Saying Yes To Health By Saying No To Labels And Drugs

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.

8 Responses

  1. What you write here is brilliant! Only people who have been inside the system can see what a ruse it is. We have gotten to this unfortunate situation in part because of drug companies, but also in part because certain people are clinging ever tighter to the status quo; afterall it would be impossible for certain persons to think that they would not be qualified as such after going through all that expense and challenge of medical school!

    I like what you say here about the ill combination of “high-functioning schizophrenia”, or “high-functioning bipolar”. What a joke! I think this odd combination of words comes about when the psychiatrists themselves know on some level that the meager prognosis which they foresee is somehow mismatched with reality. Faced with a patient who is actually capable, they smack the “high-functioning” verbage on top of a diagnosis, to assuage their guilt at having drawn such a sharp line between themselves, the assuredly normal, and the patient, the assuredly messed up. When faced with the confidence, bravery, and normal-looking actions of a person who has been labelled with a mental disorder, that little bit of good person in the psychiatrist is impressed enough to add the “high-functioning” qualifier. “Oh Erin is totally sick, we all agree on that, but I’m not cold-hearted enough to believe in the darkness of my intent, she must be one of those high-functioning ones!” Poor psychiatrists! They are the ones who are most confused about things. Like you say, a person is high-functioning in life because he/she does not have a mental disorder.

    Its too much of a mental challenge for most psychiatrists to accept that they were wrong, or admit to the damage they are doing, deluded as they are about helping. Rather than change the diagnosis, or simply retract it, some words are just thrown on top of it. This is just one aspect where the verbage in the field of psychiatry can be particularly sinister, misleading, and impossible for most people to see through. The high-functioning word makes it more palatable for the treating psychiatrist and family members, and leads to a prolonging of the situation, where a belief in underlying mental illness is allowed to continue.

    • Big % little %, recovery happens, and to deny that people recover, fully recover, is to deny the facts. Also, people who are not guilty go on death row. Obviously, if the criminal justice system makes mistakes there are going to be mistakes made in the mental health system, and people who are “mentally well” are going to be doing time on psych wards, too. Where are these mistakes? Given the bible of the DSM, and I’m saying this facetiously, of course, mistakes don’t happen in mental health care.

      The DSM-IV has a certain Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale. This GAF Scale would grade functioning on a scale ranging from 1 to 100 with 1 through 10 indicating the poorest levels of functioning, and 100 indicating superior, and “healthily” unattainable, functioning. If you led the “perfect” life, and you never had a problem in your life, you could be judged, with judge being the keyword, at level 100 on this scale. In a purely one dimensional world maybe this kind of thing makes sense. In the real world, it is absolutely devastating.

      Now we’ve got this entity that buys hook, line, and sinker the psychiatric lie. I’m talking about the self-described “mentally ill” academic. It’s true, people who have received psychiatric treatment and psychiatric labels aren’t always stupid. Some of them even manage to make their way through our institutions of higher education. Some people do so by sucking up, and this sucking up is a matter of kowtowing to the conventional authorities. Others do so by keeping their true feelings hidden. Personally, I favor those who get ahead by concealing the truth until such a time arrives that it demands telling.

  2. Agreed on all counts. In addition to the inability of psychiatrists and doctors to admit mistakes is the notion that mental illness is a permanent thing – it is not in most cases. Recovery is denied in a way that would be considered ludicrous in mainstream medicine and any eccentric behaviour that follows on from a diagnosis is met with the opinion that it is proof of the original diagnosis even if that person is fully recovered.

    We are questioning our institutions here and I believe this to be a good thing. Psychiatry is an institution that we need to open up to compete transparency. Many of its methods do not stand up to close scrutiny and the debunking of these processes cannot come too soon.

    • That would be, “Complete transparency”.

      • I agree to a large extent, the problem is that confidentiality laws, and the insular suspicious nature of some mental health institutions make complete transparency virtually impossible. The more transparent the better, unfortunately, we are not going to arrive at that transparency without a long, hard struggle. The Freedom of Information Act in this country, for instance, is one way a person can seek to achieve that transparency, and it serves a very good purpose. I think mental health facilities and authorities have a great deal to hide.

  3. They certainly do. They will fight transparency in the name of patient confidentiality but what they really want is to protect themselves from having their methods questioned.

    They habitually lie on medical records as well, so even if someone gets their records released they are not going to say, “Slammed patient’s head against the wall repeatedly then urinated on their food and forced them to eat it,” are they? They will say, “Patient became aggressive and attacked staff member. Patient banged head when staff member ducked out of the way. Patient subsequently refused to eat, spitting food at staff.” And so on.

    Here, you cannot sue a doctor for libeling a patient on their medical records. I think that to be a travesty.

    A monitoring team of ex-patients might be an idea but they would have to have some serious protection and authority. There are too many decisions being taken by partisan money-grubbing individuals who do not have patients’ welfare at heart. Collective pressure to expose and prosecute these people is crucial.

    Too much of mental health treatment is experimentation on the entrapped. This has to stop.

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