are expected to eat shit and like it. If we don’t like it, even though we’re dutifully chewing, we are a threat to the system, which will “respond” tenfold if deemed necessary. Psychiatry is a big part of this.

    Are we already in touch in some way? You have some very intelligent and sincere questions about the anti-psychiatry movement that require more than a “sound-bite” response. There is some “underground” survivor AP organizing getting ready to rear its head at any moment — if you’re interested and want me or someone to fill you in, and have a public email (or one you can post then delete) let me know; if not there are other means we can use to get in touch.

    In any case looking forward to you writing here more often.

  • [A brief strategic and motivational interjection for Rebel et al.]

    Oldhead wants to “defund and abolish psychiatry.” I would like to agree, but, I wonder is it really possible or a pipedream.

    As you know I am one of many people (including yourself) who agree — although you phrase this oddly, i.e. your imply you are basing whether you desire to abolish psychiatry on the likelihood of accomplishing that. But what you desire is what you desire — even if you see no immediate prospect of getting what you want. What I’m saying is (this also applies to another ongoing conversation/debate with which you are familiar):

    No successful, non-sellout movement ever bases its strategy or aspirations on the prospect of short-range success. First you need to define what you collectively believe and what you want. This is objective and immutable. There is no room when defining your objectives for equivocation based on what seems “practical” — that’s what “advocacy” groups do, not abolitionists. (And, again, “abolition” does not necessarily refer to some sweeping decree from the Emperor, there are subtleties involved.)

    Once you’ve determined your real goals, not your “practical” ones, the next step is strategizing how to achieve them. That’s the point where subjectivity and tactical creativity come in based on the concrete circumstances of the moment.

    Btw I think people have to get over needing to see victory in their lifetimes; it’s possible for many of us, but the important thing to know is that we’re pushing in the right direction, even if it’s uphill.

    Humanity is capable of near-infinite things once there is a collective will which refuses to be stomped down and restrained by the terrorism of the system. I’m personally optimistic, both on general principles, and for objective reasons. Though it does seem as though there is a current of timidity and cynicism circulating, which I encourage people to recognize and resist, it’s not that hard.

  • Hi Tim. Where to start, where to start…

    This is not something you’ll be able to appreciate the first time through, if at all, but assuming you are open to new perspectives:

    A group of us have defined a few basic principles regarding psychiatry that we consider key to “making psychiatry history, one of our slogans.

    The first is Psychiatry is not a legitimate form of medicine.” In terms of this article, use of psychiatric labels, including “psychosis,” implies a medical or scientific validity which does not exist. All these terms are misleading, and are randomly applied to disparate forms of unwanted thought and/or behavior. Their main significance is that they help psychiatry assume the trappings of medicine.

    Which leads us to the 2nd principle, which also speaks to your concerns: Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the dominant culture. Make of that what you will.

    Trying to “make psychiatry better” is based on the assumption that it is what it presents itself to be.

  • Some serious seeds of wisdom tucked in there, but a lot is constrained by language sometimes, and I don’t think the true choices before us personally and collectively can be framed in terms of “neo” anything. I’m just trying to communicate in the vernacular provided. I’m also looking for a consensual definition of neoliberal still, since it’s used more & more often. I think of it in terms of multinational corporate conglomerates, Gates & other would-be societal/cultural designers.

  • Though it would never see the light of day today, John Lennon’s most lasting and dramatic anti-misogynist lyrics can be found in his classic “Woman is the Nigger of the World,” which he recorded with Yoko Ono. It came to mind while pondering the role of “peers” in the “mental health” gulag.

    If you see the psychiatric system as a caste system, “peers” are next to the bottom, which of course is occupied by those “served” by these alleged “peers.” It’s infinitely disturbing how “highly functioning mental patients” are groomed to oversee those who haven’t yet mastered the subtleties of the “mental health” hierarchy, and even more disturbing that survivors are conditioned to look up to those who have become “successful” mh professionals as role models, rather than as examples of compliance (again we’re talking systemic so any individuals who feel offended must be feeling guilty).

    If the definition of a “peer” is someone who is essentially just like you, why is someone being materially compensated for being “just like you” when you’re not?

    Here’s the dividing line: “Peerdom” is a creation of psychiatry, and there is almost always a psychiatrist at the top of the ladder capable of rescinding a “peer’s” accreditation. Even if there may be variations now & then. The question is not even whether it’s “consensual” (though that’s always in the background), but whether adopting the psychiatric mentality, which targets individuals (the branches) rather than the criminal system (the root) is backwards and perpetuates that system. If people took the latter attitude there might be a consensual revolution in short order. Or close.

    My main point is that aspiring to be a “good peer” is not logical or consistent if someone identifies as “anti-psychiatry” or “abolitionist.” They are opposite directions.

  • I also believe we have innate knowledge upon physical birth, likely even memories of before the Beginning. One reason this is important is that it impacts the brain/mind discussion, in that if mind and memory precede or transcend the physical brain it cannot be held responsible for one’s “disordered” thoughts, barring physical damage of some sort.

  • We need to dispense the with the idea of “celebrity” period. A certain highly respected organizer I’m acquainted with refers to celebrity types as “name brand people” — not in a hostile way, more an ironic one.

    I can’t even imagine myself running after someone for an autograph or something like that. But many people would ingratiate themselves even more if the had the opportunity. I’m not talking about noticing your favorite author in a crowd and saying hi or striking up a conversation, but what amounts to hero worship of someone who’s famous for being famous, like…oh, say Meghan Markle, for example…

    Obviously celebrity worship demonstrates a void in someone’s life, so when someone’s chosen demigod starts pushing “therapy” it’s not a minor thing. Someone should complain.

  • Well liberals suck in general these days, and so does 538, so I wouldn’t really lose any sleep over liberals and the Christian right. They all have their own houses to clean up. In general I think liberals are more privileged and predatory.

    Still looking for a going definition of neoliberal here. Is a neoliberal like a regular liberal except richer and even more hypocritical? Or do you have to have Soros/Gates type wealth & power to qualify?

    Anyway, when you speak of “losing faith,” maybe you were more losing faith in the anthropomorphic Western “big man in the sky” concept of God, rather than your sense of spiritual connection with the Universe? Psychiatry after all is a substitute for religion among those who consider themselves too intellectually advanced to accept a spiritual realm without being seen as superstitious and backwards, so seek a sense of spiritual connectedness via “rational” mythologies such as “mental health.”

    Retail therapy becomes a poor substitute for authentic human connection.

    Authentic human connection is held hostage to market forces under capitalism, so yeah. That’s why 95% of my argumentation is directed at systemic issues, which should not be confused or conflated with personal ones. When I get a chance I want to study Marx’s writings on alienation, which I believe may contain some missing links in the quest to develop an AP analysis and strategy.

    We really lost the village.

    Damn — couldn’t we have just lost Hillary? 🙁

  • Not quite. With snakes and scorpions you’d be going to THEIR house, and all creatures are going to defend themselves as a basic law of Life. They don’t try to lure you into their nests, unless you’re a bug or something. Once you know where they live it’s a matter of basic respect to stay away, just like you’d stay away from a stranger toting a shotgun. We don’t always have that option with psychiatry. To play with the analogy a little.

  • A definition of neoliberalism as used here would be helpful, to start.

    Let’s not forget that neoliberalism is just one variant of capitalism, and to attack neoliberalism without attacking capitalism in general implies that we just need to fuss with the details a little and everything will be better — rather than upending and replacing the entire system. ALL capitalist societies feature alienation from oneself, one’s work, and the product of one’s labor as basic characteristics. It is not “neoliberal ideology” but the same old ruling class practice that’s the main problem.

    Those of us who remember GWB also understand that “neoconservatism” is hardly the answer either. It’s all a variation of “good cop/bad cop.”

  • And why exactly is this old old item with 3 comments suddenly most popular? Someone’s algorithms are mixed up I think.

    The best thing I have to keep this relevant doesn’t involve the UK but the situation is the same in many Western countries (the most interesting thing is that CNN is now reporting on this stuff):


  • Unfortunately there are levels of deception — the system often sets up false issues and “arguments” between groups of people to deflect attention from the true power dynamics, and to keep people divided. So it’s easy to be drawn into passionately supporting the status quo or worse while believing you’re on a mission from God. That’s not to say never take a stand, just that we need to evaluate things ever more carefully with so many agendas in play.

  • I guess since this is not a survivor-run site I’ll just need to get used to “shrinksplaining,” which is not a complaint directed at the author (or at Sami Tamimi before him) but at the general attitude that what survivors know (or can easily learn) based on our own experience is not credible unless it is mouthed by a “professional.” This reinforces the myth that we are dealing with some sort of “science”; however that illusion goes out the window the first time someone uses the terms “mental health” or “mental illness.” What it also reinforces is the belief that we need “experts” to validate what we already know, but are constantly told is beyond our capacity to comprehend.

    Rather than get too wrapped up in arguments that are borne of absurd assumptions, hence not resolvable, I will repeat my constant theme regarding the concept of “evidence-based” this and that. First, that it is a bizarre development to now hear people bragging that their programs and “treatments” are “evidence based,” i.e. based on evidence. Is this the most they can say about their work — that it is “based on evidence”? Shouldn’t it be assumed that any purportedly scientific endeavor is based on evidence, i.e. data?

    But beyond that, even if something is based on “evidence” anyone familiar with the court system knows that “evidence” is not proof, and that BOTH opposing sides present their cases based on their own evidence. What counts is not the existence of “evidence,” but how it is interpreted and put into context. So enough with the promotion of “evidence-based” as synonymous with “valid.”

    Beyond that, “mental health survival” is a pretty useless and contradictory notion, so I’ll stay away from that one. The best way to “survive mental health” is stay away from it. Works with dens of scorpions too.

  • Anytime emotional and material well-being are abstracted from one another and the former is commodified it is an expression of the inherent alienation of capitalist culture. Any “care complex” which deigns to sell us back our humanity is an expression of the problem, not the solution.

    As for self reliance, the term might not really capture the problem. Must we brush one another’s teeth in order to defeat rampant capitalism?

    Still anarchy & communism both describe evolved organic stateless societies, the only difference is over how to get there. So I’m down with that.

  • Part of the “success” of many techniques is the “transference” effect common to psychoanalysis, where the client transfers onto the practitioner the sort of belief and trust one might imbue to a parental figure, allowing that projected authority to exercise a “parental” type influence over the client — however this is the client’s own projected knowledge from which he/she is benefiting. So who pays?

  • The answer to the title question is prisoner.

    Psychiatry is an adjunct of law-enforcement, charged with “gaslighting” ALL people who aren’t down with the drill. It is not a branch of medicine but a tool of social control, designed to make you believe your unhappiness with an oppressive system is due to some sort of inner failing.

    Seeking the sorts of reforms you mention is like asking for a better grade of handcuffs.

    Defund Psychiatry!

  • Actually it’s not but that’s what you hear everybody saying (at least that’s not what my dictionary says). But that’s besides the point.

    The MIA moderator was worried that you would interpret my comment as attack of some sort, but I knew you would get it. Have you come yet to a personal conclusion that psychiatry should be essentially abolished? If you want to join some offline survivor discussions about such give us a shout at [email protected]. (PS We’re not Scientologists.)

  • I think we all need to focus on the systemic nature of psychiatric repression, and what that means. There are infinite means of helping calm and center oneself, from transcendental meditation to pot to E.S.T. to dozens of modern day “techniques.” These are all fine and dandy on an individual level, again quoting John Lennon “Whatever gets you through the night is alright.”

    When we talk about systemic and institutional issues we are taking the discussion beyond the individual or personal level, and often beyond the immediate or pragmatic level, and these different conversations should not be conflated or pitted against one another.

  • Please pay attention to the vast amount of psychic destruction wreaked upon children by the lockdowns and how this will lead to a bonanza for the purveyors of neurotoxic chemicals and “mental health” hustles of all sorts. Even CNN is allowing this to be discussed now so it’s no longer “conspiracy theory”:

    The only problem with the “corporate agenda” terminology is that it’s a little ambiguous; what other agenda could there be in a capitalist state? This is what the former left doesn’t seem interested in highlighting or grappling with. Instead they pursue often ridiculous “reforms” doomed to failure by virtue of being grounded in contradictory assumptions, further muddled by unrecognized class conflicts which are themselves obscured by individualism and preoccupation with personal “identity.”

    (Sorry about the run on sentence.)

  • One cannot be truly considered a “psychiatric survivor” if he or she is actively undergoing “treatment.” The only way to “survive” the mh system is to stay the hell away. (Do I need a disclaimer here?)

    I’ve never been thrilled with the terms “survivor” myself, even though I “qualify”; it often feels a little self-indulgent and tends to perpetuate a self-identification as “victim,” which can be disempowering. Though for others I guess it might carry more positive connotations.

  • Strategically I can never accept the premise that since people are going to exploit you anyway you should gravitate to those who exploit you the least. I’d say the “next best thing” is letting them work out their contradictions among themselves — we’re the last people who need it explained why psychiatry is bs. As in “since one of us is going to fuck you over anyway, I’m going to do it the least.”

    Ever hear the Phil Ochs song “Love Me I’m A Liberal”?

  • Many people feel this way. Now that the original Madness Network News archives are available online, some might see how RW could be seen as representing the “new generation” of psych drug debunkers — check the similarities between RW’s work and the MNN drug articles by “Dr. Caligari,” who was a Bay Area psychiatrist. (Maybe still is.)

  • It is too costly to create programs where kids and adults get involved and interact. A place where a child or adult can find themselves connecting. A place where one party is not the professional.

    Why should there be “programs” at all? Kids & adults can “get involved and interact” in the real world. No price tag at all.

  • I think Bob W. is sincerely interested in exposing psychiatry, though not necessarily with the intent of abolishing it, something he publicly disavows.

    So before this is once again misinterpreted as some sort of attack on RW — while RW’s plaintive wishing for the corporate media to “get things right” opened the door for my comment, this is a CONSTANT error that the movement has been making for DECADES. The corporate media will NEVER expose psychiatry for what it is, and those who insist on hoping for such are free to bash their heads against the wall.

    However, RW is approaching this the RIGHT way — by starting his own media, i.e. MIA. Which is what the AP movement needs to do, and is beginning to do. (Inquire within.)

  • Al long as it is made clear that Open Dialogue IS reform psychiatry and not an “answer,” it is always helpful to make people aware of the many contradictions within the so-called “field” itself.

    PS Note my earlier comment that Whitaker’s strategy of starting MIA was a correct one, in terms of getting the information out there without a middleman to distort it.

  • Hard to say whether Laing’s work was a “failure” without defining what a “success” would be.

    Laing was a good writer and ok poet, however he never denounced psychiatry or turned in his badge. And the ACTUAL anti-psychiatry movement is constantly upended by the misunderstanding that we have something to do with Laing.

    To be clear — what Laing, Cooper et al. called “antipsychiatry” was NEVER intended to eradicate psychiatry as a “profession”; it was a school of psychiatry.

  • Except the word “psychosis” should be completely eschewed as it falsely imbues the subject with a scientific quality. Though putting it in quotes is second best I guess. All sorts of things are called “psychosis,” it’s a way of connoting an understanding that doesn’t in fact exist.

  • Yeah Rebel, I think you misinterpreted Exit’s comments, though they might have been stated in a slightly confusing manner.

    What Exit is speaking of is what is often called “critical psychiatry” — primarily espoused by people who aspire to careers within the “mental health”/social services industry yet are aware of many of the contradictions inherent in such. Rather than acknowledge that the entire psychiatric narrative has been terminally flawed since day one — which is the position of the anti-psychiatry movement — “critical psychiatry” adherents dance around this obvious and inconvenient conclusion. There aren’t many anti-psychiatry jobs available, after all.

  • There is ample evidence that what is called “mental illness” is the psychological manifestation of impaired physical condition

    If one’s state of mind is the result of brain disease or injury it is not “mental” illness, it is physical illness. Since “mental illness” is used to describe anything and everything deemed problematic, physical illness is certainly ONE thing it is used to describe. Among a myriad of other circumstances that have NOTHING to do with brain damage. “Psychosis” is considered a form of “mental illness,” hence just as meaningless as a way of describing “extreme states.”

    But repeating over and over that nothing is wrong just because there was nothing wrong with you, does harm to those of us who desperately want to feel better

    When have I EVER told anyone “nothing is wrong”? Or that anti-psychiatry is based on such an assumption?

  • Frank — I use my own name sometimes, publicly. Just not in connection with AP. It’s not like I think I can hide from anyone with access to my personal information, even if I wanted to. I’m more concerned about internet creeps-on-a-mission, who I don’t want showing up at my front door or otherwise fucking with me — I am as you know a “pill-shamer,” according to the sorts of misguided assholes I’m most wary of. As well as a bunch of other things clueless neoliberal ass-kissers consider politically incorrect. I’m more concerned about these types than cops (not that I have any current issues with cops). And considering how crazed just about everyone is these days I’m glad this is the way I chose to go. (I became “Oldhead” very impulsively as a top-of-my-head username to log into MIA, which I happened to stumble upon while web browsing. It’s worked fine ever since.)

  • There may be two aspects of this: morality and efficacy. The first is easy to address — anyone has the right to take any drug they can get their hands on, in principle. So any moral judgements made or implied should be limited to oneself. As for the best drugs to utilize for one’s benefit, that’s something open to collective discussion and self-education — we should be as concerned with safe drugs as with safe sex. I prefer to stick to what was put here for us to begin with (ganja), not toxic chemicals designed to blunt my consciousness. But that’s neither here nor there in terms of this conversation.

  • couldn’t the media, I wondered, ever challenge the conventional wisdom regarding the merits of antipsychotics? Just once?

    Why one would hope for this is the actual question.

    It is not “extremist” to understand that the purpose of the media is NOT to “inform,” any more than the purpose of psychiatry is to “help people.” One who clings to these illusions will constantly be disappointed and “appalled.” This is reminiscent of the (inaccurate) trope that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results.”

    As long as we judge our own credibility and plan our actions based on the approval of the corporate media (or the sub-corporate media) we will be throwing wrenches into our own works. This constant expectation that some miracle reporter will magically “break the story” about psychiatry if we just “approach” him or her the “right” way is one of the most self-defeating fantasies anti-psychiatry people could possibly harbor.

    We must accumulate grassroots power — enough to threaten the system — before the system’s media will pay any attention at all, and then it will be for the purpose of spreading disinformation about us.

    The purpose of psychiatry is to control thought and behavior which threatens the smooth functioning of the system. The corporate neoliberal media is charged with the same. Why would anyone expect them to operate at cross-purposes?

  • I left my last lockup in ’74 with a script for Thorazine, probably 300 mg. a day (down from 1600!). I took one or two. My girlfriend took 100 mg. to see what it was like and said she felt like she was going to die. after that I flushed it & went back to smoking pot. No real issues, though it may have created some very mild extrapyramidal stuff down the road a bit, for a while. Still not sure. Certainly what one needs to focus on “recovering” from are the drugs themselves.

  • The mass shooter in the theater a few years ago now — the one with the orange hair — seemed totally unaware of his actions later, however they had been carefully premeditated on some level. Like his imagination was married to his practical competence in manifesting his grotesque scenario.

  • OK duly noted. I still don’t see anything “inflammatory,” or new, really. In fact there a mild apology for the “occasional” use of neurotoxins, so it’s not really even anti-psychiatry. Don’t know the author’s specific motivation in writing it, I guess just as a general warning.

  • Or as Rachel — who is sorely missed here — would say, “madness,” however defined, is a state of mind, just like sadness or anger. It’s not your permanent identity. As you obviously understand, you are not “mad,” you are you, i.e. a person with a distinct personality. If one person is “mad” everyone is. So why bother with the term at all?

    Another way of deconstructing the concept: rarely (I won’t say never) does anyone consider themselves “mad” before a shrink has labeled them “mentally ill.” Then as a way of resisting the “mi” label a person will say “I’m not ‘mentally ill,’ I’m MAD” — but all that changes is the label, not the “othering,” which remains intact and internalized as one’s self-image.

  • It used to be mostly used sarcastically or ironically, as in “so you think I’m a little neurotic?? No, I’m TOTALLY MAD!!!” It wasn’t an “identity,” except among a few. Now the whimsical nature of the term has been lost on many in the current generation, who also nurture and compare their “disorders” (and drugs) as a way of socializing and competing for social status.

  • @cabrogal

    Make that “almost no one in the US”. Most of the world has a fair idea of what communism is

    Duly noted and largely true — still it seems that ignorance of the relationship between communism and socialism is not simply a U.S. thing. You hear many references to a “communist state,” which is a contradiction in terms, as “communism” refers to the point of human evolution where we instinctively cooperate to advance life, without a state being necessary to enforce everything. “Socialism” is simply reversing the class dictatorship of the .1% over the 99.9%; class distinctions still remain during this period however.

    As for anarchism I may agree that it’s probably most useful as a medium for fighting authoritarianism within the more organized larger movement.

    I have no issues in principle with either vanguard organizations as an educational and organizing tool, or with “democratic centralism”; however the “democratic” part needs a lot of work. There’s no U.S. based party I would currently join or promote. But history evolves.

    What is rarely mentioned is that in both anarchism and communism the goal is a stateless society. Many Libertarians wouldn’t mind this either. The conflict is over how to get there.

  • It’s beyond “loosening inhibitions” and reaches into the “unconscious”dream level of experience, involving primal urges and archetypes, not conscious-but-repressed fantasies, it’s not that linear — at least not until the drug bridges that level of consciousness with waking reality, and the person attempts to reconcile the two levels of experience, with distorted and deadly consequences.

    Of course I can’t “know” this, but I can surmise.

  • That’s what people in the “reform movement” always say when they are objectively and repeatedly banging their heads against the wall. My response lately is if something (even something self-defeating) is always better than nothing, why not do jumping jacks, it’s good exercise and less painful, and frustrating.

  • Hi Kristen — MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site, nor are some others which are often seen as such yet specify the opposite when asked, saying they want to “abolish” forced psychiatry but not psychiatry itself, which is ultimately a short-sighted approach.

    The is real survivor-based AP organizing starting to take place however, and if you’d like us to fill you in we’ll be glad to do so — do you have a public email or something?

  • I guess the only thing I would add is that we need to learn not to be shocked when details about the system’s viciousness are revealed. Such a reaction reflects a potentially dangerous naivete, as when predictable “emergencies” pop up we need to have the ability to calmly and methodically educate people about what to expect and how to respond.

    When it is understood that the function of psychiatry is not to “help” people but control them everything else becomes more clear.

  • Some of my better friends are rebellious anarchists. And why would a Rebel want to “distance” herself from “rebellion”? 🙂 (Plus there have been rebellions by and among Christians throughout the course of history.)

    The evils of psychiatry can of course be denounced within the framework of Judeo-Christian law, but can also be seen as violations of practically every universal code of morality or scientific practice. That’s what makes anti-psychiatry a natural way of bringing together cultural and political perspectives that might normally seem inimical. But i know you already know that on some level.

  • I’m actually a commie. But none of these terms have any current relevance unless someone is a political science major, at the very least. Almost no one knows what terms like “communism” and “socialism” actually mean, or “capitalism” for that matter. Democrat politicians like Bernie and AOC calling themselves “socialists” confuses matters even more. Talking about principles, e.g. “defeating the corporate dictatorship,” is more likely to resonate with most people.

    You should be aware that I’m not trying to be “practical,” at least by most definitions, but to look at the situation objectively and define exactly where we should be trying to go. Which is actually the most practical approach if one can look beyond the artificial limitations of one’s own life span.

  • Hope you don’t mind me piggybacking here. Breggin has also implicated Fauci in the creation of COVID 19. Some salient points:

    (4) Fauci has funded and continues to fund coronavirus “gain-of-function” research projects which turn benign animal viruses into human pathogens capable of causing pandemics. The stated purpose is to learn to prevent and treat future outbreaks; but research labs are the most common source of outbreaks from dangerous pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, as well as two earlier accidental escapes by SARS viruses in 2004 from a research facility in Beijing.

    (5) In 2014, when blocked by an order from President Barak Obama from funding dangerous “gain-of-function” studies, Fauci outsourced the research to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He also covertly continued to fund the major gain-of-function collaboration between US and Chinese Wuhan Institute researchers, led by Menachery et al. at the University of North Carolina. Fauci thus made a mockery of President Obama’s attempts to stop the potentially catastrophic research.

    (6) In order to outsource dangerous viral research from the US to China during the Obama moratorium, Fauci prematurely approved the Wuhan Institute as a highest level containment facility (known as BSL-4) capable of safely working with lethal viruses. He did this while knowing the Institute had a very poor safety record and while also knowing that all such facilities in China are overseen by the military as part of its biowarfare program. Thus, Fauci created two grave worldwide threats, the accidental release of a deadly coronavirus and/or its use as a military weapon.

    (7) Without fanfare, toward the end of the first year of the Trump administration in 2017, Fauci and NIH canceled President Obama’s moratorium against building viral pathogens in US labs and openly restored gain-of-function research creating lethal viruses.The original moratorium was a direct order by President Obama on White House stationery while its undoing was a decision made within the National Institutes of Health and NIAID, probably without Trump’s knowledge.

    (10) We published our blog on April 14, 2020 and our video on April 15, 2020 revealing Fauci’s funding of US/Chinese collaborations that were building deadly coronaviruses and we described how the cooperative efforts enabled the Chinese to engineer coronaviruses. On April 17, President Trump announced his intention to cancel the collaborative funding. Fauci was critical of the President’s actions and in October 2020 Fauci unleashed a surge of funding for gain-of-function research, supposedly without any Chinese involvement. However, some of the funding potentially involves Chinese researchers in the United States and some goes to the EcoHealth Alliance, which has been Fauci’s main conduit for funding Chinese researchers and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

  • Don’t know why anyone would want to strip someone of responsibility for their own lives and own actions. Even if it could be done it would not be doing them any favors but diminishing their humanity. All this talk of legal principles is irrelevant anyway without a just system to enforce them. You can’t reform capitalism any more than you can reform psychiatry. I don’t believe any revolutionary societies (none exist today, except maybe Cuba still to an extent) have yet found a way to dispense with police and prisons. But the future is a long time.

  • My main reason to present this information is help us realize why we incarcerate people in the first place.

    Well, I’d substitute “they” for “we.” And indeed the main rationale for prisons is to protect society from the most immediately dangerous people. And it’s a reasonable rationale in & of itself.

    However the gulag also serves darker and more nefarious purposes, one of which is to present the illusion of justice, another to generally keep the population in line by way of example. Both psychiatry and the prison system have roots in slavery. So it is of course impossible for a system as corrupt as this to make any pretensions of enforcing morality or showing people the “right way.”

  • It makes it sound as if the depressed person is lying in bed, thinking about suicide or murder, but only doesn’t kill people because s/he lacks the energy to do so.

    Not necessarily. One way that SSRI’s lead to bizarre mass violence is by enabling someone’s “deep dark fantasies,” normally confined to the “id” or whatever, to be manifested in waking reality. Several experts on MIA confirmed this when I asked, but I can’t remember whom.

  • How to you reform a liar? A murderer? A hostile political institution?

    People can reform themselves. Institutions sometimes can be reformed, but not institutions devoted to inhuman goals from the start. So your critiques are basically spot on. Also more loquacious than they have been recently. Mercury is leaving retrograde soon, maybe that’s it. 🙂

  • Psychiatry cannot be reformed, it must be abolished.

    This is a basic “scientific” principle that has been repeatedly reaffirmed by the active AP movement at the time — in 1976, in 1982 and most recently in 2020.

    Something based on fraudulent principles cannot be reformed. “Reform” can only apply to something that once had value but has since deteriorated.

  • You ask too many questions!

    Don’t quote me, but my guess is most people who stay in bed either have someone around to plead with them “to get out of bed,” or eventually abandon this on their own. Otherwise the most lethal effect of “depression” would be self-starvation.

  • Call yourself anything you want if it feels good. You’re still not a separate species. If one person is “mad” everyone is, at one time or another. Everyone is confused or sad at one time or another, that doesn’t make their identity “confused person” or “sad person.”

    Practically and scientifically speaking, however, the anti-psychiatry movement has NOTHING to do with disability or “disability rights” (other than disability created by drugs, ECT, etc). In fact the “disabled” label is the primary means psychiatry uses to disempower people, by seeing their reaction to oppression as a defect, rather than a sign of their humanity being intact.

    We are much closer to the prison abolition movement, in fact intertwined with it, though this is not yet universally recognized.

  • Any info can be placed into an algorithm, it can just be random phrases, writing style, ad infinitum. Not necessarily sentences and paragraphs. I’m of course assuming you have no illusions of privacy.

    Maintaining your website is up to you, I’m just saying it’s possible to put minimal info on a FB page without forcing people to interact with the site. It’s of course best to bypass FB on general principles.

  • You’re also mixing up basic principles of human conduct with the failings of the current system, as though to acknowledge people’s basic responsibility for their own actions is to justify the oppressiveness of this or that particular system. If “mental illness” doesn’t exist “it” can’t be used to justify anything.

  • I see you are comfortable with highlighting physical illness such as brain damage. Why such a reluctance for mental illness?

    Not sure what you mean by that, however “mental illness” is a metaphor, not a real disease, any more than is “spring fever.” Comparing “it” to brain damage wouldn’t make sense.

  • You’re getting liberal on me. Frankly if a known violent predator were on my porch threatening my well being my first concern is getting him the fuck away from me, the details secondary. I’m sure the majority of people feel the same. Unfortunately because of who I am I don’t have the option of owning a shotgun. You also know that many people are in prison for defending themselves, so fuck that too.

    You got a better solution for protecting people from violent motherfuckers than keeping them out of reach? I’m all ears.

    But everyone is still responsible for their own actions; whether or not this responsibility is accompanied by legal repercussions is a separate issue.

    I absolutely oppose psychiatric defenses in court in principle, and I also oppose psychiatric “experts” being called by the prosecution. Of course with a corrupt justice system all bets are off, and someone unjustly charged who can get off using a psychiatric defense should go for it.

  • Well for one we should maintain an alliance, as we’re talking about mere variations of “prisoner.” Mumia Abu-Jamal & others refer to what some call “freedom” as “minimum security.”

    One distinction between psychiatry and the prison system: ostensibly psychiatry is supposed to work for the good of the “patient”/prisoner; “standard” law enforcement is supposed to work to protect others from the prisoner.

  • Yeah but there’s a way to get around that. An organization can have a SINGLE Facebook page with very basic info, such as announcing events. It’s not necessary to sign up for FB to see this minimal stuff. But then you direct all further traffic to your website, so any interaction or discussion takes place there. (There is a section about this at the same link I provided above.)

    The issue with personal posts is the amount of info they can extrapolate about you using algorithms, taking all your innocuous posts about your pets and your high school days to predict how you might behave in certain circumstances, what your political beliefs are, etc.

  • Only people who are privileged enough to not have to worry about going to sleep at night without a gun under their pillow think like this. NO ONE has the right to predatory behavior, and the first right of any person is the right to defend oneself, or better yet not be forced to.

    Anyway the quote you cite doesn’t mention any penal system; it simply affirms that everyone is responsible for their own behavior, and that psychiatry cannot absolve them of that. You disagree?

  • There are varying uses of the word “mad” but in terms of what we’re talking about here it is an internalization and acceptance of psychiatric labels which have been renamed and reconstrued as something “positive,” and threatens to turn the AP movement into yet another arena for identity politics and, in effect, eugenics. People who “identify” as “mad people” rather than oppressed people confuse the real issues surrounding psychiatric oppression. It is a major factor holding back progress towards defeating psychiatry and amounts to a romanticization of psychiatric “othering.”

    And NO ONE means that when they say crazy, please don’t encourage the whole “reclaiming” thing, it’s too late at night.

  • It’s great for data mining though. Like they say about cell phones, a tracking & surveillance device that you can also use to talk to your friends.

    FB is basically a product of alienation and personal insecurity and, as you say, focused on the pursuit of superficial connections and ego gratification. (No matter how many exceptions people might come up with.)

  • Here’s how we phrase that in our organizing principles:

    ⦁ Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine.

    ⦁ Psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order.

    The next level of critical focus should be on the idea of a “profession” to deal with the inherent emotional trauma of capitalism, rather than simply dealing with the problem at its source.

  • Considering the right to force is the locus of power upon which psychiatry builds and fortifies itself I’d wager that ending forced treatment is a sound first step to just that.

    Bingo — That’s my strategic analysis as well. Which is why our AP collective joins with all sectors of the movement to make the end of forced psychiatric intervention our #1 demand. But, it is both a demand which stands on its own AND a tactic towards eliminating psychiatry altogether.

    When making such a demand from an anti-psychiatry perspective, not just a “civil liberties” one, it’s important for all to understand that simply eliminating (overtly) forced intervention will not suffice on its own and that it is a tactic toward abolition, not simply a reform that will solve the problem for good.

    But you’re right, without force psychiatry would shrivel up & die relatively quickly, as long as we keep publicly hammering at its fraudulent underpinnings. Because of course “power cedes nothing without a demand.” (Frederick Douglas)

  • Good to see your sense of humor intact.

    Btw did you know that in Torrey’s early days we quoted him as an “anti-psychiatry psychiatrist”? In the Death of Psychiatry he updated Szasz with such statements as “you can no more have a sick mind than you can have a purple idea.” It’s a shame what he became.

  • In other words, when all else fails, PANIC! (Actually I do remember Dr. Spock saying something similar in a “reasoned” way.)

    Anyway we said we would be documenting any further statements, and I don’t see any science here, just conjecture and philosophy. I think in the interest of survivor solidarity we should probably leave this thread to the dustbin of history and try again sometime, maybe with some rules of engagement, and sans hidden agendas.

  • Why do so many of us continue to use Facebook despite numerous studies and media reports exposing their pernicious and harmful practices?

    FINALLY a study that makes sense. What’s crazy to me is how many people involved in psych/survivor related sites use FB and in effect lure people there as a condition of participating in a project or discussion. Even knowing that, among other tracking/profiling activities, they profile people for “mental illness”:

    There is no need for Facebook, it’s mostly about egotism and social posturing. It’s just as easy to communicate via blogs and websites, which are less vulnerable to the increasing practice of censoring and suppressing “unacceptable” (to someone) thought. At least for now.

  • This is exactly the kind of divisiveness I’m trying to avoid these discussions creating among survivors, and that I’m trying to avoid being drawn into.

    Twitter photos and fearmongering claims that can be traced back to right wing extremists aren’t scientific evidence.

    I’m saddened that you would dismiss such an important issue with this sort of claim. Beyond specific issues with specific vaccines there is the entire conceptual framework surrounding vaccines in general, which deserves to be considered, and this is the sort of conversation that FB et al. are suppressing. (Not to mention the entire field of holistic medicine.)

    Do we need to discuss the molecular structure and slightly varying effects of each specific SSRI to avoid having the entire discussion of SSRIs banned? You might be giving them a rationale for banning anti-psychiatry discussions too (which I expect to happen anyway sooner or later, likely sooner).

    Anyway, for the rest of this thread, if I comment at all it will be limited to documented statistics and research. How’s that?

  • Do you really want to promote fear and doubt about the Covid 19 vaccine that might actually END UP influencing psychiatric survivors to NOT be vaccinated?

    Why would you want to promote confidence in an “mrna vaccine” of a type that has never been used before and has been rushed through the testing process, and which is said to reprogram one’s immune system and make us, in effect, genetically modified organisms? I want to “influence” people to pursue the facts, which are difficult to find, and make their own informed decisions. Too many of have already experienced the same system which has downpressed us to the point of “madness” turning around and presenting us with the “cure.” Mandatory and for our own good of course. So I’m encouraging people to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

  • in my view…seeing all vaccinations as dangerous and ill-intended is foolish

    This sounds even-handed and rational on the surface, but, for one, “dangerous” and “ill-intended” are separate issues. We’ll leave the “ill-intended” aside for now. But in accordance with your own policy, to state that “seeing all vaccinations as dangerous…is foolish” is your opinion, and to make a definitive statement one way or the other would require scientific and other evidence to back it up.

    Not saying I’ve completely decided, as I’ve gotten emergency tetanus & rabies shouts on occasion, mainly because the (alleged) risk/benefit ratio SEEMED to weigh in favor of risking the vaccine. But what evidence is there to say that it’s “foolish” to believe all vaccinations are dangerous? This again requires an “evidence base,” which currently is being suppressed. It would seem that this would be an issue.

    Would it be “foolish” to say that all SSRI’s are dangerous?

  • It should also not be assumed that people are assuming things.

    There are many issues being conflated. I doubt that there is anyone seriously calling the virus a “hoax,” so arguing along those lines is what they like to call a “straw man” argument. Most of the argumentation, if you can call it that, has to do with how the situation has been handled.

    “Vaccination” is a different issue, as even many of those who support various lockdown measures are also highly resistant to accepting a “vaccine.”

    I agree with Steve that simply postulating “because science” is not an explanation of anything. I also agree that rather than making such vague declarations people should produce the science they claim to be upholding. That would make for a more intelligent and informative discussion.

    On the other hand, those who challenge the official narratives on any of these matters are hindered by the open censorship of relevant information by Twitter, Google and FB. Sadly however people think this is ok as long as it’s not them being censored.

    The bottom line here is that when psychiatric survivors are specifically targeted for anything it’s time for the red flags to start popping up.

  • Well yeah, but after all that poetic rage why would you stop there? Many would say that even “voluntary treatment” is violent and coercive. How about MAKE PSYCHIATRY HISTORY, period?

    More pragmatically speaking, do you have a link to the statistics you referenced on the racial breakdown vis. a vis. AOT?

  • Since neurotoxins cause brain damage, their forcible use must be legally considered torture and/or human experimentation.

    Even for proven crimes torture is not supposed to be sanctioned as punishment. Incarceration is supposed to be the extent of the state’s power, in some places state execution. But not even those on death row are supposed to be tortured.

  • Well, the twitter link above is my source for the specific statistic I mentioned.

    Not pretending to be a virologist, but other coronaviruses already in circulation pre-covid are also constantly mutating. That’s one reason why they need a new vaccine every year, with maybe 50% efficacy, which you probably know already. I think that says more about the vaccine approach in general than anything else.

    I don’t want to push my holistic health approaches here though, as long as my right to my own thought processes is respected. But for the record, I haven’t been vaccinated for the “regular” flu ever, nor have I had it for probably 25 years. I suspect I have a gradually acquired resistance, and suspect that this in addition gives me a leg up in resisting COVID. Fingers crossed.

    But my post here was more of a statistical one in nature. It seems that the pattern of “surges” is to very rapidly spike, then just as quickly the spike peaks and there is a steady gradual descent. “Flattening the curve” interferes with this process, for better or worse. But it seems that the natural course of an outbreak is getting easier to chart and predict.

  • What if on any given day the cops were nice and the mh workers were screwed up? Sounds like some reverse stereotyping here.

    Advocating “improvement” in such a blatant and systematic criminal practice as the “mental hospital” is basically the definition of reformism. It reflects a surrender to the Sophie’s Choice mentality that necessitates the abolitionist movement, and is different from supporting coalitions opposed to forced psychiatry and state support for psychiatry.

  • Since there is no such thing as “mental illness” there can be no “violent mentally ill offenders,” only people who commit violent acts — either justifiably in self defense or the defense of others, or criminally.

    Szasz pointed out long ago that the myth of “mental illness” cuts two ways, both unacceptable. The first is as a rationalization to force psychiatric “treatment” on unwilling law-abiding people. This is what is focused on the most in the anti-psychiatry movement.

    Equally destructive, Szasz said, was the power of psychiatry to absolve people of legal responsibility for violent crimes and socially destructive behavior. The first right of a citizen in any society (including socialist ones) is to be free from fear of violent assault and other predatory acts.

    Mislabeling bad behavior as “mental illness” is an inherently absurd practice from the start, so it’s impossible to make a “pro” or “con” statement regarding laws which are based on this sort of confusion.

    This is not to suggest that once someone’s immediate threat has been neutralized they should then be tortured in a dungeon for decades, which is the sort of vindictiveness bred by capitalism. And hapless people who get caught up in violent situations should be entitled to have extenuating circumstances considered in court. But the community also has a right to protect itself and contain such immediate threats. Calling violence of any sort a “health” issue, and those apprehended for such “patients,” perpetuates the same tired mentality and ignores the deeper realities.

  • Maybe adding “metaphysical” to my comment was unnecessarily confusing. Nonetheless references to “mental illness,” “spiritual healing,” etc. ARE metaphorical regardless of one’s intent. Unless the longstanding definitions of “healing” and “illness” are changed. Or until someone can produce a post-autopsy mind in a sealed plastic bag for examination — which would change a lot of minds for sure, including mine.

  • Total reform is necessary, including the abolishment especially of psychiatry; but, how can that be accomplished when so many subscribe to the old adage, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

    Don’t want to bug you Rebel but there are answers to that you won’t be finding at MIA, at least not any time soon. But there are forums for such strategizing and we look forward to seeing you there whenever you feel ready.
    (P.S. We’re not a cult!) 🙂

    BTW “reform” and “abolition” are opposites.

    Consider that often the most destructive aspect of psychiatry is not the “treatment” but the inculcation of the self-limiting belief that one is “diseased” or “broken,” when he/she in fact reacting naturally to unnatural circumstances.

  • I see the mind as being real as my hand.

    I seriously doubt you “see” anyone’s mind, which forces the issue from the start regarding metaphor vs. literal reality.

    “Material” and “real” are not synonyms. Abstractions may be considered real but they are not material, and “disease” is a material term unless used metaphorically, which is the sort of confusion and conflation psychiatry takes advantage of to make people believe that minds can have literal “diseases,” which can be “treated” by physicians.

  • Yawn. More talk of “leftists” and, in the same breath, about making “leftist” reforms to the existing U.S. capitalist-imperialist system, in this case with a little eugenics thrown in to boot. This is not the job of true leftists and socialists, which is to organize the defeat of capitalism, the reclamation of the world’s resources by the people, the seizure of the means of production, and the reversal of the dictatorship of the .1%.

  • Right — they were tested exclusively on younger healthier groups, not people over 75. They mostly seem to provide some initial protection for people in those groups, everything else remains to be seen. In Israel the whole 75+ population was vaccinated and cases started soaring. And the rate of immediate side effects seems substantially higher than with the regilar flu vaccine, especially after the 2nd shot. And there is a clear correlation with miscarriages. Other than that, no problems.

  • Such incidents can be discovered, and then recovered into conscious memory. This takes very skilled work, however.

    Quite possibly, but it’s a long stretch from recognizing it as a possibility to actually being capable of such, and I’m unaware of any credible evidence that Hubbard was capable of facilitating this. My suspicion is that he had a powerful personality and projected a lot onto his subjects, who were vulnerable and open to anything that might promise to give their lives meaning. (Not that millions of others don’t do the same in their own way.)

  • Having started out the comments on a critical note, I’ll get just a bit contrarian to say that I’m a little confused by the general level of criticism being directed at this particular author, as in terms of basic assumptions I don’t see anything here significantly more objectionable than in any pro-psychiatry MIA piece. It could be that the consensus is shifting about what is considered “progressive” and Dr. Heath didn’t get the memo; however I also think some of this is based on illusory conceptions of what psychiatry is in the first pace.

  • But this is not an “alternative” to psychiatric care. This is psychiatric care in a less restrictive setting.

    Just to interject — objectively speaking I’d still have to say this and Open Dialogue, etc. are more of a continuum than an either/or, as all the “approaches” being spoken of are centered on the individual, not the system. A truly “alternative approach” would be to prioritize the immediate collective revolutionary transformation of the material and spiritual conditions under which we live. This is a political and economic struggle, or it needs to be, if all this ostensibly “individual” misery and alienation are ever to be eliminated.

    As for the semantics of the term “alternative,” nothing healthy and right is an “alternative to psychiatry,” but the way things should naturally be. “Alternatives to psychiatry” is more appropriately applied to alternate types of torture or poison, or repression.

    None of this is meant to detract from anything KS has been saying btw.

  • It’s so transparent. Does he think he’s “clarifying” or “covering up”? But I think someone just said that.

    According to Pies, it would seem, some “patients” might be accurately recalling being told about “chemical imbalances,” but a statistically significant portion of such recollections are due to delusions or other fantastical thinking. (Which is sort of how they also talk about early childhood trauma.) Does NIMH have this data?

    Maybe this would be good material for a “study!” — exactly what are the percentages here?

  • You broke the code Rebel. And took it a little further. Hoping you’ll be working with the AP movement asap — in a way you are already.

    A random thought or two on strategy —

    1) Nothing happens in this corporate system that runs our lives — that is, nothing not in the interest of profit — without sufficient mass pressure.

    2) “The public” is WAY too clueless about psychiatry for our goals to be endorsed any time soon, given the degree of mass ignorance about what psychiatry is and does, which is actively promoted by the psychiatric industry. Still mass pressure remains the only strategy that will ultimately work to extricate government from psychiatry, as psychiatry props up the whole system big time. Without the government sanction of force psychiatry would rapidly wither away. And without psychiatry the system would have to resort to brutal fascist-type repression on a regular basis, which is messy and expensive.

    3) Survivors are generally the only people with sufficient consciousness and motivation to drive public education in matters anti-psychiatry. There are of course others as well, and this is not a broad brush. But there are also many more who echo our rhetoric as they pursue careers in “reform” psychiatry, which actually does immense harm.

    4) Hence it is not only important but VITAL for survivors to have our own forums for discussing not only this but a myriad of related issues. We can’t “educate” the public to anything but our own confusion if half of us are calling for abolition and the other half just want psychiatrists to treat them better.

    Once we have unity among survivors based on reason and analysis, not wishful thinking and emotion, we can THEN proceed to raise public consciousness, and from there proceed to the struggle finally achieving some concrete success, not just “improved” drugs and prisons still called hospitals.

    Anyway I just felt motivated to break some of this down, as sometimes I take it for granted when I write. But these are some of the givens that I base my comments and conclusions on.

  • Are some of you saying that almost ALL people who are suffering from what is called “mental illness” (such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia) are reacting to severe abuse…

    One problem is with the question, as there are no consistent categories of thought or behavior which can be legitimately “called” anything. Everyone’s subjective experience is unique, despite psychiatry presuming to quantify it.

    Many forms of trauma are given such labels. So is any other emotional or mental state deemed problematic (for whatever reason).

  • I’m not arguing with you. This has been my consistent position and I’m sticking to it till shown evidence to the contrary. If anyone is interested in documentation they can ask. But winning an argument about something neither of us can definitively prove or disprove is less important to me than maintaining anti-psychiatry solidarity among survivors at MIA, who have a range of strongly held views on the lockdowns and this rush to get people vaccinated.

    Most of the self-proclaimed “left” has abandoned the working class and small business people in favor of alliances with neoliberal corporate totalitarianism. We are entering an age of unprecedented censorship, repression and Newspeak. Those who see this see it, those who don’t are either in denial or complicit.

  • The conceptualization of emotional distress as existing in the BODY of the distressed person is the central evil that psychiatry is based on.

    Not what I mean. The ESSENTIAL fallacy of psychiatry is that the “mind” — an abstraction — can be “ill,” which any of the relatively few people left who understand what metaphors are should clearly understand. (Though even Chomsky’s linguistic understanding seems to lapse when it comes to psychiatry.)

    Anyway psychiatry’s “central evil” is the blatant absurdity that “mental illness” can exist at all, other than in bad poetry. So-called “biological psychiatry” is a permutation which takes this basic falsehood a step further by postulating that unwanted emotional states are caused by the wayward interactions of brain chemicals — which if true would represent a physical disease — yet they still speak of “mental” illness. So again, the very existence of “mental” illness is the cornerstone of psychiatry, which is what Szasz meant by the “medical model.”

    I think the key distinction I made above was in the last sentence:

    Schroder uses the phrase “medical model of psychiatry,” however Szasz was not referring to models of psychiatry; he was referring to the psychiatric model of emotional distress.

  • My initial thought is, how about we just start citing Pies as our documentation every time we debunk the chemical imbalance hypothesis? He should be happy to comply.

    I notice the notion of what the term “medical model” is as used by Schroder et al. is different from what Szasz meant by the term. ALL psychiatry is a “medical model,” as it is based on the notion of “mental illness” as an actual disease and requires an M.D. to practice. The use of “medical model” to describe the increased use of psychiatric neurotoxins — what some refer to as “biological psychiatry” — is not what Szasz meant by “medical model,” nor is it what I mean. Schroder uses the phrase “medical model of psychiatry,” however Szasz was not referring to models of psychiatry; he was referring to the psychiatric model of emotional distress.

  • Which is the exact mentality we need to un-learn, correct? We were just talking about Matt here recently, and the need to trust our own perceptions and conclusions.

    The PHD tells everyone that it is real information and not some anti psychiatry rant.

    How little respect you display for anti-psychiatry ranting! Real information is totally compatible with anti-psychiatry ranting. Better yet anyone can do it!

  • Absolutely I do see it as a contradiction of some sort. If you check I was asking about this in an apprehensive way.

    It seemed that “conscious evolution” was what the author was implying or advocating.

    I believe our evolutionary destiny is already part of our consciousness and programmed into our genes. It doesn’t need conscious assistance (here I refer to waking/ego consciousness) any more than we need to consciously make sure we breathe in after we breathe out. All “scientists” can do is fuck with all that like kids playing with matches.

    Maybe there are several concepts of “evolution” in play here — the body can adapt to toxic conditions as part of its functionality, but I don’t consider that evolution. Nor do I necessarily buy the Darwinian version either. Probably a lot of our evolutionary energy is being put into hanging on for dear life at the moment.

  • Hi again. Just to get some of my terms straight, as I don’t want you to feel down the line like I’ve misled you, be it known that I also believe the immediate goal is socialism, however the term socialism is used so many ways as to be virtually meaningless in everyday discussions. Even true socialism is meant to be a temporary means to an end — the end of class rule. However many marxists and even some Maoists would disassociate themselves from my take on many things.

    Economically the U.S., China and Russia all represent different permutations of capitalism, but not deviations from its essential nature. True socialism would not obliterate the individual, but most “socialists” today don’t have a clue, and certainly don’t represent the working class. And the Hannitys of the world are out to lunch when they point to the Clintons of the world, corrupt capitalist warlords that they are, as “socialists.” This is why I try to focus on principles and not rhetoric, as the goal should be finding an answer, not winning a debate. And none of this theoretical quibbling leads to enlightenment or finding a winning strategy for defeating psychiatry, which is a goal shared by those of many political philosophies and orientations.

    Hopefully we can continue this sometime, maybe in another forum.

  • Yes, i.e., we’re getting into scary stuff here. Galloping totalitarianism. Despite some disagreements on other matters I hear you. I don’t see a rosy future, at least not in the short term, unless someone comes up with a new approach to unite people around shared goals.

    The very idea of a “pre-covid” and “post-covid” world is buying into a hyper-Orwellian agenda taking place at a higher level than individual politicians or administrations. Covid should not be the reference point for history. Wherever it came from (more on that next) it’s a virus, with about the same mortality rate as the flu, but let’s not get into that please. NO ONE wants it. Those most susceptible to catastrophic consequences need to be protected, educated in how to protect themselves and assisted in doing so. Anyone who minimizes this is making a mistake.

    Having said that, the Spanish flu killed WAY more people and we don’t view history in terms of “pre-Spanish flu” and “post-Spanish flu.” So at the very least I think much of this is social engineering gone wild, with various interests jumping into a mode of “never let a good crisis go to waste.” There are all sorts of agendas in play here, not all of them necessarily interlocking, but it’s been obvious to many people from the start that there’s something fishy going on.

    Also, why is it suddenly “conspiracy theory” to wonder how and why all this could come about the way it has? Why aren’t we supposed to care? I notice how we are discouraged from questioning the official story behind the genesis of covid 19 in Wuhan, site of biowarfare research, and how most are not even aware that “The Fauci” was (and possibly still is) involved in financing joint American-Chinese “frankenstein” projects such as — you guessed it — genetically engineering bat viruses to be transmissible to humans. I kid you not.

    This also has much to do with capitalism, but so-called leftists are garbling the issues. To me it seems reasonable, using the Occam’s Razor approach, to at least tentatively conclude that covid, whatever its purpose, is a joint U.S./China project. But those who are onto this generally get diverted by the myth that the Chinese govt. is “communist” and view this all in Cold War terms. But today the U.S. and China are the world’s top two CAPITALIST states (Russia ranks third or possibly lower). They compete for prizes, but their paramount interest is holding together the international multicorporate empire, at least until one of the two remaining fish starts to eat the other. (Looking at it from this vantage point in history my money would be on the Chinese fish, barring some sort of correction.)

    It is a result of capitalism that we live on a toxic planet polluted by corporate waste and eat a toxic diet promoted by the same system that floods us with drugs and chemicals to suppress the symptoms of the many diseases which result. As a result many people’s immune systems no longer function and they are oblivious to the information their bodies are desperately trying to communicate till it’s too late. And now we’re supposed to entrust with our lives the same AMA and corporate medical establishments who got us here in the first place?

    Surprised MIA is all of the sudden providing this opening for covid related discussions. Because of the divisive potential I hope to move on to more pressing things, but the above pretty much sums up my attitude on all things covid.

  • Or is it that we have a duty to remain silent…or else…anyway it seems that more & more are seeing the need for Miranda to be extended to psychiatric interrogations, which need to be recognized as adversary procedures.

    So Rebel, it seems you’ve officially graduated into the ranks of anti-psychiatry?

  • Good observations, very mindful. I think some”obsessive” rituals can also serve a non-verbal centering function, and contain a unique meaning specific to the individual (though anything can be taken to extremes). And, depending on the part of town you live in, there can be much worse things than constantly checking your locks. Or your pepper spray. I’m always unconsciously patting my pocket to make sure I feel my keys there.

    At its core “mindfulness” seems to be little more than a more expensive way of “paying attention.”

  • Welcome Bojana!

    Looking forward to more of your highly creative and lucid writing.

    It’s encouraging to see you don’t feel compelled to posit an “alternative” to psychiatry — other than no psychiatry — any more than an anti-slavery abolitionist in the 19th Century would have felt compelled to find an “alternative” to slavery, other than no slavery. Insisting that we do so is a disingenuous guilt trip imposed on those of us who are gullible enough to fall for it, so I’m just warning you in advance in hopes of nipping it in the bud, as you’ll no doubt be hearing this one sooner or later.

    I also have to give credit where due to Frank, who probably summed it up for many when he said, “Psychiatry was my path to anti-psychiatry.” Though I’d say what the system really wants to suppress is clarity and consciousness teaming up with resistance and revolution.

  • The most important lesson to be learned from Matt’s experience is that it is not enough to have an intellectual grasp of psychiatry’s fraud, the remnants of the psychiatric narrative must be rooted out of one’s soul. At that point you don’t need the “validation” of so-called “experts,” a need Matt never managed to shake.

  • Unfortunately atm NO ONE is posting the MNN archives. So this debate is sort of moot. Vesper’s political perspectives are not overly relevant here, and there are forums where ISSUES rather than personalities can be discussed, and this thread has veered WAY too far in the direction of personalities.

    Again, my personal concern is NOT with who posts the MNN archives (I personally wish they were public domain). It is with labeling a completely new project “Madness Network News” and misleading people into assuming that this is the same Madness and the same movement. (What’s wrong with using a different name, for god’s sake?) I have made this clear both publicly and privately, at least I thought I had. Since Vesper was responsible enough to respond I felt obliged to give him some sort of reply, even though I’d said I was done with the public discussion of what amounts to movement “dirty laundry.”

    Then I discovered not only that the Redux site had been taken down but that the site CONTAINS NO ARCHIVES. As of now, or at least last night, NO ONE can see the archives at all. So y’all need to work this out.

    The most important issue right now is that MNN must be available SOMEWHERE for serious movement activists, strategists and scholars to examine, since without knowing our history it’s difficult to make sound decisions about where to go next, and how to avoid the mistakes which led to the movement’s defeat circa 1985.

    So that’s my response, after this I will give you the last word and hope MIA puts a merciful end to this. Everyone has everyone else’s email addresses, if you want to retrace the course of our offline discussions, and there are some limited forums (other than Facebook) where AP survivor discussions are possible.

    Signing off for now & I regret the turn all this has taken.

  • The psychiatric system must and will collaps, because it´s just a shameful lie and eugenics live, but it might take too long for me to raise a toast on the very day they all get dumped….

    You’re right, it’s a matter of time but unpredictable as to just when. However we can help influence exactly when that day will arrive — not only by recounting our horror stories, but by demonstrating and communicating our understanding of what psychiatry is and why it needs to go.

  • I mean, shouldn’t it be ASSUMED that the assertions of scientific and medical “experts” are based on evidence? Even having to say your conclusions are based on evidence sounds defensive and suspicious. (How about producing the evidence?)

    I have the same reaction when I see the “new” rainbow flag with the Black & brown stripes to show that POC are “included” among the ranks of gay people — again shouldn’t that be assumed? Having to point this out specifically seems to message that “we are white, but we include POC too.”

    Also, “evidence” is used in BOTH sides in court cases, and proves nothing without considering it in context, along with conflicting evidence.

  • Vesper,

    While I respect the people involved in “approving” your MNN project and have fond memories of working with all of them, by Jenny’s account none have been in touch with the movement, or what remains of it, for decades, and are not in touch with the current state of anti-psychiatry consciousness, or other developments since the movement was soundly defeated in the mid-80’s. And that they don’t intend to be involved in activism now. If this changes that would be a good thing. But I don’t think this move to claim the imprimatur of MNN is in the interest of current AP survivor solidarity, and as it stands seems more like a power play.

    MNN had a large diverse editorial staff who were not always in lockstep; beyond that MNN reflected the spirit of an entire movement, and the energy of hundreds who were part of the movement in many ways. So to appropriate the “MNN” identity — as opposed to posting the archives, which speak for themselves — is inappropriate, or at least premature, without trying to coordinate with the largest existing group of AP survivors who are in accordance with the principles and spirit of the Mental Patients Liberation Movement. We consider our Principles of Unity to be the bottom line summation of what separates anti-psychiatry from reformism, and the basis for resurrecting the movement. They are not really “ours,” as they all derive from the principles last reaffirmed at the 1982 Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression in Toronto.

    An effective movement cannot be divided against itself. It must be representative and democratic, and simply springing something like this on everyone without notice and calling it Madness Network News is not at all democratic. I also notice the term “anti-psychiatry” is nowhere to be found.

    Still I’m glad you care enough to respond. As I said, MIA is not the appropriate forum for internal survivor discussions. But I and no doubt others will be happy to continue this by email, possibly even on our work site, as we don’t yet have a public site. I already had signed off from the MIA portion of all this, but noticed your post and thought I should respond. But this time I mean it! 🙂

  • Many years ago in the city where I lived some agency sponsored an event entitled “Run For Mental Health” — one of those deals where someone sponsors you and pledges x amount for each mile you run. Anyway we printed up our own leaflets with a similar look saying “Run FROM Mental Health,” with some sort of appropriate AP info inside. I found a copy recently. Anyway this reminded me of that, with the phrase “preventative approach to youth mental health,” as what is considered “mental health,” such as unquestioning adherence to prevailing social attitudes and assumptions, should definitely be prevented, if we can. 🙂

  • It became a self-fulfilling prophecy because everyone told me that I had this brain disease that I’d have for the rest of my life and would constantly be clawing its way through my mind even if I didn’t have any form of “symptoms” anymore and that I’d have to be constantly vigilant to make sure it didn’t return.

    Yep. Watch out, even if you feel good you might be a super-spreader.

    This is the function of psychiatry, to keep us eternally obsessed with the idea that if we aren’t down with their program we are diseased and/or “other.” It works great to keep people internally restrained, which is cheaper and more effective than with cops and and straitjackets and isolation rooms, especially where 20% of the population is involved.

  • Time for me to step back and give some general props to Dr. Hickey, the man.

    Several years back, when Phil was a participant in talks leading up to the (now) survivor-run anti-psychiatry project to which I have alluded elsewhere, he ended an email to me saying (and this is close to a direct quote): ” I have no ego concerns. My only interest is anti-psychiatry.”

    Many people claim there are no egotistical reasons for their pronouncements on this or that, but in Phil’s case it turns out to actually be true. Otherwise he would have stopped writing for MIA after one of his recent articles was taken down.

    Phil is in many ways a “pure” intellectual and a gentleman, to the extent that he opposes making demands for fear of them creating a contentious atmosphere; he sincerely believes that the power of reason will overcome in the end. Can’t say I agree, because the power of power plays a major role in the outcome of many ostensibly “reasoned discussions.” (Consider the constant bs about policies those in power decide to implement being “evidence-based.”) But, while he is certainly open to changing a position based on a cogent argument to the contrary, Phil remains firm in his convictions and will not be “polite” at the expense of pulling his intellectual punches. He is a major ally of anti-psychiatry survivors and a key leader of the AP movement as a whole.

    Carry on Phil!

  • I have no intention of engaging this on MIA as it could only have a divisive effect. Certainly Vesper is someone who anti-psychiatry people should be open to. But there has been serious COLLECTIVE AP abolitionist survivor organizing going on for years and no one person defines what constitutes anti-psychiatry. However MIA is not a forum for anti-psychiatry survivors and this remains an internal discussion, and after this post I will not engage it at MIA, and invite any interested people to contact us at [email protected], until we get our website up (till then we will be at a disadvantage communications wise).

    Btw there is no “OH’s work” and to characterize what we do as such dismisses the hard work and commitment of a dedicated core group of 15 or more survivors — many of whom regular MIA readers know — who have struggled together for over 3 years to create the ideological and organizational infrastructure for a successful anti-psychiatry movement. And the goal of an anti-psychiatry movement is to abolish psychiatry, period; there is no secondary goal. But there’s another time and place for this discussion.

    Meanwhile, while I hadn’t planned on posting these until our website is up, I think it would be appropriate to share the basic principles with which we all agree, and the two basic demands which have always characterized the movement’s collective sentiment:

    We Believe:

    ⦁ That psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine.

    ⦁ That psychiatry is a tool of social control which enforces conformity to the prevailing social order.

    ⦁ That “mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

    ⦁ That the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.

    We Demand

    ⦁ An end to all forced psychiatric procedures and “treatments,” including but not limited to incarceration, solitary confinement, physical restraints, drugging, and electroshock.

    ⦁ An end to all state support for psychiatry, including but not limited to the use of psychiatric testimony in legal proceedings; psychiatric screenings in schools, prisons, and workplaces; licensing of psychiatrists; and the use of public monies to support psychiatric programs or research.

    We Assert — and plan to exercise — our right as an oppressed class to self-determination.

  • Good analogy. And as far as the interplay between synapses and the role neurotransmitters play in this, Pies is both scratching the surface and missing the point. Every thought and every bit of mental activity has a unique physiological correlate, just as anger and fear are correlated with adrenalin release — which is not considered the “cause” of the emotion.

  • It absolutely does, because the site you cite above could be a big problem for many of us. This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. The people responsible for hosting it are apparently planning to “resurrect” MNN, as though they represent the legacy of Madness Network News, BUT THEY DO NOT! We don’t even know who they are, except for one individual. To my knowledge they have no connection to the anti-psychiatry movement and have never engaged with AP activists on MIA or anywhere else in the world (except maybe for, again, Facebook).

    One immediate conflict posed by the site is that MANY serious anti-psychiatry activists and survivors in general object to being expected to identify as “mad.” People who were not even born when ex-inmates began to use the term, primarily ironically, now literally see “madness” as an “identity.” Someone who chooses to identify as “mad” or anything else is free to do so, but to try to impose it on an entire movement is egotistical and oppressive.

    While I can only take reading the site in little bits so far, my impression is that this “new MNN” will also embrace the peer industry wholeheartedly, which is the antithesis of anti-psychiatry.

    This is the kind of thing I meant when I praised your approach as free of spin, interpretation or solicitation. As it stands, it looks like serious anti-psychiatry survivors — i.e. those who are actually trying to eliminate psychiatry and not replace it — have our work cut out for us.

    “A revolution is not a garden party. In a revolution one wins or dies. — Che Guevara

  • Glad you’re in touch with Lauren. And it’s good we’re all sort of stumbling into one another here, because we need to coordinate our goals, tactics and activities to the extent possible. The “new” group I’m referencing is actually over 3 years old by now, and includes a growing cross-section of survivors who START with an abolitionist perspective, and with other shared understandings about psychiatry which constitute our “self-evident truths” (concurrence with which is required as a condition of membership). We have been creating the organizational and ideological infrastructure for a successful anti-psychiatry effort based on a consistent and “scientific” analysis and strategy, not on unexamined assumptions and wishful thinking.

    I don’t remember whether the original NAPA was an exclusively survivor organization (actually the term “survivor” didn’t come into play till later; “inmate” was the prevailing term, as more of the psych population then was physically locked up ). But it looks like information sharing is something we have in common; we hope to soon have a functioning AP website which will serve as a hub for AP discussions, organizing, education, strategizing, etc. and will be for all people, not just survivors. Wanting to have our site up is the main thing holding us back from officially announcing ourselves in an MIA article, and elsewhere (assuming our request to do so is accommodated by MIA when the time comes).

    There are plenty of ways to communicate without, as Stallman says, “being used by” Facebook. I only brought this up because you mentioned your NAPA page. But FB aside there may still be a useful function for the NAPA name — one thought is that “NAPA” might eventually encompass the entire anti-psychiatry movement, with the “survivor vanguard” (us) using another name. There are all sorts of possibilities.

    I mentioned elsewhere that I love what you’ve done with the Phoenix Rising archives — no spin, “interpretation” or solicitations — and the PR “alumni” we’re in touch with give you high praise. I’m wondering if you would have the capacity to do the same thing for MNN if they provided you with the raw material. Then people could go there, link it to their sites, etc. without having to worry about what sort of “baggage” might come along with it. Wondering what the general response to this might be. (I mentioned this to Jenny too.)

  • I have no use for “models” or “alternatives,” they are all based on the assumption that psychiatry serves a legitimate purpose, or that it tries to and fails. The real purpose of psychiatry is to police our thoughts and suppress our aspirations in the service of corporate profit. The solution to people’s personal misery lies in the defeat of capitalism and the alienation it engenders and requires, not in trying to change people’s attitudes towards their oppression, no matter what the “model.” Psychiatry is a weapon of capitalism and, just like ICE, a tool of law enforcement and containment. Why would we want an “alternative” once we’ve ridden ourselves of it?

    Even more than the drugs, the destructiveness of psychiatry lies in its mystification of people’s pain, convincing them that their unhappiness with life is a problem within themselves to shamefully hide from others and “work on,” rather than arising from a collective problem requiring a political solution. So the energy which should be directed against the oppressive system is instead channeled into self-negating beliefs and behaviors.

    Is that any better?

  • Thank you, as always, Philip. Hey, maybe we should renamed our “movement” the Truth about Psychiatry movement, instead of the anti-psychiatry movement?

    Ouch, I’m surprised at this from an AP veteran of sorts.. I’m having second thoughts about Phil indulging the idea of AP being harmful, it brings out everyone’s latent guilt about opposing oppression, which is what the system wants.

    Anyway “the answer” is that learning the truth about psychiatry LEADS TO wanting to abolish it. Which means joining the anti-psychiatry movement. Simply “knowing the truth” is pretty useless unless you put what you know into action. Or as Frederick Douglas said (more or less) “Power cedes nothing without a demand.”

  • Sami Timimi prefers the later term because he isn’t opposed to the existence of his profession, even if he thinks it has greatly gone astray

    And conclusions such as this are what makes my blood boil to see Tamimi assigned to “explain” what anti-psychiatry activists can explain much better.

    There is no reason for psychiatry to exist if it is built on fraudulent principles, which it demonstrably is and always has been. This is known as logic. So MIA pays someone who profits from the existence of psychiatry to explain why it shouldn’t be abolished.

    And no one is supposed to be so unkind as to see self interest, just “expert judgement.”

    The fact that the Pies’es and Liebermans are so freaked out by the term “anti-psychiatry” demonstrates that it is the PERFECT term.

  • Karin — don’t drink the Kool-Aid. The ONLY thing psychiatry is “tasked with” in reality is social control. Everything else is tactical, and window dressing. Psychiatry already knows what it really is, it’s the people who need to learn.

  • Just saw this, I’m licking my lips — there has been a surge of anti-psychiatry “chatter” over the past week or so, largely inspired at MIA by the Madness Network News article and related controversies, and I’ve been preoccupied.

    I may have finally detected a flaw in Phil’s approach — he has an uncompromising faith in the power of reason and its influence on the proselytizers of psychiatric ideology.

    On the other hand he may be looking forward to a distant day when the collective understanding of the populace reaches the point where there are no illusions to hide behind, and the psychiatric empire’s clothes become the stuff of mockery.

    Can’t wait to read the article.

  • Censorship is not the main problem with FACEBOOK, although of course they do that too, and will be doing it more & more in the immediate future. What is unconscionable is encouraging survivors (in particular) to unthinkingly turn over their personal information to what is primarily a tracking, surveillance, and profiling site, and which will give provide said info to date banks, government agencies and god knows who else. This is not conspiracy theory, it is easily documented; again an authoritative site explaining all this can be found here: (I don’t see why this is even controversial; it certainly represents far more than my personal opinion.)

    I would hate to see MNN “canceled” from the web, as I think the most important consideration is that our true history be accessible to all, especially AP activists. But I also consider it vital to correct any misinformation such as Jenny has mentioned, and to remain vigilant in the face of any other opportunistic attempts to appropriate MNN to promote any private agenda unrelated to fighting psychiatry. I also urge people to NOT “sign up” with or send any sort of personal information to ANYONE who is using the imprimatur of MNN to solicit it.

    In fact if Jim could give MNN the same treatment he gave Phoenix Rising, with no attempts at “spin,” it would be a great service.

  • I’m still hoping MIA will find someone to do a memorial piece for George. Any ideas anyone?

    How can something have “organizing potential” knowing the personal information of all your members and associates, not to mention your conversations, are being delivered on a silver platter to your — and more importantly their — enemies? This strikes me as irresponsible and self-destructive, especially now that FB/Google/Twitter have taken a quantum leap into totalitarianism. Please check the link to Richard Stallman for more essential info.

    That aside, I or someone will be in touch soon, I believe we have your email.

  • So I’m awake again and still don’t really know what you’re asking, it’s pretty abstract.

    You mention the “Alternatives” conference, which I never had the misfortune to attend, though I’ve heard more than I need to. Fortunately, I believe these events no longer take place. However, “concerns” is an understatement; these were system sponsored events designed to appropriate our language and our issues and lead us down the road of reformism. And they succeeded. Although MIA is not an anti-psychiatry site per se, conversations which have been taking place here have done much to resurrect anti-psychiatry/anti-reformist consciousness and help us begin to regain our direction. However there is much further to go. We need to cleanse our thinking of “medical model” concepts, and beyond that of the idea that the individual is where “recovery” efforts should be focused, rather than the system which is the source of the alienation at the heart of emotional trauma.

    Can you be more specific?

  • the impact of the “isms” (e.g., colonialism, racism, capitalism, sexism, ableism) must be viewed as interlocking with health

    Sounds radical on the surface, but treating capitalism as just another “ism” (like “ableism”) actually plays into the hands of the corporate neoliberal ruling class, which cannot afford to recognize that in the present era racism and sexism are intrinsic aspects of capitalism/imperialism, and that they cannot be solved simply by attitude changes; they require revolution. Capitalism is the “mother of all isms.” As long as the system needs a permanent underclass to sustain itself racism and sexism will prosper, no matter how brilliant the insights into microaggression.

  • Why in the fucking world would you urge people to go to FACEBOOK? That’s TOTALLY CRAZY. FB is a tracking, surveillance and profiling site. It is irresponsible to send vulnerable survivors to FB to have their personal information sucked up and stored; if anything MIA should be urging people to LEAVE FB and assisting them in doing so.

    It be may be moot soon anyway, as FB starts banning anything that offends the people who call us “pill shamers.”

    Again, mandatory reading, from a member of the Internet Hall of Fame:

  • Thanks Jim.

    You should be aware that there is an active survivor-led anti-psychiatry organization with a consistently growing membership which has been functioning for several years now. Some but not all our members are well known MIA “veterans” (in some cases expatriates). And we are appreciative of your work.

    At the appropriate time – likely very soon — we will be contacting you, and although our organization is run exclusively by survivors who wish to “make psychiatry history,” we are open to working with all truly anti-psychiatry allies, and forming coalitions around specific issues. We haven’t officially “launched,” which will happen as soon as our website — exclusively dedicated to ending psychiatry — is finished. However many of the people reading this are aware of our existence and our basic principles and demands. (Our email is posted earlier in this thread.) Hopefully we can work together in the future in some form.

    This is the first I’d heard of your relationship with Leonard, which is noteworthy. I do urge you to abandon FACEBOOK, it is primarily a tracking, surveillance and profiling site, and I consider it highly problematic to be urging survivors to go there. Additionally — if it isn’t already — FB will soon get around to banning anti-psychiatry content as “false information.” (I always recommend this site for details, written by a member of the Internet Hall of Fame : )

    Meanwhile some sad news for many people who may be reading this: As I don’t have the ability to post this as a news item, I just want to pass along that longtime AP movement activist George Ebert — co-founder of the Mental Patients Alliance of Central New York — has just died. While I do not have the capacity to write a proper memorial, hopefully MIA will find a way to get this done, even though I don’t believe George spent much time on MIA.

  • It’s largely semantics, as the “war on drugs” has always been in fact a war on Black and poor youth (enthusiastically championed by Biden AND Nixon prior to Biden becoming “woke”).

    In any event, let’s finish off the phony war on street drugs and amp up the one on psychiatric neurotoxins. (I’m wondering, if we could morph this term to “psychotoxins” would it enter the street vernacular and thus be more a subject of mass contemplation?)

  • Karin — Great article, can’t find much at all to disagree with, which is unusual as people here know. I see you are already involved in your own projects — if you would be interested in working in conjunction with other survivors who are trying to deconstruct the psychiatric narrative and “make psychiatry history,” such a forum exists and we’d love to hear from you, and share our basic analyses, principles and goals. You (& anyone) can email us at [email protected]

    BTW people at MIA don’t get much of a chance to discuss COVID, lockdowns & vaccinations from a critical perspective, so don’t be surprised if the comments section is flooded by COVID-related responses.

  • Wow, I really appreciate this snowy; it heartens me to know that the essence of my argumentation does get through to some people sometimes, as I often get crickets on MIA after I post something I think is particularly insightful, only to learn months later from an email that it helped someone make a major connection. So I know not to draw conclusions based on the immediate response. But you’re one of those who “gets it” regarding the intricacies of the revisionism, albeit unrecognized, which still permeates much of our “anti-psychiatry” thinking and remains a big factor in holding back the movement to defund and abolish psychiatry.

    And you’re right, is it exhausting, thanks for getting that too. But supportive communications such as yours are just as energizing.

    I don’t want to divert the focus here from Jenny however, who was a tireless AP activist “back in the day,” not just a journalist, and was personally involved in many of the actions and events she describes above. I’m certain she also appreciates your effusive thanks.

  • I & others have been attempting to educate people about movement history on MIA for years. An important part of this history is how the movement was stolen and its legacy distorted, and how the anti-psychiatry movement was replaced by the thoroughly fake “consumer movement.”

    The idea of anti-psychiatry being taught in history classes is pretty out there considering that the abolition of psychiatry is considered “crazy” even among many at MIA. Why teach our “history” when the present is ignored? The movement to eradicate psychiatry is more than a “civil rights” struggle; our most essential right is the right to never be subjected to hate speech labels such as “mental illness” and “psychosis.” The primary right of a “mental patient” is to never be considered a “mental patient.”

  • Wasn’t expecting this, but I’m very glad that Jenny’s article has been published on MIA; some of us are already familiar with a previous version but it needs a wider audience.

    While I would disagree that there are “many” anti-psychiatry groupings at the moment, as snowyowl knows there is definitely one — which is the only survivor-run abolitionist organization with which I am familiar. I’m not talking about “peer” organizations but those whose sole goal is to end psychiatry completely or, as Auntie Psychiatry would say, to “make psychiatry history.” Those who want more info should contact us at [email protected]

    There are efforts underway to put the MNN archives online, which is long overdue. However there has also been talk of “resurrecting” MNN, which I oppose. I strongly believe that the voice of the Mental Patients’ Liberation Movement should not be appropriated by current activists, as such a publication or site could easily end up watering down and misrepresenting the militant anti-psychiatry activism of that day by those who were not part of it. We should absolutely continue to create our own media. But the name Madness Network News should have a special reverence, and be preserved for the ages.

  • It’s a waste of time to criticize the inherent contradictions of “therapy” if the unspoken assumption is that there’s a “correct” way to assuage the inherent trauma of capitalism on an individual level — without first defeating capitalism! “Personal growth” is a form of individualism when separated from the necessity of collective struggle.

    This is becoming an ever more convoluted dilemma as more and more “woke” liberals present their reformist proposals as “revolutionary” and “socialist” when they are nothing of the sort.

  • Cancer is part of the healing process and is a function of the immune system.

    WHO is assuming that “autism” is neurologically rooted? If that were the consensus “it” would be seem to be a pathology; otherwise, like the apppendix, “it” would have no functional role in a “modern” human.

    What are the current “advantages” of such a condition?

  • “Intersectionality” is a way of avoiding the need to eliminate capitalism, which is the “mother of all oppression.” Racism and sexism are the driving dynamics at the heart of capitalist culture; they don’t just happen to “intersect.”

    No energy to get into a long academic discussion, but this would be as good a place to start as any:

  • Dittos & kudos to KS FWIW. A courageous statement not designed to garner mass approval.

    Some would contend there can be a literal state of “neurodiversity” that bridges (or fuses) the physical (neurology) and the abstract (psychology). As such, as long as there is a physical component this is an argument for “biopsychiatry,” though I also sense that this would be denied. In fact such a fusion is impossible in a 3 dimensional world.

    At best it is euphemistic to refer to purported differences in brain structure as “diversity”; should cancers be referred to as examples of “cellular diversity”? (That sounds progressive.) Or am I missing something key?

  • Why do you think I even care? Anyway you’re speaking in generalities. I think many people are way too preoccupied with themselves, personal feelings and their “identities.” If you have a plan for revolution and collective control of the planet that’s more the kind of thing I consider worth discussing. I’m not interested in chopping at the branches.

  • A world without work — the ultimate “woke” millennial fantasy!

    There’s probably a point here somewhere, one which was addressed ages ago by both Marshall McCluhan and Abbie Hoffman — people don’t need “jobs,” they need ROLES.

    What is being addressed as “work” here is more like capitalist exploitation, which is alienated and alienating.

  • “Does it work” is absolutely the wrong question. It works to do exactly what it is meant to do — to keep dissidence under control. The real question is what should be the penalty for prescribing it, and whether or not the International Criminal Court should take this up.

  • Let’s get our analyses straight here.

    If one accepts the two basic AP principles that a) Psychiatry is not a legitimate field of medicine and ) “Psychiatry is a tool of social control,” it makes no sense to speak of sending shrinks (or their surrogates) “along with” the police. Psychiatry IS the police! It’s just a question of style. And don’t forget the guy who was murdered with a ketamine injection.


    PS In a life & death situation a martial arts expert who could disarm a “crazy” person would be a much better option than shrinks OR cops!

  • I’ve finally come to these conclusions: If “autism” is no longer meant to denote organic brain dysfunction it should not be used at all, as it then becomes an abstraction, like “mental illness.” And that “neurodiversity” is a term which belongs under the aegis of “biopsychiatry,” ascribing one’s personality, thoughts and feelings to physical variations in brain structure.

  • So beyond the concerns of professional “mh” people it appears that the broader anti-psychiatry movement needs to come to some sort of informed and reasoned consensus about the term “autism” — is it a) another “mental illness” (i.e. bogus) or b) some form of minor brain dysfunction? It can’t be both, as there is no continuum between the physical and the abstract, at least not in the material world.

  • Whilst some might claim that the creation of the alternative categories of “neurotypical” and “neurodiverse” is a playful liberation from the pathologising medics, it still perpetuates the “us” and “them” dynamics and further solidifies the individualisation that feeds neoliberal politics.

    Despite my challenges to the context of Tamimi’s current function within the MIA sphere, I recognize a noteworthy statement when I see one.

  • I thought I’d throw this into the mix here as well (note that they quote NAMI as “experts” and provide a suicide hotline #):


    A student has died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a Zoom distance learning class Wednesday, officials said. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office announced the student was an 11-year-old.

  • What’s wrong with US society is people believing the problems can be solved within the structure of US society. At any rate it’s the same propaganda regardless of the format.

    But that’s not even what I’m talking about. Forcing children to watch computer screens for hours on end is child abuse in itself, no matter what the programming consists of. I’m interested in what the post-lockdown suicide rate will end up being among those under 18 (though not looking forward to the answer).

  • While schools are no doubt comparable to prisons in many ways, this is a lame excuse for removing children from all social contact (which poses almost zero risk to them) and sticking them in front of a screen for the better part of a day. This used to be seen as a problem, now it’s mandatory. It’s not good for your brain or your eyes. And despite the fact that it may be better than being beat up, bullied, and taunted, there are clearly many less drastic solutions, if that’s truly the concern.

  • Yes but that’s at the individual level, and corporate profits also play a role. However at a systemic level the reason psychiatry is given so much state support — and ultimately backed up by state guns — is that it functions to keep people stuck in the conformist molds necessary for the smooth functioning of the prevailing social/political/economic order. (In the current day that would be capitalism.)

  • So we are not all “consumers” of merely propaganda, some of us here actually did our homework/research.

    I was referring to the term “mental health consumer” as a euphemism for “mental patient.”

    I do agree, help by those who know what’s actually going on within the “mental health” industry will be infinitely more helpful, than the so called “help,” by those brainwashed by the psychiatric DSM and pharmaceutical industries.

    What sort of “help”? Knowing that psychiatry sucks doesn’t mean one has the ability to do what it professes to do but doesn’t, and can’t. If the problems are systemic simply identifying them is hardly a solution.

    Psychiatry existed long before the DSM, with comparatively lethal results.

  • The brain is the seat of who we are. It is where dignity, pride, our whole being is.

    WHOA. The brain is a squiggly gelatin-like blob of grey organic matter — can’t believe you would say this. To wit:

    “Mental illness” is a semantically absurd concept which falsely conflates the abstraction known as the “mind” with the physical brain to mislead people into believing they have literal diseases.

  • We are heading for some serious totalitarianism, that’s for sure.

    I agree also that we are heading for a pseudo-socialist government, but I think we mean that in different ways. Because I believe we NEED a socialist government, but a REAL one — not the so-called “democratic socialism” pushed by academic self-defined “radicals” (who are actually “woke” liberals, not true socialists). Republicans play into this by absurdly referring to the likes of such capitalist predators as the Clintons as “socialists.” What I see in the near future is a growing totalitarianism that is presented as “socialism” but is far from anything Marx, Lenin, Mao or Fidel ever had in mind. This in turn will need to be overthrown, in a true revolution, not a “virtual” one.

  • Well, it sounds like your priorities are in order — you’re concerned with the HOW and not the WHY vis. a vis. anti-psychiatry. And while allies “on the inside” should be valued and utilized, power cedes nothing without a demand. So, I agree in general, though there’s still that little detail of “what psychiatry actually is” to work out with more precision if we are to have a “united front.”

  • Well, the case against psychiatry has been made for ages now, the question is what are we going to DO about it, i.e. how do we eliminate psychiatry, and avoid falling into reformist traps or appeals to “save” psychiatry (which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what we need to do).

    Abolitionist survivors and other potential activists who wish to take this conversation further should email us at [email protected] for more info.

    Good to see you being so prolific recently Phil. 🙂

  • Ca-ching!

    The “peer” concept is the most insidious development ever devised to mislead survivors (and future survivors) into seeing themselves as damaged goods, while pretending to empower them. I advise people to run whenever they see it used, whether by an mh professional or by a self-described “peer.” We are humans, not “peers” and certainly not “consumers” of anything but propaganda.

  • [continuing after a bit]

    Why accept their authority to define the labels you wear with pride?

    In this case it’s THEIR label you’re wearing with “pride,” so it sounds more like “I’m going to bed because I want to, not because you told me to!” Or people demanding their “right” to ingest neurotoxins specifically designed to control them.

    I don’t theorize about “bipolar” btw, I discount the possibility of such a purported “disease” existing, by definition.

    Which wends me back to a curiosity I alluded to previously, which I will post in its entirety (hope you appreciate the segue) (spoiler alert/promo — yes the is the letter to Szasz from Timothy Leary):

    July 17, 1961

    Dr. Thomas S. Szasz
    c/o Upstate Medical School
    Irving Avenue
    Syracuse 10, New York

    Dear Dr. Szasz:

    Your book arrived several days ago. I’ve spent eight hours on it and realize the task (and joy) of reading it has just begun.

    The Myth of Mental Illness is the most important book in the history of psychiatry.

    I know it is rash and premature to make this earlier judgment. I reserve the right later to revise and perhaps suggest it is the most important book published in the twentieth century.

    It is great in so many ways–scholarship, clinical insight, political savvy, common sense, historical sweep, human concern– and most of all for its compassionate, shattering honesty.

    I have already contacted several of my colleagues and intend that everyone I meet will be exposed to your work. I am in charge of the first year graduate training at this Center and while I don’t believe in “required” reading I shall certainly “suggest” with enthusiasm that this book be read and re-read.

    Your text states most eloquently, convincingly, systematically what a group of us here have been attempting to communicate. I have in the past published extensively on diagnosis and have come to understand the rituals and rules of that game. In the last two years we have been attempting to apply the “game” conception to behavior change (“treatment” or “rehabilitation”). We have developed a philosophy, many rules and a new language for _real-education_–i.e., helping people understand their games, planning new games, working out explicitly the rules, rituals, goals, roles of the games they select.

    I wonder if there is any chance that you could pay us a visit. I’ll be in Cambridge until July 25th.–and after August 23rd. If you are in New England this month I hope we can expect a visit. I should also like to invite you to come to Harvard on a consultant-lecturer basis for a couple of days in October. A day of consulting plus a department-wide lecture. Travel expenses and a consultant fee will be available if you could arrange this trip.

    I’ll write again in more detail about your book but in the meantime please accept my admiration and gratitude for what you have done for your profession and your times.

    Timothy Leary

    (Note — Pretty sure but not totally sure Leary hadn’t experienced LSD yet, though his mention of “game theory” seems to presage some of his later psychedelic-era writing.

  • Please let me know if you’d be interested in creating a presentation (panel discussion, maybe?) for Rethinking Psychiatry.

    STILL “rethinking” psychiatry after all these years? Didn’t you hear? — the thinking has been completed. The conclusion: psychiatry is a fraudulent branch of medicine which must be abolished.

  • Nope, you’re not getting it. The very process of reclassifying human beings as “peers” is alienated, and alienating. That some so-called “peer” systems are “kinder and gentler” than others is secondary, just like some corporations being less noxious than others doesn’t justify the corporate dictatorship as a whole.

    I doesn’t take “training” to visit a psychiatric inmate as a comrade.. The idea of being “certified” in consciousness and compassion ignores that we are in essence dealing with crimes against humanity, and professional “peers” serve the purpose of putting a human face on an inhuman system. Anyone who cares can be that drop of light in the darkness of captivity, there’s no need for it to be a “specialty.”

    The purpose of psychiatry is to enforce conformity to system values, and to relate to it in any other way is to unwittingly collude in its mystification of human suffering, and its persecution of those who don’t fit in the box. And if you truly considers psychiatry to be a tool of repression, to look to it for approval lends far more credibility to it than it does to you.

    BTW I don’t know any “mad folks,” only people who have romanticized and internalized their labels.

  • The idea of professional “certified” human beings is preposterous. It sounds like you’ve ditched one label (“mental illness”) for another (“neurodiversity”). To me the idea of a “peer work force” is reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I know there are many others for whom this is not a confusing reference.

  • Anyway, there are lots of contradictions to think about in social work ethics, even without bringing peer work into it.

    I would second that. But bringing the in the whole “peer” angle surely makes things even more convoluted politically and theoretically. I don’t see why “system” people insisting that we are “peers” isn’t seen as immediately suspicious, just as it would be by anyone in day to day life confronted by someone who felt it necessary to point out that they are “equal” (except that this special category of equality is designated as “peerdom”). I consider “peers” to be just above “untouchable” status in the psychiatric caste system. Weird how the term is used to imply equity.

    As for social workers per se I believe many of them who are well-meaning must live their lives with a sense of impotent frustration at knowing what is best for people is not on the agenda of the ruling class, no matter which party is in power.

  • Very interesting (and praiseworthy) that the author would be interested in this issue, which is key to so many things. I see the entire “peer” apparatus as more than a Trojan Horse at this point, it is the point at which the psychiatric caste mentality attempts to “intersect” with the anti-psychiatry movement (with the intended effect of holding it back). The Toronto Principles (1982) stated that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished; the peer industry is the velvet glove covering the iron fist of psychiatric power, and a major tentacle of the psychiatric system.

    Hoping this article stays up long enough for me to read it more thoroughly.

  • This may be the most relevant investigation by RW in a while, or at least the most timely given the current spate of TD drugs on the market, each one accompanied by an Orwellian TV commercial..

    One of the most frequent targets of the Mental Patients Liberation Movement was the use of drugs that caused TD, primarily Thorazine and the other phenothiazines. The psych industry treated TD the way the tobacco industry treated lung cancer. This was the impetus for a movement-led consumer boycott of the SmithKline Corporation, and supposedly for the development of non-phenothiazine “alternatives” to the original poisons.

    It is thus beyond parody that the industry now turns around more than a generation later and trumpets the perils of TD (a form of permanent brain damage) and proudly announces a new neurotoxin to, presumably, suppress the effects of the original one. (No word yet on whether the “patient” still sits like a potted plant but without twitching and jerking muscles.)

  • @Cabrogal — Well that DOES change things of course, still I don’t think it’s particularly strategic thinking. It’s beyond me (though I understand the rationale) why people refer to adopting an abusive term rather than objecting to it — usually one they never used previously — as “reclaiming” it. It’s not like Black people originally called themselves “niggers,” then the term was stolen by racist whites, then “reclaimed”; same with “queer,” etc.; it seems like a coping mechanism arising out of powerlessness, not an expression of empowerment. But in general, from what i can see, it’s no longer Black people “reclaiming” abusive language as much as people immersed in various forms of identity politics (which includes those who wear their “disorders” with pride and use terms like “pill-shaming”).

    I’m not a “hate speech” obsessive, but consistency is important. Branding someone with a label that will be used to destroy their life is about as hateful as you can get. And why calling someone (or yourself) “bipolar” is especially self-deprecating is that, unlike “loony-tunes” or “wack job” it gives the offensive term the facade of “science” rather than trash talk

  • Random observation: That “observer self” sounds like another word for the ego, which is obsessed with separating the individual from the total environment. But ego defines most of our existence, except for people deep into meditation and full-time mystics. We are pretty much always standing back and observing — ourselves, others, things. Which inevitably begs the mention of quantum theory, about which I know you’re somewhat enthused — if the presence of an observer is part of and literally changes that which is observed, what are the implications here? (Not saying I know.)

    But I think the essential contradiction running through any attempt to make psychotherapy “better” is the fact that “client/provider” relationships are inherently alienated relationships, necessitated by capitalism and serving the function of adjusting the individual to an oppressive system. This is independent of the wisdom, skill, commitment or integrity of the “tharapist”; it is in fact beyond their control.

  • It’s important to have these sorts of conversations with the understanding that they are essentially philosophical, metaphysical &/or archetypical in nature, and have nothing to do with medicine or “therapy.”

    With that disclaimer, I think the Oedipal Complex can be seen in terms of patterns of sexuality and power in Western society, and specifically those centered in Vienna in the 1930’s, where Freud lived for some time. But he was also able to transcend at least some of that to describe internal sex and power dynamics in a way that transcends that small corner of history and can still be seen throughout Western culture.

    I always thought the Electra Complex was also Freud’s concept, but maybe I was wrong. In any case I’d say it would not necessarily make sense to try to “match” it to the Oedipal Complex, since the latter describes a psychic dilemma engendered by patriarchy and the nuclear family; women, on the receiving end of patriarchy, are continually oppressed by the same dynamic that seems to suit men fine once they accommodate themselves to an ethic of power and conquest. So I’m just saying that Electra and Oedipus aren’t necessarily cookie-cutter, pea-in-the-pod mirror images of one another.

    To articulate this in detail is beyond my current pay grade. With luck this is the most abstract I’ll get for the rest of the year at least. But I think there’s a grain of truth in there somewhere.

  • I wouldn’t necessarily invalidate his theories as CYA attempts, though his willingness to dismiss accounts of such abuse as “hysterical” fantasies was probably the low point of his career, and has a discrediting effect. He likely described and analyzed the sexuality of his era with considerable acumen, but was culture-bound in ways and tended to view the peculiarities of his historical era as universal human behavior. That said, it’s still worth a read. That Freud listened to people and tried to explore sexuality and aggression objectively was pretty enlightened for the time.

    However, psychiatry preceded psychoanalysis, it did not grow out of it; this is important to keep in mind, because psychiatry cannot be deconstructed by “exposing” Freud.

  • I wouldn’t necessarily invalidate his theories as CYA attempts, I think both can be recognized simultaneously — though his willingness to “reclassify” and dismiss accounts of abuse as “hysterical” fantasies was probably the low point of his career, and has a discrediting effect. He likely described and analyzed the sexuality of his era with considerable insight, but was culture bound in ways and tended to view the peculiarities of his historical era as universal human behavior.

    That said, it’s still worth a read. That Freud listened to people and tried to explore sexuality and aggression objectively was pretty enlightened for the time, and some of his insights are brilliant.

    However, psychiatry preceded psychoanalysis, it did not grow out of it. This is important to keep in mind, as psychiatry cannot be deconstructed by “exposing” Freud.

  • I DO NOT like that idea, in fact it feeds the problem, which is the idea that our infinite unique relations or reactions to circumstances can or should be categorized and labeled.

    What’s wrong with calling a mental warning (one of a zillion things that might be labeled “mental illness”) a mental warning, and leaving it at that?

  • Damn BL — where the hell have you been? (I’ll drop you a brief email at your “alternative” address.)

    Back in the day TD was one of the major pitfalls in taking Thorazine and other phenothiazines, and a major focus of the mental patients liberation movement. Shrinks and drug reps tried to downplay it. Now they broadcast it, as they have a drug to suppress its symptoms they can profit from. Two birds with one dose.

    In fact in the late 70’s there was an international movement boycott directed against SmithKline, makers of Thorazine, Stelazine and Prolixin, largely based on brain damaging effects such as TD.

  • You’ve been here all along, it’s just the photo that’s new, right? 🙂

    Anyway all good observations. Psychiatry preceded psychoanalysis, was influenced by it for a while, and has now buckled down into strictly chemical control. Psychiatry cannot be defeated without understanding it as a system of social control, not a branch of medicine. Without this basic understanding we will be endlessly trying to “improve” it rather than end it.

  • You need someone you trust and have developed rapport with to help you through that.

    It would be a great comfort and I wouldn’t argue against it. But if you’re in a safe place I think it usually works out as ego death is not physical death. Not taking pains ahead of time to prepare an appropriate environment is asking for trouble in terms of consensual reality repercussions, for sure. And cops may not be amused that you find them existentially amusing.

  • Nice philosophical ruminations. But has MIA returned to no longer requiring the use of quotation marks or any disclaimer whatever when using the “mental illness” word? (Where’s Paula Caplan when we need her?) 🙁

    For extra credit — who sees the innate contradiction in the phrase “understanding mental illness”?

  • I liken psychiatry and the whole concept of the “gazing look”, the idea of an “objective observer” as in a professional setting deeply disturbing.

    This evokes quantum theory, which holds that there is no such thing as an objective observer, as the very presence of an observer changes the nature of that being observed.

  • I had to walk out of a talk by Marc Lamont Hill where he was urging Black people to get therapy at their local CMH center, with the emphasis on the race and consciousness of the individual “practitioner” rather than the political context. A mutual acquaintance offered to hook us up sometime to discuss it all. But it’s not a lone case, the local Black talk station is also constantly encouraging community people to individualize and medicalize their oppression and get “treatment.”

  • Definitely dose related. Plus larger doses of LSD put the inner focus at a far deeper level than gulps of mushrooms. But this is not “therapy,” real or imagined.

    It is not necessary to have a guide once one is familiar with the new psychic dimensions opened up by the psychedelic agent. Everyone’s experience is unique. As John Lennon said, “there ain’t no guru who can see through your eyes.”

  • Timothy Leary urged people taking LSD for the first few times to be accompanied by a “guide,” who was familiar with its effects from personal experience, to help them through psychic “ruts” and avoid freaking out at the experience. But Leary, at least after a while, wasn’t advocating LSD as a psychiatric treatment but as a tool for breaking through psychic programming: “turn on, tune in, drop out” was a highly political statement.

    Incidentally Leary once wrote to Szasz, calling The Myth of Mental Illness the greatest literary achievement of the 20th Century.

  • If I were addressing Ms. Whitten directly I would suggest that what she calls “stigma” is a synonym for “bigotry,” and that it is not something someone “has” but something that is done to them.

    Further, that by accepting psychiatric “mental illness” labels such as “bipolar” one is guaranteeing that they will will be met with such bigotry, as they have defined themselves as damaged goods, which are never valued much in capitalist culture.

  • That too. What we need to also realize is that psychiatry IS the police and fight the equally odious notion that instead of (or in addition to) the “real” police we should send some sort of shrink or shrink surrogate armed with a syringe full of ketamine or whatever. If someone is armed and attacking people it seems they should be able to afford some martial arts experts trained in disarming people, or at least issue tasers to all cops (though that also makes me shudder).

  • What a sham! Psychedelics can be incredibly valuable in opening up areas of consciousness that we repress, but they are NOT “therapy”; they are more akin to the sort of awareness “normally” accessed via deep meditation. “Therapists” should be kept a minimum of 100 miles away from anyone going through this process, and it would be inexcusable for any practitioner to portray the results of such a basically spiritual experience as having anything to do with “therapy.”