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Relationships with families, carers and friends (others?) by John Sawkins

There is always a potentially difficult relationship between service users, carers and professionals. Open dialogue seeks to address this issue through allowing every party in the relationship to have a frank interchange, based on honesty and mutual respect. Hence it is disingenuous to attempt to misrepresent the idea of showing “insight”. Read more

Historical Source: Medication Into Submission; A Review of Mental Seduction and Menticide by Alex Dunedin

This article takes an excerpt of an important book for both its historical context and it’s content.  In the field of Mad Studies – an emerging area of study in academia which, although a part of formal education, extends well beyond its borders – the ideas presented in the book hold a high degree of relevance.  In this book ‘Mental Seduction and Menticide; The Psychology of Thought Control and Brainwashing‘ by Dr Joost Abraham Maurits Meerloo, various notions of mental coercion are discussed in context with the dangers of totalitarianism and domination of the individual. Read more

"Another stupid man, or, reasons why I do not engage with services" By John Sawkins

I was forced to take haloperidol and procyclidine for bipolar. I stopped taking them after 6 weeks. (cold turkey – I never told the doctor). I have not taken any medication for bipolar or other psychiatric condition for 15 years.

One side effect of haloperidol is known to be stroke which I duly experienced one year after taking the drug – and that was only 6 weeks’ worth! (They missed the diagnosis of stroke and put it down to “hallucinations”. I eventually succeeded in persuading an optician to confirm my diplopia (double vision). Read more

‘Future Shock’: The Crisis of Relationships Between Body, Mind and Environment by Anne Fernie

Nervous exhaustion, melancholy, Weltschmerz, ennui, alienation, neurasthenia, Americanitis, stress, chronic fatigue syndrome, burnout ~ the labels & the socio-cultural context may change yet the symptoms remain the same. We are not referring to issues of faulty brain chemistry here such as clinical depression, mania or psychosis, yet these common & everyday emotions are increasingly being perceived as mental health issues. Should they be? Existential malaise manifests itself in a myriad of symptoms with crucially, no definitive cause ever identified.

A common historical (and current) explanation is that of the socio-cultural, likened to a virus attacking the body but this psychic virus‘inflames’ the psyche (Schaffner, 2014), no more so than during times of rapid social change (Kury, 2012). I do not intend to present a clinical analysis of the ‘condition’ but, whilst acknowledging a consistent trajectory in the occurrence of this individual ‘dis-ease’ with life, focus on the presumptions, treatments and explanations of the times to demonstrate to what extent perceptions of ‘illness’ are influenced by social prejudices and expectations. Read more