Mark Taylor Won’t Budge

I went to see Associate Professor Mark Taylor again today. I went prepared, but was disappointed in the result. Though not surprised.

It was I who made the appointment, on my last visit to the new Woolloongabba Community Health Service building, of which the second floor is fully occupied by the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS), supposedly a “service” to the people of Brisbane. The 2nd floor operation is effectively an outpatient clinic of the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital, and most of the patients were previously inpatients in one of the locked wards in Building 19.

I have been locked up many times in Building 19, usually in ‘West Wing Ward’ but also in ‘East Wing Ward’ and the euphemistically-named ‘Acute Observation Area’ (AOA) also called the High Dependency Unit (HDU). This is a double-locked ward that holds about 10 patients and is a hellish place. I was locked up there for 2 weeks in 2011, which is when I met Raghavan ‘Raghy’ Raman, who has now been appointed my ‘Case Manager’, responsible for “monitoring” my mental state for MSAHMS and recording and reporting his observations. Raghy Raman sat in on my interview with Mark Taylor, though he wasn’t present when I was last injected. This was about two weeks ago and was done by a very nice student nurse, who was polite enough to offer her hand to be shaken at the end of our encounter.

The nurse was learning to give injections in what is called the “Treatment Room”. Music and art are not among the treatments, needless to say. It is a tiny room with a set of scales, two fridges and cupboards with boxes of pre-filled depot injections, each with the name of a reluctant “client”. They now call patients “clients” to their faces but patients are referred to in the PA Hospital literature as “consumers”.

A couple of years ago Nigel Lewin, the British case manager who has been replaced by Raghy, told me that he thought I would make a “great consumer advocate”. I told him my objections to this manifestation of the “consumer culture”. I am not a consumer of psychiatric “services” or drugs – they are being forced into me by injection against my will. I am a victim and a survivor and I am also an extremely patient patient. The term patient has a long history and the term describes the attitude necessary for those who sought “treatment”.

The student nurse was nervous, so I didn’t alarm her by telling her that it was an assault. I had already told Raghy Raman, Nigel Lewin and the other case managers that I was submitting myself to be what is a monthly assault because if I refuse I will be taken back to the hospital by police, held down by security guards and injected anyway. Then I would be locked up again. For this reason I have allowed them to assault me every month for the past two years.

When I checked in at the long desk at the MSAMHS to be injected I introduced myself by saying “I’m here to be assaulted again”. The guy at the desk laughed. I’ve known him for many years and he doesn’t think I’m mad (and has told me so). He told me that Raghy was away but I’d have my injection given by the “Injection Nurse”. This was a hideous, grim woman who spends her day injecting “client” after “client” with neurotoxic drugs ordered by the doctors. She does not believe in talking to the patients, doesn’t smile or tell you her full name. She wears rubber gloves and doesn’t shake people’s hands before injecting them. On the second visit – in front of the student nurse – she asked me a few questions about my mood, eating and sleeping and recorded down my complaint about side-effects.

The student nurse was completely different in her attitude. When I told them that I was writing a book about music and the brain she said “how exciting”. She asked me if it was OK if she gave the injection and that I could give her “tips”. I told her that it was important to let the alcohol dry after swabbing the skin. “That stops it stinging”. The older nurse said “I do that too”, but she lied – the last time, when it was she who injected me she said “I won’t keep you waiting, so let’s get on with it” and hurried through the injection. I pointedly told the student to inject slowly, because that caused less tissue damage. The student nurse thanked me for the tips and extended her hand when I was leaving. There is hope for the future of nursing. But better still if they were confident enough to publicly disagree with the doctors.

I prepared for the interview with Mark Taylor by bringing with me four folders of my work. I told him I had brought some of my work to show him and prove my sanity.

“Oh good,” he said, but carried on typing, while looking at the screen and not at the folders.

I put the first one on the desk. It was my work-in-progress on psychoimmunology which I said was my short-term project.

“There’s a lot of interest in that,” he said, but he didn’t look through the 40-pages I have written so far.

I then showed him my long-term project, a book titled “Music, Instincts and Health”, telling him that I had written 350 pages so far and also had folders of research from the Internet on the topic, as well as folders of original theoretical work. He glanced at the contents and returned to his typing.

I then showed him a folder for HUB Music, including promotions of my music on Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook. He asked me what I meant by “my music”. I explained that I had been recording my musical compositions for 30 years and had posted it on the net over many years. I told him that, however, my most watched videos on YouTube were not my music but my documentaries on eugenics and AIDS.

“I didn’t know you had researched eugenics and AIDS” he said, to my surprise. Either he has a poor memory or a selective one. In 2001 he wrote in the notes of the Alfred Hospital that my beliefs about “the eugenics of AIDS” were delusional and indicative of psychosis. He also wrote, at this time, that before I became “psychotic” I had a “paranoid and narcissistic personality”. It was a thorough character-assassination. I reminded him of this the last time we met, which was about 6 weeks ago.

“I saw you only recently” he said “A month ago. Nothing has really changed”.

I showed my the fourth folder I had brought with me, which was my current networking on Linkedin, where I have almost 6000 professional contacts around the world, from a wide range of academic disciplines including medicine and mental health. He wasn’t interested. One of numerous Mark Taylors, his own Linkedin page has only 10 contacts and he is not active on it. He has not even updated his current employment or uploaded a photo of himself.

“How have you been in your mental health?” he asked. I told him again about the fact the the injection was sterilizing me, making me salivate and making me sleep in the day. “You told me that last time”. I objected that though I told him he hadn’t budged on lowering the drug.

I told him that I had been watching YouTube clips of psychiatrists who were much more critical of the overuse of psychiatric drugs than himself. “Oh good” he said again. I named Daniel Carlat (who he had not heard of). Pat McGorry (who he had), Sami Timimi (who he had heard of but dismissed as “radical” and mistakenly thought was a woman), and Robert Whitaker. He had heard of Robert Whitaker and I told him that he was one of my friends on Facebook. “He’s not a psychiatrist, though”, he said.

“I wanted to ask you that – how much time do you spend in front of your computer?”

I knew he was trying to pathologise my behaviour. I said I spend only a couple of hours a week on Facebook but more time on Linkedin and Youtube. He said he did not follow “social media” and asked me how well known I am.

“Are you say one of the five best known people in Brisbane?”

This was another trap. He was looking for grandiosity.

“Of course not”, I laughed. “Most people wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap”.

“Do you get the recognition you deserve?” he asked, looking for evidence of me being what psychiatrists call “entitled”.

“I’m not looking for recognition, but it is nice to be appreciated”.

Conveniently forgetting his character-assassination of me in 2001, and his role in having me falsely incarcerated, Taylor said “The doctors at CFOS say you have posted things that are defamatory about me”. He said he hadn’t seen them himself but that he had been told about it by CFOS – which he pronounced as “see-fos”. This is a new organization called the “Community Forensic Outreach Service” – which I have been told by Raghy Raman is part of the health department and not the court system, but that he couldn’t tell me more about it other than that I had been referred to CFOS because he felt obliged to “escalate the matter” of my posting material about the “Queensland Health staff” on what he calls “the social media”. He is furious that I posted footage of him assaulting me in my own home on YouTube.

It was Raghy who informed me, by email and phone, that I had been referred to CFOS. I wanted to know what powers this new body had over me, and asked him who they were. He said he didn’t know and the decision to “escalate the matter” of my refusing to take down the YouTube clips was made by the “team leader” a woman called Sharon Locke. I have spoken to Locke on the phone but never met her and have now been told that she is no longer the team leader. Mark Taylor said I had refused to meet CFOS when we had last met and I told him I was prepared to talk to them on the phone or communicate with them over the net but would not come in to be interviewed (and framed, though I didn’t use the term) in the Woolloongabba Community Health Centre.

I told Taylor that Professor Pat McGorry has said that the antipsychotic drugs used to be used at 10 times the necessary dose and now are used at 2 to 3 times the necessary dose. His retort was “did you know that Pat McGorry has accepted payments from many drug companies?” I said I did. “Do you think Ibuprofen (an anti-inlammatory and alalgesic drug that is available over the counter) is over-used?”

“I’m sure it is. Many drugs are over-prescribed. The drug companies’ primary motive is money. They bribe those doctors who are prepared to accept bribes.”

“You haven’t answered. Did you post defamatory things about me?” he persisted.

I answered that I had posted things about him on Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube and explained that I had discussed his links with the drug companies, pointing to a video of him presenting his conflict of interest at a lecture in Scotland some years ago. I called it “accepting bribes”. Some people might interpret that as defamatory.

“That was about 7 years ago, and I think it is a good thing to disclose information,” he said, then saying that it was a private lecture and should not have been posted (though he knew who it was). In this clip he says, in reference to a statement by one of his psychiatric colleagues that “when it comes to industry you are either abstinent or promiscuous – you can see on which side I fall”. He then showed a slide disclosing that he had accepted “fees and/or hospitality” from 5 different drug companies. His audience laughed, but it was posted on YouTube by an audience member who wasn’t amused.

Taylor asked me if I had ever accepted a sandwich from a drug company – “that’s included in hospitality”. He also challenged Pat McGorry’s assertion that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) should be used ahead of drugs in the treatment of psychosis, saying that “the problem is that CBT doesn’t work in psychosis”. When I contested this he claimed that it has been proved by “Cochrane”, meaning the Cochrane Collaboration. I said that I had discussed this with Peter Gotszche, the Director of the Nordic Cochrane Collaboration, who had written books about the ineffectiveness and harmfulness of psychiatric drugs including dopamine blockers and SSRI antidepressants.

“What do you hope to achieve by blocking my dopamine receptors?” I asked.

“We want you to remain stable and not have mood fluctuations”. He raised the risk of suicide. I told him that I had never been suicidal, though I lied. I have entertained fleeting thoughts of suicide on two and only two occasions in my life. One was when I was 34 and locked up at the Royal Park Hospital in Melbourne and the other time was when I was 55 and locked up at the psychogeriatric Grevillea Ward of the Princess Alexandra Hospital. In both instances it was a response to being disbelieved, locked up and drugged.

Mark Taylor said he wanted me to be “stable” over time and that he would “think about” lowering the dose. He said he didn’t want to see me for 3 months and that our time had run out. In contrast, the private psychiatrist Frank New spent 3 hours with me before writing a 13-paged report stating that he was confident that I did not have a mental illness and why he formed this well-considered opinion. But that was many years ago and the PA Hospital has been reluctant to speak to any doctors who do not agree that I am mad.

Raghy Raman stayed silent throughout the interview until I raised the fact that it was he who reported that I had “elevated speech” to Ghazala Watt, resulting in Watt, who trained in Pakistan and Britain, to abusively increase the dose of Paliperidone (ironically called Invega) from 75 to 100 mg. Raghy flew into a rage. “Why do you keep going back to this, over and over?” he shouted. “I said you had elevated mood but I retracted it and apologised. But you keep on raising this over and over. I apologised! And what I said had nothing to do with you being injected. No! The doctors make their own decisions. It had nothing to do with me”.

I pointed out that Ghazala Watt had written to the Mental Health Review Tribunal that the injection was increased “because the treating team reported elevated speech” – and that the same report recorded the “treating team” as only Watt and Raghy Raman. I also pointed out that it was Raghy that was getting angry and not me and that I have a very stable mood. I told Taylor that I am not prone to depression but have been said to have an elevated mood at times.

He said he had observed that I was talkative and laughed a lot – he didn’t need to mention that these are “symptoms” of “hypomania”, mania and mood elevation. I explained that this was my personality – I have been like that since I was a child. Though I can be shy when I first meet people I enjoy conversations and laugh a lot in conversation.

Mark Taylor had to admit that Raghy was angry so he said “we’d better end the inteview now”. He stressed again that he didn’t want to see me for 3 months. In the meantime that’s 3 more injections, each at the cost of more that $400 to the taxpayer.

Taylor said I should consider what to say at the next Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT). I pointed out that claiming not to be ill is immediately interpeted as “lack of insight” and that the MHRT discharges less than 5% of patients and inevitably sides with the hospitals. Losing a MHRT hearing is just another trauma. Right now I can’t be bothered appealing.

On Balaji Motamarri’s Directions

©2018 Romesh Senewiratne-Alagartatnam (MD)

I am writing this to express my strongest condemnation of the thinking and actions of Dr Balaji Motamarri towards me at the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital and Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS) of which he is the director.

I have never met Dr Motamarri, and he has refused to speak to me, even on the phone, but I have been subjected to abusive diagnosis and treatment by a series of psychiatrists at the PA Hospital and its outpatient clinics since 2002, when I was locked up 5 times under the authority of Dr Paul Schneider, who continues to work as a senior psychiatrist at the hospital to this day. Schneider was acting on the wishes of my father, Dr Brian Senewiratne, who was a long-time consultant at the same hospital and a colleague of his. My father was also a long-time propagandist and lobbyist for the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) travelling the world campaigning for the Tamil Tigers to be de-banned. He claimed that the Tigers were “freedom fighters” rather than terrorists and argued, citing the example of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), that a “guerrilla army using guerrilla tactics on guerrilla soil” could never be defeated, though the fight may go on for hundreds of years.

My father began getting me locked up in 1995, when I first publicly criticised him. A man who holds grudges, he has had me locked up numerous times since then, prevented me from earning my living as doctor, and tried to discredit me by claiming that I was “in and out of mental hospitals” (which was true, but mainly because of his insistence that I had a “serious psychotic disorder” that required “assertive treatment”). To run salt into my wounds, my father presents himself as a champion of human rights and the rights of the oppressed.

Balaji Motamarri, my father and I all have Linkedin and Facebook accounts. What I know about Dr Motamarri comes from what he has made publicly available about himself and his qualifications, rather than personal discussions with him. I have seen him once, when he was pointed out by nursing staff one weekend, when I had been locked up again in 2016. It was a weekend and he was the on-call psychiatrist for the PA. I had been locked up for more than a week and wanted to go home. I wanted to see him so that he could see for himself that I was of sound mind. He didn’t even acknowledge my presence and ignored me completely. I have not seen him since, though the Nigerian psychiatrist who had got me locked up (again on the wishes of my father) kept me locked up for a few more days, and tried to convince me that I had “paranoid schizophrenia”. I pointed out that my long-standing claims that my father was a supporter and lobbyist for the LTTE was not paranoid, it was factual. She ordered that I be injected with the antipsychotic drug paliperidone and placed on an Involuntary Treatment Order (ITO) to enable easier return to the hospital if I become “unwell” again or refuse (the abusive) “treatment”.

Balaji Motamarri’s Linkedin page indicates that he speaks Hindi and Telugu and graduated in medicine at the Andhra Medical College in 1987. His Linkedin page says he has been a psychiatrist in Australia and “Clinical Director, Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit” for 19 years and 8 months (since Oct 1998). Below this it states that he has been ‘Clincal [sic] Director” of MSAMHS since 2012. Since he has been the clinical director of the “Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit” I have been locked up and injected on more than 20 occasions, always at the PA Hospital (one of several hospitals on Brisbane’s south-side that comes under the authority of the MSAMHS).

Despite graduating (in India) some years after I graduated at the University of Queensland, Balaji Motamarri’s Linkedin and Facebook pages do not suggest that he is computer literate. He also has an almost complete absence of academic publications to his name, yet he is supposedly the clinical director of the “Psychosis Academic Clinical Unit”.  As testament to his carelessness, even when confronted with the relatively simple task of listing his experience for Linkedin he made several typographical errors (in addition to ‘clincal’ instead of clinical): He says he is now (since October 2016) the Executive Director of “Clincial Services” of “Metrosouth Mental Health Services”. He hasn’t even got his own title right. This is the “Executive Director of the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAMHS)”.

Balaji Motamarri has 161 Linkedin contacts, including 14 mutual contacts with me. I have about 3500 contacts, including psychologists and psychiatrists from many countries, including India. I also have contacts relevant to my other areas of interest – neuroscience, medicine, meditation, music, human rights, law, Buddhism, journalism and politics. I have posted links to my music and publications on my Linkedin page, which are available to be read by my peers, including Balaji Motamarri. I have sent him a contact request but he hasn’t accepted it yet.

The University of Queensland lists one and only one publication co-authored by Balaji Motamarri. From 2012, and published in “Current Medical Research and Opinion” it is titled “Practical guidelines on the use of paliperidone palmitate on the treatment of schizophrenia”. PubMed lists 3 other papers for which he was a co-author, all published in Australian psychiatry newsletters and all promoting long-acting injectables, like paliperidone. Since I was locked up at the PA in 2012 I have been injected monthly with paliperidone on the orders of a series of psychiatrists answering to Balaji Motamarri. They started off by saying I had schizophrenia, then revised it to “psychotic disorder – not otherwise specified” before changing back to schizophrenia. My protestations that I have never had hallucinations, am motivated and sociable with a stable mood, am well-organized, rational and logical and am obviously of sound mind has fallen on deaf ears. The psychiatrists have consistently taken the side of my father against me and declared me to be “psychotic” and “delusional” to believe that he was maliciously motivated towards me, and that he was a propagandist and lobbyist for the LTTE.

Balaji Motamarri’s Facebook page provides a window into his social life in 2010. There are only 2 postings, from 26 December 2009 “Merry Christmas to all” and from 25 January 2010, when he has posted on his wall what he intended as a personal message to his friend Manju:

“Hi Manju. My apologies for not replying earlier. As you can understand we are ‘recovering’ from our trip – the trip of ‘Telengana Bandhs’. Hyderabad has become a city of uncertain nightmares. And to add to the issue, our daughter’s school is starting in 2 days time and you know the dramas associated with this – just imagine ‘school after 10 weeks on holidays’ – what a nightmare to the parents.”

Balaji Motamarri seems to be feeling sorry for himself because his daughter has to go back to school after 10 weeks of holiday (which he claims he needs to recover from) and this is a “nightmare to the parents”. I have never had nightmares about my daughters going to school, but I have had many nightmares about being locked up by Balaji Motamarri’s unit. In these nightmares I am trying to prove my sanity but am interminably kept waiting. Sometimes I am assaulted by men with needles. Sometimes I am looking for my bed but am faced with endless corridors. My most consistent nightmare is being kept waiting in the confines of the PA Hospital. I am also uncertain about what he meant my Hyderabad becoming a “city of uncertain nightmares”. I am certain about my nightmares. They are very vivid.

Balaji Motamarri has only 182 Facebook friends, and hasn’t made any new ones in recent years. However, when he first filled in the questionnaire for Facebook he enthusiastically listed the Indian educational establishments he studied at. His Intro lists:

Works at MSAMHS

Worked at CNAHS

Studied psychiatry at PGIMER Chandigarh

Studied MBBS at Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatman, India

He also includes three high schools, including one in Chennai, where he matriculated in 1979 (before starting medicine in 1981).

 

Everybody should be treated with respect, but seniority is an important concept in society and in the medical and academic hierarchies. One is expected to respect ones seniors, as one is expected to respect ones elders. This has a long tradition in the West as well as the East (including India). The MSAHMS boasts that it provides “respect” as ones of its core values. I matriculated in 1978, winning the Tyrwitt Cup for best academic student at the Church of England Grammar School in Brisbane. I was working as a young doctor looking after desperately sick children and at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Prince Charles Hospital when Balaji Motamarri was still a medical student in India. While Motamarri was studying to become a psychiatrist I was looking after a community of 1000 mainly elderly patients, including many with complex illnesses (including mental health problems) as a family doctor in Melbourne. I have researched and lectured on mind-body medicine at Swinburne University in Melbourne, and my lectures can be viewed on YouTube, if Balaji Motomarri and his staff are interested to see what my state of mind was like in 2001 (when I was first misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia). They can even see the interview I gave in 1998 when I discussed my research into the pineal gland with Micheal Adami and the documentaries I have made about eugenics, psychiatry and AIDS (the theories that were diagnosed as ‘delusional’ by the psychiatrists in Melbourne).

I think I am owed the respect of a phone call with him to explain how and why his hospital is misguided to force a disease label and anti-psychotic drugs on me. I am also owed an apology for being locked up for raising uncomfortable truths and being denied my freedom of speech and my physical freedom. I am owed an apology, too, for being poisoned with drugs that have harmed my health and brought me no benefit, as well as putting me at risk of a range of iatrogenic adverse effects. At least I don’t have the added trauma of believing that I have an incurable brain disease.

Old Wine in New Bottles – Remarketing ‘Depression’

Last year, I watched an interview on ABC News 24 informing us about a “new theory on the cause of depression”. This is that it is caused, not by a “chemical imbalance” but by inflammation in the nervous system (notably the brain). This is being presented as an alternative to the “serotonin theory of depression” that was used to justify the presciption of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, beginning with Prozac in 1987.

I have been watching and analysing the changing hype for many years. When I worked as a family doctor, the drug companies were claiming that depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in the neurotransmitter noradrenaline, not the indole amine serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine). This was because the market leaders in the “depression market” were the toxic and ineffective “tricyclic antidepressants” which were developed in the 1950s and were the mainstay of depression treatment till they were replaced by the SSRIs in the 1990s. Tricyclics were known to affect noradrenaline (norepinephrine) levels in the brain.

The psychiatrist interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) defended the “chemical imbalance theory” that has been such a successful marketing catchphrase for the drug companies but admitted that the SSRI’s don’t work for everyone and that “we don’t know” why some people with depression have disordered serotonin metabolism and others don’t. As usual, she explained that they needed more money for research to get the answers.

Dr Liz Scott, for that was her name, also agreed that the new theory was plausible, pointing to the fact that stress affects the immune system. She didn’t explain how stress, which usually depresses the immune system, is responsible for this inflammation, or why there is no evidence of such inflammation in the brains of depressed people who commit suicide. At the same time it is known that chronic illness of many types causes unhappiness and “depression”, including viral, bacterial and fungal infections, kidney and heart disease, cancer and chronic arthritis. Forced psychiatric treatment (especially incarceration) is an important cause of stress that Dr Liz Scott did not mention, predictably. Many other things cause unhappiness, and unhappiness has long been termed “depression” by the medical treatment industry, rejecting the older term of melancholia (thought to be due to a preponderance of black bile, one of the four humours of Galenic medicine).

In the 1960s American “experimental psychologists” of the “Behaviorist School” did a series of cruel experiments on baby chimpanzees, which demonstrated, as if there was need for it, that primates (as well as cats, dogs and even rats) pine away and become morose and depressed when they are deliberately made lonely and deprived of social activity and the comfort of others. This was heralded as a “discovery”.

Prozac was released with much hype, including a flurry of books in the “popular science” press, especially by Rupert Murdoch’s Harper-Collins publishers. These promoted Prozac for a range of medical and psychiatric conditions beyond depression, and resulted in profits of 3 billion for Eli Lilly. The other major drug companies followed suit, releasing and marketing (including bribing doctors to prescribe) a growing range of alternative SSRIs.

Eli Lilly have a long history of research into psychedelic drugs and psychoactive drugs that affect the serotonin receptors and pathways in the brain. In the 1960s they bought the rights to LSD (or ‘acid’) from the Swiss company (Sandoz) that had developed it. It was known that LSD could cause “schizophrenia-like” psychotic episodes, according to the psychiatric terminology of the time. This terminology dates back to 1909, when the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler coined the term “schizophrenia” and promoted its use for what his colleague Emil Kraepelin of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, known as the “Father of Psychiatric Classification”, had termed “dementia praecox” (adolescent dementia).

Bleuler argued that Kraepelin, in Germany was too pessimistic and that a third of his patients in the Swiss Burgholzli asylum recovered and were discharged from hospital. Kraepelin had taught, for many years, that any young person who “heard voices” was eventually destined to die of dementia (terminal mental degeneration) in a lunatic asylum.

German psychiatry became more brutal under the Nazis when patients with “schizophrenia”, “cyclical madness” (manic depression or bipolar disorder) and “personality disorder”, who had been populating the long-term mental asylum wards, were prescribed “euthanasia” – meaning “good” or “mercy killing”. Needless to say this included political enemies of the regime, since it has long been the case that enemies of the state or ruling regime get branded as mad. The same label of schizophrenia was also used in the Soviet Union to justify locking up and drugging, with chemical restraints, social and political dissidents.

In fact, chemicals do have a lot of effect on human thinking and behaviour, as the well-known effects of alcohol and drunkenness demonstates. To understand the hidden crime of “antipsychotic drugs”, and “antidepressants” one needs to know a few basics about catecholamine and indole amine neiurotransmitters and neurohormones.

Neurotransmitters are small molecules that bind to cell membranes of the nerve cells (neurones) in the brain and nervous system, stimulating or inhibiting “action potentials” or electrical impulses that pulse or vibrate in a constant, complex network through the nervous system. There are many different receptors for the same neurotransmitter – for example there are D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5 receptors in different parts of the brain. This results in the same chemical neurotransmitter having different effects depending on the type of receptor on the effector cell.

This science lies behind the efforts, over many decades, to find antipsychotic drugs that did not cause stiffness, dribbling and uncontrollable writhing movements of the face and limbs (Tardive Dyskinesia) which crippled so many of the long-term inmates of mental hospitals in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, when the main drugs that were used were Largactil (Thorazine), Haldol (haloperidol), Stelazine and Modecate. Thousands were crippled and still are, by these horrible drugs – both in the communist and the capitalist nations. The main “indications” were “schizophrenia”, “mania” and “schizoaffective disorder”, though they were also used as chemical restraints in elderly people diagnosed with dementia, a particularly cruel form of elder abuse that was prevalent in the more abusive nursing homes in Australia.

It is important to realise that the neurotransmitters in the brain are in constant dynamic flux. Every emotion or action results in chemical changes. When one listens to music the chemicals in the brain change. When one does for a walk, the chemicals change. When one gets excited, or relaxes, the chemical balance changes. Some neurotransmitters increase and some decrease in activity, made more complex by the fact that different cells have different neurotransmitter receptors, affecting how they respond to them. It been demonstrated that the successful completion of tasks results in measurable increase in serotonin levels.

Chemical imbalance theories make a lot of money for companies selling chemicals (drugs/medications). Millions of dollars are spent on promoting various chemical imbalance theories and the drugs that affect these chemicals. The dopamine theory of schizophrenia and the serotonin theory of depression were used to market dopamine-blocking “antipsychotic drugs” and SSRI “antidepressants” respectively. Despite numerous people demonstrating the fallacy of the different chemical imbalance theories, opponents are up against a multi-billion-dollar industry that is profit-driven and stands to profit from repeating the theories without mentioning the opposition to them.

Don’t believe the hype.

Debating Psychiatry with the PA Hospital

 

This is a debate from two years ago (February 2016) between me and Nigel Lewin, an English psychiatric nurse from the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital.

Nigel had been appointed my ‘case manager’ and I was being made a “medical case” and “mental case” by my medical colleagues at the hospital that empoyed my father from 1976, when my family migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka. I was 15 then and remember staying in a house on the grounds of the hospital when we first arrived. Later, I avoided the hospital where my father and sister worked, and had a poor opinion of it, reinforced by my father’s claims (for which he was eventually sacked) that the hospital was “in chaos”. This was in 2001 and he got me locked up at the “chaotic” hospital (in his own written opinion) in 2002. In fact, he got me locked up 5 times in 4 months, culminating in my rib and finger being broken by security guards and male “nurses” immobilising me so that I could be injected with a drug called Zuclopenthixol, a treatment for ‘schizophrenia’ and other ‘psychotic disorders’

I began my debate with Nigel by asking him what he thought about “Psychotic Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified”, the label the hospital was trying to pin on me at the time, after revising the diagnosis from one of schizophrenia. Now, under the treatment of Jumoke Banjo (from Nigeria) and Ghazala Watt (from Pakistan) the diagnosis has been changed back to “paranoid schizophrenia”. Nigel Lewin has now gone on long service leave and a new case manager, an Indian man by the name of Raghy Raman, has been appointed. Raghy has expressed the opinion that the leader of the Tamil Tigers, Vellupillai Prabakaran was an “activist” rather than a terrorist, and described me as having “elevated speech” when I debated with him about the Tamil Tigers. In response to this, the psychiatrist Ghazala Watt increased the dose of depot antipsychotic she has abusively ordered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Considering ‘Insight’

©2018 Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam (MD)

Being insightful is considered a virtue. It is similar to being thoughtful, but insight implies intuitive knowledge and perception of truth. There has been much study of insight in psychology in recent years, mainly looking at the phenomenon from the perspective of problem solving. It has been found that insight is promoted by good mood and sleep, which help solve problems. An insight is described as an “aha moment”, “penny-drop moment”, “eureka moment” or epiphany.

However, ‘insight and judgment’ mean something quite different in psychiatry – in this medical specialty, insight specifically means willingness to accept that you are, and have been, mentally ill. This is problematic and constitutes a widely used circular argument – that refusal to agree you are mentally ill is itself evidence of mental illness. It means that mentally healthy people who are mistakenly admitted as psychiatric patients harm their chances of discharge if they maintain that they are not mentally ill.

 

The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), widely used in evaluating antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia, is explicit about this. Section G12, titled “Lack of Judgment and Insight” states that ‘extreme’ (grade 7) lack of insight is to be recorded due to:

“Emphatic denial of past and present psychiatric illness. Current hospitalization and treatment are given a delusional interpretation (e.g., as punishment for misdeeds, as persecution by tormentors etc.), and the patient may thus refuse to cooperate with the therapists, medication or other aspects of treatment.”

 

Good judgment involves the ability to make sound decisions, based on knowledge of what is true and what is false. It is insulting to accuse someone of poor judgment, and uncalled for if the accusation is based on reasonable refutation of an incurable mental illness label. People can make sound judgments about many things, but not be convinced that they are mentally ill, especially if the illness is claimed to be due to unmeasurable chemical imbalances in their brains that are of uncertain origin, the dominant paradigm in psychiatry.

 

This item in the PANSS is one of 16 items taken from the older Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), which was developed in the USA in the 1960s and used to evaluate “general psychopathology”, as well as to evaluate psychoactive drugs. The PANSS also includes 7 “positive symptoms” and 7 “negative symptoms” for a total of 30 items that are evaluated. This results in a score from 30 to 210. “Improving” scores on the PANSS constitute the main claims for efficacy of the newer antipsychotic drugs; the older drugs were evaluated by the BPRS and other scales, usually when compared to the “benchmark drugs” chlorpromazine and haloperidol, rather than placebo.

 

A glaring problem with the PANSS and BPRS is the fact that known side-effects of dopamine-blocking drugs, such as “flattened affect” are described as signs of schizophrenia, rather than the treatment of the condition. Other signs such as hostility and uncooperativeness can be explained as legitimate objection to being called mad (or insane), by whatever name.

Predictably, people with some mental illness diagnoses resist the label of “illness” more than others. People with phobias, anxiety and depression often come to see doctors for help and so do people with auditory hallucinations (usually diagnosed as schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder). In these people the diagnosis of illness can be a relief, and they accept drug treatment without objection. In other cases, patients resist the label of illness vehemently, especially when they are said to have elevated mood (diagnosed as hypomania and mania) or delusions.

It is not surprising that many people accused of having an elevated mood resist the judgement. The BPRS grades “moderately severe” elevated mood (rating 5 on a scale from 1 to 7) as:

“Reports excessive or unrealistic feelings of well-being, confidence or optimism inappropriate to circumstances, much of the time. May describe feeling ‘on top of the world’, ‘like everything is falling into place’ or ‘better than ever before’. OR several instances of marked elevated mood with euphoria”.

Needless to say, people who feel on top of the world, better than ever before, or for whom everything is falling into place, are often not inclined to think they are mentally ill, and with good reason. Likewise people with an increase in goal-directed activities, increased zest for life those who see connections they didn’t see before and have insights. Ironically, the process of coming to conclusions through insight, especially if they are unique or ‘idiosyncratic’, is itself viewed as a sign of mental illness.

The Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) rates elevated mood on a scale from 1 to 5, with grade 3 being:

“Definite subjective elevation; optimistic, self-confident, cheerful, inappropriate to content.”

The key to the diagnosis is the subjective evaluation of what is “inappropriate to content” or “inappropriate to circumstances”. This is done by the interviewer, and depends on his or her own belief system, judgement and understanding of the patient’s circumstances.

Persecution by Tormentors and Punishment for Misdeeds

 

The belief that one is persecuted is not necessarily delusional. Many people, over the ages, have been persecuted, for various reasons including their race, their ‘caste’ and their beliefs. People are sometimes tormented by the families, or by their peers (for example victims of bullies at school or work). Siblings sometimes torment each other, and so do cousins and other relatives. Sometimes it is neighbours who do the tormenting. People often gang up against people who are stigmatised as strange, mad, crazy or odd and this can amount to persecution. Children are often punished for disobedience and it is not unreasonable for people to regard their imprisonment as mental patients a punishment. This is not helped by a punitive culture in the mental health systems of many nations.

 

There are many dysfunctional families, and family dysfunction comes in many forms. Some families are very competitive and sibling rivalry, as well as competition between parents and children, can be a problem. Some parents, especially fathers, are very authoritarian and demand obedience from their children. Disobedient children are labelled as “difficult” and taken to doctors for diagnosis and treatment. Here the power imbalance is obvious. The child has little power to resist being labelled as the “problem”, however much the doctors protest that they can’t help their behaviour because they have a chemical imbalance in their brains. When the children misbehave it is inevitable that the adults and siblings blame the “illness” and ask if they are complying with taking their their tablets.

The adults in this situation include parents and other family members as well as teachers. Some teachers are inclined to suspect their students of having “attention deficit disorder” when they are not interested in their lessons, and become visibly bored, restless and fidgety. Teachers provide a large number of the referrals for ADD and ADHD. It is rarely asked as to whether the teacher is to blame for being boring and failing to engage the student. This requires introspection, which is sometimes lacking in any profession, including teaching.

Apart from scape-goating a particular family member, there are problems with looking for a chemical solution or “magic bullet” to life’s difficulties. This can form a pattern of behaviour in the child and in their carers and family. When they are down, rather than looking for activities and experiences that will bring them back up, the tendency is to take an antidepressant. When they are anxious, instead of listening to music or going for a walk, or any of a wide range of actions that can lessen anxiety, they look for a benzodiazepine.

It is also a problem when children are medicated for what is basically disobedience. The drugs that are used for ADHD are stimulants, related to amphetamines, known on the street as ‘speed’. Though they can improve concentration and keep you awake when you are tired, it has been known for over a century that amphetamines are addictive, and can also cause psychosis. Despite this they were widely used as weight loss drugs and “pep pills” in the 1960s and were again promoted in the 1990s for the newly-named “mental disorder” known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). In the 1980s it was said that only 1 in 200 children had ADD; this rocketed up to 1 in 20 with the new label, with a corresponding explosion in prescriptions for stimulant drugs. This was in the 1990s, and was a precursor to the explosion in addiction to amphetamines a decade later. Many of the youth who are addicted to metamphetamine (‘ice’) were initially diagnosed as having ADHD and given stimulant drugs.

 

Family abuse occurs at all ages. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable and can easily be pathologised for being “difficult”. Rebellious adolescents are also vulnerable to being given a disease label for their behaviour, as well as young people who reject the religious beliefs of their parents and embrace other philosophies and religions.

 

The concept of insight should be considered holistically. There is a difference between insight (introspection) and insights (epiphanies). One aspect of introspection is to be able to look critically at our own mistakes, flaws, vices and poor judgements in the past. It requires us to challenge our indoctrination from various sources as we grew up. The process of growing up and learning from our environment (including family and school) inevitably results in some false beliefs and delusions. Some of our beliefs are not congruous with reality, and it is a challenge, throughout life, to rid ourselves of such delusions. Sometimes, when one realises ones previous error, especially about long-held beliefs, it comes as an insight. Such insights are often pleasant, and can be exciting. They can elevate the mood.

Seeing connections you didn’t notice before and making new associations can also be exciting and elevate the mood. Elevating the mood itself has the effect of increasing insights and insightful thinking. How many potentially beneficial insights have been suppressed or destroyed by the practice of regarding “gaining insight” as a synonym for accepting that you are mentally ill?

 

 

Debating Ghazala Watt

Today, when I attended the appointment that was sent to me in the mail, the PA Hospital psychiatrist Ghazala Watt was prepared to lock me up again. She arranged for a man called Gordon, a middle-aged man with a shaven head and thuggish demeanour, who I recognised to have a Scottish accent, to come into the consulting room with us. I wasn’t told that Gordon was the ‘duty officer’ (I read it later in her report) but I noticed that he sat between me and the door. If Ghazala had decided to “admit” me, Gordon would have provided the muscle to subdue me, if needed. As it was, he sat there silent, unmoving and expressionless, while I debated with Ghazala Watt and tried, again, to correct her misconceptions.

I attended the appointment under duress. I have made it clear that I have no respect for Ghazala Watt and do not want her to be my doctor, or have anything to do with her. I am my own doctor, though I also have a GP, who studied with me at the University of Queensland and I used to consult a private psychiatrist, Frank New, who won my respect when he interviewed me for 3 hours and then wrote a 13-paged report explaining why he thought I was not mentally ill, and didn’t think I ever had been. This was back in 2002, when Dr New was asked to provide an independent psychiatric assessment for the Medical Board of Queensland, following my numerous incarcerations as a mental patient in Melbourne. Since then, he has rung the hospital on several occasions, saying that he does not think I have ‘schizophrenia’, the label Ghazala Watt is trying to pin on me again. The schizophrenia diagnosis (initially made in Melbourne) was discarded by other psychiatrists at the PA in favour of what they termed “psychotic disorder NOS”. NOS stands for ‘not otherwise specified’, meaning not otherwise specified in the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It is a misconceived label, open to abuse, that has now been discarded in the current DSM V.

After our debate, I was asked to wait while Ghazala prepared a document that I was given by Gordon titled “CLINICAL REPORT – TREATMENT AUTHORITY REVIEW – MENTAL HEALTH REVIEW TRIBUNAL”, for “Romesh SENEWIRATNE”, supposedly “prepared” by Raghuvan (Raghy) Raman and Ghazala Watt. This is misleading. The ‘interim case manager’ Raghy had little to do with the preparation of the report – it is a repeat of the last one the hospital produced, and the ones before that, with a single paragraph by Ghazala following our debate today. The false claims in the report were initially based on a thorough character assassination of me by the inpatient psychiatric registrar David Nguyen in 2012, then modified and made slightly less offensive by the psychiatrist Daniel Varghese (under whom I was locked up in 2009, 2010 and 2011). It was later added to by subsequent psychiatrists, including Subramanian “Subu” Purushothaman, Justin O’Brien and the registrar Sagir Parkar but no efforts were made to correct the factual inaccuracies (or even the typographical errors) after the most glaring ones in Nguyen’s initial report were amended by Daniel Varghese 5 years ago.

Ghazala Watt’s own contribution is written in bad English and all in lower case without any capital letters except Sri Lanka (the first time, the second reading ‘srilanka’). It reads (under ‘current mental state assessment’):

“presented for the review on time, was seen in the presence of duty officer. remained focused on his father’s actions leading to him having medications and admissions to the hospital. presented with multiple writings about his father, political movements in Sri Lanka and anti psychiatric movements. remained focused on the cause of previous admissions in relation to complain about father and not in relation to medication noncompliance or treatment authority being revoked.

presented less irritable preoccupied with srilankan politics and mental health services being ‘sided’ with his father. insight remains limited with limited understanding on mental illness and the role of medications.”   

Watt and Raman have also changed the diagnosis from “Psychotic Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified’ to ‘Paranoid Schizophrenia’. Someone who uses capital letters correctly, but also with a poor understanding of psychiatric terminology and theory, has written the section on “current treatment”. This may be Raghy or Nigel Lewin, who is English and was my ‘case manager’ and monthly assaulter for several years, until he went on long service leave recently, when he was replaced by Raghy Raman, who is an Indian Tamil man of late middle-age who is sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), the terrorist organization that my father acted as a lobbyist and propagandist for during the war in Sri Lanka, and has praised in his writings and speeches since the military defeat of the Tigers in May 2009. His most recent book claims that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka are missing the Tigers now that they are not there and that the LTTE ran a “well-functioning de-facto state” that had a good police force and legal system with courts superior to parallel courts provided by the Sri Lankan government. This is nonsense. The LTTE “courts” killed, tortured and imprisoned people who stood up against them. They were run not by trained lawyers but by young LTTE thugs. The LTTE kidnapped Tamil children and gave them weapons to fight in a war they knew they were losing (after placing cyanide necklaces around their necks, which they boasted showed their dedication to the cause rather than the organization’s ruthlessness). They used Tamil civilians as human shields and shot civilians who tried to cross to the government side at the end of the war. They killed numerous Tamil leaders who were branded as “traitors” for siding with the government. My father was one of the people who publicly named these “Tamil traitors” who became assassination targets for the LTTE. And this is just what the LTTE criminals did to the Tamils, who they claimed to be fighting for the “liberation” of.

I had a discussion with Raghy about Prabakaran and the LTTE the last time he came to visit me. He was armed with an injection; I was armed with a video camera. I filmed the interview and uploaded it to my YouTube site a week later, after I was told that I would have to see Ghazala Watt despite my objections to her. This may be why Ghazala asked me, as soon as I entered the room, “Are you recording this? Because I don’t give you permission to record this”.

I answered that I don’t even have a mobile phone. She said “I heard that you sometimes record interviews”. I explained that when people come around to my house to inject me I am in the habit of filming them and the camera is visible for all to see. I reassured her that I wasn’t recording us. She, on the other hand, had a “witness” who would agree with everything she said (Gordon), and act as her bodyguard too. It is ironic that she called me “paranoid schizophrenic” when it was she who demonstrated the paranoia.

During our discussion, Raghy expressed conviction that AIDS is man-made (as I have long suspected) but also came out with some strange delusions, with a political twist. He said that the LTTE’s military leader Prabakaran was not a terrorist in his opinion, but an “activist”, who only killed the “other groups” (of Tamils) after he converted to Christianity and this killing was directed by the Church. He also accused the Catholic Church and Sonia Gandhi of killing her husband Rajiv Gandhi (the ex-PM of India) “to win the sympathy vote” so that Sonia could become Prime Minister of India. When I told him that the LTTE had admitted to killing Gandhi (by a female suicide bomber), he said that this was due to a deal made between Sonia Gandhi and Prabakaran and that the LTTE had been promised help by India to win the separatist war but that India had let them down.

I corrected Raghy, and told him some things he needed to know about the LTTE’s terrorism and other crimes against Tamil as well as Singhalese and Muslim Sri Lankans, but I didn’t confront his delusions as strongly as I could have. As it was, he evidently thought I had “elevated speech”!

It was Raghy who gave me the last injection and also gave me the bad news last week that if I didn’t attend the appointment I had been sent I might be “returned to the hospital” by force. Raghy also told me that rather than stopping the injections, Ghazala and the “team” had decided to increase the dose. The report I was given today claims that I have “elevated speech”, in the section on “Current treatment”:

“Assertive case management for ongoing review of mental state, risks and compliance with medication. Paliperidone IM medication increased to 100mg every 4 weeks in the context of possible relapse in mental state evidenced by elevated speech with the treating team. To have monthly reviews by case manager and psychiatry registrar, and regular reviews with a consultant psychiatrist.”

This is a confusion of psychiatric jargon. There is such a thing as an elevated mood (often misdiagnosed), but I have Raghy on record saying that I did not have one and that I was euthymic – presenting with a normal mood. The other psychiatric term is “pressure of speech” which is described as a sign of mania, not schizophrenia. An elevated mood is a sign of hypomania and mania, according to the DSM; there is no such thing as “elevated speech” in psychiatric terminology, such as it is.

Ghazala Watt claims in her CV that she has expertise in writing medico-legal reports. Yet she has written a report to the Mental Health Review Tribunal with poor grammar, incomprehensible sentences and no capital letters as required according to the accepted rules of English grammar, which are insisted on in legal reports. My 8 year old daughter uses appropriate capitals at the beginning of a sentence. One might think that a Fellow of the RANZCP should too.

My fresh recollection of this morning’s debate and interview are rather at odds with the brief assessment by Ghazala. Let me take it sentence by sentence, correct and include what she omitted.

“presented for the review on time [I was 15 minutes early], was seen in the presence of the duty officer”

I did not want Gordon, who looked like a neo-Nazi thug, to come into the room with us, but Ghazala insisted. She said she wanted him there, but not why. I had never met him before, and didn’t want to discuss personal matters in his presence. The real reason is that she wanted “backup” if needed. I didn’t know and wasn’t told that he was the duty officer, responsible for admissions from the clinic to the hospital.

 

The report’s next sentences are:

“remained focused on his father’s actions leading to him having medications and admissions to the hospital.” and “presented with multiple writings about his father, political movements in Sri Lanka and anti psychiatric movements”.

She has omitted some important information and misinformed the tribunal about what I carried with me to show her when I “presented”. I didn’t have “multiple writings” about my father. I didn’t have any at all. What I did bring with me, was my diary (which I showed her) and a folder I had titled “Public Image and Personae – Me vs. the people who are calling me MAD”. I didn’t show her this folder, but I selected particular documents for her to keep and read, including one piece by my father and two pieces by myself – “Theorising About the Pineal Gland” and “Royal Park Admission (1995)” printed off from my new WordPress blog. She had never heard of WordPress, so I explained what it was, and that I was writing about my psychiatric experiences. I didn’t have any of my own writings on the anti-psychiatry movement, though I mentioned it in my books The Politics of Schizophrenia (2000) and The Pseudoscience of Schizophrenia (2011) which I have not shown her yet.

At the end of the interview I also gave her a document that I hoped would give her some insight into my father’s modus operandi. This is a long and highly defamatory piece that he had published in the Britain-based expatriate website Colombo Telegraph (CT) a few years ago that purports to be a “psychiatric analysis” of the highly respected Sri Lankan politician Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is hated by the LTTE supporters for his role in defeating the Tigers in his role as Defence Secretary. I gave Ghazala the first 10 pages of the article so that she could compare the sanity of my father’s writing with my own. This is the only thing I had in my folder about “political movements in Sri Lanka”, and it was not written by me.

What I did have in the folder, apart from these, were documents printed off the internet, from Google, Linkedin, Facebook and Youtube, comparing the work and image of four people – myself, my father, Ghazala Watt and her boss Balaji Motamarri, an undistinguished Indian psychiatrist who heads the “service” she kept referring to – the Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services (MSAHMS) of which the PA is one of several hospitals. I was ready to debate the fact that madness and sanity are relative terms, but Ghazala rejected all talk of madness or sanity.

“What’s madness?” she asked

“Insanity.”

“What’s insane?”

“Crazy.”

I would have explained my reasons for thinking that everyone has false beliefs or delusions, and that these are propagated by several means, including the media, religions, cults, political parties, schools, universities and families. But such a discussion requires the other person to be open-minded and receptive to new ideas. Ghazala was only interested in denying concepts of madness and sanity in order to try and convince me that she and the “service” were “helping me” with my “mental illness” and not taking sides in what the report admits is an “acrimonious relationship” with my father. I doubt that Ghazala knows what acrimonious means.

 

I didn’t have writings of my own about “political movements in Sri Lanka” or the “anti psychiatric movement”. I had asked her about what she knew about the anti-psychiatry movement and she said she’d never heard of it. I showed her a printout of the first page of the “Worldwide Protest of the American Psychiatric Association” Facebook page, with a posting by myself, saying:

“It seems to me that psychiatry is primarily a system of character assassination”

“Why are you showing me this?” she asked.

I pointed out that the posting had many likes, and that it was part of a world-wide movement against abuses by her profession.

 

It is a sad reflection of psychiatric education for specialists in Australia that Ghazala Watt became a consultant and member of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) without being aware of the anti-psychiatry movement and scientific, ethical and legal criticism of her profession. Raghy and Nigel, the case managers, both psychiatric nurses, had heard of it but that’s about all. Raghy said the movement had been active for at least a hundred years, and he thought it was active in Melbourne, but I never saw signs of this during the 20 years I spent in Melbourne, during which I was locked up and injected more than 40 times between 1995 and 2007, when I returned to Brisbane.

In our brief conversation after my debate with Ghazala,  I asked Gordon if the anti-psychiatry movement was active in Scotland.

“No!” he answered, emphatically.

I then asked if he thought I had schizophrenia.

“I’d have to go along with the doctor on that, I’ve never met you before.”

“Do you think I am elevated?”

“Maybe.”

I explained to Gordon that I wasn’t elevated, or irritable, I was justifiably angry that the hospital kept siding with my father, who used to work at the hospital, against me.

The next sentence is hard to comprehend, but I think she’s trying to say that I was (and am) blaming my father for getting me locked up, rather than my not taking medications. I’m not sure what she means by “previous admissions in relation to…treatment authority revoked”. I have not been locked up because I was taken off the ITOs (Involuntary Treatment Orders – there were no such things as “treatment authorities” until the new Queensland Mental Health Act of 2017):

“remained focused on the cause of previous admissions in relation to complain about father and not in relation to medication noncompliance or treatment authority being revoked.”

In fact, as I explained to Ghazala, a previous psychiatrist, newly employed at the PA Hospital in 2015 by the name of Dr Jill Schilling had visited my house with Nigel in July and came to the conclusion that I was not psychotic and could not be legally kept on an ITO. After a single visit she took me off the ITO. The report says only that “ITO was revoked on 28/07/2015” but not why, and the fact that Dr Schilling thought me sane.

I told her what happened after that: my father pressured my mother to ring up the hospital complaining that they should not have taken me off the ITO and I was “again” saying that my father was involved with the Tamil Tigers. The fact is that I had never stopped, and that this was not just the truth but it was demonstrably true from his writings and speeches which are freely available on the Internet. The PA responded, to my mother, that as I had been taken off the ITO the only way I could be forcibly “assessed” was if she went to court and took out a “Justice’s Examination Order” (JEO), which she had never heard of. My father was in charge. It was he who drove my mother to court, but “kept his hands clean”.

I was then visited by police who told me I had to go with them back to the hospital, where I was locked up for a few days and discharged. Unsatisfied, my father continued his efforts to get me locked up and evicted from my house, enlisting the help of my next-door neighbour Jeff Miller, with whom he had several phone conversations (while refusing to speak to me on the phone and ringing the case manager to allege that I was harassing him by ringing him all the time, which was untrue).

This pattern of hostile behaviour by my father has continued to the present day. Only last month he shouted to my mother, “He’s getting worse. He’s completely bananas. You’ll have to call Miller and get him to call the hospital”. When my mother demurred he got angry, “What about the other neighbours? We can jump up and down and they [the hospital] won’t take any notice of us”. This was because Nigel Lewin had recognised my father’s animosity towards me and took what he said with a pinch of salt. Nigel and Sagir Parkar had also spent some time looking into my father’s political activities on the Internet and concluded that what I had been saying about his involvement with the LTTE was, in fact, true.

I was locked up again on my 55th birthday, on 22nd September 2015, after my neighbour Miller and my father reported me together, one (my father) to the Mental Health Services and one (Miller) to the police. Miller said I was armed with a knife and he feared for his life lest I run across the road and stab him, because in his paranoid imagination I hated him that much. The truth, as I reported to the police who eventually dropped the case,  was that I had not even seen Miller and had walked across the road to cut some bark off a paperbark tree for my art. Ghazala Watt’s report contains the version of this event as recorded by Justin O’Brien who was the consultant at the hospital responsible for keeping me locked up for the next two months, while my father emptied my house of its contents and convinced my mother to put it up for sale (rendering me homeless). He also employed workmen to chop own all the trees and shrubs I had planted over the past 8 years, and got my mother to sign a curt, legalistic note informing me that if I attempted to return to my house she would take out an ‘Apprehended Violence Order’ (AVO), though again, she had no idea what an AVO is or its legally correct use. My mother signed the letter in three places as directed by my father, and copies were sent to Justin O’Brien and the case manager. She has no recollection of signing this cruel letter two years later, and eventually relented and let me return to my home (she owns the house, but the title deeds are in the hands of my hostile older sister’s lawyers).

After she told me she was increasing the injection I told Ghazala that I was disappointed that she and the hospital consistently took my father’s side against me.

“There are no sides” Ghazala tried to persuade me, “Not your side, or the hospital’s side or your father’s side. I can assure you that the hospital is quite independent of your father.”

In her “assessment” she continues:

“presented less irritable preoccupied with srilankan politics and mental health services being ‘sided’ with his father”

Less irritable than when? I have never been irritable. I am a very calm and forgiving person, but I get irritated (not irritable) when I am insulted by people calling me mentally ill or psychotic, especially  by people who are wilfully ignorant or prejudiced. I was justifiably angry because Ghazala Watt had just told me that she had decided to increase the dose of the ‘antipsychotic’ injection from 75 mg to 100 mg. This was despite my explaining at the beginning of the interview that I was suffering from deteriorating physical health because of these abusive injections. I told her that I have gained 10 kg of weight and my daughter has recently commented on my “pot belly”, which I didn’t have in the past. Ghazala is well aware that weight gain is a common side-effect of the drug she insists on ordering be given to me against my will, under threat of being locked up again. Today when I challenged the science behind her “clinical decision” to increase the dose (rather than stopping the drug, which would be the ethical and scientific thing to do) she asked me, threateningly, “do you want to be hospitalised again?”

It was Ghazala who raised the matter of my father with me. She said he had contacted “the service” several times and complained about me, which is why she was increasing the injection (she later said that there were other reasons too, when I accused her of siding with my father against me). She said she had not spoken to him herself, but asked me to explain why I had posted things about my father on the Internet. She then said that she’d heard that I’ve also posted things about “our service” in which I had named names. I couldn’t deny it and explained that I am naming them and shaming them.

Interestingly the new report has taken out the previous report’s naming of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) as the terrorist organization I was accusing my father of supporting. Instead it says that I was, in October 2016, “preoccupied with delusional thoughts about his father’s involvement with a political group”. I have never heard the LTTE described as a “political group”, or as Raghy would have it “activists”. Most people know them as ruthless terrorists, which they were.

Finally, she ends her contribution to the character assassination with:

“insight remains limited with limited understanding on mental illness and the role of medications”

My understanding of mental illness and the correct use of medications is at least as good as Ghazala Watt’s. I worked for many years in family medicine, including psychiatry. I know the role of the drug companies in shaping the thinking of doctors, and that drugs are over-prescribed and over-consumed. I am also aware of the pseudoscience prevalent in psychiatry with its various “chemical imbalance theories”. I have also researched the Australian psychiatric system and the role of eugenics in shaping psychiatric doctrine in Australia, the USA and elsewhere. I had to admit to Ghazala Watt, though with a smile, that I thought she was heavily brainwashed.

I explained to Ghazala that I needed to defend myself when people called me mad.

“Who called you mad?”

“My father. He calls me a bloody madman, all the time.”

“You don’t like that?”

“Would you?”

“I don’t know. No-one has ever called me mad.”

I held my tongue, but I confess to the urge to be the first to do so. That was a wise decision that may have stopped me from being locked up again, something Ghazala and Gordon were ready for.

“Let’s get this clear, I am not involved with mad, crazy and insane, I am a doctor treating mental illness”, she said.

A label of ‘mental illness’ is worse than a label of mad. It’s cool to be mad. It’s good to be mad at bad things, evil actions, oppression, torture and abuse of power and position. I’m mad at my father, and mad at Ghazala Watt, but I am not mentally ill. I am angry, and my anger is justified and rational. They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. I’m hoping that the pen is also mightier that the needle.

 

The Pseudoscience of Schizophrenia

The Pseudoscience of Schizophrenia looks in detail at the theory that schizophrenia is primarily an iatrogenic problem which is worsened by the current disease model in psychiatry.

The term “schizophrenia” was coined by a Swiss psychiatry professor named Bleuler who declared that the young people whom his rival the German psychiatry professor Emil Kraepelin had classified as “suffering from dementia praecox” had, in fact, a “split mind”. This was later discussed ad nauseum – was there, in fact, a split between “thought” and “affect” as the Eugen Bleuler has postulated in 1911, or is it a misnomer but still a valid label?

When I studied medicine at the University of Queensland in the early 1980s we were taught that though the term “schizophrenia” is a misnomer, it is, in fact, a “real illness”. This was said to be a developmental disorder that was partly inherited and characterized by “chemical imbalances” in the brains of people, many young people, who heard voices, had hallucinations, and held delusional beliefs. These beliefs, we were told, included such things as belief in magic, UFOs and that thoughts can be put into ones head by remote means (with no mention of the TV’s potential to do so).

This book questions this and associated jargon and doctrines of the medical branch of the mind sciences – the doctors who profess to have expertise in “mind treatment” (psyche+iatros=psychiatry) rather than “mind knowledge” (psyche+logos=psychology).

Talk therapies and words that are used in therapy (and by the media and wider society) have profound effects on the health of individuals and nations. The use of pseudo-scientific terms that rapidly become terms of abuse has a long history in medicine – take the terms idiot, moron, cretin and mongol, for example.

Nowadays people are abused as “schizos” and “being mental”. Yet the entire focus for what passes as “mental health promotion” is centred on convincing more people that they are mentally unhealthy and need to consult their doctor. The doctors themselves are groomed to prescribe at the drop of a hat.

Though there is a growing market in “antipsychotic” drugs the biggest money-spinners are the “anti-depressants”, especially the SSRI drugs. Depression is also amenable to talk therapies and non-drug approaches such as music, creative activity, building interests and social activity. Strategies for promotion of mental health without the use of drugs (or ECT) are explored in later chapters of this book.

 

https://www.scribd.com/document/71008178/The-Pseudoscience-of-Schizophrenia-by-Dr-Romesh-Senewiratne-2011