Psychiatric survivors, labels and me

If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick. William James


The deleterious effect of evil, pernicious, stigmatizing labels is at the core of psychiatric survivor discourse™, so of course it makes me wonder why I don’t care about mine so much, like — what am I missing here, am I insufficiently outraged about a civil rights injustice?!
Borderline, Bi-polar, Schizophrenia, these official stamps of psychiatry will lead to life of ruin, they say, while saying not so much about the label that actually got them committed. Puzzling, but later for all that. The thread on BPD at the only blog that matters has me head in a spin.

I identify with borderlines, my life’s been filled with them, I have it in me, it’s a hellish disorder. I’ve only seen doctors in offices. In the room, every diagnosis came at a snail’s pace by reluctant treaters who always provided the caveat that what they do are “diagnostic IMPRESSIONS” — their best opinion, that others might not agree with, including me. Fair enough. Over many years 3 different diagnosticians gave me a Cluster B (Dramatic) Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, all of them working independently without reading each others notes, and all of them placing an AXIS I diagnoses as the primary concern, whether major depression, bi-polar, PTSD, hysteria (conversion disorder) or some kind of schizophrenia. The docs I saw regularly who presumably knew me best were adamant that I do not have BPD, and I wanted that diagnosis, to feel closer to the people I love, and the musicians I relate to, all the luminous, sullen and delicate cutters.

I just last week sat down for the first time to read the opinion of the psychiatrist who evaluated me for the Social Security Administration. It’s been sitting here seven years and I’m aware that I have feelings about it before even reading it, the language is very sobering. I saw this SSA psychiatrist for 90 minutes and turns out he settled on “a long-standing and well-documented history of borderline personality disorder” with the following attached:

Dr. Aitcheson’s testimony is well-supported by the objective medical evidence, which establishes a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior associated with oddities of thought, perception, speech and behavior, … extreme difficulty getting along with others…panic attacks, psychotic features, vegetative states, hypersomnia… emotional lability as well as intense and unstable interpersonal relationships and impulsive and damaging behavior. This symptomatology has resulted in marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning, marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, pace, and repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

I’m supposed to be offended by that? It’s the truth. I guess I could be offended, but appears I have a rather full plate to be upset by something so removed. I mean, it seems removed; I have my life and I have these labels. Now I finally have one that makes me chestpuff, I’m in with the out crowd.

I don’t care. That’s the problem, I am perceived as falling short in the victim identity. But listen, schizoaffective disorder was real tough on me, due to all the research it requires, but okay fuckit, overall I have no personal issues with labeling, I’m not outraged by the iffy nosology in psychiatry because the iffiness has been established for me by psychiatrists throughout my treatment course. Now I’m getting shit at Furious Seasons because what happened to me just don’t sound right. It’s a competition, this shit right here.

I feel protective and territorial about my newfound BPD label and don’t like how things are going over there. I am nobody’s victim and am sorry to say have always felt supported by my treaters, but do hang on to anger for the lobotomy and expect I always will. My gramma was the only one in that house who loved me, I saw what it did to her. Saw what psychiatrists did to my whole family, who, hang on a sec, unlike me were all involuntary patients. I guess today they’d be psychiatric survivors, since they were forced into asylums and treated against their will.

The difference between voluntary and involuntary patients is something. Seriously, cartoon king Szasz got one thing right.

Still, I am against the BPD dx for all the right reasons. People are negatively effected by that specific label in all kinds of specific ways and they don’t like it, and that should be reason enough to say it’s got to go. Period. But none of these DSM labels, invoked like mantras are what I look for when psychiatric survivors say they are sharing their feelings about what society thinks about them. The label they avoid is the one I’m most interested in hearing about  and what they do with it.

Yeah. What’s it like to be considered dangerous by the powers that be, and is it too late for me to get some of that juju?

The sole justification for involuntary commitment. You must be found to be a danger to self and or others. You might think that would make some impact on a person, an activist, a truthteller, but damned if I’m onto that discourse, in fact I’m seeing more like a taboo around meaningful discussion in the psychiatric survivors, but hey I’m borderline now, I get to stir shit up.

I realized something the other day, how the same thing happens when visiting a General Practitioner for the first time. The Physicians Assistant does the standard intake on medical history; surgeries, cancers, allergies, heart disease, mental health issues? “Yes,” I reply breezily, I’ve been treated for psychiatric conditions. “Any hospitalizations?” Why do they always look up and ask that? They do it every time, ask and look up, make eye contact and hold it.

Any hospitalizations for mental illness?

They are trying to gauge how much they need to be on guard in my presence. I guess we’re all doing that to some extent, but this makes it rather stark. I’ll remember next time to say “Nope, you’re safe!”

As am I, so far at least. I imagine that things could be different for me.

Catch a fire

It’s not everyday reading something on the Internet can move me to tears, but I’ve given up hope on seeing something like this post (and commentary) at Whiskey Fire. The study is not yet published and I know it only begins to scratch the surface but for the first time since the tests were done on me I have hope, if not for myself I can imagine glad tidings for tomorrow’s little Dickens.

When the neuropsychologist laid it out for me 10 years ago I was crying and he was almost crying, because he couldn’t answer my very pointed questions and account for the disparities in my mental examination. An evaluation spanning eight hours over two days, as comprehensive as it gets, followed by a 25 page report and two hour debriefing and still something missing hangs in the air. In the end I knew that he knew and we both knew what I needed to hear that he couldn’t say. What I didn’t know was that he couldn’t say it because there was no supporting cognitive science to make our unspoken hypothesis official in a formal setting. Correlation is not enough to move the world off its ass, but I have had enough correlation to last a lifetime, and that time is running out. Catch up with me.

He tried to make me feel better like Jake the Snake talks at Whiskey Fire — it’s not a life sentence, keep building up strengths, focus on your incredible resilience and amazing inner resources. Oh please. Show me the science.
Now we’re talking. It’s a start.

“This is a wake-up call…these kids have no neurological damage… yet, the prefrontal cortex is not functioning as efficiently as it should be….researchers suspect that stressful environments and cognitive impoverishment are to blame…The study is suggestive and a little bit frightening that environmental conditions have such a strong impact on brain development…”

Suggestive and a little bit frightening indeed.

Where did our love go?

Heard from our first NAMI defender today in a comment too fuckwadity to dissect though it’s befitting of due ridicule in what I hope to be the first in a protracted and honorable sword-crossing with our authoritarian rightwing mental health overlords. Participatory dialogue between consumers and families is so very long overdue it was with bated breath I opened the email only to discover that I’m fat lazy ugly self-absorbed and write a shitty blog, do nothing to improve the world while the good people of NAMI, who are VOLUNTEERS, freely volunteer their time and energy to advocate for the mentally ill. O yes compared to them my own perfidy knows no bounds, even poor, helpless diabetic Angelbait is not laid low with chronic disease in the prime of her nine lives, but is an attention-seeking feline who is clearly neurotic and her butt stinks and she likes to smell her own butt. The fact that I would blog about a sick cat is further proof I have no idea how the Internets work.

All this to say my first comment by a NAMI defender was everything I hoped it would be — senseless, textbook character assassination, unsurprising unless you consider it remarkable that an organization founded on the denial of interpersonal abuse should be defended by an ally who spews an onslaught of personalized abuse, which I don’t find remarkable at all, and is in fact central to the case we are making against the pharma-funded family advocate wrecking crew.

Let me be clear — NAMI is comprised of standard emotional abusers, who take their page from the standard how-to-abuse manual, whether targeting kids, women, animals, immigrants or bloggers, up to and including the part where they project their own twisted hatred onto their prey, deny their own antisocial tendencies which are deployed for nothing but the rush of sheer pleasure that results from humiliating their would-be victims, a pleasure they also don’t understand, and know only that the target clearly asked for it by being fat, old, proud, self-referential, caring for shitty sick cats, and as any rapist will tell you, running around with her tits hanging out.

No, my first family troll did not surprise or disappoint in the least, I will simply note the momentous occasion by highlighting a classic NAMI intervention in their ongoing mission to “eradicate the stigma of mental illness and improve the quality of life of those affected by brain diseases.” First, a digression if I may; many critics of NAMI focus on their “brain disease” mantra as a scientifically unsupportable mis-attribution and it is that. But evil wears many hats, and I submit that all of NAMI’s rhetoric is carefully groomed and thoroughly vetted before it’s introduced, and by the time we hear it the users have been schooled to speak solely within that frame in order to seize the discourse and ignore alternative conceptual frames as if they don’t exist. This is what they do. NAMI is a lobby group engaged in all the tactics of political hardball. As such the term brain disease serves a dual purpose, as the final word on psychiatric phenomena, which most educated and enlightened people are affronted by, and so we concentrate on arguing with the sophistry and hubris demonstrated up-front. But wait, there’s more! The implicit purpose of promulgating the concept of brain disease is in securing the complete dehumanization of the victim, required by abusers in order for them to justify interpersonal violence. That too is part of the inflicter’s handbook, as criminologists discovered in their early studies of serial killers, nobody wants to feel like a monster. So you divest your target of their basic humanity.

Brain disorder is NAMI’s ruling trope, giving them license to inflict, which is why they repeat it incessantly in every publication, and why it needs to be attacked on grounds that it totally dehumanizes. How can you abuse a brain disease? Neat, isn’t it. So is their vulnerability. We’ll come back to this, meanwhile what say we get on with it and strap all our chairs to the floor.

SOURCE: Sheldon Richman, Editor, Ideas on Liberty, quoted by Szasz, T. Mental illness: From shame to pride:

The NAMI rhetoric conceals that the organization is composed of, and controlled by, principally the relatives of so-called mentally ill persons and that its main purpose is to justify depriving such persons of liberty in the name of mental health. So convinced is NAMI of the nobility of its cause, that its web site offers this scenario:

Sometime, during the course of your loved one’s illness, you may need the police. By preparing now, before you need help, you can make the day you need help go much more smoothly. … It is often difficult to get 911 to respond to your calls if you need someone to come & take your MI relation to a hospital emergency room (ER). They may not believe that you really need help. And if they do send the police, the police are often reluctant to take someone for involuntary commitment. That is because cops are concerned about liability. … When calling 911, the best way to get quick action is to say, “Violent EDP,” or “Suicidal EDP.” EDP stands for Emotionally Disturbed Person. This shows the operator that you know what you’re talking about. Describe the danger very specifically. “He’s a danger to himself “is not as good as “This morning my son said he was going to jump off the roof.” … Also, give past history of violence. This is especially important if the person is not acting up. … When the police come, they need compelling evidence that the person is a danger to self or others before they can involuntarily take him or her to the ER for evaluation. … Realize that you & the cops are at cross purposes. You want them to take someone to the hospital. They don’t want to do it. Say, “Officer, I understand your reluctance. Let me spell out for you the problems & the danger. …While NAMI is not suggesting you do this, the fact is that some families have learned to “turn over the furniture” before calling the police. Many police require individuals with neurobiological disorders to be imminently dangerous before treating the person against their will. If the police see furniture disturbed they will usually conclude that the person is imminently dangerous.

Deliberately giving false information to the police is a felony. Except, it seems, when the falsehood serves the avowed aim of providing mental health treatment for a “loved one.”

How do they get away with it?

Because “when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag.”

That’s the principle behind NAMI’s propaganda-as-philanthropy campaign to exonerate themselves in the eyes of the world, which  continues apace. And on the back of consumers, natch. They’ve delivered sets of 20 books to seven libraries. Who does that, and why? Imagine if the KKK did this, the outcry would be instant and deafening. But these people are pro’s, the nation’s hate groups could do worse than look at NAMI to take their lessons.

The paperback books cover the gamut of mental illnesses through a variety of authors who are experts in the field.

“We’ve been concerned for some time that there’s no up-to-date information in our libraries on mental illness and it has changed so much that we really need to be educating, or perhaps re-educating the public on mental illness,” Pinion said. “Everything has changed greatly, even in the past five to 10 years. Mental illness is a 100 percent, certified brain disease, and we need to get that information out.”

And the money quote:

Pinion said the books will also help eradicate stigma associated with mental illness.

Against who? For whom does NAMI advocate? They’re not hiding anything, but the truth has a way of getting lost. NAMI’s focus is on removing social disapproval, you betcha. But that focus is not now and has never been on eliminating the social disapproval placed on those diagnosed with mental illness. If you don’t understand that perhaps it’s because they are doing such a bang-up job in fulfilling their mission.

Faith healers

Over the last 4 years I’ve heard the term Evidence-Based Medicine™ invoked 20 times a day at the Capitol and named it gobbledygook from day one. Evidence-Based Medicine™ refers to interventions based on established criteria in the medical literature, involving steaming piles of horseshit from the academic domain that just happen to call for the most expensive procedures. But not til 2 weeks ago did I hear the first professional talk it down, in a committee on domestic violence, where “stop the bleeding” has become “drug the victim” since we live in an era that has medicalized what any reasonably empathic person should recognize as predictable aftermath. Meetings where victimization is the theme — battery, rape, child sodomy — this is domestic violence, while invited testimony is dominated by medical professionals. Fucking obscene.

After some six hours listening to her peers wank glowingly of Evidence-Based Medicine™ the representative from Texas Network of Abuse Prevention Services warned the senate to be wary of EBM terminology, said it is not a black and white seal of approval, that evidence-based appraisals are contested in the academy, due largely to bias in research, conflict of interest and the inherent difficulty of quantitative data-collection in human service research experiments. Evidence based services cost more, she said, agencies that make these investments need to know what an evidence based product is and how it is so denoted, and make sure that it is evidence based in substance and not in name only.

Speaking truth to power is always unexpected from that quarter, I’d say it’s a fluke but for what hit my inbox this week:

Why Evidence-Based Medicine Cannot Be Applied to Psychiatry

Co-written by Robert Levine, MD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and Max Fink, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry and neurology at Stony Brook NY, founding editor of The Journal of ECT and author of Electroshock: Restoring the Mind. Worthy opinion by the likes of dirty rotten scoundrels bears some looking into, and it goes without saying they’re going to get smacked down by their colleagues for publishing this in Psychiatric Times. Oh yes, it’s hard going, but anyone interested in EBM, this is the shit. (Sorry no linky, subscription only):

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is rapidly becoming the norm. It is taught in medical schools and is encouraged by both government agencies and insurance plan providers. Yet, there is little proof that this model can be adapted to fit psychiatry.

EBM supposedly allows the clinician to offer the most effective treatment for each patient.1,2 This goal is laudable, but the model is not appropriate for psychiatry because precise and stable diagnostic criteria are lacking in our specialty. Treatment outcomes in psychiatry are not defined by remission or cure. Instead, fractional reductions in the number and severity of symptoms are accepted, as measured by rating scale scores. Evidence-based psychiatry (EBP) is an untested hypothesis; for this theory to be either useful or valid, 3 basic assumptions must be examined.

• Is the diagnostic system valid?
• Are the data from clinical trials assessing efficacy and safety sound?
• Are the conclusions in a form that can be applied in clinical practice?

Continue reading

Bloggy juxtapositions that made my head explode

I can’t believe I got sucked into a thread with a child abuse denier but it looks like I stepped in it. Sally caught the stink of evil for what it was off the bat in Why are so many kids mentally ill? while I was doing my “multi-perspective, tease out the complexities” liberal tolerant fence-sitting claptrap like a lamb jumping for the knife. The post brought out the “You’ll have to pry this troublesome child’s pharmaceuticals from my cold, dead hands” grandstanding by a mother who’s first post was an incoherent mess of spelling and grammatical errors; who’s style became remarkably more intelligent and articulate as she was challenged step by step, until she revealed that oh my stars and garters she happens to work in an official capacity with impaired children. It’s all very creepy and gotcha, the way this mindfuck game is played: present yourself initially as an inferior adversary, then gradually demonstrate your ability to think and speak like educated people, make jaws drop by alluding to some vague expertise of your own in these matters and you win, flounce away, savoring your devastating impact. I remember as a DV counselor encountering this type, it was the child rapists who above all felt entitled to be seen as good people, superior to their judges, and would call the child abuse hotline and attempt to paint a picture of reality that the counselor would validate as acceptable parenting, but the more you tease out those complexities the more the truly horrifying picture emerges. It’s very manipulative, almost seductive, and deliberately bewildering, once you realize what you’re dealing with the world drops out from beneath your feet. You will physically age for every call you get like that. Not to say I know what this woman’s deal is, but given she devotes 400 words to disputing the prevalence of child abuse and follows that with a disingenuous handling of the question of environment in assessing what makes a child run riot I’ve got the old chills up my spine today. I think she is amused by her own deft avoidance of the issue of environmental impact on behavior, as if that can only mean we are talking about this:

flawed plan, thank you for caring about my child’s environment. It’s been an interesting adventure, often to the surprising benefit of everyone, to make the environment more comfortable for him.

We were lucky to find a gifted OT who could help give us insight into the kind of activities that were calming to him, and those that helped to strengthen and organize his activity level and concentration, and raise his level of physical balance and bodily awareness. Brava!

Fail. “Environment” is code for what is going on in that house and I’m sure she knows it.

So I dropped by the more enlightened comforts of Pandagon, and see they’re trying to figure out how to make a DV victim testify against her abuser, since it is a frustration for law enforcement (to say nothing of the Cause) that so often women who have been abused recant their testimony and the beater goes free. A helpful commenter gained traction with this idea:

One could argue that beaten and brainwashed women are in mental health crisis, and should be treated the same way as anybody who is considered a danger to themselves.

In other words, they could be committed for a short time to receive the mental health services they require to fully restore their agency.

Fail fail, headdesk, emergency, smelling salts, seriously, Amanda says there are no right answers; I think there are, but that’s not it. After leaving my own typically inscrutable, hysterical 500 word comment I turn from that thread to todays paper and find
AP Exclusive: More than 800 employees have been suspended or fired for abusing mentally and developmentally disabled patients since fiscal year 2004, state officials said Tuesday.

Abuse, where? Mental health facilities! Which means? Governor Goodhair:

The state is doing its job.

I have no words.

Wonky time

I’m not a special interest voter. I believe single-issue voters who refuse to vote for a progressive based on one policy are responsible for keeping the left in splinters and the status quo dominant. Single-issue voting also suggests over-investment in a single cause, which makes me question the voter’s overall judgment and dedication to the common good. But at base we’re all single-interest babies to some extent, and during election cycles it’s something I try to monitor and question to keep from queering my perspective, so to speak. So, while I don’t care only about mental health policy, I care enough to be frustrated by the moratorium on discussing my issue with force and meaning. Yes it’s scary and there’s a lot we don’t know about mental illness, but the same can be said for the war and we’re talking about that.

I caught some of yesterday’s Congressional hearings, and it appears Obama was the smartest person in the room. But 2 minutes into her testimony it was Hillary Clinton who said this:

The cost to our men and women in uniform is growing. Last week the New York Times noted the stress on the mental health of our returning soldiers and marines from multiple and extended deployments. Among combat troops sent to Iraq for the third and fourth time, more than one in four show signs of anxiety, depression, or acute stress. … The Administration and supporters of the Administration’s policy often talk about the cost of leaving Iraq yet ignore the greater cost of continuing the same failed policy.

Word. What she means by “anxiety, depression and acute stress” can be seen up close and personal here.

While we’re on it, might as well compare and contrast a couple mental health policy statements the candidates gave to NAMI dearest last winter. You may recall NAMI sent the candidates a 24 item questionnaire based on their pro-drug, anti-choice medical model propaganda. Thin gruel, but the only documented clue we have as to where the candidates stand on mental illness. Little wonder that McCain, who is in the news this week for calling his wife a “cunt” wouldn’t go within an inch of responding to NAMI’s questions about mental health, and the Democrat’s responses are party-line, which is good, but we need sharper discourse and real vetting, especially with regard to Obama’s focus on preventive policy, which rings the nanny bells that so many of us have had it up to here with. But then he goes and hints he will appoint our kind to his executive branch:

I also believe that the federal government should be a model employer of workers with disabilities or mental illness…. To assure that the federal government holds itself to high anti-discrimination standards, I will increase funding to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and assure that the person I appoint to chair the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is committed to enforcing anti-discrimination laws that protect federal employees through a strong Office of Federal Operations. Perhaps most important, I will provide leadership to my appointees throughout the executive branch so that they, employers in the private sector, and workers with disabilities across the country will understand the importance of this issue.

I also find his strong-worded responses to issues of discrimination, seclusion and restraint encouraging but hard to believe so long as he remains subservient to the biopsychiatry framework. On the other hand, Clinton, responding to the question of parity, takes the opportunity to link pharma with the very idea that things aren’t all that hunky dory: (my bold)

All patients should have access to effective treatments recommended by their prescribing physician without the fear that government-sponsored or private insurance will deny these life-saving medicines. That said, we do need to have a better understanding of the best pharmaceutical treatment options for all patients, which is why I have proposed establishing an independent public-private Best Practices Institute. A public-private partnership, this institute would develop and guide research priorities so that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals know what drugs, devices, surgeries, and treatments work best.

Not exactly fighting words, but a hella more than the Rethuglicans have brought to the table, which by my count is nothing.

WaPo good, Huffpo bad

It’s enough to make your head spin, these two posts I read one after the other with my morning swear words. Liberal bastion Thorn in my side Huffington is screaming for forced drugging and involuntary commitment (Britney, et alia) —

It’s outrageous that she was released from the hospital …all the experts say she needed to have been held for a minimum of 30 days!

while the wingnutty Washington Post says flat out that the medical model has got to go.

Here’s the problem: The WaPo piece says nothing about forced commitment and the HuffPo piece says nothing about the medical model; but I can say with assurance that these 2 posts are general critiques of the other, that in mental illness discourse we shake out on partisan lines and this has got to get more explicit or it’s just circular wankery and talking past each other.

There is a disconnect underlying most of what passes for learned opinion regarding mental illness in the blogosphere. The disconnect is on writers who don’t know what they’re talking about because they haven’t done their homework. Pundits should be conversant with the various models of mental illness and the body of scholarship that underpins each, at the very least they should recognize when they are promoting the medical model, and what that means, because when you don’t understand something you can make it mean anything. Is that too much to ask? So of course when a knowledgeable commenter like the following comes along and offers a recognizable critique he is shot down for being a pedant, complicator, and delusional ex-patient with an ax to grind:

No other medical condition is the basis for incarceration. Those of us with mental illness are denied rights that everyone else enjoys. Thanks to people like you who have no concern for our rights and have no understanding of our illness, we are singled out, stigmatized, imprisoned, ridiculed and ostracized.

…Were it not for you and those who are likeminded singling us out in the ways just described, we might be more accepting of ‘help.’

That comment in the Huff post is an implicit smackdown of the medical model. The same model explicitly identified and shitcanned over at the Washington Post today:

Larry Davidson, a Yale researcher on recovery from severe mental illness, has examined the data and found that this model is flawed, at least in the field of mental health. “In the medical model, you take a person with a mental illness, you provide treatment in the hopes of reducing symptoms, and then they’re supposed to approximate some notion of normality,” he told me. “Our research shows the opposite. You take a person with a mental illness, you then reduce the discrimination and stigma against them, increase their social roles and participation, which provides them a reason to get better in the first place, and then you provide treatment and support. The issue is not so much making them normal but helping them get their lives back.”

These are fighting words. They sound so benign that it’s easy to overlook that fact, that when we hear someone talk about social support, engagement, participation and community roles they are not speaking in a vacuum, and they are not talking about a subordinate adjunct to the medical approach, but invoking an alternative, social model of distress and recovery, which has all but been silenced by the dominant paradigm whose signifiers are doctor, hospital, medication, stabilization, biology, genetic, heredity, bloodlines, as in tainted, etc. These are the dogwhistles that point to a belief system known as the medical or biological model of mental illness. So it’s about language, and learning the words that the bad people use.

Is this necessary? Why not just say, gosh, with so many conflicting and complex models to choose from, why not have the consumer do the homework and direct their own personal care and treatment, whether medical or alternative or an eclectic mix of both, or decline all of it and que sera. But to make this assertion is itself a partisan stand, because any alternative to the medical model will, by definition deviate from the medical model, and that’s the mortal sin. It’s not the particular treatment choice under fire, but choice, period. And so every alternative falls under the single rubric of “filthy hippy healthcare” coined by medical model monster E. Fuller Torrey, who wants you to believe irresponsible advocates would force bipolars off their evil meds, when what we actually demand is that bipolars be empowered to make fully-informed decisions ourselves, without penalty, and with the understanding and expectation that we will make mistakes and change our minds just like everybody does, with the same right to learn the hard way, while do-gooders suck it up and wrench their garments in dread, too bad, so sad.

I’m pretty sure the WaPo author would agree with me; his piece indicates we share the same politics, the HuffPo author not so much, because oddly enough we don’t. Once again it looks like I dared to take the true blue liberal stand on a mental health matter at a liberal blog. Or thought I had. I don’t even know anymore.

As long as I’m free to complain and orient myself like this I’m happy that people are talking more openly about mental illness in the blogosphere. I can’t say why anyone would deny their own bias, but I know one way to shut down the opposition is to pretend there is no opposition, and some people do operate in total bad faith like that, but maybe others just don’t understand enough about the terrain they’re on, and deserve to be given benefit of the doubt while they navigate the learning curve, yes, with feet held firmly to the fire, on notice that teh willful stoopid will not be tolerated without one minute of surcease, seriously, it’s embarrassing. An opening salvo? Yes, I’d be delighted:
Mental illness is a political issue.
Will political liberals kindly step up and take THE goddamn LIBERAL POSITION?