Thursday, June 24, 2021

Frank Blankenship

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 577 total)
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  • in reply to: Writers! Submit to a new anthology on forced psychiatry! #165050
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Contemporary voices have become less powerful as the system has become more powerful, and as the mental patients’ liberation movement has evolved into a much compromised mental patients’ movement. I’m not saying we don’t have powerful voices today. I’m saying that the situation has gone downhill, and no amount of excuse making offers any sort of a remedy.

    First question, what do we mean by powerful? Some people would think it would be the voice of a state functionary. You could die of the BS. Perhaps there I used the wrong word. I just think historical context means a lot, and that it is something that too easily gets lost. Without that historical context one has an unfocused look at our struggle anyway. It’s not something that only exists within the pages of a book, or that began on Monday, and ends next Friday. Every number on a concrete slab behind the old lunatic asylum has to story to tell us. This has been going on for awhile, and people still avert their faces. In this country archeological research into the lives of slaves has become important. Many people here are descendants of slaves. Well, whaddaya know? There are people who are not only descendants of lunatic asylum inmates, there are people who are experiencing confinement and torture (deprivation of liberty, parens patriea <ownership by the state>, etc.) in present day psychiatric institutions at this moment. Yeah, I know. Somebody should do something.

    in reply to: Writers! Submit to a new anthology on forced psychiatry! #163720
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Julie, one thing I think we need, when it comes to anthologizing, is a bit of the history of the struggle against force. Otherwise, there is this sort of discontinuity, this disjuncture. This fight has been going on for well over a century. It isn’t new. I’m thinking, for example, if I had such an anthology, I might want to include a section with selections from the writings of Elizabeth Packard Parsons and the Narrative of John Thomas Percival. Also, if possible, from Kenneth Donaldson’s Insanity Inside Out. Also, perhaps, some of things Howie the Harp, and Judi Chamberlain might have written. Leonard Roy Frank, too. I know that permissions to publish copy-written material might be a problem, but, all the same, if you could get some of those permissions, then we’d have even more powerful voices to add to our arsenal in the struggle against the torture of forced trickment. I just wanted to throw that out there. It’s not anything you have to go with. I just think it would be one way of making a more powerful volume if someone did want to do so.

    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    I was once involved with this Mental Health Coalition that claimed to be inclusive but in actuality wasn’t. They made some kind of stipulation on their website about the necessity for members to ‘believe’ in “mental illness”. I can’t but think, to some extent, MIA is entangled in the same garbage.

    What’s wrong with the word antipsychiatry? Oh, gee. I know. The board here, when it comes to “mental illness”, have to be agnostic, and cannot go so far as to express a view that is atheistic.

    They seem to say, like rats, we love our garbage (i.e. mental health system), and so we can’t rid of it. Not without violating MIA policy anyway.

    in reply to: Calling all serious antipsychiatrists and abolitionists #155372
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    On board, SD. What we need is a group of people that could serve as the basis for an organization (even loose association) and, in the context of gathering this group, we could throw up a website. Count me in anyway.

    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Can you believe the audacity of these “skeptic” movement idiots who say that we demonise “medical psychiatric doctors”?

    I don’t have such a completely negative view of the skeptic movement. They are willing to take on psychoanalysis, so-called ‘talk therapy’. It’s just that they, as a rule, haven’t got around to questioning the biomedical BS of psychiatry yet. I would hope, that with a lot of help from us, they might get around to doing so someday.

    I think one of the best places to talk antipsychiatry is on YouTube. Make a video, and if you’re lucky, and/or industrious enough, maybe it will go viral.

    in reply to: When you write try and use the term nervous breakdown #150026
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Although the Online Etymology Dictionary dates the word nervous breakdown to 1905, an article in The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Mechanics of a “Breakdown”, dates the usage the word of “breakdown” in association with “nervous disorders” to the late 19th century.

    “The Cambridge academic German Berrios (personal communication) informed me that “breakdown” is a 19th century construction, initially used to refer to breakages and fractures in machinery and leading to the need for “breakdown gangs” (i.e., teams of navvies whose job involved addressing the mechanical disruptions to the functioning of railways). Metaphorical uses of the term followed, particularly in reference to failure in personal intentions and plans.

    Berrios suggested that it was only in the second half of the 19th century that its metaphorical connotations were extended to the brain—and later to the mind. Its initial association was not to depression, anxiety, or psychosis but to symptoms associated with mental and physical exhaustion and relating to 19th century constructs such as “neurasthenia,” “the vapors,” “spinal irritation,” and “nervous prostration.” Because neurasthenia (in Greek meaning “lack of nerve strength”) imputes a physical basis (in the nerves) rather than psychological weakness, it was an intrinsically less stigmatizing phrase than “mental illness,” and we can assume that the same stigma-muting advantage held to having a “breakdown.” Berrios observed that its use extended to neurotic disorders in general (particularly those that were incapacitating or required hospitalization) and that its use as a euphemism for any form of mental disorder (including psychosis) appears to have started only after World War I.”

    ~https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07030522

    Note the sentence about “stigma-muting advantage” above.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #134303
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Yeah, I wish some of these folk’s spirits were still around so they could sue Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison (and others, for instance, Dr. Nassir Ghaemi) for defamation of character. It’s okay that she’s written a biography of so-called “bipolar” poet Robert Lowell.
    His stance to his own ‘problems in living’ doesn’t draw me to his poetry that much. Had he been more of a non-compliant militant resister himself, I might have been there.

    My view is that either one is for this expanding “mental health” empire, and one becomes an investor, or one is against it, and one doesn’t invest in it. One fights the “mental health” system lock, stock, and barrel. Working in the system is a matter of continuing to invest. In between positions, as if one could legitimately fight the system one works for, are still a matter of investing. I have no problem with doing something else.

    in reply to: Slavery And The Family #124909
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    You’re right about Plato and the family, at least, in his Republic, but many other thinkers have found the notion very contestable.

    Don’t know where you get this idea that Plato ever wanted to abolish slavery. According to what I’ve read, he “owned” 5 at the time of his death.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #120235
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    As regards “living well” and “practicing what you preach”, the problem as I see it is the mental health system. When they’ve got people in their clutches, “living well” and “practicing what you preach” are all a matter of their dictatorial powers, the weaker many must submit to the stronger few. Apart from the mental health system, there are options. Disagree with the mental health authorities, aided and abetted by family members, neighbors, and law enforcement, and they will try to impose their version of “living well” and “practicing what” they “preach” upon you. Apart from the system, it’s lint on a shoulder.

    I’m fine when I speak in public, too, but then you’ve got people who talk about how bad off “scizophrenics” are, and how they can’t be helped, etc. This makes a confessional volunteering of the fact that I’ve had a diagnosis of “schizophrenia” myself a cautionary tale, and something that I don’t need to be up front and forward about all the time. On the one hand, really!? It could help somebody. On the other hand, eyes start to shift. “Bipolar” is like magic, after all, Richard Dreyfus, David Frye, and Catherine-Zeta Jones supposedly have that. It’s connected (cough, cough), in some instances, with genius, or so they say. “Schiz” beyond the pale,-o, whoa, you don’t wanna have that.

    The movement–I hesitate to say ‘our’–has biases of its own. Fortunately, alt “mental health” work doesn’t appeal to me.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #120233
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    I would not say “you cannot go after big pharma”. People are scared because they have the money, and money is everything in this country, but it’s not going to be one big shot that brings down big pharma anyway. It’s going to be many little shots. Demonstrate against them, leafleting at the same time, and maybe somebody will learn something. I see it as a matter of public education and consciousness raising. They’ve weathered the biggest civil suits in history, but information is information, and…they’re still being sued. If there’s ‘an elephant in the room’, it could be said that, “you can smell that dead rat for miles”.

    Safety is more problematic. I don’t think identifying as a mental patient is good for anybody. Turning from the mental health system, in my view, is a much better option than operating within it. Of course, it is also an option some people don’t feel they have. I also imagine that working with it, within it or outside of it, involves this gray area that isn’t a complete negative.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #119949
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    I think there needs to be a movement against the sort of movement we’ve got at present. Mental hospitalization has become a career gateway for a peculiar form of faceless bureaucrat. Can you imagine? What was once taken for “illness” now becomes, fulfilling or not, lifestyle. “Chronic”, too, takes on different meaning when your “chronicity” is a matter of “comsumption”, a mainstay of capitalism. This is where the “fight” against “stigma” has led us. I wouldn’t expect “a change in their own personal lives” to come of the system, nor especially one for the ‘better’. The system should be designed to get people out of the system, you know, what they used to call “well”.

    We have different big pictures. Imprisoning, labeling, drugging, etc. Get rid of forced treatment, and if you’ve got anyone still in the system after that, all you’ve got is a dupe. You’re not going to prevent fools from being fools. Our present chief of state is a case in point. You can’t expect people to be born wise either. Wisdom is acquired, not innate. ‘Mentalism’, ‘sanism’ is like racism, that is to say, not going anywhere anytime soon. The answer isn’t to be found in the stupid MH system which represents ‘sanism’ in action. Duh. It’s to be found outside of it.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #119828
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    I’d like to see it, Julie, but I think the narratives have become so polluted with turncoats that it is almost impossible, that is, it’s easier to turn one’s back on the mental health racket than it is to start an organization of people who have experienced its horrors.

    The other side of the equation is the example of Madness Network News. The proof is in the pudding, and I’m with anyone who would like to see lightning strike twice.

    After that, how does the saying go? Three strikes you’re out, or third time the charm. I go with the latter. I, for one, would be game again, especially as there is only that versus turning one’s back on the whole shebang.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #119308
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    Julie, what I was speaking about above is that if you want a survivor organization, you have to create one. It’s a DIY (Do It Yourself), or actually, think On Our Own, a DIO (Do It Ourselves) type of thing. We’re not going to get that from MIA, and we shouldn’t expect it. It isn’t up to them, it’s up to us.

    MIA the website and 501c3 organization evolved out of MIA the book. Okay, and so you get all sorts revolving around it. This is one space, but there are others. It is up to us to create our own space. Otherwise, paternalism is a matter of somebody creating that space for you (although often against you).

    Want a different message? You will get it from a different set of folks.

    Remember Madness Network News. I’d say that is closer to the underground rag than most of what you’ve got going today. I certainly think we could use something operating along the same lines today.

    We don’t need mental health workers, let alone shrinks, to start a newsletter or throw up a webpage. It would be a serious mistake to think we did.

    It doesn’t make sense that R. Whitaker would be creating our space. That’s not his job. The problem is that, as popular as MIA is, people might confuse this space for our space. It is both too narrow and too broad for that.

    Was I Missing In Action. Sure, at one time, but no more. Now I’m Back In Combat. (Especially if combativeness is something the authoritarian establishment must change.)

    What can I say? There is more than one way of giving them the finger.

    in reply to: If all of "mental health" is about human rights, then….. #119188
    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    If “mental health” is all about restricting human rights, that changes the equation somewhat, doesn’t it? Consider, objectionable but legal behavior, so called “mental illness”, should it really be ‘outlawed’, and ‘corrected/rehabilitated’, or should it be accepted and tolerated? As is, “mental health” is a quasi-medical, quasi-legal means of doing the former rather than the latter.

    MIA is hardly the only organization/site, etc., that doesn’t give survivors and ex-patients their due, but that is that. We can put pressure on them, but the problem is really the erroneous equation of social repression with proper medical treatment. Mad In America, maybe, but the primary contributors are mental health workers and “consumer/user/patients”. Obviously, they aren’t going to be in the business of abandoning their business, nor their excuses.

    What do we need? I’d say something closer to Madness Network News. Of course, it was only through the approval of the ex-patient editorial staff of MNN that any shrinks or “mental health” workers got any sort of a hearing within that rag. Sort of the opposite of what you get anywhere else as the “mental health” repression rule must be upheld by the “mental health treatment”, human rights restriction, promoters that are in charge of the whole ball game, so-to-speak.

    Frank Blankenship
    Participant

    In the USA, antipsychiatry is not very organized. We need an antipsychiatry organization/organizations. Say, something of an Antipsychiatry In America (or Antipsychiatry Central) website and assemblage. Given a few grassroots political action groups, websites, etc. the situation would be different. As is, it’s mainly a fight for disenchanted individuals.

    I imagine there is plenty of room for growth, and once that growth gets to a certain level, sure, we’d have internet sites with webpages, personal stories, forums, and, of course, chatrooms…all with an antipsychiatry bent. Otherwise, what have you got? The selling of “mental disorders” and “drugs” (i.e. indoctrination), and that is something we haven’t got the resources to inoculate people from yet.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 577 total)