Three Letters: Re-Abused and Re-Traumatised by a Diagnosis

Kat H.

In memory of my brother who took his life six years ago.

During a meeting with a psychiatrist a few months ago whilst once again detained on a locked mental health ward, I tried yet again to explain my perspective: that I needed to make sense of my childhood sexual, emotional, and physical abuse by my father; the lack of appropriate therapy options; the need to tell my story; the need to safely reduce my medication; and that my diagnosis was not valid. Let’s just say it didn’t go well!

Later that night I sat in the bedroom, extremely distressed. I suddenly saw so clearly the link between the THREE LETTERS I endured as a child — CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse), and the THREE LETTERS of my diagnosis — ‘BPD’ (Borderline Personality Disorder).

Why do the majority of people I meet in the NHS Mental Health System make me feel so distressed? It’s because the diagnosis and all that goes with it makes me feel how I did when I was a child:

Abused, traumatised, powerless, ashamed, unsafe, told to behave, pinned down, silenced, terrified, given no choice or control, betrayed, trapped, hopeless, lied to, invalidated, neglected, not believed, invisible, blamed, guilted, undeserving of self-worth.

The following are my opinions as a person who endured CSA from the age of 18 months to 14 years old. As a person who survived a sexually abusive marriage for 22 years. As a person diagnosed with ‘BPD.’ As a person who has been in secondary NHS Mental Health Services for the last 25 years. As a person who has been medicated on a cocktail of toxic drugs with no informed consent for the last 25 years. As a person. This is my story.

In 1990 I went to see my GP stating I was feeling low, and he immediately diagnosed me with depression and put me on antidepressants, stating that I had a chemical imbalance. He didn’t really ask me why I felt low, and to be fair, I didn’t tell him. Even when after  months of seeing him, I disclosed on a written note that I had been subjected to CSA, he didn’t talk to me about the abuse or refer me to talk therapy. Instead, I was referred to a ‘Personality Disorder’ Clinic, where I filled out a questionnaire and attended group therapy in which I also disclosed that I was in a sexually abusive marriage. However, my emotional distress and coping mechanisms such as suicidal feelings, dissociation, hearing voices, and self-injury were treated as ‘symptoms,’ and the CSA was ignored.

In 1993 a ‘BPD’ diagnosis was imposed on me by a psychiatrist in a 20-minute appointment, with no negotiation and no explanation of what ‘BPD’ was, or how he had reached this conclusion. I was told that additional medication would help me feel better. He didn’t tell me what the medication was or why it would help me. I saw him as an expert and didn’t question any of this. I left feeling confused, scared, and a little relieved. Naively, I thought professionals would be falling over themselves to help me. The drugs he had given me were antipsychotics, which made me feel truly dreadful — worse, not better. I read the negative and derogatory online information about ‘BPD’ which projected hopelessness, stating that the disorder was untreatable and that ‘Borderline’ patients are the ones most disliked by professionals. The diagnosis of ‘BPD’ reinforced my feelings that it was my fault, that I was disordered, that I was bad, and that I couldn’t do anything to help myself overcome the aftermath of the agonising emotional distress from the CSA I had endured. I thought of myself as ‘ill’ and hated myself, as I have done all my life.

Years and years went by, and I continued to accept that I had ‘BPD’ and was a good, compliant patient. I continued to feel powerless. Still today, I continue to be trapped in a system where, because of my diagnosis, I have been treated so negatively, appalling, and stereotypically. Where it seems to be perfectly okay to verbally abuse me. Where I have little choice or control. Where ‘therapy’ options have been limited to group therapy such as DBT which seem to reinforce that my behaviour, thoughts, and feelings are unacceptable, yet there is little mention of the trauma I have survived.

I have been denied any chance to talk about the CSA. I have had no opportunity to tell of what happened to me in all of the last 25 years in secondary NHS Mental Health Services. In fact, I have been refused access to a psychologist several times. The reason given has been, “You are too complex and you self-harm.” Self-injury has never been seen as a survival skill, just something to be ashamed of. There has been no mention of how well I have done to keep myself alive or any of my positive qualities.

The Mental Health Crisis Team judges me and is dismissive of my severe distress. They often promise to call me back but rarely actually do. They don’t realise that it has taken all of my courage to even call them and that I only do so as a last resort, when I have tried everything else to keep myself safe. I hardly ever call them now.

I have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act many times and have been restrained, trousers pulled down, and injected with drugs. On a mixed ward I was sexually assaulted by a male ‘patient’ but did not report this due to the fear of not being believed. Staff on the ward often refer to me as ‘another borderline’ and have no time to talk to me. I often sit rocking alone in a corner of my bedroom. Terrified by the voices of the ‘littles’ I hear that are crying. Frightened by the voices of the ‘nasties’ who take over any control I have of my own thoughts. Worried by a fairly new voice that repeats the stereotypical things written about ‘BPD,’ telling me I am an attention seeker, manipulative, and disliked. Scared that the voice of my great-aunt won’t be able to step in to help me. Yet, jealous of those I have known and those I have loved who have taken their lives to escape their pain and no longer suffer.

Over the last few years I have realised that my diagnosis of ‘BPD’ is just a psychiatrist’s opinion based on a set of ‘symptoms’ and ‘traits,’ and not on any scientific evidence. No blood test, no urine test, no saliva test, no brain scan, no genetic test — no science. I began to have suspicions that I was not in fact ‘ill.’ However, having been indoctrinated by so many years in the mental health system with its medicalised model of emotional distress, and by the widespread promotion of ‘mental illness’ by the media, celebrities, organisations, medical professionals, mental health professionals, and ‘experts,’ I wasn’t sure.

It is only in the last few months that I have realised that I am treated as a walking diagnosis and not a human being. I am a person who has managed to survive the most unimaginable, hideous and disgusting horrors a little girl could go through, at the mercy of a daddy who was supposed to care for and protect her. A diagnosis has invalidated the root cause of the distress I survived. I was both silenced as a child and silenced by mental health services. The way I have been treated, far from being caring and compassionate, has led me to be re-traumatised and re-abused by negative treatment, appalling attitudes, unsuitable therapy, and medication. ‘BPD’ is a label which I now firmly reject but which will be permanently on my medical records. I have been so angry about the way the ‘illness’ model was sold to me and the failed attempts by most of the mental health professionals I see to actually listen to me. Surely my anger is justified?

I have tried politely many times to ask whether I can tell my story of CSA in a slow, safe, one-to-one therapeutic environment but have been told that this is not standard in my NHS Trust. In fact, I have been told that by failing to accept my diagnosis, I lack insight into my ‘severe mental illness,’ that I have a chemical imbalance and need medication for the rest of my life, and that in disagreeing with the so called ‘experts,’ I am displaying ‘typical borderline behaviour.’

The diagnosis has led me to be on antidepressants and antipsychotics constantly for 25 years. Furthermore, when my brother took his life 6 years ago, benzodiazepines and sleeping pills were added. There has been no informed consent. I have been asking for almost a decade now for support to slowly taper and stop the cocktail of toxic drugs. Drugs have been given to me to ‘manage’ my emotional distress, rather than the therapeutic support I so badly need in order to make sense of my childhood trauma. The drugs all interact which each other and are so physically and emotionally damaging that I can barely complete the most basic everyday tasks. I have reported that adverse side effects are making my voices worse and making me more suicidal. I am not believed.

I have researched many articles, read books, and attended conferences, and I now know that the chemical imbalance theory for low mood is actually a myth and has been disproven by psychiatrists. I have found out that antipsychotics are no more than sedatives and that they can actually cause psychosis in some cases, as well as reduce brain volume if used for many years. I have found that all the drugs I am on are difficult and dangerous to withdraw from, and that advice from the medical profession regarding withdrawing and tapering is limited.

I’m so frightened that I don’t have the energy to keep on fighting and that maybe I am simply being too needy. I am frightened that I’m being weak — that my inability to get over the trauma that happened to me is because I am not trying hard enough. That I don’t care about myself enough to try at all. That the effort of fighting for what I think I need still goes unheard. I am frightened that things will never change. Frightened that when you read this you will think I have written it to get sympathy. Frightened that I only have so much actual proof that what I have written is true. Frightened that you won’t believe me. Frightened that maybe it’s me that’s got it wrong, and I deserve to be treated as a diagnosis and not a human being.

For the last 24 years, my life has been ruined by the trauma and abuse I have suffered due to a diagnosis of ‘BPD,’ just as my childhood was ruined by the trauma of CSA. A diagnosis has led to treatment that mirrors the incest I endured.

Abused, traumatised, powerless, ashamed, unsafe, told to behave, pinned down, silenced, terrified, given no choice or control, betrayed, trapped, hopeless, lied to, invalidated, neglected, not believed, invisible, blamed, guilted, undeserving of self-worth.

Is it any wonder that I still feel this is what I deserve? That I still feel that it is my fault? That I feel I have no real identity? If I had had the right kind of support, therapy, and someone to hear my story when I disclosed CSA all those years ago, I might never have had a diagnosis of ‘BPD’ and all that goes with it. To put it plainly, the way my emotional turmoil and distress has been seen as an ‘illness’ and ‘disorder’ has ruined my adult life. For too long, I thought it was my fault; for too long I have been silent, as I was as a little girl abused by her daddy.

I have decided to take some power and control back. It’s time to drop the ‘disorder.’ The THREE LETTERS that describe me the best are my name. I’m KAT.


  1. I believe you KAT.

    During the BBC Television broadcast: – George the Third. The Genius of the Mad King 2017,
    Professor Simon Wessely observed: –

    “Any diagnosis the we make – you shouldn’t take this as being an absolute certainty”.

    How can this correct and factual opinion be acceptable in discussing an historical analysis, but totally unacceptable to psychiatrists in the context of a patient validly and courageously questioning a series of labels-for-life, so casually and destructively applied permanently to their “patients”?

    In all other areas of medical practice we have a GMC demanded – Duty of Candour.
    I have seen little evidence that psychiatry understands that this applies to their errors and failures.

    How many lives are destroyed or lost as a result of cumulative and grotesque adverse psychiatric drug reactions being mis-diagnosed as serious mental illness/illnesses?

    How many are incarcerated and suffer further drug induced, lifetime injuries because prescribers lacked the competence to differentiate an iatrogenic toxic delusion from a functional psychosis?

    How many “self harmers” are picking and bleeding, slashing, plucking out scalp, pubic hair and eyelashes entirely as a result of the agony, torment and despair of SSRI/SNRI and/or antipsychotic induced, misdiagnosed akathisia?

    A cascade of physical, emotional and behavioural changes induced by the ADRs of prescription psychoactive drugs can remain unrecognised, misdiagnosed and then used to detain and enforce further “treatment” with a carousel of neurotoxic drugs aggravating and intensifying akathisia or resulting in a generalised neuroleptic malignant syndrome and/or tardive dyskinesia.

    Drugs which also have very serious endocrine, metabolic, skin and cardiac toxicities.
    Drugs which leave devastation of the ability to contextualise memory.
    Drugs such as SSRIs which leave destroyed, or greatly impaired sexual expression, enjoyment, achievement and fulfilment?
    Drugs which isolate by inducing emotional blunting.
    Drugs which (via akathisia) cause violence and induce suicidality.

    What on earth has this got to do with evidence based, empathetic, patient-focused medicine?
    Psychiatry means never having to say you’re sorry.
    Not sorry for the stigma, not sorry for the injuries, not sorry for the inhumanity.

    TRM 123. Retired Consultant Physician.

        • Thank you, Simon. After reading your absurd response to a BMJ article that asserted the serotonin hypothesis of depression is bunk and was known to be bunk even before it launched the and sustained an appalling attack on the brains of physically healthy people, I don’t take anything you say as certain.

          Thank you, TRM123 for quoting the dear lad in his candid moment.

    • “Drugs which leave devastation of the ability to contextualise memory.”

      Thank you so much for helping me make cense of Kat’s great lucidity that made me wonder, if not wander about the authenticity of her text. Reading her, I felt all along : this is a testimony of a recovered molested and re-traumatized person. But then, I would reflect to myself : “but how the hell cant she be still struggling with meds, mental health system and the rest ?” Of, course, people never entirely or totally from bruises and scars, as if nothing had ever happened, I know that and I dont expect Kat to forgive and forget, but still, I had trouble that she still has to struggle with those terrible symptoms, scars, that keep on haunting her.

  2. From abuse in childhood, we learned the world is hostile, and we don’t have the power to defend ourselves. The feelings we get later in life are meant to defend us, to save our lives. But the mental health care system, in a way, tries to remove even this last defense we try to muster. What we need is power, not to have it taken away. Power comes from social solidarity, the kind of thing you get from your feelings being known and highly respected. That’s the way I see it.

  3. Kat, I find it ironic and unjust that you got punished again for being raped and sexually abused yet those who harmed you never got defamatory labels, locked up, or drugged.

    I no longer self identify as a “nut job.” And I stay as far away from psych professionals as possible–even the sincere, well-meaning ones. Those people are truly delusional and dangerous!

    • “And I stay as far away from psych professionals as possible–even the sincere, well-meaning ones. Those people are truly delusional and dangerous!”

      Yup. The sincere well meaning mental health workers are as dangerous as any. And they are indeed delusional because they will continue to follow their standard protocols thinking it will be helpful despite telling them that it has hurt you and will continue to do so.

      • People are more complex than television writers let on. Psychiatric nurses, MA’s, and case workers believe adhering to the psychiatric model because they honestly believe it will help people AND they need to practice “compliance” or lose their jobs.

        I remember pitying a case manager. Kindly, but very ignorant; he couldn’t figure out why no one got better “despite” taking fistfuls of drugs. He tried to pronounce SSRIs phonetically. During break I took him aside and politely explained the term was an acronym.

        He seemed amazed at how smart and well-informed I was.

        The case managers held me up as a role model for other “consumers” not knowing I had been struggling with the validity of psychiatry for years–like someone in the old Soviet Union questioning the Communist party. I was afraid of being found out before I could defect.

        I also secretly tapered off many of my drugs. Until I dropped below 75% of my original Effexor dose I did fine. No one was any the wiser. Going off Lamictal and Abilify did not cause me mania btw.

        My parents think I’m still taking my drugs. They can’t figure out what’s causing my physical sickness. They firmly believe going off my “meds” will cause weird, agitated, perhaps dangerous behavior. It never occurs to them it can cause extreme fatigue and (physical) sickness.

      • yes i second stay away. and yes secretly taper or go cold turkey as others beliefs of relapse/belief in false Gods ( the magical holy molecules of science that can only do GOOD) can influence you the “patient”. Pretend everything is normal and fine until it becomes true.

        A large part of human interaction is subconscious, visual and vocal aspects. If you think fearful, your face will show fearful and the person observing will be affected. Same goes with anger, if you feel angry your face will show it and people will respond to it.

        There is a chance of relapse but as long as I monitor myself, my stability and take action if something is wrong, there is no need to drug the present moment in time out of fear of a possible bad future.

        Taking drugs continually came from the discovery and application of penicillin.

        “The best available treatment, sulpha drugs, had been administered to little effect. His left eye became infected and was removed on Feb. 3, 1941. The infection then spread to his lungs and shoulder. He was in great pain, with his scalp, face, arms and eye suppurating. Heatley’s diary puts it starkly: he was “oozing pus everywhere.”

        On Feb. 12, 1941, he was given 200 milligrams of penicillin intravenously – the largest dose yet – followed by 100 mg every three hours for a total of four injections. Within 24 hours there was dramatic improvement. After a further four injections, his temperature was normal and his appetite returned. He was on the way to recovery. Tragically, the supply of penicillin was exhausted. Ten days later, Const. Alexander began a slow decline, which ended in his death from septicemia three weeks later.

        The lessons, for those who watched helplessly, were clear. Continue treatment until the infection is eliminated. Accumulate enough penicillin so that you can do so.”

        • If the author steps into another mental health facility with this story, they will then “treat” her for trauma. Trauma caused by those idiots in the first place. Yet again, she will be trapped for a few more years in the mental health system. Ad infinitum…

          Oh…if we only knew what these professions are like…

          We would have RUN. RUN the other way. I suppose many just run till they die.

          I still see people going on to YouTube and Twitter and proclaiming their new “diagnoses” publicly (nonsense like OCD, ADHD etc.), with the hashtag #EndStigma.

          I want to tell those idiots that they will never end any stigma unless they do not allow mental health workers to label them with defamatory labels, and more importantly, they don’t use it on themselves. But it’s pointless.

          The media, celebrities, skeptic movements etc. have brainwashed and convinced people of how good psychiatry is (with their superficial, seemingly rational arguments[dilettante stuff of course]), and what cranks all antipsychiatry people are. Most likely the only response you will get is what an ignoramus you are, even by the ignoramuses who so proudly embrace their “diagnoses”.

          They’ll find out…the hard way.

          • I’m coming out as a murderous psychopath. Gonna wear a T-shirt with this diagnosis at a Glen Close stigma reduction event. Want to join us? We have uniforms with “Kick me! I’m Bipolar! and “Can’t Help My Broken Brain!” embroidered tastefully in front. In the back–right in the seat of the trousers–are bull’s eye targets in attractive, eye-popping colors.
            Some normals will also attend. Their white shirts have “I’m With Crazy” emblazoned in black. Some may even condescend to pat your back or head when the cameras zone in.

          • Dear Kat,

            Your story is horrific.

            From what I’ve heard the BPD people can be really really nice to people, when they’re getting them on board. I had a friend that was taken over by them. But she eventually came to the conclusion that she was better off without them –
            and made her escape.

            My experience is that it is practically impossible to make a complaint in the UK “Mental Health” System.

  4. Kat, thank you so much for your willingness to share your narrative about your trauma history from childhood and the re-traumatization you’ve been subjected to by the mental health system. You expressed this all-too common situation so powerfully! Until the system understands that most of us with psychiatric diagnoses are trauma survivors, and make an honest effort to change policy and practice to end the system’s continued abuse, nothing will change. Thanks for speaking out for us all!

  5. Thank you so much for your story Kat. I admire so much the strength you must have to have persevered for so many years. Your writing is very powerful and moving – I believe your story will be able to help so many others gather strength to believe in themselves.

  6. Glad you told your story Kat….sounds like you are finally on the right track. 25 years of meds have not served you well. Your problems began with trauma and unfortunately mainstream services haven’t begun to understand even the meaning of trauma and its role in mental health problems. They don’t ask about trauma because they do not, and can not, treat psychological trauma. They have one job. To treat imaginary biochemical imbalances.

  7. It is sad in the extreme that our system is so warped that no one even wants to hear about how traumatized you were as a kid, or even as a wife on an ongoing basis! But you are far from alone. The best I can suggest is that you figure out what to tell them so they’ll let you out, and then fade into the woodwork so they can’t find you again, and meanwhile, find a support group for domestic abuse victims or those sexually assaulted as children. Your peers will be a much more reliable source of support than these sadly mis-educated, insecure “professionals” who are too scared to feel anything at all.

    I agree that Borderline PD has been used as a means of silencing or ridiculing those who have experienced abuse. In the end, it is simply a description of how some people act when they have not been protected from harm early in their childhoods. It means nothing about you, but a lot about them that they need to use this label to defend themselves against the reality of childhood abuse and molestation.

    I wonder if you can redirect your anger toward a mission to simply escape their clutches and find another pathway forward for yourself that allows real healing?

    • I recall, as a young trainee psychiatric nurse 45 years ago, being told that so and so was “just a bloody borderline who’s attention seeking, ignore her.” My thought and I said so was, “If she needs attention that much, maybe we should give her some.” And I did. The stories I heard were so horrific that I struggled to believe that such dreadful things could have happened. When I told my superiors and the psychiatrists, they said, “the girls are lying, they’re terrible liars, all of them, that’s what they do.” I believed the girls and lost most respect for the staff, especially the psychiatrists. Those young doctors became the next generation of teachers – clearly nothing’s changed. These people need to be thrown out of the helping professions and an entirely new education system needs to be designed.
      Yes Kat, I believe you, and I believe my friend who has never been able to escape her abusive childhood. Though she has mostly managed to keep out of the hands of psychiatry, she has never been able to find any real help even now after 30 years of looking. And Steve, the domestic abuse program (after a 30 year abusive relationship) has not been very helpful and she has never found a CSA group. They completely lost her when a social worker therapist suggested drugs as a treatment for her very severe distress (she’s just been diagnosed with cancer as well) after she’d told the woman how she felt about psychotropic drugs – she is a long time activist against psychiatry and drugs.
      The possibilities are VERY limited for people who need a lot of care – I looked at Schema therapy for my friend which is based on working with early childhood abuse particularly BPD – but it’s expensive even if you can find it.

      • OMG, so true. À hell of a lot of “carers” just dont believe a single word and disqualify on the pretext of BPD. But the fact is many stories are way too hard to listen to. And, I’m sorry to say but in my experience, Schema therapy can’t handle the “hard” cases. My trainer just went “Idonow” with people who had very challenging lives … And expensive therapies are often for privileged people. The kind that are sometimes, not always, but more often than not, “easy cases”.

  8. Kat, sorry to hear what you have gone through. All of these so called healers are simply turning the experience of injustice back onto the survivors and making it into their problem.

    The licensing of psychiatrists and psychotherapists does not protect the public, it protects these charlatans, and the original abusers.

    When someone puts their faith in a bogus cure for a bogus ailment, the results will often be horrible.

    We should be fighting to eliminate licensed psychiatry and psychotherapy, and then working to discredit life coaching, recovery, and motivationalism.

    The alternative to these secondary abusers is simply political consciousness raising and political action.

  9. Great article Kat. The act of labeling, especially with certain fear inducing DSM4/5 labels, is an act of bullying. It is like having a grade school enemy tack a “kick me” sign on your back.

    To call someone “BPD” or “another borderline” is really no different than a white person calling a black person by a racial epitaph. By labeling you, as Kierkegaard said, they negate you.

    It’s time we stop the labeling game. Releasing labels to “staff” (and others) is taken by “staff” as permission to kick us. It is taken as permission to abuse us. It is taken as permission to be mean to us to take away our rights and our dignity and permission to treat us as second class citizens. This is precisely how a racial epitaph is used. The label itself is the tool of the bully. BPD and other DSM4/5 codes are the language of bullies.

  10. Thanks Kat and I am sorry for you and all of us harmed by so called “helpers”.
    Although trauma has been known as an issue it has gotten trampled on time and time again. To acknowledge the extent of how trauma has impacted our society and most importantly how offenders in all professions have used heir radar sense to make malignant use of trauma to empower themselves and their minion is difficult. This is not just a psych issue- this is societal at many, many levels.
    Read the tactics used by rich offenders to stop the victims in their tracks.
    Not only Big Pharma but other for profit organizations – their tactics and toxicity. How can they ever sleep at night?
    Roxanne guy has a new memoir that is spot on describing trauma. Read it in pieces that fit. I found it helpful. Krista tipped On Being podcast deals with trauma at times and other areas that I have found helpful .Suppossedly there is a Holocaust Trauma Clinic? If so it should be a generalized one for psych trauma survivors paid for by Big Pharma instead of Advertising and PR the profit stream goes to these centers. And 20% of all psychiatrist’s income who have been named as a non- helpful traumatizing physicians – go to funding for a ten year period.
    Not great but I would take it.

  11. I felt I had hardened up in a few places but when I began to read your article I had to remind myself several times that you were not writing of this very thing here in Australia – Thank you.

    I have tried to put into words some of what I learned as a result of our recent 5 year long half a billion $ inquiry here into the institutional responses to child sexual abuse which found children were systematically sexually abused and yet they did not go near this despite those who tried to prompt them. 60,000 children raped, abused, blocked from justice and stymied by police and government for a lifetime not a single human rights abuse among them


    Thank you and kudos for being able to put this into words so that others hopefully can protect themselves and others from these abuses

  12. Not long ago I saw that there is a body of work concerning “BPD.” I had always read that it was untreatable and that doctors dreaded those they inflicted the label upon. But, it turns out that the so-called symptoms will remit when the labeled person receives therapy appropriate for PTSD. In essence, it is PTSD.

    Furthermore, it is not a lifelong disorder. It probably got that reputation because no psychiatrist was able to improve a person’s condition after telling them they were messed-up whiners for whom nothing could be done.

    It’s hard to say which of bipolar, bpd, or schizophrenia is the most damning and discouraging psychiatric label. There mere fact that are three to utterly destructive things that can be done to one who seeks the help of a psychiatrist is an indication that no one should. Step one is the damning “diagnosis.” Step two is the drugs.

    By the way, Kat’s story exposes the dreadful, worst-case outcome of single payer health insurance. You can’t get a second opinion inside an echo chamber.

    It’s great to learn that Kat broke away from the system that thrived on her unhappiness and made it worse. It’s the beginning of a new life, made somewhat difficult because the body can be affected long after the mind is clear. It’s unfair and inexcusable, what was done to KAT, and very similar to what another British woman, whom I met on Twitter and corresponded with for a while, endured. She needed quiet, empathic companionship more than anything. When despair drove her to try for inpatient care, she was told she would not be admitted because she wasn’t saying she was suicidal.

    I’ll tell you something you might not know: at the worst of times, being suicidal is preferable to not being suicidal. The suicidal individual has something to look forward to.

    All the attention directed at suicide prevention is at the expense of those enduring living hell coming off psychiatric drugs. It seems to be assumed that suicidal people represent the most miserable people on earth. Not by a long chalk.

    • I hate to tell you this, but in the USA, where we don’t have “single payer,” you still can’t really get a second opinion. Or you can, but it will almost always be the same as the first opinion, because the system tells providers what they can get paid for. The only way to get a real “second opinion” is to find a rebel who bills with the DSM but otherwise ignores it and does what helps. Such people are rarer than hens’ teeth, even in our “free choice” health system. Besides which, most people don’t have a free choice – their provider is chosen by their employer, and they are stuck with what they get. Of course, if you’re rich enough, you can afford to purchase decent therapy, but for the common man, single payer is not the barrier – psychiatry and its selling of delusional “diseases” is the barrier.

    • You’re absolutely right about “BPD” actually being a stress disorder – but treatment for that is hard to find as well – non existent from most psychiatrists who still believe that early childhood trauma is NOT the cause of mental illness, brain chemistry is. Stupid.

  13. you also seem to be suffering extreme brain damage from the psych meds. part of your problem is long term brain damage. the symptoms mimic depression, anxiety, ADHD, borderline personality, PTSD, trauma, tearfulness, lack of focus, self mutilation, etc. the doctors never diagnose brain damage so you never focus on it. what I found is the drugs lock your nervous system up preventing it from adjusting beyond the state it gets locked up in and various emotional issues are caused and locked into, you never realize it because the doctors never properly diagnosed you and just keep throwing the standard regime of drugs at you which further make the problem worse. the rigidity seems to effect muscle, memory, mood, consciousness.

    unfortunately doctors are so ill trained if it isn’t provided to them in med school by the for profit powers that be they have no idea. they have trouble breaking free from their miseducation never getting you. you languish in the system for 24 years thinking about what your real problem was: incest and sex abuse. the truth is your brain is so damaged by the drugs you just can’t break out of that thinking pattern. you seek desperately to describe how you are a normal good person really impacted by a problem that started in childhood unable to see the brain damage yourself.

    the treatment i recommend for you may not work as you have been on the brain damaging drugs so long but tapper off them, you will be in a disabled state possibly by the onset of emotional and physical problems, but wait it out and seek Neuro rehab. some of it you might have to pay out of pocket such as for steam room access, whole body vibration, massage, inversion therapy, biking, sky diving, hydro therapy, etc.

    some of the damage may never improve but you will find certain symptoms do improve after a few years of Neuro rehab. you will find perhaps all your short comings in thought was purely from the dystonia, parkinsonism, locked up rigid nervous system. you might start to think more highly and clearly of yourself once your brain and body begins to function again. it turns out your inability to cope and process the world was tied to your messed up body and nervous system and as muscles loosen and begin to recover so does cognitive and emotional function. you will realize you never had an emotional problem at all and were merely preyed on and misdiagnosed and drugged into your emotionally liable and disabled state. the incest and sex abuse won’t matter as much to you but finally you might still feel sad for the great loss of time and even attribute some of it to the incest and sex abuse.

    live your life as is and discuss ongoing with a psychotherapist out patient which may boost your mood by giving you someone to talk to if they aren’t bullshit.

    definitely go on vacations, travel, go to work and school. these things will help your mind develop further and you will find an existence in life besides being a cripple.

    I’m not aware of any doctor who can really diagnose and treat all this. you will have to invent your own physical rehab regime. functional neurology, functional medicine, environmental medicine are usually the most keen on this issue. your problem is long term toxicity and bodily/brain damage from the drugs.

    yes I have found the focus on DSM diagnosis and trauma to usually be the result from brain damage caused by the drugs plus recurrent situations that don’t get better such as continued brainwashing by doctors and even economical distress such as homelessness, lack of money, inadequate disability funding or income from job etc.

    one day at a time to boost cognitive functioning.

    recovery will be slightly harder if poor and homeless, or unable to travel to nice places and purchase rewarding nervous system stimulation to get you by.

    stay on the meds and the damage will simply continue recurrently and progressively developing while old damage can never start to heal.

  14. Wow KAT, Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have felt very similar over the years in terms of being only recognized as my diagnosis and not as a person. I, like you, like many others, have felt the full effects of the traumatizing mental health system. I am so glad you have survived life so far, and were able to write such a powerful post. Much love!

  15. Excellent blog, Kat. The primary actual function of today’s “mental health professionals” is covering up child abuse, according to their own medical literature. Today, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).” So, absolutely, I believe you. You’re in the majority.

    I personally was drugged to cover up the abuse of my child and a “bad fix” on a broken bone, prior to my understanding my child had been abused or that my PCP’s husband was the “attending physician” at the “bad fix” on my broken bone. I ran into what an ethical pastor called, “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions”. So did you. The psychologists and psychiatrists agreed to cover up child abuse and easily recognized iatrogenesis, in exchange for undue credibility from the religions and mainstream medical community, long ago. While all collectively profiteer off of todays’ run amok, primarily child abuse covering up, multi billion dollar, “mental health system.”

    A little advice about how to possibly get the BPD defamation off your medical records. If you politely remind the doctors that combining the antidepressants and/or antipsychotics is really stupid, because it can create “psychosis,” via anticholinergic toxidrome, which they all learn about in med school, the doctors get really embarrassed.

    But if you find a self confident and ethical doctor, and I do recommend you change doctors. I chose the head of family medicine at one of the top hospitals in the nation. And if you politely remind him or her that symptoms of child abuse are NOT cured with drugs. And that defaming people is technically illegal; and that the DSM disorders are all scientifically invalid, as even confessed to by the head of NIMH in 2013.

    A decent and ethical doctor will take the BPD defamation off your medical records, and even possibly call you a “one in a million” medical researcher. God bless, and best of wishes on your healing journey.

  16. Thank you Kat for this moving piece of writing. It is opportune at a time when we are supposed to think there are only two things wrong with psychiatry – not enough money being spent on mental health services on the one hand and on the other stigma preventing people seeking help.

  17. Not enough money?

    Adam (from Crazy Wise)
    recovered through stopping all ‘medications’ and taking up ‘meditation’ – this would have cost the Health Service absolutely nothing.

    Many years ago I left the Irish Mental Health Service to make Recovery. By now 30 + years later I would have saved the Irish taxpayer about 2.5 Million Euros.

    Nearly every hospitalization I had was an Akathisia event, so I saved my life as well.

  18. In 19th century America some Quakers practiced moral therapy on people out of touch with reality.

    The place was unlocked and unguarded–a nice house in the country. The people in charge addressed the others respectfully and treated them with TLC.

    Probably cheaper to run than most halfway houses. And the recovery rate was high, so many “cases” were not long term. Only really out-of-touch people who couldn’t care for themselves were sent there. They would recover from the crisis and reintegrate themselves.

    • Miracle-workers in the service of the God-father. A-ha men.

      We can only shudder to think what became of those that didn’t recover — because they weren’t experiencing a crisis, but they were experiencing something or other… and failed to reintegrate themselves into the 19th Century crap-heap?

      • Yes, shame on them dang-nabbed Quakers who treated unloved folks with dignity and compassion! No doubt the Underground Railroad was also some nefarious scheme.

        For my part I was suffering in college. Instead of compassion I got psychiatry. For those of you who spit upon human kindness I guess you can embrace lives of misanthropy and go live in isolation somewhere like Christopher McKnight. Hope you don’t break a leg in your new hermit lifestyle.

        Then there’s good ole TF who imagines Tony Robbins, Dr. Pies, David Ramsey and the woman down the street who gives therapeutic massages at the chiropractor’s are all exactly alike and do EXACTLY THE SAME THING.


        • I resist romanticisation and romanticisers.

          Moral treatment (love and compassion and tenderness at all times) sounds too good to be true. Given that these were institutions and power differentials were striking.

          Here, for instance, is a first and account of one of the recipients of moral treatment. A certain Mr Abraham Sharp. He attempted suicide. This is what happened next:

          “He proposed that We should drown him [as punishment for trying to kill himself] in consequence of which and in the hope it would have a salutary effect I proposed to the Doctor and Men caretakers to have the Bathing Tub nearly filled with Cold Water and put him in under a pretence [sic.] of drowning him they did so and held him under for some time. He was glad however to get out and willing to live some longer.”

          from here:

  19. FDiscouraged wrote, “In 19th century America some Quakers practiced moral therapy on people out of touch with reality.”

    Psychotherapy and Recovery are nothing more than that ‘moral therapy’ today. Some call it living well. They are just teaching people to stuff their feelings and conform to social expectations. They are teaching people to live as Uncle Tom’s, by seeking pity.

    • “Therapy” can be just as bad and even worse than drugs. It keeps people trapped in an endless loop of listening and talking. In abuse situations, especially when the abused is vulnerable and less economically and socially powerful than the abuser, the abused person ends up in therapy, ends up with labels, on drugs etc., while the abuser conveniently escapes scott-free.

      Literally, is criminal justice ever a part of “therapy”? Do these people understand that concept?

      The worst part is. Once you have labels, those abusers can easily use them against you to gaslight you, claim that you are insane etc. So, psychiatry just doubly hurts already hurt people.

      • I dont agree. If by therapy you mix in, without distinction, drug, talk, and conventional psychiatric therapy. I don’t think they are all the same. And, I, as a clinical psychological therapist for over 30 years, I have never discouraged anyone from prosecuting their aggressor, never ! And Yes, I had to put labels on people, but how the labels are used, or abused is not in my power.

        • Actually, they are very much in your power. You partake in the system that labels people. You COULD have done something. Things which would require you to sacrifice your personal reputation and career. Things like standing against your profession and showing them how DSM labels obfuscate the truth about an individual, how they are used to gaslight people etc., and personally standing against labelling people. As you said, you HAD to put labels on people (perhaps for insurance). Why not be the renegade psychologist who stands against doing that? Hell, if not go against an entire profession, did you ever stand up in a court of law and testify “This man/woman is misusing DSM labels against his/her spouse/child etc.”?

          But you chose not to. You remained yet another cog in the system that re-abuses people all the time because everyone in the system is just another “well-intentioned” self-preserving cog.

          Truly helping people requires putting your hand in the shit and cleaning it. Doing things which may end up having a negative impact on your own life. Of course, many of us would shirk away from doing that due to self-preservation. But then what we provide is half-baked pseudo-help which if it helps one problem, creates two more. So, perhaps, we should actually just publicly state the truth as it is, instead of maintaining the false facade of “helping professions”.

          Let’s just not pretend that what you did NOT do (more so than what you did), did not contribute to the ruination of the lives of at least a few, despite what your intentions were. And I’m not singling you out here. This applies to pretty much 99.9% of the mental health profession.

          Psychologists and psychiatrists repeatedly give seminars on ending mental health stigma. I have to laugh at them, because they create half of it themselves by labelling individuals and obfuscating their truth away. Never do I see them give speeches or talk about the EXTREMELY harmful consequences of what they are doing.

          P.S. I do commend you for coming on here and leaving a comment. Most people in your professions (psychiatry OR psychology) conveniently hide because facing the truth puts them in a state of severe denial. Anosognosia perhaps?

          • RFTS, you don’t know JClaude at all. Most of my psycho-therapists failed me or made things worse by reminding me how hopelessly “sick” I was and needed to take my “meds.”

            But for all we know JClaude may run his own private practice like Steve McCrea so he wouldn’t have to pay lip service to a phony science.

          • You assume many things, without knowing. A bit like diagnosis do to people. In fact, I did lose my career, in February 2015, almost 2 years ago just for that : I stood up for ethical principals and got sent out for sick leave ever since. I am 3 months to my pension and now, I am now sick. Sick to my stomach. I wasn’t back then, but 22 months pf fighting, against medical and psychiatrical “wisekids” hit me very hard. No way as much as Kate, you maybe and many others, but I lived trough misdiagnosis, coercion, HR humiliation and like. Until I said a clear NO to things I was told to do, including diagnosis, I had a pretty successful profession, since 1984 in fact. Now, I am a halt.

          • Thanks for adopting a less abrasive ton in the end. But you know what ? If I had stood up more than I did, my career would of ended much quicker than after 28 years. I was often on the edge. And a bit more would of just put me on social insurance. I am often idealistic, but I still think I’m pragmatic. What is the sens of standing firm, if I loose my job, cannot try to help and protect any more, and after I’m gone, nothing changes anyway. I would like to paraphrase a well known humanistic psychiatrist, the founder of group therapy in America, who’s name I forgot. He was all against diagnosis and wrote “Never put diagnosis’s on people, except on the insurance form”. Not doing that, dismisses you very rapidly as incompetent. Part of the system and it’s lies, yes, bat that’s a fact. I will not regret that part for the rest of my life. Many other problems are even greater.

        • JClaude I’m not anti-therapy. What some are (understandably) protesting here no more deserves the title “therapy” than electroshock does brain surgery.

          Not all forms of therapy are alike. Forcing memory repression is abuse not THERAPY and goes against all hope of RECOVERY. TirelessFighter means well, but thinks all therapists coerce rape victims into denying it ever happened.

          My mom benefited from therapy years after being molested as a kid. Yes, child molesters should be locked up, but despite the closure these kids/adults still need to live with the after math. Just because the perp is dead or in prison doesn’t solve everything.

          I have benefited from CBT myself. I’m not against Mindfulness. Some swear by it, but the kind I had was a warped form I was forced to undergo for 2 hours at a time.

          I am interested in the therapy Peter Breggin practices and Choice Theory/Reality Therapy as taught by William Glasser.

          “Moral therapy” wouldn’t count as therapy by today’s standards. Basically they took otherwise homeless people and treated them with respect and TLC and loved them back to sanity. Nothing wrong with that!

          • @FeelinDiscouraged

            I am fairly certain that JClaude is a perfectly good person, a family man etc. trying to do right by himself and the world.

            P.S. I take a low dose of psychotropic drugs myself, which I would eventually like to taper off from. It’s no different than if I were to drink alcohol every night to calm myself. With what I’m taking right now, I don’t have any side effects which are too bad (though I had horrific side effects for many years on other junk), except that if I accidentally forget to take them for 2 days, the withdrawal kills me and I absolutely HAVE to stay on them. I know if I want to taper off it will take me years.

            However, I would NEVER risk going into psychiatry or psychology again, be it to take or NOT take drugs. I know full well the labelling, coercion and infantilisation that comes from that. I have already had DSM labels and the language of psychiatry used against me since I was a kid (even to this day) due to circumstances that occurred before I was even born. The man who did that is of course, still happily living (with a large supportive family), despite being a pathological liar, a master gaslighter and manipulator. But it ruined my life.

            It isn’t the mere existence of drugs that’s the problem. Psychiatrists don’t make drugs. Drug companies do. Drugs don’t take themselves. It’s the middlemen who are dangerous. The psychiatrists and psychologists. The labellers and defamers. The people who can make things worse by making you consume horrible pills that will make your hands shake like you have parkinson’s, cause mania (which they will again relabel as “bipolar” etc). People who will attempt to drug you in the hope to solve things that are not solved by drugs. ALSO, the people who will try to solve things that are not solved by talking.

          • If anything, the gaslighting, the lies and the misuse of labels from the abuser, the disease-mongering and conversion and treatment of trauma as part of a piss poorly defined “illness” have truly made me act in ways which may make other people feel that there’s something wrong with ME, because they don’t understand what’s happened to me, if they see me during moments when I am suffering and acting out from the injustice of it all.

            I want justice. That is my treatment. I cannot even get justice from that man because I am the one with the labels. Most people can’t even understand the complexity of psychiatry. Forget about courts and lawyers.

            I once had a dignified life. What I have been reduced to and the pain I am going through on a daily basis is something very few can understand. And even if they understand it, they can DO nothing to ACTUALLY help me. Not the fake pseudo-help of mental health.

          • Sorry your life was wrecked! I will never get mine back.

            For my part I wish you and others could get the justice you’re due.

            I have had to give up my right to justice for my own peace of mind. No human being forced me to do this. And it made me feel worse at first–horrible grief. Eventually closure.

        • I totally disagree here ! Just yesterday, I was listening to a talk show on the radio and I heard many testimonies to the contrary. Which reflect’s my 30 years of practice with a big bundle of victimes of many horizons. I supported incest, women and men victims alike, soldiers, harassed employees, fire-fighters, ex-policemen, even colleagues and so many more. How can you déclare such a thing ? Your own, most likely bad experiences for what I am deeply sorry, do not reflect the norm or standards. At least, I hope not.

          • jclaude, you are listening to the testimony of Uncle Tom’s, people who have been duped. They have been convinced that life is hard for them because they are, “carrying things around with them”.

            This is patent nonsense. Life is hard because their social and civil standing have been trashed in the present. A therapist will never do anything to try and remedy this, they only work to suppress the client.

        • The successful therapies are only practiced on consenting people. The only way to truly alter someone AGAINST THEIR WILL is to perform various acts of emotional/physical cruelty to break them. Abusive partners, parents, and cults do this. So does mainstream psychiatry.

          In the case of the psych drugs I took, I was not truly consenting. They lied to me that they were “fixing” my brain. Like a friend of mine a creep tricked into a bigamous marriage because it was getting cold and she wouldn’t let him move in till they married. He beat her afterward, btw.

      • Moral therapy? That is based on the premise that the client suffers from some sort of a moral defect.

        This is exactly what therapy is based on today. It is simply the attempt to make the client live up to societal expectations.

        It is based on completely bogus premises.

        So yes, “THERAPY”, when they are talking about something moral, social, or psychological, is completely bogus. And we have Foucault to thank for the doing the hard work of exposing this.

        • FDiscouraged wrote, “The successful therapies are only practiced on consenting people.”

          Well yes, but that should also mean informed consent.

          Did your therapist have you sign a paper which said,

          “Psychotherapy never does anything to redress the wrong of which you were subjected to. Rather it just helps you to learn to live in an unjust world without complaint, without even feeling your feelings.”

          And then of course any therapy done upon a child has to be considered without consent.

          Most middle-class child abuse is performed by using doctors of one sort or another. It is the licensing of the doctor which insulates both the doctor and the parents from being held accountable.

          • Mom’s therapist cured her depression by teaching her it was okay to be angry and she should pursue the career she wanted instead of trying to be the Perfect Housewife everyone at church wanted her to be. The guy who had molested Mom was dead at that time. Revenge/justice isn’t always possible. Some folks would rather be mean, bitter and pick fights with people who didn’t abuse them than quit feeling pain. Odd I know!

            If you want to drink your enemy’s blood you should hire a vigilante hit-man not a therapist.

          • I had what I consider quality therapy in my 20s, and far from teaching me not to have my feelings, I learned to be more aware of the injustices I’d experienced and to feel properly angry and hurt instead of pretending that nothing happened or that it was my fault or that “they couldn’t help themselves.” There were no excuses made for my parents, brothers, the schools, church, or any other injustice I’d experienced. She just made it feel safe for me to experience what I’d repressed in the past. Sure, it didn’t make the world more just, but it put me in a position where I could avoid or fight injustice where I saw it, and where I could recognize that the injustice that occurs is not caused by the recipient nor does it mean anything about the one being attacked or mistreated. I learned a LOT of important lessons, not because she taught them to me, but because she made it safe to FEEL again. Which is kind of the opposite of what you’re suggesting therapy is about. Now I’m the first to admit, I lucked out, and would be a lot more lucky today to find such a quality therapist, what with everyone trained to diagnose and judge these days. But to suggest that all therapy is about denying injustice and suppressing your feelings is not true, at least in my case.

      • right on ! and Thank you. I know many people where deeply hurt by bad practice “therapists”, but I hope most where helped and not damaged. Even more. “Moral” therapists are no more than “valets” which is, I think the same word in english as in french. They serve people in power …

        • Until I acknowledged that someone had done me a grave wrong forgiving him was impossible. How can I forgive someone who was never even at fault? Forgiveness is not repression/denial.

          Forgiveness was my personal choice. But people I have known told me that pretending it wasn’t that bad and playing the nice Christian girl would enable me to forgive quickly and easily with no real effort….They meant well. But what they taught me was B. S.

          If you don’t own up to the fact that you have been deeply wronged forgiveness is not even an option.

    • You’re not the first to observe this similarity. It is disturbing, but the use of power and control tactics permeates our society, and any time there is a power imbalance, those who enjoy feeling superior and humiliating others will gravitate to those positions. It also appears that our system is based on the assumption that their must be “authorities” who decide what to do and “clients/patients” who have things done TO them, so the power/control dynamics are built into the system, and even those IN the system who oppose such behavior are often powerless to stop it, as they are themselves abused if they step out of line.

      We need a “new deal!”

  20. Ironically on many support sites for abuse victims they always talk about “my abusive bipolar ex”. Often “my abusive ex with undiagnosed bipolar.” He was a jerk and cruel therefore he must be bipolar, right?

    I once knew a sweet little lady–a joy to know. She had a truly evil, abusive husband. “Gertrude” believed he was “mentally ill” with a brain disease called “bipolar” because MI professionals told her he couldn’t help his nastiness. If she could talk him into taking his “meds” everything would be fine and he could be the nice, charming guy she married. My guess is that charming guy Gertie married was the old bait and switch.

    Sadly, because Gertie was kind-hearted she felt she should stay with her sick husband. Others around her, including friends with SMI labels told her “Gertie, your husband is cruel and abusive because he enjoys it. It’s a choice he makes and no pill can fix that.”

    Gertie claimed his “meds” made him nice. My guess is they tranquilized him so he was too doped up to smash Gertie’s beloved art projects or hit her. They kept wearing off and he liked being vicious anyhow. (See Phil Hickey’s article for this month.) Poor Gertie wound up on SSRIs herself.

    That said, Gertie’s story was the only one I knew where the “bipolar” spouse was the actual abuser. I do know of several cases where the “SMI” spouse/partner was abused and no one took it seriously. The abuser was often a pro at gas-lighting as you can imagine.

  21. I am deeply moved by your testimony and sorry for you in the name of my “fraternity”. I am a clinical psychologist and have fought all my career for recovery. But, big pharma and many forces work against us. To read that a person just asks to have somebody to talk to, a knowledgeable professional who will just take the time it needs to listen and help work trough, and can not find a helping and a healing ear devastates me. It just sounds so wrong …

  22. “a knowledgeable professional who will just take the time it needs to listen and help work trough”

    But there you have the contradiction, once someone has been dubbed a professional, they are from then on the last person willing to listen. They have their doctrines.

    The way to find solidarity is not from the couch, it is shoulder to shoulder raising political consciousness and taking political actions.

    I helped put a perpetrator into our state penitentiary. I tried to bring other activists to the court room, tried very hard. But my efforts were for naught. The only person in the court room besides family and friends was myself.

    I had worked with clergy abuse activists. They can be very militant. But they would not even talk about this, a family molestation case.

    And the most obvious areas for activism are penalties for perpetrators and reparations for survivors, as well as what most every other industrialized nation has, a prohibition on disinheritance.

    • I dont see any contradiction. Of course, every therapist, and every human as a matter of fact holds his doctrine. Depending on how you use that term. In my cense, it is not a 4 letter word. Everyone builds, cherishes, adopts, and works on his own partly shared and partly personal beliefs, theories and doctrines. I think it is Einstein who affirmed something about the interplay between experience, or observations and “Theory” Without one, we are blind and without the other, we are mad. I don’t recall the exact phrase and to be frank, my effort to try and translate is giving me a hard time. What I’m trying to get to is for 1. I don’t appreciate you despise professionals as if we all came out of the same doctrine and 2. I, as a psychotherapist, have also defended molested people in court, sometimes to an awful sweating point. But most of the time, I sat, listened, asked, probed, reflected, checked, thought out, rescheduled and hoped for the best. Not always successfully, but with all I had and all I could give. And I’m not neither a hero nor the only one …

        • Thank you for the kindest response I have since joining in ! Well I am part of the gang cause I was diagnosed bipolar 2 years ago and stiil feel the repercussions in my medical files everywhere. I can’t even hope for a new job ever since. 28 years without missing a day, never “decompensated”, never a disciplinary action and now, on the verge of 60, I am suddenly discovered by psychiatric supposedly carrers, as bipolar. Try finding a new employer at this “venerable” age ! And I am also mad, but I dont feel that urge to fight, or go on any ranks. I feel this discussion is hostile so I will leave it. I want to discuss with same minded damaged goods like me, who don’t want, so much, to pinpoint the system or some establishment scapegoats but who would rather want to understand things and try to change the way it works

          • My condolences on your “diagnosis.” Sounds like some very nasty office politics!

            If someone gets hurt in a hit and run accident, it’s smart to get the license number of the driver. After that you should attend to the victim.

            SOME people would rather pick up a baseball bat and chase after the driver in the hopes of exacting revenge while leaving the victim to die by the side of the road. They’ll never catch the car, and bashing through the windshield to hurt the driver won’t help the victim at all, but they don’t care.

            It’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. ~Confusious

    • What would stop a therapist from encouraging and supporting his/her clients’ need for justice through political action? I have been a therapist in the past, and I encouraged many domestic abuse victims to get involved in political action to protect survivors and their kids. I’ve also encouraged youth in foster care to get involved with a group of current and former foster youth that lobbies the legislature and even submits laws every two years (they’ve never failed to get one passed!), and I was an adult supporter of their efforts. And in truth, I had no “doctrine” except that “every person is different and deserves their own unique approach and relationship.” Of course, I had an advantage – I never got any actual training to be a therapist!

      • I thought of being a therapist myself, Steve. But have decided to be a grief coach instead. Less time and money. As Bruce Levine pointed out in his most recent book, getting an MSW or PhD says little or nothing about how you moralize or encourage people who feel rotten.

        I also don’t want to wind up talking people into taking drugs or telling them they’re hopeless nuts. Those are the 2 big reasons I’ll never talk to a therapist provided by a “mental health” center again.

        Btw, YetAnotherAccount and FeelinDiscouraged are the same woman. I have had trouble keeping track of my XXXX passwords! Not trying to start my own sock puppet army.

        • The challenge I found working in the system wasn’t that I was forced to recommend drugs or any particular “treatment,” it was that the system was so committed (sorry, bad pun!) to that approach that I could make no impact on it. So introducing someone to that system meant introducing them to drugs in most cases, even if I personally did all I could to to keep them on another path. I couldn’t live with myself after a pretty short while! Though I have to say, when I started out doing residential care for teen moms, NO ONE was on drugs (1986). Things have changed dramatically for the worse.

          Grief coach sounds good! How do you get “qualified” to do such work?

          — Steve

          • Creative Grief Studio. Cost is $3,300 including the exam and materials. It’s an online course with a lot of skyping and phone sessions. At least 10 hours a week required. Four months to complete the course.

            While I scrounge together the money and take the training I will start blogging and publishing articles on medium. I want to help folks work through terrible life disappointments, not just widowhood. Our society needs to let divorcees grieve too for example.

  23. Kat, you are NOT “needy”. “Love quotas” and “care quotas” are two of psychiatry’s cruelest and most pathogenic games. That quack-pit is loaded with people who’ve been sickened from a lack of human warmth. It’s inexcusable and horrifying to abnormalize their needs for warmth, when you’re aware that they’ve had little, if any, of it in their 20, 30, 40, or 50 years of life. You deserve to be deeply and honorably loved and cared for, and I would do exactly that, if I were your clinician. Tight hugs to you!

    • J, you are so right. Many, way to many so called “clinicians” have a way to downgrade the people who where emotionally starved, uncared for, unprotected and even assaulted by their expected protectors (call them parents, teachers, trainers or doctors) and thus remain scared. Of course, they may act as if they need validation as a lovable person and may even provoque, challenge, test out the loyalty and sincereness of those around them. It’s not “perfect”, nor the “best” way to be, but it is an inevitable long term consequence of an unjust wold. And to put that on the victims fault, as a nuisance, is un-respectful, insensitive and cruel. But one way the mental health healers blame the victims for their scars. This way of treating people would be unacceptable if it was about peoples height, color of skin, IQ, religious upbringing or any personal characteristic we cannot change. Mind you, mentality, same as values and beliefs change with time, even in the psychiatric closed community. What once had a negative connotation eventually becomes less stigmatizing, and visa versa I guess. In the late 1800, a generalist tried to legitimatize a novel diagnosis in hopes of healing slaves who had the “bad” habit of trying to escape their predicament. I don’t recall the exact term but it suffices to illustrate how we can transform victims into sick people entirely responsible for their destiny.

  24. FDiscouraged wrote, “Mom’s therapist cured her depression by teaching her it was okay to be angry and she should pursue the career she wanted instead of trying to be the Perfect Housewife everyone at church wanted her to be.”

    Well, that may make it look like the therapist was good influence. But consider, what the therapist is really doing is convincing the client that there is no prevalent social injustice which requires redress.

    • I’ll play the devils advocate. You are totally right on this issue. A psychotherapist’s mission is to help an individual, nothing else. If your mom got over her depression, of course, she must have eventually relinquished her feelings of injustice. That doesn’t mean she stopped seing any injustice (that would be brainwashing) but only that she stopped taking it personally and feeling too hurt about this. When I think too hard or too long on many social inequities, corruption and like, I get depressed and sad. I must stop the endless thinking about this part of reality, so as not to become clinically depressed, or otherwise resentful and many other variants of being “unhappy”, socially estranged. So, in the end, yes, your mom was fortunate enough to fall on a therapist who cherished self-assertion. But that didn’t change what is fundamentally wrong, socially speaking. Psychotherapists dont change the wold, it’s not their function. That role falls on many other actors and strong willed social reformists.

      • Mom had turned it inward and become severely depressed. She had not allowed herself to feel anger or acknowledge the enormity of Art’s guilt. Bev helped her process her pain; partly by realizing Art was a monster and had no right to treat my mom or aunt that way.

        Bev also helped by counseling both my parents. Dad had wanted to be a knight on a white stallion. When Mom told him about Art he refused to call off their engagement, though many in the church would have advised it if they had known.

        His role as her rescuer wore thin. Mom wearied of it before he did. Eventually she wanted independence.

        There was also nonsense related to the patriarchal church he preached at. Women were supposed to be Stepford Wives who swooned over scented fabric softener and vacuumed in pumps and pearls.That just wasn’t Mom’s cup of tea.

        Bev helped Dad realize how he was hurting Mom unwittingly. Dad apologized, changed what he was doing, and things got better. 🙂