I don’t have a “mental illness”. I see it as a revolutionary act to proclaim myself free of “mental illness”. It is a revolutionary act because psychiatrists had diagnosed me with a number of different “disorders of the mind” in the past. These same psychiatrists readily give negative prognoses’ for certain diagnoses’, among them some of the diagnoses’ they’d given me. I call it a revolutionary act because I have found that it is an act many people find themselves too cowardly to make. I don’t need a doctor to circumscribe terms for living my life, and I don’t need to pretend I need a doctor to do such.
In a mental hospital setting, where one has been involuntarily committed, by a hearing and not by a trial, one is expected to admit to having an “illness”. If one doesn’t admit to being “ill”, a prequisite for discharge, while one at one time would have been said to be using a defense mechanism, and being ‘in denial’ about the severity of his or her “disease”, now one is more likely to hear that one has ‘anosogosia’, a brain defect, that causes one to ‘lack insight’ into the nature of his or her “disease”. Non-admission of “illness” is seen as a further “symptom of illness”, or a further indication of the more serious nature of the impugned “illness”. This is the game, you go along, or you rot in a psychiatric facility.
It must first be remembered that one has been convicted of acting insane not by a jury, but by a judge, a few psychiatrists, and probably a public defender who was only pretending to defend his client. The suspect, in other words, is presumed to be “sick”, and no proof need be offered, for as long and until a mental health professional declares him or her otherwise. The thing is mental health professionals don’t hand out certificates of mental health or sanity. If they are going to verify anything, on paper, it’s usually to the instability that they would find in their captives. Of course, the appearance of “improvement” can open doors.
I am not a high functioning schizophrenic. I am not a high functioning person with bipolar disorder. I am not a high functioning depressive person. High functioning, in combination with “mental illness”, is an oxymoron. People are gauged by the DSM, the shrink’s label bible, according to levels of functionality, and people so labeled are not expected to be able to function at the level of people who bear no labels. I am, therefore, high functioning precisely because I am not schizophrenic, nor bipolar, nor depressed. The high functioning exception to the rule of low functioning is a ruse.
Much research has stirred up much confusion about so called “mental illnesses” and the direct effects of the drugs used to “manage” so called “symptoms“. When it comes to schizophrenia and neuroleptic drugs, a worsening condition is more often the result of the drugs than it is of the disease itself. Neuroleptic drugs reduce brain mass, induce apathy, and ultimately produce cognitive decline in the individuals who take them. Each of these conditions has been attributed to the progress of the disease. You would have to factor psychiatric drugs into the equation before you begin to figure out whether this is so or not, and this is not done in much research today precisely because it is driven by drug company marketing efforts.
I don’t take psychiatric drugs. I don’t need a psychiatrist to prescribe psychiatric drugs to me. I have recovered from any “mental disability” that I may have been said to have suffered from, and I did so without recourse to excessive psychiatric counseling. Usually this counseling involves little more than a script for a chemical agent to be ingested periodically. I don’t take psychiatric drugs because of the ill effects they have on my person, and because I have some knowledge as to how these drugs actually affect the brain and the body. I, in fact, attribute my continuing physical and mental well being to my aversion to taking psychiatric drugs. I think when you connect the “illness” with the drug you can begin to see the virtue in coming off.
We live in a prescription drug culture that has left many casualties in its wake, and you can read the names of some of the more notable cadavers in the dailies. I am proud, for the moment, to count myself among the survivors of psychiatric labeling, psychiatric drugging, and standard psychiatric malpractice. This survival would not have been the case had I passively concurred with some psychiatrist’s low opinion of myself and my chances. We need to change the predominate paradigm in mental health treatment today from one that relies so heavily on chemical sedation to one that deals with the problems of real people before we can advance. One sure sign that a person is mentally healthy is that they don’t rely upon drugs. I encourage others to do as I have done, in the name of saving lives, and to say no to psychiatry and psychiatric drugs.
Filed under: Alternatives, Biological Psychiatry, Brain Damage, Conflict of Interest, DSM, Force, Health Care, Human Rights, Law, Mental Health Care, Misdiagnosis, Oppression, Pharmaceutical Company, Polypharmacy, Psychiatric Drugs, psychiatric survivor, Recovery, self help, State Hospital, Violence |