While you’re checking out Corinna’s declaration of independence from the Disability Industrial Complex, check out its companion piece, “Maybe I Never Needed a Psychiatric Label At All.”


CW wrote this poem while she was my house guest in New Hampshire, mostly on the living room sofa (above).  I’m proud of that, for no reason I can think of.

The Disability Industrial Complex

I am Corinna West and I approve this message.

Disclaimer: If your psych meds are working for you please please keep taking them as long as you want. If you want to get off them do it extremely slowly and carefully and consult your physician.

Thank you, dear Pfizer, for making Geodon for my troubled mind,
While hiding all the time about how antipsychotics actually CAUSE psychosis
And just paralyze emotions, destroy ambition, cause hopeless numbness,  indecision
They skipped scientific evidence to market ineffective chill out insentience
That ravished my sleep, added two pounds a week, my cholesterol in peak,
So many of us with diabetes, we die 25 years younger once they give us one of their labels.

God bless Blue Cross and Blue Shield for creating the 7-minute doctor visit
Check one list, check two, make this appointment another quickie, ma’am, thank you.
For making labels mandatory, for pills the only treatment of choice,
For random reimbursement, who cares? we’re hurt, increase the profit, ignore our losses,
Just add another medication if you miss those dreams dissolved into disability,
And now living in a developed country gives you the LEAST chance of recovery.

Thanks to the American Psychiatric Association for their long term public relations campaign,
Making money off shock treatments, no science at all for our safety.
Thousands of us with stories of brains fried into lower functioning, white coats still posturing,
Billing $10,000 per treatment. So they talked me iynto risking everything with their effectiveness lies,
But their spin wobbles when you see the suicide stats of shock survivors, singeing, soaring.

Thanks to the national advocacy organizations for operating primarily from pharma funding,
Selling that biochemical imbalance, the brain disorder, the medical, medical,
DNA and genetical model,
completely ignoring just how hard our lives may have been right before we got told
Our label. That may truly have come from the dreams that were sacked,or our friends that we lacked,
or jobs full of flak, or spiritual souls starting to crack, or destiny and greatness so heavy on our back.
Just give us that one-dimensional solution,“Stay on your meds,” front page of the advocacy website,
And the slogan,“Until there is a cure.”

But there is a cure; we have a cure right now, people who
completely work, love, hug, play, sing, fight, and live again,
We recover again. We tell you,this battle over and over; we know how to win.
Are you ready? There’s no going back once I tell you our secret,
I might have to kill you. So do you want me to blue or red pill you?

Descend down the tube out of the corporate control; find the true science, the rest of the story,
The research uncovered, the hope and the glory.  Ride the tornado; you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Your guides now are people who walked through fire to burn their labels into new lives.
Destroy that black and white existence finding fun, friends, and futures filled with resistance,
Building wellness by the hour, victories in every moment.

Like the time my friend threw that hole-in-one Frisbee at Water Works tee 14, looking down into the city,
Riding my bike cross half of Nebraska, racing my personal record, showing my fiance I was faster.
Jumping in the fountain in Cliff Drive to drink PBR with my ACME ride friends,
Telling my best bud Ken how them stupid bosses keep on scaring me again,
A smile from a stranger, tell my story, share my passions, we all got struggles, we all need patching.
Don’t give me a permanent label for my temporary problems,
Tell me truth about my emotions,and hold me in your sanity until the morning breaks.

—Corinna West

1 Comment for this entry

  • Liza Casey says:

    A lot of that reflects how I feel! Also, I would like to share parts of it with Mental Health America. I have seen this one-sided message a lot, there.

    Part of it is because they often take money from the pharmas and I hate this conflict of interst. But part of it is that even good hearted people can get so used to seeing people in their circles who *do* have brain disorders. After awhile, staff members of these programs assume any “consumer” (their word) looking to be involved must be someone else with a brain disorder.

    If [I] walk in the door and they don’t know [me], they assume my story is a lot like that of others they’ve seen, especially because most people who know about MHA-ND are referred from mental health and social services agencies. And maybe they can’t “get it,” that there really can be another side to things than what appears.

    So, they compare [Corinna's] experience and [mine] to what they know, to make sense of it. No one should assu,me anything but people get tunnel vision after awhile. This is the same phenomenon which happens at hospitals and mental health clinics. People relate to others from their own experiences and also try to avoid cognitive dissonance. Make sense?

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