Monday, 27 July 2009

Need a gift for your shrink?

Check out chapter three of Greg Craven's book What Is The Worst That Could Happen?, download a preview here. What I like about Greg Craven is that he manages to explain things in a way, that even shrinks have a chance to get it. "Research bias for dummies", something. Or: "Why most psychiatric science is junk". This could be the ultimate hate gift for your shrink. Well, right after Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child, that is, which, as someone recently told me, made her shrink exclaim: "Hell, this is the most awful book I've ever read!" and, subsequently, prescribe huge doses of Trilafon to her.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Psychiatry and politics

One more reply to Will:

No need to apologize! As mentioned, I'm not an angel, me neither. And I've actually enjoyed this conversation too. I like conversations with people, who are open-minded. BTW, Gianna is right. There is a whole lot of judgement and anger, even hatred, out there. On both sides. I recently read a comment on a Norwegian blog, that stated that about 90 per cent of this world's population were traumatized, in one way or the other. It's certainly just an estimation, but in my opinion a very realistic one. Unfortunately. And if trauma isn't made conscious and worked out it gets acted out. Which means war. Like in the war against terrorism, the war against drugs, the war in Iraq,... you name it.

On juge un société à la manière dont elle traite ses fous. -Lucien Bonnafé

Of course it is society that makes psychiatry possible. And I want to emphasize, that I distinguish between the mental health system and psychiatry. It goes without saying: psychiatry was established in order to pathologize certain, unwanted behaviors and ideas, that couldn't be criminalized. Pathologizing behaviors and ideas means to declare them null and void. This quote from Jani's father's blog is one of the most obvious illustrations of what medically diagnozing behavior and ideas aims at: "With schizophrenics, you always have to try to rationalize with them. You have to try and point out where their thinking is irrational. It doesn’t work right then and there but the hope is that it will sink in over time and that Jani will learn to question her own thoughts." (my italics)

BTW, there lies an interesting contradiction in psychiatry's practice of pathologizing and declaring certain thoughts to be "irrational", while no one ever seems to doubt the report of "symptoms" by the identified "patient" to be other than rational.

Well, the thing is, that "psychosis", "schizophrenia", is a reaction to having one's thoughts and feelings declared null and void (because they're unwanted). I dare say, that every single individual who has experienced "psychosis" as a result of psychological trauma (and usually physical abuse involves psychological trauma as well) - in contrast to those, whose "psychotic" symptoms are a reaction to purely biological stressors, food allergies, adverse reactions to drugs, etc. - has had their own thoughts and feelings invalidated in one or the other way. To an extent, that eventually makes them doubt the value of their own, genuine thoughts and feelings themselves. And the moment one's true self starts to protest this invalidation, psychiatry steps in, and accomplishes what others weren't able to accomplish. Because they couldn't scientifically prove one's thoughts and feelings to be without value. Psychiatry can. Or, it claims to be able to. The invalidation of one's personality is scientifically, and thus, taken the status of science in our society into account, indisputably and irrevocably justified. That's why psychiatry has to be a (medical) science. Religion doesn't have that power anymore in our society today. Although it once had: what psychiatry is to our modern society, the Inquisition was to Pre-Enlightenment society. Notice that psychiatry emerges about at the same time as society enters the age of Enlightenment, and the Inquisition comes to an end.

When more and more people turned away from religion as the truth, and instead enthusiastically embraced science, the Inquisition was no longer an acceptable tool to control and oppress unwanted behavior and ideas. It needed to be replaced by a tool, that at least on the surface gave the impression of being scientific in order to be acceptable to an enlightened society.

Psychiatry is one of society's tools to enforce our culture's ideology on people. Probably the most effective one. Where educational institutions for example have great but nevertheless limited influence on individual perception, psychiatry's influence is virtually unlimited. Any kind of being in this world can be defined a mental illness (cf. homosexuality, or being a runaway slave), and while it wouldn't occur to anyone to remove real illnesses like the flu or cancer from the ICD, or to add any diagnoses that lack scientific proof of being an illness to it, psychiatric diagnoses are added to and removed from the DSM faster than you can say "DSM"... always perfectly in line with current cultural norms and values.

Now you'll maybe object, and say that people do suffer and need help. I agree. But the help people really need, is to have their suffering validated, not invalidated. To blame individual biology for suffering, that is caused by cultural norms and values, is to invalidate the suffering.

The vast majority of people I know, I myself included, know that they suffer and are in need of help. It isn't true that they lack insight by definition. The only idea they lack insight in regard to, is the idea that they would suffer from a brain disease and would need medical treatment. Non-psychiatric alternatives like Soteria don't need to force anybody, or lock as much as one single door. Because, in contrast to psychiatry, they validate people's suffering, so people stay voluntarily. Just as I didn't cancel, was late for, or missed out on one single therapy session. Because I felt that both my suffering and my being in general was validated. Not entirely - for example, I experienced being referred to as a "patient" as an invalidation - but enough to have me stay.

As for psychotherapy in general, and your experience in particular, that I've heard countless parallels to over time, it is dominated by psychiatry's (society's) ideology. That is, it doesn't validate the individual in crisis and his/her (human) experience. It pathologizes both. And once you and your (human) experience are declared pathological, it can't be you, but has to be the therapist, who knows all the answers. It doesn't work out for the individual in crisis, but it does for society. Society prefers to put up with a growing number of people on disability, people who aren't chronically ill, but chronically denied their true answers, their true selves, to being confronted with these true answers.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Something about intellectual property and copyright

It's not that I don't feel honored, finding out, that someone thinks my latest reply to Will is worth reposting on their blog.

What pisses me off is that, while I wasn't asked whether I'd agree to a reposting, I'm not given any credits, no link, nothing, on the contrary, to make the impudence complete, at the bottom of the blog it says: "Copyright 2008 Seven Human Needs". WTF is the meaning?! Rhetorical question. Just watch the Google ads at the blog...

Of course, I'm not the only one. Robert A. Senser at Human Rights for Workers obviously is a favorite of this spam-blogger.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Another reply to Will

Here's another reply to Will at WillSpirit:

My way to union with the great consciousness... I'm still on my way, Will. I haven't arrived there yet. Like you, I've had certain experiences, epiphanies, peak experiences... I've even spent longer periods of time in a state of inner peace. But I've not attained that state of mind once and for all. I know, that such a place exists, because I've been there. But if being there was a constant thing, at least my Danish blog would look a lot different from what it does. Probably also this one, although it usually isn't quite as pugnacious as the Danish one.

This is something, I thought I'd write a post on its own about, but I may as well at least mention it here and now. For a long time, I've felt sort of an obligation to frequently comment on news articles and stuff on my Danish blog. There are no other blogs commenting critically on what's going on specifically in the field of psychiatry in Danish. And surprisingly many people have told me, they have difficulty navigating and reading sites in English or American. The mh system in this country hasn't only a monopoly when it comes to treatment, but also in regard to which information gets out, and which doesn't... To a far greater extent than in English -speaking countries. Go figure...

One aspect of this is that I found myself constantly confronted with lies, prejudice, ignorance, cynicism, ... in short: violence, exhibited by the news articles etc. I had to read in order to comment on them. Another is that the same violence regularly tried to make it to my comment field, respectively made it to my mail inbox. It is toxic, and it is extremely contagious. It goes straight for the ego, and if you don't watch out, the ego will take control and start a war. Especially if you've been a victim of violence before. You can observe it all over the mh blogosphere. Egos trying to get at each other, acting out their personal trauma. And repeating it, over and over again. Guess, who gets hurt...

I'm certainly no saint. I've engaged in several wars lately. Increasingly belligerent. Acting out and repeating past trauma. It gives a very short-lived, superficial satisfaction to make someone one's enemy and bash them, with some scathing irony for instance. But when the moment of satisfaction is over, it does nothing but hurt. And then you need another moment of satisfaction. And another one, and another one... I've actually suffered a whole lot, recently. Enough to have me reconsider the future of my blogs, and my engagement in the mh-debate on the internet in general. That's what suffering is good for. To bring about change.

Well, drugs. Drugs certainly can open some doors. Hallucinogens especially. And they don't altogether have the sedating, deadening effect that neuroleptics have. However, they altogether alienate oneself from oneself to a certain extent. Watch this: - BTW a channel I recommend, SFJane.

As for me, I didn't have to clear my brain of pharmaceuticals. I spent my youth moving in what you might call "alternative" circles, where natural drugs like marijuana etc. weren't regarded a big problem, while everybody was highly suspicious of any kind of chemicals. In addition, psychoanalytical theories were the thing. I didn't even know, that psychiatry - or rather: the pharmaceutical industry - had come up with a concept of emotional distress being brain diseases, before I saw myself confronted with the "news" in context with my last crisis in 2004. It had always been a matter of fact to me, that whatever the problem, it certainly was a reaction to one's environment. The massive propaganda everywhere of course had me doubt this matter of fact for a while. It just didn't add up, it made no sense. What made sense, was reading Laing's The Divided Self, and what I remembered from Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, which I'd read as a teen.

Well, and then add to that the controlled and oppressed individual's pronounced desire for freedom and self-determination on the one hand, and her just as pronounced suspiciousness towards any authority that tries to take control and oppress on the other. Of course my reaction was: "I alone know what's best for me. No one and nothing messes with my mind but I myself." Luckily, this was respected. So, the only drugs I still will have to clear my brain of are caffeine and nicotine...

I've tried a benzo, once (apart from a suicide attempt that involved valium, but that's a different story). Nasty. Very very nasty. And it would have been even more nasty to experience that amount of loss of control, if it had happened during crisis. That is, during a period of time, where my true self openly rebelled against being controlled and oppressed. - Does psychiatric "treatment" worsen "symptoms"? It certainly does. Maybe not always, but often enough. Involuntary "treatment" by definition.

Last but not least, I was sort of intuitively convinced, that taking anything to numb out the pain would be extremely counterproductive, as I was determined as hell to find out, what the meaning was. And how were I supposed to figure out the meaning, when the pain was gone?

"A major objection to the use of the anti-psychotic drugs in acute crisis situations is that because they are such powerful central nervous system suppressants they may well have the effect of preventing crisis resolution. They are powerful enough to abort a psychological process, which if supported and understood, would resolve itself in the context of a relationship," Loren Mosher says here

The "symptoms" I experienced were indeed signposts, that showed me, clearly and unmistakably, whenever I was on the right track, trying to figure out what had caused what was going on. Without having them show me the way, the whole therapeutic process would have been a grope in the dark, unlikely to lead anywhere, since I was the only one who had the answers to all of my questions. In spite of what many people seem to expect, therapists obviously aren't there to know and tell their clients all the answers. Their only task is to suggest different angles from which to look at the questions, so that one of these angles hopefully may reveal the answer.

Numbing "symptoms" with neuroleptics leaves the client dependent on the therapist coming up with the answers, which actually is, what I see happen all over the place. - A Norwegian blog-neighbour of mine once was told by her therapist: "You know, the problem with you is that you resist being formed." Of course, my Norwegian blog-neighbour did the only reasonable thing, and ended the relationship with this "therapist". - Very convenient for society. But it won't do for the client, as it doesn't provide anything but, at best, just another false ego-identification.

So, in fact I embraced my "symptoms", because I knew, they were showing me the way out of my suffering.

I understand, that not everybody at any time has the opportunity to do as I did. The circumstances were without doubt in my favor. I had the space around me, that allowed me to "freak out" whenever I needed to, and I had someone, who supported me (almost) unconditionally. Most people unfortunately don't have that today. But that does far from mean, that they shouldn't have it. If I say, drugs are okay to use, I indirectly approve of the current paradigm of "care". I can't do that.

Basically, what I would like people to realize is that it doesn't matter what kind of label, how "serious" the problem, drugs simply aren't the answer, other than as a very short-term emergency solution, and never against the will of the person in crisis. I'd like to see the very common misconception eradicated, that there would be people, whose suffering is too severe to be met other than by (massive and long-term) drugging. There aren't. Everybody has the potential to recover, and no one should ever be prevented from it. Actually, it is often those, who suffer the most, and who seem to be "lost cases", who make the most remarkable recoveries. Given they get the right support. Because their extreme suffering also means an extreme incentive to change, and extremely clear signposts on the way to change. This is, what I reacted the most to in your initial post. That some people would need to be drugged. They don't. This, and the idea that all someone would be able to achieve, was learning to live with a chronic illness. It is not a chronic illness.

Compared to what is perceived as "normal" - and "normal" does not equal to "natural", "normal", in contrast to "natural", is a cultural construct - I certainly have "issues", still today. I'm still sensitive to noise, "noisy" visual perceptions, I still hear voices, I haven't abandoned but re-interpreted my "delusions". Does that make me an ill person? I don't think so. I think, it actually makes me more natural, so to speak, than I would be if I were perfectly adjusted to our normality. To me it's a strength, not an illness. Although it also is a lot more challenging to live in our "normal" and increasingly alienated from (human) nature world, and be naturally sensitive, than I imagine it to be for someone, who's sufficiently alienated from their own human nature and nature in general to be regarded well-adjusted to society, I wouldn't want to trade off that sensitivity for any amount of well-adjustment. I wouldn't want to trade off my true self, my true nature, for just another false ego-identification, that inevitably would lead to crisis again and again. In the end, if people think, I'm "weird" because I hug a tree, or have conversations with garden spiders, that's their problem, not mine.

I do understand and respect people who choose long-term medication when indeed they don't have a choice. That people aren't given a choice, is what I can't and won't condone.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Even more thoughts about The Doctor Who Hears Voices... reply to WillSpirits reply to me:

Will, the essence of it all is, that once you've understood what it really is that your existential suffering tries to tell you, the suffering stops. It's true. It's possible. Not that it stops once and for all. That would mean that you are permanently in a state of pure consciousness, and only God is permanently in that state. Or, put in other words, "God" is a symbol for consciousness. And as human beings living in the world we're living in, challenges will happen: "This too shall pass" applies to everything in life. Enlightenment as well as suffering. But the moment, you've understood - not only intellectually, but, and maybe even more important, spiritually - that there are no problems, only challenges, you are free to make a decision whether you want to suffer or not. It's in a way the same decision people who hear voices can make not to obey what the voices tell them to do. It's the same decision someone can make not to give in to suicidal thoughts. It's the purpose of existential suffering to show people, that they are free to choose.

Personally, I must say, that I at any time prefer that freedom to a pill, no matter if the pill really helps or not. And, even if I truly respect someone else's choice to take the pill, I think that no one has the right to a) tell anyone they're disordered, unless they add in the same breath, that what they mean by that is that the person doesn't fit into a disordered society's order...(thanks for doing that in your latest reply!) and/or b) to prevent anybody from achieving personal freedom. Which is exactly what the mh system does.

Suffering, if it's physical or emotional, is never a means without end. Martyrdom is. If you suffer hunger, you have a choice to either eat (provided you have food; if you don't, next challenge: get some), or not. The latter would make you a martyr. Or you can take a pill, that makes you forget you're hungry. But if you keep on taking pills, instead of eating or if you keep on and just don't eat, you'll eventually die from starvation. The same applies to existential suffering. You have a choice. If you avoid the challenge, one way or the other, your soul will eventually die from starvation. And nothing will have changed. Maybe the world won't change. Actually, who's to say? But you can change. And if you change, that means a change in the world...

It's because we're not perfect, that we are alive. If we (or the world) were perfect, there would be no suffering. Neither would there be a reason to be alive as a human being. The only really acceptable reason for someone to commit suicide is that the person in question has reached a state of permanent, pure consciousness. No more challenges to be faced, no more suffering. And now look at, what the mh system tries to do: it tries to make people forget all about the challenges in their lives, not by, magically, transporting them into a state of permanent, pure consciousness, but by giving them pills, that make them more and more unconscious, thus taking away the possibility to make a conscious decision. That's murder.

The mh system doesn't save lives. It maybe sometimes saves a biological existence. And even that is doubtful: in Norway for instance the suicide rate among psychiatrized people is a hundred - 100 - times higher than among those, who don't get incarcerated and forcibly "treated". Why? Because there's no reason to keep on and exist, when your soul has been murdered.

There is no excuse to do that to someone. No matter how "insane" they might seem. And it doesn't first start when someone is committed and "treated" against their will. It actually starts the moment someone becomes aware of the existence of psychiatry: "Look what happens to people, who don't behave!"...

Again, yes, "Ruth" hears a voice. It's not gone. Neither are mine. But hearing voices, even if they tell you horrible things, doesn't have to equal to suffering. It's one's own choice. I don't have the impression, that "Ruth" suffers more than people who don't hear voices. Rather less. She certainly isn't a martyr. She decided to face the challenge, and grow beyond it.

I know that when you read this, it doesn't immediately look like I respect choices different from mine, or "Ruth" 's. But believe me, I do. I know that I can't force anyone. It's something, people have to decide for themselves. In fact, all I want to do is to show you, that there is a way out of suffering. And that it actually are the pills, that prevent people from finding that way. Suffering can be transformed into consciousness. Suffering is the incentive for this transformation to take place.

And also again, death is a symbol. And no matter how stuck the world is, you are free to change.

BTW: Have you heard of St. John of the Cross?

And people tell me, I'm paranoid, when I say it's all about shutting people up...

Here is one of the most striking examples to illustrate the true purpose of psych labels, I've seen so far. I only wonder, if the author of the comment ever has given the possibility of her own scheme of things being that of a diseased brain, and thus more than questionable, a thought. As far as I know, the person is psychiatrically labelled herself.

More thoughts about The Doctor Who Hears Voices - a reply to WillSpirit

In reply to WillSpirit's post on The Doctor Who Hears Voices, and his comment on my previous post:

First of all I want to make clear that I'd never ever judge someone for their decision to take psych drugs, or to identify - partly or entirely - with a psych label. Who I at times can't altogether resist to judge, are definitely not the people, who resort to psychiatry/the mh system for help, but psychiatry/the mh system itself. That's a huge difference, although experience has shown me, that a lot of people aren't aware of it, and feel, I'm criticizing them, when in fact I'm critizing psychiatry/the mh system (oh , and our civilization in general... ).

Of course I can't know this for sure, since I don't know "Ruth" other than from what the documentary reveals about her, from her comment on my blog, and, indirectly, from what I understand Rufus May stands for, but my impression is, that she herself doesn't necessarily identify as "psychiatrically disordered". I suspect, that if she'd done so, she'd either never asked Rufus for help in the first place, or she'd abandoned therapy with him rather sooner than later, to return regretfully to the mh system's Trevor Turners - and their drugs.

Now you'll probably argue, that she hears a voice, and that hearing voices is a "symptom" of "mental illness", so she must be "psychiatrically disordered". Well, yes indeed, she hears a voice. But so do we all, psychiatrically labelled or not. All our thinking is conditioned. Thoughts are always without exception a reaction to the world we live in. You might say, they're echoing this world's noise. That's why meditation seeks the stillness beyond any thought, beyond the noise of this world, that is. In our thoughts we find the world, its noise, its voice, in the stillness we find ourselves.

If you look at it from that perspective, hearing voices actually becomes a sign of awakening to the truth rather than a symptom of a disorder. And indeed, in certain cultures it is regarded a gift, not a burden. A gift it is, if the person who hears voices happens to live in a society, that isn't afraid to hear the echo of its own voice, that isn't afraid to face not only its own greatness, but also its own flaws, which is what the voices of a person who hears voices usually echo. The flaws. The bullying, the abusiveness, the exploitativeness, the violence, the inhumanity.

Hearing voices then is a gift, because it asks for changes to be made. Changes for the benefit of all members of the society.

Meanwhile, our modern, western civilization is stuck with the delusion, that all there is to it is greatness. No flaws. Nothing needs to be changed. We are the crown of creation. Well, our modern, western civilization is. Take a look around. What do you see? Self-satisfaction, arrogance, self-righteousness... And underneath fear. Of change. So, how then can we explain (away) phenomena, that question and undermine our delusion of grandeur? Of course! As being flaws themselves. Individual flaws. Disorders. The "disorder" is no longer society's, but the individual's. And to perform this task of silencing the echo, our civilization created the myth of "mental illness", and the institution of psychiatry.

I must admit, that I sometimes can be a bit tough, and say: "All right, be my guest, buy into it if you think so. But then you'll have to live with the consequences." Which usually are, that you'll be society's scapegoat, that you will be discriminated against, more or less. But I also know, that it often isn't a conscious choice, that leads to people buying into it. And unless it is a conscious choice, I can't really be that tough without becoming guilty of the same "crime" I accuse society of.

Well, the question of course is, why some people react to the extent, "Ruth" does, or I myself for that sake, and others not. Isn't that proof, that these people must be biologically different,somehow really disordered? I think the answer is, that some people are exposed to the flaws of the society they live in to a greater extent, earlier in life, and for longer periods of time than others. Which can make them biologically different, more sensitive towards society's flaws, than others, as recent research indicates. Still, that doesn't make genetic anomalies the cause of the phenomena.

And what about all the other "symptoms"? What about "paranoia", or "mania", or "depression", or "ADHD", or you name it? Different kinds of echoes, reflections. How someone reacts in detail depends on what they learned how to react. Non-genetic, familiar heredity. For even if recent research also indicates, that trauma causes changes in a person's genes, changes that may be passed on to this person's children, genes do not act independent from their environment, but they react to it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be likely for people who were labelled with "schizophrenia", or "bipolar disorder", or whatever, and who made a recovery like "Ruth" did, by making unconscious content conscious, to have and raise children, who don't get labelled. I don't know of any of these people, who have children, that their children would qualify for any psych label. But, unfortunately, I know of a number of people, who still are stuck in unconsciousness, whose children do have problems, they too. It's a law of nature, that trauma, that isn't made conscious, is passed on to the next generation.

As for drugs: There are different ways to deal with crisis. Mind-altering drugs suppress "symptoms". What they target is a person's consciousness reducing it. There is no drug, that could target the unconscious. So, the voices are still there, echoing the world. The person just doesn't realize anymore. In fact, many people eventually tell their psychiatrist, that they don't hear voices anymore, even though they do. Because they're fed up with side effects, and know from experience that, if they say they still hear voices, all their shrink will do is up their dose... But well, let's say, it works for someone. What is the result? Stabilization. Not balance, but stabilization. That is, the absence of any possibility for development, personal growth, transformation... Indeed, exactly what our civilization in general aims at: maintaining the status quo, keeping it stable.

While death is a symbol for transformation, and thus not the opposite but part of life, stability is a synonym for the absence of change and of the possibility for transformation. It's a synonym for deadness, which indeed is the opposite of life.

On the other end of the (sliding) scale you have the change, the personal growth, the becoming (more) conscious through experiencing crisis with your eyes wide open, that Ann-Louise Silver talks about in the clip from Take These Broken Wings.

Now, our society expects a certain, actually growing, amount of deadness, of stable functioning, and it conditions everybody to regard stability the ultimate bliss. So, I can't blame anyone, who takes drugs, which they are told, will provide them with stability, our civilization's ultimate bliss.

However, life is constant transformation, it's constantly seeking for perfection: through self-transcendence and enlightenment, seeking to achieve a state of pure consciousness. It's a human need. But it is also unproductive in regard to our consumer-society. And while existential suffering in itself is a precondition for change to take place, and thus part of the human experience, not an illness, our civilization adds another dimension of suffering to the initial, existential suffering in that it stigmatizes and discriminates against everybody who experiences life, who experience being (human), trying to force these people back into blissful unconsciousness, that only is endurable on mind-numbing drugs, that alienate the person from her (suffering and rebelling) true self.

So, if someone is offered the chance to be supported in following their true self's call, why wouldn't they choose to do so? Why would or should they choose the dead end in preference to The Way? And I'm not even talking about the physically disabling side effects of psych drugs...

In short, I don't think there is any such thing as "mental illness". In my opinion "mental illness" is a cultural construct, created in order to pathologize the lesser productive, and society's delusion of grandeur disturbing, aspects of the human experience. To me, the concept is an assault on (human) nature. And I think, as long as there is no scientific evidence to prove it correct, no one should be labelled.

Last but not least, I don't think, "Ruth" has any higher risk of experiencing crisis again, than anybody else has. I think, she's very aware of herself, her limits included, and probably somewhat better prepared than people, who've never experienced extreme states of mind, if ever anything should happen in her life, that has the potential to trigger crisis. So, I don't think, anyone needs to be more concerned about her emotional well-being than about that of others.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The Doctor Who Hears Voices, once more, and humanity's eternal quest for perfection

I've wanted to write a review of Leo Regan's The Doctor Who Hears Voices at its IMDb-page ever since I'd seen the film and read the, at that time, only and rather negative - indeed society's prejudice against people who experience or have experienced extreme states of mind confirming - review of it at IMDb.

Eventually, last night I did write it, so, here it is.

It goes a little more into detail than my previous review here on my blog, which actually is more a short announcement than a review, while it, admittedly, still struggles very hard not to become too much of a reply to the mentioned, negative review alone.

Of course, in as far as I identify as one of the people shes_dead in line with society in general obviously holds rather strong prejudice against, I felt offended by his/her review. Why I decided it wouldn't be wise, to try and write a review of my own back in November last year, but wait until I'd hopefully cooled a bit down, managed to distance myself somewhat from the identification as the discriminated against, and the resulting anger. Well, I still didn't manage to be compassionate altogether - that discrimination usually isn't due to viciousness but to ignorance, a lack of ability to see beyond the end of one's nose, becomes evident alone from the fact, that shes_dead confuses Rufus May with a psychiatrist, while the film explicitly points out, that he is a psychologist, a fact, that hardly would have escaped the truly attentive, open-minded, and unprejudiced viewer - and still had to fight some feeling offended, and angry. Which sabotaged my quest to write the perfect review to a certain extent.

So, no, it certainly isn't the perfect review. But well, let the one who wrote the perfect review throw the first stone!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

An unwanted child

First of all, go to Stan's blog, and read the e-mail exchange between him and the LA-Times reporter Shari Roan, who chooses to defend what in my opinion is a crystal-clear case of severe child abuse.

Now, while many in the meantime seem to have noticed that Jani's father Michael Schofield openly admits to have both beaten her up, starved her and subjected her to numerous other kinds of what without doubt must be termed severe child abuse, there's something, no one yet has explicitly mentioned, as far as I can see.

In this blog post Jani's father talks about the basic needs of infants:

"Simply having to feed another person on schedule is a chore. After years of only having to take care of yourself, you have to take care of another. Feed them. Clean them. Wipe them. Feed them again. Bathe them. Again with the feeding.

These simple tasks are difficult enough because we are not used to it. Society trains us to take care of ourselves, not another human being.

Since the focus of baby care classes is basic infant care, it lulls you into a sense of believing that infants will only complain if their basic needs aren't met. You believe all you have to do is feed them, clean them, keep them warm, and maybe hold them a little bit.

That's bullshit.

It turns out that "basic" human needs are not so basic, nor are they the same for every infant. The baby care classes prepare you to feed the baby and change a diaper, not how to meet your child's emotional and psychological needs. It is assumed that infants do not have such complex needs. This is just as much crap as the stuff in the diapers. Humans are born complex, psychological creatures, and can have needs that far outstrip basic needs."

Read between the lines: "No one told us, that human beings need love - so we assumed, we didn't need to love Jani as long as we changed her diapers and fed her."

Narcissists are people who don't know what love is. They've never received it, thus they are unable to give it, if it is in regard to themselves or others. All they've ever experienced is need, being ab-/used by others to fulfil these others' needs. This is all they know about relationships: how to ab-/use others to fulfil their own needs. Narcissists are not able to love.

To start with, Jani was physically probably provided for in a satisfactory way. Although one may wonder even in regard to that, taken the "difficult enough", and Michael Schofield's somewhat wistful description of the good old days when he and his wife would spend days in bed, doing nothing, into account... However, it stands out quite clear to me, that Jani emotionally was left high and dry in a more or less complete vacuum, that she spent her life in an emotionally ice-cold environment from day one.

Schofield blames Maslow, says Maslow was wrong. Maslow wasn't wrong. Schofield chooses to misinterpret, in his own favor. Love is a "D-need" in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. And while one can argue if it is right to split up basic human needs into levels, like Maslow did, or if they should be grouped together at one single level, as some critics suggest, they are all deficiency needs, that, if not met, cause suffering.

Schofield also blames Jani, or the "illness", which is basically the same, says that the "illness" made her different, special, more needy than "normal" infants, who would be content, having their basic, physical needs fulfilled. Again, he is dead wrong. Any human being, infant or other, will inevitably suffer if they are deprived of love - or any other basic human need, physical or not, listed by Maslow as a D-need, for that sake.

This is what so-called "schizophrenia" is made of. It is the manifestation of the suffering, that is caused by being deprived of love, by being objectified, and ab-/used to fulfil others' needs. It is the manifestation of protest against that abuse.

Sometimes it is mentioned as a "symptom" of "schizophrenia", that "the schizophrenic" feels s/he's an unwanted child. It's not a symptom of a brain disease. It's the truth. Michael and Susan Schofield didn't want a child. They needed an object, a something, to act out their own trauma.

That this isn't recognized, that it even is blatantly denied, by Shari Roan for instance, but also and even more important by those, who should be the first to recognize it, the "experts", doesn't surprise me the least. It's only symptomatic of a thoroughly narcissistic culture.

P.S.: As for Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, if at all I'd split up the basic human needs, I'd place "love" at the very bottom of it. Human beings can handle a whole lot of suffering if only they are loved. If they are not, they will inevitably go to pieces, sooner or later, with or without other kinds of suffering. And no one who really loves their child, would ever put him/her through, what Jani has been put through by her parents, especially her father.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Jani: "schizophrenic", or a victim of child abuse?!

I had a hunch, that some kind of abuse or neglect probably was involved, also in Jani's case. - And I want to emphasize, that my definition of "abuse" is a quite broad one, that is not restricted to parents battering or sexually abusing their kids. It may or may not be the parents, and it may or may not be physical abuse.

Now I just read the following, which I haven't been aware of, at Stephany's blog:

"It saddens me to say the least to read on the Jani's father's blog that the father talks about beating (hitting) , and starving Jani, taking away her toys, and ultimately drugging her spirit. (to break her) before she was placed on psychiatric medications this child suffered child abuse."

So, no, one doesn't even need to apply my own, broad, Derrick-Jensen-influenced definition of abuse to come to the conclusion, that Jani indeed is a victim of child abuse.

Read the whole post at Stephany's blog, here!

NAMI-pathos - the need to be special

To enjoy some real NAMI-pathos and -defensiveness, go here - to get an idea, what the whole thing is about, check out "Parents Cope With 6-Year-Old With Schizophrenia" at Philip Dawdy's blog - read the post, then read David Oaks' comment, Wednesday, July 1, 2009 - 04:34 PM, 9th comment from the top, and then Michael Schofield's reply to David, Wednesday, July 1, 2009 - 06:11 PM, 11th comment from the top.

Well, and then tell me, that these parents do anything else than feeling sorry - for themselves. Drowning in self-pity. And they actually thrive on their misery. So much, they forget everything about being polite (or just pathetic...), and indeed become rude and defensive, as soon as someone comes around, and mentions, in the most empathetic, friendly way, the possibility, that to be in the mh system might not be the right thing for their daughter, and that they maybe should have a deeper look at the matter: "Don't you dare to question the necessity of our suffering to continue indefinitely!!! We are special! Our misery is more miserable than anyone else's in the whole wide world! And we will fight for it! (Even if that costs Jani her life.)" Narcissists?...

Thursday, 2 July 2009

"Schizophrenia", or: blame the victim!

What really is utterly disturbing to me, is people who are disturbed by a six-year-old who is drugged into a stupor with huge doses of psych poisons, while they fail to acknowledge the assault it is on this six-year-old to be labelled with "schizophrenia" - a label that, like all psych labels, lacks any scientific proof of its validity - and thus fail to acknowledge, that it is the blame-the-victim-label, that justifies the silence-the-victim-drugging.

The human relationship industry

From an e-mail I recently wrote:

"I did some thinking about this issue in the wake of Gianna's post on it. It seems like just another "symptom" of our culture's sickness, its profoundly alienating dynamics, that we have to pay for supportive human relationships, that there is a whole industry, that is able to make a living on offering something, to which each and everybody should be granted free access. Wasn't it Freud, who came up with the demand for people to pay for that service, because it would force them to go and get themselves a job? First step towards "recovery". Ok, but then "recovery" means (re-)adjustment to the capitalist system... So, to a certain extent you might say, this makes therapy repeat the dysfunctional, alienating dynamics, that caused crisis: "It's not enough, that you are who you are. I only listen to you, if you pay me money for it." (...) It is as it is. Unfortunately, we need that industry. A lot of other things would have to change, before we could do without it. And I think, the really "good" ones inside that industry actually can contribute to bringing some change around through their work - that they need to get paid for in order to survive."

I don't think what really matters when it comes to helping people in crisis would be the ability to practice certain, during several years of academic education and clinical training acquired therapeutic techniques. I think what really matters is the ability to establish a genuine human relationship. - And indeed, I think that years of academic education and clinical training actually have the potential to destroy that ability in an individual. I'd even go as far as to say, they are designed to destroy that ability. - Can human relationships be genuine when they are offered as a paid-for service, as consumer goods? Isn't this, too, kind of a "toxic mimicry" of what would be natural?