This reflection is written in the style of gratitude and honour for the exceptional family based organisation that is MindFreedom Ireland; and for all the caring and dedicated people that have contributed to MindFreedom Ireland throughout the years.
Mary and Jim, and MindFreedom Ireland, congratulations on your 20 years serving humanity in the most noble of ways, an impressive milestone, of which you should all feel deeply proud. Twenty years of serving your community through education, outreach and support has proven vital for so many who have suffered many forms of iatrogenic harm, such as ECT and drug toxicity.
Mary and Jim, your advocacy bears the hallmark of courageous grass roots authenticity. And through that, MindFreedom Ireland has earned an outstanding and respected international reputation which has grown from strength to strength over the years. Your courageous efforts include a commendable and honourable chronicle of activism on positive and much needed change in deleterious mental health treatments, including some of Ireland’s most troubled policies on mental health.
As Rumi said of humanity, we are not of the spiritual realm, we are the spiritual realm. And through this spiritual realm of humanity, love emanates.
Mary, and Jim, your many years of personal courage, sacrifice and leadership reflects Rumi’s enlightened thinking. You have both joined together, each with your own powerful contributions, to serve as a beacon of light and hope for many. Your boundless efforts to lovingly and peacefully advocate for others in their distress resonates with many. Your labour of love is the spiritual essence of what it means to be human, a much needed blessing to this world.
Your example also resonates with other kindred spirits who may have never experienced physical iatrogenic harm directly, but become inspired to advocate for others. In fact many allied health care professionals, legal professionals, university professors, as well as many other people and organisations, have been inspired by your outreach.
Mary, because of your strength, hard work and determination, along with support from your family and other loved ones, you have remained strong despite the immense challenges of iatrogenic harm. Through your strength you continue to help others regain their self determination after they too have suffered iatrogenic harm. This courage of your convictions empowers many people to believe they too may overcome such difficult obstacles and challenges.
As we know, psychiatric treatment whether by electrical, chemical, or physical means, can often cause life-altering observable neurological harm that often leaves permanent physical effects and worse (such as akathisia, tardive dyskinesia ). The longer a loved one remains in a psychiatric facility, the more likely he is to receive yet another label that induces yet further drugs, and potentially ECT. This is an example of a temporal cyclical and iterative relationship of iatrogenic harm, one based on duration.
As humans we are social beings. We are not meant to remain isolated from our families, loved ones, friends, communities, etc. Whether such disruption is electronically, chemically or physically induced, the human toll of such iatrogenic harm is always one of deeper distress. Isolation especially from family, our primary human and social bedrock, (although imperfect and at times conflicted), is anathema to human health.
Very often, isolation leads to the break down in bonds of family, loved ones, friends, community, etc. This isolation is an insult with similar cyclical and iterative effects as with physical treatment. The longer the isolation from family, loved ones, etc., the deeper the iatrogenic harm to physical health.
Many families also suffer as they become peripheral, helpless and powerless in trying to understand psychiatry’s complicated pathologies and other nomenclature about their loved one. Many families are left devastated, and feel hopeless. Many families are rarely, if ever, educated by psychiatry about human love and acceptance as a model of therapy, or simply as a way through the onset of what are often temporary, albeit sometimes, very difficult problems requiring support. If such families understood the power of these models of humanity, and ways of love and acceptance, their loved ones could potentially fare much better in the long term. Rather, many families are relegated to following psychiatry’s protocols lest their loved one “gets worse”.
Families, the very scaffolding of human health, ultimately become detached from their loved one, lost in the deep sea of psychiatry, sometimes forever. Many families end up as collateral damage to this cyclical and iterative process of iatrogenic harm, now on the outside looking in. It is important to recognise this process as a form of familial iatrogenic harm.
It takes unconditional positive human regard, patience, acceptance, understanding, non- judgment, to even begin to approach and de-pathologize this wide reaching trauma of iatrogenically induced harm. In short, it takes a lot of love.
And as it turns out, humanity has endless supplies of it.
Love is absolutely the greatest spiritual power that transcends every dimension on earth. It moves mountains as they say. Love is so powerful it can transcend frozen water crystals, as was wondrously depicted in Masaru Emoto’s photos (2001). Within our human spirituality there exist infinite examples of how we express love and how it transcends us, such as through our higher power, through community outreach, through nature, animals, music, arts, and so on.
Mary, your legendary love of sharing music and song in your community outreach is an example of how love transcends. Many people feel empowered to embrace one of the most important foundations of human health, to participate in loving relationships again. Your music sessions are great craic as they say, and bring everyone together, as an extended family, in the comfort of non- judgment, acceptance and inclusion. What a true gift of love and healing you share so freely and gorgeously.
Another example of music, among the millions of songs depicting how love transcends us, deserves an honourable mention here. David Bowie and Queen created arguably one of the most lyrically consequential songs of the modern era. The subject of human distress and how we must respond to human distress was on their minds the night they wrote this. This verse in particular appeals for love:
“‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to
Care for the people on
The edge of the night
And love dares you to
Change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
This song reminds us of all the beautiful people who have suffered, and of those who have tragically lost their lives because of iatrogenic harm. Ultimately this song reminds us that love in all of its spiritual essence is the answer for our human distress and suffering.
This song also reminds us of the many courageous people like Mary and Jim, who show us how to “change our way of caring about ourselves”. Their outreach of love and compassion empowers many to work through the harmful iatrogenic effects of ECT and drug toxicity, and isolation. Their love for their fellow human being vibrates at a much nobler and higher frequency.
They show us the essence of human spirituality, and how to keep a beacon of hope for our fellow humans; and to keep the faith, in love and compassion for others.
Thank you Mary, and Jim, and everyone involved with MindFreedom Ireland.
Comhghairdeas agus ar mian leat go léir blianta fada eile.