For people being directed here from ONE of the groups I mention below—this topic was going on in more than one group and the resulting responses were to no one person in particular nor any group in particular the fact that this was going on in more than one group and the other emails aren’t included means these comments are by definition out of context…they were thoughts that came out of me spontaneously based on ideas that I’ve heard from all sorts of people throughout the movement. No one person was being addressed or targeted. And no one participating in these groups saw ALL the emails involved because it was happening in more than one group. I am, though, now being targeted. This is the original piece left untouched. I do not retract a word of it.
There was a conversation in a couple of my email groups that led to people talking about NEVER using psychiatric meds basically as policy.
I spoke up and started a small firestorm. I will leave out what others said but post my responses. More than one person thought that psych meds should NEVER be used in any circumstance ever.
I am traveling again today. A solid 9 hours so I won’t be able to release comments after about 11 am or so until late tonight.
This is a bit of a hack cut and paste job but I don’t have time to do otherwise…please discuss while I’m out and about.
These are my responses to the group, a bit out of context and mildly edited. Some people seem to be rather pissed off at me and some people thought I was attacking people which I was not. Nothing personal here, simply talking about the IDEA of NEVER using drugs in TODAY’S reality. Fuck it. You can’t please everyone all the time.
Regarding psych meds use:
you don’t agree that psych meds saved my life when I was toxic from a too rapid withdrawal?
2 days of Rispderal was necessary…
save us all from dogma please…
that is what nearly killed me in the detox center DOGMA…
pragmatism is essential when we care for others. Black and white thinking will hurt us all.
Responses that are not printed here again stating that drugs should never be used…then I wrote:
there are other crises in which drugs can be helpful..
Soteria house used them with 3% of their residents…short term…sometimes one needs a club over the head to be safe…very rarely but when they do it can be a godsend.
Soteria had a 85 to 90% recovery rate.
Jim Gottstein who started the new Soteria in Alaska also uses targeted short term application of neuroleptics for himself about twice a year. He generally gets away with using a neuroleptic ONE night. (Update and correction: I have been told that the drug Jim occasionally uses is a benzo and not a neuroleptic. This to me is immaterial. It’s still practicing sane use of medication. For me long term benzo use has been much more detrimental than my long term and excessive neuroleptic use—anyway it’s clear in the story that it is indeed a benzo he uses. I’m sorry for the mistake)
This is what I speak of…not just me. And not just detox. Sane use of medication.
Jim Gottstein’s story and light use of neuroleptics benzos is on my blog with his permission here.
I’m a survivor and I’ve worked with people in severe states of consciousness for 12 years.
While drugs should never be a first way to go people in severe states should have the right to be relieved of horrible suffering for short term periods…if they want it…
Informed choice is what it needs to be about…
Maintenance treatment is what is toxic. Short term targeted treatment in most instances won’t cause harm—in some instances people have radical side effects immediately but that is very rare.
A couple of days of treatment at the apex of a crisis is something altogether different…and in today’s world there is sometimes no alternative.
And if you start forcing people to not take drugs if they want them is that any better than forcing them too take them when they don’t??
Self-determination means people can make their own choices, no??
Taking options away when there is no other infrastructure of care is cruel and careless.
If and when we have an alternative infrastructure of care we MIGHT be able to entertain never using drugs…without such an infrastructure it’s ridiculous to think about.
And unless someone has been in the trenches working with people suffering extreme states and seen all the varieties of suffering people can go through, I frankly don’t think someone can have an opinion that counts for much.
Other responses and then me again:
I won’t make any absolute statement about anyone’s reality…
No one knows the experience of anyone else…
I just got back from being royally screwed by a dogmatic clinic who refused to treat me as I needed. And I didn’t share the half of it on my blog.
No one knows what is right for another in every instance. I simply try to stay away from dogmatic absolute statements.
There is very little in the world that is all good or all bad…and when we take sides on one extreme or the other we cease to be able to see our brothers and sisters on the “other side.”
Is there really an other side??
That being said anyone who reads my blog knows I hate drugs in general…
In general people also assume I’m radically anti-drug and I frankly don’t care…because that’s what people do…make assumptions…about all sorts of things when they don’t know enough about a particular person or situation.
The infrastructure of care in mental health is the issue here. If it were different we could indeed start implementing care that radically minimized any use of drugs and I support that. The day that options are actually available I will celebrate.
But we don’t live in that world and we have to be realists…if we’re not we will never achieve that world…that we so desperately need.
We have to partner and communicate with those who see differently than us…or we have no hope.
Lastly in an email written to a friend about my experience with the dogmatic clinic that refused to medicate me as I fell into a TOXIC psychosis THEY created by withdrawing me too rapidly, I wrote an awkward statement which I will print verbatim even though it is indeed awkward. The friend told me the statement had the makings of an aphorism. With some rewriting, I agree. No rewriting will happen today as I’m off to travel again. We still have about a nine hour drive ahead of us and I am not really up to writing a post and so you got this awkward cut and paste job. Here is the quote:
A lack of pragmatism and instead practicing dogma is dangerous.
And everyone…you all don’t know the half of what happened in that detox center. I left half of it out so as not to be a nasty bitch and further factionalize people. So if you think I’m being a bitch here as one person clearly did in the group discussion know that I chose not to share all sorts of information so as to avoid bad mouthing a group of people in spite of what they did—-that being criminal neglect of my well-being.
Update–my response to the comments:
I want to reiterate something I don’t know if people really got in the above post…
I don’t like drugs. I think alternatives should be available and ideally there would be safe places where such alternatives were offered.
The fact is there are not these safe places and so without drugs many people would be in a dangerous situation but ONLY because of the lack of a better infrastructure of care…
I don’t believe drugs have to be necessary…I only believe they are NOW in our current climate of mental health care…we would be a healthier society if we did not use drugs and people healed through other means. There is no question in my mind about this.
ultimately they should be done away with…but given most people can’t get to a safe place when crisis hits they are sometimes necessary.
If we RADICALLY change how mental health care is viewed and practiced I do believe we could do most of our healing without drugs as indeed drugs don’t heal in any case. They only stop behavior and knock us out.
Unfortunately it’s not likely to happen in our life times so I revert to pragmatism…and the rights of individuals to determine what is appropriate for them in their lives in this world where proper care is not offered us.