Mental Anguish Versus Mental Illness
Thanks for this, and for the article on Any Given Day… I agreed with you on almost every point. The
premise of the film is that Mental Illness is Real… an a priori with which I take issue. The fact is that
smoking weed or pcp or drinking or taking unknown drugs seemed to be the main trigger for the
various dx claimed in the film. I myself think that getting a diagnosis is what causes mental illness, that
this has no other reality except as an iatrogenic condition. Mental yes, but mental in the sense of
imaginary. And of course there is the problem of the criminalization of substance using… and a mental
health court that creates chronic “mental patients” who were formerly created (by their act of using
substances) “criminals.” I would never deny the existence of suffering, but suffering is part of life and
is always mental. Anyhow the film gave me food for thought but was not in itself earth shattering or
even mildly iconoclastic. Mostly it was the assenting nod of those who have been co-opted by
psychiatry and well-psychiatrized!
I wish PBS were less cowed by the psychiatric establishment and their lies about psychotropic drugs
efficacy, and mental illness in general, but they are, I’m afraid, probably sponsored by the APA or some
group upon whose toes they dare not step. I found this was true also of NPR when I lived in CT.
Someone interviewed me for nearly 2.5 hours about the use of restraints in CT hospitals, but when the
radio show was aired, that long interview had been cut down and dishonestly condensed to two
sentences taken out of context, and the rest of the hour was given to voices of people I knew and had
been “treated by” in these hospitals, who lied knowingly, in saying that restraints were rarely used and
only when necessary and never excessively or as punishment… when I knew for a fact the opposite
was true of each statement, and had said so in my interview. The same hospitals that claimed they
almost never used restraints, had restrained me routinely for up to 20 hours and nearly every day… and
why? As one nurse told me, “You don’t follow directions”… The fact is, my voice was silenced by the
NPR editors while they accepted without even questioning it, whatever the hospital staff or spokesman
avowed. It was both disappointing and utterly disgusting. I was almost as traumatized by this as by the
brutality I experienced in these hospitals.
PHOEBE SPARROW WAGNER, Brattleboro
To end homelessness, they really need more housing for people who have mental health issues who have low income and need more support with supervised apartments.
There needs to be temporary housing for those coming out of rehab centers and prison that’s staffed with case managers and staff onsite; secured apartments with video surveillance on the premises and in hallways to protect the safety of others; community services until finding a job.
TIFFANY KANGAS, South Royalton