Now, I understand that this is a theory and will only be true for a percentage of people. And I understand that no matter what I say, I will have a deluge of people disagreeing with me.
Nevertheless, I write:
Antipsychiatrists are Scared
Antipsychiatrists are scared of psychiatry, scared of what psychiatry does and scared of mental illness in general. I understand. These are scary things. I’m pretty sure I’m scared of all of them too but rationally, I live with them all.
Psychiatry is Powerful and Scary
There is no arguing that psychiatry is powerful. Doctors of all types are powerful but some might argue that psychiatrists are even more so as they have the right/duty of treating people without consent in very limited circumstances. (And, of course, any doctor can have a person held or treated without consent, not just a psychiatrist, but psychiatrists are likely the ones making the call.)
Moreover, a psychiatrist’s primary function is to treat serious mental illness and they primarily do this with drugs. Very powerful drugs. They’re not as powerful as, say, oncology (cancer) or HIV/AIDS medication, but they are powerful nonetheless.
So when I think of a person who has the power to wield these drugs and lock me up against my will, I can quite reasonably be scared of that person. I have been scared of that person. For many years I was scared that a doctor was going to throw me into a psych ward against my will.
However, no psychiatrist ever has or has even discussed it. And as one person who has had the experience said, “There’s no reason to be afraid of involuntary treatment.”
Our Past Makes us Scared of the Present
I understand fear based on the past. It’s something we all have in a variety of areas of our lives. Our experiences are how we learn. Our past tries to tell us how to avoid pain in the future. It may not do the best job of it, however.
And as the saying goes, once bitten, twice shy. If psychiatry has bitten you, you are likely going to be shy, scared, of it in the future. In my case I had a very bad experience when my vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) was turned on (doctor error) which resulted in immediate agony and terror; and yes, I have been scared of getting it adjusted ever since. Not scared enough not to do it, but certainly scared enough to have a butterfly farm in my stomach when it has to be done.
Mental Illness is Scary
And as is obvious to anyone who has a mental illness – mental illness is scary. It’s terrifying to have a brain that doesn’t work. It’s terrifying to have delusions and hallucinations. It’s terrifying thinking of the pain of depression or bipolar disorder.
Fear and Antipsychiatry – Fear is Easy
So it’s much easier to deny and decry what we fear than it is to face it head-on. It’s easier for me to rile against the evils of VNS than it is for me to simply say that it didn’t work for me, it caused me pain, but other people have had other, more positive experiences.
[push]It’s easier to believe that my experience is the only experience and that everyone should change based on that no matter whether I am the exception to the rule.[/push]
It’s easier to avoid psychiatry than accept the fact that one day one psychiatrist may decide I need involuntary treatment. It’s easier to scream and holler against an evil conspiracy than simply to admit that sometimes Bad Things Happen to Good People and sometimes that person is me.
It’s always easier to act out of fear and anger than it is to stand up and deal with the complex intricacies of life-altering, stressful, painful decisions of treatment.
Hate and Anger Stem From Fear
So when it comes down to people who hate me, I get it. They fear what I represent. This comes out as anger and hate. No problem. It’s pretty natural.
But I don’t let fear rule my world. I don’t let the fear of becoming the exception stop me from trying to become the rule. And the rule is most people get better with treatment. The exceptions are bad. The exceptions are worth noting. The exceptions are worth keeping in mind. But it’s the rule on which I base my thoughts. It’s rationale and it’s hope on which I base my thoughts. And that’s just the kind of person I want to be.