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Consumer Empowerment Comes With A Paycheck

Disempowerment is a full time job, and that’s why I’m grateful to see an article like this one in The Guardian, bearing the headline, Why ‘putting the lunatics in charge of the asylum’ can work.

Who in their right mind would put “the lunatics in charge of the asylum”? While it may sound counter-intuitive, this approach has a long history. In 1793, the governor of an asylum at Bicêtre in France, Jean-Baptiste Pussin, noted: “When I employed a madman who had just recovered his senses, either to sweep or to assist a servant … his state improved every month, and somewhat later he was totally cured.” Pussin spoke from personal experience, he himself having been an inmate at Bicêtre 17 years earlier.

I kind of think it more absurd not to employ people who have recovered their senses than it is to employ them. If we have a lack of industry going, doing so represents a good way to expand it.

Across England, mental health services are employing “peer support workers”, for whom lived experience of mental health problems is an essential requirement of their job. These “role models of recovery” are able to give hope to people with long-term mental health problems.

Bravo! We’ve got something similar going on here in the states in many places where mental patients, or mental health consumers, after a short but intensive training, are being certified to work for the mental health field in a peer support capacity.

Why are these employment opportunities so important? (Re: disempowerment is a full time job.) Well, because work beats bullshit. The need to warehouse people is lessened where some of these people, or people formerly with ‘broken brains’ if you prefer, can be shown to work effectively in the brain repair business. Pardon my indulgence in the jargon of the trade.

Historically, the prevailing view of schizophrenia was that it was a degenerative illness and once diagnosed, you were faced with an inevitable decline. Anxious parents were told to give up hope of any kind of normal life for their once-promising son or daughter; that it was downhill from here on in. We now know this is absolutely not the case, but shifting these entrenched views within the mental health system is an ongoing challenge.

The expectation of irresponsibility is an easy one for a person to live down to. The expectation of responsibility is one that is often forgone for good once a person has received a serious psychiatric label. This responsibility in abeyance has engendered that category of people described as “adult children”. Some of these adults, amazingly enough, are fully capable of managing their own affairs.

We’re only talking about employing mental patients as peer support workers rather than turning over the governance of the asylum to them, but I foresee a time when the entire mental health system can be run by people with lived experience in that system. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers should become redundant when it is found that former mental patients can perform their roles with equal, if not superior, facility. Certainly with recovery rates as low as they can be today, some of these mental health professionals have utterly failed their clientele. (Sure, if ‘conventional wisdom’ has it that their clientelle have failed them, the professionals, so much for ‘conventional wisdom’!)

Apply a little bit of sense, and dispense with a great deal of nonsense. Any person who is financially dependent upon other people is in need of a salary and a job. Any person who is in need of a purpose in life, needs to be put to good use. The notion that we have broken and incapable people is not so apt as the notion that we have under-appreciated and under-utilized people. Isn’t it a shame, when you’ve got a meaningless routine, that purposeful activity is not always on the agenda?

The Institute of Psychiatry and Rethink, both mentioned in this article, are to be commended for promoting recovery in mental health services. Non-recovery, if you haven’t noticed, doesn’t work.

32 Responses

  1. I think a person who has been through a similar experience is in a position where they can help someone else going through a “psychotic” episode. In fact, I think it would give hope to people to know that they can fully recover and become part of the community where they live.

    My only concern with this is that I think people who fully recover need to be seen as people who can do other things as well… Own their own business; find success in a number of ways besides the mental health system… Many do… Many move on, and never look back. And that’s okay too… In fact, I think that for some the only way to fully recover is to move on, and never look back.

    It would be nice to see better nutrition and exercise in these so-called “hospitals”… An environment of healing, with activities that promote helping the body and mind heal… rather than day rooms with television.


    • Duane you don’t have to worry about the people in the picture sitting in day rooms watching TV – the hospital in the picture closed in 1999. Peer support workers/advocates, etc, with experience of psychiatric treatment have been around for ages – 10, 20 years? Whether, however useful they are, they give “hope” to people is another thing – it seems like a bit of an exaggeration. In fact the whole article seems like a plug for the Institute of Psychiatry’s latest “project”. And the headline – shame on the Guardian. Anyway they are not “running the asylum”. As the historical quote says: “assist a servant”. I agree with what Duane says about other jobs – it would indeed be interesting to see how mental health services treat their own managers, doctors, etc, who have received psychiatric treatment. It is possible to have a successful career in the UK post psychiatric treatment – look at Alistair Campbell as a shining example. But that doesn’t mean it is usual.

      • Maybe patients should be running the hospitals. I think patients and former patients should be in charge of the mental health system anyway. How much preferable if mental health professionals were actually serving their charges in fact rather than merely in rhetoric and jargon? As is, the mental patient serves the career aims and lifestyle of the mental health professional to his or her own detriment. End forced treatment, and such an altered situation might be entirely possible.

    • Duane, I fully agree with you about the need to see people who have recovered as able to do other things. Available work within the mental health system can only be seen as something of a mixed blessing. People who do work in the mental health system are often susceptable to the corruption rampant there. When the mental health system (i.e. treatment) is seen as an end in itself, it expands, and people don’t exit that system as a rule. When the system is seen as a means, complete recovery must be seen as the end of such treatment.

      Mental health services needs peer support specialists who will come up with innovative ways to get people in treatment employed, and on their way out of the system. We also need for more people to take on an advocacy role. Maybe they don’t realise this fact yet, but there are more ways that you can employ people than as adult baby sitter assistants. Such is the way it often becomes, in many instances, with the mental health professional in the role of the adult baby sitter, and the peer support specialist (mental health paraprofessional) in the role of the adult baby sitter helper. We’ve got a real monster we’re facing, and that’s the problem, while the mental health system is expanding beyond the walls of traditional hospital, how do we break free of the mental health ghetto, and foster life, success, and living rather than more ill health, impoverishment, and death?

      In some places holistic, nutritional and exercise treatments are being introduced. I’d like to see drug-free treatments available to everyone everywhere. Unfortunately, taking a stand against forced treatment in a treatment setting can get you canned. I have to admire the people who can still manage in such an environment, and who don’t sacrifise their integrity entirely. When you’ve got people being killed by the system, it grows more and more crucial to get people in there who can do something about this kind of thing.

    • I don’t think it is OK to never look back. To never give another thought to the millions of others who are being tortured by psychiatry. These people should be helping to spotlight the horrors.

      • I don’t think it’s okay either, B, but that doesn’t prevent many people from wanting to put a bad experience behind themselves. The connection between treatment and harm still hasn’t been made by many people. A lot of this evasiveness stems from all the deception involved in mental health treatment in the first place. I’d like to see the growing mortality rate among people in the mental health system become a matter of public dialogue everywhere, and especially in places where it belongs like institutes of higher education. I think the problem is that we’re dealing with a generally uncharismatic population of people, and that this fact tends to make the finger pause over the compassion or sympathy button as far as the larger public is concerned. This uncharismatic view might be the result of prejudice, but that doesn’t prevent it from existing.

  2. Peer support workers are expected to work for free or at least to volunteer their services. They never get paid for what their services are worth.

    • I’ve seen where peer support specialists have received paying jobs, often at little more than minimum wage, but at a wage nonetheless. These jobs can be tenuous, and you’ve got a point there. I’ve also seen where some communities are fain to employ them, and where they’ve been reduced to working for nothing, if not peanuts. Budget cutbacks can put them on disability as well. I also know that sometimes wage paying jobs start as volunteer non-wage matters. I, in fact, know a situation of where consumer liaisons work for a hospital on salary at a position that began on a voluntary basis. I think the situation differs from place to place and, of course, it reflects the marginalised, disempowered, and oppressed situation that we have struggled so long and so hard against. Changes come, but they don’t come for free, and they only arrive after a struggle for those changes. I think this bleak situation subject to change in the long run.

      The other problem is that that coat has another side. Not every ex-patient wants to turn warder, and some of them even have a little bit of their backbone, despite allegations of anosognosia or denial, remaining intact.

  3. These people – peer support workers are expected to work for free!!!

    If they are paid it is usually only a token or at most expenses or a small honorarium. They are never paid a salary commensurate for the work they do.

    • Yes, and some people go the higher education route. It is possible to get a degree in psychology, and to effect change in that fashion. I wouldn’t say that the higher education route is necessarily the only or the best one to take. There is prejudice there, too, to be faced by those who chose to come out of the former mental patient closet. I also imagine that there are people in the “mental health” services field who have elected to seal their lips in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” fashion.

      Sometimes the best route to take is in choosing another field that doesn’t involve contributing to a number of false epidemics in fraudulent diagnoses.

      • In my case I had had a succesful career before I was committed and diagnosed with bipolar for the first time when I was 50 years old.

        I had been a Professional Forester. I had worked as a consultant because it gave me a variety of things to do. Government work I found boring.

        One of the projects I managed by myself was a Forest Inventory of 10,000 square miles of North West Ontario. Which involved feeding and housing about 40 employees and co-ordinating their movements to make samples. over the 10,000 sqare mile area using Helicopters from one Helicopter company and float planes from two separate Airplane companies. Quite a job!

        I also helped set up and was the first Chairman of the Pacific Section of The Canadian Institute of Forestry.

        In 1983 when there was a slump in the Forest Industry. My wife and I made a deal that whoever got a job first the other would go wherever the Job was. My wife got her job first as an executive assistant to a Member Of Parliament and we moved to Ottawa where she worked on Parliament Hill. There were not many Douglas Fir trees on Parliament Hill where I could get work as a forester. However I had computer skills. I am not much of a typist but I “knew” computers. I started off with a temporary part-time job inputting data obtained from elections.

        I was passed from one MP’s office to another. The Political Party I worked for Had 26 M.P.s. I ended up working in 19 MP’s offices. When a new member was elected I worked full time for them.

        This gave me a unique insight into the political process!

        After being discharged from Eric Martin Psychiatric Hospital I became a “high functioning consumer”. I could not get a job in my own Profession. I was over 50 years old and had a “mental illness”. Two strikes against me.

        I became involved in “Mental Health(death) consumer” activities even though I did not consider myself a “consumer” – perhaps a “survivor”.

        I became Chairman of the West Coast Mental Health Network run by and for Mental Health “consumers”. This was in 1994 or 1995. If you google “West Coast Mental Health Network” you will find it is still running.

        During my time as Chairman we had two projects that I used my organisational skills in helping to set up – properly.

        “Gallery Gachet” an Art Gallery and workshop. Again it was run by and for mental Health(death) consumers. If you google “Gallery Gachet” you will find it is still running.

        The other project I worked on was helping setting up “Unity Housing” as a fully functional organisation. The “authorities” wanted to shut it down so I stepped in and co-managed and reorganised it. I spent about 80% of my time with it for about 9 months. Again, if you google Unity Housing you will find it is still running.

        You have seen the sign “You don’t have to be crazy to work here – but it helps” Being Chairman of an organisation where to be a member you HAD to be mentally ill had its problems. How do you get an agorophobic person to a meeting?

        I did all this without getting paid. After all I was only a “consumer”.

        “High functioning mental Health(death) consumers” had to get involved in a lot of things.

        Our Provincial (State) Mental Health Hospital was being downsized so there was a committee set up by the Eric Martin hospital administration to decide how to accommodate the patients who would be sent to the local hospital from the BIG provincial one. I was asked, along with another “high functioning” consumer to serve on the committee. She had skills that I did not have. She was much younger and has since gone back to University and has completed a Masters Degree in Conflict Resolution. We were both valued members of the team. One of my most memorable experiences was the afternoon where I persuaded them to work the agenda from the bottom up. Consumer interests were always at the bottom of the agenda and we sometimes never managed to complete the agenda.

        There was always snacks at the meals. Excellent food provided by the hospital kitchens – especially for their managemnt personnel. Some times it provided my only meal for the day.

        After one meeting all the other members of the committees went home with their Beemers and Land Rovers to their homes in upscale neighbourhoods. I was too proud to ask for a lift. As I did not have bus fare I had to walk home to the homeless shelter where I was staying.

  4. People who make it out cannot be expected to be responsible for others. That has to be a personal choice. I am in favour of applying tax breaks to encourage businesses to take on survivors as we have discussed previously. Any forging of relationships that helps people to get into the working environment is a good thing. The more people out in the community at large the better. That is the way to gradual acceptance.

    People who do decide to work with others having a hard time can relate and help much more than those who have never been through it. Peer support is excellent, but it certainly should be paid work. That it is “purposeful activity” has value to the worker but I do not want to see it turn into exploitation.

    The day rooms with televisions are still going strong. I went to visit an old lady in hospital recently and was pretty shocked by the conditions. Ghastly hard plastic seats, blue lino, hollering inmates, echoes ringing around the walls and high ceilings, complete lock down. The elderly and confused are a whole subset of the asylum dwellers.

    • “People who make it out cannot be expected to be responsible for others.”

      What others? People who don’t ‘make it out’? Now, that’s not very responsible, is it? And what should these escapees do, work for a big corporation, like the corporation that manufactures psychiatric drugs? I don’t think that’s very responsible either.

      The tax break theory doesn’t always hold water. If your survivor is an everyman, maybe, but not because he or she is a survivor. Surviving can mean, in this instance, taking advantage of the employment that comes of tax breaks according to theory.

      Peer support, as a specialty, has its up side and its down side. Up side: its an employment opportunity and it pays. There is also the chance of doing some good. Down side: it means the mental health system, and the mental health system makes doing that good the kind of thing that can get a person the sack. I conceive of a time when peers will have more input and power than they presently do. Problem: we need peers, or somebody, working with business leaders, and getting people jobs outside of the mental health system, too. We also need people who aren’t in the business of kissing up, people who can do a little whistle blowing and advocacy work as well. There are peer support specialists, certified, who do little except kiss up.

      I don’t know about the day rooms with the TV set always blaring, but I know some day treatment facilities that are pretty depressing places full of depressed and pathetic looking people. As many times as you tell people not to be stupid, some people continually fall for the plastic bait. All the phony pretense becomes disgusting and unhealthy. All the saccharine condesension crippling and enfeebling. I’ve got better things to do than waste my time in a place that is going to ruin my health. I realise that it can take time for some people to reach the punch line in this blackest of jokes.

  5. Here we go.

    No, it isn’t responsible. And there is no reason why they should be responsible. They have their own lives to live and if they do not want to look back, then that is their business. That there are those who want to is a good thing, but it has to be their choice; not some sense of guilt foisted upon them. And it is a big leap from there to suggest that they are going to work for psychiatric drug making companies. That is a flight of fancy of yours to be provocative. Should they choose to do so, however, they shouldn’t be considered ‘traitors to the cause’. They have the right to self-determination.

    What you said isn’t quite clear to me. Basically, I think that, in the US in particular, there needs to be an incentive for companies to take on survivors; whether that be a tax break of some kind or a forced quota. Segregation seems to come naturally, therefore the issue probably needs a bit of a push.

    • Oh, yes, it is. Responsibility and accountability go along with that other great asset we have, freedom. Irresponsible describes the behavior of children and fools. Criminals, too. People can be caged on account of their irresponsible actions.

      I’m all for self-determination. It’s just where one person’s self-determination would interfere with the self-determination of another person that I have a problem. I choose to fight for the rights of people impacted by the mental health system. I could turn my back on them. Instead, I see it as a matter of fighting for our rights.

      On a more fundamental and local level you have to realise that you’re dealing with people. Tax breaks and quotas are legislative measures that haven’t been, if they can be, applied in this situation to this population. You’ve got such a fraction, in fact, that I think you must be a little more personable and discrete in many instances. I think really we need people working with local business leaders, and trying to show how it is in their interests to employ and utilize this workforce. The problem we’ve got stems from not making any effort of the sort at all. Innovation, and community involvement, are key here.

      • Oh, no, it isn’t! (You may not get that – see “pantomime”.)

        Freedom is relative.

        “Oh, yes, it is” what, anyway? One can be responsible and accountable in any walk of life. Not being held personally responsible for someone else is not the same as acting in an irresponsible manner.

        Not only children, fools and criminals, but the supposedly mentally ill.

        “People can be caged on account of their irresponsible actions.”

        Here, we are into territory where we need to consider what constitutes “irresponsible” as the incarceration of people for their so-called “irresponsible” actions is key to the whole forced treatment question. Who gets to determine what is enough of an “irresponsible” action to render incarceration the solution?

        Anyone who has been through the mental health system may be glad to see the back of it and that is their right. If you try and force people through any means, you become no better than those you wish to overturn.

        You “choose” and that is the point. You cannot expect everyone to make the same choice as you or you are encroaching on their self-determination. The best things you can do are educate and lead by example.

      • Freedom is an absolute. There is no escaping it. You are free regardless.

        If you are with a murderer during the commission of the crime, and you don’t do something about it, you can be held accountable under the law. We are personally responsible for the behavior of other people in some instances.

        If you choose to be an “adult child”. So be it, G M. I won’t forswear my own responsibility for my own actions.

        Good people do bad things. “Sane” people get locked up when they are mistaken for “insane” people. The problem is one of circumventing the US constitution. Given due process, it would be harder to lock up “well” people. People in the mental health system don’t have the same rights accorded everybody else, and this, in my opinion, is the cruxt of the problem. They should be accorded the same rights.

        I’m for repeal of mental health law. I’m pro-choice and I’m against force in mental health treatment. Now what is it about against force that you failed to understand?

        I expect people to make their own choices, even if they choose to deny they have those choices to make.

  6. sombrioio, your post did not show on my screen until today.

    I read your story with a smile at how much you have achieved in life despite your troubles, then gasped open-mouthed at your final remarks.

    You clearly have a lot to offer and I hope your situation has improved since then.

  7. Don’t be ridiculous. Did you think freedom was an absolute when you were incarcerated? Or do you mean the existentialist freedom of the mind? In that case, you chose to be there.

    Here we have an example of ‘Thought Crime’. If the observer is terrified out of their wits, that is fine. If they are enjoying it, that is not. I concur. This law varies. We are responsible for the behaviour of our children.

    Survivors of institutions are not responsible for the people still in them. That there are people who choose to make a difference is a good thing. But it is THEIR CHOICE, not yours.

    This is not about me and my choices, it is about you expecting people who have survived institutions to work in the same business. If they don’t want to then so be it. Personal responsibility is not the same thing as you foisting this upon other people.

    I think you are arguing against a rhetorical question here.

    “Here, we are into territory where we need to consider what constitutes “irresponsible” as the incarceration of people for their so-called “irresponsible” actions is key to the whole forced treatment question. Who gets to determine what is enough of an “irresponsible” action to render incarceration the solution?”

    In your world there are citizens and there are criminals (who are also citizens, before you get started). No grey areas. I do not think it is that simple and I am looking for solutions.

    I am pro-choice, I am against forced mental health treatment and I am for repeal of existing mental health laws that allow their enforcers to incarcerate distressed individuals. I have no idea why you consistently choose to think the opposite.

    “I expect people to make their own choices, even if they choose to deny they have those choices to make.”

    So if they don’t choose what you want them to choose, they are in denial. You have been spending too much time with psychiatrists!

    You can’t go around bleating about being against force if you want to emotionally blackmail other survivors into doing what you think they should be doing. They are FREE now, remember?!

    Coercion is force.

    • If this is true…

      I am pro-choice, I am against forced mental health treatment and I am for repeal of existing mental health laws that allow their enforcers to incarcerate distressed individuals. I have no idea why you consistently choose to think the opposite.

      …then we shouldn’t be arguing. If this is true, why are you being so querulous and disagreeable?

      I’m not trying to emotionally blackmail anybody, and I resent the accusation. I’m just trying to use a language that allows for accountability. I’m definitely not “foisting” anything upon anybody else. I’m not the one doing any forcing! So what is your point?

      You could make an anti-choice and pro-force argument, as far as I know. I wouldn’t make an anti-choice and pro-force argument. It is as if you are trying to accuse me of doing so, and that is simply not the case.

  8. Of course it is true. I have stated it often enough. As I have stated the fact that we have the same views on most things and should not be arguing. Has the penny finally dropped, then?

    I find you to be the one who is querulous and disagreeable whenever I make a comment. You persistently fail to read my posts thoroughly and jump on perceived differences that are not there. It is a nuisance to consistently have to state our similarities all the time when you are always looking for differences.

    We do disagree, however, on extreme mental and emotional distress constituting illness. There are also other aspects of the situation we have opposing views upon; the science of gene expression and brain mapping being notable.

    You say you want to see former patients have a sense of responsibility towards current patients. That is just a guilt trip aimed at people who have had enough to deal with already. It has to be their choice. That’s all.

    Dunno though, we are probably both suffering from Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

    • You want the last word, you can have the last word, nonetheless I think our differences are somehow more fundamental than you suppose. You’ve adopted the line that distress is “sickness”. I haven’t adopted such a line. I’m not sure that you are opposed to forced treatment myself, but because you are trying to suggest that you are, I will leave it at that.

      Please, we don’t need people labeling people on this blog! Let’s keep the ODD label in the DSM cow pasture where it belongs. If you continue insulting people on this blog by applying psychiatric labels to them, I will feel compelled to refer to my own book of insults for an appropriate reply.

  9. Hey! I am not “suggesting” I am opposed to forced treatment, I am telling you that I am. Stop with the suspicious attitude all the time.

    Yes we differ on how we look at distress. Intense and/or prolonged distress makes people ill. It is hardly rocket science.

    And what are you talking about here? That was a joke. You can be pretty slow on the uptake at times. I haven’t insulted one person through labeling on this blog, so I can hardly “continue” to do so. I first posted on this site because of your own labeling. And here you go again. Threatening me with potential insults now. Well you are not discriminatory and judgemental at all now, are you?

    The way you read my comments is severely skewed insofar as you read them from the perspective of conflict. I simply read your comments and pick up on things that I think need exploring.

    You see, I am here to question and discover. These things are fundamental to identifying and establishing ways to change. I am clear on many issues but there are others that need careful consideration in order to avoid the introduction of systems that can be abused in the same way.

    What I am discovering at the moment is that you want everyone to think the same way no matter what. Comments that do not match yours pretty much word for word, belief structure to belief structure, appear to be unwelcome. In this way you run the danger of being as rigid and separatist as those you seek to overthrow.

    “How can you think of saying to your brother, ‘I will remove the mote from your eye,’ when you cannot see past the beam in your own eye?”

    There is plenty of that going on here.

    • Show a little respect, please! I won’t have people labeling people on this blog in jest or in earnest. You can give yourself a label, that’s Okay, but don’t implicate me in your folly. A person can volunteer the label they’ve been given by a psychiatrist, if he or she wants to do so, but I’m not asking for a person to that either. A person can also reject any such label, too. I will support a person’s decision to disagree with so-called expert opinion to his or her heart’s content. I imagine that many a path to recovery began in just such a fashion. I’m not going to be labeling anyone, and I’m not going to applaud anyone labeling anybody else.

  10. That’s fine. No problem. I wasn’t being disrespectful towards you, MFV, I was having a joke with you about us. I look for the humour in everything; it keeps me sane(!)

    In return, I ask that you stop labeling me. You do not have the right to tell me what my views are. You can question, of course, but please do not continue to attribute beliefs to me that I do not hold.

    Thank you.

    • You are accusing me of labeling you, G M, and that is something I haven’t done. There are something like 354 psychiatric labels in the DSM-IV and I haven’t attached a single one of them to you.

      I’m not telling you what your views are about anything, you are trying to tell me. You say one thing, and then you say another. I don’t have to agree with anything you say. If you are going to comment on this blog, your opinions are your own. When I attribute beliefs to you that you do not hold, fine. All you have to do is clarify, and then there can be no confusion. Should you not be able to explain your views sufficiently, that is your problem, and it is not mine.

  11. I was not talking about psychiatric labeling.

    I would cut and paste examples of you doing so if I could be bothered.

    What happens is that you project your own meaning onto my words or pick up on something you have misunderstood, then when I explain, you think I am saying something different when I have been saying the same thing all along. You have a comprehension problem born of a notion of opposition. I am astounded by how you persist in not only getting hold of the wrong end of the stick, but in picking up a different stick entirely.

    I spend a lot of time clarifying already, by which time you are off and running with your perceived conflict. I once said after an ironic biblical reference that you took seriously (Re. stigma – If it was good enough for Jesus) that I should perhaps let you know in future when I am being ironic. It would appear that this plays out for other nuances.

    Just relax a bit and instead of jumping to the wrong conclusions, may I suggest that you ask for clarification if you have trouble understanding or if you feel ruffled. There are cultural differences in our use of language that we must allow for.

    • I did mean psychiatric labeling. You are saying you mean some other kind of labeling, but you can’t be specific as to exactly what kind of labeling that is. I understand you seem to think I’m persecuting you somehow, and that is not my intent.

      I don’t see why you are going on about this misinterpretation business. I say my piece. You say yours. I’m not projecting anything onto what you say. “You have a comprehension problem born of a notion of opposition.” Whatever that means. I say, bull shit! This metaphorical “stick” I can do without altogether. I’m not into fetching “sticks”.

      I am an atheist, and I was reacting to your religuous reference in that spirit. You don’t need to tell me everytime you are being ironic. I am quite often being ironic myself, or maybe you can’t pick up on that.

      You contradict yourself, and then accuse me of jumping to wrong conclusions. I don’t need your personal animosity, but I do find it amusing. It’s not like I did anything to provoke it.

  12. Oh, let me see.. Querulous disagreeable nitpicking adult child in favour of the use of force. It’s my Oppositional Defiant Disorder kicking in again!!

    Well, for the first three, just take a look in the mirror. For the fourth, weren’t you the one who said ner ner ner ner ner the other day?! Like I said, it takes two.

    The fact is, you only started with all of that because you had wrapped yourself in knots with your argument. Oh, look over there everybody! Standard magician’s trick.

    As for the last one, just forget it. I have said often enough that force is the worst way to approach a person in distress.

    Oh, I have a persecution complex now? That would be my Paranoid Personality Disorder. Is that one in the book? I could call up and suggest it if not.. I don’t see you threatening to silence anyone else or threatening to insult them. No, must be me; I better take my meds.

    “You have a comprehension problem born of a notion of opposition.”

    I thought you were smart enough to understand that.. It means that you invest everything I say with your own idea of conflict. Understand that?

    So you don’t want a stick. How about a ball?

    Well, the Jesus reference was meant in the spirit of humour.

    Yes, I can tell when you are being ironic. I think you find it less easy to spot when I am. Like I said, it is a cultural thing. Irony is built in.

    You do jump to the wrong conclusions. It is not an accusation, it is an observation. Show me what you think is a contradiction and I will show you a wrong conclusion on your behalf. Considering the ramifications of change or of existing structures is not the same thing as positing a belief.

    Maybe this is the crux of the matter. I hold no personal animosity towards you whatsoever. If you read my words with that in mind then you are going to misunderstand. This is all banter to me. Yes I have strong views on the key subjects we discuss, but mild irritation with your inability to keep up or astonishment at your wildly inaccurate responses is about as bad as it gets.. When we go off on a discourse about something like etymology – or entomology as you prefer to call it – I think it is a laugh. Likewise, you amuse me.

    No, no. You are not in the least bit provocative. And nor am I.

    • Well, at least there is humor to made of our disagreements.

      Attaching psychiatric labels to people has done a great deal of harm. It’s just a hop, leap, and skip from Oppositional Defiant and Paranoid Personality Disorders to something like full blown Schizophrenia or Mania. Sometimes the problem is the circumstance and not the individual. Labeling a person, and keeping them in an intolerable situation, can lead to further labeling. The primarily drug treatment paradigm is, as statistics and casualties show, very detrimental.

      I corrected my spelling in the case of etymology. Thanks for noticing.

  13. No problem! (I know you did; I was just jerking your chain.)

    It’s not just that, it is the fact that they are trying to turn personality traits and independent thinking into illnesses. I am proud to stand up and be counted and say that I have Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It is a ridiculous notion; a complete joke of an idea. If you look at the supposed symptoms, they are basically saying that if you don’t agree with them, you are sick. Questioning authority is fundamental to change. This attempt to turn revolt against authority into a medical condition is a blatant attempt to control the masses. Any individual who dares speak against authority will be removed from society. It’s outrageous. And people are starting to notice.

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