In memory of my friend Carmel
The first time I met Carmel was before I spoke at a nutritional conference in Dublin. She had been through the psychiatric system and like me she was drug free. She had a profound spiritual sense. She had read ’Soul Survivor - A Personal Encounter With Psychiatry.’ We immediately became friends. Then I thought Carmel had a good life in front of her and that she would be able to remain drug free. She was only in her thirties. But unfortunately because Carmel was labelled ’schizophrenic’ she did not have the freedom to chose her own path. She was incarcerated many times after that and force treated with powerful, mind and body altering neuroleptics. She was force treated in the community when she finally was allowed to leave a Dublin psychiatric institution. She remained for months on end there while she pleaded to be respected as a human being. The more she pleaded the more she was viewed as lacking ‘insight’. The more she pleaded the more she was treated as a child. The more she pleaded the more she continued to suffer the terrible adverse effects of psychotropic drugs which my friends and I witnessed when she came to visit us in Cork.
One of the times Carmel came to visit us was when MindFreedom Ireland had its 10th anniversary. She experienced akathisia very severely then but her will to be with was so strong she wanted to be present. Akathisia is torture. For those of us who have experienced this kind of restlessness, drug induced in body, mind and spirit, we are reminded and can relive past torture when we witness it over and over again in others.
The last time she came to visit me was in December shortly before her untimely death. She was forced to agree to take another neuroleptic by injection and lithium which she took orally. Even though she was decades younger than me she was now finding it very difficult to walk and do the ordinary things necessary to live. As I experienced this at a similar age while drugged it was very clear to me that most of Carmel’s difficulties were indeed drug adverse effects. She wanted to live in a home she could call her own. She did all she could to find one. When she got back to Dublin she rang me soon afterwards with great hope she finally had a strong chance she would be successful. Soon afterwards she was told she could not live independently. I believe this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The problems Carmel found insurmountable were drug induced. Psychiatry misunderstood her, as it continues to misunderstand beautiful people it labels ‘schizophrenic’, while it causes many more problems than it solves. Psychiatry continues to have the delusion it should have the power to force its ‘help’ on others. It harms many people. Carmel did not get a chance to live a life she would like to choose. She was deprived of her humanity. The ‘schizophrenic’ label is built on lies and deception. It deprives those who believe in it and those who receive it of their humanity. Forced treatment is a crime against humanity. While it continues we are all less than human!
P.S. No psychiatrist or ‘ mental health’ professional would have spent the time listening and communicating with Carmel than me!