Michael and I saw The Master the other night. As you probably know, it’s loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. It’s quite different from Paul Thomas Anderson’s other films, but we enjoyed it.
I’m still stewing a little bit over the phone call I had with my friend, the other night. And seeing this movie–and thinking about Scientology–hasn’t helped me get over it.
It’s the anti-psychiatry thing.
In the movie, the “Master” claims that he can cure insanity (and leukemia!), through
auditing “processing”. Which, sounds a lot like the claims Tom Cruise and the leaders of the “church” have made.
(Hello Introspection Rundown.)
It’s startling to me that there are people in this world who not only rail against psychiatric medication–medication that has been life-saving for me–but who also deny the very existence of psychiatric disorders.
I just don’t understand this. There is science to support this.
I can assure you, my bipolar disorder isn’t the result of some trauma I experienced in a past life on some distant planet. And honestly, how is this more reasonable than believing that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain?
It just doesn’t make sense, and would be almost laughable if there weren’t groups like The Citizens Commission On Human Rights (a Scientology front group) lobbying against issues that could directly relate to my diagnosis (access to care and medications, primarily).
Some of you may disagree with me, but I support involuntary psychiatric treatment. I support it in cases where the individual is a danger to themselves or others.
Involuntary treatment saved my life.
During one particularly dark bout of depression, I decided to kill myself, and made a pretty solid attempt that was almost successful. After swallowing what I was later told (after my stomach was pumped) was 200 some-odd random pills from a well-stocked medicine cabinet, I spent almost week in the hospital, healing my body, and another two weeks in the psych unit where they got me back on my meds, which maybe didn’t heal my mind, but certainly balanced out the chemicals.
I can’t imagine ever finding myself back in that dark place, but if I do, I would like to know that the people who love me would have the right to get me the kind of help I need–even if it means having me temporarily committed until I can start making good decisions for myself.
And families who watch a mentally ill loved one spiral dangerously out of control should have that right, too, before that person becomes a threat to others.
I don’t think that involuntary treatment needs to mean violating a person’s civil rights. Balance can and should be struck between civil liberties and what’s in the best interest of that person and/or the safety concerns for others.
It’s truly appalling that in the United States, it is easier to buy a gun, than to access mental health services.
And we don’t need these deep pocketed pushers of pseudo-science making it even more difficult for people to get the care they need.