Coming home (by Paul Woodward and Monica)

I retired the site late last year and didn’t know what the future of my work would be. I had become progressively ill with digestive and auto-immune issues in spite of eating and living really clean and well. I continued to deal with severe iatrogenic injury from the cocktail of psych drugs I came off of many years ago now. Drugs really do cause harm and I was about to discover that all over again.

Speed kills…

by Paul Woodward: Social media has fueled a contagious desire for being heard and seen, creating a rush onto a public stage where presence takes on more importance than performance. …

News and the forgotten value of waiting

by PAUL WOODWARD People everywhere, but especially in America, have been conditioned to feel that there is no experience in life more intolerable than having to wait.

To wait is to be tortured by a cavity that urgently demands filling.

Waiting destabilizes the nervous system and seemingly the only way most people can prevent an imminent seizure or some other kind of systemic breakdown these days is by clutching the ubiquitous grounding device upon which everyone now depends: their smart phone — a grounding device that helps each user feel connected by disconnecting them from where they are.

Oliver Sacks, the autonomic nervous system, and psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome

My husband, Paul Woodward, who has published quite a few essays on this blog, sometimes sends emails to me about his thoughts on my (and therefore, often, our) circumstance. Sometimes he’s incredibly helpful and insightful both. I’m sharing what he wrote to me yesterday. The below is most of the body of an email. I’ve edited out a couple of sentences that were directed to me more personally at the beginning and the end. Most of it is just as it was written. As way of introduction to those who perhaps are not familiar with this blog, the autonomic nervous system injury that Paul is referring to in myself is the one incurred by psychiatric drugs and their withdrawal. It is essentially a sort of chemical and pharmaceutical and, therefore, iatrogenic brain injury. It’s often referred to as psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome and in some people can be a severe and debilitating condition. … [click on title to read and view more]

What is it like to be a bee?

by PAUL WOODWARD
In the minds of many humans, empathy is the signature of humanity and yet if this empathy extends further and includes non-humans we may be suspected of indulging in anthropomorphism — a sentimental projection of our own feelings into places where similar feelings supposedly cannot exist.

But the concept of anthropomorphism is itself a strange idea since it seems to invalidate what should be one of the most basic assumptions we can reasonably make about living creatures: that without the capacity to suffer, nothing would survive. … [click on title to read and view more]

The language of life

by PAUL WOODWARD
Within the mechanistic worldview that shapes the way most of us view life, each human being and other living organism is seen as a discrete entity — a form that possesses and is animated by its own life.

Lives come into existence, go out of existence, and between times interact with each other, while all along retaining autonomy in varying degrees.

Human beings, as creatures whose powers have been extended and amplified through technology, supposedly possess the highest degree of autonomy, living lives steered by the exercise of our freewill.

Having become so full of ourselves we have mostly lost the sense of life forming a seamless whole. We fail to see that human being is a conceptual construct fabricated through a leap of imagination. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

The pharmaceutical industry and the fight against gun control

by PAUL WOODWARD
In the 1980s and ’90s, the psychiatric system went through a major transformation as psychiatric medication replaced psychotherapy as the standard of care. This broadened the scope of psychiatry in two ways. With patient care being reduced to medication management, doctors could see more patients. And with a massive growth in the number of Americans receiving disability for mental illness, the market for psychiatric medication has been booming, thanks in part to Medicaid funding.

The pharmaceutical industry has only one interest: selling drugs. It can reasonably be described as the most successful form of organized crime in human history. When companies repeatedly pay billions of dollars in settlements, it is clear that they regard such settlements as simply a component in the operating costs. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

The weak regulations giving industry the freedom to poison Americans

by PAUL WOODWARD
For instance, if canned goods were marked appropriately, virtually every canned food you find in the supermarket would carry a warning like this: this product contains chemicals which may increase your risk of cancer, cause birth defects or other reproductive problems, cause brain damage and disrupt the endocrine system. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

How Big Pharma profits from war

by PAUL WOODWARD
Yes, the medicating of combat troops has been done in such a way that it constitutes a form of drug abuse. A year ago the Army Surgeon General warned that medications being widely used to treat PTSD risk making the condition worse. And the dramatic rise in suicides has been widely linked to the effects of suicide-triggering medications.

But there is a gaping whole in Friedman’s commentary: no recognition that the misprescribing of psychiatric drugs by military doctors does not so much contrast with the practice of civilian doctors — it is merely an amplification of already excessive use in the wider population. … [click on title to read the rest]

How science devalues non-scientific knowledge

by PAUL WOODWARD
“Systematic differences in EEG recordings were found between three urban areas in line with restoration theory. This has implications for promoting urban green space as a mood-enhancing environment for walking or for other forms of physical or reflective activity.”

In other words, getting away from a frenetic office and city traffic and taking a walk in a peaceful leafy park is good for you. … [click on title to read the rest]