Comments by Stephen Shenfield

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  • Joe replies:

    Dear James,

    I recently read your post on my article on Mad in America. (Stephen Shenfield provided me with the text of the post from you). I hope you will not mind too terribly if I ask what you might consider some ‘snoopy’ questions: have the experiences I described in my story touched you or your family, or come near?

    You used such down-to-earth language in your post that I wanted to know more about how you came to the positions that you take on this particular subject. So pragmatic and decisive.

    Yours, Joe Hopkins

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  • The following reply comes from Joe R. Hopkins.

    My dear Pacific Dawn,

    What you say has a great deal of validity. I’m supposing you are referring to ”John and Mary’s Nursery School” when you write of ‘preschool’. It was a different era when ‘Nursery Schools’ were listed as such in the Yellow Pages of telephone books.

    Until I read your post I had never considered the possibility that the abuse I suffered had at ‘John and Marys’! BUT, that is when the antisocial behaviour of stealing began. I had never put that together in my mind. Thank you Pacific Dawn, thank you very much. I had personally always suspected my father Joe (Rollie) or my uncle Scott (Gene Raymond)!

    It is hard for me to know, Pacific Dawn… After Larue Carter things seemed even more scrambled and chaotic in my mind: Larue Carter Memorial Hospital seems to have exacerbated the difficulties I was experiencing. It was certainly confusing, and dreadfully hurtful, to be abandoned there — marooned, so to speak.

    A professor emeritus of Brown University, who has become a dear friend to me during the past decade, has pretty much made it clear through many of the books he has sent to me that the ‘silver dumbbells’ I vaguely remember being pressed to my head were in fact ‘electro convulsive shock therapy’ treatments. ECT is a major theme running through , a book devoted to making clear what lengths and depths the consequences of psychiatric treatment extend to — and how easy it is to get someone committed to a ‘mental institution’! Children, during the 1950-60s, had no rights! No protection from the ‘good though misdirected’ or malign intentions of their parents or family — or an effort to cover-up for their family-member-abusers.

    It is known that ECT tends to permanently scramble or obliterate the memory of the subject and confusion reigns, and rules the past, for a person that has undergone such ‘treatments’ — a good question to ask here, with no expectation of a definitive answer, is if this was perhaps an intentional consequence? Not merely to mask and cloak the abuser, but to ‘therapeuticly’ the subject from the trauma filled memories of the theoretically ‘wayward indiscretions’ of a trusted loved one or care-provider for the family, or even of a family member.

    If you give these ideas further consideration and gain some new insights I am very interested to hear them.

    I thank you for your insightful considerations Pacific Dawn: ALL “dawns” in the US begin on the Pacific coast!

    Very truly yours, Joe

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  • The following response comes from Joe R. Hopkins.

    Dear Kelli F.,

    I read your account of the terrible things that were done to you, not the least of which was the deception, the lies, your mother told to you to get you to the hospital and in the door. She encouraged the use of force against you. The similarity of these tactics, at least in outline, is striking. (I thought that my parents were bluffing, your parent flat out lied to you) In either or both events we were deceived, or deceived ourselves, in my case. The crux is that our trust was betrayed! That is deeply disturbing on so many levels… There is a sacred, genetic, cultural, species-being, familial bond that exists between children and their parents (progenitors) that in its most expression, idealised to some degree perhaps that the parents, progenitors, even of animals, will kill or be killed in defence of their offspring with the object of keeping them safe and secure and healthy.

    Social structures are structuring structures that are internalised into the mind that tend to place ”experts” in the upper echelons of society, both mentally-psychologically, and materially, i.e., in economic and social reality. Being duped is no defence for the perpetrator Kelli, but it may perhaps lead to a deeper understanding to countenance the root primary causes of particular events that depend upon and are consequences of social programming. It is frightening that people who should know better continually fall for the duppery of social trends and institutions over their ‘instincts’? (if they have such instincts to begin with)

    Please feel free to write more of your experiences if you like. I am truly and deeply interested in your experiences as they coincide, or at least resonate, with mine own. Your trauma filled memories of the things that were perpetrated on you are spooky to me in that we went through such similar tricks played on us. (or in my case, played on myself)

    I admire your resolve to carry forward an organised opposition and resistance to the professionalization of abuse in the name of psychiatric treatment and . Together, we may resolve some of the niggling doubts and even fears that we both suffer from.

    Please write more, I am deeply interested in your perspectives.

    Your fellow abused comrade, Joe

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  • I’ve been reading the story of a girl with Aspergers syndrome who is forcibly “treated” with and eventually killed by psychiatric drugs for seizures that she probably didn’t even have. The story is told by her mother, a Danish teacher named Dorrit Christensen. The title of the book is “Dear Luise.”

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  • Recently I was looking for a local group that might give me support in my effort to lose weight. I did find a group that meets regularly in a nearby hospital, but it too was based on this 12-step system. I am against this system because instead of empowering people it reinforces their feelings of powerlessness and teaches them that they must rely on an external power, i.e., God.

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  • One expression of attitudes toward suicide is the silencing of references to the cause of the death of the person concerned. It is never mentioned in obituaries or at funerals or memorial meetings, although the perceptive observer might infer the likelihood of suicide from the very fact that no cause of death is given.

    When a close colleague committed suicide at an institute where I worked, I offered to organize a meeting to talk the matter through but was told by the personnel manager in no uncertain terms that I would do no such thing. I came to an agreement with her and the director that I would observe the norm of public silence but conduct an investigation and send a report of its results to those colleagues who wanted to receive it. That meant first sending a note informing them that I had prepared the report and asking them to return a slip saying whether or not they wanted to see the report. Every single one of them replied yes! So much for the rationale of keeping silent in order not to disturb people. In fact people are disturbed by the silence as well as by the suicide itself — they want to know and understand (although complete understanding is unattainable). Afterward some colleagues thanked me and said my report had greatly helped them.

    The director also arranged for a close friend of our deceased colleague to come and talk with us informally. She assured us that the suicide had nothing to do with how any of us had behaved toward him, because a number of us, including myself, feared that we might be somehow to blame.

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  • Thank you for drawing my attention to this group. I agree with what seems to me their basic philosophy — autistic people should be accepted as they are. Both the use of drugs and manipulative “educational” methods have their roots in the assumption that “bizarre” behavior is intolerable and must be suppressed. The underlying problem facing autistic people and all others who are different from the norm is intolerance of human diversity.

    Thank you, everyone else as well, for your solidarity and kind words.

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