Sunday, 15 November 2015

Critical Psychiatry: Are early intervention services beneficial?; and my comment

from Dr Double's blog
Critical Psychiatry: Are early intervention services beneficial?

My comment:

"Speaking as a person who has experienced "psychoses" on 3 occasions that resulted in psychiatric intervention or forced drugging, and also as a "carer" of many family members who have experienced altered mind states or "psychoses", I still believe that early SUPPORT is the way to go. But I don't like the word or action of "intervention" and didn't like being invaded by psychiatric drugs that took away my agency, made me vulnerable to takeovers and exploitation.

In 1967 my mother experienced another altered mind state or nervous breakdown as they called it back then. We lived in Perth, Scotland. She had given birth about 6 months before, to my youngest sister, I was 14 and a half. My father was distressed and asked me what we should do. We lived on the 4th floor of a 10 story block of flats. My mother's perceptions were altered. Eg she let the budgie out of the cage and out of the verandah window, thinking it would fly back. It didn't. We never saw the budgie again.

My father, a science fiction writer with the Daily Express in Fleet St, London, was distressed because he had been a psychiatric inpatient himself, about 3 years previously and knew the score. Forced ECT over many sessions. Forced drugs. Locked in. At the mercy of psychiatry, regarding freedom to leave, to get back on with your life. He didn't want to make the decision regarding my mother getting taken away in an ambulance to the local mental hospital in Perth.

So I made the decision. Someone had to. It wasn't safe for her to be in an altered mind state, 4 floors up, not sleeping, writing poetry, feeling the pain of the world, going outside into the darkness and wandering about the town. She resisted going into the psychiatric hospital because she'd been there before, knew the score. And berated us for sending her away to be forcibly shocked and drugged. We felt her pain.

But what else could we do? There were no alternatives available. Nearly 50 years later and there are still NO alternatives available for people in altered mind states, not caused by recreational drugs. Eight of us in my family have been subject to the forced drug treatment, stigma and ritual humiliation because we experience altered mind states naturally, whether due to the pain of living or extreme exhaustion. I have always resisted the regime when I could. It is a matter of principle. And because I don't like psychiatric drugs or being forced.

It is way beyond time that we stopped forcing drugs on people who experience altered mind states because they are sensitive and imaginative, experiencing the pain of living. Giving us labels because the treatment doesn't work. A failed paradigm is not the fault of the person. The system is to blame. Let's devise alternative ways of working with people in psychoses and stop making them/us the scapegoats for an unjust and unfair world. We deserve respect for being human."

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