Weeping Rage

This is Faith Rhyne’s summary:

Today I participated in Occupy APA [the American Psychiatric Association’s annual convention in Philadelphia], a small-to-midsize protest that addressed the issue of the upcoming DSM-5 and the dangers of coercive psychiatry.

The psychiatrists calmly filed in and out of the convention center. For the most part, they did not make eye contact. “So, what do you think about all this?” I asked of one APA members.

“Oh, they come to all of the conferences…”

His tone was casually dismissive.

Did he not understand that there is a reason that people protest the APA?

We were all very impassioned and we spoke clearly and we spoke well as we stated the things that we understand to be true: that forced treatment causes harm, that the DSM is a mechanism of coercive profiteering, and that psychiatric medications present dangerous and lasting side effects. We spoke about Labels and how they had diminished us as people. We offered up our stories and our voices and, given the smug expressions of the psychiatrists, the APA was not impressed.

Did they not realize that, among us, there are Harvard graduates and doctoral fellows and documented geniuses? We survived what was done to us under the guise of treatment – electric shock, forced injections, involuntary commitments, shame and stigma and families destroyed. We came to fight because we are outraged that such things are done to people.

Did they think that we were just whining?

A fellow protestor said that, as she was chanting, “People over profits!” an aging psychiatrist, a woman, walked past her, turned and gave her the finger that ubiquitously means: “You are nothing.”

Another psychiatrist is reported to have said, “I’m sorry you are so ignorant.” I wonder if he said “I’m sorry you are so angry.” If he was simply misheard?

Could they really think that we are ignorant? That we don’t know what we’re talking about?

We are survivors. We are the experts on the effects of their treatments, because we lived through them. We know the outcomes.

Did they think we were strange? Did they think we were losers? Did they laugh at us in the halls outside of the conference rooms?

They should be ashamed of themselves. I think a couple psychiatrists may have been. There were a few who walked by and cast their eyes downward in a way that suggests a self in conflict. I hope that they don’t sleep well tonight and I hope that they will think about why it may have been hard to look at us and what that says about the industry they work in.

I saw a copy of the American Psychiatric Association’s trade magazine today. Obscuring part of the front cover was an advertisement for fluoxetine, Prozac. Inside were token features tucked between glossy, insert-style advertisements for psychiatric medications, for things such as Symptoms of Schizophrenia, like those that will be increasingly identified with the advent of Attenuated Psychosis, a new diagnosis in the DSM5 that manifests the disorder of being at “risk” for Psychosis.

The woman in the advertisement looked hopeless and ragged. Her skin was aging and pocked at the chin. Her hair was a little bit wild. She had green eyes and somewhat messy make-up. She looked frightened and her hands were placed palm-out, as if pressing against something…glass or the page itself. She appeared to be tired and sad and scared.

It is only in thinking about that advertisement that I am beginning to feel some the weeping rage that I thought might overtake me during the course of the day.

Are psychiatrists fooled or complicit? I’d say they are both. Deeply, they are fooled and complicit.

When I was on my way into Pennsylvania I went past the AstraZeneca headquarters. I heard today that Glaxo, etc. is right around the corner. Directly or indirectly, I know that they paid for the convention center and possibly even the hotel rooms. They paid for the publication of that magazine, too, by paying for advertising.

There were other drugs advertised, too, for routine human things such as sleeping, laughing, and crying.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
This entry was posted in activism, advocacy, American medical industry, Depression, drugs, Health Care, Medical care, Mental Illness & Health, Pharmaceuticals, physician and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Weeping Rage

  1. karendee57 says:

    I would like to see the image of that trade magazine cover. Is it online?

  2. jedimission says:

    This is a very moving and well written account. I loved it until I read about your belief in the inherited bi-polar gene. I simply cannot in any way support an un-provable genetic lie or the myth of the chemical imbalance theory. This is exactly how ignorance is perpetuated and these mad shrinks are able to continue pumping people full of drugs and whatever else they can get their hands on. Until we stop telling these lies, nothing will ever change. That is the bi- in your polar.
    I will not be reading further.
    Best to you

    • annecwoodlen says:

      You have posted your comment in response to “Weeping Rage.” There is not a single word in “Weeping Rage” about bipolar, genes or chemical imblance, so what the heck are you talking about?

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