Sunday, July 12, 2020

Psychiatry: To Observe and To Control

Psychiatry: To Observe and To Control 


Gavin Bushe

The Myth of Psychiatric Care.

Most people today still regard psychiatry as a system of care and compassion.  They seem to think of it as a system where venerable old men with esteemed knowledge and insight into the inner-workings of the mind gather around a disturbed person to help and ease that person.  That is a myth. Nothing could be further from the truth.  In this essay I shall be arguing from 25 years lived experience of medical-model psychiatry that it is actually a system of disinterested control of the human being, indeed of the masses, for the sake of control itself.

Psychiatric illnesses are iatrogenic.  They are created by the psychiatric process itself.  Ultimately therefore psychiatry exists as a self-perpetuating system of domination and separation of the human being from society for the sake of control itself.  It has nothing to offer except its false diagnoses and the necessarily false treatments that are attendant to them. What a person gets in psychiatry is a false promise of care.  I shall now outline what a person really gets from psychiatry:

The Disinterested Attitude

The opposite of love is not hate.  It is disinterest.  What could a person want who suffered an emotional or psychological wound but a loving address of their injury?  That suggests a turning towards God for help and healing.  However for those among humanity who have been referred to psychiatry what they will find is an industrial-medical complex with practitioners who don’t have the time or resources to do anything other than implement procedure in a “disinterested” way.  It is not possible to show care and attention to disturbed people on an industrial-medical foundation.  What they get is bureaucratic treatment.

The psychiatric bureaucracy operates like most efficient businesses with an eye to the business plan.  It does not offer the tailored, personalised care and attention that sufferers of mental trauma actually require.  Rather it offers the standard practice.  When I have been incarcerated in the psychiatric units I have witnessed dozens and dozens of people who seem to be left to their own devices by the system with every day that passes.  These are people who are given a bed and food and not much else by way of aid.  On top of that they are subjected to the enforceable elements of psychiatry without much recourse to protest.  All the while the psychiatrists sit in their position of power with scarcely a blush at the benevolent tyranny that they oversee.  Thank God that after decades of the psychiatric survivor movement the spotlight on the psychiatric system has toned down greatly what malevolence had been there!

Behavioural Risk Management

If justice were done, psychiatry would not be classed as a medical specialism.  It would be classed as a business management specialisation within a healthcare narrative.  The discipline is fixated on the idea of mental disorder.  That is to say that a person is a threat to himself or others by reason of a loss of mental self-control thus necessitating apparently the need for others to control him for their own sake and his.  On the merit of that laudable and publicly-acceptable rationale the psychiatrist becomes a highly-paid expert in assessing the risk that certain people (and why these people?) represent to themselves or others.

Far from a caring enquiry into why life has troubled and traumatised a human being, the work of the psychiatrist as an assessor is a methodical approach to alienating that human being from society.  For behind the methodology is the legal and political power to lock you up.  The psychiatrist incarcerates you without fear of reprimand.  There is no human rights body that investigates what they do.  In Ireland the system that is set up to oversee the activities of psychiatrists expects them to self-govern with trust.  This is completely unacceptable from a point of view of just balance of powers.  Such is the sway and scope of psychiatrists to engage in their work.  It is clearly a practice of behavioural risk management.  This is profoundly true via the continuous review process that patients must undergo within the services.  I argue that the life-long reviewing is little more than medical surveillance.

Medical Surveillance

Perhaps more than anything your time spent with regard to psychiatry is time when you are continuously scrutinised, surveilled, observed by the psychiatrists and their system.  From the moment you meet the psychiatrist you are subjected to methodological questioning that is aimed at determining your psychiatric state.  This is the psychiatric review process.  It is simply where you are required to answer a list of questions in order that the doctor might form a diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.  Then the standard procedure is to be given a pharmacological intervention, a drug.

The fact that the observations of the psychiatrists are purely superficial never seems to matter to anyone concerned except some of the patients.  It is indeed a wonder how these people can get at “the heart of the matter” by asking such mechanical questions as, “How is your sleep?”, “How is your libido?” and “Have you any thoughts of harming yourself?”.  If these answers revealed anything it would be merely the bio-chemical functioning of a body, not a soul.

After the periodic review the patient is followed after by the “outreach team”.  These are a group of agents, e.g. the Community Health Nurse, and the Social Worker,   sent into the community by the psychiatric system.  They operate as little more than spies for the psychiatrist they report to.  In my case the arrival of an outreach team has simply been a prelude to a sectioning later as they gather up the technical data that the psychiatrist needs to issue an order for arrest.  This is simply community control emanating from the health centre.  It is no different from a sheriff of the medieval period sending out his men to keep the serfs under observation and in-line.

If there were any doubt about my argument then it is dispelled at the point of contact with the Nurses Station at the psychiatric hospital.  Here, at the Nurses Station, the staffs are all aligned behind observation panels that allow them to keep an eye on all those who have been referred to the acute psychiatric administration.  They spend most of their time writing and recording what the patients do during the day for report to the psychiatrists.  They have access to CCTV cameras that allow them to pin-point observe what the patients are doing in certain sections of the acute unit.  The entire affair is a monitoring sequence until mandatory drug treatments are to be given out.  Then violence is on hand for those who refuse to take the toxins.

For those who are able to read their own reviews made by the psychiatric system over time they will find that it barely represents them as human beings but is rather a long list of outsiders’ interpretations of their being. Never will the psychiatrists be able to make a fair report about anyone because they simply do not know who they are reporting about.  Then they combine their personal ignorance with false theories that produce an often ghastly depiction of the human being reported about.

The Mortgage of the Soul to Psychiatry

So where does all of this observation and control lead?  For the psychiatric professionals it is a pathway to a life-long career with decent money.  For the psychiatric patients it is simply a bondage to an austere and inhuman system that will always remain impersonal and indifferent to our individual rights and dreams.  To be referred to State Psychiatry in Ireland is to have your soul mortgaged to the system. You are destined for a reality which is a “polar night of icy darkness and hardness.”

When will you wake up from your dark night of the soul in psychiatry?  When you learn to say NO to their bizarre and inane treatments.  If you can, say NO to psychiatry with your hand.  If you can’t say NO with your hand, say NO with your mouth. And if you cannot say NO with your mouth then hate psychiatry in your heart and that is the weakest freedom from it.

When dozens, and then hundreds and then thousands of psychiatric citizens say NO to psychiatry that is the time when the necromantic spell of the system will be broken and the patients restored to people once again at last.

Our day will come!

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Psychiatric Archipelago

The Psychiatric Archipelago


Gavin Bushe

Psychiatric Survivor

All credit to the director Ken Loach who in his film, “The Wind the Shakes the Barley” clearly explained that while Ireland had gained her freedom at the beginning of the 20th Century she had inherited a British State without the British, that oppressed the natives in similar ways.  One of those ways is the system of social control and the law that the British left behind.

By 2001 that law had become the Mental Health Act which was signed into effect by Micheal Martin TD who went on to become Taoiseach in 2020.  He was pivotal in modernising the Irish Psychiatric System which in its spread of “approved detention centres” under the auspices of the Mental Health Commission resembled a scattering of internal exiles just like a Solzhenitsyn archipelago.  What is different between Solzhenitsyn’s horror story and ours by the turn of the 21st Century?  Perhaps only the quality of the food is better and the ambient temperature of the buildings is humane.

I first entered the archipelago in my late teens.  I was sent to St. Lomans Psychiatric Facility.  It was an ominous large building with snaky corridors and a dark atmosphere.  My first solid memory of the place was that of a man lying on his back in the middle of a hall.  I asked myself, “Why is there a man of senior age lying in the middle of the corridor?” The answer that came to me was that it is probably better that you don’t ask too many questions in a place like this.  As I entered the psychiatric ward where I was due to stay for some time my parents left me at the entrance which is sealed by a huge iron door like something out of a submarine.  My father told me it had a code but I didn’t verify his statement.

So I was ushered into a psychiatric ward in St. Lomans in 1998.  I was surrounded by dozens of people who seemed to be disoriented.  There was an atmosphere of latent violence in the shuffling of some of the apparently disturbed patients.  People found it hard to sleep.  I left my bed to complain to the night staff but they simply told me to return to it.  I made a determination to become a vegetarian that night in order to improve my karma in the place.  To this day I am now a vegan.

The weeks I spent in St. Lomans were surreal.  The place is a death trap for a person’s social success.  Noone really wants to know a person who has stayed at St. Lomans.  However many of the people were tragic human beings who had little social contacts and desired only the quality of life that oblivious neighbours in wider Dublin took for granted.  I designed to get out of the cul-de-sac as quickly as possible.  I enrolled in a FÁS course in computer programming in Finglas.  I would have been very good at the course except that the pills which the Psychiatric Unit gave me each night put me to sleep for the first 2.5 hours of the lessons each morning in class.  They are somniferous.

The Psychiatric Unit eventually released me after some time with a commitment to being examined by a number of experts in forensic psychiatry who eventually gave me the “all clear”.  Apparently I was suffering from psychosis.  The doctor knew this because his eyes lit up when I had told him that I had religious experiences.  I hear voices and see ghosts.  In the language of the religion that I was later to adopt, Islam, I have had interactions with the Jinn.

The system of psychiatry then went on to make me its permanent subject for the next 20+ years.  Through over 15 incarcerations I was monitored and socially-controlled by a machine of mental health experts who rarely did anything to assist me and always did something to constrain me.  I met dozens of other people who had similar views to mine in the Critical Voices Network.  I also met institutionalised people who thought most highly of the system.  It is remarkable how some people come to revere their oppressors.

Across my time in the system I always thought that the dark and sinister spectre of violence that the psychiatrists promised was a blackening upon any good that their souls attempted to achieve for us service users.  Even recently I noted a chill in the air during the otherwise benign exercises that we do in the services due to the constant threat of physical assault that looms over the services like a shadow.  They attacked me twice in my last stay in order to give me the drugs that are meant for me. The psychiatric workers are probably deranged on some fundamental level that they can conduct themselves appropriately in their psycho-obtuse denial of the omnipresent oppression that is their bread-and-butter and career path.  Even today, the 30th of June 2020, I am having great trouble in trying to wrench from them any answer to 9 complaints that I made while being unjustly detained and assaulted for a 26 day period in May/June 2020.

The denizens of the Psychiatric Archipelago of Ireland don’t like being challenged on their supposition that they are there to help you. No.  They are there to control the surplus population of Ireland but, perhaps, that surplus might one day want more for itself than to be swept under the rug of Irish Bourgeois Workers’ society…!?

O how little the Irish know or are prepared to admit about their dark underbelly of the Irish Psychiatric Archipelago.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Trouble with Psychiatric Medication

The Trouble with Psychiatric Medication


Gavin Bushe

Psychiatric Survivor

I am not a pharmacologist.  I merely understand that what you put into your body has effects on your body, mind, and soul.  So it is with bio-psychiatric medication.  These are clearly toxic substances that have a nebulous effect on the mind and the emotions.  I can only speak with authority on my own experience so I shall do that here for the record.  Perhaps other readers can share their stories of psychiatric medication to illuminate our growing social body of lived experience and knowledge.

I was first given psychiatric medication as a 16 year old.  I resisted but the psychiatrist Dr. Paula McKay insisted using the recruitment of my mother as a social lever to get me to take them.  The drug was called Sertraline.  I later noticed many unpleasant side-effects and social interactive problems due to nervousness and involuntary motions of my body.  I continued on that drug for many years despite my protests until another doctor decided to give me Zyprexa (Olanzapine).  This is a very powerful sedative that caused weight gain, shaking of the arms, and drowsiness.  I remember slumping over the machines at work due to Zyprexa.

It was in relation to Zyprexa that I undertook my two para-suicides.  It is such a powerful drug  that 30 milligrams will effectively knock out a man.  After I had taken 280 milligrams as an overdose I was knocked out for quite some time.  My only grace in that was waking up to see my mother standing over my weakened body at the hospital.

My relationship to medication is ambiguous.  It is difficult to say whether the drugs are causing a mental health problem or remedying one.  I do know that drastic variations in drug intake is extremely bad for the pill-taker.  Under advisement from an alternative medical practitioner in 2010 I had come off the drugs.  I went cold-turkey.  It was a bad move which dogged me for 10 years until the matter was resolved by an agreement to take a depot injection of haliperidol.  That agreement required my torture at the hands of several bands of psychiatric clinicians who had held me down and forcibly injected me on the numerous occasions that I was involuntarily detained by the State Psychiatric Services.

Today I can only advise not to have anything to do with the State Psychiatric Services in Ireland.  If you are a person with trauma and emotional vulnerability try seeking the help of ANYONE BUT a bio-psychiatrist, e.g. a counsellor, a reflexologist, a naturopath, an acupuncturist, etc.  The best way to deal with psychiatric medication is to not go on them in the first place. But I warn you that once your body has adjusted to taking these toxins you probably will have to endure them always going forward unless you have an intelligent plan to detoxify from them gradually.

The trouble with psychiatric medication is that you don’t know whether your behaviour is your own or is caused by the drugs.  That in itself is a theft from your own mind of self-knowledge.  I urge extreme caution in all affairs to do with psychiatric medication.  Seek advice.  Seek personal safety. Be cautious with psychiatric medication.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

In Defence of the Liberty of the Individual in Society Against the Mental Health Act 2001 (Ireland)

In Defence of the Liberty of the Individual in Society Against the Mental Health Act 2001 (Ireland).


Gavin Bushe MLIS, B.A. (Hons), Cert.

The Unique Individual.

I am different. We are all different from each other. To live in society is to share your unique signature with others, to live beside them in harmony and mutual purpose in order achieve the goal of community which is a happy life for all concerned.  Here in Ireland we have a law written by Fianna Fáil which threatens the right to be different.  It is called the Mental Health Act 2001.

Would we not all like to live in a brotherhood or a society with others – for good or for bad?  Yes.  Then who will be his brother’s oppresser?  Noone.  The right of difference of the unique individual stands firmly as a jewel of human rights that is to be guarded against the politics of some people.

I have personally been the target of the Mental Health Act 2001 on the 17th of May 2020.  I was walking in my Islamic Dress.  (It’s called an Ihram, normally used by people on the pilgrimage).  I was travelling to the supermarket when some people from among the community including Brian Leech, candidate for the Solidarity Party, approached me with vain concerns about my mental health status.  They repeatedly asked me was I “alright”, as though I could not discern or speak for myself while rebuking them, and carefully feigned an arrest under the Mental Health Act 2001.  Garda R215 was the arresting officer.  She understands that it was a farce.

I was taken to Tallaght Garda Station where Doctor Moloney asked me two questions before signing me into involuntary detention. I then spent 26 days in involuntary detention in Tallaght Acute Psychiatric Unit.  While there I was group-assaulted twice by clinical staff for refusing to take psychiatric medication via injection.

All of this was the creation of an impersonal legal machinery called the Mental Health Act 2001.

The Revolution and the Liberty of the Individual.

The purpose of Ireland’s Unfinished Revolution was to establish the rights and liberties of the individual as against foreign tyranny.  The Unfinished Revolution created an Irish State that was inherited from the foreign tyrants.  Today that State still fundamentally exists within the country.  It is an ominous legacy from 1923.

The point of the politics is to establish a free Ireland.

How can this be achieved under the framework of the Mental Health Act 2001?  It cannot.  When I was sent to the hospital it was a kicking-in of the most reactionary legal structure in the present land.  It must be opposed.

The Problem is The State.

“Where there is a state there is no freedom, and where there will be freedom there will be no state”, said Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin).  Lenin would say, “Smash the State”.  The State has no place here except as a Welfare State.  We must rally round each other and reflect on what this represents to us to have a law like the Mental Health Act 2001.  It is a wooden mallet that hovers over our heads.

The State is the gravest threat to the liberty and individual personhood of the human being.  When acting like a machine it depersonalises and destroys.  It makes bullies out of human beings.  It makes victims out of human beings.  The ultimate end must be the Repeal of the Mental Health Act 2001.

Only when the Mental Health Act 2001 is repealed, particularly in its social control mechanisms, will we be able to enjoy free mental health.  Until then we are prisoners of the State that empowers some and victimises certain individuals who for whatever reasons are brought under its gaze.  The law is a basilisk.  The law is a cockatrice.  The law is a medusa.  It turns you to stone as its victim. It must be repealed.

Community Advocates are Necessary.

Pending the repeal of the Mental Health Act 2001, mandatory advocates must be assigned to every person who is detained under the law.  I have witnessed dozens of community members who have been left to lady luck for their human rights at the hospital: people who are detained on an ongoing and perhaps indefinite period of time while the mental health machine keeps turning and churning on.

The best defence for us is to have an advocate assigned to each detainee.  The Irish Advocacy Network (IAN) already exists.  It must immediately be funded and expanded so that it can do the job it was created for.  It was the brainchild of Paddy MacGowan.  Paddy was detained for 10 years within the system before he got out.  His story is an immense one.  He set-up the Irish Advocacy Network (IAN).  Now it must be funded and expanded. Sallynoggin College of Further Education (SCFE) provides a course in “Information, Advice, and Advocacy Practice”.  It is a QQI Level 6 course designed for the purpose I mentioned.  The College is based in Dun Laoghaire.

The Law Must be Voluntary.

The entire idea of a republic is to create more freedom than it takes away.  Only right-wing actors confuse the moral problem by making difference a problem.  The Mental Health Act 2001 has got to go.  In its place we must have a system of mental health care that is attractive not coercive.  Only when people will be attracted to a service can it really start to aid them.  Currently the service is undermined by its domineering coercive nature.

I envisage a time when people involved in mental health will breathe a relief from the individualist slaughter that they have been engaged in – and they must know it.  A fully voluntary service could help others whose mental health has deteriorated.  It could give them mental breathing space.  No forced medications.  No forced Electroshock.  No atrocities against the unique individual with his/her own unique DNA and human fingerprint. 

I will be different. 

Gavin Bushe