The rise of the mental health gurus

I wanted to write about mental health gurus. 

There seems to be a brand of mental health urban warriors (facilitated by the internet) who shake their funky stuff round cyberspace selling the idea that yoga can cure mental health and if you just do enough psychoanalysis or take the right herbs you will be liberated from bipolar or schizophrenia.

These mental health gurus hang out on you tube or at hearing voices conferences. The mental health jet set. They sashay  through the world spreading their gospel of med reduction and mental health alternatives.

It’s kind of an industry. Some of these people are peer counsellors charging a $100 a time for coaching sessions. They have probably been interviewed on madness radio!

I find most of these people 1) suffered a breakdown 2) had a bad time 3) discovered something like Kabbalah, macrobiotic diet or crystals 4) had some huge epiphany, their life turned around overnight 5) after their road to Damascus experience they go out and spread the gospel to the rest of the world using You Tube, Instagram and zines. 

These people become a poster boy/girl for the radical mental health movement.   They might make a movie using Kickstarter funds, start a Facebook group or get a book published by an indie publishing house. They become twitter celebrities part of the opinion-orati supporting knee jerk left wing politics and every minor cause of the moment. 

Searing through the information superhighway spreading disinformation. Hiding their zealotry to push people off medication under the guise of harm reduction. 

I find their rhetoric that everyone can get off drugs and that the answers to life are in dreams or signs all around us quite un water tight. They express the  mantra that break down is break through but if they ruin your life it will be statutory services that pick up the pieces. 

I just find the mental health matrix unrealistic and when it boils down to it mental health refuseniks basically espouse Marxism. 

They espouse risky experimentations with hallucinogens and bogus philosophies. Yet take no responsibility.

I think the basics message that you should feel guilty for relying on psychiatric medication sucks. Not everyone can get off medication. Mental health gurus tend to be high functioning A type personalities with a mild case of anxiety. When it clears up they swear their recovery was secured by post reichian or gone therapy and feminist praxis groups. 

I like a lot of these people and maybe I’m being unfair (this is a polemic after all). I just feel as though the mental health guru circuit is handy gig to promote books, blogs, products, services of dubious value. 

Maybe I am a bit of a mental health guru myself? 

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Positions of Love

“There are so many positions of love:

each curve on a

branch,

the thousand ways your eyes can hold us,

the infinite shapes each mind

can draw,

the spring orchestra of scents and sounds wafting through the air,

the currents of light combusting like

passionate

lips,

the revolution of the universe’s skirt, whose folds

contain other worlds,

our every sigh that falls against

His inconceivably close,

omnipresent,

divine

body. “

Hafez

I love the line “whose folds contain other worlds”. It gives me an expansive feeling that conveys a sense of the enormity and unfathomable scale of the universe. If the universe is this big there is a place for me in it.


Never being listened to about alternatives to psychiatric drugs

Ever since I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2001 I thought there must be some other way of treating the symptoms other than drugs.

When I looked into it I found out that numerous people have advocated other methods for healing mental distress other than pharmaceuticals. However the National Health Service only invests in psychiatric drugs. Or I should say drugs are used to treat acute distress. Drugs and psychiatric hospitals.

The NHS is like a Stalinist edifice when it comes to mental health. They only supply ‘evidenced based’ treatments but as others have pointed out a lot of the studies ‘proving’ the efficacy of psychiatric drugs are bought studies paid for by the pharmaceutical companies. The evidence is little more than marketing really.

As a psychiatric patient or consumer you really have little input into your treatment. Discusssions with doctors about alternatives just meet a brick wall. Most psychiatrists are trained to dole out pills and can’t conceieve that other ways would work.

Contacting the health service administration yields nothing either they just defer to the evidence base (drugs company marketing).

So who do you take it to then? The politicians. “We are not medically trained” they say and defer to the doctors. It’s a self defeating loop of confirmation bias. Because the system of drugs and psychiatric hospitals and the current legal framework is all there is that is all these administrators can conceptualise of in their paucity of imagination.

The mental health system is very very dreary and doesn’t allow any participation by patients. You are ‘done unto’ you don’t have a say. Despite there being lots of shiny posters about patient voice and patient inclusion. Patient inclusion is channeled into pointless tick boxes and toothless committees and quangos.

The mental health system is inherently frustrating. Also most of the public is saturated with drug company marketing about chemical imbalances. Every time you mention mental health people just tell you how important it is to take the drugs until you just give up and stop complaining.

Also it’s fiendishly hard to actually get off psychiatric drugs. The withdrawal effects of drugs look much like the original illness.

Thee is no mention of this in the NHS but I’m sure that the science behind NHS psychiatry is far from scientific. The drugs largely tranquilise but the doctors hide behind this dogma that they are targetting certain areas of the brain and neuro transmitters. How this charade is allowed to go on in the post #MeToo era beggars belief. Presumably it’s more convenient to just keep mental health patients drugged. If that’s the case why not just admit it rather than hide behind the pretence you are doing medicine. It’s incredibly frustrating and I’m not sure what the answer is. Can I risk ruining my life by coming off psych drugs. Why is this system based on lies. As a mental health patient it makes you question how much else of society is just lies and marketing.

L

Bipolar blues

Hi, my name is K. I live in the United Kingdom. I have diagnoses of bipolar disorder and paranoia. This is my blog to explore mental health.

Ive been involved in mental health activism before but I was reading mental health articles on the New York Times website and finding that I had a lot of interest and energy around the topic. I don’t wanna dwell too much on my own story. I want to write about mental health overall, services and society. I will weave in bits of my story here and there.

So I had a diagnosis of bipolar since age 20. Then in around 2015/16 I began to develop paranoia. In fact one doctor suggested that my struggles were a personality disorder known as emotional unstable. That was never confirmed though.

I just feel like there is so much rhetoric about mental health but a lot of it is perpetuated by vested interest such as the government and big drugs companies.

I just want to write a bit about mental health.