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David Shooman RIP

Some time ago a lad approached me. We had so much in common.
We were Israelis by choice, Leeds-born Jews by chance, and avid Leeds United supporters with pride. I was a shrink, and he wanted to be one.
'Mike, you are an old buggar. Me, I am starting my career as a shrink. Why not tell me what you know?'

The day I had noted in my diary to set up our first important, David had an awful accident.
He was completely paralysed and unable to communicate.
David's family hoped that he could give therapy from his bed.
The Internet held so much potential for the patient and the therapist.

His hope for rehabilitation and his career as a shrink were not to be. He experienced a harrowing, lingering, and agonising death.

If David had lived, he would have been well on the way to being a consultant psychiatrist.
But David did not live.
I dedicated the site and book to him and his memory.

Peter, David's father and my life-long friend, died with an aching heart, and Bernice, David’s mother, lives on in the shadows of anguish interspersed with rays of sunshine from her grandchildren.
One of them, Gur, is David's son.

Michael Benjamin 


My name is Doctor Michael Benjamin.

Like David, I too was born in Leeds, only a long time before him.
I am now at the end of a long career in psychiatric therapy. I specialised in community psychiatry, setting up psychiatric services, forensic psychiatry, and personality disorders.

I was educated in Aberdeen, Scotland, in the 1960s.
Scotland at that time was a hotbed of the “new left,” and ideas of the brotherhood of man and power to the people were in the air. It was the age of Ronnie Laing.
I recommended that everybody read his works. I suppose I was born, professionally speaking, into the school of anti-psychiatry.
I come from a staunch left-wing family, which also will explain something.  
Over the time that I spent in my profession I became more and more sceptical.
Today, with nigh on fifty-five years experience I can claim that I know less and am indeed far less certain than I was when I started my profession.
 I deeply suspect the pharmaceutical companies-they are there to make a profit and everything else is secondary.
I am sceptical about the intrinsic honesty of the way medications are approved.
I am convinced that what you can't prevent you will never cure.
I am sure that the majority of patients suffer far more from our treatment than they do from the illness.
You could say this about a lot of medicine.
But, in psychiatry in particular we have a penchant for taking people who are not suffering and making them suffer because others cannot tolerate their behaviour or the way they think or the way they feel.
Of course, having a mental illness or disorder is not a get out of jail free card; it does not mean that you can abolish the law or social norms.
But on the other hand if you believe that you are the Messiah or you think that you can speak or are speaking to extraterrestrial beings, then I say good luck to you.
Unlike many of my fellow psychiatrists who started the journey with me, I virtually never changed my point of view. What I would have told David had he lived, would be to stay as enthusiastic as you are now and be very skeptical.
Don't believe anything apart from what you believe and have seen with your own eyes.
Do not discredit what others say. Listen carefully to your colleagues and your teachers. But most of all, listen to your patients and their families.
At the end of the day it is the patients and their families who will have to experience and live with whatever you're trying to treat. Their opinions and desires count more than yours.
I would have hoped at the end of the day that David would have become a community psychiatrist, putting his efforts into prevention and non-pharmaceutical interventions. I believe David would have been able to grasp and apply the modern world of the Internet, mass communication, and the subtle uses of social media.
Where there is life, there is hope. Unfortunately, David's life was terminated far too quickly. I hope that someone, somewhere might read what I would have said to him and take on some of its messages and apply the content in a way they find best.

The Book Of David

This what I would have told David.
In my mind’s eye, I see David and his reactions.
This is what my agent says about the book:
A Manifesto for a Revolution in Mental Healthcare

Throughout modern history, previous generations of psychiatrists have perpetrated a very sordid series of misdeeds, which we cannot explain away.
Our helping hand to the Nazis and Soviets cannot and should never be forgotten or brushed aside.
I fear we have provided the next generation with another batch of reasons with which to question themselves.
The BOD evolves and explains fully "Automatic Everything."
Briefly:
Half the time, we humans are not aware of what we are doing.
I’m going to surprise you even further. When we believe we know what we are doing, we are not actually fully aware of what we are doing.
Now, that is one hell of a complicated sentence! This book is about dreams, daydreams, and beliefs. Why are they so important?
They are the representation of the past, the future, and the present. When the regulation of any one or all of them goes wrong, all hell breaks loose in our minds.
In addition, the book makes suggestions about how to best to provide monitored 'third party payment' mental health services.
BOD the book looks at the interface between mental health services and human rights with regard to compulsory therapy.
Finally BOD makes a radical suggestions about how to regulate the complex saturnine symbiosis between mental-health provisions and big pharma.

Wappler

IIf you have a dream, you can make it come true. I built this site on my own using WAPPLER. I had tremendous, unstinting support from the WAPPLER COMMUNITY. If you want it, then you can and will do it. I got no end of help. So will you, from me if I can – maybe an example of the blind leading the blind. Nevertheless, there are visionaries and experienced users all here to help. If you dream it, go for it:
https://wappler.io/