Rest in peace John McCarthy: founder of Mad Pride Ireland

John McCarthy, founder of Mad Pride Ireland has died. The world has lost an important voice. He was an incredibly lovely man with great passion.

I shared the below in two different posts a few months ago. They’re both so astonishingly inspiring I put them into one post in his memory.


This video is incredibly inspiring. What a lovely man.


The below is written by John McCarthy, a hero in Ireland who has spent many years fighting for the rights of those labeled by psychiatry. 

Here is a video I found on his column in the Cork Independent: The Human Condition. John is sharing his life with us as his body dies. 

The below video is good to watch both as a bio for John as well as context for his article below. I highly recommend viewing it.

This is his beautiful and inspiring article which he’s given permission to reprint:

Immortality and the gift of Madness — By John McCarthy, first posted at Mad Pride Ireland

I’m dying, oh I don’t have a hangover or a flu, no nothing as mundane as that. I’m dying and that’s that.

Shit happens!

Motor neuron disease, the muscles waste away, left leg is pretty bad, floppy foot, and the right is starting, the hands, the voice, ability to swallow, not the most pleasant way to go.
End up in a wheelchair mumbling and drooling, being fed, changed and washed.

As they used to say when I had “depression”, “a breakdown” “he have a problem with de nerves” I simply lost control of my emotions, but I really do have a problem with the nerves right now.

Two to five years on average.

Here’s the thing, if I was offered 20/30 years with madness, depression, “as I had it”, or my 2 to 5 with this, I would take this anytime.

I have a remarkable thing happening in my life right now as my body is getting weaker my spirit is getting stronger! Go figure?

Explain that to me, how does that happen. I have a theory, I have learned from madness the value of my spirit. How to be content, how to absorb love, a great gift from madness.

Self dignity, with it you can do anything you really want to do.
Without it you can do nothing.

God how I hated the downside of madness, the self inflicted loneliness, while surrounded by love, the self rejection of love on offer, seeing the pain of rejection in your lovers eyes and not being able to respond to that pain.

God how I hated it, my hate was really for myself, the pain of madness impossible to express.

So I fell foul of the pill for every ill crowd, nearly killed me, attempted suicide when I was on my heaviest doses of a mix of ten different drugs a day, four different diagnoses, they really didn’t have a clue, psychiatry.

So I ran as far as I could away from psychiatry, I studied me; learned about me, with great help and love from my then councillor Brendan O’Callaghan.

I was invited to lunch recently by the Irish college of psychiatry, had dinner in London at the royal college, not as a patient being paraded as their example of cure, but to challenge them and some are listening, I will give them that.

The arrogant ones deaf!

But God what I have learned from the upside: madness is an emotional feeling just like joy, love, happiness, sadness, all the others, but I shut the door in its face as I was taught to do. Rejected all it had to give, and it, madness got mad at me. I fought it, it fought back and it won.

I learned so painfully and slowly, to let it in, be comfortable with it, and it has rewarded me for my kindness to it.

I write now, this column, poetry, short stories, working on a book, sport a ponytail, whatever.

There is something really dignified in the honesty of neurology, they have done every test under the sun, x-ray, scan , bloods, lumber puncture, you name it, they have done it and they tell me with great honesty they have no idea where it comes from and more importantly they have as yet no treatment.

Remember as yet no treatment, Neurology has a single a pill to retard it for a few months, that’s all but no fix.

Compare and contrast, I have never had a psychiatrist take my pulse, never preformed a medical test of any kind on me. Never!!

In fact let me make an offer, publically through this column to Dr Justin Brophy, President of the College of Psychiatry, a good man, test me Justin. Scientifically, supervised by a neutral medical scientist; for the casual and in my opinion incorrect various diagnosis of Uni Poplar, Bi Polar, (Manic Depression) Dysphoric Elation ( don’t ask me nobody seems to have heard of it except the guy who gave it to me) and finally Paranoia (I began to ask questions) I was given.

Test me Justin, in the public domain, prove your ability to label us for life.

I am in the perfect place I have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain and you can prove our professions credibility.

If I have a disease in my brain called “mental illness” prove it.

I will send this to him, Dept of Health, HSE. publish their response when and if I get it.

The king is wearing no clothes and I bought his suit!

Psychiatry needs to so radically reform itself reassess the whole ethos of the medical cure for a problem of the soul. We need to help them.

Compliance, control, they are the by-words for cure in psychiatry. I wandered around in a daze when “I was Cured “ by pills, told to settle for a life under sedation, it was the best they psychiatry, could do, God love them.

No time to go into it all here but have a look at Eugenics another exposed “taught medical bullshit Science based not on fact but theory” (like chemical imbalance theory) exposed as completely naked.

I can hear it already the classical defence FEAR. I am exposing vulnerable people to the possibility I might be right, asking them to use their own innate intelligence.

Talk of friends.

At least we have a beginning, psychiatry is admitting to overuse of “the pill for every ill” cure. Through we have a debate initiated.

Do not get me started on forensic psychiatry, what an oxymoron.
And we have given the power of law to this theory to lock our citizens up under this naked science, some citizens for the whole of their lives on the guess of a, dare I say it, quack, a forensic psychiatrist, who is scientifically naked.

So I am dying and thanks to my brush with madness and what I learned from it, the real beauty of life, I will handle this dying as long as I have my dignity, my families love, that I now know; how to absorb.

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