Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Comments by chrisreed

Showing 341 of 341 comments.

  • I worked at a youth agency serving homeless and foster kids. We had a resident in our transitional living program who abused ADHD medication in order to pull a midnight shift. I posted what I observed in the log but got no guidance from the case manager or the supervisor. At one point, the youth was walking around on the roof of the agency. I no longer work at the agency. The agency publicizing on its website that it offers psycho-pharmacological services at its agency. How best to educate the community at large with regards to this situation.

  • Old head: I was Psychiatrically incarcerated in 1989 and made the mistake of abrupt withdrawal of Lithium in 1990. I have led a relatively normal life since then as a substitute teacher and youth worker.
    However, last summer, I was hauled into HR because
    some students said I was acting “irratically.” talk about the lunatics running the asylum! I was requested to get a Pschiatric med check in order to return to work-I got the run around from the behavior health people. Showing up at the crack of dawn on the psychiatrist’s doorstep really got their attention. Thanks to the crisis worker, I beat their attempt to incarcerate me, but still had to appear at the Magistrate because the shrink filed papers for a restraining order, which the deputies tried to serve me while I was on vacation. Any how, I showed up at the courthouse to straighten things out, because I wasn’t keen on the deputies showing up at my house a second time-I was escorted out of the courthouse by five deputees for using my teachers’s voice. The next day, the magistrate ruled that the restraining order be mutual. But now I have the nuisance problem of having to go to a new Pschiatrist every six weeks or so.

  • Matt: I was diagnosed with Bipolar (Manic Depression) in 1989. Like Schizophrenia, bipolar has fungiiable boundaries. I suffer from kidney disease from years of Lithium abuse. I have a supportive wife who declined to follow the psychiatrist’s lead and have committed this summer, yet as a medical profession she has trouble processing the critique of biologically based human distress. When I experience a long-term course of sleep disruption, it does impact my decision making and tweak my personality. I think my grandiosity is part of who I am, rather than evidence of a
    “chemical imbalance.” Since I am addicted to a low level of Zypreza and Klonapin, I have to see a new psychiatrist to write the prescriptions since the primary care physician declines to do so.

  • White privilege exhibited itself in my upbringing in the form of tracked education. The predominantly white area of South Hills were I come from is largely removed from the day to day struggles of the increasingly Black Westside, plagued with the circumstances brought about by white flight. But with 95% of the population being white, and considering that West Virginia consistently ranks at the bottom of socio-economic indicators, class privilege is more the over-riding feature in our state, whose economy has long been dominated by extractive industries. Within the state, the have and have nots are generally an inter-white caste system based on access to education, resources, and networking.

  • While their is evidence of Blacks Lives Matter being corralled into the partisan culture wars, there is also a spirit of confrontation with the powers that be, that harkens back to the best tradition of the Civil Rights Movement-flushing Bill Clinton out of the pocket over Hillary’s sperpredator comment, is a case in point. Michelle Alexander is perhaps the most eloquent spokesperson drawing the public’s attention to the guilt of the bipartisan coalition that created the mass incarceration complex. Black Lives.Matter and their supporters are connecting the dots on this issue at it relates to the foreclosure crisis and the over all disinvestment in the black community-the hardest hit community by the Great Recession, save for Native Americans.
    However, the slogan Black Lives Matter, has led to a push back in some communities where the Black Lives Matter concerns should resonate. West Virginiaa is 95% white, and generally competes with Mississippi for the lowest socio-economic indicators. Having said that, like the rest of the country, black communities here have been beset with urban renewal, white flight, and an extremely high rate of juvenile incarceration. I don’t know the answer to this, but as the movement, BLM evolves, maybe more people from all ethnicities will be brought in.

  • I have been browsing and commenting on this site for around three years. If us regulars on the site don’t yet constitute a community of activists, we are at least a proto-community. Some of us, such as myself, have experienced the full brunt of psychiatric tortures. However, I would caution against privileging ex-patients over the experience of dissident professionals. Bonnie Barstow, one of the most committed of theses professionals, recently disclosed her youthful brush with the tentacles of Psychiatry as they intertwined with the educational establishment. Through familial support, she was able to dodge its worst aspects, but it nevertheless proved to be an eye opening and formative experience.
    I am a firm believer in community action, and especially embedding anti-psychiatry as a broader plank in societal emancipation. In this regard, I correspond with activists from the Counterpunch website, on an array of issues from corporatized education, opposition to mass surveillance, and political strategizing. I also listen to my Pacifica Radio app when I exercise or are in the car.
    On the ground, I spent 10-12 days at the legislature this year in West Virginia, attended three food sustainability workshops, went to the Sanders rally in South Charleston, attended the celebration for our new community radio station, as well as attending lectures at the cultural center where I was the subject of a listening project; I intertwined my memoir of social activism in the 1980s as it interfaced with my run in with Psychiatry.
    As a candidate for the Green Party affiliated Mountain Party for the House of Delegates I will be highlighting the negative effects of Psychiatry as it has migrated into the corners of our lives. Just as I support solidarity and community support, I also believe that there is something to be said for the lone individual throwing themselves into the gears of the system. This was basically what I was doing in 1989 when I was ensnared into the system- I was brought up on piddling Alice Restaurant level charges for my efforts, and supposedly done a favor by being handed over to Psychiatry. I slipped up in 1990 with a cold turkey wisdraw and rebound. But since then, the only thing that I have been nailed on is two rolled stop signs.
    I currently eke out a living on the margins of the educational establishment as a substitute teacher. I was recently relieved of my duties as a youth worker for an incident of reporting abuse of psychiatric drugs and the lack of attention given to a resident under-going psych drug withdraw cold turkey. Like all whistle blowers, I brought some of my own baggage into the situation, as a result of simultaneously fighting back against Psychiatry’s attempt to deprive me of my freedom. I successfully fought back against a mental hygiene order as well as a restraining order.
    The Democrat challenger in the House race represents the most glaring flaw in our current system. As a thirty year aide to the dismal dollar democrat Rockefeller machine, he is the embodiment of the paternalistic trend toward the governance of our state and nation. There is no doubt that Trump is spewing toxic hate, but it is the Hillary supporters in denial who are most responsible for enabling the beast to carry on by destroying our freedom and conducting wars against innocents abroad.

  • Old head: I was incarcerated and brain washed in 1989 and 1990. I have titrated off of several drugs including lithium, abilafy, prolixin, lamical, and mellaril. I currently take a low level dose of Zyprexa and Klonopin. I have tried titration from Zyprexa several times with no good effects. I do not believe that I was given anything remotely close to informed consent in this process, it is just at this stage of my life, I can not undergo titration safely from these drugs without medical support.
    I also agree with your comments about Scientology. They do not represent a model of a community that we should duplicate. At the same time, they are mercifully attacked by two seriously freedom denying institutions-Psychiatry and the CIA.

  • Nomadic: It seems that there is a divergent view of Psychotherapy here at MIA. Some take a critical perspective like you, others have even worked as therapists. In the situation I described to you in a post above, I work at a youth agency which used to emphasize Maslow’s needs based theory as well as Reality Therapy-William Glasser, the foremost proponent of the theory, is anything but Pro-Psychiatry. So like, you, I am not a big proponent of Psychotherapy, but you might see how, in this instance how it can be used as leverage.

  • Nomadic: I am doing my best to stand up to Psychiatry and help the children of today. I am currently trying to get my job back at a Job Corps and at a youth agency. The Job Corps is using the ruse that I need a psych med check-up in order to come back to work-really a ruse to coverup the complaint that I filed against the disciplinary office and the petition I signed in order to get a youth a fair hearing. The youth agency is using my angry remarks in the staff log against me-this after case management failed to follow up on a client using ADHD medication to stay up all night for a night shift-a fellow relief worker logged in eradict behavior and suicidal ideation-which was even discussed in newspaper article about the youth, but never followed up by case management. In another instance a physically disabled youth was left to climb a flight of stairs despite dizziness from psych drug withdraw-this was not treated as an emergency situation.
    In the meantime, during the process of trying to get the note to go back to work at Job Corps, I had a major run in with Psychiatry. First I beat back a mental hygiene petition and then had a restraining order against me by the psychiatrist settled as a mutual restraining order. I am also running for the local House of Delegates with the Green Party affiliated Mountain Party. I think that people need to know that Psychiatry warrants the same degree of scrutiny as the police and the pentagon.

  • Everyone at MIA: Here is part two. After a relaxing vacation in the Poconos and a jaunt to NYC for my wife to pick up items for her costuming business and to view the Free State of Jones (FYI WVa.was born of succession from the Confederacy in particularly the racist state of VA-see the Carrie Buck and Loving Supreme Court cases-did I mention that I am a public figure. I represent the Green Part affiliated Mountain Party in the 39th District of the WVa. House of Delegates).
    While on vacation, our next door neighbor informed my wife, the deputee sheriffs from Kanawha County rolled up on us. So first thing yesterday morning, I go down to the Sheriff’s office and the Kanawha County Commission to see what is up. Deputy Sheriff Boone did me the courtesy of allowing me to voice my concern in private and took down my information. However, Commioner Carper’s Secretary, Ms.’Elkins, refused to grant me the same courtesy- “I don’t know who you are.”‘ I proceeded to show her my Kanawha County Schools ID badge, but to no avail.
    I proceed to lauch into my complaint against the Ambulance Authority for failing to identify themselves, failing to state their business, and for illegally blocking my driveway-I have a picture on my phone, and I showed it to her. I also voiced my displeasure about the Deputies rolling up on my house. As of the close of the work day yesterday, I have not received any feed back on the ambulance or why the deputies rolled up on me. It was like pulling teeth to get Ms. Elkins to admit, that deputies rolling up on me puts me in a bad light in front of my neighbors. Again I flatly deny any wrong doing on my part.’The Charleston Police were totally disinterested in pressing charges. And now thanks to this whole incident, my wife has been witness to what can only be called a psychiatric police state. I am not done with these folks yet. I still need a note to go back to work, and I still need to know why the ambulance was blocking my path and why the deputies knocked on my door. At the close of business yesterday, I called Commissioner Carper’s office and voiced my displeasure about how this whole situation has remained unresolved.
    Today, I will try commissioner Hardy and Sheriff Rutherford’s offices.’
    Both Hardy, Rutherford, and I spoke at the meet the candidates forum at Cross Lanes a couple of months back. Hardy’s daughter has performed in Children’s Theatre productions, where my wife is the costumer. Stay tuned MIA.

  • Fred and everyone here at MIA: I submit that the best defense of your civil and human rights is a good offense. I work at a Job Corps facility that reflects Goffman’s theory about total institutions. I approach my students in a humane manner. I refuse to treat them in any other manner as human beings. I am pushing back against the corruption in the discipline off, by documenting their gross inconsistencies. When approached by a group of students who felt that one of their fellow students was unfairly discharged from the program, I was the lone staff member to sign their position. For my troubles, I was hauled into human resources and accused of being erratic (how overly vague) by a group of students. I was told that I would have to have a psych med clearance and a psychiatrist’s approval to return to work. I was given the walk of shame to the guard shack and shone to my car.
    I am one of only two Spanish speaking staff on center-the other staff member-a native speaker-is soon to take other employment. I straight up told the center director that our Spanish language students are under-served, the disciplinary office makes the rules up as they go on, and that their is a jack-legged preacher among the staff who is spewing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
    So I went to “Behavior Health at CAMC where my wife is second in command of infection prevention. This was on a Wednesday. The Psychiatrist had not returned a call to me by Thursday afternoon, even though I had implored the receptionist that the matter was urgent and impacted my Livlihood. So I proceeded to the Culture Center-where I worked as an intern in 1995-and got a copy of the city directory and found the home address of the Psychiatrist. I proceeded to his house and left a note on his door. As I was driving, I could not take his call (The incoming call had the caller’s ID unknown and his voicemail provided me with no means to call back. As I as set to go on vacation on Friday June 25 and I wanted to tie up this nagging loose end, I proceeded to his house at the crack of dawn, rang his bell, knocked on the door, and took three steps back, so that he could see who I was. He threatened to call the cops and did so.
    I retreated to my car which was parked in a public space, took out my driver’s license, and waited for the arrival of the cops. With my hands held high in the air, the two City of Charleston Police arrived, approached me, and patted me down for weapons.
    By this time, the psychiatrist had ventured into the yard. The police were highly professional, and proceeded to take verbal statements from th both of us. At a couple of junctures, the officers chastised the psychiatrist for interrupting. The psychiatrist refused to give me what I requested, a note to return to work. No charges were filed. So I went home.
    I then contacted behavior health, again stressing the need for the note, and the desire to put this rigamoreoh behind me befor I went on vacation. The receptionist fumbled her way along and at some point, I handed over the phone to my wife to handle, as a packed the car for vacation. By now the Psychiatrist and the Mental Health Commission were colluding to build a case against me. They plied my wife for damning information to use against me.
    They coaxesd my wife to bring me to General Division, where incidently was where the hospital operates a psych lockup. Upon our departure from our residence, an ambulance from Kanawha County rolled up and proceeds to block my car in the driveway. Emergency personnel refused to give me their full names or state their business. I gave them a piece of my mind, and my wife and I proceeded to General Division to get the note for my return to work.
    Of course coaxing me to General Division was just a ruse to launch an ambush from Mental Hygiene and the rattled Psychiatrist. We arrived at 3:30, and the whole ordeal would last until 11:15. To digress, I had stated to personnel at Job Corps that my sleep pattern had been a little out of whack, and in fact earlier in the morning I had stopped off at the guard shack at 1:30’AM to write my statement, which the guards on duty agreed to. Like CSI Miami, they are always open. I finished the statement circa and headed for Walmart to get some empty boxes to sort my belongings and prepare myself for vacation. I include this digression because this was the supposed damning piece of information which was to be used against me.
    Back at the hospital, my wife, a co-worker of hers who works as a family therapist and I cooled our jets as the attempt to deprive me of my freedom was launched. The physicians assistant first came in to do vitals. I proceeded to ply her with the question of the day: does the precence of a psych drug prescription give evidence of a disease? This is classic Szasz. I then proceed to Virchow and cellular pathology as the gold standard of disease. I mention that on the show House, that sometimes the physician gets the diagnosis wrong. The physician assistant then informs me that this is not TV, and that she is going to stick to her guns that a psych prescription is evidence of disease. I stress with great emphasis that a behavior checklist is no substitute for cellular pathology, and I emphatically state that I do not recognize Psychiatry as a bonafied medical specialty.’ More intermitable waiting ensues. Our therapist heads home, and final show down and the Spanish Inquistion ensues.
    The young Pakistani intern enters the room and proceeds to drop everything in his hands on the floor. His main talking points revolve around my prescence at the guard shack and at the psychiatrist’s home. He proceeds to grill me about my life story. He is up in my business from A-Z, even chastising for drinking too much Orange Juice. Finally after about an hour of this grilling, he takes my wife outside to confer with her. My wife states that she does not feel in any danger and does not want me committed. The intern states that we are going to get to go on vacation after-all. He leaves the room only to slunk back in an hour later to inform us that he has been over-ridden by the grand psychiatric inquisitor who stated that my presence on the mean streets of Charleston’s East End in the wean hours of the morning constituted a danger to myself.
    So as luck would have it, a crisis worker was available to here my case. As if flown in on the wings of angels, the middle-aged black fellow from Huntington saves the day and overrides the grand inquisitor and we go on our way.
    At this point I should note that all this bureaucratic nonsense was taking place against the back drop of WVa. Thousand Year Flood. It was not safe to travel Friday night any way, so we left for our time share in the Poconos 9:00’the following Saturday morning.

  • Speaking of environmental causes, I always thought that societal emphasis
    on conformity to beauty standards emitted by the media was the chief catalyst for middle and upper-class young women conditioned to become perfectionists was at the root of eating disorders. Also some suggest, that the desire to hang onto adolescence lay at the root of the problem. Any way, why would a behavior issue that effects only a certain strata of society assume to have a genetic cause?

  • Cat: I am running for the House of Delegates in West Virginia. (Green Party affiliated Mountain Party).I am torn between going to a meet the candidates night or a rally put on by the local AFT to protest ALEC bought and paid for members of our legislature. Rhetorically, AFT is opposed to the charterization of our schools, but their willingness to go along with Common Core and high stakes testing is a bridge to far for me. They and the Department of Education cavalierly dismiss the concerns of parents who opt their children out of these tests. Moreover, AFT President Randi Weingarten has used her office to undercut the BDS movement on college campuses, which together with the opt-out movement, black lives matter, and the Sanders campaign, represent a necessary upsurge in activism. AFT’s endorsement of Clinton is particularly tone-deaf when one considers that her campaign chairman, John Podesta, is past President of the Center for American Progress.”-CAP’s vision of corporate school reform dovetails nicely with the Chamber of Commerce, and the American Enterprise Institute with which it has shared event stages.
    So in order for critics of psychiatry to make headway in the Progressive Community, I feel that we need to be part of multi-issue and multi-ethnic coalitions. Also in my travels, I have noticed quite a few people who do not buy ADHD.

  • Sera: I was ensnared by the mental hygiene regime in 1989. It is really like finding yourself in an alternative universe. Around this time (During the switch over from manic-depressive to bipolar) there really did seem to me to be a lot of support in the entertainment media for “mental health advocacy”). Movies and television shows, with either plots or subplots of character off their “meds,” seemed particularly prevalent. This became so ingrained in American culture at the time to influence the good natured or not, ribbing of people to the “affect have you taken your meds today.”With the recent passing of Patty Duke, I am reminded of the made for tv movie concerning her life with bipolar. Given this cultural apparatus and the bipolar support group that I was funneled into, I would have to have been the ultimate shit-heel to question the benevolence of Psychiatry.
    The liberal social justice mantra you describe is the mirror image of the right-wing echo chamber of Fox News and talk radio. PR campaign debunker John Stauber, along with his “anonymous” source in the 99% Spring activist campaign, exposed it as a front for the Democrat Party, much in the same way Moveon helped to shift its followers from anti-war activism to Democrat electoral politics. As a whole, Counterpunch broaches a wider variety of topics and reaches out to fly-over America better than other Left communities, It is probably so coincidence, That MIA author gets his widest exposure on Counterpunch.

  • Oldhead: I am running for the state legislature here in West Virginia. My involuntary commitment from 1989 and 1990 is pretty much an open secret, including a letter to the editor of mine to the Charleston Gazette alluding to the fact. I welcome getting this out in the open as several other issues, but at this point, it is basically anyone’s guess as to how it will play out.

  • Bare in mind, that Tsarnov was convicted under a federal statute, because the murders involved explosives or arson. MA does not have the death penalty. Also consider the youth of the offender, the influence of the older brother, and the fact that Turkey could not be considered for membership in the EU unless it abolished the death penalty.

  • Sarah: I have noticed Tina Minkowitz on this site broaching the legal
    aspects of our situation, but I find you incorporating a more multi-
    disciplinary approach. It is interesting that you note that 90% of us
    involuntarily committed are suffering from trauma. I have spent
    3-4 months of my life institutionalized-1989-1990- in two state,
    one private hospital, and one low security (crisis intervention unit).
    My sense was that my fellow patients were mostly downtrodden-I never feared for my personal safety from them. Growing up, I experienced life with a mean drunk
    spousal abusing father, but I had been living away from home for four
    years, so I am kind of dubious to the notion that my experience was
    trauma induced. The one thing that everyone around me kept harping
    on was my cavalier disregard for my money-I gave it away-I guess you
    could say that was a currency abuser, and I also threw a stack of
    that sorry excuse for a periodical (Washington Post) into the corner of the food co-op in a snit. All crimes of the century as you can see.

  • I noticed this article on Counterpunch earlier in the week, and I applaud Dr. Levine’s efforts to link the struggle on MIA against psychiatric abuse to wider social justice concerns. Of the left-wing websites, I find that Counterpunch reaches out to the broadest array of societal concerns. And while not all on MIA tilt to the political left, I find that social justice activism best dovetails with our concerns. I recently attended a workshop of the local WVa. Public Workers union which falls under the Union of Electrical workers umbrella. Recently, its members rallied at the state legislature to beat back a bill to privatize four state run nursing home (these nursing homes provide psychiatric services and are affiliated with the two remaining state psychiatric hospitals). I was invited to the organizing meeting as a member of the Mountain Party-I am running for statewide office in the 39th District of the House of delegates. From what I can gather, the UE has a more democratic structure than is typical of the business unionism of big labor, and UE was one of the few unions to remain steadfast and to survive McCarthyism with its principles in tack. During breaks in the meeting, I focused most of my attention on union related activities surrounding legislation pertaining to school privatization I am a member of AFT. It is my hop that I will be able in the future, to voice my concern on the issues surrounding psychiatric care.

  • 1990 was the last time that I was denied liberty by psychiatry, although I am dealing with Iatrogenic harm. Back here in West Virginia I am the Mountain Party (Green Party affiliated) candidate for the 39th House of Delegates seat. On Tuesday at the State House in Charleston, there is to a rally of state hospital workers who object to the efforts of the Governor to privatize three psychiatric facilities. Understandably this causes me mixed feelings. While I have no love loss for psychiatrists, there were times when orderlies treated me as a human, and served to lessen the blow.

  • BA: Has anyone else been following the unearthing of Heidi Cruz’s brush with the “danger to herself” tribulation. While no fan of the Cruz’s political outlook, it is a good day when anyone manages to right their situation without becoming ensnared into the mental health-big pharma industrial complex. It was Szasz’s contention that psychiatrists and lawyers (the two professions most directly involved in civil commitments) avoid at all cost from becoming the subject of that process.

  • Old head: I voted for Nader in 2000 and 2004, Mckinney in 2008 and Stein in 2012. because of a quirk in WVa. campaign laws a jail bird from Texas got on the Democrat Primary in 2012. Given that the Democrats purposefully leaked details of the drone program in the lead up to the election to out hawk Romney, I had the opportunity in the primary to vote for the lessor criminal.

  • Old head: I was ensnared into the system, in 1980, so I can’t really speak to the sea change brought, allegedly or otherwise, by the DSM III. I did buy a book about Psychiatry and its depiction by Hollywood, a few years back. The psychiatrist who co-authored the book, seems to be pushing back against the negative depiction of psychiatry in film, which I hazard was capturing, or at least refracturing public sentiment of the time.

  • Bonnie: I have been reading your posts and others here for about two years.. I also read Robert Whitaker’s latest book over the Summer. As someone trained as an Historian, I can understand the emphasis on the release of the DSM in 1980, as a watershed event. Hopefully, one outcome of this site, will be a success effort to recognize these sea changes as they are unfolding, rather than just documenting them for posterity after the fact.
    While some of the contributors here are psychiatric survivors, and others are dissident mental healthcare providers, I am like some on this site, who have a foot in both worlds. I met with my supervisor of the youth agency where I work, wherein we discussed psychotropic medication along with other topics-I loaned her a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic. She was also encouraged by my decision to run for the local legislature. In my experience, I am not familiar with an office holder who is open about past experience with involuntary commitment.

  • Paris: Your articles on family dynamics do ring as an element of truth to me. I was civily committed in 1989. I grew up in a violent household, and in 1989 I was sharing a household with five other social activist-sort of like a surrogate family. As such, I agree that my actions, whether correctly termed as irrational or self-defeating, would have better seen through the relationships with my housemates and the overall context of my life, than through biological psychiatry.

  • Richard and others: This article is timely for me, since I am confronting Psychiatry from multiple angels while simultaneously involving myself on other social justice related issues. First off, as I have written here before, I was involuntarily committed and brainwashed into biological psychiatry. I have successfully titrated myself off Lithium, which damaged my kidneys, as well as other psychiatric drugs. I am still taking 2mg of Zyprexa and .5mg of Klonapin. I have been in touch with my primary care physician in hopes that she can set me up with a psych-drug withdraw program-in my experience withdraw from Zyprexa is extremely tricky, combined with the problem that both drugs come in tablet form making dose withdraw on my own imprecise, Also on MIA and else where, it has come to my attention that with draw from Benzos is no easy matter.
    In my professional life I work three jobs-as a substitute in the school system and at Job Corps. I also work as a youth worker at a non-profit. As a result Richard, I am not completely beholden to one job, thus making it safer to speak out. (My wife has a secure position in the hospital, my son is on scholarship, and we have little remaining debt, which makes speaking out easier). My employers at Job Corps know that I take psych drugs, and thanks to the understanding of the human resource manager, we established the fact that someone with a Danger to Himself or Others classification can work for Job Corps and the Department of Labor. Likewise, I made my concern known to my AFT rep about what I consider the spurious diagnosis of ADHD. (I also discussed my concerns with my labor rep regarding the privitization and charterization of the public schools through such vehicles as No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Corps. I also brought up the issue of Boycott, Divest, and Sanction-a movement opposing Israel’s occupation that has caught hold, particularly in the California system. I also talked to the AFT legislative rep as well as the local Green Party affiliated Mountain Party with regards to my running for the local legislature).
    At my non-profit I have discussed my concern regarding the influence of Psychiatry as it impacts our foster youth. I loaned my supervisor a copy of Whitaker’s book, and we set up a meeting on January 7, to discuss my concerns. I have also been in contact with the local WV branch of ACLU regarding their efforts to spear-head the opposition to a 70 bead juvenile psych lock-up in Logan County.
    Moreover, I was formerly a student in the counseling program at Marshall Graduate College until I was bullied out of the program on account of my anti-psychiatric views. I have recently been in contact with my advisor and the department head in order to file a complaint of discrimination. So you can see, that I am confronting Psychiatry from a number of angles. Moreover, as someone who will be running for political office on a Green Party affiliated platform,I stay abreast of numerous other issues including being involved with local environmental organizations as well as a foreign policy study group at the local library.

  • Bruce: I have been following your posts on MIA and Counterpunch for some time.
    It seems to me that most psychiatric survivors who post here tilt to the political left.
    Occasional this causes a dust up wherein someone accuses someone of dragging politics into the equation. I have read most of Szasz’ books. Of course he tilts to the the Libertarian Right, where as I tilt towards the Noam Chomsky Libertarian Left. Szasz ways in on a lot of questions which are not directly related to psychiatry. I think this is to the good even if I don’t agreewith him,’because it allows me as a reader to gain a better understanding of how he arrives at his conclusions.
    I believe that your ability to navigate the dual worlds of MIA and Counterpunch is a huge plus-in my opinion I believe that Counterpunch is the best left-wing website because they broach the widest number of topics. We still have a long way to go on the left to move the discussion forward from the simplistic notion that psychiatric patients in prisons just need more good old fashioned psychiatry-E. Fuller Torrey still has tremendous sway in some left circles.
    As for me personally, I was civilly committed in 1989 with manic depression and forcibly restrained and drugged. I made the mistake in 1990 of tedoxing too rapidly from Lithium and since have avoided subsequent incarceration. I personally think my situation is closer to what you describe as those dissenters taken off the polical battle field, rather than someone experiencing an extreme state.

  • I have been reading the posts and commenting on MIA for a couple of years. It seems to me that most people who post here lean to the left and those that don’t fall on the Libertarian side. Szasz was a libertarian, at least in his later writings. Just as those on the left on MIA voice their opinions on other political issues, so did Szasz. What he are up against as psychiatric survivors really is not an exclusively right-wing or left-wing assault on our civil liberties. Congressman Murphy is a Republican and Senator Murphy is a Democrat. Someone on my Facebook page who is a self-identified leftist and member of the Green Party posted a link to E. Fuller Torrey who was highly critical of Ronald Reagan, and of course as everyone knows on MIA,’highly inflammatory against people diagnosed with “severe mental illness.”

  • I would not waste my breathe on the NYT. They are out and out pond scum, whether supporting our country’s murderous military adventures or military coups-notice Hilary’s
    coup in Honderous, and the massive meddling in the recent elections in Venezuela and Argentina. If you think their foreign policy coverage is horrendous, which it is,’try their coverage
    of Coomon Core and school privatization on for size-which is being shoved down our throats by the “liberal media,”‘and both political parties. Noam Chomsky’s dentist and his wife advised him to stop reading NYT as it was understandably causeingmhim to grind his teeth.

  • Dr. Hickey, I was incarcerated in two state hospitals in 1989 and a private hospital and a crisis intervention unit in 1990. I raised a son who is on a merit scholarship. He is a track, math field day, and quiz bowl champion. This was all accomplished by a parent’s nurturing and my son’s dedication. When I was ensnarled into the rabbit hole thankfully I already had a firm sense of who am and my role in the world.
    However,’there were moments of self doubt brought on by the totality of the myth of biological psychiatry shot throughout all realms of society.-medicine, education and popular culture. My general sense of my fellow “patients”‘was disempowerment. I never felt unsafe in their prescence. I had a friend with a serious drug problem who was also diagnosed as bipolar-the Lithium gave him terrible shakes, and he eventually committed suicide. Another friend, the son of physicians, was also diagnosed with bipolar-the parents steeped in the Eugenics of mental illness scapegoated each other for passing on the gene. My friend is still waiting on the magic medicine to come down the pike-he has never successfully held a job.
    Given what you have uncovered from the writings of Pies, I find it highly ironic that according to Torrey and others that I have the diagnosable condition Anglossia (sic) for failing to accept a disease that Pies says does not even exist.

  • Obama FDA= Big Pharma;,EPA= Mountain Top removal has reached Kanawaha
    State Forest on the outskirts of Charleston; Dept. of Interior=Monsanto;Economy geared to whims of Summers and Gaither-Solis at DOL packed bags and returned to LA-Obama
    flies over Wisconsin rebellion with tweet. but campaigns for buddy and foe of teachers union Mr. One Percecent Emmanuel; -who is a dual loyalist with strong family ties
    to Israel, which brings us to Edward Said Palestinian-American activist and literary critic (Obama once shared a table at an event with him-another stab in the back see destruction of Gaza).;Obama jails journalists and whistle blowers-Assange is a journalist-George Stanapolis is a presstitute for the Clinton Foundation. ;Obama risks war with Russia over Syria and Ukraine while coudling Bush Neocons in his administration see Victoria Nuland. ;And given his proclivity to avoid show downs with the powers that be-the only thing keeping Obama from joining the chorus of Tim Murphy and the Treatment Advocacy Center is that he may run out of time. ;Did I mention the hotel heiress at Commerce?

  • I don’t own a gun nor am I particularly concerned about yours. As for abortion, if forced to vote simply up or down, I am pro-choice, but realizing that a discuss of Eugenics, forced sterilization, the genetically engineering of Downs people out of existence are huge consideration-not a big fan of single issue pro-choice campaigns.
    As I have made known here, for the. last year or so, I have been geering up for a serious push back-my son is off to college out of state, the cars are payed for and the house nearly so and I have three jobs Where my “history” is common knowledge. I feel that a certain obligation falls on those better situated to take the brunt.

  • Eric: I think that any success that we have will result as being part of larger movements opposing mass incarceration, the surveillance state, and the endless. Some people could judge me negatively for my “history of mental illness, and being “just” a substitute teacher. But sometimes you just have to take a risk and roll the dice-let the chips fall where they may.

  • While my psychiatric inprisonment was not directly linked to my revolutionary politics, I do think that indirectly it was. Social control in our society is more
    diffuse than it was in the Soviet Union-the main reason we have so few
    real dissidents in our society is that people are afraid of being embarressed and shaming of their family if they speak out-It took a whole lot of soul searching for the senator from Alaska to will himself to introduce Daniel Elsberg’s testimony into the Congressional record. In my case-a white dissident person barely beyond his formative years is not taken seriously as a legitimate commentator on society-yes I was pushing the envelope in a brasher manor than I would be today. But I fell on my sword at the time, but you know what-my critiques that non-profits aren’t going to change the world, “liberal establishment press like the Washington Post are more guilty for keeping us all in line (thanks Noam Chomsky), any form of multicultural organizing that fails to take regional issues out of the equation will be unsuccessful-I am from Appalachia, and taking one luxury hotel off the market to house people priced out of the housing market is a good idea.
    By the way, I sternly informed the nurse practioner at my psychiatrist office ( in no uncertain terms I might add), that I am angered beyond belief about my damaged kidneys, and there will be hell to pay if anyone comes at me with assisted out patient BS.

  • Joanna: I was diagnosed with manic depression 1989, which later morphed
    Into bi-polar. I was involuntarily committed, but no one actually shoved the
    pills down my throat, but it became pretty clear to me, either do as you
    are told or be exiled from the human race. I knew nothing of the Mad liberation
    movement, even though I was and am a committed leftist. During this juncture of history, chemical imbalances were the rage in popular culture-think of the Patty Duke Story,’and all the condescension directed at mental patients in cop shows of the time-the poor souls neglected to take their life saving medicine. Now where full circle back to locking up the crazies for their own good, either with more “hospital” beds ‘or outpatient commitment. If I remember correctly, the original threat of the madman was his ability to convince his fellow peasants to revolt-sort of how John Brown was retrospectively recasts a generation after Harper’s Ferry as a “crazy.” Quite a bit different than when I was comforted by stories of Abe Lincoln having been a manic-depressive.

  • Iam glad to see Counterpunch being referenced on this website. Bruce Levine who posts on MIA also posts on Counterpunch. While Counterpunch articles on Mental Health issues do not always dovetail with the general views expressed here, I do find the site to be more open to a diversity of opinion on the subject than other prominent left-wing sources such as Democracy Now, which stay pretty close to the mainstream view by reporting the unverified statistics regarding the number of “mentally ill” in prison.
    ‘The current fashion of trying to root out “psychotics”‘through greater surveillance and intervention does run up against the hard numbers which point to the relative
    lack of mass shootings in other countries-it must be added that many gun-control
    advocates have a smilarly disparaging view of those labeled “mentally ill.” As for the medication themselves being at the root of the problem, isn’t there a similar problem of equating cause and effect with the spread of bio-psychiatry to the rest of the developed world?

  • Sandra: It’s been awhile since I have posted on your blog, and I haven’t followed MIA as religiously in the past year. I have posted about my own experience with civil commitment and drug withdrawal as well as my interaction with psychiatry in the work place and graduate school.
    At Job Corps, I let my superiors know about my “history of mental illness,”
    And I broached my concerns about students and psychiatric drugs to my supervisor,’other employees, human resources and AFT. Part of my concern was that we were instructed to treat sleeping in class as a disciplinary infraction, even though I knew first hand that for some students the problem was the on again off againregiment of ADHD medication. I didn’t get very far with this endeavor, but I did set a legal precedent that someone with the dreaded categorization of “dangerous to yourself or others” could be employed at Job Corps. I also have long suspected that my blacklisting at the hands of the Kanawha County Schools resulted from knowledge about my history making its way through the grape vine. I successfully circumvented the blacklist, and I now work as a substitute at both Charleston Job Corps and Kanawha County Schools. I also work as relief staff in the Transitional Living Program as well as part-time at the foster homes for a non-profit. Three months ago I appraised them of my history and concerns about our residents and psychotropics. I also gave my supervisor a copy of Whitaker’s new book. Yesterday the agency had a briefing with the National Organization on Accreditation. The head of the team is a professor of child development from Vancouver and the assistant is from my home state of Wva. Who works for the Department of Human Resources in Maryland. I had the opportunity to talk to the social worker about the agencies, including my concerns about psychiatric diagnosing and psychotropic medication. She noted that she does not consult the DSM but of course her agency does make referrals to psychiatry.
    Three months ago when I made my history and concerns known I reassured my supervisors that I do not broach this subject directly with the residents, though I will add here that circumstances often beg the question of me as to what I think about the situation. I advised one girl whatever you do, never go off these medications cold turkey. I have also become aware of the stories of foster youth who have self-advocated to avoid being prescribed ADHD and anti-depression medication. I have also not followed up with my direct supervisor about whitaker’s book. And I am pondering my next step with the accreditation folks.
    At Marshall Graduate School of counseling I feel that I was practically run out of the department for my criticism of psychiatry. This was before my participation on MIA, and I had been relying mostly for my information on Szasz, Goffman, Foucault,’and the writers from the Journal Ethical Psychology and Psychiatrry started by Breggin. The instructor of the intro to Mental Health Counseling came from the perspective of psychiatry as new and improved and her anti-stigma diatribes were highly stigmatizing as was that of her acolytes. She called me out on the discussion for including my own experience with institutionalizations- really the on-line discussion very often did beg the question.
    So I think that you would agree that I have interfaced with psychiatry in a number of ways. I also appreciate your honesty about the effects of psychiatric drugs and your willingness to take a risk and post on MIA.
    And as a post-script, I feel it is important to engage in a wide range of endeavors so as not to become a zealot. I also participate in a foreign policy study group at the library, I attend history lectures at the archives, I help my wife with her children’s theatre costuming and attend her infection control conventions,’follow sports and entertainment as well as chiming in on websites such as Counterpunch, Z magazine, Truthout, and follow the developments of the teaching profession at Rethinking Schools as well as by visiting my son at the University of Kentucky. And I would like to be the first candidate for Congress to be open about my history-remember Thomas Eagleton.

  • Although as most of us know here, psychiatry is not really part of medicine.
    However, because of the roll of Big Pharma, psychiatry and medicine share some of the same problems. Thanks to my Pacifica Radio app I can listen to engaging commentary on Against the Grain, while walking in my neighborhood for exercise.This week’s broadcast included a critique of preventive medicine (in some twisted way, civil commitment is some form of this-early intervention). Although the broadcast doesn’t delve into psychiatry, many of the lessons drawn are relevant to our movement.

  • Iden writes here of the intersection of civil rights movement and the rights of those labeled and stigmatized with psychiatric labels. From the original reconstruction era after the civil war through the black liberation struggle today this is inarguable the high water marks of our nation. There is no simple solution to the “disability”‘debate. The MIA contributor here Tina Minkowitz has done much on the legal and international level to protect our rights through the prism of disability. Personally I don’t feel disabled, although I benefited from SSI to pay for my tuition.

  • When I was brain washed into the system in 1989, I was most definitely, told that my “manic depression-bipolar” was a chemical ilmbalance.Yet psychiatry is in absolute denial of this-Thanks to MiA contributor for pointing this out. Also it turns out that delusional thinking is not based on the merits of one’s thoughts or beliefs, but wether or not a percentage of people believe them. People who believe in alien abduction,belong to cults,’or subscribe to conspiracy theories like the illuminati are not in prisoned in psychiatric hospitals. My own particular heresey was to believe that a luxury hotel should be taken over and used as a homeless shelter and also no self-respecting food co-op should be selling the tree killing CIA friendly Washington Post. Thanks to conventional organizing techniques, the rate of union
    contracts in hotels has all but disappeared, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon who purchased the Post has a contract with the CIA. Also as has been pointed out by Szasz, the powerful are seldom on the short end of the psychiatric stick-when was the last time thatvinvoluntarily commitment proceedings were instituted by a student against a college dean? For that matter, the president is permitted to view his ascension to the highest office in the land as the fruition of the legacy of Martin Luther King, even though he threw his minister and mentor Rev. Wright under the bus, praises Reagan who rose to prominence on the strength of white backlash sentiment-see his trip to Philadelphia MS where he championed “states rights,” and as well as extending the war on terror to seven countries-remember King spoke forcible at his 1967 Riverside speach against the evils of US militarism.
    Besides the dreaded Axis I Bi-polar, I also have an Axis II for Narcicism.
    But in the end, I seem to have only two widely contrasting views to believe about myself-either I am a helpless mental case who is tormented by the now admitted phantom “chemical imbalance,” or I am a man ahead of my time.

  • Tracey: In my personal life: I was institutionalized in 1989 and 1990’and diagnosed with manic-depression which later morphed into bipolar.’I find it difficult to drop under 1.5 mg. of Zypreza and I also take .5mg. of clonipin. 20 plus years of lithium damaged my kidneys. I am none to happy about this.
    In my professional life I work as a youth worker and a substitute teacher. So
    the subject of psychiatric medications comes up from time to time. This puts me in a bit of a quandary. I have logged my concerns about psychiatric drugs with the youth agency and was told to refrain from talking about it in the log.
    But sometimes clients and students beg the questions and I feel that I would be less than honest if I did not respond to their concerns.’At least two clients managed to avoid being ensnared into the psychiatric drugnet. Some staff have
    also expressed reservations about ADHD medications. Above all else, I always
    advise young people to avoid an abrupt cessation of the drugs. I also loaned my
    direct supervisor a copy of Whitaker’s new book, but as of yet, I have received no feedback.

  • Jay: I like that you include foreign policy in your discussion by mentioning
    Chomsky and Herman. Unfortunately, most Americans rely on mainstream
    media-news and entertainment-for their views of the world. In the third or fourth episode
    of season two of the Blacklist, the plot delves into the violence gene (warrior gene on the show) as well as mentioning secret government programs of thought control such as MK Ultra). This gave me the opportunity to explain a little about this to my wife, who is a health care professional. From what I remember, younger siblings of Juvenile
    delinquents were given spinal taps as a means of uncovering “the violence gene.”
    Activists pushed back against a violence gene conference in the DC area, and until the Blacklist episode I have heard nothing else about it. It is safe to say, however, that we still live in the shadow of the Eugenics Movement.

  • Sera: Here is another example of “mental health providers” speaking in our name. Weston State Hospital ( Civil War era construction). closed in circa 1993 in WVa. A private entity bought the building and the grounds and changed the name to the original Tranallegheny Lunatic Asylem.-They conduct tours daily and have a Bedlum Ball on Halloween. This got the hackles up of the profession class who were appalled about “lunatic.” I sort of took it,’as what is in a name. Others have pointed out, what other reputable profession is constantly changing its name-Asylem,’sanatarium,’hospital, mad, lunatic,’crazy, mentally ll.

  • Sera: Thanks for pointing out what could be called major micro-aggressions. I was incarcerated in two different mental hospitals from March-May in 1989- in the neighboring states of WVa and MD. I found it curious that the two varied considerabley when it came to procedure.’One had a coed unit, the other did not. In the older hospital, the isolation room was off to the side, while in the newer one, it was locatedmore centrally, so as to make the victim the center of attention.- see Foucault and panoctopain (sic). In the newer hospital I was de-loussed. While in the later, my blood pressure was taken seemingly every hour. In Maryland, There was no set date for an assessment of progress and release, but in WVa it was a thirty day evaluation. For an institution which claims to be a branch of medicine, it struck as odd, how different the ground rules were. Fenway Park and Wrigley field have their unique character, but the game of baseball at least follows a tried and true formula.

  • Jennifer this is the first that I remember seeing you here. You’re thoughts are encouraging. What walk of life do you come from?. I work as a substitute teacher and youth worker.’My lived experience with diagnosis and hospitalization was 1989 and 1990-From what I gather, and Whitaker’s historical context provides a good back drop for what I personally experience, as well as a jump off point for discussion with my supervisor at the foster home. (this was a time when bio-psychiatry was really being driven home.-1989)I gave her the book. I also have been logging my concerns about the role of psychiatry in our residents lives.’I feel like that I have been taking a personal risk n doing so. The director of the agency was concerned that I wasn’t discussioning the issue directly with the residents-a valid concern and something I don’t do.

  • Carina: I just posted on an another article today which ties in a bit with what you were saying.I felt like when I was hospitalized in 1989 that I was being singled out in a group dynamic that was not functioning completely well-a loosely based communal living arrangement where in we were left-wing political activists of various hues. I think that I now understand that I was too indirect in voicing my criticisms and acting out in a
    disconcerting manner. After having read Whitaker’s recent book and having participated for several years on MIA, I see where the drugging was the most expedient
    and cost effective measure to address my behavior. The books detailing of PR strategies and prescribing protocals, mirrors much of what I experienced with the choice
    Of medication given to me.’I would only add, that it seemed to me in the late 1980s and early 1990s that many film and television productions also contained a pro-medication message. I think that a lot of the concern here on MIA is to find less obtrusive measures to reintegrate people that don’t stigmatize and cause long term health problems.

  • This information affects me personally as well as professionally.
    I am experiencing reduced kidney function due to 20+’years
    of lithium. I am none to happy about that.’I have been off lithium
    for over four years without any hospitalizations. My last hospitalization
    was’25 years ago. I still take a low dose of Zypreza 2mg and Klonapin .5 mg.,
    and given the horror stories I have heard, I am in no hurry to detox from these drugs.
    I work as a substitute teacher and and a youth worker so this issue impacts
    me at work. A couple of years ago I asked the AFT rep about their policy regarding psychiatric medication. I was informed that they had none. This was the same answer given by the HR person from the company that contracts out services
    at Job Corps.’Recently, I logged in my concerns about the increase in the use of
    these drugs at my agency. I agreed with my supervisor to keep these comments
    out of the log book in the future.’But I did make it clear that I would be making my concerns about this trend in the public policy arena. The agency is small, so it makes sense to target bigger fish such as APA and the Department of Health and Human Resources. Also several years ago, I was enrolled in a
    Counseling program at the local graduate college. I felt that I was
    Basically run out of dodge for my negative assessment of psychiatry.
    Now with Whitaker’s sweeping assessment of the last 35 years of psychiatry, I have gained insight into the various ways I was treated by Psychiatry. In as well, thanks to this book, and MIA generally, I think I have more of a leg to stand on as I advocate for myself, and in the letter that I am composing to the head of the counseling department.

  • I was diagnosed with manic depression in 1989. Perhaps I could have done a better job of explaining what it was that my housemates were doing that was bothering me. But given that I grew up in an atmosphere of child’ abuse (mean drunk parent) I am not the best at standing up for myself. Also given, that no family member came forward to protect me from this abuse, it made it hard for me to fathom that my mother was saving me from myself by committing me. By 1990, my mother had fanagled the system to the point that I was receiving an SSI check. I went back to college, got married,’obtained a semblance of a career, and managed to avoid being sidelined from life which I sense happens to many with a mental health diagnosis and a disability check.
    I have managed to reduce the psychotropic medication and get the weight gain under control. But I still find myself angry about my experience with the hospitalization and subsequent damage done to my kidneys as a result of the lithium. Also, my displeasure with psychiatry has caused family strife in that my mother feels like she had no choice, and my sister has been in search of the right medication to help with her depression. I also feel like there is also a correlary narrative running along side the critical narrative of psychiatry that we present on MIA. In my own case I was transferred from jail, where I was being held on a pretty minor offense of disturbing the peace to the mental hospital. Much attention on the political left, where I reside, is given to mass incarceration and in particular to the problem, which is described as the imprisonment of the mentally ill. I feel like that this is pretty grey area politically and for me personally. I just recently finished whitaker’s new book, and I feel there is sufficient documentation of the shortcomings of psychiatry to force open the door for a more honest interpretation of psychiatry in our society. In my role as an educator and a youth worker, I have been open about my “history of mental illness”!as well as notifying my employer about becoming more visible in the community and the political arena on this topic. I feel that as someone with credentials who is involved in a many civic endeavors, that I am poised to make a difference. First thing, I will be contacting the graduate school where I feel like I was pushed out for being critical of psychiatry-I have more confidence now, and the case against psychiatry has grown. I will be following up with the teacher’s union regarding the concerns I expressed concerning children and the use of psychiatric medications-previously I was told that they had no written policy on the matter.

  • Yes indeed: I was hauled into the court of the inquisition for delusions of grandeur for trying to kick start a revolution-step one of the plan was to commandeere the Historic Willard Hotel two blocks from the White House and turn it into an acceptable mode of a homeless shelter. That was 1989. Fast forward to 2016. Keep your eye on the Second Congressional race in WVa. in the Republican Primary.

  • James: respectfully- I was dragged to Springfield Hospital in March 1989. When my daring escape was foiled I was summarily gang tackled put in a choke hold dragged to the isolation room, straight jacked to a bed shot full of Thorazine and left to defacate and urinate on myself. Later I was put in lock down mode trundled off to a near-by hospital and forced to undergo I suffacoting claustrophobic inducing Cat scan in order to locate a non-existent medical problem. More than a little punchy after all of this treatment I was discharged at the height of this anxiety inducing experience. Yes, I had one flat
    Out panic attack shortly upon my realease as my mom and me tried to ply the crowded
    Streets of DC.’After a harrowing trip of my mom’s non-driving skills we landed back in Wva. Where upon I settled an old score
    With the neighborhood bully, where upon I was trundled off
    To the Trans Allengheny Lunatic Asylem where I was left to rot with a thirty days to life situation.’Upon my release,’I retreated to my bedroom where upon I conteplated suicide.’after about a month of this in got my bearing and got
    back in the saddle and completed
    A bicycle race after seven weeks of training. 44 miles at the same time as
    the peloton.
    This was September 1989. After much haggling, I was finally placed in vocational rehab in March 1990.’I was separated from the lithium as it was at the nurse’ s station. I was unable to reach the desk at the specified time.’The withdraw did indeed leave me a
    Little punchy. After about a month of
    bouncing around town, my mom had me committed to a private
    Hospital for three weeks I was then transferred to a community crisis
    Unit where upon I finished my sixty day sentence. Upon my release into the community, I was first placed into a group home and subsequently given my own apartment
    With a roommate. Diagnosis Manic Depression which morphed into Bi-polar
    affective disorder with get this an Axis
    II diagnosis form Narcism. By this time they were hitting with a stronger battery of drugs which slowed my hour speed on a
    Bicycle from around 25 mph to around 23.5’mph. During this 15 month process
    I was subjected to what amount to AmSpanish Inquisition and the ever helpful Rorscact (sic) test.’fast forward
    to today.’I have
    Whittled my psych drug intake to 1’mg of Zypreza and .5′ Klonapin.’I take
    Small dose of blood pressure medication-I am currently about 20-25’lbs.’above
    My fighting weight. At 54 I can still go toe to toe on the basketball court with inner city
    kids at Job Corps,’and beat the foster kids to the top of the hill.’Oh did Immention that the Lithium damaged my thyroid and kidneys and that upon my
    release in 1990’that I chanced upon a glimpse of my release papers (chronically
    mentally ill).
    Any way I have not consulted with my psychiatrist for 25′ months. In order to mollify my
    wife’s concerns about my sleeping patterns,’i got myself penciled
    In to see the psychiatrist’s nurse practioneer.’Where upon I put every one on notice,’that should anyone from the psychiatric profession come out me side ways’its going
    To be WWIII. I have been compared favorably to Paul Westfall on the basketball court,’back in the day I was the Eddy Mercyx of the local
    Vandalia Velos bicycle club,’and when it comes to urban guerrilla warfare,
    Che Gueverra’s got
    nothing on me. Keep your eyes peeled on old WVa, it’s going
    to be one hell of a bumpy ride up ahead. The long and the short of it is that the APA
    Went and messed with the wrong hombre-Ps the psychiatrist just refilled my Zypreza
    prescription without an appointment.

  • Nancy: It’s seems that you are suggesting that the issues at stake are larger than the APA and Big Pharma. On the legal front, I have noticed that therevis much haggling over the possible release of John Hinkley. It is my understanding that he was forced into the insanity plea. As convoluted as his stated motives for his actions may be, I believe that there is a double tragedy at place here-the lack of the ability to have one’s day in court,’as well as the bodily injury that he inflicted-now upgraded to homicide with the death of James Brady who died at 74, the approximate life expectancy of an American male.
    Part of what I objected to in my experience was the open-ended term of my sentence-30
    days to life. As many MIA readers know, a still considerable
    Number of “patients” are held for long durations-or transferred to mental “hospitals”
    whentheir sentence runs out. I am not a lawyer, but could this not be an opening. If James Bradey’s injury can be classified as a murder resulting from paraplegia 35’years after the fact, then could we not open the door for charges of negligent homicide for iatrogenic deaths due to forced treatment for what is now freely admitted by the psychiatric authorities ie “there are no chemical imbalances.”

  • GM: I am in a similar boat except that for some reason my psychiatrist continues to fill my perscriptions without having to meet with him (two years). Since I went off of lithium four years ago, there is no mechanism in place to determine my compliance. I was last institutionalized 25 years ago and have confidence in my self. I am still on a low dose of Zypreza 2mg and .5mg of klonapin. I would like to be free and clear of the “profession,” but Zypreza withdraw is difficult, and I have heard many horror stories about detoxing from Klonapin.

  • Alex:’Actually knowing that people have successfully exited from psychiatry is quite a relief and empowering. As we speak, author Jon Ronson is on In depth on CSPAN BookTV right now. One of his books is the Psychopathology test which is being made into a movie with Scarlet Johansen. He is quite critical of some of the psychiatric labeling that is taking place. His newest book deals with the social media practice of shaming, which I believe is the main function of psychiatry. Social media shaming is a cathartic substitute for social justice. Psychiatric is a misplaced form of “help” whose real purpose is the creation of otherness.

  • Dr. Scull: thanks for bringing an historical perspective to the table. I received my BA in Sociology from West Virginia State College in 1984.’There I studied Durkheim, Parks and Burgess, the Franfurt School, and C. Wright Mills, while many of my contemporaries were swallowing Reagan’s Morning in America BS. I moved to Southern Maryland in 1984, bounced around the restaurant circuit as a waiter for a few years, and ended up as a bicycle messenger by day and a young urban revolutionary by night. 1987-1989’were heady days indeed: Central American solidarity activism, anti-Apartheid vigils at the South African Embassy, UN protests over the 20 year occupation of Palestine, and anti-CIA activism-I attended a seminar in Culver City in the summer of 1988’given by ex-CIA and FBI where former agents came clean about their bag of dirty trips.
    Back in DC, I became inpatient with the ritualistic manner in which my companeros approached the revolution. There was much talk of grants, as if large foundations were going to under-write a revolution.’Anti-racism work seemingly excluded a white working class perspective let alone an Appalachian one-I am from WVa. Afterall. A housemate concerned about my “mental health” contacted my mother-said housemate subsequently
    Segued from sowing her radical wild oats to a more responsible line of work at the inter-American Development Bank. She was a Notre Dame Grad, a product of prestigious private schools,
    and her dad was part owner of the Cleveland Browns-much talk about sexism and racism, not so much about classism, but I digress.
    Any way after the authorities caught up with me, after I tried to take over the Willard Hotel-I had walked the picket line there in what turned out to be a doomed indeavor.’Deputy Bennie Bustamante got the drop on me at the Bethesda co-op parking lot which set the whole nuthouse circuit in motion. (The clerk at the co-op had jumped down my throat for picking up an apple’ and my eyes had locked in on the stack of tree killing and Yanqui propagandizing Washinton Posts, which I summarily picked up and through in the corner. “Get this CIA rag the hell out of here.”I have detailed my experience at the receiving end of psychiatric “help”‘elsewhere on this site.’The one thing that seemed to get everyone’s attention was my utter disdain for my own money.’Giving it away was a sure Fire indication of Manic Depression I mean Bipolar Illness. I now drive a late model Suburu instead of a Volvo or a Mercedes,’surely the crime of the century. In case , if anyone failed to notice, traditional forms of unionizing have gone down the drain, and Jeff Bezos from Amazon with his CIA contracts made it official by buying the Washington Post.’But what do I know. I am only a lowly mental patient.

  • Dr. Speaking of responsibility: I would be tickled pink to face what I consider as Alice’s Restaurant level charges from 1989, which remain on my record. I never had the right to defend myself, as I was in disposed at Springfield Hospital in Maryland, where I was allegedly being helped. I believe that I conducted myself with dignity throughout the process, and I believe that I established proper and friendly protocol with the arresting officer along with the orderlies.
    Do you have any idea how to go about reopening a case so as to use as leverage to highlight the absurdities of the claims of psychiatry.’For what it is worth, I believe that in the last 25’years I have established myself as a Bono fide human being.

  • Another thing that these drugs rob you of is time. I find that I spend more time in bed sleeping than before.’ Thankfully now that I am off lithium,’ I no longer have the embarrassing shakes. I would like to be completely
    Off these drugs, but zyprexa titration at low doses is extremely difficult.’I have also heard horror stories about coming off klonopin.’moreover,’how does one drop out of life long enough to go through detox?

  • Yes, I picked up this valuable book at an independent book store in Asheville, NC. I haven’t read Black’s book on IBM, but along with Charles Highman, and the authors of books on Operation Paper, and I believe Robert Procter on psychiatry in Nazi Germany, it is apparent that the US Govt. has been soft on fascism. Of course Stalin and his fellow travelers were evil, along with Andre Marty, the commander of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, but our “leaders,” entertainment media, and textbooks whitewash their complicated with the Nazis and other tyrants out of our history. I find it more fruitful to judge revolutionary governments on a case by case discussion, rather than to listen to anti-communist demagogues.

  • Also on a related topic on Pacifica’s project censored, the host and the guest discussed mass incarceration, and included psychiatric incarceration in the same breath. Most of the broadcast was devoted to the private corrections system as it intertwined with minimum sentencing guidelines, private prison control of immigration prisons, and the requisite lobbying and scare mongering that takes place in the electoral arena. The broadcast mentioned, but I did not catch the name of the prison located next door to the “psych hospital for pedophiles.” of the same name. Apparently there is another one of these afoot in California in the Stockton area. (Film maker Louis Proyect featured the “hospital” in one of his documentaries). The broadcast did not go into detail about the role of psychiatry in this project, but it did take a couple of much needed side swipes at the unholy alliance of mass incarceration, moral panic, and the pseudoscience of psychiatry. The broadcast took pains to note the massive cash cow generated by this, noting the high salaries of the psychiatrists and the profit motive of the private prison industry.

  • I have the same question. I never thought that I could be a physician. I have considered studying law, but the thought of becoming a cop, a psychiatrist or a soldier never occurred to me, except maybe as a guerrilla fighter or a soldier in the Spanish Civil War. Before I was blind sided by psychiatry, if one had asked me my opinion, I would have stated that the two sides were in an intractable opposition to one another, and it is obvious that one should be rooting for the underdog-the patient.

  • Someone else: Our mainstream media constantly harps on the evils of various potentates, strongmen, evil dictators like the Kim Dynasty in Korea, or the Assad family in Syria. The great labor leader, presidential candidate, and war resister Eugene V. Debs once remarked, when asked, what he thought about the threat of the Prussian Junkers:Debs remarked, that he was more worried about the American Junkers-today’s Cintons and Bushes.

  • Stephen: My uncle is buying the Hawkings book for my son’s graduation. Nice to see Hawking stand up for Palestinian rights. Woody Gutherie had Huntington’s Disease. Current gene therapy to detect this disease now exists. Had this been used at the turn of the century, there would have been no This Land Is my Land This Land Is Your Land, nor Arlo’s Alice’s Restaurant.

  • Duane: I was just listening to a Pacifica Radio broadcast about the implications of the Hyde Ammendment on public policy- This seems to be on the one hand and on the other hand issue. Senator Henry Hyde was a philanderer who made hay out of Clinton’s picadelos (sic) what ever one thinks about abortion or Bill Clinton, both figures helped two ingrain a Dickensian double standard in our society. The Hyde Ammendment does little to impede well-off women from getting abortions, but it does render poorer women with fewer choices and greater financial burdens for carrying them out.
    On the other hand, NOW oriented feminists who priviledge reproductive rights over other social issues, likely don’t take into consideration the Eugenics slant when it comes to socially engineering Downs people out of society, the forced sterilization of black and white mountain women, or how Russia women feel about abortion being the defacto only form of birth control available. I find the Comstockery Right-wing in this country to be a nuisance, but Third World people treated to Sangerism family planning may well be put more upon.

  • Dr. Hickey: I work at a Job Corps in West Virginia. Neither my direct supervisor, the director of human resources, nor the American Federation of Teachers rep can explain to me the policy of the center with regards to psychotropic drugs. it is as if these drugs oozed into our society with little explanation and little oversight. At the foster home where I also work, I have noticed the staff doling out medication-I have not been trained to do this, and I am not rushing to do the training which would certify me to do so.
    How we as a culture have come to accept this practice is intriguing. My own diagnosis of manic depressive in 1989 occurred about the time that it was morphing into bipolar. I believe that the entertainment media had a good bit to do with this. The Patty Duke story being an example of the fare that was offered at the time. Also, lurid crime shows around this time were adept at including plots and subplots surrounding the use of drugs and the “mentally ill. “Undoubtedly, NAMI and its acolytes are involved, in one way shape or form in advising the content of these shows.

  • David: Yes in deed, the defenders of ADHD diagnosis are coming out of the woodwork on this one: contributors whom I have not seen on MIA before. The United States has the largest percent of its population incarcerated along with one of the largest percentages of its population under some form of psychiatric supervision. With the high rate of foster children falling under the purview of one or more of these systems, it is getting harder and harder to distinguish between the system of incarceration and the system of social welfare. The impetus to drug test “welfare recipients,” demonstrates the impulsive desire of the “upstanding'” members of society to control the troublesome rabble. “The path to hell is paved with the best of intentions.”

  • I have worked with at-risk youth in one shape or form since 1998: alternative high school, Job Corps, and foster homes. If in deed psychiatric diagnoses are like any other medical diagnosis we wouldn’t be finding such a disproportionate rate of psychiatric drugging of at-risk children. Job Corps and Foster Youth are under a much higher rate of surveillance than other youth. Job Corps youth undergo an initial drug screen upon arrival at the center, and they have 30 days to get their THC levels down below an acceptable level, upon which they are retested. Also, upon the discretion of the drug counsel, they can be subject to random drug testing. Foster Youth are regularly tested and always so upon their return from a home visit.
    One of the more odious tasks that I was asked to perform at Job Corps was to write discipline referrals for kids sleeping in class. I butted up against management on this issue: In my experience, sporadic compliance with ADHD medication is one factor leading to sleepiness in class. Also given the high rate of usage of psychotropics in the US military, I deduced that similar usage was taking place with my students. Interestingly, neither my manager, the human resources director, nor my union rep could come up with a stated policy from the Department of Labor concerning the use of psychotropic drugs (Job Corps is run in partnership with the the Department of Labor and a private contractor-The prior contractor Management and Training Corporation is also in the business of running private prisons, including the one in Texas, where the most recent uprising occurred).
    The widespread drugging of these youth has occurred by the complicity of governmental authorities, which has allowed psychiatry to run unchecked. Piierre Bordieu (sic) the French sociologist posited that conservatives selectively rant against governmental social programs (the soft arm of the state) while valorizing the strong arm of the state (police and the military). Given the creeping mechanisms of control, including the clamor to drug test “welfare recipients’, the line between the two is becoming more blurred.

  • US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (formerly Congress women from WVa. Second District), was a co-signer on Murphy’ s most recent mental health bill. The two attend pro-coal conferences together and are pictured standing behind Boener with regards to the Keystone pipeline. I had the occasion to stop by her office on Thursday to voice opposition to her signing of the anti-negotiations with Iran Letter. If Murphy and Capito seem to be reviving this measure, I will be glad to again voice my disapproval in person.

  • B: I don’t envy smokers here in the states. The sharp increase in restrictions regarding the use of tobacco creates a nuisance situation for smokers, who at least on the back of their brain, are plotting how to get their next smoke. Quitting smoking is surely a destressing experience, if you are able to achieve it. As for the use of tobacco itself, Thomas Szasz, no fan of medicalizing “alcoholism,” recounted that in his day psychiatrists smoked like fiends at the conventions he attended, and they were none to happy with his off-handed suggestion to medicalize their habit as nicotinism.

  • B: In the transition from apartheid to democracy, the South African Government instituted a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It was basically a public shaming process, wherein the victims had the abusers dragged into a public forum. The only problem was, the new government did not go far enough in diminishing the economic power of the ruling Afrikaner elite. Just some thoughts, as we try to move away from the punitive and self-defeating prison-industrial complex.

  • Alex: I have posted here in the past about my experience with involuntary commitment, but this is the first time I have brought up trying to find legal recourse. The lithium damaged my kidneys, so I called around town to about a half a dozen lawyers. One of the more honest ones stated that frankly something like that would be too difficult to win and made no sense dollar and cents wise. Others knowing I was a mental patients, were waiting to pounce on a particular date in the time line as I was trying to describe my situation so as to use the statute of limitations to get off the phone with me. Another told me that they didn’t take “product liability cases.” What I was asking for is what is being asked for here on MIA-a paradigmatic shift-along the lines of Galileo and Copernicus, not an issue of a petty technicality. The only lawyer who would even listen to me, was the partner of one of the kids from my son’s cross country team, so I decided not to drag them into it.
    Another repercussion of this was my prior loss of employment, when my dreaded “history.” made it through the grape vine through a petty tyrant of a parent through to the discriminatory principal. Through a friend of a friend, I met with a lawyer who used to be a teacher-her firm specialized in labor cases, and overall she was pretty good-her diagnosis-I don’t suffer fools gladly. But when asked about my motives in moving forward with the case, I stated that I wanted to cause pain-the legally inflicted kind of course. The firm gave me the brush off after that.
    On a related note, if what psychiatrist do is for your own good when they lock you up, why do psychiatrists and lawyers run like the plague from it when it comes to involuntary commitment for themselves?

  • Dr. Sorry I can’t help but add a little levity to the situation. In Demolition Man with Sandra Bullock, Wesley Snipes and Sylvester Stallone-the only movie of his I can stand to watch-The only restaurant in the dystopian future is a sit down version of Taco Bell.
    On a more serious note, I don’t find being called an Anarchist or a Luddite insulting. Both movements help us to charter a better path forward as a community of social primates. (See Noam Chomsky. Also some think that the original Luddites trodden the same ground as Robin Hood). Monsanto is singing the same song about anti-science with regards to GM Frankenstein food. (See Vandana Shiva for a wholistic critique of how corporatized food production is ruinous to society-looking beyond whether the food itself is safe for human consumption).

  • I must have come across someone paraphrasing Whitaker five years or so ago when I was In the counseling program at the Marshall Graduate School-I have never read is books. I innocently asked this question on the message board in the Introduction to Mental Health class about these disability rates, only to be summarily shouted down by the instructor, who rudely informed that yes, there were abuses in psychiatric hospitals 40 years ago-We now I guess living under the new and improved regime. Any way leading up to this, I had been exploring alternatives to what I had been told about “mental illness,” by reading Szasz, and the journal Online journal established by Peter Breggin, Ethical and Human Psychology and Psychiatry. (Sic). I had been trying these ideas out in other classes, leading up to this, but with little response either positive or negative on the message board.
    I should have known the fix was in the first class meeting, where the professor basically dialogued with a couple of her acolytes, who praised psychiatry for its advancements and the reduction of stigma. I tried to interject something about the colonial era “mental hospital” in Williamsburg that I had just visited, but no one really seemed to be interested. Things went down hill from there.
    The message boards seemed like a prime place to discuss my direct experience with psychiatry, only to be told that this commentary was off-base by the professor and my advisor. But the discussion board seemed to beg the question for my input on a frequent basis. I dropped the class, and slunk my way out of the program. In retrospect, and in large measure, it seems that I was on the right track, thanks to my experience on MIA.

  • Another Voice: As a social activist coming out of psyche lockup in 1990, I found myself questioning my convicts and was sidelined from protesting the Gulf War. I learned of the mendacity of the war later, relying principally on the penetrating insights of Noam Chomsky, which brings as full circle to the major trust of the article:psychiatric oppression is one cog in the larger system of injustice in our society. In some sense, leading up to my initial incarceration in 1989, my concern in the community of activists that I ran around with, was the accommodating aspect of some of our strategies. I felt like writing grant proposals to fund activism led one into an embedded status within the body of the large philanthropic foundations which were being appealed to in order to receive their generous support. My individual act of protests was to withdraw my savings all in 50$ denominations, (Grants) and give it away. In this circumstance, it was included in the check list of behaviors spun into a diagnosis of bipolar, which then morphed into bipolar; similarly to asylums morphing into hospitals madmen; lunatics, mad men, mental patients then morphing into people with mental illness. In a different context, giving away money, was seen as an act of political disruption-Yippies throwing money onto the Wall Street exchange floor. Some one got tagged with disorderly conduct for throwing 100$ bills at the Chicago Board of Trade. Psychiatric diagnosis main function is to strip beliefs and actions from their context.

  • Jeffrey you hit on an important point here: our society’s contradictory, inconsistent, and down right mistreatment of our children. As a substitute teacher Job Corps and a relief worker at a foster home, I pick up bits and pieces of the story. I have become familiar with the juvenile lock ups, reform schools, and psychiatric facilities for youth around the state. I first try to do no harm, but I often sense this is not enough. Many youth reify their psychiatric diagnoses, most commonly ADHD and then bipolar, and less commonly borderline. Many children have been convinced that they can’t cope without ADHD drugs. A fellow relief worker remarked to a youth one day, that maybe they have more control over yourself than you give yourself credit for-referring, to ADHD. I took the opportunity to concur, saying that I have read a good deal on the subject which doubts the existence of the diagnosis.
    At Job Corps, I often end up in remedial math class. Using my access to the center’s statistics, I have concluded that this is a sysphian effort, a waste of time and resources. I would like to know more about the Freedom Schools in Mississippi in the 1960s. It seems that we should be able to do better by the students, than bringing them 500 just to try to spoon feed them fractions, decimals, and percents to increase test scores, only to have all this forgotten a few weeks later. The ideologues in our WVa. state legislature are trying to play catch up with the charterization of the public schools. High turn over of staff, a fetish for entrepreuneurism, an over reliance on test scores-value added test scoring is used to hold the threat of losing their job over the heads of the teachers. They are also used in order to develop toadyism among the staff with bonuses for the “good teachers.” This scuttling of a public good “public schools,” for the mythical benefits of charters, as we further retreat from the common good, can’t but lead to a degradation of schooling and culture for our young. Henry Giroux at Truthout, most eloquently links this trend to the larger trends in society.

  • B: Broaching this subject with my own mother, family members, and friends has not been very easy. I have not had in depth conversations with each and everyone involved, so I don’t want to generalize about everyone’s beliefs about their views on psychiatry. It seems that my mother feels very victimized by the behavior when one of my housemates notified her, and subsequently my mother and sister arrived in DC, to apprise and take care of the situation. Their plan was to get me into the car and take me take back to WVa. To see a psychiatrist. I ended up flying the coup and was arrested on an Alice Restaurant level charge of disturbing the peace just across the line in Maryland-so I ended up at the lesser known Springfield Hospital, rather than the infamous St. Elizabeth’s. I was de-loused and subsequently tortured for trying to escape. When I mention this to some people, I get the pithy phrase, ” they don’t know what you are capable of. Sort of like using A crystal ball to punish you for what you might do. (I really can’t see this from the psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse’s perspective-perhaps this party explains the axis II diagnosis for Narcicism.”(Sic). Anyway trying to broach this with my Hard of hearing mother, who has many issue of her own which she doesn’t address is a lost cause. I try to be civil and let it go for the sake of the relationship between her and my son. Also the response of my uncle who is Gay and his partner is a bit puzzling. My uncle has some kind of notion that an Asylum is some kind of unicorns and gum drops respite from the difficulties of the real world. And when I suggested to his partner, that the status of Gays and the so-called mentally Ill, represents a similar experience in our society, he took great exception to this-I was not suggesting that Gay people were mentally ill, only that both groups experienced a similar pariah status this conversation happened about 15 years ago, and of course the status of Gays has made a rather abrupt transformation, and good for them. However, distancing oneself from the mentally I’ll seems like a case of hogging the life boats.-It is perplexing to me that Gay people would hang onto the legitimacy of psychiatry given the horrible treatment they receive at its hands. This also seems to put the lie to psychiatric diagnosis being a chemical imbalance akin to diabetes. If this analogy actually contained a truth, Gay people wouldn’t be running so fast and furiously from a mental health diagnosis. After all, comparing similar problems experienced by people with different “physical illnesses shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. Despite all the protestations of psychiatrists and the deluded nature of how they see their role in society, the scarlet letter nature of psychiatric diagnosis is what happens in the real world, and chemical imbalances and diabetes analogies remain firmly planted in the world of the deluded.
    When asked to fill out info at Springfield, I put down that the famed defense attorney William Knunstler was my attorney. Of course I had never met the man, but he was one degree in separation removed, in that Knunstler had dinner a few weeks removed at a friend’s house. During a conversation with a housemate, I asked if he could not get in touch with Knunstler through our common friend. He remarked that “Knunstler was really busy.”
    Giving friends and family a pass on this type of behavior is not easy. I have been gainfully employed or in school full-time for the last 24 years, and I feel like I was earned an opinion on the nature of psychiatry, but I find people are skittish when I broach the topic of psychiatry. In some ways we have travelled backwards from the time when Thomas Eagleton’s was shamed out of the nomination as McGovern’s VP choice in 1972.

  • I am a firm believer in getting enough sleep and exercise. Eating right and proper diet are are a little more complicated. Thanks to psychiatry, my kidneys are low functioning, so I am told to go slow on salt and protein and I take high blood pressure medication. It seems that dietitians are down on complex carbohydrates these days, something I swore by when I was an endurance athlete and bicycle racer. It does seem to me that dietary guidelines are widely in flux. With everything else going on in my life, I’m just not going to worry too much about dairy protein and gluten in the wheat bread.

  • My last stop on the involuntary commitment line was a place called a crisis unit. For some reason, unknown to me, I was sent there from the private hospital, where I had been kept for two weeks. For once, I had my own bedroom, as a result my sleep was not disrupted by snoring roommates. Three of the ancillary staff were pretty non-judge mental, and we had pretty good intellectual conversations. The house manager was a little older than me, and had a pretty good historical take and understood current events, a female staff member brought me a copy of the Jungle, which I never got around to reading-though she was definitely understanding me as a person from our conversation by her choice of the book. I have since read a bit about Upton Sinclair and his campaign for Governor of California as well as his stance on the fair treatment of women. The younger guy who was assigned to monitor me and I got along like champs. It was a bit of a role reversal in that I took him under my wing by talking about my activist experiencing, and by providing a counter narrative to Reagan’s New Day in America-especially the dirty wars in Central America. He later thanked me personal by calling me on the phone out of the blue to thank me for giving him a different perspective. Unfortunately when he called, I was in the midst of a Haldol hangover, and I was not in the proper frame of mind to return the thanks. I was basically in a bit of a holding pattern at the time, watching Miami Vice twice a day and riding my bicycle fifty miles a day and going to Nautilus. I had no job or family I was desperately trying to get back to, and the staff allowed me to run the hill behind the unit to get some exercise. So basically being it was no sweet off my back. Several friends came by to see me while I was there, and when I came out, I was not experiencing the crushing stigma that had beset me a year earlier from having been incarcerated at the two state hospitals, that were far from my home, my family, and friends. In a long round about way, I am concurring with Will here, that it is the relationships with the people around you that I think are the determining factor for your mental well being. If not for the kindness of strangers, I am not sure how things would have turned out. I.e. It was not the magical combination of psychiatric potions that did the trick.
    However, A particularly disturbing thing happened soon after my release. The news paper and television carried news of a double murder at the agency’s transition apartments in the community. The accused, Bill, not his real name, was a fellow resident of mine at the crisis unit. When I first got to the unit he and the fellow “residents” spent much of the day slumped over. I thought I was pretty successful in helping them to become more active and by helping to form a community of staff and residents alike. As far as the five psychiatrists who rotated at the unit, I don’t really ever remember ever giving them an once of deference. One day, I noticed one of them talking to Bill, in a whispered and condescending way. I definitely took a mental note of this. As far as my interaction with Bill, he was genuinely happy for me when I received visitors. I don’t know the story behind the fire bombing, but this does not seem like something Bill would do in the time and place that I knew Him. I assume the authorities just washed their hands of Bill and sent him to the forensic unit, without even as much as considering the role of the negativity of psychiatry in contributing to the tragedy. As for the relationships that “mental,patients” form in these situations, I believe that psychiatrists place no value on them. When I was discharged into the “community”I was hustled out without much of an opportunity to say good bye to anyone. I am sure that the staff member was putting his job at risk for calling me, or as likely, he had finished his sojourn there, and had moved onto his career.

  • This comment is somewhat non-tangential, but nonetheless applicable to the concept of psychological or psychiatric research, and more germanely to the over all skepticism expressed on this site with regards to the usually mental health nostrums. (Sorry I don’t know how to hyperlink). Alternet, a left-wing political website, has an article today that dissects the inconsistent statistics coming out of NIMH regarding rates of mental illness in society. Also, the article introduces the concept of psychological autopsy. It seems that there is a former procedure to analyze the why fors of someone’s suicide, which includes formerly interviewing survivors. It strikes me that such a procedure could entail an invasion of privacy, as well as interfering with the grieving process. Just thought I would pass this along.

  • B: Yes, while we still live in a sexist society where women shoulder a disproportionate burden in the work world, child and elder care, and all the while have to follow the strictures of the beauty regime, being a male white or otherwise who is caste out, makes life no walk in the park. Thanks for broaching this subject. The dating ritual which starts in earnest in high school leaves many low-status males in the dust. There is little in the way of brotherhood for them. Most women have some type of supportive relationship, while blacks have bonds of mutuality however frayed that limits the numbers of that society from slipping into the role of mass murder or serial killer. I read part of a book a while back, which introduced the concept of hegemonic male, someone who is usually white and derives a high degree of status from their male identity. Conversely, for non-hegemonic males, the world can be a highly unwelcoming place in our society. Looking at my own life, a would say that I am largely a non-hegemonic male, who nonetheless has enjoyed many of the benefits of white privilege.

  • Copy cat: Stalking the public for money is what Matt Taibi, the Rolling Stones reporter, has written about. The subject also came up around the revenue stream generated by the police department in Ferguson. As for suicidal ideation, something that had flashed across my mind in younger years, and making suicidal plans, something I did leading up to my release from psychiatric incarceration, it is important to keep context in mind, as Bruce does here. Were my suicidal plans part of my “chemical imbalance,” or more likely the result of having your whole world suddenly crashing in on you. Over night having been suddenly converted into an outcaste of society, surely seems to me to be a more plausible explanation. Experts now agree, there were no “chemical imbalances.” As when I was asked leading up to my release, if I felt like hurting myself or others, something inside of me told me not to share my plans with staff. Despite the torture and brain washing, I felt better off trusting myself than the authorities.

  • I think that besides the harm done to me by the Lithium, is the anger that sometimes flares up in me owing to the fact that an institution put one over me, and that I have no recourse. It is difficult sometimes to separate the evils of the institution from its practitioner, though I know that it is important to do so. With my son soon to go off to college, I feel that it will enable me to make bolder stands in the community, so as to not non-necessarily embroil him in my issues.

  • Matthew: I agree with your point about broadening the conversation. I have also noticed that the movement here on MIA is mostly white, however, the majority of the posts here put lie to the fact that broadly speaking, anti-psychiatry is the province of the wing-nut right. While I have my own concerns regarding what all the medical authorities related to my case agree on-lithium case my stage three kidney disease-I certainly make the effort here to steer the conversation into other fields of endeavor. Often, but not usually, someone will follow up with a response to my post and that is gratifying. I also assume that my post are read by other people, even if they do not write a response. I also have been posting on other sites, such as Electronic Intifada, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Counterpunch, and Znet, but it is on MIA that I feel like I am most part of a community.

  • David: Also, I just noticed Stephen J. Gould in your references, as well as Lewis Termen in your article-the founder of the gifted movement. Your right that it is the education system where this backwards looking ideology is the most pernicious. This put my family in a bit of a bind. When my son entered the gifted program ten years ago, I suspected that the concept was not exactly on the up and up, but we decided to enroll him in that the program offered field trips and a break from the hum drum routine. Also my son is a merit semi-finalist which brings a degree of perks. This is a little ironic, given my own “history of mental illness,” and being a full-fledged member of an undesirable group which was the target of eugenics.

  • David: The Texas connection also intertwined with West Virginia. Mel and Norma Gabler, the initiators of the flat earth objection to textbooks in Texas, came here during the Great Textbook War in my home county of Kanawha in 1974. Part of how the protest got legs was that the areas with the highest rate of Evangelical Christianity were often under-served by the school board and government in general, though of course not to the extent of the black community. Part of the agitation over the Language Arts textbooks centered on the inclusion of Malcolm X, and a prior flap over sex education. The local NPR affiliate here ran a segment on the Gablers as well as a 40 year retrospective of the Textbook War. The most beguiling part of the interview was the the Gablers’ insistence that their success owed to their dogged determination, when in reality Fundamentalist Christianity is system supporting, and is definitively any thing but radical.

  • I am from West Virginia, which was the last state to take the eugenics based laws off the books, although it was states such as Virginia and California that greatly engaged in forced sterilizations. Also Virginia was the last state to take the anti-miscegenation laws off its books. I think what David is driving at here is that psychology/psychiatry and such educational programs as the gifted owe much to eugenics. My son is a senior in high school. His history books mention Social Darwinism, but nothing on Eugenics. It hasn’t been that long ago that the Bell Curve was released and community activists disrupted and shut down the conference on the violence gene at the University of Maryland. This sort of twisted thinking has infected and continues to infect our public discourse. We ignore this history at our peril.

  • I have been taking some form of psychiatric drug for going on 26 years. I was institutionalized during two periods (1989) and (1990). I have either been a full time student or gainfully employed for the last 24 years. I realize that Soteria is designed for people with a first case episode, but given my fairly good track record and the accumulating evidence of the harm of these drugs, is there not some place to go to safely detox, even if it takes me six to nine months? I currently take 2.5mg of Zyprexa, and .5 mg of klonopin. I think that insurance should cover this, given the tens of thousands of dollars already down the rat hole for hospitalization, drugs, lab tests, psychiatry visits, monitoring for the abuse done by Lithium to my kidneys, not to mention the future medical dilemmas I face. I am 54, and I have a son who is a merit semi finalist. I think that I must be doing some things right, and deserve the opportunity to finally divorce myself from psychiatry, and still be able to eke out some of life’s pleasures in old age.

  • Ok: So even our political detrackers say the “MI” are more likely the victims than the perpetrators of violence, then hence why the prohibition of gun ownership for those “adjudicated.” Personally, I have no desire for a gun, but I find it galling that my name (disturbing the peace) is judicially mixed in with rapists and murders. A couple of weeks ago, Peter from BookTv, was interviewing a psychiatrist. As a interviewer he most usually manages to create a convivial atmosphere. Not so this time. The psychiatrist was forced to admit that the “helping hand of her profession” left her patients in a legal quandary. So it is not a chemical balance like diabetes after all. As for direct physical violence directed against me, both times were by staff. As for my professional life, much to my consternation “my history” was the motivating force used to push me out of my position. Oh yeah, and the violence done to my kidneys came from the Lithium. As for the fate of the poor stack of Washington Post’s that I threw in the corner, I feel totally remorseless. (The Washington Post, despite the hagiography treatment it gets by the liberal establishment has had a hand in pushing us into every major war of the past century. And to make things official the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bezos has contracts with the CIA through Amazon. To add insult to injury, columnist Bob Levey periodically run a column denouncing us bike messengers as two-wheeled terrorists. Basically giving motorist carte Blanche to endanger our lives. So not surprisingly I have no love lost for any of these soul sucking institutions. I slept fine at night with out having to lie to myself. I just wonder how psychiatrist spin this in their heads so they can sleep at night.

  • Fred: I also took it upon myself to learn about the Spanish Civil War. Noam Chomsky, in his first political Book, American Power and the New Mandarins, debunks the twin myths -Franco’ crusade against godless communism, as well as demonstrating that Stalin supported revolutions when it was in the interest, his own warped view of course of the nation of Russia, and opposed revolution when it suited him, as in Spain.

  • Boans: figuring out the rules is indeed a tall order. I had the pleasure of being confined at two different institutions in the neighboring states of West Virginia and Maryland. When you play baseball in the American major leagues the rules very slightly from park to park, but it is still baseball. For example why was I de-loused at one institution and not the other? Also why was one hospital segregated by sex, but not the other. Why were my vitals taken every hour at one hospital, but hardly at all at the other. Moreover, why was giving my money away sign of mental illness for me, but classified as disorderly conduct for the guy that gave away 100$ bills at the board of trade? I am convinced that psychiatrist are completely clueless how this comes across for the average person.

  • WileyWitch: I admire your compunction in standing up to abusive authority: I chose flight rather than flight. As I broke the window at the “mental hospital” where I a was being confined I then bounced off the second later of plexiglass into a choke hold of an orderly, I was summarily dragged off to an isolation room where I was strapped to a bed. then the “nurse” came offering he Thorazine which I declined. ” Have it your way” she said, as she administered the drug with a needle. In isolation, no time frame was given for the duration or the restraints not to mention the protocol for the administration of “the medication.” (I believe this meets the definition of torture). I was left to urinate and deficate on myself. During the remainder of my incarceration, the nurse and the attending psychiatrist purposely avoided eye contact with me. Some days later, an unidentified staff member approached me to explain that the scattered glass on the floor was a danger to the suicidal patients on the floor. I felt bad. But on further reflection, how does that medically relate to all the steps taken against me. It seems to me that the process, was nothing more than attempted soul murder. It was only later that I discovered that there was a psychiatric term directed at runaway slaves (Anogosia sic). Yes indeed, who in their right mind would flee the benevolence the slave master or the psychiatric system.

  • B: A while back the chief psychiatrist of a forensic mental hospital in Napa Valley appeared on CSPAN TV in order to speak out against the rash of on-going violence there. His presentation was wrought with contradiction. At some points, he was trying to make the case that he was advocating for the safety of his patients from the violence practiced at the hands of fellow patients. At another juncture, he made it abundantly clear that he could not trust any of the patients as far as he could throw them. And then he threw in the Christ Complex for good measure by asking rhetorically where else but a mental hospital would Christ do his work? Also, today on Book Tv there is a presentation by a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins at 10:45 AM.

  • Our insatiably greed in this country leads to unchecked resource extraction. Back here in West Virginia that mean’s the wholesale destruction of mountain tops and stream diversion as well as possible poisoning of the water supply due to fracking for natural gas. I don’t think that we need catastrophism to motivate us to dial down our appetite for energy consumption. With 5% of the earth’s population the US uses over 25% of the earth’s resources. The short-term comforts afforded to average America’s life style does not seem to me to be a worthwhile trade off. Similarly, climate change as a concept and a movement is joined at the hip to Al Gore, who represents to me to a sort of false prophet. As for the science of climate change, I reserve a degree of skepticism, and as a way forward to organize people around developing a lower consumption life style, it seems to have become a non-starter.

  • B, Sandra, Richard and others. If MIA is a representative sample of those who have a beef with psychiatry, I can conclude that we mostly fall decidedly on the left end of the political spectrum. (I am of course glad that people from a variety of political spectrums chime in here). I bring this up because as a rule, I find that others on the left seem unaware of the issues that we address here. Case in point, the political website Truth Out, has an article dated today about protests conducted by mental health workers at Kaiser. It apparently, involves a significantly large number of therapists and other providers. On the plus side, the article mentions real life triggers, such as the Great Recession, as one of the root causes of societal and individual malaise. But I would have been remiss in my comment to the article, if I didn’t direct readers to MIA for a more critical view of mental health care generally, and the DSM specifically.

  • Mary: From time to time psychiatrists would ask me if I heard voices.I never have, and because having been a participant at MIA, had I heard voices, I now surely would have told them no. When the thirty day evaluation for my release from Weston State hospital came up (30days to life sentence) I was asked if I had ever considered harming myself, and of course after the interrogation, forced medical treatment, and torture, I lied and told them no. Something inside of me told me to trust myself rather than them.

  • Katie: I was originally ensnared into the system along the same time (1989) that you experienced your epiphany. I am interested if the cultural apparatus of support that complimented the elevation of “chemical imbalances” into the consciousness of the public. It seems to my recollection that along about this time, that television and film began to buttress this phenomenon. Patty Duke’s story was a biopic that helped to enshrine this model, as well as the plethora of cop show with their plots and subplots concerning characters that went off their meds and the horrors that ensued. I have been following Homeland on pay TV which incorporated “bipolar,” as a subplot, and I am looking forward to tracking down Black Box. I have been reading the Gabbard brothers book about psychiatry on film (somewhat dated 1987), one brother is a psychiatrist and the other is embedded in the entertainment community. It is a good book about Hollywood in that it touches on the many trends in that I industry as it relates to changing mores in the greater society such as feminism. The authors allude to the scientific basis of psychiatry, but to refer to another Hollywood formula-the buddy movie (Jerry McGuire)-they never show me the money.

  • Richard: I think that the key here is tying one’s behavior to life’s circumstance. I felt that I was being helpful to my companeros in our various political struggles, but no one was particularly interested in my unique perspective being from Appalachia. Also we were involved in serious political organizing including unpermitted demonstrations and agitation propaganda. It was a pretty heady time, full of adrenaline, excitement, and danger. My actions were certainly striking those around me as odd, but I was never told point blank, either shape up or we”ll send you to the shrink. I was presented with a fait complis and off I went to the “hospital” I went. Part of me relishes being part of an outcast group, but when I was told that the lithium was causing me kidney damage I went ballistic on my primary care physician, as I had already been developing some serious misgivings with psychiatry. I am off lithium, Abilify, and, Lamical, but I am stuck on around 2mg of Zypreza-withdraw is a beast as others on MIA can testify, and likewise I am extremely hesitant to tinker with the .5 mg of Klonopin. But I think I could be helpful to younger people, and those newly diagnosed, by contextualizing my experience for them, and thus providing them an alternative way to understand their experience. Sometimes I find myself torn at my job, because I know that students and foster children are often medicated. I once alluded to my misgivings in my case notes, and at least one other worker seems to think something is a miss here. The nurse at the agency is the wife of the PR person for the local “mental hospital,” and one of the workers is a part-timer at my agency, and a therapist at the psych unit at the general hospital. So I feel that I am walking a bit on the head of a pin. Broaching the subject is a little easier at job corps.
    I have been either a full time student, or gainfully employed for the past 25 years-I have drawn maybe 2,000$ in unemployment over the span, and have contracted various talking therapists, but have not been the dreaded burden on society that so many unfortunate souls have been told they are. We are looking to nail down a scholarship for our only child, and I feel the financial stress lessening. I have always been more open about my “history,” than most people in my situation, and am growing less and less apprehensive about going even more public about my experience, so as to help slow down this speeding freight train.

  • Seventhsense: When I was institutionalized in 1989, it was when the whole bi-polar fad was just getting started. I appreciated that certain friends and family disowned me, and it seemed that complying with the medication was part of the bargain. It seems that a little time later, that prime time Tv got into the business, by weaving in narratives about the downsides and horrors of patients going off their meds. Needless to say no one informed of the existence of Mad Pride movements, which easily could have dovetailed with my community activism around issue of Central American Solidarity, anti-Apartheid and anti-CIA activism. It seems to me today that their are more cracks in the facade than in 1989.

  • Kerstin: Reflecting on coercion is good for you, some things don’t add up. In lieu of facing some rather petty misdemeanor charges in Montgomery, MD in 1989, I was shuttled first to the psych unit at Bethesda Hospital and then to Springfield Hospital in Sykesville MD. At no time was I given the opportunity for legal counsel. One result, were the later obstacles to employment that were put in my path given that the charges which I was denied the opportunity to answer to in court, nonetheless remained on my record. (While at Springfield, I was straight jacked to a bed because of an escape attempt and shot with Thorazine, and left to deficate and urinate on myself). Unlike a criminal charge in which you are allowed a jury of your peers, and later appeals to an appeals court or the US Supreme Court for an overture of the decision, the verdict of a mental hygiene court has the standing of a holy writ. However, the soul crushing stigma of the psychiatric diagnosis, which thanks to MIA, I have learned has no basis in scientific fact as acknowledged by establishment psychiatrists-chemical imbalances and the ever broadening of psychiatric labels in the DSM-yet despite the this lack of validity, this diagnosis is not subject to review, second opinion, or overturn in the mental hygiene court. And also thanks to the diagnosis, I am disqualified for sitting for the bar exam in the state of WVa.
    This takes as to Congressman Tim Murphy who appeared on CSPAN this morning. Murphy sees the mental health crisis as the lack of services for those in need. He attributes the quarter century decline in life expectancy of the “serious mentally ill” attributed to the lack of access to mental health services. Throughout the presentation, statistics are pulled out of thin air to suggest that tens of millions of Americans are mentally ill, while a quarter to half of prison inmates have a diagnosable mental illness. Murphy also elides “mental illness” to mass shooting while also acknowledging that the mentally ill are subject to higher rates of violence-which if you are to believe the later claim, we are forbidden to arm ourselves unlike other besieged citizens who are compelled to arm themselves against the vast array of hobgoblins who threaten ourselves and our civilization.
    Also thanks to this quackery and junk science, I am saddled with a decreased kidney function, which thanks to all the aforementioned catch 22s, I don’t have the right to become a lawyer and contest this chicanery myself.

  • Mad Mom: I offer up the survey of popular culture as I suspect that it is a molder of public opinion. Back in the 1990s I recall that many cop shows had plots or subplots concerning the “mentally ill ” going off the reservation because they didn’t take their “meds.” This led to many people in society off-handedly making snide comments about the mentally ill being off their meds or somewhat more benignly it was used as a form of chiding of their friends. Another show which was cancelled was Black Box which also had a female lead who was also “bipolar.” In the political realm our new Republican Senator Capito, daughter of our defrocked governor, is in league with the much discussed, on this website, Congressman Tim Murphy. Basically, I try to keep an eye on as many aspects of our society that I can. As some one tagged with a “history of mental illness” rap and a resident of a stigmatized state-West Virginia-I think that this helps me to be non-judge mental toward other stigmatized and scapegoated groups in our culture. Also, thanks for responding.

  • Mad Mom: Speaking of NAMi, I guess this is the best place to interject this information also since it is the most recent post. I think it is paramount that we scrutinize psychiatry, especially as it plays out in popular culture, since that is how most people in our society develop their attitudes and beliefs about psychiatry, or other social concerns, for that matter. Homeland on Showtime stars Claire Danes as a “Bipolar” CIA agent who is now station chief in the US embassy in Islamabad. Most recently, a “traitor” in the employ of the Pakistan Security Agency-ISI-tinkered with her “meds” (chlorozipan sic). The story line was that a powerful hallucinigin was put in its place, leading her to capture by the ISI. I googled Homeland and Bipolar, and came up with a link to a link to an interview with the show’s writer, I believe, and a representative from NAMI. It seems the show relies heavily on the input from Kay Jamison who circulates in the rarefied air that is the Ivy League establishment. The shows producers also tap into the “expertise” of US intelligence officials-the show is actually a knock off of an Israeli TV drama. Earlier seasons portrait Iranian character in a very villainous light as the current season does to the Pakistani ISI. Also, keep in mind the feminist undercurrent to the plot as the protagonist navigates the male-dominated world of the intelligence apparatus.
    Also, on CSPAN Book TV his weekend, there is a lurid expose on life in a forensic mentally hospital in Napa. The psychiatrist who wrote the book and presents the story, is extremely over wrought with contradiction. Obstensivley, he wrote the book in order to advocate for “his patients” who are getting the “shit beat out of them” by their fellow patients, which I suppose are not his patients. The book store remote is full of hospital workers who chime in during the Q and A. And it should come as no surprise, that no “consumers” are in the audience. The psychiatrist,we are led to believe, is advocating for his patients, who at the same time clearly states that he can trust none of them as far as he can throw them. He even throws in a plug for the Christ Complex, when he asks but where other than such a place would Jesus do his work. Of course in the end, the program begs more questions than it answers.

  • Sandra: I believe that Zypreza titration is extremely difficult. I have noticed in the past that irritability tends to creep in. Thankfully, my family and work situation are a little less stressful and chaotic this go around. If I notice I have slept less soundly the night before, I will take a little extra Zyprexa the following night. I have been at or around 1 mg for the past 4-5 months and I have not gotten up to take an extra dose because of sleeplessness during this period. I have a two week vacation coming up, so this will allow me the opportunity to lower the dosage a little more. I remain fairly active walk 3-4 miles per day in the hills. I am 20 lbs overweight as opposed to the fifty that I experienced under the slew of medications that I was on. Still pretty angry about the damage caused to my kidneys by the Lithium.

  • Madman: I am all the way back across the country in WVa., but am experiencing much the same as you. Perhaps what Dr. Hickey’s article suggests is that educated parents are more not less susceptible to psychiatric propaganda. On a personal level, I have been dealing with psychiatry for 25 years. In my work life, I work as a youth worker at a foster home and as a substitute teacher at Job Corps and in the public schools. It is very common for our young people to reify their ADHD diagnosis. I also sense that the amount of medication that foster youth are exposed to has increased in the past couple of years. Any time I am transporting youth to therapy, I emphasize that it is their right to ask questions as well. Some youth sense their is something askew with the system of mental health diagnosis in this country, and sometimes this offers up the possibility for discussion and the partial lifting of the veil.

  • Discover: Recent article this week in The Charleston Gazette this week mentions the efforts of an advocacy group Mountain Justice that has managed to regain the ability to gain access to those in psych. lockups. I don’t know the ins or outs of the story, but it caught my attention. I will check into it. Also, Mountain Justice is mainly known for their vigorous campaign against Mountain Top Removal.

  • Dr. Hickey it seems that I am the first to chime in here. My Sociology professor thought us about Thomas Kuhn who wrote about the process of scientific revolutions. According to his model, in contrast to Karl Popper, scientists conduct experiments and gather evidence in order to confirm their particular understanding of the world, but when too many counter instances or anomalies pop up they are forced to find an alternative explanation. It seems that in the course of your work, you are constantly uncovering a batch of anomalies, and that it is beyond high time that we search for answers beyond the biopsychiatric paradigm.

  • Speaking of social class and social movements: Here is how things get turned around back hear in Appalachia: It seems that the rural whites in West Virginia have not gotten on board with Brand Obama. This is termed by the “liberal Charleston Gazette, as people who are voting against their interests, since it is axiomatic that the Democratic Party does reflect their class interests. The fact that both major parties coalesce around a common political and economic and political agenda that includes a continuation of the warfare economy, corporate friendly trade deals like TPP, and a militarization of the border gets lost in the shuffle. By the way, only Minnesota-The home of Vice President Mondale- and Washington D.C. had a higher voter turnout for Carter in 1980, than did West Virginia. The Democrat Party has even shelved their symbolic support for the Union Movement. Obama flew over Wisconsin with his one tweet of support for the efforts there for collective bargaining rights. Also he was too engaged with violating international law over the murky accusations of chemical warfare in Syria to attend the AFL-CIO convention which saw the labor and environmental movements reach out to each other. But hey, its all the hillbillies fault for voting against their interests.

  • Ted: How to we reach out to left progressives? Amy Goodman on Democracy Now reported on the death row case of a “schizophrenic.” It is good that they are reporting on the barbarity of the criminal justice system, but why incorporate the terminology and standards of psychiatry, another unchecked institution in our society? Film maker Lois Proyect also puts in a plug for the insanity defense and the old psychiatric hospital system. Isn’t the insanity defense often forced on people and also results in longer times of incarceration than prison sentences. Szasz stresses that deinstitutionalization threw many onto the streets who knew nothing but the institutional life, but hasn’t research debunked that homelessness is more directly related to high rental prices and unstable work situations than alcohol, drug abuse and “mental illness.”

  • Sandra: At one time or another I have been on lithium, Thorazine, Prolixin, Haldol, Mellarill, Depakoate and, Abilify,. I am currently tapering from 1mg of Zypreza and I continue to take .5mg of Klonopin and a dose of hydroxene. I also take synthroid to counteract the damage caused by lithium which all the doctors say caused the drop in my kidney function. I am taking the tapering slowly and don’t have any outwardly negative health effects after this all started with an involutary commitment in March 1989. At times this causes me bouts of anger since it appears that the very basis of psychiatry is on highly shaky grounds, and that the my sins leading up to the commitment were basically trivial. Thanks for trying to save others from this fate.

  • Nancy: fighting through Lamictal induced insomnia withdrawal was not a piece of cake. I’m down to about 1mg of Zypreza and .5mg of klonopin. The message I am getting is take it slow. Psychiatrist never gave me any indication on the difficulty of Zyprexa withdrawal. MIA contributors give you the low down.

  • Lauren: What MIA provides me with is a sense of community from like minded souls who have experienced similar forms of oppression. I work with at-risk and foster youth to gain a paycheck, and I interface with many left-leaning and anti-imperialistic groups. Ferguson is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and it is heartening to see a multi-cultural protest movement spring up in its wake. As for the particular’s to the case, I direct readers to Sonali’s broadcast on Uprising on Pacific Radio yesterday in the second half of the broadcast. The proceedings of the Grand Jury were highly irregular in Ferguson, even if this is not the clearest case of over policing and discrimination in the criminal justice system.

  • Ted: I think that it is crucial as you point out here, that it is establishment liberalism at fault. I am no fan of talk radio, Fox News or the Wall Street Journal, but I feel that establishment liberalism and political correctness is the biggest obstacle to progress not senior citizens who get their view of the world from right-wing media. I heard one callous person remark that the Peletier family got what they deserved because they consorted with right-wing types. Our country is not divided. The two wings of the establishment are promoting wars around the world, and are trying to shove a corporate coup in the form of the TPP down our throats.

  • Yes, I managed to remove myself from a pointless and stressful job. My “psychiatric symptom” were my way, right or wrong, with dealing with reality. Thanks to MIA, I have learned that even psychiatric authorities are admitting that “chemical imbalances are hokem

  • Audrey: I am in the process of finishing a very difficult withdraw from Zyprexa. I am about 90 percent complete, and am well aware that Zypreza withdrawal as the potential to bite you in the tale months later. I successfully tapered off Lamictal and it’s insomnia inducing side effects one year ago. I have been on a slew of other psych drugs over the years including Haldol, Thorazine, prolixin, Mellaril, Abilify, Depakote, and Lithium. I am thirty pounds lighter and within 20 pounds of my target weight-but the Lithium abuse has left me with a kidney function in the Mid-40s. My last hurdle is the .5 mg of Klonopin. I am interested in how you obtained that titrating prescription. I do not feel comfortable broaching the subject with my psychiatrist. Like you, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with me to be corrected with psychiatric drugs.

  • Frank: One method I used on Saturday was to take my stash of Szasz and Chomsky books to the bookstore in town which is going to start a used book section in January. They are down with Chomsky, but had never heard of Szasz. They are going to put the Manufacture of Madness on their shelf, and I am trying to persuade them to shelve other of Szasz’s works. I am looking to move up in the ranks of the Green Party affiliate-The Mountain Party-We are in a pretty good position to put our boot on the throat of the local Democrat Party. I participate in Green Drinks, and a foreign policy study group at the library. Besides MIA, I blog at zcomm, Counterpunch, Truthout, Fairness and Accuracy in Media, and local environmental groups. I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, and am looking to push them along the path being laid out here on MIA. The revolution is already here. It is just a matter of opening up the lines of communications and linking up like minded groups.

  • Slayer: Was poking around Directory of Open Access Journals. It appears that that Iranian medical establishment subscribes to bio psychiatry. As for the breech with the Iranians, when Ahmajenidad came to Columbia he was tagged with official enemy status. The flap with the Iranians runs pretty deep owing to 1953 coup and tilt to Sadam during the Persian Gulf War. A man wife team defected fromUS State Dept. Wrote a book a couple of years ago calling for Detente with the Iranians-The Laverettes. Their contention is that the strength of the Green Movement there is overblown, and that it is high time to bury the sword. After all, women there get a much better shake In higher education than in Saudi Arabia. We have a Bahia Community here, but they will tell you that they also caught hell from the Shah. My understanding is that the religious figures there have a hard time catching a cab, so I am not sure how hard the Theocrats thumb is down on the people. Also, I wrote a paper in graduate school dealing with cross cultural cooperation between counselors from Iran and the US.

  • Fichara: I was hit with the tag chronically mentally ill after my second run in with the white coats. The original diagnosis was manic illness which then morphed into bipolar effective disorder I knew that they had tagged as grandiose, but it was a bit annoying when I discovered years later that the had tagged with an Axis 2 DSM for narcissism. The psychiatrist assured me that they weren’t being judge mental, just a form of short hand communication between professionals. He is from Syria, but it is hard to imagine that the significance of such a slander is over his head. Any way, I had a new student this week from Ireland. He informed me that we guys aren’t encumbered by political correctness like us here in the US.

  • Reverend: Much food for thought here. While I come from an Anarchist/Liberation Theology bent, I am always interest in taking a step back and looking at things from another perspective. Awhile back, the young black women moderator on CSPAN had a minister on explaining his view about creeping secularism and the dangers it poses for us. While I can’t exactly replicate his argument, he was quite pleased to have the opportunity to lay out his view in an hour long give and take format. I think this was a relief for him in that he was more accustomed to brawling with critics of the church with barbs and sound bites.
    Back here in the Kanawha Valley we have a strong component of Christian schools which harken back to what we call The Great Textbook War. The folks in the coal mining region in the upper end of the valley found their grievances funneled along a path by a school board member on loan from Columbus Ohio, who was coached by the John Birch Society, The National Educator, and Mel and Norma Gabler the anti-secularist textbook protesters from Texas. The editors from the staunchly liberal Charleston Gazette, poured oil on the fire of the dispute by denigrating the protestors. I would argue that this dust up was equal in national significance to the Scopes Monkey trial, and was perhaps the first shot fired in what is called the cultural wars-1974. I was at ground zero at consolidated Riverside High School, just down from the DuPont plant on Friday. As a substitute, I get around a bit, and I noticed that the Great Gatsby was featured heavily around the schools in the valley including my son’s consolidated high school at Capital-the Westside and East End School in Charleston withstood the push back and dismantling of school desegregation unlike what was experienced by the opening of George Washington High School, an elitist public private lilly white institution in South Hills.
    Anyway, back to Gatsby, I was inspecting one of the displays in the school and remarked to a fellow teacher, that the whole Gatsby experience left me with a feeling of emptiness. Upon which he remarked that materialism was no substitute for taking God out of the schools. At one juncture of my life I probably would have bristled, but on FRIDAY I pressed on. It turns out the English teacher graduated from Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg just across the river from Marietta, Ohio. The old campus consisted of a Church of Christ chapel and newer buildings on the other half of campus. My son had a quiz bowl completion there. Also many of the cast and crew at Children’s Theatre of Charleston are home schoolers who end up at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. For younger readers and those outside of the United State, Liberty was set up by the lightning rod Evangelical Jerry Falwell-no speaking in tongues or snake handling-See Redneck Manifesto for more on the latter. Any way my son’s girl friend attends a Christian School across from Wheeing in Ohio in order to evade the vaccination mandate of WVa. She was interested in going to Liberty, until my agnostic leaning son read here the strict rules Liberty has for going to movies and other secular pursuits. Besides the secular Bible Belt divide, we also have to live down the hillbilly stereotype-For you American Studies students from abroad and Green Horns see the top rated television Show, the Beverley Hillbillies. Part of what drives the misunderstandings here is the inability of our city folk to embrace our hillbilly roots and hence think you’re better than the folks from the hollers and coal camps. For what it is worth-Obama carried the near-by coal county of Boone with 55%.
    It is often said that Americans don’t know what it is like to lose a war, but go tell that to a white southerner in the former Confederate states. What one has to watch out for my opinion is not prayer in the schools and right to life beliefs, but how Falwell and Pat Robertson reintegrated the fallen south into a staunch supporter of Yanqui militarism. Keep your eye on the ball. Also recently, ESPN ran a segment on the African-American football star Randy Moss-a graduate of DuPont High along with Miami Heat champ point guard Jason Williams. DuPont along with Cedar Grove and East Bank-home of Zeke from Cabin Creek LA Lakers great Jerry West were all consolidated into Riverside. I know I am probably committing a big sin here mixing religion, politics, history, and sports.

  • Ted: partly out of genuinely seeking relief from stress at work, and coupled with the curiosity to ascertain the influence of psychiatry on psychotherapy, I sought out a talk therapist. She clearly bought into the medical model, but she also did try to treat me as a human being. She was the only one to level with me, that absolute confidentiality in these matters no longer existed, if it ever did. Also, my experience with the counseling program at the Graduate College taught me that there was no room for a budding anti-psychiatric perspective, at least not at that institution.

  • Ted: partly out of genuinely seeking relief from stress at work, and coupled with the curiosity to ascertain the influence of psychiatry on psychotherapy, I sought out a talk therapist. She clearly bought into the medical model, but she also did try to treat me as a human being. She was the only one to level with me, that absolute confidentiality in these matters no longer existed, if it ever did. Also, my experience with the counseling program at the Graduate College taught me that there was no room for a budding anti-psychiatric perspective, at least not at that institution.

  • Thanks again for taking the time to fish out these inconsistencies. When the Civil War era hospital went out of business in Weston. WVa in 1993, a recreational firm bought the building and grounds. They do daily tours and have a Bedlam Ball over Halloween, and they use the grounds for bog racing. Oh yea, they remained it the original name-Trans Allegheney Lunatic Asylum. This of course got the advocates for the “mentally Ill’s panties In a bunch. At the tim I thought what’s in a name? Phillip, what you appear to be telling me is despite the original name that the original approach of the institution was, if any thing, on a higher moral plain, than what our social betters are ladling out to us benighted “mental patients.” How ironic.

  • This takes me back to the late 1989s when I worked As a volunteer in DC for the Casa de Esperanza teaching English to Salvadoran children It was also along about this time that I began studying the works of Chomsky. It is interesting to know that Chomsky has delved into this arena of psychology. I was also reading on John Hale’s bog today, that Chomsky wrote a piece in 1995 trying to help the left remove the blinders of anti-science sentiments.

  • John and others: I am coming late to this discussion, but I believe that I posted in part 1 of this series. From 1986-1989 I was part of various social activist groups in Washington, DC that included vigils at the White House. Also during this stint I worked as a waiter, bike messenger, and as an ESL teacher. Speaking of political fanaticism, I suppose this is a more apt description than Manic Depression with grandiosity and narcissism. I sensed that our efforts to unionize the historic Willard Hotel was going down the drain so I concocted a plan to bum rush the place using my 7,500 dollars to cobble together an army of the disposed to storm the Bastille, so to speak. The plot began to unravel, as I was discovered by security as I was trying to procure the keys to the palace behind the check in desk. The two security guards were a bit slow of foot, so I easily avoided capture as I fled out the front door. Wondering through the streets of DC blowing off a little steam, I chanced upon The Bethesda Co-op. Upon entering the unlocked premises, I helped myself to an apple, upon which I was soon verbally accosted by an ill tempered clerk. What then drew my attention was the stack of tree killing Yankee propaganda spewing stack of Washington Post papers at the check-out counter, upon which I took the liberty to throw the “CIA rag” onto the floor. Upon hearing that the clerk was calling the cops, I headed to the door, trying to decide my next step. The rest is history. Union membership is at an all time low in this country especially at the anti-union Mariott owning chain of the Willard, and the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bazos, has made it official-Amazon has a contract with the CIA and is owner of the textbook giant testing agency Pearson-a subject for another day.
    Two state hospitals, one private hospital and a crisis intervention center later, I found myself back in my hometown of Charleston, WVa, in time to watch Greg Lemond’s victory in the Tour de France in July of 1990 in relative freedom. Part of my discharge treatment plan from the crisis intervention unit was placement in a group home adjacent to downtown. In my 10 hours of awake time from the Haladol hangover, I found myself browsing the new book stacks at the Kanawha County Public Library where I chanced upon a book on Spanish Civil War and Anarchism-a link to the past DC activism- asCentral American activists we often looked to the international solidarity around Spain to inform our then present day activism.
    After a short stint in the group home, I was moved in to another apartment with one roommate. Since he and a neighbor were into smoking pot and drinking beer, I decided to exit the scene and move back in with my mother and enroll in college. This seemed to go against the wishes of the case manner, but I did it any way. I am not completely free and clear of psychiatry, but I have managed to fashion a degree of autonomy.

  • I lived in DC from The summer of 1987 thought the Spring of 1989 with the summer of 1988 in LA. I remember Mitch Snyder being in the news. It first, I got my first job in DC waiting tables at Listrani’s on McCarthur Blv, then I worked as a bike messenger. Before I move to town, I commuted down the bike path from Alexandria. Befor moving to DC, I got involved with the Young Socialist Alliance back in Charleston, WVa. In DC I got involved as a tutor for Salvadoran children with the Casa de Esperanza. I also became involved with Central American, Palestinian, and anti-Apartheid activists. While in LA, I attended a seminar of the Association for Responsible Dissent held by former intelligence offers coming clean about their misdeeds. Today back home in WVa. I am busy trying to find a college for my son, and trying to remain engaged in the community. In between, I survived the one two punch of two state hospitals-Springfield in Sykesville, MD, and Weston, in WVa.

  • boans: Part of what I find interesting on MIA is that we bring together the best elements of the folks from the English speaking countries. The US, New Zealand, Australia are settler states a chip off the block of British Imperialism. I live in the back waters of West Virginia. So the analogy is Ireland is to England as Appalachia is to America. I would like to see some Israeli perspectives here as well as an outreach to those experiencing forced psychiatry outside the English speaking world and settler countries. Also in my home state-Shelley Moore Capito, a co-sponsor of Murphy’s bill, and daughter of our de-frocked governor, is poised to join the US Senate as a result of feckless Democrat leadership.

  • I have been reading here on MIA for a couple of years, and I have been blogging here for a couple of months. It seems that the majority here supports the end of forced psychiatry and that we should also be involved in supporting alternatives for those in distress and their significant others who are distressed by them. Secondly, MIA is struggling to hammer out how the anti-forced psychiatry movement fits into a broader political platform.
    The first task of forming agreement on strategies to confront forced psychiatry is on going and the second task is fraught with even more peril, but in comparison with the elite political class in the US, disagreements on MIA are conducted in a more humane manner-ironically by a subculture that is allegedly beset by unreason; Especially if one was to read and watch the mainstream media and consume Hollywood fare.
    This particular article helped to clarify the challenge we face with the Murphy bill as well as the slippery slope that “centrist” middle of the road compromising role of Francis represents to us. Even though I am on the political left or rather because of it- I see the extreme centrism and inch deep mile wide multiculturalism or rather identity politics as opposed to a multi-ethnic coalitions-as the new status quo.
    I am glad to see that others feel that making common cause with prison abolitionist is the order of the day. As for alternatives, a previous article on MIA touched on the delitarious effect of psychiatry on the helping professions. Forced psychiatry is the monkey on the back on even on those psychiatrists like Thomas Szasz who believed that his role was to offer his clients sound counsel.
    I have also blogged here on a variety of issues, and like the LBGT community that is trying to figure out how to relate to a Gay Republican political candidate; similarly here we need to hash out differences between those of us on the left-end of the political spectrum and our allies from a Szaszian Libertarian perspective.
    Another perspective that has not been fully hashed out here is the public face of anti-forced psychiatry and psychiatric survivors in the face of a culture steeped in bigotry towards those carrying the scarlet letter of “history of mental illness.” Like the gay rights movement, we need an out of the closet presence in the political arena. In some ways, we have not progressed since the 1972 US presidential election when the vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton was shamed into quitting the race, after being “exposed” for having received ECT treatments.

  • I have been reading here on MIA for a couple of years, and I have been blogging here for a couple of months. It seems that the majority here supports the end of forced psychiatry and that we should also be involved in supporting alternatives for those in distress and their significant others who are distressed by them. Secondly, MIA is struggling to hammer out how the anti-forced psychiatry movement fits into a broader political platform.
    The first task of forming agreement on strategies to confront forced psychiatry is on going and the second task is fraught with even more peril, but in comparison with the elite political class in the US, disagreements on MIA are conducted in a more humane manner-ironically by a subculture that is allegedly beset by unreason; Especially if one was to read and watch the mainstream media and consume Hollywood fare.
    This particular article helped to clarify the challenge we face with the Murphy bill as well as the slippery slope that “centrist” middle of the road compromising role of Francis represents to us. Even though I am on the political left or rather because of it- I see the extreme centrism and inch deep mile wide multiculturalism or rather identity politics as opposed to a multi-ethnic coalitions-as the new status quo.
    I am glad to see that others feel that making common cause with prison abolitionist is the order of the day. As for alternatives, a previous article on MIA touched on the delitarious effect of psychiatry on the helping professions. Forced psychiatry is the monkey on the back on even on those psychiatrists like Thomas Szasz who believed that his role was to offer his clients sound counsel.
    I have also blogged here on a variety of issues, and like the LBGT community that is trying to figure out how to relate to a Gay Republican political candidate; similarly here we need to hash out differences between those of us on the left-end of the political spectrum and our allies from a Szaszian Libertarian perspective.
    Another perspective that has not been fully hashed out here is the public face of anti-forced psychiatry and psychiatric survivors in the face of a culture steeped in bigotry towards those carrying the scarlet letter of “history of mental illness.” Like the gay rights movement, we need an out of the closet presence in the political arena. In some ways, we have not progressed since the 1972 US presidential election when the vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton was shamed into quitting the race, after being “exposed” for having received ECT treatments.

  • Boans: I suppose it is important to follow all avenues, but I think you are onto something. Advances on the legal front are a slow and grinding affair. Popular culture and film reaches a broad audience and disseminates an idea faster. Hardening back to the movie Brazil, did you ever notice those signs with pithy sayings that hung down from the ceiling. The most apropos for our purposes was “suspicion breeds confidence.”

  • Nicmart: I belong to the Mountain Party, an affiliate of the Greens. All ballot eligible parties should be part of the debate. Mass surveillance is another point of agreement. The Cato Institute hosted a conference on over policing that was aired on CSPAN Book TV last Sunday. Also Cato has hosted panels that advocate a more humane immigration-policy-The Koch Brothers who have a large say at Cato either do not dictate every thing that happens there or it is more complicated than liberals make it out to be. Ralph Nader recently headed up a panel at Cato which was also on Book Tv. Rand Paul has sponsored legislation to lessen the burden of the prison industrial complex. I can think of one book which could serve as a bridge of the various strands of libertarianism. George Orwell served in the left-wing unaffiliated POUM militia in the Spanish Civil War. He brought a correspondent and outsider perspective to the conflict. He essentially documented how Stalin and the Spanish Communist Party and it’s right-wing Socialist allies became a haven for middle class functionaries, and how Stalin and the leadership in Spain pulled the rug out from under the collectivized war and related industrious in a foreign policy designed to appease Britain and Conservative elements in France.
    It has always struck me that Orwell as taught in the school system where I worked, has been used to support the American Cold War position. Noam Chomsky, an MIT linguist and Libertarian Socialist, needless to say, has a different take on Orwell. His American Power and the New Mandarins is his first political book and he devotes part of it laying bare the liberal interpretation of Spain, which incidentally is very close to the Communist line. Z Magazine’s writer Paul Street recently wrote an article about Michael Parenti where it is possible to begin to discern the difference between Libertarian Socialism and Leninism. Thanks for responding. Sorry if I jumped to any conclusions. I realize that there has been some ruffled feathers when we stray a bit from the overall purpose of MIA. I think that civility is tantamount. Our political leaders are uncivil to each other, and the people in the third world that they see as mere pawns on a chess board stand no chance. We can and do better on MIA.

  • Bonnie and Julia: Thanks o including this. I will pass this along to the folks at the Green Drinks meeting in November. Sara who is the mover and shaker of this group, heads up the West Virginia State University Extension. We first met up at a viewing of the Economics of Happiness at Taylor Books in Charleston. The most prominent participant in the film was Vandana Shiva, a recipient of the Right Livelihood award and promoter of traditional knowledge in the food system and a feminist. Also nearby, we have Grits Farm, who opens up its operation in the fall to those who want to pick pumpkins from their patch and also to try their hand at making their way through the corn maze. A little more about our community, we are off the beaten path a little (in the boondocks), but on the other hand we are centrally located-three hours or so to Lexington KY, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Charlotte. Unfortunately, we are sometimes passed over and not included in the trends coming out of the BOWASH east coast megalopolis.
    Also on MIA, it is important to think wholistically, without being alienating and sectarian. The gay rights movement, like MIA, is wrestling with its identity in the greater culture. A gay Republic somewhere in the U.S. is running for office, and this is opening up the conversation in that community a bit. I think it is always important to be respectful of other’s opinions. However, people in positions of power who abuse their authority need to be directly challenged.

  • Duane: I think their is room here for people from various walks of life. Part of the problem is what is defined as left by Fox News, talk radio and establishment liberals. It is understandable if people are turned off by identity politics and its inch wide mile deep interpretation of multiculturalism. Most of the left repudiated Stalinism after Kruschev’s 20th party’s speech and the Soviet invasion of Hungary. There appears to be no shame in the Democratic Party. We are up against a dualopoly.

  • Nicemart: I don’t want to take this discussion to far a field, but I think that we must avoid being sectarianism. The revolution that happened in Spain in 1936 was undermined on all sides including The Nazis, the Catholic hierarchy, the western powers, and Stalin. Recently, the NY Times, what I will call the Yankee establishment, was forced to admit that it was the Cuban Government who was at the forefront in fighting Ebola. This despite the fact that Cuba is up against what is essentially a blockade. There is a great deal of national chauvinism in this country which impedes us from making common cause with others. I just watched the Florida Governors debate where the two candidates exchanged insults for an hour but agreed that the Castro brothers were the bad guys, The countries of the Organization of American States want Cuba readmitted and the vote in the UN is on the order of 179 to 2 to end the embargo on Cuba. As a Libertarian do you support the overwhelming view of world public opinion or do you side with the country that MLK said was the world’s greatest purveyor of violence.

  • Nickmart: I have read maybe a dozen of Szasz’s books. He expresses himself on a variety of topics. If I had to pin it down, I would say that he is a humanist who shades to the rightward end of the Libertarian scale. In my favorite book of his, The Manufacture of Madness, wherein he equates psychiatry to the inquisition, his argument is mostly free of this shade of Libertarianism which is at odds with my more Libertarian Socialist ideals-Zmagazine, Noam Chomsky, and the Left-wing Socialist and Anarchist alliance during the Spanish Civil War.

  • Mac: Back here in West Virginia we get sideswiped in the news and cultural media as incest prone hicks-almost always by higher status whites. Our so-called leaders are so totally inept at turning the table on this insult. As you say, don’t point the finger at even the less fortunate- “Cadillac driving welfare mothers, ” “illegals,” “islamacists,” etc. You get the idea.

  • Subvert: Glad to know that you successfully excised yourself from that nasty entanglement. It seems as a society we are setting up a two-tiered response to emotional suffering. Disability payments for PTSD, but a kick in the face for those diagnosed with the hair splitting diagnosis of BPD. Adam Sandler starred in Reign on Me with Don Cheadle, and Jada Pinckett Smith. It was a heartfelt buddy movie about a man who lost his family in 9-11 and his college roommate who tries to steer him to a more integrated state of being. The movie also interrogates psychiatry in a subplot. But at the end,I was left wondering, if as a society we are ready to identify with eccentrics whose root of the distress is unknown.

  • David and B: I think I have developed an inside track as too how this “medical” model plays out. Besides my own entanglements with psychiatry, i have crossed paths with psychiatry in the counseling department, at the local graduate college. I also work as a substitute at Job Corps and the local public school system. Also over the last year I have been more fully integrated into a local non-profit agency that serves youth. There I have worked as a GED instructor as well as with the transitional living, emergency shelter and foster home. I have worked at Job Corps since 1999 and at the non-profit since 2001. I am active with the various activities my son is involve with at his high school. Moreover, I am involved in a foreign policy book club at the local library, I am a card carrying member of the WVACLU, I go to anti-Mountain Top seminars and protests. I also blog on various political websites in addition to MIA. I am firmly rooted in my community. I think globally and act locally.
    On the one hand, we need to find and keep our allies where we find them on MIA. This includes forming coalitions across ideological lines. (This has been a bone of contention on some of the poss here). Ralph Nader’s new book provides insight n how to work across these divisions without sacrificing your over all principles and how to build an infrastructure to tackle a specific issue. He gives the example of people coming across political lines to throttle the wasteful and dangerous Clinch River nuclear reactor in TN. At the same time, I believe that abolition of forced psychiatry needs to be a plank in a larger platform that addresses the baleful influences of psychiatry on individuals as well as the other helping professions: As part of a larger platform that includes staunch support for public schools and institutions of higher learning, justice for Palestinians, demilitarization, opposition to sweetheart trade deals for corporate America, a Green jobs stimulous, and support for third world stalwarts such as the ALBA countries in Latin America, and the attempts of The BRICS countries to find an alternative to the dictatorial EU, World Bank and the IMF.

  • Miss Empowered: It seems to be that both of us took psychiatry’s best shot and we are still ticking. My sense is that this is not the case for most people, and when some poor soul cracks under the shear force and weight of so-called help, we need to step forward and insist on public oversight and intervention into the institution of psychiatry.

  • oldhead: My 17 year old sn and I are card carrying members of the ACLU. The ACLU is taking bolder stands than in recent years on “national security issues.” My conception is that the ACLU has paid insignificant attention to civil liberties for the involutarily incarcerated in the past, but I am not convinced that they are unpersuadable on the subject. I also attended the Mountain Party Convention (Green Party affiliate) in West Virginia this summer. The topic of staffing problems at the state hospitals came up. I think there is room for the mountain party to expand the repertoire of issue they undertake, including taking a closer look at our county “mental hygiene” commissions. Notice the the that the eugenics era verbiage is still in use.

  • John: During my encounters with involuntary hospitalization, I encountered two auxilary staff who demonstrated a degree of nonjudgementalness. I am not sure of the degree of interaction these individuals had with psychiatrists in the work place. For example, what advice they were given in dealing with me.
    Also one cogent point addressed here, is the deleterious effect of psychiatry on the other helping professions. When my job status was up in the air three and a half years ago, and I was also experiencing psychiatric iatrogenesis, I sought out a talk therapist. I also was a counseling student at the time, and you could say that I had an otherterior motive. I wanted to see how the process worked. The clinical psychologist accepted me as a client despite my psych. history-on a prior occasion, my psychiatrist made me a marriage counseling appointment over the phone and told the therapist that I was on two psychiatric drugs as a professional courtesy heads up.
    The psychologist always asked me for updates on my psych. drugs, but the interaction was different than the pyschiatrists’ angle on things. She seemed sympathetic to my annoyance with my psychiatrist and helped me to get a leave of absence from my stressful work situation due to titration issues from Zypreza. But her reasoning was a little circular when it came to my adherence to the psych. drugs. Her position was that since I was taking them, that I must be for some tangible reason. I think a little more to the truth of the matter was, that I had been indoctrinated into the system against my will.
    About a year prior to this I had run into a Nurse Ractchetesque character in the form of a professor in the counseling program. She had no patience for my budding anti-psychiatric position. At first, she would comment to me as an aside telling me that the interjection of my personal experience into the online discussion in the introduction to mental health class was non-germaine and uncalled for. But the assignments and discussion continually begged the question, so I continued to post. (I only received two cases of feedback from fellow students). At one point, the professor blew up at me online in front of the whole class-insisting that yes, forty years ago state hospitals were awful, but that was essentially the bad old days. Any way, I remarked that my experience was from 22 years ago. I soon dropped the class and eventually drifted out of the program with 24 credits. I should have known something was up from the first day of class. It seemed that she already had some devoted acolytes, who took it upon themselves to cheer on the great progress and enlightenment brought on by modern psychiatry. Having known what I know now, particularly the fact of the director on NIMH own admission of the lack of biological markers for mental illness and the criticism of the DSM V from all directions, I would have stood my ground. As things currently stand, I may not be through with the college yet. I think that this was a blatant act of discrimination that needs to see the light of day. I did not go into the class with the idea of creating an I gottcha portfolio, so I was not compiling evidence as I went, but I still remember the basic perameters of the event.

  • Boans : this seems to give more impetus for the campaign against force with no room for excuses and exceptions. Trying to reason with a professional caste whose own members are belatedly admitting that their emperor has no clothes, is not our major task. Directly challenging their right to control as the community of Berkely CA did with regards to ECT is the way to go. It took me an amazingly long time to realize the absurdity of taking marching order from a bunch of couch potatoes.

  • Richard: I can’t remember the name movie, which was set in New England. The young man in the movie sent away for a sex doll and then dressed it up as his girl friend and then proceeded to take her around him with him where ever he went. His sister and brother in law were the people most directly involved in life, and they constantly struggled as to how to deal with his delusion. Instead of confrontation, and intervention they eventually settled on a course of action similar to your suggestion in the above response, and things eventually ran its course.

  • Richard: I have dealt with both institutions and I prefer the straight forward approach of the criminal justice system. I entered the psychiatric system 25 years ago, but it is only within the last six years that I began to evolve to an anti-psychiatry perspective. I was originally charged with a minor crime, disturbing the peace, then unceremoniously whisked away to the land of Oz, where I never was given the opportunity to answer to the criminal charges leveled against me. To use a basketball metaphor, I was forcing the ball a bit in my professional and political. But hasn’t the truth basically come out at this point. High placed psychiatrist are admitting that there are no biological markers for mental illness- much as Szasz had been saying for 50 years, and that the DSM has become even for absurd. I have listened with rapt attention to Michelle Alexander detail the pernicious pedigree of the prison industrial complex and it’s linkage to the convict lease system of forced labor falling on the heels of the collapse of Reconstruction in the U.S., but I think I am with you. First things first.
    Our major party candidates for US Senate here in West Virginia both feel way too comfortable allowing eugenics, scientism, and psychobabble to enter into public debate and law through the back door of gun control legislation. (Rep. Capito is in cohoots with Rep Murphy in these matters. The only solution as I see, it is to openly challenge this process at high noon and broad daylight in the political arena. Psychiatry patient confidentially is a canard which is best cast off by relating ones own experience to others in an honest way.

  • As a youth worker and substitute teacher and not a full time teacher, counselor, or administrator I don’t have as direct access to the psych records of the youth that I serve, and I kind of like it that way. It lessens the likely hood of stereotyping the students on my part. Though at times I do interject a critical approach into the subject when dealing with older students, it seems that many of our youth in the system take the claims of psychiatry at face value.
    In my role as a transport worker I take youth to counseling appointments as well transport medication between agencies. I also have learned a little something out the drug testing business. My employment brings me into contact with a vast array of institutions and people from a vast array of walks of life. It seems that some in the community have a healthy skepticism of the drugging of children, but the beast chugs on nonetheless.

  • Boans and Melissa. I work as a substitute teacher and youth worker with ” at-risk.” I have recently worked in “mentally impaired,”” inter-city”,” and today, an autism classroom. Pretty nice kids. Two could read and shoot baskets. Over all pretty pleasant people along with the staff.

  • Jan: the state hospital where I was detained in West Virginia was variously known in my life time as Weston State Hospital and Weston Hospital. It was closed down circa 1994 and was bought by a private entity, who reversed its name to the pre-Civil War era Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. At the time, a group of mental health providers launched a protest along with a consumer group, as best as I can tell. I kind of took it as what’s in a name. The Asylum which housed up to 3,000 in the 1950s, grew most of its food on the grounds, which is now used for mud bogging. There is a Bedlam Ball every Halloween, and tours are given daily. A local travel agency here in Charleston runs a bus special for the event. The Asylum is 100 miles to the north of where I live.
    So one summer day five years ago,when we got back from a vacation in Branson, I decided to take the rental car for one final spin and check it out. I stopped in the town for cheap lunch of hotdogs and beer and then headed on over for the afternoon tour. I arrived, parked the car, and I went and paid for the full tour. During the tour on the lower floor, we saw the tour of the superintendent’s office, the kitchen, and the auditorium. The fact that you could not see the faces of the “patients'” on walls struck me as really erie (sic). The tour guide, a former worker at the facility, took great pains to denigrate the inmates at every turn. At one point she asked nervously if what I was writing down was going to get her into trouble. There were a couple of families with children in the group, and I don’t remember anyone having a lurid interest in the matter. When we finished the downstairs tour I was the only one signed up for the upstairs tour, so the tour guide and I headed up to the wards. She especially emphasized how dreadful were the occupants of Ward F were: basically the worst of the worst. Incidentally, this was where I resided: all very surreal. For what it is worth, there was a separate forensic unit that we did not visit.
    Speaking of spirited women, I will be in Pratt tomorrow where Mother Jones was imprisoned in a one room house for her role in support of the Paint Creek Coal Miners strike of 1912.

  • Jill: As someone involuntarily committed with the diagnosis for bipolar, I make a concerted attempt to keep to a regular sleep pattern, but I need to upgrade my diet as I fluctuate between ten pounds and forty pounds over weight. Also I would like to get back into the habit of riding the spin bike and lifting weights.

  • Fred: I got a copy of Black’s book at a funky bookstore in Asheville NC, just down the street from a groovy Vegetarian Restaurant whose names escapes me , though the bookstore, now it is coming to me Malaprops was featured on CSPAN Book TV. Black’s book lays out the spider web of connections linking Nordic racists, anti-Semites, American Eugenicists, and Psychiatry.

  • Steve: in 1989 I was burning the midnight ad was becoming frustrated with what I felt was the ritualistic behavior of my companeros. One of my housemates called my mother from out of state. The stress of all of this did induce a degree of spiraling out of control, but after reading Szasz, Breggin, and the authors from Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, I began to question the diagnosis. I am currently at an impass in trying to communicate with relatives about this manner.

  • MadMom: after the first of my two rounds with psychiatry in 1989 and 1990, I forgot an appointment with a psychiatric nurse at a “community mental health”organization. This set of bells and whistles, as if someone escaped from Sing Sing. I changed nurses, and when I got married, I switched to a psychiatrist at the hospital where my wife works. Because of a bundle of problems I went to WVU physicians where my primary care physician worked. I have not seen the psychiatrist since May 2013. My wife calls in the prescriptions at the hospital pharmacy. So far I am being let alone. I think I have wormed a little bit of middle class and white privilege in order to side step the more overtly totalitarian over reach that you and your family are experiencing. I don’t know if there are any clues for you here, but hopefully so.

  • Boans and Belinda: interesting to see things from a down under perspective. Our Congresswomen here in West Virginia, Shelly Moore Capito, the dAughter of one of two of our governors to go to jail, is apparently hooked up with congressman Murphy who is pushing for more stringent out patient laws. Also in the US Senate debate, which Capito is running for, her Democrat opponent concurs with the witch hunters on gun control debate. Though the Democrat candidate Secretary of State referred to the “Mentally Incompetent,” rather than the more correct legal term adjudicated with severe mental illness. That distinction is not trivial: I am for instance the executor of my mothers estate, even though I have been involuntarily committed. For what it is worth, I don’t own a gun. I feel that I can talk my way out of any jam or situation. However, I feel it is crucial that we we do our utmost to keep pseudoscience, eugenics, and scientism claptrap out of the law. P.S. Really admire Aussies John Pilger and Julian Ausange. Also, did either of you guys have any recollection of the Whitlam Administration?

  • Barrab: I currently take synthroid to counter act damage from lithium which I successfully tapered off three years ago against medical advice. Unbelievable, the psychiatrist continued prescribing me the Lithium even after she, the primary care physician, and the kidney doctor pinpointed lithium as the culprit for my stage three Kidney Disease. Thanks to MIA I had become aware of the process of Out Patient Commitment laws, but when I went into the psychiatrists office I did not know what to expect after I reported to the nurse that I no longer was taking Lithium. (West Virginia in fact does have this law-but the psychiatrist punted-she has since segued into a legitimate branch of medicine. I am thirty pounds over weight and take a small dose of blood pressure medication, a sleep agent antihistimine, 1.5 mg of Zypreza and .5 mg of klonapin. The truth of the matter is that the contributors to MIA have given me a more accurate and realistic assessment of how to tapper off of these drugs than any psychiatrist ever has. I feel that I am close to successfully detoxing from Zypreza, hopefully by the end of the year. Then I will take it from there.

  • Meaghan: What caught my eye here was the cross training aspect. Eric Heiden the great American Speed skater tried but could not master cycling. Reinaldo Neiamiah the hurdle could not cut it in the NFL The Finns tried to convert a Kenyan marathoner to cross country skiing, without success. In my book, I can think of four who have mastered two sports, all African Americans. Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson-baseball and football; Jim Brown-football and lacrosse, and Marian Jones-basketball and track; and Lynn Swan-ballet and football. In my life I have dabbled with servicible success in basketball success in cycling, basketball, track, golf, cross country skiing, flag football, and orienteering. Good luck to you and your endeavor.

  • I agree that we shouldn’t let ourselves get hung up on a tangential issue, but at the same time many issues come together simultaneously in the political arena. In the WVa US Senate debate last night, The EPA’s role, imagined or real in job lose in our state was front in center, with the questionable clean coal initiatives thrown in for good measure. Also both candidates threw us under the bus on the gun control debate linking us to terrorists and violent criminals. The Democrat Natalie Tennant castigated the those judged mentally incompetent. I trust that most on this website know their is a difference between those who have been involuntarily committed and those who have been judged mentally incompetent-I am executor of my mother’s estate. Neither The moderator of the debate nor the opposing candidate Shelly Moore Capito caught this guffaw.

  • Authors and responders: Pacifica Radio aired a piece on nutrition and Alzheimer’s this week which will be picked up by Public Television. The author of the research advocates against low fat diets, for controlling blood sugar through low refined sugar intake, and for the inclusion of fats such as Olive and coconut oil. Researcher sees high correlation between high blood sugar and diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Also are consumption of gluten has increased sharply-this is another culprit. The problem for me is competing, conflicting, and ever changing dietary guidelines. Will try to add for fruits, vegetables, and nuts to my diet and cut down on skim milk and cereal. I also eat very little red meat.

  • Frank: I am not well versed in either Greek or Roman History, but I have been poking around on Directory of Online Journals to see how non-western countries such as Iran have responded to the western medical model of “mental Illness.” From what I can gather, Iran adheres to bio-psychiatry model, and the Cuba, whose culture and economic system has been influenced by Spain, U.S., and Russia, adapted there mental health system from the French model. Cuba is out of favor with the U.S. Govt. but like Latin America is part of the West, albeit in the Third World. One of Che’s close compatriots in the war of liberation from Batista was a psychiatrist, who was instrumental in overhauling the Cuban Psychiatric system. Zypreza is widely dispensed in Cuba, but there is apparently a lively debate over the use of ECT. I also looked at some of the other ALBA countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. I believe that both Ecuador and Bolivia show a low psychiatrist to population ratio, both with only a few asylums throughout the country. Looking through history or at different cultures currently, helps to dispel common sense assumptions about a society’s institutions. That is what Robert Whitaker stumbled upon, even though he initially assumed most of the claims of psychiatry to be grounded in science, rather than what Szasz terms, scientism.

  • John: Are scientists, let alone climate scientists, close to the levers of power in the U.S.? Are they exerting an undue influence over energy policy, as the Heritage Foundation claims, and accuses the Obama Administration of picking winners and losers in the energy market? For what it is worth, the mainstream in the form of the Sunday political talk shows made only one reference to the climate march in NYC on that day.

  • Frank: both Szasz and Foucault provide an historical context in order to demonstrate that Western Civilization chose the path of institutional. It was not forced upon them. Foucault focuses on this process of institutionalization in France that occurred a little earlier than in England. Szasz focuses more England because he believes that the roots of modern psychiatry can be more accurately be traced there. Szasz sees Psychiatry as an end run around the English system of law because English law was more protective of individual rights than other emerging nation states.

  • B: interesting discussion. I have not spent much time on Rome, but our long time, now deceased Senator also Senate Majority leader Robert Byrd fancied himself both a scholar of the Constitution and also of Rome. Early in his career he fell in with the Dixiecrats and the warmongers, but later had a change of heart by denouncing the unconstitutionality of the Iraq War on the Senate floor.

  • B: I couldn’t agree more. The problem in our society is not polarization among ordinary people. Single issue organizing has its limitations because people are generally only talking to like minded people and preaching to the choir. So I think that part of the discomfort people are experiencing on MIA is mixing it up with people from different backgrounds. This is really off script for media and political elites, and is potentially subversive.

  • Ron: I am not sure that using the Global Warming framework is necessarily the best strategy to address the problems of industrial pollution and environmental racism, at least that is how it looks from here in the heavily skewed fossil fuel based economy in WVa. Being in California last June when the new EP regulations governing emissions from coal fired power plants came down the conversation was quite different. Besides King Coal, we have a pretty strong contingent of Evangelical Christians in our state:two factors which have helped Republicans to win the last four presidential elections and most likely the 2014 election in the state legislature. In my earlier days I took a more bristling attitude towards such folks, but in recent years I have been more focused on cautioning people from allowing themselves to be turned into partisan cheerleaders for either political party. Evangelicals here are not a monolithic, although for some undoubtedly there is a pull to join under the umbrella of Liberty University mind set, which is not even a monolithic mind set among itself. Our community in Kanawha County was deeply divided over a textbook selection process in 1974- a precursor to what would later be the known as the culture war. Evangelicals, egged on by the Birch Society and the National Educator objected to the inclusion of Malcolm X and other hot button intellectuals into the Language Arts Curriculum. The editor of the Charleston Gazette, the liberal daily with statewide reach,threw oil on the fire by demeaning the protesters who were termed as”book burners,” for questioning the process. Many of the protesters came from those parts of the community not well represented by the local power structure and were already feeling left out of the conversation. So I keep a weary eye out for cultural warriors on the “left,” really the center, like Bill Maher and the crew at MSNBC who appeal what the right calls the liberal elite.
    At our local library foreign policy book club, conservatives are in a minority as are anti-imperialists such as myself. It is a good exercise in working through issues with people who come from different backgrounds. This is the spirit I try to bring to civic engagement in forums like MIA, though their are also situations when the gloves have to come off.

  • Thanks to this website I have become aware of the fact people with mental health diagnosis and their allies have seen themselves as part of a marginalized minority rather than as isolated individuals. Having not been there in the hey day of the Mad Pride movement in the early 1980s, I do not have a gauge to adequately gauge our current situation. All I can say as fact, is that this site produces more broad reaching discussion than the chat rooms at the Marshall Graduate Counseling program did, where incidentally I had to pay 800$ per three credit hour to attend.

  • Discover and Rediscover: On the one hand I see the need to tie anti-forced psychiatry to a broader political platform. On the other hand, as Ralph Nader’s presence at the Cato Institute testifies, we also we an infrastructure for perusing single issue reform that brings in people across a diverse political landscape. I think it is possible to do both. As for environmentalism or conservation, I don’t think we need a catastrophism ideology to promote a common sense movement to eliminate wasteful use of natural resources. The Green Drinks group that I attend focuses on promoting conversion to LEED technology and energy alternatives as good for businesses’ bottom line and as I would add, conservation is good for one’s household budget. I followed the events at the climate march and I am involved with the anti-mountain top removal groups in my state, but I also agree with some of the Libertarian Party’s platform. As things currently stand, the three minor political parties- the Green Party affiliated Mountain Party, the Constitutional Party, and the Libertarian Party are shut out of the duolopoly’s control of the political process. This sort of mirrors where we are at MIA.

  • Discover and Rediscover: I live in West Virginia, a major coal producing state. I agree, a too hasty retreat from renewables can produce shock waves that impact ordinary people. Alexander Coburn, deceased editor of the left-wing political website, was a climate skeptic. Also in some maters, environmentalism risks sliding into Malthusianism. So I do not see your concerns as unfounded. I am no supporter of Obama, but both major political parties create dual group thinking partisan mind sets, which serve to obscure the consensus of the two parties on major policies like trade policy .i.e neoliberalism, and a tendency toward militarism of foreign policy and the economy. As a result of the “liberal bias” of the news media, most citizens have difficulty processing a criticism of Obama from the left.

  • B: I think it is important to see how a particular politic belief fits into one’s over arching belief system. Thomas Szasz was a right -wing Libertarian, and I identify more so with Noam Chomsky and Left-Wing libertarianism, so when I I read Szasz I read with interest his view of the French Revolution and the American Civil War in hopes of better understanding the basis of his belief system and possible opportunities to make common cause, and also to hold my own views up to scrutiny.

  • Jorwig:Our culture demands simple answers to complex problems and immediate results. I can’t say that every decision I’ve made in life has been based on sound logic, and so yes it is a step forward that a psychiatrist admits that there innumerable unknowns and complexities. When I was first committed I was under the impression that I desperately needed to talk to the psychiatrist to get things sorted out. But really, very little of a patients time in the hospital is devoted to talking to the psychiatrist. Likewise, I kind of doubt that the typical psychiatrist understands the culture shock that one goes through when one is committed, let alone the life one leads with the albatross of “a mental health history” hung around one’s neck.

  • Boans: You appear to be somewhat of a film buff. You previously referenced Brazil which is the best effort at skewering the school of Terrorology in the west. Anger Management encapsulates what you are driving at. The characters around Adam Sandler purposefully misconstrue his reactions in order to frame him for his anger issues. In my case my “manic behavior” was attributed to what is now concede even by psychiatric authorities to be a hoax-chemical balances. Am I completely blameless in my actions leading up to my involuntary commitment-no. But the inquisition and the chemical and physical torture that I was subjected surely makes the situation worse for most people. Fortunately for me I encountered a couple of decent and reasonable ancillary staff along the way that softened the blow.

  • David: back here in WVa. king coal has a stranglehold on state and local politics. Our citizens, especially in the southern coal fields are especially vulnerable to the whims of the energy markets. Layoffs from coal mines devastate local communities-southeastern Ky. Is especially hard hit. There are a number of factors at play. We are now mining the hard to get at coal and are increasingly unable to compete against cheaper coal from WY and Montana. Republicans seek to place the blame squarely at the feet of Obama and EPA regulations, despite the story being more complicated than that. WVa. establishment Democrats distance themselves from Obama as they try to compete with Republicans to be a champion of King Coal. Also like PA, we are experiencing the scourge of fracking across the state. I am a member of the Mountain Party, an affiliate of the USA Green Party, and I also frequent the activities of local environmental groups such as the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. We need a national and international response to the consumer culture that is driving the high rates of mineral extraction and energy expenditure: a response that doesn’t suddenly leave whole communities in a lurch which happens throughout the Appalachian Coal Fields. Moreover, as the South African writer Patrick Bond recently remarked, we need social activists to see and act outside the narrow confines of their single issue interest groups as you are doing with this post.

  • Sharon: I am interested in how the film festival turns out, but I won’t be able to attend. I would like the opportunity to see the films in another venue. I have 24 credit hours from the local graduate school of counseling. While it is true that putting together a group of like minded souls here on MIA has a ways to go, I already do feel more of a kinship and unity of purpose than I did at the graduate school. Some have suggested developing chat rooms so that we can discuss issues in real time and get to know one another better. Maybe this would be a step towards forming an in person organizing effort. One of the challenges to this is that the contributors to this site come from the far flung reaches of the English speaking world, but this could also become one of its strengths.

  • Uprising: Thanks for the trip down memory lane. As an anti-CIA activist during the 1980s we studied the MKULTRA program. We also studied Philip Age who detailed the inter workings of the CIA. Most of the resources of the CIA went into influence peddling-setting up dummy foundations abroad to attract and persuade locals to uncle sam’s point of view and also by fostering a network of sympathetic journalists to plant stories in the local media. Since the CIA was forbidden by its charter to work in the US, this was an end run around this prohibition. The CIA funded a secret army in the 19502 to overthrow the Guatemalan Government from Honduras.-presently the CIA is even more involved in military aspects than in the past.
    Also I think it is important to note that the newsletter that uprising posted here is from Canada. There was a time when Canada marched to a slightly different drummer by harboring war resisters and refusing to send its own troops to Vietnam. NAFTA is one component that has bludgeoned Canada back into the fold. It seems that Pierre Trudeau was a little like De Gaulle in France by distancing himself from the Yankees. Any way, was there a similar and as forceful push back in the US comparable to the community building that was taking place with the Mental Patient Liberation Front in Canada, For what it is worth, I am credentialed with an MA in Public History a somewhat more radicalized branch of the history profession.

  • Old Head: I followed and commented on a thread on an article that originated on MIA a couple of months ago which was much in the same vein as this one. People followed up on it for over a week. It seems that the discussion has broadened to include new voices, and from what I can gather, some who are veterans to the movement have fund the thread. i concur with Ted that this movement is part of a broader civil rights movement. It is also interesting to get the perspective of people ho were involved in the movement years before I became ensnared in the system. It is important that we find a way to counter the dominant narrative. Has anyone else noticed the APA spots run by Patrick Kennedy which Makes reference to JFK’s legacy in promoting the institution of psychiatry’s take on life?

  • I fainted when the psychiatrist said that the EEG revealed that I had permanent irreversible brain damage. It was suspected that I had temporal lobe epilepsy so I was confined in the van and escorted to a medical hospital for a CAT scan. I was very reluctant to go through with the procedure. I am somewhat clausterphobic. The technician coaxed me through it, but was not really abusive. I have wondered what would have happened had I refused to cooperate. It seems that the have us cornered, at least for the time being when it comes to involuntary commitment, but don’t we all have the right to refuse medical treatment. Isn’t the radiation exposure from these test cumulative?

  • Someone else: I was told exactly that. I can’t say that I have a good explanation for everything that I have done in life. I think that maybe be some things in life defy explanation, and that an honest we don’t know is a better response than a contrived or bogus explanation.

  • Someone Else. Interesting that you mention that psychiatrists can access prior diagnosis. When I asked for my psych records i only received them from the most recent agency I was assigned to.However it was apparent when I talked to the psychiatrist that she had access to records that the agency was denying me. It seems that she was pigging backing on a previous diagnosis, rather than using medical evidence to come to her own conclusion like a real medical doctor. Is there such a thing as a second opinion in psychiatry as in real medicine? Or is it rather the case, that the word of psychiatrist is the holy rite, even if someone high up as Thomas Insel admits that there is no biological markers for mental illness.

  • Old head and Frank thanks for tying in Chomsky to the discussion. I am trying to tie in the specific issue of forced psychiatry as addressed on this site to broader social movements. I also concur that liberals in power are a bigger obstacle to change than every day people who may identify as conservative. I mistakenly believed that others on the left like me, thought that psychiatry and “mental patients,” formed an antagonist relationship, one which naturally one would be on the side of the mental patient. This was my belief before I became entangled with psychiatry. Through personal experience and then through scholarship, it appeared to me that the left broadly did not interrogate psychiatry in the same fashion as other powerful institutions in our society.
    For example, our local chapter of the ACLU is promoting awareness about mass incarceration and youth. Good Thing, ditto for mass surveillance. But my reading suggests that they do not cast a critical eye on psychiatry.
    Ralph Nader currently is trying to promote left-right alliances around specific issues. I think that this is a positive development for us on this website, though he seems to be talking more about the leadership class in left right circles. I tend to view the situation as one where every day people can come together for change, and don’t allow ourselves to be used as pawns by the two factions. Don’t allow ourselves to be pitted against each other as Fox and MSNB try so desperately try to do. Also Szasz was critical of Nader’s stance on psychiatry.

  • Joanna: My Sense is that the entertainment media is the most important institution cementing the notion of chemical imbalances in the public’s mind. Us critics of psychiatry read and write a lot about the alliance between Bib Pharma and Psychiatry, but who are the psychiatric consultants on various TV and film projects that put forth the notion of chemical imbalances? I never saw Black Box, Maybe it will make it to Netflix. The lead character on Homeland is “bipolar.” She and her supervisor move heaven and earth to keep her out of the mental hospital, as do psychiatrists and lawyers in real life, who avoid these places like the plague. Why is that if these places are supposed to be so helpful.

  • Richard: As a left-wing libertarian whose favorite writer is Noam Chomsky, I have wondered how I can reconcile the views of Chomsky to Szasz, a right-wing libertarian. I wonder if their paths and the ideas ever crossed. I remember once Chomsky making a reference to big Pharma.

  • Seth: You note that masters have more information than the slaves. This was especially true when I was institutionalized. I was certainly given no contravailing information, like the works of Laing, Szasz, or Foucault, so as to give me the autonomy to decide for myself. This was 1989′ only about five years after the “Mental Patient” Liberation’s successful demonstration at the psychiatric conference.

  • Chaya: San Francisco and the Bay Area how brought our country and the world some many wonderful innovations. I have visited there three times and fell in love with the city. Some of the notable achievements of San Francisco include the 1934 General strike, the Beat Culture, the Summer of Love, Gay Rights, Native American take over of Alcatraz Island, Pacifica Radio Network, Latino muralists going back to Diego Rivera, successful community initiatives to block highway construction, gay rights, the site of the first UN meeting, the Spanish Civil War Memorial, a success effort to make sports franchises to pay for their own stadiums-also the food co-op and whole foods movement came from Berkley, as did the first curb cuts in the country to accommodate wheel chair users. Also I have found much inspiration on ShapingSanFrancisco.org web site which contains pod casts on a vast array of topics.

  • Monica: I have been on a assortment of medications over the years. I currently take 1-1.5mgs of Zyprexa and .5mgs of Klonopin. My sleep is regulated, I am able to concentrate when I read, and I exercise regularly. I would like to lose another 20-25 pounds. I am starting back to school, and I sense that I should try to keep things steady for the next couple of months. I would like to be completely free of the medications, but having read the numerous accounts of side effects from withdraw, I am a bit cautious. In the last three years I have tapered off Lithium and Lamictal, but Zyprexa has proven to be more difficult. How does one taper at the very end of a small dose of Zypreza? From what I understand, the withdrawal effects can plague one months after you are off of the drug. In a previous attempt to withdraw from Zypreza, I noticed an increase in irritability and a bit of trepidation in driving in busy interstate traffic.

  • B: I had significant childhood trauma, but my involuntary commitment was four years after I left home. It seems to me the key to my “manic episode” rested in my most recent life experience, something that was not explored in any depth when I was committed. I also wonder how my “diagnosis” followed me through five or six providers. When I requested my psych records two years ago, I only received the records from the last psychiatrist, although in talking to the psychiatrist, it is obvious that she had access to some of my prior records. Shouldn’t your psych records follow you along the way, so as to inform about past medications.
    Any way on another note, I believe that the written copy of my mock counseling session when another student, clearly demonstrates that I have a better ability to get to know someone than is reflected in the notes from the psychiatrists in my psych record

  • Old head: I am interested and perusing this topic further. As for role models, I believe that other writers on this site, like Laura Delano, and Monica Cassinni also speak quite well on this topic from what I have read from their articles.

  • B: I have documented the trauma I experienced in the state hospital system else where on this site. Essentially the events leading up to the involuntary commitment, suggest that I should have paid closer attention to maintaining regular sleeping patterns and exercise. I can understand why people close to me were concerned about my state of mind, but in my experience, the cure was worse than the disease. Part of the problem at the first state hospital was a snoring roommate and light coming into the room at night. Couple this with the fact that when I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bath room, I had to find an orderly to let me into the bath room. Altogether, this contributed to an irregular sleeping pattern, something that greatly inhibited my ability to return to some type of equilibrium.
    When I was introduced and initiated to biological psychiatry 25 years ago, no countervailing opinions were given to me, nor did I have any idea where to find them. I have lowered my medications to a level where I have energy to read, exercise, engage in civil society and maintain employment. I would like to be completely free from psychiatry, but having read many post on psych drug withdrawal, I realize that reducing the medications to the lowest level possible maybe where I end up. I successfully tapered from Lithium and Lamictal, but I still take 1.5mg Zyprexa and .5 klonopin.

  • Right now PTSD is the diagnosis de jour of returning veterans. They qualify for benefits. If I am getting the story straight,veterans diagnosed with borderline personality disorders are denied benefits because it a pre-existing non-service related disorder. (From reading Szasz many years ago, two of the diagnosis he found most troubling were shell shock and hysteria. I think that it is important to do our best to reintegrate veterans into society.) But I also have qualms as to how this is playing itself within the institution of psychiatry.

  • Jonathan: I point blank asked my teacher’s union rep, the regional union rep and the Human Resources manager what was our school’s policy on psychiatric drugs. (As an instructor, I receive e-mails concerning which students are in the drug abuse class-I choose not learn their identities.) I am also not interested, nor do I think it is my business, which students are on psych drugs, I just want to know the policy-I believe that this is the first step in acknowledging that we as a society have gone blindly down a hazardous path. None of them could give me an answer. It’s like many institutions in our society, change comes down the pike, and nobody questions it. I still owe it to every one involved to put this on paper, and include a letter to the Department of Labor as well. In a staff meeting, I remarked that there was a lot of loose talk among staff regarding the psychiatric diagnosis of students. I also coped to my own “MI History’ ” and I wondered out loud if some of the students’ problem of sleeping in class was some how linked to psychiatric drugs, and that knowing this as a possibility, I did not feel comfortable enforcing sleeping as a disciplinary matter.
    At my other job, a non-profit, we had a client who started behaving in a demanding, and when rebuffed, an increasingly erratic manner. He was discharged, and the note in the log mentioned that he had not been taking his medication. I did not know any more of the specifics, but I did log in my own note that went something like this: Stopping psychiatric medication cold turkey is a bad idea, and can result in behavior that mimics the psychiatric symptoms that drew the attention of the psychiatric authorities in the first place. I also accompany clients to counseling and psychiatric appointments. I tell they clients they are free to ask questions of the professional if they want to.
    As an employee, I walk a tight rope on this issue. I feel that I have done something, but that I can do more. So on MIA, I am given the opportunity to tell my own story as well as to pursue the policy issues here as they relate to my clients my students as well as myself.

  • Old head: I have been reading the blog here for over a year, but I have only been commenting for a little over a week. On the topic of forced psychiatry, hasn’t Tina Minkowitz been writing about a U.N. Treaty that came under the auspicious of the rights of the disabled, that is designed to end forced psychiatry. Something attached to the treaty called RUDs,weakened the chance of ratification of the Treaty in the Senate. So in what since is the effort put forward here a duplication of Tina’s efforts.
    I was involuntarily committed by a “mental hygiene court,” whose very name ties it to the era of eugenics in America: A movement which also greatly influenced the spread of forced sterilization to Germany where it later formed one of the lynch pins of the Third Reich’s final solution. Having said this, and in conjunction with all the other testimony on this site tied to the grave ills of the profession, I am not sure what if anything as far as a more principle can be salvaged of psychiatry.
    I am looking at a future kidney transplant sometime down the line owing to Lithium. I tend to agree with Bonnie, that the situation psychiatry put me in did not meet the threshhold of informed consent. Aside from the kidney problem, I feel that I have been luckier than most, and even though I was in need of a respite at one juncture of life, I feel that a course of action was taken against me rather than something that was done for me.
    I look forward to hear the opinion of others on this topic.
    Chris Reed

  • Cannot say: when I was in LA this summer, I was curious about going to their scientologist’s psychiatry museum. I had seen one of their YouTube videos on the history of psychiatry. I did not make the visit, other interests and time constraints prohibited it. I am not afraid of falling under some one’s spell, nor am I chomping and the bit to join a religion, though I am a little curious about the B’hai Faith.

  • Astor Turf: I see our challenge as two fold way. As I posted to Richard a couple of days ago, and which I am attempting to clarify here, and which other people also seemed to be suggesting, we need to converge on a specific and achievable goal, one which seems to be already pretty much agreed to here, but which lacks the institution framework to be carried through.
    The current state of psychiatry doesn’t seem to be working for anyone on this site. As someone who fits into the Category of “severely mentally ill,” I am particularly perturbed when I here reports of a reduction of 20 years in life expectancy. But I am part of a small minority in the overall population of those prescribed psychiatric medications. But even those prescribed ADHD and anti-depressant medications are also facing long term negative side affects. The explosion in the use of psychiatric medications in the general public is only about 20 years, so many of the long term ramifications of this trend may not yet be known.
    When I posted to Richard the other day, I mentioned Ralph Nader’s new book The Emerging Left- Right Alliance, whose significance to our immediate concern on this site is how to form an alliance to an achievable end, when people from different persuasions come together: in Nader’s Book-Progressives, Libertarians, and Conservatives are converging to fightagainst Corporatisim and Crony Capitalism: In our case, The analogy is not to these three broad political schools of thought, but rather to our divergent views of psychiatry’s future. All of here seem to agree that we live in an overly psychiatric drugged society; some of us seek reform where the use of these drugs can be seriously curtailed, others envision a world without forced psychiatry, where others see psychiatry either withering away or actively brushed into the dust bin of history.
    Sorry Astro Turf if my tie into your post seemed to take a long detour. But yes, at the same time that we form coalition around immediate achievable goals, it is also important to form coalitions with other marginalized groups, such as the people of Gaza. I see my interest in the issues raised at MIA as one facet of my engagement in the broader civil society. I became involved with Palestinian, Central American, Southern Africa and anti-CIA activism when I lived in Washington D.C in the 1980s, and I have maintained this interest in scholarly and activist circles back here in West Virginian (Mountain Top Removal being the most pertinent local issue). So it is here that Nader’s thesis comes into play in a broader manner. Nader recently spoke at the Cato Institute, a couple of weeks ago. (CATO was also one of Szasz’s favorite haunts). The person charged with introducing Nader, went to great lengths to describe his personal journal from viewing Nader as an anathema in his youth to now being the one introducing him at the forum. I believe the over all message is that as a society we are not really as polarized as a society as we are constantly being told that we are. In recent years, I myself have become more willing to engage Fundamentalist Christians on equal terms, rather than throwing up barriers. I also have found more community mindedness on this site in the short time time that I have been blogging here, than in the two years of a formal counseling program.
    Best Wishes:
    Chris Reed

  • Nijinsky: Thanks for your words of encouragement. I have taken steps to take control back over my life in the past couple of years. I no longer go along with the ritual of blood work to test my Lithium level, or what ever else they were looking for in my blood sample without telling me. I tapered off Lamictal eight months ago, and have tapered to a lower level of Zypreza along with obtaining a gradual weight loss which has left me within 20lbs. to go to reach my goal. I am also on .5 mg of Klonapin, which I gather from reading the posts of MIA,is a rather minimal dose. If I can manage to balance my life requirements and keep my stress limits to a minimum, I stand the possibility of extricating myself entirely from psychiatry someday.

  • Bonnie: It appears that I have asked too few questions of my psychiatrists over the years. I was put on zypreza about 10-12 years ago-diagnosis Bipolar. Subsequent psychiatrist have suggested that I taper off. I kicked Lamictal about Eight months ago. This entailed some bouts of insomnia, but I succeeded nonetheless. Zypreza is a little different animal. I have tried three times unsuccessfully in the past to taper off of it. I think that I tried to taper too fast. I found an increase in irritability and a disruption in my sleep pattern when I tried in the past. Currently, I am on a dose of about 1.5 milligrams. Also on .5 Milligrams of Klonopin. At my height I was 208 lbs., now down to 182, with a goal of 160-my bicycle racing weight. I think that I maybe I am a little luckier luckier than most in this regard. I do suffer from stage 3 kidney disease kidney due to 23 years on Lithium. I have managed to stay in school and employed for the last 24 years. I am also married and I have a son, so I am probably a little luckier than most who have been diagnosed as “severely mentally ill.”
    It just wish, that when the psychiatric system came down on me twenty-five years ago, that I would have been given alternatives to life long medication. At the the time, I was indeed burning the candle at both ends, and could have used some type of respite from life. Over the last five years I have been educated to the fact that people critical of psychiatry had been trying to develop alternatives all along.
    By reading your posts and the writings of other feminists, it seems that there are gender specific attributes of the psychiatric diagnosis that targets women more negatively than men, just as the prison industrial complex comes down harder on men. I was listening to a Pacifica radio interview a couple of months ago with a disability rights advocate from the Disability Studies program from the University of Toledo. Liat Ben-Moshe, the professor there, has a new book coming out which she co-edited with Angela Davis. Basically, she looks at the various systems of incarceration in this country, (mental hospitals, developmentally disabled homes and prisons), as their institution structures have changed over time.
    It seems to me, that if are to make head way in educating the public and making policy change, we need to form alliances with liked minded people whose concerns overlap with our own. Just thought that I would pass this along.
    Best Regards:
    Chris Reed

  • I do not know how much longer people will continue to post on this article, but I thought that I would include this nonetheless. Liat Ben-Moshe, a professor of disability studies at the University of Toledo, has a new book coming out with Angela Davis. Ben-Moshe takes a broad look at the history of incarceration in the United States, in that she includes, prison’s, mental hospitals, and institutions for the developmentally disabled in her study.

  • Nijinsky: for someone like myself, who is suffering from iatrogenic disease, it makes me extremely angry that I was led down the path to a life time on medication. I realize that people die all the time from nosocomial (hospital induced) infections, and that medical procedures and prescription drugs also cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people a year. But what you are describing here is a public health calamity that is concentrated in a small sector of society, one that entails a classification of people who do not enjoy all the civil and human rights of our fellow citizens. Moreover, in order to address this crisis, I would first like to know how me can quantify and then personalize the problem in order to mobilize the public into action.

  • AA: it is my duty this week to right a letter to the union signally my displeasure with this particular situation as well as the various other problems I have encountered. I have since found other employment, but I feel that it is my duty to follow up on this. It is good to know that this policy strikes other people as wrong-headed.

  • Jonathan: My experience is 15 years with at-risk youth. As an instructor I am supposed to treat sleeping in class as a disciplinary issue. Some students are bouncing back and forth on ADHD medicine, and who knows what other types of psychotropics, so I have mostly resisted following this directive. Teachers are threatened in staff meetings for not following this directive. Neither the Human Resources, the AFT, nor the Department of Labor can provide me a policy on psychotropics. It’s like they dropped down out of the sky. Everyone goes along, without integrating the rational for their existence..

  • Jonah and Frank: I am following your exchange from this morning where you ponder the possibility that standard psychiatric care is compounding rather than alleviating distress. My last inpatient experience was in 1990 at an unlocked community “crisis intervention,” facility or some such thing. I had my own room, and had good company with a couple of workers who were pretty non-judge mental. I tried with a degree of success to get other “patients” involved in the community. Prior to, Joe and Ed, not their real names, were slumped over in a manner which would have described my own prior situation heavily drugged at a state “hospital.”
    I complied with the medication, but I was really was quite dismissive of the psychiatrists. I noticed one day, that one of the psychiatrists was talking in a hushed and very patronizing tone to Joe. Sometime later, Joe seemed very happy for me that I had a group of friends come to visit me. Some months later, Joe was accused in a double murder in a fire bombing incident at one of the independent living apartments of the agency. That was not the Joe that I knew at a particular time and place. I don’t know what happened to Joe in the intervening months since we made our acquaintance. The only thing that I know, is that the media reports of murders, did not question the nature of help being offered by the agency.

  • Richard: I watched the first 40 minutes of Ralph Nader’s presentation of his book on left right alliance at the Cato Institute. The key thing he was saying was that there needed to be specific institution building about a specific proposal-please direct me to your proposal. He posits that the biggest obstacle to such an alliance rests on the nature of funding to think tanks of all stripes. The funding tends to reinforce differences, since the funding tends to drive the issues that are divisive across the political perspective of Libertarians, Conservatives, and the left. So is your proposal one that can unite us to take a step forward in the immediate here and now. I believe that you are correct, that changing the perceptions of the public takes patience, and that it is something that we also need to be in your the long haul. However, in certain situations paradigmatic shifts can occur more rapidly under the right circumstances.

  • Laura: I am tying into your previous post, particularly your interest in progressive education. On the Shaping San Francisco website (click public talks-social movements then scroll down to the podcasts on the Future of Education. The four contributors to these podcasts bring a diversity of opinion to the topic, including a leader of a parents’s rights advocate in the public school system, a unionized public school teacher, a parent with seven years experience as a home schooler, and a teacher in the adult education system.
    Taken as a whole, this website gives me a background on a broad array of topics which I can listen to while riding my spin bike. The podcasts also give me a feel for the culture of activism in San Francisco.
    Making it to the MIA film festival may be a long shot. Any way, I am glad that you and MIA contributors are deploying the film medium to complement the MIA website.

  • Jonah: regarding the last part of my previous post: I am sorry if I confused your back ground with that of Boans. The three of us along with Frank, seem to be taking the most critical stance to psychiatry on this thread.

  • Jonah: part of the problem I am experiencing here is the lack of reply buttons at the bottom of the posts. For example, I am responding at the bottom of this post, instead of the bottom of the post in your reply to me. In the post to Richard, I was trying to orient him to my reply to his reply to me which was posted to my post, my reply to him is located just below your latest reply to me.
    I think you correctly understood my brief description of my family experience with repressed memories.
    Like you, I have had experience with forced drugging. For me, it was attempted soul murder. One which thankfully failed, but 25 years in the psych. System has left me with stage 3 kidney disease. These two situations have led me to conclude that we need to take the initiative to root out the psychiatric system lock stock and barrel. But in the short term, we need to form broad coalitions with people who can help to reduce the use of these harmful medications in the broader public. If we are successful at bringing the public’s attention to the harmful effects of these drugs, then we may be able to bring a focus on the illegitimacy of psychiatry as a whole. Currently, many people are skeptical of ADHD medical “treatment.” However, there is a strong bias against people who have been involuntarily committed. Mass media, particularly entertainment media,ingrains this bias into the public. In the political arena, Congressman Murphy is building on the fear mongering of E. Fuller Torrey, by highlighting the violent actions of a few outliers, in order to scape goat us, and make us a permanent class under class, who lack constitutional protections (assisted outpatient treatment, see Kendra’s Law in New York State.) In my own state of West Virginia, Senator Manchin got on his high horse to forge a gun rights bipartisan compromise. This failed compromise, would have further ingrained the judgements of the mental hygiene commissions into our law and into our society.
    There has been a long back and forth debate on this blog regarding whether to use psychiatric authorities or police power to address individuals who threaten others. As both of us can attest to, people are forcible drugged, even when we pose no direct threat to others. Besides forming a broad coalition to achieve specific immediate relief from these harmful medications, I believe we need to forge broader coalitions. Mass incarceration of prisoners is also a blight on society. Our local police force are becoming a para-militarized force through the donation and purchasing of surplus and antiquated military equipment. Swat,teams originally formed to addresses hostage situations, have been deputized to lead midnight drug raids. So in a sense, there may not be a simple choice between psychiatry and the police. But in my limited experience in jail, two nights, I did not feel nearly as demoralized as I did when I was incarcerated in mental hospital. In my initiation to psychiatry, I was arrested for disturbing peace. However, I managed to develop a cordial relationship with the arresting officer, who was subsequently charged with driving me to the “hospital.” The officer genuinely seemed bothered by his role in having to carry out his job in taking me to the “hospital.” In my case, I was stuck not only with a psych record, but also a misdemeanor charge which stayed on my record. Moreover, I was denied the opportunity to defend myself in court on this charge, because I couldn’t be two places at once.

  • Wileywitch: thanks for the heads up. Which committee would this be. Also, there are writers on this blog who have a more comprehensive knowledge of the harms of psychotropics than I do. Any idea as to how to get them involved?

  • Frank: I did not see a reply button on the post in your response, so I am responding here. I don’t know if you will get the message. Anyway, sorry for the lazy writing style. I have read a dozen books by Szasz and scores of articles from the journal Ethical and Human Psychology and Psychiatry, so I should always include quotation marks for “patients” and “mentally.” Once again, sorry.
    Chris Reed

  • Frank: I did not see a reply button on the post in your response, so I am responding here. I don’t know if you will get the message. Anyway, sorry for the lazy writing style. I have read a dozen books by Szasz and scores of articles from the journal Ethical and Human Psychology and Psychiatry, so I should always include quotation marks for “patients” and “mentally.” Once again, sorry.
    Chris Reed

  • Richard: I am not finding a reply button to many of your posts. I reposted to your post to me below. I would like to add here that my family situation was put into a bit of turmoil when one family member “recovered” her memory and accused another family member of sexual molestation in her childhood. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position.
    Chris Reed

  • Richard: I did not see a reply button below your post so I will reply here. From what I can gather here, the bloggers report similar situations from the English speaking countries represented here-U.S., Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. From what I understand, this web site was prompted by Robert Whitaker’s book which posits that long term outcomes for those maintained on psychiatric drugs is worse in societies that typically maintain “patients” for life than society’s that take a more judicious approach. (I would like to know more about how Findland relates to this issue. I understand that they tend to like more closely to the “patient’s relationship with significant others-also one of the themes of the bloggers here is the role of societal dysfunction as a contributor to an individual’s distress).
    For many people, they are introduced to these drugs after being committed involuntarily by the mental hygiene court. For others who write here, they seemed to get enmeshed in ways that do not involve involuntary commitment. By the level of reported use, the vast majority of “patients” including those diagnosed with ADHD and depression have not gone through this process. My experience is the former.
    Whitaker has taken some flak for allowing staunch abolitionists to post here. He does not seem to fall in the abolitionist camp, which is also true for many of professionals and other bloggers here, but to Whitaker’s credit he stands up for those who promote a more radical perspective. In the week I have been blogging here, I have been responding to posts from writer’s celebrating life off psychiatry drugs, bloggers linking concerns with our education system to mental health issues, the question of whether true consent can really occur in the mental health system, and the role of mental health providers who are trying to provide a corrective to the current overuse of medications.
    Thus far, I have not jumped directly into the very long debate over the deployment of police vs. mental health authorities. I will address that in another post. My over all thrust is as someone who was involuntarily committed Twenty-five years ago and who has developed an iatrogenic disease as a result, is that we need to put a human face to people who find themselves in a similar fate. I have been open to family, friends, co-workers, fellow counseling students, and employers. Moreover, I am entering a phase of my life where I believe that by becoming more public I can do some public good. My psych records label me as grandiose and narcissistic, but I am confident that most people will make up their own mind upon meeting me. Richard, thanks for the opportunity to clarify my position.

  • Richard: Currently, Congressional committee hearings and legislation regarding mental illness seems to be a response to the threat that the mentally ill allegedly pose to society. The first hearings on mental health in several years, occurred in the wake of Newtown. Proposed compromised gun control legislation by Senator Joe Manchin of WV, enshrined the legitimacy of mental hygiene courts, and by extension the legitimacy of psychiatry itself. Congressman Murphy’s attempt to further entrench assisted out patient laws is but one further example. But as the most recent post on this site from the Fox News contributor accurately demonstrates, the negative aspects of psychotropic medications leave a much broader impact than just those labeled severely mentally ill. Any congressional involvement in this matter would be limited in scope initially. Only from concerted action by psychiatric survivors and their allies, could the public be prompted to more fully scrutinize the history and the current state of the psychiatric profession.

  • Copy Cat and others: When I was involuntarily committed in 1989 and 1990, the use of these drugs were mostly limited to the “severely mentally I’ll.” Now, they have exploded across all spectrums of society. In my travels, it seems that many people are distrustful of ADHD medications, maybe a little more accepting of other medications. So it is interesting that someone from the mainstream media, (I think that given the large viewership of Fox that this term accurately applies to Fox, no mater what one’ opinion of Fox might be), is taking a critical view of the proliferation of these drugs throughout all strata of our society.
    Unfortunately, at the present time, Congress seems only interested in the story of the mentally ill as it relates to protecting the public from the mentally ill. The first congressional hearings in years on the topic of the mentally ill was held in response to Newtown. Compromise gun control legislation, pursued by Senator Manchin (WV), rests on the logic of the soundness of the findings of mental hygiene courts, buttressed by the mainstreaming of psychiatric dogma. In the House, Congressman Murphy is trying to expand the reach of assisted out patient commitment laws. So we have a doubling of the effort to protect the public from the “severely mentally ill,” just as psychiatric medication has been mainstreamed throughout our society.
    Given that Insel and Frances have cast doubt on the scientific underpinnings of psychiatry from within the upper strata of the profession, it would seem to be an appropriate time for a congressional investigation into the ever growing reach of psychiatry.
    If this could be brought to fruition, it would be incumbant upon MIA contributors and their allies to broaden the critique of psychiatry.

  • Richard: the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in The House partially lifted the veil on the nefarious activities of our intelligence agencies. So is something similarly possible with regards to psychiatry. While I have experienced the life of a mental patient for 25 years, my clearest view to the effects of psychiatry on psychiatric patients in the larger society comes through interaction on this website, and through contributors to The journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry. In order to bring our issues to the public at large, it is going to have to include the efforts of the survivors and those that work within the system. If it is really true that 100,000s of us are dying 20 years before our time, than this should be a topic for a Congressional investigation.

  • Chaya: I could not agree more. 10, 000 years of settled agricultural communities without psychiatry, how could humans have possible managed their affairs? From 1890 to 1930 the population of this country doubled, yet the rate of psychiatric incarceration went up ten fold. The key to understanding this lays in the emergence of a pseudoscience known as eugenics, which postulated that society could advance if the feeble minded, degenerates, pick the word of the day (Lunatics, Mad, mentally I’ll, people living with mental illness), and even epileptics could be removed from society. Access the Supreme Court case of Carrie Buck to see the tenor of the times. She was one of 7,000 Virginians who were forcible sterilized. Remember, lobotomies, insulin shock, as well as forcible sterilization took place in mental hospitals.
    Forcible sterilizations, and the incarceration of epileptics no longer occurs in this country. Yet, when this was occurring in this country,it seemed a common sense and acceptable approach.
    Stepping outside the framework of mental health, there are innumerable examples of power institutions biting the dust. Those emigrating to this country from the Indian Subcontinent enjoyed the highest rate of rejection (90%)-Higher than the rate for Chinese and Japanese in the first quarter of the 20th Century. The Ghandar Party, populated mostly by Punjabi Sikhs in the Bay Area, fought against British colonialism as well as racism in the United States. They reached out to Irish nationalists, (also under the British Empire) as well as the radical labor unionists of the IWW. When the ban on Indians in public pools was lifted in the 1960s, they insisted that this was not good enough, blacks should be allowed to swim as well. There you have it. The sun indeed does indeed set on the British Empire, and while we still have a ways to travel, de jur apartheid has been abolished in the United States and in South Africa.
    I believe that the key to change rests with getting those “diagnosed” into the political arena, and in the process making common cause with other marginalized groups: foster youth, prisoners, people of color, Appalachians, Palestinians, and Latin American countries that are struggling for a degree of political, and economic independence through ALBA and CELAC.

  • Jonathan: I remember Robert Whitaker suggesting something spiritual and a little closer to home. He said tha the Quakers used to offer to take people on retreats who were in distressI have not yet read his latest book. Are his scientific explanations understandable to a lay audience?

  • Jonathan: I remember Robert Whitaker suggesting something spiritual and a little closer to home. He said tha the Quakers used to offer to take people on retreats who were. I have not yet read his latest book. Are his scientific explanations understandable to a lay audience?

  • Frank, Jonathan, and others:I was enrolled in an introduction to Mental Health class, and I find the three or four days interacting here to have been way more productive. People actual respond to my posts.

  • E. silly:What did anyone think of Dream Team. Despite some stereotyping I thought that it had some positive points. I have been wanting to view King of Hearts. Think I can get it on Netflix. Right now in the media, we generally only appear as celebrities opening up about their mental illness. Laura Delano has been plugging the MIA Film Festival. I will take another look at that posting. It might be I bit of a long shot. I do not know if I can afford to take off work to attend.

  • Jonathan:I take it from reading your posts that you work as sort of para-professional in the mental health system. As some one who spent four months of my life involuntarily committed in 1989 and 1990, my memory suggests that I spent much more time with employees like you than I did with psychiatrists. Two employees, one’s title was trainer, helped me me immensely, by helping to soften the blow of the system. In your case, you could simply put in your time at work, and then go home and go about your business, but instead you choose to become more deeply enmeshed in the process. It’s seems that you stuck your neck out by speaking up for the group in Oregon that was kicked out by the Unitarians, and that is commendable. In my case, the trainer went out of his way to track me down after my release to tell me that I had made a difference in his life. People in your position can make a difference working within the system.
    It seems by reading these posts that we have a polarized community around the topic of psychiatric abolition. I am not sure that abolition and the day to day reforms that you fight for are mutually exclusive. For example, socialists of varying strips who envision a different and more just economic system also fought for and achieved the eight hour day and brought us the weekend, all without radically overthrowing capitalism. There are certainly many hurdles to over come if psychiatry were to be abolished. For example, I am currently trying to titrate from low doses of Zyprexa and klonapin and I need to maintain my access to my prescriptions to achieve this.
    In my day to day life, I am further removed from the system than you are, although I do get a glimmer of what goes on in my work experience. I have students who talk about their ADHD and who sporadically comply with the medication leaving them in a less than normally functioning state. At my other job, I transport foster youth to psychiatric and counseling appointments. I am not privy to their exact circumstances, and I do not pry. But when the question begs for an answer, I have told the youth that they can also ask the psychiatrists questions, and when a youth talks about her interaction with these professionals in a negative way, I remark that I am not their biggest fan either.
    On the one hand, there is no easy way to banish psychiatry from our culture, but on the other hand the leading lights of psychiatry (Frances and Insel) admit to the lack of scientific evidence for the theory of chemical imbalances and the DSM. The emperor has no clothes. For two decades I lived with one foot on the psychiatric plantation. I attended psych. Appointments and complied with medications. About five years ago I entered a graduate school of counseling, while also reading Thomas Szasz and others in the journal of Ethical and Human Psychology and Psychiatry-founded by Peter Breggin. My narrative of my experience began to change. I guess you could say that I am no longer a house slave. Four years ago, my primary care physician, my kidney doctor and my psychiatrist informed me that the Lithium has caused me to develop stage three kidney disease. I guess you could say this was the clincher for me.
    As for the people who believe that psychiatry has helped them, this does present somewhat of a cunumdram for psychiatric abolishionists. I certainly don’t want to put myself in the position of berating people for their false consciousness. But at the same time, I don’t shy away from talking about my experience in public even if it means being berated by a counseling instructor for my negative comments about psychiatry on the class on-line discussion board. I will continue to read and write on MIA and hope that that as a community someday we will be better able to forge a consensus.

  • Those of us who write on MIA, and who have experienced forced psychiatry, and have or are working to extricate themselves from the psychiatric system are totally absent from film and television portrayals of the mentally ill.

  • Ted: in my four months of incarceration I did get to make the acquaintance of two superb individuals-for the lack of a better term, orderlies. Their assistance and humanity were invaluable. Without them I don’t know that I would have made. As for the psychiatrists, I don’t think any of them really got to know me as a person.

  • Sharon: I had a similar experience with the counseling program that I enrolled in at the local graduate college. I entered the program hoping to get on with a university, but owing to the university’s decision to change athletic conferences in search of football glory, the subsequent stress on the budget led to a discontinuation of the college counseling specialization in the counseling department. I was told that the Mental Health specialization was very much in keeping with what I set out to do, so I enrolled in the introduction to Mental Health class. I believe that the class entailed three live meetings of three hours each. Part of the online requirement was the discussion board. Since I had direct experience as a patient in two state hospitals in 1989, a private hospital in 1990 along with a community based crisis unit followed up by group and independent living in the community, I naively felt that by detailing my experiences I could be of assistance to the group endeavor.
    Shortly into the semester, the instructor messaged me aside. Basically, by including my personal experience, I was off topic and exhibiting extremely poor judgement. I was taken a back, but I did include a few more tie ins on the message board about my personal experience. It seemed to me that the direction of the discussions begged the question, and it was the case that the inclusion of my personal experience was but one aspect in the totality of my discussion posts and the direction of my written assignments. The instructor came from a non-denominational Christian college, and that might have provoked her reaction to an interview with a Christian counselor that I conducted. By merely remarking that at one time in my life I would have found it impossible to dialogue with someone from a fundamentalist perspective, she graded my paper as unprofessional.
    Looking back, there were red flags in the first session. She allowed one student to basically dialogue with her for most of the evening. The two seemed to revel in how far the psychiatric profession had come. They were both very please with their own efforts at the De-stigmatization of the mentally ill-it was all verystigmatizing. I tried to add to the conversation by noting that I visited a psychiatric museum in Colonial Williamsburg, but that didn’t get me very far. The last straw for her came, when I simply posed the question on the discussion board as to why there are so many more people on SSI or SDI, if psychiatry was really making such headway. (I don’t pretend to exactly know the ins and outs and the why fours to answer the question, but feel like it is a valid question nonetheless. She completely blew up to every one on the discussion board. Basically saying no one denies that psychiatric hospitals were abysmal Forty years ago, but that was the bad old days. The only thing I felt like I could say, was my experience was From 21 years ago.
    This was the clincher in driving me out of the program. The university has since taken on two new psychiatric fellows. I was a budding anti-psychiatric at the time. This experience has helped to push me more firmly into the camp. I have always been open about my experience to family and friends, and of course this initial foray into the public arena did not go as well as I planned, but I am not done yet.

  • Thanks for responding:I was not sure what you meant. Later, I think it came to me. Did it occur to me that I didn’t have mutual consent from the get go, not just when I was stuck with the needle. Prior to that incident,I had been hiding the drugs under my tongue a la R.P. McMurphy- I noticed on Orange is the New Black and Prison break that the authorities on the show made the characters move their tongues around to show that they had swallowed the medication, any way this was 1989-I remember the psychiatrist telling at some point how much I had improved, despite the fact that I was not complying. But this was twenty-five years age so all the chronology is not perfect. At one point the psychiatrist showed me a copy of my EEG in front of every one in the commons area. “I am sorry to tell you this mister Reed, but I am afraid that the LSD you took in college caused you permanent irreversible brain damage. It’s such a shame. You Are so smart.” At such point I fainted. This involved me their wild goose chase. So with the EEG and fainting spell, now they wanted to test me for temporal lobe epilepsy. So this involved some time latter, being transported strapped down strapped fashion with two or three orderlies across down to the local hospital for a CAT scan. I am a little claustrophobic, but I managed to keep it together to comply with the test. Later, the neurologist informed that irregular EEG are not out of the norm, but not before making a dig about my “odd jobs” history. I guess in some parallel universe all this could be construed as helpful. Instead off all this, maybe a week long retreat with Quakers or Unitarians with some Valium and no Snoring roommate would have done the trick. It seems like launching a missile to kill a mouse.

  • John: while this website is ostensively dedicated to addressing the harm caused by the Big Pharmacy-Psychiatric Complex, writers like Bruce and others try to link it to larger forces in society. Your mention of neo-liberalism is a case in point. The dominant paradigm in mental health-biological psychiatry-seeks to locate the distress of the individual in the individual himself rather than looking at the broader societal context;Neo-liberalism’s hyper-individualism focuses on the citizen as consumer, and the substitution of public space to private sphere. (The commodification of everything from education to water resources).
    So how do us contributors to MIA further our immediate agenda (of course we have no exact uniform voice here since views range from those within system trying to humanize it to those who advocate to abolish psychiatry altogether) of improving the lives of those labeled with mental illness without sacrificing a broader critique of society. On one level, I include my own experience with psychiatry on the blogs here, and at the same time I try to connect the dots with other areas of concern in my life. Recently I came across an interview on Pacifica radio with Liat Ben-Moshe, a professor of disability studies at the University of Toledo. In her work, she draws on Foucault, Irving Goffman, Angela Davis,and others to interrogate the larger prison-institutionalization complex. She seeks to understand the totality of the. process from the prison industrial complex to those labeled mentally ill and intellectually disabled. Tina who blogs here relates her experience advocating for our disability rights within the UN, while Bonnie and Phillip put forward a demand for abolition of psychiatry. So the question seems to be, how do we marshall our forces for broader change in the political arena.
    In addition to blogging here, I have taken counseling classes at the local graduate school, I recently attended the convention of the WV Mountain Party (an affiliate of the Green Party), I visited the local office of the Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas while on vacation in the Bay Area, and I try to nudge my co-workers along in my logs at the run-away shelter and foster home where I work. Most importantly we need to put our faces to the public in the political arena. As long as the psychiatry authorities keep us trapped and hidden behind the conceit of confidentiality and we go along with it, we will be unable to break through the politics of scape goating. That is why we need people to step forward to confront Congressman Murphy’s effort to establish a more draconian web of assisted out patient laws, and why we need to confront Sneator Manchin of WV when he seeks to sacrifice the rights of our community on the alter of bi-partisan gun legislation. This is no where more clear than when localities seek proposals to arm teachers. The unstated assumption in such efforts is that the “mentally ill” is the other. The notion that the teaching corps might contain those from our is not even a consideration. I outed myself at the local job corps where I work as an instructor. Owing to the stress I was under going from titrating from Zyprexa and the uneasy way I felt regarding the active shooter training we were doing on campus I felt that I had no choice. We need to step forward. We really still live in the age of Thomas Eagleton-he was McGovern’s first choice as Vice President until he was outed for ECT treatments and summarily kicked to the curb. Sad to say, but people in this country are still more mis-informed by the slanderous portrayal of our community in the entertainment community than they are by human to human contact with us.

  • Richard: thanks for the confidence booster. I just started blogging here yesterday, and I am already getting more feed back than in the counseling program at the local graduate college. Despite the jarring introduction to the institution of psychiatry (Two different state institutions separated by two days and a panic attack) the experience was strangely life affirming Two superb human beings, orderlies by any other name, had my back. After the window breaking accident, I was put in seclusion with Willie to guard me. Willie was a very large black man about my age who took to calling me superman-a play on my name Christopher Reeve-Christopher Reed. We played basketball together together, and when I asked him at my darkest moment what he thought of me, he did not hesitate, “down to earth”he said. Tod my other personal guard tracked me down by calling me on the phone at home about a month after I got out,saying that he was very impressed with me and that I helped him to learn a thing or two about life. Tod was about eight years younger and was working to put himself through school,to be as a x-ray technician When he called, I was in the depths of a Haldol hanger and he completely caught me off guard. I thanked him, but not really to the point that the occasion called for. I have been trying to work up the courage to bounce back at him on Facebook twenty-four years later. Also at the first hospital, some of my housemates came to visit me. John gave some really heartfelt comfort to one of my fellow patients who was there for a suicide attempt. Ordinary people don’t get enough credit. Small random acts of kindness in crucial times can be the difference between life and death.
    I have blogged on Laura’s and Bonnie’s post.
    Thanks again Richard

  • I currently work as a substitute in the public school system and at Job Corps. I also work part time at a run away shelter and foster home. I don’t know much about the de-schooling, but I don’t think that alternatives to our current education are necessarily at cross purposes from those who seek to strengthen our public school system. I don’t know the early history of charters, but I have heard it said that charter movement was originally a reform movement, before it was captured by the privatizing forces of the charter movement which are compounding the ills of public education through its test driven curriculum-See Bush’s No Child Left Behind And Obama’s Race to the Top.
    I believe that the teachers union in Chicago has put their best foot forward, but my union has not been at all helpful at Job Corps-US Dept. Of Labor, a job training program for at-risk youth and part of the war on poverty. Here again being on the political left, I think that there is an important part for government and social welfare programs, but I can not glimpse the over all benefit of the program, since there is a disconnect between workers and management. Sleeping in class is required to be treated as a medical problem. I am concerned that some students are bouncing back and forth on ADHD medication and other psychiatric medications. I flat out asked both management and the union about their policy on psychotropics. I could not get a straight answer from either one. Foster youth also use these drugs at three to four times the rate of other youth. I don’t have to explain this to MIA readers, but the public at large needs to confront this contradiction affecting the most vulnerable in our society. Particularly, the public should be asking why one group is experiencing such a high rate of “a biological” disease. Bruce Levine blogs here and has a few choice words for this state of affairs. Moreover, drug testing of our at-risk keeps them directly in the cross hairs of the drug war and the mass incarceration disgrace of our society. I don’t want to go any further afield, but mass incarceration and psychiatry are, I believe intertwined as well-a subject for a further posting.

  • Zyprexa is difficult to taper off. I have tried three times in the past. I have been switched from a number of medications by psychiatrists over the years, including Mellerill, Depakoate,and Abilify, I tapered off lithium two and a half years ago against medical directive (kidney damage) and Lamical six months ago. From reading other posts zypreza and klonopin are difficult to come off of. But of course many say the same about Lamictal. Any way I am happy about weight loss and maintaining my sleeping pattern. Actually the psychiatrists wanted me off Zypreza, so why did they give it to me in the first place?
    On another note, I have been reading MIA for a couple of years, but I have just started blogging. I was in a counseling program at the local graduate school, but I dropped out three years ago. The medical model casts it’s shadow over other helping professions. Any way, I feel more at home on MIA. I also posted on Bonnie’s two articles. I feel confident about my own individual journey to divorce myself from the psych system, and at the same time I hope to become more politically committed for collective action.

  • Bonnie: I feel that I bit off as much as I could have in the previous posting on the role of consent in mental health treatment. A lengthy post I know, but I hope that I have not gone too far a field. One of your related topics was the role of the views of family and friends regarding medication. I think there was unstated assumption that I was expected to comply. I certainly did not want to disappoint, given that friends and family did not take the option of abandoning altogether.
    An important tie in to the view of family and friends would be to explore why they believe in the medical model. I know in the case of my mother she has never read any thing critical of psychiatry. She has a pretty delusion view where she she sees me as the good mental patient versus the really dangerous bunch out that we must be protected from. (As a white middle class college educated person in a state hospital, I had more agency than most of my other patients, and I had visitors where other patients had none. But I certainly saw no sliding scale of sanity and insanity.
    But before I digress to far, I belief that the tie into the belief system is the mass media, particularly the entertainment media’s portrayal of mental illness. In the olden day upstanding women such as Olivia de Havilland in the Snake Pit could be cured. This was of course before the discovery that “mental illness” was a life time advocation. How many times on television and the big screen in the past 25 years have there been allusions to the dire necessitie of mental patient to take their medication. Of the dozens of examples I can think of no modern exceptions-Winona Ryder in Girl Interupted was set in the mid 1960s. Let alone, has anyone ever recovered from drugging, seclusion, and restraint even with the aid of medication in any media depiction. In such a situation you are truly alone against the world, and if you do not have an abiding faith in yourself you are truly sunk. Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle in Reign on Me do a fine job of demonstrating the importance of support for someone in a crisis situation, and the film itself does offer up an opportunity to critique the institution of psychiatry. But the problem is that the film opens up topic, but nonetheless keeps it swallowed in PTSD, the single psych. Diagnosis that seeks to tie real life suffering, rather than limiting bio psychiatric diagnosis of other “mental disorders.” One final digression-300,000 9-11 era veterans diagnosed with PTSD, but also another 30,000 diagnosed with the hair splitting and benefit denying diagnosis border line personality disorder.
    Looking forward to jotting down some notes on how to approach the withering away of psychiatry.

  • Bonnie: I see that you are new to MIA, but that you also are a long term advocate for our community based on the content of your post. In 1988, I was hospitalized with bi-polar and given Lithium. Within the first week of this ordeal I broke a window trying to escape, and I was put in a choke hold, dragged to an isolation room-see Foucault for the disciplinary force of the panopticon form of punishment, also the diagnosis of Drapemonia for slaves-stepped to the bed, ordered to swallow a pillow whose Origen and purpose was made unclear to me-I refused-“have it your way” the unidentied person said to me as she forced a needle of Thorazine into me. No specified time was given as to how long I was to be there. The drug reaction was thoroughly terrifying, compounded by the restraints and the fact that I had to defficate and urinate on myself. Compared to other stories I have read here on MIA, I maybe somewhat fortunate, but nonetheless, I insist that any part of my subsequent compliance with the psychiatric was highly compromised and could in no way be considered informed consent, given that what psychiatry is capable of is truly terrifying. Moreover, I have heard the pithy phrase that they did not know what “you (in this case me) were capable of” as an excuse for the system. Several days after the incident an un identified women explained that they were worried about me harming myself with the glass, and in addition, they were worried about the safety of suicidal patients, who May have squirrel away broken glass in order to do harm to themselves later. As God as my witness, this truly made me feel bad about my actions, but on further reflections, what did any of this have to do with medical treatment. The nurse and psychiatrist involved in the restraint, seclusion, and drugging never followed up with me to inquire about the treatment which would be done in a normal medical procedure. In fact they assiduously avoided eye contact with me for the remainder of my stay.
    Flash forward to autumn 2010,my primary care physician as well as the kidney doctor conclude that the lithium has caused kidney disease. The psychiatrist reduces the dosage but refuses to stop the lithium altogether. I go against medical advice and taper off on my own. So when I go to my psych appointment in December 2011, I don’t know what to expect-owing to the invaluable information supplied by MIA contributors I know that there are in existence Out Patient laws, but I did not not if they applied to my situation in WVa. Subsequently I learned that they did apply in WVa, but to my surprise and relieve, the psychiatrist punted. A few months she relocated to NC, where my wife learned that she was leavening the psych profession for real medicine-my wife over heard her at the dance studio confiding to another parent about how thankfully she was not she was not going to have to deal with psych patients any more.
    I have cycled through many psych meds including Thorazine, Haldol, prolyxzine in hospitals (1989, 1990), Mellaril, Depakoate, Abilify, Lamictal, Zyprexa and Klonapin. I weened of lamictal about six months ago, and have successfully tapered to about 1.75mg Zyprexa-a hard drug to get off of and .5 klonapin. I am down twenty-five pounds with 20 pounds to go. I am taking it slow on the final tapering as there is much hard earned experienced advice on this site regarding the dangers of tapering.
    I have not seen the new psychiatrist since May 2013. He keeps writing the prescriptions, and has not hassled me for not rearing Lamictal, at least not yet. When I was released in 1989, I missed an appointment with the community mental health organization I was pawned off to from the state hospital. The bells and whistles that went off on this account were truly amazing-something a diabetes patient would surely not experience, even though the psychiatrists were insisting that bi-polar chemical imbalance was akin to diabetes.
    When I married my wife, I left the community based system and went with the behavior medicine component of the hospital where my wife worked as a nurse. This makes me wonder if there is a two tiered system in mental health. In the community mental health system, would I have been allowed to get away with taking some degree of control back over my life. While in the graduate counseling program a fellow student who worked as a psychodyametrician once remarked about the patients who showed up at her office to take their “meds”-never a more condescending term in the English language. At least for me at least, no more six month appointments for blood work to check my lithium level-or what else they may be checking without my permission. I have not completely divorced myself from the system- but I have managed to maintain a degree of control over a very unpleasant situation. By the way, the legal system in my community at least, is pretty stone deaf about doing anything about the abuses I have described here.

  • Laura: Rethinking Schools is an online journal started by a group of public school teachers in Milwaukee. They also appear to have a strong contingent in Portland Oregon. As a teacher of “at-risk” youth I find their journal invaluable in helping me to understand our testing obsessed teaching culture in an historical perspective. The journal Radical Teacher also addresses the problems in our education system from a higher education perspective.

  • I was ensnared in the psychiatric system at the age of 28. At this stage of my life I already had a fairly good sense of my place in the world, but the experience was earth shattering, nonetheless-25 years Later I am weening off the last vestiges of klonapin and zypreza. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have been encarcerated and labeled during my formative years. Kudos to you for getting through it.
    From reading your article I sense that the author of the article about the Ivy League schoolds really struck a chord with you. I went to the elite public school in my state of West Virginia. Transferring from the wrong side of town did I think eventually help me to gain some perspective, eventually. Initially I fell in with the cool crowd. At this all white high school there was a high level of cliquishness, and back baiting, with the school being divided into “creekers” and “hillers.” Since the white middle class kids where I went to junior high were tracked, the educational culture at the high school was not hugely challenging, though I was no longer at the head of my math class. (1979). Being from the wrong side of town I think did in the end give me the right perspective. So when it came time to apply to college I had no real desire for the Ivy League (grades maybe sufficient test scores not spectacular) nor did I seem to know, like others, that George Town, Duke, and The University of Virginia were something to strive for.
    My own son is entering his senior year. I plan on giving him your article to read. He did all his schooling on the wrong side of town, and has better test scores, extra-curricular, and high end test scores unlike me. He got a letter from Harvard and phone calls from several universities. Maybe the lesson here is that the public schools have served us well until now, and maybe we should continue this tradition into college. I thought that I originally wrote accidentally got lost. This is my second posting ever. So what I wrote and what I thought I lost is basically what I rewrote. So hopefully either one will get posted-though I think this rewrite is a little better.

  • I was ensnared in the psychiatric system at the age of 28. At this stage of my life I already had a fairly good sense of my place in the world, but the experience was earth shattering, nonetheless-25 years Later I am weening off the last vestiges of klonapin and zypreza. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have been encarcerated and labeled during my formative years. Kudos to you for getting through it.
    From reading your article I sense that the author of the article about the Ivy League schoolds really struck a chord with you. I went to the elite public school in my state of West Virginia. Transferring from the wrong side of town did I think eventually help me to gain some perspective, eventually. Initially I fell in with the cool crowd. At this all white high school there was a high level of cliquishness, and back baiting, with the school being divided into “creekers” and “hillers.” Since the white middle class kids where I went to junior high were tracked, the educational culture at the high school was not hugely challenging, though I was no longer at the head of my math class. (1979). Being from the wrong side of town I think did in the end give me the right perspective. So when it came time to apply to college I had no real desire for the Ivy League (grades maybe sufficient test scores not spectacular) nor did I seem to know, like others, that George Town, Duke, and The University of Virginia were something to strive for.
    My own son is entering his senior year. I plan on giving him your article to read. He did all his schooling on the wrong side of town, and has better test scores, extra-curricular, and high end test scores unlike me. He got a letter from Harvard and phone calls from several universities. Maybe the lesson here is that the public schools have served us well until now, and maybe we should continue this tradition into college.

  • I was ensnared in the psychiatric system at the age of 28. At this stage of my life I already had a fairly good sense of my place in the world, but the experience. Was earth shattering, nonetheless-25 years Later I am weening off the last vestiges of klonapin and zypreza. I can hardly imagine what it would be like to have been encarcerated and labeled during my formative years. Kudos to you for getting through it.
    From reading your article I sense that the author of the article about the Ivy League schoolds really struck a chord with you. I went to the elite public school in my state of West Virginia. Transferring from the wrong side of town did I think eventually help me to gain some perspective, eventually. Initially I fell in with the cool crowd. At this all white high school there was a high level of cliquish ness, and back baiting, with the school being divided by “creekers” and “hillers.” Since the white middle class kids where I went to junior high were tracked, the educational culture at the high school was not hugely challenging, though I was no longer at the head of my math class. (1979). Being from the wrong side of town I think did in the end give me the right perspective. So when it came time to apply to college I had no real desire for the Ivy League (grades maybe sufficient test scores not spectacular) nor did I seem to know, like others, that George Town, Duke, and The University of Virginia were something to strive for.
    My own son is entering his senior year. I plan on giving him your article to read. He did all his schooling on the wrong side of town, and has better test scores, extra-curricular, and high end test scores unlike me. He got a letter from Harvard and phone calls from several universities. Maybe the lesson here is that the public schools have served us well until now, and maybe we should continue this tradition into college.