This is very long, but I think it brings up things we can/should be discussing 
on this forum, mostly, should we advocate for people to go off their meds or 
  Interesting article in the Oregon paper.  Mostly very cool.  However, in at 
least 2 places, the writer specifies that "Safe, Inc." does not advocate going 
off meds.  Through a fortunate connection where I live, I am able to speak with 
many people diagnosed with mental illnesses in group and one-on-one settings 
and, ultimately, we end up talking about the medicalization of mental "illness" 
and medication.  In disAbility culture (prior to those with mental illness 
questioning the scientific validity of diagnosis), there has been a lot of 
discussion about how overmedicalizing something increases the stigma of the 
person diagnosed (Foucault is always fun reading, also a book, "Make Them Go 
Away", in addition to lots of other stuff).  So how should those of us who have 
access to multitudes (or even just one) persons diagnosed with mental illness 
discuss this issue of medication?
  I have had my own struggles with mental and emotional ups and downs and 
sideturns and was prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications for 
over 5 years for such issues.  Recently (about 5 months ago), after reading Mad 
in America, I decided to go off my meds (slowly and wisely) as the only benefit 
I saw was, perhaps, emotion regulation.  Unfortunately, what emotion regulation 
also did was stall my resolution of trauma for five years.  I will admit, 
though, that one of the reasons going off of meds (which I am finally through) 
has been successful is that I chose to do it in a time in my life that was not 
complicated by too many other stresses.  I was diagnosed five years ago with 
OCD, though have had symptoms since age 5 (I wholesale reject the label at this 
point and simply refer to myself as a trauma survivor).  When deciding to go 
off meds, I had to really ask myself, am I any better, as far as my symptoms of 
"OCD" and the grief the thoughts and behaviors
 give me, than five years ago.  The answer was a resounding "no".  The only 
reason I was less upset at times was because I was less feeling.  I was denied 
my own grief of having been abused by my both of my parents, which I can 
finally get back to resolving.  While I respect individuals who do not feel 
that they can go off meds at the present point in their life (usually b/c 
society cannot handle the emotional expressions that come when people oppress 
them), I do believe that we should be advocating for people to ditch their 
meds.  Kind of as a civil disobedience act if you will.  I understand, having 
met a lot of individuals who self-identify as mentally ill, that there are 
complexities (the side effects of coming off, the inability of society to 
accept different ways of behaving and thinking)...but if we let this (and I do 
believe it is for these reasons most people do not come off their meds) keep us 
attached to a patriarchal, capitalist and all other bell hooks
 described adjectives to our society, we are defeated in my mind.  I think our 
best options are places like The Freedom Center in Mass. or Soteria houses, 
etc., because, inevitably, when we come off our meds or if we never take them, 
people will have experiences where they need more support than our nuclear 
families or disjointed communities can provide.
  The article in the Oregon paper emphasized a need for choice in the mental 
health system.  I am all for choice, and talking about alternatives is an 
important focus, but before we can intelligently discuss these things, we have 
to get our people out of the clutches of death.  If the people in Montgomery, 
instead of boycotting the bus system, said, well, let's talk about alternatives 
to segregation or emphasize choice for people, like having lots of "black only" 
restaurants, instead of saying, no, this is wrong, let's root it out entirely, 
segregation never would have been abolished.  Even protest is not effective 
enough.  The reason why protest no longer works to end discrimination is 
because most people are educated by the media and the media is controlled by 
big pharma, among other things.  The media says there were only 100,000 vs. 
500,000 at a war protest, people believe it and continue to be pleased with a 
Congress who makes nonbinding statements and resolutions
 against the war.  The media says that such and such a drug may cause diabetes 
when it clearly has, people believe it and continue to take the drugs or, at 
least, make nonbinding statements or resolutions to question them.  If we do 
not come out, and say, no more, we will not take your drugs, we will not go to 
your psychiatrist-watched day programs.  If we do not create those places like 
The Freedom Center for our people to go when in crisis (much like church 
basements during the Civil Rights movement), things will not change.  In a 
hyper-capitalistic society, only boycott works.   Only supply and demand is 
  While people were sympathetic to those who could not boycott the bus for 
different reasons, it was pressed upon each person that they should do 
everything in their power to boycott if they wanted to see a change in the 
system.  We are coming to that time.  As enough alternatives are built (and we 
will have to do this without pay) and networks solidified, there will come a 
time when we will have to ditch our meds en masse.  It is already happening and 
we shouldn't be afraid to say so.  We need to demand that people accept us for 
who we are and listen to how their part in this society has hurt us.  
Government sponsored programs, like Safe, Inc., ultimately will not free us, 
b/c they have a stake in the system, which is why they refuse to advocate for 
people to come off their meds and focus on all of this choice bs.  How can we 
know what choices to advocate for if we stay on our meds which not only dull 
our minds, but prevent us from radically exploring other alternatives?
  This is how I handle it.  When I am speaking with folks, lets say, in a 
continuing day treatment program and we start talking about meds, I tell people 
not to trust anyone in the human services system b/c 9 times out of 10, if it 
came down to advocating for you vs. losing their job, they would choose their 
job, and who can blame them with such a sh*tty government support system.  I, 
myself, have worked in human services before and plan to do so again, so I know 
those 9/10ths of individuals...many of them really very nice and caring, but 
who feel as if their hands are tied and who are lied to, as well.  I tell the 
"consumers" the side effects and history of the drugs, the (lack of) 
research...I quote Mad in America.  I even had one sympathetic worker recently 
actually copy the entire book for her group to read excerpts from in one of 
their "sessions".  I don't say, "go off your drugs now"...I tell them to do it 
slowly and with the help of a doctor, if they can.  i tell
 them the side effects of withdrawal. I tell them they can sue for liable if 
their doctor won't help them.  
  To support us as we do this advocacy, we need what are sometimes referred to 
as self-advocacy or people-first groups (not just peer or consumer groups), 
much like in the developmental disability rights movement. They were successful 
because they got together locally, and then were able to do so nationally  and 
they knew when to say, "this is wrong; and I will leave my wheelchair behind 
and wriggle up capital hill steps to show you."  Unfortunately, many of them 
have been coopted by government sponsorship, but they were able to get some 
work done initially and throngs of them still are fighting today.  As they 
supported one another in abandoing their wheelchairs that kept them alive, 
dependence on our peers and the risk of losing everything is what we must be 
willing to act on to change the system.  Our meds, our jobs, our lives.  We are 
in a war, make no mistake about it.  It's not time to talk about how Iraq's 
democratic system might function if we helped them with this
 or that, it's not time to talk about how our mental health system might 
function if doctors did this or that, it's time to tell the invaders to get the 
hell out and to figure it out ourselves, however warped they have made us 
believe we are.  
  Although not everyone will initially be able to come off meds, in order to be 
legitimate, it is time for some to go off their meds, indeed as some are 
already doing, like Rosa Parks refusing to move from her seat, and for 
spokespeople among us to rise up and be brave enough to say, "What has been 
done to us for hundreds of years is wrong.  These meds are based on false 
science.  They are a lie.  We will not sit idly by and watch you vaporize 
lives.  We will tell people the truth and not be afraid.  We will risk poverty. 
 We will risk our lives.  We will risk jail."  Those spokespeople...Jim 
Gottstein, Vera Sharav, David Oaks, are arriving, thank goodness, but as of yet 
we have not had a Rosa Parks moment, someone who is willing to publicly say 
"no" to the law, a Daniel Berrigan who will burn the draft files, although I am 
sure that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who now hold the 
zyprexa documents.  Depending on the court's decision, those people may
 need to show their strength one day.  They will need to support Jim, Vera and 
David and not keep silent and comply.  Only one person doing this won't work, 
which is why Eli Lilly naming those 8 or so people they did was so effective at 
scaring people into handing over the documents (though I have faith, note, not 
any evidence, some made copies).  Thousands of people saying, "we have the 
documents and we are spreading them and we will not destroy them" just may 
work.  Is there a way, via the Internet, whereby to create a tally of folks who 
have the documents and how many people they gave them to, anonymously?  Is 
there anyone out there who has studied propaganda distribution to be able to 
mathematically deduce or even just, based on history, anecdotally deduce, from 
that number, approximately how many people might have them now or what the 
political strength is in the number of people who hold them?  There must be a 
story somewhere in the annals of history.  With enough
 numbers, people may feel freer to identify themselves should they need to.  
Or, maybe we can start by making a pledge form whereby people can 
electronically sign on to say, "Yes, I will do what it takes, even to the 
extent of civil disobedience, to end the lies propogated by the pharmaceutical 
and psychiatric systems which harm and kill people."  This way, we are not 
owning up to any already committed act of civil disobedience or even a 
particular one, we are just saying that we are willing to, which, in my 
laymen's knowledge of the law, cannot be prosecuted...especially since, even if 
conspiring, we are not saying what law, particularly, we would be conspiring to 
break.  It's kind of like saying, on a philosophical level, would you break the 
law to save the one you love.  Of course we can say that.  What do folks think 
about this?
  But more than Zyprexa, are all of the psychiatric medications out there.  We 
need to find more ways to let people know not just that they can cause bad side 
effects or that there are alternatives, but that their creation is based on 
non-science, on a lie...that we are being lied to, whether by the drug 
companies doing anything illegal or just conspiratorially unethical doesn't's a lie.  It's info. they don't want getting out.  It's the basis 
for a major boycott.  How we get that info. to mental health consumers and 
mental health workers is something we need to plan a major strategy around.  
Again, another topic for discussion.
  Yes, we need to urge individuals to go off their meds safely (notice I did 
not say force).  They are toxins in our systems.  They are another lie which 
deepens our depression.  They are a tool of the oppressor.  We should not be 
afraid to say this.  I realize we can't all do it right I said, the 
more alternatives are built, the more we clarify our philosophy as disAbility 
culture has done, the more people can leave the system.  But challenge 
yourself.  You may be the pioneer someone else needs to hear from to go off 
safely.  I often wonder, if psychotic states of mind were permissible in our 
society, would individuals experiencing them find them so disturbing that they 
felt the need to change them.  The oppression is so deep it has been 
internalized.  Ask yourself, what was really so horrible about how you felt 
before medication...or was it that you couldn't work, or couldn't have a 
husband and a white picket fence, or had no one to help you raise your children
 or that you slept more than the 8 hours a "normal" person sleeps that had you 
feeling horrible.  If you were loved, supported and accepted as you were, to 
the point where any functional deficits were taken care of, would you still 
desire meds?  Indeed, would you still be "sick?"  Because all of those things 
can be changed...we can create better services, create a socially responsible 
economic system that values life over production.  But if we continue to create 
or demand services that merely adapt to, and do not fundamentally change, the 
problem, we are just as culpable in the deterioration of people's mental 
wellbeing as big business.  Why, when so many "white papers" and consumer 
reports have been written on state levels asking for alternative services, are 
we on more meds than ever, is Medicaid still refusing to reimburse 
accupuncture, etc.?  Some problems can be corrected from within a system...this 
one is too deep.  It is rotten to the roots, as Mad in
 America will assure you of, indeed, even a simple historical inquiry into the 
beginnings and growth of the social work field can make obvious, and a new tree 
needs to be planted, with only those who have experienced extreme and alternate 
mental and emotional states and our staunchest allies (that 1/10th who would 
risk their jobs for their clients) as the planters. 
  I know some people will disagree.  I do not judge anyone who chooses to stay 
on meds.  It's a messed up world we live in and some days it is just one day at 
a time (I am in a 12 step program, so I can identify with that), but some days 
it's more than just one day at a's hundreds of years of enslavement, 
it's our children's future, it's your future.  That day came for me five months 
ago.  I am not here to say, "You can do it" and face no problems or even that I 
have been 100% effective.  Would some days I prefer the emotion numbing 
functional, fun Amy?  Yes.  But I know it is not honest, most of all, to 
myself.  Being a part of MindFreedom, this discussion, reading on the Icarus 
Project...all of these things are helping me stay sober (ha!).  thanks for 
that, and let's spread the truth of the psychiatric and pharmaceutical system 
to others and not allow big pharma to scare us back into their mental illnesses.
Rafael <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
  And another:

I am amazed and amused at Lilly's standard rebuttal -

"These documents do not in any way represent an accurate view of Lilly 
company strategy or activities. What these individuals are not likely to 
show you is the millions of other pages of documents demonstrating how 
Lilly and its employees have worked to improve the lives of people with 
schizophrenia or bipolar disorder."

Total non sequitur. The ends do not justify the means, Lilly (even if 
your condescending, paternalistic ends were worthy). 

Irwin Fletcher wrote:
> Sunday spread in Oregon's Register-Guard -
> Reconsidering psychiatric drugs 
> Advocates seek access to drug company documents 
> also, a bit of comic relief:
> hmm... maybe it would make a good anerexia drug:
> and
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