Vol.1 No.5 1973
No issue is more critical to the health of this country than the question of work -working conditions and work opportunities. We need to go beyond merely dealing with crises, to addressing the realities causing those crises. As we respond to the needs of our people, in pain and in joy, we constantly need to stimulate our fantasies, clarify our visions, and refine our understanding of the incredibly comprehensive and thorough changes that are necessary. No one problem is the cause and no one solution the cure. Materialism, individualism, racism, sexism, capitalism, militarism, authoritarianism, sexual repression, exploitation of the poor by the rich, overcrowding of cities, devastation of the ecology, remote and unaccountable political power – all are issues of the first order. Taken together, however, they constitute a capitalist social order, and can be seen as either an essential element in, or a logical outgrowth of, capitalism.
What alternative_have we? Certainly not Swedish, British, Cuban, Chinese, or Russian Socialism. We could never transplant their systems to our country. We must create our own answers and I don’t care so much about labels (though I prefer “Yankee-Doodle Socialism”). Rather, we need to focus on concrete situations and discuss adequate, step-by-step remedies.
Consider work. Most people in this country come home from work unfulfilled, bored, frustrated, hostile, almost unable to love someone at night or to enjoy themselves on vacations. Clearly, the work-life of our people is central to both our physical and mental health. Surprisingly, one very interesting statement on this issue came from George Cabot Lodge (Henry’s brother), a professor at the Harvard Business School in the November 1972 issue of Intellectual Digest, in an article titled, “Introducing the Collectivist Corporation.” He wrote.
…For the majority of Americans a sense of fulfillment and happiness will derive from their place and participation in a purposeful, organic, social process; their talents and capabilities should be used to the fullest, and they should have maximum involvement in the decisions by which the process is conducted and directed.
…Perhaps the workers should select the manager, in some cases. Perhaps a process of consensus making is the way, as In Japan, where policies are shunted up and down the line for widespread consideration before decisions are taken. Per-haps the collective team approach is best.
Whatever the techniques, this transition will place a serious burden on existing management. In many instances, managers may in fact be deciding whether or not to relinquish their own jobs and authority in the name of a more efficient and useful collective.
Thus, a liberal Business School professor tries to salvage part of our system – the ever-increasing level of production – by sacrificing another part – military-style hierarchies. The contradictions intensify. As pressures for justice and equality increase, the system strains to save itself by playing both ends against the middle. But, out of it all, the yearning for a human and democratic spirit at the work-place becomes more and more widespread.
Psychiatrists and private psychiatric clinics in Chile are reporting a dramatic increase in middle-class and upper-class patients suffering from anxieties caused by the social and economic upheavals of two years of Marxist government, New York Times reported. Economic reforms that have radically redistributed income have caused traumatic change in lives of middle- and upper-class people, one psychiatrist told Times, in reporting a 70% increase in his private practice.
Eleven girls were carried out of a G.E. Television and Appliances factory in Singapore because of unexplained mass hysteria which spread through workers for the second time in three days. An official government statement called the phenomenon “largely psychological’ and said “the affected persons contract seizures of muscular spasms which are transient,” and urged an end to “rumors and exaggerations’. that might -aggravate the situation:”
Please, if you send us letters, indicate whether you want us to print your name or withhold it. We feel that in order to break the myth of mental illness, that it is necessary for people to be honest about who they are and state their name. We also realize that for some people this is difficult because of where they live and work and the lack of support for that kind of honesty. We of MNN will be printing, starting with the next issue, the names of the people whose letters or works we publish unless you write to us and indicate that you wish your name not be printed.
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 and on sale on various newsstands. We also have a mailing list. If you wish to be on it, $3.00 is requested in order to pay for mail-ing and printing for one year. Any additional contributions you wish to make will be greatly appreciated. MADNESS NETWORK NEWS appears every other month.
Our address is:
MADNESS NETWORK NEWS P.O. Box 684 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA 94101
MADNESS NETWORK NEWS brought to you by… Virginia Davis, Leonard Frank, Sherry Hirsch, Wade Hudson, Richard Keene, Gail Krawits, LAMP, David Richman, Carol Safer, Tulia Tesauro, Judith Weitzner.
Copyright 1973 by Madness Network News.
Groups or individuals working within this movement may reprint articles but let us know first what you intend to use it for.
Where We Are At
Here we are at issue #5. At this point we have about 500 readers on our mailing list, two-thirds of them paid subscribers. We also distribute free about 1500 issues to psychiatric hospitals, both patients and staff, and some to organizations. Another 500 we try and sell for $$$. Our regular readership includes so called “mental patients”, therapists, administrators of hospitals, community mental health directors, artists, old people, ministers. We are primarily interested in the S.F. Bay area, but out readers extend nationwide and in Europe.
We started because we felt there was a big vacuum in the S.F. Bay area in regards to protecting the rights and dignity of those people labelled crazy along with the rights and dignity of “workers” and others in the psychiatric system or of anyone who might be touched by that system. At this point we feel we have done a lot to help fill the vacuum, although there is still very little, if any, organizing happening in the S.F. area regard-ing the issues that we raise.
This summer we plan to take some time out from publishing the newsletter to get more involved in organizing, also to start working on a book we are planning to publish (through Glide Publications). We will also be working on planning a conference to be held in the fall. Because of these projects, the next issue of MNN will not appear until the fall.
We would like to take some space to thank Regional Young Adult Project of S.F. and Glide Publications for all the help (both monetarily and emotionally) they have given us.
Under a leering moon five women, crazed by moonlight dance dementedly in this illustration of lunacy- literally moon-madness. Nearly every culture has believed such external forces as the “evil” moon arbitrarily caused madness The word “lunatic” – one who is moonstruck— derives from the Latin Luna the moon goddess, such explanations for insanity were common even in sophisticated Europe until the 18th Century
From LIFE Science Library, ‘The Mind.”
We are still planning a conference in S.F. It looks as though September or October will be the time for it. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the coupon below and return to us.
TASK FORCE ON MENTAL HEALTH FOR WOMEN
At a recent California State Conference of the National Organization for Women, a task force on mental health was established to identify pertinent problems and make recommendations for action. General consensus was that the psychiatric profession is violently anti-feminist. Not only does it use a double standard in evaluating the mental health of women and men, but it often defines the feminist as “sick” or maladjusted. As such it has little to offer any woman in the development of an identity of her own. It does not effectively support her in dealing with the problems and crises of everyday living.
More specific problems delineated include the following. (1) Electro-shock is being used on a large scale on angry and de-pressed women of all ages until they either temporarily forget what upsets them or until they become confused and submissive (adjusted) to the assaults made on their persons. (2) The National Organization for Women gets requests for help from women who define themselves as having acute emotional problems. Appropriate services or referrals are not yet offered or available. (3) Consciousness-raising rap groups sometimes feel afraid to work with women who present themselves as extremely hostile, suicidal, or alienated. (4) Women, through hating themselves and not trusting one another, assume they can’t help themselves when “in trouble” and seek so-called “experts” who are not only antifeminist but who reinforce the dependent position of women while exploiting them financially. (5) Action, action, action, no matter how important, does not really dissipate anger. In fact the frustrations involved in trying to implement change in a male-dominated society often generate more anger. Action by itself negates other human needs. Women bored with beginning consciousness-raising groups continue to need communication with and support from other women. Feminists come to feel that they can only re-late meaningfully and be understood by other feminists. In summary, appropriate resources are needed not only for women seeking help but also for feminists striving in an alienating world.
The following recommendations for dealing with these problems were made. (1) Consciousness-raising groups may train themselves to deal with “heavier” issues, such as, getting in touch with and expressing anger, fear, love, and other feelings. Helpful methods might include role-playing, psychodrama, or bio-energetics. The development of “self-help” groups is a positive alternative to the “expert” or authoritative-helping model. (2) Women can redefine the psychiatric therapist. Mental health supporters may include psychiatrists, psychiatric social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychologists, and other counselors. However, the best “therapist” may well be the woman who has gone through the experience of feeling sick, desperate, panicky, suicidal, depressed, alienated, or even “psychotic.” (4) Women can present a feminist perspective on mental health to all persons who work in the area of psychiatry and who have power positions over women. (5) Women can interview feminist nurses working in psychiatric settings for an evaluation of hospital environment and staff psychiatrists. Of concern would be methods of treatment used, attitudes toward people defined as mental patients, attitudes toward women and feminism. (6) Women might develop liasons with groups and agencies involved in mental health. Such groups might include radical psychiatry groups, crisis centers and hotlines, suicide prevention centers, feminist gestalt groups already in existence, women’s caucuses of APA, etc. The state task force urges organization at the city or community level. Local lists of safe (non-sexist) mental health resources need to be compiled. Local self-help groups should be organized when the need is identified.
State co-coordinators are Ms. Michaels Osborne, 2120B, West Middlefield, Mountain View, Calif. 94040, phones 415-961-7638: and Ms. Georgia Cornwell, 1590 Sacramento St., #28, San Francisco, Calif. 94109, phones 415-885-6637. Persons interested in working on feminist solutions in the mental health field in San Francisco should contact Georgia Cornwell.
an ovary compressor for the ‘treatment of hysteria’
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights presented a conference May 14, 1973 in San Francisco on “Psychiatric Social Control -Bad Medicine!” Speaking were Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr. Henry L. Lennard, Robert Roth, (LAMP) and Dr. Lee Coleman. Due to deadline pressures we are not able to report on it, will do so next issue.
THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF LEGAL AUTHORITY AND MENTAL PATIENT STATUS (LAMP), 2014 CRANNING WAY, BERKELEY, CA. 94704 (415) 84Z-9396
NOTES FROM LAMP…about psychiatry and the law
There’s an apparently diverse and grow-ing movement underway looking toward the achievement of more humane treatment for persons labelled “mentally ill.” At one end of the line this movement takes on the aspect of an attack on the very concept of “mental illness” or “madness” itself. At the other end of the continuum lie the efforts to provide places of shelter or asylum for persons experiencing a situation of social or personal difficulty. LAMP tries to work somewhere in between. Legal research and defense work are attempts to alleviate some of the pain caused by the present situation, in which “mental illness” is the foundation of a whole set of institutions designed to remake or contain individuals for whom no genuine place of asylum exists. “We sit here stranded/ Though we’re all doing our best to deny it.” The legal question now seems to have two main points of emphasis. The first is the ad-missions or commitment phase, In which people need lawyers-to fight actions for their involuntary institutionalization. The second concerns the in-patient or inmate phase, when persons already committed by court order face the problem of maintaining or recreating their own humanity from within the institutional setting.
Locally, a number of court cases have recently shown a tendency on the part of the institutional apparatus of psychiatry to with-draw from commitment proceedings when a jury trial is demanded. In New York City, where the Mental Health Information Service makes attorneys available to more alleged patients than in most other areas of the country, 40 percent of commitment actions in some jurisdictions are dropped simply upon the request of the person and the MHIS for a court hearing. In Philadelphia, the Mental Patient Civil Liberties Project operates offices within Haverford State Hospital, making legal re-presentation available to all patient/in-mates upon request. The situation these legal actions are attempting to correct may be obvious enough to many people, but for those to whom it is not, this is a brief breakdown of the problem. Commitments throughout the U.S. have tended to take on the qualities of purely pro forma proceedings. Judges have been more than willing to implement the psychiatric “prescription” of involuntary commitment upon little or no examination of the basis of the judgment; and in many cases the judgment has had little or no apparent basis. The Scheff and Rosenhan studies (e.g. Scheff, Being Mentally Iii) have indicated that sanity is difficult to prove without the assistance of active, adversary legal counsel, once a person becomes entangled in the bureaucratic process of commitment. The Rosenhan study in particular shows the need for some form of representation that can stand between the accused person and the “mental illness” label which rationalizes a total negation of the person’s humanity, experience, perceptions and judgment.
The essence of “insanity” seems to be a judgment that the “mad” person is out of control, is not really “there,” but is in the grip of a disease entity that destroys the ability to perceive and reason “correctly.” A person laboring under such a judgment is generally in a poor position to challenge it, and the Scheff studies, for example, indicated that a presumption of guilt or “illness” prevails against the accused person. With the assistance of legal counsel, however, the vagueness of “mental illness” and the vagaries of the commitment process can be placed under critical examination in court. The state of California has been considering the question of patient legal rights and other mechanisms designed to preserve the humanity of persons during their detention in mental institutions. In several previous editions of these notes, we’ve dealt with the so-called “bill of rights” provisions of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) and the problems of enforcing these rights. A number of reports have indicated that these rights are not posted, as is required by law, in all facilities; and this failure of notice no doubt makes the denial of rights administratively simpler. The Department of Mental Hygiene has at least impritTri recognized the problem in a Task Force Report on Patient Rights (MNN No. 4, p.5) and the suggestion has been put forward that “consumer advocates” might be appoint-ed at institutions for the detention of the allegedly “mentally ill” to act as a sort of ombudsperson for inmates.
The position of advocacy, apparently recognized by many professionals in the Mental Health Movement as well as by the staunchest critics of that movement, is to provide the individual with at least a measure of protection against the momentum of such bureaucratic facilities as mental institutions. It may be that public sentiment will indicate strict limitations on some experimental forms of behavior control. For example, Assemblyman Lanterman has submitted a bill to make the right to refuse psychosurgery an absolute right of mental patients. If the Lanterman bill is passed, the right to refuse psychosurgery will no longer be capable of negation for “good cause,” as provided in LPS, or on the judgment of a panel of physicians, as suggested by the DME Task Force Report. With this bill and with the recommendations of the Task Force, California is grappling with problems that are only beginning to be recognized in most areas of the country. It, therefore, seems important at this juncture to work toward maximizing the effectiveness of these initial efforts.
The “bill of rights” approach appears to require some combination with advocacy to achieve enforcement. But the DMH Task Force by the hospital administration against which he or she is assigned to represent the patient’s interest seems unrealistic. In the immediate future, we hope a more adequate structure for the protection of patient/inmate rights can be worked out. And it seems that the most critical factors in such a structure would be a measure of independence from the hospital administration and the availability of legal back-up in cases where conflicts of interest could not be resolved through negotiation. Ideas, suggestions, and other resources for this task are more than welcome at LAMP.
A special symposium issue of the SANTA CLARA LAWYER scheduled for publication in June will feature a number of articles dealing with the kinds of difficulties discussed above. The symposium appears to be comprehensive enough to act as an introduction to many of the legal problems posed by the Mental Health Movement. Slated for inclusion are a reprint of the Rosenhan Study, a critique of the concept of mental illness and the emergency commitment process, and David Ferleger’s latest, greatest work on in-hospital civil liberties. Copies may be ordered directly from the LAWYER at the University of Santa Clara, California 95053. The volume should also be available in law libraries sometime this summer.
A recent communication to this office from the Department of Mental Hygiene indicates that 185 persons labelled mentally ill or mentally retarded were sterilized in California from 1960 through 1971. No break-down of these figures by sex, race, or diagnosis is available at this time. Sterilizations in California occur under the authority of Section 7254 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. After the first 72 hours of detention (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) a person held for commitment in California has the right to petition for release by means of a writ of habeas corpus. Sample writs for use in challenging commitment actions are available to interested parties through LAMP. Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and a donation, if possible, with all requests for information or materials.
The American Psychological Association has eliminated the classification “Homosexuality and Sexual Deviation” which had been listed under “Behavior and Mental Disorders.” In place of the old label is a new classification, “Sexual Life Styles,” under “Social Psychology.”
The Homosexual Community Counseling Center in New York has begun a campaign to have the American Psychiatric Association change its policy of listing homosexuality as a “mental disorder”. This information is from Gay People & Mental Health Vol. 1 No.5 (Box 3592 Upper Nicollet Station, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403).
The first time I returned home from a mental hospital I was living in a typical upper-middle class suburban community back East, in a private home with my husband and two young children. My friends and neighbors looked at me and spoke to me strangely, and I felt like “a stranger in a strange land.” Even my children had heard things whispered about me and didn’t treat me normally. I thought that I would never make it back to society, and I found that I took the train from Connecticut into New York more and more often, so I could visit with friends I had made at the hospital, who seemed to be the only ones I could feel comfortable with, and were the only ones who “understood” me.
I have spoken with several people recently for further background material on writing this article. All felt alienated from friends and family. One girl of twenty told me that she was always conscious, after her return from the hospital, of her parents talking about her “condition” in hushed tones in the next room, making allowances for her “condition”, being afraid to upset her. “It would have been such a relief to have been treated normally,” she said. Another young man found that he started to enjoy analyzing his condition and the psychological condition of others, that he felt most comfortable when talking to social workers, psychologists or analysts, discussing phenothiazines and medications, and that he now feels that he wants to work in the mental health field. I believe this is somewhat typical.
From my own experience, and discussions with others, I would say that the stigma of being labelled “crazy” is largely mitigated in a half-way house-like situation. If you leave the hospital and live for a while in a house with other people who have all shared the hospitalization experience, you naturally feel much less like a ‘freak”, and it makes it much easier to function. Being a non-conformist, or somewhat unconventional, can often be a sign of creativity and even of genius, and I highly resent the label of “being crazy.” I myself am an artist, and although I have had many ups and downs, do not think it was ever necessary to have been hospitalized. I think that up to this point in the Twentieth Century civilized societies do not know how to deal with mavericks like me, but that hopefully with changes in laws and commitment procedures labels will also change.
In the meantime being labelled “crazy” has its advantages in the fact that we are expected to behave in a less conformist manner!
Spychiatry Or Caligari continues to continue ceaselessly and caringly Counter Chemical Control and concerns himself with creating catalysts and conditions conducive to Life, Love and Liberty on Space-Ship Earth!
I have previously talked about how tranquilizers, in particular “anti-psychotic” drugs such as Thorazine, Stelazine, Mellaril, Haldol, Mayans, Serentil, Prolixin etc. are used by spychiatric spiders spinning political-chemical-social control webs as a part of the labelling and perpetuation of the “Myth of Mental Illness” by creating P.L.U.’s (people labelled untouchable, otherwise known as schizophrenic, and other derogatory labels). Chronic P.L.U.- ness is part of chronic passivity and dependence and merely a destructive reinforcer of early learning that taught people to be nice and good and obedient or obnoxiously obedient and not assertive, responsible, feeling and caring in an independent way. We have all been taught to “set” up other people, usually those closest and “dearest” to us, to be seen as “bad-guys” so that we can dump bad feelings onto such bad guys and avoid truly defining who we are, what we feel, what we need and want, and avoid defining who the real oppressors are and then doing something to change what we don’t like. Those now with power in the system (Doctors, Bureaucrats, Politicians, Pill Pushers and Producers, Supervisors etc.) would much rather have this game of brotherly and sisterly garbage dumping continue then see organization and systematic pressure create real change so that the system, and we are also the system, would truly satisfy “real” needs of the people; namely the creation of true “asylums”, and the removal of madness from the disease category supporting pharmaceutical companies, psychiatric staff contractors etc. at the expense of the “patient”; as at least two “real” needs.
One part of this self-destructive and mutually destructive process is how the side-effects of “anti-psychotic” drugs become part of the confusion, mystification, invalidation and labelling of “official crazies” (namely those on drugs, on A.T.D., those with conservators, histories of psychiatric hospitalization etc.). Thus a lot of what “official healthies” or the so called “normal, mentally healthy” people see and call crazy or mad is the direct result of the chemicalization of the official crazies; and once again we see another catch-all catch-22 perpetrated by the age of “scientific” psychiatric treatment (which includes the use of Insulin coma, Electroshock, Psychosurgery, Psychological testing, Injections of Prolixin etc.). In other words its much easier to label someone as crazy if they look, think and feel strange as a direct result of their taking a drug such as Thorazine; “Madness is a term of abuse you use on someone you don’t’ like call-ing them dirty or selfish”.And if you don’t want to look at your own dirt then its convenient to have someone you’ve dirtied around, such as women or “colored” people or crazied people.
In the last issue of MNN(#4) I specifically outlined some of the Non-muscular side-effects of the “anti-psychotic” drugs (sedation, dry mouth and resultant difficulty talking, swallowing and eating; blurred vision, constipation, loss of sexual drive, weight gain, skin re-actions to sunlight, apathy, dizziness when standing up quickly etc.). This issue I will start to talk about the Muscular side-effects of such drugs.
Charles Atlas spoke of “dynamic tension”, Wilhelm Reich spoke of Body armour (as do his disciples Dr. Lowen, Janov and Ida Rolf in their ways) or the way a person controls and expresses feelings through muscular tension. We all talk of pains in the neck and know what its like to walk, talk, look, pick our nose, scratch your rear, ride a bike, thread a needle, eat and make love. What we all don’t know is what its like to do these “normal” activities when we are having a “bad reaction” to an “anti-psychotic” drug which is painfully or unpainfully distorting our body’s muscular control system so that we are experiencing constant shaking of our fingers or muscular incoordination and spasticity, or muscle stiffness and rigidity or some such “trip”.
In other words did you ever try and park a Cadillac Eldorado when the power steering was dead? Or climb a narrow flight of stairs to a chinese restaurant with a hundred pound bag of rice on your shoulders? Or swim with all your clothes on? Or live in rasberry Jello? Or be the rusty Tin-man/woman in the Wizard of Oz before his oil and lube job? Or oops there goes my right arm, or why doesn’t my hand move, or oops where did my eyes go as they get stuck in an upward gaze (called an Ooulo-gyric Crises by the Medical-psychiatric establishment). It’s easy to identify a rusty tin person as different than us, or crazy or mad and thus chemicalization ■ scape-goat ■ witch-hunt ’73 style.
There are two types of muscular side-effects, one is a temporary type called “extra-pyramidal” or “Parkinsonian” reactions (to be explained fully next issue) which disappear when the “anti-psychotic” drugs are discontinued, or can be toned down or stopped by the use of other drugs – Artane, Cogentin, Akineton, Benadryl (called Anti-Parkinsonian drugs). However these anti-parkinsonian drugs also have unpleasant side-effects which are similar if not identical to the non-muscular side-effects of the “Anti-psychotic” drugs, one more catch-22 to be explained in more detail in the next issue.
The second type of Muscular side-effect is a permanent condition called Tardive Dyskinesia, which occurs only after a person has been taking an “anti-psychotic” drug for several years, although no one knows exactly how long it takes for Tardive Dys. to occur, and that is partly explained by the fact that every individual reacts differently to drugs. Tardive Dys. was first “discovered” in elderly people in the back wards of state hospitals, and this condition lasts even after the person is taken off the “anti-psychotic” drugs. In other words the psychiatric system “blew” it in their over-zealous eager-beaver attempt to enforce mind-control and created permanent brain damage (in the same part of the brain damaged in Parkinson’s disease) in many psychiatric “patients”/PRISONERS!
“Tardive Dyskinesia is a central nervous system disorder, perhaps with irreversible effects. Its manifestations include involun-tary movements especially affecting the lips and tongue, hands and fingers, and body posture. Consequently, speech may be seriously affected, the face may become distorted and subject to un-controlled expressions, and sustained normal posture may become impossible…the dysfunction is twofold: neurological and interpersonal.”2
A side-note about T.D. is that it was first recognized in the early 60’s but psychiatric power potentates/Drug Dictators ignored this problem until legal action was taken against drug companies on behalf of a “patient” with Tardive Dyskinesia. Even now the psychiatric system wears its garbage cover-ed glasses and many psychiatric prisoners continue to face the risk of T.D. because psychiatrists refuse to take the necessary steps to stop T.D., namely 1. Stop giving “anti-psychotic” drugs temporarily for several months on a regular basis i.e. a “vacation” from the drug. 2. Lower the doseage. 3. Permanently discontinue “anti-psychotic” drugs for large numbers of P.L.U.’s (it has been suggested that f of all “patients” now on such drugs could stop taking them).
In the next issue I will continue this description of Muscular side-effects and how I believe the problem of “Extra-pyramidal” or “Parkinsonian” reactions can be avoided, and handled if they occur. I want to repeat my basic position that drugs can never help a person to learn how to solve problems in living, that these problems are not a disease but Mis-education or Dys-education and that what is needed are people not pills to help a person (P.L.U.) re-educate, namely learn how to solve his/her own problems. Pleasing Psychiatric pumpers by passively popping pushed pills produces P.L.U.’s and perpetuates the myth of madness and is like piddling away useful energy and creativity needed to make the Bay area, America and
Earth into what we truly need it to be; What do you want?
Caligari continues to call for any comments, questions, queeries, or what ever
1.Gregory Bateson, S. F. Chronicle, March 26, 1973
- Drugs Versus People, Perspectives on the New Psychoactive Drug Technology. p. 28. H. Lennard, A.Bernstein
Dr. Caligari is a licensed physician and surgeon in the State of California.
You might be interested in printing some of an article in the “Virginia Quarterly Review”, Winter 1973, on Lewis Carroll. It said he had shown much interest in madness. It said he lived in a period of change and was disturbed by changes he felt but couldn’t always understand or condone. The Alice books were also a comment on the spirit of play being overcome by authoritarianism which tho he deplored felt it to be necessary as a brake to anarchy. Those in authority – politicians, the government, etc. were inclined to give their own meaning to words against which one was helpless. It was suggested that it was an allegory of growing up and having to face and cope with these attitudes.
It seems to be true, what Laing said, that society itself is insane so apparent aberration appears as rationality
As far as I know, from the ’30’s people have been crying for the rights of patients -legal rights- rights for adequate defense (i.e. their lives, freedom). I fought! A relative of mine fought 40 years ago. I know other paranoid personalities who put up the same fight and did not accept things placidly..some won..some lost. Are you willing to say who should go and who should stay? I think I should have won my battle and I could have stayed away from shock treatments. With the money and time available, (and trained people) there were too many of us. There are still not facilities to handle people who were recently released!!!! Not long ago I met one who had been in over 17 years. I met her in Golden Gate Park. And now some people object to this. They don’t care if you live all your life behind locked doors…
I wonder, too, what your definition of madness is; how mad must one be to be a member of your madness network or maze? There are many definitions in Webster’s. For the first I qualify to be mentally ill; for I have a disease called schizophrenia. Another is angry I am not especially angry although perhaps I should be, neither do I engage in very much folly. As far as living in a Mad World (the human world is mad any-way – plants and the other animals seem to have risen above the necessity of madness) being a part of this world, I am necessarily mad and have yet to meet another homo sapien who does not bear the mark of madness upon his forehead. Perhaps The Network could issue badges so we could recognize one another. The madness comes with the looking for the mark. We may not be aware the mark is upon our own forehead until we discover some other person looking at us for it. Of course, I sincerely believe that my own particular brand of madness is superior to someone else’s – President Nixons’ for example.
On or about April 19, three members of The Network; Leonard Frank, Sherry Hirsch and David Richman visited and spoke with approx. 15 workers at the After Care section of the Dept. of “Mental Hygiene” in San Francisco. These men and women, mostly women, were Conservators (who are legal court-appointed guardians of labelled psychiatric crazies who are often used by the spychiatry system to set up the involuntarily lock up “mental patients” who are not acting “nice and good”). Thus Conservators end up as a sort of psychiatric-pusher, “pushing” labelled healthies, namely doctors, nurses, social workers etc. onto labelled crazies, namely “patients”, “schizophrenics”. The very term Conservator seemed to me very much a part of the psychiatric’s system use of confusing terms and labels, and I wondered then, and still wonder how most “patients”/people see conservators. I know that the process of being “given” a conservator (big-brother’s helper) is another way the system has of telling people they can’t control themselves and can’t handle responsibility for their own life and need to be dependent and passive; in other words its part of power politics whereby someone else takes control over your life and your decisions about your life.
More about the issue of conservators in future issues. However, it was clear to us at the meeting that these people, labelled conservators were for the most part open and human (with us anyway) and were also being oppressed by the psychiatric system (as are all workers within this rigid and dissatisfying system). They also wanted to change the system but didn’t see themselves as capable of making changes and challenging the accepted power of doctors, and other myths. All three of us supported the idea and belief that they could be effective workers in changing the system and make it truly respond to the needs of the people it pretends to serve. One example of this was our encouragement that conservators confront physicians about misuse of tranquilizers if they see their “conservertees” being overmedicated and oversedated with such drugs as Thorazine, Mellaril etc… We gave them information about more creative ways of using tranquilizers such as only taking these drugs once at night before bed, the use of lower doses and using their ability as empathic individuals to help their “conservertees” learn how to solve problems instead of learn how to be dependent on others or pills for problem solving.
I thought it was a good meeting, and another opportunity for Us to apply leverage in opening up sticky minds that the system has been busily gluing and trying to close.
End Conservatorship now, begin Friendship and Caring.
BOOK REVIEW – THE SECOND SIN
by Thomas S. Szasz
Thomas S. Szasz must present quite a dilemma to his colleagues in the field of psychiatry. After all, what do you do with one of your very own who regularly and openly blasphemes the gods of your group. This is precisely what Szasz has been doing for the past 15 years. From his position as Professor of Psychiatry at Upstate Medical Center of State University of New York in Syracuse, thru 8 books and hundreds of articles and speeches, he has denied the reality of mental illness and has denounced as criminals those who use the various classifications of mental illness as justification for involuntary “mental hospitalization” and coercive treatment. Szasz’s relationship with his profession is practically unique. He is like a barbed thorn in their flesh – if left in, it hurts: but the attempt to pull it out will cause greater pain, and what is more, may not be successful. So far his colleagues have largely ignored him, at least publicly. Authoritarians, whether political, religious or psychiatric, know that one of the most effective ways to re-press heterodoxy is to avoid calling public attention to it. It’s a good bet that the tyrant’s rule of no publicity for “dangerous” ideas will again be applied to Szasz’s newest book, The Second Sin (published by Doubleday in May 19-‘3), an exceptionally good selection of short and sharp witticisms and observations categorized under such headings as family, love, sex, ethics, freedom, drugs, psychiatry, mental hospitalization, psychoanalysis, schizophrenia, and the therapeutic state.
REQUIEM FOR AGNEWS STATE
They’re closing Agnews State Where we hid empty wine bottles In laundry baskets. They’re closing Agnews State Where old men passed out flowers In the canteen. They’re closing Agnews State Where volunteers from the Red Cross Cared enough to dance with you. They’re closing Agnews State Where the gophers pop their heads out of lawns And say “hi” to you. They’re closing Agnews State Where Billy Hamilton broke a window After every shock treatment. They’re closing Agnews State And opening up lonely hearts’ clubs.
Richard W. Gardner
“Quotations of Dr. Freud”, an outrageous selection of thoughts from the founder of psychoanalysis, assembled and printed by Leonard Roy Frank, can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope and 250 in stamps to The Frank Gallery 629 Sutter Street San Francisco, California 94102
We are born and we die. The time in-between Vs life. Our life is our only possession.
Our time is our life.
We can let others possess us.
Or we can give of our time (life).
We can waste our time (life)
by regretting the past, or by worrying about the future.
That’s time we’ve lost, never to be returned. We have free choice to enjoy our now.
We can become aware of our feelings.
Discover natural ways to live See how we’re possessed, and who manipulates us.
Let’s expose the manipulator’s methods and all can be free.
Compete or cooperate?
Which takes the most energy, time?
Which is more productive?
Which is more fun?
Little Free Press
715 E. 14th Street
Minneapolis. Minn. 55404
“Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression-A Conference of Mental Patients, Professionals, and Consumers” has been set for June 1 – 3, 1973 at the University of Detroit, 4001 W. McNichols Road, Detroit, Michigan 48221. For the first time ex-mental patients, consumers and professionals will join forces in an effort to bring about much-needed change regarding the mental health system. The conference will have a workshop format to develop action programs to alleviate and eliminate problems. The areas to be covered at the workshops include the following: involuntary hospitalization; psycho-surgery, E.C.T., seclusion, behavior modification, and other “treatments”; patient advocate role of the professional; education; dehumanization; consumerism; legal issues; political action; legislation; drugs; long-range planning of conference; community mental health; rights of minors; societal insanity; patients rights; sexism. ALL interested groups and individuals are invited to attend and participate in the conference. Free and low-cost housing will be made available to participants on a need basis. Contributions should be made out to the COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND PSYCHIATRIC OPPRESSION or C.H.R.P.O., which will be used for speakers fees and reimbursing the participants who lack housing and transportation funds. Details on submitting papers for workshops and further information on this conference may be obtained by writing to Thomas W. Herzberg, PH.D., Director, Psychology Education, 41001 W. Seven Mile Road, Northville, Michigan 48167.
This month’s winner of the coveted Lunatic of the Month title is the anonymous University of California student who spoke what was on everyone elses’ mind. When during Dead Week, while everyone was furiously cramming for finals, he leapt atop a library table and shouted out – “Stop, stop right now! You are all getting ahead of me!”
Madness Network News people are available to speak to groups or organizations about many of the issues we discuss in the newsletter. You may reach us through the Frank Gallery in S.F. 771-3344.
I am an American psychiatrist doing psychotherapy in London. I enclose a leaflet about the Arbours Association that I thought you and some of your readers might be interested in. We now have three households in London ongoing. One of them is a crisis centre for people in acute distress; we have people living there who are available all day every day to pay attention to the needs of people in distress.
Morton Schatzman 55 Dartmouth Park Road London, N.W.5.
Was romance a hex…
Have you had it with sex?
Send $3.50 M.O.for AND MOM CRIED.
Festival of Creative Psychosis
The Psychosis Validation Coalition is sponsoring a Festival of Creative Psychosis, to be held in June, being organized by Tullia Tesauro. This festival will be an outdoor display of art, poetry, and music done by mental patients and ex-patients. It will be a part of Burlingame’s community art festival, Art In The Park, Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3, 1973 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the corner of Burlingame and Carolan Avenues in Burlingame. The Festival of Creative Psychosis will be rent-ing several booths in Art In The Park in which to display the collection of work done by patients and ex-patients. Come one and all to see and enjoy the Festival!