Monday, 27 October 2014

government is incapable of compassion. it falls to us, folks!

i'm sure they would love to round up anyone who dares 'show feelings of an almost human nature' too publicly or acts in any way unusual even if they cannot possibly be posing a threat to others. (as is the case 99% of the time).

 as for the 'danger to self' schtick - well, it isn't the role of the state to be saving people from themselves. that properly falls to the grassroots and further repression has no valid role in this. the problem being, people have been taught to thwart their own inclinations toward direct compassion in favor of leaving it to the 'professionals'.

government lacks the capacity for genuine compassion. its primary function is social control, and all its institutions - including health and 'mental health' care - reflect this function to at least some extent.

perhaps if state repression itself were to end (including the typical response to so-called 'mental health' issues) along with all the interpersonal abuse and violence in the world, you would see the occurrence of so-called 'mental illnesses' virtually disappear. the DSM would quickly be reduced to the size of a supermarket circular and the profession of psychiatry would go the way of the dodo bird.

these human phenomenon do not occur in a social vacuum, much as the medical profession would love to convince us they do. this isn't a medical issue or a 'personal defect' we are talking about here. and the system's reaction is predicated on irrational fear, which is unlikely to result in a fair, just, reasonable or'helpful' outcome.

 people are terrified of madness, insanity, 'mental illness' (call it what you will) and the human tendency has always been to ruthlessly crush what is frightening. and this is a very personal fear as everyone has the capacity within them to experience these things.

 it isn't bad genes or a 'chemical imbalance' or any of these things. it is HUMAN, and universal. no one gets off the hook. and this is why this particular prejudice is so pervasive (and widely accepted).

people believe they are acting with compassion when they really only want to subvert and crush what is frightening to them at a very personal level. the entire system which has been constructed toward this end reflects this in its presumptions, deception, coercion and violence directed toward vulnerable people. we need to be able to do better. otherwise we are all barbarians.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

if by 'care'...

If by 'care' you mean imprisonment w/o trial or charge, forced administration of addictive, body and brain-damaging drugs, intensive and invasive monitoring/policing in one's own home, poverty, social isolation, being the target of rampant discrimination and seriously damaged physical health as a result of all of the above, then I would have to say the level of 'mental health care' available is already much more than adequate.

If this is the best we as a society can offer to the frightened, angry, grieving, despairing people in our midst, then we ought to be hanging our heads in shame.

Distressed human beings deserve to be loved, supported and nurtured on their own terms, not caged, brutalized, endlessly policed and told by everyone else what 'their own best interests' are. They need to have their basic rights strengthened and vigorously defended, not stolen away using a medical pretext that is of dubious merit at best.

I am acting on the assumption that participants in this discussion are people with only the best of intentions. Just don't allow your good intentions to provide governments with a back-door route to depriving us of even more of our liberties than they already are.

i write this in the context of last weeks' incidents in Ottawa and Quebec. the 'mental health' advocates feel (as i said, all with the best of intentions) they can offer a kinder, gentler, more progressive alternative to draconian, scurrilous anti-terrorism laws. but given the already oppressive and highly controlling nature of the 'mental health' system, advocating for its fortification opens up the possibility of a whole other kind of police state.

this is a hydra we are dealing with, folks. (the hydra being a mythical serpent with multiple heads - and when you cut off one of its heads it sprouts two more to replace it.) 

there are multiple avenues to control and repression at the government's disposal as a result of these two incidents. we need to approach this whole discussion with prudence and vigilance, keeping the strengthening and defense of everyone's basic rights at the forefront of our consciousness.

Friday, 1 August 2014

accusations, not diagnoses...

psychiatric labels are accusations. let's make no bones about it. they cannot be considered to be something as benevolent as 'diagnoses'.

and invariably, accusations bring punishment.

a diagnosis is merely a tentative impression offered by a clinician following careful and thorough study that typically involves an extensive interview, a physical examination, a trip to a lab for the study of blood, urine, etc. and sometimes other procedures.

then - and only then - will a responsible physician offer up an idea of what is happening. and the final decision on any response belongs to the patient.

psychiatry turns this responsible clinical behavior on its head. a psychiatric label is established and assigned through an interrogation consisting of the most convoluted, asinine, self-incriminating questions one could possibly imagine. the outcome of this grilling almost inevitably results in a pejorative label and a prescription for some chemical 'nostrum'.

and god/dess help you should you try thinking for yourself by disagreeing with the shrink. in psychiatry's circular, fascistic 'reasoning' this is seen as the person 'lacking insight' into their 'illness' and proof positive they are undeserving of freedom - and let's just skip the judicial process and oversight, thank you very much.

where i live, any physician can strip you of your physical liberty - and all of your civil rights - for up to 72 hours with the stroke of a pen. add the signature of a psychiatrist to another piece of paper and someone can be shitcanned for much longer periods - up to three months at a time, with an infinite number of renewals - with only limited recourse for challenging these decisions. thus the punishment begins.

this doesn't end with discharge from an institution. in Ontario, a little legislative nasty called a community treatment order (CTO) can keep you legally bound to the whims of the 'mental health' oligarchy for years.

in Ontario two hospital stays (voluntary or otherwise) over a three-year period or a cumulative stay for thirty days or longer is sufficient to bring about this highly restrictive form of psychiatric parole. violating the terms of such an order can result in arrest and detention - again without charge or trial. more punishment, merely for being alive, human and in distress.

the physical and social consequences of psychiatrization are legion. the drugs prescribed by shrinks cause a host of unpleasant and sometimes deadly adverse effects including diabetes, cardiac problems, obesity, crippling movement disorders indicative of neurological damage and an encephalitis-like condition called neuroleptic malignant syndrome which can be fatal. they can cause or contribute to the very behaviors and ideas they are purported to help prevent, such as violent or suicidal impulses. other 'treatments' such as electroconvulsive 'therapy' (ECT) can result in permanent brain damage and devastating memory loss.

psychiatric drugs 'work' by blunting painful feelings and the sense of fear, hopelessness and desperation that often accompanies them. as such they may provide a distressed human being with a temporary illusion of self-control and stability. plus, they undoubtedly quiet (and immobilize) 'bothersome' individuals, making them easier to manage.

but the underlying cause of the distress cannot be touched by these chemicals. any attempt to stop the drugs, and the issues come bounding to the fore once again, often with redoubled ferocity from the 'rebound' effect of withdrawing from these addictive substances.

the social consequences? many psychiatrized people find themselves facing a life sentence of poverty, isolation, discrimination, abuse and compromised physical health resulting in premature death. this is society's failing, not that of psychiatrized persons. but once labeled, people make convenient scapegoats. i mean, who listens to 'crazy' people?

using the word 'stigma' is an insult. this is a made-up word which essentially blames the innocent for the discrimination and bigotry they face. it is predicated on 'oh, if only these poor 'mentally ill' souls would comply with the experts, life would be so much sweeter for everyone' kind of thinking. this official mindset only guarantees the victimization and oppression will continue endlessly.

the medical model itself lies at the root of all this. in embracing a theory (it certainly isn't fact) that essentially pathologizes every aspect of our humanity that fails to fit within a limited societal mold, we are essentially allowing others to define our lives, our feelings and perceptions, our humanity and our ability to interact meaningfully with the world, all in accordance with their own agenda.

the medical model illustrates psychiatry's profound disconnect from the social construct we have made for ourselves and its often devastating effect on peoples' minds and hearts. it is without proven scientific or clinical basis.

yet the state grants powers to this specialty far beyond those afforded to any other medical specialty or helping profession, based on ludicrous but horrifying presumptions about how distressed human beings will act rather than anything they have actually done.

psychiatrists can draw on state resources such as law enforcement or the courts in order to enforce their agenda. and they remain the only medical specialty authorized to imprison people without charge or trial, or deprive people of their decision-making rights. more punishment.

the whole discourse on human distress has been hijacked and unacceptably constrained by the medical model as it originates from a group of people wearing white coats and with the letters 'MD' appended after their names. on this basis alone most people are extremely loath to dispute it. but these are human beings as well - fallible, subject to the allure of power and ego, and with a very well-defined agenda.

unfortunately, people view a medical response - even when imposed through deception and violence - as the only 'compassionate' option. nothing could be further from the truth. there is nothing compassionate about this level of power and control being directed at the innocent.

we need to take back the right to define our lives, our experiences and our humanity on our own terms. we need to end the silencing and invalidation imposed upon us by the medicalizing of our experiences. we need to find our voices and use them to call out and confront this oppressive nonsense whenever and wherever it manifests. we need to assert our own abilities (along with our failings) rather than letting the doctors tell us what we can or cannot do. these are our lives and we need to take them back!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Our dreams – and lives – cannot fit into ballot boxes!

The ballot box is the mechanism used to force us to surrender our power - to hand over our inherent, inalienable decision-making rights to the politicians and the powerful individuals who in turn dictate their actions. Then when these individuals inevitably make bad, stupid, self-serving decisions 'on our behalf' people whine about how if only we would elect the right folks' all would be well.

Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. It can't work that way.

A little wild card known as the human ego makes it impossible. Requiring that people become dependent on third parties to make all the decisions that affect their lives cannot possibly work. In the end someone inevitably gets the short end of the stick.

Some peoples' needs - or even their very lives - will invariably be seen as 'expendable' under such circumstances. This is inherent to the system and it cannot be stopped or prevented. The only chance we have would be to abandon this third-person process of decision-making and take back our inherent right as sovereign persons to do this for ourselves.

At the same time society needs to decentralize and people need to re-discover how to work co-operatively in our common interest. This is in fact how people lived once upon a time. But this pyramidal, ego-based restructuring of human societies that has been forced upon us has brought us to the edge of the abyss. 

Whether or not we can overcome this remains to be seen - but the only hope for our survival lies in making an honest, sustained effort to do just that.

Friday, 21 March 2014

what does the medical model of 'mental illness' accomplish?

1. it silences people - when someone's feelings, opinions or perspectives can be attributed to a disease process, people no longer feel any obligation to listen, much less attempt to understand. with time this will cause a person to lose all trust in their own perceptions and the evidence of their own senses.

2. it is used to rationalize brutal human rights abuses including imprisonment without trial or charge, and forced ingestion of highly addictive, health-destroying chemical substances along with barbaric physical tortures such as 'seclusion' (solitary confinement) or electroconvulsive 'therapy', among others.

3. it can (and often does) lead to a life sentence of poverty, isolation, prejudice, revolving-door repeat imprisonments, and generally compromised physical health leading often to a premature demise.

4. it leads to being designated by definition as a second-class citizen, the object of scorn and irrational and unjustifiable fear along with condescension and other assaults on mind and spirit that no 'anti-stigma' initiative can ever hope to overcome.

let's be explicitly clear about some things here:

these human issues (and i will be the first to affirm they are very real and often angonizingly painful) are not medical in origin - their roots are social and political. only approaches based on this reality have any hope of succeeding.

these human issues do not result from some form of individual sickness or personal defect - they are systemic in origin and pervasive in their occurrence. in this world which is so brutal to the human spirit, no one gets away completely clean (although some people are better at concealing what is happening to them).

everyone has the capacity for madness (for lack of a better term) within themselves. the only variable is exactly what will trigger it. what seems completely inconsequential for one person might prove to be completely devastating for someone else. this does not mean such people have some form of 'biological predisposition' to 'mental illness'. everyone has their own trigger. what exactly this might be is as unique and individual to each of us as our fingerprints. while there are some commonalities no two people will be affected in the same way by a specific event or set of circumstances.

psychiatric labels are not medical ' diagnoses' - they are accusations for which society has spelled out a clear policy of brutal punishments for whenever they manifest. the medical model is merely a smokescreen couched in false compassion used for obfuscating this uncomfortable truth. and most people are guilty of helping to maintain this brutal reality. this has to stop - NOW.

Friday, 27 December 2013

'Apathy', eh?

when used in the context of electoral politics, the word 'apathy' becomes just another code word for 'let's blame the victims'. what it really means is people are voting - only with their feet rather than a ballot. under the circumstances it is as clear a signal as can possibly be given that we need a radically different way of doing politics and conducting our affairs as communities and society as a whole. and those who use emotional blackmail or other forms of psychological violence against those making this choice are part of the problem, not the solution.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

support the 'middle class', do you?

let me tell you who you are supporting.

these are the gentrifiers. the economic colonizers. the social cleansers. the cop-callers.

they are the reason there is a de facto curfew in select parts of the city where actually sitting down in a coffee shop is impossible after 11 PM because apparently it is now unacceptable for a homeless person to grab a few precious moments of warmth on a desperately cold night.

they are the reason that other food and beverage establishments in these same neighborhoods are forced to operate under restrictions that will not be found in most other parts of the city or province, simply because they are affordable places where poor people congregate and socialize. 

they are the reason why homeless people are relentlessly persecuted by law enforcement for the 'crime' of trying to catch some desperately needed sleep anytime and anywhere they can. they are the reason why homeless women in particular face a much greater risk of violence including sexual assault, and why such crimes go largely unreported and unresolved.

they are the reason why agencies that serve vulnerable people are forced to operate under a cloud. they are the reason why emergency shelter beds are being lost at a time when the need for them has never been greater. they are the reason why the development of any social/supportive housing in some areas has become the focus of major struggles sometimes years in duration.

these are the people (and policies/practices) you are supporting when you 'defend the middle class'.

abolish *all* classes!