Support For Victims of Psychiatric Torture

June 26 around the world is observed as an International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. One form of torture that is not widely recognized is non-consensual mental health treatment. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International have been slow to recognize the brutal cruelty and abuse of forced psychiatry for what many who have endured forced psychiatry know it to be, torture. The United Nations has been a little more receptive on this issue. On March 3rd of this year the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture issued a statement calling for an immediate ban on all forced psychiatric interventions.

How are forced psychiatric interventions torture? Just do a little bit of critical thinking and independent research on the subject, and you will find out how. People are abducted, imprisoned, thrown into solitary confinement, poisoned, physically restrained, chemically restrained, shocked, induced to have seizures, injured, neglected, etc., etc., all in the name of therapy. Without mental health law serving as a contradiction to criminal law these atrocities would not be taking place. This ill treatment constitutes torture. The aim of this torture is to elicit behavior that the state finds acceptable,  to suppress behavior that the state finds unacceptable, and to get the torture victim to admit to having a “mental illness” regardless of whether the victim has an actual illness or not.

Should the victim of psychiatric forced treatment not confess to having a “mental illness”, he or she is then said to be “sicker” than the victim who does confess to having a “mental illness”, and this denial, and/or alleged “co-morbid condition”, is then seen as grounds for further tortures and a lengthier imprisonment. More recent developments in psychiatric torture include what is termed a ‘treatment mall’. This ‘treatment mall’ is actually a reeducation camp and brainwashing center run by the state “hospital” with the aim of churning out a greater number of victims complicit in their own torture and victimization.

We call on people around the world to come together over this issue of forced psychiatry, and to help us put an end to this crime against humanity, once and for all. We would like to see a mental health system in which all patients were voluntary, and in which no patients were held prisoner against their will and wishes. We would like to see mental health facilities that were not psychiatric prisons, but instead were facilities in which clients were free to come and go as they so please and choose. Non-consensual treatments, both inpatient and outpatient, are assaults on the health and the freedom of the species and, therefore, not to be tolerated.

By standing together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, fellow human beings, victimized by this practice, we can and will bring it to an end. On this day consider what you might be able to do to help your brothers and sisters tortured by forced psychiatry. Although we have been granted the right to receive psychiatric treatment, unlike in any other branch of what purports to be medicine, we have no legal right to refuse such treatment. This right needs to be acknowledged and enacted into law. By joining with us in this struggle, you can help us liberate people from psychiatric slavery–the mistreatments and tortures that have oppressed so many for so long.

There is a better world waiting for us just around the bend. This better world is a world in which people are not oppressed and mistreated by greedy, arrogant and power-crazed traitors to their species. We will not reach this better world unless we make an effort to do so. We have in many nations of the world ended the practice of chattel slavery.  We need to end the practice of psychiatric slavery as well. When we do so, we will be that much closer to the better world for one and all that we have envisioned. Now that we’ve gone there in our heads, we need to take a first few actual steps in that direction. Offering support for victims of  the torture that coercive psychiatric interventions entail, in their effort to end that torture, is one of the ways in which we may thus progress.

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No More Back Stepping

“Mental illness” is a illusion, a joke, an excuse, a flat out lie. Something may be going on, but whatever that something is, it is not ‘illness’.

We’ve got a whole industry supporting the illusion that defective genes cause people to lead difficult lives that can be fixed only through the wonders of modern psychopharmacology. Complete and utter balderdash!

Was Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy, mad? The lone gunman theory has evolved into the lone nutcase theory, and this, in turn, has started a trend in multiple murders. As murder has become some unfortunate peoples’ ticket into the national spotlight, you can expect this trend to continue.

I just read where Patrick Kennedy is pitching mental health insurance parity in Colorado. If “mental illness” is an illusion, what does that make mental health? I will give you a hint. Look to the attraction in tent number two.

This insurance parity thing has something to do with equating meta-physical illness with physical illness. Doing so allows all sorts of people to claim permanent disability payments on the basis of meta-physical (non-organic) criteria.

The government shells out, well, not so good money to subsidize this population of newly but artificially disabled people. Dead beat is not so dead beat if you can claim you’re loony toons. Hand in hand immaturity and irresponsibility have a great future before them.

You’ve got a profession that is poisoning people and calling it medicine. You’ve got a profession that is keeping people down, and saying it is “helping” them. You’ve got a profession that, rather than restoring people to purposeful activity, renders a portion of the population perpetual burdens to the rest of society.

I’ve had it with the entire profession. I will truck no more with psychiatry. I’m not the person to set up a Vichy style government in cahoots with these mad doctors. I don’t want to make matters worse. I’m sick of the corruption that pervades the mental health industry from one end to the other.

I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system. I think it is all the more imperative that we get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a “mental illness” system. Furthermore, it is a “mental illness” system on the verge of becoming a physical illness system.

Oh, didn’t I say “mental illness” was an illusion? Let me rephrase the comment that I just made then. I think we should work to get people out of the mental health system because it is actually a social and physical harm system. I think we should clean up this mess we’ve created by getting good people out of bad situations.

Complete irrationality may be the new trend on all levels of society, nonetheless, it is a trend I am hoping to buck. Communication, outside of military service, should never be a one way street. Somehow the typical argument that is winning the day has much more to do with expediency than it has to do with reality.

When people meet one to one, face to face, there is much that they can accomplish by working together. I don’t think we are accomplishing very much by savaging the human rights of an excluded segment of society. My intention is to work in the opposite direction and for the opposite result.

MindFreedom Alert

Free Alison Hymes from Western State Hospital

A short while back, Charlottesville Virginia resident Alison Hymes,
long time mental health advocate and MindFreedom member, was declared
incapacitated and committed to the psychiatric ward at the University
of Virginia, UVA 5, for 30 days. Unlike most states that would require
a court order to attain such a decision, it only takes the word of two
psychiatrists to have a person declared incapacitated in the state of
Virginia.

She appealed this decision to the circuit court, and on Friday July
29, 2011, at 11 o’clock A.M. she had a court hearing.

Although Alaska attorney Jim Gottstein, the director of the Center for
Psychiatric Rights out of Anchorage, offered his services as a
character witness, the judge would not allow him to testify. The
result of this hearing is that Alison Hymes has been committed to
Western State Hospital in Staunton Virginia.

Alison has been in and out of the university hospital over the last
few months while friends and supporters had managed to keep her from
being sent to the state hospital. She had received a kidney transplant
after lithium poisoning from psychiatric malpractice in the past
caused her kidneys to fail. It is feared that her health will be
further jeopardized by the kind of care she is likely to receive at
Western State Hospital.

I had spoken to Alison over the telephone on numerous occasions, and
on the latest call she sounded more in control of her faculties, and
less in need of any sort of assistance, than previously. This is
certainly no reason to send her over the mountain to Western State
Hospital. The problem is that every time she has gone to the hospital
Emergency Room with a physical complaint (kidney medicine side
effects, insomnia, bladder problems, etc.) rather than seeing these
problems for the physical problems that they are, the hospital staff
has turned her over to the psychiatric unit.

“They are not letting me see a kidney doctor, and I need Lasix”, says
Alison. (Lasix is a drug used to treat fluid retention.)

Alison Hymes was once a very active and engaged member of the
psychiatric survivor and mental health consumer movement in Virginia,
and these institutionalizations have only served to dampen that spirit
of independence and resolve that she displayed.

I would like to see the old Alison back again, and this is all the
more reason to put pressure on these state officials for her return to
the community from which she has been forcibly removed.

ACTION: Please Contact Virginia Governor and Other Officials

Alison urges friends and supporters to contact the Virginia officials
with expressions of outrage and indignation over the way she has been
mistreated and her case mishandled.

Sample message–you own words are best…

“Stop the forced psychiatric treatment of Alison Hymes at Western
State Hospital in Staunton, Virginia. She is in a fragile physical
state of health that is threatened even further by her conditions of
confinement within the hospital. What she needs is to see a
nephrologist, and not a psychiatrist. She would be better served by
treatment within her home community.”

MAIN ACTION:

If you do one action, please phone or email the Governor of the State
of Virginia:

Governor Bob McDonnell
(804) 786-2211

web contact form:

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm

EXTRA ACTIONS

*** Please call or write Virginia’s US Senators Mark Warner and Jim
Webb. Their contact information is below:

US Senator Mark R. Warner

http://warner.senate.gov/public//index.cfm?p=ContactPage
Phone: 202-224-2023 Washington, D.C.

US Senator Jim Webb
http://webb.senate.gov/contact.cfm
Phone: 202-224-4024 Washington, D. C.

*** You could also call or email the Virginia Commissioner of Mental
Health Jim Stewart

Commissioner Jim Stewart

(804) 786-3921
jim.stewart@dbhds.virginia.gov

*** You could call or email the executive director of the Virginia
Office for Rights and Advocacy, Colleen Miller

Colleen Miller

804-225-2042

colleen.miller@vopa.virginia.gov

Personal accounts of liberation and bondage

Regarding recent study results showing that despite more of a biological approach to serious “mental illness” issues, the “stigma” had not appreciably lessened, Patrick Corrigan, an Illinois Institute of Technology psychology professor, had a few good remarks to offer on the subject. The report I’m referring to, found in Bloomburg Businessweek, bears the headline For Many, Stigma of Mental Illness Lingers.

Corrigan believes the answer — or at least part of it — lies in stories, “having people with a condition tell their story. This, he said, might include a “way-down story” and a “way-up story”: “the way-down proving you are a person with a mental illness and the way-up proving that you have recovered.”

Reading the news, you catch more way-down stories than you do way-up stories. I’d definitely like to see more way-up stories out there, many more.

“Most people with serious mental illness do recover, so that’s why way-up stories are so important,” he added. “We would suggest that [these stories] be told to key power groups — instead of trying to change popular opinion, trying to change important power groups like landlords [and employers].”

Here I wouldn’t neglect popular opinion. I think that’s in large measure a big part of the problem currently. The education the general public receives at the hands of mainstream media and the entertainment industry in cohoots is atrocious. Your average person in mental health treatment is by no means a slashing serial murderer. In fact, people who have received no “mental illness” label are more likely to commit a violent crime than the typical person who has had experience in the psychiatric system.

Give us more way-up stories, and I think you’d see a slight shift in public opinion. The psychiatric industry is full of way-down stories. These way-down stories serve as a justification and rationale for the medical model of psychiatry (i.e. psychiatric pessimism). Give us a few more way-up stories, and even your conventionally minded mental health professionals might begin to see that there are different ways to approach the subject of problems in living.

A related but unmentioned story is the way-out story. One shouldn’t automatically assume that everybody who gets sent to a state hospital is “mentally ill”. It just isn’t so. People get locked up because somebody wanted to get them out of the way, in some instances, as in custody disputes and inheritance battles. Some people enter the mental health system as children, too, and this is often a case of guardians over reacting to the stresses involved in child rearing rather than to any case of actual derangement.

One damper to this situation is that when the bureaucratic maze gets too clogged with red tape, or the system presents itself as too “broken”, even the way-out story can cease to find that way-out.

Five More Years Of Kendra’s Law Probable

Five more years of the infamous Kendra’s Law in New York State it appears likely are on the horizon. Kendra’s Law is an involuntary outpatient commitment law some New York legislators are intent on extending. This law would have certain people under court order to follow mental health treatment plans. Almost without exception these treatment plans involve the taking of potentially brain damaging psychiatric drugs. The story behind the legislative battle over this law can be found at legislativegazette.com, Extension of Kendra’s Law Likely.

As the controversial Kendra’s Law sunsets this June, opponents and proponents of the law alike seem on the brink of a compromise –– extending the law for an additional five years rather than making it permanent now or allowing it to expire altogether.

The situation could be worse. Some people want to make the law permanent.

“I thought it should be extended indefinitely and no more sunset, but at this point I think it’s going to be extended,” [Aileen] Gunther predicted.

That a clinical label should divide citizens from their constitutionally guaranteed rights, in the interests of protecting public safety, is the concern here. ‘Mental illness’ labels, after all, don’t automatically eject people so labeled from the human species. You have to remember that people who have been labeled ‘mentally ill’, whom we would be protecting the general public from, are also members of that same public.

Economics, and the current budgetary crisis, are in part behind the reluctance to make Kendra’s law a permanent part of New York politics.

“Considering the state’s current budget crisis, this is not the time to expand services — and it is also not the time to introduce costly and unproven improvements to a law that is working,” Mental Health Commissioner Michael F. Hogan said.

Medical treatment should never be a punishment imposed by a court of law. Convicting people of the possibility of commiting a crime at some time in the future, suspending the presumption of innocense, constitutes an infringement of these same people’s right to due process.

Hopefully legislators in New York will begin to see the threat to American democracy that such legislation represents for what it actually is, and cease to vote to extend this unconstitutional law at some point in the future.

Looking At One’s Options (or Philadelphia Freedom)

Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn;
Wire, briar, limber lock,
Three geese in a flock.
One flew east,
And one flew west,
And one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
~Vintery, Mintery, Cutery, Corn

The above nursery rhyme of Mother Goose’s may have began as a counting game of sorts.

I’m not sure of the song, but my commentary is on an old chant from back in the early to mid 1940’s in central Kentucky around Frankfort. It was used to choose game participants, decide who was “it” in several games, or otherwise serve the function of selection by elimination.

All the players would stand in a circle with one or both fists extended toward the inside of the circle, one of the older players would stand in the middle of the circle and begin the chant, counting one fist with each accented syllable, starting with himself.

Wire briar, limber lock (4 counted)
Three Geese in a Flock (4 counted)
one flew east and one flew west (4 counted)
One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (4 counted)
O-U-T, and out goes he (7 counted)
Out into the deep blue sea (7 counted)

The last counted was out. Then it would start over with the rest, until it was down to one. It is interesting to note that this was a 30-count elimination round.
~from What children’s song is also known as William Trimmytoes?

Interesting when you consider that many of us consider the mental hospital experience a way of discounting people.

With certain parties in New York state, despite resistance, trying to make Kendra’s Law a permanent fixture of state legislature, isn’t it great to realize there are other places?

Outpatient commitment laws are state matters, and there is no federal law mandating the matter. It’s always good to remember that if the court outpatient commits a person, that person can always flee to another state, and law enforcement can’t do squat.

I’m not so sure that this was so much the case 94 years ago.

1916: An insane woman flees N.Y. hospital to Pa.


April 11, 2010 94 years ago this week:
April 11 to 17, 1916

Tuesday, April 11

In Conklin, N.Y., Clara Scouter, who had escaped from the Binghamton State Hospital in New York for the insane, flagged down a Lackawanna passenger train bound for East Stroudsburg by waving a red petticoat.

She told conductor John Renchler that she had been mistreated by her husband, who had tried to kill her in the nearby swamps.

Renchler helped her aboard the train and the kind passenger cared for her and paid her fare.

After arriving in East Stroudsburg, the woman was taken to police headquarters where she made it clear that she did not wish to go back to the “New York state trash,” because she belonged in Pennsylvania.

Later, it was learned that she was originally from Conklin.

Some men just can’t resist the appeal of a red petticoat.

The husband bit, allowing for a little exaggeration, isn’t entirely outside of the realm of possibility, and then some hospital in New York might look an awful lot like homicidal husband anyway.

I will give her that much.

If, rather than outpatient committed, you had been commited to a state hospital, following a hearing, and you, like Clara, had managed to escape, your situation would be a little more precarious. In that case, we have a saying, “Follow the old north star. It leads to Canada and freedom.”

On the upside, there have been instances where people have successfully flown the looney bin. Keep that in mind.

M. L. King On The Creatively Maladjusted

Although the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was jailed on many occasions, the mental health authorities had not yet caught up with him at the time of his death.

The following is a passage lifted from a speech Dr. King gave at Western Michigan University in 1963:

There are certain technical words within every academic discipline that soon become stereotypes and cliches. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word “maladjusted.” This word is the ringing cry to modern child psychology. Certainly, we all want to avoid the maladjusted life. In order to have real adjustment within our personalities, we all want the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurosis, schizophrenic personalities.

But I say to you, my friends, as I move to my conclusion, there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence. But in a day when sputniks and explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer the choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence, and the alternative to disarmament. The alternative to absolute suspension of nuclear tests. The alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. This is why I welcome the recent test-ban treaty.

In other words, I’m about convinced now that there is need for a new organization in our world. The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment–men and women who will be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos. Who in the midst of the injustices of his day could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” As maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln who had the vision to see that this nation would not survive half-slave and half-free. As maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery would scratch across the pages of history words lifted to cosmic proportions, “We know these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights” that among these are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As maladjusted as Jesus of Nazareth who could say to the men and women of his day, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you. Pray for them that despitefully use you.” Through such maladjustment, I believe that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. My faith is that somehow this problem will be solved.

…& the moral of this little vignette is…

If madness be isolation and despair, praised be the Lord for friends and defenders!