Be Your Own Media
“ Be the change you want to see in the world.”
After 14 years of activism with freedom from psychiatric oppression, I am convinced that in order to create a revolution of creative maladjustment with other creative movements worldwide, we need more than ever to be our own media. I am reading Linda Andrea’s excellent book ‘Doctors of Deception’ once more (it is well worth reading several times). She explains how established media played a very important role in hiding the real truth about the brain damaging effects of electroshock and present it as new and improved for the last four decades in America. Here in Ireland we can see a similar attempt to distort the truth by our own media since survivors of electroshock and real doctors such as the late Dr Michael Corry have struggled to have their voices heard. Now we are also hearing about new and improved electroshock. But what does new and improved electroshock do? It causes even more brain damage. "Modifications of ECT including general anesthesia are not new or safer. They were already in place when I gave ECT at Harvard in 1963-1964. The modifications make it harder to cause a seizure so that modern ECT requires many times stronger doses of electrical energy than in the past. For example, in the early days ECT seizures could be caused by 0.1 seconds of current, but today they commonly require a full 6.0 seconds of exposure - 60 times longer. Modern ECT is even more destructive than it was in the past." Dr Peter Breggin It can use stronger electricity and the anaesthetic used to prevent damage to bones and teeth can have its own problems especially for elderly people who are mostly women. This only makes it easier for those who are administering electroshock to be unaware of the real damage it causes to one of the most important and complicated organs of the body – the brain, while it makes it much more difficult for victims of electroshock to take legal action.
I would never know what I am aware of today if I was depending on the established media to let me know the truth about psychiatry. I would not have found my freedom I value so much and my chances of reaching the age of 66 would be very slim indeed. My family might never know what happened to me and continue to believe that I was ‘mentally ill’!!! MindFreedom International used the internet to perfection with its very informative website and greatly helped me to finally escape the clutches of deceptive, oppressive, coercive psychiatry in 2000. It helped me so much to connect with other members and to recover from psychiatric abuse. I felt their open arms. They helped me to thrive and play my own part. I joined soon after they had gone on a 21 day hunger strike which Robert Whitaker writes about so well in his recently published book ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic’. I met and almost daily contacted passionate people who were ready to walk the walk more than talk the talk! David Oaks worked 24/7 and all of us rallied around and felt we could do something to turn the wheel. Many of the members are very good writers and spend long hours mutually supporting and educating one another.
Today our revolution of freedom, truth, equality and human rights is gathering momentum because we can unite more easily and be our own media. There are many tools at our finger tips. We can speak for ourselves in our own way. We can take our own pictures. We make do our own videos. We can sing and play our own songs. We can write our own books, plays and poetry. We can paint our own pictures. We can create our own websites and blogs. We can inspire and encourage each other in any corner of the world. Many of us are doing it now. More will join in the future. You can do it too! We can and we will!
We Irish pride ourselves as being anti - establishment!
Unfortunately now the leader of our Country who is from Co Mayo in Connaght is lead by Big Pharma as we cannot develop our natural resourses and it (Big Pharma) provides jobs. It does not matter how it destroys our enviroment and our people. We are aware of the power of the past but we are not aware of the power that holds us in its arms in the present.
“All of Clare, Galway, Roscommon and most of Mayo was reserved as an enclave for the surviving Irish. The English plan was to pen in the Irish west of the Shannon River, which was seen as a defensible border, with the ocean to the west. Where the Shannon was not available in the northwest, the military settlement would seal this area. All of the islands off the coast of the enclave were cleared of the Irish or used for special purposes, such as the internship camp for priests on Inisbofin. Inside this prison without bars the English hoped to make the hardcore Irish leadership impotent, there being no ports, no war industries, no fortresses, and no natural defences. All confiscated land was to be transferred on 26 September 1653 and all unauthorized Irish were to be in Connaught or Hell by 1 May 1654.”
Psychiatry acts as today’s prison with and without bars
It labels people it re-categorises as children to imprison and ‘protect’ them for their own ‘good’ while drugging and electroshocking them to cause brain damage.
It is never easy to challenge then status quo but to be a survivor of psychiatry it is almost impossible. In Ireland today institutional, coercive psychiatry has as much a grip on Ireland as English rulers had in the past. Now some powerful Irish people are enslaving other Irish citizens with the aid of medical pseudoscience, the pharmaceutical system, the state, the legal system and the educational system But just like for centuries in the past Irish people rose up to expose British rule at great personal cost Irish psychiatric survivors with a handful of critical ‘professionals’ are courageously speaking out against the tide of deception, fraud, fear, and force which is running wild in our beautiful, fertile little country .
Connaught has had a particularly difficult history because even if it is probably the most beautiful part of the country it has been very difficult place to survive because of its landscape. It is not surprising that the Irish Network of Critical Voices in Mental Health is becoming very loud and strong in most of the counties of Connaught -Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo and Galway. From my own county Sligo alone I know of four - Aine Nibhern, Richard Patterson, known as ‘A Bit Mad Ted’, Declan Henry, author of Why Bi- Polar and Michael Roberts of Renew who are courageously educating and helping others to find out the truth about psychiatry. In other parts of Connaught there are vocal voices also. You will hear them on the social media. I hope you will join their choir this year 2014. We need your help!
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
MindFreedom Ireland Christmas Party
A group from MindFreedom Ireland celebrated our Christmas party at Blarney Woolen Mills restaurant, Cork. We shared a lovely time together complete with good food and song lead by Susan Mendez. We used the table as a drum to accompany the lovely Christmas carol ' A little Drummer Boy'. Thanks to all the people who have supported us over the years. We remember especially Helena King RIP who died on the 27th of December 2006. She attended the inaugural meeting of MindFreedom Ireland 10 years ago.
A very Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone!
NUIG Debating Motion to Remove Medical Model From Mental Health
Firstly, it is great to see the subject of mental health being discussed, and especially the motion of removing the medical approach!
The motion was unfortunately defeated, but not without a weak debate beforehand. You can listen to the debate by clicking play below
It began with Dr Shari McDaid opening the motion "for", with the caveat that she believes in a bio/psycho/social model. Not a great start! There are people, other than myself, who would like to see the "medical model" being removed entirely..... or, failing that, would like to see the "medical model" adhering to the usual criteria of science and medicine.
Next was Dr Colm Mcdonald, he made some wild claims about psychiatry adhering to science, worryingly, he may even believe them, despite having accepted that on the level of individual cases there are no tests. He concluded that removing the medical model would "weaken capacity to know when we are wrong"! - I found that quite ludicrous. It suggests that they have an understanding of where they "went wrong", at the moment, and that that is informed by science. The Survivors of Psychiatry have done far more to change psychiatry, than psychiatry itself has afaik.
Unfortunately the level of knowledge of the speakers from the floor was very poor. One guy said that Psychology was a science (last I checked it was part of the humanities), the same guy seemed under the impression that science and medicine are part of psychiatry.
The next speaker was Dr. Mary Bar, a homoeopath. She talked about the importance of seeing the whole life experience of a person, and listening to their story, of treating people as individuals. Her position made a lot of sense, but it too failed to challenge the "medical model".
Both the speakers on stage, and the ones from the floor, apparently believed in the myths of bio. It is a shame that the debate was not more robust, as this issue is a big one in Mental health
The last speaker from the stage was Mr. Finnegan. He talked of how GPs do more than just the medical side of things. I thought it a bit bazaar while listening, but when I talked to him afterwards he said he should really have been on the "for" side, but they needed another "against"!
All in all, it was worth the trip up to Galway to hear the debate, but it would be great to have the same motion in a more informed house, with people believing in their side of the argument, and speaking more directly to the motion.
I would love to see Psychiatric Survivors who oppose the system, such as myself, debating with the likes of Dr. Colm McDonald. Unfortunately, I only learnt of the debate a few hours beforehand, so I did not have stats to hand to challenge what he was saying, despite knowing much of it was either false, or half-truths.
Gordon Lucas of CreativelyMaladjusted.net
MindFreedom Ireland Seeks Alternatives
MindFreedom Ireland believes in recovery and transformation.
We seek and promote alternatives to the coercive, medical, psychiatric model. We believe that the problems we experienced are part of the human condition.
Many of us have recovered from our peace of mind problems using non-psychiatric methods. Music and art therapy, wellness approaches and talk-therapies such as counselling and psychotherapy. Wellness Recovery Action Plans are now fairly common place.
In Ireland the Vision For Change document demonstrated that so called' psychiatric patients' felt that they were not listened to and that their dignity had not been respected by the' Mental Health System'. That document marked a beginning in the revolt of the' patients' and a change in government policy with regard to 'Mental Health'. We are slowly but surely taking over the asylum to transform it to a place of healing and learning.
Psychiatry is under threat by these changes. some of it's proponents know this and are desperately clinging on to the diminishing power it currently has in the 'Mental Health System'. It is trying to remain relevant by shifting into other fields of study such psychotherapy.
Recovery and transformation are possible!
Beyond Psychiatry by Jim Maddock
Apparently unconcerned, today orthodox psychiatry seems to have adopted an ostrich
like approach to an ever increasing worldwide movement interested in developing
more respectful, holistic and effective alternative methods of dealing with emotional
distress. Completely disillusioned with personal experiences of the system that
is, this movement is essentially moving on, leaving orthodox psychiatry in its wake.
Psychiatry is frequently described as a ‘religion’. Despite its claims
to be scientific, many today would say otherwise, there being no valid scientific
medical tests to prove the existence of any diagnosis. The ‘priests’ of
psychiatry, the psychiatrists themselves, bow to their recently updated and expanded
bible, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5, which contains hundreds of ‘mental
disorders and illnesses’ including the familiar ones of bipolar, ADHD and, the most
wounding of all, schizophrenia but, to the best of my knowledge, excludes Delusional
Scientific Diagnosing Disorder! Their belief in the DSM is as fundamental and
dogmatic as the most rigid Vatican teaching. In a sentence, they proclaim a
reductionist, biological medical model – that is, that all the diagnoses of the DSM are
‘mental illnesses’, the result of a ‘broken brain’ or a ‘chemical imbalance’ to be
primarily treated with the panacea provided by the pharmaceutical industry - drugs.
But for the past quarter of a century, a growing coalition of voices and movements
have dared to challenge the dogma of orthodox psychiatry. This is a truly brave action
to take, particularly for an individual, as it could and has led to charges of ‘lacking
insight’ and ‘paranoia’ and be an excuse to re-incarcerate the outspoken voice.
One of the first was Ted Chabasinski, an American lawyer who, at the age of six,
received electroshock in Belle View Psychiatric Hospital in New York. Along with
the late Judi Chamberlin, another psychiatric survivor, they spoke out as members of
The Patients’ Liberation Front in the 1970’s. Amazingly, their views were supported
by two psychiatrists, Dr. Leon Mosher and Dr. Peter Breggin, who in time,
spearheaded the revolt. Dr. Mosher had established his Soteria Project, a house in
San Francisco where emotionally disturbed people were treated with dignity and
respect in a non-medical fashion before he himself resigned from the Psychiatric
Association, citing his disillusionment with what it stood for. Allying himself with Dr.
Mosher, Dr. Breggin published his book ‘Toxic Psychiatry’ in 1991 which, in its own
way, was to become the ‘bible’ of unorthodoxy as opposition in the US and Canada
gathered pace with the voices of survivors like Leonard Roy Frank, David Oaks, Tina
Minkowitz, Don Weitz and Jim Gottstein all critical of standard psychiatry and
Calling for alternative approaches. ‘Toxic Psychiatry’ was followed in 1994 by
Dr.Breggin’s second book ‘Talking Back to Prozac’ which challenged the supposed
benefits of the new wonder drug which had been developed by Eli Lilly in the 1980’s.
The word was spreading. In 2001, Dr.Terry Lynch from Limerick published ‘Beyond
Prozac’, putting Dr. Breggin’s message into a specific Irish context. The following
year saw the first meeting of the newly formed Mental Health Alliance, chaired by
Vincent Browne, in Tullamore. This was an attempt by interested parties,
professionals, academics and concerned members of the public to organise and
campaign for "the provision of a choice of mental health treatments and therapies", a
better way or as Joan Hamilton from Charleville, Co. Cork might have put it –
‘Another Way – Sli Eile’. Other people like Paddy McGowan from Derry had
founded The Irish Advocacy Network which in turn had led to the establishment of
The Cork Advocacy Network, out of which Joan Hamilton went on to establish Sli
Eile, her social housing project for people who had been through psychiatry’s
‘revolving door’ and which today is continuing to thrive and expand.
‘Rebel’ Cork was to feature prominently in the new movement. In 2003,
MindFreedom Ireland, an affiliate of MindFreedom International, was established and
began to campaign against the lack of human rights in the form of forced drugging
and forced electroshock that continued on a daily basis in the psychiatric system. In
2007, it organised Ireland’s first ever public protest against electroshock in Daunt
Square, an event attended by politicians Kathy Sinnott and Dan Boyle. Beginning in
2004, a series of one-day mental health forums organised by Lydia Sapouna of the
Department of Applied Social Science in UCC provided further opportunities for the
voices of criticism to be heard, particularly the voices of those people who, like
Mary Maddock. Tim Nyhan and Kieran Crowe, had been through the system and also
become disillusioned with it. In addition to Dr. Terry Lynch, Dr. Aine Tubridy and
three other Irish doctors, psychiatrists Michael Corry, Ivor Browne and Pat Bracken,
added their weighty voices.
Disappointingly, the much vaunted 2006 Vision for Change still predominantly
endorsed established psychiatry only paying lip service to the call of people with
personal experience for alternative approaches. In the same year, Dr Corry organised
a major conference on depression in The Burlington Hotel in Dublin during which a
documentary film ‘Soul Interrupted’, featuring the testimony of many psychiatric
survivors, was shown. The main speaker on the day was Dr. Peter Breggin. His
morning talk asked the question ‘Was psychiatry doing more harm than good?’ while
in the afternoon, he spoke on the topic ‘Healing Depression Without Resort to
Psychiatric Drugs or' ECT’.
Everywhere, orthodox psychiatry was being challenged. On the continent, the
European Network of ex-Users and Survivors of Psychiatry was increasingly active.
A Dutch psychiatrist, Professor Marius Romme of Maastricht University founded the
Hearing Voices Movement which completely challenged psychiatry’s view of
'schizophrenia' and promoted an approach which saw voice hearing as a meaningful
response to life trauma to be engaged with rather than flatly suppressed by the
administration of powerful drugs. Hearing Voices groups are firmly based on an
ethos of self-help, mutual respect and empathy. There is no assumption of illness.
Last November in Cork, two voice hearers, Jacqui Dillon and Eleanor
Longden rendered moving and powerful testimony of how the Hearing Voices
approach had been so successful for them. Also in Ireland, Cork’s John McCarthy
founded the Mad Pride movement and blitzed the media with his call for change.
Organisations like WRAP, Renew and the Wellbeing Foundation advocated new
approaches. MindFreedom Ireland attracted new, young, vital and vocal voices such
as Patrice Campion, Richard Patterson and Gordon Lucas. Colette Ni Dhuinneacha’s
powerful voice debated the issue of electroshock on TV3 with a representative of The Irish College of Psychiatry.
Dublin actor Dylan Tighe staged his critical production
Record at the Cork Midsummer Festival. I would hope that the book ‘Soul Survivor
- A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’ by my wife Mary and myself also had a
contribution to make..
A culmination of all of this dissatisfaction with orthodox psychiatry’s
current handling of emotional distress was the foundation in 2010 of the Critical
Voices Network Ireland (CVNI). Evolving from a series of conferences in UCC
organised by Lydia Sapouna and Dr. Harry Gibjels of the School of Nursing,
CVNI describes itself as "a coalition of people interested in considering and
developing responses to human distress which are creative, enabling, respectful and
firmly grounded in human rights". For the past three years, they have held a two-day
conference every November in Cork which has been a stimulating, sustaining and
challenging get-together for people from all over Ireland and abroad. In 2011, CVNI
in association with MindFreedom Ireland and the Wellbeing Foundation organised a
nation-wide tour by American medical journalist Robert Whittaker, author of Mad in
America and his latest best-selling book Anatomy of an Epidemic – Magic Bullets,
Psychiatric Drugs and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. It was also
at the CVNI conference that the above mentioned Jacqui Dillon and Eleanor Longden
were keynote speakers.
The international mutuality of the ever-growing revolt against orthodox psychiatry
and the call for new and alternatve approaches to the question of emotional distress
was reflected by the appearance of Cork based Mary Maddock as a keynote
speaker at the third Empathetic Therapy Conference organised by Dr. Peter Breggin
which was held in Syracuse, New York at the end of April. As a person with over
twenty years experience of bio-medical psychiatry, Ms. Maddock spoke on the
alternative approaches and methods which transformed her from an overweight, half-
functioning, electroshocked, drugged psychiatric ‘patient’ to a rejuvenated, musically
creative, physically fit and active campaigner who has been drug free since 2001.
Distinguishing itself from orthodox psychiatry, Dr. Breggin describes Empathic
Therapy as promoting empowerment, responsibility and engagement rather than
psychiatric drugs and shock treatment. It does not reduce others to diagnostic
categories or labels – a process that diminishes personal identity, oversimplifies life,
nstils dependency on authority and impedes post-traumatic growth. Dr. Breggin’s
approach is the future, not this week’s new, expanded DSM 5.
WARNING: NEVER SUDDENLY WITHDRAW FROM PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS. ANY WITHDRAWAL SHOULD ONLY BE ATTEMPTED UNDER INFORMED MEDICAL SUPERVISION.