Epiphany On The Threshold Of A Better World

We need to say, and in no uncertain terms, “NO to forced mental health treatment!” Forced treatment is always mistreatment. This totalitarian loophole in our democratic system of government should be closed, and closed for good. The problem is not, and never was, forced this therapy or that therapy. The problem is force in and of itself because force involves denying one of the values we hold most basic to the democratic process, namely individual liberty.

There are just so many ways in which people are made un-free through mental health maltreatment. They can be restrained by restraining devices, they can be subjected to solitary confinement, they can be electro-shocked against their wishes, and they can be drugged regardless of their own feelings on the subject, even when out of the so called mental hospital, more literally a psychiatric prison, and in the larger community.

A new law is not going to fix this old problem at all. A new law will merely add to the confusion. There are so many laws, and in few places is this more true than in the mental health system, that are not being enforced now. We certainly don’t need another silly law on the books. What we need is for the old law that allows this over extended exercise in tyranny to be repealed. When force is not the law, as far as mental health treatment is concerned, then force is a violation of the law the way it is everywhere else.

The mental health system in fact serves as the way in which mental health authorities get around the law. People are neglected, abused, violated, and die in these facilities, and the offenders are let off with little more than a knuckle rapping if that. The people confined to these facilities are not schizophrenics or manic depressives, and they didn’t come from another planet. They are human beings the same as you and me. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are lying words in a lying book used to make human beings out to be something other than what they are.

Violence is growing more and more common in contemporary society. Violence is growing more and more common because of the lack of a sense of community, and because of a breakdown in communications. Violence is not growing more common because of an epidemic of “mental illness”. That is the myth. “Mental illnesses” don’t kill people any more than guns kill people. When all is said and done, it is people who kill people, and it is people who should be held accountable.

Tolerance is the answer. Tolerance and an end to these arbitrary and discriminatory laws. Intolerance breeds intolerance. We see the results of this intolerance in the multiple murders that take place on an almost daily basis here and there. These acts of violence weren’t perpetuated by people with “mental illnesses”. They are intolerant acts perpetuated by frustrated individuals reacting to other acts of intolerance. Build a more livable world, for everybody not just for some monied elite, and such acts of violence should subside to the degree that such a world is actually achieved. There is often a reason, you see, to unreason, and it’s not the sort of reason that should be ignored.

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5 Responses

  1. You know my views on the existence of certain illnesses. They occur but are not permanent or necessarily disabling in my opinion. When someone is suffering, then help should be provided in a kind and compassionate manner.

    You are right about the lack of a sense of community; it is a huge problem. Although not a follower, I have to say that religion provides a sense of that to those who attend church and so forth.

    I have been thinking about what good feelings have arisen from the Olympics here and the sense of pride and togetherness they have promoted. It would be great if they never ended! We need more injected into the idea of striving for the best you can be.

    You have a big problem in the US with the use of force. It is the default setting there. The police are violent and they are the ones supposed to be protecting you from the violent. Too many people get caught up in the crossfire or are subjected to brutality for being different. If the police were trained to soothe rather than escalate, it would be a good start. I daresay that a lot of people destined for the nuthouse otherwise would turn out to be people just having a bad day.

    • Okay, my view….pneumonia is a disease, sadness is not a disease. Likewise, leprosy is a disease, shyness is not a disease. I don’t need to come up with a fancy word for sadness. Sadness is still sadness. If sadness interferes with a person’s function, this leads to a more philosophical question, what IS the function of a human being? I don’t tend to think of that function as being the holding down of a generally stupid and completely unnecessary 9-5 job. Doing so may please a corporation, but it can also make a person sad, very sad.

      Church does provide a sense of community in some places. The problem is that wealth and power can stifle a sense of community. You’ve got people in gated communities making the decisions for people who live in residential areas outside of those gated communities. This puts an added pressure on people within communities to let the usually business people in charge know that they are there, and deserving, too.

      The use of force in psychiatry is not a national problem right now. It’s a global problem. The Paralympics may have left much good feelings in its wake, but force is still very much alive and well in the UK. People need to take on intolerance, discrimination and excessive use of force there, too.

      • It is the case, we have had some awful situations occurring here. I have mentioned before that forced treatment is not confined to psychiatric institutions; the elderly and the young are at particular risk. For instance, we have seen the results of patients’ families planting cameras in care homes. Pictures of staff abusing residents have appeared in our newspapers.

        The difference is that the forced treatment of patients with mental health problems is enshrined in law. Repealing the existing law will leave a need to create situations where people can be safe; either from themselves or each other. This is an area we have debated before and one that I would like to formulate real implementable ideas for.

        A disease is not necessarily something you can catch or something that occurs as the result of injury or wear. We have many systems within ourselves and they are all subject to disease. At its core, the word simply means that something is not at ease.

        When I write about the use of force in the US, I am talking about the mindset that needs to be shifted in order for you to have any lasting success there. Taking someone down who is having an episode is not the way to deal with them; too often in the US, that is what happens.

      • Yes, abuse and neglect take place in elder and youth care. No doubt about it. There is, as a rule, a little more care in their case, but not always a whole lot more. Injustices are frequent.

        Force is the law as far as mental health is concerned. Repeal mental health law, and undue force becomes a crime again. You can offer protections, you can temper the law with more law, but it’s still the law. If you want to do something about this matter you repeal the law that allows law enforcement officers to detain people it judges to be “a danger to themselves and others”, etc., the legal definition of insanity, and the reason for mental health law in the first place.

        Illness and unease are not the same thing. We can argue semantics forever, but to what end? Trauma is the new trend in theory, but I’m not following trends. We need words to communicate with. That doesn’t mean that we mean the same things when we use the same words. SAMHSA (the US government mental health agency) recently went to the trouble of redefining “recovery”. There is no reason to redefine “recovery” if you are using the dictionary definition. If you are trying to obscure the old word with a new word, hey, that’s a completely different matter. I have no need for the SAMHSA confusion when I can put the word “recovery” into context. “Recovery”, like religion, means all things to all people, in the SAMHSA version. I prefer a little bit more precision.

        As for force in the US. Yes, the police are killing people thought to be disturbed with little provocation . There is not the public outcry that there should be about this, and ending it is very problematic. You have got to get people to care about people who have been given psychiatric labels in order to do so. They are not being killed because they couldn’t get mental health care in the communities where they live. That’s the illusion. They are being killed because the police aren’t trained in deescalation techniques. The police don’t ask whether so & so is in treatment. They just see a potential threat, and then, presumably for their own protection (& the protection of the public) an officer may open fire. Nobody really oversees the police. We need things like Citizen Police Review Boards in order to keep these kinds of things down to a minimum.

  2. Not “unease”, which has its own definition; the root of the word “disease” comes from “not at ease”.

    Trauma is real. I think to say it is “trending” is true enough but that does not make it any less significant for sufferers.

    I too see no reason to redefine “recovery”. The idea of being “in recovery” has always rankled because it intimates a lifelong state of being. Recovery is something that finishes when one is “recovered”.

    Tackling the force issue is key to progress in the US. Across the board with the violations we describe rises the ugly head of the institutionalised use of force. Anywhere you look, the US mode is to fight force with greater force. This might work when you are fighting an enemy hell bent on destroying you but it falls short of being an adequate mindset for day to day living.

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