Developing a motto

Don’t go to the psychiatrist! Those five words are on their way to becoming my motto. Psychiatrists no longer do psychoanalysis. No, analysis is now counseling, and in the domain of psychologists and social workers. Psychiatrists work for insurance payments, and to get paid, they dole out psychiatric labels. Once a psychiatric label has been attached to the patient, they’re ready to get down to business, the real task of the psychiatrist, that of pill pusher. Psychiatrists these days are pitchmen and puppets of the pharmaceutical industry. Even most psychiatrists giving lip service to the mostly defunct practice of talk therapy have been transformed into de facto drug lords.

Now that talk therapy has taken a nose-dive and crash landed, pills are the panacea of psychiatry. Unfortunately, we’re talking about pills that mostly mean ‘bad medicine’ any way you cut it. You’ve got doctors, indirectly or directly, in the employ of unscrupulous profiteers who will stop at nothing to get and keep their product on the market. Chemical compounds are the new gold and, as such, research and development has spawned a new gold rush. You’ve also got them selling drugs that are essentially unhealthy as if they were the world’s answer to “ill” health. The result of all this unscrupulous wheeling and dealing is a population of people maintained on psycho-active brain-impairing substances whose “sickness” is actually their dependence on this ill-health-ware system.

Systemic and chemical dependence, in my book, is not well-fare. A government maintaining a population of state subsidized artificially manufactured “invalids” or, better, “in-valids”, is not my idea of a government managing a healthy economy. The news from the treatment front has not been good. People going through treatment for the most severe diagnostic labels are getting, of all things, worse. They are getting worse because of, rather than in spite of, the pills they are maintained on. The business is booming then of destroying the patient. This business wouldn’t be booming if you didn’t have a ready supply of suckers to succeed your growing casualty list. A list that is all too readily passed over and pitched into the waste basket.

There is no ‘three strikes you’re out’ law when it comes to pill pushing psychiatrists. These guys and gals have been getting away with murder since the development of this not such a wonder drug and that. Of course, should a psychiatrist blatantly step over certain bounds of reasonable self-restraint and discretion in prescribing practices, he or she can have his or her license to practice medicine taken away from him or her by the courts. As the medicine they practice is not really medicine at all but toxic drug pushing, this penalty can come none too soon when it can come at all. Were we to prosecute intransigent psychiatrists for the damage that they did cause, psychiatrists would be much more reluctant to poison people through chemistry.

I will admit that there are exceptions to the drug peddling psychiatrist rule. I will also admit that those exceptions are few and far between. This scarcity of health minded psychiatrists makes the profession as a whole more of a liability than an asset to the human race. If there is any important work to be performed in the mental health profession today, it can be done by people without a degree in psychiatry. Unfortunately, most of those other mental health workers tend to be underlings to psychiatrists. This makes the entire profession of mental health treatment subject to corruption of the worst sort across the board. The health of the patient has become the last concern of a mental health profession hung up on procedural matters.

There is little to no so called “mental illness” in the animal kingdom. What “mental illness” you do have in the animal kingdom is usually a matter of developing the laboratory specimens with which to devise new treatments for human beings. As with animals, there was much less “mental illness” in antiquity than there is today. The more primitive your culture gets, the less inclined it is to label its deviant members “mentally ill”. I’m for this more basic bare bones approach to the problem. When life is a matter of hunting and gathering, personal problems don’t prevent people from doing their part. I think the cave man or woman who figured he or she was born with the chemistry he or she needed had it right all along.  I personally feel that the damage perpetrated by the field of psychiatry is so devastating that it is a profession we should oppose at every turn.

Standing On The Other Side Of Numbers

Although by no means anonymous, I’m not an institution. My fan base could use a major overhaul, not to mention, expansion. Insight for me begins and ends with the Rodney Dangerfield mantra, “I don’t get no respect.”  Academic  stuffed shirts have a particular squint reserved for, more or less, metamorphosing me into their version of leaky pipe steam. Nonplussed, despite the odds, or is it the evidence? I continue to believe that I’m not such a bad sort after all.

I know…it’s that little empty piece of paper hung from a wall. It’s those streams of eager students sent to step and fetch. It’s this ass-licking corporate-bought reporter’s news blurb or that. It’s more garbage to help fill a landfill. I’m the person who would be buried for his or her dazzlingly good mention. I’m not saying that goes without saying, but it goes with saying. I’m not a member of their good old boy, now including girl, network clique. I’m the person they’d have vanish into the invisibility of  the rank and file. A bit of the stench they are celebrating being at a far remove from.

They don’t call me for an interview, or even a blurb. I’m persona non-gratis across the board. In some fashion, gratefully so. Why? Because I’m not the problem in any way shape or form. I’m not bought and sold. I’m not making the matter any worse than it was a few seconds ago. I’m not even pretending to make the matter better while actually making the matter worse. I’m not a lackey with strings attached to my wooden limbs. I’m the big secret they don’t want out of the bag. I’m the person who is not contributing to the general all out mess. I’m not more window dressing.

I don’t even claim to represent the majority of my minority. I’m not one who can be accused of upholding that tyranny either. I’m not a member of the new flat earth party. I haven’t been sucked up by a convenient conspiracy theory. If I were a completely isolated. Say a universe of one. It wouldn’t deflect nor defeat me one bit. I’m used to being, not wrong, but ignored and scoffed at, and while ignorance may be bliss, it is not particularly enlightening. Let me just add that I’ve adapted to adversity. You won’t find me putting on airs. I’m too apprehensive in expectation of the next attack for that kind of thing. I know my place is not celebrating on top of Fort Knox.

Highway robbery is for people with more avaricious inclinations than my own. I’m good with that. I’d rather be good in fact. I know how to survive while being good unlike a few of my more gullible comrades. It is my goodness that survives. I am not going to be destroyed by the so called human condition (bestiality, man’s inhumanity to man, nature against nurture, whatever you want to call it) without a fight, and thus far that fight has kept me going. What can I say? Comfort is for wusses, not me! I, like the energizer rabbit, like a Timex, will keep right on ticking. Punishment, or better, persecution, while perhaps not my prime element, is an element I’ve had plenty of experience with, and it hasn’t undone me. I’m still pursuing that ear.

The issue really is a matter of public record, lying public record. I’m not at pains to elude a statistical entry really. That statistical entry is not me. My injuries have been kept minimal. I’m not a casualty. This is not so true of everybody. There are people who have become painful statistics. People who have learned. People who think, who see, and who feel like statistics. I, on the other hand, am content to resist that type of learning. I’m more interested in developing survival skills. These survival skills involve mastering the statistic rather than being mastered by it. The statistic doesn’t define me. It doesn’t doom me. I keep it at an appreciable distance. I know that, like some people, it is not constant.

No More Back Stepping

“Mental illness” is a illusion, a joke, an excuse, a flat out lie. Something may be going on, but whatever that something is, it is not ‘illness’.

We’ve got a whole industry supporting the illusion that defective genes cause people to lead difficult lives that can be fixed only through the wonders of modern psychopharmacology. Complete and utter balderdash!

Was Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, mad? The lone gunman theory has evolved into the lone nutcase theory, and this, in turn, has started a trend in multiple murders. As murder has become some unfortunate peoples’ ticket into the national spotlight, you can expect this trend to continue.

I just read where Patrick Kennedy is pitching mental health insurance parity in Colorado. If “mental illness” is an illusion, what does that make mental health? I will give you a hint. Look to the attraction in tent number two.

This insurance parity thing has something to do with equating meta-physical illness with physical illness. Doing so allows all sorts of people to claim permanent disability payments on the basis of meta-physical (non-organic) criteria.

The government shells out, well, not so good money to subsidize this population of newly but artificially disabled people. Dead beat is not so dead beat if you can claim you’re loony toons. Hand in hand immaturity and irresponsibility have a great future before them.

You’ve got a profession that is poisoning people and calling it medicine. You’ve got a profession that is keeping people down, and saying it is “helping” them. You’ve got a profession that, rather than restoring people to purposeful activity, renders a portion of the population perpetual burdens to the rest of society.

I’ve had it with the entire profession. I will truck no more with psychiatry. I’m not the person to set up a Vichy style government in cahoots with these mad doctors. I don’t want to make matters worse. I’m sick of the corruption that pervades the mental health industry from one end to the other.

I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system. I think it is all the more imperative that we get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a “mental illness” system. Furthermore, it is a “mental illness” system on the verge of becoming a physical illness system.

Oh, didn’t I say “mental illness” was an illusion? Let me rephrase the comment that I just made then. I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a social and physical harm system. I think we should clean up this mess we’ve created by getting good people out of bad situations.

Complete irrationality may be the new trend on all levels of society, nonetheless, it is a trend I am hoping to buck. Communication, outside of military service, should never be a one way street. Somehow the typical argument that is winning the day has much more to do with expediency than it has to do with reality.

When people meet one to one, face to face, there is much that they can accomplish by working together. I don’t think we are accomplishing very much by savaging the human rights of an excluded segment of society. My intention is to work in the opposite direction and for the opposite result.

Living Without Psychiatry

Anyone who has read the typical mental health industry propaganda has read stories about people said to be ‘living with mental illness’. “Mental illness” is the imaginary bug that we just can’t seem to exterminate. Were there a real bug involved, maybe it would have earned it’s innoculation many years ago.

The first problem is linguistic. There is absolutely no way around the mind body duality we are confronted with here. The physical universe is real, the mental universe, not so much. We’ve just stumbled into the terrain of meta-physics, philosophical speculation. If you’re meta-physically ill, you’re literally not ill.

Psychiatry has managed to circumvent this dilemma with a convenient sleight by suggesting that “mental illness” actually is physical illness. Despite this suggestion, the rift remains impassable. More simply put, the message is not the messenger. It gets nowhere undelivered. You don’t arrive at consciousness by dissecting a brain.

So you can convince a person that he or she is “sick”. You can put a person on pills that will negatively affect his or her performance and health. You can tell him or her he or she will never be done with this imaginary illness he or she has, and that he or she will need to take those pills until the day he or she dies. What of it? Some people shovel shit for a living.

When living without “mental illness” is not presented as an option, you are going to get people saying they have a “mental illness”. In fact, there is little wonder you get people saying they have a “mental illness” when an entire medical profession encourages them to do so. Resisting the temptation to confess to an illness, there, as Hamlet might put it, is the rub.

I’ve read that ‘schizophrenics’ are illogical. I don’t see how this isn’t a shortcoming that a little bit of extra education couldn’t remedy. Logic itself is merely a method for arriving at the facts. An absence of logical deduction, and you’ve got someone who is at a remove from reality anyway. Why not provide them with the tools to help them determine what reality is, and what it is not?

We don’t call situations “sick”, we call them bad or good. When bad circumstances are a matter of drawing the short end of the stick, what can be done? Well, for one, there are two things I would suggest. Number one is to stop gambling, and number two is to change the situation. Bad circumstances need not repeat themselves ad nauseam.

Alright, I’ve tried to explain that what you are likely to get from a psychiatric examination is not a clean bill of good health, but rather a certificate of insanity. People who are not in need, the theory runs, don’t pay visits to the psychiatrist office. This is something to consider when making such visits a part of your regular regimen. If you’re ever going to get “well”, you have to stop doing so. You’re his or her bread and bacon. His or her addiction so to speak.

Not having a “mental illness” can be difficult for some people, all the same, I would encourage some of them to give it a whirl. There’s no reason in being stuck to a delimiting script like a fly to flypaper. If finding a ‘cure’ can be just as elusive as determining the ‘disease’, well, there you go. Perhaps it is just as simple as coming up with an opposing opinion, and learning to be politic (i.e. shrewd).

Psychiatrists Rip Off The People Of California For A Bundle

Bloomsberg recently ran a 6 part series of articles on America’s Great Payroll Giveaway, or on how wealthy Americans line the pockets of wealthy Americans. Part 2 in this series concerned psychiatry, and it bore the heading, California Psychiatrists Paid $400,000 Shows Bidding War. That $400,000 tab the American tax payer is picking up is approximate, a more or less. Sometimes it is, understating the case, a wee bit more…

Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.

When, following a law suit, pay increases were ordered for the states prison psychiatrists, as a lure for more prison psychiatrists, there became so many vacancies outside of the prison system that the state then had to order pay increases for psychiatrists across the board.

Safi benefited from what amounted to a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. The prisons raised pay to lure psychiatrists, the mental health department followed suit to keep employees, and costs soared. Last year, 16 California psychiatrists, including Safi, made more than $400,000, while only one did in the other 11 most populous states, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The thing is that what we have here is a domino effect. These pay raises in turn affect service costs in other states.

The pay boosts caused staff costs for mental-health practitioners to rise elsewhere, said Stephen Mayberg, head of California’s mental health department in early 2007, when the raises started. Psychiatrists are among the highest paid employees in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, data show.

One thing you can count on is that the rest of the mental health field, and former patients, aren’t pulling in nearly the figures these psychiatrists are raking in. Although the article suggests that with 48,000 psychiatrists in the USA there is still a great shortage of psychiatrists, I would suggest the opposite is true. With psychologists and social workers now taking up the responsibilities for counseling that once fell to psychiatrists trained in psychoanalysis, psychiatrists have become little more than pill pushers. What’s more, the pills they are pushing don’t help their patients recover.

We don’t need more overpaid professionals to push poisons on people. What we need are people who can deal with the power and wealth disparities that divide and crush people. Disparities such as those which came with such a windfall for psychiatrists, in their gated communities, while their clients have to struggle through a marginal existence in a ghetto of limited resources just to survive. Do something about that divide, change those circumstances, and I will bet you will begin to see recovery rates soar in this country the way we haven’t seen those rates climb in a very long while.

The DSM-5 is only a dead sea scroll and not the fully approved Allen Frances version

I hear a constant buzzing. No, wait. It’s only Allen Frances.

The chief editor of the DSM-IV is posing as the chief critic of the DSM-5, if that makes any sense. The problem is that the criticisms this retired psychiatry professor applies to the DSM-5 apply to the DSM-IV as much as they do to anything, and I’m still waiting for a major display of remorse over that document.

If we look at his latest in a catalogue of complaints against the upcoming DSM revision, DSM-5 Is A Guide, Not A Bible—Simply Ignore Its 10 Worst Changes, some of his criticisms are right on target.

His numero uno is a real humdinger, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD) or temper tantrum disorder. This is the DSM revision teams way to try to deal with an artificially created epidemic that isn’t even in the DSM. A Harvard psychiatrist developed this notion that a number of these kids diagnosed ADHD were actually bipolar, and thus began the pediatric bipolar disorder boom. The DSM revision team has simply created a third diagnosis with which to compound the prior two diagnoses. When ADHD and bipolar disorder are at epidemic proportions, this is certainly paving the way for a third wave. Just wait, perhaps in 10 or 20 years they will come up with an adult DMDD diagnosis.

His second and ninth complaints we can skip over. Sadness, grief, and anxiety aren’t illnesses, or diseases, or disorders, or whatever you want to call them. They are emotions known to all of us. The distinction between clinical and “normal” is a distinction between the everyday and the psychiatrized. If you want one, go about your business, it will come. If you want the other, see a shrink. He or she has their “help” to contribute.

Number 3 is Neurocognitive Disorder or old folks disease. Oh, yeah. Age happens to everybody. I kind of think it redundant as when the brain breaks you have dementia or Alzheimer’s. If we had a ready trash can we could scrap number 3, too, but, of course, psychiatrists must to make a…I dunno…Is it a living, or is it a killing? Anyway, it’s bread, bacon, and a big house in an upscale neighborhood.

Number 4 is adult ADHD. I think I covered the subject sufficiently with number 1. There was a time when there was absolutely no ADHD. A few unruly children popped up, and the editors of the DSM-III put it in the DSM. ADHD babies grow up. 30 years on and, it’s epidemic among children, while the revisers of the upcoming edition are making it an adult “disease”. Pill popping babies grow up to be pill popping adults. Although the drug companies know this, they aren’t letting on. Why nip a good thing in the bud.

Number 5 over eating isn’t a disorder any more than over drinking is a disorder. Alcohol poisoning, with attendant headaches, on the other hand, bellyaches, diarrhea, and vomit, are major concerns. If you’re going to over indulge, learn to under indulge, er, or moderate your appetites. If you need a shrink to do so, well, you’re probably pretty gullible when it comes to a number of these other disorders. Excess in anything could be “co-occurring”, lay talk for “co-morbid”, with any human trait, negatively labeled a disorder, under the sun, moon, and stars. Psychiatrists tend to think “mental disorders” lead to “substance abuse” and vice versa. What a racket!

His complaint number 6 is a little weird coming from a psychiatrist. This has to do with the switch from Autism and autism related disorders to a general Autism Spectrum Disorder.

School services should be tied more to educational need, less to a controversial psychiatric diagnosis created for clinical (not educational) purposes and whose rate is so sensitive to small changes in definition and assessment.

Alright. Should you be talking to the nation’s shrinks or the nation’s educators on this score, and then how does this effect other controversial juvenile diagnoses (say, ADHD, conduct disorder, etc.)? If your talking about the collusion between this nation’s educators, law enforcement officers, government officials, mental health workers and psychiatrists that is an even bigger issue than we’ve got time to cover right here and now.

Number 7 is certainly a valid complaint, and number 8 follows close behind. If recreational illicit substance use is abuse, habit and indulgence equals abuse, too. Although hypersexuality was not included in the upcoming revision, internet addiction is going to be there, and internet addiction is a behavioral addiction. Behavioral addiction opens up the flood gates for any fad or trend to be classified an addiction. If internet addiction makes this edition, you can bet other behavioral addictions are coming, and sexual addiction, however you spell it, is way up there at the top among the candidates for inclusions in future editions.

What he ignores is that these “worst changes”, as he puts it, are the result of a process and an idea that is thoroughly unscientific from beginning to end. You don’t find real diseases by inventing them, and voting them into common parlance. You only find fanciful diseases that way.

DSM-5 violates the most sacred (and most frequently ignored) tenet in medicine—First Do No Harm! That’s why this is such a sad moment.

We, in the psychiatric survivors movement, have been something similar for decades. What follows from this sacred tenet is my next question directed at Professor Frances. Why, given this basic tenet, do you need a guide book for doing harm to people at all?

This harm starts with the psychiatric label. The label is a category in the DSM. All further harm follows from this labeling of human beings as flawed or pathologically affected or unworthy. This labeling represents the beginning of a downward slide in perception from discourse between equals to that of discourse between designated authorities and sub-human second class citizens. Even if you’re using a bamboo pole and string rather than a rod and reel, a few of us still aren’t taking the bait.

Showing the proper disrespect to elected diseases

Mental disorders are not like other disorders, they are…mental. This is why it should come as no surprise that, following the 2012 election, some proposed mental disorders are candidates for entry into the 5th edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) slated for publication in 2013.

You aren’t a real mental disorder unless you’re in the DSM. Anybody can come up with a prospective mental disorder, but only a committee of American Psychiatric Association members can vote a mental disorder into the DSM. Once a mental disorder has made its way into the DSM, Pandora’s box is cracked, there’s absolutely no way to keep it out of the world.

If you Google DSM-5 news sometime you can get an idea of the great lengths some people will go to in order to get mental disorders listed in that manual. These mental disorders are up for election, and they’ve got their own press crews, and their own sham-paign committees.

4 candidates are currently scrambling on the news search page for election into shrink’s gospel.

Number 1 is Hypersexuality or Sex Addiction. UCLA conducted a research study recently that concluded Hypersexuality was a “real” disorder. Alright, that’s a first step to convincing the psychiatrists on a DSM-5 revision committee that Sex is a legitimate Addiction, isn’t it? I suppose we will be looking for Hypersexuality DNA in the future. Anybody want to see if they can get Hair Disorder into the DSM-5, too?

Hoarding is set to take a seat rather than simply being reduced to serving as an underling of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This has got to be another big lift for Hoarding who recently was fortunate enough to land his own television show on the A & E channel.

The next candidate up for office is the new category, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Asberger’s Syndrome has gotten the boot, and Pervasive Developmental Disorders are being replaced by ASD. Okay, no problem. Asberger was a shmuck. Some people still want him to serve out a few more terms nonetheless.

Prolonged Grief is trying to get her own space along this hall of infamy. I think the thing could be covered under Major Depressive Disorder, but, believe it or not, there are actually people who want to make unrelenting Grief a disease category. Who am I to say they should get over it?

I suggest people take these official disorders as lightly as possible. Should they drift off like a butterfly, or a dead leaf on the wind, it would be no great loss. Devotion to a pompous, demanding, and fictitious disease category can have profoundly negative consequences on your overall health and life circumstances. Pretend the DSM had never been written, and you should do just fine.

Iatrogenic Damage As Treatment

Despite attempts to dismiss and discredit his contribution, psychiatrist RD Laing’s position in the pantheon of twentieth century thinkers is relatively secure. I was reading recently where somebody claimed R.D. Laing’s reputation needed rehabilitating. I don’t think this is so. The spirit of R.D. Laing is always there lingering in the background. He can’t go away, establishment or anti-establishment. He is present, cultural icon or counter-cultural guru. The same cannot be said of some of his associates, for example, David Cooper. I’ve seen his Wikipedia page grow less informative over the course of time. David Cooper’s reputation, if anyone had the interest or inclination, could probably use some serious rehabilitating.

Every time I mention so called anti-psychiatry I have misgivings. I feel I am going to be misunderstood. I am not so called pro-psychiatry in the slightest. The problem is biological medical model psychiatry. This school of psychiatry dominates the entire profession. Biological psychiatry is responsible for an epidemic of iatrogenic damage done to people in the mental health system. Biological psychiatry is behind an increased mortality rate among that population. Biological psychiatry is intimately tied to, and in bed with, the pharmaceutical industry. We need a dramatic paradigm shift away from this chemical quick fix approach to social and personal problems to an approach that realizes drugs aren’t solutions, problems aren’t illnesses, and drugs are a part of the problem. We have created a prescription drug culture today that is killing people.

If 95 % of psychiatrists are bad, and I believe that crediting the profession with 5 % good doctors is probably an over estimation, then there is not a whole lot of good to be said about that profession. We would not be in any worst state if the profession of psychiatry were eliminated altogether. People would actually be more likely to improve, given psychiatry’s cozy relationship to the drug industry, without the profession altogether rather than with it. The fact of the matter is that people labeled ‘schizophrenic’ recover, and do a lot better, more frequently where they have never been introduced to the pharmaceutical products used to treat the condition than where they are given drugs. The drugs are impediments to recovery, and worse, they are damaging in themselves. There have, in fact, been instances where the point of no return has been crossed.

This domination of biological psychiatry has meant tragedy on a worldwide scale. This tragedy is the result of confusing intended “help” with actual harm. Real assistance has human features, and it doesn’t come in liquid and capsule forms. Conceive throw away people, and throw away people end up thrown away. One way to throw them away is to contain them in places where they will only receive custodial care. Another way is to make the custodian a chemical substance. So long as so few people are doing anything about it, this tragedy can only continue to grow. Many people think they are actually doing something good when they are harming other people. This harming of people is not a good thing, and it is a point that must be made again and again. Loving people are not hurting people. Right now it is essential to change directions, we need more concern and less harm shown to those whom we so often scapegoat.

R.D. Laing and David Cooper were trail blazers. They were experimenters in a field that permitted very few experiments. These experiments pointed the way to a better approach to the problem than compounding it. Without their experiments, the later more successful experiment of Loren Mosher, the Soteria Project, might never have gotten off the ground. Some of us are hopeful that more encouraging signs are in the wind. I am aghast at all the people, given psychiatric labels, with physical injuries that came of the treatment they received for those labels. No injury of the body is the solution to an injury in the mind. No amount of fantasizing otherwise is going to make thought organic. Poison, on the other hand, will give the wounded thought an injured body, just as a cessation of poison may, but not always, return the body to health. I understand that some people are receiving money for tending the wounds of mind and body. I think a career of healing people vastly preferable to a career of keeping people in ill health. What we need today is more of the former and less of the latter.

The Extraterrestrial Checklist

I’ve had a few people recommend for me to read Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test, but I have no desire to do so. Everything I’ve read about this book tells me that it doesn’t speak to me. Frankly, I have had enough of labeling people so-called psychopaths, what with the demonizing that takes place every time a suspect of an alleged crime comes up for trial. Maybe it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who wrote, “They’re not like us.”

LeftLion, whatever that is, apparently feels differently. The following Q&A is from Jon Ronson – LeftLion’s favourite journalist, in conversation with James Walker.

The Psychopath Test highlighted the flaws of constructing a checklist to determine this mental condition but as a society we have to do something to protect us from them. What did you learn?

Suddenly we’re in this little us and them dichotomy involving society and, I imagine, anti-society.

It’s impossible to come up with a simple answer but I think psychopaths exist. There’s no doubt about that; whether they’re born or made I don’t know. But they definitely exist. It’s a real condition and they’re dangerous because they’ve got no empathy, so there’s no talking sense to them. Yet, when this psychopath checklist is out in the world, if it’s misused, and I certainly have been a misuser of it (laughs), it can be a really dangerous thing. You can reduce a person to a checklist and obviously that’s no good. So there’s no definitive conclusion to draw, which is a good thing. But when it comes to mental health both extremes cause terrible, terrible trouble and when I say both extremes I mean the anti-psychiatry movement who think that mental illnesses don’t even bloody exist and the psychiatry mainstream. In a way they’re both as flawed as each other and you have to try and find a sensible grey area in the middle.

Psychiatry and anti-psychiatry are extremes…Yeah, right, and that leaves everybody else to come up with their own conclusions.

In the first place, there is no anti-psychiatry movement proper. Anti-psychiatry was a term coined by David Graham Cooper, a psychiatrist, that was never really even picked up by his colleagues and associates. Instead it’s this word biological medical model psychiatry, the predominate school of psychiatry today, would use to stifle it’s critics. Criticism, and the more criticism the more so, is equated with this mostly fictional anti-psychiatry movement. Anti-psychiatry, meaning anything other than biological psychiatry, has been proclaimed discredited by biological psychiatry. Furthermore, disagreeing with the Church of Biological Psychiatry is accounted heresy by the Church of Biological Psychiatry. Heretics from the Church of Biological Psychiatry are subject to impromptu and spontaneous, if inconsequential, diagnosis.

As for existence, the boogieman exists, he just might not be the boogieman that’s keeping your nightlight burning, Mr. Ronson. Sleep tight. Watch out for little pink elephants while you’re at it.

Poor and struggling people “mental disorder” prone. Duh!

The UK Daily Mail reports, The true cost of debt: People struggling to pay loans are ‘three times more likely to have mental health problems’, as if this were news. Why am I not at all surprised?

Among people with the most difficult debt challenges, including arrears on mortgage or rent payments, the rate of mental health problems rises to three times higher than in the general population, scientist said.

People with money problems have “mental” problems. Any excuse will do. Maybe you can get the government (i.e. taxpayers) to pay your way if you, personally, cannot afford to pay your own way.

He [University of Nottingham Dr. John Gathergood] said: ‘One striking finding of my research is that many people with debt problems describe feelings of being unable to concentrate on day-to-day activities or make normal decisions. This has wider effects on their attitudes and general health.”

Uh, right. My debt threw me. Anybody else wanna take it on? I just love those challenges other people face. Particularly when they are insurmountable.

Remember the great depression of 1929? Me neither. I’m just not that old, but we’ve had these things called economic recessions ever since that are essentially the same thing. We call them recessions so people won’t get upset, and because we know there is going to be an readjustment made to fix the thing. On the other hand, nobody has an emotional “recession” because it would mean a diminishment of the seriousness of “the problem” when “the problem” is conceived of as primarily “mental”.

I wouldn’t think that many people, as a rule, want to waste their lives working on seeking a solution to an insoluble problem. “The problem” in your head is insoluble. “The problem” with the economy will eventually give way to a solution for some bodies if not for others.

Just consider, what if the “mental” problem were not all that “mental”? What then? Maybe, just maybe, that would make “the problem” in your head soluble.

The point I would like to make is that a revolution for a more equitable redistribution of wealth may result in an improvement of both conditions. This is particularly true if we are in reality talking one condition here, and that one condition is the economic condition.


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