Saturday, 28 March 2009

"Look, even the mentally ill themselves do believe in it!"

This is something, I think I'll never quite get:

Once more, I got into a, luckily very short, but nevertheless, discussion with a person, who identifies as, well, yeah, a consumer, suffering from "manic depression", and, of course, the pills were no less than godsend.

The discussion: Danish psychiatry has made a film, Åbenhed gør stærk - om skizofreni i familien (Strength through openness - about schizophrenia in the family) technically, formally, obviously very much like Daniel Mackler's Take These Broken Wings - cross cutting between sequences of interviews with respectively two young people, Helle and Emil, labelled with "schizophrenia", their relatives, some friends, and, of course, professionals, especially one consultant psychiatrist from the OPUS-project. In regard to the "message" on the other hand, the Danish film, not surprisingly, tells the opposite of what Daniel Mackler's film tells. "Schizophrenia" is a chronic biological brain disease, due to defective genes, that cause abnormalities in brain structure, and the best treatment option is lifelong medication with "antipsychotics".

And the family? Well, it's important to assure the relatives, that it is not their fault. It's all just defective genes. But, of course, it is also very important to involve the relatives, and psycho-educate them - about biological brain diseases, what else?! - so that they can support "treatment" compliance. And when all this is in place, voilà, what a success story! Never mind, that one of the two young people in the film is in need of assisted housing, as she can't take care of herself due to the drugs' side effects. And never mind, that both face a future on disability, and dependent on the system for the rest of their, approximately 25 years shorter than average, life.

Now, during the past couple of weeks I've noticed numerous hits on my Danish blog, search terms "film about schizophrenia", and since I imagine, that it is the above described botched job people are looking for, and not necessarily Daniel Mackler's or Leo Regan's film, I combed the net for reviews, and wrote my own "not-quite-a-review", always just looking to meet the public's needs and desires... Not-quite-a-review, because I haven't seen the film myself, and I don't intend to, since I won't pay as much as one cent for crap like that. I actually won't give as much as one cent for whatever it might be that supports biopsychiatry. Not if I can help it.

And, yeah, right, I do a hatchet job on the film, slamming its message totally as being oppressive, discriminating, and disempowering, calling the "expert's factual information" for a bunch of lies with no scientific evidence to support it, and the filmmakers for fraudulent when they choose to interview a couple of colonized consumers and their just as colonized relatives, only and solely to, as I see it, give the impression that psychiatry's hopeless message is the one and only truth: "Look, even the mentally ill themselves do believe in it!"

The thing is, that even though the film tries to make the viewer believe, that Helle's and Emil's words are their very own words, they are not. They are the system's words. - Actually, this borders to abuse of these two young people. Colonialism controls, displaces or exterminates the original. In order to exploit. Psychiatric colonialism controls, displaces or exterminates its victims' thoughts, emotions and language in order to exploit its victims' capability to talk, making them repeat its own ideology like a parrot. That. is. abuse.

Well, the pain in the neck I am, I let both the filmmakers, the "expert", and the three people, whose hurrays I've based my own review on, know about it. One of them reacts, so far. The "manic depressive" consumer, I mentioned above. She doesn't react commenting on my blog, but by e-mail. Somewhat resentful at the fact, that not all people agree with her on psychiatry and its pills being a godsend, and that some people dare to question that having insight and being "treatment" compliant would be the road to recovery, as she wants to have it in her review of the film.

Now I wonder: what's in for someone like her, that she defends an industry, that ruins people's lives in droves, just to make a profit? I mean, she doesn't make a profit by doing so, as far as I can see. Apart from the purely idealistic profit of a false ego-identification, that is: "I'm manic depressive! I suffer from a real disease!" Does that rotten ego-identification really mean so much more than the lives of millions of people?? I just can't but keep on wondering...


Monica Cassani said...

I try to always respect people like the woman in the movie. It is not our job to force change upon her and for the time being she needs to believe that what she is doing is the right thing.

I was on psychotropic drugs for many years before having a conversion and realizing they were poisoning me...ironically, or maybe not so much really, my message of alternative options is strengthened by my experience. It has all worked out for good...sometimes it seems it was the life I was meant to live.

We can never know what is in store for someone and where they might be on their journey.

There is, of course, appropriate time for confrontation, but then, too there are times when it's best to stand back and live and let live offering information when and if it's wanted.

I wrote this whole thing better the first time and google messed up on me saying there was something wrong with my cookie...we'll see if you get it this time and I'll cut and paste it first.

Marian said...

Gianna: I don't want to convert her - or anyone else, who needs to believe in psychiatry and its drugs. She isn't in the film. She wrote a review, which I used for mine. I wanted to let her know, not least in case, that I'd got her wrong somehow, since I haven't seen the film myself.

Another thing is, that she herself is a missionary. Giving talks and interviews, every now and then writing a piece for a newspaper, "me and my bipolar".

I just send her the link to my piece, in which I simply state, that I do not agree with her definition of recovery. She brought up all the other stuff herself in her e-mail to me. I didn't ask for that. So, why ask me to shut up about the film? I don't ask her to shut up about it.

Monica Cassani said...

I wasn't questioning any of your choices I was simply sharing how I deal with these folks...

I didn't have a problem with what you did and I certainly didn't suggest you "shut up."

I'm sorry if you felt I was attacking you...I certainly was not.

Marian said...

Gianna: The last two sentences of my previous comment weren't meant in regard to you. I was talking about this woman. I ask, why she thinks, she can ask me to shut up. My fault... Sorry!