It's easy to be indocrinated into the mores and fashions, the trends and fads, the status quo, of a broader society, even one from which one is excluded because of myths and misconceptions, and forget to think originally, to look at possibilities in fresh ways.

It is difficult for me to imagine anyone being grateful for being hauled off the streets, however confused and disoriented, by police and stuffed away in a grim hellhole without being given any choice about the matter. It is difficult for me to imagine being grateful for the use of incarceration, police intimidation tactics and quasi-criminal court proceedings when alternatives are possible, when alternatives are obviously kinder and gentler and less traumatizing. I cannot imagine being grateful for the ghettoization that results from involuntary measures related to social control. I cannot imagine anyone (although many swallow the party line and the usual dogma) believing that running electric current through someone's brain or forcing someone to take animal tranquilizers or locking someone innocent of any crime away from a broader help, much less therapy.

Alternatives are possible, they produce better outcomes (research strongly suggests recovery results when the therapist and patient are sympatico, when patients are given an array of choices and comprehensive information, when the patient directs treatment), they are doubtless more cost-effective.

Why, then, are they not up and running? Because psychiatry, helped by NAMI and other so-called advocacy groups oriented around family members, perpetuates myths of violence, incurability, hopeless and irreversible defectiveness, not to mention degeneration and progressive deteriorization.

The public buys these dogmas and distortions because psychiatrists are perceived as experts. The press propagates these misconceptions because sensationalism sells papers. And the mental health public relations machine keeps pumping out disinformation because that's the way they stay in business, by preying on the public's gullibility and the vulnerability of their confused and distressed victims.

Psychiatric claims to be helping by using police force and quasi-criminal processes is fraud, plain and simple. When psychiatrists put people away and mess their minds up further on heavy drugs, cow them with force, infantilize them with simplistic and specious dogma, they are not helping.

They are recruiting for that famous assembly line of chronic, career mental patients on disability with Medicaid/Medicare because that's their business. Not to help. Not to comfort. Not to provide places of refuge and assistance and cooperation and compassion and service. Their business is to keep their victims confused and hurt and disoriented and...primarily...controlled.

This pleases the family members who go berserk in a crisis. This pleases the hospitals that obtain insurance benefits. This pleases the psychiatrists and staff who get paid big bucks for running these absolute hellholes where social control and power madness masquerades as help. If the patients aren't please, who gives a flying )&^*%(&%^? They're crazy. They're decisionally impaired. They're defective. They're the scapegoats for all the ills that afflict society.

Families benefit. They don't have to think about solutions or respond to crisis situations in loving ways that require teamwork and respect for the distressed member. For them, the system is convenient, above all. They don't have to think about changing family dynamics or adjusting attitudes.

All they have to do is stuff their confused relative into a state hellhole to get relief at crisis time...Voila, revolving door syndrome.

Psychiatrists benefit. Judges and attorneys in the kangaroo courts benefit.

Staff members benefit. Hospitals benefit. Drug companies and university researchers benefit.

Who doesn't benefit from this setup?

Who really gives a damn who does and doesn't benefit?

Alternatives aren't proliferating because 1) so-called clients have been brainwashed into thinking the system's standard response (shut them up, drug them up, get them on disability) is an OK thing because it is a product of the status quo, that's how it's been done so that makes it all right, and the law says so and 2) too damn many individuals and organizations are profiting from exploiting the persons who are made powerless, invisible and voiceless by the use of force and resultant stigma...

Alternatives aren't going to happen until there's a cohesive national organization or network of consumers who develop a corporate image and a unified agenda to abolish force and establish better ways of treating the emotionally messed up and abused who are now being brutalized by the alleged mental health system.

Sue Poole



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