Thursday, September 21, 2017

Comments by Stephen Gilbert

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  • I agree with you. I think it would be more helpful to provide a variety of groups or organizations to kids that they can get involved in and find their own niche. At one time there were things like drama, art, and math clubs, sports programs, vo-tech groups, FFA and Home Ec. Kids could find their own similar groups where they could learn socialization skills etc. Sadly, school programs have cut out many of these things and it’s done in the name of progress or economics. There is always some excuse for taking things away without ever adding things in.

    Somehow, screening kids for “mental illness” just doesn’t cut it and it’s not helpful. Once again, it’s just another way of telling kids what’s wrong with them rather than what’s good. These kinds of programs should never be allowed into schools but now you have school psychologists who are constantly on the lookout for the kids who are probably “mentally ill”. I got out of teaching when these trends were first showing up on the scene.

  • I haven’t come up with a good answer to your last question as to what is to be done. I go to bed almost every night asking myself that very question. All of the cards seem to be stacked against us. Large demonstrations in front of “hospitals” like where I work might just be a beginning.

    Thanks for responding.

  • Two difficult questions.

    By law, I am mandated to report anyone who says that they want to kill themselves. I believe that people have the right to take their own lives. But I would never tell anyone to do so. This is a very personal view that I hold for myself.

    My ultimate goal is to attempt to walk with people in their journeys so that they can build better and more fulfilling lives for themselves. Stating that they want to kill themselves alerts me to the fact that things have gone awry and it is important to investigate to see what is going on. If someone tells me that they want to kill themselves my first response is to sit and listen to them to see why they feel that they want to die. Unless a person has a gun or knife or has taken bottles full of pills you have all the time in the world to explore what is going on in their lives. It is often in that exploration that people find that perhaps killing themselves is not exactly what they want to do. It is often in the listening to people that they realize that someone is willing to take the time to care and for me, this made all the difference in the world when I tried to kill myself. I also know that, if a person truly does want to end their lives there is really nothing that anyone can do to stop them.

    This is not the best of answers but it’s all I have to offer. Part of my job is to not only support people in their choices but to help people search for better answers that may work for them in building something for themselves. It’s is an intricate process and I am not always as good at it as I would like to be for the people I work with and for.

    And now to the question about the dreaded drugs. To be very honest, I run into very few people who do not want to take the drugs. the system has convinced most of the people I work for in the state “hospital” that the drugs are the answer to all their problems. I often wonder if they aren’t just saying this to me because they think it is the wise thing to do so that I will report to the authorities and they will be allowed to go free from the “hospital”. I don’t know. But many people state the party line. And I must support them in this if this is what they say they believe and choose.

    As to those few individuals who don’t want to take the drugs I will sit with them when they tell this to their psychiatrist. I will physically and verbally support them in their choice. But I will tell you that we are never successful. The “patient” and I are always overruled and I am treated in a condescending manner by the clinicians. It is as if I never said anything at all during the meeting.

    There is also another problem with the drugs. In the state where I live people can be mandated by law to take the drugs. You can be taken to court and the judge will mandate that you have no choice and you will take the drugs. What they usually do is get the psychiatrist to arrange it so that you will be given one of the long lasting shots of one of the “antipsychotic” drugs. You are mandated to appear at the community mental health clinic once a month for the shot and if you don’t show up they issue a bench warrant for you to be picked up and taken to court. Then you are brought right on over to the state “hospital” where I work and you will be admitted. It’s disgusting to say the least.

    Peers have great difficulty doing what they are supposed to so in traditional institutions. It’s like beating your head against the brick wall. I think that most peers work in other places where they have more success in walking with people in order to find a better life.

  • It is interesting what you said about this. The experience of what we call “schizophrenia” (and I agree with you that it is a real experience but I feel better putting the word in quotes) was often the thing that decided that someone would become the shaman in indigenous communities across the world. I think that there is a documentary out now titled Crazy Wise that talks about this very thing. In a way, the experience is the calling for this very important position in the community.

    Being a former hospital chaplain and a person interested in spirituality and world religions from an early age, I can see where you are coming from with this. Thank you for sharing this interesting perspective.

  • Yes, many citizens of German towns near concentration camps were forced to take part in the mass burial of the people murdered by the thousands in those places. The allied soldiers forced them to carry the emaciated bodies to the graves. These Germans were not allowed to claim that they had no idea what was going on in those places of evil and darkness.

    When the allied forces were closing in on everything in the last days of the war, people in the camps were gunned down by the hundreds; some were forced into barns and buildings which were set on fire. As people tried to get out they were gunned down by Nazi guards. The bodies were left everywhere since the Nazis were intent in escaping and didn’t have time to bury bodies. So, the allied soldiers forced the German townspeople to do the burying. They didn’t enjoy it very much, to say the least.

    I taught with a woman who was born and raised in Germany. She was a child during the war. When I asked her about the concentration camps she claimed that the German people knew absolutely nothing about what was going on in such places. But she would not look me in the face while stating this. But then she shared the fact that they always knew that they would have fresh hand soap when the smoke belched out of the furnaces that were located at the concentration camps! Cognitive dissonance at the highest level.

    You are correct, not much is discussed about all this in English speaking circles. Humankind must always be on guard against things like this. Too many like to pretend that humans are not capable of such terrible and horrible acts. But Nazi Germany puts the lie to this.

  • It interests me, as a peer worker, about all this business with the DBT and peers being detrimental in the therapeutic process.

    As a peer worker I better never be caught telling the person that I am working for and with what to do. If I get caught telling anyone what to do then I will be fired. Peers are available to people to support them in their choices that they themselves want to make. I am not there to coerce them towards any one choice. I am there to support them in their freedom of choice.

    I will listen to people if they want to share something with me, and I will help them to wade through things to see the pros and cons of situations; but in the end my job is to walk with them in ways that lead to them making choices on their own. I do not tell people to do anything; I share with them what worked for me in my own life but always point out that they can pick and choose from what I’ve shared with them. They are never obligated to accept anything that I share.

    My job is to walk with them in their journey in a way that allows them to discover that they have the ability to empower themselves to do the things that they want to achieve. I cannot empower anyone other than myself, but I can point out things in their own life that may lead to them discovering how to empower themselves.

  • In 1941, the keynote speaker for the yearly meeting of the American Psychiatric Association advocated for doing the same thing to the “mentally ill” in the United States as was being carried out in Germany. Only two people opposed his proposal.

    In the following year two anonymous editorialists advocated for the same thing in the organization’s Journal.

  • I agree. I’ve been struggling with this for months now. Trump is very transparent about what he is going to destroy and who he is going to benefit. And what he’s doing is not going to benefit most of his followers. But they doggedly refuse to see the reality for what it truly is and keep right on supporting him! I don’t understand it at all.

  • I agree with Oldhead and you. Trump is ruining everything for politicians who’ve been able to do a lot of very underhanded things behind the scenes, such as hiding their abusive legislation in among a more acceptable and more positive bills.

    But, Trump is not doing this to make people more aware of how underhanded politicians can by. He is doing it simply because he cannot do anything else. This is who he is, plain and simple. He is amazingly transparent most of the time where I would be trying to hide things because I would want people to think better of me than I truly am.

  • Exactly!!!! You got labeled as a communist for just looking cross eyed at good ol’ Senator Joe. I took care of a gentleman who served in Congress with McCarthy. I asked him one day what McCarthy was like. Judge Harris sat looking out the window at the traffic going by the nursing home. He was quiet for a very long time and I thought that he’d forgotten about my question. Finally, he said, without ever looking at me, that Senator McCarthy was not a very nice person. He didn’t want to talk about McCarthy at all.

  • I agree.

    Most of the stuff in you hear in the MAGA mantra sounds like an attempt to go back to the wonderful times of the 1950’s. The only problem with that is that the /50’s were not so wonderful for a lot of people, only a particular group of people found them to be so. How are you going to convince the powers that be in these large companies to hire more workers when they can buy robots that cost them less over the long haul and do the jobs of many people at one time? You can talk about creating jobs till you’re blue in the face and it’s not going to change what is happening. When it comes to money and profits you are not going to convince any of these companies to reverse their decisions to outsource and to mechanize their plants. Profits speak loudest of all. The MAGA mantra is not useful or honest; it is just a catch phrase used to excite and encourage crowds to shout their adulation. We will never return to the “Golden Age” of the 1950’s. It ain’t gonna happen, no matter how much people sit in their nostalgia and wish for the good ol’ days. But they weren’t good for everyone!

  • I think that you hit on a real truth when you stated that “It is not the craziness, we are all crazy, it is the kind of craziness.”

    And I also agree that we must continually work to do something about the climate problem and global warming. It is obvious that the present gaggle in the White House is not going to do anything to control or curtail said climate problems so we must go around them, above them, and work despite them to save this planet and our world and all the species of life that call it home. I think that many people fail to grasp the point or remember that we must work to save more than ourselves in all of this. Without the web of life created from all the interlocked and interdependent species we will fail to continue ourselves. As the supposedly most highly evolved form of life on this planet we must be held responsible for its continued viability by working to save all life here.

  • All you can do is try. I sometimes think that people don’t want to be reached. Even if you put before them a thoroughly researched and rational explanation many of us will still hold on to what we want to believe, no matter what. Many of us will not let facts get in the way of what we want to believe and who we want to attack. Keep on trying because you seem to get it right, or you are at least in the target area!

  • I agree with you that it only promotes more trouble, usually for us, to call Trump crazy. I myself agree with Michael Moore who believes that Trump knows exactly what he is doing when he says and does the outrageous things that drive me up the wall.

    I believe that he has an agenda and this is what truly scares me in the end. The German people laughed at Hitler when he started out politicking for office in the German government. They called him a clown and a buffoon and a person bereft of morals and ethics. They said that they would never have to worry about him in government because he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting elected. And we all know what happened from there on. The German people called Hitler crazy and look how much good that did for them. Hitler attacked the media and undermined the faith of the German people in their newspapers and magazines. And then he became the German dictator who almost destroyed Europe and beyond.

    If Trump is “crazy” it is being crazy like a fox.

  • No problem. I understand and agree with you totally. I just forget to mention doctors from other fields since I don’t often deal with them in daily life. We have a real problem with medicine in this country and I myself do not know what to do about it, other than standing up for yourself against any doctor who tries to bully you into doing things you don’t feel comfortable doing. My PCP tried to do that when we first got together until I stopped the conversation and told her, “You obviously do not understand the dynamic that will determine how we work together. Listen carefully: you give advice and I make the decisions. If you are not comfortable with this arrangement then we will not be able to work together.” It took a few times until she understood how we were going to work together.

  • As a former high school teacher who saw the beginning of the ADHD tsunami before it swept across American schools I will always state that this is nothing more than something that was made up to benefit teachers and the drug companies.

    Psychiatry and the drug companies love to pathologize the normal, whatever that is, so that more people can be dragged kicking and screaming into their nets. PTSD is another example of a “diagnosis” that pathologizes something that is normal. Trauma is the normal response to terrible events or experiences that overwhelm people. To be overwhelmed emotionally and psychologically by terrible things is normal and is not pathology.

    So, kids are sick for life because they’re bored to tears by what is going on in school, or not going on as the case may be; and soldiers and people caught in natural calamities are sick because they become emotionally overwhelmed by the trauma they experience. This is just pure bull feces.

    If we began looking at the wonderful diagnoses in the wonderful DSM 5 we would most likely find that most do not make any sense at all. If you can vote to throw a diagnosis out of the DSM there isn’t any science at all associated with the damned book. Of course, the thing is created from diagnoses that were voted on by committee. The story that goes around is that many of these things were created by the upper middle class white men who made up the committees as they were washing their hands in the Men’s Room. A lot of science in that approach, yeseree!

  • And yet trauma is exactly the one thing that psychiatrists never ask about or do anything about with the “patients”. I was giving a presentation on trauma informed care and one of the very few psychiatrists who “honored” me with his presence (how dare a former patient even think about giving a presentation to clinical staff) told me to my face that “they don’t have time to do any trauma work!” As I stood there looking at him with his smug self-satisfied look on his face I thought to myself, “Yes, you don’t have any time to work with trauma because you’re too busy labeling people and forcing toxic and harmful drugs down their throats.” To them trauma is not important and has no bearing on the “illness” of a “patient” because all of the problems are caused by chemical imbalances and they have just the thing to “treat” “chemical imbalances” with. Trauma is of no importance or significance.

  • And the more they struggle to hold onto their religion and spirituality the more they get drugged because their “religiosity” shows how they are deteriorating and just how sick and ill they truly are! It truly makes one wonder what world psychiatrists came from and where their damned heads are. When you live in the buckle of the Bible Belt everyone can be diagnosed as being hyper religious and expressing religiosity” that is excessive!

  • You know, I’ve worked almost seven years at a state “hospital”. In those seven years I’ve talked with hundreds of people about the effects of the damned drugs that they’re forced to take. I’ve never had one person tell me about how those drugs improve their spiritual life, about how they bring them closer to whatever the Divine is for them. In fact, they tell me exactly the opposite; these drugs make it very difficult for them to connect with God and the spiritual side of life. And if they do struggle to express their spiritual side they are accused of being hyper religious or showing excessive religiosity. Clinging onto their spirituality as their strength and source of support is diagnosed as a negative thing and goes down as such in their charts.

  • Disability payments for us so-called “psychiatric patients” were never meant to be forever. I think this all developed during the time period when many people did eventually leave the system but needed a little help to get back on their feet. This was when so-called “mental illness” was episodic and not a chronic thing.

    Unfortunately, with the wonderful toxic drugs as the only standard of treatment things moved from episodic to chronic and that’s when trouble started with disability. I think that there are a lot of people who would like to work, at least part-time, but they’re afraid to do so because of all the rules surrounding getting disability and working at the same time. Some money at least is better than no money at all. You can do it, but you have to be extremely careful and it would be better to have a job where you are paid in cash to keep a paper trail from developing. And people don’t live on disability extravagantly either. $700 a month doesn’t go very far to pay for rent and utilities and food and the wonderful drugs that you are often forced by law to stay on. It’s always interested me that the poorest people are expected to buy some of the most expensive drugs for their mandated “treatment”. Talk about a Catch-22 situation.

  • @ registered

    No problem. I am just having one of those days because I saw and heard something on one of the units where I work and it sent me through the roof. Another example of staff damaging people without even realizing it and probably they don’t care if they do realize it.

    I’ve just learned to skip over certain things that some people post. I learned that I had more important things to become upset about in the long run. Overall, I learn so much from the people who come here to post. I can now hold my own in most discussions with clinical staff and a lot of that is due to what I’ve learned from you all here at MIA. It’s sort of like family here; you grow to ignore the aggravating traits that certain family members have and you love them because they are your family.

  • If they have limited efficacy in chronic “patients” for reducing symptoms why are they the only thing that is used on chronic “patients”? We have all these studies that say that these drugs often cause the very thing that they’re supposed to take care of, we hear that they become detrimental over long-term use, we know that they cause significant physical and mental health problems, and now they are of little use for taking care of symptoms for chronic sufferers. So why in the hell are they still being used hand over fist on people in every damned place where people are warehoused and forced to undergo “treatment” that is of little benefit for most of them? What is wrong with this picture?

  • All I know is when I had to bust my butt to find and keep a job so that I could provide for myself I sure didn’t have time to sit and think about all the different ways that I could kill myself and end all of this stupidity. Having a job kept me going and when I had no job and no way to provide for myself it led to my attempts to kill myself. Of course, this is just my experience and I can’t assume that this is the truth for anyone else.

  • Madmom

    I was lucky enough to actually have access to a real art program while I was held in the state “hospital”. They are far and few between but there are a few of them out there. Unfortunately, most of what passes for art programs are like the one you describe. It’s pitiful and disgusting to say the least and is demeaning to the people who are coerced into participating in them.

    I hope that one day your daughter will be able to access that part of her inner self where her artistic talents lie waiting to once again be released. All of us, no matter how much we’ve been assaulted by the system’s “treatment” have an inner core of health and well being that can never be touched or destroyed by psychiatry. It just takes a lot of time and work for some people to find their way to that core so that they can make use of what they find there. I think of your daughter often and of you and your family that have sustained and supported her for so long. Your daughter and you all are amazing.

  • But I suspect that what you were forced to participate in was not truly an art therapy program. Coloring in coloring books and stringing beads together is not art therapy but this is what you find most of the time in psych prisons.

    I was lucky enough to be able to participate in a true art program that never referred to itself as therapy when I was held in the state hospital. It was art for art’s sake and the people leading it were true artists who were willing to teach and train people how to go about using their innate talents, which most didn’t even realize that they had, into creating really interesting and beautiful pieces of true art. They even held a yearly art show where peoples’ art was auctioned off to the highest bidders. The “patients” received all the money from the sales of their art. It was truly a fantastic program that really benefited people. It was not coloring in coloring books with crappy crayons.

  • Childhood bi-polar, as all other diagnoses, is nothing but a huge pile of bull feces. This was created for Johnson and Johnson by the psychiatrist Joseph Beiderman. He stated that if they would give him a million dollars he would make sure that childhood bi-polar would become a reality. He got his million dollars and now countless numbers of children are labeled with the insidious diagnosis of bi-polar. What Beiderman did was to pathologize the normal things found in childhood so that the net of big pharma could be spread wider to catch more people. What is so insidious about this is that when people are brought into the system at such an early age they tend to stay in the system, making a lot of money for the drug companies and for psychiatrists. This is absolutely criminal. What is even more insidious is that so many lives are ruined by all of this.

    Children are not bi-polar, period.

  • And this is exactly why we need more respite houses across the country. They are not abusive or controlling and expect that people staying there take the responsibility for their own needs. People can continue to go to work or school or whatever and return in the evening to the safe haven. Psych “hospitals” teach learned helplessness and put forth the attitude that the staff are the only ones who know what a person needs.

  • I would be very careful when saying that sikyhcuks has no idea about madness. Most people who come to this place have quite a lot of knowledge about madness either from personal experience or from trying to help people who experience madness.

    I understand your desire to protect the system from criticism but the fact is that the system does an incredible amount of harm to large numbers of people, all with the idea that it’s for their own good. Trying to silence the critics of the system is just as bad as those critics trying to silence you and telling you that your experience has no value or truth to it.

    One of the most valuable things about this website is that you can learn an amazing amount of things you never knew simply by being open to learning from others, even those others who don’t agree with you.

  • @epthe

    No problem, we don’t have to apologize to one another. This is not a simple situation to deal with and it’s not always easy to see every side of every issue.

    I am not brave, just stubborn and determined to somehow get staff and “patients” to change the way they see everything about this so-called “mental illness”. It’s very slow work. There are victories every once in a while, even though they are small in nature. But as my grandmother always said, “If you can save one person you’ve saved the world.” I think that’s an old Jewish saying but I believe it’s true. Thanks for responding.

  • But, it’s frightening for the people on the units to even think about becoming responsible for their own lives since so few of them have ever experienced this. It’s unknown territory and they have no map to navigate with and very few people who are willing to support them in this quest, since almost all staff and many of their family members see them as “ill for life” and incapable of controlling their own destiny. It is frightening.

  • Well, I myself read all this on my computer at work. I can’t afford to buy a computer nor can I pay for the internet. But, because of my job I am allowed to do research on my computer at work. Most of the people I work with in the state hospital don’t even know who their elected officials are. Their lives when they get out of that place are taken up more with trying to find a secure place to live and how to buy food to survive on than knowing who their elected officials are.

    I agree in principle that it would be nice if all of us could voice our opinions about what happens to us in order that we might be heard. We could be an influential group considering that our numbers are great. But, not everyone has access to even the basics.

    I agree, far too many of us have been trained by the system to see ourselves as sick and that the reason we go off the toxic drugs is due to our “illness”. I am in the process right now to try to get the people on the units of the hospital to stop viewing themselves as “mental patients”, as “ill for life” I am trying to get them to view themselves as human beings, human beings with challenges and issues but people who are capable of taking control of their own lives. Very few people embrace this because the system is very good at teaching learned helplessness. How we think about ourselves and how we describe ourselves is infinitely important and makes all the difference in the world.

  • So, I guess that this is why the third leading cause of death for Americans is medical, particularly related to medicines. It’s interesting that it seems like all the considerations for not desprescribing strongly outweigh deprescribing because it’s the right thing and the healthy thing to do for the patient. It’s easier to not have to go through all the time and work that it entails to get people off medicines that they probably shouldn’t be on in the first place.

  • These drugs are not medicine. They do not cure anything. They do not treat anything. They are plain and simply tranquilizers with very harmful effects over the long term. We need to quit playing games about these things being medicines.

    The work of Loren Mosher, John W. Perry, and others shows that many, if not most people experiencing first episode psychosis can make it through the experience and come out the other side re-integrated. These people go on to live a productive life with little or not problems. Some may experience one more episode but for the most part people move on.

    If they are drugged with so-called “antipsychotics” the entire re-integration process is stymied and the person will experience psychosis time after time. What is episodic not becomes chronic. This is criminal to condemn people to existing like this, living in the system and going through life in a drugged state.

    These toxic drugs are not medicines. They cure nothing and often induce the very thing that they’re said to take care of.

  • I agree with the writer; we need to look at all the benzos and not just Xanax. All of these damned things are harmful and I wouldn’t even take one for a short time. I’ve watched people take these things in large amounts for recreational use and then have to put up with all their behaviors that resulted from such use. They do all kinds of irrational things that result in problems because the use of these things in large amounts does away with your inhibitions. They are sold on the street or are traded and swapped for other drugs. And the behavior lasts, not just for one day, it can go on for three and four days at a time.

    So, benzos are not only a danger to people because doctors hand them out like candy, they cause real behavior problems with people who are using them recreationally and who are literally “out of their minds” while under the effects of taking large doses.

  • Last month I was at a meeting run by two people who work for SAMSHA. At one point I asked them if they’d heard about this woman and if so, what did they think about her viewpoints. Both of them kind of squirmed in their chairs and finally one of them answered by saying that yes, they’d heard about her views The person stated that people in SAMSHA talked with her, raising these issues with her. They claim that she’s not as bad as supposedly claimed but that only time would tell in the end. I had a feeling that they were hoping that she wasn’t as bad as has been reported and that they were trying to put a good face on their fears. It was apparent that they didn’t really want to talk about her at all.

    From what I’ve read about her she’s probably as bad as she’s been described. I don’t get the feeling that she really gives a rat’s ass about any of us nor about the work of SAMSHA. And knowing how Congress gives the rubber stamp of approval to Trump’s nominees I have little hope that she won’t be confirmed. However, the two people from SAMSHA that I talked with were not so sure that she would be confirmed but wouldn’t go into their reasons for thinking so.

  • Shock is not a treatment. Even those people who supposedly gave their consent to this barbaric abuse were coerced into giving that consent. In America older women who’ve lost a loved one seem to be the main targets of these quacks who masquerade as real doctors. This bogus “treatment” costs lots of money and makes lots of money for the shock quacks who promote it.

  • Until CEO’s and upper managerial staff of drug companies start going to prison for this kind of crime against humanity nothing is going to change. The drug companies make so many billions in profit from their off label promotions of their poisons that monetary awards mandated by the courts will remain only the cost of doing business. They build money into their budgets for taking care of the fines imposed on them by the courts. Most of this would stop if people started going to prison.

    Drug companies do not care about how their products harm the lives of countless individuals.

  • It’s just good to have you back and to know that you and your son are doing well. No, I wouldn’t ever expect the system to admit that they ever did anything wrong. That just ain’t going to ever happen. I wish only good for your and yours..

  • In my state they would never even consider creating a commission for overseeing all this. The governor and legislature have one message and one message only and that is that we all need more drugs.

    And as far as community mental health clinics are concerned the two in the city where I live do all they can to keep from helping people in any way shape or form. They are uncooperative and put roadblocks in the way of providing anyone with services. You have to know the phone number of someone high up in the system to make a complaint to before they will do anything for you. I waited six weeks for them to call me and every time I went in and asked when they were going to call they made me sit and wait for half an hour and then someone would come to the door leading into the inner sanctum and say, “Wait for our call.” It was at that point that I made my decision to never have anything to do with the system ever again.

  • I think that the ultimate concern of this activity or training exercise was to give the residents a chance to interact with a transgendered person under the guise of blood pressure and high potassium. Many people are uncomfortable when transgendered people show up. Sometimes this stems from prejudice but a lot of times it stems from just being uncomfortable with something that you are not familiar with. Transgendered people are not going to go away and they are not going to hide so doctors need to learn how to deal with their own uncomfortable feelings in order that the feelings do not get in the way of providing the best medical care possible.

    An equally interesting training exercise would be if they used “mental patients” as the subjects. As most of us know, many doctors treat us terribly if they find out that we have a lived history.

    These programs not only teach young doctors and medical students how to look for and treat specific health problems, they also try to help the trainees grow as human beings who are more open to the modern world.

  • These kinds of training programs are quite interesting if you are the actor playing the role of a certain kind of patient. I’ve done this with second year medical students at the university medical center in the city where I live. You as the actor critique the medical student or doctor’s performance so it gives them a chance to see the areas where they need to improve the way that they interact with patients.

    I remember one time where I was an actor playing a patient. These actors have a particular name but I don’t remember it now. Anyway, I was playing a farmer in his 50’s who was becoming very accident prone. My “sprained ankle” that I got from jumping off a running tractor was the third accident in two months. One of the objectives was to get the student to talk with me about prevention and being more careful and aware of what I was doing. Things went just fine for ten students and then with the eleventh I ran into a terrible snag. The young medical student listened to my explanation for why I got injured and then broke down crying. He began pleading with me to be more careful as he cried his eyes out. Then he explained to me that his beloved grandfather was killed in an accident with farm equipment. It was obvious that he was still grieving. As the actor you can’t go out of character at any time, no matter what the student says. Finally I said screw it and proceeded to remind the young man that this was only a training but this it obviously stirred up a lot of grief for him. And being the chaplain that I was I worked him through things so that he pulled himself together and we went on. I was not asked to be an actor again after that but as far as I’m concerned people come before all other things.

  • But I don’t think that their conclusions are correct. When I see someone jerked off one neuroleptic and put on another the person usually gets totally out of control, which the psychiatrists interpret as the person getting worse. No, they’re not getting worse, they are responding to being quickly removed from one drug and placed on another. One of our units has has resident psychiatrists and you can always tell when we get a new batch of them on the unit because people get out of control due to the switching of the drugs that these residents like to fiddle with. No one has ever told them that the Geneva Convention forbids experimenting on human beings without their permission.

  • Hemingway took his own life after having shock treatments because they took away his ability to write. I guess in his mind there was no use living if he couldn’t do what he did best. So much for shock treatment being a great “therapy”. At least it didn’t help him any.

  • Talk about what you are offended about. We can’t discuss or walk with you in your Journey when you won’t share what is bothering you. Obviously something is going on since this is the third post you’ve made and yet you won’t talk about what the problem is. We can’t be supportive if you refuse to inform us.

  • Frances

    These are the same people who stole Henrietta Lacks’s cells before she died of cancer and then made a killing off of them as they sold them to researchers. And of course, her family members do not receive one penny of compensation for the sale worldwide of their mother’s cells that are used for research.

  • Yes, I fired a new GP after my initial visit with him because of multiple problems I caught him in. There is no doubt that something is not right in the education of doctors. The big question is what can lay people like us do about it? I’ve taken to noncompliance when it comes to dealing with my doctor. If she presses the issue I explain the facts to her as I know them. We’ve developed a working relationship where it’s her job to advise and my job to make the decisions.

  • Steve

    Exactly. It always amazes me that I know more about the valid studies done in the area of drugs and psychiatry than the psychiatrists who work in the hospital where I am employed. I will ask them if they’ve heard of this study or that particular person writing papers and I always get blank looks as they shake their heads no. What’s wrong with this picture, that a former “patient” knows more about the current literature and studies concerning “mental illness” than the people responsible for the supposed “treatment” of “patients”?

    Doctors in other medical specialties must keep up with what’s going on in their area of medicine so why are psychiatrists so lacking in knowledge about what’s going on in theirs?

    I think that they’re willfully stupid and do not want to know anything about anything because then they’d have to begin looking within themselves to discover their true objectives for the things that they do. And if they did this, in true humility and honesty, they would have to admit that they’re wrong and that they are harming people. They can’t allow themselves to know this.

  • One group was even trying to convince people that babies in the womb were already Bi-Polar! So, let’s start drugging people before they are even born into the world!!! One wonders how much more disgusting all of this can become but psychiatry and the drug companies never cease to amaze. This is all morally, ethically, and professionally wrong.

  • IMHO, psychiatry is not capable of reforming itself. It will never happen if left up to them; just like abolition of slavery would never have happened in this country if it had been left up to slave owners. They have too much invested and at stake to change now and insurance companies are not going to pay for any kind of real therapy so what incentive do they have to reform and change themselves?

    And as to the claim that the neurotoxins do not harm people over the long term, Dr. Nancy Andreasen put the lie to that when she did studies to find out what was shrinking the brains of people being dosed with the neurotoxins. Her studies, and she’s a very methodical person when it comes to studies and she is the matriarch of the Bio-Bio-Bio group of psychiatry, showed that people’s brains are shrinking because of the drugs and not because of the “schizophrenia”. She even redid her study because she didn’t believe the results of the first but after the second came up with the same results she finally decided to publish.

  • What recent research are you pointing to that states that depression is genetic in families? We could say that the social experience in some families causes problems and it can be perpetuated down through generations. I’ve not heard of any valid research that states that depression is genetic. And depression is not a disease or an illness, by the way.

  • And for doing this he brought down on himself the anger and disapproval of all of Viennese Victorian society! How dare anyone suggest that the wonderful Victorians sexually abused their children!!!!! His paper on hysteria is still a very good understanding of how trauma can affect people in very bad ways. He ended up having to take back much of what he said about the abuse of children.

  • Helen,

    I want to say thank you for your efforts to get clinical staff to see and value the reality of what is really happening in the lives of the people that they say they are providing “good treatment” for. It’s an almost impossible effort. I know because I see the same things happening that you describe here in your writing.

    I work in a state hospital where the clinical staff know that the problem is the chemically imbalanced brains of the people under their “care”. Therefore, trauma has no part to play in the problems that people experience. This is what the staff tell me on a daily basis. Trauma is never considered, talked about, or appreciated as the driving force of the behavior of many people in psychiatric facilities.

    I gave a presentation to clinical staff about trauma and the effects it has on peoples’ lives. Almost no clinical staff came to the presentation and one of the few psychiatrists who did attend stated quite casually that “they didn’t have time to fool with trauma, they had more important work to do!”

    So, I know for a fact that what you state here is absolutely true, unfortunately. It’s almost impossible to get anyone to consider how dealing with peoples’ trauma issues just might set them on their Journey of well-being. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Have you ever been put in a psychiatric facility against your will? You don’t get out of places like that until you comply with taking the drugs, plain and simple. Forced treatment without proper informed consent takes place in the United States each and every day of the year.

  • Well, this is just gross! These doctors should be in prison but I suspect that they’ll get off with a slap on their wrists. This is exactly like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. And I thought that treatment here in the United States was bad. Thank goodness that I wasn’t in Canada when I experienced the issues that got me into the wonderful “mental health system”.

  • Agreed. Thanks for sharing. I believe that you ought to be appointed as head of “services for the mentally ill” in the area where you live because you obviously understand what the wonderful “doctors” have absolutely no understanding of. It’s good to know that your daughter is making progress in taking control of her own life. She could never had made it this far without your support and huge understanding. You get it, unlike so many others who sit there thinking that they actually do get it.

  • As I’m sure you know already because of your research into the topic, court jesters were the only ones at court who were allowed to state the truth about the king and his thoughts and actions. They were the only one who could call him into question and get away with it. It seems as if they were an attempt to keep kings and rulers in touch with the reality of their humanity and an attempt to keep them somewhat humble. And they told these truths under the guise of being “crazy” or mad.

    It strikes me that much of what your daughter does and says may come swirling up out of mythological themes and backgrounds. Jung’s work on archetypes as well as Joseph Campbell’s work concerning mythology might also be helpful for your family to understand some of what your daughter is trying to share. I’ve always believed that much of what psychiatry likes to call psychosis is very symbolic and symbolic language is not always easy for modern humans to understand. But there is a richness and depth to be discovered in the world of symbols, which dreams use constantly.

    I was almost ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. I taught Religion in Catholic schools, specifically Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels, both of which are filled with such deep and important symbolism used to try to express truths that can’t always be captured in mere worlds. After teaching I went on to do chaplaincy work in hospitals and nursing homes. It’s obvious that I’ve always gravitated towards work that deals with spiritual things. Well, I had this dream over and over. I’m in a building that’s kind of like a barn that has two stories. I’m alone on the bottom floor and I have a fishing rod with a lure at the end of the line. On the second floor there are people sitting on benches that go around all four walls. The room is packed with people along the walls. There is a hole in the floor of the room above me and I flick the lure through the hole and onto the floor of the upper room. I slowly reel the lure back to me, hoping that one of the people will pick it up so that I can reel them down to me on the first floor. At the time I kept having this dream I had a spiritual director who was an Episcopal woman priest. She was Jungian. I finally brought the dream to her and after listening to me describe it she laughed and said, “you really can’t figure this one out on your own?” It’s all about the “fisher of people” idea that Jesus talked about and some of my unresolved issues about not getting ordained those many years ago. I’ve never had the dream since the morning that we unraveled its meaning for me. The unconscious only has symbols with which to communicate with us.

    I suspect that your daughter lives in a very symbolic world, a world that’s probably very rich and full of depth in many ways. I suspect that you may even be able to find some recurring themes in the things that she shares with you. I also suspect that your daughter is a very complex and interesting person in many, many ways.

  • I don’t accept the validity of what most psychiatrists say as it is so why would I even waste my time in paying attention to a bot? The creator of this bot doesn’t seem to have much understanding about what he says he’s trying to do for people, nor does he seem to understand much of what affected his friend so that he ended up taking his own life. And then he has the gall to ask for payment for the bot’s services, such as they are.

  • True, not all childhood trauma comes from horrible or abusive parents and both of you give great examples to support your point. But I do believe that NAMI gives truly abusive parents a way to escape from having to take responsibility for the damage they did to their children. NAMI could be a much more effective organization that could create much good if it dealt with the realities of real life in ways that promoted healing and well being.

    My main interest in my comment was pointed more to how our society responds to trauma and how many times the trauma survivor is vilified for what happened to them. It’s sort of like “how dare you bring up this terrible topic that we don’t want to deal with or talk about!” Most of the time we stuff these terrible things down under the rug and we don’t want people talking about their experiences or issues. But we have to talk about them when thousands of armed services people come home and can’t function due to the trauma they endured in the places that they were posted to.

  • I am definitely looking forward to all that you plan to share with us here at MIA. I am really glad that you found your way here. I too believe that dreams are the key to so many things that we struggle with in our lives.

  • Trauma usually only surfaces as a topic of discussion during and right after times of war. All the rest of the time trauma is pushed under the rug and trauma survivors are even pushed to the side and treated as if they were the cause of their problems. This is discussed in Dr. Judith Herman’s book Trauma and Recovery: The aftermath of violence–from domestic abuse to political terror.

    Freud’s classical paper on Hysteria, about women sexual abuse survivors, was one of the first things to be written on trauma. It’s still valuable to read but it enraged the Victorians, especially in Vienna, because it stated that the women’s behavior was a direct result of the sexual abuse the women suffered at the hands of family members. The Victorians were having none of that, much like so many NAMI Mommies of today, and they attacked Freud to the point that he retracted almost every thing that he’d written on this particular subject; and then to placate the Victorians he came up with those strange ideas about how sons are attracted to their mothers and daughters to their fathers. Again, it’s not the fault of the parents that children have trauma, the kids are at fault. Isn’t it interesting that when we refuse to look at our history that we are bound to repeat it?

    Trauma is not a popular topic of discussion.

  • Yes, I am glad that you keep raising this issue for people to think about. The first gas chambers in Germany were not used by the Nazis but by German psychiatrists. They gassed the “mentally ill” by the thousands, referring to them as “useless eaters”. And of course, The German Volk did not want the genes of these sub humans infecting the body general of the German people, so they had to be murdered off at the permission of the German government. They were loaded up in trucks and bussed to six different cities in Germany, where the gas chambers were located. The families of these people were told that they died of natural causes.

    Americans say that this could never happen here in America, but as you point out a euthanasia debate was carried out at the American Psychiatric Association’s yearly meeting in 1941 and the debate was continued in their Journal in 1942. We were sterilizing the “mentally ill” at this time by the thousands and German psychiatrists chided their government for letting the United States get ahead of them in this pursuit. I worry about the climate that is developing in our country over the past few months and where this might lead for those of us who are labeled as the “mentally ill”.

  • In the late 1700’s there was a doctor named Philippe Pinel who struck the shackles from the inmates of the insane asylums in Paris. He was helped and supported by another doctor named Jean Baptiste Pussin. Pussin employed former inmates in the asylum that he ran because he felt that they were kinder and more compassionate in their care of the inmates. This is probably the first example of peer workers. He himself was a former patient of the very asylum that he was head over. He and his staff were examples that contradict the lie that people are “mentally ill” for life!

    We’ve been trying to overhaul and reform the system for a long time.

  • Epthe

    Yes, before the advent of the drugs about 60% of people recovered from what the system likes to refer to as “mental illness”. About 30-35% of people didn’t seem to be able to make this move. But the amazing thing is that many people had only one more occurrence while many never experienced anything after the first episode.

    Of course the system doesn’t like to talk about these statistics since it’s very embarrassing that today’s recovery rate is only about 16%. If the drugs are so good and the treatment is so wonderful, why isn’t there a better recovery rate?

  • My bill for two and a half months as a “guest” of the state “hospital” where I was held was $62,400! All I could do was laugh when I opened it up and saw it. I could have spent the same amount of time at Cooper-Riis in North Carolina (a private facility that does use alternative treatment) for a lot less money, and I would have had my own private room with bath to boot.

    I could not pay this bill, to say the least.