Antipsychiatry, as a movement, matters and I would say that fighting antipsychiatry, as a movement, also matters.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to stick my head in the sand and just “live and let live.” I’m a live and let live kind of gal. It’s the way I handle most things and in terms of people who are critical of psychiatry (not antipsychiatrists; moderate, rational people) that’s how I feel about them. Criticism, in the end, is often healthy as it help to make an institution better.
But antipsychiatry? That’s another thing entirely. That’s a concept that needs to be fought. Actively.
Leave the Antipsychiatrists To Their Views?
Someone came onto a Facebook thread where some antipsychiatrists were commenting and said this,
But in the end; does it really matter about someone else’s opinions? Does their arguments both pro and con really effect your everyday life? Whether mental illness is real or not is irrelevant isn’t it? The bottom line in life is how we respond to ourselves. If it works for you- don’t argue with someone that opposes your view. You will never change a view that only takes the opposite of ones own views. I know I have a mental illness that has been curbed by the decisions I made for me. Would I ever take an argument from someone that is not in my shoes- well, that statement in itself is ridiculous. Everyone has a right to their opinion- that does not make it a pinnacle in my life.
Philosophically, I completely get where this girl is coming from. I’d say it’s “live and let live.” Which, as I’ve said, is completely reasonable and understandable in many differences of opinion.
But I disagree completely about antipsychiatry. People who deny that mental illness exists need to be fought. It’s not because of my mental illness, per se. My mental illness and its treatment exists irrespective of what antipsychiatrists say. I’m strong, I’m educated and I’m not about to let antipsychiatrists get under my skin. It’s about all of the other people out there who have mental illnesses and are being adversely affected by such lunacy. Those are the people I’m worried about. Those are the people I fight for.
It’s like when you see a bully on the playground but they’re not bullying you. You can walk away from it safe in the knowledge that you’re not being hurt – but someone else is. And who am I if I walk away and let someone else be beaten up?
And in the case of fighting antipsychiatry the stakes are much higher than a beating. Someone who doesn’t get mental illness treatment because some idiotic group denies the illness’s existence and demands that people stay out of treatment can actually die. Denying treatment when someone is sick can kill them. That’s as true with a heart condition as it is with a mental illness.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to grab a placard and a Sharpie, that’s not my thing. I think you fight antipsychiatry in much subtler ways. You fight antipsychiatry by throwing your support behind organizations that fight for people with mental illnesses. (I just went to the National Council’s convention. They kind of rock.) You fight antipsychiatry by educating yourself and others (see these mental illness myths dispelled by a doctor). You fight antipsychiatry by not walking away when you see them hurting others.
I know there will always be antipsychiatry. I just hope that antipsychiatry becomes more and more disempowered as science becomes more and more clear. I believe, eventually (likely not in my lifetime) we will look back on antipsychiatrists as flat-Earth type folks and shake our heads at such silliness. The science will get us to that point, eventually.
But until that happens, I’ll just keep fighting antipsychiatry in my little sphere with my writings and hope that it trickles down to a person or two in need. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same.