Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Comments by Daiphanous Weeping

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  • On other platforms comments that have contrary views or alternative views or conservative views or radical views or avante garde views or strong views may take a while to show up. I do not doubt that it must be very arduous to monitor comments for bad behaviour but largely bad behaviour is obvious. It does not take a rocket scientist to spot it. Most commenters are of good intentions. Most commenters care.

    In the early Christian Church a heretic was not someone who safely believed in preposterous bellicose fabrications. They are easy to ridicule. That’s why the outlandish are given a seat on a pew. Instead the heritic is someone who almost, almost, almost sounds identical to the congregation but may have one dissenting valid or worthewhile point to voice. It is a toss up as to which bit of the heritic spells danger, whether it is that they reveal an opinion or whether it is that they seem as friendly as everyone else. In this way, it us the “close”, not the distant, who get shunned most.

    We saw this with established psychiatry. The patients who almost, almost, almost seemed like all the other patients but who echoed one interesting or witty or foolhardy opinion were ostracised more that the infantilized shouters and screamers who were obviously preposterous, safely so. It is the “close” who are deemed heretical.

    But ironically it has often been the heretical in history who have had a finger on the actual pulse.

    Cherish the jeerer.

    The MIA guidelines seem to welcome a plethora of excitingly varied views. This seems to be to “discuss” psychiatry and its paradigm successors. I am glad MIA is not specifcally advertizing itself as antipsychiatry, or critical of psychiatry, or abolitionist per se. It is a vehicle for welcoming open discussion. It is difficult to foster an atmosphere of “open” discussion if there are agendas closing down the openness. We see this with established psychiatry. It is great to find this platform not borrowing from psychiatry’s tendency to gag the opinionated, or mockingly close deaf ears to the discerning voices of people with real lived experience of illness. To do so would be to gag the ill. As if the ill have no right to speak. As if the ill do not exist. As if the ill can make no comment with out it being plunked in a petrie dish to see if it grows the telltale worrying bloom of a revolution.

    I myself have only one interest when I make my comments. To my way of seeing life it is that…

    “The ill have a right to be ill”.

    To disagree with that phrase seems to me to be bullying. It is the same bullying that came out of established psychiatry when it declared that…

    “The ill have to be badly treated”.

    I say this…

    “The ill have a right to be ill and be beautifully treated if they feel that is a choice they themselves want to make and is a treatment, whatever treatment, and it may be the choice of no treatment, that they themselves decide upon”.

    I have no interest in pushing a personal agenda that is pro psychiatry. I have no interest in pushing a personal agenda that is antipsychiatry. I have no agenda.

    Often a heretic has no agenda. Their freedom from agendas makes them observant.

    I defend the right to choose.

    If someone feels themselves to be ill it is their choice to select any form of treatment, or zero treatment, or holistic treatment, that they want.

    It is not for anyone else to be telling other people whether their own private sense of illness is real or not real.

    That is bullying.

    There are only a few exceptional situations where “looking after” someone who is very ill indeed does need to be considered. Just as you might help a blind person climb out of a river. Or help a very drunk person cross a road. Or prevent an acutely psychotic person from sticking their pet cat in the microwave. Altered states of consciousness IS A THING. It may become a lethal thing if you are sitting on an ice cornice unaware you are gravely ill with lethal hypothermia.

    There IS such a thing as diminished responsibility through hypothermia or severe concussion or altzheimers or brain tumours or severe mental impairment through congenital disabilities. There is also a need to sometimes care for the sick at heart, the bereft of soul, the grieving, and yes the acutely psychotic, who might think their childen are supernatural acursed babies who should be drowned in a car and driven into the sea.

    ILL people EXIST.

    It seems to me that in the hurry to poke holes in established psychiatry, admittedly easy to do, there has been a simplistic tendency to virtually say that psychiatry invented illness so illness does NOT exist, but also that psychistry made millions of people ill with bad treatment, so illness DOES exist, but ONLY the illness that psychiatry caused.

    There seems to be a new tendency to vet anyone who just wants to say…

    “I am ill for my own reasons and I need help”.

    If the ill are not allowed to be ill for their OWN REASONS then I class that as bullying.

    It is not so terribly different from the bullying that established psychiatry meted out when it said…

    “You can only be ill for documented reasons of other people’s choosing”.

    When one extreme paradigm is at loggerheads with another paradigm, as happens all the time, it pushes that other paradigm to become equally narrow and extreme. Why any “side” becomes narrow and extreme is because of a world weary need to rush to victory. Utopia must be seized before anyone else gets there and destroys it. But in that rush there grows intolerance towards voices that are of subtle difference, or nuanced, or balanced, or philosophical complexity. Variability comes over as irritating complexity. Complexity is deemed superfluous baggage, luggage too cumbersome and self indulgent to squeeze in any room for. Complexity is deemed to slow down the caravan trek to victory. Complexity is too costly a consideration in the stampede to utopian communal paradise. But without any consideration of variability or complexity or nuanced voices there is only a slapdash attempt at encouraging BALANCE, and so the paradise being fought over becomes increasingly imbalanced and exclusive and demanding of a simplistic stock narrative. It may even become the extreme it was wanting to remove.

    Luckily MIA does not want that. MIA welcomes open discussion from a variety of commenters. No matter how outrageous any commenters may seem to others in their complexity of opinion. MIA must continue to welcome BALANCE even at the cost of victory….


    Balance is the one thing established psychiatry could not brave. Instead established psychiatry opted for a simple solution each time. An extreme take on illness. It hurriedly pushed for victory, with an ice cube pick.

    There is never going to be a simple solution to the thorny problem of what to do with real ill people.

    If any new paradigm of care starts sounding too irritated by nuance, or confounded by subtle complexity, or burdened by variability, I will know it does not put BALANCE front and centre of its treatment of the ill.

  • Does this mean people will stop saying that psychiatric medication causes schizophrenia?

    If we accept that antipsychotics do cause something disatrous to some peoples brains, that makes them feel symptoms they claim are just like schizophrenia, then presumably it is not actual real schizophrenia in antipsychotically modified people and so the antipsychotics maybe cause something else to peoples brains. Not schizophrenia.

    But the question I am pondering here is not that so much, it is this…

    If the meds do not cause real schizophrenia, but symptoms of severe mental illness that mimics psychosis of schizophrenia, with hallucinations and voices and delusions, then presumably whatever upsets the brain on a neurochemical level DOES MATTER. So presumably in some people who have such damage from antipsychotics, mucking up their dopamine or whatever, whatever, to the extent of feeling really unwell in their brain, it may NOT be trauma in THOSE rare cases.

    And if that is true, then perhaps schizophrenia IS brain related and not trauma related, it is just that the correct brain issue has not been understood properly yet.

    I am all for eradicating psychiatric myths and psychiatric bad treatments. I do however feel that my own schizophrenia, I am now talking only from my own lived experience here, is a real schizophrenia that is depedent on my brain. Somehow my brain is involved at a neurochemical, synaptic, hormonal level. Everyones brain does not come out of a factory!

    I think my brain, which is not anyone elses brain, is ill actually.

    It is ill maybe in the way a person with alcohol dependency with delirium tremens is ill, or a person with post partum baby blues feels ill, or even a person with premenstrual syndrome feels ill. These involve the brain. And although I may not know what causes my schizophrenia, my schizophrenia and nobody elses, it may well one day turn out to be either caused by my brain or influenced in someway in that way, as brain instability due to hormonal shifts that make the brain behave oddly. Nobody knows much about the presumed factory stock average brain, let alone unique individual brains. I feel we should respect the absolute mystery of all brains and leave everyone’s brain alone. There is no spare brain or a plan B brain or a brain transplant that you can opt for if medication or invasive bad treatment fouls things up. For that reason all experimenting on brains should stop.
    The brain is as delicate as a bomb. Tamper with it and the wreckage cannot be repaired. Being as it is a bomb, everyone’s brain should be left to be healed by more holistic ways. That is my view. However I am not the owner of anyone else and so each person should be free to choose what treatment they believe sustains them. I totally disagree with medicating children whose brains are not even developed into delicate bombs yet. They dont even get the chance to evolve that far.
    I am against bad treatment. I am against treating the brain. But I do not buy the idea that there is no such thing as a medication or non medication source of brain damage or brain disaster or brain disfunction, one that can bring on symptoms a bit like schizophrenia. If the disrupted antipsychotic awash brain can cause those symptoms then I do not feel it is implausible that the brain does have a bearing in schizophrenia. I have not found what aspect of my brain’s biology causes my schizophrenia, but perhaps it is just because science or some other mode of turning up gnosis, has not been searching for the subtleties. This is not a big deal. We have not discovered the answers to many other scientific enigmas.

    Being rude to someone who is experiencing actual brain disruption from where ever it may be emanating from, is like being rude to people who have brain disruption from antipsychotics that make them feel schizophrenic. It is intrinscally unhelpful to disregard one cohort of people who are suffering from hallucinations, voices and delusions, and only lionizing the other cohort.
    BOTH need heard.

    The reason BOTH cohorts are in my humble opinion not being treating equally is because the group who got given symptoms of what is comparable to schizophrenia, maybe from dopamine chaos caused by antipsychotics, want to move away from that which they think has caused their illness, such as the brain, as in tampering with the brain, so they want to get as far away from the brain as possible, to the extent of never even wanting to mention that “b” word. And because they feel lumbered with a sort of similar to schizophrenia thing that they did not ask for, they want to get far away from the schizophrenia word too. But some people with real schizophrenia that was not their fault either and was categorically not caused by trauma and was not caused by antipsychotics, people who genuinely feel ill, and ill in their brain, a place that keeps giving them the same type of hallucinations, voices and delusions, that those brain damaged by antipsychotics experience, are real people with real schizophrenia who ALSO need help.

    In a world of scant resources where EVERYONE needs help, everyone is diverging into antagonistic splinter groups and schisms.

    I forsee a future where NOBODY will get the care they need.
    With everyone disrespecting anyone in a different faction, with apparently opposing opinions, increasing fragmentation of a once unified protest will occur, and by each group delegitimating other groups who have different, not competing, needs, the overarching “powers that be” will also join in delegitimizing each group, since the process of downplaying any illness will be in full swing, demolishing the lived experience of many different groups will be a form of self sabotage from within that once unified whole. And so one by one those groups will be pushed aside without those overarching “powers that be” even having to bother ever again lifting a lethargic health care finger to the money purse. The groups all getting lost in infighting over finicky word choices will dismantle the potency of the protest from within. Such that the groups will wind up mothballing their own claim to necessary funding.
    Those “powers that be” can just say…
    Schizophrenia doesnt exist.
    Bipolar disorder doesnt exist.
    Post partum blues dont exist.
    Work related stress doesnt exit.
    Eating disorders dont exist.
    Alcoholic addiction doesnt exist.
    Drug addiction doesnt exist.
    Major depression doesnt exist.
    etc etc etc.

    Oh, but that doesnt matter. The community will exist. But I dont yet see the community coming to change my neighbour’s shitty diapers inbetween listening to a few new bands or eating ice creams at the beach. Where I reside, I heard a statistic that a whole soccer stadium can be filled with people with Altzheimers. Probably that many could be schizophrenia sufferers. Or how about filling the stadium with people whose brains have been disrupted chemically by antipsychotics and who are living in the same abject misery as people with similar hallucinations, voices and delusions as in real schizophrenia?

    All I know is the “brain” is frightening to some to discuss because it is like you might be hypnotized into thinking therein lies the problem and nowhere else. Nobody wants to go skipping down the hill of bad choices and bad treatment and bad psychiatry, indeed perhaps for many the idea of any psychiatry at all.

    I will not let any psychiatric abuse capture vocabulary in a literal sense, to the point I dare not use words that acknowledge having a brain, or that sometimes it feels disrupted. I am the authority on me. I give myself the freedom to say how I feel, without my liberty to speak causing something like the fetching forth of an injection. I celebrate the complex beautiful mystery that my brain is to me. Any abuse takes away the right I have to own my own body or even refer to it, in any way that, I, as an individual choose. And so as an emancipated individual I take my language back, all the words I wish.

    I try to focus only ever on the phenomena of bad treatment. If I ban ever having what I as an individual regards as bad treatment then all words are mine to reclaim or do with what I choose. For words alone fo NOT CAUSE bad treatment. By the time I think my mere words cause bad treatment, I have bought the imposition of bad treatment already. In the same way a badly treated little boy may be taught that mentioning his foot is why he got punished.
    It may take him years to reclaim the word foot. His foot. He is allowed to have a foot and not expect bad treatment for having it.

    We are all allowed to have a brain without expecting bad treatment.

    When someone with schizophrenia says their brain feels ill, they do not do so to illicit bad treatment. They are looking for condolences for enduring a living hell.

    Their mention of their hell does NOT deserve or illicit or invite bad treatment.

    When an individual person with schizophrenia mentions their brain it does not mean bad treatment to others. Any more than a person mentioning premenstrual syndrome invokes bad treatment to others.

    The person with schizophrenia may decide their bogus bad treatment is great for them, and this might solidify a system where bad treatment becomes normalized. I think most people with schizophrenia are not thick. They know bad treatment when they see it. They may be lied to by the purveyors of bad treatment. They may have had little alternative but to buy the lie and hope for the hopeless best. As everyone on the planet did with Prozac. But that does not mean they wanted bad treatment. For them or anyone else.

    My own theory is derived from a book called “The Private Life of The Brain”, by Dr Susan Greenfield. She has evidence of discernible differences in the rather aurora borealis hoops of brain waves that do an invisible disco in the brain. These are not chemicals but orchestrations by beautifully synchronized waves, collaboratively responding to external stimuli. She seems to suggest that the waves in people with schizophrenia are similar to those of children. I think what she may mean is the butterfly brain attention span. I suspect that her study may be picking up on control groups who are medicated on antipsychotics. But clearly the waves in all our brains are as important, if not more so, than the crude natural brain neurochemicals. That is why I think the cause of real schizophrenia may be as subtle as a form of light.

    (This is garbled but Im doing something else just now. Should be! And so I have not the time or inclination to spellcheck it.)

    (And before I go, these are just MY stray responses to this article and its brilliant author. I am not up for arguing, sparring, or feisty debate. Go away if that’s what you want.)

  • The woman on the bus was shouting and yelling at unseen hallucinations. It was a crowded bus and she began attacking strangers verbally. I rather liked her soprano. I felt she was psychotic. Ill. Like someone in a fever. But I too was hallucinating on the same bus. Not badly but enough to make me unable to be the rescuer that night. I kept hoping someone else would take out their phone and do something practical but everyone seemed only interested in getting home. I felt no inclination to see that her journey made an eliptical detour to the psychiatric hospital. I knew they would ram her full of antipsychotics. I did not want that for her. But even though I settled on that thought I realized I had no moral right to be her health decider. I felt irritated at being in that predicament, as well as concerned.
    Suddenly it was her stop. Or was it? Where the hell was she going? I watched the blizzard outside the bus doors. She had zero protection against the cold. Her many bursting plastic bags hung around her ankles like the trip wires of scolded, abandoned children. The snow enveloped her curses like a matron receiving her body with white towels. I knew the area she disembarked in was creepy. She was a woman all alone in a white out, and completely out of her mind. She was maybe going to be made warm by a stranger who might add to her bundles, nine months and an adoption agency later.

    I was on a bus, hallucinating and feeling awful. Feeling like I needed help. Nobody else on the bus budged or wiped condensation from the window to see where she had gone.

    The indifference of the passengers, “the community”, did sweet nothing to help her. The temperature outside must have been minus fifteen.

    I ran off the bus to trudge through the snow and find her but I could not see her anywhere.

    I won’t say what I did after that. Getting her to a place of safety and warmth and food was probably going to incur psych drugs. And leaving her drug free and wandering her cottony way into hypothermia, with pehaps the nightmare of rape and possible pregnancy was not ideal either. And taking her home to my place after running through snow drifts to find her in the dead of night was not what I wanted to be doing whilst I was myself hallucinating. I began to cry in the snow. Crying is good. It is about all you can do in regard to schizophrenia.

    She can withdraw from drugs six months or a year later. She cannot withdraw from a caesarean section and a lifetime of wondering if her baby is crying for her. And she cannot withdraw from being dead in a blizzard.

    Yes, some people would prefer the ice to the blister pack and that bargain for a warm bed, but whose choice is that to make if someone is so out of whack they decide to jump in a frozen lake whilst they think its a bouncy inflatable moonlit castle?

    A friend gave birth to a lovely newborn boy. Bipolar psychosis hitched a ride on post partum hormone rages. Do you know what she did a week later? She deliberately dropped the newborn from chest height onto the hard road.

    Was that just distress? Maybe it is fair to say that most people in just distress should be left to fend for themselves. But it seems to me that in severe illness of a very psychotic sort there is not just distress but actual life threatening behaviour. For the ill and for their dependents. I have an inkling that the friend became pregnant at a time when she was not making much sense of her world. She was maybe like the bus lady.

    It is all good and well to end bad treatment and even bulldoze psychiatry but I guarantee that something more than an affable shrug and a pat on the back will be needed by quite a few who cannot tell the difference between a baby and a bad dream.

    I know you care passionately and I am with you on your reluctance to make matters worse. It can be more heroic in life to stop meddling in other peoples lives and walk away. So I acknowledge your decency in assessing what felt best. And I am glad you bring up this chasm between traditional psychiatric care and the community that does not seem able to shuffle off a bus.

  • Good stuff, Bravo!!!

    But as I pick choice morsels of this article out from my teeth I find one or two do not dissolve.

    The article suggests that the mind is not an organ, it is a function.

    I dont know what my mind is. I dont know if it is a particle in my brain, or is a form of electricity interwoven so much inside my brain that it is my brain, or is a movie projected from vast distances across time and space like films are zapped by balletic satelites onto a television screen, to the extent there may be a difference between my mind and my brain, or whether mind, which is maybe consciousness, is something in my brain on a subatomic level that we lack scientific scope to see. My mind does get sick. Everyone elses mind may not. I often say that I am going out of my mind. And what do we mean by the word sick? And who gets to decide who is sick? And who gets to decide who cannot possibly be sick? A child may point to a knee to say he or she feels upset about not getting a helium baloon. A child may point to a helium baloon and say it is terrible because their knee is bruised. Externals get blamed for our feeling sick. Bits of our body get blamed for our feeling sick. It is each persons free choice to tell others how sick they themselves feel and which parts of their body or brain or mind or external environment feels sick to them uniquely.

    Scientists have not any clue what my mind is. They cannot tell me where it is. Is it here in my brain or in my knee or in a helium baloon or beaming to me from a vast distance away through the pillowy fabric of spacetime?

    I dont want to be in any society that insists on telling me what my mind is and where it is and where it is not. That’s my job! As the owner of my very own mind I get to enjoy the perk of announcing to friends and family that indeed I do have a mind, though not all of the time, and that it runs circles around me like a dizzy ferret and that sometimes it becomes my brain and sometimes it does not.

    Even Einstein could not figure out what the mind is. So if you cannot figure out what something is, can you say with certainty where it begins and ends, or where it is located or embedded? Some people read minds. Does that mean their mind is like a fizzy headache pill errupting in a glass of water with someone elses fizzy headache pill, or mind? And in such as way as by merging in a froth the two minds become one mind? Maybe if minds can dilute and merge together my mind is often in your mind. Maybe it is capitalist to think one’s own mind is like a little palace with a lock and key. But it would be unpleasant to think one’s mind “had to” merge with group consciousness.

    The article suggests that hundreds of thousands of years ago there were strong social bonds. This reminds me of a book by an author who mooted that Art was started by people with schizophrenia. Cave art would have needed an isolationist to trudge away from the chattering camp and pick up a clod of earth to paint what other minds could only glaze over in awe at. Cave art, the bisons and gazelles, was a retreat started by the lonely marginalized schizophrenic individual, probably with a mind grown weary of talk. That was the author’s theory.

    As a former professional archaeologist, at one point in my life, I suspect my archaological colleagues would be for saying that the notion that early societies were egalitarian is not accurate for many of those hundreds of thousands of years. I think “society” is the last thing you want if egalitarianism is what you seek. Rigid structures like “a society” go against an individual’s freedom of choice. We build society to protect the vulnerable but that society then becomes a power that feeds off the vulnerable. But we must ask why was anyone vulnerable in the first place? Such that “a society” needed built up. It will have been because one or two members in a small tribe became bullies. So what starts the apparent necessity for “a society” is a bunch of bullies not being dealt with.

    The article suggests that the elders way back in the mists of time would not tolerate arrogance and boasting. This arrogance and boasting is different to actual destructive bullying that directly harms another, as in bruising them. Arrogance and boasting are as much an individual’s free choice as meekness and modesty are free choices. Just because a person is arrogant or boastful does not mean they should be locked up. See the documentaries of tribes in Namibia. The women are outstandingly and healingly proud and boastful, and the men are sumptuously arrogant. Humans loving themselves and peacock stutting is natural. As natural as a lion or a bird of paradise is arrogant and boastful. Arrogance and boasting do not equate to actual bullying. As for the notion that elders ridicule and humilate. I just do not see why a tribes person, elder or not, would come over “the factory boss” and bother wasting a vital day, a day of good light that could be enjoyed hunting and gathering. Why would such a hunter and gatherer waste a moment on ridiculing and humiliating some other person’s free choice to have the distinctly “different” unique characteristics they choose to have. The article seems to be superimposing a western neutotic, over focus on “the personality” onto ancient untainted humans. It is “the personality” that experiences ridicule and humiliation mostly. The leg doesn’t. The arm doesn’t. But from anthropological and archaeological understanding much of westen personality is in fact the enshrining of ego. Ego can be exhaulted. Ego can be demolished. But many tribes such as live close to nature swap bothering with the encumerance of ego and personality and instead wed to nature and become part of nature. That is not the same thing as becoming part of “society”. Nature is not “society”. Nature is a lot more tolerant of who you intrinsically are. Nature is a better bride or groom than “society”. If you visited and tried to ridicule a person in a tribe they would mostly not know what you were trying to wound about them nor why. They would most likely find your intellectual attempt to floor their “ego” a complete waste of time, and weird.

    There is only one area where most ancient tribes do put a limit on others in the tribe and that is in banning child abuse.

    The article goes on to suggest that psychology has been extracting the individual from society. Does this imply that the individual therefore…
    “has to”….
    be part of “society”? What if the individual wants to be left alone to do lovely cave paintings? What if the individual despises that behemoth called “society”? When a newborn is pushed out into the start of its life journey does it get told, or perish the thought even ordered, to be not its own unique one of a kind self but “a society”?

    The article seems to suggest also that only the poor suffer from hyper arousal and heart attacks. The body is not the monopoly of one sort of human being. The body is just as susceptible to impairment in all other sorts of human beings. All humans suffer hyperarousal and panic and depression and heart attacks, even surgeons who are filthy rich. Indeed such careers predispose to suicide and alcoholism. The body does not belong to the poor. The body does not belong to the rich. The body does not belong to the politically left or right. The body does not belong to the this sector of the population or that sector. The body is your body. Nobody else has your body. The body is something unique to each owner of their own body. The body, as an emotive symbol often debated over, is for all eight and a half billion human beings.

    Otherwise, the article is a peach.

  • It is all in the notion of rising above the two camps, where the one camp says…
    “I am ill and I want this be called my schizophrenia”
    and the other camp says…
    “I am not ill so do not call me anything”.
    Both camps have every right to be respected.
    Both camps have every right not to feel bullied or ridiculed or coerced into thinking they are wrong to want what they like.
    The world is VAST.
    It is perfectly fine for one person who feels ill and wants to call themselves schizophrenic to sit in a cafe with someone who is not feeling they themselves are ill.

    When each person on the planet can say their own preferences without being hounded for it in any place then the planet is back to normal. When even one person on the planet is frightened to air their preferences then the planet is not normal, it is infected with a contageon called bullying. A bully can stop someone who feels ill and who wants to name their illness. A bully can stop someone who does not feel ill and does not want a name for the illness they feel they do not have.
    A bully can be someone with personal lived experience of the illness. A bully can be a friend or colleague of someone with experience of the illness but they themselves may not know the illness from the interior. A bully can be someone with absolutely no experience of the illness. Just as a bully can be someone with lived experience of being black. A bully can be a friend or colleague of a black person but with no experience themselves of being black. A bully can be someone with absolutely no experierience of what it is like to be black. Or a migrant. Or a man. Or a homeless person. Or a woman.

    The key is the bullying. If you start by commiting to not bullying and not accepting being bullied, you set the planet on a path to normal. Bullying is NOT NORMAL.
    That is what makes the observance of bullying integral to ANY health restoration. Bullying is deeply important. Bullying is overlooked as if it is other things like…
    .logical argument.
    .for your own good.
    .just the way the system is.
    .defining you for effeciency.
    .putting you in your place.
    .part of what needs to occur to overthrow another group.
    .scientific assessment.
    .testing your allegience to a group.
    .shape your character.
    .make you sorry you are different.

    A bully often becomes a bully because that is all they know. A bully may have had their choices and preferences bullied out of them so they dont see why you should indulge in your own free choices. Bullying is endemic and causes suffering. Power is not the same thing as bullying. A nurse on a cancer ward can heal hundreds by using his power to make them better. Power is neutral force. But when power is lined up with bullying a form of tyranny can kick off.

    A psychiatrist is in a postion of power, much like the nurse. The psychiatrist may not be a bully.

    Alternatively a psychiatrist may take their power and slot it next to a tendency to bully and become a source of suffering to others. It is not that they have power, nor that they are a bully, but the combination. A two year old can be a bully in rare occasions but they are not in a position of power.
    In psychiatry the innordinate amounts of unchecked power have become a problem. And bullying has become a problem in that work.

    A therapist has less power. So even if a therapist were to be a bully it is not quite so catastrophic. A therapist will tend to ask you what you as an individual prefer as choices. Do you want to be known as someone with schizophrenia or not? If you say yes then there is no problem with honouring your free choice. The therapist is not pontificating over your choices. If you want to know yourself as a seahorse or a levetating time machine then that is fine. This is civilized. This is not bullying. This is not power.

    But in ANY relationship bullying and power will be beneath the surface on both sides of a discussion. Paying more attention to those is useful since the ability to notice bullying holds the promise of freedom from fear, since bullying is a fear response, a fear connected to an inability to “control” the mind of the other. A fear of letting go.

    A healthy debate welcomes many views and differences and tolerates outsiders. A system like psychiatry has not been welcoming. A bully cannot bear to be welcoming because they feel too much fear. A bully shuts down broad discussion and narrows the paradigm to only accepting a rigid standpoint. This then excludes anyone who cannot fit in the paradigm. When someone different tries to belong, they get sidelined and given a narrow definition…like trouble maker, or agitator, or slow learner, or enemy, or schizophrenic, or ADHD kid, or seahorse. None of these given descriptions may be wanted. Or maybe for some they actually are. The point is not the description. The point is do you like it or not. If you do not then do not accept being bullied into having it.
    I myself am not traumatized. I am not depressed. I am not hypnotized by psychiatry. I am not well. I am ill.I do not have a personality disorder. I am not a trouble maker. I am not a slow learner.

    I am suffering greatly from my schizophrenia. It may have been called a different thing in ancient history but this is what it is to me.

    What schizophrenia can be called is a distraction away from the urgent matter of how any one person feels entitled to bully.

    If humanity stops ALL FORMS OF BULLYING by anyone, for any reason, then it is the answer to EVERYONES prayers.

    Imagine you want to go to Nepal. But some tour guide says that you must not go to old temple shrine because its toxic, and you must not visit the lofty peak because it is not lofty at all, and you must not shine a torch on the moonlit river to see the fish because everyone knows the fish dont exist, and you must not eat the exotic food because doing so means you are oppressing someone, and you better not smell the flowers because those flowers are requiring renamed.

    Imagine Nepal is a holiday that is your own experience of your own illness.

    You have not asked for an intrusive tour guide.

    That tour guide might be a psychiatrist. Or that tour guide might be a school teacher. Or that tour guide might be a parent. Or that tour guide might be a therapist. Or that tour guide might be a friend.

    It is okay to give advice. Advice is not bullying. Advice does not come from place of fear. Everyone needs advice.

    There is a difference between advice given to someone’s Nepal experience and bullying them to see only in one particular way.

    There is a difference between advice given about an experience of illness and bullying someone elses experience of illness.

    Nobody should be bullying someone who feels they do have an illness. And nobody should be bullying someone who feels they do not.

    Most of the world are not casualties of events so much as they are casualties of intimate moments of cruel bullying. Bullying driven by unrecognized fear of relinquishing control of other peoples freedom of choice. Your freedom of choice. My freedom of choice.

    You have a right to your freedom of choice. And I have a right to my freedom of choice. We are like two kids with a play box. I have a right to choose this schizophrenia toy for myself, and you have a right to choose your holistic approach toy or whatever you like for you.

    To foster a world where that is not possible is to invite a world where if an individual chooses a trauma toy another individual can bully them to put that down.

    Respecting the individual is like respecting a moon rock as being utterly unique. It is not about adhering to an abstract idea of what respect should perform like. For any performance at respect, like in the Power Threat Meaning schools of paradigms, is merely doing a charade of respecting an individual. It is like going to a restaurant and getting served not what you uniquely like but getting served the best of the latest paradigm of respectableness. As if you are a widget in a paradigm. A cog. This has nothing to do with listening to you the individual.

    I have said before that ideally psychiatry or any form caring service should not be a big behemoth but broken into islands that cater more for individual preferences. This would guard against bullying. A person with a selection of tour guides need not stick with the one who keeps telling them how to view everything.

  • Dear Robert,

    Here is a quote from a very good article on MIA this week, titled “Antidepressant Effects on Serotonin, Plateau at the Minimum Recommended Dose”.

    (The researchers write that “approximately half of the patients stopping or reducing the dose of antidepressants experience withdrawal symptoms, which, among others, may include flu-like symptoms, anxiety, emotional lability, lowering of mood, and irritability.”)

    In reference to my previous comment, quite a number of children may have been on antidepressants and may be experiencing withdrawal panic attacks without being aware this is what it could be. Such daily anxiety for no external reason may cause them to think their body discomfort is to do with not liking their body. Prozac seemed to promise the allure of popularity by instilling a sunny disposition. Masses of populations went on them drugs without hesitation. There is probably not a person anywhere who did not suggest that elixir to friends and strangers. It was “the answer” to life’s nightmare of loneliness, abandonment, bullying, stress, trauma. Everyone offered “that answer” with near religious conviction and fanaticism. Take the pill and “be saved”. I have nothing against grown ups doing as they wish to their physical bodies and I believe some, indeed many, really are saved by that. But children are not grown ups.

    I do think the notion of “mental illness” can be used to corral someone and deprive them of their rights. But I also think that I need the definition of mental illness to help me understand when I am actually sick. There does need to be parents of small children. Why? Because children may run into oncoming traffic or swallow a bottle of perfume or make a sandwich of prozac. Some might say parents are the worst thing for children. Half the worlds parents are traumatizing their children and some are feeding them prozac in their school lunch boxes. That may be true. But just because society has gone to the dogs doesnt mean we chuck out all the ordinary and blatantly obvious ethical principles that have kept humanity going since the dawn of time. Children need protected from those who would bully their free choices, yes, but they sometimes need protected from their own rash choices while they are immature. And occasionally those rash choices must be called “ill” choices. Ill as in not feeling that great. Ill as in sick of life. Ill as in sick enough to not see any positives. A child who is ill may need parental care, even some form of compassionate medical care. But equally a child who is ill may need protected from such medical “answers”. Both can be true. If one dispenses with one of these truths it leaves the child open to abuse.

    There has been a gradual exhalting of the primacy of the child. This is due to psychoanalysis uncovering the importance of early nurturing. But this has been in lockstep with the degrading of what it means to be an adult. Fifty years ago nobody wanted to be a child. Everyone could not wait to be mature, have a spouse, a car, a lifelong career. That has reversed. Adults now dress like children, talk like children, have tantrums like children, want every toy life has to offer, like children. And alarmingly more are such children that they want to exploit actual children. Meanwhile actual children are fed up being children and do not see an adulthood to aspire to. So they become fractious, uncontrollable, unhappy, children who see childhood as a lie and a trap and a feeding ground for disturbed adults. So these actual children still want the childhood they are never getting.

    The term mental illness is useful to draw a boundary between well-being and ill-being. Yet whatever is useful, like a sports car or a barrel of whiskey or scalpel, can be used with wrongful intent.

    Why are adults so reluctant to be mature? In nature animals like maturity.

    Why is the media these days awash with sexuality? This is to the extent that children are indoctrinated into it before they can climb the pedestal to the toilet.

    I fear that what is coming is a time where children will say their self destruction is not “ill” or “sick” behaviour but justified responses to all manner of grievances. Oh I do not mean that an outsider looks on as a child does someting odd and goes…
    “Gosh that seems an unwell thing to do”.

    I mean it that the child themselves will have no way of knowing for themselves that what they are doing is a “not well” thing to do.
    All over the planet little girls are given FGM “surgery” in back rooms by aunts and cousins and many of those children do not have a knowing that what has happened to them is a mentally ill act done by a mentally ill adult. The children blithely think it is routine. The boundary between parent and child is missing. The boundary between well ways and sick ways is missing.

    No mature animal does FGM on its offspring. Animal instincts about what constitutes a child and what constitutes a mature adult are being eroded in humans.

    There does need to be boundaries.

    But all this vogue for trauma sensitivity whilst noble and healing seems to have a weak point where a predatory human adult who dresses as a child can do what he likes since to stop him might traumatize him, and a child can go for a spin in his car since to stop her might traumatize her.

    I honour all you do. I want you to continue to push for a better world that prioritizes trauma and downplays mental illness. But I think there are going to be areas in the future where it wont be simple.

    However, I think what MIA strives mostly for is not in fact trauma focussed care…

    but love.

    The pursuit of a loving world.

    But love is not logic. Love is illogical. No dad collects his kid from school from logic. Love is intuitive and instinctual and feeling and natural and knowing on a deeper level.

    (I must close now because my psychosis spectral being is telling me to…)

  • Dear Robert,
    The link I provide here is of a channel on youtube created by a woman who sort of reminds me of your good self. You may need to view a couple of her videos to get a sense of her soft spoken methodical gift. I see a number of subtle parallels between the mass promotion of psychiatric drug treatments and surgical treatments for children with gender dysphoria. I am not sure “treatment” is the right word in either scenario. Selling bliss has always been a form of marketing death.

    You are a pioneer of informed consent. Most drugs are woefully experimental. As so it seems with experimental surgeries. A lot of children who are given drugs, or surgery, cannot possibly consent in any real sense.

    It is an interesting channel to binge watch. The similarities are astonishing to see. It raises issues of medical malpractice. This is dear to your own campaigning. The woman on the channel is a brave whistleblower. Like you, she appraises the data. The link is at the foot of this comment.

  • What a touching biographical piece.

    Sometimes I feel like a food refuser. The articles in MIA are predominantly the perspectives of the healed who have come to an epiphany about how wrong for them their diagnosis was and how wrong for them their bad treatment was. I too am against bad treatment. And once upon a time I was against diagnosis. I was in my early twenties and had been through the mill with depression, anxiety and suicidality. I adhered to the medical model view for years but did an abrupt turn of opinion when I instinctively felt it was not a positive way of regarding myself. I became determined to nail a mantra to my psyche. It said there was nothing wrong with me. I even promoted this good attitude to others. And anytime I met someone with a speck of medical model tragic self pity about their diagnosis I would spit tacks at them for their stupidly believing in all that DSM medical model hogwash. I pulled myself up from the bootstraps and repeated dreamily, in a Dorothy Wizard of Oz style, that there was nothing stopping me being okay, or going home, home to the place within where there is nothing wrong with me.

    But it did not last for me. Schizophrenia arrived.

    I am not how you put it…”we who are well, not disordered”. I am not that “we”. I am me and I am sick.

    I was thinking an hour ago that as toddlers we are taught to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others, and be empathetic in society’s idea of empathy. So we are taught to read faces for any clues of annoyance. But it gets worse. We are taught to be mindful, or mind-full, of “the other person’s mind”, to detect “their” unhappiness at us. So as adults, for many hours of the day we mentally listen to any “imagined” signs we might convince ourselves are real signs, that the other person hates us. How we monotor “them” is by sensing when they might begin to “go off” liking us.

    From this it becomes essential to secure their liking us and read signs that they do like us. But from there comes a tendency to equate their liking us with “being us”, or being just like we are, and liking all we like, and liking our exact same politics and philosophy and activism and visions and ideas and best jokes. If they mimic us and our choices then they do not hate us and we are safe.

    But it is as toddlers would view it. If the people in society like our dolls and action men and toy trucks and spinning tops then everything is well in the world, we think. If they like our blog or comment or book or tee shirt. All of this is going on as an imagination reality, a ponder about the “them” who either like us or hate us. The actual real person on the receiving end, who seems to like or hate us, may be impartial and even indifferent. But we dont know they are indifferent. All we know is that in order to stop them hating us we need to convince them not just to like us, but demonstrate that like by becoming who we are. And if they dont want to be us, if they just want to be who they are, we may assume their refusal to be us “is” a sign of them hating us. What then occurs is a pitched battle to bully them into being more like us, and if they protest at being bullied into being us, flag that up as proof of them being deliberately hateful, for not liking being us. The hateful get punished for being “all wrong”. They are not at this stage in the game deemed “all wrong” for having different politics or weird philosophy or crazy clothes, but are deemed “all wrong” for being deliberately hateful, hatefully not us. And this allows us to “hate them back”, exept there us no “back”, since they did not hate us to begin with, they were indifferent and just doing their own thing.

    So what starts out as a toddler learning to be empathetic by reading the minds of others twenty four seven, soon decends into hate at them hatefully not being like us. Empathy can lead to hate if not allowed to be natural inborn empathy. Societal taught faux enforced empathy is a ticket to no empathy. It is a ticket to having to be paranoid all day long in rumination after rumination about what the other, in the queue, or in the wedding party, or in the comments sections, is up to.

    Why am I saying this?

    I have read more articles from the “bin the diagnosis” segment than the other group. And let us not forget, I have been a loyalist of both groups. I can see where the binners are coming from and how much the stance of viewing the medical model as hogwash is healing and positive and wonderfully freeing. But I can also see where the other camp are coming from, in their view that they feel really ill and just having a positive attitude is not going to mend that godforsaken abysmal truth. For some yes. For some no.

    Why is it that there are such heated emotions around committing to one camp or the other. As in an “either/or” gesture of faithfulness? I think some of it goes back to this notion of insisting an individual ought to be like me or that means that individual obviously hates what I stand for, which really means they must just hate me. Which means they must be an enemy. In a toddler worldview.

    Yet it seems urgent that “both” camps reconcile their different likes just enough to be of one family.

    The best way to do so is to say to one’s inner toddler…

    “You are lovely as you are”.

    “You are not wrong for you”.

    “Your choice is the best choice for you”.

    “You do not know the inner mind of the other, who has different likes”.

    “You really do not have to know their mind”.

    “You do not have to be empathic to stop someome being loveless towards you”

    “Nor do you have to hate them for not being you”

    “Who they are is none of your business”.

    “Look after yourself”.

    “Love yourself”.

    “If your love of you is complete and entire you will not need the other to be you, or like all the things you like”.

    “If you love yourself this good then there wont be a problem since their uniqueness will be exciting”.

  • A Huge flood is coming.

    I am a prophet. I see the future. Anyone who can move to higher apartments or levels will be okay. Anyone who can react fast will also be okay. Plan a route. MIA should pack some boxes of archives and put it on a mountain. If it does not then some archives may be lost. The flood is not mega but will cause damage.

    I say this knowing that I know not when the huge flood will come but that it will. Maybe ten years from now. Maybe two years. Just prepare. Those who dont will stupidly take out their phones to take selfies of the interesting white line on the horizon. So do a flood drill. I predicted many things before with accuracy. But you dont have to believe me. You can call me mad. I dont care.

    Stigma is bestowed not to the crazy but to the crazy who have the audacity to be wise.
    It is an attempt to control competing forms of wisdom.

  • Back with a snack.

    Why people keep zoning in on schizophrenia is because it is the pillar upon which our modern understanding of out and out madness rests. Nobody does it better. As the Bond song goes

    Schizophrenia has become the scrap of coastal land that whole continents are fighting over. Every one needs a piece of schizophrenia-land turf upon which to build their new paradigm. People who have quite different debilitating conditions resent the upstart schizophrenia and want it bulldozed so it can be a featureless paen to acceptance. As if by getting rid of the problem of Palestine by demolishing it you accept the difference that was there, or as if acceptance is the very bulldozer, flattening over the peaks and troughs of difference, levelling out the out and out madness so that something else may grow there.

    People who help those with schizophrenia are marvellous. I love them. But some who help people with schizophrenia are in need. They want something from schizophrenia. They may want it to go away. Helping schizophrenia to change, or get better, or wear smarter clothes. Others want schizophrenia to be what they have. If their depression is a landscape nobody wants and nobody is fighting over. Some want schizophrenia to be a gold mine where pharmaceutial nuggets can make them filthy rich. Some want schizophrenia to be a cuddly toy, a soft teddy with cute staring button eyes, who can unite with everyone in a peace agreement hug.

    What few like is an articulate person with schizophrenia. Vocabulary and madness must not meet up in a clandestine tete a tete over a border wall. Vocabulary is for the workers. If a person can have both schizophrenia and big long words then no one is safe in their beds from coming down with a touch of madness. The person with schizophrenia must be viewed as eternally devoid of speech. Even needing outsiders to come in and rename them.

    As I say, I am not at all against people choosing to rename their condition. I just feel a global poll should be conducted that is impartial.

    “Are you experiencing stigma from the label schizophrenia?”

    “Name ten aspects you like about the term schizophrenia and ten aspects you do not”.

    What I mean is really ask the very people who have the term. And maybe avoid conflating it with the quite separate issue of stigma and the other quite separate issue of bad treatment.

    It is perfectly possible to be schizophrenic and expect, if not demand, good treatment.

    If we wait a hundred years for a hundred different kinds of stigma to be abolished from the planet first before we can sit down and expect “good treatment” then we have abolished the cosmetic at the expense of the needful. Good treatment should come to all those who are stigmatized, not in spite of the fact they are stigmatized, but because good treatment should be given regardless of whether a person is stigmatized or nae. And I dont think they should have to get rid of their distinguishing marks that make them eminently stigmatizable just to have them washed and dressed to receive good treatment.

    “Get rid of the “S” word because it stigmatizes you and we all care that you get looked after”.

    “Keep the “S” word and we will care for you and love you and give you good treatment, never bad”

    It may be that the guilt about not having given good treatment is being dressed up as an oversight to do with how the “S” word threw people off the people caring scent.

    Good treatment should happen immediately. It should not take a biblically long time with peace deals and land negotioations.

    I say all the above to no one in particular. Certainly I am broadly supportive of the aims of the authors. But using another land metaphor I think established psychiatry is JUST TOO BIG. Really it would be nice if it was broken up from its behmoth unified force and made into islands. An island for people who want trauma focused care. An island for more holistic care. An island for depression. An island for drug withdrawal. An island for old style psychiatry. An island for Soteria style. An island for people who dont want a diagnosis. And island for those who do.

    The hotel business is a vast collection of independant island hotels. There are some hotels I would love to be in and some I would not. Everyone has different tastes in creature comforts. And people evolve over time. An island hotel for my teenage years would have been right for me then but not now.

    I am.being told by my hallucinations to stop saying anything more. Its stop start stop start. All week I have been getting the voice in my head that says…

    “Well Done!!!”.

    I go to remove a shoe

    “Well Done!!!”.

    I brush my teeth

    “Well Done!!!”

    I think up how to recycle urine into a new type of electricity.

    “Well Done!!!”.

  • Dear authors,

    If you detected any annoyance in my comment it was in no way intended as such, nor was it personal. I think you raise an interesting debate. It is interesting. But…I feel it is a tangential issue of distracting less urgency than the need to save thousands of people by getting them off the meds. Some think that if you get rid of the diagnosis then that solves the problem. The person wont have a diagnosis to badly treat or badly medicate. But that would be like saying lets scrap the word covid so that no problems occur to anyone in society. Well I am sorry to say people will still die of covid, as the choked river Ganges has shown. Getting rid of a diagnosis does not get rid of an illness. The illness still lives on and debilitates people and needs taken seriously. I know you are not saying the illness does not exist. I admire you. You are both seeing it from all angles and are neutral and generous and clear minded.

    Psychiatry as an establishment, not you, is deeply embarrassed by its grave error of meting out bad treatment to people with schizophrenia. It is like how Thalidomide got given a new name.

    I would prefer psychiatry to not indulge in feeling embarrassed at all. Embarrassment achieves nothing. It has no place on an Emergency ward. That is where we are at right now. An Emergency. Because millions of people are dying on the medications and getting zero help to come off. THAT is the problem.
    I have just babysat a friend who decided by herself to quit Seroquel after being on it for decades. When I learned of her decision I made myself available night and day should she need to derive strength to soldier on with her withdrawal. Month after month I propped her up, calmed her down, cheered her on, reassured her all the nightmare panics would go in good time. All this while her nurse and psychiatrist were pressing antipsychotic pill packs in her hands, at days when she was pretty okay. She got to five months. I did not hear from her for some weeks. I called her last week. She looks suddenly obese. I asked if she was still off the drugs. She saud she got really freaked out one day and tried to get help. All professionals were not answering her calls. They were away at conferences. Maybe to think up a new name for baby. Maybe to “end the stigma”.

    Im sorry but I rather fear that NEGLECT is the problem. Not so much stigma. And now more neglect may be comimg because psychiatry cannot bear its abrupt change to being more like Emergency doctors helping people quit. They cannot bear it because they think they have to bow to pressure to make a religious act of confession and penance. But that assumption is lazy. In an Emergency there is no time to contemplate whose conscience fell asleep on the job. It is nothing to do with how psychiatry “feels” anymore, or how it can tinker at the marketing edges, as if schizophrenia if given a new brand name can be presented free from past taint. Really what matters is that psychiatry set up clinics e v e r y w h e r e to help people come off the crap. Then we can all decide what to name baby or what wallpaper makes baby sleep better. At the moment…


    My friend faced her nurse and psychiatrist last week and they both gave her a rebuke about even thinking of coming off meds. She was doing fine. Another month and Im sure she would have won through. At a crisis point in her withdrawal she had NOBODY to turn to of a proffessional capacity. They all seemed to be applauding her downfall because it absolved their guilt about what the dickens they are prescribing. There will be plenty more where that one came from. Plenty of withdrawal fails. Plenty of…

    “There see…she does need the meds!!!”

    Like a crystal meth addict needs their “meds”.

    I am not wanting any psychiatrist to feel any stupid embarrassment. It is delaying giving people proper immediate help, if they freely choose it, to quit. All the heroism in psychiatry and psychology seems to be on focussing overly much on “naming baby”.

    But, for god’s sake dont listen to me. Make your own free choices. Do what you believe is going to help. I am certain that what you are doing….


    and I want you to keep going. Keep marching forwards with your idea of what will make the lives of others feel better. I am sure thousands will bless you for working on this honourable endeavour. I sincerely mean this. I apologize for my wit. I just needed to air my concerns. I hope that is okay with you authors and you do not feel nipped at.

    Am I horrible?

    Please dont cry. I hate it when people cry. Here….tissues…glass of water…

    now I feel like a bad person…nihlistic….call the psychiatrist…

    ohwait…you are the…

  • Dear lovely psychiatrist and marvellous psychologist.

    It is like naming a metaphorical baby.

    I have a better idea. Ask each baby what they like to be called.

    I have schizophrenia. I like the name. Many do. Many more are okay with it. Used to it. And many loathe the name. Until there is a way where people can freely request what they want their illness to be written down as, we are not respecting anyone’s “freedom”. Please don’t hear me as being pointed. I am not. I am understanding your search to “make the world a better a place”. We are all feeling the call to pitch in.

    However, if I may add my personal perspective, I rather like stigma.

    The Early Christians were stigmatized. The Lustful were always stigmatized. The gay people were stigmatized. The unmarried mothers were stigmatized. The babies born out of wedlock were stigmatized. The pacifists always were stigmatized. The revolutionary were stigmatized. The obese were stigmatized. The Punk rockers were stigmatized. The Beat Poets were stigmatized. The Hippies were stigmatized. The Goths were stigmatized. Already a million more yet to be. Psychiatrists themselves may join this motley gathering really rather soon and maybe this is why some of them feel nervous about falling from grace. But one of my favourite Osho quotes was when he said that if he were given a choice to go to heaven or hell he would go to hell gladly, since all the interesting people would be there, the geniuses, the upstarts, the poets, the gurus, the artists, the libertines, the free. Who the hell would want to swap that crowded party for bland conventional heaven?

    I feel the attempt to tease my schizophrenia knowingness out of my hands is akin to a mass baptism. A sort of white nighty whitewash of the bad treatment the past decades did. But treatment is not the dis-ease. Treatment from a violent spouse is not the partner.

    I worry that some parts of psychiatry are in a hurry to absolve themselves of the legacy of bad treatment by “honouring” that something did go horribly wrong with the care of schizophrenics, but rather than just put it down to inept or bad treatment some seem to want to speed over that discussion with a polite cough and point the finger of blame at the alphabetical arrangement of letters that spell the word “schizophrenia”, as if the word is at fault for the bad treatment.

    As if a violent spouse has decided that his partner should change her name from Joan to Barbara, a much nicer name.

    So, there seems a prevailing assumption at this time that everyone is in a rush to not be stigmatized. As if everyone wants welcomed in the bosom of the church. What I am wondering is that if someone with schizophrenia dares to refuse to be converted into the new orthodoxy, what then?

    “They get stigmatized for just wanting to carry on calling themselves schizophrenic?”

    I’m feeling woozy with my own comment. Its gone a bit box within a box. But I dont mind. Its more interesting.

    I like my “schizophrenia” word to sound as it does. It is a crucifying illness. I dont want it called a fluffy evangeligally air brushed name. Any more than someone with PTSD would want their word changed to “rough day disorder”.

    … BUT

    I do understand that many people who have schizophrenia do not like the word schizophrenia and would like a rebranding. They should be free to choose. And so should I. The world is a huge place. There is enough room in it for the schizophrenics from both sides of this debate to co-exist harmoniously and respectfully. It is up to some new innovative kind of psychiatric establishment to find a way to let such freedom of choice flourish.

    Back to stigma. I sense it has become used as a poster to galvanize moves that seem to be about entirely different things.

    I am okay about the fact some people feel jittery around my schizophrenic diagnosis. I may not if I was not of an independent temperament. If I was a cuddly people person who might fret that someone was jumping to conclusions about me. So I am often oblivious if stigma is in the air, as would be a leather clad biker. I like being treated different. Because I am different. Because in the long epic history of the multiverse there has only been, and only ever shall be, one me. And the same applies to you. But many people derive comfort from being cuddled and all thought all the same. And so stigma matters more to them. They find it appalling. To be separated from the tribe. But I am more poetic or artistic. I need to observe at a distance. I even need to long. Stigma, which is separation, links to longing. And longing links to passion. And passion links to art.

    It is not that I have a sign on my back. I crave acceptance and so stigma can run against that. But I dont want heaven’s bland acceptance, which would disolve me in a white baptismal nighty. I want the acceptance I want, not what some study or paper wants for me.

    (I have to stop writing now because my schizophrenia is saying to keep hush hush. I tend to say too much(.

  • I agree 100%.

    The antipsychotics are damaging many people, in my opinion. Though some do find them useful in the short term. I myself am thinking of selling my leftover pills to any countries that use bio weapons, so they can immobilize huge populations by giving them obesity in a matter of weeks. The funds could ostensibly pay for my dementia care. Jokes aside…

    I think no pill is a good pill.

    However, I am not in agreement with the notion that there is no such thing as mental illness.

    “The ill have a right to be ill!”

    If you have really awful depression you feel so dreadful that you tell people you “feel ill”. You are ill, ill, ill, with a sense of despair and hopelessness and distress. You feel too ill, ill, ill to want to live through another day.

    If someone who does not know the inner hellish experience of your mind then tells you you are not ill, how would you feel?

    You feel ill in your mind, which is to say, your mental compartment specifically. Your big toe is not ill. Your knee is not ill. Your heel is not ill. You are not phoning a suicide hotline to talk about your toe. Your mental self is what feels really ill. I do not think it is for anyone to judge the inner experience you have of your mind and whether it feels ill or not. And I do not think it is for anyone to judge causality of the “feeling ill” part unless that impression or advice is overtly asked for. A consultant is one who is c o n s u l t e d. A consultant should not be a dictator. The two words are different. It would be better to scrap the word consultant and replace it with
    a d v i s o r.

    Indeed scap the word activist and replace it with
    a d v i s o r.

    Indeed scap all the “know all” titles and replace them with the respectful term
    a d v i s o r.

    Titles lead to entitled. Entitled to proclaim who you are and who you are not, and entitled to proclaim what your psyche feels and what it does not.

    I am schizophrenic. I am not depressed. I am not in despair or hopeless. Yet I am ill. I feel ill. I understand perfectly what my ill feeling is. It is not my big toe. It is in my mental experiences. I am mentally ill with my schizophrenia. It is a real diagnosis that I make. I am a free person who can do so. No one can show me the bit of my mind or brain that does not have schizophrenia. Some might say it is coming from my big toe, just as some might tell someone who feels ill from depression that they need to clip their toe nail to feel better. Some may do so as a titled consultant. Some may do so as an activist. Some may do so with a genuine wish to offer advice, as in being an
    a d v i s o r.

    I am very much in favour of abolishing certain treatments that are clearly detrimental. The sooner the better.

    I am totally against the scandal of misdiagnosis and coercive treatment that have no merit and for which informed consent can only be dubious.

    I am totally against forced treatment.

    I am not going to say I do not have a mental illness.

    It gets as petty as when some people tell others they are born in the wrong body, some peole tell others they are not born in the wrong body. What I mean is Nobody needs ANYONE…

    “telling them”

    the interior of their own being.

    This is a bolder mega message that the movement should endorse.

    What seems to be going on instead is in the attempt to counter psychiatry by claiming everything in it is bogus, people are claiming that original reason why people went to get help from their psychiatrist is also a bogus reason, as if feeling ill with depression or suicidality or schizophrenic voices and hallucinations is bogus. It gets that you dare not say you are feeling ill with depression unless you “qualify” it by saying it got “given” to you by someone, such that it is no longer your depression at all but something done to you by a “them”, or that your mental illness is not yours at all. You no longer own your unique inner you, as if you no longer own your skin colour, or sex, or temperament. All these get carted of to be used by that regime or the next regime or the future regime.

  • Jack,
    Been really rushed but I just want to thank you Jack for sharing your views with gentleness. I appreciate it. And I fully agree. If you want someone to approach your mind with the respect and consideration you prefer then you must speak up about it for sure. I want what you want for your mind. It is your mind.

    I suppose I could playfully do a silly ping pong match with the exciting word “proof”. If I am in a strange railway train compartment and someone across the aisle looks sinister I think I would probably instantly want to see into her mind or his mind and come up with my own satisfying proof that the person was just on some heavy drug like crack. I think I always will surveil strangers for proof of equillibrium. I even called my own uncle nutty without knowing realistically what was going on in his mind. I had no proof. He might have been selecting my birthday present. I think everyone gets judgemental. Everyone thinks they have uncovered the proof that their spouse never loved them or their boss is deliberately sabotaging them. Humans are hard wired to police their environments for sabre toothed tigers by policing the minds of strangers and interlopers and sadly for some even their very own children. I am all for people backing off from being judges of other peoples minds….your mind…my mind. Of course some people come begging to be judged, because they are frightened of their mind and want it propnounced sane so they can rest easy about what might happen next. They want proof their mind is all gonna be okay. They may turn to doctors to reassure them. The reassurance of being policed by a friendly parent figure expert. But humans have been doing that for over 70, 000 years, through asking Shamans and witch doctors to peek into their mind and prove there is only little ol them in there and nobody else.

    I think the main issue is brutality. Are the meraphorical mind-police, who are anyone and everyone, in ones life a source of comfort or distress? Everyone’s mind is different. Everyone will probably feel differently about all of these things. I think a good thing highlighted in the article is a need to accept such differences of opinion without sneering at anyone elses unique experience, or mind. You have not sneered at me and so I chose to reply. You surprised me with your generosity.

    But I am not going to chat further since I have a lot to do and I am aware it does not really benefit me to get lured by articles to make comments that probably will not meet with general approval.

  • Lisa, I love your article. It is spot on, in my opinion.

    I do not know if you ever read my previous comments, and a quite pertinent recent one, which seems to be taking a fortnight to moderate, but I have been sensing this predicament also.

    I do not call myself impaired or disabled. I just call myself ILL.

    The ILL have a right to be ILL!

    I myself am really badly ILL. I care not what some other person says I should or should not call my illness, be they a friend or psychiatrist. Any other person could call anyone’s illness demonic possesson, or counter espionage, or syphilus, or quackery, or trickery, or fakery, or any word in the dictionary. Right now the whole world are saying women cannot call themselves women, and the whole world are saying lesbians cant call themselves lesbians, and gay men cannot call themselves gay men, and trans folk cannot call themselves what they prefer. It is mass bullying to tell another human being what they can and cannot call themselves. The only way out if it is for everyone on the planet to mind their business and stop prying into the words and freely chosen identities of anyone who is not their own solitary self.

    At some point you just have to cease listening to anything or anyone who is not you and does not have your unique illness, or condition, or politics or philosophy or sex or gender or way of being. But you are right. It means there can be no unifying solidarity. Who knows, maybe if there had been more flexibility in accepting differences of this kind then maybe the movement would have had more people join it and made more of a change, much faster.

    A group may stay small in order to weed out the gentle or the passive, since fierce activism often calls for a kind of radical puritanism about a particular ideology. The passive may be deemed too slow to effect change.

    But so does the smallness of a group.

    I will say no more for now. My words are unwelcome.

    Its funny sad but I was so fervent about belonging to this movement that I went out of my way to get tests done to see what years of dreadful medication has done to my brain. The results of multiple scans are back and show a lot of damage. I spent a great many years with my schizophrenia before I ever took psychiatric meds. I was schizophrenic before the pills. I am almost certainly doubly schizophrenic now, as can be seen by my new brain. It has horrible lumps in it. The lumps are probably called Abiliform and Rispercollosum and Quetiapistantia. I was ILL before them. Full of beaming solidarity I wanted to flag wave my results amongst my fellow psychiatric survivors at a venue I attend but I have to call my illness something else first…apparently.

    End of discussion.

  • I fully AGREE!
    It is TOTALLY absurd for ANYONE to proclaim that they have KNOWLEDGE of the workings of ANYONE’S MIND. In my comments in Mad In America THIS above ALL ELSE has been my clarion call.

    I have no business telling ANY other person that they HAVE a mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia as I simply DO NOT KNOW THAT REALITY about the interior of their mind, which is THEIR mind.

    SO EQUALLY NO separate person from me has the right to say they KNOW that I do not have what I KNOW from inside the INTERIOR of MY MIND I DO HAVE, which is MY SCHIZOPHRENIA.

    In a hypothetical setting someone may want to bully me by saying that the term schizophrenia was only invented in 1878 or whenever. But prior to this THE SAME DIS-EASE would have been called SOMETHING ELSE, maybe many different exotic names in different cultures, like “blufgyitag” or “qbabybabybaby” or “proudfgcproud” or whatever. Something equally cheerfully unpronouncible. Epilepsy used to be called FALLING DOWN SICKNESS before some posh doctor called it what every epileptic calls it today. So merely citing that the term for an illness got an upgrade does not prove it has not ALWAYS EXISTED.

    Anyone would be a fortune teller if they keep CLAIMING that since the source of the illness of schizophrenia has not been located or understood this must lead to the sweeping conclusion that it does not have any credence as a real illness.

    How DARE any such person invalidate ANYONE’s interior MIND EXPERIENCE, be that an experience of trauma or compulsion or social upheaval or phobia or anxiety or drug withdrawal or suicide or bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

    What goes on in my mind…MY MIND…is for ME to decide!!!!!

    IF everyone had that emblazoned on a tee shirt the world would be BLISSFUL.

    I am saying inside MY MIND IS SCHIZOPHRENIA.

    HAS this ILLNESS been appallingly and barbarically treated? Along with most other mental conditions? YES.

    But so was PREGNANCY back in the year 1436. Just because lousy treatment once visited someone in their hour of desperate need does not mean one woman has to stop calling herself “pregnant” or “with child”. That said, in these bizarre linguistically bullying times we are all uterus havers, even long distance truckers. Language is being DICTATED just like it is in school bullying. The little kid in the corner of the playground gets a slap everytime they say they lost their marbles.

    I honestly feel MIA comments should pull back from the business of telling OTHER PRIVATE INTERIOR MINDS what they profess to be going on in such said MINDS.

    For THIS is where it is AT globally right now in all sorts of other campaigns that are getting STUCK in linguistics. When those othet campaigns bullyingly keep telling ANYONE…
    “who you really are”…or
    “what’s really wrong with you”…or
    “what’s really going on in your mind”…

    Why are people controlling?


    This lengthy comment is not at all about critiquing this marvellous and beautiful blog. I celebrate when people articulate ANY emotional experience and treatment preference. What I am against is that this is THE ONLY narrative on MIA comments. By definiton any group that has an “ONLY US” narrative is excluding a sense of “THEM”. And when that occurs it can be a short step away from playground politics.
    I feel MIA should aspire to GREATNESS. But the thing about GREATNESS in any walk of life is in order to be deserving of it you have to constantly LET IT GO. By that I mean you have to loosen the metaphorical ecclesiastical fortress walls that prop up the “US” and “THEM” division. This ghastly division seems to have been what ROBERT WHITAKER met when he was just starting out and very much a “THEM” to psychiatrty’s “US”. He seemed to know there was a big problem in THAT sort of “US/THEM” groupthink. But psychiatry could not bear to LET GO of its GREATNESS enough to have humility enough to hear him. The honey pot temptation of GREATNESS is that it starts to enshrine an exculsive collective ego identity more than its original vision of helping people, as was seen in psychiatry. So the pain of LETTING GO of GREATNESS is LETTING GO of adherence to the ego identity that streams through belonging to any paricular group or cult. To aspire to GREATNESS means LETTING GO of belonging to ANY GROUP. All the renegade doctors and whistleblowers and journalists have this LETTING GO of GREATNESS quality, in order to stop the “US” and “THEM”.
    And by doing so they truly do SHINE in BENEVOLENT GREATNESS.
    Inclusivity is not about squashing different zoo animals into a Noah Ark. Inclusivity is about GIVING UP YOUR SENSE OF “US”.
    For so long as you are wrapping that mink coat feeling cosy sense of “US” around you, you are leaving your bretheren shivering.

    ANY campaign that will not LET GO of its GREATNESS becomes the opposite of GREAT in a matter of years. And it seems to me that professing to KNOW whether another person’s MIND has or DOES NOT have SCHIZOPHRENIA is a “professing” that has NO PLACE in what GREATNESS truly means.

    Club groupthink has been in psychiatry because it is a default perspective in ANY human group that becomes fed up or upset. Even adovocasy groups.
    Such club groupthink with its fortune telling of other peoples MINDS, becomes an “US” and “THEM” intimidation that has NO place in a FREE WORLD.


    The interior of my MIND being a “THEM” harms nobody.

    So I heartily agree with all the sentiments. All across the globe it is SHEER bullying to seek to CONTROL the interior preferences of ANYONE’s MIND if they do not choose and want and welcome that influence.

    What that means is THERE SHOULD BE NO LABEL POLICING. since some MINDS are fond of their familiar and harmless labels.


    And THAT MEANS that just because you choose to call yourself whatever you please, YOU MUST NEVER be BADLY TREATED BY ANYONE for it.

  • Dear Jack,

    I use the word illness as meaning anything from an ill feeling of foreboding about climate change to an ill feeling of being traumatized to an ill feeling of merely feeling fed up to an ill feeling of having nightmare hallucinatons for twenty years whether they are caused by supernatural entities or not. I also use illness to include any other way a person may choose to describe their sense of feeling ill like in anorexia or bipolar or schizophrenia. Yes some people on this site do not feel any ill feelings at all. They are maybe just angry and like feeling angry.
    I do not think trauma is a well feeling. It is not how one wants to feels on a birthday. And I do not think many people with real schizophrenia want to experience schizophrenia. What one does not want to experience invariably makes one feel ill. Many things make one person feel ill but not another person. That is just life. This website should be welcoming of all diverse people who just want to talk about feeling ill without have rules about how and when and why and why not and what correct words they should use.

    Now, as for your remark “who are you to say others have an illness, you dont know them or their lived experience”

    I say….

    “Who are you to tell me who are you?”

    “Yeah, who are you to tell me I cannot generalize or be grandiose or be all-knowing or be clairvoyant or be plugged in to supernatural schizophrenic global universal wisdom that knows exactly what the president and everyone on this website had for breakfast last monday. Who are you to berate me when you do not know if I am a deity or a sea sponge with psychic xray vision and an ability to discern everyones lived experience. Who are you to tell me I cannot judge anyone I wish to if I choose to without even knowing anything about them. Who are you to say I cannot be thick or stupid or biased or messed up or mad, mad, mad?”

    I am a child of the universe. I can be who I be. As all children freely can.

    And by the way there are a great many people who read the comments section who are not always going to align with “the norm” in the comments sections, people who may applaud every comment I have made. Not that I care one way or the other. This website is for inclusion, that means of a diversity of opinions and feelings and thoughts. So “who” I am, is just not some other person. I do not “have to” be another person.

    And I am no fan of the term “lived experience”. Surely every person has experiences. Surely “every” experience is “lived”. Perhaps people say it like it means “authority”, like being an authority on an experience. Well surely a person must be free to be an authority on an authority, otherwise we live in a totalitarian state. There is a respectful aspect to authority, in freely choosing to value someones welcome knowledge but there is a dark side to authority when it is used to bicker and control. The term “lived experience” has increasingly been used to control or hush anyone with a different opinon.

    Hushing the different is where psychiatry went so wrong. Psychiatric survivors are at risk of following that example.

    Let me save you the bother of replying. I really must press on with my other concerns now. I shall not be reading any ripostes. I get too easily sucked back in….


  • Dear Jack,

    A fluffy pink bunny is a delightful name. I prefer to call myself a schizophrenic because this illness of schizophrenia is what I know myself to have. I am an adult and I can call myself anything I wish to and there is nothing anyone can do to change that. If I want to call my disease blue orb illness, or green bicycle diagnosis or scvyhtrwaustrizipitoch disease I shall do so. You are quite right not to care what I call myself. This is the whole theme of my message in all of my comments. Nobody should poke their nose into what other people want to call themselves. If that was a new constitution you could call yourself whatever you want to call yourself too.
    I believe that if you read my comments and not the thrilling noise surrounding them you will see that I have never judged what anyone else chooses to call themselves. If anyone has dropped their diagnosis I have not done anything to coerce them to pick it up again. I have no need for anyone else on the planet Earth to ever say they too have a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I actually prefer to be the only person in the world who has ever had it diagnosed. It makes me wonder why I ever left MIA comments section, where everyone seems okay to let me be the only schizophrenic. Just like why would I want there to be two fluffy pink bunnies? As you can see, I have absolutely no assumptions about anyone else and no agenda to reform anyone away from what makes them contented. How you yourself “assume” that I assume things about others is a bit intriguing, as if maybe you have astounding gifts to be able to be inside my private mind, but I can assure you I do not have much curiosity about others to be so preoccupied with their views or opinions. Life is too hectic with other demands on my time for me to sit all day and fathom out the inner workings of anyone. So no, I do not assume everyone else here has my diagnosis of schizophrenia. You claim to have had eight days of hallucinations. Someone doing party drugs can clock up that many days. I have had hallucinations for twenty years, every hour of the day. Even right now as I am typing. Gonna call it something! Schizophrenia is beautiful to me, as a word, and as a spiritual endurance. And Im not going to put tricksy little speech marks around what I do choose to call it. And nor shall I ever call what I choose to call my lovely wisdom bestowing illness “a label”. I am not able to take away peoples autonomy. I do not have Marvel Comic Superpowers like that. And why would I want to? What would I do with a load of obedient zombies who are not able to choose things for themselves. I have never liked zombies. They bore me. I prefer everyone to be themselves, whoever they like to be. I have never given people pedantic labels as you said. I am busy writing all day. By the time I stop I am not interested in applying any more words anywhere to anything. My descriptive inspiration is drained and I am wont to gaze into space completely blissfully speechless. The only labels I can marshal any focus on are the ones on the rear of my readymeal micowave packages. I am not your psychiatrist. I am not anyones anything. I am just me. Is it possible I can just be me and you can just be you?

    I leave you with this to make sense of or make no sense of. I am not invested in “proving”. I only champion everyone to have their “free choice”, including you.

    I am glad I found your comment today. I have pretty much got a ton of stuff to do in my life just now so took myself away, away, away….goodbye my friend.

  • Dear Kindred Spirit,

    You said this…

    “DW, the problem here is that you continue to confuse your own right to use whatever words you wish to use to describe your own experience with the widespread use of these diagnostic labels by the medical system.”

    Let me respond to this Kindred Spirit…

    A person of colour really likes to have the “freedom of choice” to define themselves in their own words, even if ten other people, or the population of the planet disagree, and want to call them something they do not ask to be called, nor want to be called, nor choose to be called. By that distinction the same person freely chooses to use DIFFERENT words to describe themselves that they personally do like. That too should be RESPECTED It is really that simple. There is no “fight” about. If everyone kept that in mind, the importance of respecting each and every individuals right to define themselves as they wish the world would be pleasant. I would have thought that most activist sites would agree. That is WHY the INDIVIDUALS right to this is of PARAMOUNT importance, MORE than the ten people, or group, or regime. What I think you maybe ALSO want to see in the world is this “freedom of choice” being RESPECTED. So actually my position in this regard IS IDENTICAL to yours. Where we may not match is over the word RESPECT. I have NEVER insinuated or blatantly told ANYONE on this site that they hold FAKE views of themselves. If I ever played with that tendency it was only once or twice and only to turn the tables to let others see how it feels to be having their personhood mocked, in order to put a stop to “mockery”, which goes against the grain of any of the world’s INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice”. What many here do not like is the VERY same thing, which is when the medical system repeatedly refuses to RESPECT “freedom of choice”. So you see my championing individual freedom of choice for all, for each individual to be called what they prefer without mockery… IS what is FUNDAMENTAL to your ultimate goal. Or at least I think it is. You have an illness that you prefer gets called what you wish it to get called. Now suppose there is a person who believes they have an illness caused by quartz crystals. A person with it does not want it to be called FAKE. They just want their own understanding of it to be RESPECTED. If ten people mocked their “freedom of choice” within their hearing, and by the way that is what mockery most often does because it is too cowardly to bully directly, then that person who may have an illness such as yours is having their INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” cruelly berated in favour of the ten people. Or group. Or collective. Or elite. Or medical system. Or political system. Or masses. When the masses come before the right of the INDIVIDUALS “within” the masses to have their godgiven birthright which is INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” there stops being a thing called FREEDOM. So I dont know what exactly that “fight” by “the masses” would be for, if NOTfor the FREEDOM of everyone, including me and including you, to call their illness what they wish to without fear of mass bullying. My tireless assertion of my INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” IS your campaign. I am doing exactly what your campaign ultimately seeks which is emancipation from mockery and mass bullying. But it is not easy. I can see that. It requires simply believing and honouring your own free self more than focusing on how bullies in the past undermined your free choice.

    Let me respond to another quote if I may…You said..

    “I dont know whether you don’t care that there is a difference”

    I would say YES yes yes you do not know me AT ALL. You dont know if I have terminal cancer. You dont know if I am about to spiral into a profound depression. You dont know if I have just lost my baby daughter of five months. You dont know if I work in a field hospital in Syria. You dont know if I pilot a rescue boat for refugees to come to Europe. You dont know if I go around whistleblowing on corrupt medical authorities. You dont know if my last hope for survival was in getting a friendly outstretched comment here asking me who I am, eager to know all about me. But I forgive it, because everyone here is in some kind of pain.
    So we are ALL IN PAIN HERE.

    That should be a source of bonding. But I suspect bonding is not wanted. I suspect retribution is only what is wanted here. And the irrate are in too much pain to want to know who other people are unless they too want retribution. But this may be what makes being on any site where only that is occurring, where only the masses matter, where nobody bothers to want to foster the sort of ambience where you feel treasured for your “different” freedom of choice and deliciously known, a somewhat lonely experience. And that loneliness will only delay healing, and therefore lead to more PAIN. Which then gets shouted out in the comments section, as if coming from somewhere oblique, like general trauma.

    Let me respond to this next quote…

    “So let me repeat: it ain’t about you, honey.”

    Actually it really is. And it is about you. And it is about him. And it is about her. And so on and so forth. For ALL the above reasons connected to an INDIVIDUALS “freedom of choice” as informed by their INDIVIDUAL “feelings”.

    The “honey” bit is unnecessary. I do get lonely but not that lonely.

    I am chuckling here because you are fighting me over something you want.

    That’s maybe a little obscure and existential.

    Lastly, I do not repeatedly take things people say out of context, I float above “context” to study higher universal truths. I am spiritual not political. That is my interest, which again is so much MY INDIVIDUAL “freedom of choice” and is so dear and enjoyable to me that I celebrate it…in me….and in you….when your choice is to study politics and context. Isnt it lovely we are BOTH free to be so MUCH MORE of who we are not less?

    I look forward to more of this freedom for everyone in our SHARED world, which is your world….and is my world. Because we are ALL different and we ALL live on this world, we need to stop WORLD WAR THREE arriving by tolerating each others differentness. Which is another reason why I am anxious to be objectionable enough to confront people with my differentness. Tolerating difference spreads harmony. Even if that difference seems loathesome to an individual. You can tolerate the different without changing their “freedom of choice”.

    I am going to bless what I imagine may be the favourite “freedom of choice” amongst some in the MIA comments section. I imagine that choice is that I should stop “speaking” as you said…I imagine that choice is that I should shut up and not express my own “freedom of choice”. I imagine it is a choice that I should take my schizophrenia and my long experience of withdrawing from antipsychotics and leave.

    It is my birthday tomorrow. I will give you this gift.

    I shall block tempting email notifications and unsubscribe from MIA immediately after this comment. No need to respond. Forget me.

  • This is not to Emily or anyone specifically okay. Just while making myself a casserole at this riduculous hour and I want to add a parting shot.

    For over a decade I “knew” I did not have schizophrenia. What I had was Monet then Beethoven then numerous dead poets and then various extraterrestial telepathic aliens and then jesus and dozens of spirits in the realm celestial and a tyrant and a beautiful high angel and hundreds of wonderful talking animals ALL living with me and ALL telling me extraordinary things and some telling me I HAD TO write using THEIR WORDS and some telling me I had to have sex with strangers to save those strangers or save the planet or a dizzy mix of both even though I wept and cried and screamed that I did not want to. But I “knew” this was not “a disease”. I “knew” this was destiny, or my finest hour, or the only hope for the planet. I “knew” this was not “illness” even though I was ordered to run into the traffic to get run over. I “knew” what was going on for me was MUCH MUCH worse than a silly illness called schizophrenia. I “knew” I was being tortured night and day, year after year FOR REAL. And I “knew” nobody could help me, not even a stupid psychiatrist. So I felt utterly ALONE in my “knowing” that I did not have schizophrenia. And even though I “knew” it was not schizophrenia..


    It DID NOT make all those people like Leonardo and Vivaldi and the poets and the tyrant go away.

    And now that I DO KNOW I definitely have schizophrenia….


    All those people like Leonardo and Vivaldi and did I mention the Elephant Man and Shakespeare? none of em went away.

    Every spooky spook is STILL here.

    So whether “I do not know” I have schizophrenia or whether ” I know” I have schizophrenia makes NO FUCKING difference to my feeling ILL from it and it makes no difference to the intensity of my symptoms of schizophrenia. This is because like Mr V. Van Gogh, schizophrenia has NO EARS to hear what the hell I call it.

    So either it is a cruel tyranny by a crowd of discarnate nightmare beings….


    it is just a dumb ass disease I dont HAVE TO communicate with anymore or drop my knickers for.

    I totally appreciate both sides of the acceptance coin. I totally appreciate that having doubts in one’s sanity comes as an unwelcome shock and burden. I totally undertstand that there are some schizophrenics who feel the diagnosis is like a final indignity engineered from perhaps a hallucination of the CIA who are conspiring to discredit their sanity. I also understand many people are misdiagnosed and suffer the indignation of a definition of they dont want. I understand how it feels to scream so loud the back of your throat hurts…with the words…everyone else uses here (even though most of them have NEVER had schizophrenia) those words being..

    “I am not schizophrenic!”

    I shouted, screamed, hollered those words for years and years and years…

    But I also KNOW how CRUELLY USELESS that is for MY ILLNESS.


    Its like people who can walk quite fine ordering a person with permanently damaged legs to get up and run in the hope it will prove an ego saturated arguement “right”.

    My “knowing” there is no cure for my schizophrenia is not my just sitting down to it, it is a LIBERATION from the torture of endlessly fighting against something beyond my control. And in my liberation comes a peaceful acceptance that REALLY DOES help me endure it all. I am not saying I go about all day chanting to myself I am schizophrenic, my life is meant to be OTHER STUFF…..such as birds and clouds and art and singing and playing and having fun and knowing friends and discovering the mysteries of the universe….because whether my life is broken or whole….my life is short. I intend to find love in every moment of it…not despair…not rage…not bitterness….nor poor me….not self-pity…but lovely love love love.

    And a lovely casserole.

    Dinners ready…can I interest anyone in a bowlful? Smells good….

  • Dear Emily,

    I wrote my long comment before glimpsing that you have done responses to other’s comments. What a lovely balanced person you are. I see that you do see a reason for enabling people of different views to access the care they feel is right for them. This did not come over in your blog and that is why I took it as an opportunity to show another perspective. You want to come off clozapine. I have been med free for years. First three months cancel everything and treat it like heroin withdrawal. Love your poor brain. Give it all the time it needs to recover. You had schizophrenia before you went on drugs and likewise you may have schizophrenia afterwards. Many allude to the way the psychotropics can “cause” a chemical imbalance that mimics schizophrenia, which kind of proves a chemical imbalance “can” affect the brain, but I dont have a wish to debate it all anymore. Let everyone believe whatever they want to about themselves. Just know that withrawal can be intolerable. But for me it also a joy ride. Often one hour bears no comparison to the next. It was worth persisting. After six months I felt reborn. Schizophrenia was then easier to deal with, even though it is a considerable opponent in my own life.

    Please do NOT think I was criticising your blog. I was not. It wasnt personal at all. I was just stepping out of reading some things you said in order to address general prevallent concerns I feel get overlooked here. Trying to be a nugget in one cup in the scales of balance. That’s all. I just want for lots of schizophrenic childen to not be shy of coming to this site if they too want to consider reducing or discontinuing meds that they feel are not healing them. I want those schizophrenic children who are scared witless by their ghastly hideous REAL hallucinations to not have to suffer the slap in the face insult that says their illness is FAKE. Because if that’s their welcome whilst they are going through hell from their REAL illness then they wont stay here. Insults close a door to healing.


    Im off to play elsewhere.

    Your art is outstanding. I believe schizophrenia is a disease but it can be the making of an original genius. As such I always feel schizophrenics are on a whole other level, spiritually, philosphically, psychologically, creatively, practically.

  • Madmom, I love what you say alot of the time but I have to say that I myself have a high tolerance for the mystery that my disease of schizophrenia is one for which no cause has yet been located. There are millions of illnesses like that. All illnesses start as mysteries and all certainties about diseases go through refinements in the evolution of our understanding about them. I take no “comfort” in my illnese, my dis-ease, my disease. For over a decade I laughed uproariously at anyone who told me it is a disease, but doing so did not make the symptoms vanish. Most definitely getting free of antipsychotics got rid of the illness of side effects, and this helped me cope with my disease. It was wrong medicine. I am not in a huŕry to have anyone repeat that mistake by giving me new medicine. My psychiatrist has been honourable enough to let me steer the ship. In my view the scandal lies not with psychiatrists or the daft DSM book but with the pharmaceuticals, and our collective irresponsible queuing up for a miracle. Heroin and alchohol and cigarette dealers dont have to persuade people to be desperate enough to come try some.

    These are just “my” opinions which are no jeopardy to what you feel is your truth and what marvellous good ideas and healing you are bestowing on your daughter. My illness is not your daughter’s illness. We are all “different”. We ALL need our own truth to be taken seriously as REAL to each of us and not dismissed.

  • I have rampant, rampaging, unending, unendurable, unlivable with, horrific, merciless, relentless paranoid schizophrenia every minute of every day and I have been this way for twenty years. What I suffer from is REAL and is a REAL ILLNESS. It was NOT iatrogenically caused. I had the SAME SYMPTOMS long before I took antipsychotics. It is NOT trauma caused. I have been over and over and over my boring ordinary little childhood with dozens of searchers of a trauma truffle and none has been found. Both my parents were loving and funny and kind and attentive. The DSM book is just a book. Psychiatrists are just human beings. Some human beings are shitty and some human beings are full of integrity, even if that integrity is flawed by false beliefs in what they are doing to be helpful. I have met plenty of sweet, caring and kind psychiatrists. And psychiatric nurses. Yes, there were one or two who should have been sacked. That does not mean everyone here’s experience is not ALSO TRUE and ALSO VALID. But I would say to them your truth AND my truth are NOT the ONLY truths. Everyones truth is vital and important in collectively creating a new paradigm of care FOR EVERYONE and not just those who hate all their psychiatrists. MIA has a big readership but if there is to be a hope of building a new form of caring with the severely unwell, whatever words and definitions are chosen around that, there has to be a reaching out to those who are more than happy with the old way of care being offered to them. Merely spitting tacks and hissing at what those happy people feel supports them is never going to endear a new vision of care. Fine if all any activist wants to do is commiserate with other haters of psychiatry. Commiseration can be very important on the path to one’s own healing. It is “a medicine” of sorts. But in order to then extend offering that commisration medicine to the billions who are quite happy with the treatment and care they get from psychiatry, one needs to proceed with gentle persuasion and not barely contained hostility to anyone and everyone who thinks differently. Hostility does not sell beauty. And I do hope the next paradigm of care will be beautiful for absolutely EVERYONE and not just the chosen few.

    I have been on clozapine because my schizophrenia is abysmal. Clozapine was not my answer. I am on no drugs now. I totally get this blogger is coming from in the sense of rebirth from weaning off toxic drugs. But coming off drugs may do nothing for stopping schizophrenia symptoms. You may feel much happier without hellish side effects, it may even be life saving for you if those side effects were appalling. But THAT rennaissance off pharmaceuticals is often NOT a cure of schizophrenia. It just means their symptoms may be better managed off drugs.
    And for many schizophrenics neither is looking for a precipitating trauma. Loads of ordinary people will inevitably say their existence is dotted with abject trauma, probably EVERY childhood can be described as traumatic given enough poetic license. BUT the WHOLE WORLD is TRAUMA. LIFE IS TRAUMA. But at some stage it is like saying LIFE HAS MORTALITY IN IT. And what about the sliding scale of trauma, by that I mean is someone with an owned home and a smartphone more traumatized than someone homeless? I have legitimately been homeless for five years, needing food handouts and a bed bug infested bed in a homeless shelter. FIVE YEARS and with raging SCHIZOPHRENIA at the same time! Am I angry? NO!!! I AM NOT ANGRY. I DO NOT HATE PEOPLE. I DO NOT HATE ALL PSYCHIATRISTS.

    Was I somewhere on the sliding scale of trauma when I was homeless for five years? Or how about a young man or young woman trafficked in a country where there is nowhere to shelter? Is his trauma worse? Is her trauma worse? Of course. My point is there is not just a glib word “trauma” that covers a bored privaledged college student and a little girl dying in Senegal of genital mutilation. When a bored college student with enough money to buy a Ferrari says they are traumatized and they look at the really traumatized Uigur peoples or dirt poor indiginous peoples or Yazidi peoples or Palestinian peoples or people with severe mental illness and they then try to suggest that their own bored college trauma is as bad as the gruelling insufferable trauma of real victims of trauma, it looks ludicrous and when that wont wash they then try to make out that the those other genuine victims are JUST suffering from THE SAME trauma. They victimize those authentic victims by trying to silence their specific words for what is wrong with them, like a cuckoo bird chucks eggs out of a nest to make room for its own trauma, until the college cuckoo can feather its nest with the garments of the bloodied children in Senegal. And if you then point out that those childen have it worse because their trauma IS CAUSED BY SOMETHING REAL, they then say that they are helping all the world’s traumatized by getting everyone to regard to everyone’s trauma as THE SAME BIG TRAUMA. Well I am sorry but a child being gang raped in a brothel in South East Asia has a trauma that is REAL. It is not frivilous. And while the bored privaleged college student may feel life is unendurable and traumatic, it is NOT the trauma of ACTUAL REAL CHILD RAPE.

    Someone who honestly has no experience of that trauma has no business deleting the words such a traumatized child has of describing what has happened to them.

    Just because a bored college student feels traumatized by not being understood by their human fallible idiotic psychiatrist does not grant them permission to downplay or talk about MY ILLNESS.



  • Ps. Dr E. Baden…I made a comment way at the start about the future increase in child abuse. I just found an obscure website that has an essay in it explaining why any therapist might not be able to help those children. Political correctness is ending up in poisoned children. The essay is on the website “Critical Therapy Antidote”.

    I am still so pleased you liked my comments.

    My irreverence found a happy home in Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt is bonkers! That’s why I love it. Gestalt uses alot of bodywork, role play, paying attention to authentic awareness in the here and now. It is a “What’s really going on in this moment?” kind of therapy. It is both earnest and playful. Very client led. As a client in a training group I once went around the whole group of twelve would-be therapists kicking their chairs and shouting at them and saying they all let me down because they all spoke to each other at coffee break and not one of them spoke to me. The supervisor then encouraged me to go around the room again but shout more vehemently and louder at them. It all ended beautifully. Best book on Gestalt is the old classic text “Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality” by Fritz Perls, Paul Goodman, and Ralph Hefferline.

    Lastly, you might like some of the earlier youtube videos of Posie Parker (aka Kelly-Jay Keen) merely for the booster jag of feistiness, whether you agree or not. She’s gone a bit hysterical these days but her billboard was interesting. Her and Magdalene Burn’s vids. For the humour in these crazy word war times. I myself am pro everyone having the right to be who they want to be, including trans people. Everyone should love each other. Simple. There is no “them”. What people get confused about is “bullying”. There definitely IS bullying, but that is “a behaviour” coming from upset “thems”. Go after “bullying” with a vengeance. Never go after “them”.

  • Dear Steve,

    My brain is affected by a sugar rush just now…something that happens to the cognition in our brains. Thus my comment may be drivel.

    Your comprehensive reply, which I cheerfully thank you for, contains more than one use of the word “attack”. I am not criticising you for what may have been a very understandable world weary impulsive word choice. I simply wonder about the possible popular unconscious use of such a word on a site visited by the emotionally vulnerable. Do ideas really need to be “attacked”? I never saw gracious Peter Goztche “attack” an idea, nor equinanomous Robert Whitaker. They may have felt like doing so but like most people of an inquiring and pioneering spirit, they seem to uphold the sanctity of debate by “discussion”. A discussion is the “antidote” and “remedy” to the chaos of an “attack”. A discussion is a polite and open “dialogue” involving and even cherishing “two” sides, that is not are couple of shouted attacking monologues.
    When various people forgoe discussion in preference to “attack” it may be because they feel insecure and vulnerable themselves. But when the emotionally vulnerable “attack” the ideas of the visiting emotionally vulnerable, rather than welcome those ideas for interesting mature debate, I see no remedy but only grievance and tension coming from it. Peter and Robert know all about the pain of not getting their ideas maturely and calmly debated.

    There are more ways to “attack” than hurling abuse. The toxicity on the internet is built upon the apparently “logical” arguementaton streaming from teen trolls in garages with no interest in discussing anything but their greatness. Anyone can discredit anyone’s viewpoint. It is not clever. A toddler can do it. The point of adult discussion is not to discredit for discredits sake. This website welcomes the “different”. The ideas of the “different” may not be abolitionist. The abolitionist should be eager to have the chance to persuade the “different”, more than just pummel them with a requirement that they should “convert”. It is like having a shop window of a coffee shop, it is best to “welcome” any customer by having an attitude of “the customer is always right”, if there is any hope of getting them to stick around long enough to buy an irresistible brick of banoffee pie. Selling the pie is the desire, not helping the customer feel “wrong” and “attacked”. The customer might go home to twenty friends and neighbours and tell them not to visit the “debate”. Those twenty may each have known twenty more, my brain’s to stupified just now to handle the math. But that works out at alot of loss of potential customers or converts to abolition.

    The internet is great for freedom of speech, but quite separately it is awash with brazen hostility that everyone is shrugging about in unwholesome acceptance. The thing about “attacking” ideas is nobody likes it when their own ideas are being shamed. Everyone feels their ideas are fundamental to the very survival of the planet. So ideas are “emotive” no matter how “logical” we all like to prèen and polish them up as. The very fine line between a persons favourite world saving ideas and their personhood is next to invisible in a discussion, never mind an overt “attack”. And like I said of trolls, or racists, an exhausting barrage of recruitment style “logic” with no welcome or love in it becomes subtly evokative of micro-aggression. What I am driving at is not the notion of “attack” per se, but…intimdation. What I like about MIA is it seems to strive to give breathing space to folks to debate an article. But the excitement of finding “a community” in the comments section is as irresistable as looking through a window at banoffee pie. But on other sites of a similar arrangement, the newcomer experiences “emotive” confusion about how to join the festives of the community at the same time as only focus on the elegant ideas sharing aspects of the article, an article enticing polite discussion. The community begs a “personal” heartfelt connection but if there is a “difference” in the debating of thè article it seems to get met as if a “betrayal” of the community, or even an “attack” on the community, who then “attack” the “ideas” of the “different” almost simply because they are just “different”.

    I had thought maybe there should be a comments section wholy for the community of abolitionists and a comments section wholy for a community of those into critical psychiatry. Each discussing the same article. I think that would be clearer and more gratifying to the composers of their articles. Maybe it could be innovated. After all I believe platforms like facebook have such helpful dedicated communities. A world is made up of millions of tribes. To squash Tahitians in with Aborigines does a mischeif to both. “Oneness” is made up of “differences” that like staying “different”. Psychiatry’s error was in squashing everyone of “difference” into the same hospital pyjamas.

    Anyway. Dont respond. I am feeling like MIA has become a part time job. And I need to do my laundry.

    I am hoping MIA will sack me for insuborddination and free me to stare into space picking my nose.

  • Dear Linda,

    I just bought your glorious book! I am glad you cheerfully hawked it here or I would never have seen it. Phew!

    Robert Whitaker’s website is apparently??? for anyone and everyone who wishes to “Rethink Psychiatry”. I dont believe that means…

    “think Robert’s way” or…
    “think their way” or…
    “think our way” or…
    “think in the opposite way” or..
    “think in the same way” or…
    “think in a traditional way” or…
    “think in an alternative way”…
    unless you freely want to…

    and I dont believe it means “think critically” or “think politically” or “think spiritually” or “think rigidly” or “think flexibly”…I believe their are NO DEMANDS here on Robert’s wonderful website. So I believe when it mentions “Rethinking Psychiatry” it means you can…”Rethink Psychiatry”….

    ***Your Way***

  • Dear Linda,

    I just bought your glorious book! I am glad you cheerfully hawked it here or I would never have seen it. Phew!

    Robert Whitaker’s website is apparently??? for anyone and everyone who wishes to “Rethink Psychiatry”. I dont believe that means…

    “think Robert’s way” or…
    “think their way” or…
    “think our way” or…
    “think in the opposite way” or..
    “think in the same way” or…
    “think in traditional way” or…
    “think in an alternative way”…
    unless you freely want to…

    and I dont believe it means “think critically” or “think politically” or “think spiritually” or “think rigidly” or “think flexibly”…I believe their are NO DEMANDS here on Robert’s wonderful website. So I believe when it mentions “Rethinking Psychiatry” it means you can…”Rethink Psychiatry”….

    ***Your Way***

    (Duplicate Comment)

  • I am a schizophrenia sufferer. I like all you are doing and saying.

    However, *and forgive me as I am writing in rush here* I do want to say that the “spiritual” can be a way to tumble into a hellish abyss of nightmare hallucinations. When that occurs a schizophrenic craves dull, ordinary, practical, solid, predictable, normal reality.

    Too many people think spirituality is all fluffy and charming and then say that wicked fairytale “demons” are preventing them from flouncing on unicorns and wearing stardust in their hair. I join you in feeling that society loses out on silencing the giftedness of the spiritual. I just do not relish the further adoption of a stance that sees everything spiritual as healing. I do not think humans are meant to be overly spiritual all the time….lots of the time yes…all of the time probably not. We need to occasionally scrub the u-bend of the toilet.

  • Dear Luc de Bry,

    I love the quote you quoted. I agree, there is way too much fighting and not enough creating.

    I think what is happening in Finland is truly fantastic. And Open Dialogue. I am not sure it is entirely new. I think it probably has its roots in what human societies have always done with the very unwell, which is listen to what they themselves need and nurture their potential.

    As somene with schizophrenia myself, I know I could not write a sentence as I am doing now if I were on my old antipsychotics. What people often regard as the overt signs of schizophrenia are the drug effects, and once off these drugs those iatrogenic effects dramatically may sweep aside, and this can feel like getting your loved one back all one hundred percent “cured”. For many schizophrenics who are miserable on their drugs this reduction or cease of drugs is like ceasing heroin addiction, in as much as quite obviously there is going to be an amazing “before and after” transformation once off drugs. But a transformation may not be a “cure” to some schizophrenics. It has not been for me. My hallucinations, delusions, paranoia is still here. It is easier to cope with without the appalling side effects but it is STILL my schizophrenia. Some could argue that my symptoms are the long lasting damage from antipsychotics. But again, for me this is not how my reality is. I had all of my symptoms long before I took psychiatric medication. That is not to say antipsychotics have not left their mark. They almost certainly have damaged me. Some may argue that my schiziohrenia is not an illness but is from something, like trauma or poverty or environmental pollution, but I would say that I really dont care what anyone says might be the “cause” of my schizophrenia, any of these causes can have a deliterious enough effect on the brain as to upset it in some temporary or permanent way, enough to result in that which the world currently chooses to call schizophrenia. I dare say in cavemen times it was not called schizophrenia but something like “scary mammoth disease”. It matters little to me what anyone dresses up schizophrenia to be, as a sufferer of it I think mostly only fellow sufferers should chip in with helpful remarks about their notions of it, not any ignorant spectators of it.

    I am so pleased you have found the answer to your prayers in your son’s transformation through coming off antipsychotics and embracing an outlook that works for him. I wish you and he good fortune as you both venture forth in life.

    There are different sorts of severity of schizophrenia, as Robert Whitaker acknowledges in his caution to proponents of Open Dialogue, when he suggests not bolting a door against conventional treatment like antipsychotics, used sparingly as a short term “cure” for emergencies. I do not fully understand why he might have said that if he ever believed the hellishness of hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, illness, were not REAL, or were, as some in the comments section like to argue are FAKE.

    As for the DSM I own a medical book full of diagnoses. A diagnosis of myocarditis helps a physician quickly understand what specific issues are going on for that patient. It is a neutral explanatory time saver. We can get rid of the DSM but I suspect we may need replacements for it of some sort, even a “trauma paradigm of care” will probably want to train healers in how to specialise (get good at) or (focus their energies on) looking after the “extreemly traumatized” rather than the “moderately traumatized”. These already are sounding like diagnoses. And to prepare someone to leave a Soteria house we may have to “diagnose” them as “not ill anymore”. A society can still bully someone who has been in a Soteria house who was once ill with trauma. Especially if there comes a backlash from economically devastated and fed up society, at what they could wrongly but easily perceive as all the moaning or weak “traumatized” self-indulgent. Not that the traumatized are ever, ever, ever such things. But society can be mean to the suffering regardless of what they call their suffering.

    For all of the above reasons, I think that for myself, I want to just retain my diagnosis of schizophrenia but I do not want drugs, or treatment of it. Time is my healer. Though I do need support for my severe mental illness. I am excited by all that is going on in Finland. It seems the way to go. But I do not think it is a “cure” of schizophrenia, not my severity if chronic schizophrenia. Giving up my pills has been a rebirth back to pre-pill health, but that “health” was a decade of suffering hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. Yes, I do cope better with those without medication, but everyone is very different. And I cannot say I wont need emergency pills tomorrow if I attack a town centre with a loaded cheese baguette or worse. For that reason I do not want to replace one snake oil simplistic attitude about “how to fix schizophrenia with gallons of pills” with a new snake oil simplistic attitude that says new paradigms of care will be sprinkled with a Disney charm of rose petals. I think human anguish, in all its manifestations, what ever its causes, is a stubborn problem to heal, however we try to heal it. That is why I vote for having all different alternative AND traditional options of care. But I stress that traditional forms of care have to be reformed radically.

    Anyway, I am so glad your boy is doing brilliantly. Now he is pill free I imagine he should find it easier to deal with his symptoms without awful side effects.

    So wonderful he is going to be a peer. I do think that only peers who have actual lived experience of schizophrenia should be allowed near anyone with schizophrenia.

    This is an unintentionally long reply. So no nèed to respond to it.

    Thankyou for sharing your son’s story. Have every confidence in his healing.

  • Ps. In a fiercely radical website I have been enjoying the recent gratifying uptick and mention of the word “love”. LOVE IS RADICAL. It may interest some to know that as a word it can be hijacked by bullies. Think of Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot. “Love” of ones country can be used to decimate other populations. “Love” of ones religion and deity can be used to wipe out innocent populations of other faiths. Many founders of faiths, such as Jesus saw this bullying coming, which is why he extolled everyone to not only love their neighbour but moreso to…


    I guess on this website that might mean radically loving people you loathe with a passion, possibly psychologists, psychotherapists, peer workers, psychiatrists.

    Hmm, maybe LOVE is TOO RADICAL.

  • Someone muttered something somewhere about environmental toxins. I am not sure specifically why. But let me add a bit of what I have always known. Certain creatures ARE changing sex due to environmental toxins. And the human sperm count IS lowering. Environmental toxins ARE making creatures change on a BIOLOGICAL level.
    So, potentially on a long term GENETIC level and therefore a BRAIN level life is drastically and irrevocably altered. Microplastics have already been found in the human body. Some cross over the placenta to the developing infant, and presumably its BRAIN. We may never know where the ill symptoms of schizophrenia are coming from. If they are not coming from chemical imbalance, or the disturbance in the brain’s electrical waves, they may be coming from environmental toxins that have been affecting the BRAIN for aeons, such as radon or mercury or lead or solar flares or fungi or encephalitis bacteria or viruses or who knows what, environmental toxins that have affected our brain and genes just like certain environmentally caused cancers can. Cancer is a REAL illness, and for most cancers we simlly DO NOT KNOW what exact biological mechanism or toxin causes them. Just because we do not know much about cancer does not mean cancer is not a disease that causes ILLNESS. We just dont know HOW and WHY cancer exists, but EXIST it does. Schizophrenia is like cancer in this regard.

    Depression also EXISTS and makes people very ill indeed. There are many theories about HOW and WHY depression is what it is. New theories are looking at gut inflammation, which is a very BIOLOGICAL idea. Inflammation anywhere in the body sloshes chemical and hormonal changes, some of these DO involve the brain. It would be arrogant, insulting or cruel to a depressed person as to say to them that their illness of depression does not exist or that their depression is FAKE or is not REAL. That would be foolish and even dangerous. Some critics might say depression is not an illness and it is just “normal”, well then so is suicide. Try telling that to the call handlers of a million suicide hotlines.

    I am done listening to this.

  • Dear Steve the moderator, In response to something Sam Plover brought up I would like you to clarify for all new visitors to MIA who it is welcoming of. Who does MIA “accept”? It is just that I was under the impression that MIA welcomes everyone who is interested in “rethinking psychiatry”. It seems to me a visitor may struggle to discuss their ideas about psychiatry without using words like psychiatry or psychiatrist.

  • Oh, and Dear Oldhead, in addition to my last comment involving a mention of narcissistic tendencies, I just want to say how disappointed I am that whilst many people seem comfortable declaring that they were given a borderline personality disorder, nobody dares to admit to the current societal taboo of having been given a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. Why this is the case is a bit of a mystery. I should have thought a steady queue of those people would have been anxious to confess to having been given that snub and overturn that particular diagnosis. Why are they not filling up the comments section to refute their specific diagnosis? Perhaps it is because nobody who has it wants to be seen with it, nor wants that mud to stick. Perhaps it is that whereas a dismissable slur of a diagnosìs needs to be sensational enough to derive comforting outrage from a party of fellow believers, it cannot sound so heinous as to cause anyone to wonder. This is amusing, since by openly declaring oneself to be a tad narcissistic at times, as we all are, and as I certainly am, this nullifies one of the central diagnosable features of narcissistic personality disorder, which is the feature of feeling such embarrassment at having the narcissistic wound to begin with that there is almost complete denial of being anything other than a paragon of perfection who isn’t narcissistic. Apparently since a very narcissisticly inclined person cannot possibly entertain ever ever ever having ordinary human tawdry thoughts of oneupmanship, they would prefer not to own ever ever ever having a narcissitic thought cross their congenial mind.

    Therefore the easiest way to demonstrate not being a narcissist is to shout from the rooftops that one loves being a narcissist.

    I do not have to be “right”. So I do not need others to feel shamefully “wrong”. So I am going to let everyone see me as “wrong” all the live long day, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

    Like a school punishment excercise might have me endlessly scribbling..

    “I am wrong” “I am wrong” “I am wrong” “I am wrong” “I am wrong”.

    I must away now. Things to do.

  • Dear Oldhead,

    You say a fact is something that is true.

    As with the virgin birth, you are at liberty to believe what you want to.

    I prefer to keep a paranoid schizophrenic’s suspiscious gaze turned on the notion of conventional “truth”.

    Einstein’s son was schizophrenic. It seems he should have maybe listened to that genius schizophrenic questioner, with respect to Einstein’s own sacred fact or truth of The General Theory of Relativity, being as it is now being thrown into a maelstrom of doubt. It now seems that the “true” “facts” that Einstein outlined are already evolving into quite different “true” “facts” that make his original “true” “facts” seem infantile. This would imply that neither “facts” nor “truth” are ever “fixed states” that guarantee absolute certainty. “Facts” and “thruth” are merely knowledge that is limited by the vagaries and inaccuracies of our sense perceptions and the way in which the phenomema pointed to by the claim of “fact” and “truth” may be phenomena that are evolving and changing. The way our pursuit of clarity finds new things out about “facts” or “truth”, often necessitates certianty to flip and reverse back to previously mocked standpoints. Hospitals now use leeches and maggots for wound healing, for instance. Both “facts” and “truth” are slippery sand castles upon which to base an overly confident sense of “rightness”. But belief is easier. Any person is free to say they “believe” something feels “right” “to them”. But the downside side of merely using their belief in an arguement is they cannot make someone feel “wrong” for choosing not to hold their belief. And often in an arguement the ego gets hurt and needs to think itself “right” by making the other feel “wrong”. Such a tit for tat “right” versus “wrong” focus on “logic” with its “facts” and “truth”, in order to make the other feel “wrong”, rather than honour their freedom to have a different “belief” is a favourite tool used in an arguement gone toxic with narcissism.

    I went to a famous holiday retreat once and was impressed by a flyer they handed out. It was about to cope with falling out with anyone on the retreat. It had about twenty recommendations. Mostly they were recommendations to go directly to whomever had hurt you and say that their behaviour had hurt you. It saves time and effort. Because to sit and simmer and bicker in resentment is bad for you and bad for the whole group. What I particularly recall is that there was an instruction not to sideswipe at the other, by that it meant avoiding the tendency to talk over the other, or talk about things they hold dear with a cabal within the group, like a separate threesome, all within the hearing of the holder of “different” beliefs. Rather the recommendation is to come clean, talk directly and cleanly to the opponent about an undercurrent of hurtfulness and hostility. But, the flyer suggested, people who feel a need to be quite narcissistic may never want to admit feeling hurt, since that exposes vulnerability. And they may have had alot of trauma in their childhood that taught them to equate being easily hurt and vulneranle as “wrong”. And “wrongness” may have caused a sense of shame. Thus the need to be “right” all the time to rectify the shame. But by having to be “right” all the time they may need others to be “wrong” all the time and this can spiral into a bickering shamefest.

    Anyway, it is a fascinating discussion. Truth, facts, logic, beliefs, feelings, mockery, narcissism, shaming, bickering.

    But to be honest, I am going to put it out of my mind now, since the reports hint it may be a sunny day and I am eager to pack a picnic and enjoy the puzzles of nature that fascinated Einstein and his beloved schizophrenic son. Both of them might say bickering is fun but a waste of lovely weather.

  • Sam, before I go on holiday I just want to say that maybe its not a case of finding a perfect solution that suits everyone in society but honouring the many ways we are all “different” and need entirely “different” care plans. There is absolutely no problem with finding a way where the people who deserve your compassionate kind of care can access it, and those who want a more old style psychiatric care can access it, and those who want Soteria can access it, and those who want open dialogue can access it. There has to be care as oppossed to no care at all. Abolisionists may feel well enough to blithely walk off into a sunny utopia. If that is their care then they can go there. Nobody is stopping them. Nobody is stopping anyone from cherishing the practical care each unique person prefers. I think the comments section often develops a bickering sense that it all has to be “one” way.
    That is nonsense! The world is big enough for a million ways.

    Sam, check out Gestalt therapy if you like. It’s not for everyone but it may help your wife, since it deals creatively with the idea of bodily trapped trauma and ego splitting.
    I am sorry life gets dismal. No life does not know pain. But when it is your own pain or that of your beloved you cannot see beyond it. Don’t let pain stop tiny stolen sips of pleasure.

    I must go now.

  • Someone Else,

    You say….

    “Meaning that the the two “most serious” DSM disorders are iatrogenic illnesses, created with the psychiatric drugs, not “genetic” illnesses”.

    I have the serious mental illness called schizophrenia, as by now I am sure everyone knows. I do not understand everyones wish to cancel my illness with what to me feels like “fake news” that tries to broadcast that my illness is “fake”…so everyone seems to be chanting “fake news about fake illness”, Mine is an illness everyone does not have. They are not an expert on my illness. They are not an authority on my illness. I will have you know my illness came on TEN YEARS BEFORE I took antipsychotics. I have no trauma history. Your theories are not a healing for me at all.

    I shall leave you with two quotes from me…

    “Only LOVE can set you free”


  • In response to something perhaps Someone Else has said, I guess any person can become addicted to anything if they are out of balance. Even the MIA comments section can be an addiction if posting a smart comment makes the person feel high. One person may become addicted to sugar, another person gambling, another person self harm, another person gaming, another person child abuse. Too much smoking may harm children if you are a chain smoker working in a kindergarten. Too much alcohol may be harmful to children if it causes you to batter their decent mother. Too much sugar may destroy you with diabetes and obesity and require alot of money to put right. Addictions impact “other innocent people”, like abused children for instance, in a way that maybe makes them feel iller than the addict. And there are addictions that may seem trifling to the onlooker, even to the medical professionals, but might be devastating to the sufferer of it. Nobody likes to be controlled by addiction. Feeling controlled by external stuff or external people can cause a sense of mental illness to that person. This is something you may agree upon since I gather you have felt controlled by psychiatry. Ideally nobody should have to face the misery of their addiction on their own if they want help. I get what you are saying when you try to imply that you feel that professionals rubber stamp a person with a label of addict when they may not want that. It is in the nature of addiction to feel remorse about how low one has fallen, and so nobody wants to regard themselves as an addict or an alcoholic at an Al Anon meeting. But the first step in getting free of addiction is to face being someone who indeed IS addicted. I feel the subject is way more complicated. Just sayin…

    And like Hana says, many people derive comfort from their real diagnosis. Those who do not are perfectly frèe to call their own diagnosis “fake”, but I think calling what gives other people comfort “fake” is probably as simplistic as an atheist calling God “fake”.

  • Dear Ayurdhui Dhar thankyou so much for bringing this delicious philosopher’s work to my notice.

    Dear Hana Pickford, what can I say? I love what you say. Click on my name and you might like some of the comments I have said recently. I find my schizophrenia diagnosis helpfull alot of the time. Not all of the time. But on balance it feels right for what I have. If I went to a herbal medicine shop to consult a herbalist diagnoser they may say my feelings of illness were due to an illness caused by lack of marigold pollen. I probably would not run screaming like a victim from the appointment but would consider whether it made sense “to me”. The huge topic of whether I’d be stigmatized for my pollen condition by a crazy society hellbent on controlling those of “difference” would be my secondary consideration as to how I felt about the pollen diagnosis.

    But being as you court controversy let me match your courage by saying that in all honesty I see nothing wrong with stigma. It is found in ALL human tribes. I get my routine tiresome fair share of stigma. I am a woman. Someone diagnosed me as female on the happy occasion of my birth. I find myself stigmatized for it. Yet I find knowing I am a woman is very healing to me.
    There is not just the word stigma but degrees of stigma that bother a person, some more bothered than others.
    I think stigma is anthropologically inevitable. It starts as the healthy stigmatizing of behaviours that are destructive to children such as bullying, cruelty, sexual abuse. I think it is healthy to ban such gross misconduct. Stigma forms part of that ethos. But when in the day to day running of a tribe stigma flips over into becoming a barracade that excludes anyone who is merely and innocuously “different” that is when stigma itself becomes bullying, cruel and abusive. Then what can occur is those so bullied for being “different” rally to eachother to defend themselves against such collective stigma, and as a splinter group they may become a “oneness group” that challenges the apparent “slur” of “differentness” by refuting their supposed “individual differentness”. Pressure to be cohesive and loyal to the group bond is a powerful source of security, And when that sense of belonging in the spliter tribe occurs some may defend themselves by becoming stigmatizers of the “different” who are merely “not” in the splinter tribe, rather than returning to the healthy stigmatizing of the bullying, the cruel, and the abusive. The “different” should not be stigmatized. And to complicate matters, that tendency to stigmatize the “different” or the “radical” or the “pacivist” or the “theatrical” or the “philosophical” is a tendency that becomes the most used stick of any bully, throughout the whole world. The bully tends to manipulate others by claiming their own liberty to be an agressive bully is a human right cruelly snatched away from them. For a bully is often lamenting the injustice of their “right” to control the “different”, who are invariably described as “him over there” or “her over there” or “them”.

    I think most bullies are miserable people who need help and our compassion. But the bullying behaviour itself cannot be excused. Bullies often take exception to that and see in the intollerance to bullying and cruelty and abuse their own petty persecution.

    I have seen this in psychiatry. I have seen this in psychology.
    Sadly, I see it EVERYWHERE.

    It is everywhere because people think that by their own example of behaving nicely this will tell a bully to stop being bullying and cruel and abusive.

    When will that ever work with child abusers?

    If child abuse NEEDS to be stigmatized then so do other forms of abuse.

    What I see increasing in these times is a legitimacy of bullyingly stigmatizing the “different” just because those individuals are excercising their freedom of choice to be next to or near whatever the bully deems “a system”. When the merely “different” are deemed a “them” who are part of “a system”, the “different” get deemed oppressive merely for being “pacivist” or “theatrical” or “philosophical” or “radical”, and when that occurs everyone on the planet becomes afraid to be those things. A huge blanket of stigma is draped over the whole world by a few actually elite vocal bullies. When that spread of unhealthy stigmatizing of anyone “different” goes unchecked nobody with a “different” voice will come to anyones rescue.

    I am clairvoyant. I see the future. Global bullying is going to make everyones lives unliveable. Even the bully’s.

    Bullying bad behaviour needs to be stigmatized.

    Difference must never be stigmatized.

  • Dear Linda,

    What a pitiful thing it is for a “oneness group” to fail to hear the deep grief of a mother who will ALWAYS feel like she has just lost her baby. First the hospital you were in did this wilful deafness about your anguish but there are plenty of other “oneness groups” who will also dismiss your grief as less important than their inconvenienced chummy underground agenda.

    But please keep being the difference that makes up actual genuine biodiverse natural “oneness” as seen in nature, that is formed of multitudinous “differences” all treasured by the gentle, unaggressive welcome espoused by “freedom of choice”.

    Let me know the title of your book again. I feel it offers an unusual and interesting “different” perspective.

    Luckily the video link I sent shows that we are all free to make up our own minds about the truth of our own pain without heckling from know-alls.

  • Dear Robert,

    I can’t call you Bob, it’s too quick.

    This may seem like a frivilous footnote here but it is coming from a heart of wholesome sincerity…it is of something only an eagle eyed schizophrenic or bipolar sufferer might spot…but I just want to say I keep feeling that the visual design on your graph….the one depicting the extraordinary upward curve of recoverers who came off antipsychotics…is a thing of beauty. I feel it would make a very fine interstellar looking silver necklace. An award, or an incentivizer to those who want a talisman to help them make it past the initial arduous two years.

    The two comparative lines, if formed of delicate silver bands, could even have gems in them.

    Jewelers forge a crucifix, an ank, what’s that polynesian pendant? Signs of hope.

    Your necklace would be…

    “A Symbol of “Life”.

  • Good morning, Javier.

    May I thank you for your astute article?

    If you will permit me to play with it, in the spirit of congenial discussion with you, I should like to say that this quote gave me a tickle.

    “At its core, the psychiatric survivor movement is about fighting for human rights in the mental health system led by those who have experienced abuse and/or oppression within it. The movement is characterized by a radical stance of liberation from psychiatry”.

    I am cooking a Spanish omelete so will not dwell. But I am a psychiatric survivor in terms of being a psychiatric medication survivor. I am as yet unsure if I am a critical psychiatry buff or an abolitionist or what the heck I am. One day I am this, the next day that. One day I am leftist, the next day I am quite the opposite. I like the freeness at the heart of schizophrenia that hold that you can be left in peace to passionately and fervently believe what the dickens you wish to believe. I have for instance met schizophrenics who are very anti-American and schizophrenics who are very pro-American. And part of that may have been due to their paranoia. But to patronizingly and paternalistically say all of it was simply due to those peoples “paranoia” does a disservice to the championing of human rights FOR ALL so venerated by psychiatric survivor groups.

    Not that you were saying that. I am merely discening a prevallent ethos in the psychiatric survivor movement that biases one set of human rights against another set of human rights.

    You mention a “radical stance of liberation from psychiatry”.

    That is fine. It is just that we are all so “different” and I would like the “movement” to not fear that “difference”. I myself am today not inclined to want to liberate myself from psychiatry, since my schizophrenia needs it in the utter abscence of any other practical alternative that can be rolled out tomorrow in my town. I am not impressed by psychiatry. But I want to see it like a religious option for some. The free world must have many, many, many free options. Can a religion have too much power? ANYTHING CAN. I support the “movements” endeavour to curb the wonton excesses of that power.

    I dont believe hatred of people is how curb power.

  • The brain is not the mind, you say, Oldhead. I like your opinions. I like everyones opinions. It is good to have a variety of opinions.
    I salute anyone’s bold statement as coming from their “freedom of choice” to blissfully be left in peace to their know their own knowing. Like I know I have schizophrenia. It is nice when people can cherish their “own” gnosis.

    Although Nobel Prize man Penrose is here on record as saying we have no idea what the relationship to brain and mind (consciousness) is. He would say there are a numer of theories but mostly these are “tentative”.

  • Oldhead, in answer to your quizzing me and asking why I would object to someone examining nuances in my word choices…

    I suppose it is an interesting question. For me “logic” often uses the exuse of needing to know “why” a person’s feeling exists….as if it is the “wrong” feeling, to which the peson on the receiving end of such “logic” has to fight fire with fire and justify their feeling, as if it has been externally “judged”. The receiver maybe scurries to provide a “right” feeling if they accept living in a judgemental bullying world replete with the current focus on word wars. But I can see through much of that hook luring use of “logic”. I tend to say to people if you cannot understand me without picking at my words, after all words to me are like freely chosen daubs of paint a unique artist chooses to create a painting with, I say just don’t bother. If what a spectator in a gallery sees makes no sense or they keep having to examine it with “logic” then maybe they cannot really open to what my painting is.

    That is okay.

    Thankyou for the compliments.

    I think many folks just like you could examine a great many things I create and do so brilliantly.

    That does not mean my painting is not lovely to “some”.

  • You mention Sertraline. I have a friend stuck on it. Horrendous indeed. But Sertraline is NOT an antipsychotic. And this is why it is important never to get drugs muddled up in the attempt to acertain which drugs cause what.

    It is a cheating disservice to all SSRI withdrawing people to conflate antipsychotic side effects with their SSRI withdrawal experiences, which may be FAR MORE HELLISH than antipsychotic induced true akasthesia.

    There are some people who seem to itch to claim to know what schizophrenics have suffered but this does not mean SSRI’s are not WORSE.

    I wish you great healing from your unimaginably dreadful Sertraline withdrawal.

    Please do not reply. I am too busy just now to respond.

  • Dear Paul, and LC johnstone.

    I really like my schizophrenia diagnosis. It heals me of my nightmare. Just knowing that the montrous hallucinations I suffer are just a mental illness comforts my distress.

    I am aware of the sometimes bullying push to get schizophrenics to say their mental illness is “caused” by distress. To the extent where they should say their distress causes their distressing hallucinations. Like telling an epilleptic their feelings “cause” the seizures that give them weird feelings. Try telling that one to a million seizure sufferers. Or, like telling a child her distress is causing her distressing, tormenting, hellishly horrific screaming. I just do not buy that. I have had two decades of screaming. Of those seven thousand and three hundred days I have had one or two wonderful days of deep joy and yet my hallucinations are always there. Even moreso on the joyful days. I have sat i
    well over ten years of talk therapy and had my childhood gone over with a fine tooth comb. I have had every antipsychotic at maximum doses. I have been rich. I have been poor. I have a keen interest in a hundred other things besides my schizophrenia. I have no distress in my life. No distress whatsoever. No trauma. And yet my awful schizophrenia is still utterly destroying me.

    I like all the alternatives that therapy is ingeniously coming up with. ERNI and the frameworks. I have the highest regard for therapy. It can fix just about everything. But it cannot fix schiziphrenia. That does not mean that it cannot vastly increase the stamina of long suffering schizphrenic. Nutrutious soup is given to cancer sufferers in the hope it will strengthen their resilience to cope with cancer, but cancer is not lack of soup, cancer is cancer. Schizophrenia is schizophrenia.

  • Yes, I echo you. I agree too. I think ERNI sound fabulous. I just want better recognition for the fact that severe mental illness like schizophrenia, whether one calls it “caused” by trauma or “caused” by lemons, IS a severe mental illness that needs alot more care and support than just therapy. I do not want to see a billion schizophrenic people made homeless because some fat cat in government says they “only” have trauma like a fed up teen has depression.

  • Dear Peter, I am responding to Streetphotobeing, but want you to freely listen, since it may intrigue you too.

    First, Streetphotobeing, you make an excellent point. Everyone is unique. Yes, yes indeed.
    Politely, I would enquire, interestedly, if you yourself have experienced being on antipsychotics, and had or did not have true akasthesis on them. I need no answer. But I shall say that philosophically that would maybe be more illuminating to me than watching a video.

    I have friends who are on antipsychotics and I have friends on antidepressants. Those on antidepressants can invariably sit in a chair for a whole hour.

    I long for a proper study to be conducted to explore if there is a distinction between antipsychotic induced akathesia and the jumpy sensations of panic that all withdrawers experience. I think that would be really fascinating and may give us all more info on what all of these different drugs are differently doing to us. But I think that in the haste to find ALL drugs harmful there is a slapdash rush to lump every drug together as if it is ALL one monster of a drug with the same effects. Like when people used to say ALL colestorol is bad. The moral panic in the ALLness way of thinking belongs to tabloid scoops. It is the enemy of nuance, and the enemy of nuance is the muffler of truth.

    Secondly, Peter, I say something about this in the comments on the MIA article titled…

    The ERNI Declaration: Making Sense of Distress Without “Disease”.

  • Dear Sir, Paul.

    What happens is a nomads tent gathering of outcasts come together and describe that they are all suffering as one. The tent leaders feel no interest since they are too busy being outstanding. The middle men think this is shocking and inexcusable and so they feel inspired to create a new paradigm of care for the outcasts who are romantically blended into a “oneness” grouping, who are “the victims”, by virtue of being largely overlooked by society. That homogenized category who are “the victims” are easy to generalize about and this makes decisions about their needs and their treatment simpler to chalk up. They are a bunch, a gang, a flock, a congregation, a movement, a worthy cause. A one.

    The fact the “one” is formed from many is all to the good, since the more “victim” voices there are the louder they will shout and “change will come quicker”. So in order for change to occur it is essential to preserve the integrity of “oneness” in the “victim” group. Deviating away from that, by for instance allowing someone with a contrary voice to be an “outspoken difference” means the “oneness” is no longer “one” but is disintegrating. This dissolving of the “united” shout feels disempowering to those in the “one” grouping who identify as “victims”. And so they may “fear” unending victimization from society if they cannot be united and big and populous and “oneness”. And so in a state of unbridled fear they see the person who was contrary as being a huge disappointment to their ambition and vision of a new paradigm. The “different” then may come to be synonymous with that which causes “fear”. And the original oppressor who caused the “victims” to feel unjustly treated also causes “fear”. So what you now have is the original oppressor being equated with something “frightful” that is not the “oneness” ANd you have anyone “different” who is within the “oneness” also being equated with “frightfulness”. And often these two sources of “fear” get regarded as being the same huge lump of fear that threatens the “oneness”. The oneness grouping calls itself “us” and the original oppressor ANd the “different” are deemed to be the horrible arch nemesis called “them”.

    So in the evolution of a “oneness” group as it grows in power there is an ever tightening boundary that stifles flexible creative listening to the “different” who threaten to dissolve the “oneness” or the “us”. Indeed the “different” are deemed a far worse “them” than the original oppressor who victimized the victims because the sense of betrayal and disloyalty to the “oneness” of “us” is Earth shatteringly intimate, almost like an incorrigible act of family abuse. At least the original oppressor was just a distant professional.

    So in any “oneness” group of “victims” there may be a few “different” voices who if they speak of their “differentness” may be responded to as if their very difference is an obscenity. The “different” get to be so “different” because they are ruled by their own freedom of choice, as informed by their authentic feelings. They are not ruled by anything else. They are certainly not ruled by an authoritarian allegiance to the “oneness” group, even though they may agree on much of what it srands for, and even though the “different” are victims too.

    The “oneness” group may huddle tight to silence the “different”, and they may victimize the “different” who is already a victim.

    But by taking this stance, the “oneness” group are victimizing the notion of their own “freedom of choice to be different”.

    And when any group enshrines its own death of “freedom of choice to be different” it utterly victimizes itself.

    That’s not healthy!

    Many, many, many activist groups, and you can see em all on YouTube, can stray in that direction. The direction of mistaking “oneness” for a grouping of apparently powerful “sameness”.
    Oneness, like in the garden of Eden, is a biodiverse gathering of “differences” that are freely allowed to remain “different”. And proudly so. As the orchid is “different” from the moss, and the rainbow is “different” from the beautiful boulder. All of these “differences” stay different to form “oneness”. You dont want a garden of Eden with only primulas.

    The early proto Guild of Psychiatry undoubtledly did not come out of the backsides of the Emminent or the Leaders of the nomads tent, but came from the middle men who were “appalled” at the Leaders of their day doing nothing for the romantically bundled together “victim” group who were encouraged by the middle men to bond tighter into a vocal, protesting, seamless, formidable “oneness”. A force to be reckoned with. But those circus ring masters who were the middle men, full of passion for a new paradigm, which is only all to the good, ceased listening to the “different” within the “oneness” group also.

    Oh never mind about that. Lets build a lovely community for the “oneness”. A place where they call all get better as a unified one lump if victimhood, maybe by doing occupational therapy innovations like making macrami or bunny stuffing. Cures can be tried. Ice baths. Insulin. Card games. Those unified victims can be an “us” that can be recorded on ward notes as “them”. No need for individuals or those with a “different” voice. Even the unified group agree that those paradigm-soup refusers are troublemakers who are obviously really wicked and insane. For who is not insane to dismantle the powerful “oneness” by being recklessly ruled by “freedom of choice?”.

    Psychiatry is a long slow dinosaur of an establishment that started off by responding to the needs of the nomads tent “oneness” gathering of victims. It build a lovely hotel called an asylum with free food and nightdresses and sums and mirrors and felt it was doing alright by that lump of “oneness” otherwise known as “them”. But soon more are more “different” voices hollered in the long corridors and some said they had nightmare hallucinations, and some said they felt manic, and some said they felt gut wrenchingly sad. And all raised their “free choice” voices asking to be seen as “different” and needing “different” kinds of care. An orchid is not a pillow of moss. There is nothing wrong with being “different”. Madness fantastically celebrates being “different”. As the garden of Eden is a riot of mad “differences”, none of whom are victimized. Well…sigh…dont get me started on very “different” lovely Eve…

    Psychiatry started with the same “oneness” zeal as all the new frameworks are starting with. They see a romanticized grouping of “them” who are all unified in “victimhood” as if they represent each other and can speak authoritatively for each other, as if “we are all the same”. But borderline personality disorder is not the same as anorexia or bipolar. The needs are “different”. And whether the new paradigm does away with those old terms is meaningless in regard of how the tree of mental illness or mental disturbance shatters off into various branches like very very bone thin girls who never eat, or insomniacs up all night seeing photons in their hairbrush, or distraught women who feel beaten by a relationship. There are “differences” just like there are tree branches. The later problem of psychiatry lay in gathering all the similar people of each branch and making them into a “oneness” lump without their consent and within that lump of samey anorexics or bipolar people, never allowing for the “freedom of choice” of the “different” therein.

    I can see why historically the DSM became a response to recognizing a tree of victimhood or illness with its many branches springing out of a homogenized lump of “oneness” of victims. From “oneness” springs the seedlings of “difference” because the kernel of “oneness” becomes death to “freedom of choice”. But “difference” will often want to merge into “oneness”, like in soccer stadiums.

    I think all of this has always been in the human tribe. That is why I think it is wise to see the recognition of “difference” coming, before a new paradigm says to “oneness” lets pretend we are all the same and only suffering from trauma and there is no such thing as that “different” person who keeps saying they have schizophrenia.

  • Dear E. Baden,

    My oration is melting! And its not simply because I left it to go bone dry on anger’s radiator. And not because I have just had my covid vaccine this day. It is because it and I am warmed by your lovely compassion. Thankyou for whispering your appreciation into my wilderness.

    Last night one of my more clairvoyant voices stunned me en route to my bathroom when they said you are like my older sister. My late older sister is a horse lover who could boldly walk up to a freaky bog gone stallion and pacify it in a heartbeat. And mysteriously and impressively she could do that with people.

    Sometimes my voices are amazing.

  • Dear Rebel, great points. However, I would not like to live in a world where my support structure is gotten rid of as if it is rubbish. I would suffer enormously if it was. I do believe there should be alternatives, lots and lots. But that the rubbish in the ambition of many humans that tells them they are “right” without qualms is tendency I would want to call rubbish and get rid of. Core symbols if healing, that reside in religions and politics and philosphy and new paradigms of care are innocuous healing ideas. Even in the religion of scientific psychiatry. The symbol of healing is marvellous in all these fruits on offer. But it is the human muddle in the leadership that turns those fruits into poison. I do not think you will ever get rid of that tendency in humans, no matter what new paradigm of care comes into ascendency. It will ALWAYS be behind oppression of “free choice”. So I prefer not to have a Polyanna attitude that any human innovation will be harmless and untoxic. I prefer to keep vigilant to the notion that humans will always fail at being your “expert”. BUT they can be your friend. Though this requires equality, and external “expertize” likes to trump that. So what I welcome is the “friend frameworks” rather than the “expertize” frameworks. But to be my friend they would probably ironically need to chime with the theatre piece of old school psychiatry and call my awful illness schizophrenia and not big sad.

    I see it all as like a dressing up box of the sort children used to enjoy. The more costumes that are in the box to try on the better. I like romping around in my schizophrenia. Someone else may not want to be seen dead in it. The more “choices” we offer people as to how they understand their predicaments the better. I love this ERNI whatsit paradigm. It is the birth of another “religion” with a different set of devils and angels in the form of traumas and catharsis. Psychiatry saw other factors as the devil that bedeveils the human. And it saw other sorts of angels, like miracle wonder drugs. But all religions grow and improve on past mistakes. There used to be a black line in Cathedrals to corrall woman in the rear of the narthex. Things can improve.

    Anyway, must go get covid vaccine now.

  • Dear E. Baden, have you ever thought of becoming an unhealer? That’s what I am. I am ridiculously spiritual, to my own great cost. But I now believe we are not supposed to be like pristine spiritual people who have conquered our Earthly grubby appetites. If you suppose that the soul is eternal and we come from spirit and when we die we return to spirit, what then is the point of leaving that realm or dimension of love and perfection and bliss, if we are to recreate it here? Like a lunar module of “goodness”. I suspect we are here to mess it up for some of the time and be unspiritual and unhealed, since paradoxically this sensory incarnation IS an expression of spirit love. By virtue of us feeling free to feel whatever we feel. This may be so we can experience the full spectrum of feelings. If some dork at a subway does not make you grumpy then how will you later experience the feeling of relief after you relax with a coffee and chuckle? So you almost depend on the grump to bring you to the euphoria of relief. If the grump were a paragon of spiritual perfection you would feel nothing. Along comes a therapist to heal the grump, and so he feels relief, but because he is now all sorted, you wont get your subway squabble and so you wont get upset by that and so then later you wont reach your feeling of relief. I think it is okay to not heal everyone. The unhealed are so important! They heal everyone by giving them top ups of intense feelings. Provided they are not suffering. Grumpiness is not suffering. It is natural. Feelings are natural. I have always espoused this. So I am pleased the innovations for new care paradigms and frameworks and emotion focused plans put feelings top and centre. I feel this despite also feeling there should be better structured and practical care for people with harder mental illnesses.

    So, I believe we are here not to always be healed of feelings. This can confuse some therapists who still see feelings as oddities that need fussed over by healers. I think some therapists are like pure spirit beings who do heal the desperate, to give them respite from a tornado of feelings, for a while. They are like guardian angels. But there are other therapists who mimic being pure spiritual beings but who think the whole of grubby humanity should pack in their appetites and also become trained and invested in being pure and pristine and spiritually healed, possibly by a magical framework that will handle feelings like feelings are grenades to be detonated by experts, to stop people feeling grumpy or any feeling of relief or any feeling at all. Instead they will live in the perfection of a stripped bare “logical” mind that makes sense of history but engages no more with current emotions, nor makes contact with the filthy messy gorgeous turbulent disturbing world of lively feelings.

    I leave everyone hopelessly unhealed. They never thank me.

  • Armadillo,

    I used to use my professional knowledge to damn people who hurt me.

    Now I do not need to cite “logic” to box them into analytical corners.

    I do not even have to tell them they are horrid and hurt me.

    I just have to cry and love who I am.

    I am sorry if I hurt you and caused you to feel less love about you or doubt your giftedness.

  • Oldhead, I too am busy with stuff going in my life. I need to attend to that. Much as I have enjoyed sporting with your comments.

    I feel it is not our friends we learn about ourselves from but our detractors. Those sparkling, sharp, grains of salt in our wounds.

    But we are not meant to be endlessly wounded. Calm must arrive to put old pain to bed.

    I apologize if I did not restrain my need to find salt flabberghasting. I aim to be a vessel of love but often launch loveless tirades at others in pursuit of that aim. This is my undoing.

    I may have said nippy things today yet to filter through the comments machine that might rile you. Humans invariably cause others to feel how they themselves feel deep down.

    And of course who I am at dawn, with no coffee, reading a harvest of anti-psychiatry vitriol, is not who I am in the affable, playful evening reading the same.


    My eyes are like organ stops from typing on this miniature keypad. Must go.

    I am going.

    I go.

  • Oldhead, I am meaning who is anyone to nitpick my choice of words. It is like a settler arriving at the camp of the First Peoples who have a fair enough grasp of english language but during the conversation they then find their basic words are endlessly inteŕrogated. My words are my words. If someone is just going to say they do not like my words and they try to tell me to exanine my words and they examine my words rather than on balance accept that these are my words there is perhaps no point in communicating with that person. When two nations meet, hearing words matters more than examining words. If examining words is all that is going on there is no authentic heart to heart meeting.

  • Ps. Dear Sir article writer, I say what I say because whilst I totally believe the travesty of pharmaceuticals must stop and ect, and forced treatment, I regard psychiatry as like “a religion”. And all religions can be disatrous and in need of complete reform and reigning in. But many derive the type of help for their helplessness that they like from even the most absurdly old fashioned authoritarian faith. Where I live there are still buildings called cathedrals that people do not want to bulldoze. I am not at the moment a cathedral goer but that does not give me any right to tell others they shouldnt get married in one or call themselves Catholic….or schizophrenic.

    Plenty of wise people revile religious leaders and mostly with good reason. But the arrogant fallen “humans” that run religions are the ones that go awry and not the core healing symbol of religion itself. You want to tear down the Notre Dam of Psychiatry. Good on you. I am not kicking you. I am with you on much of your endevour. But maybe mad, happy, healed, schizophrenic Quazimodo loves it there.

  • Dear kind Sir,

    Please, please allow my silly wit and take no umbrage from my mad observations.

    I have schizophrenia. I know my schizophrenia is a real disease. Forgive me kind Sir for suggesting that you have never personally experienced my schizophrenia. Nor have your 400 “experts” with their years of experience in the “field”, a “field” all of you flag up as meaningful yet seem to equally disregard as poppycock. So why allude to “the field” in your bios at all? Why not let it go?

    The problem seems to be the want of professionals to claim gnosis of mental illness enough to debunk it. But why can’t gardeners debunk it with their gnosis of nature? Even better, my dear, why can’t “I” debunk it? I who have not a “field”. And why can’t I enshrine it rather than debunk it? Why can I not debunk mental illness on Wednesday, then glorify mental illness on Thursday, then debunk it on Friday? Why can I not change my preferences according my whims. Why can I not be such an “expert” in my own “field” that there is no need for “the field”? And if I can freely be my own expert what do I need the new Frameworks for? I already know it all, all of what I feel and think and experience, and I am telling your 400 that I HAVE AN ILLNESS. I feel really very, very, very ill. Ill enough to need a cosy Soteria bed. Ill enough to be with Soteria people who will never tell me that what my raving horrific illness is is just “emotions”. I have had emotions all my life. This schizophrenia illness is NOT that, not for me. The problem seems to be one of the understandable human desire to cure someone who is dying of a terminal illness by telling them faith healing will shrink their illness to the size of an emotion. Often behind it is the healers perfectly natural feeling of impotence in the face of a formadible depth of suffering being borne by someone. But dealing with helplessness by demanding the ill one think themselves well again may have more to do with the healers inability to tolerate their own sense of powerlessness. A sense of powerless Elizabeth Kubler Ross recognized as painful. A painful helplessness that may find manifold relief in creating a delusion of “expetize” for everyone. It is a helplessness the Guild of Psychiatry could not stomach. It is a helplessness few really can.

    But the terminal schizophrenic person often copes with helplessness like a pro. The schizophrenic ingeniously makes all sorts of extra cirricular delusions for themselves, to be a buffer against the chill of their helplessness, a wadding of hope to stop the horror show of their unending hallucinations. But that is why a schizophrenic can spot the telltale signs of delusory false hope a mile away, and paradoxically it also how a schizophrenic feels the general desire for comforting delusions is somewhat sweetly human and endearing. But a in all of this mix the schizophrenic may have no patience for being told their comforting delusion about traditional medicine is “wrong” and that they must now abide by new delusory laws that say they only have “an emotion”.

    What I feel is that there IS a Heirarchy of ill feelings or illness. Having been a depressed person in the past and having been a self harmer and having been an eating disorders gal and having been lots of those mild to moderate disorders I know that back then your ideas would totally work for me. They seem not different from psychotherapy but presented clearer. However, a depressed person CAN read a self help book. A depressed person CAN make it to their therapy appointment. A depressed person person CAN have a relaxing hot bath and try self care. A depressed person CAN get political an wave a placard and feel redeemed by joining a party. A depressed schizophrenic will not be able to read because their book has whispering turning the pages. A depressed schizophrenic will not be able to make it to the appointment because their spooky nightmare voices tell them the therapist is a giant African Snail. The depressed schizophrenic will not be able to relax in a bath because their cruel, barbaric intrusive hallucinated being is in the bath telling them to hurry the fuck up and save the Arctic ice caps.

    There IS a Heirarchy of madness. I know this because if there was not there would already be a million homes opening their doors to welcome the dangerously mad to relax and read books in their conservatories. That this sentiment is not in vogue suggests people are aware there are some mad people who suffer greatly and need more than just some middle class lady in a sunlit room asking “what happened to you?”.

    I have been telling a cast of a hundreds of people in the “field” what has happened to me for over two decades yet my terminal schizophrenia wont budge. They all hate me because they felt helpless. But one or two recognized the astonishing beauty of our mutual shared helplessness and respected me as the “expert” in my helplessness and I respected them as the “expert” in their helplessness…and we embraced.

    I suspect because I do know it all, in terms of being my own expert, this is why the framework lot and indeed the world will never listen to me. It erodes their delusion of grandeur. And what if my “expertize” on “me” really “knows” my schizophrenia is a real illness on a level of disease? What if it gives me huge consolation to think of my nightmare hell this way? Who are you to deprive me of that just because you decide it does me no good to think how my intelligent brain chooses to think. You who do not know one moment of the misery of real schizophrenia? What if in my “field” of “expertize” on “me” I decide I want to see a proper shrink with a clipboard sitting disinterestedly in an old fashioned office? Will you call me mad or even bad if I do? Deluded “experts” used to force everyone to consult astrologers and apothecaries and monks who diagnosed ill humours of the body that affected mood. Then other deluded “experts” felt embarrassed at that obvious delusion and so to sweep it all under the rug in order to revamp the delusion of “expertize”, to preserve its powerful healer trope, people were then forced to debunk astrology and apothcary leeches and monkish broths and bretheren humours and those who still felt they wanted the old style “expertize” delusion were treated as freaks and New Agers and witches. Nutters. Mad people who were even madder for not realizing the new delusion of “expertize” would “cure” them. Indeed their whinging that they liked Monk soup and suction cups and herbal poultices marked them out as traitors to the very notion a new world saving “cure”. Not only were those schizo throwbacks idiots who did not know what “expert” was good for them, they were slowing down the mass delusional hope in a new magic fix for everyone else. Until those actually ill schizophrenic choosy types who wanted tradition for themselves, were deemed so rebellious they were sent to the gas chamber.

  • Maedh,

    You are probably right, my mind is a blur just now. But I probably was nitpicking back at what I concluded was nitpicking of other people.

    I have been cross examining my cross examiners to get over a message about cross examining. Cross examining can be feverish great fun, like hunting a “logic fox”. But so can sitting down peacefully making a lovely picture of the Taj Mahal out of cotton wool. I have been playing with my cross examiners because when the brain gets too serious it cannot relax into love.

    I shall bow out of this running commentary now. I need to drink a sacred glass of grapefruit juice.

  • Steve, thankyou for taking time to ponder all this. To be honest I am flagging just now from a night of no sleep. I really must rest. I cannot do justice to this phenomenally complex debate all on my own. It involves massive multilayered considerations and thinking about it is like five dimemsional chess. It sucks me in because it is all about “logic”. My old darling. But I am divorced from “logic” now. I do not live there anymore. Though I wistfully peer through the window at times. “Logic” as a midnight lover makes me ill. It is such a hit, such a narcotic buzz, it makes the impossible seem possible, but over the course of a few weeks it spirits me off into high hopes of fixing the world. And that steals my time lived in the calm simplicity of the here and now.

    I see people wanting to demolish psychiatry. I feel my way of pinpointing a bully when you discern one IS my demolishing the psychiatry you loathe. And not just bully psychiatrists but bully police and bully teachers and bully politicians and bully everyone everywhere who will not respect an individuals “freedom of choice”. But by that token I include bullies who bully a bully. This is why I cannot join people who want to be aggressive. I dont like it. Nor can I bear being untrue. There are plenty of lovely people who are psychiatrists. I agree that massive amounts of children and vulnerable adults have been poisoned by pharmaceuticals. We all went from being a smoking society to a non smoking society. I demonize any poison. I cannot hate people. I just cannot.

    As for schizophrenia not being not being a sciency thing, few scientists have a clue what much of the brain is for, or does. And what is “the brain” anyway. It has nerves in our toes. I feel schizophrenia is a disease. Those who have my sort of schizophrenia derive comfort from thinking the lizards and leopards leaping out from their bedroom walls are just a disease. It is like telling a nine year old boy he is just having “a nightmare” rather than saying he is not having a nightmare.

    And on that note, I am going to switch off the light of my “logic” and rest my weary mind.

  • Dear Sam,

    By way of my repentance I send as my ambassador of apologies the poet Keats.

    When I Have Fears.

    “When I have fears that I may cease to be
    Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
    Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
    Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
    When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
    Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
    And think that I may never live to trace
    Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
    And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
    That I shall never look upon thee more,
    Never have relish in the faery power
    Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
    Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
    Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.”

  • Dear Sam, the lottery of the posting of comments and replies has itself gone mad…I made a gaff…I apologize comment about diagnosing diagnosis was NOT you at all, you dear man. It was MEANT to be a reply to Armadillo who I suspect was trying to therip me after refering to blundering schizophrenics. Oh well, comically she is perhaps right. I did blunder.

    Sorry if I offended you Sam. Indeed anyone. I was born gummily smiling. I am determined to get back to that stock answer.

  • Lovely gracious Sam,

    I may have done a tetchy response to a comment you did elsewhere. Or not to “you” and your comment but something it brought to my notice. I steam at discrepancies like an Icelandic volcano.

    And here you are being so kind to me. I shall just go and hit my head on a convenient hard surface. Lava. Pumice stone.

    Very interesting to hear of your wife’s journey. This is all to the good to hear a diverse range of healing stories. You must write a book surely! And NEVER feel lesser just because you are the partner. Illness is able to seep into a whole family through love’s porous membrane.

    I do hope you wont mind if I shyly say I do not need my feelings “validated”. I do that myself. I do not even need my feelings accepted, or respected, or believed, or loved. I can do all of that myself. I just do not want someone, anyone, telling me I should NOT do those self-care things. And people the world over who do not know me tend to want to tell me all the time which are the feelings I “should have” or “not have”. They do not know they are doing it. I feel no ire. But critique my emotions people do. Aside from the paradigm about trauma I believe this fashion for putting others through a regime of feelings “inspection”, as a picky tendency in all humans, even in me, is a prime cause of driving people off their rocker.

    And so I do get frosty about that when it crops up. I champion people not changing. As a political principle.

    Sam, I think it is chivilrous of you to bestow me with suggestions of healing. I salute your warm heart. I suppose for me at this moment in time I am wary of the vogue people have to encourage others towards unnecessary “change” or “breakthrough” or “catharsis”. I feel I do not want to “change”. I feel I need to affirm that I am perfect as I am. I think this hurry people have to “change” themselves comes from buying into external judgements that they are not loveable as they are.

    If we do not love ourselves we are unable to make enough of it to give to everyone else.

    Not that we “have to” be loving. We are free to choose to love nothing. But we can love that about ourselves and never seek to “change” it, and by doing so.,.
    we become more loving.

  • Dear Rebel, a while ago I retorted to a comment you made about the notion of there being no such thing as mental disease. I may not have been in a cheery mood then so I apologize if I come over a bit waspish, I was in the middle of pandemic stuff, but later, now, I read this comment of yours and I find it serene. Yes, you are perhaps correct to see there is a distinction between labeling and self-definition. You cite the image of someone using labels such as “you are too slow” or “you are stupid”. These are judgements. The thing I have found with judgements is they are an attempt to take away something precious from you, which is your freedom of choice to be any way you please. So let’s look at the judgement “you are too slow”. You could “believe” that the judge has “authority” to know your inmost feelings, in his or her labelling your feelings as “lazy”. This is an absurdity if the judge is not telepathic. No one but you alone know your inmost feelings. The trouble with all judges is they purport to know you better than you know you. So that is a reality and truth you probably do want to set straight. But “if” part of you “doubts” your own ability to be your own authority and expert on your feelings then you might feel the judge resides in your very being and is “right” to describe you as “lazy”. And “if” you do absorb his or her authority about that you may then add his thought about you, a thought that requires you to wallow in self-condemnation. But that then makes you have another feeling which is being “ashamed” of feeling “lazy”. You may then spend the rest of your year defending yourself and saying that you are not “lazy” and that you are an innocent hard working person. Which may be true. But I prefer to take back the quality and sumptuous gorgeously self-indulgent feeling of “laziness” that the judge does not want me to like about myself. I do the same for “your too slow”.

    I love slow!

    Why would I want to let a horrible judgey person jealously steal my “free choice” and human right to be slow? The whole of nature loves slow. And as for “stupid”, well the stupider I feel the better I become. An elephant is quite stupid. A horse is stupid. They seem pretty okay. The judges or critics or bullies of the human race, whether they are in a profession or are your girlfriend or boyfriend, always want to humiliate a freedom you have to enjoy what they deem as shameful. They deem it! One way to deal with the imposition of shame meted out by the judge is to rigorously refute having the feeling behind what he or she judges you to be. But that is letting him or her whip you into abandoning a feeling that is rightfully your private property. Yours to revel in and enjoy if you want to. Lazy, slow, stupid, nonsensical, farcical, uproarious, mouthy, cheeky, blazè, exuberant, uncontrollable, mad, ecstatic, rebellious, schizo….all of these are “feelings” that the judge shames us into giving up, or even threatens us into abandoning. Why? Because he or she claims to “know” our interior feelings and presides in judgement over them like some grafted on unwelcome moral conscience about our unique feelings? I tend to align with the Gay Right camp and take back from that attempt to humiliate and shame my feelings of lazy, slow, stupid. And I shout from the rooftops that I am free to love being lazy, slow, stupid and schizo calypso. Being schizophrenic is not a dirty word. But I can totally understand anyone who shudders in shame at being called something seemingly not okay in the judges reckoning. And I can understand that even becoming outrage at being called anything by a judge. And I can see the impulse to return the favour and judge the judger as being the shameful likeness of evil. Sort of bullying the bully to stop bullying existing.

    For me I prefer not to engage with any bully. What is the point? They do not posess my stollen feelings…I do. My feelings are all deliciously here…my laziness, my slowness, my stupidity, my schizoness, I only have to re-love those feelings like long lost babies.

    Now some people are happy to get rid of their feelings, especially ones involved in illness. They may themselves loathe their laziness or their slowness or their schizoness and think those feelings are like dead kippers pinned to their coat tails. They may find the kipper feelings hideous because a parental judge criticized them in infancy or a school bully did. This leaves them more vulnerable to “believing” the next bully and the next until the ultimate judge mocks them so hard they go home and wash and scrub away all traces of the apparently offensive feelings. Then when a future judge says they aspy a feeling of laziness lurking deep down or a schizoness feeling, there comes an erruption of anguish and a sense that the judge is shoving the unwanted feelings back into the ashamed, like assaulting them with their own unloved feelings of laziness, slowness, any feelings, any feelings at all that can be picked at by a lifetime of control freaks. And control freaks are everywhere. We are ALL capable of being a bully and a judge and a control freak to others, the moment we say they should not feel the feelings they do.
    Feelings are not behaviour. Feelings are harmless to have. There is no harm in feeling a feeling….even a feeling of schizoness.

    That is why for myself I do not mind labels. Every smelly kippery pungent one! The labels are my feelings “shunned”.

    But fear not. Just because I choose my way does not mean you cannot choose your way. If I choose my way AND you choose your way the Earth’s crust will still be curvacious. The polar mantle will still hold a few penguins together. The forests will still scream with joyful birdsong. And the corner shop will still be half open. And the puppy will still catch the stick. And the world will still be here tomorrow morning.

  • Are you actually trying to diagnose the cause of my diagnosis? And you NOT a therapist? Is that not unethical to one who enshrines professional boundaries? So let’s lookie here…you pin me as a needy person who feels overwhelmed in the mommy department. Darn it! You got me! Aren’t you clever? I am overwhelmed, like eight billion Earthlings are overwhelmed, every one of them bawling inside, possibly you too, for the peace of the maternal uterus. That does not make them schizophrenic. Nor does it make me schizophrenic.

  • Yes, Rebel, my schizophrenia is everything I choose to believe it is. I believe it is a disease. Tomorrow I may call it trauma. The day after I may call it the will of God. The next day I may call it malnutrition. The following day I may call it schizophrenia again.

    IT IS ALL UP TO ME how I regard what is the matter with me. It is my “free choice”. IT IS MY BODY. IT IS MY BRAIN. NOT YOURS.

    I wonder does my free choice to know “me” disturb you? Someone can believe in the Virgin Birth and I just say nothing so as not to insult their “free choice”. I do not follow their every comment with irrefutable proof it cannot be true. That would be bullying. I feel people on this site should feel free to define the cause of their emotional troubles in any way they deem healing. If a ninety year old schizophrenic came on this site, one who had never had antipsychotics, and never would, and told you they believe they have a disease would you berate their free choice? And if so what does that honestly achieve in your life if you pressure them? Can they not be regarded as having the ability to think for themselves?

    You may be able to say that you believe there is no disease of the specific chemical or genetic sort that science initially linked to that disease and thought was the location of it in the brain, but that was evidently science getting it wrong again as science often does in its pursuit of causes. Science used to think MS was not a brain disease, and yet we now know it is. Science stuffs up routinely. It does not mean there is NOT a disease. Rickets is a disease caused by lack of vitamin D. It is a real dis-ease. Scurvey is a disease csused by lack of vitamin C. It is a real dis-ease. Both can cause depression. You could say depression is not itself a disease but is a symptom of disease. Well so is DEATH a symptom of disease. I dont much give a damn about what an individual with “free choice” chooses to call their illness. Whatever helps them cope with it is fine by me. I suspect you get muddled between the travesty that is the “treatment” and the innocuous names by which we are ALL entitled to call our soreness. My calling my illness a disease helps me understand it better. My using that word on myself does not construct a pharmaceutical industry that might want to sell me pills to treat it. I do not “cause” psychiatry. I am blameless. My saying I feel I have a speckled carpet does not mean I “cause” a vaacuum cleaner industry to suddenly fall out of the sky in to my street with its door to door vaaccum pushing salesman.

  • I am deeply suspicious of the wholesale vogue for claiming that every mental illness is caused by trauma. I think many traumatized people really do go on to develop mental illness symptoms but if trauma alone accounted for all mental illness there would be so much mental illness the world would be peopled only by florid schizophrenics since EVERYONE has trauma. I have met lively happy traumatized people and bored to death untraumatized people. I have met people with disastrous childhoods who are so super healthy they wind up helping their whole neighbourhoods and I have met people with fabulous childhoods who just want to die. There are other reasons why I am none too keen on chalking up all mental illnesses as only arising from trauma. It gives those who perhaps have a dubious claim to having had a hard life, who declare themselves to be the traumatized, carte blanche for blaming whoever they thought “gave” them the trauma. As if tauma is a vial of novichok that the “them” have used to deliberately distress the “us”. It legitimates bullying and hate speech against the supposed traumatizers who may not even be personally known by the one who deems their natural every daily discontents are from trauma. And as for a paradigm of care that endorses only ever hunting for the trauma truffle, it could all creepily develop into a quasi-religious forced conversion where you have to “confess” your mom or pappy are in league with the Devil and did you harm. A confession that is the only way you will get granted enough victimhood cudos to permit your entry into into the cathedral of survivor saintliness. Where you will finally be treated like the “good person” you always were from the outset anyways.
    A billion very sick psychotic people require support. Since in the West there is no such thing as community. All sorts of practical support is needed. If psychosis is going to be reduced to an outcrop of trauma, which is a sort of normal response to life events, all the governments tasked with funding that practical support will downgrade their having to do so. Then who do you think is going to feel traumatized for real?

    Sam, I say this not to you personally or specifically. You are a great guy and you have found a viable treatment for those who have been traumatized. I champion the implimemting of as many treatment options as possible. By having a cluster of care paradigms no one paradigm gets to lord it over another and that will lead to a healthy world. I just took this moment to air these ponders.

  • Hello Oldhead,

    You say this in response to my comment…

    “You seem to think that people are trying to denying your feelings, but I don’t see that happening. They’re examining your language. Nor do I see your right to define your feelings any way you want being challenged, even if you take your cues from the psychiatric narrative.”

    I say this….Who is anyone to examine my language? What right has anyone to “examine” me? I thought that is what this site damns psychiatry for doing. The very word e x a m i n e sounds cruel to my ears. It assumes authority to judge. I do not think my mere soundwave words are being examined, like you might birdsong. I suspect the “feelings” behind my words are what is being examined. Not all of my feelings are expressed in words but many feelings I feel only have my words to convey them. If anyone is examining my language, or words, they are examining my feelings.

    Luckily, I find this frisking of everyones feelings all too common in the human. I am partial to doing it myself. It is part of nitpicking and all unhappy people do it to eachother night and day the world over. But the world will be over…if we don’t try to fatholm why we feel so miserable that we cannot resist neurotically pick pick picking away at each others feelings, and at each others free choices, words and language and beliefs. It is not others we should examine but our own brokenness. All of us have just crawled through the worst pandemic in recent global history and the unexpressed wailing trauma from living with death on a daily basis for almost two years has brought a tidal wave of grief at the simple happy sociable silly romantic lives we should have had. Lives full of feeling. I am making up for lost time and binging on as many feelings as I can feel. The pandemic has shattered our tolerance and amplified our sense of apocalyptic threat, to the extent we now see anyone who is slightly different as hugely threatening. But this cannot be healthy! I am no threat to you or anyone. It is laughable that we all cannot leave each other alone to be more of who we each uniquely are. My only agenda is for you to be more you.

    As for mind…well I have been told by my schizophrenic voices, whether reliable or not, that we are living in a mirage. That means thst every hour of the day we are squabbling at a mirage, quaking in our boots at a mirage, wrestling with a mirage, cowtowing to a mirage, blending in with a mirage. What this means is the nature of physical material reality may not be real in the sense we think it is but may be more like a beautiful guided meditation that we all participate in, as if watching a movie in a cinema, or maybe we are like clumsy, sleepy buffoons eating onions we believe are apples in some cosmic hypnotists stage show. What I believe is that post death we do not die at all but wake up from the mirage. And have a good laugh at how stupidly seriously we took it, for some seriously enough to carpet bomb a few cities. I feel our choice is to either get swallowed up in the mirage or find playful ways to rise above it so we do not treat each other as real threats. This fosters peace. But its not easy in a gripping, engrossing, apocalyptic pandemic.

    Lastly, I apologize if I have been belabouring a point about my right to call myself anything I please. I do get the reasoning behind the use of speech marks for unpopular terms but I think of many things in my life that I have worn as a group badge but chucked after the message had served its moment in history. The sufferagettes at one point used to insist all true sufferagettes wear only green and purple. I used to perm my hair and insist everyone else do so. In my teens I used to listen to certain bands that I cringe at now. I could be wrong but I feel the speech marks observance has got its message over good enoug for people to now feel they can make up their own minds. Apart from anyhing I just think in a rushy world it is too clunky to last. A thousand psychiatric survivors probably desire to compose their harrowing memoirs of being in asylums but might be slowed down by having to be precious about punctuation. Do their experiences not count? A person with a different language should be heard even if they cannot spell. And finally, even though thousands feel rescued by slamming labels, If I have felt vaguely put off from joining MIA because of the labels battle I am sure there are probably some suicidal pill popping kids who are put off by it. For those one or two lone kids, maybe I am their stand in for a burping, disrespectful, speech mark dismissing, babysitter.

    (No need to respond. I am swamped in writing projects and need to empty my pockets to trace my way back to three dimensional existence. The lovely mirage.)

  • My schizophrenia is a real actual illness that is mostly a kind of spiritual experience and is not caused by political factors. Nor trauma. I am an expert on me. Which is as it should be for everyone.

    There are a great amount of political strifes currently that affect billions of poor, suffering people.

    I think my schizophrenia is as politically caused as are period pains.

    This is not to suggest that political injustice would not have a deliterious effect on my schizophrenia.

    I am not going to lie to myself anymore. If economic inequality were a cause of absolutely everyone’s schizophrenia how come those wealthy people who are comfortable in their homes and who lack for nothing also get schizophrenia? The mad women in the attics of nineteenth century gothic novels were indeed housed in capacious roomy attics, they were not the rushing maids in the kitchen cellars who had no time to have the luxury of an emotional breakdown. The rich also get bipolar. Why is that? Why do rich girls in Swiss finishing schools who want for nothing shrivel up with anorexia? Why do millonaires who have it all drink themselves to a standstill? Why do seemingly happy and adored husbands who have built up a successful business suddenly go off the rails with cataclysmic depression? Even more bizarre, how come rich consultant psychiatrists are statistically more likely to suicide than many other less well heeled folks?

    Doubtless an article will now dryly plop into my feed about how there is a massive link between schizophrenia and poverty. I am no fool to dispute that. If you are poor you will be susceptible to everything from the bubonic plague to the common cold. But poverty does not “cause” the common cold. Poverty is a weakener of many defenses against things that are “caused” by “other stuff”. But the poor do not have a monopoly on the “cause” of illness. Any more than the rich do. Illness is sometimes ruthlessly impartial that way. I cannot abide “us” and “them” thinking. Having been poor much of my life, I say “no”. My schizophrenia was and is “caused” by “other stuff”, whether that be mind glitches or brain disorder or preternatural hauntings or the wrong type of mushroom. My ordinary fed up distress is very likely to be poverty induced. Poverty and distress are virtually identical words. But not my schizophrenia illness. I have everything I need right now, yet my schizophrenia is still here. And just because I know this to be true does not mean I do not also see that the world is awash with manifold grotesque, gruelling, injustices. But in my view much of the injustice in the world is caused by “us” and “them” thinking, that thinks a poor person is valueless. But it is also an “us” and “them” thinking that claims that a terminally doomed cancer riddled rich child’s body is less ill than a healthy yet poor child’s body. Or a coughing emaciated poor child’s body is less ill than a healthy rich child’s body.

    There is a way to pursue a path of justice that has no “them”. A way that brings everyone together, as Dr Martin Luther King juniour did. A way that ultimately aspires to the whole world becoming “us”.

    But what do I know? I am just a crazy lady, quite driven mad by my intolerable schizophrenia. A schizophrenia that keeps making me halt in the middle of sentences because I don’t even know what I am saying. This comment had five more sentences I had to delete because my hallucination of a spectre told me to. And I am too afraid not to obey. To him I am always “them”.

  • Amy, I thoroughly enjoyed your article. It highlights the tale of a community that does not want to produce something such a bottle rattling production line of organic wine, or bales of colourful knitwear, or gardens of free range chickens, but is a community that wants to build a community. As does Soteria itself. This requires having the integrity to explore fearlessly just what makes a community and what breaks it. I do sometimes wonder what exactly a community is. Is it just a numerical gathering of disparate characters? Or is it a beautiful herd, like antelope, all peacefully grazing in the same approximate direction? Can communities destroy individuals for the sake of the community? Do communities rescue individuals? Endlessly fascinating to ponder this.

    And Grace Silvia, it is fantastic to put a name to a face. Your photo looks like you have just dared yourself to keep summoning God and this Divine has blown a honey breeze through your hair.

  • Dear Kindred Spirit,

    Knock me over with a feather!
    I am astonished at the love pouring out of your comments! I feel drenched in your love.

    That is not an obligation to bestow more. You are free to be where ever your mood takes you. I just wanted to honour you.

    As for the daughter, put her across your fiercely protective maternal knee and thrash her and send her to her room with no pockey money. The goading button pusher!

    (in jest).

  • Lots of anxious comments suggest you should try to become a different sort of healer. So before I go for a little lie down I will share that I once suggested a depressed friend should consider becoming schizophrenic? It is terribly liberating. You can speak truthfully. You don’t have to heal anybody but yourself. And because you feel healed this rubs off on others in the passing, as a perk.

  • Dear Ruby,

    Like you I am schizophrenic and although I prefer for myself not to believe people are evil, just “lost”, I certainly do believe nobody “lost”, should ever inflict medication on other people. You are a very fine and accomplished writer. That is so strong and undaunted with you even on pills. I am in awe of your creativity.

    I can only EVER talk from my OWN experience, so I will say that for me, and it may be quite the opposite for someone different, Abilify was an excruciating drug. I recognize exactly nearly all the side effects you mention and I can add more, though bodies are not made in factories and so everyone’s body will have quirky side effects. Like you I was on maximum dose of that specific drug, amongst many others, for about five years. I eventually quit and it has been really, really tough living with my schizophrenia at times but getting out of what I was dosed on has been the absolute making of me. What people do not understand is the warm, wise person you are gets utterly decimated by the side effects. This gives a false perception of “the schizophrenic” as being an idiot who cannot make their own “free choices”. Once a schizophrenic comes off their pills people are so aghast that the schizophrenic person is intelligent after all that they think it must have been a misdiagnosis, which it is not. The cruel irony is that removal of faulty treatment does not equate with a cure of schizophrenia, it only gets rid of the awful drug effects. So what can then occur is the schizophrenic person is left with little actual help AT ALL. And since they now have awakened from drugdom, and sound clever and gifted, they get told to take their still occuring hallucinations and delusions and voices and fend for themselves. I would ask any non schizophrenic person to consider how they would feel serving burgers to a table of diners if they heard voices telling them to run? Or have the delusion the diners are being controlled by invisible aliens?
    The schizophrenia sufferer must have the “free choice” of optional proper help, only if they need it, and because merely coming of a drug does not vanish away the original predicaments of symptoms, and because the schizophrenic person changes to being more alert without drugs, care folks need to know that the schizophrenic person both may at times feel they need some kind of optional asked for voluntary support AND is smart enough to design how their support should be. I believe Soteria houses understand that philosophy.

  • Dear Armadillo,
    May I respond to something you mention…? And apologies if this gets duplicated.

    Philosphically, I have always regarded the notion of “a professional” boundary rather peculiar, especially in most “talking” therapies. Just that word “professional” seems faintly creepy to me. It is often worn with pomp and ceremony by complete strangers, like overmantled heavy lace and embroidery bedecked, fetishistic priests, who need a costume to stop themselves rummaging and molesting their congregants. Why the regalia?

    It has been my observation, as a hope filled schizophrenic person, hoping for equality for ALL people, that the tightly clutched claim to “professionalism” is sometimes, though not always, a charade and a mask that a person uses to maintain a sense of “us” and “them” out of “fear” of not having enough of a natural ethical boundary. As such it is like a confession of weakness from the get go. And as such it seems the badge of a charlatain.
    But you surely must have schizophrenia yourself, to claim to know the interior of a schizophrenic person so intimately. So nice to have you join me, fellow schizophrenic person. Let me plump our cushions.

    Perhaps the notion of any “professional” who has had, or has, something as mad as schizophrenia disturbs the cosy notion that intellectual “logic”, of the stripe most relied upon by therapists, cannot be relied upon to separate the wheat from the chaff, or keep out from the staff room the “contageon” of insanity. It is not so simple as saying here are the smart “professionals” and there are the “blundering” schizophrenics. Most schizophrenics wrote the damn book on “therapy” and the many “voices” of therapy. I suspect there are plenty of far cleverer schizophrenic people than therapists. And besides Nobel Prize winners, thankfully a good few are “professionals” in the caring professions. Which just goes to prove that neither the lucky rabbit paw of “talking” nor sacred talisman of “analytical logic” does not “cure” schizophrenia, since the schizophrenic is often the superior genius in both departments. And this reveals a very ordinary, tawdry embarrassing weakness in the “power” of any professional’s thinkerly intellectual paradigm of care. It is a flaw and weakness about the magic wand of therapy that some “professionals” are too disappointed to own.

  • Flatworld. Realworld. I live increasingly in flatworld. The world within the flat smartphone screen. I feel no rain. The wind does not adjust my tresses. I DISENGAGE from my bodily self and become pure brain. But it does not feel like a life. I think it is more like a form of sleep where the body is paralysed in a chair all day. In therapy there is an environment where play is possible. You see a tuft of carpet, a flighty bird unrolls a long white streamer of shit on a window’s glazing, a book sighs as it flops over on a shelf. So many exciting sensory things to play with or about or over and under. This is lacking on a phone. I think people think there is an individual versus the world but often the best healing comes in dissolving self into the world as if marrying it.