Thursday, 10 July 2008

Criticism Anxiety, part III - or: Maybe next time?...

So the latest issue of Outsideren, the users magazine I no longer write articles for, though still do some research for, was in the mail box today. 'Will reading this issue maybe be a better experience than reading the previous couple of issues was (that were rather disappointing reading)?' I wonder, and start to read, about "medicine": "It is very rarely the ambition to get the patient completely out of the medical treatment", a psychiatrist (Jan Nielsen) is quoted. "He is convinced that the medications, that are being used today basically do have a positive effect", the article tells. And, another quote: "In addition, medication has shown to have a protecting effect on areas of the brain, among others on parts of memory (...) I think, the medication we administer today, contributes to preserve the personality." He really said that. No typo.

I read about coming off of psych drugs, another article, another interview, another psychiatrist (Anders Fink-Jensen), basically the same message: "No one should start reducing their medication without consulting their doctor." (Fact is, studies have shown that just as many people succeed reducing or coming off completely, with as without consulting their doctor first. But be careful! Quitting cold turkey is never a good idea! Get all the information you can about coming off, before you even think of starting. - I'll add relevant links to my sidebar here on the blog, as soon as I've found out, what makes Safari running this absolutely maddening slow, and have fixed the problem, that is.)

The pattern continues throughout the magazine. "Expert" after "expert" is given huge amounts of space to, at length, spread their "knowledge". By and large unchallenged. I soon realize: No, it will not be a better experience this time. It isn't a better experience. It is a worse one. Much worse. I'm rudely roused from my just recently regained, and thus still somewhat frail, Buddhist inner peace.

And it gets even worse. I had my suspicions. In context with an e-mail correspondence with the chief sub-editor, who also is the author of an article about - psychosis.

On Outsideren's blog I wrote:

Now I could take apart article by article. However, I will settle for one of them. The one about something I imagine to know quite a deal about, via first hand information, additionally to the second hand information, I otherwise mostly have to resort to. When it comes to drugs, for instance (even though I've tried also this, once - and never again!). I will settle for the one about something, I imagine myself to be an expert on, via my own experience.

"Psychoses are a defence", the headline goes. 'Hm, all right', I think. I don't agree completely, since I'd chosen the term "healing attempt" instead of "defence", 'but what', I think, 'maybe this anyway will...'

It won't. "I don't agree to this purgatory-understanding that goes, if only it gets sufficiently bad, it'll arguably get all right afterwards, Torben Schjødt says. [Torben Schjødt is the leading psychologist at Psykiatrisk Center Bispebjerg]. It just isn't true in regard to psychotic individuals, that there would be unconscious conflicts, that only would have to be made conscious."

'Where does he know that from?' I ask myself. 'Has he ever been there himself? Has he ever talked to someone who has been there, without getting immediately psychiatrized and drugged?? Someone who has received the support necessary to get through and out of purgatory without the interference of psychiatry?' Obviously not. The quotation reflects the article's essence, but also that of "Ude i galaxen" on page 7 [An account by someone who went in and out of psychosis - in each time she stopped taking her drugs - until staying on these very same drugs "saved" her: hurray for the drugs! - and for psychosis to be a meaningless brain disease that needs drugs for proper treatment!]

The essence is, that some people are more sensitive to the world - certainly because of their genes! - than others, and because of that sensitivity experience psychoses. [Actually, I find it very interesting, that Torben Schjødt says, these people experience a meaninglessness with life because of their sensitivity, the sensitively experienced meaninglessness triggering psychosis. This implies, that he regards life as being completely meaningless himself, although neither he nor most other people have the - genetically predetermined - sensitivity to react psychotic to the meaninglessness. Uhm... and this guy is supposed to be a psychologist?!]

The Stress Vulnerability Model, yah. That, by and large, is nothing else than pure biological psychiatry, spiced - and disguised - with a little "psychology", in order to make it acceptable even for those, who maybe are a bit sceptical towards pure biological psychiatry.

In addition, it also is a very appreciated model for "psychologists" like Torben Schjødt, i.e. for the majority of psychologists. Because it reduces their responsibility to only having to practice "the slightly more sophisticated" version of psycho-education. Instead of having to guide an individual through and out of "the dark night of the soul", purgatory. This being an incomparably more demanding task than the first. In human terms.

"Many of the patients Torben Schjødt has met have never overcome their illness completely." No, I have no doubt about that! It needs something quite different from what Torben Schjødt wants/is able to offer, in order to be able to give useful support to an individual in crisis. Apropos of "Psychotherapy - is there a meaning with it at all?" [A post on Outsideren's blog, that questions the effectiveness of therapy, all therapy.] There's no greater meaning with "organizing the psychotic experiences a little bit", nor with "developing coping strategies". These measures are nothing but a bit sugar-coating on top of bitter pills. And thus only suited for one thing: to keep the individual in crisis even more stuck in the crisis, than "medicine" is able to keep them.

"It is almost impossible to discuss the imaginations that emerge during psychosis,... ", the article ends. Strange. How then was it possible for Jung? Or for John Weir Perry? How is it possible for Sean? Or for Dorothea Buck? How is it possible for me???

This article isn't "the dark night of the soul". It's the dark night of psychosis-understanding. Sleep tight!

"Toxic and violent", Jane the other day wrote in a comment on my blog, the English one, about psychiatric institutions, with Torben Schjødt being the leading psychologist at one such institution. Which explains a whole lot... 'Toxic and violent... Yes, you bet!' I think, "putting down" Outsideren no.64, to go and meditate for a while - 'I'm angry. It's ok to be angry.' Yes, I certainly hope so! 'I say yes to my anger.' Hereby, this has been done! - for then to return to Sean's A quiet mind, to some much healthier reading thus, and to, hopefully soon, regain my Buddhist inner peace.

But, all in all, I guess, I'm just a little more "sensitive" than most people. Certainly because of some defective genes, yes!

P.S.: I want to point out that I'm not that much angry with Torben Schjødt. Unconsciousness and fear can hardly lead to any greater insight than the one he shows. Which I am angry with, though, is biased journalism, that only listens to the mainstream, keeping everything else at arm's length. Unless it can be ridiculed [this article not only was another brilliant example of biased journalism, but also portrayed me as some kind of complete weirdo, freak who has no clue what she's talking about] or more or less hidden away in a book review. What is Outsideren afraid of ??? ('The next issue, maybe...' , I nevertheless also think. 'It may be...')

'What is this,' I actually thought while reading the magazine, 'The American Journal of Psychiatry in a Danish translation??' But no, each time I checked the front page, it still said Outsideren - "Denmarks largest independent users-magazine on psychiatry".

Now, I've no intention to go on a mission. If people want to believe in their "mental illness", their drugs, their shrinks (and their ego)... be my guest! I really don't want to take this from anyone. I just wonder whether I would have to expose myself to this continuously ongoing disrespect for anyone, who doesn't share their beliefs, and thereby expose myself to feeling threatened, time and again. Since, even though I deep down know, that no one (neither Jan Nielsen nor Torben Schjødt, nor Outsideren, for that sake) can get at me, unless I let them get at me, I still have more or less trouble putting up with regular confrontations with such an amount of, well, toxicity and violence. And I also wonder in how far I make myself an accomplice to the toxicity and violence (the lying and deceiving and the suppression of anything that doesn't altogether fit Outsideren's/psychiatry's belief system) by still doing research for this magazine. "Turn away from whatever you can't change"...

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