Thursday, 29 January 2009

Self-actualization is a disease

If you haven't heard it yet: HealthCentral has bought Wellsphere. As I commented on Gianna's blog, I'm just glad, I didn't take the bite!!!

Well, since I couldn't remember to ever have visited HealthCentral's website, I went there tonight to have a look at it - I became even more glad, I didn't join Wellsphere - and came across a very interesting article.

Obviously, if ever you get into a situation where you'd need to reconsider your life, your identity, your being in this world, for instance because you were traumatized and thus didn't get the chance to establish a secure relationship with your true self, forget about ever being given the chance! Your self-reflections, your "focus on the self", aiming at healing and becoming more whole, are symptoms of a brain disease.

"Whitfield-Gabrieli found that in the schizophrenia patients, the default system was both hyperactive and hyperconnected during rest, and it remained so as they performed the memory tasks. In other words, the patients were less able than healthy control subjects to suppress the activity of this network during the task. Interestingly, the less the suppression and the greater the connectivity, the worse they performed on the hard memory task, and the more severe their clinical symptoms.

'We think this may reflect an inability of people with schizophrenia to direct mental resources away from internal thoughts and feelings and toward the external world in order to perform difficult tasks,' Whitfield-Gabrieli explained."

And what is, essentially, the big problem with "focussing on the self" and "an inability of people with schizophrenia to direct mental resources away from internal thoughts and feelings and toward the external world in order to perform difficult tasks"?

Yeah well, first of all, you might find out, that you actually were a victim of mistreatment and/or abuse, and secondly, it's unlikely that you will be a good consumer while your focus is directed toward your "internal thoughts and feelings" instead of "toward the external world in order to perform difficult tasks," like consuming...

Philosophizing about yourself, your self, discovering abusive mechanisms in your own upbringing and in the world you're living in, and failing to be a good consumer is undesirable as it is a disease. So, go and get an appointment with a shrink, so you at least can be a good consumer in regard to the mental illness industry and Big Pharma!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

MFI Ray Update: "Miracle": Today's Forced Shock Postponed 1/28/09

Latest news on Ray's forced electroshock from MindFreedom:

"In the past, Ray has complained about various physical ailments that
he felt should cancel his electroshock. "They would just bring me
into Dr. Coelho's office, and he would say I could have the
electroshock anyway."

This time Ray brought up the fact that about two weeks ago he had
been brought to Regency Hospital by ambulance because of physical
complaints. Lab tests said his ammonia levels were too high, and he
brought this up today.

This time, Ray's electroshock was called off."

Well, he probably will be rescheduled for another shock on February 4th or 11th. So, protest!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

MFI Ray Alert: Another Forced Shock 1/28/09 - Protest

MindFreedom International - 27 January 2009
Win Human Rights in Mental Health - Please Forward

   Another involuntary outpatient "maintenance"
   electroshock for Ray Sandford is scheduled
   for tomorrow, 28 January 2009.

   How you may easily and peacefully protest
   from wherever you are.

Unless there is a miracle, it is confirmed that Ray Sandford is
having another involuntary electroshock tomorrow, Wednesday, 28
January 2009, just north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, all funded
by taxpayer dollars.

After more than three dozen forced electroshocks, Ray knows the drill.

Tonight, staff will prepare by removing all of Ray's food from his
mini-fridge in his basement room in a small assisted living home
called "Victory House" in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. This is
because Ray is not supposed to eat for a number of hours before
anesthesia is administered.

Early tomorrow morning Ray will be woken up extra early, and an
escort will bring Ray the 15 miles north on streets near the
Mississippi River to Mercy Hospital, in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

Ray's mental health workers always manages to find an escort for
Ray's forced electroshocks or psychiatrist visits.

On the other hand, a few days ago Ray said he had to miss a dental
appointment that was supposed to help with his severe teeth problems,
because no attendant could be found that day.

Since Ray's campaign started, an attendant is required to accompany
Ray any time he leaves his home. MindFreedom volunteers have been
banned from visiting. One such visitor, a disability advocate, even
had her employment threatened after Ray's "helpers" filed a complaint
with her employer for bringing Ray to a Minnesota center for
independent living for people with disabilities.

Ray says the waiting room of his electroshock doctor, Bernard M.
Coelho, MD, at Mercy Hospital is often full with about 10 patients
who Ray believes are also scheduled for electroshock. Giving multiple
electroshocks on the same morning is a common practice, sometimes
called a "Shock Mill," and can be very lucrative. Mercy Hospital is
owned by Allina Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

Ray will lay in a bed and feel an injection as anesthesia and a
muscle paralyzer are administered to suppress muscle writhing. Ray
says Dr. Coelho will then run electricity through Ray's brain,
inducing a convulsion.

Ray calls the MindFreedom office almost every day, including just
before and just after his forced electroshocks. He says forced shock
is always scary, that it's harming his memory and ability to
concentrate more and more.

Ray is asking us all to peacefully protest his forced electroshock.

The nightmare of involuntary electroshock over the expressed wishes
of the subject has happened regularly since the very first
electroshock in Italy in 1937. But now the atrocity of forced
electroshock has climbed over the institutional walls, and is out in
our towns and cities, in our neighborhoods and homes.

Do not let this become "normal."

Do not wait to see your neighbor escorted out into some early winter
morning for this.

Do not wait for that to be you.

MindFreedom reminds everyone that Ray's campaign is nonviolent. Ray
values his religious principles, and MindFreedom has strict
nonviolence guidelines.

If you communicate with any potential opponent, please be strong but
civil. Anything else can be used against Ray.


Here are a few easy ways you may protest Ray's electroshock from
wherever you are:

Please forward this alert far and wide.


   *** ACTION *** ACTION *** ACTION ***

1) Protest to Richard Pettingill, Chief executive officer (CEO) of
Allina Hospital and Clinics:

Ask that your civil verbal protest be placed in Ray Sandford's
medical record using their online web form:

Sample message (your own words are best):

"Dear Mr. Richard Pettingill:

"I request that my message be placed in the permanent medical record
of your patient Ray Sandford, who states that he is receiving ongoing
involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital administered by Allina
psychiatrist Bernard M Coelho, MD.

"While you cannot violate the privacy of a patient, I ask that you
respond in general about your policy of allowing involuntary
electroshock over the expressed wishes of the subject.

"Whether or not you feel this is legal, it is unethical, immoral and
traumatic to everyone in mental health care.

"The reason(s) I protest this forced electroshock are:

"My name and contact information: _______"

You may also try to phone Mr. Richard Pettingill's office at
612-262-0601 or 612-262-5000.

You may try to leave a phone message for Dr. Coelho at the above
numbers, or at Mercy at 763-236-6000, but the phone number listed for
him on the Allina web site is now disconnected, even though he still
works there. If you are disconnected, call back.


2) Bishop Mark Hanson of the Lutheran Church

While the Lutheran Church is not directly in charge of Ray's
electroshock, they are supposed to help "guard" Ray, they are
supposed to care deeply about social justice, yet they are not
supporting Ray's campaign to end his forced electroshock.

The six Minnesota Synods of the "Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America" [ELCA] -- which is the largest Lutheran denomination in the
USA -- own Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota [LSSMN], which is
Ray's court-appointed general guardian.

ELCA and LSSMN have refused to speak out for Ray.

MindFreedom has been in touch with the office of Bishop Mark Hanson,
who leads ELCA. Bishop Hanson asked Ruth Reko, ELCA's Director of
Social Ministry Department, to respond to MFI. Today, Ms. Reko told
MindFreedom, "Supervision is not a concept we enter into with
affiliates like LSSMN or our 299 other social service agency

Please ask Bishop Mark Hanson, to encourage ELCA, its Synods and its
agencies to engage in productive dialogue on human rights and mental
health, especially involuntary electroshock.

Please e-mail to Bishop Mark Hanson here:

Sample message (your own words are best):

"Dear Bishop Hanson:

"Please engage in dialogue about human rights and mental health. I am
not saying ELCA is directly in charge of anyone's forced
electroshock, but ELCA could take a stand against it. In the name of
social justice, ELCA ought to have more oversight over its affiliated
social service agencies that receive taxpayer funds to guard clients.

"Your name and contact info: ___________"

You may also try phoning Bishop Hanson or Ms. Ruth Reko by calling
(773) 380-2700, wait for an attendant.


3) Engage your local religious organizations in dialogue on human
rights and mental health

Ray has given us all an opportunity to encourage our local faith-
based communities to address the justice issues involved in mental
health care today.

Ask that your local church, synagogue, mosque, etc. find a way to
raise issues about human rights and mental health.

Those in the USA may also seek to engage in dialogue with
participants and leaders in your local ELCA church, which you may
easily locate here:


Please act today!

Ray's scheduled electroshocks for this Winter and Spring are below.

Unless there's a miracle.

And maybe you -- and all of us -- are Ray's miracle.

* 18 February 2009

* 4 March 2009

* 25 March 2009

* 8 April 2009

* 29 April 2009

* 13 May 2009

* 3 June 2009

* 17 June 2009


   Minnesota Nonviolent Protests for Ray

Several individuals and groups in Minnesota have told MindFreedom
they would like to help support and attend peaceful protests on
behalf of Ray in Minnesota.

Several MindFreedom members have even said they are willing to travel
from out of state and from out of the country to participate in

MindFreedom will broadcast more information as it is received.


   How to do and learn more on the Ray Campaign

For links to latest news, Ray Campaign blog, to hear the NPR radio
story on Ray, and read Frequently Asked Questions about the "No More
Shock For Ray Campaign" go here:

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

"I don't believe in hope" - Some thoughts about hope, powerlessness and recovery

There's a lot of talking about hope. Right now, while I write these lines, people all over the world sit glued to their TV, watching their hope, personified in Barack Obama, coming into power. And Obama himself is talking about hope.

Power - one person's power is another one's powerlessness... Just a thought.

Hope is something you have when you identify as powerless, as the victim.

"I don't actually believe in hope. I think, hope is a very very very very bad thing. Because hope, what it really means, what it really is, is a longing for a future condition over which I have no agency." -Derrick Jensen, on Madness Radio, "Environmental Insanity w/Author Derrick Jensen".

Don't hope, that Obama is going to save you, and the world. Don't hope, that the professionals are going to solve your problems for you. Don't hope for the future. Don't hope for recovery. Be. Now.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A song for Gaza

Michael Heart - We Will Not Go Down (Song For Gaza)

Thanks to Gianna for drawing attention to this video.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

still listening

Less known song - I just fell for. Unfortunately it ends a little sudden.

Sinéad O'Connor - still listening

Saturday, 10 January 2009

More misconceptions, some thoughts about delusions, suicide, and about true suicide prevention

The following are two, slightly edited, replies to a discussion at Beyond Meds. - You have to be a member to view the discussion, so, join! - Gianna suggested, I should post here too, and I decided to post both replies.

1. There's this (mis-)conception, that, whenever it just gets "weird" enough, i.e. no longer easy to get, there must be something really really wrong with a person's head, in a biological way. That idea serves as some kind of "explanation" whenever someone's behavior no longer can be understood and explained without effort in relation to the at any time adopted idea of "normal" human behavior as such. It's not an explanation, though. It's explaining away. What we don't understand, we fear. "Beware of the unknown" is a natural reaction/defence and survival mechanism. Especially of prey animals. And humans are both, predators and prey animals. So, we prefer to explain the unknown away, in order to keep it at a safe distance. One of several reasons why the biological model is so attractive to the majority.

The suffering that people in distress experience is caused by a lack of understanding, a lack of self-/consciousness. Partly the suffering is caused by a lack of understanding of themselves, or of what is happening to them, and partly by a lack of understanding from their surroundings. The fact, that people who receive understanding, empathetic, support, that focusses on helping them to understand their experiences while going through a crisis, usually don't suffer to the same extent as those who don't, who only receive drugs to get numbed out on, and maybe even traumatizing, coercive, "treatment" into the bargain, and that the former fare remarkably better in the long run than the latter, proves this.

Somehow, this is where I see a connection to what you say in your post here. Explaining away seems the safest and easiest way out. But it leads inevitably to more and more suffering. In a qualitative as well as in a quantitative sense. We want perfection. We want to be able to (and we are expected to) perfectly fit the mould. And whenever we don't, we panic. And/or those around us do. Something must be profoundly wrong with us. Let's get it fixed, so we can, perfectly, fit the mould again. What we miss in our tireless struggle to be "perfect" - perfect according to the cultural norms and values of our time (!), that is - is that our imperfection is just perfect. In its imperfection. We are not meant to fit a certain mould. We are meant to just be. Real perfection isn't something that can be defined in terms of "different from". Real perfection is the unity of all dualities. Thus, our culture, while desperately chasing what it supposes to be "perfection", actually loses the real perfection more and more out of sight.

2. Whenever you want to die, if it's that you think the thought, or if it expresses itself as a voice, telling you to kill yourself (hearing voices is nothing but thinking aloud), you don't want to end being as such. You want to end what is, and make something else be. Death is a symbol for transformation. And the language of the unconscious is pure symbol language.

I don't know if you're familiar with it, but the Delphic Oracle from the Greek mythology for instance never answered any question other than in a more or less symbolic way. You got an answer to whatever your question, but you had to figure out the meaning of the answer yourself. Or: you actually gave the answer to your question yourself. Your unconscious, your intuition, did. The Delphic Oracle is the unconscious projected into the world.

Today, we live in a culture that isn't especially conscious of the unconscious. We are not conscious of symbolism in the same way other cultures are/were. What counts is the literal, the hard facts, science, "rational" thought (with "rational thought" being the kind of thought that is easy to get for everyone else, because everyone else thinks in the same, normative, way). Well, and things like traffic signs. But if I were an adviser, let's say of the Danish Prime Minister, he came to ask me my opinion about his campaign for the next election, and I'd say: "Make your own nature, not the advice of others, your guide in life," I'd probably lose my job, and be regarded, at least, a weirdo.

So, the question always is whom or what you really want to die when you contemplate suicide. One thing is for sure: it is not yourself. Your self (it's not a typo) is who/what you really are, and that is being, life. Life can't die. Death is a part of life, not the opposite. And life is transformation: something ends, "dies", something else begins. Every moment. Life is constant arrival and departure. Nothing actually is stable. There can be balance, but not stability. Total stability (like in "mood-stabilizer"), total unchangeableness and predictability, is a myth. And our culture confuses it with "perfection" - and chases it.

Some people want their outer form, i.e. their body, to die. People who suffer from a terminal illness, for instance. What most people in an existential crisis want to die though, is not the outer form either. It's their ego, i.e. who they think they are, and who they think, others think they are. Nevertheless, the ego partly manifests itself in the outer form of someone. That is, the body becomes a symbol for the ego. There you are: instead of letting go of your ego, and become who/what you really are, you interpret a symbol literally and consequently "let go" of your body, and,voilà: suicide. Literally. And since our culture is as unaware of symbolism as it is, chances are, that you won't find much help among this culture's members (in the mh system) to figure it out. Because everybody probably will interpret in the same literal way as your own thoughts do.

I eventually figured it out, because of the "delusion" that the real me wasn't a human being, but, well, something along the lines of a dryade, i.e. a spirit, nameless, ageless, without a history (all that ever had happened in my life, hadn't happened to me but to the body, the true me was caught in), immaterial, although caught in a - material - body. And what the real me wanted, wasn't to die, but to become free - of this body that represented an ego, a self-image, I've never felt less connected to than during crises.

Another aspect of this are "out-of-body-experiences", that usually also just are explained away as meaningless symptom of a brain disease.

Now, it's characteristic for our culture that people identify with their body, their thoughts, their mind, their life-story, their ego. Our culture teaches us to do so. In eastern philosophy though, there's another dimension beyond this formal, material one: the space wherein the formal, material expresses itself. Who/what you really are, your "true self" with Laing, is this space. So, the "delusion" actually wasn't a delusion, but the very truth.

Eventually, I figured, that letting go of the identification with my body, my ego, my thoughts, etc., meant the freedom, I'd thought, I only could gain through letting go of my body itself. A symbolic suicide, not a literal one. Or: an "egocide", not a suicide. That is the end of suffering. - That is not to say, that I don't suffer anymore. Nothing is forever. "Enlightenment" neither. It is extremely tempting to identify with the ego. Especially in a culture that worships the ego as our culture does. I yield to this temptation, time and again, and then I suffer. But existential suffering is human. It's not an illness. On the contrary, the way to "redemption" often goes through an awful lot of suffering. Without suffering, there would be no need to change anything, no need to develop and grow. Thus, existential suffering actually is more like a blessing than the curse, our culture wants to make it be.

As mentioned, usually people don't get any real help. (Since the "helpers" don't have a clue themselves, how could they help anyone to understand, what they haven't even understood themselves?*) The idea, that existential crises would be brain diseases prevents understanding just as the drugs do, whose prescription and administration only and solely is justifiable when what really is a wake-up call is defined a biological illness of the brain.

The trouble is, that the more your true self has been oppressed, the more you've been asked to identify with and as a false self (who/what others want you to be, but who/what you are not), the deeper the split between who/what you really are and this false ego-identification obviously becomes. The deeper the split becomes, the more you will suffer, and the more you suffer, the louder the wake-up calls will be. Whether you get a label of "OCD", "depression", or "schizophrenia" is not a question of suffering from distinctly different conditions. It's a question of the extent to which someone suffers, and the volume of the wake-up calls, they consequently receive. So-called "psychosis" being the loudest possible wake-up call. And they won't cease coming in, the wake-up calls, before you actually listen to them, and do wake up. This is why the drugs have a chronifying effect on crisis. It will inevitably happen again and again, until the day, you understand. And there is no drug strong enough to silence the unconscious. Drugs can't even target the unconscious. All they do is reducing consciousness. The unconscious is almighty and unassailable. You can't fight it and win. All you can do is turning it from being your master into being a tool of yours, by becoming conscious of it.

* It's actually quite funny, that a lack of ability to interpret things in a symbolic way is listed as a "symptom" of "schizophrenia", while the "experts' " ability to recognize a symbol as a symbol when it's staring them right in the face, equals to zero...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


I just stopped by one of the blogs, I only visit once in a while - only once in a while, because it's quite bio-oriented, and whenever I need the bio-bs, I prefer to go to "professional" sites, where I can get the real McCoy. Nevertheless, this blog is "alternatively bio-oriented", so, I stop by, once in a while.

And today, on one of my occasional visits, I read the - sad - news, that a family member of the blogger - It's hereditary, right? Yep. Non-genetic, familial inheritance. - got incarcerated and put on a neuroleptic. The blogger reports the family member to be "getting better".

That means, a week or maybe two or so more on the neuroleptic, and the family member should be able to do without it, improved as s/he then would be, thanks to the "medication", right? Nope.

People do not "get better" on these drugs. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of drugs: the ones that help a diseased/injured organism to heal itself by strengthening the organism's own immune system, and the ones that simply mask symptoms, unfortunately often with the result, that the organism is prevented from healing itself, since symptoms usually are the incentive for a healing process to occur.

Psychotropic drugs belong to the latter category. Although some of them, LSD in particular, once were - and by some people still are - believed to belong to the former. I don't think so.

Psychotropic drugs mask and suppress symptoms. It looks as if the drugged individual is getting better. Both to the environment, and often also to the drugged individual him-/herself. While the drugs see to, that the underlying problem, that gave rise to a healing reaction, i.e. to symptoms, thrives and flourishes. Undisturbed. The individual isn't getting better, s/he is actually often getting worse. Underneath the lid, or: behind the mask.

Give someone who's confused, scared, angry, agitated, etc., a neuroleptic, i.e. a major tranquillizer, and, yes, sure, since the major tranquillizer, as the term suggests, reduces their overall vitality, they won't be able to react to their underlying problem with the same amount of confusion, anxiety, anger, agitation, etc, as before. Probably they won't even have the energy left to realize the fact, that the problem still is there, unresolved. This then is called "improvement". How about giving someone who has broken a leg some strong pain killers, that enable them to get on and move about, and call it "improvement"?

"You give someone a tablet, and it shuts them up. It makes them dumb and stupid. People then have the ignorance to think, the medication is making someone better. You're not making someone better. You're making them stupid." -Rufus May in The Doctor Who Hears Voices.

Nothing is more essential to someone going through an existential crisis, and trying to resolve it, and truly "get better", than their ability to work it all out, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, etc. Someone who broke a leg, and did nothing but pop strong pain killers, while they kept on moving about as if nothing ever happened, would eventually drop dead, from gangrene (make that an intellectual, emotional, spiritual, etc., death in regard to crisis). Or from the pain killers' side effects.