Friday, April 10, 2015

Recovery starts with non-compliance

Recovery from serious mental illness may be a long process. If it is successful, it will certainly end with personal empowerment. But for any individual, success may require unpredictable elements and quantities of education, organization, research and experiment, soul searching, honest conversation, collaboration and compromise, perhaps even recalcitrance or courage.

In any event, recovery can only start with non-compliance.

My project outline here begs several questions, of course....

The first one is the validity of the concept of "serious mental illness" to begin with. When I use that term I do not imply any "diagnosis". People from Fuller Torrey's Treatment Advocacy Center (I'd rather call it "torture advocacy center", which still abbreviates to T.A.C. and is much more honest), and Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, must pretend that this is an objective category. Usually, they include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression as "serious mental illness" automatically, with no attention to who made the "diagnosis", when, by what criteria, etc.

This is a useless pretense, or myth of disease. It only benefits Pharma and the incomes of "experts". It assuredly does not benefit any patient anywhere, or society.

I suppose when I say "serious mental illness" I simply mean behavior which has landed somebody in sufficient trouble to be sold into psychiatric slavery (e.g., NGRI, unfit to stand trial, or otherwise involuntarily committed and coerced into "treatment").

The next issue is the nature of compliance or non-compliance. I once attended a serious seminar at an APA annual meeting, all about how patient "adherence" to prescribed medication, not compliance, is the better way to look at it. The psychs don't like to face up to their dependence on coercion. This is one of their major weak points.

I prefer to see this as a question of agency and nobility. There's a distinction between obedience and compliance, by the way. These are not interchangeable synonyms. Nietzsche told us that obedience can be noble (not in slaves, but in un-conscripted soldiers). My point might be that when one obeys, he knows he's obeying someone, and he usually knows who it is. It's personal.

Compliance is just being a willing part of the machine. It's almost an unconscious or automatic conformity, often with no personal implication, responsibility or redress, at all.

Too much compliance might be a cause of mental illness. What is acting out but compliance with one's own unsocial instincts and selfish desires? What is auditory hallucination or dissociation but compliance with one's own thoughts?

Non-compliance above all establishes personal agency. In our culture people find non-compliance more convincing (or maybe just easier to accept) when it is accompanied by reasons, arguments, evidence, etc. If this goes far enough, non-compliance can become so subtle that "the machine is on the other foot" so-to-speak. Those who become convinced that a certain type of non-compliance is utterly rational and justified end up complying with the viewpoint that was originally contrary.

In any event, a psychiatric slave who is non-compliant with "treatment" (drugs) may or may not find it immediately easy to get along. But he or she will be recognized right away, and there sure will be a higher demand for reasons, arguments and evidence. Then the trick will become the alert mixture of courage, recalcitrance, compromise, collaboration, honest conversation, soul searching, research and experiment, organization and education.

Hell of a project, perhaps! But there is only disempowerment from psychiatry, only the loss of personhood. And the drugs are their most heinous weapon.

So recovery starts with non-compliance.


  1. Thousands of mentally ill will rush like lemmings off a cliff into the ocean because of what you expressed.

    1. Not sure I totally follow your thought on this, Rodney... Please elaborate.

    2. Sarcasm. Something the NAMI folks might allege.

    3. Yep. I've noticed recently that I am "blocked" from following or seeing the tweets of Jeffrey Lieberman and several other American Psychiatric Association people. They must think I'm a little bit dangerous, somehow...

  2. My son 32 has been a victim of Chronic Schizophrenia for many years, anti-psychotic medicine (Seroquel, Zyprexa, Haloperidol, Amisulpride) they induce psychosis, not helping rather worsened the situation, Homeopathy medication is good but has a lot of limitation too as it was not working for my son. I looked for solution everywhere all to no avail until I contacted a Herbal Doctor whose medicine works perfectly for him, my son situation has greatly improve which is what I have always wanted, I am very happy now. If you have related problem, don't lose hope, contact me so I can direct you to the Doctor. (

  3. Thank you for your knowledgeable facts and words of wisdom, sad to know even 6/7 years after this post the system is still causing havoc with their ways of poisoning patients with their bullshit and dangerous medication and misdiagnosis. Vancouver's health system has failed me as well as permanently damaged my wellbeing and health. Enough is enough with their risky business and easy-way-out-route.