We live in a society that has a hard time with idiosyncrasies and differences; that doesn't recognize the uniqueness of each individual predicament. This turns the experience of life as a struggle into an anomaly when in reality, I think life is a struggle for everyone. People differ in as much as they successfully or unsuccessfully construct shields that make that struggle unconscious. But no one can really embrace life without seeing how much pain it contains. So what passes for health are a variety of degrees of anesthesia. ...
WE who cannot make our peace with a social order dedicated to plunder and destruction are mentally suspect…
WE who cannot make our peace with a social order dedicated to plunder and destruction are mentally suspect, because responsible adulthood entails setting aside the childish notion that the world can be transformed into something within which a decent person would want to live, in order to concentrate on the supremely important matter of reproducing an increasingly imperiled social order dedicated to getting and spending. This is the reigning definition of sanity in our times. God help anyone who insists that social and political reality, not personal attitudes and reactions, is what needs to be adjusted. … [click on title to read and view more]
Often lack of empathy is just a lack of imagination…
There are as many paths as there are human beings. The only one who can appropriately determine that path is the individual. We need each other, no doubt, though the only way people can find themselves is to make their own choices and their own mistakes. Respecting our differences is vitally important. Sometimes that means letting people go or having to leave. So be it. Sometimes I think that lack of empathy is just a lack of imagination.… [click on title to read more]
The tide is turning…yes, psychiatry must face reality
The tide has been turning for a while. I've watched great changes in the climate surrounding psychiatric care since I first started writing and editing Beyond Meds over 6 ½ years ago now. It's easy to despair since people continue to be harmed in great numbers, so it's also important to take note how much our work has helped change a good many people and the dialogue in the country and world. We must keep it up! … [click on title to read more]
Here we see that normal isn’t something to aim for…
The struggling self is one that is aiming to be true. ... The majority of well-adapted individuals that they have lost their own self at an early age and replaced it completely by a social self offered to them by society. They have no neurotic conflicts because they themselves, and, therefore, the discrepancy between their selves and the outside world has disappeared. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Mental Illness as Rebellion Against Society
The most deadly criticism one could make of modern civilization is that apart from its man-made crises and catastrophes, is not humanly interesting. . . . In the end, such a civilization can produce only a mass man: incapable of spontaneous, self-directed activities: at best patient, docile, disciplined to monotonous work to an almost pathetic degree. . . . Ultimately such a society produces only two groups of men: the conditioners and the conditioned, the active and passive barbarians. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
People are told they are “disordered” when in fact, it is in society that true disorder lies
To tell a person they are “disordered” for life, when in fact, it is in society that our true disorder lies, is one of our gravest, most perpetrated acts of existential violence. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
What do we have to be afraid of and who is to blame?
Our capacity for whole-heartedness can never be greater than our willingness to have our heart broken. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Redefining mental illness — Robert Whitaker and Allen Frances on Al Jazeera TV (video included)
Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests: Dr Allen Frances, former chair of the psychiatry department at Duke University and author of the book Saving Normal; and Robert Whitaker, a journalist and author of the book Anatomy of an Epidemic. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
“This is not a war to control dangerous drugs. This is a war to control the poor.”
For over forty years, America's "War on Drugs" has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and damaged poor communities at home and abroad. Yet for all that, drugs in America are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. Filmed in more than twenty U.S. states, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN captures heart-wrenching stories at all levels of America's drug war - from the dealer to the grieving mother, the narcotics officer to the senator, the inmate to the federal judge. Together, these stories pose urgent questions: What caused the war? What perpetuates it? And what can be done to stop it? … [click on title for the rest of the post]
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