Friday, September 22, 2006

Empowerment Tactics

By Patricia Lefave, Labelled, D.D.(P)

I believe we are all going to have to focus primarily on taking our own power and using it for our mutual benefit, as well as for ourselves as individuals. . I also think we are going to have to be VERY public, and very unified and consistent, about this self empowerment. We must all become open, honest, and calmly matter of fact about our experiences...and assertive, though not aggressive. After all, we don’t want to give a confusing message about the lack of a difference between the two in the same sort of way the mental illness system does it.

I prefer now to describe the psychiatric establishment as the ‘mental illness system’ for instance, because that seems to be what they are promoting. So I call it what it is and call a system which is focused on recovery and healing, a mental health system because that is what believers in real recovery are promoting. There is an ongoing confusion of words here which I think is a deliberate attempt by SOME, not all, to muddy the waters. Muddying the waters tends to cause people to rely on ‘experts’ and convince them that they cannot hope to sort this all out, which of course, becomes true doesn’t’ t it?
So one of things I think is an absolute necessity is to clear those waters by defining the words used in this in clearly articulated opposites which allow everyone to see two sides of the same problem without all the abstract confusion about it. Exposing it all publicly at a grass roots level is, in my opinion, what will change the system despite its extraordinary resistance to it.

This system can't be "reasoned" with. It is not operating from reason but from power designed to control. When the World Psychiatric Association has a theme like ‘Coercion,” as is coming up in the 2007 Dresden Conference that should tell us exactly where they are heading and why they are heading there. It is about control. It is also the power and control attitude of others that is often our collective problem in the first place. Yet the system does not see this AS the problem. They are deaf to our collective truth. I think we will get to the point where psychiatry will look absurd to hysterical magical thinking.

I use peaceful but very obvious tactics. I am the talk of the town here. For many, that fits right in with the notion that I am ‘seeking fame’ which of course, justifies their judgments. The fact is, the judgments and supposed symptoms have been created out of the complaints of people about being abused and controlled by others who then lie about what they do. It was always a matter of who was going to be believed in a dispute between two people which is the starting point of the whole mess. If psychiatry believes one, then the outcome is predictable and if they believe the other then THAT outcome is also predictable. It is just that the ‘identified patient’ doesn’t see it coming until after it’s too late since the opinions of the psychiatrists are kept to themselves, as they look for signs and symbols of ‘madness’ in us. This is based upon the training they have had to see ‘madness’ in the complaints of those who sit before them being psychiatrized.

So, we are caught in a circular trap; a trap many, many of us perceive as we are breaking down under pressure which psychiatrists are also taught to believe is a ‘sign’ of our inherently ‘defective’ minds. We end up seeing ‘the circle’ which we are then told only further ‘proves’ we are ‘sick’ for seeing it. And so it goes, and goes, and goes….’

Nevertheless, in my own case as I ‘seek the fame’ they insisted I wanted, many of those who were laughing AT me are laughing WITH me. I use absurd humour a lot. Like my own T-shirts with slogans which I put on with a permanent marker. Such as: "Don't worry. I can't see you or hear you because I'm crazy." or "Fascinating Case." I believe in mirroring the stupid or cruel back to those who are acting it out. If we did this all over the world, we could not be ignored. There are just too many of us. I act like it is incredible to me that I have to state the bloody obvious to psychiatry, but it is not really an 'act.' It IS incredible. It is having an affect on my city. The general public is starting to talk about how obvious it is also, even though the system remains in its deep, deep denial. Personally, I think psychiatrists are destined to be the absolute last to know. For as it is said from a spiritual point of view, “The first shall be last and the last first.’

In this case I think that means that those who are most certain of their own understanding will be shocked to discover that they never really understood it at all and that the delusions they ascribed to others were really their own delusions all along. Of course it also means that those who put themselves first will come last because doing so causes them to fail to see the truth since they believe they already know it. It is those who know there are still questions to ask and who out their own egos aside to find the truth, who will be among the first to see it. It is also true that right now in society, it is assumed by those who have no questions, that those who DO have questions are stupid because they do not see what those who believe they do see, do not question. Indeed, often those who don't question this, do not even know there is a question that needs to be asked.

Paradoxical isn’t it? As psychiatrists themselves have told me though, “If you were really crazy, you wouldn’t know it.” Let us all start asking all of them if they "think" they are crazy, or do they not? It would be interesting to see what circular answers we get to our ‘stupid’ questions.



6 to 8 June 2007 ** Dresden, Germany ** World Psychiatric Association is holding a special conference on "Coercive Treatment in Psychiatry."

MindFreedom member Peter Lehmann negotiated on behalf of several movement groups, including MindFreedom, for movement inclusion in this WPA conference. Judi Chamberlin will represent MindFreedom in a keynote address.


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