Today I’m going to see the shrink who prescribed for me while I was coming off psychiatric drugs. I’ve not seen him in many years since I wasn’t well enough to leave the house for a good part of the time he helped me. What is interesting about this man is that he believed me when I told him my experience and so he prescribed the multiple changing dosages I needed for all the six drugs I came off of. At the same time, however, he managed to show little or no interest in what was happening to me in that it was a mirror of what 1000s of other folks were going through. I became gravely ill as I watched 1000s of others becoming gravely ill in the process too. So in that I still felt totally disregarded by him. We have an epidemic of harm happening. He helped me free myself from the toxic substances and watched me become ill but continues to prescribe to others without owning what he is participating in.
I’m grateful I found him, however, because most people who have rough withdrawals don’t find a doctor to help them at all. This guy prescribed for me when I was bedridden and unable to sit up. I don’t know how I would have managed had he not been prescribing for me. I couldn’t even go to doctors’ appointments of any kind. I couldn’t leave the house at all. Had he not been prescribing for me I wouldn’t have been able to find another doctor.
Again, I’m very grateful that he was able to be present for me in this way and, believe me, even if he somehow never got it about everyone else. It’s like, god knows what he’s done with the volume on his cognitive dissonance. 😛
I decided to go see him today. It’s been about maybe 6 or 7 years since I’ve seen him. He remotely prescribed the last tiny dose of Klonopin I took on February 9, 2010 when I finally finished the 6-year withdrawal from the 6-drug cocktail.
Today I will thank him and make a formal goodbye to him and psychiatric “care.” And I’ll share with him whatever he’s interested in knowing about it, too. He’s a remarkably friendly guy . . . and has really good energy. I always loved visiting him when I was able to see him. Really. So this will be interesting.
And to be clear . . . this is not the man who got me on the massive cocktail to begin with and I’m clear on the fact that this guy doesn’t use massive cocktails like that with his patients. He’s got a lighter touch in that regard, in general. I suppose that might be why he didn’t think I was representative of anything he’s involved in. Who knows?
See also: The Final Visit to the Psychiatrist (Part 2 of Goodbye Psychiatry)
Other posts that might be of interest:
- Bridging Patient-Professional Divide
- Being the empowered patient
- The divide between client/patient/consumer and professionals (with list of links)
- healing journey — part 1 and 2 (brief thoughts from this morning to a friend)
- A doctor who talks sense about the all too frequent use of coercion in medicine
- Informed Choice: Pro-information and pro-choice when it comes to drugs and medications
- Words for all in the “helping” professions (and for any human who wants to benefit others)
- Medical compliance? Adherence? No. My MDs are my PARTNERS
- Letters to my shrink
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This article first appeared on
Monica Cassani’s website, Beyond Meds
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
i think it’s awesome you’re doing this. so important for the survivors to go back and show the doctors and other professionals how well they are doing off drugs. maybe they will think twice before the next time they say, “oh, you’re going to have to be on this for the rest of your life, buddy”. and maybe, if enough survivors revisit, a tiny shift in their minds might begin. a tiny, niggling feeling that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong all along.
my husband (caught up in a horrid ten year multi drugged nightmare that kind of destroyed our family) is drug free and feeling amazing- and can’t wait to go back to all the docs who helped in the destruction. too early yet, but he will.
enjoy the visit- and please share his reaction.
here’s to your husband healing quickly and completely so he can do whatever it is that is in his heart.
Thanks for sharing your story. Your courage is amazing and an inspiration to me.
Great post Monica. It can be very challenging and intimidating for people to go back and talk to their psychiatrist if they have been damaged by the psych drugs. It’s wonderful that you can have an open and thoughtful conversation with the psych doc who helped you taper. It is beautiful to hear you process and explain your experience in a way that hopefully gets him to think and review how he’s treating people.
The sad part is when doctors respond by saying essentially…”we’ll you’re an anomaly. The vast amount of people are helped by what I do. “. And indeed I think we have to acknowledge that some people do feel very helped by psych drugs. Or taking them very selectively.
But let’s look at it this way, if you prescribed a medicine where even a small amount of people were gravely harmed…say even 10 percent….wouldn’t you want to explain that risk very very clearly? Wouldn’t you want to warn people that this is like Russian Roulette….you may get lucky and it works for you (or at least doesn’t harm you) but you may easily get unlucky and this will deeply injure you.
And the more drugs you add to the cocktail the likelihood of getting injured go up and up. And the longer you take these drugs, the chance of getting injured becomes more and more likely. So doc, if you know that a percentage of people are like me, someone who was really harmed, do you talk about that risk to everyone who walks in the door? And if not, why?
These are the tough questions I would like to hear answered by psych docs.
Anyways, thanks for your words…
it certainly can be both challenging and intimidating as well as potentially traumatic to go back to see old shrinks…I don’t by any means suggest everyone do it and there are doctors I certainly would never want to see again.
I had a good relationship with this guy and, in general, being I worked in the system as a social worker I had very professional relationships with the doctors I worked with later in my career as psych patient.
I know how to “talk psychiatry” like a professional because of the work I did in the field. This afforded me relationships with doctors that differ from that of a lot of folks.
in a post where I shared about talking to the psychiatrist who got me on the massive cocktail I say,
“This sort of communicating with our old doctors is by no means appropriate for everyone. This is something I do, not something I recommend to others unless they too feel comfortable and confident that it’s something right for them. It’s simply not always possible nor is it always appropriate or safe. I support protecting ourselves and NOT retraumatizing ourselves or risking our safety in any way. That is why it depends on the person and the situation. Again, it’s not always the right thing to do. So no one need imagine I’m advocating others do this.”
the reason I wrote that in another post was because I used to get comments from readers who talked about how horribly triggering and dangerous it would be for them to do something like that. So by all means everyone should follow their guts about this and not do anything that risks wellbeing and safety.
I’ve had plenty of relationships with medical professionals I would never revisit ever because of how badly I was treated. I know what that is like too. And I have no interest in subjecting myself to those people ever again if I can help it.
Wonderful testimony. I’d like to know how your final visit went. Your detox may be his biggest success story.
thanks everyone! I’ll write more about my visit in the next day or two in another post… on Beyond Meds for sure and perhaps here too.
Goodbyes can be so sweet, yes?
Re-visiting the old doctor may be triggering but I think it’s worth to at least send them an e-mail. Let them know what they caused you to go through. Maybe if they start getting e-mails like that on the regular basis something will click. at least for those who actually give a damn about their patients.
that’s a good middle ground solution, yes. timing remains important…to do it when it feels right…