Curing Madness is a selection of works by Jason Pegler and the thought processes he used to cure himself of manic depression. It includes a couple of excellent scripts about his experiences of manic depression, rap lyrics, a personal account of what happened to him after he published his seminal ĎA Can of Madnessí through Chipmunka Publishing, the social enterprise he set up. His previous book ĎA Can of Madnessí is a strong, unsettling book that shook the mental health world, and sold tens of thousands of copies. He writes about the impact of book publication, and not all of it was positive. Someone reported to the DSS that he had written a book, but Jason used the opportunity to be more self-determined and lived only on what Chipmunka earned him. And his life and Chipmunkaís has gone from strength to strength. He has come off medication and now dedicates his life to making this world a better place to live in for all.
There is a wonderful section in the book that examines madness in Greek Mythology. What is interesting is that perception of madness has not changed much for hundreds of centuries. In ancient Greece madness was a punishment from the gods for any act of hubris. But instead in modern times if you have a psychiatric diagnosis your hubris is punished with forced injections, ECT, strip searches, and a stigma that turns your skin into broken glass so no one wants to touch you. You are too dangerous to hug. With anger for this injustice, he responds with one of my favourite parts of the book, where he tells a lot of people to go fuck themselves Ė it is really beautiful to read!
Jason took the difficult step of coming off his medication. He suggests that madness neednít be breakdown but breakthrough. When you are said to have an illness, thatís it, you are broken and cannot be fixed. Personally, I am sure with the right support and focus on developing personal power, the experience of madness can give you an amazing opportunity to change you and what is hurting your psyche for the better and the enhancement of those suffering in the world. The mental distress would not last as long as it does in the experience of the modern psychiatric patient. Pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest that you stay ill. Look at how much pharmaceutical companies would lose if you were given techniques and support to bring you out of your distress. This book details the techniques that have helped him to do just this.
Heís got guts, heís got heart, heís got vision. Thatís why people like him Ė and his new book Ė are essential for the mental health movement. He invites us to be like Gandhi and Mandela, people call him delusional and arrogant for saying so. But the mad movement has to be a civil rights issue if anything is going to change for the better.
His book is inspirational , a rousing call, not to medication but to action. He asks us not to accept societyís or the medical professionís concept of madness, but to accept you are you and are special and have immense personal power to change your and others lives. You may not agree with the way he does it but you canít deny the passion of the man that wants to turn the pain of the mad into gold.