Hating the enemy — extra quote of the day with commentary

If we think about the vast majority of human problems, both on a personal and on a worldwide scale, it seems that they stem from an inability to feel sincerely involved with others, and to put ourselves in their place. Violence is inconceivable if everyone is genuinely concerned with the happiness of others. – Matthieu Ricard

Absolutely and that’s why “us and them” shit will never get us anywhere and in my saying so I get attacked for even suggesting psychiatrists are human—as we all are. It’s a mad mad world.

Hatred will only entrench us deeper into the hell. I’ve been cursed and metaphorically spit on when one person disdainfully called me a “bridge builder.” As though that was a horrible, horrible thing. It was the first close relationship I made on the internet that ended badly because I dared not hate enough in this person’s estimation.

I won’t stop communicating with anyone who will listen regardless of their degree, history or current occupation. If you want to hate me for that you go right ahead and do so. I won’t hate you back. I understand the rage…and I feel it too…I simply attempt to take responsibility for it.

And it doesn’t mean I condone crimes committed by those I might communicate with either. You need not condone something and you can still not hate.

I believe in the power of human beings to change. To wake up. To see their errors. I’ve done it myself. I need to do more of it myself. Who am I to condemn those who simply have different blind spots than I have??

30 thoughts on “Hating the enemy — extra quote of the day with commentary

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  1. I agree that persuation is better than force , as I wrote in my “wind and sun” bit. The old story/fable of the “The North Wind and the Sun” illustrates the more you try to force someone, the more they resist.

    one version
    The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak.
    They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.
    Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him;
    and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
    And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.

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  2. Gianna, I found what you said about Recovery, Inc quite astute, as well as amusing. Yes, there ARE generational differences that influence our perception of Dr. Low. I agree, he certainly WAS patronizing, but I overlooked this behavior because I thought he was entrenched in his times and didn’t know any better. Besides, as I mentioned, I am 60, so his attitude was not that different from others in my parent’s generation.

    I, too, loved the people I met in Recovery. Many of them continue to be my closest friends. I also respect MOST of the principles endorsed by the program because they empower rather than infantalize patients.

    Oh, I just thought of another “spotting” that might annoy some of your readers…”For the sake of our own mental health, we must learn to excuse, rather than accuse others”

    I’m joking, of course. I certainly understand why there is so much rage expressed in the postings. The western world’s approach to mental illness is narrow minded and destructive. I totally agree with you and everyone else who expresses their frustration and anger.

    Did I express myself with “culture, and not raw nature”? Tee hee. Sorry, those spottings are engraved into my brain.

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  3. and to anyone who noticed I rewrote that to correct for pathologizing language…please feel free to laugh! we’re all on a learning curve working on unlearning the dominant paradigm.

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  4. Ellen,
    language is tricky…I try to use neutral language to help people stop medicalizing and pathologizing everything…otherwise I’m not truly offended when someone identifies with the term mental illness…if that is their thing…

    I just am hoping to open up people’s eyes to viewing things differently and language matters….so I choose not to use pathologizing language on my blog unless it’s in quotes or part of something I’m reprinting/cutting and pasting etc…

    and yeah, I’ve experienced extreme states of consciousness too and you’re quite right…it’s no game.

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  5. Gianna,

    I completely agree with the things you pointed out. I even saw the other side as I was writing it, but sometimes I don’t want to get too bogged down in saying every angle so I just throw out the one that’s on top, to express the point I want to make at the moment.

    “it takes no wisdom to become a doc…just a good memory” I agree with that 100%. My GP is brilliant, though. She is who I was thinking about when I said that. At the same time, the ones who follow their training down the line have blind spots that are frighteningly consistent. Garbage in garbage out. Apply their minds to storing correct information. They will then memorize the good stuff and spit it back out. A good mind is a terrible thing to waste. Yeah, I did end up making them sound like will-less robots.

    “those who just stupidly read manipulated pharma studies…” Yup. I was giving them a huge, gift-wrapped benefit of the doubt that even I don’t believe. I was coming from the “infrastructure of care” angle when I cast them that broad latitude. We know how pharma supported care is bloated and over indulged, while alternative cures are starved from a lack of funding. There is so much we could build, so much common sense could be employed if only the right people got the funding and instead of the legitimacy now conferred upon greedy dirt bags.

    About my use of the term “mental illness.” It was more shorthand than a supported belief in it’s legitimacy. I know I need to do more study in this area to find out what terms I do want to use. So far nothing has clicked that fits the bill 100%.

    I’m coming from a perspective of having experienced extreme psychosis. A term like mental illness doesn’t scare me or offend me. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what it’s really been like for me to be so sick. I don’t care what they call it to be honest. It’s like if I was drowning and they toss me one of those rings. I don’t care if they call it a life preserver or dingy donut. I’m holding on for dear life.

    It goes so much deeper than a diagnosis. The whole picture. I know it matters and such disregard is not going to fly when it comes to my book. It’s on the checklist of things to wrap my head around.

    Thanks for having the courage to be honest.

    —Ellen

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  6. I have one more comment to make and it is one that will explain why I tend to be somewhat compassionate towards most doctors.

    Has anyone ever heard of Recovery, Inc? It is a self-help program based on the teachings of Dr. Abraham Low, who was a psychiatrist in the late 30’s through the late 50’s. He started out as a Freudian Psychiatrist, but soon grew disenchanted with the approach, asserting that psychoanalysis tended to make his patients sicker rather than better. At the time he was considered a maverick and was severely criticised by the mental health establishment. Dr Low wrote a book entitled “Mental Health Through Will Training” and, through time, support groups were formed that were based on the principles he endorsed, which were primarily a form of cognitive therapy. It is similar to AA in that there are weekly meetings and lots of “sayings”…like, for instance, “symptoms will rise and fall as long as we don’t attach danger to them” “A thought can produce a symptom, and a thought can take it away.” “Don’t look for a symptom..you’ll find it.”

    It is a wonderful organization and there are meeting throughout the US and Europe.

    Anyway, twenty years ago, when I was first battling insomnia, I found Dr Low’s book in the library and was delighted to find out there was a meeting in my area. I attended and became an enthusiastic participant and in a few years, became a leader of a group. Most of the people who attended my group had more serious problems than I did…bipolar, schizophrenia, etc. but I did not let that deter me. I counseled and advised and worked, with great sincerity, to help others.

    Anyway, the point is, I became an amateur psychiatrist, of sorts. Recovery does not allow its members to discuss medication or religion during meetings because both subjects are too controversial, but…and I admit this with great shame…I became a “know it all”. I had experienced sadness, so I presumed to understand depression. I knew what it meant to be nervous, so anxiety was easy to figure out. The approach I used was correct in terms of Recovery principles, but, I lacked the “experience” of knowing what it means to be defined and treated as mentally ill.

    I know now what a fool I was, but, in my own defense, I have to say that I was a well-intentioned fool. Yes, there was some ego-gratification in being an “authority”, but I also possessed a sincere desire to be of service. And, to be quite honest, I really did help many people because I never lost sight of their humanity and never saw them in terms of their paychiatric labels.

    However, the fact remains, I did not “understand” mental illness at all until I fell into a deep depression (as a result of insomnia) last fall and was hospitalized and administered a number of medications, all of which had side effects. I have been humbled by this experience and am no longer as arrogant and presumptuous as I once was. Yet, I still must insist…I was not evil, I was just a dope.

    BTW, I have a feeling that people who are drawn to this site will not be attracted to Recovery, Inc. unless it is to meet people who are battling the same battles we are. Why? One of the sayings is…”We must not self-diagnose. We must follow the authority of our own physicians.”

    What a riot that would produce if some of the folks on this website were told that at a meeting!

    On the other hand, I wish someone had contradicted me more frequently when I was a Recovery leader.

    Oh well, thanks for listening to my “Mea Culpa!”

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    1. I loved the Recovery Inc meetings I went to…but only because I could see through crap like “listen to the doctor” and see the deeper truth that was at work in the group….again…I’m always the bridge builder…I saw the good in what was also a very flawed system in many ways…but I really loved the people and if I wasn’t bedbound I would be going to meetings!!

      but you’re right..most people wouldn’t like it who congregate here and I won’t go into the reasons why (but they were things that irritated the heck out of me as well!!) The thing is there people there were so wonderful I could say honestly how I felt about Dr. Low (I found him horribly condescending) and found out that the younger among us all felt he was a bit of a jerk on that front and those in who were older didn’t find him that way…

      anyway…just babbling…

      I’m tired…went to the doctor today and really need to get something up on the blog…done no work today.

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  7. Selene,
    You will be pleased to know I did not “beg” my psychiatrist to modify my meds. Your posting helped me recognize how pathetic I am becoming.
    I did see him and we debated about my diagnosis, but he wouldn’t budge in his assessment. He insists that I have been depressed since childhood, even if I…and no one around me…recognized I had depression. I maintain my depression stemmed from insomnia (which I have had off and on my whole life)and he believes the insomnia was a symptom of depression. Why? Basically, because my father was an alcoholic and I inherited his DNA.

    Oh, I don’t know. I’m so tired of fighting everyone, including my own husband. I’ve only been battling the medical establishment for 8 months and I’m exhausted. That’s why I am so astonished by people like you & Gianna who have been struggling for years. Maybe it is because I’m your elder. I figure…oh f*** it…I don’t have that many years left. I’ll just capitulate and make the best of it.

    Yes, I also agree with you about the deleterious effect of meds on our cognitive skills. I appreciate you telling me that, for those who have been damaged, it might be frustrating to hear; it’s an invalidation of sorts. I hadn’t recognized that and it is quite understandable. I think I was just trying to put a positive spin on events. Not only was I attempting to encourage Gianna, but I was consoling myself, because I, too, after only 8 months, have noticed a deterioration in my intellectual skills. I used to LOVE to read, for instance, but now I can’t concentrate or focus on anything more complicated than an e-mail.

    I still don’t know what I will do in regard to the lamictal. My shrink says he just wants me to get on a “therapeutic” dose, which is 100 mg. That sounds reasonable, but, then again, I suppose it all depends on whether or not I really am a depressive. I admit I’m depressed NOW, but, as I said, I suspect it is a reaction rather than a cause.

    Oh dear, I am really starting to bore myself with my endless introspection and analysis. That’s another reason I want to give in…I’m sick of thinking about it.

    Anyway, thanks for your feedback. You were quite eloquent and it stiffened my backbone a little bit.

    saralynn

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  8. Gianna, This is what I wrote last night. If it’s too heavy I understand if you don’t want to post it.

    If it’s any consolation, you gained a friend in me by what you said. Believe it or not, that “linked above” post was what made me take a longer look at your blog and realize that exploring what you’ve put out there is a worthwhile pursuit. Your insight into this issue shows a depth of understanding that is skirting the edge of—ahead of its time. Maybe we don’t realize how in-the-wilderness we are in piecing this stuff together. This is important, groundbreaking stuff. Some of which has never been gathered together in one place before.

    Personal responsibility starts here. Building bridges. Picking up the pieces. Making sense of it all. It takes intelligence and humility to work with what you have.

    We can’t let our work be pulled down by those who are lost in their own pain and still acting it out. Who are they to dish out painful criticism and treat you like a hostage to their ideas? Bottom line is: we can’t afford to discard out of hand the professionals that have training and a potential to acquire a broader understanding of mental illness away from the medical model. As hard as it is to admit, doctors do have an aptitude for retaining and processing information pertaining to medical treatment. You can’t get through all of that med. school without something going for you.

    When I wrote my response in that thread, I deleted half of it. I toned it way down. I originally railed against anarchy, but then deemed it off topic. Without seeing the whole conversation I went out on a limb and guessed/defined what I think they’re espousing. Anarchy. It doesn’t work. It’s for undergraduates. It’s childish.

    We have been living in a war zone, the war on drugs. We don’t have unfettered access to powerful substances that we can administer to ourselves. We’re stuck working with what we’ve got. (I’m sure I could benefit from a little opium now and then. I’d sleep fine.)

    Mental illness is real. It’s not a game. It’s life or death. I’m not playing. I am in charge of my own healing. I want every option available to me. What part of freedom don’t they understand? They can’t see past the rage-fueled smoke blowing out of their own ears.

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    1. Thanks Ellen…I’m glad we can discuss these issues…I don’t actually agree with all you say…but that is okay by me…hope it’s okay by you…

      for example:
      As hard as it is to admit, doctors do have an aptitude for retaining and processing information pertaining to medical treatment. You can’t get through all of that med. school without something going for you.

      I don’t buy that for a minute…and all they study is bullshit in any case…most are NOT scientists either…they are just good memorizers…I have docs in the family…it takes no wisdom to become a doc…just a good memory…wisdom is needed to treat the psyche…not medicine…(my opinion) some docs have wisdom perhaps and those are who I seek to help me…people with wisdom and people who broadly understand science in some cases…not those who just stupidly read manipulated pharma studies…

      I also don’t really believe in mental illness. I do believe in mental suffering and that is part of being human. We all suffer. Some of us suffer more than others.

      anyway…thank you so much for your support and I DO read the above as support!! I hope you don’t mind my letting you and others know where I stand on these issues.

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  9. I got all worked up and wrote a big reply. Now it’s late and I’m too tired to know whether it’s worth posting or not. When I get a chance to go over it I’ll check back in.

    I’ll leave you with some wisdom from Joan Jett.

    “Fake Friends”

    Here’s the song on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8eE6QRFRjk

    When you were down they were never there
    When you’re all alone you really get to learn
    If you get back up they gonna come around
    All the sycophants they love to make romance
    To the ugly sound of ’em tellin’ you what you
    Wanna hear an’ you pretend

    Cuz they all agree you’re supposed to have a better life
    But you’re feelin’ worse
    An’ they build you up till you fool yourself that you’re
    Something else an’ it’s like a curse cause
    You can’t live up to what they made of you
    An’ they tell you that you’re losin’ friends

    Losin’ friends, losin’ friends
    Ya got nothin to lose
    Ya don’t lose when you lose fake friends

    Ya go an tell ’em you were king of the hill
    When ya need a hand – that was yesterday
    Ya see ’em laugh while you’re on your knees
    An’ it breaks your heart cuz ya gave so much
    An’ ya can’t believe that ya hit the gound an’
    Ya notice ya been losin’ friends

    Losin’ friends, losin’ friends
    Ya got nothin to lose
    Ya don’t lose when you lose fake friends

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  10. Gianna, I’m glad you have gotten to the point where you can laugh. I’m sure it wasn’t possible at the time. See how you have insight into their pain, even when you’re in pain? You’re a natural bridge builder. You can’t stop yourself. It may be time to come out of the closet. ;D

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  11. “I’ve been cursed and metaphorically spit on when one person disdainfully called me a “bridge builder.” As though that was a horrible, horrible thing.”

    I’m sorry but this made me laugh. There’s a little maturity lacking when “bridge building” is seen as a bad thing. I envisioned them throwing stuffed animals at the monitor from their crib. Maybe a baby temporarily took control of the keyboard. Pat them on the head and say: “Call me when you grow up.” or not.

    Kudos to everyone who has replied. It’s obvious that those of us who want to heal and move on with human evolution are ready to do so. If you want to create a “them,” be a “them.” Like Moss said. Go Moss!

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    1. Ellen,
      thanks..you just now made me laugh…at the time it was excruciatingly painful…the person was beautiful in so many ways and we had become close…this person was also deeply hurt and traumatized…we do different things with our pain.

      It was nice to speak of it…because I really haven’t. And to laugh now is nice.

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  12. For me, it’s still a bit too early to totally forgive. Everything I’ve experienced in this system is still fresh — not just the experience with the drugs, but experiences with professional staff as well. It’s too easy to lose your humanity to the mental health system, and it’s way hard trying to get it back. I can understand how a lot of people revert to us vs them; it’s an instinctive reaction to any recognized enemy and can be very hard to let go off in the face&experience of being hurt.

    Hating the enemy isn’t the answer, and neither is attacking people who can put a human face on those persecuting them. Humans have a really bad problem with projecting themselves or their persecutors on innocents. I’m sorry you’ve had to experience it.

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  13. I think Forgive and Forget is a Wonderful rule to live by. And I’ll Rush to Forgive and Embrace each and every one of these Quacks, ….. After they’ve been to Prison and Paid their debt to Society.

    If I can uncover the truth about Psych Drugs causing a 10 X Increase in misery and premature mortality, then the Doctors who peddle them, for a very comfy paycheck, can uncover that Same Truth, …… instead of remaining intentionally, blissfully, and arrogantly, ignorant.

    And for those who’ve Killed their patients; we have laws against Negligent Homicide already. Enforce them: because on the day that a 10X Increase in misery qualifies as Health Care or Healing, then, and Only then will these drug pushers have any claim to legitimacy.

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  14. Selene- I am so there with you. I find it utterly exhausting just to talk. I think I may have to resgin from my job… this Klonopin has really wreaked havoc on my higher brain function. It makes me feel foggy and out of it. I tried stopping cold turkey only to not sleep for a week. Now I find out my doctor has shorted my supply by two months- whether through error or if he’s trying to mess with me, I don’t know. Good thing I have other doctors (non-psychiatrists) on my side..

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  15. You go, Gianna. (That’s a compliment, not an order, these days, LOL) There is no “them”, or there will be no healing for anyone. It sure is hard to remember when you’re being attacked, or even just treated as a non-person, but there it is.

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  16. Saralynn,

    Ultimately, I am the one who puts the actual medication in my mouth twice a day. There is no psychiatrist stands there watching what I take. Same with you. No begging necessary.

    I found no help at all from doctors when I wanted to withdraw from Klonopin. Every one I asked said I had two choices, stay on it like they said to do, or get off it in a week or 3 weeks or whatever it was that they said. The important thing seemed to be that I do what they said, regardless of the course of action. It was an exercise in obedience and nothing at all to do with my health.

    Well, after a while, I finally wised up and realized I was still in charge of my own medical care, no matter what they said to do.

    So, now I have a GP who hands out benzos like candy, but still will give no help with withdrawing. So I’ve just tapered on my own and am nearly off the Klonopin. So, yes, I’m taking meds NOT as directed. And it’s the right thing for me and the only choice I was given.

    I think it may have been best this way, since I know I ran a very high risk of being put on other meds in place of the Klonopin. Most doctors at the time I asked wanted to cold turkey the Klonopin and medicate the withdrawal symptoms with Seroquel. (No, not a good plan) So, doing this entirely WITHOUT supervision probably saved me in the end.

    And I also find it clear that Gianna is still an amazing writer. But I also understand the feeling of losing some ability due to meds (and that it’s usually not apparent to others can be frustrating). To me, it’s like having my mind raped to have cognitive loss … to lose some of what was mine. That’s the thing. It was mine. And I didn’t give informed consent to give it up.

    S

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  17. I too forgive those who want to dominate others. Psychiatrists are a good example !!!. It is difficult to face up to the fact you are doing a terrible job when it is the reason you are so financially secure and powerful. However, this will never stop me exposing the human rights abuses which many psychiatrists continue to carry out daily.

    Most Psychiatrists are people who choose to ‘know best’ and lobotomize creative, distressed people. They choose to force their ‘ therapeutic way’ on others. It is very important to forgive but it is also important never to forget!!

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  18. Thanks, Gianna. I will muddle through somehow. The discouraging thing that I’ve discovered about the alternative health website is that most practioners will help you detox from meds only with the consent of your psychiatrist. Sigh

    Actually, I was more interested in encouraging you than myself. You’ve been through so much! My problems pale in significance to yours. (although of course not to me!)

    Not to get off topic, but you mentioned on another posting (I forget where) that you mourned the loss of your cognitive abilities, which you suspect have been impaired through over-medication, etc. First, I want to assure you that there is no evidence of any deficiency in your writing, but that is beside the point. What is important to remember is that we are more than our attributes….our attractiveness, our talents, our abilities, our intellects, our postition in life. These qualities are transitory and inevitably fade with time. What is eternal in us…our desire to serve and love others, for instance, is what is essential and must be honored. That is what is remarkable about you. You’ve turned your affliction into a gift.

    No, I’m not a religious nut. I don’t even go to church. However, I do have ideals.

    Saralynn

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  19. I strive to be the same way… but so utterly fail. I feel the rage of the unfairness of it all, the taintedness of it all, take over. Trying to find ways to cope…

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  20. Hi Gianna,

    I am one of your silent fans from NY. I felt inspired to write today because I agree so much with your insight that evil usually arises from ignorance, rather than malicious intent.

    My story is not as complicated as yours. Until this year (and I just turned 60) I was taking one anti-depressant for insomnia (paxil) and that was it. I was on it for fifteen years, then its effectiveness wore off and I had to find a new med. I was put on Remeron, which was wonderful, but, then, for some reason, it “turned” on me and I started developing anxiety and other unpleasant side-effects. I went to a Psychiatrist who upped the dosage of Remeron, then added Ativan and Serequel. My symptoms intensified, I was hospitalized, and I requested that these “toxins” be removed from my body. The hospital did as I requested, but the detox lasted a week and when I returned home, I was a mess. Lots of withdrawal symptoms. Depressed and suicidal. I went to a new Psychiatrist who put me on Lamictal and Trazadone. At the moment, I am taking only 50 mg of Lamictal and I do not want to raise the dosage, although my Psychiatrist is insisting that I must reach “therapeutic” levels (100 mg) before I stop. My research on lamictal led me to your site.

    Anyway, on one level I HATE my psychiatrist because he disregards my opinions and is annoyed by my uncooperative attitude. However, on a deeper level…..the most important level…I recognize that he is not a “bad” man. He truly wants me to get better and assumes he knows how to accomplish that goal better than I.

    I see him tomorrow and, rather than being outright oppositional, I shall try to appeal to his softer side and BEG him not to increase the lamictal. I hope, but doubt, he will listen to me. I’m not sure what I will do then. My husband is not supportive. Not because he doesn’t love and care for me; he simply assumes “psychiatrists know best”.

    Please know that you are an inspiration to many people, most of whom, like me, have followed your progress, but have never bothered to write.

    Thanks for that….

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  21. This is completely and utterly the way I live. I am always trying to say things in a way people who do not share my views will listen and when I think they’re starting to listen I prod more but as often as I can with respect (I don’t even try to engage with people I don’t respect at all). I know that a lot of people out there practicing psychiatry do not actually mean to be doing harm and evil — they are human beings just like you and me. They’ve been sucked down a path in a subtle and insidious and very seductive way. But over time there really should be a way to reach some of these people and get them to start working from within for change. It’s already happened with readers of this blog and other blogs like it. I do not spend time hating all psychiatrists even though I am angry. But it truly is a waste of emotional energy. It is essential to try to reach out to the very people who are practicing psychopharmacology if you have opportunities and speak to them in non threatening ways. You never know when finally something you might say tweaks something that will bring some worthwhile change. Thanks for posting this.

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  22. Amen, giannakali. Just keep telling the truth and doing your part to usher in a new paradigm based on love and personal sovereignty and responsibility. I have been other-focused for a (long) time and am happy to see you being the intrepid warrior that you are!

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