random excerpts from Commonsense Rebellion: Debunking Psychiatry, Confronting Society
by Bruce E. Levine (Continuum Publishing Group: NY, 2001)
When we hear the words disorder, disease, and illness, we think of individuals in need of treatment, not of a troubled society in need of restructuring.
What would Thomas Paine and Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys have responded if authorities had told them that they were not actually losing control over their lives, but that a mental illness epidemic was sweeping across colonial America?
What would Tecumseh and Crazy Horse have said if the United States government had told them that it was, in fact, trustworthy, and that they should seek treatment to resolve their anxiety, depression, and anger?
Once upon a time, immigrant Americans like Paine and Native Americans like Tecumseh and Crazy Horse had enough common sense to conclude that they had taken quite enough treatment already.
Throughout history, many institutions have used their ideologies to gain control over the often lucrative and routinely prestigious commodity called human misery.
My most heartfelt goal is to rehumanize that which has been dehumanized and to apologize to those who have been pathologized. I believe I can best do that by reacquainting us with those aspects of our humanity that, though not fitting neatly into institutionalized existence, are in fact fully human.
Donít be ashamed of your anxiety; itís your soul talking.
What if those who became seriously depressed were only considered to be "diseased" by those who were genetically predisposed to insensitivity, injustice, compliance, coldness, and an incapacity to see through sophistry?
The following is what is called in the trade a "differential diagnosis." You, like a psychology or psychiatry student, will be given a case study to diagnose.
The patient is a fifty-two year old white male who was taken by police to the emergency room after he started speaking in a loud voice at Cincinnatiís Fountain Square. He claimed he was talking to a large crowd that had gathered to listen to him. Past records indicate:
9/15/88 Patient said, "The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nationís history. I mean in this centuryís history. But we all lived in this century. I didnít live in this century."
8/11/89 Patient said, "Mars is essentially in the same orbit. Mars is somewhat the same distance from the sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means that we can breathe."
8/17/89 Claiming to be vice president of the United States, patient said, "It isnít pollution thatís harming the environment. Itís the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." He also said, "I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."
Patient is currently presenting without any evidence of suicidal ideation, but claims he has already received millions of dollars to run for the office of President of the United States. Select the correct diagnosis.
(Answer: All the quotes in the case study have been attributed to Dan Quayle, former vice president.)
You can look for a talented morale builder among psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, but your chance of finding one will be better if you look almost anywhere else.
Bruce Levine is a clinical psychologist in private practice. His new book, Commonsense Rebellion, is now available through our Attitude Catalog.
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