Going Against the Stream


Yesterday I came across the following on Twitter from Mental Health @Sectioned_.

“I just met someone who told me their remarkable story about falling down the rabbit hole into psychiatric sectioning and forced medication.  I listened with fascination to their intricate story in all its twists and turns, looping backwards and forwards with incredible details.  The longer we spoke the more was revealed, the crazier and more believable it sounded.  I was listening, probing for clarification, trying to grasp what happened and why.  First the overview, then the highlights, then more details, expanding out, backing round, drawing me in.  There were many parallels in our stories, and many contrasts.  It reminded me why I don’t really talk in detail about what happened to me: because, if you’ve not experienced it, it sounds unbelievable.  Unless you’ve experienced the scorching reality of forced drugging, seclusion, assault by nurses and patients, it sounds like a mad fantasy.  It’s too far outside most people’s realities for them to contemplate it being true, and so quietly assume you’re deluded.  So it smooths life’s path to make light, to skirt over the details, to change the topic.  And sometimes, sometimes, when I meet someone who’s been through something similar, I listen to their story and realize I’m not the only one.”

“Sectioning” is the British term for involuntary psychiatric commitment.  (Committed under various Sections of the Mental Health Act).


The story is short and simple, but has extraordinary depth and significance. There are several themes.

1.  “I just met someone who told me their remarkable story…”    Contact and sharing.
2.  “I listened…”    In mental health there needs to be more listening.
3.  “…the crazier and more believable it sounded.”    Respect – even when someone sounds “crazy.”
4.  “… trying to grasp what happened and why.”    A lesson for psychiatry.
5.  “…drawing me in.”    Empathy.
6.  “There were many parallels in our stories.”    Human identification.
7.  “…if you’ve not experienced it, it sounds unbelievable.”    Nobody will believe me.
8.  “…it sounds like a mad fantasy.”    They’ll think I’m crazy.
9.  ” So it smooths life’s path to make light, to skirt over the details, to change the topic.”   Keep your head down.
10.  “…I realize I’m not the only one.”    The power of human connection and support.


Twenty years ago, victims of psychiatric practice, for the most part, kept silent.  They stayed in the shadows, often feeling guilty about what had been done to them; feeling that somehow it was their own fault that they weren’t skipping happily through the park like the models in the pharmaceutical adverts.

And then something happened.  They began to find each other – through the Internet largely, but also in other ways.  And discovering that you’re not alone is a very empowering experience.  Today the protest against psychiatric damage has become a movement, and is continuing to gain momentum, and will ultimately prevail.


It is time for the other mental health professions to learn from the victims.  It is time for the social workers, counselors, psychologists, job coaches, case managers, family therapists, etc., to learn from the victims.  It is time to stop playing along with the bogus psychiatric theories.  It is time to challenge the claimed efficacy of the drugs.  It is time to remember the shock we felt on first encountering a victim of tardive dyskinesia.  It is time to recognize how we’ve muted that sense of shock and outrage, and how we’ve bought the lie that the benefits outweigh the risk.  It is time to realize that we are not the only ones who have concerns about psychiatric excesses.  It is time to connect with the person in the next office or the next county.  It is time to let in the light.

It is time to speak out – both individually and through professional associations.  It is time to do what’s right.  Modern American bio-psychiatry is not something good.  It is not a legitimate branch of medical practice.  Pharmaceutical psychiatry is an elaborate apparatus for selling dangerous and destructive drugs.


  • cledwyn bulbs

    Time to learn from us victims? Not gonna happen.

    For one, psychiatry has enlisted the support and sympathies of the masses, and has the requisite to ensure its continued domination. What do we have? Sod all, apart from truth and justice, which rarely prevail.

    The average victim of psychiatry has no-one. He is on his own in the world; even the survivor movement, is actually very exclusive and made up of people who aren’t representative of a large percentage of survivors, and who acquiesce to and even embrace the denigration and censorship of victims of psychiatry in a betrayal of Brutus-esque proportions.

    Let’s be blunt here, most of the victims of psychiatry give up on fighting the system because they realize that no-one wants to listen to them, including those who make up the survivor movement, which as I say, is a bit of a charmed circle, made up largely of people who seem too interested in comforting the comfortable to be trusted.

    The cards are most definitely stacked against us.

    As well as all this, Kahneman has shown in his work on the heuristics and biases that underpin what we foolishly consider to be judgements and decisions arrived at through rational and careful deliberation, that the average is person isn’t interested what you are saying, the quality of your writing and reasoning etc., but in trivialities, such as credentials (which, of course, are no more a guarantee of intelligence than they are insurance against stupidity, but this doesn’t stop people from flaunting them, perhaps because they are aware of just how easily swayed human judgment is by a degree), appearance, social status.

    His work has shown time and time again how much people rely upon stereotypes in making judgements and “understanding” reality. Indeed, to the notion that man is a rational animal, one need only oppose his work.

    Although the average psychiatrist is perhaps a dunderhead, they nevertheless conform to the cultural stereotype of the intelligent, learned individual. They dress right, they have the requisite degrees (though I would say having a degree in psychiatry is like having a degree in ghost-hunting; being an expert in bullshit does not confer intellectual distinction), the right haircuts, the right manners, the total lack of a sense of humor and imagination, and all the things that make human beings interesting, and so on and so on.

    This contents of this stereotype are, of course, in no way a true reflection of what constitutes wisdom and intelligence. The stereotypically “intelligent man” in modern society is actually an ignoramus, a mediocrity who, notwithstanding his often Promethean pretensions, is a creative non-entity, totally unoriginal, and a consummate bore whose every “principle” and idea is borrowed from the institution to which he has surrendered himself, heart, mind, and soul.

    Nevertheless, conformity to this stereotype, and to all the accoutrements that supposedly signal a superior intellect, is enough to convince people of the wisdom of the profoundest nonsense, as numerous experiments have shown.

    On the other hand, being a mental patient, pretty much predisposes people against you, because of the low social status and the pervasive stereotype which informs people’s thinking and judgments regarding our utterances and behaviour.

    For this and other reasons, people won’t listen to us regardless.

    That man thinks he is rational is merely a part of his irrationality.

  • cledwyn bulbs

    That should be “requisite institutional and cultural support…”