Not necessarily. Interesting article in the New York Times (May 11) about what’s has been dubbed the “mad pride” movement, that is, people that are writing about their struggles with mental health. Several blogs and websites are mentioned, for instance Liz Spikol’s blog, The Trouble with Spikol and The Icarus Project – “navigating the space between brilliance and madness”. For some reason the excellent Furious Seasons is not mentioned, though it attracts a tremendous amount of internet traffic. Also mentioned: Authors Kate Redfield Jamison (manic depression) and Elyn Saks (schizophrenia). The article compares this movement to other minority movements, such as the gay rights movement a generation ago.
The article sketches the outlines of some interesting groups and events: MindFreedom International, the Mad Tea Party in Chicago, The Icarus Project, It is important to note that most of the “mad pride” groups are not anti-psychiatry, but do support more vigorous investigation of other routes to handling mental illness such as diet, exercise, etc.
Here’s a quote from the article on considering the risks involved in a purely “anti-psychiatry” stance:
While psychiatrists generally support the mad pride movement’s desire to speak openly, some have cautioned that a “pro choice” attitude toward medicine can have dire consequences.
“Would you be pro-choice with someone who has another brain disease, Alzheimer’s, who wants to walk outside in the snow without their shoes and socks?” said Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute in Chevy Chase, Md.
Well, if you put it that way, I guess not. Again, if you’re interested in sampling the websites:
The Trouble With Spikol at the Philadelphia Weekly. Chronicles one woman’s struggle with bipolar disorder (manic depression). Spikol apparently has made a number of YouTube videos.
The Icarus Project a website that includes all kinds of resources, community, blog, galleries, etc., for those struggling with mental illness.
Kalea Chapman, Psy.D.