Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Introduction: Here's to the Crazy Ones...

All of the individuals whose stories are shared on this blog are people who have undergone the experience known as psychosis, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder in this culture. All of them have recovered completely or to a large degree. I share their stories because, for the individual who is facing such an experience for the first time, nothing is so encouraging as the voices of those who have successfully passed through this transition and moved on in their lives.

I expect to be adding to this blog as time permits and sincerely hope that you, the reader, enjoy hanging out in this space as your time permits.


spiritual emergency

Music of the Hour: Here's to the Crazy Ones

A very special thank you is owed to Dr. Paul Minot, a candid psychiatrist who considers himself to be part of the critical psychiatry movement: "I see myself on the mainstream edge of the movement, not so much aghast at the type of treatment that we psychiatrists provide as I am at the kind of bullshit we spout to justify it. Contemporary treatment is propped up by a wealth of sham science, systematically generated by academic institutions that are in thrall to their corporate benefactors, most notably Big Pharma."

Under a different set of circumstances Dr. Minot might have found himself featured on one of my other blogs. Instead, I have to give him credit for helping me realize why it's essential that this kind of information is shared in an independant space.

One would hope that a psychiatrist who works with individuals deemed to be "schizophrenic" would be encouraged by these testaments to recovery and would want others to have the opportunity to hear them. That was not the case. After deleting his forum where I had initially shared these voices -- "In case you haven't guessed it already, you're the one of the major reasons I decided to ditch the forum in the first place. Consider yourself lucky that I sent you any notice of my site revision at all, because I fully considered NOT doing so." -- Dr. Minot has since threatened to ban me from commenting at his blog, along with a host of other insinuations that are not the least becoming to his profession...

"You also might want to know that SR insists that he has schizophrenia and has been cured of it, even though his psychotic symptoms were brief and thus did not satisfy the DSM-IV criterion of a minimum six-month duration. It is my opinion that SR was clearly misdiagnosed (as often occurs, unfortunately), but he's taken the misdiagnosis and is running with it, drawing upon his dubious personal experience and miraculous (not) recovery to enlighten stupid schlubs like me. Otherwise the stuff on his site is interesting and enlightening--it just has nothing to do with the DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia."

I can only assume that Dr. Minot's assessment is based on having read my summary of that experience and that he came to the conclusions he did as a result of his careful and reasoned professional analysis. I can further assume that if he had actually read that summary, the good doctor would at least have the wherewithal to realize that I am not a "he".

One has to wonder, what motive is involved in assessing a personal experience as "dubious" when, clearly, one has not read it? I think it would be reasonable to assume that Dr. Minot's assessment of my blogs is rooted in a similar process.

"... your idea of "regularly participating" was to cut and paste huge swaths of content from your own site onto numerous threads--i.e. hijacking the forum for your own purposes--rather than writing original comments and posting links to your site like any courteous person would have done. The reason you're pissed off is because you lost a huge amount of free webspace.

SR, I'm leaving your post here, along with this comment, so that anybody visiting my site still is aware of your site and can visit it if they want. Which is a hell of a lot more courtesy than I will ever see from you. Otherwise watch what you post here, because if you start abusing my good will again I'll just ban you altogether.

Apparently, Dr. Minot considers it to be abuse of his good will to share information related to schizophrenia and recovery at his forum. And yet, at no point in time had he ever let me know that he was opposed to me doing so.

In spite of his now-apparent offense, those articles and posts were being widely read. The schizophrenia and psychosis forum was, in fact, the most active one at his discussion board -- it had the most posts and the most readers. One day however, the entire forum was gone without any warning whatsoever nor the recognition that others had invested a considerable effort in contributing to it and might, at minimum, have appreciated the opportunity to save or recover some of their input.

Sometimes a site host will remove a site from the public eye in order to tweak something here or there. When no information is forthcoming the best a body can do is to wait and see what the tweak is. In Dr. Minot's case, it meant complete erasure. One is left with the conclusion that schizophrenia and recovery is not a topic near and dear to Dr. Minot's own heart -- how could it be when he believes that schizophrenia is a lifelong, disabling condition?

Let me say right up front that after 25 years in psychiatry, and extensive experience with this patient population, I am utterly convinced that schizophrenia is a neurochemical disorder. ... It is usually a lifelong condition, often disabling, with a huge social cost.

According to Dr. Minot, everyone else has reason for hope and optimism, but not the schizophrenic. For them, there is no hope; there is only his prediction of chronic disability and hopelessness.

I have since used this space to recreate one of the most popular threads that had formerly been posted at Dr. Minot's forum. Meanwhile, I don't expect I'll be hanging at his blog any further. I do have three (free) blogs of my own and plenty of other places I can go where I needn't be concerned I'll be threatened, misrepresented or silenced.

Music of the Hour: Antony & The Johnsons ~ Hope There's Someone

See also:

  • Schizophrenia & Hope

  • Bias & Stigma Within the Mental Health Community?

  • Critical Psychiatry [PDF File]