Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shifting the Focus on ''Madness''

This was originally written publicly for before the occurrence of the  Are We Mad Conference  in Alberta in 2009
With minor changes I am reproducing it because the questions still apply and still need to be heard .

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

Having addressed some of the concerns generated by my reading of the books of Gordon Warme, among others, I would now like to offer the following questions as suggestions for debate amongst those will, once again, with the DSM in production, try to decide the fates of those under your care and/or control.
This time though I would like to suggest you try it from a whole new perspective and see if that doesn't generate some new style of thought on the topic. How about shifting the focus AWAY from the identified patient and onto psychiatrists, friends, families and the politics of supposedly 'normal'' people and the beliefs and attitudes of those groups, particularly those headed by unquestioned ''authority.''
How accommodating to ''authority'' are the individual members of such groups of people? How accommodating are psychiatrists to the ''authorities'' at the top of their own pyramid structure and how willing are they really to put their talk of ethics and integrity to work in real life, in the real world and within their own group rather than merely treating it like an intellectual exercise? Let's find out. Here are a few questions from one of your non compliant, ungrateful psychiatrized people for your consideration.

1. Is public relations becoming more important to you than facing reality?

2. Is there too much focus on altering emotions and too little on actually solving human problems or problems of relationship?

3. Do you think the quick fix solution is leading us all to long term disasters?

4. Do you think that being a 'team player' something which is highly touted these days, is always a good thing?

5. Do you notice the language used by groups in control seems to be getting more vague and abstract all the time? Why do you think that is? Does it broaden the base of control perhaps?

6. Have you noticed the DSM creators seem to be hell bent on including just about anything human in the Big Book of Insanity and do you think that is a power grab kind of thing?

7. Have you noticed the system seems to be homogenizing good and evil and that both victims and aggressors are now often given exactly the same defining label? Doesn't that just confuse the issue? Is it a conscious and deliberate move on your parts?

8. Have you noticed that psychiatry doesn't like to get pinned down to anything specifically and that frequently individual psychiatrists get quite huffy if someone tries it?

9. Do psychiatrists, supposedly above all of this human frailty and folly, worry a lot, like teens, about what their peer group thinks?

10. Are you people really looking for a one-size-fits-all doctrine? If you find it, will it fit YOU too?

11. Do you ever notice you spend most of you time either talking FOR us or ABOUT us and almost no time talking to, or with us? Do you make excuses for that?

12. Have you noticed that even when you DO talk to us you are checking your own  programming for meaning and not checking with us for meaning or for clarification?

I3. Is that because you think you already know everything so there is no need to listen?

14. Do you think it is at all strange to ask third parties what we think while you don't care about the answers WE give you?

15. Do you feel a sense of entitlement when you do that? Do you think that kind of entitlement is a sign of mental health?

16. Do you think it is acceptable behaviour, on the part of psychiatrists to tell their patients they are not ''allowed'' to speak of their own experience or to dictate to them to whom they may speak, about what, and where? Does that seem just a tad fascist to YOU?

17. Do you think it is possible for psychiatrists to be suffering from a group perception/reaction problem? Whom could they ask?

18. I once heard someone say something like 'rational beings are capable of autonomous action' as though that was a test of rationality. Does psychiatry not know that irrational beings are also capable of ''autonomous action?"

19. Have you ever noticed how the most heinous crimes are often committed by those who have an excellent grasp of what the masses think of as 'good social skills?'

Unfortunately these days the line between right and wrong is increasingly being blurred by giving everyone the same label. The serial killer and the stalking victim are often defined in the same reductionist way.

20. Have you ever noticed how academia tends to be out of touch with the reality every day life? I have noticed psychiatry seems to be almost always focused on mood altering drugs and suppressing emotion.

21. Are you treating emotion as irrelevant or as an artifact of a by-gone incarnation? If so, do you really think that is wise?

22. Do you notice that psychiatrists generally seem unable to hear their own words and what seems, to many of us, the obvious connection to their patients' point of view?
Phrases like ''contrasting views of humanity'' tend to ring my alarm bells as there is usually an assumption present and that is that if there is a conflicting view the psychiatrist's view is automatically the 'correct' one. ( that's where we get the ''robot'' analogy you know...the auto-response thing)

23. Do the impersonal abstractions applied in absolute terms ever scare you too?

24. Do you avoid emotion? Is it because it frightens you to be anything but 'intellectual' with your peer group?

25. Do you prefer to ''manage'' your anger or perhaps just deny it exists at all and then unload it by by telling hostile ''jokes'' directed at your patients instead? Is that what you would call ''passive aggressive'' if I did it?

26. Do you avoid genuine, direct communication with those assigned the patient role because it allows you to do things you would never do to people you actually cared about?

27. Many of you quote Nietzsche. Who are those ''human beings who have true worth''?
Nietzsche went mad finally...
Was he one of them? Were his psychiatrists? Or was he one of the expendable people in psychiatry's opinion? One of those without “true worth”?

28. Do you think ideas of ''total control'' and ''self creation'' (in relation to total control) smack of grandiosity and omnipotence?

29. If so did Nietzsche create his own insanity? Does that mean that he really ''wanted'' to go mad? Do we all get what we really want? Do YOU?
Since psychiatrists seem fond of quoting him to prove your points, as if this madman as defined by you, were your authority, are you all mad too? Would sane men quote the rants of a madman as proof of their own sanity?

30. Does it ever bother you that some, who are deciding what is human nature and what is not, are using their own human nature to make those decisions for others? Does it ever give you pause when you hear one of them say, If you were REALLY mad you would not know it? No?

Take a poll.
Ask all your colleagues if they are mad.
Now use the brains you were born with to think about the two possible answers you can get to that question.

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