Sandra, you have a conscience, and that’s good. But I wonder often how educated psychiatrists in general are in history, literature and philosophy–that is, the Humanities. They seem to have trouble understanding concepts like autonomy, personal integrity, ethics and freedom. Psychiatry itself is a pseudo-science. A renowned kidney surgeon from UCLA told me that in his view Western medicine is a step above what it was in the Middle Ages. Psychiatry is not even that advanced–it is totally a construct of the human syndrome of power/control/narcissism (interesting that the last has been removed from DSM, isn’t it?) and the proof is that it is solely imposed on the poor and minorities. No upper class white person is coerced–only the bottom rungs of society feel psychiatry’s full force and impunity. If psychiatrists had a grasp of history they’d know where they stand in its pageant–with the Inquisition, the witch-hunters, the voodoo doctors and the Stasi. Do any of those ring a bell? But, no, you don’t see the resemblance because psychiatrists are by and large the least unconventional and the least educated of any professionals I’ve ever encountered. You will really follow your conscience when you renounce all the unjust power you’ve been granted and encourage the death of psychiatry. But, be careful. Look it up: the first judge in Germany who questioned the condemnation of witches was subsequently burned as a witch himself.
Sandra, you have a conscience, and that’s good. But I wonder often how educated psychiatrists in general are in history, literature and philosophy–that is, the Humanities. They seem to have trouble understanding concepts like autonomy, personal integrity, ethics and freedom.
Psychiatry itself is a pseudo-science. A renowned kidney surgeon from UCLA told me that in his view Western medicine is a step above what it was in the Middle Ages. Psychiatry is not even that advanced–it is totally a construct of the human syndrome of power/control/narcissism (interesting that the last has been removed from DSM, isn’t it?) and the proof is that it is solely imposed on the poor and minorities. No upper class white person is coerced–only the bottom rungs of society feel psychiatry’s full force and impunity.
If psychiatrists had a grasp of history they’d know where they stand in its pageant–with the Inquisition, the witch-hunters, the voodoo doctors and the Stasi. Do any of those ring a bell? But, no, you don’t see the resemblance because psychiatrists are by and large the least unconventional and the least educated of any professionals I’ve ever encountered.
You will really follow your conscience when you renounce all the unjust power you’ve been granted and encourage the death of psychiatry. But, be careful. Look it up: the first judge in Germany who questioned the condemnation of witches was subsequently burned as a witch himself.
I knew Pat as an acquaintance and benefited greatly from the material published on his website–it was one of the most intelligent and helpful places I found after I was victimized by psychiatry. His material–that he used in trainings–about how psychiatric treatment reproduces childhood sexual abuse (just briefly, he means the dehumanizing, the stripping, the forced injections, the lack of credibility granted to ‘patients’) is brilliant and should be widely disseminated. Thank you, Pat, for all you did.
David Oaks defines activism by his words and example. Activism–and I’ve been an activist in several movements since the 70s–means DOING SOMETHING. Yeah, maybe I shouted that–because it is important. Telling our stories has a place; debate has a place, blogging has a place. But action is what moves the world forward. One of MLK’s advisors put it like this: “History is not an accident. It is a choice.” Take an action, however small, and you begin to be the master of your destiny.
I’m ready to take up your challenge, Frank–in your previous message you said it doesn’t take more than a few to start a movement and I agree. I’ve been advocating this for about four years on this forum–my suggestion that we copy the Gay Rights Movement and do something like a quilt project where people harmed by psychiatry or who lost loved ones to it do some kind of object/art project that we can display on the Mall in Washington, D.C. No one took me up on it.
The terrible problem seems to be this–many gay activists were strong people who just happened to be gay. Many people on this forum are victims of trauma and childhood sexual abuse, as I am. That means we are usually quite challenged just to survive in the world, much less lead a movement.
But I’m willing to get together with whoever is willing to act and try some action. Get in touch with me.
Don’t pay the $7,000.
Most counties pay out on “bad holds” every month–one night detention from a bad hold is about $10,000 in “hush money” from the county–I’m sure they want a non-disclosure agreement. They pay out $30,000 on 72 hour holds with the regularity of a casino slot machine. That in itself should be publicized to the taxpayer.
Get an attorney. You don’t mind going public, so go to the local newspapers and pressure the hospital to justify its conduct. Good luck.
You do good work, Bonnie. My post does not address you, but others who come to this site:
Medicalization of mental states and suicide absolutely leads to diagnosis (which in the future will be regarded as one step above witch doctor stuff), detention and forced treatment. Doctors and lawyers are enabling this system every hour of every day by 1) not voicing disgust and disbelief of psychiatry, 2) not advocating for people caught in the system and 3) taking money for useless “help” and harmful prescribing. They have to live with their place in the medical establishment–I’m sure the falsity of their positions eats away at them. It is the sacred responsibility of every professional in the system to speak out and act out–anyone who doesn’t is part of the evil.
Well said. But look who posts on this site: wised up (more or less wise, depending) psychology and psychiatry professions and victims. Until we get lawyers and politicians involved, we are just chattering to each other–which has its place, but after awhile is just a waste.
Where are the attorneys? We should be picketing bar association meetings to ask, “Where’s the beef you guys should be having with the psychiatric establishment and its shameless arrogation of special powers to itself?”
Attorneys–that’s the answer. Oh, and read Aurelio Campanillo–he is the only novelist telling it like it is about the American police state.
I agree with you 100% The LGBT movement succeeded because they spoke with one voice. There were movies and books and articles that supported their point of view and they didn’t let any media get away with denigrating them without a powerful response. I’ll sign the petition. We need boycotts. But good luck getting your message across–I think there are a fair number of plants on this site (ooh, she’s paranoid! no, I went through the sixties and got educated about plants and other tricks) who will always shoot down any attempts at unity or action.
Have you read Aurelio Campanillo? He’s the only writer out there tackling the m.h. establishment and pharma with hard-hitting prose in his novels.
Keep up the good work. If you organize a boycott of some kind, I’ll help.
Eric–Of course you are right. In your list of what makes reform challenging you forget, however, to list the global corporate police state that makes it extremely unlikely any humanistic plans will flourish. It is convenient for the oligarchy to have emotions criminalized and pathologized.
BTW, the only novelist (we need a Harriet Beecher Stowe, for sure!) who is dealing with these topics is Aurelio Campanillo.
BP, you’re quite right. A lot of the palaver on this site is beautiful but basically pointless. What will change the psychiatric system? Lawyers and mass protests. Do we have either. No.
I appreciate your orientation away from drugs and the prominent psychiatric myths we all hate on this site, but your approach is doomed in our current society. Love and care, harmony? In a nation whose top officials say things like, “We droned a 16 year old boy to preempt his future danger to us. Yeah, he should have chosen a different father if he didn’t want to be assassinated.” A paraphrase, but you’ll find it’s accurate in tone and content. We might as well live in 30s Germany. Would you have had much chance of implementing your ideas in that milieu?
Reform of this society must be a priority and any work at reforming psychiatry has to take that into consideration.
It’s certainly fun to watch psychiatry re-invent the wheel, over and over again. And then forget what they re-invented and go back to cruelly persecuting people. Ad nauseum.
We continue to be extremely concerned about the aftermaths of trauma and child abuse and I understand that some people’s memories are discounted. But discounting memories is not the same as helping to create them. And acknowledging the faulty nature of memory is not the same as dismissing a person completely. Understanding what left the professions involved so vulnerable to this kind of problem is as important as understanding the impacts of the pharmaceutical industry on the practice of medicine.
I beg to differ, Sandra. You are creating memories of abuse because almost all psychiatric interventions, no matter how mild, and most are not mild, but horrific, mimic the power differential of abuse. In your efforts to reconcile your cognitive dissonance, may I recommend ceasing to accept pay for ‘work’ that is unfortunately scientifically nonsensical and ethically indefensible.
I hope everyone concerned will do what I did and call Chris Murphy’s office to commend him and urge further common sense in m.h. legislation. The number of his Wash. D.C. office is 202-224-4041. Don’t bend the ear of the aide who answers with long horror stories (we all have them!), just say you are calling to urge Murphy to continue his stand. Also, call your own senators and reps to urge them to support Chris Murphy, not Tim Murphy.
I have to disagree with the mother who says her daughter is “better off” on medications, but of course our perhaps disparate definitions of “better” are in operation there.
I have to agree with her that Janet Foner is alleged to be a Scientologist or perhaps is an ex-Scientologist. I have no idea. I do know that Scientology is not a “philosophy,” a “mind science” or a “church.” It is an organization that specifically and factually exists for the purpose of “clearing the planet.” If you don’t know what that means, please education yourself on the web, watch the new HBO special Going Clear or inform yourself thoroughly in some way.
You cannot be a mere humanitarian in Scientology; if you are not actively working to “clear the planet,” you are considered a Cleared Cannibal at best and a Suppressive Person at worst. If the latter, then Scientologists are permitted and encouraged to accuse you of child abuse, get you committed to a mental hospital, lie to your employers, steal from you and even physically attack you.
Many Scientologists are survivors of child abuse and feel they must save others and save the world. They should save themselves, first, from domination by a delusive cult. Inform yourselves, don’t take my word for it. The last thing a psychiatric survivor needs is Scientology.
Thank you, Bruce. You are one of the professionals who heal on this site, instead of causing pain to many of us.
When I have my support system and research lined up, I’m challenging my diagnosis (given in 5 min. after a 20-hour encarceration in emergency room overnight) and I plan to use whatever happens as a basis for a class-action suit. 10-minute diagnoses that put the individual in peril for the rest of his/her life are unacceptable and should be, WILL BE if I have anything to do with it, illegal.
Ethical doctor….nice concept! Are there any in psychiatry?
Good on you, Alex. Sorry you couldn’t proceed with it to complete satisfaction. FYI, I an imagine it is a rough road–litigating against Power always is. That’s why we need the toughest lawyers around, the kinds who went up against Big Tobacco. But where are they? I don’t know. Maybe if we crowd-sourced half a mil we could get some hotshot to sue somebody.
I posted this in the wrong spot–I was replying to Lawhern’s
“So could we try just a bit to deal in practicalities instead of pie-in-the-sky philosophy?”
Mad and proud is not the way. Mad and suing your a___ is the way.
Well said. This ‘movement’ is all whining and no working, all argument and no lawsuits or huge actions. And I include myself in that. I spent two years of my life looking full time for an attorney. I don’t waste my time now, plus the time limit is up on my situation.
The answer is simple: lawyers and lawsuits
Where are the brave attorneys who in the past stepped up to fight for these survivors and prevent future harm?
John Whitehead is one. Where are the others?
Beat the bushes, search everywhere. But without lawsuits we are nowhere.
Okay, I’ll read it for the laughs.
BTW, B, I haven’t seen such good responses on MIA since Anonymous. She/he told it like it is, and so do you.
Yes, B, isn’t this ridiculous? But it shows how ignorant and unprofessional psychiatry is–they want to make themselves feel better about being abusers.
A farewell party from involuntary internment in the psych ward? Duh.
Did you know that it is only the very bottom achievers in medical school who go into psychiatry? Or is it obvious?
B makes many relevant and unanswerable points–and hence Sandra doesn’t even attempt to answer most of them. It is a logical fallacy to talk about a worst-case scenario (frostbitten homeless) rather than address the reality of involuntary treatment, which is done to perfectly normal people all the time. Of course professionals who make their living off the established system are not interested in changing it. As was said about Watergate: “Follow the money.” Rationalization and pale attempts at ameliorization of an horrific system just serve to support and protect that system.
The worst thing a friend or family member can do is call the police or psychiatrist on a person who talks about suicide. I know several people who are adamant that they WILL commit suicide because they endured hospitalization and the PTSD it engenders on top of whatever other suffering they had in the first place. On the other hand, I have talked several young people out of suicide using empathy, openness, non-coercion and common sense.
Psychiatry kills sensitive, empathetic people. But perhaps that is what is wanted and needed by a society of thugs, droners, warmongers and sociopaths.
I do think it more appropriate for you to reply to me rather than having “followers” do so. I think that any paid professional who posts articles on this site should feel it incumbent upon them to engage in dialogue with commenters. Otherwise it is the same old power differential that keeps bad ideas in practice everywhere.
Did it ever occur to you that the very power differential inherent in you talking with a ‘patient’–i.e. that you have the power to incarcerate said patient–might have something to do with communication difficulty and breakdown?
If I were in your position, I would quit the whole system and set up something closer to what my conscience tells me is right. I say that having forfeited a large pension when I had many years in my profession and could write my own ticket. I simply couldn’t stand to be part of a conveyer belt that took to many people straight to hell. But I’m broke, Sandra, so you can see it is not the choice for everyone. Good luck with your own choices and I hope you feel more peaceful as you make them. At least you’re struggling, which puts you ahead of most.
Thanks, Emmeline, for replying for Sandra. I can see that Sandra would only be available to respond to compliments, not questions.
I continue to be puzzled by why you post on this site. I’m sure you are aware that almost all the users are against enforced psychiatry, yet you are always in favor of it. You mention “a safe place to work through a crisis” as if you are unaware that psychiatric hospitals are not safe at all. They immediately harm a person’s sense of self (leading to “tainted identity” that almost never can be erased), they put any person in danger of a thousand forms of physical harm, iatrogenesis, etc. and they never have enough facilities or personnel for actual psychotherapies that have been shown to help people in crisis.
As for your not being able to clearly explain what you mean by individuals not making sense to you, when you resort to the “confidentiality” excuse, it reminds me of the Catholic church refusing to explain things based on the doctrine of “mystery.” Maybe I’ve misunderstood you?
I’d love to hear what you have to say in response.
I’m sorry you suffered grief. But grief is probably why your loved one took his life.
Why would anyone want a loved one to live in unbearable pain? Why would you want a loved one kept alive against his or her will? Not accepting suicide and honoring the autonomy of another human is an anti-life attitude, I believe. Life is not so beautiful for 90% of the world’s population–it is brutal, humiliating, torturous and, at best, lit only by flickers of light.
Someone said about having children–“Bring no more children into the world, bring hope.”
I would say–“Don’t rail against suicide, rail against the injustice and unbearable cruelty of our societies.”
Thank you for a brilliant article. Of course we are in a Reign of Terror, and it exists everywhere from classrooms to medical facilities to battlefields. None of us belong to ourselves anymore, but to the medical establishment, the government, the surveillance apparatus and to corporations. We don’t know this, perhaps, until–as you point out–we push back against something. Then you find out your ‘rights’ are privileges for keeping your mouth shut and being a good robot.
The big picture must be painted again and again for people to begin to see it. “Granita de arena” actions must be taken over and over again in obscurity. The two eventually tip the balance and some wrongs get redressed. Tyrannies never last forever because they at last touch so many that complacency become impossible. We just aren’t there yet, I guess.
Nice article. You sound like you know what you are talking about. I’m glad to hear from posters that c.s.a. can exist without future p.t.s.d., but I’ve never seen it, myself. I think posters younger than 50 might have a different take after they reach that age and beyond. Alice Miller documents how high-functioning one can be until suddenly age and loss up the ante. That’s my 2 cents.
“A good friend will believe you no matter what, even if you say little pink pigs are flying out of your earholes. (And he won’t drag you off to the psych ward to have them flushed out with Gleemonex, either.)” Exactly.
If I had the proverbial million dollars, I’d do a billboard campaign across the U.S. with this message.
True family and true friends don’t call the cops or psychs on someone–only frenemies and families with a lot to hide do so.
Lawsuits. Everything else is just dust in the wind.
Lawyers–we ain’t got any besides Gottstein. We can b**** and moan forever, but without legal action, we are sc*****
It seems to me that we would benefit from a ‘task force’ to examine the tactics of and build our own on the model of the Gay Liberation Movement. They started out with Stonewall in the ’60s in the position of vilified individuals who as a group were considered mad, bad and of no value or interest to mainstream society. I was one of those who initially felt (I don’t say thought because I hadn’t given it ANY thought at that point), “these people are icky.” My mind changed with AIDS and especially with the AIDS Quilt Project. The intensity of the protests to take AIDS seriously and then the humanizing effect of the quilts totally changed my heart and then I became able to think clearly and accept LGBTs as just like myself, deserving of all good and protection.
People who have been stigmatized by mental health intervention are also considered “icky.” That is the truth–mainstream media and the general public feels indifference, fear and repulsion–they don’t think we deserve due process or fairness or anything else.
We need 1)a very strong, loud and pervasive protest presence and 2) humanizing images and stories to convey to the public what it is like to be victimized and ostracized.
But it is unlikely these will develop: as mainly traumatized people and c.s.a. survivors, we do not have even the vestigial self-esteem the LGBT community was able to muster. We are trying to win a race and most of us only have one leg or no legs. This site is an example–people vent and worry and condemn (myself included), but we do not act. We do not have the lawyers, doctors, actors and strong activists (not to mention wealthy patrons) that the gay movement eventually mustered and deployed.
Wish I saw things more optimistically, but I’m a practical realist. The last handicap we face is infiltration by Scientology. Yes, I must mention it again because it is really a bummer when people don’t understand that psychiatry and Scientology are twins. But learn it for yourself. I was treated very well in Scientology, declared a Clear and actually the beginning processes cured me of decades of inhibitions. But I know what it does to people without the financial resources I had and that’s why I warn people.
This is the abstract of a 2005 study:
Etiology of borderline personality disorder: disentangling the contributions of intercorrelated antecedents.
Bradley R1, Jenei J, Westen D.
A substantial body of research points to several variables relevant to the etiology of borderline personality disorder (BPD), notably childhood physical and sexual abuse, childhood family environment, and familial aggregation of both internalizing and externalizing disorders. However, these variables tend to be correlated, and few studies have examined them simultaneously. A national sample of randomly selected psychologists and psychiatrists described 524 adult patients with personality disorders. Family environment, parental psychopathology, and history of abuse all independently predicted BPD symptoms in multiple regression analyses. Sexual abuse contributed to the prediction of BPD symptoms over and above family environment, although family environmental factors such as instability partially mediated the effect. The results converge with recent studies using very different samples and methodologies.
This being the case, how is it enshrined in our mental health codes that family members can get a person involuntarily committed? In China, even, they have outlawed family being able to do this, as it was constantly abused by greedy and malicious relatives.
Are we in America so absolutely stupid that we think a relative can always be trusted to “do what is best” for an individual? My brother was my rapist and my mother colluded with him to keep me quiet. How would they ever be the ones to say if I’m sane or not?
If professionals in the psychiatric field don’t start acting ethically to restrain their coercion-minded fellows, they are to be despised.
I generally agree with Hermes–more knowledge is always better. But biology is hardly neutral in practice, is it? We have viagra, but no vaccine for ebola. We have haldol, but no cure for multiple schlerosis. Medicine is in the dark ages–I was told that by a kidney surgeon emeritus from U.C.L.A.
You have to be your own advocate and grow your own wisdom. Mental illness as defined by medicine today is mythological. Much of today’s medical information is mythological.
This is an important article and the full text is available online without paying a subscription. I suggest all activists copy it and send it (or send a link in an email) to their mayors, legislators (state and federal) and local county m.h. services.
If we don’t get active and help ourselves you know, we’ll never achieve the parity that the LGBTQ community has achieved. They did it themselves, in the face of hatred and stigma.
Thank you for your reply.
I commend you for speaking out here on MIA. My experience is that there is no freedom asserted that doesn’t result in blowback from somewhere, but if we are all so afraid of blowback, nothing gets asserted, or it gets asserted very quietly and passes unnoticed.
The students who protested (and some are still doing so on campuses around the nation for various causes) were sanctioned and some of their lives took different paths as a result. My life has been diverted when I refused to continue working for people who were breaking the law or being unethical, but I see those diversions as a valid path, as well. If we define our success as pleasing the oppressors and getting what they have, how can we ever change anything? You don’t end up with much money, but take a look at those who have money in our society. All I can say is, Yuck! I wish you luck and a path with a heart.
In my day,students “sat in”when they felt the university or faculty were in collusion with negative social forces. It worked. Many of the programs at universities now–ethnic studies, women’s studies, etc.–came out of direct action.
Of course, something that is becoming very clear to me in the area of activism is that most activists are terrified of being too effective.
all mental hospitals
Your Editorial on psychiatric
disorders (Nature 463, 9; 2010)
mentions the misplaced stigma
often associated with them. In
Brazil, there is strong opposition
within certain social sectors
to the idea of mental-health
interventions. A proposed law to
dismantle all psychiatric hospitals
in the country has been arousing
fierce debate since 2001.
One side argues that the
law would end the widespread
abandoning of the poor in
psychiatric institutions, a
practice that has been criticized
as detrimental to the patients’
chances of long-term recovery.
Opponents, however, say that it
would eliminate the opportunity
for immediate care of acutely
affected patients, such as those
with suicidal depression or
delusional schizophrenia; this
would increase the risks for both
patients and their families, while
placing all the responsibility on
This debate reflects the
fact that, in many countries,
the necessary political and
methodological changes must
be conceived of as part of a
multistage programme, with an
emphasis on ethics and halting
human-rights violations. If these
measures had been taken in
the past, this uncomfortable
discussion would not be
necessary and Brazil could focus
on strengthening the science
underlying its health-care system.
Álvaro Machado Dias Department of
Neuroscience and Behaviour, Institute
of Psychology, University of São Paulo,
São Paulo, Brazil
e-mail: [email protected]
The article this addresses is unavailable except at paid medical journal sites. Perhaps one of our resident psychs with a subscription would reprint it for us here?
Here is link to another study on genetic benefits of depression.
Maybe traditionalist psychiatrists want to discourage “deep thinking”?
Have you considered two factors?
1) most (perhaps all) suicidal people have been sexually or otherwise abused as infants, children or adolescents, and psychiatric “care” often (or always for some people) mimics that abuse, causing overwhelming helplessness and need to escape
2) most people having had psychiatric “care” are afraid to tell the truth–they lie their rears off to get out, protect themselves and be left alone
Correlation isn’t causation, but psychiatry causes suicide.
May I answer the question at the end of your article? The biggest public health risk at the moment is the police state and the utter lack of accountability of the people who are armed and empowered to kill citizens at will. Suicide is a personal decision. Is it a good decision for a 16 year old or a 24 year old? Not unless they are so ill there life has no quality. You still don’t incarcerate and drug them. Let’s be real–if you are for any kind of forced treatment, you really are against human freedom.
Depression is normal. That it persists in the human race shows that it has had utility to the group–there was a chimp study on that, I believe, although of course no university wants to study things that hurt pharma corporations or the APA’s grip on the U.S.
Okay, good point, but I was asking Kjetil.
BTW, I know of a war on Wikipedia over how a subject was presented and eventually the founder got involved in the controversy and ruled on the right side, not necessarily the ‘power’ side. Don’t know if this always works.
Wonderful post, Justin. Your extended metaphor is right on. Coercion is slavery, state psychiatry is as dangerous as state religion, and no compromise is possible.
I’m an atheist, but doesn’t the Bible say something about God spitting out the lukewarm???
The upcoming release of the Torture Report from Congress will supposedly include material about collusion between psychiatrists and interrogators in the torture prisons the U.S. maintains (present tense) abroad. Of course, Big Pharma money buys a lot of ‘teflon,’ so expect to see these charges slide off the back of psychiatry like water. Unless we do something, that is, to highlight this matter and make it stick.
Wow. Great post. Why isn’t Francis responding? Does he not want to dialogue with the people on this site?
Well, we can either tut-tut about another massive betrayal/rights violation or do something about it. Some things I’ve done:
–called into radio shows to educate the public
–called/written government agencies to complain
–attended protest events that get covered in the news
–written letters to prominent journalists
–called newspapers to suggest they cover stories
Success? In one case I got a newspaper to cover a story (and even editorialize) about an issue of which they were unaware. The coverage prompted constructive but minor government action. The other actions–who knows, but it’s better than feeling helpless.
Kjetil–can you explain what changes you made to “Psychosis”? I just looked it up and it seems fairly mainstream to me. I think we should radically question diagnosis itself, given the way it is made and used in the coercive system.
Thanks for your proactivity! Have you heard of Jan Pols? He is a psychiatrist (I think Norwegian) who is totally against forced treatment. I read his book online.
I hope everyone will do as you suggest. I’ll try it myself. We should make a list of all the terms a victim of psychiatry might try to find on Wiki and go after all of them. I remember how demoralized I was when I read what was on there a few years ago–it was all estabishment/coercive stuff.
Good article. BPD is just a modern way to say witch or slut or loony or some other label that allows us to do whatever we like with a person who makes us uncomfortable or shakes our assumptions. To me, BPD describes a traumatized person who is dependent (financially, emotionally, physically or all three) on unloving or even vicious family/guardians/society. They lash about because they are essentially trapped. Out of the trap, with good job, sane relationships, an end to exploitation or scapegoating, and such a person has a chance to heal and change.
Suicide is not illegal. Yet attempting or threatening suicide leads to loss of nearly every significant civil right or liberty and puts the person into grave physical danger from police intervention/incarceration with violent, criminally insane individuals. Saying that life is ugly or not worth living is apparently a tacit crime that allows others to gang up and silence a person.
It seems most people in today’s society have been brainwashed into thinking that suicide and suicide bomber are synonymous. They are miles apart. If people were properly educated in the history and literature of humans, instead of dumbed down by poor schools, indoctrinated by media and corporations and deluded by religious instruction, they would know that sovereignty over one’s own body is an ancient and sacred right–up to and including suicide. Almost every writer throughout history from Tacitus to Goethe has affirmed that death is preferable to a life of servitude to tyranny, or a life without quality–whatever that means to the individual.
Study of literature should me mandatory for all ‘helping’ professions, including cops. A suburb of Mexico City has a program like this for its police and it is (was?) successful. People who don’t understand human life as described by our brightest, bravest artists have no business making any judgements/interventions on their fellow citizens.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my comments.
First, I have had the experience of counseling several teenagers out of suicide and have dealt with hundreds of abused children. In each case of suicidal intent I emphasized to them that they were strong, wonderful people (they were my students of varying ages and of both sexes) and that if they were miserable at home, at 18 they would be able to get away and make their own lives. I firmly believe (not original to me, of course) that “madness” is a social problem and most often the result of violent/sexual trauma in infancy (which leads to the worst, most obdurate and physical effects), childhood (my own experience), or in adolescence. We enable abusers as a society, from the lowest to highest levels.
Victims need unique, non-prescriptive (in all senses) support and absolute realism, not ‘paths’ and ‘techniques’ that work for some or work for awhile. From your picture, I surmise that I’ve lived from twice to three times as long as you. Forty years ago or even ten I could not have written what I did. I didn’t know enough and I hadn’t synthesized my experiences and study. I keep learning every day.
I post on this site not to prescribe to anyone, but to offer my experience for what it’s worth. In my view, victims (no one should be afraid of that word–life as a human is fraught with unavoidable victimization of one kind or another) should guide themselves if they are to heal as much as possible. They need truth, but we are afraid to look at the truth. Over and over I have observed that people without children will readily admit that trauma probably causes dysfunction, but once people have children, they usually become much less willing to accept this paradigm. Do you see how this guilt syndrome affects our response as a society to hidden predation?
Finally, joy is brief and not easy to find for victims of torture, trauma, etc. We are damaged. Period. Our lives are as difficult, invisibly, as someone with no legs.
Is my view hopeless? What do you think, from what I’ve shared? If it is hopeless that we will ever as a society admit that our ways of child-raising are 100% damaging and that sexual abuse is epidemic in our culture (as it used to be in German culture, for example–see Alice Miller), then, yes, I have no hope for ending ‘madness’ and suicidality.
I appreciate that you are working to help victims. But I do believe that only each victim, uniquely, knows how to heal and must be supported, no matter how labor intensive the effort entailed, to do so. I hope that doesn’t sound self-righteous. I mean it in solidarity with all on this site.
Thank you, Uprising and others. When enough of us have formed a consensus, perhaps we can design a system that will replace forced treatment and drugging.
I am one of those who “transcended” trauma to live a productive, peaceful and, yes, at times joyful life. Like most success in life, however, mine was the result of genetic qualities over which I had no control, helpful witnesses in early life, and just plain dumb luck. I disagree with recommending forgiveness, gratitude, etc. to those who have experienced life-altering trauma. Even if you yourself are a survivor of trauma, recommending a path that worked for you to others is fraught with peril, in my view. Each individual has to find his or her way through the tragic ‘distress’ of having been victimized early in life. It will be a different path for each person. Forgiveness can be absolutely the wrong thing for some people in some situations. Helping others–well, there’s a knife-edge between helping and being a martyr. As for spiritual disciplines that encourage us to look for help outside ourselves. Ouch! That can be so debilitating for trauma survivors whose trauma included being made helpless. I get that you are trying to help others heal. I hope my remarks here will prove helpful to some, even if they are irrelevant to others.
David, I’m glad my comments prompted you to clarify. A clarification from my end: if you read my words carefully you’ll note I’m not suggesting that the whole web is reliable–I specifically give Anonymous as a reliable source, but I’ll add to that: ESMB (Ex-Scientologists Message Board), Ex-Scientology Kids (that one is heartbreaking), xenu.net,and Wikileaks.
Steve, I’m not worried about invalidation (a Scientology buzzword, btw), but I worry that vulnerable survivors will get mixed up with a predatory cult. Let me repeat that, although if you are a Scientologist it will give you pain to read it: predatory cult.
Lots of agreement from people who claim to have no real knowledge of Scientology at all. I guess if you fail to research something or inform yourself about it, you would also not be interested in the knowledge of someone who has done so.
However, for the benefit of individuals who come to this site and are vulnerable because of psychiatric abuse, I continue to suggest that anyone who thinks Scientology is an “ally” of any organization or purpose other than its own should peruse the many resources on the web (made available finally through the brave actions of Anonymous.
I also don’t find it odd that those who ever “fell” for psychiatry’s offers of “help” would also find Scientology attractive. That was my own case. I am here for those with open minds to offer some hard-won advice: just don’t be stupid. Unlike my case, you now have the whole web to explore and make up your own mind.
This is great: a sociopathic cop who threatened on camera to kills protestors is going to be taken in for psychological evaluation. It might be time to turn the “tool” of involuntary commitment against the cops who love to wield it: whenever a cop threatens and abuses a citizen, call 911 and report a threatening insane person. I wonder how they’ll like their “tool” then. Story below:
The suburban St. Louis police officer who threatened to kill protesters with his weapon drawn in Ferguson is Lt. Ray Albers, his boss said.
Albers, 46, a 20-year police veteran who served four years in the Army, is the man caught on video screaming at protesters, “I will fucking kill you,” while pointing his rifle at civilians, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told The Huffington Post Wednesday night.
Albers told the chief he was sick to his stomach and “should have known better,” Jimenez said. He has been placed on indefinite, unpaid suspension from the force while an investigation is underway.
“It’s frustrating, because we told [our officers] before we went down there that there would be lots of people trying to antagonize to provoke them into saying something,” Jimenez said. “Whether you’re a pedestrian or protesters, you have to be professional, and [Albers’] actions weren’t in any way, shape or form.”
Stress and fear may have contributed to the confrontation, Jimenez said, but didn’t excuse the officer’s behavior. However, the police chief said his department supports Albers’ raising of his weapon at protesters.
“He saw three to four suspects with bandanas on, and saw one of them raise a gun towards him,” Jimenez said. “That made him draw his weapon up to the crowd, and he was scanning and moving that weapon back and forth, trying to assess the scene. … Him seeing the gun in the crowd, he had every right to protect himself in fear of danger until he assessed the scene.”
Bottles of urine were being thrown at the officer, Jimenez said. In a YouTube video that captured the terrifying confrontation between protesters and Albers, people can be heard screaming “Don’t throw anything!”
“Most of the protesters are really good people, but there’s a small percentage of people that are out there trying to antagonize and make the protesters look bad,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said he was “highly angry and upset” that Albers refused to give his name to those filming.
“When he was asked the name, you need to be giving your name so they know who to contact,” Jimenez said. “So when he said, ‘Go F yourself,’ that was uncalled for too.”
Before his Facebook page was taken down, Albers posted a status the night of the video asking people to pray for officers.
Jimenez said he did not know details of Albers’ military service.
Next week, Albers will undergo a psychological evaluation as the investigation continues.
Thank you, Carina. I believe I heard you on public radio. I hope the Swedish model spreads. Perhaps at NARPA in Seattle next month this could be discussed.
Excellent article. What do you think of Soteria? Also, there is a residential program in Sweden I recently heard about on alternative radio, but I don’t remember the organization. Do you know the program I’m talking about? People with supposed “psychosis” are put with families and both the person and the family are supported by therapists.
Suicide is a human right. The Romans and Asian cultures had a very sane view: the desire to live is predicated on quality of life. If your body is a burden, if you have lost the items (physical, mental or emotional) that give your life joy, or if you are under a regime that seeks to control your thoughts and behaviors or to abuse you, then suicide is not only a good choice, it is the noble and sane choice.
Hatred and fear of suicide arose from religion–religions arose from fear of meaninglessness and our ego’s desire for permanence. Permanence plus meaning equal all the religious doctrines in the world if you care to examine them deeply, as I have. Religion without life after death is just ethics.
I don’t know what meaning life has or what happens after death. Neither does anyone, and if a person insists on pushing subjective experiences in my face as “proof” of anything, I find him or her not worth debating.
My advice to the State and to individuals who want to meddle in others’ lives: Leave people who want to commit suicide alone. Stop pushing the “beauty and meaning of life” on others. It is what we used to call an “ego trip” and is “all about you” as we say now. Good for Robin Williams. My friend knew him and Valerie well back in S.F. in the 70s and she says he always believed in individual autonomy including the right to die if it seemed the right choice.
So can we respect that?
Yes, Oldhead, a movement is needed, but don’t expect MIA to host it.
History is useful. Many of the commenters as well as writers for this site should go back and read the accounts of “debates” between abolitionists and slavers. The slavers had literally hundreds of terrifically rational-seeming turns of phrase with which to justify their horrible trade. In fact, it was all about money. The abolitionists waged a two-hundred year battle in the U.S. to abolish slavery, but only succeeded when almost the whole of the population was educated about the issue through novels, political programs and direct interpersonal testimony.
Get the picture?
Something not often mentioned on this forum is that perfectly sane, normal people are detained by police and involuntarily committed on various agendas: to punish “gang” members, to humiliate those who talk back to them, and to get rid of anyone on the street they don’t want to see for a few days.
These people experience the greatest trauma and horror in those emergency lock ups, not to mention the extreme physical danger inherent in the “pool” they are being dropped into, while never having asked for any psychiatric help and probably despising it beforehand.
Where are the attorneys to take these cases? Where are the courts which won’t–regularly, like clockwork–absolve the police and crisis teams who deprive normal individuals of their liberty? Usually the only defendant left is the admitting psychiatrist, who may be not as much to blame as the police who use i.c. as a “tool” against anyone as they see fit.
I believe R.D. Laing had it right decades ago. People say, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and never tried.” I’m an atheist, but I think that saying applies well to Laing’s ideas. They’ve been found difficult, labor-intensive, and requiring of the highest degree of dedication and goodwill on the part of professionals–therefore, they’ve been rejected, mocked and swept under the carpet.
The mind tries to heal. The mind must be given safety, time and space to do so. Each trauma is individual, so every attempt of the mind to heal trauma will be unique in some features, but the same in a general sense. Psychiatry at the moment just piles trauma and chemicals on top of the original wound. They can’t be excused for that. Don’t minimize the evil–yes, evil–they are doing now.
Ted, I look forward to reading your ideas for revitalizing and focusing our movement. I think we could learn a lot from the Gay Rights Movement and follow much of their playbook. Their phenomenal success over these 40 years (using Stonewall as a find of starting point) could be ‘unpacked’ to use the current jargon, and used in an accelerated form by our movement. There are so many problems with our current situation–lack of lawyers, mis-steps like “mad pride.” No, “misfit pride.” Misfit is a term that almost anyone in the world can identify with, while “mad” is too loaded and negative. Just some thoughts.
I stated what I know from my own experience to be true. Those who respect facts will respect my comments. Unfortunately, all over MIA we have people–psychiatrists included, not just victims–who are pushing agendas based on other priorities rather than what is factual. That’s why the reform of psychiatry movement is where it is–bogged down.
Buddhist saying quoted by Allen Ginsburg: “Love of the truth puts you on the spot.”
What am I talking about? I gave a workshop at the 2012 Rethinking Psychiatry Conference and was introduced by Marcia to a gentleman from CCHR and told that Scientology had funded the conference. Later, when I told Marcia I had been close to Scientologists for fifty years and had studied in it myself and been declared “Clear,” she said she wasn’t interested in hearing any information. Okay.
FYI, Scientology is structured like any fundamentalist religion: you are either in or out. If you’re in, you are expected to use any tactic (CCHR is just a recruiting tactic, believe me–plus, Ron Hubbard didn’t want any competition from psychiatrists–he wanted to prey on people without interference from other sociopathic organizations!), any lie, etc. to get people “to the Lord.” If you are outside Scientology, you are a “wog”–a term used by colonialists to denigrate and degrade the dark-skinned races they conquered and adopted by Ron Hubbard to convey his feelings about people who didn’t submit to his dogma.
Again, if you haven’t studied Scientology extensively or been in it, you simply can’t say anything about it without being in error.
Rethinking Psychiatry took money from Scientology. No one should approve of that–it defeats the very purpose of opposing the psychiatric establishment. You know about Scientology, if you are well informed, and recognize that it uses the same tactics as abusive psychiatry–i.e. circular logic, invalidating the individual’s opinions and feelings, strict dogma and control, and retaliation if questioned or resisted.
The above is what I posted in the comments on the original article. I know Scientology and what I’m talking about. So does Jason Renaud. As he suggests, investigate the material that Anonymous worked very hard to get released on the internet. Check out Ex-Scientologists Message Board. But to understand fully, you must talk to people who have actually experienced Scientology and know beyond a doubt how abusive and fraudulent it is. Otherwise you’re just not going to make sense. Scientology and Psychiatry are twins. Ugly twins with the same motivations: power and money and manipulating good people who want to do good in the world.
Rethinking Psychiatry took money from Scientology. No one should approve of that–it defeats the very purpose of opposing the psychiatric establishment. You know about Scientology, if you are well informed, and recognize that it uses the same tactics as abusive psychiatry–i.e. circular logic, invalidating the individual’s opinions and feelings, strict dogma and control, and retaliation if questioned or resisted.
Great. Now on the basis of this fabulous (literally, since it was done by fabulists) study, people who report having been raped as children will be conked on the head with a psychosis diagnosis and oh, so readily incarcerated and forcibly drugged.
How about a study between the link of un-acknowledged childhood abuse in people who go into psychiatry, where they can act out the abuse (in the role of the powerful abuser) again and again on helpless people?????
Jack, I also thought of the Aids Quilt. How can we implement this? Can we get in touch with families who would make quilts to commemorate children held or harmed by psychiatry?
I’m willing to do whatever I can. I think we should be inspired by the Gay Rights Movement–they went from being despised and acted against to being respected and protected.
Almost all “mental illness” is the result of child abuse–emotional, mental, sexual, physical. We have a society of wounded trapped in repetition compulsion. Power defaults to sociopaths who are the only ones who benefit from suppressing the truth about “psychiatric problems” and ‘behavioral problems.” The abusers are the ones with the problems, but also the ones who can disguise, deflect and disarm any efforts to expose them.
Many people who battle depression are victims of child abuse. I appreciate your concern about the elderly, but do we really need to be watching each other for “signs” and turning each other in for “treatment”? There is no effective psychiatric treatment for depression except talk therapy and trauma therapy, which is too expensive and labor-intensive to be offered. As a woman of sixty, I don’t appreciate the idea that I need people “helping” me if I haven’t explicitly asked for help. Let’s think about the concept of freedom and letting people die if they wish to do so. Is death so terrible? Isn’t that a value judgement of the most personal and profound kind?