Pat on Language


I hate that word "treatment."  It's been twisted ... by the system and perverted beyond recognition.  If they lock you up against your will, strip you literally and figuratively (of your rights) and force you into bondage and solitary confinement and then inject you with powerful and painful drugs, they call it "treatment."  In every other possible realm on earth, this is torture and not "treatment."  If they set a fifteen-minute appointment for you to renew your drugs every two weeks or month, they call that "treatment" and they can bill your insurance for payment.  I consider it fraud.


To be a mental patient is to participate in stupid groups that call themselves therapy -- music isn't music, it's therapy; volleyball isn't a sport, it's therapy; sewing is therapy; washing dishes is therapy.  Even the air that we breathe is therapy -- called milieu. (Rae Unzicker-"To Be a Mental Patient")


Normal behaviors are NOT symptoms:

Normal people can have a bad day, an "off" week and even a "down" month.  However, if we exhibit those normal behaviors on the job, they get labeled and we are asked if we took our medications or if someone needs to call our shrink.


There is no such thing as a "side-effect":

There are only effects from taking drugs.  Some effects are desired and others are undesirable.  Calling something a "side-effect" obscures and minimizes the resultant pain, suffering and misery and in doing so, it discounts our experiences and perceptions and thus sets us up as less than we are.  It denies our reality. There are no such things as side effects – only effects, some of which we call "side" in order to avoid discussing them.  If a psychiatrist wants to trivialize your discomfort in an effort to urge you to be more compliant, he or she may refer to your discomfort as a mere "side-effect," as though it's not important.  Perhaps it isn't important to them but they should acknowledge its importance to you.


There is a problem with the word "trigger."  People use the word as if there is some particular precipitating cause that "triggers" us to go off like a discharging bullet.  It's very stigmatizing to believe that we are so volatile.  It's just as stigmatizing to not recognize that a "trigger" may be only the final straw in a series mistreatments that have had a cumulative effect over hours, days, weeks, months or even years.


I believe it is wrong to call people "mentally ill."  I believe less and less in "mental illness."  There are no biochemical markers, no biological tests, no hard evidence at all, to "prove" the existence of "mental illness." Proof = demonstrate a reliable association between a clearly specified pattern of observables and other reliably measurable event(s) which operate as antecedents. (This is same level of proof used for TB, cancer, diabetes, etc.)  I don't believe that my thoughts, moods, feelings or emotions are a disease, disorder or illness.  They are me.  Cumulatively, they make up who and what I am as a person.  If I don't like them, I can either wait until they pass on their own or I can do something to change them.


Other language is just as pejorative.  No one has ever been healed by a diagnostic label but many have been harmed.  In fact, there are many labels that professionals consider quasi-diagnostic but that only serve the purpose of perjuring the person: treatment resistant, non-compliant, low-functioning, "borderline", etc.


Finally, " Why do we use the language of war rather than the language of love in the human services. For instance we talk about sending staff out into the field to provide front line services to target populations for whom we develop and implement treatment strategies whether they want them or not."  ("Spirit Breaking: When the Helping Professions Hurt", April 7, 1989, Patricia E. Deegan, Ph.D.)