Growing Up Mad in the South: Stories, Poems, and Other Aberrations

In southern California I ran a yarn shop, Happy Hookers, and later, in northern California, a drop in center, The Mental Health Client Action Network for the neurologically diverse and frequently homeless. People came to the needlework shop to knit for the pending birth of babies, for crocheted bikinis and for something to do while they sat with the dying. While the south still called a psychotic break with reality a “nervous breakdown,” best kept in the backroom, Californians proudly wore sweat shirts that said “I graduated with a brain chip from UCLA Hospital.” I joined Psychiatric Inmates Rights Collective carrying signs that read “Housing, not Haldol” and became fascinated by the rhyming “word salad” of the so-called “seriously and persistently mentally ill (SPMI)” who were “likely to deteriorate.” While working full time, I have published prose and poetry in 43 mostly small, low circulation journals, magazines, and anthologies, one mimeographed. ...

Mad Camp 2023 Scholarship Fund!

Go here to help -- gofundmeHello lovely mad people! Hello everyone who has escaped from, is on the run from, is trying to flee, or is in hiding from psychiatry! And hello to all our wonderful allies and supporters! We are Will Hall, Dina Tyler and the Mad Camp crew, (including Monica Cassani) survivors of psych... Continue Reading →

Speaking Out About Research Misconduct: Live and Learn Inc. and Open Excellence/Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care

by Will Hall, Monica Cassani, and Dina Tyler In the world of innovations in how we treat survivors of psychiatric crisis, Live and Learn Inc and Open Excellence/Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care do valuable work. Live And Learn is a research company owned by Laysha Ostrow that collects and analyzes data on the viability of alternative mental health treatments, and Open Excellence/FEMHC is a philanthropy started by patients' family members that channels funding into promising projects. They're colleagues with us in the broader "critical psychiatry" movement ((Will was one of the original founding board members of Open Excellence/FEMHC) and we've all known each other for many years. At the same time, after collaborating with Live and Learn and Open Excellence/FEMHC on a past project, we are left very concerned by apparent ethical irregularities, including possibly crossing the line into research misconduct and plagiarism.

darkness, light, marriage of opposites

Let your body guide you out of the darkness. The body is our only way into the light which holds the darkness so that we can be part of healing the whole world...trust the light so that we can trust the darkness...the willingness to embrace the whole shebang is the domain of the animal... In... Continue Reading →

We are a sensitive species who have forgotten who we are

We are by nature a sensitive species. Every last one of us. We learn through cultural conditioning to ignore and shut down what would be our highly sensitive natures -- our birthright. The conditioning we learn from our parents and our community (and the TV and internet and mass media) further encourages additional habits that appeal to us in particular. School furthers the conditioning. Later we develop more habits to reinforce the conditioning and keep ourselves numb. We use food (highly processed and toxic and developed to encourage craving), drugs (both legal and illegal), alcohol, video games, porn, TV, internet, shopping and the pursuit of more, more, more stuff to keep ourselves numb to the lies we've been told since the day we popped out of the womb. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

The awakened heart is a broken heart

There's grief in awakening. Grief at the loss of autonomy, grief at the loss of purpose and meaning. Grief at the loss of knowing and certainty, however deluded they were. There's grief over losing one's power, and one's familiar identity. There's so much loss in awakening. When it dawns that there's nothing we can keep, nothing can be retained beyond its prescribed time, and all that we know and love must pass, then a natural grief for all of it can come. And since this knowledge of loss is for all of it, for all time, then that ache of grief is an ever-present refrain, a broken heart, amidst the delight at the miracle and mystery of life. ...

A story about the body and coming to know the inner asshole too…

This isn't a story in the usual sense. this is about what is happening in my body and how it affects everything else.  It is what is happening. ...

Love without agenda

I'm an evolutionary freak (medicine/witchy woman) and I intersected with psychiatry. Nothing can stop me now. Psychiatry made me into their own personal Frankenstein. I am now the industry's worst nightmare. I am rising that no one need ever go through that nightmare again. And we are legion...the younger generations are emerging fulling conscious of this nightmare.  We are healing one another by speaking aloud what we KNOW. Thank you to my younger brothers and sisters who are bringing in pieces that I also need. I am grateful to you for your love and service.  ...

How in-charge are we really?

Ready?

Fall in love. Right now.

Make yourself like a food you hate.

Intentionally send those panic attacks and depressions packing. Yes, you’ve probably tried to control feelings a few zillion times before, but surely this time will be the charm. ...

Our bodies are mirrors of our minds and psyches, our culture and our communities

~~We all have genius within us. Many never access it. Genius, because of our social conditioning, is almost always frustrated and ahead of its time.~~

Western medicine with it’s penchant for suppression is a real political force. In suppressing the body’s cries we are also denying the psyche. ...

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