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.

Introducing The Church of Psychotherapy

Although I have dealt with the Church of Biological Psychiatry at one time or another on this blog, there is another religion in the mental health field that I haven’t dealt with in a major way. I’d like to try to correct that error of omission if possible. The religion I am referring to is the Church of Psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy, the practice at the heart of this religion, is all about talk. It is, as it has been put, talk therapy. I’m not completely opposed to talking things out. Sigmund Freud, an early prophet of the church, was big on insight coming of these talks. Insight that I feel could be used to correct instances of faulty logic, especially when this faulty logic involves spilling your guts to a priest of psychotherapy.

Doctors of this divinity compare very favorably with disciples of the goddess Venus in her most terrestrial manifestations, that is, psychoanalysts like prostitutes charge money for their services. You’ve got an elite doing for you for a fee what any friend would do for you for free, if you had any friends. Lack of friends is a primary reason some people utilize the services of a priest of this religion.

1 in 5 people, according National Institute of Mental Health propaganda, have a “mental illness”. Priests of the Church of Psychotherapy are not as inclined to believe in “mental illness”, a cardinal principal in the Church of Biological Psychiatry, but they do all believe in Psychotherapy, that is, in talk. Most of the 1 in 5 people alleged to have a “mental illness” are thought to have what is referred to as a “minor mental illness”. The Church of Psychotherapy has been more instrumental, it is thought, although this is not universal, in treating people with “minor mental illnesses” than in treating people with “major mental illnesses”.

“Minor mental illnesses” were introduced as neuroses by early prophets of the Church of Psychotherapy. Some of the converts to this religion think, despite the 1 in 5 statistic from the NIMH, that 100 % of people of the world are (or “have” in a more updated contemporary lingo) neurosis. Okay, so if 1 in 5 have been caught, that leaves 4 in 5 running around loose.

Priests in the Church of Psychotherapy have to make a living somehow, and what better way to “earn” your keep than to make your spiritual calling a way of life? That’s right! If 100 % of the people are “sick”, just as the Christian church is fraught with sinners, 100 % of the people would be in need of the services you offer. Good deal, huh, for a practitioner of this faith?

Unfortunately for the Church of Psychotherapy, the Church of Biological Psychiatry upset their applecart with the release of the DSM-III in 1980. Psychotherapy, from the absolute necessity it once was seen as being, by this act was rendered something of a luxury again. The Church of Biological Psychiatry, much more adamant about maintaining the divide between “sick” and well, thinks more drastic measures necessary, and these drastic measures come to you courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry.

Overcoming Namby Pamby Disorder And, With It, The Psychiatric Nanny State

Iranian born Dr. Nassir Ghaemi in a MedScape piece, Fallacies of Psychiatry, actually only succeeds in revealing his own bias.

His first conjectured fallacy, the psychological fallacy, he would answer with a fallacy of his own. Namely, the flat earth fallacy. If enough people think a person “needs” psychiatric “help”, in other words, it must be so, and this makes the difference between a biological basis and a psychological, social, or psycho-social origin for “mental disorder”. If the person makes his way into the doctors office, at his friends and associates bequest, his or her “illness” must be biological.

These psychological judgments are essentially made on the basis of common sense. But if common sense were enough to explain things, then our patients would have convinced themselves, or been convinced by their friends and family. If a patient crosses the threshold of a clinician’s door, then common sense has failed — no need to keep using it. What is needed is scientific sense, which is quite different than common sense.

Suddenly because a doctor has entered the picture, we’ve got science. Really? Conventional wisdom may not apply here, but reason doesn’t cease to apply. I wouldn’t be beyond suggesting that our mad doctor’s uncommon sense was a little tainted with an unreason of his own.  If a pseudo-scientific credentialed elite says it is true, it must be true. Right? I’d say, reasonably, that it isn’t true until it is proven true. Here we have one theory in competition with others. The winner is only a poser. The scientific method is about disproving, not proving.

Dr. Nassir would then debunk such a biological reductivist view for certain “mental illnesses” that, in his view, have a psycho-social basis. This creates an even more serious dilemma for our doctor because now we have two entirely distinct species of “mental illnesses”, those with a primarily biological basis, and those with a primarily psycho-social and environmental basis. I would suggest that if “mental illness” is not actually “brain disease”, but erroneous ways of thinking, you don’t need two species of “illness” at all to explain it. Simply put, removing consciousness from the equation does not, at the same time, remove consciousness from the organism.

The doctor’s view is a pretty conventional one, but it asks many serious questions about the profession of psychiatry today. He establishes the psychiatric divide. His examples of biologically based disorders is pretty orthodox, as are his examples of more psycho-socially based disorders. On one side we’ve got schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, the holy trinity of the “mental illness” belief system, and on the other side, we’ve got PTSD, adult ADHD, and borderline personality disorder. I’ve seen this divide presented before. Recently I encountered a person attributing minor disorders to stress factors and major disorders to heredity and biology. In psychoanalytic theory, what has become the divide between major and minor “mental illness”, constituted the division between psychosis and neurosis. If these “disorders” existed on a continuum–big if, but they could–you’ve still got the psyche in psychosomatic. I don’t think it has, by any stretch of the imagination, been proven that they don’t exist on a continuum.

Big problem, little problem. Major “disease”, minor. The big secret is that diagnosis doesn’t represent the eternal biological curse that some professionals would have it represent for people given serious diagnostic tags. Some people manage to get out of the system, and to cope, and even to flourish, despite the cynicism of professionals. The devastating statistics actually represent a systemic challenge. When you’ve got a system based on unequal power relationships, that’s what happens. The success and independence of professionals is based on the failure and dependence of patients. Step back a little bit, and consider, the success of the professional actually depends on failing his patients. You’ve got more job security when your job is keeping a junkie supplied with dope (and this dope could be methadone, heroin, haldol or clozapine) than you would have if your job was getting him or her off drugs entirely.

Initially asylums were set up to segregate and imprison lunatics, i.e. people believed afflicted with any earlier version of the holy trinity in the psychiatric belief system. The advent of psychoanalysis expanded that field a great deal to include people suffering from more minor afflictions and offenses. General anxiety disorder, for instance, is in many ways the mental health equivalent of a skinned knee. Recently, psychiatry has been accused, due to the absolutely absurd number of “diseases” proliferating in the DSM, of pathologizing “normal”. Since the genesis of psychoanalysis, utilizing professional services has been put forward as a way of life. I’d suggest that there are other roads to take besides that of treatment, and maybe we’d better look to them. Take the case of what used to be called hysteria, or the case of what used to be called hypochondria, when a crutch is imaginary, perhaps a person would do better to get along without it.