Olga Runciman – ‘A true story filled with lies’

I wrote this piece from a place of anger and outrage and it was never intended for anyone’s eyes or ears and is therefore completely raw.

A series of circumstances resulted in Michael Rassum reading it and he said I can put music to this. The result is our spoken word ‘A true Story Filled with Lies’

Why did I write it? Because this person whom I call Peter (not her real name) died of her psychiatric drugs and despite it being a clear cut case her family and I watched how psychiatry closed around itself, protecting itself and they got away with it. For years her family have sought justice just like so many others. They never got it.

Her death was the reason that we were a group who joined together and created the organization ‘Death in Psychiatry’ an organization for those who have lost a loved one to psychiatry and to stop others suffering the same fate. Dorrit Cato Christensen who has also contributed to this campaign lost her daughter and she is also one of the founding members of the organization and is today the chair.

Psychiatry has been unable to prove that it is dealing with a biogenetic illness and, likewise, its drug treatments fall dismally short of what is considered good evidence based medicine. On the contrary the evidence especially long term, point at an increased risk of chronicity, brain damage, early death – up to 25 years shorter and, as in ‘Peter’s’ case, sudden death due to drug induced arrhythmia of the heart.

To force treat people with drugs that carry with it a risk of brain damage, death and little evidence of any long, term benefits what so ever, is an unspeakable act of institutional violence.

This piece is a true story the only thing that is changed is the name and gender. It is in three sections. “Death”, “Big Pharma, the Unholy Alliance” and finally the funeral called the “Winds of Change”.

I am today a psychiatric survivor, but this could have been me.
Or you or one of your loved ones…

Please support CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment.

 

Linda Steele: Challenging Law’s ‘Monopoly on Violence’

Challenging Law’s ‘Monopoly on Violence’: Human Rights and Disability-Specific Lawful Violence

Dr Linda Steele, Lecturer, School of Law University of Wollongong, Australia

29 March 2016

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities[i] (‘the CRPD’) provides a human rights basis for seeing non-consensual medical treatment, detention and chemical and physical restraint as forms of discriminatory violence against people with disability. United Nations human rights bodies must be consistent and persistent in urging states parties to reform criminal and civil laws to explicitly prohibit these practices and provide legal avenues for redress. Until this occurs, these practices will continue to be lawful forms of violence which are condoned and, indeed, made possible by the state and by law.

In my blog post I will briefly discuss the concept of ‘lawful violence’ and why non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint constitute ‘disability-specific lawful violence’. I will then explain how the CRPD provides a human rights basis to contest the lawfulness of this violence, and what needs to be done to urge states parties to follow the CRPD and ultimately prohibit and remedy disability-specific lawful violence.

Questioning Violence’s Legal Status

People with disability experience disproportionately high rates of violence when compared to people without disability[ii] (even taking into account the issues with data collection which result in an under-quantification of the rates of violence against people with disability[iii]). There are numerous approaches to categorizing violence against people with disability for the purposes of analysis and devising recommendations for law reform directed to reducing its incidence and enhancing justice for survivors. One approach which I adopt in this blog post is to categories violence in terms of its legal status under domestic law: whether violence is prohibited and legally actionable, or instead permitted and condoned by law. This approach is particularly fruitful for appreciating the significance of the interface of the CRPD and domestic law to states parties addressing all forms of violence against people with disability.

  • Unlawful violence

Some unwanted contact, detention and restraint against people with disability constitutes ‘unlawful violence’ – violence that is prohibited by domestic criminal laws (e.g. offences of assault or sexual assault) and/or constitutes a tortious wrong pursuant to civil law (e.g. torts of battery or false imprisonment). While people with disability experiencing ‘unlawful violence’ technically have available to them criminal and civil legal protection and remedies, at an individual level there are considerable issues with enforcing these laws vis-à-vis survivors with disability. These issues are due to such factors as discriminatory views about disability (and the intersection of disability with gender, sexuality, race, criminality and age) held by police, prosecutors and judges, and because of discriminatory evidential and procedural laws.

Despite the significant issues with ‘unlawful violence’ vis-à-vis people with disability, there are some forms of unwanted contact, detention and restraint of people with disability which do not even fit within this category of ‘unlawful violence’ such that there is not even the possibility of punishment and remedy. For present purposes, non-consensual medical treatment, detention and restraint of people with disability do not fall within the category of ‘unlawful violence’, as I will now turn to explain.

  • Lawful violence

Some unwanted contact, detention and restraint of people with disability – notably non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint – is not prohibited or actionable under domestic law and instead is legally permissible. As such, these practices fall outside of the category of ‘unlawful violence’ and sit in a different category of ‘lawful violence’ or, as I term it by reason of the significance of ‘disability’ to its lawfulness, a category of ‘disability-specific lawful violence’.[iv]

Disability-Specific Lawful Violence

Drawing on the work of Robert Cover[v] on ‘legal violence’ (i.e. violence permitted by law), Austin Sarat and Thomas Kearns[vi] argue that law has a ‘monopoly’ on violence, because law determines what is possible to do to another’s body without any legal accountability. Domestic law, and particularly criminal law and tort law, has singular control over violence because regardless of individual experiences of or social values towards unwanted contact detention and restraint (or, indeed, even international human rights perspectives on unwanted contact, detention and restraint) it is the domestic legal system that determines what will be punished or remedied and conversely what will be permitted and go without any punishment of the perpetrator or remedy for the survivor. Unwanted contact, detention and restraint becomes violence that is ‘lawful’ where it is permitted by law. This is not to suggest that legal permissibility means that lawful violence is completely at large. Generally, lawful violence is deeply embedded in legislative and common law frameworks and in judicial and administrative procedures (many of which purportedly ‘protect’ those subjected to lawful violence through ‘procedural’ oversight). Therefore, the state and law are significantly complicit in the operation of and legitimation of unwanted contact, detention and restraint where this is permitted by law.

  • Lawfulness

Turning then to non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability, these practices are lawful violence in the sense discussed above because they are not prohibited by or actionable under law. In very general terms, criminal law defines assault and civil law defines battery in terms of non-consensual interpersonal physical contact or the non-consensual threat of such contact. The tort of false imprisonment and related criminal offences consider detention and restraint unlawful where it is the non-consensual deprivation of liberty in a delimited space. In the face of the general criminal and tortious prohibition of these acts, the entry point for the legality of such acts vis-à-vis people with disability is the legal exceptions to unlawful violence created by certain defences to criminal responsibility and tortious liability: consent, necessity and lawful authority. These are discussed here in very general terms (noting there will be differences between jurisdictions):

  1. Consent: Interpersonal physical contact does not constitute assault if consented to by the individual. However, where the individual does not have capacity to consent, the law permits a third party to consent on that person’s behalf. In the context of medical treatment of people with disability (such as sterilization) there are established legal processes for recognizing third party consent, e.g., involving determining lack of legal capacity on the basis of mental incapacity and then determining whether the medical decision is in the individual’s ‘best interests’ or a ‘step of last resort’.[vii]
  2. Necessity: Non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability might also be considered to fall in the defence of medical necessity if the procedure is considered ‘necessary’ in order to protect the individual’s life, health or wellbeing and the act is reasonable and proportionate to the ‘harm’ to be addressed (regardless of whether this harm is in the context of an immediate and short term emergency or an ongoing state of affairs).[viii]
  3. Lawful authority: Non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability are lawful when done pursuant to statutory or judicial authority.[ix] Such authority includes civil and forensic mental health legislation authoring detention and treatment, as well as legislation authorizing chemical and physical restraint.

These defences carve out an exception to ‘unlawful violence’ for non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability, such that they become forms of ‘lawful violence’ regulated by law. This procedural protection on an individual basis of when and how such interventions take place elides questioning at a systemic level why these unwanted practices should ever be permitted and in turn elides categorically naming these practices as violence.

Yet, the ‘regulation’ by law of these practices is typically framed as ‘protective’ because law’s involvement provides administrative and judicial procedural oversight to when and how these non-consensual interventions occur. In fact, the greater ‘procedural justice’ afforded to people with disability in the past couple of decades is frequently characterized as a marker of a more enlightened and progressive approach by law and society to people with disability insofar as it is juxtaposed to earlier purportedly extra-legal, arbitrary and repressive practices towards people with disability. However, far from showing law’s role in the ‘salvation’ or ‘empowerment’ of people with disability, the legal processes through which non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability are permitted in fact signal law’s complicity in this violence: the state’s regulation of a legal economy of violence against people with disability. The state and law contributes to the production of broader social and ethical norms about what is permissible to be done to people with disability and ultimately lowers the value of the bodies and lives of people with disability.

The status of some violence against people with disability as lawful has implications for the punishment of perpetrators and remedies for survivors – in short, there are none. For example, if an individual is detained in a mental health facility and given treatment pursuant to a court order made under civil mental health legislation, that individual cannot report this to police and have the doctor charged with assault (although if the doctor acts outside of the specifics of the order, this would then be unlawful). Similarly, if a girl with intellectual disability is sterilized pursuant to her parent’s consent, she cannot claim civil damages for battery where the doctor acted pursuant to her parents’ decision which was authorized by the court as being in her best interests. A further example is the detention in forensic mental health system of a non-convicted individual on basis of unfitness: this is lawful if is unfitness determined pursuant to the legal process specified by forensic mental health legislation and an individual cannot claim damages for years of imprisonment.

  • Disability-specificity

Above I have explained how non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability become ‘lawful violence’. I refer to this as ‘disability-specific’ lawful violence because disability is central to the lawfulness of this violence specifically to (and sometimes exclusively to) people with disability:

  1. This violence occurs in institutional circumstances specific to the marginalization, segregation and regulation of people with disability, e.g., mental health facilities, forensic mental health system, sterilization.
  2. Circulating across all of the defences discussed above and the associated legal frameworks of substituted decision-making (in the context of the defence of consent) and authorizing legislation (in the context of the defence of lawful authority), are stereotypes about disability as exemplified by judicial interpretation of such value-laden legal concepts as ‘harm’, ‘necessity’, ‘reasonable’, ‘best interests’ in relation to people with disability.[x]
  3. These defences and the associated legal frameworks of substituted decision-making and authorizing legislation appear as socially and ethically acceptable because of ideas associated with people with disability as needing (and benefiting from) medical treatment, detention and restraint. Significant here are discourses of disability linked to medicine and defect (rationales of therapy), helplessness (rationales of care and protection) and danger (rationales of risk management).
  4. Running across all of the defences and the associated legal frameworks of substituted decision-making and authorizing legislation is the significance of ‘mental incapacity’: either as the basis for the removal of legal capacity (e.g. in defences of consent and necessity) and/or as a basis for indicating lack of self-control, danger or vulnerability (e.g. in defences of necessity and lawful authority). ‘Mental incapacity’, while typically thought of as a scientifically objective characteristic of individuals, is a problematic concept embodying norms of rationality, self-sufficiency and bodily impermeability that are premised on an able subject.[xi]

Therefore, categorizing violence against people with disability in terms of its legal status illuminates how some violence against people with disability is legally permitted and state sanctioned. Where law has a monopoly over ‘violence’ against people with disability, it is arguable that turning to law to address individual instances of this violence is futile. A criminal or civil action can never be successful even with the best lawyers and judges: we cannot turn to domestic law for punishment or remedy (nor can we turn to the state to condone this violence) because law says they are not ‘violence’ in the legal sense and as such are not wrongs or harms and do not constitute injustices.

CRPD and Disability-Specific Lawful Violence

The CRPD provides the possibility of seeing non-consensual medical treatment, detention and physical and chemical restraint of people with disability as violence, and provides a human rights basis for states parties to prohibit these practices as unlawful violence. The CRPD explicitly imposes obligations on states parties to protect people with disability from violence, including by taking legal measures (presumably to prohibit violence and provide appropriate remedies). Article 16 of the CRPD states in part that: ‘States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects.’

Yet, the obligation in Article 16 is not merely to protect individuals from currently unlawful violence, e.g., enhancing enforcement in relation to individual cases. Rather, when Article 16 is read in conjunction with other Articles of the CRPD, it becomes apparent that states parties’ obligations under the CRPD in relation to violence include protecting people with disability from forms of violence which are presently lawful and hence from ‘disability-specific lawful violence’:

  1. The right to equality and non-discrimination in Article 5 and the right to personal integrity in Article 17 of the CRPD mean that individuals must have recognized their self-determination and ability to make their own decisions to consent to or withhold consent to interventions in their bodies and in their lives to the same degree as people without disability. People with disability cannot be subjected to non-consensual physical contact, detention or restraint on the basis of their disability.
  2. The right to equality and non-discrimination in Article 5 in conjunction with the right to legal capacity in Article 12 of the CRPD means that individuals should have their legal capacity to make decisions recognized to the same extent as individuals without disability and should not be denied legal capacity on the basis of ‘mental incapacity’. The right to exercise autonomy in consenting or withholding consent should be available to all regardless of perceived ‘mental incapacity’. In turn, non-consensual physical contact, detention or restraint on the basis of a denial of legal capacity is discriminatory because it applies only to individuals with a disability-linked ‘mental incapacity’ (itself a discriminatory concept, as mentioned above).[xii] On a similar basis, non-consensual detention on the basis of disability constitutes arbitrary detention pursuant to Article 14.[xiii]
  3. The right to freedom from torture in Article 15 means that the purportedly protective judicial and administrative procedural frameworks surrounding non-consensual contact, detention or restraint could, perversely, render these interventions not merely violence but state-sanctioned discriminatory violence and hence torture.[xiv]
  4. The shift evident in the preamble to the CRPD in the meaning of disability from a medical model to disability as ‘an evolving concept and that disability results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’ illuminates the significance of the social and political contingency of the meaning of disability to the realization of the human rights of people with disability including through domestic legal frameworks. In turn, this shift suggests that stereotypes about disability might presently circulate in legal frameworks that render lawful non-consensual contact, detention or restraint of people with disability.

The CRPD is quite radical in the new approach to violence against people with disability that it provides. This is because this approach contests foundational concepts of consent, capacity, state/judicial authority which order domestic legal systems (and to a certain extent international human rights law). This approach also contests old (but ever growing) institutions, disciplines and industries of incarceration and therapy through which non-consensual physical contact, detention or restraint are administered.

What needs to be done?

Despite these rather revolutionary ideas about disability and violence provided by the CRPD, disability-specific lawful violence continues. While the CRPD has prompted some states parties to ‘review’ (though perhaps not necessarily ‘reform’) capacity laws and mental health laws, ten years on from the coming into force the CRPD has not witnessed the prohibition of non-consensual physical contact, detention or restraint of people with disability.

Here I conclude by making a number of suggestions related to the significance of the interface of CRPD and domestic law to the prohibition and remedying of (presently lawful) violence against people with disability.

United Nations human rights committees must be consistent and persistent in urging states parties to reform criminal and civil laws to explicitly prohibit non-consensual physical contact, detention or restraint of people with disability including prohibit forced medical treatment, detention and chemical and physical restraint. United Nations human rights bodies should continue to encourage states parties to remove or withdraw interpretive declarations which interpret human rights to enable non-consensual medical treatment, detention and restraint (even when only as a ‘last resort’ or when in ‘best interests’). Unfortunately, these strategies might be impeded by the discrepancies which exist between United Nations human rights bodies in relation to the approach to disability and violence, with some human rights bodies failing to acknowledge disability-specific lawful violence and focusing on the ‘procedural’ protection approach to (regulating) violence. The discrepancies between United Nations human rights bodies might enable states parties to pick and choose how to interpret their obligations related to violence in such a way that ultimately focuses on addressing currently ‘unlawful’ violence and ignoring eliminating disability-specific lawful violence. United Nations human rights bodies might need to turn to consider the ideas of disability underpinning their approaches to violence against people with disability, some of which might precede the CRPD and its shift from a medical approach to disability.

A number of additional strategies which states parties should pursue (and which United Nations human rights bodies should encourage states parties to pursue) include:

  1. States parties should not limit their ‘review’ and ‘reform’ efforts to attaining a best practice in judicial and administrative oversight of disability-specific lawful violence (i.e. through procedural safeguards) to questioning whether some practices should ever be state sanctioned on anyone (including people with disability) regardless of the legal procedure through which this sanctioning occurs. Central to this is making apparent and naming the ideas about disability inherent in the law itself, rather than only addressing stereotypes about law that circulate in the application or enforcement of law at an individual level. This involves denaturalizing centuries-old legal concepts, legal procedures and jurisdictions – some of which are foundational to legal authority generally.
  2. States parties should consider the intersection of ideas about disability with other dimensions of identity, particularly being mindful of the identities of the individuals to whom these practices disproportionately apply: e.g. gender and forced mental health treatment and detention of women, age and chemical and physical restraint of older people with dementia in aged care facilities, Indigeneity and over-representation of Indigenous Australians in forensic mental health detention, gender and sterilization, ideas about criminality re people in forensic mental health detention.
  3. States parties should revisit the ideas of bodies and space envisaged by domestic laws related to violence, notably in relation to false imprisonment. In domestic law, detention and restraint focuses on external factors which restrict the individual’s movement – yet much of the interventions in the disability-specific context work from within the body – to restrain and regulate from within (e.g. chemical restraint[xv]).
  4. States parties should develop a strategy for ‘transitional justice’[xvi] that addresses prohibiting and making legally actionable future instances of non-consensual medical treatment, detention and restraint as well as developing a system to recognize, remedy and remember past instances of these practices when they were still lawful.[xvii] This might involve thinking beyond disability to how law (both international and domestic legal frameworks) have dealt with mass atrocities, historical injustices and state-sanctioned violence in relation to other marginalized groups. This system must not only focus on the individuals and institutions administering these practices, but also address how to make the state and law account for their complicity.
  5. States parties should address the role of ‘para-legal’ regulatory frameworks such as bioethics (e.g. research, clinical, professional) in legitimizing the administration of disability-specific lawful violence.[xviii]
  6. States parties should work with health, medical and disability services to challenge institutional, disciplinary and (importantly in an increasingly privatized and corporatized context) economic imperatives[xix] for the continuation of the administration of disability-specific lawful violence.
  7. States parties should encourage reforms to tertiary legal education which take a critical approach to disability and to disability-specific lawful violence in courses such as criminal law and tort law. Typically, law text books cover the operation of defences in relation to people with disability in a self-evident and non-critical manner which then naturalizes the legal treatment of people with disability and negates their subjection to violence and the law and state’s complicity in this violence.

Ultimately, the lower legal threshold of violence in relation to people with disability reflects a devaluing of bodies and lives of individuals with disability – until this is addressed the human rights of people with disability promised by the CRPD will be profoundly and disappointingly incomplete.

 

[i] Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, opened for signature 13 December 2006, 2515 UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 May 2008).

[ii] See, e.g., Karen Hughes, Mark A Bellis, Lisa Jones, Sara Wood, Geoff Bates, Lindsay Eckley, Ellie McCoy, Christopher Mikton, Tom Shakespeare and Alana Officer, ‘Prevalence and Risk of Violence against Adults with Disabilities: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies’ (2012) 379(9826) Lancet 1621.

[iii] See, e.g., Jess Cadwallader, Anne Kavanagh and Sally Robinson, ‘We Count What Matters, and Violence Against People with Disability Matters’, The Conversation, 27 November 2015, http://theconversation.com/we-count-what-matters-and-violence-against-people-with-disability-matters-51320, accessed 6 January 2016.

[iv] On ‘disability-specific lawful violence’ generally see, e.g., Linda Steele, ‘Disability, Abnormality and Criminal Law: Sterilisation as Lawful and Good Violence’ (2014) 23(3) Griffith Law Review 467; Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability (2015).

[v] Robert Cover, ‘Violence and the Word’ (1986) 95 Yale Law Journal 1601.

[vi] Austin Sarat and Thomas R Kearns, ‘Introduction’ in Austin Sarat and Thomas R Kearns (eds), Law’s Violence (University of Michigan Press, 1992) 1, 4.

[vii] In the Australian context see, e.g., Secretary, Department of Health and Community Services v JWB (1992) 175 CLR 218.

[viii] In the UK and Australian context see, e.g., Re F (Mental Patient Sterilisation) [1990] 2 AC 1.

[ix] In the Australian context see, e.g., Coco v R (1994) 179 CLR 427.

[x] On best interests see, e.g., Linda Steele, ‘Making Sense of the Family Court’s Decisions on the Non-Therapeutic Sterilisation of Girls with Intellectual Disability’ (2008) 22(1) Australian Journal of Family Law 1.

[xi] See, e.g., Linda Steele, ‘Disability, Abnormality and Criminal Law: Sterilisation as Lawful and Good Violence’ (2014) 23(3) Griffith Law Review 467.

[xii] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, General Comment No 1 (2014): Article 12: Equal recognition before the law, 11th sess, UN Doc CRPD/C/GC/1 (19 May 2014).

[xiii] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, General Comment No 1 (2014): Article 12: Equal recognition before the law, 11th sess, UN Doc CRPD/C/GC/1 (19 May 2014); see also Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of Their Liberty to Bring Proceedings Before a Court, 30th sess, UN Doc A/HRC/30/37 (6 July 2015), notably Principle 20 and Guideline 20.

[xiv] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, General Comment No 1 (2014): Article 12: Equal recognition before the law, 11th sess, UN Doc CRPD/C/GC/1 (19 May 2014) 11[42]. On non-consensual medical treatment, detention and restraint of people with disability as torture, see Dinesh Wadiwel, ‘Black Sites: Disability and Torture’, paper presented at Critical Social Futures: Querying Systems of Disability Support, Symposium of The Australia Sociological Association, 19 June 2015.

[xv] Erick Fabris, Tranquil Prisons: Chemical Incarceration under Community Treatment Orders (University of Toronto Press, 2011).

[xvi] See, e.g., Carolyn Frohmader and Therese Sands, Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Violence, Abuse and Neglect Against People with Disability in Institutional and Residential Settings, August 2015.

[xvii] See, eg, Hege Orefellen, ‘Hege Orefellen on Reparations’, Campaign to Support CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment, https://absoluteprohibition.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/hege-orefellen-on-reparations/, accessed 27 March 2016.

[xviii] The significance of bioethics is apparent from the controversy around Ashley X: see, e.g., Eva Feder Kittay, ‘Forever Small: The Strange Case of Ashley X’ (2011) 26(3) Hypatia 610.

[xix] On the ‘therapeutic industrial complex’ see, e.g., Michelle Chen, ‘How Prison Reform Could Turn the Prison-Industrial Complex Into the Treatment-Industrial Complex’, The Nation (20 November 2015) http://www.thenation.com/article/how-prison-reform-could-turn-the-prison-industrial-complex-into-the-treatment-industrial-complex/, accessed 29 March 2016.

I will never forget, by Irit Shimrat

a work in progress

I will never forget, though I wish I could, what psychiatric brutality feels like. Being taken to hospital by the cops, by brute force, in handcuffs, though my only crime was confusion.

Being stripped naked in front of male orderlies. Being shackled to a gurney on the psych emergency ward. Being painfully jabbed in the ass by a nurse wielding a needle filled with a drug that had immediate, nightmarish effects. Being ignored by chatting nurses as I whispered, then said, then screamed that I had to go to the bathroom. Being left to lie in my own shit for hours as they discussed boyfriends and hair styles.

Being wheeled to a concrete cell, furnished only with a mattress on the floor and a metal toilet and tiny sink, an observation window in the metal door, and a camera in the corner of the ceiling. Being left there for days, under the glaring fluorescent light, with someone coming in three times a day to leave a sad, bland meal in a plastic tray on the floor. Performing for the camera and writing on the walls with my shit as the drugs that were supposed to knock me out made me crazier and crazier.

Finally being released onto the ward, but being slammed back into solitary confinement every time I “acted out.” Slowly and painfully learning to conform, so as to earn such “privileges” as being allowed to wear real pajamas, then my own clothes; being allowed out for a cigarette; being allowed to make a phone call. Being mocked and brutalized by burned-out nurses.

Finally being allowed visitors, only to have them stare at me in horror and pity, as I shuffle like a zombie, much too drugged to make conversation. Eventually learning the magic words that got me out: “I understand that I’m sick and need to take these drugs for the rest of my life.” Drugs that had already resulted in dry mouth; flaking skin; extreme constipation; painful muscle spasms; inability to sit, stand or lie still – not to mention their effects on my mind: the terror, the agony, my absolute failure to be able to hang onto my self. The certainty – my only certainty – that I had died and gone to hell. That I was being punished for crimes I couldn’t remember. That I would never be able to live in the world again.

I was wrong in that certainty, but it’s been a hard road back, and I’ve had to travel it many times. Always, when I’m back out in the world, I find myself suffering from the effects of institutionalization, terrified of the loneliness, of having to take care of myself, of not being able to make it outside the bin. I’ve had to suffer the withdrawal symptoms from whatever they were forcing me to take, which I stop taking as soon as I get out. I’ve had to punish myself, hit myself, scream at myself for having been such an idiot as to get locked up again. I’ve had to go through weeks or months of wanting to kill myself to make sure this never happened to me again. I’ve had to slowly rebuild my life. And I’ve had to live with the permanent effects, physical and emotional, of being poisoned with psychiatric drugs and traumatized by institutional cruelty.

My life has been a sheltered one, on the whole. I was born and raised in a comfortable middle-class family, with lots of parental love and support and no violence or neglect. I have never been raped or beaten or hungry. Nevertheless, I got bored as a teenager, took lots of drugs, and ended up going crazy, several times, over the years. But being crazy wasn’t, of itself, a bad thing. If I had been allowed to go through it – if I had been treated with kindness and compassion, and encouraged to explore my thoughts and visions and make sense of them – it could have been the wonderful experience that it always started out as. It could have enriched me.

The only really bad thing that has ever happened to me is psychiatry. It has damaged my body and mind, destroyed my self-esteem, and forced me to re-invent myself, again and again, every time it tore me apart.

 

Pink Belette: La psiquiatrie en France/ Psychiatry in France

La psychiatrie en France, zone de non-droit (par Pink Belette)

Une patiente française sous contrainte fait son « audit » dans le cadre de la campagne pour soutenir l’Abolition totale des soins et de l’hospitalisation sans consentement en application de la CDPH de l’ONU

http://depsychiatriser.blogspot.no/2016/03/la-psychiatrie-en-france-zone-de-non.html

 

Pourquoi je suis contre les « soins sous contrainte » :

On pourrait croire que, au pays de la liberté, on a encore droit à son intégrité morale et physique.

Rien n’est plus faux. Par experience, impossible pour quiconque d’échapper à un soin sous contrainte (SPDT, « soin à la demande d’un tiers » ou « péril imminent »).

Il suffit que : une personne la demande (que ce soit la famille, un voisin…), qu’on soit « pas bien », déstabilisé, agité, « instable », en colère, dépressif, sur la défensive, « en opposition », « délirant », amaigri, boulimique, fumeur de shit, drogué…

Il suffit aussi qu’on refuse l’hospitalisation ou un traitement pour que les médecins se relaient pour demander un soin sous contrainte. Une fois hospitalisé, « on » vous fait comprendre que vous perdez vos droits à la personne, l’argument étant : « maintenant on est responsable de vous pour TOUT »… Par contre, vis-à-vis de vous, « on » n’est responsable de rien…

 

Depuis la loi Bachelot du 5 Juillet 2011, en particulier si on a le malheur de contester le diagnostic ou le traitement, c’est alors après la sortie d’hospitalisation qu’on ne peut plus se débarrasser de la contrainte, et c’est là que c’est le plus pervers : injections forcées, consultations obligatoires avec un praticien hospitalier non choisi (à la rigueur, on a le choix entre deux médecins).

Le pire : si on refuse de se rendre au centre médico-psychologique du secteur assigné, la police vient gentiment vous cueillir chez vous pour vous hospitaliser en soins obligatoires à un degré encore plus coercitif (SPDRE, « sur la demande de l’Etat ») et sur un temps plus long et sans contact autorisé avec l’extérieur (!) jusqu’à ce qu’il aient réussi à réduire votre volonté à néant. Ainsi, il arrive que les personnes concernées doivent abandonner leur logement pour « vivre » en psychiatrie (parfois pendant des dizaines d’années, voir le cas de Dimitri Fargette)…

 

Je suis témoin : en France, il y a réellement du souci à se faire…

  1. Il n’y a aucune alternative à la psychiatrie institutionnelle (lobbying des psychiatres ET de l’industrie pharmaceutique contre d’autres formes de thérapies) ;
  2. Aucune littérature ou culture antipsychiatrique (des « survivants », il n’y en a pas…)
  3. L’Ordre des Medecins Psychiatres qui suspend : tout psychiatre « en décalage » avec le système consensuel (d’après le Dr. O.G, psychiatre libéral et ex-chef de clinique) ;
  4. L’Ordre des Medecins Psychiatres qui suspend : un psychiatre responsable de la mort d’une patiente… seulement pour 2 semaines (voir l’affaire Florence Edaine)
  5. La « Mafia des tutelles » : tout patient faisant des séjours répétés est automatiquement placé sous curatelle ou tutelle (sans consentement, c’est renforcé)…
  6. Des mères se voient enlever leurs enfants immédiatement après la pose d’un diagnostic de maladie mentale ; jamais de scandale médiatique…
  7. On fait comprendre aux femmes en âge de procréer qu’il faut surtout adopter la contraception, en sous-entendant qu’on leur enlèverait leur enfant de toute façon. Ce qu’on ne leur dit pas, c’est que tous les neuroleptiques passent la barrière placentaire, c’est pourquoi j’ai entendu parler d’autant de cas d’avortements spontanés chez les femmes sous traitement. Dixit une infirmière, on donne de l’Haldol aux femmes enceintes, ce qui « prouverait » soi-disant « le peu de nocivité de l’Haldol » (!). Jamais d’étude là-dessus ni de scandale médiatique…
  8. Des services fermés qui regorgent de dépressifs qui ne sont pas en « péril imminent » et qui se sentent surtout mal de recevoir par exemple 4(!) antidépresseurs à la fois…
  9. Une cellule d’isolement toujours occupée (appelée « chambre de soins intensifs »!), ce qui participe du « folklore »…
  10. « Abonné une fois, abonné toujours » : les traitements qu’on ne peut plus JAMAIS arrêter ;
  11. Aucune étude à long-terme sur les effets des psychotropes…
  12. Aucun recours en cas d’abus psychiatriques (système interne de « médiation » caduc : mal vous en prend d’écrire une lettre au directeur de l’établissement…)

 

Pourquoi je suis contre ce nouveau système de « Juge des Libertés et Détentions » (relatif à la loi du 27 septembre 2013) :

On vous fait croire que c’est une voie de recours. Rien n’est plus faux, à part en cas de vice de forme (ce qui n’arrive quasiment jamais, puisque les psychiatres ont intérêt à ce que la procédure se passe en bonne et dûe forme). Au contraire, c’est un enfermement de plus…

  1. Le juge n’est pas psychiatre, il se garderait bien de remettre en question le jugement des médecins sur le fond. Par contre, on lui a expliqué que tout patient qui conteste le traitement est en « opposition », ce qui constitue déjà une preuve de « déni de maladie ».
  2. Les médecins y trouvent donc une voie bien pratique pour se décharger de leurs responsabilités, puisque « c’est le juge qui décide ». Et alors on voit défiler les patients dans le bureau du juge, accompagnés d’un soignant : « on vous amène Mme X »…
  3. On vous octroie un avocat commis d’office une semaine avant, mais qu’on ne peut pas contacter avant. Le jour de l’audience, c’est 15 minutes pour faire connaissance et se préparer, et ceci « dans les cases »…
  4. Ce qui est très alarmant, c’est qu’on ne trouve pas d’avocat en libéral, à part peut-être à Paris, et seulement pour un recours aux assises.
  5. Le juge prétexte qu’il ne peut lever le soin sous contrainte si c’est à la demande du directeur de l’établissement. Or, toutes les demandes de mise en soins sous contrainte passent par l’approbation du directeur. Tout le monde se donne bonne conscience, donc ;
  6. Une fois l’audience terminée (10 minutes), où l’on se voit déstabilisé, accusé et mis en doute, le juge « ordonne » le maintien en hospitalisation complète et de la mesure de contrainte, ce qui confère force de loi aux médecins (et donc une impunité totale) et SURTOUT donne encore plus de poids à la mesure.
  7. Inutile de préciser que si on était encore crédible avant, on ne l’est plus du tout et c’est définitif. Si on refuse de signer la feuille ou de comparaître, c’est pire, et on s’attire les foudres des médecins et du personnel soignant, qui vous mettent la pression, vous humilient et vous maltraitent. On ne peut pas non plus refuser que l’audience ait lieu.
  8. Le juge sait pertinemment qu’il s’agit d’une volonté potitique de faire taire les « récalcitrants » par voie chimique et coercitive. Il y adhère donc pleinement.

 

Pourquoi je suis contre les traitements forcés :

J’insiste sur le fait que les psychiatres hospitaliers ont les pleins pouvoirs sur le choix et le dosage des traitements, il ne s’agit JAMAIS d’un consentement éclairé. La « balance bénéfice-risque » est toujours de leur côté, même en cas de surdosage, même si la personne prend déjà 17 médicaments et pèse 200kg (ce qui est le cas d’une amie à qui on a donné Zyprexa ET Xeroquel suite à quoi elle a fait un accident vasculaire cérébral). Ils ne sont jamais responsables des effets secondaires non plus et vous orientent « gentiment » vers votre généraliste…

De plus, c’est toujours les médecins qui « décident » à votre place si vous allez bien ou non, et ce, même s’ils ne vous connaissent pas ou vous on vu seulement 5 minutes…

L’effet pervers de la chose, c’est que c’est tellement insupportable d’être enfermé et camisolé chimiquement qu’au bout d’un mois, on fait semblant d’aller mieux, on renie ses opinions et on arrête de se plaindre des effets secondaires pour pouvoir sortir, sous peine de se voir diagnostiquer en plus des « troubles du comportement » et un « déni de la maladie»…

 

J’AI ETE TORTUREE : au Zyprexa (surdosage), au Solian, au Tercian, au Risperdal (8 mg pour un poids de 50 kg), à l’Haldol (90 gouttes par jour) et « shootée » au Valium (40mg!)…

Le médecin et le personnel infirmier refusaient de prendre en compte : les troubles de l’élocution, tremblements, convulsions, dyskinésies, impatiences insupportables, angoisses mortelles, envie de mourir et tortures psychiques (« enfer » mental) qui ont apparu immédiatement et ont même empiré avec le temps. Je me suis battue en vain en plaidant que les neuroleptiques anesthésient la conscience, font perdre la mémoire, rendent docile et influençable, rendent dépressif et encore plus anxieux, affectent les capacités intellectuelles et détruisent l’âme.

J’ai également été mise plusieurs fois en isolement avec violences de la part du personnel ET des employés de la sécurité, alors que je n’ai JAMAIS été agressive. J’ai été mise sous contention, j’ai été déshabillée de force, j’ai été déshydratée, humiliée, bafouée, maltraitée…

Aujourd’hui, même si j’ai droit à un traitement moins inhumain, l’Abilify en injectable (après une 4ème tentative de suicide), je reste « accro » au Valium, traumatisée et toujours en alerte, dans l’angoisse de manquer à mes « obligations » ou de faire mauvaise impression, sans parler de l’absence totale de perspectives, de motivation et de joie dans ma vie, sans parler de ma vie affective qui est une misère (mort spirituelle, isolation, dépression, anxiété…).

Ma carrière artistique, qui avait débuté avec succès, a été définitivement brisée pendant mes meilleures années (la trentaine) et je suis aujourd’hui dans l’incapacité de créer alors qu’avant je foisonnais d’idées et me donnais les moyens pour les mettre en œuvre. Il est également trop tard et trop compliqué pour moi maintenant pour devenir mère.

Je vis dans la précarité à la charge de l’Etat.

 

Pourquoi j’ai toujours été opposée à leurs « diagnostics » pathologisants :

Je suis une personne ayant vécu les pires traumatismes dans la petite enfance (viols et abus, harcèlement), dont la plupart des souvenirs sont remontés plus de trente ans après, ce qui a grandement affecté mon équilibre psychique. J’ai malheureusement dû constater que, d’après les psychiatres (pour autant qu’ils m’aient crue…), il n’y aurait aucune relation de cause à effet entre ce que j’ai subi et mes troubles (!), ce qui est tellement énorme et risible qu’on aurait plutôt envie d’en pleurer…

J’ai pu constater, à l’instar de la Dre Muriel Salmona, seule psychiatre en France à ma connaissance qui aborde la souffrance psychique sous l’angle du trauma, qu’en France, aucune prise en charge spécifique n’est prévue ou proposée, et après 8 ans de psychiatrie, aucun médecin à ce jour ne m’a diagnostiqué un syndrôme de stress post-traumatique avec dissociation, ce qui pourtant devrait être le cas après des viols dans la grande majorité des cas selon la Dre muriel Salmona ( Association Mémoire Traumatique et Victimologie ). Je n’ai quasiment jamais pu faire de travail thérapeutique avec un psychiatre.

Quant à leur diagnostic de schizophrénie, il n’a jamais été étayé, expliqué ou argumenté, et mon dossier a été établi sur des « observations » des médecins et de simples « impressions » du personnel soignant… J’ai constaté également que parler de spiritualité conduisait immanquablement à un diagnostic de « délire mystique », donc, selon eux, de schizophrénie.

J’en conclus que l’enfermement et leurs mauvais soins n’ont fait qu’en rajouter à mes traumatismes, je ne crois pas un seul instant que leurs maladies imaginaires résultent d’un déséquilibre chimique dans mon cerveau ou d’une quelconque « maladie » biologique, je sais que les effets des neuroleptiques sont catastrophiques à long-terme et je suis totalement en accord avec de nombreux anti-psychiatres à l’international, dont le Dr. Peter Breggin, Joanna Moncrieff, David Healy, Robert Whitaker, Thomas Szazs, Peter Goetzsche et autres… (cf. le site madinamerica.com).

 

CONFORMEMENT À LA CONVENTION DES NATIONS UNIES SUR LES DROITS DES PERSONNES HANDICAPÉES, ARTICLES 12, 14 ET 15, TEL QU’INTERPRÉTÉ DANS L’OBSERVATION GÉNÉRALE NO. 1 ET LES LIGNES DIRECTRICES SUR L’ARTICLE 14, ET AUX PRINCIPES DE BASE ET LIGNES DIRECTRICES PUBLIEES PAR LE GROUPE DE TRAVAIL SUR LA DETENTION ARBITRAIRE DE L’ONU, PRINCIPE 20 ET LIGNE DIRECTRICE 20, JE PLAIDE POUR L’ABOLITION TOTALE DE LA PSYCHIATRIE COERCITIVE ET DES TRAITEMENTS FORCES.

JE REVENDIQUE TOUS MES DROITS A LA PERSONNE EN TANT QUE FEMME MAJEURE PROTEGEE, PERSONNE HANDICAPEE, EN PARTICULIER LE DROIT INALIENABLE DE DISPOSER PLEINEMENT DE MON CORPS ET DE MON ESPRIT SANS CHIMIE IATROGENE, DE MA LIBERTE INCONDITIONNELLE.

JE CONSIDERE LA PSYCHIATRIE INSTITUTIONNELLE ET SES PRATIQUES COERCITIVES COMME UN CRIME CONTRE L’HUMANITE, UNE ATTEINTE A LA DIGNITE ET A LA LIBERTE DE PENSEE 

Pink Belette, Mars 2016

 

****

Psychiatry in France, NO-RIGHTS-ZONE (By Pink Belette)

A french patient under forced commitment makes her « audit assignment » as part of the campaign to support CRPD absolute prohibition of commitment and forced treatment

 

Why I am against commitment and forced treatment :

One could believe that, in the land of liberty, one is still entitled to his or her physical and moral integrity.

Experience proves it wrong. It is impossible for anyone to escape forced commitment (so-called « care on demand of a third party » or « imminent danger »).

It’s already a done deal if : one person asks for it (family, neighbour…), one is « not well », unsettled, agitated, « not stable », gets angry, is depressed, on the defensive, « in opposition », exuberant, emaciated, bulimic, shit smoker, drugged…

It is sufficient if one refuses hospitalization or a treatment for the doctors to relieve each other in order to enforce commitment. Once hospitalized, it is been made perfectly clear that one looses his or her personal rights, only argument is : « now we are responsible of you for EVERYTHING »… Thus, towards the « patient », nobody is responsible of anything…

 

Since the « Bachelot law » of July 5th 2011, particularly if one has something to object, be it diagnose or treatment, it is then after being out of hospital that one cannot get rid of commitment, which is most perverse : forced injections, mandatory appointments with an non-chosen clinical psychiatrist (or, best case, with a choice between two doctors).

And, worst of all : if one refuses to go to the assigned medical center of one’s district, the police comes to pick one up at home and rehospitalization is mandatory with an increased commitment that is even more coercive (« on demand of the State »), on a longer lapse of time and with no authorization to communicate with the outside (!) until they succeed to break one’s will and reduce one to nothingness… It so happens that people loose their home and « live » in psychiatry (sometimes for decades, see Dimitri Fargette’s case)…

 

I witness : in France, there is really matter to worry about… 

  1. There is no alternative to institutional psychiatry (lobbying of psychiatrists AND pharmaceutical industry against other forms of therapies) ;
  2. No antipsychiatric litterature nor culture (no « survivors »…)
  3. The « College of Psychiatrists » who suspends : every psychiatrist « not aligned » with this consensual system (according to Dr. O.G, liberal psychiatrist and former head of clinic);
  4. The « College of psychiatrists » suspending : a psychiatrist responsible for the death of a patient… only for two weeks (see the case of young patient Florence Edaine)
  5. The « Guardianship mafia » : every patient who is repeatedly hospitalized is automatically placed under guardianship under a certain degree (without consent, it is being reinforced…)
  6. Single mothers get their children robbed and placed immediately after a diagnosis of mental illness is established, never one scandal about this…
  7. Women in age to bear a child are being strongly recommended a contraception, with a wink that their child would be taken away from them anyway. What they are not being told is that all neuroleptics pass the placenta barrier, that’s why i have heard of so many miscarriages from women under treatment. A quote from a nurse : « pregnant women are given Haldol, which proves it’s little nocivity » (!). Never one study about that nor mediatic scandal.
  8. Closed wards full of depressive people who are not in « immediate danger » and are feeling bad mainly because they are being given for example 4 (!) antidepressants at a time…
  9. An always occupied isolation chamber (so-called « intensive care chamber »!), which participates to the « folklore »…
  10. « Once subscriber, always subscriber » : treatments one can NEVER withdraw from ;
  11. No long-term study on psychotropic medication… (All so-called studies are biased)
  12. No recourse in case of even flagrant psychiatric abuse (internal system of « mediation » obsolete : it’s a very bad idea to write a letter to the director of the institution…)

 

Why I am against this new system of « Judge of Liberties and Detentions » (related to the law of september 27th 2013) :

They are making believe it is a recourse. I was proved wrong, except for instance on a technicality (which almost never happens, because it’s in the psychiatrists’ interest that the procedure goes well and in due form). On the contrary, it’s in the sense of more legal coercion…

  1. The judge is no psychiatrist, he would never ever put into question the judgment of the physicians concerning the core. Thus, he has been briefed about the « fact » that any patient who opposes treatment is « in opposition », which establishes already a proof of « illness denial » (and as a proof of illness itself).
  2. Therein it has been found a very practical way for doctors to be discharged of their responsibilities, as « it’s the judge who decides ». And now, bunches of patients are being spotted filing up before the judges’ office, escorted by a nurse : « we bring you Ms. X »…
  3. Patients get a mandated advocate one week before the audience, but who cannot be contacted in advance. At audience day, it’s 15 minutes to meet and prepare, and, of course, in a « formated » way.
  4. Very alarming is the fact that no liberal advocate is to be found for psychiatric abuse pleas, except maybe in Paris, and mostly for a recourse before the Court of Assize.
  5. The judge pretends he cannot lift the forced commitment because it’s asked for by the hospital director. Yet, all demands for forced commitment have to be validated by the director. Hence everyone gives him- or herself a good conscience there ;
  6. Once the audience done (10 minutes), where one gets destabilized, accused and doubted of, the judge « orders » the maintaining of the person in complete hospitalization and of the measure, which confers force of law on the doctors (hence, total impunity).
  7. Not to mention the fact that if one still had credibility before, it’s no longer the case and irreversible. If one refuses to sign the convocation or to attend the audience, it’s worse, and one is being bullied by staff members and doctors alike, who put one under pressure, humiliates one… One also cannot refuse the audience being held despite of one’s absence.
  8. The judge knows pretty well that it’s a political will to make silent the « opponents » of the system, chemically and coercively. He therefore fully concurs with it.

 

Why I am against forced treatment :

I insist on the fact that hospital psychiatrists are almighty regarding the choice and dosage of treatments, it’s never about an « informed consent ». The « benefit- risk balance » is always on their side, even in case of overdosage, even if the person already takes 17 meds and weighs 400 pounds (which is the case of a friend to whom was administered Zyprexa AND Seroquel after which she had a cerebral attack with impairment). They are also never responsible for side effects and, in case of complaint, derefer to one’s generalist physician…

Thus, it is always them who « decide » on one’s behalf if one is well or not and this, even if they don’t know the person or have seen him or her only five minutes…

Perverse effect of the thing : it’s so unbearable being locked up and silenced chemically, that, after a month, one pretends to feel better, disavow his or her opinions and stops complaining about side effects in order to get out, knowing that otherwise one will be diagnosed behavioural troubles and « illness deny »…

 

I WAS TORTURED : with Zyprexa (overdosis), Amisulpride, Cyamemazine, Risperdal (8 mg for a weight of 100 pounds), Haldol (90 drops a day) and « shooted » with Valium (40mg!)…

The doctors and staff refused to take into account : speaking troubles, heavy trembling, convulsions, dyskinesia, unbearable akathisia, heavy existential fear, wish to be dead and psychical tortures (mental « hell ») which appeared immediately and even worsened as time went by. I fought in vain, pleading that neuroleptics anesthetize consciousness, occasion memory loss, make one docile and influentiable, make depressive and even more anxious, impair one cognitively and destroy the soul.

I was also put into solitary confinement several times with violences from the staff AND security agents, despite the fact I have NEVER been even agressive. I was put under contention, was violently undressed, dehydrated, humiliated, spoliated, mistreated…

Today, even if I get a « less inhumane » treatment – Abilify retard injection – (after a 4th suicide attempt), I remain addicted to Valium, traumatized and always on alert, fearing to miss my « obligations » or to make bad impression, without mentioning total absence of perspectives, motivation or joy in life, without mentioning my affective life that is a misery (spiritual death, isolation, depression, anxiety…).

My artistic career, which finally started with success has been definitively broken during my best years (in my 30′) and today I am totally unable to create despite the fact that before, I had thousands of ideas and was giving a great deal to put them into meaningful use. It is also too late and too complicated for me now to become a mother.

I live in precarity at the charge of the State.

 

Why I was always opposed to their pathologizing « diagnoses » :

I’m a person who endured the worst traumas in early childhood (rape and abuse, mobbing…), while most memories came up again more than 30 years afterwards, which greatly affected my emotional balance. I had unfortunately to experience that, according to psychiatrists (if they even believed me), there would be no cause-to-effect relationship between what I had to bear and my troubles (!), which I find so enormous and stupid that one would rather cry…

I had to notice, alike Dr. Muriel Salmona – only psychiatrist in France knowingly approaching psychical suffering under the perspective of trauma – that in France, no specific caretaking is being proposed nor planned, and after 8 years of psychiatry, not one physician has diagnosed me a post-traumatic stress disorder with dissociation which, according to Dr. Muriel Salmona (« Association Mémoire Traumatique et Victimologie ») is the case after rape and abuse.

I could almost never do a therapeutic work with a psychiatrist.

Regarding their diagnosis of schizophrenia, it has never been illustrated, explained or argumented, and my medical records have been established on mere « observations » from the doctors and sheer « impressions » from the staff…

I also came to the conclusion that to actually speak about spirituality would eventually always end in them diagnosing a « mystical delirium » and, as such, schizophrenia.

My conclusion is that their imprisoning and bad treatments have done none but to aggravate my traumas and personal issues, I don’t believe a second that their imaginary « diseases » result in a chemical imbalance in my brain or an unknown « biological » illness, I know that neuroleptics and affiliated meds are catastrophic in the long-term (causing brain damage) and I totally agree with numerous anti-psychiatrists internationally, such as the Drs. Peter Breggin, Joanna Moncrieff, David Healy, Robert Whitaker, Thomas Szazs, Peter Goetzsche and others… (see on madinamerica.com).

 

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, ARTICLES 12, 14 AND 15, AS INTERPRETED IN GENERAL COMMENT NO. 1 AND THE GUIDELINES ON ARTICLE 14, AND WITH THE BASIC PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES OF THE UN WORKING GROUP ON ARBITRARY DETENTION PUBLISHED IN 2015, PRINCIPLE 20 AND GUIDELINE 20, I SPEAK IN FAVOUR OF ABSOLUTE PROHIBITION OF COERCIVE PSYCHIATRY AND FORCED TREATMENT.

I RECLAIM ALL MY RIGHTS TO PERSONHOOD AS A DISABLED ADULT WOMAN UNDER PROTECTION, IN PARTICULAR THE INALIENABLE RIGHT TO DISPOSE ENTIRELY OF MY BODY, MIND AND SOUL WITHOUT IATROGENIC CHEMICALS AND MY UNCONDITIONAL LIBERTY.

I CONSIDER INSTITUTIONAL PSYCHIATRY AND ITS COERCIVE PRACTICES A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, A SEVERE HARM TO DIGNITY AND TO FREEDOM OF THINKING.

 

Pink Belette, March 2016

 

 

Eveline Zenith – Freedom From Religion

Freedom From Religion: Campaign to Support CRPD

http://muddledtranslation.blogspot.no

Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Religion: A Psychotherapy Survivor’s Account of Unravelling the Colossal Irony

By Eveline Zenith

Our freedom to believe and practice as we choose is correlated with the core values of liberty and autonomy. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects our rights by stating that everyone has freedom of conscience and religion; also, religious belief cannot be preferred to non-belief. In the United States, freedom of religion is constitutionally protected in the First Amendment, and is associated with the separation between church and state.

Freudian psychoanalysis is a religious ideology that has absolutely no relevance in my life. I can only say that now I have researched it in depth, and this has been no simple task. Finding information about this clandestine methodology required: hours of detective work; a small fortune of books; under-cover attendance at a psychoanalytic seminar; six months of email correspondence with a psychoanalyst; intensive abuse recovery; jumping through every possible hoop in the system… and it remains today irredeemable. I did all this in order to regain sanity after therapy; my mind became so scrambled I had to abruptly discharge myself from the transaction. I am staggeringly aware of how lucky I am.

I had a nervous breakdown and began constantly re-living the bizarre statements my analyst had said to me. They were all vague and stated in a slow hypnotic tone, by a man who had been presenting as a “blank slate”. I had absolutely no familiarity or understanding of him: his intentions, beliefs, or personality. With sheer terror I would wake at 3am… trembling, eyes watering, remembering his intense staring, cutting words, sadistic glee, and condescending manner. There were other times when I felt bonded with him, that he cared, that he was a spiritual guide. The cognitive dissonance alone was torture enough to drive me insane!

Once I went “no contact” all my illusions disintegrated; I became appallingly aware of the prospect that he had deliberately abused me. He has the power, the education, and the techniques at his disposal to really screw me just for kicks. The research I have done on emotional abuse is a succinct match to the so-called techniques; I was vulnerable and had no idea what I was consenting to. He would simply shift the goalposts whenever I grew wise; he’d divert to blaming my hyper-vigilance and trust issues.

I never imagined I would have to defend my human dignity to an institution that is supposed to protect me, or that they would dismiss my testimony and actually try to silence me. The greatest, deepest betrayal was that it was an endeavour to heal from childhood abuse. That therapist held the keys to my most defenseless wounds and senselessly battered them. There is still no accountability on behalf of the profession: either this is considered permissible, or this practitioner needs to be corrected.

I have learned that Freudian psychoanalysis – perhaps psychotherapy on the whole – holds the absolute belief that the pathological relationship will inevitably re-enact. What this means is that if you were abused before, you will re-experience it in therapy and be re-traumatized. I have not yet found anyone in the field who will explain in plain language how this works; it makes no rational sense. This is an accessibility issue. Not only is it illogical, it is downright heinous without mandatory informed consent. Currently, the authorities assume on good faith that the practitioner will inform the client. If you have any knowledge of the world of predators, abuse, and exploitation, you will know this is a loophole for corruption. Also, if you don’t understand this is the process, you will only experience your therapist as your abuser and hopefully get out of it like I did!

There is no therapeutic value in having your spiritual guide manifest as your worst nightmare unless there is a therapeutic alliance; this can only be forged through informed consent every step of the way. Sex, boxing, and psychotherapy are similar: if one person isn’t participating it’s a crime. Psychoanalysis believes practitioners can subject us to treatment because they feel we need it; they have a plan for us, but they don’t reveal it. There are plenty of ethics seminars where theories are discussed about what’s good or bad for clients, but no actual observance of human rights is mandated. The entire “treatment” goes on in complete privacy, with biased accounts of clients’ “transferences” scratched on notepads for billing purposes. I never consented to any transference; I assumed everything was in the here and now. All of this religious interpretation was done behind my back so there was no way I could refute it, question it, challenge it, or even benefit from it. I have searched far and wide in a vast wilderness of possibilities, finally concluding that my practitioner is delusional, sadistic-aggressive, lacks empathy, and has no substantive reasoning for any of it besides money and control. This conclusion is the reason I am alive and well today.

The imperative reason I advocate for the absolute prohibition of coercive treatments is because this harm is done to the previously harmed, vulnerable, and voiceless members of our society. These are people who have had cruel, devastating, and heinous things done to us; large parts of our bodies and souls have been murdered. Even with all the agency I possess, I can’t get through to anyone on the other side of the door. The lack of education and total absence of conversation about abuse in the mental health profession is criminal negligence, considering that is the number one reason people use these services. Although the Code of Ethics for Psychiatry explicitly states informed consent, I am told by the authorities I consented simply by being there.

In terms of CRPD principles, although many sections address aspects of this problem I focus on sections 14 through 16:

Article 14: Liberty and security of the person 

  1. States Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others:

(a) Enjoy the right to liberty and security of person;

(b) Are not deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily, and that any deprivation of liberty is in conformity with the law, and that the existence of a disability shall in no case justify a deprivation of liberty.

  1. States Parties shall ensure that if persons with disabilities are deprived of their liberty through any process, they are, on an equal basis with others, entitled to guarantees in accordance with international human rights law and shall be treated in compliance with the objectives and principles of this Convention, including by provision of reasonable accommodation.

Article 15: Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment 

  1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his or her free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.
  2. States Parties shall take all effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent persons with disabilities, on an equal basis with others, from being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 16: Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse 

  1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, including their gender-based aspects.
  2. States Parties shall also take all appropriate measures to prevent all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse by ensuring, inter alia, appropriate forms of gender- and age-sensitive assistance and support for persons with disabilities and their families and caregivers, including through the provision of information and education on how to avoid, recognize and report instances of exploitation, violence and abuse. States Parties shall ensure that protection services are age-, gender- and disability-sensitive.
  3. In order to prevent the occurrence of all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse, States Parties shall ensure that all facilities and programmes designed to serve persons with disabilities are effectively monitored by independent authorities.
  4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote the physical, cognitive and psychological recovery, rehabilitation and social reintegration of persons with disabilities who become victims of any form of exploitation, violence or abuse, including through the provision of protection services. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment that fosters the health, welfare, self-respect, dignity and autonomy of the person and takes into account gender- and age-specific needs. 
  5. States Parties shall put in place effective legislation and policies, including women- and child-focused legislation and policies, to ensure that instances of exploitation, violence and abuse against persons with disabilities are identified, investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted. 

Unravel edit

Aporte de Lucila López, Usuaria y sobreviviente de la psiquiatría en Argentina

CAMPAÑA DE APOYO A LA CDPD COMPROMISO CON LA PROHIBICIÓN ABSOLUTA DE LA PRIVACIÓN DE LA LIBERTAD Y EL TRATAMIENTO FORZADO DE LAS PERSONAS CON DISCAPACIDAD PSICOSOCIAL

 

Señores del Comité sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad:

Solicito tengan a bien dar la merecida atención a todas las voces que elevamos los actores socio-políticos que pedimos la prohibición absoluta de la privación de la libertad por motivos de discapacidad psicosocial.

Lucila López

Usuaria y sobreviviente de la psiquiatría en Argentina.

(también se puede leer en https://sodisperu.org/2016/03/22/aporte-a-la-campana-prohibicionabsoluta-por-lucila-lopez-usuaria-y-sobreviviente-de-la-psiquiatria-en-argentina/)

CAMPAÑA DE APOYO A LA CDPD ART. 14 LL-MARZO14 2016 (doc)

Intentaré exponer los motivos sobre la importancia de obtener el apoyo necesario para que la Campaign to Support CRPD Absolute Prohibition of Commitment and Forced Treatment  – Campaña de apoyo CDPD COMPROMISO CON LA ABSOLUTA PROHIBICIÓN DE LA INTERNACIÓN Y EL TRATAMIENTO FORZADO iniciada por la Dra. Tina Mikowitz resulte como positivo fortalecimiento al momento de las Observaciones Generales a favor del irrestricto cumplimiento del artículo 14 inc. y todos los artículos vinculantes.

Artículo 14

Libertad y seguridad de la persona

  1. Los Estados Partes asegurarán que las personas con discapacidad, en igualdad de condiciones con las demás:

a) Disfruten del derecho a la libertad y seguridad de la persona;

b) No se vean privadas de su libertad ilegal o arbitrariamente y que cualquier privación de libertad sea de conformidad con la ley, y que la existencia de una discapacidad no justifique en ningún caso una privación de la libertad.

2. Los Estados Partes asegurarán que las personas con discapacidad que se vean privadas de su libertad en razón de un proceso tengan, en igualdad de condiciones con las demás, derecho a garantías de conformidad con el derecho internacional de los derechos humanos y a ser tratadas de conformidad con los objetivos y principios de la presente Convención, incluida la realización de ajustes razonables.

“El Comité sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad reafirma que la libertad y la seguridad de la persona es uno de los derechos más preciosos a que tiene derecho. En particular, para las personas con discapacidad, y en especial las personas con discapacidad intelectual y discapacidad psicosocial tienen derecho a la libertad en conformidad con el artículo 14 de la Convención. En él se especifica el alcance del derecho a la libertad y a la seguridad de la persona en relación con las personas con discapacidad, prohíbe toda discriminación basada en la discapacidad. De este modo, el artículo 14 se relaciona directamente con el propósito de la Convención, que es garantizar el disfrute pleno e igual de todos los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales a todas las personas con discapacidad y promover el respeto de su dignidad inherente.”[i]

__________________

Nada se puede pensar por fuera de un contexto. El tema propuesto es un tema ineludible en términos de un pensamiento con eje en los Derechos Humanos.

Escribir en Argentina sobre la necesidad de garantizar la prohibición absoluta de privar de la libertad a las personas con discapacidad en nombre de tratamientos impuestos, forzados, en contra de la propia voluntad, es escribir en un contexto en el que el respeto a los DD.HH. es ostensiblemente violado provocando actualmente una seria preocupación para el CIDH, específicamente por una presa política. En relación al tema, es significativo que Estela de Carlotto[ii] haya preguntado -¿Cómo se puede decir que está muy bien una mujer presa? Y calificó esa afirmación de la más alta autoridad del país como “una barrabasada”. El texto completo es el siguiente:

“La barrabasada[iii]que dijeron es que la habían visitado en la cárcel y que estaba muy bien. Fue violento. ¿Cómo se puede decir que está muy bien una mujer presa?

Me permito hacer un parangón y preguntar:   ¿Cómo se puede decir que está bien una persona privada de la libertad (presa) por su discapacidad?

Estoy a favor de la prohibición absoluta de la privación de la libertad involuntaria y tratamientos forzados de las personas con discapacidad psicosocial y el compromiso para con todos comienza en el ejercicio para mi propia vida de ese derecho y el Art. 14 de la CDPD me autoriza a exigir el cumplimiento de la norma jurídica.

Mis argumentos son en nombre propio a partir de mis experiencias y la observación de la experiencia de otros, articulando mi condición de usuaria y sobreviviente de la psiquiatría, mi visión como profesional dedicada a la prevención en Salud Mental y Derechos Humanos y como familiar, en tanto soy madre de un hombre que siendo niño y hasta entrada su adultez, necesitó de la protección de sus derechos incluido el derecho a la salud y el derecho a la salud mental.

Estuve privada de la libertad y en contra de mi voluntad por última vez entre el 5 de julio de 2014 y el 12 de enero de 2015. La cuarta vez en mi vida y la más extensa en tiempo.

Esa misma barrabasada “que me encontraban muy bien” la escuché de familiares y amigo/as y me mantuve en un total mutismo.

Desde el año 2011, la crisis anterior con internación contraria a mi voluntad, comencé a guardar mutismo absoluto delante de los que apoyaron esa medida y están dispuestos a apoyarla de nuevo.

¿Por qué guardar mutismo?

Por lo intolerable que resulta la alianza entre los profesionales de la salud mental y familiares y/o amigos:

  • Ignoran la CDPD.
  • No tienen en cuenta el respeto a la persona como un igual.
  • Prevalezcan sobre mi cuerpo y sobre mi psiquismo[iv] decisiones ajenas violatorias de todos
  • Los siguientes derechos enumerados en la CDPD (Ley 26.378) que es parte del cuerpo jurídico de la Constitución Nacional de Argentina.

Artículo 5º

Igualdad y no discriminación

Artículo 12

Igual reconocimiento como persona ante la ley[v]       

Artículo 14

Libertad y seguridad de la persona

Artículo 15

Protección contra la tortura y otros tratos o penas crueles, inhumanos o degradantes

Artículo 17

Protección de la integridad personal

Artículo 18

Libertad de desplazamiento y nacionalidad

Artículo 19

Derecho a vivir de forma independiente y a ser incluido en la comunidad

Artículo 22

Respeto de la privacidad

Artículo 23

Respeto del hogar y de la familia

1.C) Las personas con discapacidad, incluidos los niños y las niñas, mantengan su fertilidad, en igualdad de condiciones con las demás.

Artículo 24

Educación

Artículo 25

Salud

Artículo 27

Trabajo y empleo

Artículo 28

Nivel de vida adecuado y protección social

Enumerados todos los derechos vinculantes que se violan a partir de la falta de respeto al art. 14, argumentaré los motivos por los que pido la PROHIBICIÓN ABSOLUTA DE LA PRIVACIÓN DE LA LIBERTAD INVOLUNTARIA.

En Argentina, exigir la prohibición absoluta de la libertad involuntaria por motivos de discapacidad psicosocial encuentra un horizonte de futuro posible con la prohibición establecida por la LNSM –Ley 26.657 – de la creación de nuevos manicomios públicos y privados en todo el territorio de la Nación y el cierre definitivo de todos para el año 2020.

La privación forzada de la libertad, -o internación involuntaria- o no por motivos de discapacidad psicosocial es claramente una acción discriminatoria, de acuerdo a la legislación argentina y el marco jurídico internacional:

“La discriminación es el acto de agrupar a los seres humanos según algún criterio que lleva a una forma de relacionarse socialmente. Concretamente, suele ser usado para hacer diferenciaciones que atentan contra la igualdad, ya que implica un posicionamiento jerarquizado entre grupos sociales 1, es decir, cuando se erige un grupo con más legitimidad o poder que el resto.

En el año 1988, se sancionó la Ley Nº 23.592 sobre Actos Discriminatorios que en su Artículo 1º reconoce como discriminación cualquier impedimento o restricción del pleno ejercicio “sobre bases igualitarias de los derechos y garantías fundamentales reconocidos en la Constitución Nacional […] por motivos tales como raza, religión, nacionalidad, ideología, opinión política o gremial, sexo, posición económica, condición social o caracteres físicos”. Asimismo, el documento titulado “Hacia un Plan Nacional contra la Discriminación”, aprobado por Decreto Nº 1086/2005.Instituto Nacional contra la Discriminación, la Xenofobia y el Racismo. (INADI ¿Qué es la discriminación?).-

 

La privación de la libertad involuntaria a partir de la  CDPD se constituye en un acto de violación de DD.HH.y el Estado se debe responsabilizar de ello[vi] pues  aún cuando en Argentina ha ratificado la CDPD y le ha dado status constitucional:

La Ley Nacional de Salud Mental Ley 26.657- que es considerada una Ley de Salud Mental modelo por todos los avances dirigidos hacia el nuevo paradigma social y del respeto de los DD.HH. de las personas con discapacidad, incurre en la violación del artículo 14 considerando que:

La LNSM En el Capítulo VII, Art. 20) contempla de la internación involuntaria:Ley 26.657 ARTICULO 20. — La internación involuntaria de una persona debe concebirse como recurso terapéutico excepcional en caso de que no sean posibles los abordajes ambulatorios, y sólo podrá realizarse cuando a criterio del equipo de salud mediare situación de riesgo cierto e inminente para sí o para terceros. Para que proceda la internación involuntaria, además de los requisitos comunes a toda internación, debe hacerse constar… “

Acá encontramos un argumento a favor de la internación involuntaria contraria a la letra de la CDPD y su art. 14.-

La idea que prevalece en este artículo de la LNSM es la del paradigma del MMH., encuentra gran receptividad tanto en los profesionales de la salud como así también de familiares. Desde la implementación de la LNSM no se cumple con el art. 14 de la CDPD pero tampoco se cumple con lo que estipula la LNSM en el Art. 20, pues la concepción de recurso terapéutico excepcional se convierte en letra muerta de la ley y es una mera formulación administrativa o de buenas intenciones si se pueden llamar así a los argumentos esgrimidos para privar de la libertad en forma involuntaria.

Este acto discriminatorio y violatorio de DD.HH. goza de un consenso intelectual que supone el encierro de las PcD como “un corte, una instancia de reordenamiento subjetivo”.

El “corte subjetivo” se produce en la PcD en el momento que se denomina crisis y no necesita de ser privada de la libertad. Se puede “volver a la vida plena” en la vida plena de poder padecer un “corte” de “conexión con la realidad” si se brindan todos los apoyos y ajustes necesarios para tornar viable la vida en la comunidad.

No podemos ser discriminados por ser personas con discapacidad psicosocial y considerar terapéutico el encierro y el aislamiento que es una práctica iatrogénica al igual que la medicación forzada.

Vuelvo sobre la necesidad de contextuar el texto.

En Argentina hay una gran resistencia de parte de los profesionales de la salud mental a mencionar el tema discapacidad ligado al tema de las problemáticas de la salud mental.

En este presente inmediato, hablar de Derechos Humanos en Argentina articulados con la Salud Mental o con cualquier otro aspecto de la vida de las personas en general es un tema que pone en cierto peligro a quien se anima a denunciar.

Mi opinión al respecto después de muchos años de indagar el tema es que los profesionales de la salud mental junto a una gran parte de la población no aceptan que las PcD psicosocial somos personas con el reconocimiento de la dignidad y el valor inherentes y de los derechos iguales e inalienables de todos los miembros de la familia humana.

No aceptan la condición de sujeto de derecho en igualdad de condiciones que invoca la CDPD y esto es especialmente notorio al observar que en Argentina, la LNSM Nro. 26.657, es despreciada e incumplida por la corporación médico-psiquiátrica quienes consideran que debe ser derogada porque entre algunos de sus acertados artículos se promueve la interdisciplinariedad, el cierre de la totalidad de los manicomios públicos y privados en todo el territorio nacional y también promueve las internaciones en hospitales generales (considerando el respeto a quien desee ser internado de forma voluntaria).-

El primer obstáculo para hacer notar que el art. 20 de la LNSM 26.657 viola el Art. 14 de la CDPD es que los profesionales de la salud y de la salud mental, los trabajadores sociales y un amplio espectro de la justicia y una enorme masa de la población en general no están dispuestos a respetar los DD.HH. de las PcD psicosocial y que las lógicas manicomiales prevalecen en el imaginario social sobre los avances y cambios que en la materia se vienen discutiendo a nivel mundial.

La mayoría de las internaciones que se realizan son involuntarias y en general no se cumplen los pasos que la LNSM dispone para estos casos. Una ingeniería perversa de mecanismos burocráticos actúa evitando que la información llegue a la justicia en tiempo y forma, haciendo permanecer a una persona hasta por cuatro meses internada sin haber ejercido ni el consentimiento informando sobre el tratamiento que le administran arbitrariamente ni tuvo acceso a un abogado defensor como lo estipula la LNSM.

Es de mi particular interés las internaciones involuntarias de niños/as-adolescentes y jóvenes por motivos vinculados al consumo problemático de sustancias psicotrópicas en instituciones aberrantes con la anuencia de sus familias y también, en el otro extremo del arco, a las personas mayores y la naturalización de su institucionalización en lugares llamados geriátricos, residencias u hogares que también, con un proceder perverso, ocultan las problemáticas de discapacidad mental más propias de la ancianidad, del deterioro cognitivo que puede aparecer con el avance de la edad y otras formas de discapacidad mental que no son atendidas en su particular singularidad y sí son privadas de la libertad casi siempre sin su propio consentimiento.

Entonces sufren internaciones involuntarias y así se violan los DD.HH. de:

Niñas, niños, adolescentes mujeres y hombres, jóvenes, adulta/os y ancianas/os declarados o no personas con discapacidad mental por razones vinculadas a problemáticas de la salud mental.

En todos estos casos prevalece el concepto discriminatorio que no tenemos igual reconocimiento como persona ante la ley.

Partiendo de esta premisa comenzaré a exponer de qué manera la internación, la privación de la libertad involuntaria es una verdadera violación de DD.HH. que comete el Estado atropellando derechos y aumentando la discapacidad y propiciando el empobrecimiento de las personas afectadas en sus intereses económicos, sociales y culturales.

La internación involuntaria es iatrogénica:

  • en lugar de un resultado positivo para la salud, la privación de la libertad junto a tratamientos con drogas psiquiátricas forzados generan enfermedades, atenta contra la salud psíquica y física de la persona y la despoja del ejercicio de un sinfín de derechos aún cuando no se haya restringido su capacidad jurídica y esto también en internaciones –involuntarias o no- a corto plazo.

La realidad de una gran mayoría es que su capacidad jurídica está restringida.

En Argentina actualmente hay más de 20.000 personas privadas de la libertad en manicomios públicos y privados, según datos poco fidedignos, en su mayoría hombres entre 20 y 40 años que en su mayoría llevan un promedio de 15 a 20 años de privación de la libertad. De esa mayoría un número elevado entró en el circuito de las internaciones por consumo problemático de sustancias psicotrópicas siendo el alcohol la que encabeza el listado de ellas, que no es una droga ilegal.

Es muy llamativo que los datos oficiales oculten las cifras que puedan informar la cantidad de niñas y mujeres privadas de la libertad de manera involuntaria que hay en el país y me animo a decir que debe ser significativamente superior a la cantidad de hombres privados de la libertad.

En todos o en casi todos esos casos, ya sea en el ámbito público como en el privado la violación al art. 14 de la CDPD conlleva la violación de todos los otros artículos de la CDPD enumerados anteriormente.

La libertad y la seguridad de la persona son avasalladas y entonces su integridad en el más amplio concepto de la palabra también.

Hay una gran parte de la población privada de la libertad por motivos de discapacidad psicosocial que desconocen su verdadera identidad. Están desprovistas de documentos de identidad. No tienen contacto con familiares desde hace años y han sido separados de su comunidad.

Muchos, con estudios iniciados, han perdido el derecho a continuarlos, otros directamente no acceden porque comienzan el derrotero de las internaciones psiquiátricas durante la infancia. Conocí en el manicomio a un hombre mayor de cincuenta años que estaba internado desde los cinco años, desde su primera infancia… y allí murió.

Las instituciones psiquiátricas tienden a incurrir en una doble violación al Derecho a la Salud, en tanto:

  1. La privación de la libertad involuntaria o no, es iatrogénica.
  2. La PcD psicosocial internada en instituciones psiquiátricas suele carecer de verdadera atención médica en otros aspectos que su salud requiera: la aparición de síntomas de un quebrantamiento de la salud física suele ser ignorado, “interpretado” como síntoma o manipulación de la PcD desde el discurso médico-psiquiátrico y también, se le niega el acceso a profesionales de otras especialidades. Ejemplo: la asistencia de un otorrinolaringólogo… “porque es incómodo el traslado a un servicio especializado” y la persona debe aceptar y tolerar no ser atendida. Esta triste realidad trae aparejado resultados muy graves: muertes por enfermedades tratables tanto en la población femenina como en la masculina. También se les niega el acceso a los tratamientos indicados por médicos especialistas en el caso que tengan acceso a una consulta.

Todo esto está reñido con el principio básico del ser en igualdad de condiciones.

La vida privada de la libertad “no es vida”.

La privación de la libertad acompañada por el tratamiento forzada con drogas psiquiátricas provoca una especie de muerte psíquica.

Los acontecimientos de la vida cotidiana bajo los efectos de la medicación psiquiátrica –forzada o no, dentro y fuera de la internación- se perciben como si se mirara a través de un vidrio esmerilado, la voz de los otros llega a uno con un efecto retardado, y nuestros pensamientos también resultan lentos bajo los efectos de las drogas psiquiátricas. El contacto con el otro, con el afuera, está “mediado” por una cortina invisible que ralentiza los movimientos por el cuerpo rigidizado y los sentidos aletargados.

Así, el otro, cualquiera que sea, nos percibe “raros” “distintos” y los médicos aseveran que es el “devenir propio de la enfermedad diagnosticada” negando de cuajo que ese estado es el efecto de la privación de la libertad y del tratamiento químico forzado.

Con la privación de la libertad involuntaria, suele aparecer un estado de apatía profundo, un gran desinterés por todo… en mi experiencia esta apatía y el desinterés –incluso de hablar y permanecer en un mutismo absoluto- lo produce la imposibilidad de comprender que para el círculo de personas de mi afecto, esa situación fuera considerada buena, que dijeran que me “encontraban mejor”… si realmente esa es la mirada que tienen mis afectos cercanos, sean familiares o amigos, debo decir que no tienen registro alguno de las vivencias ciertas de humillación y maltrato que se viven en una internación.

Hay personas que estando internadas involuntariamente, hacen abandono de su aspecto físico y de su higiene. También eso es leído como un aspecto de “su enfermedad”… no se lee como un efecto iatrogénico de la privación de la libertad.

Los cambios a los que el cuerpo se ve sometido, desde el notorio aumento de peso con la pérdida de las formas propias del cuerpo y además, la falta de agilidad que provoca la medicación que rigidiza los músculos y el estado de “desconexión” que las mismas producen – y se aumenta notablemente con la privación de la libertad-, son otros aspectos que la persona padece, que pueden resultar motivo de vergüenza o mayor disminución de la estima.

La persona privada de la libertad, en un manicomio, tiene que poder evaluar estrategias de supervivencia y muchas veces, las elecciones son “el mal menor” y no lo que corresponde ni es justo ni a lo que se tiene derecho aún cuando se sea plenamente consciente de que se tiene derecho.

Cabe aclarar que una gran mayoría de la población internada desconoce todos sus derechos y además, cree que no los tiene. En las PcD psicosocial institucionalizadas durante muchos años en forma permanente o intermitente, se notan conductas propias de las personas sometidas a gran sometimiento y la faceta que muestran con claridad es la idea de “no tener derechos”

Así es muy poco probable que ellos luchen por una forma de vida independiente, el derecho a ser incluid en la comunidad en igualdad de condiciones porque se perciben así mismos como “personas enfermas”

Es común escuchar a adolescentes afectados a tratamientos -involuntarios o no- por consumo excesivo de drogas psicotrópicas, y en especial alcohol, decir “no tengo derecho a nada porque he consumido drogas y ese discurso es avalado por los responsables de su rehabilitación y tratamiento y en cierta medida y en muchas oportunidades también ese concepto es sostenido por familiares, se suma a esto que los profesionales de la salud mental encuentran dificultades para aceptar que los problemas derivados del consumo excesivo de drogas legales o ilegales es un tema que debe ser abordado dentro del ámbito de la salud… y son enviados a lugares de encierro con un régimen propio y diría “sin ley” donde prevalece la ley del más fuerte que suele ser en general “un adicto recuperado” que impone tratos degradantes.

Así, son salvajemente humillados y denigrados, abusados sexualmente y de otras formas niñas/niños y adolescentes sometidos a trabajo solamente comparables a la tortura y la esclavitud en el marco de internaciones forzadas o no.

En relación a esta problemática de la salud mental el entramado es de una gran complejidad y la violación de DD.HH. es indescriptible.

Nadie que está privado de la libertad tiene la posibilidad de decidir un lugar de residencia por fuera del manicomio que le ha tocado en desgracia y en virtud de su status social o el de su familia…

La mayor cantidad de personas privadas de la libertad de modo involuntario lo son por problemas sociales y al mismo tiempo:

La mayor parte de las problemáticas llamadas “enfermedades mentales” provienen de problemas sociales no atendidos debidamente por el Estado y afectan de manera altamente significativa a la población de menos recursos.

Poblaciones importantes en las que, de generación en generación, han transcurrido sus vidas en situaciones de extrema pobreza sin conocimiento de los Derechos Humanos que los asisten si tienen la desgracia de “caer en el manicomio, no tienen salida”. Se patologiza la pobreza!!! Hay un perverso discurso que “dice que la persona no ha sido capaz de tener ingresos adecuados para su sustento y/o el de su familia y garantizar vivienda, educación y salud”.

Esa supuesta enfermedad de una persona: ¿cómo se llama cuándo el sistema de salud mental con la privación de la libertad –involuntaria o no- des-ancla a la persona de su vida, de sus bienes, de sus ingresos económicos, de su universidad o de su escuela de estudios primarios y así, la deja en un vacío de derechos y sobre eso la re-diagnostica?

No hay mayor factor discapacitante que la pobreza, el hambre, la falta de techo y de educación. Y eso puede ser un punto de partida o de llegada para una persona con discapacidad social.

También muchas personas que caen abruptamente en la pobreza como consecuencia de las crisis económicas que se conocen como “respuestas al humor de los mercados”, es decir: las crisis económicas resultado de propuestas políticas neoliberales y del salvaje capitalismo, arrojan a la “locura” y al intento de suicidio –cuando no a la muerte misma- a muchas personas que mantuvieron durante gran parte de su vida un status de vida acorde a los derechos propios de una persona trabajadora con derecho al trabajo, la salud y la vivienda como derechos básicos inalienables y esas personas, recalan en los manicomios con un diagnóstico de enfermos psiquiátricos pero en sus Historias Clínicas no constan las condiciones de existencia al momento de la internación ni sus antecedentes culturales, laborales, familiares y sociales, ni nada, absolutamente nada de su vida antes de haber sido calificado como enfermo/a psiquiátrico/a.

Con horror observo que la familia reproduce el sistema de pensamiento manicomial.

La misma familia termina violando el derecho al hogar y la familia.

Poco a poco se aleja hasta dejar en el abandono a la persona.

Se la priva de la familia, de los hijos y de los nietos.

La familia se aleja porque es estigmatizada y además no recibe psico-educación alguna para albergar al familiar que sufre y contribuir a su inserción en la comunidad. Todo lo contrario, siempre se acentúa el hecho que la persona está enferma, que su enfermedad es incurable y que con el tiempo estará cada vez peor.

Eso es verdad cuando a una persona la privan de la libertad, en forma involuntaria o no, porque todo lo que le va pasando no es consecuencia de su padecimiento espiritual, emocional o psíquico… es consecuencia del asilamiento tras los muros agudizado por la “droga- dependencia- inducida” y por la soledad impuesta, que llega a sus grados de tortura más elevado en las celdas de aislamiento o con la sujeción mecánica en los casos que la persona presente algún tipo de excitación motriz que bien pudo ser ocasionada por un ”medicamento” o por falta de una caricia… por un miedo extremo o por una profunda angustia que nadie parece dispuesto a aliviar con un acompañar en un cuerpo a cuerpo hasta que el terror disminuya.

¿Dónde están escritas las bases del encierro involuntario como forma de cura?

En la decisión de privar de la libertad a una persona con discapacidad psicosocial de manera forzada hay un pensamiento, hay una lógica “a priori” que dispone que esa persona “no tiene cura en su enfermedad” y es una persona gravosa para la comunidad a la que se atribuyen todo tipos de males para sí mismo y o para terceros y que merecen la condena del encierro. Esto subyace en el pensamiento de quienes ejercen autoridad sobre la PcD psicosocial y le restringen la vida y la sumen en una vida en su mínima expresión, carente de sueños y anhelos, de amor y de libertad.

En Argentina los manicomios en su mayoría cuentan con “dispositivos de inserción laboral” a los cuales las personas privadas de la libertad son “invitados” a participar. Esa invitación y la aceptación o no, lleva a aumentar la cantidad de etiquetas que una persona puede ir sumando en el encierro de acuerdo a lo que se llama la falta o no de “adherencia al tratamiento”. Si la persona acepta trabajar en un emprendimiento de inserción laboral intra-hospitalario, recibirá un peculio[vii]… una míseros centavos por su trabajo y si no acepta, se le calificará como a una persona “institucionalizada que no tiene voluntad ni interés en el trabajo” y con pocas posibilidades de su inserción en la comunidad.

Las personas que estando internadas nos preocupamos por nuestra situación laboral somos desmotivadas y se nos promueve un pensamiento basado en la imposibilidad de continuar con tareas “normales” y el “beneficio” de acceder a “pensiones por discapacidad”.

Sostener delante de un psiquiatra la firme decisión de continuar trabajando en el mercado de trabajo como un ciudadano más, es descalificado en sus palabras, se es tratado como una persona que niega su “incapacidad” y lo usual es que el médico psiquiatra desconozca absolutamente todo lo referido a esa persona: sus estudios, su historia laboral y su estándar de vida si se trata de un manicomio púbico y en uno privado, si la persona en situación de encierro tiene un estar en el mundo alivianado de preocupaciones económicas porque posee dinero suficiente… no es menos descalificado… solo que esa persona puede llegar a tener más posibilidades de una vida autónoma si es que los familiares no lo inhabilitan restringiendo su capacidad jurídica para hacer ellos, usufructo de los bienes económicos de la persona con discapacidad.

Ninguna persona que tenga como único sustento en Argentina una pensión por discapacidad puede acceder a una canasta básica de alimentos, ni a la vivienda ni a la salud, no puede tener una vida independiente y autónoma ni puede vivir con libertad en la comunidad porque sus ingresos económicos, que son considerados “un beneficio” social, no le permiten tener ninguna autonomía económica.

No existe un nivel de vida adecuado ni protección social verdadera.

Vuelvo sobre el rechazo en Argentina de parte de los profesionales de la salud por la noción de discapacidad de la “persona con padecimiento mental” en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones.

La discapacidad es una concepción que pone en cuestión a la tan preciada, tanto como despreciada “enfermedad mental” corriendo el eje de la enfermedad individual al eje de las barreras sociales que obstaculizan la libertad individual, lo que se da en llamar el cambio de paradigma.

Los aún hoy promotores de las lógicas manicomiales encuentran en la concepción de la discapacidad una herramienta que otorga derecho a quienes ellos le quieren negar -ya no los derechos- si no la vida misma condenándoles al encierro y al estado de ser muertos vivientes, verdaderos zombis que deambulan entre los muros sin más pregunta que si la inmunda comida llegó a la mesa o no… si alguien se acordó de su existencia y llegó de visita o no…

A las mujeres privadas de la libertad se les puede llegar a producir la esterilidad quirúrgica…de modo involuntario… como se las puede prostituir… o abusar sexualmente de ellas y provocarle embarazos no deseados y hasta obligarlas a abortos o someterlas al robo de sus hijos…

Ingresar al manicomio es ingresar a la mismísima anomia[viii]: no se tuvo vida, la vida comienza y termina en los muros del manicomio.

La falta de ley a la que la palabra anomia refiere es lo que hace del manicomio un territorio que es tierra de nadie… y feudo de unos cuántos a la vez… en ese feudo la crueldad es ejercida con menos sutileza a medida que el ejecutor se aleja de la jerarquía del psiquiatra… y llega al personal de limpieza…

La degradación del concepto de ser humano y ser humano en igualdad de condiciones se traduce en el concepto de enfermo mental que es legislado por una concepción que se rige por un supuesto científico que designa la normalidad de las personas…

¿Quién puede decir yo soy normal, usted es normal y usted no sin sonrojarse?

Solamente alguien enceguecido de soberbia, solamente un ser que tanto teme a la locura, es capaz de pensar que es posible encerrarla tras los muros sin cometer violación de DD.HH.

La anomia en este caso es el estado provocado por un conjunto de personas que han degradado del juramento hipocrático y de otras que ejercen la violación de Derechos Humanos.

Para los que imponen esa legislación –paradójicamente carente de ley- para los que degradan con sus conceptos la condición humana al extremo de la privación involuntaria de la libertad, de tratamientos forzados, de humillaciones, torturas y tratos degradantes… para ellos la concepción de la diversidad funcional no existe y sin embargo, los involucra en tanto seres humanos- lo peor que les puede pasar es probar su propia medicina.

Puedo escribir miles de palabras más para tratar de transmitir la tortura que significa ser privada de la libertad – forma involuntaria o no- y de las graves consecuencias en mi salud y la observada en la salud de otros, como yo, obligados a la ingesta de drogas psiquiátricas en contra de nuestra voluntad.

Sin embargo, los profesionales de la salud mental con compendios de siglas alfanuméricas que definen conductas como los son los DSM y el CIE viven tan pagados de sus saberes y tan pagados por la industria farmacéutica y por los circuitos económicos que se destinan al sistema de salud,

  • son incapaces de recapacitar sobre sus prácticas, sobre su negación del paradigma de la discapacidad y ni pensar que puedan asomar su inteligencia al mundo de la diversidad funcional,
  • ni pueden comprender un mundo en evolución a velocidades nunca vividas en direcciones impensables hace menos de un cuarto de siglo, que desborda de nuevas problemáticas sociales donde todo parece desquiciado[ix] y estallado -y no necesariamente enfermo- sino nuevo y desconocido.

Como nuevo y desconocido hasta hace poco en Argentina es que nosotros, las PcD psicosocial, tenemos derechos y somos sujetos de derechos, pedimos trato en pie de igualdad y nos negamos a la internación involuntaria y al tratamiento forzado.

Hay una palabra en psicología muy interesante: constructo.

No voy a definir con exactitud el término, voy a explicar que constructo viene a designar esos aspectos que se saben que existen pero son difíciles de probar, de definir o controvertidos al momento de querer hacerlos “objetivables”.

Son constructos la inteligencia, la personalidad y la creatividad.

Me pregunto en qué lugar del cerebro está el recuerdo del olor dulce de mi abuela paterna… y de la voz de mi madre… dónde se guardan las canciones de cuna con las que he mecido el sueño de mis niños… dónde en el cerebro está el registro del primer diente, de la primera risa, de la primera travesura de mis hijos…en qué célula está el clima que rodeaba la escena que recuerdo de mi padre lustrando mis zapatos para ir a la escuela… dónde viven en mí los cuentos de hadas y brujas, el encanto del otoño teñido con el recuerdo del primer beso… donde se localizan los recuerdos de los compañeros desaparecidos, cómo perduran sus voces a pesar de los años… dónde se almacena todo lo aprendido y dónde permanece lo desaprendido, donde se produce y se reproduce la capacidad de amar cuando se ha sido vejada… cómo y donde están objetivados en mi cerebro lo que me permite pensar en colores para pintar, danzar, reír y llorar… olvidar y recordar…

Me pregunto de qué otra manera se puede privar de la libertad en forma involuntaria si no es a la fuerza y si no es desconociendo los derechos que nos atañen.

Esa fuerza tan bien descrita por Antonin Artaud en su CARTA A LOS DIRECTORES DE LOS ASILOS DE LOS LOCOS. “……………………………………………………….No nos sorprende ver hasta qué punto ustedes están por debajo de una tarea para la que sólo hay muy pocos predestinados. Pero nos rebelamos contra el derecho concedido a ciertos hombres – incapacitados o no – de dar por terminadas sus investigaciones en el campo del espíritu con un veredicto de encarcelamiento perpetuo……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. ¡Y qué encarcelamiento! Se sabe – nunca se sabrá lo suficiente – que los asilos, lejos de ser “asilos”, son cárceles horrendas donde los recluidos proveen mano de obra gratuita y cómoda, y donde la brutalidad es norma. Y ustedes toleran todo esto. El hospicio de alienados, bajo el amparo de la ciencia y de la justicia, es comparable a los cuarteles, a las cárceles, a los penales…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Esperamos que mañana por la mañana, a la hora de la visita médica, recuerden esto, cuando traten de conversar sin léxico con esos hombres sobre los cuales – reconózcanlo – sólo tienen la superioridad que da la fuerza.[x]

Lucila López

Usuaria y Sobreviviente de la Psiquiatría                                                                                           Psicóloga Social                                                                                                                                                                                            Psicodramatista                                                                                                                                       Analista Institucional                                                                                                                             Agente Comunitaria en Prevención de adicciones.

Miembro de WNUSP

Miembro de INWWD 

 

C.A.B.A

ARGENTINA

______________________________________________

Escrito por Lucila López en apoyo a la CAMPAÑA POR LA PROHIBICIÓN ABSOLUTA DE LA PRIVACIÓN DE LA LIBERTAD Y EL TRATAMIENTO FORZADO DE LAS PERSONAS CON DISCAPACIDAD PSICOSOCIAL, POR EL CUMPLIMIENTO IRRESTRICTO DEL ART. 14.- Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marzo 14, 2016

logo_wnusp

 

[i] Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities /Guidelines on article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesThe right to liberty and security of persons with disabilities/

Adopted during the Committee’s 14th session, held in September 2015

[ii] Estela de Carlotto, Presidenta a Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo uno de los organismos más importantes de Derechos Humanos de la Argentina.

[iii] *) Barrabasada: 2. Hecho equivocado que origina un gran destrozo o perjuicio. (evil thing) RAE

[iv] Y la de todos los privados de la libertad por motivos de discapacidad psicosocial.

[v] Ley NSM viola el art. 12 al decir: “Se presume la capacidad jurídica”… En la CDPD el art. 12 especifica “igual reconocimiento ante la ley”…

 

[vi] Se hace indispensable el resarcimiento económico.

[vii] *) Para el libre ejercicio del artículo 19, el respeto absoluto del art. 27 – Trabajo y empleo es una condición inalienable y elemental.

Me voy a detener a explicar en el significado de peculio porque es gravísimo que haya muchas PcD psicosocial y con otras discapacidades también, que trabajen con carácter obligatorio y sean pagadas con un peculio porque eso es rayano a un sistema de esclavitud.  El Derecho al Trabajo y al Empleo se viola de manera flagrante y es una vergüenza.

Peculio.- Significado – etimología- definiciones. Del lat. peculium.

  1. m. Dinero y bienes propios de una persona.
  2. m. Hacienda o caudal que el padre o señor permitía al hijo o siervo para su uso y comercio.

La palabra peculio proviene en su etimología del latín “peculium” que a su vez deriva de “pecus” que significa ganado, ya que esa era la medida que se aplicaba para valorar los bienes, cuando no existía la moneda. Los peculios eran porciones pequeñas de bie

nes, que se separaban en el antiguo Derecho Romano, del patrimonio familiar, que pertenecía en su integridad y en propiedad al pater, jefe de la unidad político religiosa en qué consistía la familia, y varón de mayor edad dentro de ella. Destina una pequeña porción a hijo y esclavos. También relacionado con el ámbito carcelario.

Hasta hace pocos días el peculio era de $150.- mensuales, equivalentes a  u$s 0,34 diarios.

Actualmente el peculio es $300.- mensuales equivalente a u$s 20,34 = u$s 0,68 diarios.

Los talleres protegidos para personas con discapacidad están naturalizados y solamente en la Provincia de Buenos Aires, hay 4.500 personas con discapacidad que trabajan en más 173 talleres protegidos.  En la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires un importante taller protegido, las personas con discapacidad psicosocial  hacen  los muebles para la administración pública y hospitales de la ciudad.

El actual valor del peculio en la Provincia de Buenos Aires fue anunciado hace pocos días por el Ministro de Desarrollos Social quien dijo: “van a recibir 300 pesos por mes como parte del peculio, en lugar de los 150 que cobran actualmente, que van a servir no solo para ayudar a ellos sino también a sus familias”. Asimismo informó que los operarios recibirán una tarjeta para la compra de productos alimenticios por un monto de 100 pesos mensuales. (equivalente a u$s 0,21 diarios ¡para alimentos! ¿Y consideran que deben ayudar a la familia!

Al día 14 de enero de 2016 se les adeudaba el pago desde septiembre de 2015.

[viii] Anomia: del gr. ἀνομία anomía.1. f. Ausencia de ley. 2. f. Psicol. y Sociol. Conjunto de situaciones que derivan de la carencia de normas sociales o de su degradación RAE

[ix] Desquiciar

  1. tr. Desencajar o sacar de quicio algo. Desquiciar una puerta, una ventana.U. t. c. prnl. U. t. en sent. fig.
  2. tr. Descomponer algo quitándole la firmeza con que se mantenía. U. t. c. prnl.
  3. tr. Trastornar, descomponer o exasperar a alguien. U. t. c. prnl.
  4. tr. p. us. Hacer perder a alguien la privanza, o la amistad o valimiento con otrapersona. RAE

[x] http://lalibertaddeotrodecir.blogspot.com.ar/2016/03/carta-los-directores-de-los-asilos-de.html

 

 

 

 

 

“All for the Best of the Patient” – Dorrit Cato Christensen

http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/03/all-for-the-best-of-the-patient/

 

I am sharing my story in support of the CRPD campaign: Absolute Prohibition of Involuntary Commitment and Forced Treatment. This campaign is of utmost importance. Treatment and commitment carried out by force is torture, and must be abolished immediately. For psychiatric ‘help’ to happen by force is a paradox and makes absolutely no sense. It can destroy people’s personality and self-confidence. It can lead, in the long run, to physical and psychological disability – and unfortunately, as I know only too well, it can also result in sudden death.

I have been in very close contact with the Danish psychiatric treatment system. My dear daughter Luise got caught in this ‘helping system’ by mistake, but she didn’t make it out alive. I’m sad to say I later discovered that the way Luise was treated was more the rule than the exception. After writing a book about Luise and the psychiatric system, Dear Luise: A story of power and powerlessness in Denmark’s psychiatric care system, people from all corners of the world contacted me to say that Luise’s story could have been their own or their loved one’s story.

As a leader of the Danish association Dead in Psychiatric Care, I am constantly in contact with desperate people who have been committed or who have experienced some kind of forced treatment. They all talk about the tremendous amount of psychotropics they are forced to take. They feel powerless when they complain about horrible side effects and are told in response that the disease has developed and the dose has to be increased. I hear about the smug certainty of some mental health professionals, both doctors and caregivers, and the concomitant dehumanization of their patients through indifference, harassment, coercion and the use of force. Through my experience with my dear Luise, I saw this cold and dangerous treatment world.

Luise died in 2005 when her body and mind could not tolerate the inhumane treatment anymore. After her death, I got access to the hospital records. Reading Luise’s 600-page chart was a wretched experience. It presents an impersonal diagnosis, with signs of coercion, both direct and indirect, permeating the stack of chart notes. Luise wanted me to help her, but the psychiatrists didn’t want to hear my opinion. They believed that they knew better. So I watched powerlessly as Luise deteriorated both physically and psychologically. I witnessed arrogance and dishonesty, repeated misdiagnoses, professional collusion, missing official records, and falsified hospital charts.

Luise started down this path in 1992 at the age of 18. She was supposed to have a psychiatric examination without medication, however, she was heavily medicated from the very minute she set foot in the hospital. After eight days she was close to dying from medication poisoning. That was in August, 1992. In October of 1992, she was still deeply marked by the poisoning. I have no doubt that she suffered brain damage from this. Instead of treating this injury, the psychiatrists wanted to give her more medication.

Luise said no. She argued that the psychotropics had made her very ill, which was true. The psychiatrists interpreted her arguments as a sign of her illness. Shortly after that, the mandated medication began – administered by a syringe – along with the periodic use of belt restraints.

She fought for two months against the terrible drugs. The staff always won this battle, of course. They used manpower, the belt, and the syringe.

At a certain point, Luise gave up fighting. She was broken. My heart bleeds when I read the chart from November 11, 1992. Two and a half months after she first contacted the psychiatric ward for help, her chart reads, “Today the patient offers no physical resistance but is anxious about being medicated and holds hands (the psychiatrists), and afterward, she is somewhat tearful.”

After reading the chart notes, I realize that coercion, both overt and covert, plays a much greater role in treatment than I had ever imagined.

Initially, Luise fought back, which resulted in long-term coercive measures. I can see that eventually just the threat of forcible measures was enough to make Luise give in. It’s the same story I hear from many of the people who contact me. At a certain point, everybody gives up on fighting back.

July 14th, 2005, around four p.m., was the last time Luise experienced this act of cruelty. She was involuntarily committed to a closed psychiatric ward. She had a psychotropic injected. That was on top of the four other antipsychotics she was already on. On the 15th, during the night, she was walking around as usual (akathisia). A bump was heard. At 5 a.m. Luise was declared dead. The doctor’s attempt at resuscitation was in vain. My Luise was gone forever.

The hospital chart, written not many hours before she died: “The patient was persuaded today to take prolonged-release medicine.” Then a few words about the dose and about how she was feeling well and could be moved to an open ward the next day.

Luise did not want me visiting her, that afternoon of July 14. This was unusual, so I called the ward and was told that she was doing fine and she just did not want to see me. I asked if there had been a change in her medication ― I dreaded the injection the doctor had talked about, which I said would be Luise’s death. The woman on the telephone answered that, for the best of Luise, they had decided to inform me about any medication changes only once a week, so I could find out about this the following Thursday. That’s when I really got scared. Just a few words in the chart about such an important decision as giving a new drug by way of depot injection.

Medical law requires that a patient’s chart must record what information the patient has received about a new product, and what the patient has articulated about it. Nothing was noted in her chart. No informed consent. Luise would have done anything to avoid the syringe. So the sentence “The patient was persuaded today to take prolonged-release medicine” is ominous. I’m sure she fought against getting this injection, as she had earlier been about to die from injection with psychotropics.

The autopsy also revealed marks around her body, which the coroner could not explain. I have no doubt that these marks stem from the staff holding Luise down by force when she fought against getting the drug by syringe ― the injection she died from, eight to twelve hours later.

Mental health problems are not a deadly disease. Yet many people, far too many people, still die in psychiatric care. They die because they are treated with far too high doses of psychotropics, often given against their will and by force. Luise’s tragedy is far from unique in Denmark ― or indeed any other ‘advanced’ industrialized country.

After Luise’s death, I sent a complaint to the National Agency for Patient Rights and Complaints, and to The Patient Insurance Association. My complaint’s headline was “Death from drug poisoning.” I named the four different drugs she had been on, which all together was a huge cocktail.

According to these agencies, Luise received the highest standard of specialist treatment. They wrote:

The antipsychotic medication treatment has complied with the best professional standards. That the outcome has not been satisfactory is due to the nature of the condition and the circumstances that the profession’s knowledge and treatment options are limited.

As stated, I believe that the risk inherent in the medication treatment must be weighed against the sufferings Luise H.C. would have undergone without treatment.

It is incomprehensible that Luise’s treatment was judged up to standard, when in fact they administered psychoactive pharmaceuticals at three times the highest recommended dose. There was no informed consent of this polypharmacy, and nothing written in the hospital records about her treatment in the last days of Luise’s life.

According to the UN Convention, everybody should be equal under the law. So why is this equality not carried out in practice? And why is nobody held responsible when the law is violated? Will we accept a society where far too many people die from an illness that is not deadly? Can we accept a society where forced treatment is often the cause of severe disability?

My answer is NO. Please, STOP forced treatment. Why on earth are psychiatrists so keen on keeping up such dangerous and degrading treatment? I want to tell them: Please get down from your ivory tower. Down to the real world, with real people, and stop saying that this kind of treatment is “for the best of the patient.”

Dorrit Cato ChristensenDorrit Cato Christensen is an author, lecturer and chairman of the Danish association Dead in Psychiatric Care. She devoted her life to helping people who are caught in the psychiatric system after her daughter’s fatal contact with the Danish mental health system. She has chronicled her daughter’s story in her talks and in her book  “Dear Luise: A story of power and powerlessness in Denmark’s psychiatric care system”