Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Comments by Eric Coates

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  • Good points, only I never specified the METHOD OF DELIVERY of God’s Control. I believe God uses chemicals, biology, neurological structure, and radio waves and electricity to deliver His Paradis. So, yes, you’re right. All those things cause cause voices. But what is CAUSING THEM to cause voices? That’s the real question, isn’t it? It goes back to God and the Devil, arguing as usual.

  • Wow. I can see I really need to come back to this when I have rested.

    I just got off 2 admissions, one 6-week admission to the Brattleboro Retreat, one an 8-day admission to Parkland. One stressed me out but kept me well fed while some guy stalked me. My clothes were stolen, there was nicotine in the nicotine gum. Parkland had lots of nicotine, lots of great activities, but I like to walk.

    I lost about 30 pounds while locked up, pacing the hallways all day and all night.

    Good luck!

  • An apology to Robert Whitaker and Mad In America.

    In an old article, I once dismissed the idea of “schizophrenia” as being only “so-called ‘schizophrenia'” as a real entity by writing in an Mad In America essay about my AOT hearing last year:

    “Expert testimony went on, descending to the most trivial of considerations. Even the most routine and ordinary of ambitions, for instance, was described as “grandiosity” — another so-called “symptom” of so-called “schizophrenia.”

    I wrote this in “Escaping from AOT: The Importance of the Incident with the Candle”.

    I see that I am entirely to blame in not having cleared up the simple fact that I have accepted schizophrenia as a group of interrelated experiences that carry the exact same groups of qualities, barring some that may have been caused by something like a disease (I forget its name at the moment, but there was in fact a disease that sort of explains catatonia that seems to have passed into history, thank God.)

    I have decided to simply embrace the terms of schizophrenia and the DSM in order to hang my hat up besides some of the classifications in order to establish an international standard. This is needed, not only to help people communicate simply, but for modern realities like what to call something when it comes to drug and insurance billing, which are important. (Hopefully we will soon have a better, single-payer, or simply free and without conditions healthcare of illnesses of any kind. I still do not speak of “mental illness”, as mental is not physical in any way except neurologically and I do not believe any “illness” is involved, except in cases where you have physical fallout on the body, such as physical exhaustion. You cannot have purely mental things (the mind) which is non-physical have a physical cause. I suppose you could become psychotic from drugs, yes, or lack of sleep, but that is not a mental illness unto itself.)

    I hope I have clarified the grounds of the error, which I know now was due to my own omission.

    Eric Coates

  • Robert, thanks for taking the time to respond. Yes, I thought the other additions were valuable and obviously required a bit of research to put together, so thanks very much. My apologies if I was a bit over the top in my protestations.

  • I think that I was once in a similar place and I wish you good luck. You have to pay for some kind of character flaw or habit or indulgence or a sin like divorce or murder. I understand the impulses and the very real feeling the lie behind the breakup of a marriage, but God wants people to be resolute through our troubles, and if love is real then there are character issues to resolve, and which MUST be resolved for eternal happiness. The afterlife and past generations are eternal opposed to confinement and domestic and petty-cash work slaver’s wages. Marriage needs to be permanet or you simply have other needs, including companionship and even love and wonderful sex and domesticity and peace, and I believe that is only possible for some people if they live and function independently in supportive, community-based, functional workplaces and shopping centers and places of residences with plenty of sunlight and fresh air and relief form societal exploitation and drug addiction and sexual slavery and all that other crap, including abuse, neglect, economic control, and other such dehumanixing conditions, and some people function better as communities such as gated communities with freely available domestic entertainments and good music and food and entertainment.

  • Have you considered the idea that God and the Devil are two halves of one cosmic being that envision, created and designed by God, but riddled with evil and damaging ideas and lies and misinformation and fraud and murder and evil intent? Have you considered the contest over control of our human destiny?

  • One last note: All that this summary neglects to mention is the ACTUAL, root cause and the REAL resolution of schizophrenia, which is always — without any question — to be found in one’s relationship, to God whether one is aware of it or not. More research of this kind is urgently needed on precisely this question, and when someone does it, you will have almost the whole ball of wax in a single go.

  • Yes, there are countless people with experience more frustrating, overwhelming, and intense than mine. I didn’t mean to start a competition, so for that I apologize.

    My sympathies — if that’s not offensive — to you and your wife. I think I understand the kind of difficulties you describe.

  • While I agree that the term “mental illness” needs to be scrapped, the terms “psychosis” and “schizophrenia” are clear and succinct labels for some people’s actual experience.

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with your general sentiments, but the labels are necessary and indispensable.

  • Thanks for your comments about dreams. I think dreams are the clearest evidence of all that God exists. Life is essentially a dream of God’s, lived out in the universe we call planet Earth.

    I’m sorry that I have to disagree with you about labels. I do not find labels of the kind you object to insulting or demeaning. What else should I say to describe the conditions of my experience? I understand that in many people’s eyes that schizophrenia is just a demeaning and stigmatizing label, but I am, in fact, a schizophrenic, just as a depressive is a depressive and a bipolar is a bipolar. These labels may not sum up the whole of who a person is, but they do describe important elements of many, many millions of people’s experience, if not that of BILLIONS, and there HAS to be a simple way to describe them. I would not describe a mail carrier — a mailman, as some people still say — as “someone who gets up in the morning, puts on their uniform, and who then either drives or walks around to people’s houses and delivers their mail and picks up their packages before returning to the post office to deliver the mail he/she has picked up”. The mere idea of wasting your time describing things that way is absurd and would be a serious detriment to ordinary human communication. I am a schizophrenic, with a truly split mind, and there is no point in describing it any other way.

    All that said, thanks for your comments. I don’t mean to be harsh or offensive, but it’s of crucial importance to keep our language clear and succinct.

  • I agree with you completely about the psychiatrists’ limited viewpoint and the total disaster of labeling people. However, I do believe the labels have a purpose, as long as they describe the CONDITION, not the PEOPLE, although I suppose even that is too strict. I have the EXPERIENCE of schizophrenia, but to label me as only a schizophrenic misses the whole purpose of simply describing the general experience. The mental health system is rife with problems, including its seeming sense of purposelessness. The “mental health” system is supposed to be about supporting people, not controlling them. Even the drugs are helpful sometimes, though their very real harms are constantly obscured and hidden.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Wonderful thoughts. Thanks for sharing! I particularly agree with your comment that there is only one mind. God’s Creation will be perfected when we are united in a collective conscious, in which we both share others’ experiences, as well as our own, and we have our own lives and personalities and other experiences as well. Thanks again.

  • Thank you for your extremely kind and perceptive comments. I like your description of your experience — it’s interesting to see someone write about an experience that so closely resembles mine. I’m sure you’ll get to roughly a similar place as what I myself have some day . . . that’s how schizophrenia (at first it’s just psychosis — that weird freaky feeling you get when you first experience a “delusion” for instance, or how you experience the kind of creative thoughts and experiences that you describe as an explosion . . . you’re probably much closer to true schizophrenia than you realize.)

    My only regret about the article as it appears here, which was mostly well edited, although it loses my original voice (obviously the editors went out of their way to make it as complete as they could) is that it contains one abominable change that I absolutely DETEST. When I chose the title “The Day I Became Schizophrenic”, that was exactly what I really meant, and when they change my words to read that “I don’t” believe in schizophenia — and the whole point of the article is to discuss how schizophrenia does and MUST exist for God to bring His Vision and His own Dreams to manifest on the earth . . . well, I can hardly express the rage I feel. I apologize for this truly ridiculous and disgusting change in my essay, and it pisses me off so much that I am literally seething with rage. I condemn the pretentiousness and presumption that possessed whoever changed my words in this way. Again, I’m sorry, but some people just don’t realize when their extremely limited opinions are completely wrong, and when they don’t know when to shut up and leave things alone. Other than that, I am pleased with the end result, even if they did edit and publish it WITHOUT my permisson, but what’s done is done and it was probably the right thing to do.

    Glad you could relate. Nice poem!

  • I never met Dr. Burstow myself, but one of her articles — I forget the name of exactly which one it was, but it listed the basic tenets of antipsychiatry — affected my own writing so deeply, because when I read her idea that psychiatry is both “authoritarian” and that it “colonizes” society, I realized how powerful, invasive, and destructive psychiatry actually is. I based my entire conception of psychiatry on how she described it, but I added some details of my own that came to me almost immediately just from reading that word “colonizes” and also “authoritarian,” it came to me to add “irresponsible” and “unaccountable.” I wrote about these qualities in an essay I wrote for Mad In America that I called “Death of a Psychiatrist” which was unfortunately never published, probably because I was so angry from being held in a psych hospital for five months, where I was hooked and booked and bagged and tagged and forced to take Haldol, of all things, from which I got horrible akathisia. I dedicated the essay to Dr. Burstow, which she never commented on, and I regret that I was so angry that I called for the complete annihilation of psychiatry, challenged a mental health worker to a duel, and actually described how psychiatrists should go commit suicide with their own deadly drugs.

    Dr. Burstow’s writing affected me very deeply and she will be missed terribly.

    Rest in peace, Dr. Burstow.

    — Eric Coates
    written at the Brattleboro Retreat in Brattleboro, VT

  • Thank you, Phoebe, for the lovely words. To tell the truth, I do a lot of my writing when I’m in an altered state, both because of my mental experience and because I either drink or smoke a little dope — purely legal — while I’m doing it. Not so much drinking any more, but a little weed. When I was badly overdrugged on Zyprexa, it was in fact necessary for me to use some kind of substance to write, because my mind was so sluggish and I had to have some sort of stimulant. I simply couldn’t find the next thought, the next sentence. I had been very committed to writing as a young person, before voices and spiritual experiences started at 36, and I considered myself a writer, so it was a great loss when a drug took my most important form of personal expression away. It’s great to have it back. The drugs I’m on now have basically no impact on my creativity or how my mind works or what my experience is, so I’m able to really write again. It’s very satisfying.

  • Rosalee, what I really need to do is find a psychiatrist who is willing to speak up for me and find a lawyer who is willing to do the work to get me off, but the problem is that people like these do not seem to exist in my state. If I could find them, believe me, I would be doing all I could to be released from AOT.

    But thanks for your thoughts.

  • Thanks for asking about the forced drugging and AOT. Unfortunately, I lost with the judge, so I have another 3 years to look at. After that there’s another hearing. To tell the truth, I don’t EVER expect to be released from AOT. Once they get their claws into you in the mental health system, they never let go. But thanks for asking. I hope all is well with you.

  • You have quite the story. I’ve been committed for up to five months at a time. Most of the time I’ve been committed, I have in fact been quite insane, and the nature of my insanity was such that wherever I was, regardless of who I was around or what I was doing, I was pretty entertained. This last time, however, was different, and this is where I can really feel for you. This last time, while completely grounded and sane, I spent 135 days confined in first an emergency department secure unit and then in the state hospital. I was not engaged with my environment at all, and as the weeks went by — meaningless, virtually unbroken monotony — I began to feel depressed. Basic situational depression. But the thing is that I could see it getting much, much worse, and I started to get desperate to be released. I didn’t walk around making a spectacle of myself about it, but I was pretty tormented for a while there. In any case, with more than 7.000 days, I can only imagine what it must be like for you and how many different stages in your life and in your incarceration you have gone through. I was messed up by 135 days. I cannot begin to imagine what a thousand would be like, let alone 7,000. You have all my empathy.

    This is a brutally cold system we’re dealing with, and I hope that this publication draws some kind of attention to the situation. But I have written myself about the endless, cyclical trap of outpatient commitment and no one has yet approached me to bring some kind of redress, and at least I’m in the free world. I can only express my sympathy and hope that you get out soon and that sharing your story in some way affects — or, rather, starts — a conversation about this kind of thing. I know: talk, talk, talk, while you rot away. I had a small taste of it myself. Unfortunately we have to start somewhere, and this is the sort of thing we need to have out there in order to get that conversation started.

  • I’m not sure what your question is, other than a general thought about the nature of my experience.

    I would say, overall, that my experience since I first began to go into unusual states has been overwhelming. I like my voices now, and, regardless of the almost limitless suffering I have endured at the hands of my voices, etc., I am fully aware that I am having an experience that millions of people would gladly trade me for if they only knew what it’s really like and what it’s really about.

    If you have any specific question, please go ahead and ask. I’m not a big one for keeping secrets, so feel free to ask about whatever you’d like.

  • I have also done my best to encourage Robert to stop using the medicalized language. This effort has been fruitless. I think there are two reasons for this.

    The first, which Robert himself cited when I asked him about his stance, was that psychiatry’s language is, unfortunately, the lingua franca of its time. There is simply no escaping the fact that psychiatry’s jargon is the one that most people understand the issues with, and therefore, if Mad In America is going to communicate with a wider audience, that is the language they must use.

    The second is a failure of our own. Although I have been desperately trying to get the people in our movement to pay attention to the problem of the language we use for a few years now, there has been no response at all to my cries for us all to hold a virtual conference, to take place over a few months, in which we iron out a new lingua franca for us all to use, and which, if we use it consistently, can replace psychiatry’s in the popular dialogue.

    A third reason might be that Mad In America has what is essentially NO editorial budget. There are simply no resources for the editors to spend thousands upon thousands of hours teaching the webzine’s various writers how to talk about psychiatric issues with any clarity while at the same time lacking the kind of consensually agreed-upon language that I have been advocating.

  • Monica:

    It’s nice as always to see you’re still out there and active with the process. Good for you. I had wondered what you were up to, not having seen your name on MIA in a while.

    I think you described the difficulties of meditation well. I’d just like to add one thing from my own experience.

    There is a kind of resistance to letting go and just being there, as you described. For me, it comes in the form of a kind of nervousness and panic at the feeling of opening up and truly letting go and just being there. It’s alarming to feel your sense of yourself becoming exposed like that all of a sudden, and the instinct is to pull back and not do it. I think that is what you were describing.

    What I do is remain completely still for a few moments, and as this sense of panic begins in me (it’s gotten much milder with time and practice) what I do is literally nothing except to breath and let myself feel that. It moves through you, and it wakes up your awareness and your senses as the world begins to come into you. Then, all of a sudden, as you just breath and let the feelings move through you, all the resistance just vanishes, and you find yourself simply there. No resistance, no difficulty at all. Just there and perfectly comfortable being in the moment. It only takes a couple minutes of effort and then you’re home free.

    Thanks for the article. I think a lot of people try meditation and then they think it’s just not for them because they aren’t instantaneously enlightened, and the best thing for them is for people like ourselves to share the problems and what we’ve found for solutions.

    I hope you’re doing well and we hear more from you soon.

    Eric

  • Dr. Breggin, I would like to say that, in reading the comments that precede this one, it seems to me that almost all of them reflect a lack of understanding of what you wrote. That may be understandable, but I think it’s still sad and a little alarming that the readers of a website that often talks about how adversity and trauma are the possible sources of so-called psychotic experience are unable to grasp that what that means is that a lack of love, protection, and companionship at an early age is almost sure to change us, not for the better or worse really, but simply in how we relate to the world and treat the others who are in it.

    I think you pretty much nailed the problem right on the head. I was particularly glad to see you contrast love with the survival of the fittest. It’s a sadly neglected understanding of how evolution works that there is not only competition between members of the same species but a great deal of cooperation that needs to take place between the various members of a society. Together we can do far more than we could ever do alone. That’s important.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m sure there are many people who would agree with you.

  • Thanks for asking about all this. My lawyer did his job to the best of his ability and his knowledge. He had no idea the “incident with the candle” was going to come up since he knew nothing about it. I couldn’t speak up during the counsellor’s testimony, and I was too engaged in what he was saying to write down what I was thinking in a note to my lawyer. It wasn’t a matter of incompetence, in other words. It was simply a matter of being caught off guard by the testimony.

  • Yes, it was hard. It was more than 25 years ago, however, so the sting of it all is gone.

    Ann was very isolated. You never saw her on campus, or so seldom that I can’t remember anything more than seeing her outside the dining hall once. All she did was smile her strange smile, give me a tiny little wave that no one else would be able to see, and keep walking. It’s just who she was. She had more art in her room than I have ever seen in anyone’s house.

    She was a rare individual.

  • Sorry for this very late response, but I have only just seen this now, on the first of December (occasionally I go back through the comments section to answer people’s questions and comments, if it seems like that’s what they’re looking for).

    There’s a simple reason that you can believe in God on a throne with choirs of angels, or in therians, etc., and never have any psychiatrist or other MH professional come after you. It’s about the simplest thing in the world. In the U.S., psychiatry never goes after religion. We have freedom of expression, thought, religion, etc., right there in the Constitution, and anyone — and I do mean anyone — who tries to go after religion will be attacked, harassed, etc. They do not allow anyone to attack them and get away with it. Also, the establishment is still, at least on the outside, religious, and when some psychiatrist decides he can go after people who believe in God or whatever else, all those politicians frown and clamp down on the psychiatrists.

    You will, quite literally, never see psychiatry go after religion in the United States.

  • Yes, oldhead, it would be nice if some progressive psychologists and psychiatrists made themselves available to provide expert testimony. Unfortunately, everyone has to make a living, so instead of helping us they go to their jobs. I’m sure that many of them, if they had the time and money, would bend over backwards to help us in any way they could. Until it becomes an organized movement I wouldn’t count on that happening.

  • Thanks for taking the time to respond to the article. However, I wanted to respond myself to something you said.

    As I understand it, the option to refuse drugs is something that varies state by state. In some states they can drug you immediately, no matter what you say or do. In some states you have to be shown to be a danger to yourself or others, that there is a danger of imminent harm. But both systems do exist. I live in a state where you can refuse, but once you are declared nuts they can do what they want with you or at least whatever your guardian (if the court has appointed one) will permit.

  • I’m in the U.S., if you want to know. What I am describing in this article is probably a pretty common experience in the U.S.

    And also since you ask, they are aware that I write for MIA. I’m sure that they have no clue what MIA really is. They asked me about it at the hearing. They seemed to want to make MIA out to be this fly-by-night, amateur, fringe publication, which pretty clearly demonstrates that they don’t really know what they’re looking at, so they are probably unaware of the significance of anything we’re discussing here.

  • Great article. I especially like how you took each statement of Dr. Frances’s and broke it down, or how you went back through the history of a diagnosis and showed the progression of changes. It takes a topic that people may not realize actually has a history that is relevant and important, and clears up the confusion. This is the kind of nuts-and-bolts thinking that we need to get out there for people to see so they can make up their own minds what they think of it all. This article is a great resource.

  • “Our movement, right from the beginning with Patsy Hage, Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, has paved the way for voice hearers to finally be “seen” as wholly human. Creating a community that would accept us and the voices we hear, fully. We do not have to live at the mercy of a world that only accepts what it can personally understand. We have the right to hear voices and no longer be hidden away in the attic of taboo and misunderstood experiences. The freedom to hear voices is truly a fundamental human right.”

    I’m not sure that rights apply — I mean, you’re hearing voices, it’s not like you went out and got a license for it. There is nothing in any foundational legal document anywherere that talks about hearing voices as a “right.” It is not, after all, something one chooses to do. Otherwise I completely agree.

  • Great article and list of resources! I was particularly struck by the part about “safety.” This was something that always struck me as very odd and very skewed when I was in a psych ward — the constant concern and questions about “safety.” “Are you safe?” seemed like this endless, meaningless refrain that could only result in horrible consequences if answered in the negative. There are lots of questions like this. At the hospital emergency room now (at least in my state) they ask “Are you thinking about hurting yourself or someone else?” Only a complete fool or someone with absolutely no experience of the system would ever answer this in the affirmative. Or: “Have you been feeling down, depressed, or lacked interest in things lately?” Again, another one-way trip to the psych ward, forced medication, and then AOT, if you’re lucky. If you’re not, it’s electroshock and God knows what else. Anyway, the safety thing struck me in particular, but the whole article is well thought out and informative. Thank you.

  • As to the type of comments you are likely to receive, it should be more than obvious that ANY link between improved fitness and the types of drugs that those with SMI are taking is bound to be weak. Metabolic syndrome, for instance, as if the name weren’t enough of a hint already, basically shuts down your system. Massive increased weight gain, lethargy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes . . . although it may be only anecdotal (will it be more official if I call it a “case study”?) after a couple years on antipsychotics I could not keep up on a walk with my 70 year old mother when previously I had been very fit, and in less than six months off them I was back to my old self — after a lot of work, of course. Add this neuroleptic malignant syndrome, with its loss of pleasure in any activities, including physical, and you not only largely account for what are called negative symptoms but which I believe are actually drug effects, and you describe a situation in which any studies of the effect of physical activity on those with SMI are bound to have weak results. Sorry to go on so long, but I figured I night just as well simply sum up the responses you should be able to expect since they are all so familiar to me.

  • Never having been suicidal myself (except in those few moments of extreme duress when hearing voices that wouldn’t stop, day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute) my principal concern is psychosis, not depression or suicide. Yet the whole question involved in any of these is the effects of modern “treatment” modalities, including drugs, and it has been an eye-opening experience for me to learn about the increased violence and suicidality associated with modern antidepressants. Your report greatly deepens that knowledge. Thank you.

  • Good luck with it all. As you say, it can be — or has been — a pretty rough environment at times, with people doing nothing but insulting psychiatrists, etc., who may not as a general class be my favorite group of people but most of whom I have found to be genuinely caring individuals, even if misguided by the medical model. Even that is something of a generalization — and I am guilty of the occasional generalization myself. However, your guidelines would certainly lead to a more civil discussion arena, in which the various gladiators put down their swords and instead embrace one another in fellowship. Best of luck to you. It’s not an easy job, I’m sure.

  • I call a Nazi a Nazi, Rachel, not some new-fangled marketing term like alt-right. A Nazi is a Nazi, and that’s it.

    I don’t know anything about Breitbart, gay or not, but one thing I can guarantee you is this: when the Nazis take over, they don’t play games with who’s gay or a little different or maybe had a felony once. They kill you. They kill you. Hitler was more than happy to have the gay people and the criminals and the sadists working on his side — until he was actually in power. Then he killed them off, en masse. That’s the reality, regardless of any rhetoric you might have heard. And the Nazis now would do the same thing.

    Real Nazis are about conformity to a certain conception of power, and they have very, very strict ideas about purity and morality, and to deviate from them is to condemn yourself to death, regardless of how they may use you in the short term to achieve their ends.

  • First, I’m afraid that my experience is not much different from yours. As for court-appointed lawyers, they seem to have already decided the case is hopeless and so, rather than listening to you explain things on their merits, they simply go into court and give the same speech they’ve given a thousand times, which might sound good on camera but which addresses none of your individual needs. Second, another thing I have encountered is that court-appointed lawyers tend to be second-rate burnouts who shouldn’t even be practicing law any more; after all, if they were really any good, they wouldn’t be taking cut-rate cases from kangaroo courts where the outcomes are basically predetermined. And third, never trust anyone who wears a badge issued by the institution they are supposedly opposing; if they are that cozy with the opposition, you can rest assured that their interests — their relationship with the other side and the judge — will easily take precedence over defending your case.

    As for the The Forced Drugging Defense Package, the attorney I am working with now, who seems honest and conscientious, said that most of it would be impermissible as it would be considered hearsay, but that he would try to work some of it in by having me read sections of it, along with sections of my own letter, into the record to show “the sort of thing that make me question the system of psychiatry and drugging.” At least he’s making an effort.