“I’ve got a bus load of schizophrenics that I’ve driven down from New York to demonstrate against the psychiatrists,” the middle aged lady hollered across the room to the owner of the diner. No doubt she was relishing the thought that she lived to tale the tale. Ian and I ignored her while we continued to eat our breakfast of fried eggs and coffee.
The diner owner chimed in from behind the cash register. “Yeah, do me a favor and get those occupiers outta here. I’ve had enough of those people, coming down last week ago and disrupting everything. You can take all of those mentally ill people back home with you, the sooner the better!”
“But I was surprised,” mused the driver, “how well behaved that bunch were.”
Ian and I paid our bill then went next door to the Quaker Meeting House in Philadelphia to wait for the presentations to begin. If I ever had any illusions that Occupying the APA in Philadelphia was going to resonate with the common man, woman, well, obviously there’s still lots of work to be done. One of the themes of the MindFreedom campaign in Philadelphia was to point out how destructive labels are to people. We need look no further than the bus driver and the diner guy as ample proof that labeling is alive and well, particularly when it comes to schizophrenia and schizophrenics. The common man thinks Psycho and Norman Bates and wouldn’t have it any other way. We all like a good scare. Hollywood needs the occasional schizophrenic to fatten its bottom line, just like the American Psychiatric Association needs the myth of uncurable schizophrenia to do the same to its.
The only encouraging part of the APA approving the DSM-5 this week was Dr. Allen Frances’ call for the fox to stop running the chicken coop – meaning there should be fewer psychiatrists on the DSM revision panel and more “supposedly” (my word, not his) neutral parties like the NIMH and the World Health Organization with a greater say in its revision. Don’t expect any changes for now for the schizophrenia label – it’s too big a revenue source and a great way to scare patients and relatives into submission to psychiatry. Psychiatry doesn’t want to cure schizophrenia, it merely wants an orderly bus.