“Mental illness”, the belief

Among the major tenets of the Church of Biological Psychiatry is the belief, for there is no evidence supporting the claim, that what is commonly referred to as “mental illness” is an actual disease. Disbelief, to the converts to this faith, amounts to heresy, and they refer to this heresy as “stigma”. The idea is that if you belong to this church, you must believe in “mental illness”, and not to do so is to mistreat people thought to be diseased.

A couple of decades ago, a revisionist and protestant sect of dissident evangelists split from the Church of Biological Psychiatry.  This protestant church initially arose around the cathartic and redemptive power of mental health recovery. People infected with the “mental illness” bug were thought, by this church, to be capable of recovering their mental competence and, in many cases, completely so.

More recently, the Church of Mental Health Recovery has evolved into the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery.  So many members of this church with the bug, were not losing that bug, and so it became incumbent upon parishioners to start in a new direction. I guess they’d grown attached to it. The feeling is that if the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery continues to evolve in the direction in which it is going, it will eventually be entirely reabsorbed back into body of the mother church, the Church of Biological Psychiatry.

The “mental illness” lifestyle, ironically enough, is equivalent to the mental health lifestyle, that is, it is a lifetime of perpetual treatment for the affliction a person is presumed to have. Accompanying the initial curse of diagnosis (I do hereby pronounce thee “mentally ill”, and beyond hope of remedy or consequence), comes the attendant chronicity.  This chronicity, or lifelong path, is a matter of realizing the negative prognosis, or curse-fulfilling prophesy, issued by psychiatrists, the churches priestly caste of sorcerers.

The news is not all bad. Given advances made by the Church of That Recovery That Is Not Recovery, converts are learning to better enjoy their afflictions. Within the limitations of their debilities, the stricken are learning to carve the modicum of a decent existence out for themselves, however beset by hardship and suffering. The key to this silver lining, so to speak, is to be found in total compliance with mental health treatment plans.

If it weren’t for the great therapist who dwells in the sky, the creator of the drug research and development department, the “mentally ill” person, left to his or her own devices, would be lost. He or she would be just one more homeless refugee scrounging dumpsters for a bite to eat, mumbling to him or herself, and irritating business owners. He or she could even be squatting in the city jail for a spell. No more, he or she now can be diverted from that fate to a fate equally inane courtesy of Joe Tax Payer.

Believing in “mental illness”is not the same as believing in mental health. Believing in mental health is not the same as disbelieving in “mental illness”.  We could arrange this sentence in all its possible permutations regarding belief and disbelief, and it still boils down to pretty much the same thing. Maintaining a healthy skepticism, while keeping one’s feet squarely on solid ground,  creates a stabilizing effect. In a world where Big Foot, Nessy, ghosts and flying saucers still manage to captivate the popular imagination, it’s best to keep a wary eye out for wooden nickels and, one might add, false gods.

They’re gonna kill, kill your kids

A news item out of Portsmouth New Hampshire runs, Story of patient without available bed all too common. I’d say the story of patient with available bed all too common as well, but get a load of the example used!

“My son is 22 years old and he has had 11 jobs since the age of 18 because of substance abuse and mental illness. He has been going to the doctor since the age of 4. We literally had to fight the system for eight months to help him get assistance,” one member of the F Group said during a break-out session facilitated by a person with Portsmouth Listens. “In April he went to the state hospital. It was very difficult for me. I can’t imagine a person with mental illness getting through the system.

 Emboldened emphasis added.

 How many fingers?! Four! Isn’t that kind of young to receive a “mental illness” label and all the abuse that goes along with it? Not to mention…drugs? Just two years after the terrible twos, while passing through his fearsome fours, whap, right on  the butt cheek, “illness”.

This brings us to our next point, passing through. A person with a “mental illness” label who doesn’t “get through” the system, isn’t passing through the system. He’s stuck in the system. Perhaps permanently. Staying in the system is not recovery from an alleged “mental illness”, nor is it recovery from intervention and its consequences.

 They said their son was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder at 4, but it took until he was 21 to get help.

Their son was disobedient and defiant. Their son was a rebel. Their son was a child. Duh. Therefore, psychiatric label and drugs, and the consequences of labeling and drugging. At 22 years of age, this arguably adult kid, who initially was merely rebellious, as many kids are, especially when they reach their pubescent teens, would be described as a “chronic” head case.

 The article goes onto “describe ODD” seeing it “as a pattern of anger-guided disobedience, hostility, and defiant behavior towards authority figures which goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior” as delineated in the shrink’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

 My point, if you want a really, really, really bad child rearing manual, turn to the DSM. All the kids found in this manual are crazy by definition.

 “Thirty-five years ago you couldn’t say the word ‘cancer.’ It was a dirty word. It meant you were going to die. Now you can’t go a day without seeing a fundraiser or a run for cancer,” [Jim] Noucas [co-chair of Portsmouth Listens] told all of the participants at the beginning of the session. “It is time to take mental health out of the shadows and that is why we are here today.”

 Long hush.

 Given the men and women in their spanking white lab coats, I wouldn’t step from the shadows if I were you. Not just yet.

 Perhaps we are turning the world into a carcinogen. Additionally, give me a rhyme for carcinogen. Oh, yeah. Loony bin works. I think the pollutants, both chemical and cognitive, can seem pretty oppressive at times.

Changing Life Scripts

I don’t advocate consuming mental health services. I advocate not consuming mental health services. I advocate non-compliance with mental health treatment plans, in fact, as those treatment plans usually consist in little more than drug taking regimens. Those services that call themselves mental health are actually all about what is seen as “mental sickness”. Mental health services are a business then, and the business they are in the business of conducting is the business of labeling, managing, and “treating”  people deemed “mentally ill”. True mental stability, if there is any such thing, exists outside of the mental health services altogether, or at least, it isn’t a subject of concern for the mental health, actually “mental illness”, business.

This “mental illness” business that calls itself a mental health business is interested in doing what most businesses are interested in doing, and that is expanding. When you expand your business you add more employees and, to do that, you must take in more clients, therefore, you need more people to assent to seeing themselves as “ill” in the head. Here’s where it gets sticky. As there is no reliable test to prove the existence of any “mental disorder” whatsoever, this determination of “mental illness” is mostly a matter of suggestion and persuasion.

Few, if any,m mental health workers feel that their job is to work for the contraction of their profession. The result of this expansion of mental health “care” is an epidemic of so called “mental illnesses”. “Mental illness”  is advancing on physical ailments for the number one position when it comes to the numbers of people taking in federal disability payments. As “mental illness” is mostly a matter of suggestion and persuasion, with a bit of  drug induced brain dysfunction thrown in, what we’re talking about is a population of essentially artificially created invalids.

The mental health pitch being in actuality a “mental illness” pitch is a matter of public relations, deception, and advertising. If people talk “mental illness”, runs the ruse, they are doing something about “stigma”. That they are also selling this idea of “mental illness”, and with it, it’s treatment, is not so much a subject of discussion, not by the mental health industry anyway. The result is that the individual identity is lost  through a categorical designation, a member of this set of people designated “diseased”. You are not going to get fewer people claiming to have “mental illnesses” by saying, as they are saying now, “It is okay to be mentally ill.”

If it is okay to be “mentally ill” (or to have a “mental illness”), why do we have “mental health” workers? Basically because “mental health” workers have been much more successful at persuading people they are “sick” than they have at persuading people they are “well”. It’s okay to be “mentally ill” because “mental health” professionals have basically failed to achieve positive outcomes in their clients. They have failed to achieve positive outcomes in their clients basically because it is not in their interests to do so. The bread and butter of people in the mental health business is provided by the same people to which they’ve attached “mental illness” labels. Take those labels away, and you also take away your job.

We need a change of thinking in the community beyond the “mental sickness” business to change this situation in a big way. Mental stability, almost by definition, resides in that area outside of the whole field of mental health, actually “mental sickness”, treatment. Redeeming a person from “mental illness” one must also redeem the same person from the mental health system. Mental health is not to be found in the mental health system. Mental health is to be found outside of the mental health system where “mental sickness” is the first presumption. )Reality( exists outside of the bracketed (mental health system). When you’ve got an artificial invalid, the best antidote is a validation in reality. Consider the script of a drama. If the leading man or lady is an invalid, well, change the play and you’ve got a different, that is a vital and valid, leading man or lady. It is my contention that we can change the play, be it tragic, comedic, or romantic, for a number of people, and therefore, change the outcomes they face in life.