mental health

Psychiatric Oppression Versus Human Rights

I had rather die with my “rights on” than live with my “rights off”. I think Nathaniel Hale put it best when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Put another way, slavery is not the sort of institution that I feel needs reestablishing.

This is why I am dismayed to find people in the mental health system so brain washed as to be opposed to their own civil liberties and human rights. It is one thing to have another person argue for your subhuman status, it is quite another thing when you are the person arguing for your own subhuman status and maltreatment.

Even given these arguments, you are not going to find me arguing for inequality under the law. I don’t have to put words into your mouth when I can use my own. I am not a person to argue for treating human beings in such a dreadful manner.

The problem is that the opportunist, the careerist, who will do anything to hold onto his or her job, and his or her status, would do anything to keep that job, including joining in chorus with the person who argues for his or her subhuman status. These two birds have much in common, not rocking the boat, and upholding the status quo, as long as it serves their purposes, monetarily or security wise.

Arguing against the human rights of human beings is always going to be a threat to liberty. Should you sway your audience, a certain percentage of them could end up being treated as if they were less than human. The question then becomes, as was the situation before the 1860s, what group of people should embody that percentage.

Although the mental patients, oops, consumer movement may have overtaken the mental patients liberation movement, I still consider myself a part of the latter movement. I don’t think employment as a mental health patient or a mental health worker is the way to go. Out of both of these roles, what do you get? You get an expanding mental health system and an epidemic of “mental illness” labeling.

You can plead for your own abduction, torture, imprisonment, impoverishment, death, ignominy, etc. as much as you please. Don’t expect me to follow suit. The mental health system, based as it is upon fraud and oppression, is ultimately a form of parasitism, and all of us could live much better (and longer I dare say) without it.

I continue to count myself among the few who are completely opposed to the kind of fraud and imposture that the mental health system represents. Provide a use for your throw away people, a use beyond working the loony bins themselves, even the community loon bins, and you have, more or less, solved a big part of the problem. The system is a blood sucker, and it is the kind of a blood sucker about which you could say, when the problem has finally been dealt with, without the slightest remorse, good riddance!


I’m not OK. You’re not OK. We’re OK.

This post has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that school of psychology known as Transactional Analysis, and, therefore, nobody associated with that school need take offense over the purloined jargon.

If you thought things were schizophrenic before, just wait…A recent Florida news headline, in Florida Today, declares, ‘It’s OK to not be OK’: Panel vows to tackle stigma linked with mental issues. Apparently crazy has received a major make over.

One of every four Space Coast adults reports symptoms of chronic depression. But unlike physical injuries, mental health issues carry a negative stigma — discouraging many from seeking help.

A label of “chronic depression” is the “OK” signal for “not OK” moods and attitudes. “Negative stigma” is the thing that makes “not OK” “OK”. If “not OK” weren’t “OK” then “not OK” people would have to become “OK”.

Alright. Maybe I was over simplifying. “Chronic depression” is “not OK”, but it is “OK” now to be “not OK”. “Negative stigma” would be “OK” if “chronic depression” were “not OK”, but since “chronic depression” is “OK”, “negative stigma” is “not OK”. Get it.

If 1 in 4 Space Coast cadets require “help” or “treatment”, that is, convincing as to the “OK”ness of their “not OK”ness, well, there you have it. We need more effective persuaders.

If “not OK” were not “disease”, and, therefore, unavoidable, blah blah blah.

“We have a tendency as a society to place fault. If you have a broken leg, it’s not your fault,” said Lori Parsons, Family Counseling Center of Brevard chief executive officer.

So broken brains are not the fault of the people with the broken brains. Nor are those people around them responsible for having broken their brains. Broken brains are an accident of God, nature, or pseudo-science. As in broken legs, where the fault resides in the leg bone, the fault resides in the broken brain.

“(But) if you have something wrong with you that’s a mental health issue that you’re struggling with, somehow that’s your fault,” Parsons said.

No, it’s the brains fault. I think we covered that issue fully above. Can’t you read?

If there is no remedy for “mental health issues”, of course, that’s of no concern to the physician.  He does his best, optimistically speaking. Nonetheless, and skirting the technicalities involved, if you think you are “not OK”, and the doctor thinks there’s no fixing your “not OK” thinking, we can only redeem you by declaring “not OK” “OK”.

Why, you may ask, must we make “not OK” “OK”? Why, of course! In order that we can request additional money so that “not OK” may feel more “OK” about him or herself being “not OK”. Is everybody happy, or, at least, “OK” about being “not OK”?

Doctor Thomas Szasz: Antiquated Relic Or Continuing Influence


Not that long ago, Michael Fontaine, an Associate Professor in Classics at Cornell University, published a post on the Mad In America website, On Religious and Psychiatric Atheism: The Success of Epicurus, the Failure of Thomas Szasz. In this piece he compared the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus with the recently deceased libertarian psychiatrist, Thomas S. Szasz. The piece itself evolved out of a presentation he gave at the American Psychiatric Association convention in New York City. Far be it from me to suggest that any APA meeting would have a grand reception for the ideas of Szasz. The idea of burying him, and with him them, on the other hand, now that might go over pretty well indeed there.

I happen to disagree with what seems to be the major premise of the post Michael Fontaine submitted, and that is that Thomas Szasz was somehow a failure because there is no school of psychiatry operating today that could be said to be Szaszian. As Thomas Szasz himself put it, the type of psychiatry he advanced could not be practiced in the USA today because it would be such an exception to what passes for standard practice that litigation would not permit it. I think Thomas Szasz did have an enormous influence on one group of people, and so big an influence that a Szaszian school could be said to exist today.

Recently, just last year, there was held at Wagner College in New York City a symposium on R.D. Laing. On the internet The Society for Laingian Studies has a website. R. D. Laing, by no means an atheist, when it served him, equated madness with religious experience. R. D. Laing had a large following, and despite losing his license to practice medicine late in life, he continues to have such a following. Laing with Szasz have been associated with the term “anti-psychiatry”, a term both of them came to disavow. “Anti-psychiatry” was coined by a colleague of Laing’s David Cooper. David Cooper’s “anti-psychiatry”, at the time, was essentially meant to be a movement of people supporting approaches to psychiatry that weren’t heavily biologically biased.

During the 1970’s the mental patients liberation movement, a movement that came to be described as the psychiatric survivor movement, and later still the mad, or mad pride, movement was developing. The initial “anti-psychiatrists”, if by “anti-psychiatrists” you mean associates of R. D. Laing, stopped short of supporting the abolition of coercive psychiatric practices. Thomas Szasz, on the other hand, did see forced psychiatry for the social control mechanism that it was, and he sought to see it abolished. It is my contention that, as far as this movement was concerned, at least initially, Szasz had more of an influence than Laing.

There were two missions of this movement in the beginning. One was to provide for people victimized by psychiatry, in a way that the state did not, that is, to create alternatives to forced treatment for people at risk for it, and abused by it. The other was to see the end of coercive mental health treatment, or what in actual fact was state sanctioned abduction, torture, assault, imprisonment, and poisoning. This second aim has not vanished. People are still being oppressed, abused, tortured, and even killed by the psychiatric system in the name of “treating” diseases that can’t, in fact, be proven to exist…not in any physical sense anyway.

What would have called itself “anti-psychiatry” at one time, now describes itself as “critical psychiatry”. “Anti-psychiatry” has grown to take such a bad rap in the mental health professions, and in the corporate media, that any professional using the term could find him or herself at risk of a major career change. Of course, this is not the case with patients and ex-patients, and many of them have gone on to embrace the idea of an anti-psychiatry movement. Psychiatry itself as a profession grew out of the coercive mistreatment of certain individuals by medical specialists, and so, we have no problem implicating the entire profession in the mess it has had a major hand in making.

Over time, and as would be expected, alternatives to conventional psychiatry create their own conventions. Some of these alternatives lose sight of their origins, and begin to resemble the very thing they arose to counter. For this reason, the abolition of coercive psychiatry need not be contingent upon the development of alternatives, even if one supports such as options. The mental health movement, in which alternatives often play a substantial part, is all about mental illness industry expansion. The anti-psychiatry movement, on the other hand, is opposed to this mental illness industry expansion. Mental illness industry expansion means more and more people bearing psychiatric labels and, as such, coercively mistreated

I don’t think the religion of psycho-babble any more palatable than that of rational analysis in the long run. Nor do I think the Laing-Epicurean Szaszian-extinction comparison, and divide, really follows. As I see it Szasz has had a great deal of influence on a lot of people, and that influence is not going to fade into obscurity anytime soon. I would hope that out of this discussion more people discover the works of Dr. Szasz, and that they come to see, as many of us have, the need to abolish coercive mistreatment. As far as it goes, with a great many psychiatric survivors, Szasz still represents a major influence, one might say school of thought, and by no means does his legacy come close to approaching the dismal failure that some of his detractors might be hoping for.

In The Divorse Of Message From Meaning

Language is a funny thing. All sorts of things mean all sorts of things to all sorts of people. Take mental whatchamacallit, for instance. There is this Washington Post piece in the Health and Science section, bearing the heading, How to find help for mental health. Next question; do people who are mentally healthy need help?

The first paragraph in this guide is a little more “helpful”…

When you’re in the throes of a mental health problem, making the decision to seek help is hard enough. Then there’s the next step: figuring out where to go, a task that can feel daunting when you’re already overwhelmed.

“Mental health” has been magically transformed into “mental health problem”, and a “problem” that gives one fits to boot. “Mental health problems” are a little more…What is the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah, problematic.

In the 4th paragraph, “mental health problems” have metamorphosed into “mental health conditions”.

Some mental health conditions have organizations that can direct you to a qualified provider, [Beverly] Palmer [clinical psychologist] says. For instance, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offer lists of providers who treat those conditions.

This is enlightening. Problems you solve. Conditions you live with. I imagine this explains all those “disorders” people claim to accompany, and pretty persistent “disorders” from what I hear. Otherwise, maybe they’d just lay their, in their words, somewhat annoying pet on somebody else.

Clincher. Last paragraph. Even more enlightening. Or do I mean unenlightening? Perhaps even mystifying? Anyway, “mental health conditions” have progressed, if that’s the right word to use, into “mental illnesses”, and then he throws that other word into the mix, “issues”. Many people speak of people having “mental health issues”. Maybe Paolo del Vecchio [director of SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services] is doing the same, but I can’t say for sure. Nonetheless, some people could, according to del Vecchio anyway, be said to have “issues”.

“Recovery is possible,” del Vecchio says. Mental illness is not a life sentence, he says. “People overcome these issues to lead happy, productive lives.”

I’m not sure how anybody would “overcome” an “issue” exactly, but I imagine it is done, depending on the particular “issue” involved. Multiple “issues”? Well, I’m not ready to tackle that bunch either. Not right now. As they say in the literature, ‘simplify, simplify, simplify’. This takes us back to the beginning of the post. How do we solve the “problem” that complicates our “mental health” so to speak?

“Recovery” is the other word used, as in “recovery” of a space capsule after splashdown from some sort of mission in outer space. What does one “recover” from? Is it “mental health”, “mental health problems”, “mental health conditions”, specific “disorders”, “overwhelm” (that word is used at one point), “mental illness”, or “issues”? I can easily imagine some little overeager hypochondriac scribbling all of the above.

You could certainly spend a lot of time going through the various files in your cabinet, labeled after the various “mentals”, if you were industrious enough. Notice, the file labeled “recovery” is way down there in the alphabet, and you might never get there if you spent a great deal of time on the other subjects. Okay, and I suppose, if you never wanted to get there in the first place, “disability” pays, or hadn’t you noticed.

Alright. Enough already. Maybe I should slip the “mental patient” gloves back on before somebody gets “triggered”, and going “ballistic”, in the “acting out” department, accuses me of “stigmatizing” him or her. All of these expressions have a way of going to a person’s head, kind of like hard liquor, or an awards ceremony. You’ve got to remember, some folks are brittle, and more fragile than glass. Especially when they’ve read the literature, and they believe such and such to be as true as Jesus. We are not dealing with ordinary people after all.