Against the Biomedical Model of Mental Illness
Andrés Ruiz

Though I am not a trained psychiattrist, these all are observations I have made simply being a patient and a little too curious. Philip K.Dick, a life-long mental health patient, famously wrote: “Sometimes an appropriate response to reality is to go insane.” His view of the world through his fractured lense and speed addiction produced perhaps the most prophetic writings of the twentieth century. Religious thinkers such as Julian of Norwich write of visions which we would now term as pyschosis, but which were valued as spiritual insighs from God. In a partial hospital program, I was reminded of this when a man said bitingly: “I’m forced to come here all day every day for a month, but my life would be fine if I could afford a car and get a job. But I can’t do that wasting my time here everday.” Women talked of being too afraid to take their children to the park because gun shots were regularly fired. I often thought of Philip K. Dick, and how perhaps the “illness” of these people and myself may be a window not just into the human mind, but perhaps into the stark reality of life for the less privilged in America.