In the been there, done that, department: The I don’t care whether we arrive at concensus or not form

Fill in the blank with one of the group of words from the right.

Mental Patients Liberation

Peer

Peer Support

Peer Specialist

Consumer

Consumer Empowerment

Psychiatric Survivor

Consumer/Survivor/Ex-patient

C/S/X

Ex-patient

User and Survivor

Anti-psychiatry

Anti-stigma

Peer Recovery

Recovery

Mad

Mad Pride

Mental Patients

Mental Health

Self-help

Disability

Ability

We are the __________ movement.

It’s Okay to be withdrawn, anti-social, socio or psychopathic, too.

There, I had my little transactional analyst moment. Thank you. Good night!

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12 Responses

  1. It’s a good thing that people who at least partly understand what has been done or is being done to them can find support. So a name is helpful that identifies the people or their experiences. But I don’t like any of the terms you’ve offered. It’s difficult, maybe impossible to avoid using something that sounds like a slogan and it also risks buying into and then losing to the shrinks’ well rehearsed arguments.

    I keep it very simple with the shrinks, give them no room to smile condescendingly. I tell them, “You are a liar and a c###.”

    Stop Shrinks
    Shrinks Lie
    Die Shrink

    It’s hard to think of a name or short description for the phenomenon of being lied to and lied about.

    “We Who Have Been Lied To And Lied About By People Who Pose As Doctors.”

    It’s funny isn’t it, that the vast majority of regular physicians are decent smart honest people but virtually no psychiatrists are.

    Maybe psychiatry only exists as a means of getting the imbeciles out of real medicine so that real physicians and surgeons don’t have to suffer them.

    • Not even Ability? *joking*

      I stuck Anti-stigma up there because I added Anti-psychiatry. Anti-stigma was a little like offering Mental Illness as one of the word groups, too. Imagine a Mental Illness Movement, if you would. That’s a real winner now, isn’t it?

      My reasons for rejecting Consumer as a movement title and identity is two-fold. I think part of the reasons for some people adopting Consumer had much to do with Ralph Nader, and Nader’s Raiders, adoption of the term. What people don’t generally know is that Ralph Nader has done a little flirting, at one time or another, with the Treatment Advocacy Center, America’s number 1 lobbyist and proponent of forced mental health treatment. The TAC is pushing for every state in the Union to adopt involuntary outpatient commitment laws. For this reason alone, I will never cast a vote for Ralph Nader when he runs for public office. According to the Wiki Doc TAC page, “The Treatment Advocacy Center has support from Ralph Nader and other leftists as well as members of the American Enterprise Institute on the right.” This sentence, although lacking a source citation, is followed by another sentence at Wiki Doc that speaks to my more fundamental reason for rejection of the term, “It is considered by some to be a bipartisan effort to take away the civil rights of a specific group of American citizens.”

      Who would “consume” forced treatment? Well, the truth of the matter is that people in the mental health system have so few rights that when they have treatment forced on them, they get a tab for this forced and unwanted treatment. Much of this treatment tends to be harmful, or maltreatment. Why would anybody want to “consume” what destroys him or her? That treatment which is not harmful is often ineffective, and a total waste of time. Now tell me, is a total waste of time worth “consuming”? I actually advocate non-compliance with mental health treatment plans. A person who is non-compliant is a person who is not buying, or a person who is NOT “consuming” in other words. I advocate not “consuming” mental health services. I think it much healthier not to “consume”, in fact, than it is to “consume” such services.

      Many people are actually against “consuming” mental health services. Some of these people are actively resisting the expanding power of the psychiatric system. They are resisting what we have long called psychiatric oppression. There is no official Non-compliance Movement, nor Psychiatry Resistance Movement. Although these expressions may have not gained general acceptance in the movement lexicon that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a number of people whom they describe fittingly enough.

      I was thinking of adding Mental Patients Human Rights, or Mental Patients Civil Rights, too, but I thought doing might prove a little excessively wordy, and there is no need to say what is implicit anyway. What we’ve got, in my case, is a struggle for human rights. We are not struggling for the previlege of an elite. We are struggling for the human rights of human beings. In the case of mental patients, those rights are all too often being violated. The mental health system is a way in which people are reduced to second class citizens. They are disempowered, marginalized, and their citizenship rights are trashed. The looney bin is where annoying people, disappointing relatives, and otherwise unwanted people are stashed. I’m not for sweeping such people under the proverbial rug in this fashion. I favor caring for people, even uncared for people, instead.

      I think a lot of progressive events began with a Mental Patients Liberation Movement, and that expression still resonates with me. A Liberated Mental Patient is a Former Mental Patient. A Former Mental Patient is a Recovered Human Being. A Recovered Human Being is a person who may, or may not, have overcome what has been referred to as a serious “Mental Disorder”. A Recovered Human Being is a person who has been been liberated from an oppressive mental health system. I’m still good with Mental Patients Liberation myself. I could see liberating a number of mental health service consumers from mindless consumption, too, if they wanted to be liberated.

  2. Former is good. Mental Patient is good. Liberation is good.

    What about Liberation for Former Patients. The word “Mental” or “Psych”inserts itself because it’s been left out. But you haven’t had to put it in, so you can deny that you were ever truly a patient.

    Let’s say you’re out in public wearing it on a T-shirt.

    A person is likely to think several things virtually simultaneously.

    – He’s a mental patient.
    – It might be something to do with medical or surgical errors or war vets.
    – He’s a mental patient hence the word Liberation. But why can’t I see the word Mental or Psych? Has he left it out because he’s ashamed?
    – He doesn’t look ashamed, he wouldn’t be standing there holding a bunch of pamphlets if he was.
    – Maybe it’s a surgical error thing, he’s got Ask Me… on his T-shirt, I’ll ask him.

    Aside:
    ———————————————————————–
    Typically a person arrives at a psych hospital along with reports made by neighbours, friends, co-workers, cops etc. Much of this information is false yet forms the basis for diagnosis and treatment. The shrinks NEVER ask the right questions. They will never ask, “Do you think your family is trying to poison you?”

    The reason they don’t ask is because the person may well say, “No. I just don’t want to eat what they eat. I buy and prepare my own food…. food without certain additives and processed fats. Maybe it’s no big deal but it’s what I want. If they say I’m crazy there are things I could tell you about them.”
    ———————————————————————–

    It’s the same with the public and even with most people who themselves have been assaulted by shrinks. They don’t ask the right questions.

    So a name can elicit momentary intrigue and curiosity so as to prompt an initial question.

    The response can be a short answer which also serves as an explanation as to the meaning and choice of the name.

    The holy grail is to get a person to ask the right question WITHOUT appearing to prompt or lead them. It is a VERY powerful thing to be able to get people to think they have thought of something themselves.

    For example three or four quick exchanges with a stranger could elicit the question, “So are you suggesting that there is no such thing as mental illness?” The question might be tinged with sarcasm, or not, so you’d choose a response.

    I’d provide as many anecdotes as time allowed. I would also tell the person that the shrinks have no science, they only have anecdotes, but that my anecdotes are better than theirs. For one thing their anecdotes are lies.

    Conclusion:
    Same kind of thing goes whether it’s speaking to strangers in public or a website/forum with an About page.

    Also fwiw, I’m a hard Szaszian and diamond is not hard enough.

    • Mental Patient is a role. The Church of Mental Illness is, just that, a religous faith. You can’t argue with religion any more than you can argue with a woman. Mental Illness is, in the sense that Jesus Christ is, based on belief. I’m an atheist, and I’m not a convert to the Church of Mental Illness.

      Wikipedia, always a good source, has pages on the 2 movements that I am personally involved in. One is the psychiatric survivors movement, and the other is the Mad Pride movement. Psychiatric survivors are psychiatric [mis]treatment survivors. Psychiatrist E Fuller Torrey has bashed the idea of using the term psychiatric survivor the way you would cancer survivor or rape survivor, but the simple fact of the matter is that psychiatry has had many casualties, and these casualties are fact, not fiction. I think it a good thing that some people have managed to survive psychiatric maltreatment as well. Mad is a word that pre-dates the development of the term mental illness, and the medical model psychiatry that goes along with the latter term. The word mad has had many positive and negative associations with it. Couple mad with pride, and how can you lose?! The notion of Mad Pride was developed from an observation of Gay Pride celebrations. The notion of Gay Pride descended from the notion in the African American community of Black Pride.

      There is a Surgeon General’s report that refers to a Consumer and a Self-Help groups and programs. Consumer I’ve dealt with in a previous comment. There is a wikipedia page on the Self-Help as well. Some professionals have had their own criticisms of the Self-Help Movement. Self-Help can be self serving and opportunistic. Self-Help is also a section in the bookstore and in the library. Self-Help is the way some people have managed to make millions of dollars. I would add that Self-Help is closely related to pyramid schemes and other criminal scams. There are many weasels in the Mental Health henhouse, and Self-Help is one of the ways some of these weasels have managed to get there. On the other hand, Self-Help is not a matter of engaging in self-injurious behaviors, a big problem with many of those people that end up on the receiving end of treatment.

      Disability worker is another oxymoron. It’s like saying a person’s function is to dysfunction, or that a person’s dysfunction is functional. People receive Social Security Disability Insurance because it is felt that they can’t work. SSDI, as well as Medicare, itself is sometimes referred to as a disincentive to working. Many people in the mental health system don’t seem to get it. “Sick” is interpreted as not holding down a job. It takes jobs, even more than abilities or skills, to hold down a job. When the unemployment rate approaches double digits, somebody needs to take on corporatocracy. Disability workers would be out of work if there were no people with disabilities. Disability workers would also be out of work if more people with disabilities had jobs outside of the disabilities field.

      Aside:

      I once had the feeling my mother was trying to feed me rat poison. This suspicion proved not to be the case. I wasn’t asked about the matter by mental health authorities, and that’s a very good thing. Had I claimed my family was trying to poison me, it would have just served as another excuse for some doctor to poison me with neuroleptic drugs.

      Shrinks may have no science, but they are delusional enough to think they are scientific. I once had the experience of inquiring about speaking before psychology classes at a certain university, and I hit a snag there. Psychology, with fewer scientific pretensions than psychiatry, is still full of it’s own pretensions. I was turned away because of the feeling that what I’d have to say was anecdotal. This made me realise that getting somewhere in the academy is a matter of having the right connections. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Leverage, at this level, requires a few inside connections. Making these connections requires a certain amount of tact.

      I’m an avid admirer of Dr. Szasz, too. I don’t think he is beyond criticism though. His is a libertarian perspective. I’m all for the freedom he extolls, but I’m not so much in favor of the unregulated lessez-faire economy he and other right-wing libertarians support. The irony of the matter is that the libertarian perspective initially was left-wing before it was taken over by the right. What have we gotten from these unregulated market forces? Corporatocracy? A worldwide financial crisis manufactured by bankers and stock brokers? The widening devide between the rich and everybody else? My own perspective is much closer to that of a left-wing libertarian.

  3. I’ll reply para by para, so some of my paras will be a little packed.

    Yeah. If you take on the role you are agreeing to collude with the shrink. It won’t make the patient the shrinks equal and the patient knows that. The patient wants the shrink to be the parent. The patient needs to deceive themself of course to maintain this relationship but self deception is what they have been doing all along. Faith is a means of excusing oneself from self deception.

    I’ve read about those 2 movements but will look a little more. They are largish which is good but I guess sometimes at the expense of catering for arguments that make me cringe. Torrey… what can I say… maybe a bit of a rockstar… different personality… but similar in some ways to our McGorry and Hickey. I’m not keen on the term Survivor. It’s because I don’t like buzzwords. I’m stuck with having to say instead – “I recovered from the assault a different person but with more understanding about myself and other people. Not always a pleasant understanding but more real. The human condition is not pleasant overall.” I’ll often use the terms Mad or Crazy when I want to elicit the response, “I thought you said there was no such thing as mental illness.”, and you know how I will then respond to that.

    Consumer… urgh. Someone lapping at slop placed in a bowl on the floor. Self-Help… a really poor feelgood buzzword, like you say, it’s a section in a bookstore. I can test much of the reality of the world by using my senses. I can make logical deductions with my mind. As far as I know there is no patent on these processes.

    Disability…. um. I stay away from it. I’m not really interested unless a person has suffered horrific mutilation, burns or demonstrable brain damage from rapid acceleration or visible destruction of brain tissue. I don’t want to enter the world of spin inhabited by Workers. Here in Australia psych workers are applauded for diagnosing a person as disabled and then giving them a job in a coffee shop. People like McGorry have these stories put on TV.

    I was walking recently with a local drugged crazy who knows I’m a nice guy from the way I speak and move. His speech was fragmented and loud but his intention was sound, he wanted to feel better. In his childhood his mother took in stray cats and his father would sometimes kill them in cruel noisy ways in the house and break things in the house as well. His mother would also take him aside and tell him about God watching them. There are infinite varieties and degrees of sadness of these type of stories (if they are ever told) . It’s hardly surprising that children will attempt some kind of logical explanation and forecast. And we know in hindsight what some of the results can be. For example the shrinks might call it Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy. I call it Stupid Bitch. But it can and does happen.

    We can never ever know whether shrinks are delusional or dishonest. Even if an individual shrink comes clean it gives us nothing.

    The main reason psychology is less dangerous is because the practioners don’t have medical degrees. They don’t have the power of physicans and are less likely to be the type who would become a physician just so as to become a professional pervert.

    I think Szasz is about logic and responsibility. I’d sooner lie down on the ground and sleep than try to figure out what people mean by left and right or liberalism.

    • Two points.

      P1. You say, “Faith is a means of excusing oneself from self deception.” I say, “Faith can be a means of deceiving oneself.”

      P4. Disability can be a matter of survival. However we refer to these physical handicaps, physical handicaps are a reality. In some respects, they resemble SOCIAL handicaps. Those people with psychiatric labels who haven’t been physically disabled by psychiatric drugs often face SOCIAL disabilities. People with physical disabilities could, in fact, be said to face SOCIAL handicaps as well. Sometimes the disability has more to do with the beam in the eye of the beholder/other than anything else. Psychiatry and psychology, not me, would tend to blame the client.

      Logic I endorse, Rod. Pardon my politics.

  4. Mad Pride works. Mentalists is good – when taken back to the Greek origins. PsychoKillaz is my personal favourite. Time to own the terms.

    Mainstream doctors aren’t so uniformly distant from their psychiatric fellows. Too much power and ego, not enough accountability. They are quick to discredit anyone who questions them, just the same.

    Psychologists are dangerous too. They stick around and poke about in people’s heads. They have plenty of pretensions, particularly on account of the fact they didn’t make the grade for medical school.

    Anecdotal evidence and theories are what psychiatry and psychology are based upon. Providing contact with people who have first person experience should be a priority for educators.

    Szaszian thoery is something we could all do with a little of in our lives but if someone thinks they are a horse, it will only help them be a more efficient horse. If they are happy enough although, nobody else should try and change their thinking. Better a happy horse than an unhappy human.

    Mental illness does exist but it is usually temporary, like most illnesses. Cure based treatment should be the goal, not the desire to label someone for a lifetime and make money off them.

    The real reason the so-called mentally ill are treated the way they are, however, is a matter of CONTROL.

    The thread attaching people who are mentally ill or labeled so, is non-conformity. They are the inconvenient truths; the naughty ones who act up, say the unsayable, and see through all the artifice. That is why they scare the mainstream and that is why they must be kept under STRICT CONTROL.

    • I have many questions about the legimacy of using the term “mental illness” for semantic and philosophical reasons. I know that sometimes people face much emotional and social turmoil. I know that people go through personal crises. Emotional, social turmoil, and life crises, are NOT pathological. Should one call them such one would be lying. In the minutiae, when we use the term “mental illness” what we’re talking about is at best only a theory.

      I agree with you about control. When you are dealing with people who have been labeled by psychiatry, you are dealing with people who are often flamboyant, erratic, eccentric, and non-conforming. People who are, in a nutshell, described as different. The forced treatment of people labeled “mentally ill” is about our societies intolerance of difference.

  5. “Mental illness does exist…”

    OK … it does. But no one knows what it is. Or everyone does but no one can define it satisfactorily or quantify it. And shrinks are no better than cab drivers in any attempt to try. So the medical explanation should be abandoned altogether. Even if the medical model was somewhat correct I think that it would remain useless, you’d still be better off talking to a cab driver. And anything that’s useless is worse than useless unless it’s gotten rid of entirely.

    But we can’t get rid of it entirely because sometimes there might be a place for “psych” drugs. As things stand drugs need to be prescribed by a physician. A physician can join a club that call themselves psychiatrists. There’s nothing we can do to stop it and maybe we shouldn’t want to or bother to try.

    Maybe the best we can do is defend ourselves and maintaining a public protest can be one way of doing that. Hopefully we can also improve our situation in spite of the shrinks. But then I’m a narcissistic sociopath so why would I really care about anyone else? I do however offer advice and assistance to some people in my neighborhood, but only the ones that appeal to my perverse nature so as to lure them into my chambers. In this way I have something in common with the shrinks.

  6. I am not interested in having another discussion here about terminology; it leads nowhere. Whether one uses “mental illness” or “altered cognition” or whatever, it really does not matter. Without one term or another we will be left describing the phenomenon in roundabout terms that will lead us to referring to it as “the condition formerly known as mental illness”. It is a red herring of an argument so let us just recognise that.

    So, the difference between suffering from the condition formerly known as mental illness and not, is how one copes with difficult life events. There is only so much a person can deal with and that varies from person to person. We all develop coping mechanisms; some better than others.

    From a moment of madness to a lifetime of depression, we have, more than likely, all experienced the phenomenon. It is the intrusion into one’s capacity for wellbeing and happiness that is key. We will all survive a moment of madness as long as it does not cause lasting harm; it can be most exhilarating indeed. However, a serious long-lasting depression, for instance, is another matter.

    This does not mean to say that someone experiencing depression will not get over it in their own good time or with some new experiences to distract them. And it definitely does not mean that person should automatically be delivered into the clutches of psychiatrists and psychologists, who can be amongst the ultimate ignorant narcissistic sociopathic control freaks on the planet. I would take the wisdom and compassion of a friendly cab driver any day of the week.

    Essentially, doctors vary. They should be the subjects of choice by patients, who should have the opportunity to shop around for a good one; in any event.

    Some people swear by their medication. Others do not. Some people think they get better with it. Others think they get worse. Medication should not be forced on anyone who is not screaming in pain. One would not inject a patient with a broken leg with medication if they were not in pain, so why do it to someone one thinks is experiencing mental illness? It is a violation.

    It reminds me of the Nazis experimenting on the Jews. Any unprotected individual held without recourse to any law that respects their right simply to be is an easy target.

    The only people who can define mental illness and quantify it are the people who suffer from it. End of. Psychiatrists are too fond of trying to shoehorn people into their own theories, born of their own psychoses. They treat their protesting patients as if they are “ill” for doing so until the patients acquiesce and then, lo and behold, the psychiatrists were right all along. Well, how about that, everyone?

    Everybody is a potential “client” to these people and they will find something in everything you say:

    “In his childhood his mother took in stray cats and his father would sometimes kill them in cruel noisy ways in the house and break things in the house as well. His mother would also take him aside and tell him about God watching them.. ..For example the shrinks might call it Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy. I call it Stupid Bitch..”

    Dysfunctional Mother-Son Relationship Indentification and Projection with Strong Stockholm Syndrome Complications, anyone?

    Easy, isn’t it?

    Be careful what you are shovelling into people’s heads down in the basement..

    • Language is always going to be an matter for discussion. As long as the language is living, and therefore evolving, the issue will never be entirely resolved. Victims of psychiatry, psychiatric inmates, psychiatric survivors, mad folk, or whatever you want to call us, we have always been talking back to psychiatry. (BTW, Talking Back To Psychiatry is a book title. You can check it out at Amazon.com!) Of course, we haven’t always been heard. Prior to any public record you only have the terminology of psychiatry. Perhaps there is a hint rebellion in those psychiatric records, if you search them. Psychiatric jargon isn’t everything! I’m not only in favor of taking back lives; I’m also in favor of taking back the language. It may be a matter of recovery, sure, but it could also be a matter of mistaken identity and misdiagnosis. The law has not yet caught up with us. If it had, it would actually protect us. I don’t think that is the case as a rule. I think the law as it is written now is out to do us injury. Some people seem to confuse this injury with a beneficial service. Okay, all I can say is not here and not now.

  7. Absolutely. So like I keep saying, instead of arguing over terms – which is a waste of time and effort – let’s choose new ones; or at least more evolved ones. That is what you are posting about, so let’s debate it and choose. That way we do not have to keep coming back to the same tired argument. Alternatively, we can all agree that we are of the same mind in our use of the terminology here and how our use of it differs from the labeling we are aware goes on in the psychiatric profession.

    You know that I think changing the language is a step in the right direction. That way the ownership of it is established from the start.

    I like terms that include the word “cognition” because this differs from person to person; I think there is room to use terms like “heightened sense development” to describe people’s experiences that take them away from mainstream thinking.

    We do not need to stick with the old terms, but without new ones we are happy with, we are left floundering because of our need as humans to describe with language.

    Choose your own terms. Define yourself.

    I agree that the law does not serve anyone but those in power or those in a position to make money from it. Protection for the individual charged with the crime of Mental Instability is non-existent. Everyone is found guilty and a life sentence is mandatory.

    Yes, I get the argument about mistaken identity and misdiagnosis. I do not dispute it happens and I find it diabolical. I also stand for people who truly experience the world in a significantly different way that causes them acute distress. They need even more protection.

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