The links to Huffington blogger post on November 2
Link to editorial by Torrey, run by blogger
I am offended by self-proclaimed, 'advocates' for 'the seriously mentally ill' who do not seem to have any interest in what some of usthe people who have been labeled with a psychiatric diagnoses that are considered, 'serious mental illnesses' have to say about ourselves; how we define our experiences and how we have recovered... What we say has the potential to help others; however it is dismissed and ignored altogether by well-funded advocates. I am not offended simply because I disagree about some very fundamental assumptions about how to advocate for a group of people both my son and I belong to. I am offended because these so-called advocates appear to believe that the medical model is the only option available, and have determined that the bio-medical model of psychiatry should be the foundation of the public mental health system and also public policy. One advocate, DJ Jaffe, is given a voice in what is otherwise a respectable forum, he seems to have a mistaken belief that having a platform in this forum grants him authority. This fallacy is not unusual. There have been individuals throughout human history that have mistaken a soapbox with presumed authority. There have also been many to mistake sharing biases, bigotry and ignorant opinions justifies having prejudices; acting on them to harm others is also justified...
I read a November second post a few days after it was posted and responded twice out of outrage. I had never heard of the advocate blogger before several weeks ago. I posted a couple comments to his blog in October, this was the first I had ever heard of him. In October, he denigrated the Alternatives Conference held in Anaheim, CA by attempting to assassinate the character of numerous people who, by virtue of their experience, have valuable insight to offer on the what can and should be done for, and more importantly, with the people the advocate blogger and his comrades claim to advocate for. I was mortified to find that someone can claim to be an advocate for a group of people that both I, and my sons belong; who in my perception, has no real understanding, of us or our needs.
I am a person who has been a labeled with one of the targeted diagnoses that supposedly require life long medication to "treat." Thankfully, I was fortunate to have a therapist who supported me and helped me to learn some coping strategies and life skills which enabled me to stop taking the drug that had by then, already caused heart damage, a known side effect, of which I was not aware. An advocate and fellow blogger who proclaims his vocation to be to advocate for "the seriously mentally ill" is supporting the passage of and strengthening of laws which are in my experience harmful not helpful. I am not fooled, by the misinformation, the rhetoric and the fear based coercion that are the tools used by him and his comrades. I have had other people try to convince me that I need to believe the same sort of misinformation, and I was not fooled then either. What he supports is now, and has been harmful to my family, and this blogger and his comrades are not speaking for mine or my son's interest, but his own fearful misguided interest. This fear driven advocacy lacks understanding, empathy and compassion for those advocated for.
I have the ability to argue about the facts, the data from which the conclusions this blogger states as facts are derived from. It is not simply the data, but interpretation of the data where the differences exist between my conclusions and the ones held by the advocate blogger. It is the data and it's interpretation on the face of it, would appear to be the most important. Valid information is indeed important. The truth is, I could take this course and indeed show the fallacy of his logic and his rhetoric. But is is not his rhetoric or his justification for his position that bothers me most.
What bothers me is his seeming lack of insight into what advocacy is, and what appears to be ill will towards individuals who have been diagnosed with "serious mental disorders" but have the capacity to effectively challenge his advocacy agenda and the rhetoric behind it. This negative intent is validated by his disseminating of Treatment Advocacy Center, "TAC" propaganda which attacks the characters of two people, who are advocates themselves, in his response to a reader's comment. While this is only my opinion, it is one that is based on my experience, and I can not help but give more credence to my own experience, than I would to either DJ Jaffe or E. Fuller Torrey.
That I am emotionally sensitive in the extreme is part of how I am affected, by my experiences; both as a survivor myself and as the parent of a survivor. There is an aspect to harmonious human interaction, and true advocacy that is lacking utterly and completely in his writing and in the position that the TAC insists is "The Only Way" to effectively "deal with" what is in reality a minority of us who experience trauma. That many struggle to cope and effectively recover is partially due to the misguided efforts of those who wish to help; but do not know how. I can only assume empathy and compassion for those whom this advocacy "benefits" is absent because the policy makers and social marketers which made the decisions, determined that it is not a necessity in developing the jargon, rhetoric, and goals.
This advocacy appears to be grounded. more in fear and certainly relies heavily on sensational statements to tell us that we must protect ourselves from the "dangerous seriously mentally ill." It is my opinion that the group of people, who are to "benefit" directly from this advocacy, have much more to fear (justifiably) from these advocates, than the other way around. This advocacy effort claims a desire to assist a group of people whose best interests be served, (by force if necessary?!) more effectively, by court ordered medication compliance. I, for one, question if this is the real motivation behind the effort in which they are engaged, and if so, why I can not see that this effort has the potential to benefit me or my children?
It is the "us" and "them" attitude that is at the core of this type of advocacy that disturbs me; coupled with the potential and actual impact that fear driven advocacy has on the people who are my family, my friends, my neighbors and my fellow man; and indeed on me myself. The results are morally devastating. Society as a whole, is in fact weakened when one group can so effectively deny another group's reality and justify such actions as the denial of human and Constitutional Rights.
These self-proclaimed advocates and their effort appear to be something other than what the stated intent of the advocates proclaim it to be. It is in reality, the classification of and separation from the mainstream of our society, a group of people who are then judged without a trial, and sentenced to special treatment. Being perceived as a threat, is enough to in fact have one's liberty taken. That this can occur without the individual being given proper notice, or being given an opportunity to challenge the reason or the evidence. This means a ruling can be based an gossip and innuendo, that unchallenged, becomes "evidence." People are in fact denied the protections granted by the laws of God and man. Basic human dignity once lost, is extremely difficult to regain. Lawfully compelling those who "benefit" to take medications that alter many biological processes, and have deleterious effects. In my son's case, he is not capable of effectively defending himself against efforts to use the force of law to "treat" his distress and the PTSD that he has. This inability is largely due to the iatrogenic harm this type of "treatment" has already caused.
These types of injustices are not new to humanity. Compliant cooperation and cheerful assistance that is sought and obtained by those who desperately want to do whatever is possible to help and care for their family members, is a very disturbing aspect of this effort on my behalf. I assure you, I am not mistaken, to take this very personally. This column where the advocate blogger is defending his moral superiority and ability to discern what is in the best interest of whom he calls, "the seriously mentally ill" does not fool me. It would not fool anyone who understands it is impossible to truly act in another individual's interest without finding out what the person or people one wishes to advocate for perceives those interests to be for themselves. Even those labeled with the stigma the advocate blogger insists is not the mark it is, are not allowed to define ourselves, being disrespected and ridiculed . Why is even the right to define our experience to be denied?
I am acutely aware of this lack of emotional and empathetic support that is affected by those who are "only trying to help" and believe their own knowledge, desire and belief is all that is required; if I really want to be helped I need only to, "go along." If I disagree, it is a symptom?! What I, or any other person who does not need or want this type of assistance thinks or feels is not important. The advocate blogger and his comrade, Torrey are participating in an ongoing effort to define and constrict the freedom of an entire group of people and call it "treatment." Calling it "treatment," instead of what it is: a human rights violations of the same type practiced in Communist Russia, and used by the Third Reich; borrowed from psychiatry. The Nazi's killed millions and got the help of the general public to do it. A violation of the individual at a point when they are in fact in dire need of compassionate understanding and companionship and the the means are justified because it is for their "own good?" Sounds like an impossibility and appears reminiscent of eugenics.
It is insulting that to me that two individuals who have devoted their careers to helping those who are laid low by the life events that lead to distress and resultant trauma manifested in a variety of extreme states.
This advocacy which is the antithesis of what is truly needed by those who are experiencing extreme states and in crisis, the blogger refers his readers to the TAC website where two friends of the distressed, Dr. Peter Breggin and Dr. Daniel Fisher, are maligned and their efforts minimized and ridiculed. It is very telling to me that the blogger chooses react not respond to criticism of his indefensible and illogical position; by providing a link to a non-profit he co-founded with E. Fuller Torrey. TAC and it's founders appear to be advocating for an ethically corrupt and morally bankrupt pharmaceutical industry. The disrespectful put-downs are buried; which to me is indicative that they are views that are held without any pride, but are held nonetheless. Aspects about one's character, and beliefs or opinions held that are not shared openly, are hidden out of a sense of shame and guilt, in my experience.
It is a morally indefensible position from which these advocates have argued. What is more than frightening, is that their efforts in fact, have been somewhat successful. Laws that are driven by the fear of a small number, not out of the compassionate motivation that inspires true advocacy, have successfully been supported by the masses. These laws are curtailing the liberty and denying the Constitutional Rights to be free from restraint, even chemical ones, without Procedural Due Process of Law that each human on the planet should have; regardless of how their present condition is defined, by themselves or anyone else.
These are the same tactics used by Communist Russia and the Third Reich. When carrying out the rounding up of the Jews and others that were considered to be "undesirable," laws were passed, police were utilized to enforce them and the general public were unwitting accomplices lulled by a false sense of security that what was happening to others could not happen to them.
In answer to the question I pose in my title, we should call it criminal.
"To err is human, to forgive divine." Alexander Pope
"Forgive your enemies, but remember their names." John F. Kennedy
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana