Who Are They to Say I Wasn’t Buddha?

Ekaterina Netchitailova, PhD
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I am sitting in a chair in a meeting room in a psychiatric hospital. I have been here before, many times, and yet, every time I expect something different. I always hope for a better treatment, some compassion, some sort of a dialogue. The hospital in itself isn’t bad. The food at least is absolutely fantastic. They feed you five times a day, and even have theme nights: Indian on Tuesday, Chinese buffet on Saturday, coffee and tea come unlimited. Biscuits and sandwiches in the evening. One would forget about being stuck in a psychiatric hospital, if not for the fact that I am here totally against my will. I made a mistake. I called emergency services when I felt that I was in psychosis and after spending twenty-four hours in the emergency department, finally got a visit from a psychiatrist and two other assessors.

“Here, please, sign that you agree to being sectioned. Section number three,” the psychiatrist told me with a smile on her face, as if we were discussing some beauty treatment, not a document deriving me of my human rights. I would sign anything by that point. I knew by that time that I had made a huge mistake by trying to get ‘official’ help and should have instead increased my antipsychotic medication and sorted myself out at home, but after spending a day in the emergency department, you agree to anything, just to get out of there.

And so, I sit in the meeting room in the psychiatric hospital. I am a dream patient. Complacent, calm, always smiling to the staff and understanding that they have a tough job. I smile despite the fact that I have been detained for more than a month, that I am ready to go home, that actually I have a life outside the hospital. But no, they continue ‘treating’ me as if something is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with me, I just hold some bizarre thoughts. The first time I ended up in a psychiatric hospital, I thought I was Buddha — you know, just a ‘normal’ feeling when you experience enlightenment. I felt happy and divine. I thought that I had finally arrived. Only I didn’t realise that the destination would be psychiatry which crashed my happy feelings one by one, attaching to them a feeling of shame. They don’t want to admit that psychosis can indeed be a spiritual awakening that only a few can dream of. They define it as ‘illness’ and say that what you experience in your psychosis isn’t real. How do they know?

The psychiatrist comes into the room. She is a pleasant Greek lady, a consultant in the hospital. I genuinely like her. She worked at a university as a researcher before deciding to go into the field. I would become friends with her, if not for the fact that she is a psychiatrist who absolutely doesn’t get me.

“So, Ekaterina, how are you doing today?” she asks in a pleasant voice, while a nurse types the entire conversation. Not a good practice, in my opinion, as I often wonder what becomes of the patient’s treatises later on. Do they write a book? Send it to the Vatican? Keep it for future generations to demonstrate all kinds of manifestations of weirdness?

“I am fine,” I answer, knowing what the next question will be. I know that I shouldn’t tell the psychiatrist what I really think, but I have nothing to lose. They are trying a new medication, aripiprazole, and so, according to my calculations, I am stuck in the hospital for another three weeks at least. I can’t leave as I signed my own punishment, I am sectioned.

“Last time you said you thought you were Anne Frank, do you still think so?”

I chuckle because I knew it was coming. I also debate about whether to answer that I dropped ‘the belief’ while being on my new medication or convince her that medication doesn’t help when the belief is real. I also believe I could be Buddha in another past life, and so what?

“As I said before, I do believe I was Anne Frank in a past life, yes.”

The psychiatrist writes something down in her notebook before asking another question.

“And what are we supposed to do with this belief? I mean, how are we supposed to react when someone comes in here and says that she was Anne Frank?”

“I don’t know, maybe ask the Dutch government for all the money they owe me?” I volunteer. “From the visits to the Anne Frank museum?”

I expect her to laugh, but instead the psychiatrist looks very serious.

“I think we should increase your dose of medication. We started on ten milligrams but I would like to increase it to twenty.” She looks at my face to see my reaction.

“The belief that I was Anne Frank in my past life has nothing to do with the dose,” I tell her, feeling frustrated. I realise by now that I made another big mistake: I engaged in conversation with the doctor. I should have stayed quiet. I should have ‘officially’ dropped my belief. “I have this belief all the time, regardless of medication. It is just who I am!”

They decide to increase my medication. I develop terrible side effects. I spend another month in the hospital. I miss out on my family and the life I have outside of the hospital. I lose my teaching hours at my job because I was away for so long. When I finally emerge from the hospital I am totally broken.

I don’t believe in psychiatry anymore, or that a ‘safe stay’ in the hospital can help. I don’t believe in medication anymore either. I realise that something is very wrong with how they treat people who come for help.

I still believe I was Anne Frank in my past life, and nothing is wrong with such a belief. I am no longer Buddha, though, because they crashed my spiritual awakening when it was happening. But I go on. I deserve to be happy. I have a family to think of, I want to contribute to society on some level. I want to live. They won’t crash me. Or so I hope.

327 COMMENTS

  1. Ekaterina, it’s difficult to put in such a few words here, but YES, Buddhism DOES teach that you “were Buddha in a previous reincarnation”. Something like that, anyway. And there is NO drug, or “medication” which can make that specific thought go away, or lessen. That’s not how either thoughts or drugs work. Buddhism, and Buddhist thought and ideas, and especially the words of the Dalai Lama, have been VERY helpful to me.
    But too many of us have learned the hard way, that we must be very careful about what we say, how we say it, and who we say it to, when we are dealing with psychiatry. Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drugs racket, and a mechanism of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology, with potent neuro-toxins. I know you know all this.
    I’m glad to have read some of your story, and glad you wrote it. I’m sorry for what they did to you. I have seen other writings from you here on MiA, haven’t I? We ALL have what might be called “crazy ideas”, and yours don’t seem very “crazy”, to me. Me? I believe that I am 1 7/1,000,000,000th of humanity on Earth! And remember, without “ART”, “EARTH” is just “EH”! SEE!? You smiled at that! You feel better, don’t you?

  2. “How do they know?” I agree, they don’t know. The psychiatrists just declare everything in the spiritual realm, and actually everything in one’s real life, to be “a credible fictional story.” The psychiatrists are nuts.

    I didn’t have any odd beliefs prior to going to a psychiatrist, just brain zaps and a couple of odd dreams from being improperly weaned from a “safe smoking cessation med” (antidepressant). I had a struggle with God “psychosis” just when the first antipsychotic was supposed “to kick in,” though.

    But the psychiatrists are ignorant of the reality that their antipsychotics create psychosis, via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning. So they just give you more and different drugs.

    I didn’t realize I was being drugged for belief in God initially because I was lied to, and since that’s illegal. But once my entire real life was declared “fictional,” I had to leave the crazy psychiatrist. And going off the drugs leads a person on to a drug withdrawal induced manic psychosis.

    That psychosis was about how we’re all one in the Spirit, one in the Lord, lots of people have had this type of oneness with God and everything spiritual experiences. It then led to a born again experience where I became “of the bride” of God. And I’m like you, I have no problem with my spiritual journey, being “of the bride” is what Christians are supposed to try to achieve. But I’m sure psychiatrists would have a huge problem with it if I told them.

    I love to paint, and I love Chagall’s work. He seemingly painted my life and dreams, although he was a Jew who survived the Jewish holocaust and I’m a Christian who’s now survived today’s American psychiatric holocaust, so we lived somewhat similar lives. Chagall painted a love story within the collective unconscious / dream world, and that’s what my dreams are about also.

    I’m thinking I might do a diptych to piss the psychiatrists off, inspired by one of Chagall’s crucifixion paintings. I’ll do a Jesus painting, and then also do one of the crucified “bride.” But instead of painting the “bride” as crucified on a cross, I’ll depict her as crucified on a DSM “bible.”

    We’ve all been “crucified” by psychiatry, and they don’t know anything. They just make believe they do.

    • I’m sure psychiatrists would have a huge problem with it if I told them.

      And where do they get off asking about spirituality anyway? What’s between you and your God is nobody else’s business! Answer that type of question with a question of your own: Do you let anybody butt in between you and *your* God? Or are your spiritual beliefs nobody’s business but your own?

      The level of entitlement to even ask such questions!!

    • if Budda or Jesus were back, would they not have magical powers?
      Psychiatry IS a religion. Worship and consume the magical medication that will make you magically “good” instead of “bad” . What kind of sinner are you? schizophrenic and/or bipolar ? There is a medicine for every type of sinner
      If things are going badly they increase the drugs instead of reducing them. Maybe the drugs are making the patient worse? so reduce them? You want people to be smarter to see the error of their ways? Then you drug and inhibit their ability to think?

      “I expect her to laugh, but instead the psychiatrist looks very serious.” never expect a shrink to laugh, they are trying to be heroes. saving people from themselves. drugging the present moment for fear of the future. the future never arrives, prophesy fulfilled.

      • It is also a religion in the sense that it is not based on any kind of rational fact-finding process. You believe because you believe, it is not required that the things you have faith in make any kind of logical sense or fit with the evidence of the physical world, or even the spiritual world for that matter. You can collect data that support your beliefs and neglect or minimize data that doesn’t. Of course, not all religious people behave in this way, many are very rational, but a religion doesn’t REQUIRE that your faith fits the facts. Psychiatry definitely acts this way – when the data doesn’t fit the desired hypothesis, “we need more data.” When someone presents a more workable explanation, “You’re antipsychiatry” or “you’re a Scientologist.” There is no possibility of engaging in rational discussion when someone is taking that kind of a position. No matter how much actual science contradicts it, psychiatry must maintain its central belief system at all costs. That’s a religion, not a scientific discipline.

          • I wouldn’t say that faith requires you to believe things that are CONTRARY to facts, just that no facts are required to sustain your belief. I think there are people who have faith to a point, but if consensus reality conflicts with faith, are willing to change their view. There are lots of Christians, for example, who don’t believe that God created the world 5000 years ago by blowing on a bunch of dust, because scientific evidence contradicts that version of reality. But they may still believe in God or Jesus without any need for evidence.

            I’d have to agree, though, that the religion of psychiatry goes more along the “religious literalist” line of faith – even contradictory evidence doesn’t shake their faith in the DSM/Broken Brain mythology.

          • The very definition of faith is the belief in something that cannot be seen.

            Don’t know if that’s actually the definition. “Belief” is an intellectual process. “Faith” to me is beyond belief; it implies an intuitive understanding. William Blake once said something to the effect of truth being something that is understood and not believed, but I may be a little off on that, I’ll try to look it up.

  3. Hi Ekaterina,

    Love this title!!
    As to you having been Anne Frank, and that psychiatrist’s question as to what should be done about that belief:

    There are literally millions of people around the world who believe in reincarnation. Does she propose they all correct their religious beliefs to match hers? And why must anything be done about your belief in reincarnation, in having been Anne Frank? Where's the harm in that belief?

  4. Hi Ekaterina, I loved your post. I had to check where you live, as I thought you were a patient in the US. Wow, so some British psychiatrists are the same as in the US: very, very close minded.

    Scientifically, we share 99.99% of our DNA with each other. It’s very possible that you were Ann Frank in another life and especially possible that you were/are the Buddha. Buddhism teaches that we can obtain enlightenment, even At One Ment, through careful, diligent daily ritual and practice. These rituals change our neurons, making us deeply aware of the incredible humanity which exists in each and every one of us. And also, through this awareness, that we can overcome suffering and turn it into something which helps others.

    Medication stops this process. I remember my younger brother in rehab (just 16) and how drugged up he was; the same with my father when he developed paranoid schizophrenia and had ECT and medication. He was able to return to work though.

    So, throughout my visions, voices, prophetic dreams and being born again (2003), I avoided the medical profession, like a plague. I allowed it all to unfold and incubate within me and then, slowly, slowly released it into becoming the compassionate woman I yearned to be (healing childhood trauma.) Open Dialogue therapy here in the UK was fantastic and very instrumental in helping me gain this peace when my childhood trauma repeated itself again with my own family. (Thank you Dr. Razzaque and Cathy Thorley!)

    In 2017, I was one of four people talking about my experience of the therapy (and the only one not admitted to hospital, despite my ‘psychosis.’) I talked about the soul, that we each have one, and that working in mental health, people need to recognise that they are doing SACRED work, helping the soul emerge. Many nodded, but after I left the stage, a psychotherapist introduced himself and told me that I must have had a spiritual emergency. I replied: “You may consider me mentally ill, but I’m actually spiritually well.” He turned around and walked away. I had a similar insult from another guy – poor, deluded individuals…..

    This psychiatrist’s treatment of you is not about you: it IS about the very, very deep fear that many in the mental health profession have: that the visions and dreams and voices we hear do really exist, as we all know they do. They are utterly terrified of having a “spiritual emergency”, because who might THEY become when they are ‘awake’? They will be like us: utterly beautiful and vulnerable and totally ourselves…… <3

  5. Oh wow, this is so funny and sad. That was about my attitude, too. I could predict their actions because I had been there so many times. I agree that one’s thoughts are private and are no one’s business! I can think anything I want! I can walk past a store and think of breaking in a stealing everything inside. Have I committed a crime? No! I honestly don’t care whom another person believes they are reincarnated from! That’s private business and should stay private. In fact, locking a person up for any belief regarding reincarnation is treading on incarceration based on religious beliefs. You did not do any deed to cause this. I’m glad you’re out. Stay out. Don’t go back to them and don’t tell them your thoughts anymore. They don’t help. They hurt.

  6. I don’t believe in reincarnation whatsoever. I don’t think you were the Buddha or Anne Frank, ever. And I find those kinds of beliefs to be symptoms of belief systems which can be problematic for SOME people in SOME cases.

    But detaining you and giving you these medications was completely unnecessary for what is at worst an incorrect belief, and at best a correct belief. I don’t know what other symptoms you showed but medications and detainment should not ever be used on someone unless their symptoms are harmful to themselves (and they consent) or if they are truly harmful to others (perhaps if you had thought your neighbor to be Hitler and attempted to kill him).

    • Hi ohwhatisthatlight,

      I don’t think you were the Buddha or Anne Frank, ever.

      This is the kind of blunt statement that I think falls short of the mad-proud spirit of our movement.

      I doubt you know something valuable about Buddhism, and that you read the Diary of Anne Frank in high school. One is wondering what’s your own belief system that you wished Ekaterina and others would be wise to follow.

      I’m taking seriously that Ekaterina would prefer to argue with an evil secular inquisitor rather than with someone like you whose ideology is unclear. As we say, the enemy is within. According to you, what are the philosophical pillars of antipsychiatry?

    • Ohwhatisthatlight

      And who are you to decide what a correct belief is? Just because Ekaterina doesn’t believe the same way that you do does not make her beliefs any less meaningful and important. Who died and made you the great judge of belief systems. In one fell swoop you just did away with the belief systems of Hinduism and Buddhism. Who are you to decide such things?

      • Stephen, Ohwhatisthatlight didn’t say anything about correct beliefs. It’s hard to read these replies taken so very out of context. No one ever has to share a belief you have. Not sharing a belief does not mean the person thinks your belief is stupid or crazy. Doesn’t mean they don’t think you should have the right to have such a belief. Where is all this demand for conformity in thinking coming from suddenly? People can disagree on things without shaming.

        Am I supposed to tell my Christian friend that I believe in god so she doesn’t feel I am shaming her for her belief? Well then what happens to my belief that there are no deities? Is my belief less real or valid?

        • Well said. Sharing differing beliefs is not the same as shaming someone for their particular belief. This same kind of thinking is behind the concept of “pill shaming,” where pointing out legitimate critiques of the facts surrounding psychiatric drug use is conflated with telling people who use them that they are wrong. If we can’t talk about differing beliefs and observations, we can’t have an honest conversation. The key is respecting the right of others to their own beliefs and observations, rather than insisting that yours must be “correct” for everyone.

      • See my post at bottom as to how many people can, in the afterlife, be influenced by great souls such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Joan of Arc, and Anne Frank.

        Regardless of the factuality of the belief – here’s the thing. It’s valuable. If my resonance with Joan of Arc leads me to learn something about how to function in my present incarnation – then – whether she is a Guardian Spirit, an archetype, a past life, an Ancestor – or just a symbol for my personal healing – the belief about it doesn’t matter.

        What matters is that it is valuable information which informs the present from the realm of the Collective.

    • Ohwhatisthatlight,

      Okay, so you have a belief (that reincarnation isn’t a thing). So what? It is exactly and only that: a belief. Everybody has their beliefs. Yours isn’t special, correct, or right. Everybody has an anal sphincter, and I’ll bet you have one too. I’m reminded of the one about the guy who walked into a bar with an opinion and an anal sphincter (both of which tend to stink when they’re in-your-face). Anyway, the bartender takes his order, and serves him his drink. Because “he’s just like everybody else.”

      • Commenting as moderator here:

        You are right, everyone has a right to their beliefs. Stating one’s beliefs in general is not a cause for being moderated. Telling someone else their beliefs are wrong may very well be cause for being moderated. Sometimes, we have to just allow people to state their beliefs and let them have those beliefs, even if they seem misguided or contradictory. Naturally, it’s always acceptable to ask why, and to share one’s own beliefs that conflict, but I don’t think we want to be in the business of moderating people’s belief systems, unless they intrude upon the rights of others to operate successfully (such as racism, sexism, etc.)

        Just want to be clear about that distinction.

        — Steve

      • Telling someone else their beliefs are wrong may very well be cause for being moderated.

        I hope you will want to walk this back or rephrase it. Just about every discussion here involves people telling one another that their beliefs are wrong, and explaining why they believe so. If someone touts the medical model or supports drugging someone will (hopefully) be telling them this is wrong (or incorrect). Likewise if someone believes that 2+2=7. Otherwise conversation is meaningless.

        Were you perhaps thinking specifically about religious beliefs?

  7. Not fitting into the extremely narrowed psychiatric framework, any disagreement with the imposed stereotypes immediately leads to a merciless diagnosis. How many famous personalities are Andrei Bely, Vladimir Vysotsky, Igor Gubin, Alexander Bashlachev … was subjected to psychiatric pressure. What can say about the rest!

  8. Someone left a disrespectful comment about there being no such thing as reincarnation. To that, I say the following:

    I am a Jew. As a Jew, I choose to tolerate other people’s belief that Jesus was the Messiah. To me, the concept of Messiah does not compute, and when I hear “Jesus” I cringe inside. When I hear Christmas music I also cringe, but am I going to swear out loud at the Muzak when I head out to Walmart in a bit? No! Why? Because it’s not polite.

    As a Jew I am also agnostic. It is my right to have this belief, which for the most part I do not share with others. As a Jew, I choose to tolerate people’s belief in God. I also choose to tolerate people’s belief that there is no God, that is, Atheism. I choose not to choose.

    As a Jew I also feel obligated to tolerate beliefs I do not hold myself but I know are a deeply held part of nonwestern cultures, such as reincarnation. I think it is hugely disrespectful and narrow-minded to say that reincarnation doesn’t exist, is a delusion, or is impossible. What if I said the Christmas story was a mass delusion and anyone who believes it should be incarcerated? Maybe the entirety of Vatican City should be locked up and drugged.

    Is life even real? Please poke me. I must be dreaming. This dog is so cute, she couldn’t be real.

  9. Christ! Ekaterina is doing more time for Madness than most folks do for a f*ck*ng DWI!!! Adherents of #FAKESCIENCE are “threatened” by ALL identities which are self-made or self-selected. It was easy for the quacks to pounce on Ekaterina’s bond with Anne Frank. Most people know who she was, and would, obviously, prefer to detach from her wretched existence. But, really, Ekaterina’s quacks have, essentially, forbade her from preserving any life or sense of self. She could describe her identity in a manner that sounds “normal”, or openly aspire to “normal” adult goals, and she would STILL get quacked by those abusive psychiatrists. When psychiatry saw that I wouldn’t quit school, wouldn’t quit work, and wouldn’t really “accept” my so-called “illness”, it went f*ck*ng nuclear on me, just as Ekaterina’s quacks did to her. So, she’s absolutely right. There is no room for psychiatry in any *real* life. And, psychiatry will not spare you any shred of personal integrity. To keep anything of yours, anything at all, you have to bail on the #FAKESCIENCE forever.

  10. To avoid this game with psychiatrists, don’t play the game with psychiatrists. If you kick the ball to them, and then complain when they kick it back…

    I am Martina Navratilova and I am Joan of Arc and I am Demis Roussos. It’s okay so long as I don’t make those claims to a psychiatrist.

    It’s a bit like walking up to a heavily armed Police Officer in London and telling them you are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and then complaining that what happened next was an overreaction.

    Surely you wouldn’t say these things to a psychiatrist unless you wanted a reaction? And then… what reaction are you expecting?

  11. Ekaterina

    According to the teaching of the Buddha you have always been a Buddha. No one can ever take that away from you. Buddha said that a sleeping buddha lives within each person, waiting to awaken through enlightenment. This is why people who practice Buddhism keep statues of Buddha, not to worship since Buddha is not God, but to remind us when we look at the statues that we too contain a buddha. And if the Dalai Lama can be the fourteenth incarnation of the historical Buddha than why can’t you be too? Or maybe I’m getting mixed up a bit. The Dalai Lama may be the incarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, Aveloketishvara. But you get my point. I hope that you don’t let your enlightenment be stymied by the likes of the ignorant psychiatrist that dealt with you.

  12. When I was abused in a hospital I lost a lot of my friends. They claimed it was ‘impossible” that such a thing could have happened. They claimed I was “delusional.” My therapist claimed the unit I was on did not exist. Even now, people outside of MIA claim it couldn’t possibly have occurred. However, it did occur. This kind of thing is not “the exception.” I was not psychotic. These were just people doing their job, apparently. These were nurses scared to speak out against the ones that had abused, scared of losing their jobs, nurses that knew I was right but afraid that if they sided with me they’d get fired. They were right. They would have! Still, when I said abuse, I meant abuse. I stand by my words. I know I am telling the truth. It’s hard to forgive when you were deprived of water. It’s hard to forgive when they defended their actions that nearly killed me, and then, to keep me quiet, tried to get me committed in a state hospital to ensure I didn’t pursue the case legally. Seven years have passed and I am still called psychotic to this day. I hate it.

  13. Here are some impressive opinions about psychiatry written by one familiar:
    … Now, for example, a penchant for writing poetry official psychiatric science considers a symptom of severe mental illness. (By psycho was Pushkin, by a complete psycho.) Also psychiatrists diagnosed Sherlock Holmes. Paranoia, they say, and all because of cocaine. Moreover, psychiatrists were given to read the pages of Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit. The result was wonderful. Read of Hegel and as usual do not understand anything psychiatrists took advantage by conventional for difficult cases magic wand. — in general use diagnosis of “schizophrenia”. which they shove everywhere where something is incomprehensible. So soon there will be no poets, no philosophers, no literary heroes, not just clean people. Of all their will distribute in sanatoriums. Of all whose spiritual world does not fit into the horizons of grave worms in white coats…
    … Сейчас, например, склонность к писанию стихов официальная психиатрическая наука считает симптомом тяжелейшего психического заболевания. (Психом был Пушкин, мать его. Полнейшим психом.) А ещё психиатры поставили диагноз Шерлоку Холмсу. Паранойя, говорят, и всё из-за кокаина. А ещё психиатрам дали почитать страницы гегелевской «Феноменологии духа». Результат получился (уф-ф-ф, Аллакайым!!!) следующий: сподобившись почитать Гегеля, умудрившись его не узнать и ни хрена, как обычно, не поняв, психиатры воспользовались обычной для трудных случаев палочкой-выручалочкой — общеупотребительным диагнозом «шизофрения», который они вообще-то суют везде, где что-нибудь непонятно. Так что скоро не останется у человечества ни поэтов, ни философов, ни литературных героев, ни просто чистоплотных людей. Всех рассуют по «санаториям». Всех, чей духовный мир не вмещается в горизонты могильных червей в белых халатах…

  14. Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “Well Jesus was referred to somewhere as a paranoid schizophrenic…”

    Yes, I see that get repeated often and it’s a real chin-rubber of a statement.

    What you won’t see is people making the effort to think deeper into it.

    The post-Pauline Jesus is a mythical construct. The pre-Pauline Jesus is a human being and nothing more.

    The post-Pauline Jesus would, on paper, meet the criteria for schizophrenia. Except, a mythical person cannot meet psychiatric criteria, except as a kind of indulgent parlour game.

    The pre-Pauline Jesus was a revolutionary in some ways, but did not depart from any of the prevalent teachings of the time, in the East at least. He was very much a human being and does not meet the criteria for schizophrenia.

    Gautama Siddharta (who I do not believe was or is the Buddha, as such a being is a mythical construct) would, at turns, have met the modern criteria for schizophrenia, but not in the context of his own culture, by the by.

    I consider there to be very many people like myself who have suffered significant damage to the frontal lobes (and the parietal lobes) and later to the amygdala, who share many of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia/manic psychosis, and who will often end up with that label, as we live in a world that is uneasy about not categorising things, even when there is an obvious functional problem in a person’s brain.

  15. I love this article, Ekaterina, for many reasons. In fact, I believe you illustrate perfectly the oppression which psychiatry practices, especially oppression of personal thoughts and beliefs while completely invalidating, negating, and unequivocally dismissing what one feels and experiences on their own terms. So add oppression of a person’s emotions and spirit, too. How is this anything good?

    Past lives, parallel realities, and embracing one’s God-self (Buddha-self, Christ-consciousness, inner being, etc.) is reality for a lot of people on the planet, and it’s completely reasonable, and I’d say even desirable. For me and sooo many others I know, this is the case at least.

    I’d love for everyone to know their higher self and be able to embody that wisdom and live their truth outright, rather than all of this pretense in order to “fit in” and “be acceptable” and “approved of.” I think the world would improve a great deal if we were to all know how to embrace our spiritual selves as well as our physical selves, because I think we would not live so much by our judgments and fears, but more so by what makes us feel satisifed and personally fulfilled, and not at the expense of others. That’s my personal opinion and perspective.

    So much to learn, experience, and explore above and beyond the extreme limitations of “psychiatric thinking.” And by this I mean teeny tiny little boxes which amount to chronic suffering and cutting one’s self off from their own soul if one tries to fit in. This struck me specifically when you tell how the psychiatrist looked serious rather than laughed when you were joking with her. Embracing our soul path and growth is a lot more fun, interesting, creative, and freeing than is facing such a closed mind and heart.

    Thank you so much for writing this! I think it’s a powerful message and very clear. We do have a choice in what we believe, and what I believe is that our personal beliefs affect how our reality unfolds from day to day. Let’s not allow our choices and faith to be bullied out of being by this blatant oppression. I believe we have this power right now, to live our authentic truth, especially given all the oppressed voices speaking up and out these days.

    • I also wanted to express that whatever spiritual awareness a person can own for themselves, one thing I learned along the way of my healing and personal growth is that what is really challenging is being human, regardless of anything. I believe it is set up this way, by nature, so that we can know our power of self.

      I believe “psychosis” (which I would say some people call a such–i.e., they project–when a person embodies a personal reality which well outside the norm and, somehow, threatening to it) is what occurs during transitional states, where we are growing, changing, and transforming, as per the nature of life and being human. We’re not static beings, and change is inherently challenging and uncomfortable, but it becomes more so toward suffering when change tries to happen in a society where it is so stubbornly resisted due to personal competing self-interests.

      Transitional states of being are natural and change is happening all the time; but judgment, shame, fear, and worry are human traits which are malleable. When we work internally, we shift what is external to us, goes hand in hand. Permission to be is a powerful healing tool and perspective.

  16. This may not be the correct forum for this discussion of belief – but let me share with you the belief I hold about reincarnation – because it is fun.

    Imagine the Source as a Well of Souls. For visualisation purposes – I imagine it as a barrel. When we die, our light merges in with the other souls in the Well, all the Spirit becomes one great light. Sometimes, there are individual souls – like Cleopatra, Jesus, Buddha, and yes, Anne Frank – who, when they return to the Well of Souls, make a “big splash” and light up the entire Well as they re-enter.

    With the laws of physics, each contact that is made continues to be influenced by that contact. The constitution of a Soul as it leaves the Well will be slightly different to the last time it experienced incarnation. And many many many souls have been influenced by The Buddha (for example). That light filled the entire barrel as it re-entered the Well of Souls – so many many many “souls” will be influenced by that light.

    So you could have been Buddha – and so could I – because we each “touched” the Spirit of Buddha in the Well of Souls.

    Tasty, eh?

    • The “laws” of physics seem to be pretty fluid once you get past the material plane. Newtonian physics only seem to apply within certain parameters, and much of what we consider obvious apparently does not apply at other levels of focus. Such is the stuff of quantum physics, which I don’t pretend to understand, though it makes me think a reconsideration of or at least a slight adjustment to the concept of “dialectical materialism” may be in order.

      Your particular “mythology” seems as viable as probably infinite personal variations of the same sort of transcendent consciousness.

      • When I started grad school, we were a cohort of 55 MSW students. Our very first assignment was to write a paper on the subject: Systems Theory of Biology, Quantum Physics, and How They Relate to Social Work. At first, this seemed way too broad. I had a panic attack when I first sat down at the keyboard to begin putting thoughts to “paper,” in fact, and I was not the only one (5 dropped out of the program that first week). But when I persevered and did a little light (haha) reading on the subject, I quickly surmised that every single person seeking a degree in social work, psychology, any of the ‘helper’ professions really needs to write a paper on this. Looking into the intersection between systems theory and quantum physics provides a deep understanding of interconnectedness, of the force of our own expectations, how focusing attention on any thing always changes that thing. So much more. And it completely blows psychiatric dogma out of the water!

  17. I’m starting a new thread with this quote from Frank as it’s a new tangent:

    This represents a problem when the “alternatives” “peer” “recovery” dizability whatchmacallit so-called movement is way too compromised to fight for human rights and against force any more.

    There is a continuing dynamic which has existed with “mental patient liberation”/anti-psychiatry organizing since its inception. It goes like this:

    Someone or a group of people start organizing against psychiatric assault, which starts to attract attention. Then people start to appear claiming they “sympathize” but that we can’t just be out there opposing psychiatry without having “alternatives,” and stressing all the horrific stories about individuals who “need something immediately” to get them from one day to the next.

    Since most “mental patients” have chronic guilt complexes bred into them, some of the would-be activists then start buckling and wanting to start “support” projects for the huddled masses of psychiatric victims, since they’ve accepted the guilt trip that they can’t justly oppose psychiatry without having “alternatives.” Next the anti-psychiatry activism starts to take a back seat to a zillion “personal support” emergencies among the growing network of hangers-on and, rather than politics and support having complementary roles, they end up being pitted against one another. Ultimately the project is disbanded and people go away with personal conclusions like “it’s hopeless” or “politics is bullshit.” People decide that it’s a personal failing because they have no viable “alternatives” — i.e. that a few people haven’t created a functioning paradigm that will address the misery of the millions of people which is created and perpetuated by the system we live under. But all this could have been predicted.

    So, like the Democrat-Republican pendulum, this sort of thing can go on forever, at least until we realize that, while both may be arguably useful at present, the functions of political education and activism and those of so called “support” are entirely different in their focus and operation. One is collectively focused and involves more “traditional” organizing — polemicizing, education, political pressure, demonstrations, whatever. The other is more akin to social work and oriented towards supporting individuals experiencing trauma, etc. While those involved in either of these would likely have an affinity for the work the others are doing, they are necessarily two separate projects. One is not dependent on the other, nor should either be considered contingent upon the other. And in the terms that most people here relate to, “establishing alternatives” to psychiatry is not a prerequisite for fighting to abolish it, however one defines that.

    • If psychiatric assault, just like other forms of physical assault, were illegal, then you wouldn’t need an alternative to it since standard practice would no longer be a matter of assault. The problem with “alternatives” is that they’ve let human rights violations and deprivation of liberty in through the side door. Get rid of forced treatment, and you won’t need “alternatives” to forced treatment. Duh. We don’t need “alternatives” to forced treatment, we need to put a stop to forced treatment.

  18. oldhead wrote: “No, you don’t get it and probably shouldn’t try, whatever road you are on, if you are sincere, will eventually lead you to a place where we can at least speak the same language; right now it’s apples & oranges.

    I did not say the “alternative” to psychiatry is socialism, only that socialism is one step along the way to liberation. My point all along has been that the idea of “alternatives” is irrelevant to a discussion about fighting psychiatry. The main point of the above post is that fighting psychiatry and providing a network or program of “support” for troubled individuals are two separate tasks practically speaking and, whatever their relative value, should not be treated as the same.

    As for your last paragraph, even if your faith in “mental health” were realistic, it’s way too late for “change.” I see nothing to support any of your assertions here regarding “discourse.” At any rate, psychiatry has always been an ideology supporting whatever status quo is in effect.”

    It’s worth keeping in mind that oldhead and others have lived under 50 years of political repression/suppression of socialism, and so understandably are prone to romanticise socialism and, perhaps due to generations of educational biasing, have very little understanding either of the history of socialism or, as it is so closely tied to, the history of europe.

    So it is inevitable that a certain level of defensive aggressiveness will show through when talking to people who have lived experience of socialism, and indeed, as in the case of Ekaterina Netchitailova, state communism. There is no reason to believe that socialism is one step or any step towards the abolition of psychiatry. In fact, quite the reverse, the bolsheviks embrace psychiatry rather zealously, for the reasons their rivals do the same.

    • There has never been a communist country, and rarely has there been a socialist one, especially for any significant period of time. So we’re talking apples & oranges here. (Btw there are no Bolsheviks left and I highly doubt they embraced psychiatry when there were.)

  19. Which brings us back to Frank Blankenship and his assertion that the only struggle worthy of blood sweat n tears is the human rights struggle.

    My interpretation of the antipsychiatrist, no apologies for the grotesque generalisation, is that they are more committed to an eternal debate and an eternal dance macabre with psychiatry, then they are with actual progress. In other words, they just wanna play the good cop bad cop routine, endlessly, sucking all the juice out of and undermining all efforts to find and establish better ways.

    They are the ultimate disruptive force to progress and the key factor as to why progress is so difficult to make, even on the level of discourse.

    For instance, rejecting outright the notion of “alternative” is helping who the most? Psychiatry or those who seek new ways of integrating mad folk into the social fabric?

  20. @Ekaterina: “So, Ekaterina, how are you doing today?” she asks in a pleasant voice, while a nurse types the entire conversation.

    Don’t fall for it! You can bet that a weirdly twisted version of the conversation will stay forever in your notes to be used in evidence against you at any point in the future. That ‘pleasant voice’ is your cue to be on your guard and choose your words with care.

    Here is “Escape from the Psych-ward”, a fun board-game version of the real deal. Hint: The Only Winning Move Is Not To Play.
    http://www.auntiepsychiatry.com/red.aspx?ha=snakes

  21. @Ekaterina: “Yes it is an altered state of consciousness which is a normal human experience that some people are blessed to enjoy!”

    That’s it exactly! Thank you.

    “I learned that psychosis is a positive experience for me and part of who I am, therefore I need to learn how to have the state of altered consciousness without loosing it totally and still enjoy my life.”

    Yes. That’s the elusive “sweet spot”. If you do manage to attain this state, the danger is being swept along too far and being unable to let go… then you are in big trouble.

    “I am positive that a new drug can be developed which can make psychosis as a daily experience to be enjoyed not to be feared.”

    No, no, this is wishful thinking! There will never be any such drug. Streetphotobeing is right – the best way to achieve stability and still enjoy this “normal human experience” is to work towards a psych-drug free lifestyle and learn about what you need for healthy brain functioning and natural quality sleep. This means making sacrifices – alcohol and caffeine are psych-drugs too.

    I watched your video – it’s terrific! Really looking forward to the next one.

    • Auntie you’re confusing me, what is “positive” here? “Psychosis???” You probably know my take, check out what Lavender and Jan Carol have to say, interested in your response.

      I’m also hard pressed to understand why someone who has so much peace of mind needs a drug to sleep.

      • People are seeing you as an agent provocateur, you feel you have been ‘validated’ by Dr Moncrieff on ‘it’, you seem to think you can dictate what a person means by ‘AP’ and what language people should use to describe their experience. Are you sure you are not – infact – a psychiatrist Oldhead, sent to inveigle us? You’re a psychiatrist arn’t you!

      • Oldhead – Ekaterina puts it very well in her video (btw, the link to this is not working at the moment….?) but I agree with you about the word “psychosis” and I try very hard not to use it. However, I can’t think of a suitable one-word (or even one sentence) alternative because it is such a complex, profound and capricious thing to define. So I do sometimes use the word “psychosis” in quotes as a lazy shortcut. Not good, I know.

        • However, I can’t think of a suitable one-word (or even one sentence) alternative because it is such a complex, profound and capricious thing to define.

          Your mistake is in believing there is a “thing” to define, not the words you use. I must be doing something wrong if so few people get this by now.

          • @Oldhead: “Your mistake is in believing there is a “thing” to define, not the words you use. I must be doing something wrong if so few people get this by now.”

            You’ll have to help us out Oldhead…. what don’t we “get”? What are we actually talking about?

          • Maybe Lavender can take over for a while, I’m completely frustrated, as I’ve been trying to drive this essential point home for years. What we are actually talking about is decontextualized experience and behavior, as I believe Bonnie B would put it. There is no “it” to mislabel, rather people’s projected beliefs that they are all experiencing a consistently definable “thing.” All experience is unique.

  22. This “altered consciousness” is not always pleasant. Sometimes quite the opposite, it causes unbearable suffering. Actually “altered consciousness” is a purely psychiatric term. In fact, it all depends on what is happening in reality. When we are loved, appreciate, solidarity with us – this causes a pleasant perception. When we are humiliated, flouts – and the response of our consciousness is appropriate. We suffer when cause us suffering. Psychiatrists have their own “special” look. In all situations, they tend to notice only the part convenient to them. If someone behaves pretentiously, aggressively, obsessively, psychiatrists immediately explain this behavior with a state of mind. But at the same time, they fundamentally overlook reasons that can cause such states. Although the reasons may be absolutely obvious! And any person and even psychiatrists themselves would be both aggressive and intrusive if they had such reasons. But they do not want to notice (in any case with respect to others, not themselves). In general, psychiatrists are very ignorant, not thoughtful, cynical category of humanoids. Вообще психиатры очень невежественная, не задумчивая, циничная категория человекоподобных. And they are extremely despotic and overbearing. This is the catastrophe of our era.

    • There is some good research showing that the CONTENT of voices heard by people is dramatically affected by the attitude of the culture they are in. If the person lives in a culture that accepts or even values voice-hearing, the voices are more positive and encouraging. If the person lives in a culture that fears voice-hearing, the voices tend to be more destructive and hostile. How that is explainable by a disease model is beyond me! Though psychiatry has long since given up on actually evaluating data – it’s more of a religious practice at this point, so contrary data can safely be ignored.

  23. Psychiatrists are criminals, executioners. They kill people and call it healing. Those who fall under the psychiatric Moloch, ignored of psychiatrists can not. It is necessary to legally destroy the psychiatric trap. Without this, any criticism of psychiatry (excuse me) sounds hypocritical.

  24. I reject psychiatry outright. That is why I use antipsychotics. That is also why I accepted the invitation to the ghetto. They leave the door open but I wish to make it absolutely clear that I choose to remain here on my own terms. I have no fear of the world outside the ghetto. I mean, that is actually where I belong. I don’t understand why you can’t see that or why my decision to remain here and bellow and make a name for myself is essential. After all, my experience is universal. My demands are universal. My needs are universal.

    Fuck the open door! I will remain here and you will listen to me. I am beyond important. I am essential. If I wasn’t fundamental why do you think they would bring me here, and why do you think I would choose to remain here, despite the open door and the world outside?

  25. Hi Ekaterina, You said you had Chinese tea for a gastritis condtion and after that you didn’t sleep for eleven days and that is where it all started is that correct ? Do you know the name of this herb and were you under a lot of stress at this time….you know we had the financial crisis 10 years ago..was it around that time. Also were you taking any other prescription drugs even things like paracetamol or anything else for headache/migraine ?

  26. Thomas Sas
    The physician’s job, inter alia, is to help: cure disease with the consent of the patient. The judge’s job, inter alia, is to harm: punish lawbreaking without the consent of the defendant… Wardens who carry out sentences imposed by judges harm their prisoners, regardless of the outcome of the intervention. Psychiatrists who carry out sentences imposed by judges also harm their patients, regardless of the outcome of the intervention… The difference is that jailers do not claim to be their prisoners’ benefactors, whereas psychiatrists insist that they are the benefactors of their involuntary patients… Most persons experience their coerced psychiatric treatment as punishment. That is why psychiatrists insist that the persons subjected to psychiatric coercion are psychiatric patients, not psychiatric victims; that psychiatric coercion is treatment, not punishment; and that individuals who oppose their “benevolence” are wicked enemies of caring for the sick, not defenders of liberty and justice. He who controls the vocabulary controls social reality. The erosion of our liberties is not a mystery. Overwhelmingly, it is the result of the alliance between medicine and the state, intensifying people’s dependency on pharmacratic authority and psychiatric controls, fostering and fostered by a hyperinflationary definition of disease and treatment. When the government controls religion, not only religious liberty but all liberty becomes a chimera. When the government controls health, not only medical liberty but all liberty becomes a chimera

  27. Psychiatry in Russia

    Posts victims: .. And now imagine. You go into an institution to visit someone. Suppose you were allowed to go on an exceptional basis. A crowd of boys, six to ten years, surrounding you on all sides. Everyone wants your attention, everyone wants to speak – adult came. And one happily reports: “And here we give a pill.” What?
    – Chlorpromazine, phenazepam, haloperidol, and this … sonapaks parkopan.
    (Names clatter as rhyme)
    – Why give?
    – When we behave badly.
    – It’s like you’re driving yourself bad?
    – Well, fight, smoke, swear obscenities, educators rude someone …
    Boy about seven years. If it round the clock to keep under lock and key – he will try to get out at any cost.
    Will he answer back, be rude, fight not as we would like an adult? Just need to put yourself in his place.
    And everything becomes clear to ugliness. The actual scene in quite a decent psychiatric hospital for children. I mean that when it comes to the orphaned children, they are likely out of this circle is not freed. The gas chambers were merciful. The Nazis killed at least once, not tortured …

  28. …But the most terrible thing was chlorpromazine. The terrible effect can not be described. In what satanic laboratories was prepared this drug!? It was destroying the thinnest, most intimate strings of essence. Its action caused a complete rejection reaction. Every cell, every nerve were screaming with outrage. As long as overwhelming effect of chlorpromazine was manifesting, this reaction was completely suppressed. But as soon as this action is being weakened, the whole being is being filled with rage. But they were continuing to do chlorpromazine else and else.
    There was one nurse, very greedy and cynical. She was often substituting others and was on duty multiple shifts in a row. And in order that the duty roster would pass quietly she was doing chlorpromazine to all. She was getting this with different ways. At the beginning with help on duty doctors. There were a lot of young doctors. Basically women. With them she was in familiarly relationships. She was calling a doctor by phone, a doctor was coming and appointing chlorpromazine, even not seeing for whom she appoints. Then they ceased trouble oneself to arrive. They were assigning by a phone. Then and this turned out to be unnecessary. The nurse herself was doing chlorpromazine, and the appoint was being done after, backdating. Then others followed her example .
    And no salvation from this destruction remained…