reducing the pool of normal

pool of normal
Has the biomedical myth : the one that has so completely dominated psychiatry and so, by extension, all “mental health” services , either by design or accident,  succeeded in reducing our idea of normal human experience  to the point that everyone is now abnormal?

Has that great ocean of humanity, or even that  “pool” as Allen Frances called it, been  reduced to a dirty puddle in a back alley?

The latest telling of this myth – codified in DSM5 –  would have it that we are now all disordered, diagnosable, and dependent on doctors and drugs for a fix or a fix-up.

DSM-5 is but the latest edition of the compendium of so-called “mental disorders” and has quickly become the world’s best known book that no one has actually read. It seems we all know what’s in it even without reading it….and we know what’s in it because it is simply the culmination of the last fifty years [at least]  of myth-building and indoctrination. It is merely  the latest stage in having us all accept the  delusion that there is but one way to think about the way we struggle, but one way to name it, and but one way to deal with it..and that there is only one small group who can do that.

The 48,000 membership of the private members club that is the American Psychiatric Association [APA] –  that self-appointed authority on these things – predicts that 48 % of Americans will be diagnosed and in need of the expert corrections of its own members .

Now, anyone living outside America might observe that at least  100% of Americans ought to be diagnosed with some from of madness – so what of the remainder?

Still, committees upon committees of psychiatrists and drug reps deem that the human design is so faulty that half of us need them to correct the  faults and chemical imbalances inherent in our biological design and operating system. Quite how they came to think they know better than either a divine creator or millions of years of evolution is yours to guess but that’s the nub of it. It’s a bit like the old joke about the British empire – it took God six  days to make the world, but it needed the British Empire to make it work properly. Well, the Brit empire didn’t end too well for many….

According to the worldview of this well funded private club of 48,000 American psychiatrists,  we humans are biologically and biochemically faulty and we need them to manipulate the basic operations of our minds with their patented and manufactured pharmaceuticals.

Exactly who’s supposed to be crazy?

Now we’re all crazy 

Yes, we are now all diagnosable: the APA and it’s pet project the DSM5 says so.

They have successfully  brainwashed journalists and media-persons, “thought leaders” and even decent doctors  to parrot that hackneyed “bible” phrase when , clearly, DSM is no such thing.

Really, why do people call it “the bible of mental health?”

  • it’s so we might think every cheap hotel room should have one.
  • its because it represents the best efforts a long time ago to describe the best understanding we had at the time but which has long since been overtaken by knowledge gained from science.
  • having us think of it as a “bible” makes it easier to indoctrinate us into thinking that the DSM speaks of The Truth:  yes, we are now all “children of the  book” only with this book the phrase takes on a whole new meaning.

For Pete’s sake – as well as, Paul, Mathew, John etc: if nothing else: let’s stop calling the bloody DSM a “bible” of anything.

to be continued…..

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6 Responses to reducing the pool of normal

  1. Great to hear that Dr. Kwame Mckenzi’s ideas on schizophrenia are getting into the mainstream and becoming more available to those in recovery. I know how helpful Dr. Seeman’s explanation was to my recovery in the mid 1990’s.


  2. Kevin
    I quoted Dr. Mckenzies own words from his Walrus article at the begining of my response. I saw a we they perspective in his words and commented because I saw that perspective repeated throughout his article.

    Recovery for me also included taking responsibility and rather than blaming, I think I commented on a larger taking responsibility being needed between psychiatry and the culture.

    Also if you read Rosemary Barnes and my, “Committed to The Sane Asylum: Narratives on Mental Wellness and Healing” you will note it contains excerpts of a conversation we had with Dr. Mary Seeman former Tapscott Chair in Schizophrenia Studies at UofT . On p.93 Dr. Seaman says ” . . . I am not sure I’ve put it clearly but we don’t know what Schizophrenia is. Nobody knows what schizophrenia is. It’s not a THING . . ”

    So though I may not have read Kim McKenzie’s work on schizophrenia, I reserved my comments for his article on the DSM.



  3. Dr. Kwame McKenzie’s “we/they” or (psychiatry/culture) dilemma “. . . .Such expectations may say more about our culture than about the experts who developed DSM-5 or the psychiatrists who will use it. As one colleague has remarked, “Which doctor these days is going to say to someone who is depressed, grieving, and asking for antidepressants, ‘Go off and be distressed. It will be good for you’? ” . . . ” suggests to me a psychiatrist who needs to artfully put words in an unnamed colleagues mouth he does not want to speak professionally outright.

    The “someone who is depressed” or emotional pain sufferer Dr. McKenzie refers to appears to have been culturally conditioned to believe when you are in emotional pain you go to psychiatrists. But as his colleague suggests, psychiatry’s pantry is bare except for drugs. What unknown bad guy removed the talk therapies and psychologists from OHIP’s mental wellness payment scheme? Could it be the pharmaceutical/psychiatry complex?

    I believe the DSM5 may be a form of psychiatrist addiction that keeps expanding with psychiatry’s need to cap the truth about their split-off relationship with the community. If so, Dr. McKenzie’s theory that “no-one is to blame in a toxic relationships” will only apply if psychiatry initiates a public Truth and Reconciliation process that hopefully might inspire Canadians to own and resolve why their country is the world’s largest consumers of psychiatric drugs.

    Both sides in our current we/they dilemma must take responsibility.

    “It is not impractical to consider seriously changing the rules of the game when the game is clearly killing you.” — M. Scott Peck


    • Hi Susan
      I gotta say I think you have Kwame McKenzie wrong – entirely wrong.
      You may want to look at his body of research into the social factors that give rise to people being given diagnoses like SchZzzz – it’s as strong a body of research as you’ll find anywhere; and his work and alongside others to have that particular diagnosis struck from the books.

      It is difficlt sometimes to look beyond the perjorative labels that have been stuck onto people, the label `psychiatrist`works that way too, shutting our ears and minds to what they say, allowing us to hear only what we think thay must be saying.

      I don`t know wher the dillema comes from in his essay, on Monday he talked about how one way to view mental health is as a brain and an environment in dialogue – we might term it ìll`when teh dialogue breaks dpwn. iF we seek to work in this relationship tp find healing we will need to look at both parties, not as separate solitudes but as partners in that dialogue…This struck me as is similar to Dr Daniel Seigel’s work [simpler to grasp and less comprehensive but very similar] .

      I really don`t know who the they/us we/them are but I do regard myself as both/neither.

      And since I can remember I’ve never understood the blame thing – does it actually benefit anyone? –
      but I do believe it’s at the root of all toxic relations and of all suffering.


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