“What is the ‘Practice of Madness’?
“Practice of Madness” is a double entendre, that extends to levels far beyond the individual, making it have an extended triple meaning:
As diagnosed and certified “mad people” – both Alarryyk and I share the label of “bipolar”, we thus “practice” madness in our everyday lives. However, since we are informed researchers on the topic, we reject our labels, as they are essentially irrational, based on a list of “symptoms” that are supposedly common to all “bipolar” individuals, located in the “Bible of Psychiatry” – the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), available for free download on this site. We have found through our own experiences, the experiences of others, and our research that individuals given this diagnosis have very different experiences of “mania”, “hypomania”, “depression”, and “mixed states”. We reject the dichotomy that exists to describe “normal” versus “abnormal” individuals, their emotions, and their behaviours. We believe that anyone can be pushed into these states under certain social conditions. Since this is not the view of the powerful institution of psychiatry, or most non-psychiatrized individuals, we write about the differential treatment that we are subject to, including the issues of stigmatization, discrimination, and marginalization. The double entendre comes in as psychiatry itself is a “practice of madness” – from the inhumane treatment that psychiatric patients are subjected to, such as over- and forced medication and electroshock “therapy” (now termed “electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT…I guess “convulsive” is supposed to sound terrifying than “shock”??), to the negligence that results in many deaths every year because of irresponsible physicians prescribing drugs en masse, after being brainwashed by the pharmaceutical industry during medical school into believing that “mental disorders” are mere “chemical imbalances in the brain” – which is only a theory. Under the Geneva Conventions, these “treatments” are considered torture, yet psychiatry gets away with inflicting them on thousands of individuals every day, given their status as “patients”. The institution of psychiatry and it’s forever-increasing power, along with the experience of marginalization, demonstrate a “malignant microcosm” – other individuals are subject to human rights violations by other powerful institutions, such as the government, a societal structure based on patriarchal values, and corporate entities. Thus, we believe this blog offers something to all marginalized peoples, as we navigate a mad world and share this experience.
The artwork and photographs shown here are from three different sources. The first is from Lotuswork’s impressive collection of drawings, at a blog where he works through his experience of “bipolar disorder” through alternative treatments, art, and more. The second is from an absolutely disgusting blog called “Dr. Shock”, created by a psychiatrist who is a big fan of ECT, leading me to wonder, has this “doctor” ever witnessed the short- and long-term effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy, or does he just really like delivering electrical current into people’s brains? The third is from a run-of-the-mill self-help site that defines “bipolar disorder” in the way we hate – the definition that belies the DSM list, making claims about genetics, the statistical proportion of the population that is supposedly “bipolar”, and the false association with the disorder and severe drug and alcohol abuse.