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Hatred of Psychiatry Doesn’t Create Change

May 2, 2011 Natasha Tracy

I hate shrinks. Shrinks should die. Shrinks are evil. (Thank the commenters (not an individual) for that.)

OK I get it, you don’t like psychiatrists. Personally, I would find a more intelligent way to express an argument, but your point is clear nonetheless.

You’re ranting. I get that. I rant. We all do. It’s a healthy expression of the frustration seen when dealing with so many things outside of our own control. But at some point you have to stop hating, wishing for murder and committing moral condemnation and actually do something useful.

Hate is Emotional, Irrational and Useless

When we say we “hate” something what we really mean is our emotions have overwhelmed us to the point where we no longer think rationally. Something you “hate” can’t be redeemed, can’t be made better and contains no shades of grey. It is only darkness.

Are there things worth hating? Perhaps. Brussels sprouts come to mind. But I haven’t waged war on either Brussels nor sprouts so perhaps I’m not that serious about it.

mp9004434681Being Stuck in Hate Means You’re Useless

Hatred is a mucky darkness that lets you scream and yell all day but doesn’t let you move on to affect the thing you “hate.” If you just “hated” the raccoon who kept waking you up early on Sunday mornings, that wouldn’t be all that helpful. You have to take action, actually call animal control to rectify the problem.

I Hate Psychiatrists

Which brings me back to: “I hate shrinks. Shrinks should die. Shrinks are evil” plaintive cries railing against a branch of medicine.

Well, OK, if it makes you feel better to spout hatred, you can. But I understand I have to engage with psychiatry in order to be a functioning human being. I understand for all its faults, and yes, there are many, psychiatry saves lives every day. I understand psychiatry gave me, and so many others, a life. And I understand blind hatred doesn’t help me get any better.

I’m not irrational about it. I can see the negatives but I can also see the positives. Things aren’t black and white.

Understanding people need to engage the psychiatric system to treat their mental illness, I consider it much more reasonable to improve the way I, and others, interact with doctors. I believe in:

And so on, and so forth. These are positive changes every one of us can work at to improve the system overall. If you want to hate, kill and spit at doctors, feel free, but I believe very strongly as Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Society of Participatory Medicine

For anyone interested there is a Society of Participatory Medicine that believes in creating a relationship where patients are partners with their doctors. The society is a non-profit and is made up of professional health care workers as well as many others. They have a blog and a journal which you can freely read and comment on, or you can join the society to see all the listserv chatter, of which there is much.

In full disclosure, yes, I am a member, and no, I do not agree with everything they do.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2011, May 2). Hatred of Psychiatry Doesn’t Create Change, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/05/hatred-of-psychiatry-doesnt-create-change



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Offspring of a psychiatrist.
says:
January, 6 2018 at 3:51 am
I do not get it. Why on earth should the straw man argument "yeah it may help people" bully me into accepting that the web of lies I've been thrown into at the behest of my psychiatrist mother has anything remotely moral or scientific in it?

I'm sorry, but at some point you have to face the truth: abuse is abuse. The fact that it's abuse perpetrated through the medical system is in no way exculpatory.

And no. There's nothing remotely realistic in "engaging" with psychiatry. It's completely analoguous, at least in my case, than engaging in a discussion with a fundamentalist muslim organisation. Same rhetoric. Same denial of fact. Same victim blaming. Same self-righteousness. Et ceterae.

They've branded a me terrorist in my records. Seriously.

That's a call for violence on their part. Period. They've gone way too far. No excuses left hanging.
Hitbya Truck
says:
January, 4 2018 at 7:29 am
Like you, psychiatry has helped me. But, I suppose I see them as more of a necessary evil than a savior.
Their general lack of understanding of BPD is maddening. But that is already well covered. So I shall be more generic.
As a patient, I do not like psychiatrists and psychologists. I am willing to write off the misguided diagnoses of slaves for wanting freedom, the torture advice given in Iraq, the institutionalization of troublesome wives and the lobotomies and brutal ECTs of the past as anomalies. I am not willing to write off the arrogance today despite the problems of Experiments admitting "healthy" individuals into psychiatric care. Neither their ability to define illness and normality or their ability to treat the latter do not back up their intellectual arrogance.

Further their societal contributions are questionable. With that said, I believe a lot of the short comings of psychiatry can be traced to the twin evils of under-funding and stigma.

Because of this lack of funding, at least in the US, psychiatry is a joke. The practitioners refuse to accept insurance making it a bastion for the Upper Middle class whether they need it or not. Working Class Mentally Ill need not apply- just go live under a bridge (I am humming God Bless America as I write this). There are, allegedly clinics for the financially fragile mental ill. But try getting to one. You will have more luck catching a unicorn.

Okay, so you have the cash to see one of the private Psychiatrists, YEAH! Poverty sucks. Now we can fix this unipolar depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, foot fetish (oops over shared there). You walk in and there he/she is. A solo practitioner almost EVERY time. Importantly this means you need to coordinate your mania/episodes with their vacation schedules as they have NO backup. Not a colleague, not even a secretary. You will get a message to call 911 in an emergency. Did you ever go to the emergency room with a psychiatric issue? You are better off handcuffing yourself to a radiator and waiting for the episode to pass.

But you’re right, you’re right I am being overly pessimistic. Let’s walk into the Lair, I mean the office of this solo practitioner. what’s your choice? Prozac? Effexor? Wellbutrin? Name your poison. There is a gumball machine with any and all of them. You WILL get an antidepressant. Even Tinkerbell gets an anti-depressant. You see if the only tool a person has is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail. So you get hit with the Anti-Depressant hammer. Now if you are bipolar this may force you into the Mother of All Mania but as long as it hits before the Doc leaves for vacation, you may not die.

You see, I have a great deal of respect for doctors. Most that I know are not in it for the money, but rather they care about and end up caring for people. But there is no support for mental health. Research is mired in the 1800’s (Lithium, really?) because of a lack of funding. The practitioners are stymied because Piranha, I mean health insurance companies don’t have to pay them. And let’s remember Health Insurers want you to get better fast or die fast. It is the in between that costs them money. So therapy is out of the question. And finally, there is the Stigma. No one wants to be the butt of a joke. For many it is easier to live under that bridge than to seek care from an uncaring and indifferent psychiatric “system”

In a nutshell, psychiatrists are perhaps unfairly lightning rods for a system that is broken and indifferent. But, because of their unfounded arrogance, it is fun to see them get shocked once in a while.
Samuel Brook
says:
December, 14 2012 at 12:16 pm
This my friends, is the truth. Psychiatry is the only truely evil practice still continuing in the developed world. It praises and pays those who enjoy the damaging and hurting of others. Being different is not the crime, the ignorance of society rejecting it is! Power to autism, adhd, and any other nuerological EVOLUTION, note Evolution, not fault. Being different is the one thing which adds purpose and point to existence. And using drug and torture methodology to turn us all into money farms for organisations is just sick and wrong. Psychiatrists are the ones who need treatment, not us. I do not hate psychiatrists, i am just disgusted by them, and they aren’t even worth spitting at.
VenusHalley
says:
November, 18 2011 at 2:28 am
They say psychdrugs mellow people out to. I guess seeing brussel sprouts as the most evil thing out there (beside people who hate Big Pharma) may be symptom of it. Um, look around the world... there are many things are should hate and it is perfectly moral to hate them.


And as much as psychmeds give people "lifes back" (whatever it means... and however it may be attributed to placebe), they kill others. After all, many of these precious drugs do have blackbox warnings...

So there are two sides of the story. I think current psychiatry enables people in their misery by telling them that only pill can save them, and willpower does not nothing to broken brains. Many of the treatment resistant folks are just people who gave up on their lifes and chose to be professionally sick (Paolo Coelho coined the term not me... and he went this route before).


The % people who need or can benefit from being on drugs is much much smaller than the % of people who are on drugs. Today we pop pills because we don't want to deal with life. And current mainstream psychiatry happily encourages it. Hence, it is evil. Because it does not care the harm done... profit is what matters here.
Natasha Tracy
says:
September, 9 2011 at 6:16 am
Hi Tapestry,

"I complained once about a med that I gained weight with,& he said “don’t blame the drug, blame your fork."

The correct response to that?

"Bite me."

Ahem.

OK, seriously now. It's odd a doctor would say that because weight gain is a known side effect of many medications. It sounds to me like either your doctor isn't educated or doesn't care. Neither one of which sounds promising. Maybe it's time for a new doctor?

- Natasha
Tapestry
says:
September, 9 2011 at 1:27 am
Last nite I traveled to another city & this is the 1st time in the 3-4 years I've been on meds,that i forgot them.
But even before , I've read how long it takes to wean off some of these meds & I don't like the feeling that my PDoc could leave town,for some reason not refill a particularily hard to wean off drug ect.
I'm feeling paranoid this am anyway, because I layed in bed all night AWakE!
I complained once about a med that I gained weight with,& he said "don't blame the drug, blame your fork. That's just one experience. Tapestry
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 11 2011 at 6:59 am
Hi Fiona,

Yup, Just like you I've seen varying levels of "greatness" in doctors too. They're like everyone else, they vary.

"the ones who hate psychiatrists are generally the ones who need their help the most . . . but the paranoia and fear that they exhibit, and the conviction that the psychiatrists are using drugs to ‘control’ them or to turn them into mindless automatons seem to demonstrate a need for help."

I feel much of the time this is true. Some of the things seen in the "I hate psychiatry" crowd does suggest their need to help. However, this isn't something I generally like to talk about as:
1. It suggests that I know what is best for the person, when obviously I don't.
2. It's none of my business.

Telling a person on the internet "they need help" is a form of personal attack. People do it to me all the time. I refuse to return the favor.

(I know that's not what you're doing here. I'm just addressing the idea.)

"It was like a veil lifted off the world, and I could feel and think again, in a way I hadn’t felt in years. "

People have said this, almost exactly, over and over. Psych meds give so many people their lives back. And no, people don't generally know what it's like to have to live through that.

It's wonderful that you're married (I'm going to assume happily) and have hope now. I hope it always stay that way for you.

- Natasha
Fiona
says:
May, 9 2011 at 9:26 pm
I've had a couple of dangerously bad psychiatrists (one I was convinced was a patient who'd just wandered in and sat down in his office ;-)), a couple of mediocre ones and a couple of great ones. My current psych is incredible - she's seen through defences I've had since I was a little girl that no-one's cut through before, and set up great psychological help for me.

I have a number of friends who have mental health disorders (we seem to drift together) and of them, the ones who hate psychiatrists are generally the ones who need their help the most. This is just my experience, but the paranoia and fear that they exhibit, and the conviction that the psychiatrists are using drugs to 'control' them or to turn them into mindless automatons seem to demonstrate a need for help. One in particular continually refuses to take his medication, saying that he wants to live life as it is intended, but self-medicates with recreational drugs and is regularly sectioned.

My experience has been the opposite - I spent years in a fog of suicidal depression, barely surviving one day to the next and failing in a series of suicide attempts. The first few meds I tried didn't do much - a minor alleviation of symptoms but nothing drastic, and then I tried the one I'm on one. It was like a veil lifted off the world, and I could feel and think again, in a way I hadn't felt in years. I've had arguments about why I'm on these meds with people who think I should just be able to talk to my friends and who think that the long-term side effects are too dangerous. They don't know what it is to live like that, though, and I am absolutely certain that I would have died a long time ago without them. I will take the risk of stroke later in my life, to be able to feel and be married and have hope now.
Anonymous
says:
May, 8 2011 at 11:36 pm
Hey Natasha,
Im probably just wasting my time here but since u seem to be becoming a successful blogger here your worth my typing CG on that now to my point.

Your big theme here is "Bipolar Breaking" your claim to fame so you say but let me ask you this. Does Bipolar really exist? Undeniably, Undoubtedly, Inarguably exist? or is the best psychiatry can show people a brain on some mechanical instrument and say well when it looks this way it might be bipolar(or w/ever). Do they have sci-fi like tools to designate anything? Let's be honest here it would really take futuristic imaginary tools just to become remotely qualified. So in considering these 2 points can u really say u r a Bipolar breaker, not trying to be an meanie or nething...Just shooting straight from the hip.

But its just like someone who's make their lifework escaping reality and emotions(and yes that's what those drugs really do and then WORSE). To say that negative emotions are useless, pointless, etc. Negative emotions and also be a fuel if u will to propel you to better things in life its just a matter of how u use em.

Yes shrinks are evil or they atleast do so ignorantly. The drugsa they put ppl on kill early. And take away all of a person's own natural defenses. Let me explain personally all the accusations which don't have facts attached to them. Here's my story and I'll trry to keep it brief and legible.

I was a self-diagnosed schizophrenic, autistic, mood disorder( went thru 4 diagnosises as they r called). Followed psychiatry for 20 years at my parents foolish forcing. So i know exactly the lies and the problems u have. At 26 years not much relations and a intelligent and handsome(or so Ive been told) and immature not going newhere in life. I wanted to ascend into gr8 health and wellbeing in life fully able to defend myself and be fully confident in every moment of life so I rebellled against my parents and yes i lived w/em. Said to hell with psychiatry and those pills. Cancelled out every doctor aligned with that dishonest unproven psychiatrist and went thru 2 years of darkness(at first it was....those drugs r addictive u know) and thru the belief of antipsychiatry philosophy and natural order fought thru it and am well on my want at 31 years old. With a career and yes Im out of my foolish parents out God forgive and bless them.

Getting rid of the drugs was a life-changing decision I made and something I never in a million years would go back to. I'd much rather go to an activity aphrodisiac such as vid games, socialization, and yes the occasuional alcohol than a dangerous drug from a false organization who is probably out there to kill off people(its either that or money alright or both I put my money on money anyday undoubtedly).

So their's the real cure for your problems CONFRONTATION. With much more added on. And I strongly suggest all to avoid the Psychiatry scam. But hey its ur life. If u want to know more you have email msg to get ahold of me.

Have a gr8 day.
Kathy
says:
May, 3 2011 at 7:34 am
"I have a theory that the higher up the doctor is in the pecking order the more likely they are to have a god-complex and be a jerk. And psychiatrists, being specialized doctors, have a higher rate of jerkiness, in my opinion."

I completely agree. There's a really funny youtube video about this, actually.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEYlGEvqb-0&feature=related
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 3 2011 at 6:43 am
Hi Kathy,

"Psychiatry is an imperfect science and many psychiatrists are jerks. That’s a sad fact."

Yes, I have a theory that the higher up the doctor is in the pecking order the more likely they are to have a god-complex and be a jerk. And psychiatrists, being specialized doctors, have a higher rate of jerkiness, in my opinion.

"shop around until they find one that they are comfortable with. It’s like dating: You don’t stop dating just because you have a few bad dates, right? You keep dating until you find the right person for you."

Yup, I tell people this all the time. The doctor works for you. You are paying _him_. So, like any other employee, if you think they're not going to work out, you fire them.

And, it should be said, that in the psychiatric working relationship (like on dates) personalities matter. The psychiatrist may not be "bad" per se, but they simply may not be the right one for you. Personalities clash, it's a part of life, but not really a part of what you should look for in a medical interaction.

- Natasha
Kathy
says:
May, 3 2011 at 5:20 am
I hear these same things about psychiatrists all the time and I don't even have a blog. I think these thoughts are all too common, unfortunately.

Psychiatry is an imperfect science and many psychiatrists are jerks. That's a sad fact.

If it weren't for my current shrink, I wouldn't be sleeping, I wouldn't be feeling better and I wouldn't even have a name for what is wrong with me. Is he arrogant? Oh yeah! But he's also been very helpful.

Instead of damning all shrinks, I think people should shop around until they find one that they are comfortable with. It's like dating: You don't stop dating just because you have a few bad dates, right? You keep dating until you find the right person for you.

Just my opinion.
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 2 2011 at 4:43 pm
Hi Else,

You're welcome.

"discussion around how psychiatrists both help and harm patients, and the conflicting feelings of empowerment and disempowerment that we feel as we recieve treatment and the unusual relationships between patients and clinicians"

Yes, that dichotomy is an odd one. It's hard to understand even when you're living it. You expressed that beautifully.

- Natasha
else
says:
May, 2 2011 at 4:06 pm
Gee Natasha,
I know you are a strong woman, and I'm glad. I hope you are not feeling intimidated by Steve's aggressive comments.

I really appreciate this post as a valuable contribution to the discussion around how psychiatrists both help and harm patients, and the conflicting feelings of empowerment and disempowerment that we feel as we recieve treatment and the unusual relationships between patients and clinicians.

Thanks for your writing.
Steven JF Scannell
says:
May, 2 2011 at 1:16 pm
"Last comment on this." really marginalizes me. I could well be thrown away, as dangerous, following such misquotes. Nothing is settled until it's settled properly. So given the "last comment" I have asked your publisher to look at your work and to teach you, but not to fire you. Really, as a writer, know your work has power. And it is not to be a cavalier thing if another may be hurt. When the issue arose you could have studied it, but you did not. I suggest you, and another, perhaps an experienced editor, have a hard look and see what you can (and should) learn.

ps. I have been helping people for many years, and am appreciated, like yourself.
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 2 2011 at 12:25 pm
Steven,

Last comment on this. For your reference, I use second-person ("you") writing in about half my posts. "You" is general. It's a literary device.

I appreciate fear. A lot. I wrote a whole post on it. And I could write many others. Psychiatrists are scary because of the power they wield you'll get no argument from me on that. (I don't actually have friends in the psychiatric community.)

But believe me, no one made the inference but you and now there isn't even that. You've certainly brought a lot of attention to yourself with all the comments, however.

- Natasha
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 2 2011 at 12:15 pm
Hi Shah,

Such a great comment with a great example:

"I believe in personal empowerment through education - working with you psych can aid that, as can investigation and research. Blaming everyone else for ones own issues DOES NOTHING to alleviate the issues at hand. I’ve been so much better since I helped my psych by being open and honest about how I feel, about my medication needs, throughout my ongoing treatment."

I glad to hear you've taken the time to help your psych by being open and honest, creating a relationship that works for you. That's a great example of what we all can do to create positive change in our own treatment.

(Thanks for touch on blame; I agree, blaming others is a trap that won't help you get better either.)

Thanks for the comment.

- Natasha
Steven JF Scannell
says:
May, 2 2011 at 12:15 pm
Natasha, After the seeming quote (Shrinks should die.) above you said:

"OK, I get it, you don't like psychiatrists. Personally, I would find a more intelligent way to express an argument, but your point is clear nonetheless."

Then in the next paragraph the I's and you's continue. That makes an inference unmistakeable. Think about it. Ask others, and I have made mistakes too.
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 2 2011 at 12:05 pm
Steven,

Again, I apologized here, on Facebook and on my blog. It wasn't about you. I said that. Again.

I removed any part of your comments resembling the above on the Burble. I'm not editing this post on Breaking Bipolar as it was in no way linked to you and it didn't refer to you.

This is an article. Not about you. Which I've said. Over and over.

- Natasha
Steven JF Scannell
says:
May, 2 2011 at 11:58 am
Sorry to be a bit snippy. I live in fear. I hate that I live in fear, and I'm glad you don't live in fear of these psychiatric doctors.

Is that beautiful lady with the scars on the neck you? If so, I'm extra glad to know you.

I love your work, generally, and again, Keep Up The Good Work. Steve
shah
says:
May, 2 2011 at 11:54 am
I totally agree with this. It all very well to loathe psychiatry but working with it and helping to change it is the only way to do good and be healthy. I believe in personal empowerment through education - working with you psych can aid that, as can investigation and research. Blaming everyone else for ones own issues DOES NOTHING to alleviate the issues at hand. I've been so much better since I helped my psych by being open and honest about how I feel, about my medication needs, throughout my ongoing treatment. It works for me. Great article. However it was inspired. Shah. X
Steven JF Scannell
says:
May, 2 2011 at 11:49 am
But Natasha the inference was very obvious, as you did insert a sentence of your own into what could have been a legitimate quote. This is very dangerous territory for me, as "Shrinks should die." would obviously prompt a dangerousness hearing for me. Unlike you, I don't have any friends in the psyche industry.

I think you owe me an appology. And, again, Please, Please, Please delete the seeming quote from your blog. That was very reckless and irresponsible. There was a strong inference that the words were mine. Any dis-interested party, such as your publisher, would agree. "just sentences I see a lot of" ? This is not cool.
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 2 2011 at 11:17 am
Hi Steven,

It's not a quote attributed to you or anyone else or I would have linked to the quote. (I did mention it was from commenterS)

So, to be clear, the quote is not from Steven or anyone else in particular, these are just sentences I see a lot of.

And Steven, the post wasn't directed at you either, I'm sorry if you thought it was. We had a discussion which prompted an idea and an article but that's what I do as a writer. It's not about you, it's about an idea. (Believe me, if it was about you I would have linked to a source and called you by name.)

- Natasha
Steven JF Scannell
says:
May, 2 2011 at 11:13 am
The above " I hate shrinks" yes, that's mine. and "Shrinks are evil." yes that's mine. It was just on your blog from a couple of days ago. Stuck in the middle stuff is dangerously misleading and COULD land me in a lot of trouble.

BUT: I did NOT say "Shrinks should die." Maybe you imagined it. IF so then Please let everyone know that the string of quotes, which certainly looks a lot like mine, IS NOT MINE. I did not say "Shrinks should die", nor do I think that.
Natasha Tracy
says:
May, 2 2011 at 9:32 am
Hi Gabrielle,

Glad you liked it. You're welcome.

- Natasha
Gabrielle
says:
May, 2 2011 at 8:42 am
Yes, yes and yes again! A really intelligent article - thank you.

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