Vol.1 No.3 1973
R.D. LAING —SUPER-STAR
by Wade Hudson
(Note: on December 5, 1972, R.D. Laing came to Berkeley and thousands turned out to see and hear him. Since his talk will be broadcast on KPFA-FM January 25, the following article will deal more with my personal reactions to the event than with a descriptive summary of the rap itself.)
“14 people trampled to death at R.D. Laing concert” — so went the fantasy of one enthusiast in the exuberant crowd of hundreds jammed next to the doors of Zellerbach Auditorium an hour early eager to get good seats. “R.D. Laing concert” no less. The Super-star of Anti-psychiatry, billed as “The Philosopher of Madness (and)…… one of the most famous and controversial psychiatrists since Freud.” The poster for the event also quoted his closing sentence to The Politics of Experience: if I could turn you on , if I could drive you out of your wretched minds, ah if I could tell you, I would let you know. So, a straight, old style lecture, complete with monotone, is not quite what this audience expected
And there were no apparent efforts to drive anyone out of their wretched minds. It was more like a brotherly chat around the fireplace, with Lang skipping quickly over the rudiments of his worldview.
Following his remarks, a discussion period ensued comma and the highlight was the final question and answer period a very gentle, self-confident young man stepped up to the microphone and expressed his desire to know Laing more fully as a person through hearing Laing share his hopes and visions for the future. I focused on being attentive to this, his final statement to this audience a statement that surely would touch upon the depths of his spirit. First, he shared his fantasy of eating the growth of communal asylums, called archway, based on the principles of his own Kingsley Hall period then, going beyond that, he talked about how the system has not driven me mad and how he hopes to do whatever he can to strengthen the creation of pockets of space that will help others likewise grow creatively and avoid the agonies of going mad.
His statement was most eloquent and passionate, and the audience burst into immediate applause and he left the stage. But I still, puzzled and disturbed. Is that all? What about that system you so Fortunately learn to deal with what about those who haven’t? Should that system continue to stand as is? What about the havoc and death it continues to wreck, are there no connections between the pain of one American family in psychic distress and the devastation of the entire planet by the American empire? Can we truly care about the mental health of any one person, without also caring about economic and political justice for all people? All these questions ran through my head As Laing walked off the stage and I sat quietly amid all the applause. Laing does help us see how a family can drive a person mad. But what drives the family so mad as to drive the person so mad? And how can we hope to correct the situation? Myself, I very much suspect that the craziness of the rich is very much connected to the starving of the poor, and anyone concerned about the one, should be concerned about the other, and should talk about it.
Afterwards, 50 people are so gathered in a small room close by for further discussion with Laing after a short while, I finally shared some of my experience with my own madness and hospitalization comma and my own consequence uncertainties about the growing attack upon involuntary hospitalization. In my own case, the threat of being hospitalized involuntarily shocked me into a more realistic self-awareness. So, I questioned the possible utility of retaining the social power of involuntary confinements. Laing responded with a lengthy description of how he would have responded if I had approached him for help. My reaction was that his understanding of madnesses very deep and very thorough, and that he would be remarkably able to respond to someone hurting to the point of self-destructive irrationalities, who came to him or his asylum, seeking help. But his response avoided dealing with my question about legal policies towards those who are experiencing their madness and who refused to seek any help at all.
On the question of involuntary confinement, laying later said he would rather that the mad wandered the streets. He said we would be better off in society that can tolerate that sort of thing then a society that can tolerate the current injustices. Some years ago, however, he did support the confinement of those prone to suicide. Now, he says, if you’re going to kill yourself, don’t do it on my doorstep though in instances where he wants to comma and can, he will try to help the person see his situation differently.
During this discussion, another person from madness network news shared some of her experiences, and we focused upon how, for each of us, a critical turning points was a confrontation with a trusted friend who broke through our mindsets and helped us see the seriousness of our condition, leading us to a decision to work on new growth period I then offered, most people are afraid to do the confrontation, to which laying responded , exactly, that’s why we have mental hospitals.
I found Laing’s comments very lucid, invigorating and radical. In the defense of individual freedom. But, on reflection, I also found them too limited and too abstract. Once again, Laing failed to confront broad social realities and propose concrete programs of action. Specifically, in a society that’s becoming so congested and driving so many people crazy, “Let the mad wander the streets” is no sufficient program. What about the doorsteps? And your living room when someone refuses to leave? Merely saying, “Call the police when a law is broken” is not sufficient either. Our current criminal justice system is no solution. People do “go crazy” and do break laws and our jails are no proper place for them.
Dig it. No one should be incarcerated on the basis of his/her state of mind, nor on the basis of what his/her state of mind, but rather only on the basis of his/her behavior becoming intolerably injurious to the rights of others , as determined by one’s peers, on the basis of common sense. Thus, a decent system of criminal justice is the necessary prerequisite. No “psychiatric” or “religious” evaluation of a person’s mind would be necessary. No esoteric jargon or obscure criteria would be needed. Common sense, a jury of one’s peers, a body of humane laws (e.g., no “vice” laws), genuinely rehabilitative environments for confinement, mechanisms for neighborhood control of the entire system, are what we really need. Court-appointed shrinks, elitist judges, racist juries, and ex-guards on the parole board, must go.
Needless to say, special areas of confinement would be needed for those whose irrationality was to the point of madness. The framework of therapy should be ultimate respect for, and trust in, natural human impulses. Thus, madness should be affirmed and allowed to run its course, (rather than degraded and suppressed), trusting that, in a truly loving environment, the mad will discover what they need to discover and will decide to make the return journey to a new and better world. Here to, Common sense and a non-professional body of one’s peers, independent of the institution of confinements and subject to citizens’ review and control, also seem appropriate for the determination of the duration of confinement.
So, if what Laing says is not sufficient, it certainly is necessary. For his radical support as individual freedom and dignity, especially as over against an increasingly pernicious Psychiatric Establishment, is absolutely essential. At one point, Laing said, “… paranoia is a word we have for the condition in which we think we’re persecuted and other people decide that we’re not. We actually have no word for the condition in which we don’t think we’re persecuted when in fact we are.” Here’s hoping that even if we don’t come up with the word, enough people will become aware of the condition.
After the formal discussion broke up, several people gathered around and he spoke with them one at a time. Warm, gentle, smiling, he seemed, understandably, a bit spaced by the bombardment of energy while traveling and speaking. We laughed when one person asked for an autograph and the book turned out to be a public library copy. And he actually seemed a bit stunned when one woman told him, with a comfortable smile, that her husband tripped out on a psychotic episode immediately upon finishing Politics of Experience.
As he finally split to enter a car at Telegraph & Bancroft, two people walking the other way stopped, looked around, and one said to the other, “Hey, there goes R.D.” Yes, there went R.D., known to some is Ronnie, another Superstar brought down-home, another Hero mad human, another illusion made real, another famous author caught up in his own world, too isolated in his experience and too limited in what he has to say. As he himself said a 13-year old mental hospital patient, “There but for and/or with the grace of God go you or I.”
This is the third MADNESS NETWORK NEWS. The newsletter has grown and changed as we have learned new ways of communicating our information, art, energy, love and anger. The newsletter comes out of a network of friends and is intended to be personal and informal.
Please let us know how you feel about what we say and how we say it. Your response will help make the network larger.
If you wish to contribute anything to the newsletter for publication, please make it legible. (typing not necessary but if you type, please double or triple space) and let us know if you want it returned. If you do, please send us a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
What We Need
In order to pay for printing and mailing we need donations from people who want to be on the mailing list. In order to keep the newsletter going on a long-term basis we will need the financial support of our readers and some foundation or group willing to help support us. So, if you’re a reader and can afford to support us, do, or if you know of a possible avenue of support, let us know.
We need people to help with all aspects of the newsletter, typing, writing, editing, mailing, answering letters, research, etc •••
we need people who work or are living in or connected with psychiatric treatment centers to report on what’s happening in their place, particularly on changes that are going on and also about things that people don’t know about but should. We would also like you as a contact for anyone who may be considering asking for help
from your place or sending someone there or what-ever. WE NEED YOU IN THE NETWORK.
In order to get newsletters into hospitals with a minimum of hassle (sometimes to get them in at all) we usually need someone who works there to do it for us. Let us know if you want to be our connection,
One concept that R.D. Laing has talked about that does give you a handle on what “to do” is the concept of building a network of those who share a similar dissatisfaction with the current psychiatric system and a desire to change it, plus those who want to provide an alternative way for people to deal with their problems.
In London Laing is involved with a network of “communal asylums” called Archway which came out of the Kingsley Hall experience which came out of the Philadelphia Association which came out…. Here (S.F. Bay Area) –how about building a network not only of communal asylum, but of people organizing to bring about change, rebirth of existing structures that are supported by tax money (mine-yours?), and the end of medical mystification, fear and apathy. Also a network of friends who are willing to spend the time and energy to support and confront someone who feels, acts out and wants to change the oppressiveness of their “not me-neaa.”
What to change, how to do it and what shall we do instead??? By coming together perhaps we can figure out some answers to those questions.
SILENT NO LONGER
Leonard Roy Frank
Last July the “San Francisco Progress” carried an article, “Three Long Days in a Snake Pit,” by Pat Michaels of Capitol News Service, which described some of the abuses of the so-called “72-hour detention” provision in California’s Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (1967). It was one of the few criticisms of this act to have appeared in any public media. While hailed by its sponsors as a “Bill of Rights” for involuntarily hospitalized “mental patients,” it was not then nor is now anything of the kind. Rather than establishing their right, it merely fosters the illusion that they have been established.
Under Section 5150 of this law, without a court order or court hearing, a mental health professional or police officer “upon reasonable cause” may take into custody and detain in a state-approved psychiatric facility for three days of evaluation and treatment any person, who, “as a result of mental disorder, is a danger to others, or to himself, or gravely disabled.” There-after, if, in the judgment of the professional person in charge of the facility and one other physician, the detained person is not sufficiently recovered, he may he held for an additional 14 days of intensive treatment simply by their filing “a notice of certification” with the Superior Court. At this point the defendant may obtain a writ of habeas corpus and with-in 2 days must have a judicial hearing but not a jury trial. Treatment may be continued up to the time of his/her appearance in court solely at the discretion of the facility’s staff S without the persons’ consent. In short, the person may be zapped with mind-clouding and body weakening drugs of such force that she or he will be in no condition to defend himself or herself when she/he finally does have their day in court. Now what kind of protection does such a law offer to an individual charged with being mentally disordered?
Section 5325 of the same act grants nine rights to the psychiatric prisoner.* This would have been an important step in the right direction had it not been for the qualification contained in the section immediately following this listing (5326) which reads, “A person’s rights under Section 5325 may be denied for good cause only by the professional person in charge of the facility or his designee.” Now who is to decide the highly arbitrary question of what constitutes “good cause?” The courts up to this time have not. The fact is that the matter has been left to the psychiatric personnel at the various local and state institutions where persons under the act are being detained. So the very ones who frequently failed to protect the human rights of these individuals, which occasioned the act’s rights provision in the first place, still have the power to deny these rights. For all practical purposes the inmate is as bad off as he or she was prior to the passage of the act, and in one way at least is worse off, for now the arbitrary denial of his or her rights has the sanction of law.
Electric Shock Treatment “recharges the battery’ ii of depressed persons, according to New York psychiatrist, Dr. Leonard Cammer (author of LIE from Depression) whose visit here in early November was widely covered in the local media. He claims that “Electric Stimulation Treatment,” the name he prefers because “the word ‘shock’ scares a lot of people,” involves no pain or memory loss to the patient. “It takes 2 minutes: I do it in my office.” He says the procedure is gaining in popularity: “a lot of people in the Bay Area are now using it on an out-patient basis.” He was gratified by the favorable publicity given the treatment as a result of the Senator Eagleton story. One doctor, who previously wouldn’t let his son be given shock therapy called him to say that he had changed his mind, explaining that “if it was good enough for Eagleton, it was good enough for my son.” Another man told Dr. Cammer that when his wife “finally came in for treatments and began to improve she said to him ‘You S.O.B., why didn’t you tell me what to do before.'” In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey described shock treatment as a combination “sleeping pill, electric chair and torture rack.” In the Bay Area some of the places that Electric Shock Treatment is given is in the psychiatric wards of St. Francis Memorial Hospital (San Francisco), Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric clinic (San Francisco), Herrick Memorial Hospital (Berkeley), Mission Terrace Hospital (San Francisco).
* * * • In the face of “therapeutic” monstrosities like ECT and other modern-day psychiatric abuses, it is incredible to me that there has been so little professional and public outrage expressed. Surely there are many more who know what is going on, but their silence is deafening. It would be well for the “good” people who now hold their tongues to consider that the one characteristic that fit all the “good Germans” during the Nazi period was their silence.
But I for one will be silent no longer.
I protest the incarceration of 500,000 human beings in American psychiatric prisons, called “mental hospitals,” on the grounds of their being “mentally ill.” I protest the denial of their human and political rights supposedly “in their best interests” until their psychiatric jailers judge that their “mental health” has been restored.
I declare my intention to struggle on their behalf, by any legal means necessary, until they are released.
FREE ALL PSYCHIATRIC PRISONERS:
For 8 months in 1962/63 I was an involuntary “mental patient” in 3 northern California psychiatric institutions. For the past 3 years I have run The Frank Gallery (629 Sutter St.) in downtown San Francisco. I would welcome the opportunity to correspond or meet with any individuals who feel as I do about the criminality of much contemporary psychiatric practice and want to do something about it.
“Lamp compiled a street sheet of the legal rights and liabilities of persons accused of mental illness in California is contained in the November issue of MADNESS NETWORK NEWS
NOTES FROM LAMP …about what’s going on in psychiatry and the law.
“A special task force is examining the entire area of patients’ civil rights to develop rules and procedures which will assure that the rights are not abridged,” according to a newsletter entitled California’s ONE SYSTEM TEN SERVICES and published by the Office of Information of the Dept. of Mental Hygiene. The group was to deliver a preliminary report on November 15 to William E. Mayer, M.D., Chief Deputy Director to the Dept. of Mental Hygiene.
To be included in the preliminary report, according to ONE-TEN, is coverage of such topics as: (1) interpretations of Policies dealing with patients’ rights as a basis for creating rules and regulations to assure such rights; (2) procedures for notification to patients and others of patient rights, proper recording of denial of rights, processing of complaints on violations, and review procedures; (3) the current situation in state hospitals and community facilities regarding denial of rights; (4) a plan guaranteeing an active program to assure patient rights; and (5) implications of future legal or legislative action on patient rights. We have not seen a copy of the report as yet, but copies should be available from Dr. Mayer at the Dept. of Mental Hygiene, 744 P St., Sacra-mento, Ca. 94518. The task force was said to include DMH personnel and representatives of region-al centers and local programs. No mention was made of inmate representation on the task force.
• • •
Jessica Mitford, author of THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH, is completing a book on prisons and has charged in an article in the current Atlantic Magazine that prisons, including the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, are allowing inmates to be used as experimental subjects for potentially harmful drugs. She cited one case in which a prisoner at Vacaville suffered a “near-fatal disease of the muscles” after the anti-inflammation drug Varidase was injected into his body. That inmate sued and won $6,000 out-of-court settlement, but generally such suits are made difficult by the consent forms the prisoners sign, according to Ms. Mitford.
Descriptions of a number of experiments in California facilities are contained in a comprehensive law review article entitled “Conditioning and Other Technologies used to ‘Treat’? ‘Rehabilitate’? ‘Demolish’? Prisoners and Mental Patients” in Vol. 45 of the Southern California Law Review, p. 616. The volume should be available at any law library.
A shorter description of some of these experiences was carried in Rough Times (June, 1972, p. 12; P.O. Box 89, W. Somerville, Mass. 02144). “‘You think You’re Going to Die’–Aversion Therapy in Mental Hospitals” quoted reports of the use of Anectine Chloride at Vacaville and Atascadero. Inmates have variously reported that the drug in-duces the sensation of death by drowning, or suffocation; at which point the inmate is talked to “in an authoritative manner by a technician, who encourages ‘positive’ behavior” and discourages the undesired behavior.
A further description of the use of Anectine and l5 other experimental treatments, along with sample ‘ consent forms and some considerations of the adequacy of these forms for genuinely informing the inmate as to what he or she is signing, is contained in the Southern Cal. article. Inmates are paid an average of $30 a month to participate in the prison experiments. (See “‘Hideous Tests’ on Cons,” San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 20, 1972, p. 7). More next issue…
• • •
THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF LEGAL AUTHORITY AND MENTAL PATIENT STATUS (LAMP), 2014 CHANNING WAY, BERKELEY, CA. 94704 (415) 841-9396
LAMP research has formed the basis of two articles in the November issue of ROUGH TIMES (P.O. Box 89, W. Somerville, Mass. 02144). One of these outlines the sterilization laws which apply to inmates of mental prisons in nineteen states. The second, concerning commitment laws, is footnoted in such a way as to permit a reader anywhere in the U.S. or its territories to formulate a handbook of the rights and liabilities of alleged mental patients for his or her jurisdiction. The November RT is highly recommended as a resource concerning the legal rights and organizing efforts of alleged mental patients.
Having completed this basic legal research, we are now reorganizing our energy for a greater focus on the details of involuntary mental hospitalization/imprisonment. We are available to develop or help with development of legal information for interested persons and groups, and are continuing our research as resources permit into the situation of particular inmate groups such as women and persons regarded as minors by the law. We are now especially interested in contact with attorneys and ex-patients familiar with the commitment process. In the Bay Area in particular, where the MADNESS NETWORK NEWS people are developing a network of interested persons, we want to explore the possibility of a self-supporting litigation project. Please write or call to tell us what you know about legal serv,-..01 available to persons accused of mental illness in Bay Area counties, and possible funding sources for any additional legal services that may be needed. We’d also like to hear from law students who might hook up with LAMP to do research for school credit.
PLEASE SEND US (tax deductable) contributions of money if you can. If possible, call before visiting so we can better schedule our work time. And finally, send a self-addressed stamped envelope with requests for information which we will answer as soon as we can.
OPENS HIS HEAD
The Last Time I Took Thorazine, or Thoughts on Tranquilizers, or
Too tight to walk,
Too tight to talk,
My muscles seem lost
My mind’s a balk.
The chemicalization of a person stoned on Anti-Psychotic drugs can produce enough changes in the person’s physical appearance and thinking so that he/she can be continually labelled and recognized as a P.L.U. (Person Labelled Untouchable) and like a dog chasing its tail or a snake eating itself inside-out the P.L.U. is put in a Catch-22 which goes like this:
A person experiencing his psychosis is labelled as untouchable and sick and is placed on Anti-Psychotic medications which can produce a mental and physical change in the individual so that he can continue to be labelled as untouchable which promotes crazy/psychotic interactions between the labelled untouchable and untouchable labellers which pro-motes more Anti-Psychotic medication which causes more untouchable labelling which promotes continual behaviour that can be labelled as psychotic/mad/crazy/anti-social which reinforces the “need” (like in advertizing a created need) for more Anti-Psychotic medication which creates more crazy/psychotic behaviour which reinforces the untouchable label which promotes even more crazy/psychotic interactions….Ad Nauseum.
…or other games of power politics where the payoff is for the loser to say “I give up” and feel bad and for the winner to gain control of the loser and feel justified in having done what he did and to do it again, and feel good.
I think it’s important to note here that most acute psychotic experiences are by their own nature short lived, lasting for only a few weeks and are potentially spiritual/psychological/ inter-personal rebirths that can result in an increase in intelligence, creativity, spontaneity, ability to achieve intimacy with others and more together “selves” through a “successful” resolution of the experience. The psychotic experience lasts longer when the re-emerging problems which produced the psychotic experience are not worked through but instead reinforced and the person is taught and forced to continue to “act”/be psychotic.
For those of you who don’t know (those who know, know), when the pill pushing people in psychiatric places pass the pills the procedure usual-ly means passing plenty of pills in paper cups, and not just one. Why I have known psychiatrists who have protectingly, politely and policingly pressured/prescribed 25 pills per day for the psychiatric “patient”/substitute person labelled “untouchable” (P.L.U.) by rigid counter-phobic psychiatric caste system.
You start with an Anti-Psychotic pill such as Thorazine, and then you add a touch of a Minor Tranquilizer such as Valium or Librium, and then to this concoction one adds a drug necessary to counter-act some spasticogenic side-effects of Thorazine, which are called Anti-Parkinsonian Agents, Artane, Cogentin and Akineton (the spastic side-effects creates a condition like Parkinson’s disease). Then of course there’s always a dab of depression so an Anti-Depressant or Mood-Elevator such as Elavil, Tofranil, Vivactil etc. is added (or for some speedy souls Amphetamines or Ritalin is given as “psychic energizers”) and since no one knew if the thing they called a convulsion was a convulsion (Epilepsy) or a temper-trantrum, an Anti-Convulsant such as Dilantin and or Phenobarbital is given to moderate emotional modulation. Then of course the night-cap cannot be forgotten, so here comes a jumbo green Chloral Hydrate football or the “lucky” few may score a downer or two, a Red, namely a Sedative-Hypno-tic (Seconal is Soporific:)
It’s a strange brew, and although the above example is not the rule it’s not an exception. I’d say the average psychiatric P.L.U. (person la-belled untouchable) in-hopsital or in-society gets 2-4 kinds of pills and 8-16 pills scattered in an un-biological rhythm like “scheduled feedings” throughout the P.L.U.’s day. Then there’s always this to be said for “tranquilizers”:
“As with all Central Nervous System drugs, caution patients against hazardous occupations requiring complete mental alertness (e.g. operating machinery, driving).”1 (taken from Librium advertizement) or “Administer cautiously to patients requiring complete mental alertness (e.g. driving), and increase doseage gradually.”2 (taken from Mellaril advertizement)
And the State doesn’t like you to drive i.e. wakes it hard to get a driver’s license when stoned on these druges, and the F.A.A. (or some-body) doesn’t like you to fly if you’re a P.L.U. and what happens if you get a shot of Prolixin in a “cheek” and are “changed” for two weeks, and there’s nothing you can do once it’s checked into your cheek to stop taking the drug…some more future issues.
One part of the rap possibly presented by psychiatric professionals goes guiltily like this: “you need this other pill dear besides your Thorazine, this one will fix your body if you react to the Thorazine” and perhaps words like Parkinsonian or Extra-Pyramidal are mentioned mystifyingly by the “educated ones?/psychiatrists as a way of clearing the confusion. clouding the clearing.
What does it all mean? What are the side-effects of Anti-Psychotic medication (Thorazine) that affect your muscles, movement and coordination? When are “anti-dotes” called Anti-Parkinsonian drugs such as Artane, Cogentin and Akineton needed? How do I think they should be used and when in fact do they merely make matters worse and more meaningless by adding other side-effects that make your body even more of a stranger to you.
Ode to Pill-Box Power My mind means mush, mashing, marching, and moving more meaninglessly in a mass and morass of moldy medicated metaphors.
This touchy Anti-dotal issue of side-effects of Anti-Psychotic medication and drugs to “counter-act” these side-effects is what Dr. Caligari will focus his Anti-Anti-Psychotic drug head upon in the next chapter of his never ending battle against Pills, Jive and the American Warp. P.S. Caligari invites comments, questions and other Caligaris, namely others who wish to become Caligari for an issue to talk about drug issues and information they believe relevant.
Caligari’s Bibliography 1. American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 129, No. 6., Dec., 1972. 2. Ibid., p. 19.
MADNESS WEB, MADNESS WEAVE
Phantasy: A large, warm room with places to sit and talk or read or listen to music. On the walls are drawings and paintings and poems which are interesting and very varied. On one wall is a gigantic map of the Bay Area. On it are an assortment of pins and strings which make up a colorful MADNESS NETWORK. With the map on the wall goes a small booklet which gives the names (first names only as in Alcoholic Anonymous? I would want to use my full name.) and addresses and phone numbers of people who have been mad and/or hospitalized who are now willing to act as guides in, around, beside, over, against, up and down madness.
Some facts: In the spring of this year I was hospitalized (the third time around — if at first you don’t succeed, etc.) in the Richmond District Mental Health Center located in the Public Health Services Hospital at 16th Avenue and Lake Street in San Francisco. It was the best psychotic bout I’ve had. It was only in the hospital for two weeks and thanks to the very real support of patients, staff and friends I was able to return to my apartment and my job.
One of the events that is relevant here occurred in our daily ward therapy group. A man began to describe the fact (to him) that he could feel the material world in motion — the ground shook and objects vibrated. I was very impressed by the richness of perception that I took his experiences to be. I can occasionally see what I call lines of force in living things (trees [wonder full van Gogh] and dogs to be specific) but to actually perceive what physicists tell us is true of matter was to me marvelous. He offered his experience to the group in a very tentative manner and I and other patients contradicted the wave of disbelief emanating from a number of the staff. The man was glad to get support for his own unique world view and not have his experience dismissed as hallucinations or deviation from THEIR REALITY.
Facts and Phantasy: In the Bay Area, in the State of California, the treatment of the mentally ill is being delegated to community mental health centers. This brings madness closer to home –where it should be, in my opinion. Instead of being isolated in state hospitals, tucked out of sight in rural areas, people now experience psychosis close (physically) to their own communities. The psychological distance, however, of the mad from their own communities is still great. I’d like to work to reduce that distance — for people who have been hospitalized or those who might be. Perhaps structures already existing in the community could be extended to include an effort to demystify the experiences of those people named psychotic. It there were no existing structures which could be used, a place to begin is to survey the community mental health centers in San Francisco to find the people most open to A PLACE to talk and learn about madness. We would work to see that people didn’t get hospitalized in the first place and if they did to help shorten their hospital stay and ease the transition from the other side of madness back to a richer and more complex world.
BERKELEY ADVOCACY COLLECTIVE
The Berkeley Advocacy Collective is a group of people interested in advocating the legal, economic and human rights of mental patients. Each advocate will work for a year with one or two people, helping them establish effective ways of dealing with the agencies and people who exert so much control over their lives– the Welfare Department, psychiatric treatment centers, half-way houses, hospitals, doctors, etc.
Most of the advocate’s work will be to accompany a client whenever she or he deals with the Welfare Department, for example, acting as a witness to the treatment the person receives, advising the person of his or her rights and most important, keeping an accurate record of events, so that whenever a client’s rights are violated, there will be a real possibility of recourse. At present, we are training ten volunteers and ourselves and are preparing a file on agencies who deal with our clients in Berkeley and Napa, keeping track of both good and bad treatment and keeping up to date information in the availability of services. At this point, we need information about their experiences from people who have been doing this kind of work, or people who have learned to be their own advocates. We also need help from people who are law students and lawyers interested in using the documentation we will be compiling in ways which would be of help to our clients.
If you can help, please call 841-8484 and leave your phone number for Landry WildMind, or write B.A.C. c/o Landry Wildwind 1749 Grove St., Berkeley, California, 94709.
O FUCK YOU TYGER-LIAR
An ocelot with glaring ears & an ocelot with glazed eyes & an ocelot with no paws skipped & laughed & tripped into eternity by mistake O dear!
Ending: Beginning: if these ideas interest you, please call Virginia Davis at home (415) 752-7709 or at work (415) 752-7887.
Multiplasticity describes the properties of flexibility, creativity, plasticity, synthesizability, changeability, modulation, derivativeness, and more, which are necessary to survive in our sophisticatedly shocking culture. Multiplasticity may or may not be the middle way in the America of today.
OUR MOTTO: Make Mine (Mind) Multiplastic ❓
The following questions, suggestions, directions allow you to get in touch with your level of Multiplasticity:
1. Computing the MIND-MILE–The “True” distance between two individuals is a function of two variables (at least), physical distance and psychological distance. Thus we have an equation:
“True” Distance (Mind-Miles) Psychological Distance (Mind Units) X Physical Distance (Miles) Note: the bigger the mind unit, the greater the psychological distance. 1 mind unit-true intimacy, smallest psychological distance 10 mind units=total avoidance, greatest psychological distance
Using a more reasonable scale of physical distance, namely feet, compute the following for yourself: –If your mother was 2 feet from you what would be your experience of her “true” distance from you in Mind-Feet? –Do the same’ for’Vect` further. –Do the same for your close friend/lover now.
Send us your results including anything you come up with about your male vs. female, peer vs. parent, peer vs. child, etc. mind units.
2. If you had your choice, which of the three would you choose? a. Crunchy Peanut Butter. b. Creamy Peanut Butter c. No Peanut Butter.
3. Do you think a dog would like to eat Asparagus? (yes or no)
4. For Females: What did you do or do you have to do to make the transition from girl to woman in your head? For Males: What did you do or do you have to do to make the transition from boy to man in your head?
5. How many breasts does your mind-mother-earth-giver fantasy have?
6. Do you like raw or cooked carrots?
7. Make up your own question, do with it what you want to.
Please send all responses direct or tangential to the Minnesota Multiplastic c/o Madness Network News, and we will publish the results plus more questions in the next issue. We come From Be-hind the Bell Shaped Curve.
Sob Twenty-Three* (Right out of the Baiting of Job)
Ritalined with bullet holes, I try to aMellarile ate the situation by making a Cognetin statement: “Give me Librium or give me meth!”
I look out the padlocked window and hope flickers faintly, convulsing my heart with the pain of perceiving, through voids of 1imbos giving way to limbos, the possibility of life.
(Stick a peacock feather in your foolscap and Get-A-Move-On!)
One good think about hospitals is that they give you something to FIGHT AGAINST.
The Asylum is my shephard, Though I shall not be cajoled. Through eerie green halls you pilot me Where you preserve me on ice. With tranquilizing druges you bloat me, To dull my searching psyche.
Though I walk through the Valium of derangement No Elavil will I fear. You are there with your peals of Thorazine and your bolts of Stelazine, I am on the right pathology.
You isolate one for shock treatment before my eyes
In full sight of fellow chronics.
You anoint my head with lice-killer,
My medicine cup runneth over.
Surely, your protective wings and your knowing ways
Shall tyrannize me here, All the days of my life.
I will nod in the bastions of the buried alive
All the eons that I rot.
October 25, 1970
*A parody of Psalm Twenty-Three, “The Lord is My Shephard.” Underlined words are a play on names of tranquilizers and anti-depressant drugs.
The Schiff Family is a therapeutic community of about thirty individuals located in Contra Costa County. It offers a structure developed by the residents and Jacqui Lee Schiff, M.S.S.W., for supporting schizophrenic individuals outside of hospitals. The philosophical basis for the community is that schizophrenia is a developmental disturbance derived from deviant learning and thinking which was consistently reinforced during the early years of the child’s life. The regressive characteristic of schizophrenia is seen as an attempt on the part of the individual to correct the disturbance and The Family sup-ports regressions, enabling individuals to re-enact childhood experiences. Jacqui Schiff’s book, All My Children, describes the historical development of this program.
A major philosophical basis on which The Family structures interaction is confrontation of passivity. Passivity is defined as those pathological behaviors which are substituted for reactive involvement with the environment (being spontaneous). The family’s method of dealing with the problem of passive behavior is to con-front the individual when acting passive and make him uncomfortable to the point of his/her stopping the passive behavior and functioning in an effective and adequate way. If the individual needs instructions and/or parenting to function adequately, she/he is given what he/she needs. The techniques are derived from Transactional Analysis, and passivity is perceived as a symbiotic attempt at problem-solving by a dependent individual. Both positive and negative reinforcement are utilized in an effort to maintain a maximum reactive environment where valid feelings and needs are recognized and supported and where caring is defined as involvement and willingness to invest time and energy rather than non-critical or exclusively positive interaction.
The Schiff Family has been remarkably effective in bringing about improvement in seriously disturbed individuals. Many residents in the Community, which is made up of young adults, have been hospitalized on a long term basis prior to entering The Family and have left cap-able of self care, social interaction, and com-petitive employment.
The Schiff Family has always been controversial. The basis for criticism has been the separation of the schizophrenic individual from his natural family, the non-use of medication, the use of confrontation and coercion, the support of regression.
A recent accident which resulted in the death of a resident and the reporting of the matter through the public media has recently escalated this controversy to a level which threatens the
survival of the community. A boy who was loosely restrained and bathed by two other individuals sustained first and second degree burns. He did not indicate that he was uncomfortable and the two people bathing him, who say they had their hands and arms in the water, were not burned. Several other people heard the young man being bathed engaging in conversation during the time he was in the tub. Contrary to newspaper re-ports, no treatment or disciplinary action was involved. The young man was restrained as a safety precaution because of frequent impulsive behavior which made it unsafe for him to be in a bathtub without some precautions. The bath was a routine bath given for sanitary purposes. Extensive investigation has not resulted in an explanation for the incident and to data no legal action has been taken.
Immediately following the accident the State Department of Social Welfare denied a license to continue operation of a Family Care Home to Mrs. Schiff, apparently discounting the recommendations of professional supporters from all over the country and also presumably discounting the safety record of The Schiff Family (in seven year’s operation involving 20-30 severely disturbed individuals there has never been a suicide or serious accident). There has also been harassment of individual members of The Schiff Family by community agencies, and discontinuance of A.T.D. funds to participants in The Family, has been threatened.
The Schiff Family is a non-organized therapeutic community with no legal structure. However Cathexis Institute, a non-profit educational corporation to train professionals who are working with severely disturbed patients in the Schiff Family methods has offices in Berkeley and Los Angeles.
PSYCHOSIS ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT METHODS
An open seminar sponsored by the Langley Porter Residents Association will be open to all members of the U.C./S.F. community and interested public. The time will be 12:30-2:00 p.m. for five Wednesdays in the Langley Porter Auditorium.
Jan. 17-Jacqui Schiff-“Re-parenting Schizophrenics” (MSSW) Jan. 24-Arthur Deikman–“Converting a hospital ward from drug treatment to psychological therapy” (MD) Jan. 31-John Perry & Howard Levine–“Giving Psychosis a Chance.” Feb. 7-Julian Silverman–To be announced. Feb.14-Panel of all speakers.
ANOTHER KIND- OF WAY
Sometime in February 1973, a new residential center for young (18-30) first break “psychotic” individuals will open. Drs. John Perry and Howard Levine are the co-directors of the new project which is a part of the Northeast Community Mental Health Center System in San Francisco. The focus of the program will be on guiding the person through his/her “psychotic” experience while placing an emphasis on the growth aspects of the process. The house will not be open and will accept no referrals until the middle of February.
For further information about the project contact Nikki Holbert, 648-2254…also check future issues of MADNESS NETWORK NEWS.
Plans are continuing for the Festival of Creative Psychosis, to be held in Spring, 1973, in the San Mateo area. A committee of eight has been meeting monthly, at Channing Rd., Burlingame, CA, for more info, contact: Tullia Tesauro at above address.
…In reference to your empty “JOBS” column: I am a licensed psychiatric technician working at Napa State Hospital. I have a history of “mental illness” with a frightening diagnosis of Schizophrenic reaction, chronic undifferentiated type, 295.9. The state hired me with full knowledge of my former “illness.” Anyone interested in becoming a psych. tech can enroll at Napa College, subject only to the usual junior college entrance requirements. The program lasts for a year and upon completion one is eligible to take the state boards. Once licensed there are ample opportunities for employment in state or community facilities….
…I recently got fired from a S.F. psychiatric hospital for my so-called “subversive” activities. I was caught advising people against taking shock treatments and drugs. I told the husband of one woman to “take your wife home, away from this hell. So now I’m a hero. I’ve been telling tales of psychiatric horror to anyone I can. I’m also planning concrete action against the hospital in the form of a picket line and a set of demands.
I’ve written various poems and articles to alleviate the isolation I felt after being fired….I hope to have a meeting sometime near the end of January to draw up demands against Mission Ter-race Hospital, 225 30th St., S.F. I plan to leaflet the relatives of the patients during visiting hours. I believe these combined actions will be most effective.
Anyone at MNN or LAMP (or anyone else [editorial suggestion] please contact me.
yours in struggle,
Chester G. Neal 315 Judah S.F. 94122
This column is still empty.
What do you suggest?
LUNATIC OF THE MONTH
This month it is a lovable lunatic, Jason Robards, who when told (in the movie A Thousand Clowns) “to come back to reality,” responded, “only as a tourist:”
MADNESS NETWORK NEWS is being distributed free to patients and staff of psychiatric treatment centers and alternative centers in San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin and the Peninsula. We also have a mailing list. If you wish to be on it, a $3.00 donation is requested in order to pay for mail-ing and printing. If you’ve received the newsletter in the mail without a donation, please send one in soon otherwise you won’t continue to receive one. Any additional contributions you wish to make will be greatly appreciated. MADNESS NETWORK NEWS will be appearing approximately once a month or so.
Our address is:
MADNESS NETWORK NEWS P.O. Box 684 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94101