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Nope, No Bipolar Disorder, Not This Time. Sorry.

A New Zealand woman has been given a formal apology and an insurance payment after being hospitalized and shocked 200 times for an “illness” that she didn’t even have. The story in TVNZ bears the heading, Wrongly diagnosed woman shocked 200 times.

At 17, [Joan] Bellingham was training to be a nurse, and she claimed she was bullied by one of her tutors because she was a lesbian.

The bullying nursing tutor drove her to a hospital and had her committed for “neurotic personality disorder.”

That was 42 years ago.

Between 1970 and 1982, Bellingham was admitted to hospital 24 times and had about 200 ECT treatments.

Three years after being first admitted to the hospital, she’s received her degree in “Major Mental Disorders”.

She was in and out of hospital but was kept highly medicated. In 1973 – three years after she was first committed – she was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, a diagnosis maintained until 1982.

She has also received a Hepititis C diagnosis, thought to have been contracted while in the hospital.

She doesn’t reflect extensively, in this article, on the effects this kind of damaging and forced maltreatment might have had on her health and her life subsequently.

I wonder, hmmm. Is it possible that there are thousands and thousands of people being held at the present time in psychiatric hospitals around the world for non-existent “illnesses”? If so, I would imagine there could be a great deal of potential for more and more of this sort of coverage in the future.

18 Responses

  1. Hep C and HIV infection detections are rare (given that you go along with the idea that they exist as disease entities at all).

    The supposed tests for these supposed infections are said to have (for the hoople head public) high sensitivity and high specificity.

    The public will clamor for (when prompted) and demand high sensitivity but will NOT notice when people are falsely diagnosed as positive.

    If the prevalence of a really truly dangerous infectious disease was one in one thousand and the sensitivity of the test was 100 % then all carriers would be detected.

    If the actual prevalence of such a disease was one in one thousand and one million people were tested and the sensitivity was 100% you would reasonably expect that about a thousand people, say a figure between 900 and 1100, might be treated, quarantined, euthanized or otherwise gotten rid of. Depending on the actual circumstance that could be for the best if you think in terms of public health.

    BUT…. if the SPECIFITY of the test is 99% it means that 1% of the whole million will be diagnosed as carriers. That would be ten thousand people diagnosed as carriers. That would be about nine thousand people falsely diagnosed.

    The figures, 100% for sensitivity and 99% for specificity might still sound good to the unaffected public.

    But the public can’t even count to ten, much less perform arithmetic and worry about their tubes at the same time. ( At a party about 20 years ago my 2 yo daughter was dying to ask the adult guests whether or not they had tubes).

    It’s also no surprise to me that shrinks have often previously been practitioners of HIV medicine. They are perfectly aware of the arithmetic sleight of hand, AND they are also such cunts that they will continue to pretend to be specialists of medicine.

    • Hepititis C is a virus. HIV is a virus. “Mental illness” is nonsense. Although some people, encouraged by the likes of E. Fuller Torrey, have this cat flu theory, they still only have a theory, and there are exceptions that have to be explained.

      99 % is a good figure. People with the Occupy movement have this slogan, “We are the 99 %” . The reason is that most of the people involved in this movement are not rich. This from Wikipedia, We are the 99 %: “According to the Wall Street Journal, a person needs to earn at least $506,000 annually to be in the top 1% of the income distribution in the United States.” In the USA, again according to Wikipedia, Wealth Inequality in the United States: In 2007 “Thus, the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.”

      5 % of the US population have been given serious “mental illness” labels. After involuntary institutionalization, private insurance drainage, and disability benefits, I would wager that fewer of those people fit into either the 1 % or the 20 % category than fit into the 80 % category.

      Function makes zillions. Some functions are pretty stupid. “Mental illnesses” are determined by a person’s “inability to function”. When that function so often is highway robbery, I say it’s just as well. Should the problem become obvious enough, people are going to want to take the country back from the rich politicians who are busy primarily in feathering their own nests.

    • “BUT…. if the SPECIFITY of the test is 99% it means that 1% of the whole million will be diagnosed as carriers. That would be ten thousand people diagnosed as carriers. That would be about nine thousand people falsely diagnosed.”

      I thought the sensitivity would mitigate the -1% in specificity, but I did the math and got around 9% effective. That’s quite a drop.

      Tests for viruses lean towards the false positive because it is considered better to have a false positive than miss a true positive. The idea is that if a patient gets a positive, they can be sent for further tests to confirm one way or the other.

      However, it is the case that people have been treated for HIV when no disease has been present and that this has destroyed their health.

      The self-interest and egomania of many doctors know no bounds, particularly in the areas of medicine that have the least proof of existence of the conditions they “treat”.

  2. I am lost. Hoople heads? Tubes?
    For a British (in the not too distant past) solution to carriers: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7528045.stm
    The New Zealand story reminds me of a book published a couple of years ago – The Dark Threads by Jean Davison
    It was very easy in those days to be diagnosed as schizophrenic and also to be given ECT for no particular reason.

    • Use of a search engine always comes in handy. It brought me this…


      Tubes were a bit more problematic. I came up with television sets, cans of beer, cylinders (some people call them “silliers”), underground railroads, and oviducts.

      Things have improved since the days when electro-shock was considered the first line of defense against so-called serious “mental illness”. I consider myself lucky in that electro-shock was never suggested for me. I certainly never would have given consent were that an option. Unfortunately, electro-shock as a treatment is on the upswing. In my view, I need all the brain cells I’ve got, and frying “bad” brain cells makes about as much sense as frying “good” brain cells. I don’t think shock machines are very discriminating, and if brain damage is considered therapeutic, please, no therapy, thank you.

      • ““Mental illness” is nonsense.”

        It isn’t. It is just over-diagnosed.

      • “Mental illness” is nonsense. We have to watch the language we use when dealing with people in distress. Pathogizing people who aren’t “ill” is not the way to proceed, nor does it “help”. There is no “mental illness”, literally. When we couple these two words, we mean something besides what we say.

        It’s perfectly alright if we disagree, G M, but on this issue, disagree we must

  3. Hi ect, thanks for the second link.

    Hoople heads… I’ve fallen in love with Al Swearigen from Deadwood. He readily expresses his disdain for the general public and uses such terms. Tubes…? Well, the average citizen is most of the time concerned with the status of their orifices and the passage of things through them. This distracts them from being able to make sensible use of basic facts such as A = A or 1 + 1 = 2.

    I don’t really think you’re lost at all. I have a white hot hatred for the psychtroopers but of course we know that they can only be enabled by an idiot public.

    • And ect, I checked your blog and wrote a wonderful heartrending story about myself… but I lost it due to keyboard mismanagement and stella artois. I’ll read your blog over the next few days.

    • Ahh, Instant Justice. Meted out in person. It all takes too long these days and the perpetrators are never punished accordingly. They sit in their ivory towers with their teams of attorneys cushioning them from the ever tiring blows of the wronged and righteous.

      I like this from Doug Ross:

      Does anyone know what “hooplehead” means with any f**king certitude?

      Near’s I can figure, a hooplehead is an ignorant, backwoods, dim-witted, slow-thinking, muddle-headed, addle-brained, limp-d**k, dumb-ass c**ksucker.

      But we use the term with great affection around here.

  4. There is always a bully in the frame. They are attracted to the medical profession.

  5. ““Mental illness” is nonsense. We have to watch the language we use when dealing with people in distress. Pathogizing people who aren’t “ill” is not the way to proceed, nor does it “help”. There is no “mental illness”, literally. When we couple these two words, we mean something besides what we say.
    It’s perfectly alright if we disagree, G M, but on this issue, disagree we must.”

    The thing is, if you do not qualify distress when you trash the other, I am always going to stand up for people who know what it is to suffer and say that they must be counted and not brushed under the carpet. I am not talking about pathologising people who are in distress. Far from it. I think you understand by now that I am favour of a compassionate approach to anyone who is hurting. But some hurt more than others and you do not have the right to dismiss them. So let’s make sure we know what we are disagreeing about.

    “When we couple these two words, we mean something besides what we say.”

    I do not know what you mean. Perhaps that the words have so much stigma attached? I understand that.

    • We medicalize distress by referring to it as “illness”. Thought processes (i.e. minds) are not subject to “disease”. Brains are subject to such, yes, and that disease may affect thinking, but we are not talking “mental illnesses” in such instances.

      I think it good and commendable that you wish to stand up for the suffering and the oppressed. There is a tendency sometimes, on the part of some people, to adopt a ‘victim role’. I think adopting such a role is inexcuseable. Survivors are not survivors because they were victimized. Survivors are survivors in spite of victimization. Although victimization is unavoidable, adopting the ‘victim role’ is entirely avoidable.

  6. I understand what you are saying but I do not agree with your definitions. If you work from dictionary definitions, the word “illness” and the word “disease” are correctly used.

    I do not like the term “mental illness” any more than you do, but because of its stigma rather than because of the meanings of the words. That is the issue, not the definitions. You are trying to redefine the meanings of the words and that doesn’t quite pan out because the meanings are what they are.

    We look for other ways of describing the same thing in order to alleviate the stigma, but we are still describing a condition or conditions; or a lack of a condition or conditions.

    Distress can lead to illness. How we go about helping people who are in those next stages to come back is the key to it all. Drugging them and keeping them in a medicated haze of half-existence is wrong and offers no long term solution even if it provides temporary respite to some. The financial expedience of this methodology has to be challenged. There is so much resistance to cure within the US medical profession because of money and status that patients as human beings become almost irrelevant.

    Preventing the process that leads to illness is the other important matter we want to address and this is where emergency respite comes in.

    Then there is a grey area, where conditions like early schizophrenia and autism lie. I think it is important that we do not forget to include people who do not fit your survivor mould. Yes, there are people who have been falsely labeled; yes, there are people who have had conditions started or aggravated by contemporary treatment methods; but equally there are people who are actually ill. They count too.

    “Victim” is another word I do not like. It makes you feel like one, somehow. Once upon a time I had some money stolen and I reported it to the police. I received a letter from them that began, “Dear Victim,”.. I was aghast! I said to the Sergeant, “Call me a mug, but whatever you do, don’t call me a victim!” He laughingly assured me that any further correspondence would begin, “Dear mug,”..

    Surviving in spite of victimisation is correct but it is the case that some people will adopt the victim role because they have been conditioned to do so and others will act like victims because they are victims. Not everyone is going to be strong enough to survive. Again, it is correct to use the word; it just carries a lot of stigma.

    Community based facilities that empower people who have been through the kinds of experiences we discuss here are so important to individual and communal self-esteem. It should be a team effort to open up the world to someone whose world has closed in around them.

    • We can define “disease” broadly or we can define “disease” more narrowly. I apparently define “disease” more narrowly than you do. We’ve got the same unsettled linguistic problem when it comes to “addictions”, now that “behavioral addictions” are becoming the fad among treatment pushers. I’d prefer to return to the days when anxiety was more of a common trait applied to the whole species, and not so much a “disease” contracted by a growing number of the members of that species. Call me a dinosaur if you so wish, and I will be content to watch the entire species evolve into withering idiocy.

      Victimization happens. There are hit and run victims, rape victims, violence victims, etc. You don’t make them go away by suppressing the word. The other side of the victim coin is its antonym, villain. There are real villains in the world. Get rid of the villains, and the numbers of victims declines. Victims are the reason we put villains behind bars. It has something to do with another word, and that word is justice. If we aren’t vigilant about justice, the numbers of victims goes up. The numbers of villains goes up, too, because when you aren’t vigilant about justice, injustice stands for winners.

      People who are raped, abused as children, maimed, traumatized, disabled, or what-have-you, can still go onto accomplish spectacular things. Playing the victim role is being negligent with your capacity for resilience. Playing the victim role can even in some instances lead to actual casualties. There are other roles to assume in life that are, believe me, much more fulfilling. When a person can assume one of these other roles with a degree of facility, that person isn’t completely consumed by the victim role. Relinquishing the victim role is a matter of “getting over it”. The world didn’t end with any misfortune you may have had when you can move beyond it.

  7. I agree in the main. Yes, we define “disease” differently, but I understand your policing of the word given that it is ever-expanding in the mental health field.

    I think there is a difference between playing the victim role and actually being a victim who has not yet recovered. And occupying the victim role is a conditioned response, so it needs addressing as such rather than being brushed aside and presumed to be a chosen path. Learning how to overcome behavioural patterns is part of the process of recovery from this.

    “You don’t make them go away by suppressing the word.”

    Well, this is something I say to you about certain illnesses. We can re-name them but they remain the same.

    • I feel many of those people thought to have “serious mental illnesses” are actually suffering from a psychiatric drug toxicity syndrome. Were doctors to withdraw them from psychiatric drugs, it is my view that they would see a proportional rise in recovery rates. One complication is that first you have to deal with the withdrawal effects of the drugs, and this is why people are cautioned against quitting cold turkey. An even quicker way to achieve better recovery rates is by not starting them on psychiatric drugs in the first place. Drug treatment, in the long haul, doesn’t work. Drug management that doesn’t end is an impediment to complete recovery of functionality (i.e. mental health). Holistic treatments, needles in the ear, laying on hands, etc.? Sure. Whatever works. What doesn’t work is sedating people so that you can warehouse them. Hope of recovery in the “broken” human being warehouse is rather like the classless society of the Marxist/Leninists, or the other world of the Christians. In the end, the walls don’t dissolve, and nobody finds themselves magically transported elsewhere.

  8. I agree with that. It might sound like a conspiracy theory too far, but I find that the US government uses the incarcerated population as an experimentation pool to test how far it can get away with drugging the population at large. The more mental illnesses, the more drugs sold, the quieter the masses.

    When talking about sedating – which I find is the daily practice in any psychiatric facility – one does have to consider the addictive nature of the drugs used. Benzodiazepines, for instance, have a deleterious effect on the brain and take some time to withdraw from.

    This creates further imbalance to the power relationship existent between doctors and staff on the one hand, and patients on the other. The relationship is the same as that between a drug pusher and an addict.

    Withdrawal symptoms from these drugs are similar to the symptoms associated with listed medical disorders, so patients could certainly end up with more labels as a result of prescribed drug use and that alone.

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