Get Politicized Linkage

The uncle on whose land I am doing the box burning – fireworks ceremony/celebration called my mom to ask about me, wondering if I went off of my medication because people make plans when they go off their medication. Mom got mad at him, good for her. She told him I’ve been planning this for years, which is true. I just got the whole box together incidentally, and it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. It did make me get a bit creeped out though, all of the other bipolar people in my family are very much into psychiatry in that they faithfully take their medication and don’t rock the boat too much. And I am not sure that they will respect the fact that I’m opting for alternatives and that I’m becoming politically active. I think there are some differences in our lives though, in some ways being a minority in so many ways made me learn a lot about civil rights from different groups besides native people, and different strategies, and interrogating assumptions within myself. I lived in extreme poverty in some extreme situations. I don’t know, I’ve gone in a very divergent path from them. So I don’t want to be “helped” by them, I don’t want them to think they have to intervene on me, I’m pretty aware of myself and my own condition. And sometimes I look and do bizarre things while being completely sane, just because I’m not a regular person.

Anyway, I’ve been reading more and more psych survivors blogs and sites, here are a few of my favorite posts.

Stir Crazy posted a Critique of the Icarus Project, which goes into some incredible detail on the issues psych survivors are facing, even from supposedly alternative/enlightened/anarchist/counterculture communities. This is one of my most favorite posts recently, especially since I also come out of a queer punk millieu, and not everyone is aware of their own use of oppression against other people even though they run around being proud of their being so non-oppressive.

This is a great article called Confessions of a Non-Compliant Patient, which is about this idea of compliance and being a good mental patient, when we know that good mental patients often do not get better, while a non-compliant patient has a better chance of not only surviving but thriving. This is her story of her journey towards non-compliance and eventual freedom through joyously “falling through the cracks.”

Amanda at Ballastexistenz wrote this great post about What Happens When You Ignore Power Relationships, referring to a review by someone working in the psych industry to Call Me Crazy, a book written by survivors, only the psych industry worker puts survivor in quotation marks. Anyway, yeah, worker gets professionally insulted by survivors talking about their lives and Amanda looks at what the real power relationship is going on here.

This is a whole site run by Safe Harbor and connected with Margot Kidder, a proponent of Alternative Mental Health. If you want to get off your drugs and find a new way of taking care of yourself, this is an excellent place to start. It includes a doctor database of openminded friendly folk who will support patients through med withdrawals and assist in developing different treatment strategies.

This article is a summary of the development of the chemical imbalance theory, which yes, is still a theory. No one has ever been able to prove it.

This article talks about the ideas which arose from the Soteria project, an experimental home for people in psychosis which had excellent recovery rates and used medication only if patients requested it.

You’re a nut! You’re crazy in the coconut! This is a video mash up of Gnarls Barkley and the Avalanches.

This is a preview from PharmedOut, an interview with an ex Zyprexa drug rep for Eli Lilly.

An ironic fact about me: when I was hospitalized, I had been working in pharmaceutical market research for many of the big companies, Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbott, etc etc. We would ask physicians questions about if they knew how the drug worked, how it worked in their patients, and generally figure out how to sell the drug in better ways. For instance, we would ask if Geodon would be prescribed more often if it was called some different spectacular name, we would ask what images came to mind when they heard certain drug names, we would ask if the drug rep visited them and how many samples they got. Yes, life is full of peculiar ironies.

2 thoughts on “

  1. I’m part of the Icarus Project Network in Minneapolis, so it’s always interesting to see one’s sacred cow vivisected, but it gave me a lot to think about and post about eventually. The reason it was started in the first place was to create a space to talk about mental health in radical communities, but it has definitel evolved even since the first book was publish.

  2. I was interested to read about the Icarus Project, because it was introduced to me in a context that led me to believe it had more of the trappings of “trendy radical” than anything else. But I’d never actually experienced it.

    And at this point am glad I haven’t, because I’ve had enough of dealing with “consumer” groups that are likely to espouse the very things that caused the primary experiences that would currently get me regarded as mentally ill. The last time I dealt with a group like that, I ended up listening to an entire room discuss how “unsafe” my behavior made them feel (I had actual emotional reactions to their gung-ho attitude towards involuntary commitment) and how I couldn’t actually be held responsible for my behavior in any case because it was clearly just the manifestation of “my illness”.

    They didn’t even know what “my illness” was, but extreme emotional displays were clearly a “symptom” of something to them. And while they were espousing ideas that actually compromised people’s safety, here I was making them “feel unsafe” by having emotions not mediated by calm detached I-statements.

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