psychiatric profiling

Imaginary Disease Awareness Week

I found out subtly, almost by accident, chancing upon an announcement in the local student newspaper. Once again it is Imaginary Disease Awareness Week. Just in time for Halloween I suppose some of you must be thinking. It is as if the 13th hour had struck, and you don’t know what is going to happen next.

The regional Imaginary Disease Coalition has a series of events going on to mark and celebrate the occasion, logically enough. I imagine a few sighkiatrists, doctors who specialize in imaginary diseases, are going to take part in some capacity. It is important that people realize the seriousness of imaginary diseases, otherwise, one sighkiatrist or another might be forced to go to bed without dinner.

Converts to the imaginary disease religion are evangelical about educating people on the tenacity, veracity, and staying power of imaginary diseases. Sighkiatry, the priest caste of the imaginary disease faith, have come up with a BSM (bullshit manual) which is perhaps best described as a field guide to imaginary diseases. Through this field guide, they keep the real world bustling with imaginary afflictions.

The imaginary disease business is booming, which helps explain the importance of Imaginary Disease Awareness Week. More and more people are stepping forward with a claim to having an imaginary disease and, of course, Sighkiatrists, being imaginary disease salesmen first and foremost, are pleased as punch. Actually, sighkiatrists are imaginary disease treatment salesmen, but disease and treatment are rather like love and marriage in myth and song. It is very difficult to sell treatment to people who haven’t first bought the idea of having a disease.

We’re halfway through Imaginary Disease Awareness Week, and I didn’t know it was even going on. What could be wrong with me? I must be afflicted with a serious imaginary malady, huh? You’ve got to be careful. What did I say? Imaginary diseases are everywhere! The imaginary disease closet is being evacuated, the plague is out of the box, and there isn’t much room for people without some compulsive tic or prosthetic begging gimmick in the world anymore.

The good news is, seven days down, and Imaginary Disease Awareness Week is history. As Tony Soprano might add, “Forget about it.” To which one must reply, “If only imaginary diseases thought the same.” One thing you can be sure of, people will be bellyaching until the cows come home given the nature of imaginary diseases. The bad news? Once Imaginary Disease Awareness Week is over, it is only the beginning of Imaginary Disease Awareness Month that has elapsed. You might just consider it a big festival that climaxes with Halloween night, and continues on through Christmas, and beyond.

Mental Health Treatment and Work: The Gateway To Corruption

Mental health treatment and work has become a gateway to corruption. The parenthetical existence that it supports and fosters are coming close to bursting the parentheses entirely. Certainly there is a limit to humanities inanity in this matter. If so, the species has yet to reach that limit.

The industry propaganda, driven as are all things in this industry, by pharmaceutical company profiteering, is obsessive. “Mental illness is real, it is real disease, and it is brain disease.” Given this profit making equation, if “mental illness” is in the genes, the drug industry booms. If “mental illness” is in anything else, it can be ignored, there’s less profit in going there. Cha-ching. Nuts is to the bone.

Blaming violence on “mental illness” has led to a great increase in the population of people claiming to have “illnesses” of the mind. Not by itself, mind you, there is also the great ‘anti-stigma campaigning’ going on north east west and south. It’s now okay to be nuts says the propaganda. Of course, if it’s okay to be nuts, it’s also okay to have fewer rights than other human beings, citizens even.

If I reach into this hat here, we will find out what the answer is. Ah ha! Hiring mental patients in mental health work. Now there is no need to leave the mental health treatment world whatsoever over the course of multiple lifetimes. Your children’s children can get diagnoses and employment in the mental health care, er, “mental illness” system, and nobody is any the wiser.

We’ve got job security. We’ve got market expansion. We’ve got an illusion to foster and maintain as long as is humanly possible. I guess that means until extinction then. The artificial crutch business is booming. They say 1 in 4 people in the USA has a diagnosable “mental illness”, and if you buy that garbage, brother, sister, I’ve got a few bridges to show you.

The serious “mental illness” business is something for us to get serious about indeed. That’s where the money is, and that’s also where the greatest failure rate resides. Failure here is the reason for so many human success stories. Somebody has to look after all the failures. Where, in fact, would we be without them. Slumming it, of course. Instead we have the negative prognosis, the downward spiral, and the deteriorating outcome.

The needy people business needs needy people in order to prosper and grow. Without needy people, social service people are out of a job, therefore, the more needy people the better. We’ve got a bureaucracy to maintain after all. Housing, feeding, therapy, the works, we’ve got it all covered. You can get work working with the jobless. No need to get nostalgic over the dwindling GNP. That’s why we have developing countries.

From Rights Revoked To Rights Restored

Mental health treatment, especially where it is coerced, in many respects represents a revocation of age of consent rights. It could be said, in fact, that the matter was one of forfeiture. The problem with this forfeiture is that it is attained not through a trial but through the determination in a legal hearing, usually outside of court entirely, that the source of the offending behaviors is a medical condition. This determination is based on judicial authorities endorsing the opinion of medical experts who are assumed to know more about the subject because of their educational background than most people.

The closest parallel to this forfeiture of rights which comes with the display of socially unacceptable behaviors is in the punishment that comes of violating the law of the land. The difference is, that in the first instance, you are dealing with people who have literally broken no laws. This violation of unwritten law represents an actual loophole in the law. In fact, it is written into law in the form of those laws we call mental health law. The thing is, given this circumstance, equality under the law has found another instance in which it no longer applies. In other words, we have another instance in which there are two laws, one law for this group of people, and another law for that group of people.

Medicine, as a rule, isn’t coercive. Criminal justice, as applied by the state, is coercive. Mental health medicine is the exception to this rule. Mental health professionals are, more or less, our designated mental health police. Psychiatric drugs are but one tool, one might say weapon, in the mental health professionals toolkit, one might say arsenal, for achieving compliance among people deemed “sick” or exhibiting socially unacceptable behaviors. As you can see, this creates a nether-zone between criminal law and mental health treatment to which problem people might be contained, much the way children are contained, and disciplined, by parents and school personnel. People do not die of mental conditions, all the same, curing a disease that is literally no disease has its impossible aspects.

Reduced by this revocation of constitutionally guaranteed rights to a level on par with beasts and children, the mental patient, mental health consumer, survivor, is at pains to redeem the worth they have been stripped of to society at large. The state has, at this point, found various ways, group homes, assisted living facilities, etc., to keep the person so tainted at a distance and remove from making any significant contribution on the world. Their impact has been segregated, more or less, into the realm of treatment, and perhaps, more troubling indeed, disability. One could call it a blunted or muted impact. It is an impact within parentheses and, therefore, akin to childhood. Everybody knows their respective places, and, unequally, what laws apply to them.

Rewarded are those who obsequiously seek the favors of their oppressors and tormentors. In other words, in this domain, success, as defined by the mob, is a matter for turncoats and traitors. There are, of course, those who don’t go along with the mob, but there’s no reward, nor much acclaim, in so doing. This leaves a large rift between those acclimated to this situation, and those who would resist unto the death, and beyond. Lifetime mental patients abound, ex-patients aren’t being hired, except in the mental health field, etc., and so you see we’ve got a difficult rift to traverse. Equality under the law, you won’t get that by encouraging people, as is being done, to opt for inequality under two or more laws, laws as they apply to people with full citizenship rights, and laws as they apply to people tainted by the experience of mental hospitalization.

I could never identify with consumers of mental health services. They’d have to stop consuming mental health services for me to do that. It was Eldridge Cleaver who once said, “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” Unfortunately, the problem is growing larger and larger with every passing second. The mental health system is expanding, and with that expansion, it is carrying more and more people away with it. I think there are better things for people of the world to aspire to than patient status on a gigantic mental hospital ward, the kind of hospital that was once called a lunatic asylum, but was in actually a big prison, and a dumping ground for social misfits and outcasts. I’d like to see more of us working on those better things.

The Threat Within

Mental health (mal)treatment, as it is now practiced, has become a serious challenge to the freedom and privilege associated with democratic government. School children are being targeted for psychiatric labeling and drugging after the occasional odd act of mass violence perpetuated by lone gunmen. This targeting seems likely to lead to continual oppressive surveillance and monitoring of a substantial proportion of the population over the course of entire lifetimes.

Both our prison population, and our population of people with psychiatric labels, are growing substantially. While we recognize, to a certain extent, the loss of rights that come of breaking the law of the land, we tend to gloss over the fact that we are taking rights away from people in the mental health system, too. When these rights are not restored, and those populations grow even more dramatically, eventually they lead to a more restrictive society blatantly divided along caste lines.

Mental illness is an illusion. No mental illness has ever been proven for a fact to exist. Diseases are physical or they aren’t diseases. Certainly there are things going on in people’s lives that cause them to act in bizarre and incomprehensible, at least to other people, ways, but to call strange behavior the result of disease is to take a leap beyond the known. Organs disease, people misbehave, and a troop of wild cowboys is not the same as a groaning row of patients on a hospital ward.

Using media accounts of violence as an excuse to beef up your mental health system is just asking for trouble. Mental illness, the illusion remember, rates are reported to be at epidemic proportions now. If anyone were in their “right” mind so-to-speak they would be looking for ways to quell this epidemic rather than to escalate it. Paying more for it, in this sense, is merely a way of spreading it. What the mental health system is manufacturing is a steady supply of patients labeled chronically ill.

When the illness is dependency, subsidization is not the answer. Dependency, so-called “learned helplessness”, is one of the results of long-term institutionalization. Given a new stage of development, our total institutions are being replaced by a number of transitional institutions from which there is no real transit. The institution with walls gives way to the institution without walls. Joe Taxpayer pays public insurance to pay Big Pharma, and for outpatient facilities and residences, the secret lunatic bins, that help make up the growing mental health ghetto.

Either we change the documents this nation was built on, or we come back to the need for respecting and preserving rights and liberties, not just of the rich minority, but for everybody. Eventually we are going to have to recognize the humanity of people who have endured mental health maltreatment, and other forms of imprisonment, too. If we don’t, well, we have two choices, revolution or tyranny. The possibility also mounts that creeping autocracy could easily corrode any valid vision of social justice entertained beyond recognition.

Oh oh, here we go again

The latest high profile killing event, the Santa Barbara stabbings and drive by shootings, have escalated misguided efforts aimed at curbing violence through mental health reform. Preventing violence through mental health reform, in my book, is as dubious a venture as has ever been proposed. This effort has kept me busy though commenting on news stories that would blame the recent violence on folks with “mental illness” labels.

E. Fuller Torrey, PhD, psychiatrist big wig and developer of the cat flu theory of schizophrenia, in a National Review piece, Addressing Serious Mental Illness, couldn’t seem to separate criminal actions from “mental illness” symptoms, and so I thought I would try to help the poor man out.

Murder is a crime. Multiple murder is a series of crimes. Murder is not a symptom of any illness anywhere. I read recently where about 5 % of the population who commit violent acts are said to have “mental illness” labels. This is curious indeed as about 5 % of the entire population have been labeled “severely mentally ill”. I think there is only one possible conclusion to be drawn from this information, namely that “mental illness” does not cause violent crime. If “mental illness” does not cause violence, all these efforts aimed at solving the violence problem by beefing up the “mental health system” are misplaced.

I’m sure I didn’t get very far with E. Fuller Torrey in the endeavor, but then that’s a matter for specialists in the field of Harebrained Psychiatrist Disorder, and that is, unfortunately, a subject somewhat outside the scope of my expertise. Anyway, if anyone does have any expertise in that field, please, get this man the help he needs soon. I fear for the nation if he doesn’t receive that help.

The News Tribune, sounding sufficiently imperial for a Tacoma Washington news rag, had it’s own solution to the dilemma, UC killings:  Sick angry men must be flagged, and I tried to flatter them by way of congratulations. “When in Rome”, as the saying goes. I hypothesize enough intelligence in the reader, at least in some readers, to fill in the blanks.

Yeah, like let’s become a psychiatric police state, and recruit community members as spies for the federal government. That’s really going to decrease the level of violence nationally, isn’t it? Of course, government violence will be on the rise, but so what? Maybe we will be able do something about the obnoxious neighbors in the process. Sig heil, News Tribune!

Wouldn’t you know it! Even the national news services had to jump into the fray. Here is my response to a story on CBS, Mental illness in spotlight after UC Santa Barbara rampage. This headline I find rather confusing. I don’t know how you could get a “mental illness” in the spotlight, unless maybe that “mental illness” was the cat flu virus under an electron microscope lens. Oh, well, what can you do? I imagine if somebody put an ad in the paper a bunch of people might show up, but people and illnesses remain rather dissimilar, if anybody has seen germs under magnification, by a long shot.

Young men have better things to be doing with their lives than murder/suicide. Apparently this message was slow to reach one Elliot Rodger. Calling murder/suicide a “sickness” is not suggesting any of those better things. If a life is a terrible thing to waste, not to mention 7 lives, how do we drive this message home? I, for one, don’t think consigning lives to the junk-heap of the mental health system necessarily represents an improvement. Certainly drugging a person isn’t redeeming a person. What’s more, it’s a lie. People don’t commit murder/suicide because they’re “sick”, people commit murder/suicide because they undervalue human life. We can’t afford so many repeats of this kind of folly before wisdom strikes. The demon “mental illness” didn’t do it. The fool Elliot Rodger did it. There are a lot of other fools out there who can’t seem to make this basic distinction. Another thing. Why is this young man so doggedly “serious”. I’d really like to see some silly. One wants to shake him, and say, lighten up, man. Life is for the living, not for the taking.

Finally, where NPR is peddling another mental health reform bill, Rep. Murphy aims for mental health bill to pass before next shooting, I have to put my heel to the brakes. This is going way too far, folks, and I, for one, ain’t a-going over the edge of that cliff.

Multiple murder is not a mental illness. Multiple murder is a series of crimes. You don’t punish law breakers with “mental health” treatment. Bottom line, murder is a violation of the law, not a symptom of a disease. Endless mental health reform is part of the problem, not the solution. Say you reform the mental health system, and another series of crimes breaks out; what do you do? Reform the mental health system some more? The point I’m making here is that you don’t really deal with the problem by scapegoating an innocent segment of society as Tim Murphy would do with his proposed legislation. Multiple murder is a criminal justice issue. Multiple murder is not, and never will be, a mental health issue.

Faulty logic though is not going to go away through wishful thinking. Watch out! Y is not G unless proposed by N, and N has a large following. Did I say “watch out”? Duck! One thing you can count on, like death and taxes, is bad news. I wouldn’t count on stopping that bad news through more and more mental health reform though. Anybody got a calculator? Isn’t that kind of like compounding bad news with bad news? Since when did bad news plus bad news equal good news? I leave you to judge. Scoot over. If The Terminator is an indicator of a bleak future, he should be here any moment now.