. "I can feel change happening in my bones, my gut, my heart... As our voices of truth and resistance grow louder and stronger, the foundations of the Psychiatric-Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex are slowly starting to atrophy, bit by bit. There are generations of work ahead of us, but I know in the core of my being that there's a world beyond "mental illness" and "mental health", one where our understanding of suffering and madness has been demedicalized and repoliticized, and one where we come together in community to support one another, instead of relying on paid professionals and behavior modification and pill bottles and institutions.
I am mad in America (heck, I'm mad in the world!) Who's with me?"
I am Laura all the way!" Laura Delano
I am doing a workshop again this year in UCC titled ’Critical Perspectives on and Beyond the Therapy Industry’ thanks to critical thinking lecturers in the university. My workshop is titled’ Beyond Psychiatry - Beyond Experts - Beyond Therapy - Back to Ourselves’ It is not easy to have views outside the box in any fixed system and the educational system is no exception.
One of the first lecturers I got to know many years ago was Lydia Sapouna. She is from Greece and is lively and not afraid to show her emotions. I initially met her in Tullamore in 2002 where I spoke in public for the first time. We got to know each other and we continue to work together ever since. She has also helped many other survivors of psychiatric oppression find their voices. It was speaking out that helped me to value myself, find my true self and each day continue to grow in confidence. This would have been almost impossible if I did not get safely free from the drugs which, for decades, continued to alter my true self. I later got to know more open minded lecturers like Harry Gijbels, Rick Deedy, Orla O’Donovan and Kathy Glavanis and each of them in their own way are turning the wheels of revolution at the University College Cork.
This year yet another lecturer called Karen McCarthy is doing a workshop on Thursday as part of the CVNI conference titled’ A Doing Therapy: Exploring Occupational Therapy as Another Way to Support People in Distress’ I know Karen for a few years having first met her when MindFreedom Ireland spoke as a group at the launch of Dylan Tighe’s outstanding play called ‘Record’ 2011. She supports our work and has invited our musical group ‘A little help from my friends” to play and talk to her students each November ever since. It is so good to witness how she is a lecturer with a difference and how the students love and respect Karen. She is not afraid to be herself. It is not surprising then that she does not advocate labelling people and putting them into boxes. She is a breath of fresh air, an inspiration to other lecturers to let down their hair and trust themselves. Maybe when we have more lecturers like Lydia and Karen the gates of academia will open and students will be critical thinkers with loving hearts and a minds of their own!
Mary Maddock 9th November 2015
In a Sunday newspaper in 2001, Mary read an article entitled ‘The Doctor, who won’t do Drugs.’ It was written to mark the publication of a new book ‘Beyond Prozac’ by Limerick-based Dr. Terry Lynch. In our co-authored book, ‘Soul Survivor – A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’, Mary describes her first meeting with Terry. “I was so inspired and encouraged by the article and the book that I wanted to thank him personally. I managed to locate his phone number and spoke to him for the first time. I subsequently met him a number of times and the enthusiasm and sincerity of the man were like a good tonic. From the word go, he believed in me as a survivor just as much as I believed in him as a professional and above all as a good thinker, someone who didn’t take things at face value and had the courage of his convictions. He listened to me, encouraged me and his great understanding of the psychiatric system greatly helped me.”
Published in Mad In America Blog by Jim Maddock, MindFreedom Ireland
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