by Quentin Cockburn Esq.
I’ve got a beef about psychiatrists. This is broad and subjective, and I know everyone out there can find the exception from the rule. But as I’m going to be shamelessly subjective I’ll start with the observations that Psychiatrists are ‘paid friends’. I will also go further and let you know that from my personal experience, the kids I knew at school who showed little empathy for their fellow inmates either became Clerics, Politicians or Psychiatrists. I believe their deficiency in human emotional capital was displaced through psychiatry. As psychiatrists, they could vicariously enjoy the entire gamut of human psychology, the catharthis, the hair pulling, the voyeurism and the gross self indulgence of patients to go on and on and on and on about what went wrong in their lives, and their non problems. You see that’s what mainstream psychiatry is about, a paid friend to the neurotic. But there’s another field, the hard psychiatry. Of dealing with serious psychiatric problems.
This is harsh, but I’ll let you know why I believe this. My two brothers were barking and tiresomely mad. More looney than Clive Palmer, and as tiresome members within our community, often had to contend with the police as first compassionate enforcers of reality. After they were incarcerated, they endured a succession of public health psychiatrists, and depending upon whim, established practice, dull routine or empirical evidence, their medications and treatments reduced them to the status of zombies. If they were too troublesome, a psychiatrist could not be found. Psychiatrists are troubled by the seriously deranged. They are really hard work. As pliant zombies, they breezed through the out tray and around the circuits, pliant, brain dead, and suffering. Their loss of close friends enforced the isolation, and the paid friend, who wasn’t really a friend, ensured the routine would continue. You see they had a vested interest, as a cure was beyond question, to ensure the system worked. There was never an alternate wisdom with how to deal with these problems, and when as if by some miracle the medication stopped, a person would emerge briefly, take a furtive glimpse at a future and with the crystalline truth of the seriously mad, kill themselves. A patient’s last throw to ensure lasting of personal dignity. Such a relief.
It’s no fun watching a person you once loved rot from within. The zombie genre is very popular. I suggest visiting an institution or a half way house and you don’t need the elaborate face blood and make up, these people are literally rotting from inside. In the old days we’d just lock em up and they’d wobble along in a sub-community, and establish a fellowship with their co sufferers. Nowadays we’ve moved beyond insitutionalisation, and realised the true value of real estate. Mont Park, Willsmere, Larundel were decommissioned and the ‘clients’ consigned to ‘normalization’, where they can feel truly isolated as outcasts within a community that despises them. I agree with the community. Living with loonies taxes your patience, does your head in, it’s bloody hard work. I feel sorry for the cops who have to shoot them, but it saves the psychiatrist from being actively responsible for the poor bastards’ welfare, because as “valued clients”, they need nurturing of a different sort, to keep up the payments on the Jacuzzi, the Porsche and the hobby farm. We’ll always have loonies in society, it’s what makes us tick, and for poor bastards who willingly serve in Afghanistan the wounds may never heal. But for psychiatrists, I believe they should turn away from Cogentin, Stelazine, Modocate and ECT and look to the tradition of the witch doctor. The witch doctor was an established part of the community. Bit like the publican or the corner milk bar owner. The witchdoctor was all powerful, his treatments unorthodox, but condoned by all in public view. What he establishes is that his ‘clients,’ and disciples are members of a community. The community is full of odd balls and misfits that are accepted firstly as human beings. It fulfills an age old desire to be treated as such with some dignity and compassion. And to be left alone as loonies in the community.