Sunday, May 13, 2012

Philadelphia riff

"I've got a bus load of schizophrenics that I've driven down from New York to demonstrate against the psychiatrists," the middle aged lady hollered across the room to the owner of the diner. No doubt she was relishing the thought that she lived to tale the tale. Ian and I ignored her while we continued to eat our breakfast of fried eggs and coffee. 

The diner owner chimed in from behind the cash register. "Yeah, do me a favor and get those occupiers outta here. I've had enough of those people, coming down last week ago and disrupting everything. You can take all of those mentally ill people back home with you, the sooner the better!"

"But I was surprised," mused the driver, "how well behaved that bunch were."

Ian and I paid our bill then went next door to the Quaker Meeting House in Philadelphia to wait for the presentations to begin. If I ever had any illusions that Occupying the APA in Philadelphia was going to resonate with the common man, woman, well, obviously there's still lots of work to be done. One of the themes of the MindFreedom campaign in Philadelphia was to point out how destructive labels are to people. We need look no further than the bus driver and the diner guy as ample proof that labeling is alive and well, particularly when it comes to schizophrenia and schizophrenics. The common man thinks Psycho and Norman Bates and wouldn't have it any other way. We all like a good scare. Hollywood needs the occasional schizophrenic to fatten its bottom line,  just like the American Psychiatric Association needs the myth of uncurable schizophrenia to do the same to its.

The only encouraging part of the APA approving the DSM-5 this week was Dr. Allen Frances' call for the fox to stop running the chicken coop - meaning there should be fewer psychiatrists on the DSM revision panel and more "supposedly" (my word, not his) neutral parties like the NIMH and the World Health Organization with a greater say in its revision. Don't expect any changes for now for the schizophrenia label - it's too big a revenue source and a great way to scare patients and relatives into submission to psychiatry. Psychiatry doesn't want to cure schizophrenia, it merely wants an orderly bus.


  1. Rossa,

    I was feeling a lot of frustration and hurt when I left my last comment about bowing-out of this (what seems like) a never-ending fight...

    Re: "an orderly bus"... The last I checked, this is how blacks were treated prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 here in the U.S... "back of the bus, and orderly" as I recall.

    I need a break.
    And I'm going to take one.
    But I'll be back.

    In the meantime, Robert Whitaker was kind enough to publish an Op-Ed on my 'vision' -

    "You can check out any time you like.
    But you can never leave."

    The Eagles, Hotel California


  2. Hi, Duane,
    I hadn't realized from the comment you left that you are bowing out (I'll bet it's temporary), but I can fully appreciate the reasons why. I'll go back over your e-mail and the links you sent, which I wasn't able to access while I was on the road.) And, congratulations on the Op Ed. Haven't had a chance to read it yet.
    Take care, and be well,

  3. I enjoyed this post. I get lost in the comments, and so often, I wish my son was here reading with me. I also get lost in Blogger from Wordpress! No sense of direction, seriously.

    I wrote you a comment, but for some reason, I decided to delete it. I may email you if I can find my way to do that. I guess I'm not sure where to draw the line sometimes when I want to share about my story. I don't want to betray my son's privacy, although he knows about my blog.

    I wish I had a very simple outline to refer to sometimes Rossa. "What is schizophrenia?" people ask. I once thought I knew how to answer this question. I don't anymore.

    Well, I'm struggling to comment, so I'll stop and just say thanks for writing and keeping on. I'm going to read the above link from Duane.

    Warm Regards and Healing Wishes,


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.