Insight Forty Years Later: A Dream of Progress


The black lantern, ghosts and witches galore,
Scary people come in,
So please wake up now and then!

– Lexie Hurley, my 7-year-old granddaughter

It is my dream that people will wake up to the fact that many psychiatric survivors like myself feel we might as well be dead, because the public at large still acts as if they think that iatrogenic harm is good for us.  It is not!  It is not good for anyone. They act as if it is OK to ‘diagnose’ us when in fact there is no evidence to establish that psychiatric ‘diagnoses’ are medical diagnoses.  They can be convinced that some of us are a danger to ourselves and others, when often it is the ‘treatments’ that we receive as a result of that thinking that cause us to act aggressively toward ourselves or others.  We are often very gentle and would not hurt a fly!  They completely ignore our social circumstances as if they have no influence on our peace of mind.

I was fortunate to find out that I was harmed.  Today I am leading a life I am happy with, but if I were to attend most psychiatrists I would be still considered to have been ‘Bi-polar,’ when in fact it was the ‘treatment’ I received at the hands of many psychiatrists that turned me inside out and deformed me.

It was this time of the year, February, 1976, that I received many electroshocks — accompanied by many neuroleptics and other psychiatric drugs — after the birth of my daughter.  I received my  hospital records under the Freedom of Information Act.  While I read these scanty notes 40 years later, it is very clear to me that the harm done then was outrageous.  The doctors were even surprised that I was not happy in St Stephen’s psychiatric ‘hospital’!  This is how they view people they ‘diagnose’ as lacking insight!  It was very understandable that I was very distressed to be separated from my new-born child and husband while I was forcefully treated with electroshock and psychotropic drugs.  I had the insight to know that this was not a good place to be.  However they did not have the insight to see that they were harming me as they continued to treat me as a lab rat, as they continued to poke me with needles and apply electrodes to my precious brain.  When I returned after a weekend with my family where I was doing well, they were surprised that I did not want to come back!

We psychiatric survivors have been medically raped by charlatan ‘doctors’ — and then we are supposed to go back to them again if we find it hard to live in a very unjust and unequal world.  Is it any wonder that people in such a position would want to die by suicide?  Is it any wonder that we might feel that people in general do not understand how we are treated as second class citizens and denied our human rights? We are actually are denied these basic rights and told it is for our own ‘good’; told we are not fully human or normal! Told that our brains are diseased, when there is no such evidence that this is true; told that mind-altering drugs can correct the damage — when in fact they often cause brain damage — and told that electroshock can be effective when in fact all it causes is brain damage and dysfunction!

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

– Upton Sinclair

It is very challenging to live in a world which wants so much to believe in the myth of ‘mental illness’ — a world which thinks it needs this delusion, and profits on the misery many people  endure today as a result.  It is easy to be in denial when so many unnecessary jobs depend and thrive on this illusion.  Schools and universities strengthen the illusion while more and more people — including children — fall victim to deceptive ‘diagnoses.‘

Connotatively ‘diagnosis’ means ‘to understand.’ We have more diagnosis today than we have ever had, yet misunderstanding is rampant. Perhaps if we look to the deeper meaning of diagnosis in its etymology (“dia” – “between,” and “gnosis” – “to know”) we can see why this is so;   “knowledge” can come between us, as much as it might join us, when it creates false distinctions in the pursuit of an illusion that we are safer if we can only label, control, and marginalize those people and things that we find challenging.

In the 40 years since I was wrongly – and catastrophically – “diagnosed” and “treated,” I’ve seen one after another announcement of supposed “progress” in the “science” of understanding and treating “mental illness” come and go — first trumpeted, then with nary a mention, failing to hold their ground and falling away to the mists of time along with the people and the lives they’d ruined. This past week, as well, we’ve seen yet another advance trumpeted of a supposed advance in the understanding of the brain changes associated with “mental illness” which (though acknowledging that no actual treatments were as yet indicated) failed to acknowledge that the myriad other well-established explanations for these same changes for which there are well-validated, safe, viable, and socially acceptable treatments.

People will continue to suffer and die if the public do not wake up and have the courage to act as a caring community, and stop regarding human problems as “diseases” to be “cured,” rather than as challenges that we share.  We all belong to one human family with different strengths and weaknesses, and I dream of a world in which we will stop running after an illusion of “progress” that requires our fellow humans to be categorized, marginalized, and destroyed.  In my dream, there is no destination or destiny that justifies the sacrifice of any life. I dream that we will begin to define “progress” in a way that includes all of us, and all of our experiences – all the pains, distresses, as well as joys – that we all inevitably share – within the definition of what it means to be “human.”

Someday I hope my dream will come true!

* * * * *

 ⇒ ⇐


  1. I find your experience fascinating, because the official MD’s of the mind would be truly horrified had you been treated properly with something like vit. B6, zinc, B100’s, vit, C and magnesium instead of antipsychotic drugs and brain zapping. They’d put and leave you in the Twilight Zone with enough dope to give you muscle symptoms and enough ECT to make you forget your name and address, and of course the President’s name, which would make you a candidate for even more intensive treatment of this sort.

  2. I think you are dreaming if you believe that any significant change will occur.
    Thirty years ago I had my first child and I was an anxious mom who was sleep deprived. Knowing nothing about babies I was worried about the puffiness around her forehead, which was caused by suction. I just needed reassurance, but I ended up seeing my GP who determined I should see a shrink. This lunatic told my family I had postpartum psychosis and proceeded to admit me to a so called “hospital” and poison me with Mellaril, an antipsychotic, not telling anyone, including me what it was. Within two days I was begging to see my baby, telling this monster I thought my baby was fine. He coldly stared at me and said “I think you are lying to me and I am making sure you stay till we ‘cure’ you.” Terrified, deteriorating, missing my beautiful baby, I convinced my family to take me home after 6 days.Drugged, severely traumatized, I went home, stopping the poison cold turkey. I immediately developed panic, new abnormal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, crying, none of which Ihad before drugging.
    I bravely returned to the lunatic who “treated” me, telling him what he had done and stating “I will not die because of your stupidity and malpractice”. He got very angry, started shouting, and threw me out of his office. It took me 3 years to recover, at home, zero poison, away from those scary, incompetent monsters. I had two more children, a joyful existence, a 30 year teaching career.
    Unfortunately a prescription for an antidepressant by my clueless GP for the weight loss, crying , insomnia caused by my husbands affair after 25 years of marriage was the start of a nightmare. Did I need poison for a situational very normal distress/sadness? Same outcome- withdrawal reaction severe- spirals into poly drugging, iatrogenic insanity, my doctor tripling the AD and then “trying” Prozac, which caused akathisia, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, which resulted in the prescription of Zopiclone, and Ativan, and then Depakote, and lithium, and Cipralex, and Zoloft, and mirtazapine and Lamictal, none of which do anything for initial effexor withdrawal symptoms. My family was convinced “something” would work, the “doctors” knew what they were doing. I
    was desperate for the excruciating head pain and madness to stop. I was told ECT was safe and effective, completely lied to. In my drug-deranged state, I signed. I was assaulted with multiple bilaterals and unilaterals, 10 to start and 11 of them 7 months later bc my children thought the giddiness and organic brain syndrome of round 1 were signs I was “better”. I ended up losing 15 years of memory, my career, my skill sets, my ability to form new memories, my ability to think, read, feel love for my family. Left a brain damaged zombie. My complaint to the health region resulted in an “internal” review that concluded that my “standard of care” was “acceptable” and they were “sorry” I was not “satisfied” with the “outcome” of my “treatment”. In my shattered state I tried contacting various agencies, department heads, govt officials to try to educate them as to what damage was being done, supplying scientific research, reports. They basically told me to go away, in the most irritated hostile and angry fashion. They believed the “doctors”. I was suddenly a mental case with no credibility. Their jobs depended on them refusing to see the truth.
    I cannot forgive myself for falling into the clutches of useless, ignorant, uneducated psychopaths after having stayed away from them for 30 years, knowing they were stupid and dangerous. How could I have become that sick, desperate and confused?
    So 40 years after you were injured, these pseudo doctors continue to drug/poison and shock new victims, oblivious to their absolute ignorance about emotional distress. And high profile “doctors” write books glorifying shock and advocating for its use, calling it the penicillin of psychiatry, calling memory loss a “myth”.
    What “progress” has been made when the FDA, given heart wrenching testimony in 2011, is 5 years later, looking again to sneak in a downgrade of shock devices to class II for “treatment resistant depression” (more correctly drug damage) and so called “bipolar” disorder (usually drug induced)??
    Peter Breggin and numerous ethical neurologists have worked so hard to have shock banned, but it still remains. Why? Money? Power?
    An individual posting to the latest Blog on David Healy’s site jokingly posed the question of why should anyone listen to me if I am brain damaged and my frontal lobes are “knackered”?
    So, why should anyone consider the words of Linda Andre, or Leonard Roy Frank, or Sue Clarke- Wittenberg, or Loretta Wilson, or Evelyn Scoggin, or Ted Chabasinski or yourself as “useful”? Why is there this desire to defend ECT as a “viable option”, ignoring the fact it is brain damage as “treatment”?
    Thank-you for all the work you and your husband continue to do on behalf of the current and future potential victims of psychiatry. You are truly a gem.
    Your kindness and compassion and love of peace shine beautifully in contrast to the evils perpetrated by psychiatrists on a daily and ongoing basis. Your desire to make the world a better place for your grandchildren stands in contrast to those who would poison toddlers and teens with amphetamines and anti-psychotics and call this treatment.

    • Dear “truth”:
      I’m a survivor of the pseudo-science of psychiatry, and it’s poison pills, and ELECTRO-CUTION TORTURE, or “ECT”. As a man, I can’t directly relate to your child-birth experiences,
      but your reports are very consistent with I too, have heard from many, many friends and other persons the past 40 years.
      I do know how traumatic, and painful it must be, for you to write what you’ve written here,
      but I also believe that it can be very healing and empowering. I learned in A.A., and from working the 12 Steps, that we “are only as sick as the secrets we keep”.
      For you to share with such brutal honesty takes courage. Also, when we cry, our tears are
      washing the pain away. Thank-you so much, and best wishes to you!
      I WILL use my public name. I will remain unafraid to speak out. The lives of my friends depends on me, also….
      Bradford Hutchinson
      victim of “iatrogenic neurolepsis”, and “iatrogenic pharmacological disorder”
      Do you know anybody ELSE who might ALSO have those 2 Dr.-caused conditions?

  3. Thanks Mary,

    I think you’ve stated it well.
    The ups and downs of life are not illnesses that need to be “cured”.

    When I was 20, I couldn’t believe the amount of youngish people in the Maudsley (/Kings College) describing themselves as “manic depressive” and “schizophrenic”(when in fact, they had problems, that could be sorted out).

    Prior to my hospitalization I believed these “illnesses” existed.

    • 1990 was the last time that I was denied liberty by psychiatry, although I am dealing with Iatrogenic harm. Back here in West Virginia I am the Mountain Party (Green Party affiliated) candidate for the 39th House of Delegates seat. On Tuesday at the State House in Charleston, there is to a rally of state hospital workers who object to the efforts of the Governor to privatize three psychiatric facilities. Understandably this causes me mixed feelings. While I have no love loss for psychiatrists, there were times when orderlies treated me as a human, and served to lessen the blow.

  4. I, too, have a dream, and it’s one quite similar to yours, one of a mutual respect society. My experience with psychiatry was of being misdiagnosed and massively drugged, shortly after my youngest was born. The psychiatric practitioners do like to attack the young mothers, don’t they?

    “Today I am leading a life I am happy with, but if I were to attend most psychiatrists I would be still considered to have been ‘Bi-polar,’ when in fact it was the ‘treatment’ I received at the hands of many psychiatrists that turned me inside out and deformed me.”

    I have no doubt this is true. Because today’s ‘bipolar’ drug cocktail recommendations are, in fact, medically known to make a person ‘mad as a hatter,’ via anticholinergic intoxication syndrome, aka anticholinergic toxidrome. And, of course, anticholinergic toxidrome is an iatrogenic illness, and not the theorized “life long, incurable, genetic” ‘bipolar.’ Anticholinergic toxidrome was likely what you actually suffered from, not ‘bipolar,’ and self confident doctors are impressed when you can medically explain this to them, as are their students. Feel free to check your prescription drug history, with this known drug induced toxidrome, to see if I may be right. And, “tell your doctor….”

    Thanks for all you do, Mary.

  5. “Someday I hope my dream will come true!”

    Someday is here, the internet is the worst thing that ever happened to psychiatry.

    For example before the internet I guess you could stand in front of a hospital and protest with a sign but that would get tiring and reach few people but now with internet tools such as and you can post all of their dirty deeds first page google results and reach many more.

    The public awaking is happening its just taking time. Look at the number of views on anti psychiatry Youtube videos. Psychiatry is going down, not with a bang but a long whimper.

  6. Lovely call for unity consciousness. Indeed, we share it all, one way or another. We’re a global collective.

    I think this business (literally) of assigning such drastically misguided and misleading labels to folks dealing with distress from life trauma is what brings about such marginalizing stigma, which, in turn, is what feeds not only personal trauma, but also the corruption, through social vampirism.

    To me, it seems that clinicians and the like, social services, etc–those who subscribe to the DSM school of thought, and what it is based on, fundamentally–are in the habit of creating such duality by insisting that their shadow is ‘out there,’ on their clients, rather than as a projection of their own stuff. That’s one way I’ve learned to see it. Absolute and complete lack of personal ownership. Whereas they should be the one’s modeling it. It’s totally backasswards.

    I really would not choose to have any kind of relationship–either socially or professionally–with most of the clinicians I encountered because they so aggressively and relentlessly project falsehoods onto others, wreaking havoc on people’s psyche and overall health, including social health. This stuff ruins lives and families, without a doubt. The evidence is staggering.

    If this is the personality dynamic professionally, I can only imagine how these personal relationships go–where we are even more ourselves–in terms of control and power struggle. This is not my cup of tea when it comes to personal relationships. I prefer ownership and reasonability in people with whom I associate, not mind games. To me, that is sinister, and sadly, epidemic in academic society. This I know from experience.

    That Upton Sinclair quote says it all. Brainwashed by $$ leads to bad medicine, because the agenda becomes personal and self-serving, ceasing altogether to be for the greater good. That is not a sound system, not in the slightest. Everyone loses, because that money is meaningless given the circumstances under which is what acquired, which I perceive to be nothing short of crimes against humanity. What a mess it all is.

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring and brave story, and your beautiful dream. May the awakening ripple and continue to expand us all into a transformed social consciousness. That would be my dream.

  7. Didn’t mean to sound dismissive if that’s the way it came across.

    An old acquaintance of mine who is no longer physically with us once wrote,

    “All existence is the realization of an earlier fantasy. Desire is the primary force of the Universe.”


    “To realize our ideals we must free ourselves from a government that is devoted to war and destruction, and from an economic system that encourages people to be greedy, cruel and thoughtless.”

    That’s more what I was getting at.

    • “All existence is the realization of an earlier fantasy. Desire is the primary force of the Universe.”

      That’s beautiful. My drug withdrawal induced awakening, was an awakening to the dreams of my youth, and my oh my, am I the biggest dreamer of them all. It’s a little, “We are the champions – my friends. And we’ll keep on fighting Till the end. We are the champions, We are the champions! No time for losers,’Cause we are the champions of the World” lyrical libretto.

      And, absolutely, “To realize our ideals we must free ourselves from a government that is devoted to war and destruction, and from an economic system that encourages people to be greedy, cruel and thoughtless.”

      My concerns are now all over the Internet, lots of people are waking up to, not just to the crimes of the pharmaceutical industry, but also the Federal Reserve system, which is excellent.

      The worldwide powers that be, that set up all the horrors and injustices we have, and are still experiencing, are being exposed. “The truth shall set you free.” But it’s a process, have faith. “‘Cause we are the champions of the” Universe now, according to the 2009 awakening of my dreams. “Desire is the primary force of the Universe.”

      I know, the awakening to my dreams does contain what would be considered “delusions of grandeur,” but this could alternatively be called hope. And we all need hope and faith, albeit action is important, too.

  8. Terrifying story. And…sadly, your story is not all that uncommon. Well, the torture isn’t. The recovery and rediscovery of your humanity…tragically, I’m finding that part of the story is relatively uncommon.

    My own misadventures in Mental Health, Inc. are somewhat similar. Shock, drugs, more shock, more drugs. I’m blessed that I now have my family behind me, even though psychiatrists set out to keep us apart…and succeeded, for a season. I’ve come to the realization that some of those people chattering to themselves on the street aren’t really “in need of treatment;” they’re the “trouble makers” of yesteryear.

    I’m tempted to ramble on, because I see so much in your writing that articulates what I’ve long thought, and some of what I’m just now coming to realize. I’ll stop here and say simply: Thank you.

  9. Mary Maddock speaks the TRUTH…..
    And WHERE are all the psychiatric “success stories”….????….
    There are NOT ANY, or else they would be telling THEIR stories….
    But the dead tell no tales.
    I think the pseudo-science drug-racket of “psychiatry” is really a DEATH CULT.
    That’s what being “monitored for signs of neuro-leptic malignant syndrome” REALLY means,
    in plain English…. Yes, that’s a direct quote from my last hospitalization, in 1994, at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock, Keene(CMC/DHK) Fresh air and Sunlight are the best, for the festering wound which psychiatry and it’s DRUGS have become….
    Bradford Hutchinson
    Keene, NH, USA
    (BTW, it’s inconceivable, that those evil souls who created the “Community Mental Health Centers” Act, &etc., as drug addict recruitment, and drug delivery sites, could NOT know what they were doing. THINK about THAT!…..