This is Day 3 of our 30-day blog on the Declaration of Principles adopted by the 10th Annual Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression held in Toronto, May 14-18, 1982. (More info here.) Today we are talking about Principle 3.
Principle 3 reads in full as follows:
We oppose involuntary psychiatric intervention because it is a violation of the individual's right to control his or her own soul, mind and body.
Psychiatric intrusion into the private, personal space of unwilling others is wrong. Psychiatry is a philosophy, an orientation, a values system that preferences some ideas, approaches and ways of being over others. We would never allow a religion or a political ideology, no matter how popular, this kind of officious power. Yet, disguised in the trappings of science and medicine, fueled by Pharma funding, aided by cultural confusion and abetted by the deference of family, neighbors, police and courts, institutional psychiatry pretty much sticks its nose, its beliefs, its pills, its syringes - and increasingly electroshock and surgical procedures - in whomever it darn well pleases.
Like the old adage about unbridled power, this power to corrupt corrupts absolutely. Truly, the 'disease model' has never struck a chord more true than in the iatrogenic instruments of coercive psychiatry. Individually, socially, institutionally, psychiatry carte blanche is like a virus that spreads itself through its infiltration of living hosts. A hollow lifeless shell, its existence depends on its ability to sleuth its way into vulnerable people and systems. Once there, it injects the instructions - physical, mental, interpersonal, institutional - needed to sustain itself and replicate its strain.
Like other viruses, the infectious nature of psychiatry carte blanche creates illness and malaise where ever it spreads. Infatuated with its own ambitions, oblivious to the welfare of the living systems it intrudes, this brand of predation masquerading as medicine feeds off its hosts from behind closed doors. It drains their vitality and pillages their resources, even while promising restoration equal to intrusion. All the while, the industry grows fatter and more full.
Only when the last is drained of body, mind, spirit or ability to pay does the hospital door swing open. Not for the benefit of the host, but because there is still blood yet to squeeze from the decimated corpse. Trotted out in public, every failure a success - new and better advertising for the deadliness of said disease.
Suffice it to say, few with choice would choose this fate. If society simply denied psychiatry access to unconsenting victims, this malicious predator would either learn to earn its keep or die a natural death.
Questions for Reflection
We are building this Blog together. Your lived experience is needed and valued. It is essential to building our shared knowledge and expertise as a movement. Please comment on any or all of these questions or in any way that speaks to you personally.
1. In what ways have you felt violated by psychiatry - body, mind, soul or otherwise?
2. What would you like others of conscience to know about your experience?
3. What about this experience affected you the most?
4. How did that impact your relationship with the mental health industry or important others?
5. When you picture yourself in the worst of it, how did you maintain sufficient boundedness to stay alive - physically, mentally, spiritually, otherwise?
6. Can you recall a time when someone in a position of relative power actually honored the boundaries you set for your body, mind or soul? How was that different and why did it matter?
7. Think ahead to the advice you would give to future generations. What is the most important thing you would want them to know about the importance of honoring the personal boundaries someone sets for themselves?
8. Violation of personal boundaries does not happen in vacuum. Awareness of, and respect for, the boundaries of others is something we all need to cultivate and make and effort to ensure. In your experience, what is the single most important change, we could make as a culture to promote more respectful relationships between human beings?