Thursday, 26 June 2008

A sacred process II

Some more thoughts in the wake of Sean Blackwell's video and his latest blog entry.

Make sure to read the "Introduction to my new book..." at Sean's blog, where he takes on Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind. Those of you who've been to read Chauncey's analysis of Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk, also will have found him praise Kay Redfield Jamison whom he contrasts to Jill Bolte Taylor - in regard to style.

When it comes to contents, both are pretty much the same: both talk about crises being biological illnesses, brain diseases, that are incurable, chronic illnesses, and that need lifelong "medication" in order to be kept under control.

If you've been around this blog only for a moment, you'll know that I strongly disagree with this point of view as there's no evidence so far for crises to be biological illnesses, and as I see that this mainstream-viewpoint actually has stripped and still does strip "countless people of hope for a truly better life, medication free", as Sean writes. Indeed, I find it morally irresponsible by the mental health system to, continuously, make a claim like that, into the bargain often in a way that suggests it were a proven fact rather than a mere hypothesis, a mere theory, and I wish there were more professionals like Ron Unger who'd dare to speak up and challenge the system concerning this matter.

Sadly, I haven't encountered as much as one single professional, psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other, here in Denmark yet, who has shown to be as courageous as Ron (and a number of other professionals abroad). Not even the "brilliant (though not perfect...) guidance". Let me know if you have. I'll be happy to do a piece on him/her!

Now, I can't blame Chauncey for his praise of Kay Redfield Jamison as he, as far as I know, has no personal experience of "madness", his opinion on the matter (whatever it is) thus of course being a result of the information that is immediately available to the public. Which is the mainstream information, stating that extreme states of mind are due to brain diseases. Thus Kay Redfield Jamison's book An Unquiet Mind is published by Macmillan, Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight by the Viking Penguin Group, and both can easily be found at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, while Sean Blackwell's book A Quiet Mind is published by and can only be purchased through Chipmunkapublishing, a small though significant, British underground publisher, specialized in books about mental health and well being.

Well, and although I do not at all agree in neither Jill Bolte Taylor's nor Kay Redfield Jamison's conception of crises to be biological diseases, I nevertheless widely agree to Chauncey's criticism of Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk. At least as far as style is concerned.

In regard to contents, I will certainly read Sean's book. I'm actually looking very much forward to it. While I think, I will spare me the doubtful pleasure of reading Kay Redfield Jamison's book. I've read several books of that kind, and the reading always left me with extremely unpleasant feelings of despair and powerlessness.

As for Sean's call for people to share about their experiences with extreme states of mind, I find it just as important as he does, in order to reduce the public's ignorance and fear of these states, that unfortunately only has been increased by the mainstream conception of these states to be caused by biological illness, thus being nothing but meaningless and unpredictable (and thus dangerous) "madness" (that would have to be fought and suppressed at any price). Although I also find it quite challenging to share such a deeply personal experience publicly, I have considered doing so for a while, and will share at least some of it in time to come.


Jane said...

Time is always an issue, I wish I had more of it because from this post alone and others you left at my blog you have an interesting and intelligent mind and I want to read your stuff! This phenomenon I am seeing more and more the longer I linger in the blogosphere.

I read Sean's book but I have been super busy with getting married and Pride weekend here in SF to attend all my net duties. So I have not posted a review of it yet.

I also read Unquiet Mind and found it to be interesting. I am not exaggerating when I say at one point out of frustration with that woman's thought processes I hurled that book across room and could not restart it until I calmed down.

The book made me genuinely doubt myself for a moment and I was forced to consider I may be wrong about a few things.

It really got under my skin and the word you used, made me feel powerlessness.

Anyway, Sean's book is good stuff.

I have to recommend reading both Quiet mind and Unquiet Mind.

I also bugged Sean to read Unquiet Mind some time ago as I told him how I felt after I read it.

Marian said...

Congrats on getting married! Amazing. Wish you all the best!

Time truly is an issue. That I have quite a bunch of sites and blogs listed in my sidebar doesn't mean, that I visit each and everyone of them on a regular basis (I have my top ten, with your blog being one of them). I wish, I had the time to do so. There's so much interesting stuff out there.

An Unquiet Mind - don't do that to me! I've hardly recovered from reading a "masterpiece" on how to make psychiatry more women-friendly (as if there ever could be a friendly system of injustice, as the German author and survivor Kerstin Kempker says) by the Danish psychiatrist Karin Garde: "It can be heartrending for the surroundings, the relatives and the staff, (to witness the joy with which "schizophrenic" mothers anticipate the birth of a child) because they know, that the woman's expectations of being able to take care of the child herself seldom can be fulfilled. (...) Unfortunately, the birth of a child often results in the least bad solution, that is that the child has to be taken away at birth, with or without the mother's consent." Geez! How really "friendly"! Especially considered that the German psychiatrist, analyst and therapist Lilla Sachse in 1994 initiated a project, that showed it to be not only possible but actually beneficial for "schizophrenic" women to be(come) mothers. But well, in contrast to Karin Garde, Lilla Sachse also is an analyst and a therapist. Not only a psychiatrist.

Hadn't it been for that I'd loaned the book at the library (if ever possible, I avoid BUYING books like that: not a dime they'll make on me buying that kind of trash!), I'd hurled it across the room, or maybe even out of the window, more than one time! - There went the compassion and everything. What did I say? I'm still far from over it.

Gianna said...

I somehow missed these posts?? don't know how...I'm in total agreement about this woman...I saw your comment on Mark's blog...

I never gave her any attention at all because of her attitudes about her brother...

and it's nice to see someone else shares my view...

not surprising it's you Marian!!

Marian said...

Gianna: Me too, I thought of simply ignoring her at first. I didn't though, because when I googled her, I found maybe four or five partially critical voices among the, at least, several hundred unreserved cheers, even from people, who otherwise are quite capable of critical thinking. - Apart from having outstanding qualities as an entertainer, Jill Bolte Taylor would make the perfect cult-leader... But well, what else is biological psychiatry - and NAMI with it - but a cult... - So I thought, it wouldn't hurt to add a bit to the critique.