Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Comments by jvalusek

Showing 6 of 6 comments.

  • This is exactly what happened to my daughter at university in the U.S. She was deemed an imminent risk to herself, dragged away in a police car, strip searched, drug tested, and subjected to 6 hours of traumatizing treatment before she was released. Her crime? Being traumatically bereaved at the sudden, violent death of her boyfriend. She never trusted another health care professional, and six years later, when she was stigmatized and traumatized yet again, due to misdiagnosis by yet another bunch of “mental health” professionals, she fell into a genuine suicidal crisis . . . and never even tried to reach out for “help.” She knew no one would actually help her. Completely isolated, she killed herself. This shit has to stop. What’s wrong with the mental health systems in universities? Two things: (1) like the rest of society, they (like we) believe that we can somehow predict an imminent risk of harm (we can’t; tons of studies prove it, yet all of our laws have been framed around this complete lack of science), and (2) they (like the rest of society) believe the mental health providers should be held “liable” for a suicide on their watch, which is utter nonsense (see #1), a full circular argument that literally traps both student (patient) and practitioner into acting violently against those who are at their most vulnerable. The solution? We have to let people kill themselves, if they cannot be reasoned out of it. We cannot force them to live. And we must stop prosecuting anyone for “failure” to predict what science has proven cannot be predicted! Likelihood of implementation or societal change? Zero. Thus, even these studies will change nothing, because underneath, those two criteria for violent involuntary coercive intervention remain untouched . . . and unquestioned. As Socrates said, The unexamined life is not worth living. We will continue to traumatize our young people, if they seek “help.” And there is nothing we can do to stop it. My daughter is dead because of this bullshit. I’m not even trying to talk to my congressperson anymore. It’s hopeless. Amen. (Whew. so stressful.)

  • “There are usually two criteria for involuntary treatment and placement: the presence of a so-called ‘mental disorder’ and the existence of a threat to oneself or others due to that “disorder”.

    Damningly, while involuntary commitment is almost always invoked to prevent “threat to self” (esp. with suicidal ideation, supposedly due to the “mental disorder” of depression), it is almost never invoked to protect others even when the danger is, in fact, quite real. Take, for example, the widespread antivax movement here in the U.S., which, for many is based on conspiracy theories and patently paranoid delusions. According to the DSM-5, many of those who resist vaccination–thereby creating a genuine “threat to oneself” and “to others” as a direct result of delusions–would easily qualify as “mentally ill” and could, therefore, be “treated” by forced vaccination, just like patients under involuntary psychiatric commitment.

    After killing more than 800,000 Americans to date, the coronavirus is an actual threat to both individual and public health, yet we wouldn’t dream of taking away the “personal freedom” of vaccine resisters, even for their own and the public’s good. In this regard, as the author notes in closing, “The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the shortcomings of these archaic systems of mental health.” Absolutely.

    If we won’t invoke involuntary commitment or coercive treatment for save the unvaccinated from themselves, why do we continue to invoke these vile, inhumane, archaic laws and so-called “mental health” policies to rob our most vulnerable citizens of their constitutional rights, autonomy, and long-term well-being?

    For more about this angle on the issue of involuntary commitment, see my article in Medium at:

  • Maria: Gosh, as I read your piece, I found myself almost melting with heartbreak–for you, for your patients, for the families and friends of so many people who are being consciously and callously destroyed by a system that simply cannot be saved (yet is likely to outlive many if not most of us, whether we like it or not). I found your own heart quite lovely and caring and sad. And I applaud your exit from the mass production line to your own organic farm, so to speak. I wish more psychiatric professionals had a soul like yours. I just want you to know I hear you and I see you and I feel for you, even though you remain in the psychiatric profession. I’m afraid, however, that you have come to a place (Mad in America) where there is, in effect, zero sympathy for psychiatry–hence, for you. It’s inevitable that most of your readers here would indict you for the sins of your profession. No matter that you entered the field with good intentions. No matter that your own lived experience does not preclude medication. No matter that your own training likely did not include a single word about the fearsome horrors of psychiatric medications, that your professional societies and associations systematically lie as much to you as they do to us. No matter that attaining your degrees and licenses and hard-earned wisdom cost you significant sums of money, that changing careers isn’t easy or even possible. You are guilty by your mere being now, I’m sorry to say. At least on this website. Nevertheless, I want to place two hands over my heart and bow to your courage and willingness to resist the system, however you can, however imperfectly, from the inside. I want you to know that, if there must be psychiatric mental health professionals, I would pray that they were all just like you. I don’t judge you, or condemn you, or imagine I can tell you what you ought to do. The mere fact that you are posting this on Mad in America gives me hope. The mere fact that you are as interested in getting people off meds as getting them on gives me hope. May you keep learning and growing and caring and do your best to save a few souls here and there, however you can. I absolve thee by the power invested in me as a father who lost his own daughter to suicide largely because of the grotesque ignorance and insensitivity of a psychiatric nurse practitioner, who had the very same letters after her name. Go in peace.

  • When my daughter lost her boyfriend to an epileptic seizure during college, her school psychologist asked her a series of leading questions, almost luring her into admitting she “didn’t know if she wanted to live.” Thereupon, the psychologist called campus security and they dragged her away to the psych ward at a local hospital–already traumatized by grief–and forced her to endure 6 hours of invasive, dehumanizing assessments…until she was released by a psychiatrist who (amazingly) said nothing was wrong with her, and she should file a formal complaint against the psychologist. Before she was allowed to leave the ER, she was forced to pay $350 for the privilege of being tortured. It cleaned out her bank account. She spent the next two weeks at home with me, crying her heart out–without any other grief support, or so-called “therapy” whatsoever. All she needed for was someone to listen to her, and acknowledge her pain. Six years later, when she faced a genuine suicidal crisis, she never even saw a counselor. Because she knew that no one would actually help her. Instead, she just killed herself. Back when she was in college, even as her father, I was treated like some kind of monster for demanding to know who would pay for this incarceration against my daughter’s will. They acted like even mentioning money was reprehensible. I said, “If you’re going to hold her against her will, then you should pay for it. What the hell is wrong with you?” So, yeah, think of the harm that that little $350 charge caused six years later. She told me after that brief hospitalization that she felt betrayed and deceived by her supposed “helping” professional. I don’t think she ever trusted another mental health provider. In the end, there was no one to turn to. And as a therapist myself, I have had patients held against their will and forced to pay thousands of dollars, with literally nothing to show for it except trauma upon trauma. If “we” think they’re dangerous, then “we” should pay to protect us (and them) from themselves–just like prison. We don’t hand prisoners a surprise invoice for services upon their discharge, do we? And we wonder why people don’t “get help.” It’s way past time for those who still believe involuntary incarceration is necessary to suck it up and pay for it themselves, or stop it altogether. Our present system is unconscionable.

  • Very interesting article, but a bit disturbing. So, if behavioral traits are not 40-50% heritable (aka genetically influenced or determined), we are left with … what? The same old: I don’t know how much nature or nurture influences behavior? Or: Most behavior is, in fact, environmentally or developmentally influenced, hence malleable? Take “personality,” for example. I’ve read that, according to behavioral genetics (twin studies), adult personality characteristics such as neuroticism or conscientiousness are, well, you know, 40-50% heritable. Even that, of course, leaves 50-60% influenced by environment, upbringing, education, and random events, such as deaths or traumas or the global political/social zeitgeist. I grew up in the same family as two older siblings, all of us born a year or so apart, so you’d think we experienced the “same” parental environment of upbringing. But my brother is almost completely devoid of conscientiousness and I’m saturated with it. I’m wildly open-to-experience and he’s a stick in the mud. And our apparent IQs are miles apart. He’s 13 months older than me. How do I sort out the truth about why he and I behave (and think and feel) so differently? Are percentages of genes and environment no longer legitimate? Isn’t almost everything we do, think, or feel actually influenced by both genetics and epigenetics, nature and nurture? If so, where is the line, given your expertise in twin studies? Or are we all asking the wrong questions…still? I’m genuinely puzzled. Until now, I have tended to view personality as a sort of set point or predetermined range on a dial of behavioral traits that I was born with (genetics), but thereafter various experiences and people and decisions have “dialed me up or down” in terms of emotions, brain circuits, coping strategies, and habitual actions … until I have become the utterly unique, yet predictably familiar, me that am I. Is that close, or what? Thanks for stimulating my curiosity to question a behavioral genetic assumption that I have clearly been taking for granted.