Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

"Help save Delara from the gallows"

...is the title of this blog post where you can read about Delara Darabi, and about what you can do to prevent her from being executed.

Although neither Amnesty nor other human rights organizations, who aren't by definition specifically concerned with the human rights of psychiatrized people, usually find it necessary to do anything to support our fight against the continued violation of our human rights by the mh system - hint hint! - I find it important to get involved. It only takes a few minutes to make a difference.

Monday, 20 April 2009

A perverted theory, or a perverted culture?

Instead of a comment at Doug Bremner's blog, where I don't want to start anything about this particular issue:

In his latest entry Doug Bremner [writes] wrote:

"There were two psychiatrists there named Fleiss and Lizt who had come up with [perverted] theory years ago that mothers drove their children crazy." (my italics) [Update: Doug Bremner changed his post. Actually before he read this rant. You rock, Doug! :D]

Now, as even I, who is relatively new to Doug Bremner's blog, have realized in the meantime, he lost his mother at the age of four and a half, and, of course, blamed himself for her death: PTSD. - Btw Doug, if you read this: it seems, you forgot to link "here and here and here". Whatever. Which strikes me, is that something so radical and undeniable as the death of one's mother obviously can serve to spare one's acting "artificially" from being labelled as, for instance, "schizophrenic", and thus brain-diseased (???), while less radical, tangible things obviously can't.

Here's some of the radical, undeniable, but nevertheless, compared to a physical death, rather "invisible", truth from my own past:

I cannot recall to have witnessed as much as one single incident of mutual affection between my parents. What I have witnessed, continuously, from day one to the bitter end, was my mother wiping the floor with my father, and, ultimately, since my father made himself scarce, pursuing his career, with me. My mother was the incarnation of suffering and neediness, and, of course, her misery was everybody else's responsibility but her own. With "everybody else" in the absence of my father being me, sure.

There simply was no such thing as unconditional affection - not to mention love - at our house (I can't really make myself call it a "home"). There never was any such thing in my life. And it was my own fault. If you'd asked my mother, that is.

Did I believe that, too? Sure I did. So I started to search for the "magic word", that could break the spell of my mother's misery, and that only I could find. If that makes anyone think of "schizophrenics'" somewhat "different" relationship towards language, words, the "loss of significance", because no word seems to do the trick: right on. While the double bind is just another aspect of the same game. "Find the 'magic word', and free me from my misery, and, no, don't find it, because I am my misery." Fact is, my mother was scared to death of me, because she'd made me responsible for her misery, that is, she'd put me in control of her existence.

Did that drive me crazy?...

Just some random, slightly incoherent - it's still a little touchy - thoughts an early Monday morning. Nothing but a rough outline, a few hints. The "original" consists of a good 250 pages. And yes, the concept of the schizophrenogenic mother is indeed perverted. It wasn't her as an individual. It is our whole perverted culture. Which she, too, was a product of.

Unfortunately for this culture, I wasn't told that it altogether were just meaningless "symptoms" of some obscure and completely meaningless biological brain disease and drugged up over my eyeballs, but guided and supported on my way to becoming conscious of my past. By a therapist, who isn't quite as perverted as our culture as a whole is.

I wonder, what Doug Bremner would have done.

One more random thought: When I was 29, my mother suffered a stroke during one of our regular arguments. After ten days in a coma, her doctor asked me, if it were all right with me, if they'd pull the plug, which was, what he'd recommend.

I argued with her, and I said "yes".

Thursday, 16 April 2009

A language of one's own

I came to remember an anecdote from my past today, reading a short reply to a post on a mailing list. If you're on the list, you'll maybe recognize, but it doesn't really matter where, or who, or what about exactly. What matters is that the original post had something disturbing about it, just like there always had seemed to be something disturbing about the posts by this list-member, while I couldn't quite make out, what that something was.

The reply I read today had me remember the following incident, that by no means was an isolated one, but because of one little detail maybe the most intriguing one of its kind.

I was in my early twenties, was living and studying at Munich at that time, but used to spend the holidays at my mom's. It were the summer holidays, my mom and I had went to town, shopping. A guy in his forties came walking towards us in the street, he said hello to my mom, they both stopped and started small-talking. I'd never seen that guy before, and my mom introduced me. It turned out, he was a business-aquaintance of my father's.

The guy asked, what I was doing, and my mom told him I was studying theatre theory at Munich. "That must be exciting," he said, making this little, but also very obvious turn towards me, "isn't it?" There I was, all blank in my head. As usual, my mom "saved" the situation, answered in my place, and then changed the subject. While I couldn't but notice a trace of resignation in the way, the guy turned his attention back towards my mom.

"He asked me," I said to my mom when we'd went on on our way a couple of minutes later. "Why do you always have to answer in my place, whenever someone asks me about something that concerns me?!" "Well," she said, "I don't understand why you're so upset. You obviously didn't know what to say, and we can't have people wait for you to find out, can we?"

She was right. I didn't know what the heck to say. I never knew. Because she'd never given me a chance to find out.

This is one way to make sure, your kids won't have a language of their own.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Guarded victory for Ray and MindFreedom

MindFreedom News - 15 April 2009
Nonviolent Revolution in Mental Health
http://www.mindfreedom.org/ray - please forward

   Ray Sandford Declares "Guarded Victory" for MindFreedom Ray Campaign

   Because of Public Pressure, Ray's Psychiatrist May Quit Case

The bad news is that this morning, 15 April 2009, Ray Sandford of
Minnesota had another involuntary, outpatient electroshock, also
known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT.

The good news is today's forced electroshock could be Ray's last.


Ray Sandford called the MindFreedom office this afternoon to say that
because of growing public pressure, Ray's main psychiatrist Dean K.
Knudson plans to quit as Ray's psychiatrist. Dr. Knudson has been
ordering the forced electroshocks.

If Ray is quickly assigned a new psychiatrist more sensitive to Ray's
human rights and need for humane alternatives, then Ray could be free
of his ongoing forced electroshocks. Ray has had more than 40.

Dr. Knudson had scheduled Ray's next forced shock for 30 days from
today. The court order allowing Ray's forced electroshock does not
mandate the psychiatrist to prescribe it.

Ray said that his general guardian, Tonya Wilhelm of Lutheran Social
Service, told Ray in a phone call today that she had talked to Dr.
Knudson personally. According to her, Dr. Knudson's insurance company
expressed concern to him about the enormous grassroots campaign that
MindFreedom is building to stop Ray's forced electroshocks.


"Tonya told me that because of all the controversy, Dr. Knudson's
insurance company may force him to stop being my psychiatrist," said
Ray. "Absolutely this is a guarded victory. I want to be sure to
thank people for their diligence, and for everything they're doing to
support me."

David W. Oaks, Director of MindFreedom International commented,
"Today is USA Tax Day. If Ray's supporters keep it up, it looks like
taxpayers may get a break, and not waste their money torturing Ray
any more."

The Ray Campaign will continue, said Oaks. "We need to stay vigilant
about Ray's rights, make sure Dr. Knudson quits, and help Ray find a
better lead mental health professional pronto."

The Ray Campaign also raises a question: How many other Ray's are there?

Said Oaks, "It is proven beyond a doubt that there are others
throughout the USA and internationally who are getting electroshock
over their clearly expressed wishes. Every USA state and every nation
needs a 'Ray Law' to stop this nightmare forever."




Forward this alert to appropriate places on and off Internet!


For background including Ray Frequently Asked Questions, Ray's Web of
Links, YouTube video of Ray and his mom, National Public Radio
coverage, how to participate in campaign, and more, see:



MindFreedom International unites to take action for a nonviolent
revolution in the mental health system.

Join/donate to MindFreedom International today:


Friday, 10 April 2009

Reply from Kevin Siers

Thanks everyone for your comments on my previous post. In the meantime, I got a reply from Kevin Siers, where he writes, that his intention was not to scapegoat people in emotional distress, and that he didn't design the cartoon "with a professional's understanding of what mental illness is."

Well, that's the big problem here. That there a) is no true understanding of what "mental illness" is, and that b) the only "understanding" that the cartoon reflects, is the misunderstanding, promoted by the mh system, and distributed by the mainstream media - the Charlotte Observer, for instance. The problem is, that, while everybody is busy scapegoating the "mentally ill", they too are kept from becoming aware of the real terror: the terror of our society itself.

So, what we've got here, is Joe Public's ignorance and the consequential prejudice - that inevitably scapegoats, intended or not. How did Albert Camus put it: "The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." Ignorance, unawareness, unconsciousness... What we've got here, is an excellent example of the evil our unconscious society continuously does, in the name of good.

Now, Kevin Siers also writes, that our letters to him "continue to be food for thought." I certainly do hope so! It truly is time, both for him and society in general, to wake up and face its own violence. Otherwise, we will never be able to prevent the terror from happening, no matter how restrictive gun laws.

The true terrorists - An open letter to cartoonist Kevin Siers

Yesterday, when I learned about this outrageous atrocity, I wasn't sure if to react to it at all, or not. Things like this can leave one speechless. Nevertheless, today, inspired by Kim, and his own reply to someone's e-mail, I sent the following e-mail to Kevin Siers:

Dear Mr Siers,

let me tell you right away, which I suppose I am not the first to tell You, that Your cartoon in the Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com/kevinsiers/story/638466.html, is something of the most tasteless and discriminating I've ever seen.

Now I learned from others, who have contacted You, that You are "unsure what else to call that rage and alienation" than "mental illness", and that You wonder, if those "terms would have sufficed".

Let me assure You, they would have sufficed. In fact, they would have been far more to the point, than the alienating concept of "mental illness" ever can be.

In context with this, there's something I can't but have to wonder about: What makes You so certain, as You seem to be, that so-called "mental illness" is a brain illness? If You have any evidence for this allegation to hold true, I'd love to see it, since no one yet has been able to provide this evidence.

This is rather important in regard to Your cartoon, because what Your cartoon does is that it scapegoats a whole section of the population on the basis of a mere theory, in complete lack of any scientific proof, as brain defective individuals, who do not react, but act. Without any ratio involved. While the natural response to terms like "rage" and "alienation" is to question what kind of environmental, societal factors would be likely to cause this rather rational rage and alienation in the individual.

When You choose to make use of the term "mental illness", what You actually are doing is that You contribute to society's enraging and alienating forces, to which some people, very naturally, react enraged and alienated. I am sorry to have to say this, but that is one more assault on people, who've already been assaulted to an extent, that makes it inevitably necessary for them to defend themselves, while the alienating concept of "mental illness" as being a brain disease efficiently keeps these people from seeing through the inhumanity of society, evidently represented by Your cartoon.

You, and everyone else who holds up the idea, that "mental illnesses" would be brain diseases, do society an enormous disservice. So-called "mentally ill" people go on shooting sprees, because they are kept from realizing that the true source for their very natural feelings of rage and alienation are the long-standing assaults, they have been exposed to. They go on shooting sprees, because they are denied a language of their own, that would allow them to hold their abusers, society, accountable. They go on shooting sprees, because they are silenced with the concept of "mental illness". The true gunman, the true terrorist here is a society that prefers to oppress and silence its critics to lending them a voice and listening to them, and it is You.

I am a person, who has experienced what You call "mental illness", i.e. extreme states of mind, caused by trauma. I am a highly functioning, fully recovered person today, because I did not get the "treatment", I suppose You have in mind when You write: "...people also in desperate need of treatment who are not getting it." Instead I was as lucky as to be helped to realize and work through my trauma, and establish a language of my own, which renders going on a shooting spree as an act of self-defence superfluous.

If you want to contact Kevin Siers, Rick Thames, the editor of the Charlotte Observer, and/or the Charlotte Observer itself, here are the e-mail addresses:
Rick Thames, editor:
Letters to the editor:
Cartoonist Kevin Siers:

Hat tip to Gianna for drawing attention to this in the first place.

Reply from Kevin Siers

Update, 04-12-09: Via Kim I got the notice this morning, that the Charlotte Observer obviously has removed the cartoon from its website.