Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Comments by Stephen Gilbert

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  • Yes, it would be interesting to find out just exactly what happened to him to get him to make a 180 degree turnabout like he did. I wonder if it was at this point that he began running around with pails of cat brains to conventions, trying to convince people that toxoplasmosis was responsible for schizophrenia? I wonder if anyone has ever asked him about why he made such an abrupt change in his views?

  • We all know who has a clear lack of objectivity and it isn’t Peter Gotzsche. It’s good ol’ E. Fuller Torrey. Wasn’t he the one who went around to conventions with buckets of cats’ brains because he had some far fetched theory about schizophrenia?

    Why is it that psychiatry keeps winning against anyone and everyone who speaks out against it? At least they don’t burn heretics at the stake these days!

  • Gandi is no different than any other person. We are all full of these contradictions. He was a born Hindu, with many of the prejudices of his religion, although he was greatly enlightened in other areas. Claiming he was terrible because of his views on caste paints him as a very black and white individual, stripping him of his humanity and making him into a paper caricature of a person.

    You can find the very same thing with Jesus of Nazareth. He was born and raised a good Jew, although the Jews of Judea didn’t recognize anyone from Galilee, or Northern Palestine, or Israel, to be a good Jew. They thought that the Jews of Galilee were not true Jews because they had contact and relations with Gentiles. Anyway, both the Jews of Galilee (Northern Palestine) and of Judea all looked down on anyone who came from Samaria, which was the middle province of Palestine. The reason for this was that the Samaritans had polluted the Jewish religion with pagan beliefs, creating a syncretized religion that wasn’t Jewish. Everyone hated Samaritans. Usually, people traveling from Judea to Galilee and from Galilee to Judea traveled out of their way to avoid going through Samaria because to travel through there would pollute them, making them unfit to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem until they’d gone through lots of purification rites. Jesus is very unusual because he travels through Samaria with little concern for propriety and custom.

    So, we have the story of the Samaritan (or Canaanite) woman who asked Jesus to heal her sick child. Jesus’ first response to her was not very nice at all because he essentially asked her what she was doing, a Samaritan, asking him, a good Jew, for anything. It was like he said, “How dare you even speak to me!” And then she zinged him with the line about even the dogs get to eat the crumbs from under the master’s table This is a play on words since Jews referred to Samaritans as sychars, or dogs. And as we know from the story, Jesus is taken aback and has to rethink things and then responds in a truly human and kindly manner. Jesus was a product of his times and society and had the very same prejudices as all the rest of his culture. This is one of the most interesting stories in all of the four gospels that we have and yet you never hear it preached about from the pulpit on Sundays, probably because it shows a very prejudiced and human Jesus. This story is important because it shows why Jesus was truly a great person. He could rethink things, even things that he’d always held as gospel truth. This is the mark of an amazing person, at least in my humble opinion.

    All this business with the Samaritans is why Jesus used a Samaritan as the hero of one of his best known parables. Up to the time of his telling of this parable he had lots of followers but after he told it all but the twelve left him. Everyone thought he was crazy because he even told such a story. In one gospel version even his family thought he was crazy and they went to get him. It was an affront to their religious dignity. This is why, in the gospel, that Jesus turned at this point and asked the twelve whether they were going to leave him also. There was no way in the world that there could ever be a good Samaritan! I believe that this is one of his greatest parables and, in my own belief I think that he was only able to tell such a remarkable story after his encounter with the woman about her sick child.

    Well, I digress but my point is this; all of us have our issues and our inconsistencies in thinking, even Gandhi and even Jesus of Nazareth.

  • There are no such things as side effects of a drug. Drugs cause effects, some beneficial and some not so beneficial. To call the not so beneficial effects “side effects” I believe to be a word game to minimize what the drugs truly do to people. I feel it’s much more honest to say “the effects of the drug” period.

  • I can’t find my copy of the keynote address. It’s missing in action. It’s probably way at the back of one of the drawers in my desk. However, I did find another interesting article. It’s an article entitled The 1942 ‘euthanasia debate in the American Journal of Psychiatry written by Jay Joseph. It can be found in History of Psychiatry 2005; 16; 171. The online version of this article can be found at: http//

  • I tried going to the APA archives to find the keynote address of 1941. Guess what? The keynote address for the APA’s annual meeting for 1941 is missing! When you Google it you can see the line drawn through it and the word missing. I find this interesting and certainly not working to promote the truth. I guess that the APA doesn’t want it to be bandied about that they allowed a speaker to give such an address.

  • They said that the “useless eaters” should not be allowed to live and pass on their genes that would affect the dear and wonderful volk. The volk is like the spirit and body of the German nation. It’s a particularly German way of describing who they were; the best and most wonderful of all the peoples of Europe, according to them. This is where the idea of the master race came from, the perfect people. This idea goes back a long ways in German thinking and is not something that came about just because of the Nazi rise to power. Of course, the Nazis fanned this idea of the volk to the extreme and used it to incite the German people.

  • Glad you mentioned the editorial. In 1941 at the annual meeting of the APA the keynote speaker spoke in favor of killing the mentally ill. People still don’t believe this when I tell them but I’ve got a copy of the speech. The only two responses against the speaker’s address were against his proposal, not because of the idea of killing innocent people, but because the two people wondered who would do the manual labor of garbage collection etc. carried on by the “feeble minded” and the “mentally ill”?

  • Psychiatry most certainly was linked to eugenics in the 1930’s during the rise of the Nazis in Germany. I’ve written about how they did it on numerous occasions here so won’t go into it again. They not only sterilized “mental patients” they murdered them in great numbers. Hitler and the Nazis took over the program to further the destruction of the Jewish nation, and everyone else who opposed their power. The “mentally ill” were referred to as “useless eaters” and there was an entire campaign with posters and speeches and all that to incite the common German family person and worker to rise up against the injustice of allowing these “useless eaters” to take the food out of the mouths of their more deserving children. It’s scary how quickly a society can be turned so easily to accomplish the ends of a particular group.

  • Suicide was also my default setting for quite a while. And, like you, a cat taught me how to create new and different default settings. And like your cat, my cat is one cantankerous individual. His name is Sweeney Todd so that should tell you something.

    I also agree with you in that I feel that most of us deal with these feelings by ourselves. Thank you for your post.

  • The real drug effect has to do with ruining your sex life, making you into a zombie by distancing you from your feelings and emotions, and oftentimes making you suicidal or homicidal. There is very little to no effect on the depression that people take these damned things for in the first place. Frankly, these things are the devil’s tic tacs and nothing else. Many people find that they can’t get off them or have a very difficult time getting off them when there’s no benefit and they want to quit them. There are many real drug effects but they have absolutely nothing to do with helping depression. But GP’s and psychiatrists are prescribing the things like candy to everyone.

  • I believe you’ve pointed out one of the major issues that results with drugging kids to the gills for everything. It keeps them from developing vital skills that they need to learn in order to live in society in a productive manner for themselves. As a parent you already know that kids are tricky personalities to deal with. They often tend to want to use excuses for themselves so you have to challenge them to rise to their very best rather than learning helplessness. It’s a challenge for the parent and for the kid. I believe that drugged and labeled kids don’t get the challenging that they need. It makes me wonder what’s going to happen to our society and country when so many people of the next generation have had this done to them. You are right, there’s lots of psychological damage being done, which may be the more difficult of the two kinds of damage to deal with.

  • Exactly. Law enforcement and the medical field state that stimulant use, amphetamines, is dangerous and therefore this is why people must be put in jail when they sell the stuff on the streets and when people buy it on the streets.

    But then they turn right around and state that it’s perfectly fine to give stimulants, amphetamines, to kids because they supposedly have some problem when they can’t sit still. And yet you don’t hear any outcry about this like you do about street use of stimulants. It’s destroying our kids and everyone goes right along with it. As I stated before, when are parents going to stand up for their own children and deny the drugging of their kids?

  • For the place where I work it would mean putting the money into buying things for the Point Store on each unit. Many of the people forced to come here have little to no money and many don’t have family that might give them money. Things like cokes and snacks become very important when you don’t have access to the outside, or if you have no money. I was brought here with 72 cents in my pocket.

    So, there’s a token or barter system that was set up so that people could get points that they could then use to buy themselves things like cokes, snacks, shampoo of their choice and not that provided by the “hospital”, notebooks to keep journals in, etc. People who wouldn’t be able to have these little things have access to them. The “hospital” provides the money to buy the stock for the Point Stores.

    However, our wonderful state legislature has decided that we need to save more money to give to the rich One Percenters in the state and have demanded that we cut spending. The organization that oversees the “hospital’ was recently taken over by accountants and not people in behavioral health. They are demanding that we give justifications for why we have the Point Store on the units and are doing their best to destroy it. This would mean even more restricted lives for many people on our units if they’re allowed to accomplish this. The “hospital” is truly committed to Point Store and to giving people the opportunity to have access to things they wouldn’t have otherwise. And get this, the staff is forbidden to donate money to supply the stores!

  • I have never met a volunteer peer worker up to this point in time. I was trained to only accept payment for my work since my expertise by experience, as opposed to the clinical staff’s expertise by theory, is valuable and should be compensated.

    Yes, it is difficult to challenge the system, especially the psychiatrists. I’ve tried it twice in meetings and was severely attacked. One psychiatrist was so angry at me that he was spitting saliva as he was yelling at me. They would have tarred and feathered me if they’d had their way. I am very lucky in that I’m actually supported by two important members of the administration. I am fairly safe as long as I don’t outright challenge the psychiatrists publicly. Not even the administrators are brave enough or stupid enough to challenge the psychiatrists.

    What I’ve attempted to do is affect the beliefs of staff through my contact with them on a daily basis. I’ve tried to build a rapport with the people working the units, from the environmental services people to the psychiatrists. My credibility is always in question because I’m a former patient, and a former patient who doesn’t take any of the drugs. So it’s a slow process of them getting to know me and I must always be knowledgeable and open. I have to know what I’m talking about when I choose to state something publicly or to another staff person privately. And since there are no secrets in this institution, and since information travels quickly, I must always assume that I’m never speaking privately.

  • When are parents going to stop believing psychiatry and the drug companies and begin protecting their children? We’re allowing generation after generation of kids to be drugged adversely during a time that their brains are still developing. The only chemical imbalance is the one caused by the stimulants forced onto the poor kids, whose parents won’t even step up to speak for them and protect them.

    Parents need to tell psychiatrists that they are full of bull feces and be done with it. Instead, they allow their kids to be led to the slaughter just like lambs. It’s disgusting.

  • Although I was never in the military I do practice one of the first laws of the battlefield. You never leave your wounded behind. I was able to free myself from the system and get my life back. I will not turn my back on the countless sisters and brothers who still lie there on the battlefield, casualties of the system and the wonderful “treatment” that it dispenses. I can only carry one at a time off that field and I will continue to try and do so for as long as I’m able.

  • You paint all peer workers with a mighty broad brush, which I feel is unfortunate since not all peer workers are as you describe above in you post.

    I’m a peer worker but I’m not a spy for the clinicians nor am I constantly on the look out for relapses and I never try to get people to take the toxic neurotoxins and the “antidepressants”. I was trained to support people in their decision making process, with no input from me as to what I think they should do. I am to support their decisions, even when I disagree with them. I hate the damned drugs but if people choose to take them then so be it and I will work with them in whatever way that they want me to. I was trained to never talk about a “patient” with other staff unless that “patient” is present or has given me permission to talk about them. I don’t report on “patients” to the psychiatrists since I believe that said psychiatrists need to do their own work and talk to people on their own if they want to know anything about them. They get paid a lot more money than I do and need to earn their money by doing their job as they should. After eight years they don’t even try to go there and accept that I will not talk about the people that they’re supposedly caring for. At least I’ve made that much progress.

    Again, peer workers are only as good as the training programs that they come out of, and in my opinion most of the programs are terrible. I will not have anything to do with the program created by my state. But we are not all horrible people duped by the system to be its flunkies.

  • And let’s also be very clear about the fact that Trump is certainly no moral leader either. Any man who grabs women by their privates and who lies at the drop of a hat about everything (I think that they’ve certified almost four thousand lies so far is less than two years in office), who claims that there are good people among the KKK, White Nationalists, and racists is not a moral leader.

    I hear people stating how terrible it is that the two sides in all of this can no longer sit down and hash things out in a compromise. This didn’t start with Trump’s move into the White House. It began the day of President Obama’s first inauguration when prominent Republican congressmen met for lunch to plot out how they could obstruct each and every last thing that President Obama proposed during his presidency. It started with the rise of the Tea Party, not in opposition to federal government taking over from the states but in opposition to an African American president. The unwillingness to be civil to one another has gone on for almost ten years now when Congress has been able to accomplish nothing except gridlock in everything. And in this I would agree that neither party is the true friend of the average person just trying to make a living and provide for her or his family. All Trump has done is inherit this situation, which he capitalizes on each and every day. He’s not stupid when it comes to knowing how to manipulate the fears and feelings of people in his base.

    Democracy is strong but ours may be much more fragile than we think it to be. How many times can the rule of law be assaulted, and Democrats and journalists be labeled as the “enemy of the people” before it begins to crack and splinter. How many elections are we going to allow the Russians to attempt to influence before we say enough is enough. Instead of pulling the different factions in our country together Trump has performed only to his base. Pulling the country together is one of the things that presidents do; offering the hand to those who didn’t vote for you so that all may move forward together.

  • Okay. The road that they took was closed at both ends. They had access to all the information concerning barriers and closed roads. They know that the waters were causing huge problems. And yet they put the women in the van and took off into the unknown (or in this case most everything was known). If the picture of the road in the article is correct you can see a great deal of water covering the road. Why would these deputies endanger the lives of the two women and their own lives when they could have waited before trying to take them where they wanted to go. This just doesn’t make much sense at all.

  • This is one of the most concerning things for me about Trump. How his base, many of whom were probably very anti-communist when the communists were around can ignore this is very interesting to me. Also, the Republican party was the most hawkish about the Russians and now they don’t even blink an eye when Trump proclaims his great admiration for Putin. Only a very few Republican congressmen spoke out about the debacle in Helsinki this summer. I don’t understand the people who make up Trump’s base at all.

  • One of her books is entitled When God Speaks Back, about evangelicals and their experience of speaking with God. She has some interesting things to say about psychiatrists and how they take away peoples’ chances to become truly moral people. Again, I think she has some very interesting things to say about what we deal with. She is what is called a psychological anthropologist.

  • It’s interesting to me that people who hear voices comprise quite a large number when you look at things on a world wide basis. It is part of the continuum of what it means to be human. And when you look at other cultures you begin to find that it’s mainly Western culture that denies voice hearing and seems to be totally afraid of it. It’s mainly in Western cultures that we try to stamp it out at all costs, no matter what the person wants.

    There is an anthropologist named Tanya Lurhman who has done research about voice hearing across different cultures and how those cultures respond to it. I find her work interesting. And she’s done work concerning Christians who claim that they receive messages from God. She can be found on Youtube

  • I once read a novel about a modern day nun in a religious order who had visions from God. Of course this caused a lot of commotion for everyone. Eventually she is told by a medical doctor that her visions are a sign of a physical problem that needed to be taken care of with surgery on her brain. She found herself in a very difficult position almost impossible to resolve. She wanted to believe that her visions were truly from God and yet everyone was telling her that they were the product of a broken brain. Her situation gave me a lot to think about as I was a hospital chaplain at the time and it caused a lot of questions for me that I found very difficult to answer.

  • Exactly!

    But even the mystical saints had their problems with their mystical experiences in the Middle Ages. St. Theresa of Avila saw visions of Jesus and heard messages from him. When she told her confessor the priest told her that she was absolutely wrong, Jesus wasn’t appearing to her and that she had to stop the nonsense before she really got herself in trouble with the Church authorities. She asked him what she was supposed to do when Jesus appeared to her and he told her to essentially give him the Middle Ages equivalent of the finger, which she did. She stated that Jesus wasn’t impressed nor bothered and went on with his message to her!

  • When all is said and done I must support Lawrence in what he writes here. I grew up in a family that didn’t take any kind of medicine at all. My grandmother and mother took care of us with their own version of “medicine” that medical doctors would never have approved of. My mother married a man who didn’t believe in going to doctors so we didn’t. I didn’t take any kind of medicine at all until I was in my forties and then it was for high blood pressure. My original GP was not in favor of putting me on the bp medicine so I quit him and got another doctor who was willing to put me on the meds. Now, some 30 years later I’m beginning to question the intelligence of my decision. After the bp meds I let myself be convinced that I needed to go on “antidepressants” and rue ever going on them. Today I’m free of those devil’s tic tacs.

    I believe that Americans take way too much medicine and doctors are the gateway to all of these drugs. We have a drug for everything these days and all kinds of invented diseases. Just watch the commercial television stations and count the number of commercials there are for drugs and for diseases that must be treated with drugs. It’s amazing. The pharmaceutical companies, combined with doctors, with the addition of direct to consumer advertising is wrecking havoc on Americans. I believe that Lawrence has it absolute correct.

  • Let us be perfectly honest. This supposed diagnosis is pure bull feces, plain and simple. It’s just another attempt by the system and unscrupulous psychiatrists, which includes a great number of them, to profit off of something that is normal in human beings. The DSM 5 is filled with supposed diagnoses that are nothing but attempts to pathologize normal human behaviors. It’s so blatant that I’m surprised that they aren’t totally ashamed of themselves. How do these people get up each and every morning and look themselves in the eye in the mirror? They are lacking in ethics and have little morality. And this kind of snake oil chicanery is supposed to convince us that psychiatry is a valid specialty in medicine?

  • It’s not just some doctors who are causing problems with all of this. Two years ago I ivied in a section of the city where people peddled hydrocodone pills door to door. One woman would take her brother’s three month prescription that he got from the VA and go door to door trying to sell the pills. I told her in no uncertain terms to never come back to my door with her pills. What have we come to in this country when people sell pain killers door to door? I don’t think that her buyers were buying them for pain relief.

    I didn’t get the idea that Lawrence was saying that people who experience great pain should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go on as if nothing was happening. What I got from what he wrote, and I do agree with this, is the idea that the medical community has tried to capitalize financially from all kinds of things without always having our true safety and benefit at heart. I left my old doctor and went to a new one because the new one was closer to where I lived. He immediately decided during our first visit that I was going to take statins. I believe that statins are dangerous and that they’re prescribed far too often to people. I stated that I would not take them and he stated to my face that I would do what I was told. I walked out of that office and never returned and I didn’t pay the bill either. The medical community in many instances bullies people into doing, not what is good for us, but what is financially good for the medical community.

  • And Buddhism is not a religion since it has no god and does not worry about things like how Creation happened. Buddha taught that he was not a god at all and in fact all of us contain a sleeping Buddha. This is why Buddhists have statues of the Buddha (in many forms others than just the historical Buddha); they are there to remind us that we are the Buddha. It is not a faith as such. Technically, Buddhism is a practice for living. Mindfulness is not about religion or faith or any other thing other than being in touch with what is happening in your life right here right now in this very moment. It is a matter of being aware and awake in that sense. There is nothing dangerous about mindfulness.

  • I’ve had two major surgeries in the past year. I don’t know why, but I didn’t have pain with either surgery. Of course I had some discomfort and I couldn’t lift or do the least thing that was strenuous, but I did not have any pain. Both surgeons insisted on sending me home from the hospital with a nice big bottle of hydrocodone! I told each of them that I didn’t want the pain meds and they insisted that I get them filled. So, I got the first prescription filled just in case the surgeon knew something that I didn’t, but I never had to take one pill of the prescription. The second surgeon told me that the only way he’d let me leave the hospital was if I filled the prescription of hydrocodone. I don’t know how he was going to enforce his edict since he didn’t go home with me but that’s what he said. So, I lied and said that I’d do it knowing that I had an already full bottle of the very same stuff that he wanted me to get. I’ve not touched one pill out of the bottle.

    It does seem to me from just my two experiences that the doctors give out opioids much too easily. I guess that they didn’t want me to get home, have pain, and then bother them in the middle of the night or during their vacation for a prescription so maybe this is why they forced the issue. I still can’t believe that I didn’t have any pain from the surgeries either in the hospital or at home.

  • Didn’t Hemingway end up taking his own life because he’d been subjected to shock “treatments” and it destroyed his ability to write? So much for the “good treatment” that was perpetrated on him.

    I’m driven to write each and every morning from 3-5AM in my Journal but I know that this is nothing compared to what true writers experience. I suspect that true writers are totally driven to write and to not be able to do so is horrendous. It’s like torture to not be able to write.

  • Psychiatry and the “mental health” system may not be the cause of all psychological and emotional distress in the world and not every person who experiences such distress is or has been in the system. But you sure as hell don’t want most psychiatrists nor the system to get their hands on you because you can lay money on it that your issues will only become worse to deal with once they get hold of you.

    I guess each and every person must define what is actually helpful for them. My tendency is to wonder if they truly do believe that they’ve been helped and are being helped, or if they’re too afraid to not believe this. It’s scary for some people to even try to contemplate that things might not be the way that they’ve been convinced that they are. I know people who are afraid to even think about trying to get off the drugs psychiatrists put them on, even though those drugs cause them great and significant physical health problems. They may even lead to their deaths. But they won’t even think about living a life without the drugs. I don’t know; I often struggle with this and force myself to accept their explanations without trying to analyze them. But I must admit that secretly I don’t really believe them. Shame on me.

  • littleturtle

    I believe that you spoke volumes with your last line. “my psychiatrist is not rich…” says it all. I think that this is one of two driving factors driving the majority of psychiatrists today. They want the nice big cars, the fat bank accounts, the private schools for their kids, their nice big houses in gated communities. Actually sitting down and interacting with people to see where the Journey might take the two of them would get in the way of all these things because the insurance will pay for nothing but the drugging of people.

    The second big reason driving psychiatrists to do what they do today is that they need their egos stroked so that they can think of themselves as being real doctors. They were never accepted in the medical community as real doctors until the advent of the damned toxic drugs.

    I’m glad that you’ve found a true treasure in your psychiatrist. There are a few out there but they’re not the majority.

  • “No one in their right mind would ever take their own life.”

    Well, I will say that this is bull feces. I believe that most people who take their own lives are in their right minds. I have always stated that “mental illness” did not cause me to try and take my life. I tried three times and came very close to accomplishing my objective one of those times. But I was very much in my right mind. I was tired of dealing with overwhelming losses that came one right after another, week after week and month after month. I wanted the pain that I experienced from so many losses to stop and the one sure way of stopping it was to kill myself.

    I agree with the author that the two responses about why people kill themselves are bologna (the “nobody understands” excuse and the one that the person is “mentally ill” excuse). It may take some time to do so, but if you truly look at what was going on in the life of the person before they killed themselves you probably might just put together some pretty good ideas why they did what they did.

    What I did find very interesting in dealing with the clinicians, therapists, and staff in the places where I was “treated” for my supposed “mental illness” was that they absolutely refused to listen to my explanation as to why I tried to kill myself. It made them very uncomfortable and they would stop me from trying to explain. It was not of any great importance to them and they refused to hear me out. After all, they had all the answers. I had a chemical imbalance which made me want to take my life and I obviously needed “antidepressants”, which they quickly forced me to take. And in fact, taking “antidepressants” was one of the very big things that sent me over the edge in the first place.

  • The people on the units of the “hospital” where I work who know that there are no chemical imbalances get drugged the worst of anyone if they try to state this in public. I’ve watched it done to people. Many so-called “patients” are quite aware that none of the psych drugs work, neither neuroleptics or so-called antidepressants. But if they’re smart they won’t stand up and say anything because then they become the target of the drugging and the staff say that what they’re saying shows just how ill they truly are.

    How does anyone look at themselves in the mirror each and every morning and then go to work and state that these drugs work and that they take care of chemical imbalances? Just explain that to me!

  • What I’ve found is that the peers who come back into the system who want to actually help people regain their lives and move forward leave their positions because traditional institutions like the one where I work are not about to let them do real peer work.

    As Steve stated these places see peers as another way to bolster the message that “patients” need to take their drugs (without ever telling them how damaging the drugs truly are to them, and forget informed consent…LOL. ) We’re never supposed to truly listen to those who are non-compliant and we’re never to agree with them, even though they are often correct and right on target about what’s being done to them. I must always be very careful the words I choose to use and how I structure those words so that the person I’m being with understands that I’ve really heard them and yet I can never be accused of inciting the “patient” to do something the staff disagrees with.

    I feel like Sir Thomas Moore when Henry VIII tried to get him to say anything that could be used against him to bring him to trial for treason against the Crown because he didn’t agree with what Henry was doing. There are cameras and microphones everywhere where I work and the people monitoring the audio say that you can truly hear a pin drop. It’s a very tight line that I walk because if I’m fired I’m of no help to the people on the units. And yet they must know that I stand with them without being able to state that plainly.

    The peer workers that you’re talking about have no problem staying and becoming quite popular with the staff because they are willing to take part in the coercion that’s perpetrated against the “patients” on a daily basis. They have no problems parroting the mantra about “always take your meds” and are true believers because they themselves are on the meds. That’s fine by me but I was trained as a peer work that you were never to push your agenda or ideas on any of the people you are working with and for. So, I find this to be a real problem. Going shopping with people and taking them to their doctor’s appointments is fine but I wasn’t cut out for that kind of peer work. My frustration is that you can’t really do true peer work in most traditional institutions or settings.

  • I couldn’t respond below your statement where you stated that you don’t think that many people from the armed services are coming back traumatized enough to get the great label of PTSD. If this is the case, why did so many veterans who came back from their experiences in WWII and the Korean conflict and Viet Nam hardly ever want to talk about what they experienced? The only people they seemed to be willing to talk with about their experiences were other veterans and I think this was because they felt that only others who’d gone through the same terrible things would ever understand. I believe that many more veterans are affected than you begin to imagine and you won’t see them wherever you work because they’re not going to show up there.

    I not only work on units in the “hospital” I also work in Admissions. I meet numbers of people brought from jail and prison who are veterans. The number keeps growing as the months go by. I remember one young man, a truly impressive young guy who was brought to us from prison. He was a veteran and had spent six months in solitary confinement, not because of anything he’d done but because he couldn’t stand being around anyone. He was so traumatized that he couldn’t stand human interaction. Those of us in the department knew his situation so we didn’t talk to him and there were only two of us in the room with him. He asked if he could use the restroom which of course we had no objections to. He went in and after ten minutes he still wasn’t out. finally the nurse knocked on the door and opened it and the young man was curled up in a fetal position in one of the far corners of the bathroom and was sobbing quietly. It was heartbreaking and heartrending. The presence of two people was more than he could deal with.

    I don’t have a car and use the city bus to get to and from. I’ve met a number of vets at the bus stops. Many have lost limbs or have TBI’s. One of them sticks in my mind. He limped across the street towards where I was at and sat down next to me on the bench. He used a cane and had a prosthetic leg, one arm was stiff and fairly useless, and he’d lost one of his eyes. We sat there together in silence for a few minutes and then, without looking at him I said, “How many tours of duty?” He told me three, two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. We didn’t talk about his experiences in those far flung places but did discuss the struggle he was going through with the VA to get ongoing treatment and his benefits. I have deep respect for this man whose name I don’t even know. And near the end of our discussion I asked him if what the United States was doing in those two countries was really accomplishing anything of merit. He laughed quietly and then stated that the US government doesn’t even have a clue about what’s happening or what they’re really doing in foreign lands. He felt that things would return fairly quickly to the way they were before American intervention the moment the last of our troops boarded the transport planes to leave. How do you deal with that probability when you’ve sacrificed an arm, a leg, and an eye for something that was most likely useless?

    So here is my last contention. Not only do our women and men in the armed services get traumatized dramatically in numbers far greater than I believe you realize, there is one last further indignity that they must endure. They must fight the VA tooth and nail to get any real help and no one will employ them. It is no wonder to me why they are ending up where I work to be warehoused and drugged with neuroleptics and to be told that they are faulty and broken because they were not resilient enough to withstand the trauma that they endured because our government sent them to these places. They sacrificed themselves and what their future lives were going to be like because our government just couldn’t resist the temptation to step in and try to run countries and entire cultures of people that we don’t even have any understanding of.

    Enough, I will get down from my soap box.

  • Thank you CatNight for your support. You present a novel idea when you talk about units managed by peers and the professionals. I’ve tried passing the idea of having an advisory council for the hospital made up of peers but the administration acts like I didn’t say anything at all. I will pass your idea past them today and it will be interesting as to how badly that gets them stirred up.

  • Thanks for your support and I agree with what you state about the system making sure that no real peer support takes place outside of its control. The thing that I like about Sera Davidow is that she keeps pointing out that peers may be in the system but they are not of the system. She was one of the people who inspired me to begin working on the inside of things.

  • By the way, when you responded to Frank about peer workers it sounded to me like you were saying that peer workers go back into the system to work because they liked their treatment and think that the mental health system is a great thing. Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly.

    I must state that I became a peer worker, not because I like the system or that I liked my so-called “treatment” that I received while held in the very hospital where I now work. I became a peer worker to battle from the inside against what I experienced as no “treatment” at all but a sham of treatment. I work within the system like some of the French people in the French Underground. I never liked the system and do not like the system now. The reason that I work within it is to endeavor to get people to realize that they don’t have to look to the professionals in the system to think for them and to make decisions for them and to learn helplessness from them. I work to walk with people so that I might encourage them to empower themselves for one person can never empower another person. Each person can only learn to empower themselves. I work within the system but am not part of the system for to do that I would only be parroting the disempowering message of the system itself. I work within the system but not as a part of it to share with people that they have gifts and talents and abilities and are not the helpless individuals that the system believes them to be. I am not a peer worker because I loved my “treatment” and because I love the system. I work in the system because it’s time to take it down and all I can do is my insignificant little part by showing people that they can do for themselves rather than depending on the useless “mental health” system.

    I don’t think that I’m very successful at achieving my goal. All I can do is to work with one person at a time to get them to believe that this is not all there is in the world for them. Not all peer workers are in the system because they love it.

  • He actually goes out and talks with people which is more than most psychiatrists do. Having been trained as a hospital chaplain in clinical pastoral training I suspect that his chaplaincy training gives him a lot of insights into not only the people who he works with but insights into himself too. I suspect that his training for chaplaincy work is a plus since one of the major things that chaplains do is to actually LISTEN to people when they need to tell their stories.

  • And people with PTSD have no business being put on neuroleptics, as is happening to many of them in the armed services who’ve served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Neuroleptics do not help people with trauma, it only masks the problems and tries to put a lid on everything.

  • But here is the problem with making PTSD a diagnosis, imho. PTSD is the normal response on the part of a person who has experienced something that totally overwhelmed them emotionally and psychologically. Notice the operative word here is Normal, it’s a normal human response.

    It should not be pathologized by making it into something that is bad or wrong, which is exactly what making it into a diagnosis does. Why are we allowing something that is normal to be pathologized? This has absolutely no place in the DSM and the DSM has no basis for existing in the first place.

  • It’s not just being corrupt. There are so many who discredit anything of value about the people that they’re supposedly giving “good treatment” to. They call them liars and manipulators and many other things. Their first response to anything that the “patients” say is to discredit it right off the bat. There was an older woman admitted to one of the units where I work. When they asked her about her educational level she told them that she had a doctorate. When they came out of the meeting they were all talking about what a liar she was. One of the social workers decided to verify what the woman said and low and behold…….she had a doctorate in political science! All of a sudden all discussion of her educational level and about how much of a liar she was and how her delusions were rampant ceased, not another word. Since I knew one of the psychiatrists on her case fairly well I asked said psychiatrist one morning if he’d like a little salt and pepper with his crow. He sat there and gave me the big stare and then halfheartedly admitted that she certainly had fooled them. She was never trying to fool them. All she did was answer their question truthfully. Now she is addressed on the unit as Dr. So and So.

    Yes, there are some good psychiatrists but I don’t know any these days. All the good ones left the “hospital” where I work. They went to jobs where they had more freedom to treat people as human beings with talents and abilities.

  • True. The people destroying any programs that benefit the poor are people who will never have to ever worry about money in their entire lives. It’s amazing how determined they are in their destruction. And now you have to work to be able to receive what pitiful little benefits people were getting in the first place. Never mind that if you’re a mother of three that you can’t afford child care so you can meet the mandate. They’ve fixed everything so that the poor cannot get what they justly deserve. And now everything is being dismantled by the stooges of a certain person in Washington, D.C.

  • Therapists have been a hit and miss proposition for me. I think that I’ve dealt with one truly good therapist who worked out of his own humanity and who truly cared about the people who came to him for guidance. One therapist was useless and never knew what I was talking about because he never listened. I had one good woman therapist while I was in the “hospital”; she listened intently, heard what I said, and made observations and asked appropriate questions. One therapist didn’t know what she was doing and I walked her through our sessions together. Another ended up using me as his therapist as he sat with his legs drawn up in the seat of his chair crying. They are truly a mixed bag and you never know what you’re getting until you sit down across from them and begin talking. Not everyone who thinks that they should be a therapist should actually be a therapist.

    Personally, I’ve got Wise Women friends that I can go to. I got pretty good help from fellow “patients” on the same unit that I was on in the “hospital”.

  • It’s interesting to me that other specialties of medicine are so supportive of psychiatry these days. This wasn’t the case a number of years ago when psychiatrists were seen as wannabe doctors. Other specialties made fun of them and refused to accept them. A former supervisor of mine told a story that reflects this. Her father was a surgeon. On Saturdays he would take her with him to make hospital rounds. One day they went into the doctors’ lounge and there was a man sitting at the table reading the newspaper. Her father laughed, pointed to the man and said, “He’s a psychiatrist who thinks he’s a real doctor. All the rest of us let him pretend but we all know that he’s no doctor at all!”

    I wonder what worked the change so that no GP will say anything against them. I’ve expressed my disdain and dislike for psychiatrists to my doctor but she never will look at me or act as if she’s heard anything that I’ve said. I want to shake some sense into her.

    I also believe that they’ve all drank the Kool-Aid and actually believe what they’re told. They don’t read enough on their own to really know what’s going on.

  • When I was held in the “hospital” there was a young woman on the unit with me who was pregnant. Because of this the psychiatrist refused to give her any neuroleptics for her “schizophrenia”. The amazing thing that many of us, her fellow “patients” began to realize was that, as the weeks went on she began to get better! We began talking about this among ourselves and continued to watch her. Granted, she still had difficulties but as time went on she became progressively better in her approach to things around her. She seemed to have fewer and fewer hallucinations and she was able to interact with the rest of us better than when she was first admitted to the unit.

  • Binra

    This is as beautifully written as what Eric shared. Words are not enough but I am sorry about your daughter. Thank you for sharing this.

    This is one of the things that I truly appreciate about MIA. I get to receive so many wonderful, powerful, and profound ideas through reading the comments. Often peoples’ comments are even better than the original piece of writing that inspired them. Thank you again for sharing this.

  • But to me the lack of clarity is what I appreciated. I feel that this is one of Eric’s best pieces of writing here at MIA but that’s just mho. Yes, it was haunting but it’s also beautiful.

  • Eric

    I really like what you’ve written here. I felt connected to it the minute I began reading and I could picture everything that you talked about in my head. The older I get the more I believe that I’ve got more questions than I do answers and this is kind of what your writing felt like. But I’ve come to believe that it’s just fine to be in this quandary filled with more questions. I am less certain about everything the older I get. Thanks for sharing this. Perhaps we are all a lot more like Ann than we ever realize.

  • So how do we go about combating this? I’ve dealt with my GP concerning this and made it very clear to her that it was junk science and I’d have nothing to do with her if she ever tried to push antidepressants or any of that stuff. But it must go farther than just dealing with your own personal doctor. We’ve got to begin combating all of this on a larger scale.

  • Don’t even get me started on how useless and damaging I’ve found community mental health centers to be. I can’t believe that so much money is poured into places that work against helping people as much as they can. When I got my first taste of dealing with them it took me over six weeks fighting them tooth and nail just to get an appointment with them. And then they wanted all kinds of money and I didn’t have any money but got a scholarship because their financial person took an interest in my plight. As I was leaving her office after signing all the papers she said to me, “They will do everything that they can to keep from helping you and giving you what you’re entitled to. Don’t let them get away with it. Fight them and stand toe to toe with them and don’t budge an inch!” I couldn’t believe that a person that worked for them was giving advice about how to counteract their shenanigans.

    The money would be better spent setting up respite houses where people could go to get real help in time of need. These places are horrible and they’re harmful to people.

  • I was born in New Mexico and am of First Nations background although I’m not from any of the tribes found in New Mexico. My grandmother was a Wise Woman who used plants and herbs to heal. I remember as a small child watching her in the garden jungle that she spent years creating in the arid section of the country between Albuquerque and Gallup, not far from Mt. Taylor, and having humming birds land on the palms of her outstretched and uplifted hands. It was nothing short of miraculous.

    And then she became “ill” and the mental health system got its hand on her. After almost sixty shock treatments she was returned to us as a shell of her former self. She didn’t even remember me, her first grandson whom she took care of in my infancy and early childhood. They took a vibrant and talented woman who created art and healed people and animals and turned her into a zombie who looked at the floor and smoked cigarettes one after another. The stupid doctors congratulated themselves and told us how much better she was after their good “treatment”.

    So, thank you for what you are doing in New Mexico. Perhaps it will work to counteract all of the horrible things that have been done to people in that area in the name of “good mental health” treatment. I believe that true healing and well being can be found in the old ways that were once practiced there by the native peoples and by people like my grandmother.

  • So, how do these guys get away with publishing stuff that’s obviously wrong? Why are they not held accountable for publishing an article that is not only misleading but pushes faulty information? It seems like they have no qualms about just outright lying. And why didn’t Stat catch all of this?

    I’m so glad that your background in journalism is in science because you dismantle things so well by going to the heart of the matter. You do it with the scientific facts. Thank you for caring enough to research for the truth all those years ago when you began looking at all this through the lens of true science rather than listening to the great and mighty voice of Oz.

  • I had to go for my three month check up with my GP this week. She’s always trying to get me to take statins and have colonoscopies and get a cardiologist and I always tell her no to all of that. This week she added in something new. Are you depressed and do you want an antidepressant. I just sat there staring at her until she looked up from her computer and actually looked at me. Then I started laughing and said that antidepressants would be the very last thing I’d ever consent to take since they were the very thing that caused all of my problems and got me into the “hospital” in the first place! I told her it would be a cold day in hell before I took those devil’s tic tacks. I think my imagery was lost on her since she’s a Hindu but it made me feel better anyway. She and I have never talked about my “diagnosis” since she’s the third doctor I’ve had since going to the clinic. The first one knew about it but it’s never been mentioned since. But all of a sudden out pops the question, “Are you depressed and do you want antidepressants?” I laughed and told her to never ask me those questions again. Case closed.

  • Psychiatry has been claiming for the last fifty years that they were going to discover the causation of “mental illness” in the brain but they’ve never, ever been able to come up with anything at all. I suspect that mental anguish and psychological and emotional distress have more to do with the mind and our thinking than anything to do with the brain.

  • Recovery puts the lie to the story that they tell everyone that they’re ill for life and need to take the drugs forever. Recovery is a buzz word in the system which really means nothing. It’s there to make people think that the system cares and is with the program. In reality, the system has no interest at all in people getting their lives back and living fulfilling lives.

    What the system likes to do is talk about being “in recovery” as opposed to being recovered. What I think this implies is that you’ll always be ill but you accommodate your life as best as you can. It’s that old idea of once an alcoholic always an alcoholic but I don’t hold to this kind of thinking at all, especially when dealing with “mental health” issues.

    Every damned meeting that I’ve gone to lately for peer workers all they want to talk about is being in recovery. When they introduce themselves they give their name and state that they’re “in recovery”. When I introduce myself I state that I’m recovered and there’s a lot of silence in response.

  • But how do you know the good ones from the bad ones? Even the decent ones where I work refuse to quit forcing the drugs on people and refuse to let them free until they conform to the thinking of the psychiatrist. These seem to be good people but they continue to participate in doing harm to the people that they’re supposedly “caring” for. The only ones I might even begin to trust would be the ones who refuse to force the drugs on people. So far, I’ve only met one of those out of all the ones I’ve work with and around.

  • I think that keeping people on the drugs has a great deal to do with the egos of the people forcing the drugs on others. It legitimates them as real “doctors”, which has always been the problem of people who opt for psychiatry; none of the other medical specialties accepted them as real doctors when all they did was psychotherapy. I don’t know how they see them today since I’ve never asked any doctor outside of psychiatry.

    And I think that a lot of it is money. Look at the nice SUV’s they drive and the nice big houses they own in gated communities, and the nice big bank accounts. It’s very lucrative for them and they couldn’t make nearly as much money by doing talk therapy. They can do four “med” checks in one hour as opposed to one person with talk therapy. But in the end they are essentially snake oil peddlers, plain and simple.

  • Learned helplessness is probably the thing that the “mental health system” promotes the most. If you get people when they’re kids or teens then you can form them just about any way that you want and this is exactly what the system does to people. It also teaches people to never trust their own feelings or ideas or opinions and they must always look to professionals in the system to figure out how they should feel and think. It’s disgusting. It’s criminal. It’s inhuman.

  • Out

    I think that you bring up a very important point. Just because a person has lived experience and has training doesn’t mean that they won’t carry out against others the very same things that were done to them while they were “patients”. I believe that way too many peers don’t have an inkling as to what their issues are, and if they do know they’ve not really done any work on those issues. It’s not always fun to work on one’s issues and can even be painful, but it’s absolutely necessary if you’re going to work with other people.

  • Agreed.

    It’s pretty arrogant if you are a clinician and claim that you’re going to heal people and you haven’t even dealt with your own issues at all. So many doctors of every specialty and clinicians of all kinds have never dealt with their own “historical crap”. This is dangerous for the people that they supposedly want to care for and to help heal. I would use the very wise words of a very intelligent man who once said, “Physician, heal thyself”.

    I’ve witnessed peer workers abusing “patients” because they’ve not really dealt with their own stuff and keep working it out on the very people that they say they want to walk with in recovery.