Sunday, 19 December 2010

David M. Allen - Making fun of child abuse

Back in April this year, I wrote in a post on this blog: "Visiting David M. Allan, M.D.'s blog, your first impression might be a rather positive one. He seems to have got at least something. And yes, he has got something." Today, reading this entry on his blog, I take back my words from April. David M. Allen hasn't got anything. Not a thing. Or he wouldn't make fun of child abuse.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The NEC apologizes to Will Hall

For whatever reason -- could it be the massive protest on Facebook?... -- the organizers of Alternatives 2010, the NEC, apologized to Will Hall, and restored his workshop in its original form. Will Hall has agreed to withdraw his cancellation, and to do the workshop as planned. Yay! Have a great conference, everybody!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Alternatives 2010 censors Will Hall

Yup, first they try to keep Bob Whitaker from talking, and now they've decided that Will Hall may not include coming off drugs at his workshop. A workshop about choice in regard to drugs, where you may not talk about coming off?? Sounds sort of meaningless, I'd say. "Alternatives" my ass!

Here's the press release:


Coming Off Medications Workshop Censored at 'Alternatives 2010' Mental Health Conference

Alternatives, the mental health consumer/survivor conference with more than 1,000 participants annually, has withdrawn its previous approval for a workshop on coming off psychiatric medications.

The workshop, based in a pro-treatment choice, harm-reduction philosophy, was to share information about continuing, reducing, or coming off medications. After approving the workshop in June, the National Empowerment Center, which organizes the conference to be held in Anaheim California, made a last-minute decision to change the title and description to remove any reference to coming off medications. Will Hall, an internationally-recognized schizophrenia survivor and radio host who was set to lead the workshop, decided that he could not go along with the decision and will not be attending the conference. "Coming off medications is a topic vital to wellness and recovery, and should not be censored," he said.

The controversial move by the National Empowerment Center comes in the wake of a recent similar decision to bar Robert Whitaker, a Pulitzer finalist investigative journalist whose work spotlights medication dangers and growing evidence that non-drug alternatives work better for some patients. Whitaker was restored as a conference keynote speaker only after mental health advocates mobilized quickly on the internet to challenge the decision.

The annual Alternatives conference is organized by consumer/survivor groups and federally funded. With workshops ranging from wellness, youth, housing, employment, advocacy and diversity issues, Alternatives is the country's most prominent gathering for mental health consumers, who attend from all US states and as far away as Guam. Medication issues, however, have consistently been excluded from the program.

Hall, who works as a therapist, says he is not anti-medication and does not give medical advice, but instead educates individuals, families, and health care providers to make more informed choices. "People are caught between pro-drug marketing by pharmaceutical companies and the anti-drug message of some activists. We need honest and unbiased information about psychiatric medications, including assessing drug risks and discussing how to come off drugs safely when they aren't right for you. Many people find medications helpful, but there are huge dangers involved, and sometimes it's better to reduce medication or slowly go off."

After several hospitalizations and a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder schizophrenia, Hall has been medication-free for more than 17 years. He says a combination of holistic health, support groups, and spiritual practice nurtured his recovery from mental illness, but believes that "each person's path to recovery is different. My work fills a great need for information, and it's a shame this topic is censored at a national conference that claims to be dedicated to
wellness and calls itself 'Alternatives.'"

Hall is the author of the Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Medications, published by mental health peer groups The Icarus Project and Freedom Center. The guide, available freely on the internet, has been distributed to more than 15,000 people and is available in Spanish and German translations.


Saturday, 18 September 2010

The perfect parent

If everything else doesn't pan out, there's one thing you can do to achieve god-like status, perfection, in life: become a parent. At least to judge from the reaction of lots of parents to the least suggestion that maybe, just maybe, they didn't only have an influence on any success achieved by their offspring, but maybe, just maybe, also on one or the other failure, suffering, in their kids' lives, these parents seem to think they don't have to take the least responsibility for their parenting as being a parent in their opinion obviously equals to being the perfect parent. Being a parent seems to, automatically, turn you into some kind of supernatural being, infallible, and beyond any criticism. By definition there's no such thing as "bad parenting", there's no such thing as child abuse, neglect, or any kind of dysfunctional communication patterns acted out by parents towards their children. Parents don't make mistakes. To insinuate that they maybe, just maybe, are no less imperfect, fallible, and human as everybody else, and to ask them to take responsibility for their imperfection, their fallibility, and their humanity, borders to a cardinal sin.

Lola's is a quite interesting comment in this regard. Her daughter's upbringing was nothing less than perfect. No one, least of all Lola herself, made as much as one single mistake raising her daughter. It was all beer and skittles. Well, until "mental illness" struck, like a bolt from the blue. Never mind that alone reading about a "mentally ill" mother (Lola), that is a mother with major "issues", which, since she herself ascribes them to "mental illness", hardly can be anything but unresolved -- and as we all know, unresolved trauma inevitably gets acted out and thus passed on to any children, if there are any --, and about an "ex", into the bargain also this "ex" with "mental health issues", which means divorce, would, and should!, have everybody with just a minimum of insight into the human psyche shudder, and wonder how the kids cope in such a dysfunctional environment. Never mind that reading about all this obvious dysfunctionality wouldn't, and shouldn't!, have anyone with just a minimum of insight into the human psyche be the least surprised when they hear that a kid raised in this dysfunctionality reacts to it developing coping strategies that then, ignoring any insight into the human psyche, and maintaining the delusion of the perfect parent, conveniently can be labelled "mental illness".

There they are, the kids. Initially wanted, not for their own sake, but as an extension of their parents (' egos), whose only purpose in life it is to confirm their parents' infallibility, their god-like perfection as persons. But God help the kids, if they can't or won't fulfil this purpose, if they have the rudeness, selfishness, and ungratefulness to protest and thus expose their parents' violence towards them! Since the violence can't and must not be, in their parents' minds, since acknowledging to it would equal to having to give up on their "God delusion", it has to be the child who's imperfect, indeed defective, diseased.

So, please! psychiatry, step in and silence these rude, selfish, and ungrateful brats' completely unfounded accusations against us with your (pseudo-)scientific, medical authority! Once and for all. Please, label these rude, selfish, and ungrateful brats insane, that is whatever they say or do a symptom of "mental illness", and thereby invalid, not worth being listened to, and please, if ever you can, shut them up, free us from having to hear them scream out in pain over the violence we've inflicted on them!!!

Which also is quite interesting, is to watch some of these perfect parents go even further, not settling for having the rude, selfish, and ungrateful brat silenced, but additionally, in both hugging themselves, and fishing for the sympathy of people with just a minimum of insight into the human psyche, washing their hands of this dirty job of silencing the brat, and accusing psychiatry of being violent. These are the parents who complain about "misdiagnoses", side effects, lack of "treatment" efficacy, lack of services, and so on, and so on.

Sorry people, you have nothing to complain about. You asked for their help, and you got it. At least, they do whatever is in their power to meet your expectations. There's no way how psychiatry, or any other institution, ever could silence your children, and at the same time make them the successes, you initially wanted them to be. Success in life presupposes a language of one's own, through which the self can express itself. No language, no success. You asked for it yourselves. You asked for your children to be turned into non-persons, into a "mental illness", a failure.

You have no right whatsoever to judge and condemn people like Joseph Biederman or the Schofields. What these people do is nothing else but what you asked them to do, respectively what you do yourselves. You have no right to blame the pharmaceutical companies for pushing drugs with debilitating, and partly fatal "side" effects, and covering these "side" effects up. You asked for your children to be debilitated, and rendered lifeless. That you asked for this to happen in a metaphorical way, debilitating and killing your childrens' protesting self, doesn't make a difference. And you also asked for the cover-up. Since no perfect parent would ask for their child to be denied a self.

Psychiatry didn't establish itself, out of the blue. Just like your children didn't become "mentally ill" out of the blue. You asked for psychiatry to be established, in exactly the way it appears today, just like your behavior had your children react to it, and become "mentally ill".

Lastly, there's the returning "walk a mile in my shoes!"-thing. Well, I have. I've been about just as unconscious, unaware, and irresponsible, as these perfect parents are, or choose to be. Because, as mentioned before, the moment you know more than one side of the story, you're not innocent anymore. You stand with a choice, and with the entire responsibility for whatever choice you decide to make. And no, you don't even need to hear another side of the story from some critical professional or survivors, or whoever. You just need to listen to your children's side of the story. You just need to set yourself aside for once, and really listen to them. Not to whatever comes out of their mouth after they were "brought back" to seeing the world through your eyes, while they're drugged up over their own eyeballs, but while they're the most themselves, in "psychosis". You just have to try and walk a mile in your children's shoes.

Apart from all this, I can only wonder why someone, who thinks psych drugs, especially neuroleptics, are not designed for someone like her daughter, read between the lines: while they sure as hell are designed for the "real loonies", those not "misdiagnosed" -- and the concept of "misdiagnosis" always implies that there would be such a thing as correct diagnosis -- kept visiting and commenting on a blog authored by such a "real loony", playing up to this "real loony", who, into the bargain, isn't on any drugs, and, what more is, is a pronounced opponent to psych drugs and labels, and the institution of psychiatry as such. I can only wonder why someone who obviously firmly believes in biologically based brain diseases, at the same time, and repeatedly, joins in whenever there's a call for Soteria Houses. Soteria wasn't created to treat biologically based brain diseases. It was created out of the belief that the alleged biologically based brain diseases indeed were personal, existential crises. -- And the outcomes Soteria produced confirmed this belief to be true, btw. -- So, what's the big idea behind this sailing under false colors, behind this hypocrisy? Why not simply stand by one's convictions? Looking for sympathy? Seeking absolution for one's discriminatory us-and-them-thinking, even from the "real loonies" themselves? I have to disappoint you, X. No sympathy nor absolution for violence available here.

Since somebody pointed out to me that, especially for people who haven't been following X's blog and/or her comments, here or elsewhere, for some time, it might look like I condemn X on the basis of one single remark about psych drugs on her blog: No, I don't. This is what I wrote in reply to this somebody, and I hope, it contributes to a better understanding of what I react to. -- Also I decided to anonymize. As the above mentioned somebody also points out to me, X is by far not the only one to engage in this kind of behavior, so, it's probably a little unfair to mention only her by name:

X has puzzled me for the entire about 2 years I've been following her blog. Lots of critical comments, asking for Soteria Houses, when everybody else was, slamming the Schofields, when everybody else did, or Joseph Biederman, when everybody else did, criticizing one or the other pharmaceutical company, when everybody else did, etc. etc. (and "everybody else" of course means a certain clique in the blogosphere). Still, at the same time there also always were these small inconsistencies. "Misdiagnosis", over and over again, and as if there was such a thing as a correct diagnosis, mentioning "psychosis" and "schizophrenia" as if they were valid labels, just not for her daughter, and also that over and over again. Not just once. But she also successfully avoided to ever take a clear stand, whether she does believe in the labels, in the drugs, in biopsychiatry, or not. So, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. And, frankly, I didn't believe my own eyes when I read her comments at "Lola's story", that quite clearly, and clearer than ever, state that she does believe in the righteousness of for instance a "bipolar"-label for, and the drugging for it of, kids. I mean, read the comments at Fid's blog. Lola writes about 6-year-olds who get labelled and drugged, and are helped by it, and no objection from X. She agrees. Lola's her friend, she admires Lola, Lola's right when she says, kids are helped by psychiatry, its labels, its drugs. I can only conclude that this does not add up with slamming the Schofields for having their 6-year-old daughter labelled and drugged. Not at all. She did it, because everybody else did it. The same applies to her slamming Biederman on her blog. One minute she condemns the man, also joins in whenever people voice ethical concerns about the labelling and drugging of children, the next she agrees that "bipolar" in kids is real. I ask her, at Fid's blog, if this really is what she believes. Yes, it is.

One thing is that I, under these circumstances, couldn't disagree more with her. And I think, I myself don't make a secret of my points of view on my blog. It's pretty clear where I stand. [So, it should have been clear to X, too.] Another is that I a) really don't understand why on earth she doesn't simply say so, when she disagrees, but keeps giving the impression that she would agree with people, when obviously she doesn't, and b) can't do with hypocrites. I actually have more sympathy with someone like Lola than with X. Lola never came to my blog, or made a comment elsewhere, pretending to agree when in truth she didn't.

Additionally, I want to emphasize -- if anybody is in doubt -- that a disagreeing opinion alone, brought forward in a factual manner, has my full respect. What I have no respect for whatsoever is hypocrisy.

Monday, 13 September 2010

The saddest thing

Reading "Lola's story", in fact more like her daughter's story, on Bob Fiddaman's blog yesterday really saddened me.

I came to think of the comment by "CJ" on the NYT-piece "Child's Ordeal Shows Risks of Psychosis Drugs for Young", quoted by Rossa Forbes in her critique on the piece:

"It appears today's parents don't want to take time to examine themselves, their lifestyles, their parenting skills (or lack thereof) to see what might be affecting their child/ren. In addition, they might look to the schools, who have in many instances effectively taken away all outlets for normal childhood rambunctiousness by eliminating recess and phys ed, and requiring these little ones stay at their desks most of the day.

As for parents and physicians 'drugging' infants and preschoolers, well, as they say, you can't cure dumb.

As a nation, we are doing our youngsters a great disservice, substituting drugs for parenting, and placing the blame on others. Parents, take control. Do this by first taking control of yourselves."

Control, or responsibility. It hurts to face one's own inadequacies, mistakes, and dysfunctionality as a parent reflected in one's child reactions to them. And the more extreme the child's reactions, the more it hurts, because the more extreme the dysfunctionality they reflect. So, no doubt that it is a lot more comfortable to believe the misery isn't one's own responsibility, that you're not responsible for neither your own nor your "loved one's" pain. That it is all caused by fate, faulty genes, an imbalanced brain chemistry, nothing you could have done or can do anything about.

Related to this is the belief that the people who hold fate, faulty genes, and an imbalanced brain chemistry responsible are "just misguided", as a friend of mine keeps on telling me whenever I mention this dirty word: responsibility. And I mention it a lot, as the reader of this blog might have noticed. "Have compassion. It is no one's fault. They're just misguided." No one's fault. As in "it's a brain disease, bad genes, it's no one's fault". Or "no one's responsibility".

I recently complained to a friend about somebody's behavior really annoying me, draining me of energy. Like you'd complain to a shrink about your brain diseased child's behavior ruining your delusion of being the perfect parent. "You know," my friend said, "it's actually not that this person is annoying you, draining you of energy. You let her annoy you, and drain you of energy." Touché. Just as people, unless they are completely innocent, and don't know but one single version of a story, aren't misguided, but let themselves be misguided. With pleasure. For their own convenience.

This I wrote in a comment on another post at Rossa's blog:

"Everybody makes mistakes. Many people don't have the guts to admit their mistakes, to neither others, nor, and even less, to themselves. So they blame the suffering their mistakes causes not least themselves on others: "mental illness", and miss out on the opportunity to create transformation and growth for both themselves and their 'loved ones'. "

That's the price you have to pay for running from responsibility. You lose freedom. Also that from suffering. It's like peeing your pants, in the sense the Danes use the expression: at first, it feels nice and warm, but after a short while it gets really, really cold. But, no, you can't cure dumb. And the saddest thing is, when children have to pay for their parents' dumbness.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Don't be fooled!

He ain't no Loren Mosher, he neither. Allen Frances, who has an op-ed in yesterday's NYT about the removal of the "bereavement exclusion" proposed for the DSM-V, and who writes critically about other proposed changes for the DSM-V on his blog DSM5 in Distress.

Let's have a look at the NYT-piece.

- "If this suggestion is adopted, many people who experience completely normal grief could be mislabeled as having a psychiatric problem," Frances writes. And, a little farther down: "This would be a wholesale medicalization of normal emotion, and it would result in the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of people who would do just fine if left alone to grieve with family and friends, as people always have."

First of all, any emotion that is labelled psychiatrically is in fact mislabelled. It is a completely natural thing for human beings to have emotions, also extreme emotions. So, any kind of diagnosis and treatment of these emotions as representing symptoms of a disease is overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Thus, there is no overdiagnosis or overtreatment in psychiatry, only diagnosis and treatment, and it is all "over-" and "mis-", in the sense that it all medicalizes, pathologizes, completely natural, even healthy, phenomena. Second, if it isn't always one's biological family, it more often than not is one's friends, one's network, that has one do "just fine", no matter what the problem. Psychiatry hasn't cured one single "patient" yet. Lots of "patients" have cured themselves, supported by friends, by their network, and sometimes by family.

- "It is not that psychiatrists are in bed with the drug companies, as is often alleged. The proposed change actually grows out of the best of intentions," Frances claims after having mentioned the drug companies' obvious greed, and what it probably will lead to in case the "bereavement exclusion" is removed from DSM-V.

Ah, a do-gooder passing the buck. All Frances himself and the whole bunch of his shrink-colleagues, at least according to himself, have in mind is helping their "patients". At any cost. Even if it means they're rewarded millions of drug company-dollars for their unselfish efforts...

- "To slap on a diagnosis and prescribe a pill would be to reduce the dignity of the life lost and the broken heart left behind. Psychiatry should instead tread lightly and only when it is on solid footing."

Unfortunately (for Frances and his colleagues), there still is no such thing as "solid footing" anywhere in psychiatry, no matter what the diagnosis someone gets, indeed, slapped with, not only reducing but often enough destroying the dignity of the person who gets slapped with it. So, psychiatry shouldn't tread lightly, it shouldn't tread at all - on those who already lie down, with broken hearts. "[L]et us experience the grief [and all other natural human emotion] we need to feel without being called sick," yes, please, Allen Frances and colleagues!

It will seem to me, that Allen Frances is among the growing number of professionals, that includes names like Daniel Carlat and David M. Allen, who are about to become aware - unfortunately not of the fact that his profession isn't helping people in emotional distress, but rather oppressing and harming them, but both of the publicity it can earn you to be critical towards the DSM-V - you may even be able to make friends with a handful of survivors, and as the survivor movement is growing, that certainly wouldn't be a bad thing to happen -, and of the alleviation of feelings of guilt that comes along with being a little, but not too!, critical. A kind of "meta-do-gooderism", and indeed, also this a "no-fault insurance against personal responsibility" ("Didn't I say so? Didn't I warn you?")

Monday, 2 August 2010

Grieving human nature

Gianna posted a piece about the NPR-article "Is Emotional Pain Necessary?"

"They might as well ask do we care to continue being human. This trend of pathologizing pain and making it wrong will be the end of us if we don’t do something to stop it."

I couldn't have written a better comment on the article. I'd just say that running from emotional pain doesn't only limit growth and healing, but in fact does prevent true growth and healing from happening at all, and even makes things worse. We're destroying human nature (= ourselves), and we're not even realizing it, because we're too doped up to feel that we're about to commit emotional suicide.

A couple of thoughts I had, reading the article:

"Kendler points to research showing that people who are doing well two weeks after a loss also seem to be doing well one year later."

What Kenneth Kendler doesn't tell us is whether these people who did well after only two weeks of grieving, got "over it" popping pills, or whether, and more likely, they really got over it, all by themselves. If the latter is true, and I suppose it is, what the studies show is that it actually is healthy to go through intense emotional pain, and process one's loss, and that this process shouldn't be interrupted and suppressed by any kind of - aggressive - "treatment".

" 'I mean, [pain] is a normal consequence of breaking a bone. But that doesn't mean that we don't treat the pain. We treat the pain vigorously,' Zisook says."

The comparison is ridiculous. No one would ask someone who's broken a bone to pop a pain killer, and get on with what they were doing. It would be regarded irresponsible, and in a medical context malpractice, if you didn't do anything, but gave the person who broke their bone a pain killer for it. Nevertheless, this is what psychiatry does, giving people with broken bones a pain killer, and expecting them to get on with what they were doing. Malpractice, indeed.

On another note, the bereavement exclusion, too, IMO is completely ridiculous. "Depression" is mourning and grieving a loss. It is being stuck in mourning and grieving, because you can't name the loss. Just because someone can't instantly name their loss, doesn't mean they haven't lost anything. It means they ought to be helped name their loss.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Get rid of yourself!

I just read the NYTimes-article "Following a Script to Escape a Nightmare" that Gianna links to today:

"Dr. Barrett supports the use of Dr. Krakow’s technique, although she said that ideally the nightmare work should be integrated with psychiatry and behavioral therapies to treat the underlying condition."

For a second I thought: 'Since when does psychiatry or behavioral therapies treat underlying conditions??' before I realized: it says conditions, not problems, or traumas...

Great! Pop some prazosin on top of your psych drug cocktail, Big pHARMa will love you for that, and ask your rat trainer (aka "therapist") to extend the rat training to include your dreams as well. Hopefully it won't take long then, before the true you, your true self, succumbs definitively, and doesn't even bug you in your sleep anymore.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Accutane vs. Geodon. More on double standards

I watched this vid the other day, 1:43 into it. That was all I needed to see, or hear: "None of us would like it , if one of our children were to die at a young age, especially if it was for taking a medication that was for the treatment of pimples." -Doug Bremner.

Right. Certainly, none of us would like that. And sure as hell it was about time, and the only right thing to happen, when Accutane was pulled from the market last year. And although Hoffmann - LaRoche claimed other reasons to have prompted the decision to pull Accutane, concerns about the safety of the drug, also, and not least, voiced by Doug Bremner, without doubt were crucial to this decision. So, hats off to Doug Bremner's courage!

Anyhow, here's what I simply can't get my head around: if it is so outrageous as, among others, Doug Bremner thinks it is, and as it, indeed, is, that a drug that potentially causes depression and suicidal ideation/behavior as a side effect is used to treat acne, how come it is fully acceptable that drugs, medical treatments, with the side effect profile of Geodon are used to treat what isn't even scientifically proven to be an illness, a medical condition, at all? How come it isn't only acceptable, but apparently even desirable, if I understand Doug Bremner correctly - and it seems I do, since he didn't protest my comparison of his Mark Becker post to Fuller Torrey/TAC propaganda - to be able to force people to take these drugs?

So far, in Denmark there has been filed one complaint about Zyprexa causing diabetes. The complaint was dismissed. Explanation: "schizophrenia" is a far more severe disease than diabetes. So, if you suffer from "schizophrenia", you'll have to live with a side effect of the severity of diabetes. In fact, "schizophrenia", according to the "experts", such as Doug Bremner, must be worse than death. Because, unless you get run over by a bus and killed, or something along those lines, you, eventually, will die from taking drugs like Geodon or Zyprexa. On average, about 25 years earlier than you would have died not taking these drugs. So did the person who filed the complaint here in Denmark, who died from complications related to diabetes, which he had developed thanks to taking Zyprexa.

So, what we've got are drugs for the treatment of something that is not scientifically proven to be a disease, that actually, according to the scientific, psychiatric (!), research that has shown non-medical approaches like Soteria or Open Dialog to produce recovery rates of about 85%, vs. the drugs' 0%, with much greater probability is an emotional, existential problem, than that it is a medical one, that do not only have death as a possible, but, if taken long-term, as advocated by Doug Bremner and most of his colleagues, certain side effect. That is, looking at the scientific facts, any risk-benefit analysis of these drugs clearly tells us that the risks are way out of proportion compared to the benefits. Far more out of proportion than for a drug like Accutane.

Still, there is a public outcry, not least from Doug Bremner himself, for a ban of a drug like Accutane, while there, at the same time, is a just as loud, if not louder, public outcry, not least from Doug Bremner himself, in favor of forced "treatment" with a drug like Geodon.

If it was for Big pHARMa's profit to be at stake alone, I bet, someone like Doug Bremner would be one of the first to go for a ban of neuroleptics. But there is more, much more, at stake than Big pHARMa's profit when it comes to psych drugs. Pimples, acne, don't challenge society's status quo, they don't challenge the collective mass-psychosis that is called modern western civilization to the same extent as existential crises do. Indeed, society, Doug Bremner included, doesn't fear anything, not even death, and not even "if one of our children were to die at a young age", as much as it fears "schizophrenia", that is the confrontation with its own dysfunctionality. "Schizophrenia" begins where the courage to face oneself ends.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Free John Hunt! Sign the petition!

John Hunt is a trauma survivor with a diagnosis of 'paranoid schizophrenia'. He has spent over four years locked up in Carraig Mor psychiatric treatment centre in Cork city, Ireland. 

He has been over-medicated on an array of psychotropic medications with dangerous adverse effects. He has had tardive dyskinesia, akathasia and has developed incontinence. His physical/ mental/ emotional/ spiritual health has been severely neglected and has deteriorated since being in Carraig Mor. 

He has had no access to a rehabilitation team or psychotherapist and no day release in two years. There are no plans to rehabilitate John and return him to the community where he belongs. He is merely maintained and contained. John and his family have no voice in relation to his future. We are afraid that John's physical health is being damaged considerably. We cannot stand by and watch this happen any longer.

Read more on John's partner Grainne Humphrys' blog The Incarceration of John, and on Beyond Meds

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

And this is for Susan

Mestizo (left), Quarter Horse x Andalusian, and Barbiche (right), Quarter Horse 


First of all, thank you to everybody, Stephany, Rossa, and, well, you know who you are, for your understanding, support, and your critique, and not least for the "reminder" to keep my cool another time. No, my approach wasn't exactly buddhist. 

I saw the picture of Mark Becker, and read the post, and what both immediately turned into in my mind was a mug shot of me, and a call to have me locked up and thrown away the key (= feed me Geodon, if necessary -- and I can assure everybody that it would be necessary -- forcibly). I actually went right into the trap of ego-identification, and my ego, feeling deeply insulted, threw the insult back at Doug Bremner, supplying him with the ammunition to fire back at me with. And so he did. I asked for it, I got it.

This is what The Drama is made of: get at people, and make them react. Add to that the ingredient of denying that you were getting at them ("We're only trying to help you!"), and what you get is madness. Because unless they've seen through these dynamics, people will inevitably start and yell louder and louder in their desperate attempt to make the other recognize and admit to that what they're doing isn't helpful in any way, but actually harmful, and stop it. And if you just yell loud enough, all of a sudden you fit the criteria for a psych label, all of a sudden your protesting becomes symptoms of an illness. What up to then was "You must be crazy to imagine this" or "You're not quite right in the head to think that" something along those lines, suddenly becomes "295.(pick a number)". And if that doesn't has you see through the dynamics, and for most people it won't, you, of course, start to yell as loud as you possibly could. Which is what everybody has been waiting for, as it allows them to lock you up, and shut you up with Geodon. Ah, peace and quiet, finally! They don't do it consciously, but still, it is what they're doing: getting at you, harassing, bullying you, ever more violently, in order to have you react ever more violently. So that, eventually, they can shut you up, without ever having to admit to, neither to you nor, and maybe even more important, to themselves, that what they call "help", "care" and "love", indeed is abuse, violence.

Doug Bremner writes that he isn't responsible for whatever happened to me, and certainly, in as far as he never harassed, bullied, abused me directly -- at least not until his response to my criticism --, he isn't. But from a broader perspective, in supporting, working for a system that more often than not denies respectively covers up the violence in our society, laundering it, so that it appears to be help, he so is.

Of course, Doug Bremner is far from alone in this. We all do it/have done it, at one time or the other. But that's no excuse for not taking responsibility. And it certainly is no excuse, if you have chosen help and care for people in crisis as your profession. If no one else, as the expert he claims to be, Doug Bremner should be capable of recognizing the dynamics of violence in society, and what they do to people. It isn't impossible. There have been, and there are others who did/do recognize it. R.D. Laing, Silvano Arieti, Richard Bentall, John Read, are just a few of them. Instead, he choses to dismiss both people's personal experiences, calling them for a "symptom" of "schizophrenia", a "delusion", establishing a razor sharp distinction between PTSD and "schizophrenia" -- in lack of biomarkers using terminology: flash backs become "hallucinations", hypervigilance becomes "paranoia", avoidance becomes "withdrawal", "mutism", "catatonia", etc. etc. --, as well as any research that takes people's personal experiences seriously as the "return of the theory of the schizophrenogenic mother", thus issuing a carte blanche for the violence to be continued. 

I've seen it being done innumerable times before. Which had me go through the roof this time, are the particular circumstances that made it particularly insidious. The fact that somebody, who, allegedly, is an expert in trauma -- not only professionally, but also and even personally -- denies trauma, and in doing so, adds considerably to it, made the dehumanization I witnessed on his blog, and that I, as someone who got an "sz" label thrown at herself, very non-buddhist, took very personally, so much more appalling in my eyes. So, off I went, right through the roof, and my ego told me exactly how to get at Doug Bremner, and return the insult most efficiently. It is not that I mention his mother, his own history of trauma, but that I do it sarcastically, setting up a trap for him -- which he, or his ego, walked right into -- in not pointing out the fact that I for one, who didn't experience anything but pure emotional abuse/neglect, the most invisible, and hardest to trace and prove kind of abuse/neglect, certainly not am in a position to play down anyone else's trauma. "If he can't figure that out, too bad for him, ha!" That was mean, yes. And I should have taken a step back from my ego, before I wrote my first post about this matter. I'm guilty of not having done that. That I didn't do it consciously, on purpose, doesn't free me from having to take responsibility for it, and I'm sorry.

What I'm not sorry about is that I brought up the matter of discrimination against and dehumanization of labelled people for discussion. An important and necessary discussion to take, I think. 

Note that Doug Bremner refers to me as "they", anonymizing me, which could be said to be fine if it wasn't that I was out here, with my full name. Doug Bremner has several times been attacked -- indeed, attacked -- by his own in the past. I've read most of these attacks, and they weren't exactly edifying reading. Some of it was, IMO, clearly below the belt. Nevertheless, and as far as I remember, in his replies to these attacks, Doug Bremner never once anonymized his opponents. So, where is the difference between these people and me? Well, these people, in Doug Bremner's eyes, aren't "mental patients", but people, human beings, persons, with names. No matter how "mean" their attacks, they thus still deserve the respect to not be called "they", as if they were some sort of nonperson. As the "schizophrenic" (=nonperson) I am in his eyes, I don't deserve this respect.

That I have a background in academia, probably broader than Doug Bremner's, and in, among other disciplines, philosophy, according to Wikipedia (yeah, I know... - but it actually sums it up quite well) "the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language", (my italics) while there so far exists no scientific evidence that definitely proves crisis to be a medical, and not an existential problem, is of no importance the moment, I also am the identified "mental patient". Neither is the fact that I am crisis experienced, that I can draw knowledge about crisis not only from observations from the outside, but also from experience from the inside. This is the difference between somatic illness and "mental illness". "Mental illness" isn't and will never be the same as somatic illness, it will never be "like diabetes". Someone suffering from diabetes who says: "This intervention/these pills make/-s me feel sicker," is listened to and taken seriously. The identified "mental patient" who says: "The Geodon makes me feel lousy," is, at best, ignored, if s/he keeps on "complaining", "looking for attention", not to mention if s/he tosses out the Geodon, that makes him/her feel lousy, if s/he rejects psychiatry's "help", and says: "This is not the help I feel, I'm in need of," it qualifies him/her to be forcibly subjected to this very same "help". Any expression of not feeling helped by psychiatry is explained away by defining it as just another "symptom" of the "illness". It is not ever taken seriously, not taken as a sign that maybe the "help" isn't help, that maybe the helpers have overlooked something, that maybe a different approach is needed. It can't be, because the present approach is carefully thought out to do exactly what it does: silencing any protest, any resistance, any dissent, in relation to both psychiatry itself as well as in relation to society in general. As the institution of psychiatry represents the very essence of societal, cultural norms and values, and is designed to protect these against any protest, resistance, and dissent.

Now, it's not that I think that my educational background would make me in any way more respectable, more "worthy", than anybody else. Anybody, disregarded their social, educational, cultural, etc. background and status, deserves to be respected equally, not discriminated against. All life forms actually deserve to be respected. But this isn't how our civilization works. We've established an artificial pecking order where things like education, material wealth, race, gender, and the power they provide, are a lot more important than life itself. We all know that psychiatry promotes this pecking order big time. But since Doug Bremner can't really dismiss my criticism arguing that i would lack education and knowledge -- he tried that, it didn't work out too well -- he resorts to the ultimate dismissal, pathologizing my criticism, and declaring me a nonperson, defining me. That is the power he and his colleagues have been assigned by society, and that I do not have. The power to define others.

The following is taken from an article in a Norwegian journal, Magasinet Selvsagt!, about ableism:

"To deprive people of the power to define themselves is at the core of discrimination, says Salman Rushdie. This is language of power, you are in control of the person in question. The first step on the way to respect people, or groups of people as equal, is to listen to them when they define themselves. The greatest victory for the other discriminated against groups [the article refers to women, gay people, and black people] has probably been that they won the power to define themselves. They have decided on their own who and what they are. They have defined their own group's problems, and they've acted out of this definition. We disabled people haven't managed to do this. We've left it to medical and other professionals, to politicians and the media to define us. We've left it to them to describe us in their language, out of their understanding of us. And we have adopted this understanding, and made it our own." (My translation)

I wouldn't even adopt the term "disability" as the prefix "dis-" usually implies something that is perceived as negative. Anyhow, my mistake was that I actually did it, that I adopted others' definition of myself. I identified with Mark Becker, and Doug Bremner's definition of him as the "schizophrenic", the pickaxe killer, the nonperson, so I confirmed Doug Bremner's power to define me. Instead of taking it from him. It may well be that psychiatrists have the power to define people, but they only have this power to the extent that we react to their provocations, playing the part they've assigned us in their drama. 

Sunday, 20 June 2010

"My pain is worse than yours!" Some reflections on PTSD vs. "schizophrenia", on the trivialization of trauma, and on responsibility

A commenter, Stephany, at Doug Bremner's blog seems to think that I engage in what she calls the " 'my pain is worse than yours' BS". In my previous post I pointed out that what I did, when I wrote about his loss, was that I looked at his experience from the perspective that most of his colleagues, and obviously, when it comes to others than himself, also Doug Bremner himself, employ. I looked at it from Doug Bremner's own, biopsychiatric perspective. 

If you have listened to the Madness Radio interview with Jacqui Dillon, you may have noticed that she mentions having been denied the possibility to talk about her life experiences not only in her assessment interview, but also throughout her entire stay in the psychiatric system. Whenever she tried to bring up the matter, her "care"givers in the system told her to focus on the present and future, not on the past. I myself hear it again and again, that people are told "You must forgive!" -- Forgive what, by the way?? If there's no trauma, and this is what these people also are told, over and over again, and at the very same time, that whatever pain they are experiencing it certainly isn't caused by any trauma, but by this mysterious, biological brain disease called "schizophrenia", I'd think, there can be nothing to forgive. Hm, strange. But well, logic and psychiatry - they don't really go that well together. -- So, the biopsychiatric approach obviously implies that, no matter what you have experienced in your life, it can impossibly have been worse than to have caused you to react to it with what then earns you a label of PTSD. As soon as your reaction exceeds just slightly whatever standards "experts" like Doug Bremner -- on the basis of their personal, on the at any time prevailing cultural norms and values, not on that of any scientific evidence , founded, convictions -- have put down for a label of PTSD, the label you receive from these "experts" will likely be that of "schizophrenia".  And as soon as you have received that label, instead of the PTSD-one, poof!, all the trauma you ever might have experienced didn't happen but inside your own, diseased mind, it's all in your head.  And even if any of it happened, it wasn't worse than that you just should forgive and forget all about it. 

While, as we all know, telling your story, talking about what happened to you, making sense of it -- which is what Doug Bremner for instance tries to do in writing about his mother's death -- is an essential step on the road to recovery for someone who suffers from PTSD, telling what the "experts" choose to believe must be a mere fantasy, talking about what they choose to believe never happened to you, isn't allowed, as it only would upset them you, make you a threat to their scheme of things "worse", in case they have chosen that you suffer from "schizophrenia".  

So, how convenient that there are no biological tests for neither PTSD nor any other "mental illness", that it is more or less entirely up to the personal preferences of your shrink, mainly depending on how much pain s/he is able to recognize and validate without terror taking over, and having him/her turn blind and deaf, and only looking to shut you up, now!, which label you'll receive from him/her. And, pop!, before you know where you are, you're no longer a traumatized human being, but a brain diseased freak, who risks to have his/her mug shot appear on Doug Bremner's blog, accompanied by a Fuller Torrey-TAC-worthy call for you to be stripped of whatever, if any, human rights you might have left. What a truly sensitive, the human being and his/her pain respecting and validating approach!

Trauma, pain, suffering cannot be measured and weighed in the same way as blood pressure or, well, insulin. An experience is just as traumatic as the person, who experiences it, experiences it to be traumatic. Indeed, it's all in your head. And no matter whether it's called PTSD or "schizophrenia", or whatever else.

So, while I, in applying the biopsychiatric perspective, could claim that there are innumerable four and a half-year-olds in this world, who experience the death of their mother without being traumatized by it (another one of biopsychiatry's favorites: "Other people have experienced the same you have without becoming psychotic/schizophrenic. So, stop whining about your past, and get on with your life [as the chronically brain diseased freak we reserve for ourselves the right to define you to be]!"), thus trivializing Doug Bremner's pain, I for one prefer to see him, his reaction, and to draw my conclusions about the "size" of his pain, the extent of trauma he has experienced from what I see there. The in my opinion only valid "measurement" for trauma, pain and suffering: the individual's individual experience of and reaction to it.

Personally, I didn't lose neither my mother nor my father as a four and a half-year-old, I wasn't sexually abused like Jacqui Dillon, I wasn't battered, screamed and shouted at, or physically neglected in any way. My parents had no financial problems, and there was no fighting, or drinking, or anything like that going on at our house. We were the perfect upper middle class family. Nothing "dramatic" ever happened before I was about 13 years old, and what happened from then on until my father's death four years later happens in the best of families, it happens all the time, and most of the children who experience it do not end up "psychotic"/"schizophrenic". "So, where's the trauma?" I can hear the Doug Bremners of this world ask. And, until 6 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to answer him other than with what he would have interpreted to be the "delusions" and "hallucinations" of a chronically brain diseased, genetically defective freak, because he's too afraid to see anything, but what our culture has decided simply is too obvious to be covered up, because all he would have been able to see was the perfect upper middle class family, in whose bosom I'd experienced the perfectly happy, safe and protected upper middle class childhood that clearly didn't involve any trauma at all.

So, why would I, who cannot even play the "I lost my mother when I was only four and a half years old"-card, want to trivialize Doug Bremner's grief, and why on earth would I, who hasn't experienced anything of what our culture recognizes as "trauma", want to engage in the "my pain is worse than yours" BS -- and it is BS, yes -- Stephany?? In fact, I'm the first to stand up and speak out against the ongoing trivialization of people's pain and suffering, that biopsychiatry so happily engages in -- that is what I do in criticizing Doug Bremner's post about Mark Becker -- as well as against the "my pain is worse than yours" BS that I witness everywhere among consumers, where it, characteristically enough, finds its most pronounced expression in the discrimination against, and demonization of "the schizophrenics", and not least in the invalidation of these people's trauma and pain as "delusions", perpetrated by people with all  kinds of other psych labels, not least those who claim to have been misdiagnozed as "schizophrenic" when in reality they were traumatized. As if "schizophrenia" and having been traumatized were opposites. Well well, also the discriminated against need their scapegoats to pass the discrimination, the violence, on to. And of course it is the most natural and safe thing to pass it on to those, who are assigned the place at the bottom of the pecking order by the almighty authority of biopsychiatry: "the schizophrenics". Of whom I am one of, traumatized, recovered, but still, never misdiagnozed.

I recommend a look at my own story, before anyone next time jumps to conclusions, and insinuates that I would trivialize anyone's trauma, and/or engage in the "my pain is worse than yours" BS.

As for the at Doug Bremner's blog's comment section also present accusation against me that I would engage in a simplistic "blame the parents" approach: if you call holding the people, who according to their own perception of themselves (!) are responsible, grown-up human beings, responsible is a simplistic "blame the parents" approach, then, yes, then I do engage in it. However, the accusation itself is a simplistic, cheap (!) attempt to escape having to take responsibility, and I think, everybody who makes use of it knows this very well. If you don't know it, I recommend reading Laing again (I suppose, you have read him before you went on to dismiss of his ideas?!), as you obviously got him all wrong.

"With rare exceptions, I think parents do their best. They try. But there are a lot of ways in which they can go astray." -Loren Mosher

Is it really so much more painful and terrifying for you to face your own imperfection as parents, your own humanity, than to witness your children lose their mind over your inability to face it?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Kafka, The Trial. An additional remark to Doug Bremner's attempt to defend himself against my criticism

Note that Doug Bremner writes in his post that he has no idea whether Mark Becker was traumatized by his family, since he "never interviewed them"(my emphasis). In my first post on this matter, I asked Doug Bremner, if he'd ever listened, without prejudice, to Mark Becker himself.

I encourage everybody to listen to, if nothing else from about 00:16:00 to about 00:21:00, this Madness Radio interview with Jacqui Dillon.

What is going on during this kind of "investigations" is that everybody else but the identified mental patient is listened to and taken seriously. Of course, the, in advance, identified mental patient can't be listened to, not to mention be taken seriously. It goes without saying that you can't take a disease, an imbalanced brain chemistry, defective genes, seriously. So, what immediately may look like an investigation, looking to reveal the truth, in fact is a charade, set up to, with professional authority once and for all, conceal the truth, and confirm what never was intended to be questioned anyway: that any accusations against the family (or whoever else) clearly were nothing else but the figments of a diseased mind, pure inventions. 

Dear Doug Bremner,

in your response to my criticism of your blog post about Mark Becker you write:

"What gets me is that these posters feel like that since I am a psychiatrist they can throw whatever rocks they feel like. I mean, just because you are suffering from mental distress, or a mental disorder, or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t mean that you can act like a troll. This isn’t the first time this has happened, so I am calling them out. This is no excuse to act like a mean person."

I want to put straight, that"mental distress, or a mental disorder" more than you do. I take the full responsibility for every word I wrote in my previous post, as well as I take it for whatever I say or do in general. It will seem to me, that the fact that you're a shrink (= God?), and I am not, has you imagine you can "throw whatever rocks [you] feel like" at people, you've never met, hardly ever exchanged one word with. You did this in your post about Mark Becker, and you do it now again. "Psychiatry, a closed system, has the unique power to proclaim anyone who complains about it, or it's members, to be crazy for doing so." -Monophrenia

You also write: "Whether or not he was traumatized by his family, I have no idea, since I never interviewed them, but to assume that he was is my opinion fairly lame." 

Well well, but hypotheses about broken brains and defective genes, the blame the victim-approach, aren't lame, or are they?! How would you like it, Doug, if you were convicted of a crime only and solely on the basis of someone believing you've committed that crime, and without any chance to defend yourself?! Because, Doug, you see, "I don't believe you were traumatized, so, you weren't, period. Take your meds!"

What "trivializing" your trauma concerns: No, I don't trivialize your trauma. I read your blog posts about your mother, back then, and I saw the four and a half-year-old. I saw his pain, and it was heart-breaking. You and your PTSD had my entire compassion and sympathy. What I did in my previous post, was showing you, how you trivialize other people's trauma. How you don't see these people and their pain. How you, in other words, apply double standards.

May I ask, who or what it is that gives you the right to deny others what you claim for yourself?! And don't start about your "professional training". You have no science to back your opinions up with. On the contrary.

So, you think, I acted like "a mean person"? Take a thorough look in the mirror, Doug! You don't only act like "a mean person". You stab people in their back.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

PTSD-"expert" Doug Bremner can't see PTSD when it's staring him right into his face

"Later" - yeah well, one and a half months later I just want to add to my post about Alice Miller's death that I was appalled by most of the press reactions. One of the few obituaries to pay Alice Miller the respect she deserves is Sue Cowan Jenssen's. Read it here. (Via Beyond Meds.)

Talking about Alice Miller, I today did some more clearing up in my sidebar, as well as on Facebook and on Twitter. Life is simply too short to surround yourself with abusers, who, although they allegedly are "experts" on PTSD, can't recognize it when its staring them right into their face, who don't have anything else to offer victims of abuse than drugs, drugs, and even more drugs, to shut these victims up, so that they, the abusers, don't need to listen to them, but undisturbed may continue with their abuser business, for instance that of labelling people with "schizophrenia", who happily join in on the omnipresent demonization of "the schizophrenics", those lesser-than-humans, and on the just as omnipresent fear mongering that wants everybody to believe that going off the neuro-toxins that are called "medicine" immediately will turn you into a pickaxe killer.

And all this while what they demand and expect for themselves is pure compassion and understanding for the traumatized four and a half-year-old, who lost his mother, and therefor suffers from PTSD. - Are you sure Doug, that your problems were caused by trauma? That you're not a little brain diseased, genetically defective, a little lesser-than-human yourself?? I mean, compared to the abuse most of the people you fancy to label "schizophrenics" have experienced, the death of your mother is a mere trifle, and if what these people have gone through can't be recognized and acknowledged as deeply traumatizing, which is what I understand you believe, then how come you think, you can demand compassion and understanding for such an, in comparison, insignificant event as your mother's death to have caused you the least emotional suffering?!

Well, I'm done with this kind of unscientific, prejudiced and discriminating crap. Have a nice life, Doug! Oh, and don't read this! It might shake your belief system. (Although, can anything at all shake a sectarian belief system like the Inquisition's - er, I mean like biological psychiatry's? Hardly I guess.)

And right now, as I look at this post LinkWithin thinks that readers of this post "might also like" this one. Thank you, LinkWithin! :D

Friday, 30 April 2010

Alice Miller 1923 - 2010

Just in case you haven't heard it yet: Alice Miller died on April 14th at her home in Provence, France, 87 years old. For now, I want to quote from a Swedish blog: "Thank you Alice Miller for all you have done and everything you have written!" More later.

Via Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia