Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Mental illness’ Category

superbushI spent Monday watching the 2003 documentary Control Room, then read a mess of online farewells to George Bush. This one comes closest to what’s inside my own heart: May the Road Rise to Meet You in the Face, You Treasonous Son of a Bitch.

Contrary to the arguments made by your defenders, I didn’t root for you to fail. I never did. I greeted your installment by the Supreme Court with exhaustion and resignation, and your first few months in office with general skepticism, but I never thought, “Boy, I hope he just falls on his face and kills a lot of people and wrecks our economy and blows holes in the sand for five years.” I thought, “Maybe it’ll be okay. Maybe it won’t be so bad.”

And when 9/11 happened I said to myself and those around me, Democrats all, “Well, let’s see what he does now.” My life has not been devoid of stories about unlikely heroes arising from feckless halfwit princelings, so I was prepared for that to happen. Hopeful, even. Who doesn’t want everything to be okay? Who doesn’t recognize that you being a terrible failure would hurt us far more than it would hurt you?

I wish you had done the job. I wish you had found and tried and executed Osama bin Laden, and rebuilt Afghanistan the way we should have decades ago. I wish you had given us real security, not this dance of removing our shoes and putting lotion in a baggie. I wish you had told us to conserve and sacrifice, not spend and eat. I wish you had listened to those in the armed forces and those in Congress and those on the street when they said, don’t invade Iraq. I wish you had listened to Iraqis, afterwards, when they said, help us stop the looting and violence.

I wish you had listened to the Gulf Coast’s people when they called out for help. I wish you had listened to the sick and their doctors when they asked you to grant research to cure their disesases. I wish you had listened to women when we said, we value our autonomy.

I wish you had listened to us all when we said we are more than this, we are better than this, ask us and there’s nothing we won’t give you. I wish you had had faith in us equal to that which we placed in you. And I wish you had been worthy of what we wanted from you, and from ourselves.

I wish you had done and been all of this, but you didn’t and you weren’t, and so what we’re left with are the memories of the dead, the horrors of the living, with boarded-up houses and empty streets, a place so broken we barely recognize it anymore. It’s hard to imagine punishment fitting for that. It’s hard, having wished all this for you, to wish anything more, but I do:

May you live a life of quiet contemplation of every single one of your failures. May you live a life hemmed in by those you hurt, in a cell physical or otherwise, papered with the faces of your dead. May you be  sheltered from the rain of rotten tomatoes and sour heads of cabbage by a small, broken umbrella. May you be gnawed upon by the hunger you fostered in the poor, chilled by the cold from which you refused to shield the homeless, beset by the illnesses you refused to help cure, subjected to the indignities you inflicted upon others.

May your life be long, and healthy, and full of everything you gave to America and the world. May you come to know exactly who you are. May you come to recognize the face in the mirror each morning.

May it give to you a fraction of the nightmares you deserve.

No love at all,

A

More at the link and worth twice the time to read it once.

Eight years of international decline and what’s been lost may never be recovered. 

On my bookshelf, a small sample of elucidating prose that need never have been written:

The Dark Side

The Forever War

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

In the Shadow of No Towers

Conservatives Without Conscience

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics and Religion

Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President

bushmonster8sv

Two Images that sum up this administration:

bush-cheney-blank-check

baby-shoot-w

And while he was doing this:

bushenduringvacation4tn2

Our elected president flew a team of doctors into New Orleans and took complete control of the mission —  exhausted, pissed, and declining media coverage for fear it would be “politicized.”

gore

I won’t belabor what’s shaping up as the worst legacy ever, a slimeball trail future administrations will be cleaning up for life, no, enough buzz-killing. In the space of one day the tears this country flows will be of far sweeter quality, and for once I cannot wait for the speechifying to begin. Meanwhile read this smackdown of the uncomprehending winger outcry concerning our inaugural poet, Countdown to PORN and go forward laughing, citizen.

Read Full Post »

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

Ω

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.

Read Full Post »

meansanta2Not another post about nuance! Yes and it all started when I heard benevolent superstar Jon Swift is offering exposure to his blogroll writers with another year-end round up of Best Posts Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves. Last year was a great success, providing hours of enjoyable reading and oodles of new visitors to the entrants’ blogs. This is not a contest, but an invitation for writers of all kinds who want a little more attention. I’m posting about it in the enduring hope of seeing psychiatric bloggers do more crossing-over into the wider progressive blogosphere. Of course you have to be on his blogroll, but since his blogroll is famous for being open to anyone I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t be on it.

I had little trouble choosing my own favorite post from this year’s slim pickens because I’m still pissed about that blogger from last year’s round-up who decided the most important post she wrote in 2007 was an injunction to readers to take their psychiatric meds. I don’t easily let go that sort of bullshit and it’s not because I’m against people taking psychotropic drugs. It was the compulsion to thrust her garbage onto the faceless reader as if the reader was any of her damn business, it’s that sort of foolishness gets stuck in my craw.

It looks like we’ve come full circle in one year’s time. These days the big drag in the psychosphere is seen in the browbeating of bloggers who actually do take their medication, to the consternation of antipsychiatry bullies who know for a fact that using meds does nothing but support corrupt big phRma. The DSM’s a bastard, mental illness a social construct, everybody hurts, but if you need a crutch there’s always B-Vitamins and Omega 3 fatty acid, looser! You may think this a caricature and sadly, so do I. But it’s for our own good, the twisted stigmatizing by double-talking activists who seem to think unvarnished contempt of their own (imagined) constituency is lost on anyone who believes other people’s choices are deserving of respect.

What are we to make of it? Unsolicited warnings about disabling side effects, but ZOMFG stopping drugs cold turkey without “tapering” will make you a school shooter, calling out fellow bloggers in a keyboard-pounding frenzy to justify their failure to denounce the modern tools of psychiatry, and without a single self-deprecating nod to their own fixation over this grave and pressing life and death matter.

One popular no-med blogger did just that to your shy and retiring flawedplan this year and thankfully I was able to maintain sufficient wit to persuade her to swiftly remove the nonsensical post but these displays of nerve can leave a chilling effect. And they’re accumulating, some phase, the pendulum swinging, whatever the reason, antipsychiatry abounds. Yes I know, google antipsychiatry and you’ll end up here, isn’t that ironic. Something’s gotta give.

Just this October while cleaning out my medicine cabinet I found a two year old bottle of un-opened Effexor and decided I’d take one a day to see what it did to my mind. First time I try psych drugs in over three years but can’t bring myself to share this experiment on my own damn blog because who wants to fight with competitive antipsychiatry ass berets? That’s fucked up . And more fool me, being so wilting lily sensitive but
when
I
can
I
will
so let the record show, Effexor kicked ass in the third week, got me talking to people, telling jokes, on the phone and off my computer, playing with kids, looking up at the sky above, cornbread moon and twinkly stars, take that, assholes! all very banal and run-of-the-mill, a mood elevator doing what it was designed to do, someone better call Ripley. But I dreaded the outcry — Placebo effect!— Uh huh, and it only took 32 trials with prior “placebos” til Effexor hit the sweet spot, what a mystery these dadgum sugar pills, 31 fakes til the real placebo kicks in.

Now, wait just a dadblasted minute. Did I not just say I’ve been off psych meds for three full years and now I’m going on about undergoing 32 drug trials? Which is it, what gives? I get these triumphant gotcha emails and don’t know what to make of them that seem to be saying “Come Clean!”

Because nothing says you’re filling a necessary void like an excruciatingly detailed exposition of your journey with psychotropic medications, therefore a blogger is beholden to describe her course in its entirety, stops and starts, gains and losses, why I changed my mind, then changed my mind again, til I came upon the final wisdom, whether from compliance to non-compliance or non-compliance to compliance and the road back to where I was before the meds destroyed my fill-in-the-blank, the fact of the matter is every veil that falls from my eyes will be validated by matching veils falling from your own. Or else.

Else what?

You can face the pathetic need to have complete strangers put their stamp on your own life choices or you can assume the identity of a pharmaceutical fetishist, choose to troll blogs, shut down discussion, expect everyone to be similarly obsessed with pharmaceuticals in a vain attempt to normalize batshit insanity by projecting your issues into the environment, which no one in the history of the world has ever tried before.

They’re out there. Trolls are meant to be smacked down, though I wouldn’t call them concern trolls, because they’re incapable of misrepresenting the concern part of the concern troll protocol. It seems more like a minority of angry antipsychiatry usurpers have united in an effort to seize the mental health discourse, make discussion ugly for any mental health blogger inclined to post about a casual relationship with said drugs and prescriber, who gives the topic due proportion, as an aside, one detail in a multi-faceted narrative. Not to mention any blogger who feels conflicted about using pharmaceuticals, you will watch your mouth or rue the day you turned off comment moderation.

Antidepressants aren’t that interesting, they are just the device in a battle of wills. It’s about control, over-powering the blight of personal sovereignty by those who feel personal sovereignty was stolen from them, and by the looks of things it was. But there has to be a way of reclaiming what’s yours without destroying the self-esteem of psychiatry’s willing guinea pigs as if their peace of mind is what’s wrong with this picture.

Perhaps I’ve gone far afield of the original subject, but it seemed some preamble was in order. I’ve come to realize that anticipating a jump to conclusions has become necessary in blogging and guess there’s nothing to be done for that but learn to address it in fewer words. I’ll aim high, meanwhile my favorite 2008 post at Writhe Safely remains this one, but I won’t submit that since it’s pure link love, I didn’t write anything. My own best typing in 2008 combines social criticism with personal confession (and if you think I exaggerate the violence of online antipsychiatry read that thread) but will submit this instead with a thought for public service. If you come away from that convinced of what I stand for you are privy to a truth that is not even in my own possession. Why would you want that responsibility? Just think about the post, not a bunch of interesting ideas about the person who wrote it.

Right now I am thinking of various mental health bloggers who deserve a wider audience. Here’s hoping half my blogroll makes an appearance in Jon Swift’s self-selected personal bests for Election Year 2008! I’ll be clicking along with my Christmas toddy, in solidarity, basking in the plenitude of complimentary hits.

Read Full Post »

I often wonder what it will look like to reach the point of not just surviving my misfortunes but being simply and profoundly grateful for every single thing that has ever happened to me. And why people who want things like that are so perplexing to those who don’t. Those who wonder, in their golden ways what’s so funny about gallows humor, the sole comfort of those who’ve escaped the hangman and an affront to those who have no knowledge of his existence.

Welp, there it is, in black & white, no less.

Thanks

by W.S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Read Full Post »

She shouts for a reckoning with entire mouth and unspoilt heart. My friend Poodle (“Ursula”) from Christchurch NZ declares her joy, in love with these times. (rule for radicals: that’s why she’s a teacher and you’re not)

so thats me in the corner-thats me over there–was a hard arse interview 2 do-my dyslexia gets in the way some-times-just bear with it and it will show its beauty

Living With the Scars of Abuse

by KIM THOMAS
Source: Press, The Christchurch, New Zealand
Posted on: Wednesday, 1 October 2008, 15:00 CDT

New Zealand’s mental health system has a dark history, with hundreds of former patients alleging abuse in state hospitals. Kim Thomas tells the story of one woman who suffered abuse and explores what former patients are doing to try and take back their lives.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Ursula spent her 22nd birthday huddling near naked in the corner of a bare room at Christchurch’s Sunnyside Hospital.

She was incarcerated at the now defunct mental-health hospital for slicing her arms from wrist to armpit with razors.

During her year-long stay at Sunnyside, Ursula (not her real name) was abused and humiliated.

For at least two months she was housed in an isolation room where she was stripped, sometimes by male nurses, and dressed in a thick woollen smock as punishment for her rowdy behaviour.

Her underpants and bra were taken from her and she was forced to use a pot as her toilet, in a room visible to staff and other patients.

More than 20 years later the scars of Ursula’s Sunnyside experience are still as visible as the razor marks lacing her arms. She is not alone.

Scores of former Sunnyside patients have disclosed abuse during their stay at the Gothic-style institution.

Nationwide, about 300 former patients claim abuse in mental hospitals during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Many were sent to psychiatric institutions because of behavioural difficulties but then treated as if they had serious psychiatric illnesses. Some were as young as eight.

Allegations include physical and sexual abuse, long periods of solitary confinement and the use of electro-convulsive (electric shock) therapy (ECT) as punishment.

In 2004, Attorney-General Margaret Wilson announced the establishment of a confidential forum where former patients, their families and hospital staff could tell their stories.

It recently announced a new forum, called the Listening and Assistance Service, for people who allege abuse or neglect during their time in state care in the health, child welfare or residential special education sector before 1992.

Justice and compensation is also being pursued in the law courts.

Wellington lawyer Sonia Cooper represents about 200 of 300 former psychiatric patients, including Ursula, seeking compensation for abuse.

They filed their first claims for compensation in 2004 but the matter remains unresolved. Cooper says she tried to negotiate with the Government out of court but failed.

In the latest chapter of this long running legal process, the Court of Appeal recently passed a judgment saying the Government had to prove that the actions former patients say was abuse was actually treatment, Cooper says.

“We want an acknowledgement that this abuse happened and an apology. If the Crown had been willing to deal with this out of the courts we wouldn’t be pursuing legal action,” Cooper says.

The Government has already made one large settlement to former psychiatric patients; in 2001, 183 former patients of Lake Alice’s adolescent unit received an apology and a share of $10.7 million compensation for claims including receiving ECT and injections as punishment, sexual abuse, ECT on the genitals in several cases, and one of being locked in a cage with a deranged adult.

About 240 civil cases are still pending.

A Crown Law office spokeswoman says it is reading the very complicated Crown Law judgement to decide what steps to take next.

Ursula says she would be dead had she stayed longer in Sunnyside. She sought legal counsel and had herself checked out of the hospital.

Ursula has a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. She says 20 years ago the disorder was poorly understood.

As a result, treatment for her self-harm and erratic behaviour involved being put into an isolation cell as punishment. Good behaviour was rewarded with treats such as winning her underwear back.

For a sexual abuse victim such as Ursula, being stripped was the ultimate in humiliation.

“I saw it as an extension of the brutality I had already had forced on me.”

She says she cannot believe the way people such as herself were treated in an environment that was supposed to be therapeutic.

Sunnyside was demolished last year. But even after its demise it holds a significant and sinister place in Christchurch’s collective conscience.

Christchurch theatre director Tony McCaffrey has recently secured Creative New Zealand funding to develop a play based on the goings on in the former mental-health hospital, which he hopes to open the stage curtains on next year.

As part of his research McCaffrey visited the ruins of the old hospital and pored over patient log books and photographs.

He also interviewed former nurses, superintendents and patients.

“I believe it’s important to acknowledge the huge role Sunnyside played in Christchurch’s history and craft a memorial to that,” McCaffrey says.

“Since I started this project almost everyone I talk to has some connection to the place, whether they knew someone who worked there or stayed there. Everyone has a story.”

McCaffrey says Sunnyside housed people from all walks of life and the way they were treated is an insight into the community’s psyche over the past century.

Sunnyside’s history also provides a window into the dark history of Christchurch because of some of the inhumane acts that happened there.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said abuse that occurred in institutions is a crying shame.

She says many staff from those times still feel ill at the things that went on.

However, they were often only doing what they were told or what was best practice at the time, Clements says. In time, people will probably look back at certain practices which occur in the mental health sector now, such as electric shock therapy, and condemn them as cruel or unnecessary.

Read Full Post »

Welp, I’m back from my break. Feast your eyes to the right of this blog, after 3 months over-thinking how to set it up we now have a world of VODPOD, and I think it’s going to help. I’m just building the library now but once it holds a hundred or so clips will find a way to order the narrative so we can get lost for a day or two in there.

So what’s new? I took off a few weeks because I’ve been animated by a real serious project that I didn’t want to jinx by blogging about and since this project is uppermost in my mind found I couldn’t blog about anything until I feel secure it’s going to work out. I feel secure it’s going to work out and will explain everything tomorrow but as a tease will just share that due to this new and mysterious activity I am barred from employment at the United States Department of Justice. Of course since I live on Social Security and won’t be seeking fulltime employment any time soon, it’s only a symbolic gesture, but I am very flattered, Mr. Inspector General and will do my utmost to earn the distinction on your federal no-hire shit list. La!

I have to run now, iron my hat and polish my shoes so I can look victorious tomorrow during my special secret activity mission serving Amerikkka, but this Obama video making the news sure tickled me and I wanted to highlight the psychological two cents of his snarkiliciously broad and populist message. La la!

His top economic advisor

said the other day that

Americans should stop complaining; they’ve become a nation of whiners.

That all these

economic

problems everybody’s talkin about is just a

mental

recession.

And if you would just change your mind

everything’d be okay!

Somebody’s been laid off

Their plant’s closed or gone to

Mexico or China?

Change your mind!

It’s all good!

…True quote!!!

Read Full Post »

Ah well they rejected my panel so fuck ’em I said, prepared to be all pissy and dismissive of the convention on its way to Austin town, but that’s just not me. Three thousand progressive bloggers flying into the state responsible for the neocon stronghold on this country is a marvelous event that didn’t happen by accident. Bu$hco absolutely rules Texas on every level of government, what better place than Austin to say goodbye to all that?

I plan to volunteer and serve the psychobigots in some capacity but will first clear the bitterness away. Maybe I’m not seeing it, but looking over the agenda it appears once again as a “Sea of Middle-Aged White Males” with no disability caucus or mental health activism included anywhere.

As usual civil rights are well-represented by GLBT bloggers who I certainly do recognize as mentors, but that’s not the only civil rights game in town, y’all, isn’t it time to embrace liberal diversity and engage the unwanted stepchildren/lifelong organizers under the big tent? I wonder if any other disability rights bloggers submitted a proposal to NN, and am anxious to read their layout and hear what they have to say about being excluded during this momentous era of Change.™ Party unity my ass, there is something very missing here, and yes, you’re lookin at it.

This proposal, penned by the illustrious Candid Psychiatrist, is as stand-up as anything going on this week, and it received a standard polite brush-off by the NN gatekeeper. Hmph. Methinks the elite liberal establishment resists education, and I think we would have killed.

CHALLENGING THE CORRUPTION OF PSYCHIATRY
A Proposed Presentation for Netroots Nation 2008

ABSTRACT

The institutions and practice of contemporary psychiatry are corrupted by the pharmaceutical industry, managed care, and other commercial interests. The prevailing treatment model today is biological psychiatry, a worldview that systematically dehumanizes patients by reducing their life stories, individual concerns, and emotional needs to a bunch of dumb molecules. This clinical model is driven by fiscal priorities, professional insecurities, and an elitist/authoritarian mindset—and is propped up by a vast research infrastructure that is drunk on drug company money, generating sham science in support of diagnoses and theories that have no firm basis in fact.

The above paragraph may seem hyperbolic, but it is more supportable than much of what passes for conventional wisdom in psychiatry today. Many progressives resist education on these issues because they are accustomed to defending psychiatry from perceived enemies of science. Others generalize from their own positive experience of psychiatric treatment, and/or question the credibility of psychiatry’s opponents. Nonetheless, recent news stories about the selective publication of antidepressant studies, the systematic diagnosing and drugging of children, and other outrages hint at the widespread dysfunction in our mental health system. Many in the progressive community are being seduced by pseudoscience and unwittingly enabling corporatism. We would like to correct this misjudgment.

The movement for psychiatric reform is evolving and broadening as awareness of this institutional corruption increasingly comes to light. The internet has opened doors for free communication between consumers and providers, and its anonymity has allowed psychiatrists and other providers to speak freely without fear. As parties that used to oppose each other find common cause and coalesce, we see ourselves on the threshold of a new front in netroots activism.

PANELISTS

Dr. Paul Minot is a psychiatrist with a medication management practice in Central Maine. He is part of the burgeoning critical psychiatry movement, attacking the institutional corruption and sham science that taints its contemporary practice and dehumanizes patients. He cites his experience playing in punk bands in the 1980s as significantly influencing his worldview. He now promotes psychiatric reform through his website, Candid Psychiatrist (www.candidpsychiatrist.com), and also posts frequently at Daily Kos. Perhaps his greatest notoriety to date comes from a diary there entitled Bush’s ‘Delusions’: A Psychiatrist’s Perspective which was linked throughout the blogosphere and subsequently became a viral email. Dr. Minot will be examining the scientific underpinnings of biological psychiatry.

Robin Plan is a consumer advocate addressing psychiatric issues on her website, Writhe Safely (https://writhesafely.wordpress.com). Her background is in alternative-rock broadcast media, and she now works tracking Texas state legislation. She is an award-winning SLAM poet, pioneer in the DIY poetry zine scene of the 1980s, and her work has been taught at Miami University Women’s Studies and Stanford University Introductory to Writing courses. Robin describes herself as a radical humanist, for whom advocacy has been the enduring presence in her life. She has shelter experience counseling victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, child abuse, Alzheimer’s victims, and works on campaigns addressing hunger, patient rights, the democratization of the arts, and the mental health consumer liberation movement.
Ms. Plan will discuss the impact of biological psychiatry from the patient’s perspective.

John Breeding, Ph.D. is a counseling psychologist in Austin, Texas. He is the director of Texans for Safe Education, a citizens group dedicated to challenging the ever-increasing role of psychiatry and psychiatric medications in the schools. He combats psychiatric oppression in other arenas as well, and is a steering committee member of the Coalition for the Abolition of Electroshock in Texas (www.endofshock.com). His personal website, Wildest Colts Resources (www.wildestcolts.com), is an exhaustive resource for information on parenting, psychology, and psychiatry. Dr. Breeding is the author of four books, including The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses and The Necessity of Madness and Unproductivity: Psychiatric Oppression or Human Transformation. He has 37 video clips posted at http://www.youtube.com, with tens of thousands of cumulative views logged there. Dr. Breeding will explore the ethical and spiritual impact of biological psychiatry.

The presentation will be live-blogged by Philip Dawdy, an award-winning investigative journalist and patient advocate who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mr. Dawdy has reported extensively on mental health issues on the local and national level, and worked as a staff writer at Seattle Weekly until November 2006. Since then Philip has been running the popular consumer blog, Furious Seasons (www.furiousseasons.com) and is a frequent diarist at Daily Kos.

GOALS

We hope that this presentation will increase the audience’s understanding of the extensive corruption of science that is used to justify the biological model of psychiatry, and the many ways in which the application of this clinical model degrades patient care. We would like to overcome the perception that critics of psychiatry are enemies of science, and thus attract wider support among progressives in opposing rampant corporatism in psychiatry. Finally, we would like to demonstrate how the internet is enabling activists with diverse perspectives to communicate with each other and come together in common cause.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »