A Rebuttal to Mr. Craig Garner
Just a few short months ago, I would have read article this nodding my head in agreement. Mr. Garner brings up guilt, embarrassment, confusion, anger, resentment, fear, and frustration.
“Assisting a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with a mental illness can be a time consuming, heartbreaking, and often thankless task,” Mr. Garner writes.
It is not that Mr. Garner hasn’t done his homework. He surely has read enough to know that what he is referring to as “mental illness” does not exist. Yet, he spouts what has been fed to him by the psychiatric community.
I blindly trusted the industry, too, that is until I did some research.
The thing that irritates me the most about Mr. Garner is he has specialized in healthcare related issues his entire professional life, as a lawyer and administrator and author of books designed to help families negotiate through the health care system in this country.
The fraud of the psychiatric industry is laid out in black and white in newspaper articles decrying the use of off-label pharmaceutical on children, in books like Robert Whitaker’s, Anatomy of an Epidemic, in Senator Grassley’s questioning of the ghost-writing of medical literature. Daily there are new allegations against Big Pharma. There is evidence of a scandal ready to erupt. But, it is too big for you, Mr. Garner, right? So, toe the line and feed the “party line” to the masses.
Prove an “illness” Mr. Garner. Then you get to write an article on how we should be dealing with our “afflicted” loved-ones.
Mr. Garner writes, “If you are dealing with a family member who has been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, it is of utmost importance that you understand and accept the fact that your loved one’s condition is an illness, no different than if he or she had an issue with the lungs, heart, or stomach.”
There doesn’t exist such a thing as a “chemical imbalance”, Mr. Garner.
Therefore, there doesn’t exist an “illness” to point your finger at. This was hard to believe and was probably the most distressing piece of information for me to accept as I began to uncover the industry’s fraud. It meant that I had trusted doctors who had lied to me. The “chemical imbalance” was what had kept us in the game – the search for the “equalizer”.
As Robert Whitaker writes in the chapter entitled The Hunt for Chemical Imbalances in his recent book, Anatomy of an Epidemic, “From a scientific point of view, it is apparent today that the chemical imbalance hypothesis was always wobbly in kind, and many scientists who watched its rise and fall have looked back on it with a bit of embarrassment.”
The psychiatrists wanted the magic bullet that would set them up as “real” doctors. Doctors in internal medicine had their antibiotics and psychiatrists wanted to have their “anti-disease” pills, too.
With a blind eye to science and clever marketing, they succeeded.
The sanctioned drugging by the government and the over-prescribing by our trusted professionals in the field of psychiatry was also a hard pill for me to swallow. Robert Whitaker exposes the fact that the cure-all the psychiatric industry foists on the unsuspecting vulnerable in our society is in fact today’s equivalent of snake oil.
Yes, I am guilty but not for what Mr. Garner claims I should be – that I let the “situation get out of control”. No, I am guilty because I trusted the diagnoses that psychiatrists throughout the US handed down to my daughter. I am guilty because I didn’t investigate further as diagnoses were layered on and the drug treatments were established and abandoned and added to and, finally, in frustration my daughter was deemed “treatment resistant”. Like Mr. Garner, I didn’t question the authority of the psychiatric industry sooner and I am guilty that I threw my daughter into their system. (Mr. Garner, are you listening? It is NOW time to ask some questions.)
My embarrassment stems from the industry’s labeling of my daughter which we all, as a family, carried like a heavy cloak of shame. The industry’s mouth pieces – psychiatrists, therapists, NAMI taught us the language to use to describe my daughter’s “condition”. The social stigma is maintained by their use of language.
I still remember uttering the words, “My daughter is struggling with “mental illness” and my heart breaks with the same pain it did the first time I felt those words leave my mouth.
Mr. Garner, read your piece with fresh eyes- ones that don’t see “illness” and “disease” but differences. Try to shift to my perspective and listen to your damning language.
The confusion that Mr. Garner speaks of is real and pervasive in the psychiatric community. Loved ones are told to trust in the professionals and not get too wrapped up in the why’s and how’s. Just encourage the “patient” to take their meds… (NAMI’s solid contribution in this effort is to have in their literature a plea to families to ignore their loved-ones’ assertions that the drugs are not working. Encourage the “patient” to follow the doctor’s orders.)
My husband and I were sitting in a frigid gymnasium at the Menniger Clinic a couple of years ago. This is what I wrote (BEFORE I BECAME AN ANTI-PSYCHIATRY ADVOCATE!):
The inability of The Menninger Clinic to explain their philosophy for treatment was dumbfounding. It was as if they created this layered confused recital so that we thought that they were so damn intelligent that we would defer without question. Did they want us to believe that their program was so developed and intricate that the layperson was unable to grasp the concepts?
For two days staff members stood before us wringing their hands commiserating over our difficult situations. Then each commenced on a well rehearsed speech describing various aspects of their treatment philosophy. The specialized language and convoluted blather left most couples writing notes to one another or sitting on the edge of the plastic seats, trying to stay warm and attentive. I wondered whether their techniques were so cutting edge that it was hard to nail down the complexities or was it simply that the thesis had been lost in psychobabble. I think that the reputation of The Menninger Clinic was a towering house of cards. If we all exhaled at the same time, it would have crumbled.
Mr. Garner believes that parents of loved ones who are “shunning responsibilities or looking for attention” should be angry and that it is a “common” reaction to believe that “he or she is not really sick”. The industry shackled my daughter with labels and presuppositions on how she should act. Now, Mr. Garner establishes that people suffering with mental distress are “sick” and should therefore be cut some slack.
No, I say, treat the person dealing with mental health issues as you would anyone else. Walking on eggshells perpetuates the myth that they are “sick” and cannot handle life.
Mr. Garner also missed the mark when he wrote that the family experiences fear after a loved one is diagnosed with “mental illness”. He guesses that this is because they are wondering if they are susceptible to the “illness” as well. The thought, “Where is it going to strike again?!” NEVER crossed my mind. My fear was for my daughter as I watched her get worse and worse on the drugs that every doctor we came into contact with claimed would make her better.
Mr. Garner supports the psychiatric industry with articles like this. He creates the chronic aspect of “illness” that the industry fosters and with that, the future unfolds with endless years tethered to the “patient”. Disguised as a self-help, sympathetic guide to sorting out the rough terrain of “mental illness”, Mr. Garner encourages the loved ones of people with mental health issues to bow down in the face of “illness”.
Our daughter lost years of her life before we realized that the industry is a sham.
The people I have met since turning my back on psychiatry lost their faith in the system long before us and are healing at a rate that would blow the socks off any of the industry’s “scientific” studies.
How are people once deemed “mentally ill” healing themselves? Diet, exercise, and a healthy dose of relief at having shed the labels and stigma of the “disease” they were once told would be with them for life.
Mr. Garner, I assume that you know about this fiction you have put the seal of approval on because of your reputation and education. Any good journalist has heard whispers of this fraud but few have the guts to scratch the surface. So you, in your capacity as a healthcare provider, are just one of many who perpetuate the hoax of the psychiatric industry. Is it the money? Job security?
I warn you; you are doing harm by not exposing the facts.