Straw Man Arguments Against The Evolution Of Mental Health

15. We oppose the psychiatric system because it is frighteningly similar to the Inquisition, chattel slavery and the Nazi concentration camps.

25. We believe that the psychiatric system is, in fact, a pacification programme controlled by psychiatrists and supported by other mental health professionals, whose chief function is to persuade, threaten or force people into conforming to established norms and values.

26. We believe that the psychiatric system cannot be reformed but must be abolished.
Statement of Principles from the 10th Annual International Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression ; May 1982, republished on MindFreedom.org

“Any such officer or person may at any time, and shall be permitted so to do by the authorities thereat, visit and inspect any psychiatric facility, and in so doing may interview patients, examine books, records, and other documents relating to patients, examine the condition of the psychiatric facility and its equipment, and enquire into the adequacy of its staff, the range of services provided and any other matter he or she considers relevant to the maintenance of standards of patient care.”
Subsection 9(2) of the Mental Health Act of the Province of Ontario

“An Advocate shall ensure that clients are fully informed about advocacy activities undertaken, about information which is gathered in the course of advocacy and about reasonable alternatives, implications of actions and potential outcomes. Unless required by law, and subject to available resources, an Advocate shall not withhold relevant information from the client.”
Standards of Practice for the Ontario Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office

“I don’t believe, however, that just because one has a diagnosis of a mental illness that they need medical treatment. I probably should, if I believe that they’re biologically based. But I think it’s a sliding scale, like anything else, and that not everyone is affected to the same extent. Some people can get by without, some people don’t want to take medication because they like how they are, some people don’t want to take medication because they don’t trust it, and some people respond better to therapeutic treatments.”
“Am I pro-psychiatry? Well, not exactly.”; Pole To Polar, Nov. 17, 2008

“Call it a disorder long enough and people without the disease start believing that all we need is a hug, maybe a car ride and a Stephen Colbert marathon and we’ll snap out of it. And if we don’t, well then it’s because we’re just loving the attention or something.

“The combination of genetics and imaging technology is allowing researchers to prove Manic Depression is a disease passed on by mother and father and that it infects the chemical syringes in our heads, so that the controls on ‘how much’ and ‘when’ are set to ’shuffle’ and ‘repeat’.

“Clinical and Normal Depressions have direct and reasonable causes. Manic Depression has neither. Depression is something forced on us by the disease.”
“Frequently Unanswered Questions”; Me.

There are no cures for manic depression, or any other mental illness, and anyone who says there is or they have one is a fraud.

There is no doubt about this. No reputable company, university or researcher can claim to have more than a treatment or hope for one. Yet a small but very vocal group of people want you to believe there are people, specifically psychiatrists, claiming to have a cure. This straw-man argument allows this group of people to then claim psychiatrists, and the medications they prescribe, are frauds for claiming there are cures.

Many of these people using the straw man argument, after telling you psychiatrists are frauds, will then pitch the idea manic depression can be treated or even cured using natural methods, such as vitamins, amino acids or Lithium Orotate — which is not the Lithium commonly used to treat manic depression.

Manic depression, they’ll tell you, is not a disease. Neither are other mental illnesses, for that matter. Which is what their argument is really about: psychiatrists are frauds for telling you there’s a cure for what ails you, but what they tell you is a disease is really just a state of mind which can be overcome with better nutrition.

Once we were diagnosed with a “mental illness” we became part of the pharmaceutical machinery which exists for no other reason than to make money off a fraudulent diagnosis, and the psychiatric industry with their grand political motives.

Most of their proof for this conspiracy comes from the relationship between researchers and the pharmaceutical industry, and really nowhere else. They believe we’ve either been deluded into believing in mental illness, hypnotized into believing we have one, or we’ve unwittingly become part of a vast conspiracy by accepting treatment.

The “anti-psychiatry movement” believes they are the natural continuation of the Civil Rights movement. That psychiatry is The Man keeping us down. The MindFreedom organization, for example, believes they are advocating patient rights, but describes a past president of their association as a “long-time activist in the movement for a nonviolent revoluion [sic] in the mental health system”, like maybe there’s an option to their Sinn Fein.

Meanwhile the anti-pharmaceutical movement is against using medications to treat any mental illness. Partially over their belief the medications only get to market thanks to bribes paid to researchers by the pharmaceutical industry, but also their belief those medications are highly addictive. They are in favour, however, of using nutritional supplements which, as a treatment for anything more than deficiencies in someone’s diet, only have the slimmest of anecdotal evidence and almost no FDA or Health Canada oversight.

Natural remedies are wonderful for depression. People who live in northern countries should be taking handfuls of Vitamin D, for example. But depression is not a disease. Manic depression is.

“Psychiatry never cured anything or anyone” is another of the common straw man arguments. The ‘anti people’ will tell you psychiatry and the medications used to treat us never cured anyone, but no one has ever claimed Wellbutrin or visiting a psychiatrist twice a month was a cure for manic depression. No one ever talked an episode of manic depression away.

The medications don’t cure manic depression, but when they work they offer us the clarity needed to take back our lives. The medications don’t solve our clinical depressions either, but they do give us time to work out our issues safely. Taken properly psych meds, just like all the other types of medications available to us, do save lives, just not every life. People taking medications to control their mental illness die, just like people taking treatment for cancer die.

The anti-psych/pharma believers will take those incidents of great tragedy — someone dying while in treatment for a mental illness, someone being misdiagnosed, or someone experiences the worst side effects from any medication — and turn them into the norm which they then use as proof of some grand conspiracy or great crime. By obsessing over the tragedies, however, they’re ignoring the majority of us who are continuing to succeed in our recoveries, aided in part by the things they’re so against.

Writing about people who believe in grand conspiracies tends to make the writer seem as paranoid, but the anti-psych/pharma movements are more than just a dozen bloggers with a few ‘advocacy’ links in their blogroll.

It involves groups like The Icarus Project, who believe manic depression is some sort of art gene which must be protected against medications. And MindFreedom, which claims to work as an advocate for people with mental illness, but really wants psychiatry abolished — currently they’re trying to raise money to create a directory for “humane alternatives to the traditional mental health system”.

Not just ‘alternatives’, but “humane” ones… because the methods currently used by the mental health system, in their opinion, aren’t.

And if we were to take the entire system and go back in time a few decades, they might have a case. Because the mental health system of every country has many dark and horrible corners. The common thread from the founding of the anti-psych/pharma movements in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s until now is their opposition to “forced psychiatric treatment”, specifically electroshock treatments.

But the treatment they’re so virulently against is one of the rarest offered. What they’re spending so much time and effort railing against almost never happens against a patients will, and can only be done against their will through a court. In Canada and the United States, for example, patients are given legal representation and a judicial hearing to decide whether the procedure can go forward without the patients consent.

It’s interesting how many of the testimonials offered on the MindFreedom site are from people who experienced ECT during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Which, considering imaging technology has only recently allowed researchers to see the brain function without taking the top of your head off, is a completely different era of medicine.

Their testimonials are heart wrenching accounts of abuse and neglect, and how they’ve managed to stand up and take back their lives is testament to their courage. Some of these people were truly butchered by their doctors, and each deserves at least an apology for their abuse.

But having an anti-psychiatry movement with a goal of abolishing psychiatry because of the practises from thirty years ago is like having an anti-politician movement against Barack Obama because of Watergate.

Many of the anti-psychiatry/pharma believers have blogs and will relentlessly attack anyone who doubts their pain, or their movement, on them. And maybe because of the language they use, or the vehemence of their attack, they can be too easily dismissed as being just a bunch of fanatics.

But they’re not… they’re just like the rest of us, trying to find their own path to recovery. They’re maybe even more damaged than most of the rest of us. Many of them have been abused by people working in the same system which has helped me survive. For many of them their real target is the people who hurt them, but because they can’t sit that person down and scream long enough or loud enough, they’ve put a capital P on psychiatrist and scream at a system instead.

There are many improvements desperately needed in the mental health programs in every country, including the United States and Canada. Because the province of Ontario has closed so many mental health facilities, people suffering from mental illnesses are now being placed in prison when they should be in a hospital. At the same time prisoners are still being denied access to proper and sustained mental health care.

In a 2005 letter to the editor of The Kingston Whig Standard, David Simpson, the director of the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, an “arms length” program of the Ontario Ministry of Health, wrote:

“The system must include a full range of mental-health services that support inmates in their quest for wellness, recovery and rehabilitation. These include assessment, referral, treatment, counseling, crisis-intervention services, and case-management supports to assist with re-integration into the community. In addition, access to rights protection, rights advice and independent advocacy services must be guaranteed.

“Until these services are in place, the rights violations will continue to occur, inmates will continue to go without treatment, and there will be little or no recourse for those who should be in hospital and not jail. We can, and must, do better so inmates with mental illness receive the services and supports that they may want and need.”

Without being surrounded by the hyperbole of conspiracy the requests for greater patient involvement in their treatment seems more than reasonable. We, the people who are sick, need as many rights and options for treatment as we can get.

.

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Health, Manic Depression, Politics, Psychiatry. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Straw Man Arguments Against The Evolution Of Mental Health

  1. thordora says:

    Locally a guy burned a house down, and tried to get another the other night.

    Turns out he’s not mentally stable, and was in a half way house, relatively unwatched/unsupervised (I hate those terms, but that’s all I got).

    The howls start immediately about how “those” people shouldn’t be near “us” (read: ‘Normal” people)

    They always seem to forget that mental illness lives where they live, and that the more the government claws back or cancels services, the more the mentally ill have to rely on what they can get. Even the psych ward, which was already short on beds, lost four for no apparent reason when they expanded the hospital.

    LOST BEDS when they expanded for another wing.

    I find that anti movements just substantiate for the average person the thought that the mentally ill are nothing more that little freaks to be ignored, and I become increasingly irritated when the only mention I see in magazines about the disease is accompanied by a blurb about vitamins that helped PIGS with their moods.

    PIGS.

    All I want is help. Help to lead a stable life, and one that doesn’ t include having that fucking argument about “art” because so help me, if I have it one more time….the people in my life should be able to see that the only thing that’s come from my BP is destruction.

  2. Lola Snow says:

    “All I want is help. Help to lead a stable life”

    That is exactly the sentiment I have been attempting to put into words all day, perhaps for different reasons though.

    Maybe people just cannot understand what it’s like to live in perpetual chaos. Never knowing what’s coming next, or where you are now. Destruction is right. Mental illness pushes you out of a door away from everyone else, and the stigma attached slams it in your face. Anti-psychiatry turns the key in that lock.

  3. scottgladstone says:

    Burn the Straw Man for that is all he is good for.

    One of my first posts was a rebuttal to an anti-psychiatry video, mainly as a way to burn the straw men rather than a pro-psychiatry polemic.

    I am 20 months into treatment and I am finally, finally, on something stable – friends and family are noticing a difference, so instead of fine I am relatively well. I have been on nine different medications and now I am on the right set of three. Point is it takes time. Psychiatry needs time.

    Psychiatry is one of our youngest sciences and branches of medicines and considering we can’t very well poke about in live brains it knows quite a lot. It is still learning. Lithium is only really fifty years old, some medications are younger than me. Give it time and the psychiatrists and the medications will get “smarter”.

    I only see the anti-psychiatry movement as destructive, wanting to shut down a fledgling science. the Anti-psychs have their reasons but really psychiatry is not out to harm anyone.

  4. giannakali says:

    thanks for calling me a fraud…

    I’ve seen many people completely recover…and your assumptions of them still being fucked up is off base…way off base.

    I don’t want to argue…this sort of stuff exhausts me.

    but I did want to say I don’t think you see the whole picture, though you do see some of it clearly…and some of it you see better then some of the people you are criticizing—because yeah some do have things a little skewed in their brains.

    on the other hand you are missing massive chunks in that you simply haven’t seen the recovery I’ve seen or you’d also see the rest of it and you wouldn’t be calling all of us who claim cure is possible a fraud.

  5. bromac says:

    I also believe “cure” is a fraud. I do give all props to those who have been able to “maintain” with simply vitamin/herbal supplements. I think it is wonderful and I wish I were able to do the same.

    While I don’t think psychiatry is exactly at its best at this point in time, I do see it as having improved a great deal.

    Take, for instance, my mother. Since I have begun treatment, it is painfully obvious to me that my own mother very likely has bp as well. Having grown up in an earlier era she is unaware that she has mental health illness. Had she been giventhe same opportunities as me, with the progression of psychiatry, her life might have been much different. I, on the other hand, grew up in an era where knowledge of mental disease was increasingly widespread, and medication increasingly available. And while my plight has been much different on many levels, I definitely feel that I have had the opportunity for much more personal growth and stability, and much less chaos.

    On the other hand, I do think the mental health field has a long way to go. It is much abused, by the general population, by doctors, and by pharmaceutical companies.

  6. giannakali says:

    you know I don’t actually like the word cure…it’s fraught with problems….there is no cure to being human…and humans will always have problems…and will always suffer some of the time…it’s part of who and what we are…the human condition if you will.

    I know a lot of people though for whom drugs made them worse and natural alternatives restored balance to their lives…balance and stability.

    and it’s different for different people…

    but denying that drugs make some people worse is just not facing reality…

    and I have lots of friends who take drugs…I don’t go around challenging their choices or their perception of reality.

    that there is something real that gets labeled mental illness we can all agree on too whether or not we agree on etiology…

    mental anguish is real, mental distress is real.

    I also seem to have noticed it in every member of the human species…labeled or not

  7. You mean those nice men on Yonge street LIED to me?

  8. thordora says:

    mental anguish is real, mental distress is real.

    I also seem to have noticed it in every member of the human species…labeled or not

    Distress because your husband died-that will end. Your grief will taper into something manageable,

    Anguish because you cannot keep a job, or cannot get out of bed, incapacitated by something in your mind you cannot control or even get a handle on…

    these are two distinct things. Just as heart disease and a little heartburn are two distinct things.

    Lots of things make people worse. Greasy food. Mother in laws. PMS. Red Dye #4. Placebos.

    What if some of those people who recover weren’t actually sick at all? What if we turn the theory that drugs are bad m’kay around to diagnosis is bad? What if they are part of that small segment of people who will get better with anything? What if we follow them for 5 years, and see if they are still stable? Will they be? Will their family think they are?

    There is always room for alternatives-ones which have been studied and tested and approved, regardless of who “owns” it. Personally, for me it’s the “internet experts” who freak me out. I don’t go eating the weeds in my backyard-I’m not going to go take pills I know nothing about which have absolutely no scientific study behind them.

    I have a friend who claims that her natural supplements and foods and master cleanses make her better in the head. She suffers from debilitating anxiety, and likely has some type of mood disorder thrown in with a little OCD. She thinks I’m nuts for taking a drug made by a drug company, one that brings order to my mind, and tells me I should drink more fruit juice.

    Heh.

    I ramble because of small children, but the point is that enough people think we’re going to eat their babies without making them think were Doug Henning….. 😛

  9. First off, I had to laugh at justinmohareb! HA! That is wicked.

    Yes, I wanted to come back and look for this one as we talked about it on my blog. I have no clue why the hell they blogrolled me! I mean, I’m as non-anti-Psychiatry (that’s a lot of hyphenation!) as you can get! Ditto anti-med.

    However, you mentioned my “balanced approach?” *shrug* Ah, yes…I must be Fox News. “…a fair and balanced approach…” God help me if my blog is bloody Fox News!

    Perhaps it was because I blogged about “Mad Pride” that they sponsor. I just thought it was funny to have a bunch of us loonies running around, completely amok, making a total mess of the streets! Yay! We’re happy to be crazy! W00t!

    Or…it could be because I have torn apart some studies (as you know) and pointed out some extremely ridiculous issues etc… You recall the Topomax to treat Alcoholism one and the guy who said, “We have a Prozac moment here!” or whatever it was, right? I mean, that really is a fucking stupid thing to say and it deserves to be noted at least for the sheer hilarity value?

    However, I still take my stance and anyone who reads my blog knows how I feel about meds and how important they are (at least to me and a hell of a lot of other people out there.) That is not to say that everyone needs them or chooses to take them.

    Point one: Needs. There are some forms of Depression that may be transient. Let’s say, a death of a loved one where the person may be able to get by with therapy alone–no meds. (oooh…careful…that could be a Psychiatrist treating them!) *rolls eyes*

    Point two: Choice. I have no personal issue if someone wants to stop their meds or take something “Holistic.”

    My feelings on dropping your meds if they have been helping you is that I’ve seen too many people crash and burn so badly, then go back on them and even further, they can’t get the same result. A different form of “poop out.”

    Holistic or natural remedies? Fine. Another choice. I even know someone who went that route after getting sick of the med-mill and his business, not mine.

    However, beware the quacks and buyer beware! At least meds are tested and regulated. If you dash off to some Health Food Store, you don’t know what you’re getting or where it’s from. Although, thordora made a point of some testing.

    Still, not everything has been. Not to mention, some of them are contraindicated in people with Bipolar/Manic Depression. Remember my category (along with another big slice of the population.) ADs make me go nuts! I have actually researched some natural remedies that could have been very bad for me!

    Don’t get me wrong. Big Pharma and I have our issues as well. We’re not exactly in bed together. At least there are trials and years worth of study regarding prescribed meds which helps to at least some degree.

    And a lot of doctors can’t stand Big Pharma and the sales folks, either. No, ’tis true!

    Sure, sometime down the road we may find out that the meds we’ve been taking are going to make us ooooh, soooo sick and we’re going to die but I’d rather take that chance than going off all of my meds and killing myself now. Or having never taken them in the first place and not actually be sitting here typing this because I would have killed myself already. I’m not kidding.

    I have always said on my blog that my drugs have saved my life.

    So anyway…I don’t know mindfreedom. Sure you can blogroll me. Thanks for the traffic! Even though I don’t care about my stats. *laughing*

    And I do get referrals so some people are coming over…again, fine by me. To those that do, I hope you enjoy your reading!

  10. Gabriel... says:

    Hello… thanks to everyone for commenting. I don’t have time right now to respond properly to anyone but I will once I do. Despite how it sounds, this is not an automated response.

    Gianna, I’m not calling you a fraud.

    PatAnon’s response is about her blog being the only pro-med, pro-psych personal blog in the MindFreedom.org blogroll.

  11. giannakali says:

    oh….I was also grossly abused by psychiatry in the mid-80’s and it does still happen today…

    I was hospitalized for a meds reactions in this millennium and was also treated like shit and I was not in the least bit out of my mind…lucid as all get out…but still treated less than human…

    lots of people are treated in less than humane ways today…not just 30 years ago. And lots of them are great supporters of meds too…I’m sure you’ve read horror stories of people who are still happy to take their meds…they are not anti-pharma or anti-psychiatry but the horror still happens…

    mmm…glad you don’t think I’m a fraud…because I fit right in there with the people you’re calling frauds…

    The thing is I really respect peoples right to choose…and I love and care about all of us who are labeled…even if we sometimes piss each other off.

    I’m still a social worker at heart…and a social worker meets the person where their at…if they are any good at what they do. And they also don’t try to coerce anything from them. Pro or anti med…choice…that’s where it’s at. I may have opinions that I throw around on my blog…my space…but you put me one on one with someone dealing with their pain and whatever they need to do is alright by me…if they ask my opinion I give it…if they don’t I hold my tongue. I respect people and believe in people’s right to self-determination.

  12. dame says:

    It’s hard to know how to comment on this one (after reading the comments).
    You make a lot of solid points, Gabriel. Hence the controversy, i’m guessing.
    I had some issues with Gianna’s comments, because it seems her personal experiences were traumatic, so i’d prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt as opposed to accuse her of being negative and defensive. I read some of her posts, and its clear she’s sincerely devoted to her beliefs. That being said, I consider her and an assortment of others to be a knife in the side of progress. Particularly after reading one of her initial statements, “It seems some people think that pain is special to them.”
    She may fall into a category of misdiagnosed patients, and had to journey to where she currently resides. However, she and those like her that insist (and insist is the operative term) that recovery is an option, that a disease is a ‘condition’, and that depression is comparable to mourning or grief — a temporary condition easily managed by philosophies, a warm soak, a good tea, time, and an outlook that all humanity suffers — well, i don’t think i need to continue. While i respect her opinion, ‘determination’ does not cure depression.
    And i really find that sort of mentality borderline offensive, if not entirely abusive.

  13. dame says:

    p.s. thanks for once again being you, doing what you do, and keeping this forum for furthering understanding(s) of all shapes and sizes

  14. giannakali says:

    dame,
    self-determination means people are free to choose anything they damn well want…including drugs…I was coerced. I believe in NO coercion pro or anti drug!!

    you didn’t understand what I was saying.

  15. giannakali says:

    and why are you talking like I’m not here in the conversation??

  16. dame says:

    giannakali, i apologize if you feel offended in some way.

    i was merely remarking on your comments and opinions as i interpreted them.

    easy on the hostility, please.

    (sorry Gabriel — something told me not to comment on this one, damn it if i ever listen to me.)

  17. Gabriel... says:

    There’s never a need for you to apologize to me on this site Dame. You say whatever you need to, whenever you want. There’s never any question about that.

    I have never doubted your pain, or the cause of it Gianna. I know there have been people abused by the mental health care system in your country, in this country and in every country. Without taking anything away from your experiences there are also people who have been abused in every sector of the health care system. Many people have been misdiagnosed with cancer, for example, and gone through disfiguring surgeries as a result.

    With mental health care, however, there are also people who have been hurt just as badly because they haven’t had access to the system. There are people in the system who shouldn’t be there, but there are even more who need to be in it but have no access, either because of cost or just a lack of good care. Many people in my blogroll simply cannot afford regular and sustained access. So they yo-yo. When they get the care, they thrive. When they can’t afford the medications they crash.

    You are pro-choice. But the people who are anti-psychiatry and anti-medications used to treat mental illness, the people who believe mental illnesses do not exist, are not pro-choice. It is not possible to be anti-basketball and either enjoy an NBA game or respect someone’s decision to buy season tickets. But it is possible to be pro-basketball and anti-NBA player salaries.

    It is possible to be pro-psychiatry, yet believe the discipline needs to be improved upon. It is possible to be pro-meds, but believe the research into them must be more independent. It is possible to believe mental illnesses exists, and that they are painful and tragic, yet believe they can be treated outside the established mental health field.

    As my friends have shown for the past six years, it is possible to treat grand mal seizures without any pharmaceuticals, by simply using only medicinal marijuana. But I want the drugs which work for me made available to me.

    As I wrote on my FUQ page, “There are a lot of ways to come back from any disease. There are people who forgo chemotherapy and use “natural” methods and come out on the other side great. There are people who use chemo and die. I have met a few MD’s along the way who manage the disease through yoga and diet alone.”

    I also wrote “Of course Mental Illnesses have been misdiagnosed for the past six thousand years, this, right now, is the first generation to watch the brain function. Until this moment the only way to prove we’re sick is to have people believe we’re crazy based on our behaviour.”

    I’m sorry for addressing this whole response to you, it’s not my intention to make you feel like you have to defend anything. I’m trying to say I don’t believe you’re a fraud. I believe you were abused. I believe, as you’ve written, that you were misdiagnosed. And I believe you when you write you are pro-choice. But the people I’m writing about in this post aren’t. They believe I’m delusional. They believe I’m being taken advantage of, and I’m being abused by the very nature of the medications that I’ve been prescribed.

    You are not a fraud, they are.

    And those people, I believe, are a problem. Not because I’m worried they’ll somehow close down the system which makes me better, and makes it possible for me to be a part of my own life. They don’t have that kind of power, and never will. What they can do, however, is take advantage of people who are sick. They can, and have convinced individuals that a mental illness either isn’t real or is a gift, and if they can’t quite manage to function in society they just aren’t trying hard enough.

    You’re always welcome to comment here Gianna. I really hope this clears up some all of your concerns.

  18. Jane says:

    you are calling me a fraud too and I resent it

    your words specifically, “There are no cures for manic depression, or any other mental illness, and anyone who says there is or they have one is a fraud.”

    It’s been over ten years since I have tried or even wanted to hurt myself.

    I won’t even go into the remission from pathological anger, the mania, the psychosis, the voices, all you need to know is that I have cured myself of 20 years of suicidal depression and I have not had a relapse in ten years how that was done is a major focus of my writings and the current gamut of psychiatric treatments were not remotely a part of it personally, I think we need things like the Icarus Project and Mind Freedom, they are doing good work

    I too am a psychiatric survivor. I was harmed by them when I was most vulnerable and needed help.

    I put my faith in science because I believe in and love science so much.

    I thought they knew what they were doing.

    Never have I regretted something more in my life than when I asked for help from mental health care providers

    I’ll be damned if exercising my right of free speech makes me a $cilon or some kind of antipsychiatry activist either

  19. Gabriel... says:

    Hello Jane, welcome back, I hope your book project is coming together the way you want.

    Fraud means intent to deceive. What you call a “cure”, I call a treatment. You’ve used meditation to successfully treat your symptoms, I’ve been symptom free for well over a year using Seroquel, Wellbutrin and Lithium. By your logic I should be selling this as a cure.

    People have been hurt by all types of doctors when they’ve been at their most vulnerable. Sometimes repeatedly. Despite the implied connotations, however, being a “psychiatric survivor” is not the same as being a cancer survivor. You had a bad doctor, possibly a few of them. This does not mean the entire profession is to blame, or should be held to blame.

    The Icarus Project, meanwhile, advocates for people with manic depression to get off their medications and “tap into the true potential that lies between brilliance and madness.” Whatever the fuck that means… mediocrity maybe?

    Manic depression does not make us artists. We are not characters in a romance novel protecting innocence against corruption. We are not a Ruby Gloom painting. Manic depression has a higher kill rate than cancer.

    MindFreedom International, meanwhile, “Advocat[es] for human rights and alternatives in the “mental health” system”.

    Who exactly is preventing people from using alternatives to the “mental health system”? Has anyone walked up to you and said “meditation has been deemed to be against the Mental Health System, therefore you can’t do it no more”?

    People can go online and buy pig feed from people who claim it can be used to get rid of the bipolars, there’s a dealer here in my community who has the product name and the claim painted on his truck. My friend uses medical weed to treat his bipolar.

    Nobody is preventing us from using faith healers to treat manic depression, just like no one is preventing the crippled from washing in the miracle fountain in Lourdes.

    So who does MindFreedom want to protect us from? Who are these people preventing us from using alternatives to the mental health system to treat these diseases that makes MindFreedom necessary?

    Because, really, MindFreedom doesn’t want an alternative mental health care system, they want an alternative TO the current mental health care system. As in one must end to make way for the other.

    Just to clear this up, I don’t believe you, or anyone else in recovery, should be censored. In fact I would encourage people to go to your site and not be afraid to ask questions about your methods for treating mental illness.

    But I admit to being confused… you write in one of your posts:

    I do believe that Bipolar is bullshit. It happens to be the BS mental health paradigm of our age.

    …but when I write how there are no cures for manic depression, and how anyone who says there is should be considered a fraud, you get upset and write:

    you are calling me a fraud too and I resent it… It’s been over ten years since I have tried or even wanted to hurt myself.

    Honestly, correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I understand you believe you had the symptoms of manic depression, and you believe you have been cured from those symptoms, but you don’t believe manic depression is a disease, but only something which occurs like a “mental cold”. But in your posts, both text and video, you keep referring to the group of symptoms as “bipolar disorder”.

    If you have a healing and recovery story from bipolar, it’s because you were misdiagnosed.

    So I’m honestly a little confused about your definitions… and, like most of the bloggers in my blogroll, I do have both a healing and recovery story.

    As for Scientology, I haven’t read anything on your site to suggest you believe the Church of Scientology is capable of treating or curing manic depression or any other mental illness/disease.

    About your being an “antipsychiatry activist”, I don’t know about the “activist” part, but I have seen some of your YouTubes and read some of your posts and I haven’t seen anything to convince me you’re pro-psychiatry.

    Psychiatrists are not allowed to be wrong. You’re not allowed to contradict psychiatry.

    I’ve never had a problem telling a psychiatrist he was wrong, or that the treatment wasn’t working, or how I thought the treatment was unnecessary, or that it should stop. And people “contradict” psychiatry all the time and get paid… I haven’t seen David Oaks hauled in front of a NAMI Truth Tribunal.

    You’ve regretted ever having receiving help from “mental health care providers”, and I totally respect that based on your accounts of how horrible your experiences have been.

    But my experiences have been very different.

  20. dame says:

    i’ll call you a fraud, jane — i’ve read some of your hypocritical rubbish; and i’ll not i wouldn’t have gone past the first few words had it not been for your comment here.
    i’ve never read/seen such irresponsible and hypocritical advice in my life. in one of your vids, you go so far as to imply that people struggling with bipolar don’t take responsibility for their behaviors — that they fill a script, and that’s their extent of accountability. you also encourage people to get off their meds, that people aren’t ‘real’ if they’re on any form of medication(s). and this beautiful series of opinions from you (and i quote):

    “From a spiritual seeker’s point of view drugs are bane. It does not matter what the drug is ..

    When I was growing up drugs were B- A- D

    It was seen as a constitutional weakness, a failure of character to use drugs. It was only something weak people did to escape from their problems.

    If you used drugs you were a loser. If you popped pills you were a ‘pillhead’.

    In less than 30 years there has been a complete turn around in public health awareness and culture.

    Better living through chemistry is now considered a virtue not a vice. As a culture we move further and further away from spirituality and wellness. ”

    And yet, you quote on your blog: “I have found certain drugs to be useful from time to time. I have Tylenol 4 with codeine and Flexeril in the house for days when my back and neck are really hurting. It helps get me moving into tai chi and yoga. I have used and liked lorazapam from time to time. I don’t depend on any of those drugs. I have them just in case.

    Another drug which I would not like gone is cannabis. When I first discovered cannabis I was in love with it. I found a naturally occurring substance which quieted down the voices and violence in my head better than anything else. Unlike neuroleptics, cannabis did not leave me twitching, drooling down the side of my face too stupid to think and too fatigued to do anything.

    I felt better using cannabis than when I wasn’t using it. I gained an incredibly useful therapeutic benefit from marijuana. I’ve used marijuana for both mental and physical pain as well as recreationally. Marijuana gave me the ability to go to work and take shit from my boss or customers and not take it personally or go off and lose my job.

    Who are any of you, $cilons, government agencies and the like to tell me that is wrong? I don’t like hearing $cilons talk about eradicating all drugs. I don’t like Uncle Sam directing me like a parent to a child telling me not to use cannabis but to use SSRIs or neuroleptics instead.”

    Wtf?

    Had you not commented here, i’d never give an ounce of energy to this, however my ultimate question is this…
    if you, and those like you, have found such sound and innovative recovery by way of alternative therapies, why the fuck are you bothering with recovery blogs where people are struggling and striving to recover by means of medications and psychiatric assistance, and are finding SUCCESS in their lives via those means??

    My apologies for such a long rant, Gabriel. I should grab me a blog to bitch about this. But I just really became furious upon this. Jane sends dangerous messages to vulnerable people. No one is thrilled to take medications. Encouraging people to stop taking them and ‘hold themselves accountable’ could have devastating results.

    Sorry Jane, but you’re way out of line. And i wish this were my blog so i could tell you to go fuck yourself.

  21. dame says:

    oops, lotsa typo’s, sorry. i’m fkn pissed.

  22. Jane says:

    [Salted note: the following comment is 6,000+ words long. Mostly she thinks “bipolar” or “manic depression” exists only as a series of symptoms, not as a disease. The symptoms of manic depression can, in her opinion, be taken care of using meditation techniques. At some point I’ll get around to editing it down to a reasonable length. My response (below) is shorter.]

    Gabriel,

    I was dxd with bipolar 1 as a teen. I did not believe it then. I did not disagree that I had depression. What they called mania I saw as my personal power. (much like Icarus does) An ability. An inner fire.

    Later I had a chance to study psychology in depth as a teenager. I was in lockdown. I had plenty of time on my hands. I borrowed the DSM III as well as college level psychology books and studied every symptom and looked for them in my self. Then gradually, using the meditation techniques I had learned in karate and yoga I began to monitor my inner world for those symptoms.

    In time I began to sense when my fingers would start twitching or my knee would start jump around. I began to understand that I could intercept these impulses if I lay in wait for them like a predator. I learned how to slow down my racing thoughts and that vastly helped slow down my rambling, incoherent speech. It stopped the flight of ideas.

    After a few weeks of mastering control over my mania and by pretending I did not have depression I demanded my case be reviewed. I won my release from psychiatric group homes by learning to control the outer signs of manic depression even though they continued to occur inside myself.

    So there is one great myth debunked right there. I controlled and concealed the existence of both the depression and the mania from numerous professionals in a supervised living environment. I still had the problems. Only now I can pass an exam, an interview, an assessment with any mental health professional and they will not see the symptoms I had memorized from the DSM. I did it without any drugs whatsoever. I did it at 15 years old. I fooled a judge, a social worker, counselors, doctors anyone I wanted to fool.

    Yet the ‘condition’ of manic depression continued. I stopped thinking about it for years. Depression was my burden, mania was nothing! It was no disease. It was who and what I was inside. So I gave it no more thought and continued on.

    For years I just carried on. As I entered my adult years and I was no longer institutionalized I realized I no longer had to exert all this constant control over myself. Now if I wanted I could fight back.

    When I went to work and a customer gave me shit I would tell them off or threaten to kick their ass and get fired on my second day of work. All those years of repressed and tightly controlled rage began to come loose. More and more I began to do just whatever I felt like now that I finally could actually do what I wanted.

    Of course you do that a few times when you are on your own and you come up short on money real quick. Then you don’t pay the rent. Then comes the 30 day notice. Now you are angry and depressed.

    Then magically one day I discovered pot. The only drug that every really quieted down the voices in my head. It was heaven. I got up in the morning smoked a joint and went to work. Suddenly I am lot easier to get along with. Suddenly I don’t even have to try to control my anger. It’s just not there. I have found nature’s own anti anxiety, anti depressant and anti psychotic.

    But guess what? There is a learning curve to getting use to life on drugs. You are learning the dosing on your own. Things begin to happen when you spend every waking moment high as fuck.

    You get into a fender bender. You get pulled over by the cops. You forget things like paying a bill. You will just get around to it. You can’t pay the parking ticket or the utility bill because if you did, you would not have enough money to re up your supply on Friday. At this point in the game, the idea of becoming straight is terrifying. You know you will get short with everyone. The mind churns and the inner voices tell you to kill. There is no way you can straighten up, no way.

    Then eventually you are making decisions like, whether to fix your front brakes or get another bag of dope. You are only 18 and you work three different fast food jobs to make money. Before you got on weed you use to take every extra shift for the cash. Now we have pot to come home to. All day long you think about getting out of here as soon as you can so you get high again.

    Unfortunately reality crashes in. You lose your job now, not for going off on customers but for showing up late once too many times because you got stoned before you went to work.

    Then all of the sudden you do find yourself straight and out of money. You have no job, You have no apartment. You have 3 cigarettes left and about 50 miles worth of gas. Out of desperation you call up your grandparents or your real dad and beg for a couple hundred dollars to start over. To get your car repaired, to pay off those tickets. To get another satchel of buds. To quiet those voices.

    You repeat that cycle, about once every three months. You go from temp job to temp job. Eventually the tit dries up. Your family says they can’t keep giving you bail outs every time you need one. You got to learn to grow up. My life consists at the point of being high or not being high. When I was not high I was facing the real me. Inside I realized that after two years of being an adult I am just as much of a fuck up now as I was when I was a kid.

    Every time I had to straighten up, all my problems are there, just waiting for me. I have the overwhelming urge to kill somebody or myself. I come to the conclusion that the only jobs I am suited for are the kinds of jobs were you work real hard out of sight. I find jobs where I work graveyards and can show up stoned and do my job. When I straighten up at work I only have a few hours to go in this warehouse or factory before I can go home. Very little human interaction.

    Gradually, I learn to live life as a drug addict. I know that I can not get straight for long or something bad is going to happen. I end up keeping this job for some time. I am finally supporting myself. Gradually I try to ramp down my meds because they’ve begun to stop working at the doses I am at all the time. As this happens, more and more my ‘illness’ returns a little bit at a time. In time I realize that this is about as good my life is ever going to get and that this might just be the best time to kill myself once and for all. While I am the top of my game. I plan every last detail for months. I take myself on a Sunday drive and then try really hard to kill myself. (this is where all you bipolars are supposed to go ‘mixed episode lol’)

    This time almost don’t make it. When I wake up with tubes coming of me I think to myself that I am such a loser that I can’t even kill myself.

    I use the same tricks to get out of the obligatory 7 day stay in the psych wards once I am stabilized. I lie perfectly. They let me go. The first thing I am thinking is going back and doing right god damit. Fuck pills this time I am going to hang.

    My brother and my best friend get me really high and keep putting coffee and cigarettes in my hand. I sit on this giant swing for days just watching the sun go up and go down. I begin to realize that as long as I sat absolutely still and did not interact with anyone, that I did not want to kill anyone. As long as I have my cigarettes and I can sit here and watch the cornstalks blowing in the wind. Life is not so bad.

    I gain a vision in my mind. Life was not so horrible if I could just be left the fuck alone in a quiet place day after day. If I could keep this up I might survive. A simple life like that, I can live.

    I realize that no one is ever going to support me in living like that. That meant that I would need to get back into society at least long enough to get a job, keep it and earn my right to be left the fuck alone. I know there is one place in the world where I won’t be thrown in jail for smoking my life saving drug. I know I am going to be a stoner and I have to change my life to insulate the collateral damage from that.

    So I move to California and abandon my entire life. I give it all up to save everyone from me. I find a job. Moving steel all day in a factory. The hardest work I have ever done in my life. Dangerous too. It pays real well and I am able to afford to live by myself in my own apartment and buy tons of weed.

    I walk to work a couple miles every day. No car for me. I can’t handle the responsibility. I keep to myself. I keep my job. As time goes by I find myself reading all those books I have about meditation and yoga and chinese medicine. I find a paradigm that views sickness as a form of energy balance.

    All disease is either too much chi, too little chi, or bad, blocked, stagnant chi. I look inside myself and I find too much chi in my mind, that’s why I think so hard so fast. Too little chi in my heart, is why I am so sad all the time. Too much blocked and damaged chi in my body is also effecting me.

    I have nothing else to lose right? Nothing going on so I find the solution to resolving all chi problems is chi gung. Energy work. It’s fascinating. I buy books and teach myself and I feel better. Then small problems crop up. I find myself getting chi spikes and losses. My body feels weird. My brain seems more racing, I suddenly have flashes of depression.

    I decide that it is now time to start learning from someone who knows what they are doing. I seek out and begin to train with one of the best chi gung masters in the world. Who coincidentally happens to live less than 100 miles away. Was it fate or karma that I moved here?

    Then I begin to practice this kind of work all the time. In fact, the more I practice the less pot I need to get through the day. My thoughts are quieter. My triggers are less. My anger has simply not shown up for days. I am learning to relax my body without the assistance of drugs. Gradually, bit by bit I am able to get through the day without getting stoned in the morning or at work on lunch. Now I am just smoking a joint when I come home from work like any other blue collar might crack a beer.

    But unlike the blue collar I don’t crack a beer and put my feet up and watch tv, no sir. Instead, I smoke my joint and then go outside to the park and begin practicing my tai chi and qi gong. Instead of one hour in the morning my practice is growing into two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.

    I live one day at a time concerned only with practicing my chi gung and meditation at sunrise and sunset. Every single day. Everywhere I go I have my backpack with all my self help books and a bottle of water in it. I live only to try to stay calm and relaxed every waking moment.

    One day I realize that years have gone by and I have not been depressed or raging. I have not had any voices or delusions. I realize that this lifestyle is winning. It’s winning against all prognosis. Everyone thought I would be dead by now. Dead or in jail, in rehab or in psychiatric lockdown.

    Only I am not in any of those places. In fact, I am very much happy. Happy with myself, my life. I don’t watch too much TV. I don’t read the paper. I go over to my friends house once a week to watch Babylon 5 and the Simpsons and get high.

    My friends have begun to notice that I am easier to be around. I am not tense. I am not anxious. I am not hostile. I am not depressed. I am changing. I am changed.

    Then one day I realize that if I wanted I get make a great push to get to heart of things. If I wanted, I could begin to focus on my training all the time. As cosmic fate would have it. I am going to get that time because I am about to be laid off. Laid off not fired! I have come along way indeed. When business picks up they will hire me again.

    Now, I have all day long to practice. I take my savings and I invest it into paying my few bills for a long time. I don’t have to worry about rent or anything for awhile. Then I begin training full time.

    I spent my time training in shifts. Four hours in the morning, four hours in the evening. Nothing can pull me away from the woods and the rivers edge not even the cold or rain and fog. When my body is finally tired from so much physical practice I begin to simply sit. I am able to meditate for hours without distraction. I begin to realize that I have spent an entire day without getting high at all and I am fine.

    It’s time for an experiment. So I put my crutch against the wall and start to walk without it. Sure enough after a few days I notice a few tiny disturbances in my peace. I realize that this was a blessing. As long as I was high, even a little, I was not getting a completely accurate real time scan of my inner world. The fact that disturbances were now occurring meant that I had more work to do.

    I did not have to do this. No one was twisting my arm. All my friends were stoners. If I quit now I am going to have no support whatsoever. Oh well. My spiritual journey is more important than my social life. It’s more important that I find out who I am then to continue to be lost.

    I had not been in trouble with the law since I left my home states. I had no debts now. I had no responsibility or obligation. Remember, I took responsibility for my problems and my coping mechanisms.

    You think as a suicidal, occasionally homicidal drug addict that I had any business getting into relationships with people? I had no business whatsoever inflicting my problems on other people. So I had no children, no spouse, nobody that would be effected by my lifestyle.

    I could just keep on doing what I was doing. There was nothing wrong with where I was in my life at that point. You could even argue that I was no longer heavily addicted or dependent on marijuana anymore. I now used very little to get by. A joint a day keeps the Pdoc away. Marijuana, for the maintenance treatment of insanity.

    I had a unique opportunity to do something most people never even think about. I had the opportunity to get involved with deep spiritual meditation for as long as I wanted.

    At the age of 25 that is exactly what I did. I began to practice sitting meditation more than anything else. I would sit for a few hours. Get up, do yoga and tai chi to stretch. Sit back down and meditate some more.

    I had an amazing experience. I accidentally found myself during a self directed meditation retreat that lasted two weeks. I fell in love with myself as a spiritual being. There was nothing wrong with me at all.

    All my depressions, my rage, the inner voices, the self injury and self hate it was all gone. I saw very clearly how I had become so crazy for so long. I knew right then and there, that I would never hurt myself again. I could not have attained that level of inner silence had my mind been at all fogged up by any drugs of any kind for reasons I have explained elsewhere.

    Years later I find myself in my 30s. I take one of those little pop up depression screens just for the heck of it. I answer the depression screen honestly. It tells me that I have discovered the secret of happiness and I laugh.

    Then for shits and giggle I type in bipolar disorder. A word I had not thought about almost two decades. You guys know what I find. I find YOU. I find PsychCentral, Healthy Place, Bipolar World. Furious Seasons, NAMI. I find all your blogs. I find an entire world about bipolar has grown up while I was having nothing to do with it. I read your blogs and what do I find?

    Genetic chemical imbal…blah blah blah. I can’t control it, it’s not my fault, blah blah. I need all these meds, blah blah.

    You know what I am thinking?

    Bull shit.

    I then begin an intensive process on catching up on everything that is possibly known about bipolar. I spend the last two years catching up on bipolar. You know what else I find?

    Not one advance in understanding how bipolar is caused or how to cure it. All I find is drugs, drugs, drugs and more drugs. Not just in the last 20 years has there been no understanding or cures for bipolar but there has no advances in curing or understanding it in almost 100 years!

    The human genome has been decoded and despite K Redfield Jamison’s fantasies, sure enough, no gene for bipolar, not even a combination. No proof of this chemical imbalance.

    When they put me on lithium and antipsychotics they were treating me right out of her playbook on managing bipolar. A treatment that ruined my mind and body. A treatment that gave me a real reason to kill myself.

    I read these bipolar blogs and I buy and read a handful of these bipolar memoirs. My mania made me buy a horse. My mania made me have sex with three coworkers. My mania made me steal stuff. My depression made me try to kill myself. My disease, my illness my genes made me do this that and the other thing

    You know what I am thinking.

    Bull shit.

    There is one thing that is true. No matter how badly I wanted to deny it. Without doubt I suffered the worst of the symptoms of bipolar disorder for a very long time. Far worse symptoms than ‘bipolar 2’ or ‘cyclothymia’. The worst of the worst.

    However, I find that everything that is supposed to be true about bipolar is not. It’s not a chemical imbalance. It’s not a genetic disease. It’s not incurable.

    Unfortunately there is no other paradigm to talk about insanity! The APA has a system in place that allows us to talk about symptoms meaningfully. We have words, labels and phrases which we can use to effectively talk about our subjective experiences of mental illness.

    We have words like derailment, delusion, suicide, persistent nonspecific irritability, generalized anxiety, triggers, derealization, flat effect, compulsion and so on. These are useful words.

    Bipolar itself? No such thing. The definition that exists on NAMI, no such thing.

    Manic depression. Well, that’s a much better word/phrase/term than bipolar. It’s more accurate. We have depression, we have manias. The problem there, is that they are not inherently connected. That’s why you can have a mixed episode. Mania and depression can coexist simultaneously. It’s not always one or the other.

    The depression can be cured on it’s own terms. Mania, can be cured on it’s own terms.
    My depression was the first thing to go. The mania went a bit later.

    It was not just like I beat bipolar with this strategy. I beat schizo affective disorder and PTSD too.

    That fact alone makes me a modern mental health miracle. They say it can not be done. They say people like me who have multiple coexisting mental health conditions tend to be worse off over our lifetimes than you lucky folks who only have one label, like maybe cyclothymia. I was told to my face by a psychiatrist that I would be suicidal and psychotic for the rest of my life. She was wrong.

    It should not take that much of a leap in cognition to realize where I am going with my stuff. I am using the ‘bipolar paradigm’ because it’s in place and it’s useful in communicating with the rest of you. I may not believe in bipolar but that does not take away from the fact that I was diagnosed with that label for a very good reason.

    If I really wanted to be bipolar hardass I would tell most of you (Gabriel excepted) that you have all been misdiagnosed. That the inclusion of child bipolar, bipolar 2 and cyclothymia has made a mockery, a joke out of the seriousness of manic depression. The real manic depression is the kind that I had. The kind that leaves you homeless, jobless, addicted, in jail and trying to kill yourself every other year. You are all so lucky that you found some wonder pill since they did not work for me. Treatment resistant bipolar 1. How’s that for having a hand dealt to you eh?

    Only I can’t believe in bipolar because it is not true that it is incurable. I have a sister that tried killing herself ten years after my first attempt. You know what kind of DX she got? You got it, bipolar 1. My own mother has admitted to me over the phone when I was at a psych ward that she had been depressed her entire life. She feared drugs and psychiatry and she prayed to Jesus every time she felt suicidal. That’s how she had survived all these years.

    I have the requisite family history for a solid case of genetic bipolar and I still don’t believe in it. Why? Because I am no longer suicidally depressed. No longer plagued by racing thoughts and killing rage. No more voices telling me to kill myself and maybe you too on my way out. I am married for crying out loud. Who would have thought it would happen to me.

    Even if I am wrong. Even if someday Dr Jamison’s dream comes true and they show the world exactly what genes cause bipolar, I am still not going to believe in it. Why?

    Simple. Genetic expression can change. I am sure you’ve heard about damaging the thyroids of lab rats and making them obese? I am sure most have been through puberty and developed secondary sex characteristics. If you have ever had someone close to you go through pregnancy you’ve seen the effects of gene expression and genetic ‘chemical balancing’. Genes turn on for nine months, and turn off.

    Genes are not set in stone period. Maybe, just perhaps, you folks, my sister and my mother are all doing something (or not doing doing something) that is causing your genes to express in a certain way.

    Let us set aside all discussion about the ‘chi’ of chinese medicine theories. Maybe, just maybe I have stumbled upon a method that would gradually reverse the gene expression for manic states and depressive states. Maybe my spiritual journey was really a scientific journey. Less a matter of energy and really a matter of biology. Maybe I just learned to control my stress, my lifestyle and my thoughts and that was enough.

    Either way in the final analysis I am free of mental illness. It’s not up to me to explain it scientifically. I am not a scientist. I do however have an open challenge to brain researchers to image my brain. I want my dna profiled and my genes checked. I have a sister that takes lithium even as I type this she suffers her mental illness. Not me. I escaped.

    I still my own flaws. I am not a perfect person. I am no guru or lama. I am not a spiritual teacher or better than everyone else. However I am free of suffering. I love my life and being alive. As rough as the trip was, I have information about how the mind and body works that most of you don’t have.

    Gabriel, I am using the bipolar paradigm because it is useful to me. I title my videos bipolar this and bipolar that deliberately to get people with bipolar to find them and use that information for themselves. That is all there is too it.

    Most of you have not ever taken a spiritual quest to find themselves with meditation. Most of you have no idea who you are inside. You have never sat vigil for days on your inner most thoughts and feelings. You don’t have a baseline of who you are.

    Dame has selectively taken words I put on Gianna’s blog and my blog and dragged them into this comment section thinking that he has me all figured out. But Dame sees what Dame wants to see because that’s how selective thinking and confirmation bias work.

    I am going to take a few more minutes out of my writing schedule to set your head on straight Dame. We all know, that in terms of quoting someone, context is everything. So let me put my statements into proper context since you can’t do it yourself.

    When I commented on Gianna’s blog I was criticizing the article which was an attempt to get the idea into people’s minds that healthy folks should be able to access methampethamine legally so they could do more work at school or at home.

    Since you are reading Gianna’s blog then you know that the drugging of americans for anything and everything is a subject of concern and discussion over there.

    If you are on drugs day after day, year after year and you have never take the time to find out who and what you really are as a person inside then you are lost. The same way that underneath my stoner bliss I still had some issues that were not obvious to me, until I quit smoking pot.

    Some of you folks have meandered through life on one cocktail or another of thought and emotion manipulating drugs and you have no knowledge of the real you underneath it all.

    Unfortunately my body did not do as well in the recovery as my mind. I continue to pay the price for my lack of vision when I was younger. I suffer lingering damage to my nervous system and body from years of hard labor. Years of being physically abused. Years of punishing myself because I did not care if I lived or died. I suffer damage from car accidents and fights that I have been in as well as stupid stunts I did back in the day.

    Every now and then I have storm for lack of a better word. A storm of malfunctions primarily neurological and deep tissue pain. Sometimes if it happens in the middle of the night I may wake up unable to sleep. On the worst of those days I might just might break discipline and pop a codeine down. When the pain diminishes a little I start doing my self therapy routines. I do them for as long as it takes.

    I don’t take codeine every single day on the off chance that I might just have a pain episode. It’s a last resort, not a first resort. I don’t like taking codeine for too many days if I can avoid it. I tend to become impervious to the effects of pain killers pretty quickly. If I know I am going to have a pain day, I might just go down to the local cannabis dispensary, show them my prescription and get me a cannabis carrot cake or a brownie. Then I take off and go practice tai chi for the rest of the day and actually work on dealing with the problem.

    Generally speaking, I don’t have storm days. Generally speaking, I never use drugs unless that happens. If I am having a pain day, I am obviously not at optimal spiritual wellness. Taking a day or two to cope with neurological pain with either cannabis or opiates does not destabilize my mind. I know who I am.

    There is a world of difference to using codeine every great now and then and being on three or four different psychiatric drugs year after year after year. I have already put in the spiritual work and the self psychotherapy and meditation. I don’t think that most of you have. Until you do, your drugs will forever mask who you really are underneath. You spend every day underneath the influence escaping your internal reality.

    If you can’t see the difference between taking codeine for a day or two out of the year versus a lifetime of mind altering polypharmacy, there is nothing I can do for you.

    “in one of your vids, you go so far as to imply that people struggling with bipolar don’t take responsibility for their behaviors — that they fill a script, and that’s their extent of accountability. you also encourage people to get off their meds, that people aren’t ‘real’ if they’re on any form of medication(s “

    That is correct.

    Like I said, a world of difference between taking a pain killer for a couple of days and being on say…an anti psychotic for months and months without letup. I know because I have done both.

    I will tell you what not taking responsibility is. It’s going on a date and explaining to your prospect that your moods are out of your control because of your bipolar. That’s irresponsible. What you should do, is take a break from life, get your mind under your control and then try dating.

    I took ten years off from relationships because I knew I had no right at all to visit my problems on somebody else. To expect someone to just put up with my bullshit because that’s just the way god made me. I refused to blame my genes on my problems. I checked out of society and healed myself. That is taking responsibility.

    Now I am in a loving relationship. One that has lasted for years. No middle of the night episodes were I am raving mad and psychotic or talking about suicide. No more sitting in the dark dressed all in black chain smoking marlboros while listening to The Cure and Nine Inch Nails feeling sorry for myself for the hand I was dealt. I am no longer too useless, too tired and too depressed to look for work or shower or clean the house.

    Were it not for my spouse I would not have all this spare time to write, make videos, chat it up on blogs or work on my book. I would either be working in a factory or teaching martial arts. When my book is done I will being teaching meditation seminars and retreats and teach people that are interested how cure their mental and emotional problems. I am doing something positive with my life and my experiences. I have made the best of the hand I was dealt and I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore.

    To be frank Gabriel, your healing and recovery is the story of drug compliance. If you go off your ‘healing’ meds your problems are right where you left them. Like an unfinished phone call on the other line. If you got stranded on an island without meds how long before either mania or depression shows back up do you think? A couple days? A week or two?

    What then have you really healed? What have you recovered from? I think it’s dishonest to call yourself healed and recovered. I think you are bullshitting yourself. I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of or to write a book about.

    What can you really teach people about healing from mental illness? Take a pill? How is that any different from all the other bipolar memoirs floating around out there about person X who was having a rough go of things until they learned to comply with meds?

    If you got stranded on a desert island with me you might just be a different person when we got rescued. Given all the time in the world and proper instruction you might just be able to do what I did.

    All you have for me Dame, is ad homs and straw men. With your attitude I highly doubt you will never be where I am or heal yourself like I have. I feel pity for you.

    As for pro or anti psychiatry. Middle ground exists. It’s not a binary choice of black and white. I have said all that I intend to on that subject already.

    You folks need to think really critically about claims and cures for these things.

    If someone did cure themselves of bipolar with pig feed so what? If someone washes in Lourdes and is healed of bipolar great! If someone buys an affirmations CD and listens to it every day and cures themselves of bipolar swell! If someone healed themselves of bipolar with acupuncture and crystals I think that’s nifty.

    You have to think about the nature of a thing that can be cured with faith healing, pig food or crystals and special diets.

    There is no bonus points for being medicated. If you are facing a lifetime of illness, what have you got to lose than to try pig food, veganism, praying to God, aromatherapy or self hypnosis?

    What matters is results! What matters is that those people who heal themselves with whatever means gain a permanent, lasting benefit. Frankly I would be more impressed if someone gained a lasting cure for bipolar by being blessed with the water of Lourdes. That would be awesome.

    From what I hear about the pig food people they go back to acute symptoms when they stop. To me that’s just a healthier alternative supplement than psych pills.

    I don’t even have to meditate every single day or do yoga every day anymore if I don’t want to. What I did changed the fundamental nature of my being. Of my mind. I no longer needed to rely on the crutch of daily meditation and yoga either. What I did worked and worked better than any bipolar cure I have ever heard of. I have a normal life now. That’s all I really ever wanted.

    I said that going into psychiatric care was one of the worst decisions of my life. Taking five years of my life to meditate until I found myself and inner happiness was the best decision of my life. It sure as hell beats a life of medication side effects and disability.

    How many of you can look yourselves in the eye in the mirror and honestly say you love yourself, your life and being alive? How many of you bipolars can look me in the eye and tell me the same thing. You can not gain self love, self respect, self control or self actualization from a pill. It just does not work that way.

    On a final note, when I posted the other day the comment form smashed a bunch of my sentences together and I did not like that very much. I’ve tried double spacing everything to avoid that this time. I won’t know if it worked until I hit the ‘post’ button.

  23. Gabriel... says:

    Hi Jane… it’s nice to see you here, and I understand your frustration and need to get a lot of this stuff out, but six thousand words was a little long. If it’s possible under a thousand words would be great… but the Internet does have a lot of empty space available, so use what you need.

    If you and Dame have issues, or want to get into a fight, go nuts as long as the aggression is kept respectful. The same goes for any comments directed at “you people”. Feel free, however, to swear at me all you want.

    However, this “With your attitude I highly doubt you will never be where I am or heal yourself like I have. I feel pity for you.” kind of attack should be considered totally out of bounds. So no more of it.

    I’ve tried to respond to what I believed were your main points. If you feel like I’ve missed any, or would like a response to anything specific, please let me know.

    1.

    “…by pretending I did not have depression I demanded my case be reviewed.”

    “…they will not see the symptoms I had memorized from the DSM. I did it without any drugs whatsoever. I did it at 15 years old. I fooled a judge, a social worker, counselors, doctors anyone I wanted to fool.”

    “…even though they continued to occur inside myself. So there is one great myth debunked right there.”

    I’m still confused on this point. You had the symptoms, you fooled people into believing you had the symptoms under control even though they weren’t, you spent years living with those symptoms until you finally discovered extreme levels of meditation as a means to control and suppress them until now, decades later, all you have to do is small meditative adjustments if you feel the symptoms returning. But you still believe it’s not a disease.

    2.

    “As time goes by I find myself reading all those books I have about meditation and yoga and chinese medicine. I find a paradigm that views sickness as a form of energy balance.”

    fMRI studies done over the past couple of years have shown extreme meditation can “change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness.”

    Washington Post: The Buddhist practitioners in the experiment had undergone training in the Tibetan Nyingmapa and Kagyupa traditions of meditation for an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods of 15 to 40 years. As a control, 10 student volunteers with no previous meditation experience were also tested after one week of training.

    [T]he results unambiguously showed that meditation activated the trained minds of the monks in significantly different ways from those of the volunteers. Most important, the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast-moving and unusually powerful gamma waves in the monks, and found that the movement of the waves through the brain was far better organized and coordinated than in the students.

    But, as I said the first time you came over here, “fMRI scans have already shown, for example, that when ‘bipolar brains with Lithium’ were compared to ‘bipolar brains without Lithium’ “the volume of grey matter in the brains of those on lithium was as much as 15 percent higher in areas that are critical for attention and controlling emotions.””

    3.

    “Not one advance in understanding how bipolar is caused or how to cure it.”

    One of the points I make is there are no cures. Yet. But there have been many studies published about why and how people get manic depression. I’ll quote from two of the ones in my blogroll:

    August, 2008:

    An international team of scientists examined the genomes of 10,596 people mainly from Britain and the United States, including 4,387 with bipolar disorder, also sometimes known as manic-depression.

    The researchers found those with bipolar disorder more likely to have certain variants of the ANK3 and CACNA1C genes. Proteins made by the two genes help govern the flow of sodium and calcium ions into and out of neurons in the brain, influencing the activity of these nerve cells.

    September, 2008:

    Children of older fathers run an increased risk of suffering from bipolar disorder, a study by researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet has found.

    Researchers at the university identified 13,428 patients in Sweden with bipolar disorder in registers dating from the 1970s to 2001. Each patient was compared with a random sample of five “healthy controls” of the same age and sex.

    After adjusting for the age of the mother, the researchers found that children whose fathers were over 29 years old at the time of the their birth ran a higher risk of being diagnosed as bipolar, a disorder previously referred to as manic depression.

    Neither one is proof of anything, but it is evidence. And, again, since the age of popping off someone’s skull to see what’s happening inside has only just ended, it’s a very good start.

    4.

    “Some of you folks have meandered through life on one cocktail or another of thought and emotion manipulating drugs and you have no knowledge of the real you underneath it all.

    “I am using the ‘bipolar paradigm’ because it’s in place and it’s useful in communicating with the rest of you. I may not believe in bipolar but that does not take away from the fact that I was diagnosed with that label for a very good reason.

    You generalize far too much Jane. And most of your assumptions about “you bipolars” are wrong. I think you’re using your own experiences as a guide for how we’re being treated, and I think you’re frustrated at how we’re letting ourselves be abused by a system which hurt you.

    4b.

    “If I really wanted to be bipolar hardass I would tell most of you (Gabriel excepted) that you have all been misdiagnosed.”

    I’m not sure why I’d be an exception, but careful using that “misdiagnosed” word… it could easily be tossed back at you Jane. And that really doesn’t solve, or help, anything.

    5.

    “What can you really teach people about healing from mental illness? Take a pill?”

    Again, meditation works as a way to manipulate your own mind. But the amount of time needed to achieve that control has been shown to be in the range of thousands of hours of intense training and discipline. I have only your word to judge your recovery. Yet, every chance you get you doubt me and the tens of thousands of people who use medications. We are delusional, or ignorant or under some form of hypnosis to believe the medications which didn’t work for you, work for “us”. And yet, whether you can see it or not, thousands of “us” do get substantially better using these medications.

    6.

    “What matters is results! What matters is that those people who heal themselves with whatever means gain a permanent, lasting benefit.”

    It’s not “results” that matter to you, it’s results without medications. Until they find better and more targeted treatments, and even a cure, I will use the tools available to me to treat the symptoms of this disease. And right now that means taking Lithium, Seroquel and Wellbutrin. This may change later on. Again, if you believe meditation has helped you, congratulations on finding something which works. I’d be interested in knowing why you aren’t this vocal about people using medications instead of meditation to treat their diabetes… which is something else I do.

    7.

    “Until you do, your drugs will forever mask who you really are underneath. You spend every day underneath the influence escaping your internal reality.”

    Of course I totally disagree. The disease masked who I am. The medications control the symptoms of the disease allowing me to figure out how to deal with the clinical depressions, and to be the person I was supposed to be…

    8.

    “I have the requisite family history for a solid case of genetic bipolar and I still don’t believe in it. Why? Because I am no longer suicidally depressed. No longer plagued by racing thoughts and killing rage.

    “Even if someday Dr Jamison’s dream comes true and they show the world exactly what genes cause bipolar, I am still not going to believe in it. Why?

    “Simple. Genetic expression can change.”

    I actually reported on The Genome Project back when their first findings came out in 2000. When the “completed” report was released in 2003 the idea was, and remains, it would take decades and even generations for any substantial cures or treatments to develop from their findings.

    It’s only very recently researchers have been able to find genetic markers and causes for some cancers. And it makes sense for them to be the first to do so considering the hundreds of billions of dollars pumped into cancer research worldwide.

    Imaging technology capable of seeing the brain function in real time has been available for barely a decade. One of the great wonders of the 2000 tech crash was the incredible fibre optic networks left behind which now joins university’s to public and private research laboratories around the world.

    Pre-fMRI and pre-Genome Project we had to rely on our own descriptions of our symptoms in order to be treated. But the pre-rubber glove era of mental health is ending.

    Do genes commit us to certain actions, or to having certain diseases? Possibly. But having a cancer gene does not mean I will have cancer. Is manic depression hereditary? There’s a lot of research saying yes. But, like almost everything else, it’s not a guarantee.

    9.

    “What then have you really healed? What have you recovered from? I think it’s dishonest to call yourself healed and recovered. I think you are bullshitting yourself. I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of or to write a book about.”

    This is from something I wrote in August:

    I’m in my fourth year of recovery and I haven’t had a major episode in pretty much a year. But I’ve had a few small ones since then. I am not recovered. I will never be recovered. There are no cures on the horizon, but there are better treatments and diagnostic tools coming.

    So just to clarify, I’ve never once called myself either “healed” or “recovered”. To anyone, anywhere. I am in recovery. I am healing. Just like a recovering addict, everything happens one day at a time. All I, or any of us, can do is prepare ourselves during the good days so we can be strong during the bad ones.

  24. markps2 says:

    Gabriel you were trolling for an argument.

    Fact: the legal psych chemicals make billions a year.
    The billions made, are used to justify the easy answer of a magic pill.

    Circular reasoning works, because circular reasoning works…because

  25. Gabriel... says:

    Actually Mark, I wasn’t. And nothing in my responses, or in this post, or in any post I’ve ever put up, comes close to being a troll for anything. I know how you feel about all of this Mark. And I know nothing I, or anyone else, write or say will ever convince you the way we’ve chosen to recover works for us. So in complete honestly, sincerity and with every piece of goodwill I can offer, good luck with your recovery. You deserve better than you’ve received.

  26. markps2 says:

    [your comment was lost in the moderation area]

    I use the word troll in the context of fishing. One hangs a fishing rod with lure off the end of the boat and “trolls” around the lake looking to catch something.
    You could have stated I don’t/I do believe in abortion. I do/I don’t believe in the Pope. I do/I don’t believe in the President.
    This looks to me like the guy in monty python looking for an arguement.

    A good arguement is fine and dandy by me, but with this topic you know its going to get ugly and personal.
    You write that the bad guys falsely claim to have a cure, and you write about your cure .

    Psychiatry(specifically the Pharma chemical Co.) is exploiting the (natural) human condition.

    Depression used to be the sin of sloth. It is not new.
    http://www.danteinferno.info/7-deadly-sins.html

    ADD in children used to be bad behaviour. Parents would feel guilty for physically punishing their child into obeadiance. Enter magic chemicals for a brain chemical imbalance. No guilt for the parent in this method of control. Though it then reduces a child into a chemical equation, like a machine with a defective gear.

    Interal emotional living problems used to handled by our religious faith, now its a brain chemical imbalance.

    We are all on our own life journeys. Anything that helps us to continually produce works
    is good. It’s up to our own God or gods to judge us and our work.

  27. Gabriel... says:

    and you write about your cure

    Mark, I’m not sure how many times I have to say this… I am not cured, I have no cure, there are no cures. I’ve never said or written that I was cured.

    There are, by my definition, treatments. The one I use involves therapy, this blog and medications. It works for me. Jane uses meditation, others use “natural” non-pharmaceutical methods. Jane says she’s ten years removed from serious effects, I believe her. Gianna writes about how the medications she has taken have had horrible effects on her body, I believe her. I write the medications have worked for me and you say I’m a troll — and you know exactly how insulting that word is.

    I respect their decisions on how best to treat themselves. They’ve both identified problems in their life, things which prevent them from being healthy, and worked very hard to find a solution. But I do not respect people who constantly tell me I’m wrong.

    Psychiatry(specifically the Pharma chemical Co.) is exploiting the (natural) human condition.

    Mark, there’s no need for you to explain to me your feelings on psychiatric care, or even on my recovery. You make your views very clear on your own blog, and there’s very little chance any conversation between the two of us will ever result in anything other than you repeating the same statements over and over again.

    However, to your points about this specific post, and my responses to comments left here…

    …but with this topic you know its going to get ugly and personal.

    The “topic” of this post is something you’ve been writing about for years. You have an entire blog dedicated to the ‘evils of psychiatric care’, to the dangers of the “pharma” industry as you understand them, where you don’t use words like “could” and “may”, you use “do” and “will”. I’ve published a post questioning some of the standard anti-pharma / psychiatry arguments and you’re calling me a troll.

    You could have stated I don’t/I do believe in abortion.

    That’s just it Mark, I’m not saying abortion is right or wrong, or that I’m pro or anti, I’m writing “we need as many options as we can get”. I’ve never written or said my way was the only way. Or that medications must be used. Only that once we find a treatment which works for us we have to stick with it until we’ve been better long enough that trying something new will not be dangerous.

    We need ‘Planned Parenthood’; adoption options; chastity rings; born-again virginity; the pill; the morning after pill; better sex ed at home and schools; ‘Focus On The Family’; clean, easily accessible and affordable clinics; emmenagogues… and, yes, we need better laws protecting us from doctors who would do us harm, and to ensure all of the options we have are safe.

    Just to clarify… my only complaint with the responses left on this post have been with the extreme length of one response, a comment aimed at belittling someone who is recovering and you calling me a troll. Twice.

    I haven’t attacked anyone for leaving their personal thoughts here, or for having thoughts different than mine. And I have never gone to your blog to question your recovery, nor have I ever written a post here attacking you or anyone else.

    I wasn’t looking for an argument when I published this post Mark, and so far I haven’t been in one. I also will not be drawn into one. The reason I published this post was I believe each and everything I wrote was true and accurate.

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