CLOSING PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS ISN'T THE ISSUE


I used to dream of the day when the hospitals would all shut down. I even dared to dream
of tearing a few down myself, brick by brick. I fantasized of a miracle in which all the
locks on all the doors and windows would mysteriously vanish and everyone could escape. In my anger, I blamed the system. Even outside of hospitals, I saw people trapped. I saw
folks who'd been sitting in the same dull, old, tired, worn-out day treatement program for
ten years or more. These folks did nothing more than sit around all day and drink coffee
and smoke cigarettes. In my zeal to change things, I tried to rescue folks. I started drop-in's. I attracted quite a
lot of people. The folks I got from the day treatment programs came to my drop-in. Do you
know what they did? That's right. They sat around and drank coffee and smoked cigarettes. These people were "soul-dead." Their spirit had been crushed by the system. their life
force had been snuffed. I realized that it was the internal self that I had to help liberate,
and not worry so much about the physical bricks and mortar of the system. Instead, the
major task of liberation is to free people's minds of the brainwashing of the system and
to rekindle the life force or spirit within. The system teaches people well. It teaches us to be hopeless, helpless, dependent,
life-long, pill-popping, "mentally ill", sick, crazy, lazy, defective, "brain diseased",
psychiatrically diagnosed labels. To overcome this oppression, we have to reach the spark
of life within people which I call the "human spirit." Spirit isn't something religious. It is
that which drove Beethoven to write beautiful music which his deaf ears would never
hear. It is the courage which holds people's souls together under the most adverse of
conditions from concentration camps to POW camps. To reach this level in people, I had them remember. Remember what it was like before
they became mental patients. What their hopes and dreams and aspirations were. I ask
people what they wanted to be when they thought about it as a child. I try to find that
thing which is withing each and every one of us which moves us with a passion. I don't
judge the dreams and hopes of others. I merely help them to find that within themselves
which has been oppressed by the system. Once found, I affirm their dreams in a positive
way and show them how, step-by-step, fueled by their own passion, they can achieve
their dreams. I give people permission to make mistakes and keep on traveling down the
path of their own design. It isn't easy but, I have managed to be fairly successful in
helping to "deprogram" people from the "cult of psychiatry" and get a life of their own.
It's the most rewarding thing I've done in my life and it's a heck of a lot more satisfying
than trying to break institutional locks with my bare hands.