I walked up to the hospital with my purse clutched to my side and a spring in my step.
My first day as a mental health counselor in inpatient psychiatry began with the disorienting orientation. My new supervisor was late—I would soon find she’d be late or absent for most of the orientation hours due to the predictably unpredictable chaos of the 5-South unit, my new workplace. Staring at our thumbs and reading half-assed packets on hospital policy, a new nurse and I sat in the dimly lit conference room and listened to the echoing screams of patients we would soon come to know as some of Methodist’s “frequent flyers” (a fun term used by staff to obliquely refer to Methodist’s impressive recidivism rates). We strained to make small talk. She was a seasoned nurse looking for a change of pace, or a something else, or maybe just weekend work. In the quiet of those first few hours on the job, I watched a slanted smile tuck into her cheek and her eyelids droop. I watched some dull recognition rise between the two of us as the minutes dripped on and we turned our cheeks toward a leaking faucet and peeling paint on the walls.
When she arrived, my supervisor was fairly convincing in her read-through of the rules and regulations, but I would soon come to recognize that this was all more of a formality. The real concern was making sure the right papers were signed and tucked away in my file on the off chance of any kind of administrative review. At first, I had my stupid purple pen and fresh notepad out on the table. I played attentive student until I realized it didn’t matter.
Before I knew it, I was on the floor for training.
I was thrown in to observe an admission. The new patient was a severely psychotic woman who looked into the air like it was teeming with ghosts. She called us witches and warlocks and vampires. She stomped and clapped. She was swiftly given medication. Before I knew it, she was locked behind a door. Behind her face pressed up against the glass I could see the darkened, stained window of the restraint room that seemed to forever look out over a stormy landscape. I wasn’t sure what to feel. Is this really what this place is for? I thought we didn’t isolate people. Is this the safest option for everyone? How do we know whether or not to give someone a chance? What other rules am I going to see off-handedly broken without discussion? My mind was racing. I kept moving.
Over the next few weeks I learned the ins and outs of the units and some extra tips and tricks from my coworkers:
Coffee goes out at 7:30am. Breakfast at 8am. Start the morning announcement with the date and remind the patients to recite it correctly to the doctor in order to look good. Because most people are seemingly held against their will, reinforce compliance. Tell them to shower and take medication so that they can leave. When they question this, reinforce compliance. Their only problem is that they don’t do what they’re told or don’t clean up well enough.
Remind them to stop by the nursing station right after breakfast. Medicate the anger you’ve elicited. Don’t offer other explanations or treatments. Presume every person’s goal is simply to get out. Obscure the fact that the staff just don’t want to deal with any of it anymore. Listen to the hum of the hallways when every patient has finally surrendered to the dull tick of sedatives in their blood. Comment on what a good day it is—don’t use the “Q” word (“Q” for Quiet: the presumed aim of treatment and a curse word that will summon the demons awake). No one is moving.
Get patients in and out of the place quickly. No need to talk to them too much when they come in; greet them with a beeping blood pressure machine and a scale. They’re crazy anyway, what do they know? Take away their things and strip them down to nothing. Presume the worst.
Assist with ADL’s (activities of daily living). In other words, if someone is starting to smell bad, threaten them with shots and apply the good ‘ol shower “bum rush” (a friendly way to refer to surrounding a person with multiple staff members, dragging them down the hallway, and throwing them into the shower room). When they get upset about the total violation of personal space and agency, never fear! You can just close the door and whip them with a towel.
Talk to patients if you have the time. Make sure you get something to document, especially if it means asking leading questions that irritate them into sounding crazier. Dismiss their concerns as symptoms which are meant to be eliminated. If they seem to be worse off as they walk confusedly out the door with a lopsided stride on the day of their discharge, don’t pay it too much mind. They’ll be back.
Most importantly, be ready for when things go wrong. As soon as someone starts raising their voice, ready the syringes and get your gloves on. Surround them. Grab the restraint bag. You never know what could happen. Ignore how they might be responding out of fear. Call the code. Drag the patient to the restraint room. Never mind that verbal deescalation training. We need to set an example. We don’t have time for this.
As I went through the training, I convinced myself that I was the newbie employee that just had to suck it up and learn the ropes. Yet, still, something about all this didn’t seem quite right to me. Wasn’t helping people get better what we were here for? By all accounts, it seemed some of the “procedures” I was witnessing might actually make someone worse off. The best outcome seemed to be getting people to sleep and stay in their rooms or stare blankly at the day room TV as if they were toddlers. By a few weeks in, I was already seeing familiar faces. I looked for some reassurance that someone in this place knew what they were doing. Surely the doctors would?
I remember one of my first encounters with the doctors at Methodist. I hear a raised voice down the hall, and rush over only to see a doctor huffing as he hurriedly exited a patient’s room. I learn that he was just sounding off his usual mantra: “Take your medication and don’t do this again! Once you take it, then you can leave.” “Your medication” here translates roughly to “the same five medications I give to every patient that walks in this door.” This treatment plan is ineffective and unethical, but upon mentioning this to a coworker I am told “there’s nothing we can do about it, it’s always been this way.” Another coworker considers his method “just really old school, you know?”
Well, that was one down. What about the others? Another doctor admits his greed openly and criticizes my plan to go to school for clinical psychology because “that’s not where the money is.” After a hasty and awkward lunch with me one afternoon, he stands abruptly and exclaims, “Time to go heal people!” before exiting the quaint hospital cafeteria. I almost choked on my carrots. The irony was not lost on me when he demanded the immediate (and totally uncalled for) restraint of a psychotic man with grandiose religious delusions who loudly questioned his legitimacy as a psychiatrist.
Some other psychiatrists only feel comfortable meeting with patients from behind the nursing station door, as if looking at them from across a fence. The meetings last seconds if they even happen that day. Patients are left stranded, walking the desolate hallways confused and heavily medicated. I come to dread talking to new patients only to hear that they haven’t seen a doctor in multiple days after entering the hospital in crisis. I realize quickly that the doctors are as equally lost as the rest of the staff.
The staff are poorly trained, overworked, underpaid, and severely burnt out. The few that seem to take pleasure in their work really just enjoy closing doors and yelling at patients in gross displays of their daddy issues. Others enjoy the endless attempt to keep the unit under control or the endless opportunity to blame this or that person or circumstance for their woe. Most of the staff fall back on the juicebox theory, the superstitious belief that the acuity of the unit can be effectively managed through ordering enough juice so no one has anything to complain about, in lieu of attempting therapeutic interventions. When this doesn’t work and a patient still is anything but comatose, ultimately patients are still easy scapegoats and fun to complain about! Don’t worry if a patient suffers from paranoid delusions and overhears you, of course.
The selection process for patients is often obscure. Details are missed. Patients come in that staff are unable to adequately take care of. Patients come in and there is lack of clarity about their history. It becomes apparent that the logic of the hospital is more of a numbers game than an issue of what is and is not therapeutic. Patients are locked in rooms without bathrooms only to end up shitting on themselves and the floors.
I am sick of it at this point. I reach out to the supervisors to address some of my quickly growing list of concerns. Even the cases of abuse and neglect I report are not taken seriously. My attempts to start up dialogue and address some of the issues are ignored and even seen as threatening. The first supervisor I talk to gives me a stony look and explains that she is going to tell the staff not to lock doors. The second tells me how “there are five types of patients in this hospital…” and “it just gets to you, to be called a fat bitch every day.”
I am soon after blamed for a large, martial arts-wielding patient ripping out a ceiling camera, because at some point in the day I attempt to talk to him rather than endorse another injection of Ativan that puts him into an enraged stupor. I am asked if I read his chart and knew his history of repeated hospitalizations. Internally I wonder why, by that logic, they don’t just put all of these people down. The machine keeps rolling.
I start to read medical literature about inpatient psychiatry and articles about the history of medicine. I am up late at night reading about corrupted inpatient psychiatry cultures and thinking about how right Foucault was. During the day, I’m observing myself as I hold patients down to get medication. I realize the issue is larger than just this strange, nightmarish hospital I work in. I am talking with friends who are in total shock at what I’ve been witnessing. Feeling aghast as the words for what I’ve seen come out of my mouth outside of those locked doors, I am in total shock with them. I am often more shocked by the negligence and cruelty of the staff than by the bizarre and violent behaviors of patients. I start to question my own morals. I start to think everyone in the hospital is insane. I start to wonder how I could be there.
A week after I start applying for other jobs, a staff member is severely injured while I’m working. There is blood on the floor and all over her pink button-up. The patient who assaulted her asks if he killed her and when he’ll be getting dinner all in one breath while lying in restraints.
I leave. There was nothing left to do but leave the place, report it, and never come back. Job schmob, I want to be alive.
The experience was a total wake-up call for me. I witnessed things at Methodist that were not only horrific but illegal. It was amazing and disgusting how normalized these practices had become. I not only had to confront the reality of poorly understood, nigh untreatable psychiatric conditions, but also of a hospitalization system with serious and devastating flaws. I felt immensely powerless and at times became so burnt out myself that I understood how my coworkers could end up so negligent, numb, and at times abusive. I understood how patients, on the other end, could become violent or self-injurious after years in these dismal hospitals.
Understanding the systemic issues or not, there was no excuse for what I witnessed. Any incident of violence, especially patient abuse and neglect, must be acknowledged as a total failure. Instead, I saw these incidents and behaviors accepted as routine. I met so many patients with histories of trauma who had been in and out of psych wards for years and just came to expect the mistreatment.
Now I’m left with a lot of questions. How do places like Methodist become possible? What is the real goal of inpatient psychiatric care? Especially for underserved populations, what is the difference between the “inpatient psychiatric unit” and a prison? How has an over-reliance on medication promoted unethical, weak medical practices and even compromised safety? And most importantly, are these places recreating the illnesses they purport to treat?
Editor’s Note: We have removed the author’s photo and full name at the author’s request.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
what is the difference between the “inpatient psychiatric unit” and a prison?
in “hospital” I had to say I was a smoker when I am not, to get any amount of daylight/outdoor time. In hospital I asked ” When am I getting out?” the response was “Soon, soon” unlike a fixed date for a crime. What was I guilty of? Where was my lawyer?
You start off your story with the story of a psychotic woman,
[The new patient was a severely psychotic woman who looked into the air like it was teeming with ghosts. She called us witches and warlocks and vampires.]
but you don’t speak of her history. Was she born psychotic? or was she made that way perhaps?
More drugs. More Drugs. More drugs. Rather than rational thought, rather than “This is a sever drug withdrawal”. Magical drugs that can only do good. It all starts from a lie that the drugs are fixing something.
“It is better one hundred innocent Persons should be found guilty and suffer (psychiatric drugs and psychiatric prison), than that one guilty Person should escape.” says Psychiatry.
This is the reverse of ” it is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer”said by Benjamin Franklin
“those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire, the French author, (1694 – 1778) https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/voltaire_118641
Yes. Psychiatric treatment is gas lighting at its finest.
If you aren’t crazy when you go in, don’t worry. You will be.
Absolutely true, Rachel777. Psychiatry is “gas lighting at its” most egregious, I’ll say. And gas lighting is “mental abuse,” not “mental health care.”
Better we collect $1200 a day in insurance money from 99 then just 1.
130.39 USD +3.42 (2.69%)
Jan 16, 1:40 PM EST
I was that woman during one of my hospitalizations. Before being injected they had be on “one on one” observation. There was a nurse dedicated to watching me. Did she attempt to talk to me? No. She just told me over and over again to stay in my room. I wasn’t worth talking to. My psychosis wasn’t important enough to be understood. I was probably a “drug addict” and didn’t deserve help in the first place (according to them, drug addicts are just as good and as entitled to help as anyone else, but that doesn’t change the fact that staff treats them with extra disdain).
This is often the case in medical hospitals also. I was a hospital chaplain and more than once ran into situations where some of the nurses on certain shifts on certain units would deny pain medications to people labeled as alcoholics. One case in particular sticks in my mind. I had a man on one of my units who was dying because his liver was disintegrating due to his heavy alcohol consumption. On the 11 to 7 shift the nurses would “forget” to give him his pain meds because they were judgmental concerning his alcoholism, even though he was literally screaming in pain. They never expected to see me on their shift and I caught them in their hypocritical, judgmental behavior and reported their behinds to the units nurse manager. A hospital is only as good as your nursing staff. Personal judgments have no place on hospital units.
The Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) was a 1971 social psychology experiment that attempted to investigate the psychological effects of perceived power, focusing on the struggle between prisoners and prison officers…
All I know is once they locked the door on me I hated those people and there was no undoing it. Lock door > strip search > threats if I didn’t go along with “squat and cough.” They call the strip search a ‘skin assessment’ they don’t care about your skin or any part of your physical health. Try and see a real doctor for physical health complaint, good luck to you. Unless they fear you might die in the place for real and getting sued.
Its the locked doors that do it, even if it wasn’t abusive and did not include coerced poll lobotomies backed up with threats of assaults and rapist style forced penetration with a needle full of drugs the locked door sets up the whole dynamic. You can’t leave and if you try they use violence on you.
In my medical records they called my reaction to the whole situation a “bipolar mixed episode” and then used it as proof I needed more of the mistreatment that caused me to think about nothing else but how much I hated those people. I went to the hospital on my own after doing a pretty bad job of self medicating a nervous breakdown with alcohol. Yes I screwed up and needed detox for a few days, quite embarrassing, and walked right in to that nightmare that made everything worse.
It was the threats to try and coerce pills that set me off more then anything. I was fine before my relapse on alcohol no need for starting the maximum dose of anti psychotics and a ‘mood stabilizer’ AND a dose of Haldol. I wasn’t just swallowing that crap then spending the rest of the day experiencing the effects on my mind and body.
Maybe I shouldn’t be typing this but I had a plan that if they assaulted me with the needle I was going to get a metal pipe and run up on the person that did it wile they were walking to there car when it was over after I left the hospital and swing it as hard as I possibly could and shatter their knee cap then run away. I did warn them anyone touches me I will retaliate on the outside. I believe in fair play. No one is allowed to miss treat me like that.
You should say this. You aren’t alone in your feelings. Many psychiatric patients who have been chemically or physically assaulted by staff feel this way. I am a little surprised that more nurses haven’t been followed as they left the hospital parking lot and then physically assaulted as they got out of their cars. Many of us family members and friends of patients who hear about this shit have fantasies of taking revenge for our loved ones who have suffered the way you have. We wouldn’t actually do it of course. That would be against the law.
Would you consider the locked door violence in and of itself?
Yes. I suspect the majority of patients can identify with even a small amount of fear and uncertainty (if not outright panic) when those industrial hospital doors slam shut and locked behind them, knowing they are now completely at the mercy of their treatment team. Those who go in voluntarily are desperately seeking “help” and “help” begins with stripping the patient of agency, human rights, and dignity. Control begins with dehumanization.
For the parents reading this, your child will almost certainly be strip searched “for their safety”. They may be forced to undergo a sexual abuse screening, with or without law enforcement in the room, and you don’t have to be told that a strange doctor will be examine your daughter’s vagina without your consent. Even if they don’t undergo a full penetrative medical exam with law enforcement in the room, children are often still made to bend over and “spread em” like adult criminals entering prison. I have been exposed to these dehumanizing sexual assaults on both juvenile and adult units. Your daughters may not forgive you for this, fair warning.
They have to lock the units because 100% of everyone wants to go home and shower after they’ve been strip searched by strangers in the name of “help”. Strip searches are disturbingly common, with more or less dignity offered depending on how burnt out or sadistic the staff on duty happen to be.
Your post made me think about a lot of things concerning the state “hospital” where I work. At one time it was not a locked facility except for the forensic units. People were allowed to continue going to work or school and they came back at night. People could go to the bench overlooking a main street and smoke and some even went down to the bar not far from the “hospital” and drank a couple of beers in the afternoon. The interesting thing is that people didn’t try to escape or run off like they constantly do now. Then, an unfortunate accident happened involving a “mental patient” and the place became a lock down facility. It’s interesting that, in many ways, the “hospital” was a much better place back then than it is now even though there’s all this talk of “evidence based treatment” and the like. Now it is much like you describe and the powers that be will state that “treatment” is so much better now than it was in the old days!
Hey, it scared me as a “mental health professional” when the big steel door locked behind me! The locked psych ward was a scary place, every one I visited.
“Your daughters may not forgive you for this, fair warning.” And your sons who will be subject to genital manipulation by male or female guards… sorry, “nurses” who do it to assert control and assure themselves of “no drama” on the ward. Are males inherently immune to such sexual abuse? Hell no. Us guys suffer as much as the females. We’re just taught by society to suck it up. F that!
Thank you for your willingness to witness and share this powerful personal story of your experience. Patient and family stories stories are easily dismissed as anecdotes, one offs. And patient groups are so often split into the good vs bad patients, with the implication that harsher treatment for the bad patients is more acceptable or somehow less illegal. It’s so important, for change to occur, that the professional staff witnessing these abuses speak up and voice the outrage these injustices should elicit in all who hear about them. Your courage is commendable.
“Internally I wonder why, by that logic, they don’t just put all of these people down.”
Let’s not forget the Nazi Aktion T4 program which did exactly that at a time when forced sterilization of “defectives” was the law in the United States. No one should fool themselves into thinking these things can’t happen again.
“professional staff witnessing these abuses speak up” No, record it on video and put it on YouTube with the hospital name as the title and also send it off to every news outlet you can.
“record it on video ”
If you can record abuse (1) on video and get it out (2), I am sorry but most everyone will not care, so don’t go to the trouble.
Many “normal” people hate the mentally ill. They actually believe there is a difference between people because someone (professional) told them so.
But there are assholes https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/539495/dwarf-neighbours-misery-asbo
Put it on Youtube AFTER the patient is safely out of the unit, or distribute it to news channels if the patient is still detained. Anyone making my life harder and abuse more likely by disturbing the doctors outside of legal assistance won’t be welcome in my life. I’ve had people on the outside try to “help” when I was being given a toxic dose of lithium. All it did was get me transferred and that person barred from contacting me so that they had to start using an alias to get letters through.
Family can really make life difficult for patients on the inside if they are wreckless with their attempts to “help”. I’d rather have no help at all.
I did have a boyfriend sneak in an iPhone to me on a unit once. This would be a good tactic for families wanting to help because the patient can surreptitiously record when visitors aren’t on the unit, when staff aren’t on their best behavior. Most hospitals have wifi that visitors can access so even a phone without a SIM chip can be used to upload videos to the internet. In cases of current ongoing abuse, this may work better than just using hidden cameras alone and will bolster any legal case.
I always think that these kinds of tactics need to be carefully thought through on an individual basis to prevent further institutional harm coming to the patient the family or friends are trying to assist.
You can also cause a hospital to lose it’s Medicare funding by appealing Medicare payment and using videos of abuse as evidence.
It won’t do any good to sneak a phone in to someone on the units because they do periodic room checks where they go through everyone’s things and search for contraband. And even if the person was able to keep the phone on them all the time they would eventually be reported to the staff by one of the other patients. There is no privacy on the units; anything you try do is eventually seen by other patients, or everyone hears about it. There are no such things as secrets on the units.
Sorry, I was thinking that you meant “patients” could secret phones or cameras. In the place where I work you can’t have a phone on the units and if you’re caught with yours you can be fired.
Stephen, you’re right in that patients and families should be aware of the particular unit’s search policies – both of rooms and bodies. I managed to hide my phone for several weeks on that unit. Other units I would surely not have risked it due to stricter policies and more intrusive searches. This was at a private hospital where visitors could actually go into patient rooms, so it had a much more lax set of policies.
There are units that actually allow cell phones, which I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t been told by a patient who’d been there and then looked it up. And there are even those bizarre units that allow internet access to the patients. Shocking, I know.
I’ve been on a wide spectrum of units and there were places I wouldn’t have dared risked breaking the rules. I’ve been instate hospitals where the patient life was pretty decent with sports teams and an ice cream parlor and movie theatre off unit. Other states hospital psych units look much more like a prison dormitory than a mental health unit.
And as far as patients narking on you, that also has a lot to do with the general attitude of the milieu. There’s less tendency for patient solidarity on units with high turnover. But I’ve been a couple places that had longer term stays and there can be a surprising amount of patient solidarity and people looking out for each other.
A lot of these things are highly variable depending on locale. On one longer term unit I was on, a prized nurse who everyone loved was seriously injured by a patient and that patient found themself extremely isolated and unprotected quite suddenly. There is often a secret society in units that even the staff are unaware of what’s going on underneath. Most times, in my personal experience, patients don’t get snitched on unless the person snitching is looking for favors (like a way out) or the person who is snitched on has harmed another patient. It’s not a lot different from the prison underworld.
You do bring up a good point in that people need to be careful to know what things they do could potentially harm them.
Sounds like a SUPER healthy environment! Especially for people who are anxious or paranoid – to actually spy on them and reinforce their sense of insecurity? Brilliant plan. But I guess “normal” people don’t mind being spied on…
Someone was almost fired for secretly giving me a pen to draw and write with. He told me to keep it on me 24-7 and not let anyone see me with it or especially let another patient get it. A social worker saw me with it and took it away from me. I wouldn’t tell them who it was but I think they figured it out. I can’t imagine what would happen to a staff member who let a patient have a phone!
However, staff was allowed to have phones on the unit usually. The nice ones played music. There was always a couple of really nice staff members, and they are amazing people. To be a good person and continue to work in such a horrible place, witnessing atrocities every day, but staying there to help. That is aspiring. I drew pictures of every nurse practitioner that was good to me. I will treasure their memories and the hope in humanity they gave me at the most critical moments.
However, during my third hospitalization, I did not have such a staff member. Nothing is harder than going it alone in there. That was my most critical hospitalization and no one was there for me. I was completely alone.
Taking and posting a video yourself would violate HIPPA and you would likely go to jail. I suppose you could try blurring out their faces, but it is still hazy. And if the hospital can prosecute you they will do everything in their power to do so (and keep any other videos from ever surfacing).
I think security video cameras in jails and hospitals should be monitored by a third party outside of the hospital.
They probably found out who gave you the pen because they most likely had cameras and audio 24/7. Someone spent a lot of time going back through the films until they nailed the frame where the pen was given to you. Staff where I work would also be fired for giving you a pen. And you are absolutely correct about the HIPPA violation. You would at least get a very hefty fine if not jail time.
Everything that you state here is correct from what I experienced as a “patient” on the unit and now as a staff of that “hospital”. My place has so many cameras it’s unbelievable and the audio is good enough to hear a pin drop, literally. The one good thing that’s come out of having the surveillance is that we’ve been able to catch staff who were abusive to people. We don’t have much physical abuse, almost none that I can ferret out, but the verbal abuse is much more difficult to catch and the system pins that down perfectly now. The staff who were once predatory on the people in the units has dropped significantly. Such staff are prosecuted and many end up in jail. You can’t catch everyone right away but we do catch them.
One other thing that I find interesting is that our police force, and we have a real police force trained for the “hospital” itself are often the most loved and appreciated staff in the entire hospital because of their attitudes and training. Most of the people on the units really appreciate them. I can remember late one night when I was a “patient” and ready to go off when they called one of the policemen on duty and had him to sit down and talk with me about why I was angry. He was very appropriate and helpful to me. Some of the best “treatment” comes from the police women and men and certainly not from the psychiatrists.
I also agree that there should be an outside party to watch the video cameras.
Sounds like they should keep the hospital police and get rid of the “mental health professionals!”
Remember the good people and be sure to thank them. This helped boost my morale during my stays. (Never was involuntary–unless you count the fact that I was deceived into thinking I needed THEIR help.)
I agree, kindredspirit, “It’s so important, for change to occur, that the professional staff witnessing these abuses speak up and voice the outrage these injustices should elicit in all who hear about them. Your courage is commendable,” Jessica.
Although, YouTube videos are good too, The_cat and oldhead.
You wrote “Nazi Aktion T4 program … sterilization of “defectives” … can’t happen again.”
It is happening right now. The psych drugs mess with both the pleasure perception in the brain and the sexuality of males/females.
Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction https://rxisk.org/post-ssri-sexual-dysfunction-pssd/
Drugs commonly used to treat schizophrenia https://www.cochrane.org/CD003546/SCHIZ_management-of-sexual-problems-due-to-antipsychotic-drug-therapy
Males growing breasts https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385759/
The Effects of Antipsychotics on Prolactin Levels and Women’s Menstruation https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260063403_The_Effects_of_Antipsychotics_on_Prolactin_Levels_and_Women's_Menstruation
Indeed, the psychiatric profession learned less than zero from their crimes of the Nazi era. So they are in the process of repeating the worst of history, thus we are living through another psychiatric holocaust of innocents, as well.
And it’s mostly children, particularly child abuse survivors. How sick and evil can the psychiatric industry get?
Good point, Markps2, thanks.
Psychiatry is rooted in eugenics. Not just racism (that part is underground now) but the idea that some people are of “Criminal Stock” and must be eliminated fro the gene pool and monitored for crimes they are sure to commit.
The concept of “mental illness” is not so much cognitive impairment as what could be called moral defects or bad habits. (According to shrinks’ bias of course.)
They see the “SMI” as born evil. The psychiatrist is the doctor of society rather than the individuals he “treats.” It’s not about helping THEM at all. They’re cancer he tries to remove from the body of society at large. They’re the roaches and he views himself as the exterminator.
Dirty Harry in a lab coat. “You’re the disease. I’m the cure. Do ya feel lucky punk?”
The psychiatrist wants to be a (real) doctor, a hero that removes disease.
The disease is a non-physical idea.
“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” http://www.thisdayinquotes.com/2010/02/it-became-necessary-to-destroy-town-to.html
Non physical ideas. The “mental illness” exists as an idea in the imagination of the shrink. Physician heal thyself!
Labels of antisocial personality disorder and sociopathy were used to push three strikes laws and lifetime incarceration for criminals, to label them as super predators. Using labels such as SMI to permanently imprison in a psychiatric unit or civally commit someone to treatment in the community is just the logical extension of ideas American society already holds about the genetic nature of behavior. It’s the same “bad blood” tactic used against the Tuskegee Syphilis patients.
Oh I got a great idea I wanted to share just in case I don’t get around to this creative project. I think it would be great if we pointed out the similarities between psychiatry and some religions. As far as I can tell many psychiatrists are super atheistic and may be deeply bothered by the comparison. I think pseudoscience may be giving them too much credit. Doctors also curse patients and don’t realize it (nocebo effects), it’s a very traditional magic thing to do. There’s many things you could point out. I liked the idea of comparing the 15 minute psychiatry visit to confession.
Curses from the DSM book of incantations aka “diagnoses.” The magical potions are their SSRI’s, neuroleptics, and tranquilizers. The amulet of ultimate power would be the electroshock machine!
(BTW, the ancient religions frequently had mind altering drugs for religious ceremonies.)
It has been shown in brain scans that what they call PTSD causes changes to the brain. Psychosis may have done the same to mine. I believe the longer I have between “psychotic breaks” my brain goes back to normal and reverses the physical changes. As what they call “Schizophrenics” have different brains as well.
Their brains literally melt. Is that because of their so called disorder, or the medications they are on? If it is something that happens regularly, why don’t they work to take people off their medications to avoid such damage just in case?
That schizophrenia program RAISE has a goal to get a person to recover fully without ever needing medication again. That program should be everywhere. Why isn’t it? Money. Likely, the same reason why there is no cure for cancer.
I don’t know for sure, but I believe the medications I am on are helping me avoid psychotic breaks. Mostly, sleep deprivation quickly causes me to go into severe “psychosis.” Staying on my drug regiment has kept me sleeping 8 hours or more a night for the past year almost entirely. That is life changing for me in a positive way – for now.
I only take bipolar related medications before sleeping at night. When I took them in the morning I couldn’t function. No one could have functioned at the dosages I was on. Which means I couldn’t return to full-time work. Working full-time also keeps me present mentally in day to day life and helps me avoid “psychosis.”
When they kept me on a morning dose of medications for a year, I could not function at all. They took another year away from my recovery when they did that, and they did so for money. I asked every appointment: “I can’t work. I need to change my medications so I can work!” And the doctor would say to me, “Just a little longer. You don’t want to go back to a mental hospital, do you?”
Treatment was always forced with threats.
I went back three times anyways. Because I was unable to work and keep my mind out of so called “delusions.”
I pray everyday that I will be able to go off medications someday and sleep on my own again. I may have a “bipolar brain” right now, but someday I won’t have it again.
I had incredible difficulty sleeping consistently in high school, which was the only reason why I did poorly. I believe that was due to the environment I was in. I’ve feared for my life my entire life. Except between the ages 18-21 when I slept consistently on no medications whatsoever. Which is why I know I am capable of not living on them now.
With my husband, I feel safe again. I hope I will be able to sleep again now. The constant nightmares are tiresome though.
As far as psychotic disorders – were those people born with those brains or forced into them? I think the latter is the truth. And that anyone diagnosed with one of these “mental disorders” can completely recover from them. Telling them that they must be medicated for the rest of their lives is also a crime. Telling people their brains are inherently bad is a crime.
People can’t stand the medication. But they can’t stand “psychosis.” When they are told the only way to ever function is medication and they will never fully recover – they kill themselves. There is no hope. I wanted to die.
I am aware I have a different brain. I can draw anything from my imagination. I can write entire books in a couple of weeks. I started a business with no help that at one point was worth a million dollars. I love my brain. I miss my brain. I will get my brain back, just the way God made it for me.
The brains of people who’ve been labeled as “schizophrenic” are no different from those not so labeled……until they are given the neuroleptics. Psychiatrists stated that peoples’ brains were shrinking because of the “illness” and this is why you had to get people on the drugs as soon as you could. But one of their very own did a study which proved that it was the neuroleptics that were doing the shrinking. Her name is Nancy Andreasen and she is the godmother of biopsychiatry. She did a study and the results said the culprit is the drugs. She thought she’d messed up the study so she did it all over again and got the same results. She then sat on the results for two years before finally publishing them. So….people with “schizophrenia” don’t have shrinking brains because of the “illness” but because of the very “treatment” that supposedly heals the “illness”, but of course we all know that this doesn’t happen. They don’t heal anything but they do cause a great deal of damage and they ruin peoples’ lives. There are also animal studies that show that the drugs shrink brains. These drugs are not useful for anything else except controlling behavior. They have always been and will always be tranquilizers that control behavior but do not cure a supposed “illness”.
Also, the changes that trauma causes to a person’s brain have nothing to do with “chemical imbalances” but with the way that the brain tries to deal with things.
Again, we know from scientific research that meditation can change the actual structure of the brain – MENTAL activity can restructure the brain! So to suggest that fixing the brain can fix the mind seems to fly in the face of evidence that it is the mind (whatever that is) that affects the brain, or that at a minimum, it’s a two-way street.
Abrianna, have you ever had a sleep study for the doctors to evaluate your sleep architecture and efficiency? I took ambien every night from 2002-2011 until I was finally diagnosed with sleep apnea. The last ambien I took was the night before I started using my CPAP machine. It turns out that waking dozens of times a night because you’re not breathing, and having your blood oxygen dip below 80 during sleep is really really bad for your brain and mental functioning. A lot of people have sleep apnea and do not know it or think it’s something only overweight people get but that’s simply not true.
So what my doctors called insomnia and treated with a drug was actually a medical condition endangering my life. Now I tell everyone who has sleep issues that it’s worth getting evaluated for actual medical cause instead of just covering symptoms with drugs.
Your experiences mirrors my own. I logged hundreds of hours as a visitor and I witnessed ‘bum rushes’ I witnessed one male patient being stalked by three male staff members in a manner that was incomprehensible and irrational. Have you ever been in a line at a grocery story and there is a mom swatting her kid for misbehavior in a manner that could be called compulsive, as if she is in a trance? And everyone in the store who witnesses this abusive behavior knows that it is not only mean but its irrational because the kid keeps acting up and the mom keep reacting as if both are locked in a vicious cycle? And everyone in the store is embarrassed but no one will say anything? This is how I feel about psychiatric abuse and oppression. Family members and allies of feel cowed by the prospect of relating authentically what they observe at these places.
My loved one was hospitalized more times than I can remember. The conditions are what you describe everywhere I visited her, including a the private hospital called Sacred Heart hospital in Eugene, Oregon and Oregon State Hospital. Yes, as my husband reminds me constantly, there were staff members who were kind and had their humanity in tact, but these single people could not make up for the cruelty that is baked into the system.
I know from experience that criticism from an outsider can result in even worse treatment and ‘retaliation’ against a patient, leading to progressively more serious labels, more forced drugging, more restraints, and the likelihood that they will be moved to a more restrictive facility or their discharge date will prolonged indefinitely, until individuals lose all sense of personal agency and hope . The mental health system in my community successfully cowed my daughter and our entire family into a type of hopelessness that we are trying to heal from together as a family.
Treatment by force in big box institutions needs to be called out and named for what it is: abuse, pure and simple. Psychologists and counselors, including those in private practice cannot treat victims of psychiatric fraud and abuse. The treatment for victims of treatment by force isn’t medical, its called restorative justice. My daughter has a complicated relationship with hospitals now. She thinks that she needs to be in a hospital anytime she experiences uncomfortable feelings, voices, or conflict. After years of hospitalizations and treatment by force, it is hard for individuals and families to break free of this co dependency and regain a healthy sense of outrage for how they were harmed, let alone get to a place where they can organize and advocate for change without fear of retaliation.
Restorative justice will help individuals and families tap into the inner voice that never went away, the voices that are silienced but never stopped saying ‘This is wrong!” “This is a horrible way to support people in distress!” “Labeling and forcibly drugging people is wrong!” “Isolating people even more who are already marginalized in society by secluding them in cells and restraining then is idiotic and cruel!”
You too, take video of these ‘bum rushs’ and put it on YouTube with the hospital name as a title. For some reason YouTubers love violent videos and they often go viral.
Sounds like a great plan in theory but in practice when you come to visit people where I work in a state “hospital” you must leave everything in your pockets and your purse in a locker before you’re allowed to go back to visitation. So, unless you’re hiding a tiny camera on yourself there’s no way to get any photos for documentation. You must even walk through a metal detector.
Ok. I see where you’re coming from.
I know that some hospitals are currently looking into actually buying metal detectors and installing them for emergency room or confined areas.
I can see some good use for this but also can get annoying. Do you think this invades privacy a little too much? Maybe depends on the situation!
If you get caught with a camera, as I did once in the same state hospital that Stephen Gilbert works at, you stand the risk of being blacklisted. I’ve smuggled in a smart phone twice so my daughter could access her email. Both times we were caught resulting in a warning. Failure to heed a warning can result in being forbidden to enter the facility again. Think about that. If you have a loved one in a facility, you will not be able to see them for what could be an entire year or even longer.
Disgusting! They are residents and should have the right to make phone calls and whatever else residents do. They aren’t supposed to be in prison, but apparently, they are.
They should sit people in a room and give them access to their phone individually for at least 15 minutes once a day. That could be the difference between someone being fired or not. Losing property or not. Losing pets or not. There is no excuse to not offer that to patients, and they don’t offer it anywhere. Yeah there is a risk they will break their own phone, but it isn’t very likely and why do you care if they do? The reason why phones aren’t allowed is both HIPPA and other patients becoming jealous. There are ways around it! But they don’t care.
It isn’t actually because of HIPPA, thought a lot of hospital administrators hide behind that excuse. There are units, few and far between, that allow patients more freedoms, such as phone use and internet access. MacLean in Massachusetts has some rather liberal rules on phone and internet access, for example. At least on some units.
Did you know that there are unlocked units for celebrities and people who can afford to cash pay? Right smack in the middle of otherwise entirely locked psychiatric hospitals, there are units that treat you humanely if you can afford it. The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore is one such unit.
One of the issues is insurance regulations. For insurance to pay, your stay must be medically necessary. If you are stable enough that you can walk out safely and be trusted, insurance doesn’t consider you sick enough to pay for your treatment. Once again, capitalism is the underlying mechanism used to justify these practices, not privacy.
The cat and Someone else
Why haven’t people done so already? Making YouTubes and speaking up, etc. Perhaps they’re afraid of reprisals?? I would be!!
Ok this is my last comment. I don’t want to think about this anymore. I got other things to do.
We are talking about defending loved ones from the most horrific abuses imaginable, the stuff of nightmares, if the law won’t help I don’t see anything morally wrong with taking it to the next level with anonymous threats and actual violence. Serous shit here.
Be nice to my loved one because next time they are abused you won’t make it home from work alive. Have a nice day.
When you take the law into your own hands with vigilante justice, you deprive the harmed patient the right to face their abuser in a court of law. You are no longer your patient’s advocate. You’re a criminal. I know some people can’t understand this concept and the actions of those few cause a lot more regulatory harm to come to patients as a result.
I wish someone felt like that for me.
“The treatment for victims of [forced psychiatric] treatment … isn’t medical, its called restorative justice … Restorative justice will help individuals and families tap into the inner voice that never went away, the voices that are silenced but never stopped saying ‘This is wrong!’ ‘This is a horrible way to support people in distress!’ ‘Labeling and forcibly drugging people is wrong!’ ‘Isolating people even more who are already marginalized in society, by secluding them in cells and restraining them is idiotic and cruel!’
I agree, madmom. Especially since all the doctors, the psychiatrists included, are raping our entire economy for their malpractice insurance. Justice is the cure for injustice.
Excellent and powerful.
“During the day, I’m observing myself as I hold patients down to get medication.”
For some reason, this sentence is particularly painful to read. Dissociation and post traumatic stress on both ends, wow. This field is healthful for absolutely no one.
“I leave. There was nothing left to do but leave the place, report it, and never come back.”
I’d say that’s the thing to do. Smart self-care, and you are not enabling this fiasco. Glad you reported it.
Abusers and power mongers are covering for their obvious extreme incompetence. Being burnt out means there is no self-care. This is sheer madness. But we know that already, don’t we?
How can “reform” even be entertained at this point, when clearly, the insane are running the asylum?
A sane confession that “the insane are running the asylums,” was my initial takeaway from reading Jessica’s piece too, Alex. Thank you for sharing your story, Jessica.
And it’s also my personal belief, in general, about forced psychiatric treatment. After being force treated for a non-existent “chronic airway obstruction” that magically turned into “bipolar.” By this now FBI convicted criminal doctor, and his psychiatric “snowing” partner in crime, who has yet to be arrested.
At least pretty much all who’ve dealt with this not yet arrested, criminal psychiatrist, agree with me that she’s a piece of greed only inspired sh-t, according to patient reviews.
I know we like to say that it’s “the institution” which is the problem, which is not a false statement by any stretch–the institution of “mental health/psychiatry” is corrupt and based on socially biased mythology and harms more people than not.
However, it seems from pieces like this, and based on what many of us have experienced, that a lot of the people who are employed within this insitution are downright dangerous, to the point of being sadisitic. Maybe some are numb due to their need for income, but still, these are acts of sadism. The last psychiatrist I ever saw acted just like a sadist, which is why I finally jumped tracks after that experience to find real healing, as opposed to further injury.
“Reform” would mean prohibiting acts of sadism toward clients, but if that actually has to be stated, then the institution is beyond redemption. There is no reform when sadism is part of the picture. More worms than apples in that barrel.
Daycares have to be careful screening out pedophiles since they want to work there. Likewise heartless sadists thrive on settings like locked mental wards.
Unfortunately the brutality of the latter qualifies as “standard care” most often.
Imagine being asked during a job interview, “Would you be willing to hold someone down to force them into a ‘treatment’ to which they vehemently object because it feels painful and harmful to them? Because that is standard care and it happens a lot around here and it is what we will expect from you.”
If you say no, you do not get the job. If you say yes, well, that speaks for itself.
The only difference between a pedophile and a heartless sadist afflicting abuse to patients who can’t escape is the choice of victim. Both victims are in a position of trusting their caretakers and having that trust violated.
And what motivates such sadistic actions? I think this is one way staff inflict their rage onto vulnerable clients. The psych industry is filled with people who said, “No, I don’t mind doing that.”
KS, I heartily agree. For the second class of victims though certain levels of abuse are standard “care” and therefore acceptable. They have less legal recourse because of this. Like children, the “MI” will not be believed so they make easy prey.
A lot of friends who think psychiatry is great still find horror stories of rape, physical blows, and theft believable. It stands to reason. These people are kindly but think “meds” work and chemical imbalances are scientifically proven facts. Can’t convince them to read anything to the contrary. 🙁
Alex, I think it helps to separate the institution from the individual and also to divorce the ideas of good and bad from being all encompassing. In my experience, otherwise good people do bad things pretty much all the time, white lies, speeding, not telling a store clerk they’ve given you too much change, etc. Humans have a remarkable capacity for justifying harmful behaviors when they think it “isn’t so bad”. And so then it becomes a matter of judging the individual, their motives, and the degree of harm they caused rather than classifying entire groups of people as being all bad. We can separate the evil of the institution of psychiatry without tarnishing all of its unwitting participants as evil.
Let’s remember that most of the people employed in the industry started out with good intentions and many probably are not internally saying “I’m okay with hurting this patient”, but probably saying internally “this really sucks but the patient will be better off drugged/treated even if forcefully”. We all have an internal narrative.
In some ways it’s like the parent who hits their child in the mistaken belief that it’s instilling long term positive values. And the majority of parents who hit their children admit to going too far on occasion out of anger. The whole idea of this is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you is probably at play here in explaining why more people don’t necessarily see their actions as abusive even if they wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end.
And I also suspect that fear of reprisal, fear of loss of status, loss of career, etc, very human things to tackle with, keep a lot of good people from speaking out.
Let’s remember that whistleblowers are not generally treated very well in this era. The author of this blog has risked her career to speak up. That should come with accolades, but could very well result in extreme loss of income, loss of professional status, professional censureship, and targeting as potentially mental.
Rachel, you’re correct that much of the abuses are incorporated into acceptable standard of care.
When I was five, my genitals were examined by a physician under the direction of my court ordered psychotherapist. Her name was Michelle Zimmerman and as an aside she was famous for her participation in The Little Rascals daycare pedophile case, all of whom were accused maintained their innocence, and many of the children she questioned later recanted or said they’d been led to their statements with her method of questioning.
She very much hurt me because for one thing, here were the good guys touching my genitals in a way that sent my brother to jail. How is a five year old supposed to square these things as okay in one case and abuse in another? But I believe that an awful lot of people would defend the sexual exams of minors as a necessary evil in the collection of evidence of a possible crime. THIS is how good people are led to unwittingly do harm and then even if they do realize they’ve done harm, it still takes an extraordinary strength of chafacter to face that and publicly push for change.
I consider the sexual exam I had in the hospital emergency room when I ran away to be nothing more than medically sanctioned rape. Would everyone?
These are extreme examples but I believe they are good examples of how things that are meant to help inadvertently cause a great deal of harm.
I agree, KS, that we are all human and have the capacity to justify our behaviors under any circumstances. We’ve all made mistakes and misjudgments and will continue to do so, as long as we’re human. We also have the capacity to learn and grow from all of it, that is also a universal human quality, I believe.
Although when someone says, “You are hurting me!” outright, and the behavior continues, then what, exactly, could possible be an acceptable justification?
Some would say, “I’m so sorry, not my intention! Let’s not do that again…or…let’s try another way” (if that’s relevant).
But to say, “I am not! You are lying,” or “you are imagining that,” or “you are being manipulative,” or “you just want attention,” or simply continue while coldly disregarding screams and protests, blaming that on something being “wrong” with the individual–and therefore using THAT as justification without batting an eyelash–then that is a human of a different frequency (so to speak), if you ask me.
Is there a deep-seated wound way down in there somewhere? I’d say yes there must be, in order to justify causing others such obvious pain. So compassion would be in order. And one can have compassion with anger, that’s not at all antithetical.
Will they justify their behavior? Every day, 24/7.
Are they human? Yes, of course, we all are.
Is this a toxic situation based on oppressive power dynamics supported by mainstream thinking? Unequivocally, imo.
“We can separate the evil of the institution of psychiatry without tarnishing all of its unwitting participants as evil.”
I’m not calling any individuals “evil.” The institution? Yes, corruption is bad enough, but this level of deception and harm to people who are, in all reason based on propaganda, expecting healing and support, and then making TONS of $$ due to all this, is the closest thing I can think of to “evil” on the planet.
I call it institutional vampirism, and I think that is precise, not at all an exaggeration. This institution sucks energy from society in so many ways. We want light, not this utter darkness.
And while certainly not everyone in any system is abusive—in fact, it can be a minority, like maybe a main abuser who has risen to the top by railroading everyone in their path, or an oligarchy of abusers—they have to be held up by enablers. Witnessing abuse and seeing it as abuse AND not reporting it, is enabling it. What else can it be? Lying about it to save your own ass (“no, that’s not what I saw”) is yet even more profound enabling, that’s actually being an accomplice, I think. I don’t know, splitting hairs here. None of it is helpful to people and only keeps them in a chronic state of injury.
Yes, it can be justified in so many ways. “I’ll lose my job; I’ll get scapegoated; it’s futile, no one will listen; they’ll come after me,” and on and on. Doesn’t matter, it’s still enabling, and there are fears to face here. It’s the personal growth we all face in life from time to time. Change will require this from everyone.
Right now that’s the crazy-ass double-binding gaslighting world we live in, but we are looking to change this, and it will take a great deal of courage from everyone involved.
There is absolutely no excuse for abuse, in my book. Self-defense is one thing, but aggressive invasion of personal boundaries without invitation is where it begins. No means no, period. Everyone should have the right to say “no,” and that is so not the case in psychiatry, which is what needs to change. Where did a person’s right to say “no” go to here?
And victims of abuse need allies they can trust, not more enablers of an abusive system. That would bring a core shift to the system, were the enablers to stop enabling.
“…many probably are not internally saying “I’m okay with hurting this patient”, but probably saying internally “this really sucks but the patient will be better off drugged/treated even if forcefully”.
The latter is a false belief. If they really feel the patient will be better off, then frankly, I’m sure that the patient is better off without that person having any power over them whatsoever. That is a dangerous belief! Isn’t that one of the things on which we call out psych industry all the time? I’ve seen the following C.S Lewis quote on here often—
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
Moral busybodies indeed! That is a perfect phrase in this case, fits to a tee.
“Let’s remember that whistleblowers are not generally treated very well in this era. The author of this blog has risked her career to speak up. That should come with accolades, but could very well result in extreme loss of income, loss of professional status, professional censureship, and targeting as potentially mental.”
Yes, I relate to this. I had the exact same experience. Mine was about 15 years ago, so I’ve had the post-journey to this and did a lot of healing and self-reflection based on my experience of blowing the whistle on discrimination, abuse, and corruption. It has rewards and it has consequences. I’ve learned a lot about what happens to whistleblowers, from my lived experience of it. Not pretty! But seriously enriching and fulfilling. No doubt about that.
I support whistleblowers hardily and heartily, and can be supportive of that process, what occurs once you blow the whistle publically. It’s transformational. Faith and trust is vital.
The woman that did this, in her zealous hunt for child molesters, caused her very young patients to be further molested by medical doctors, including me. My exam was preceded by a sunburn on my face, despite telling her I had helped my dad build a fence and my face was peeling from a sunburn (and, you know, we had a new fence as evidence to show for it), she believes instead that this is evidence that my face has been beaten, and takes it upon herself with zero judicial oversight, to have my private parts examined by a medical doctor unbeknownst to my parents. After writing all of this out, I’m no longer convinced she ever had good intentions, but she clearly had an agenda to get people convicted for child molestation, by any means necessary.
I know she hurt me and lots of other kids, and I know she hasn’t paid for it. That was 1985, And the people involved later in the little rascals case lost years of their life in prison due to her, only later to have all of their convictions tossed because of her fraud.
Some of you are old enough to remember this case as a national scandal in the early 90s. Do you support doctors physically examining small children’s genitals? If we’re going to talk about necessary evils and people doing things that harm thinking they’re helping, let’s do it.
I don’t believe the people causing this harm, even Michelle Zimmerman herself, had the idea that they were causing harm, and even if they did, they’d probably say it was in my best interest. And I think a lot of people would back them up, saying an exam for evidence of sexual molestation was simply a necessary evil and not an institutional harm.
Alex, I don’t disagree with any of what you wrote there. And of course, don’t misunderstand me. Humanizing someone complicit in oppressive (or criminal) behavior doesn’t amount to excusing their behavior. It’s simply a gentle reminder of why we don’t want to be just like them by feeding our human lust for vengeance.
While activism can be fueled by vengeance, it isn’t necessarily so. When I went to EEOC, it was not to be vindictive, it was to stand up for myself and demand my rights as an individual of this society. When I made my film, Voices That Heal, it was not out of vindication, it was to speak my truth and to give a platform for others to do the same, to help inform and illuminate the public of these issues, while attemping to dialogue with “the system.” (that last goal was never met, of course, AT ALL COST by anyone in the system–lesson #1!).
With that said, I can totally feel vindictive when I think about all the abuse I took without even realizing that this is what was happening, but I do not act on it, at least not intentionally. Sometimes, I have to really ask myself before taking an action and I do some reflecting here before acting or speaking impulsively, and that is helpful for me to discern my true motivation.
But instead, what I opt for is to speak my truth based on experience, as clearly and directly as I can, while walking my talk. (That’s important, to avoid cognitive dissonance from this process, which is all-too-common). Not as vindication, but as a way to bring the truth to light. I believe I am speaking a truth which many people feel. Nothing wrong with that. I continue to have my life, aside from all this. But I went through it, so I’m sure I’m supposed to be speaking about it. What else?
But I do agree, that doing the same as they are doing is feeding the beast. I do not believe that is what I am doing, however, not at this point. My energy is way different than that of “abuser” or even “enabler.” Just ask my family. I blew that whistle, too! Not to be vindictive, but to help my family to awaken and heal. That’s actually been going well over the years, so I feel ok about what I’m putting out. Although I certainly felt the consequencesof it all, initially. More healing and clarity-seeking opportunities, is how I receive that. I grew and grew from all this, so I do not regret a moment of it.
I am careful and mindful to not “match energies,” which is what you are talking about is called, in my line of work. That’s my conscious intention, in any event, but I am human, too, I do the best I can. Overall, the idea is to respond from a higher perspective, with a more neutral energy. That can be hard when triggered! But well worth the effort, because it can raise the energy of the dialogue and bring more clarity to the situation.
Hey Alex, I didn’t mean to direct that vengeance comment at you personally, some comment threads are getting mixed up here and I don’t at all in any way think that exposing abuses is vengeful behavior, unlike say, hiring thugs to beat people up, which is where I think the topic of not acting with vengeance came up today.
I don’t think that effective, institutional disrupting activism is best fueled by vengeance. Vengeance tends to create bigger messes rather than systemic change. I don’t think the people still in the system are best helped with escalating the violence.
I do like your delineating the difference between being vindictive and being vindicated. Totally different concepts despite being similar sounding words. It does help to be vindicated in a system that tends to give its victims (experiencers) the last and least say on issues that impact them most.
Yes, KS, excellent points. I believe we are meeting here. You said it perfectly, delineating between being vindictive and being vindicated. Both are stressful, but the latter is about real and true justice, as opposed to vigilantism.
“Vengeance tends to create bigger messes rather than systemic change. I don’t think the people still in the system are best helped with escalating the violence.”
This is soooo important, thank you!
Sadism is “the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.” I must say, apart from the sexual gratification part of the definition, that word does describe the sadistic psychiatrist I had the misfortune of dealing with in two hospitals.
And both times it was for “medically unnecessary” reasons. That sadistic psychiatrist’s partner in crime, the first time, was convicted of Medicare/Medicaid fraud eventually, for a whole bunch of “medically unnecessary” crimes against lots and lot of patients.
And the second time had nothing to do with me being a “frequent flyer.” But it had everything to do with that sadistic psychiatrist illegally and incorrectly listing me as her “outpatient” at a hospital I’d never been to before, I eventually learned from an insurance company. So she could convince a doctor, who broke the HIPPA laws, to medically unnecessarily ship me in the middle of the night, and based upon a “medically clear” diagnosis, back to that sadistic psychiatrist.
Once I’d learned about these crimes of this sadist psychiatrist, I called and asked her to stop incorrectly listing me as her “outpatient” at a hospital, that agreed with me, that I’d never been to before. So she then started incorrectly listing me as her “outpatient” at the first hospital.
Her lackeys from that hospital were rather embarrassed when they called me to ask why I had missed an appointment. I told them I had not missed an appointment. I did not have an appointment with that sadist psychiatrist, and would NEVER choose her as a doctor. And then I told them that I no longer even lived in that state, so that sadist psychiatrist is going to make them all look like fools, if they continue to fraudulently list me as her patient.
Sound like a sadist psychiatrist to you? I’m quite certain behaving in a sadistic manner is an integral part of being an American psychiatrist today.
It is “the institution,” but every institution is composed of people, and it is people’s choices that allow the institution to continue.
And the quality of the institution is contingent upon the quality of the collective which inhabits, defines, and operates said institution. That’s common sense logic. Game over.
What if there was no abuse on psychiatric units whatsoever. What if they were staffed with kind caring people and there was no coercion of any kind other than forcing people to be there. Would that make detention of targeted peoples ok?
I don’t think it’s merely the people running the asylum that make asylums bad. If you can’t leave it’s still prison.
We seem to be going down the path of targeting solely the bad actors involved instead of targeting the institution which imprisons people either in the name of medicine or in the name of public safety.
They are so intertwined, not sure how you would untangle this. It’s like yin/yang, goes hand in hand.
“What if there was no abuse on psychiatric units whatsoever.”
I can’t even fathom how this would work out. I believe these are also intertwined. How can psychiatry control people in these “units” without abusing them, one way or another? Impossible. And they have to control clients because they *don’t know how to heal them!*
Abuse is not always overt, and is often quite covert, and administered in a variety of ways that are considered standard and acceptable. It’s insidious, and keeps people off their game.
Jessica asks if these places are re-creating that which they purport to “treat.” Indeed, at the very least. They’re certainly keeping things chronic.
There are diverse opinions and standards about what is considered acceptable behavior which varies from culture to culture and community to community. Personally, I’d call these behaviors toward patients/clients sub-standard and unnacceptable, based on my way of thinking. But that’s my personal perspective, based on my values and how I live with myself. I had to wake up to it, as well, as I went along. But now, after processing my experience for all these years and learning the experiences of others, I am clear on what I believe here. Not everyone will see it the same way, which is to be expected.
Re people vs. institution, where exactly is the separation?
That’s why I asked that question – it seems to me that once you lock the door, abuse is already happening.
Alex, I agree in principle because bar one, every unit I’ve been on has been unpleasant, coercive and punitive.
But man, the place with the volleyball team, ice cream parlor, movie theatre, social events, that one wasn’t too bad. I mean, it was locked. But the treatment was actually humane otherwise. I didn’t want to go home from that unit.
Thinking about this more now, I wonder how much of the negative practices are intentionally built into the system to discourage people without better options from deciding staying locked up is better than say, being out in the cold homeless and impoverished.
Underlying the freedoms we supposedly have in America is also a strong work ethic that has evolved into this kind toxic rugged individualism that I’ve brought up before. A lot of people and personality types get left behind in this kind of societal structure.
And in fact, this kind of “prison can’t be too nice of a place” I think seeps into all imprisonment practices. Money has really messed up human priorities because a lot of the dehumanizing harsh practices are justified by the concept that people need protection from the mentally ill, that were potentially dangerous, and that we don’t deserve nice things. In a country where poor people can’t buy a birthday cake with food stamps without being criticized for their food choices, it’s easy to see why the care of throwaways (criminals, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, etc) is so bad. There has to be public political willpower to treat people fairly and humanely.
An awful lot of exploited workers don’t feel like they are treated humanely, feel like they have to work endless hours just to make ends meet, they don’t understand why prisoners get tv or why crazy people are deserving of things they can’t afford.
Divide and conquer.
You say a mouthful there, KS, all good insights and truths re what I called above “this crazy-ass double-binding, gaslighting world we live in.” Indeed, it is crazy-making, I can’t think of anyone who would disagree with this.
Relevant to this blog and discussion, I want to highlight one sentence from your post–
“A lot of people and personality types get left behind in this kind of societal structure.”
Societies can grow, change, evolve, and diversify IF AND ONLY IF human beings grow, change, evolve, and diversify. How can it be any other way?
Pioneers and visionary thinkers are rugged individualists, are they not? Where would we be without them? Not sure what else to say about that.
I believe everyone has their place and value in society. Life can be about discovering what this is, and then embodying it. I believe that is what leads to fulfillment, and everyone has that potential.
“Everyone has their place in society.”
Frankly that’s just another variation on the bootstrap theory. And so despite agreeing with the insights I shared above about what’s wrong with the ‘timeline we’re cursed to be stuck in’*, it’s still so very easy to justify the current state of affairs with quips about pioneers and everyone occupying their place in society. I’m not really directing this at you, Alex, because I realize this is cherry-pocked from the rest of your reply. But I have to challenge this because it’s a widely held and, I believe, harmful concept.
What I’m fighting for is a revolution where people live in equity rather than accepting the current status quo of there being winners and losers so that everyone “has their place”.
I am not a patriotic American. I don’t care about the “pioneers” who stole this land from its inhabitants, killed and enslaved its peoples and systematically destroyed the land we’ve occupied for such a short period of time.
I do not place a value on productivity, which is largely what got us into the consumerist capitalist world domination quagmire we now live in and which separates the “successful” from the “undeserving”.
Though labeled American, I consider myself a world citizen and am largely ashamed of this culture’s ignorance of other cultures’ values and this culture’s obsession with money and things and how capitalism has twisted “success” to mean the accumulation of money and things rather than the nurturing of human relationships and caring for each other . And I’m particularly disturbed by the fact that so many people are so unhappy and so many express a desire to make changes that simplify their lives and create more meaningful lives worth living, and yet money and power and control still rule.
Divide and conquer. We each have our place after all, right?
*this line is lifted directly from a article about the Netflix show Travelers. Cursed indeed!
Ok, we disagree about a few things as well as agree. Different perspectives which in some ways do not seem reconcilable. I do very much respect your conviction to your truth, but in some ways it does not overlap with mine, so be it. So much to learn in one lifetime! Seems never-ending.
I’m starting a long weekend vacation, so offline for a few days. Thanks for the wonderful dialogue, KS, have enjoyed it immensely. Have a good weekend!
Absolutely Alex! I love a good debate. Enjoy your vacation!
What is the real goal of inpatient psychiatric care? Especially for underserved populations, what is the difference between the “inpatient psychiatric unit” and a prison?
The purpose of psychiatry is social control. Prisons are prisons, no matter what the name. Sorry you spent so much time & money training to be a “counselor.” But at least you have the experience with which to expose the reality from the inside, should you choose. When I was locked up I used to tell myself that the purpose of this was to learn what the experience was like so that I could expose it later.
P.S. “Hospitals,” like minds, cannot be “sick”; they are oppressive.
I once asked some psychiatrists why it was so important for them to make people give up their delusions when those delusions were not harmful to the person or to anyone else. Their only answer, over and over, was that it was important to move the person into consensus reality. When I asked why it was so important for them to be in consensus reality concerning all things they couldn’t give me an answer. I suspect that its exactly all about social control. And the psychiatrists want to be the ones doing the controlling. It’s a power struggle. There’s a famous story that circulates where I work about a certain psychiatrist who was infamous for holding 1 to 2 hour long master treatment plan meetings with certain “patients” so that he could make them admit or believe certain things. The average treatment plan meeting averages 15 minutes, which is also a scandal for other reasons since this means that nothing of real importance is ever discussed. It’s just a chance to have the “patient” rubber stamp the treatment plan. Both methods are abusive. Anyway, that psychiatrist no longer works at the “hospital”.
The reason patients cherish grandiose, unreal views of themselves is coping with a horrible reality. Escapism. Make reality better, show the person respect, treat them as an equal and they may return to consensus reality sans coercion.
And the shrinks have no scruples about lying to patients whenever convenient. I call BS on this hypocrisy. We know they’ll say anything to cram those XXXX neuro-toxins down a hapless consumed’s throat or stick them in the butt. Whatever. Long as they get paid.
Time to go sicken some people. Cha-ching!
Who decides what reality is? In one persons reality there is no God. In another persons reality their are hundreds of Gods. In another there is Jesus and Jehovah. In one persons reality they are a rape victim. While in that rapists reality having sex with a drunk girl is just dandy. Are atheist psychiatrists the best authority to decide what reality is for every patient?
We need to agree to disagree as a society. Just because someone holds different opinions from me does not make him or her less of a human being.
I can be wrong and still be an okay person. Lol. 😉
Locking law abiding citizens up for “wrong opinions” sets the stage for a very oppressive totalitarian regime!
I will never be in a ‘hospital’ again. If by some real long-shot I go ‘mental’ ever again alcohol is always involved and I will be at a fancy rehab, learned my lesson with ‘hospitals’ but it does help if you tell these people you will retaliate on the outside and this isn’t just for guys. A woman’s threat of my boyfriend husband will come for you if I am mistreated is also credible as people will often retaliate on the behalf of a loved one more then they will for themselves.
Credible threats are also legally actionable, including restraining orders that ultimately prevent the family member from visiting the patient. Threats can also lead to the treatment team considering the family member a danger to the patient, perhaps leading to an adult care order for someone considered vulnerable.
The only threat that has any validity is the threat of legal action. A good tactic in cases of forced hospitalization would be for the patient’s family to hire an attorney to represent the patient, and to silently document abuses that can be brought to the attention of medical boards and law enforcement.
Go ahead and get a restraining order that won’t by you new legs after I hire couple of thugs to break them for $5,000 Cheaper then a lawyer. And since they are abusing many people how would they ever know what family was responsible ?
There are other things that can be done to people, all kinds of ideas posted in the darker corners of the internet.
“Silently document abuses” meanwhile that abuse is happening. Sorry about the beatings and the needle sticks, just hang on we are documenting the abuses.
I think most people that put their “loved ones” away in these hospitals never loved them in the first place if they are not willing to risk themselves defending them.
“I hire couple of thugs to break them for $5,000”. You are going to end up in jail unless/until you learn to forgive. Most everyone is just trying to make it through the day.
The_Cat I’m a naturally vindictive person. Like you I thirst for justice and have revenge fantasies when it’s not immediate.
During my withdrawals from Effexor I was so sick I needed a nap every afternoon. I would call out to God quietly, reminding Him of His promises to avenge the poor, the weak and defenseless.
As I let go of my right to vengeance–asking merely for the damage they inflicted to end–my physical and emotional pain lessened. I survived another day by His grace.
He will hold the shrinks accountable even if no human court ever does. He laughs at their delusions of grandeur that make them play Him.
Remind them they are but men, oh God!
There’s also the possibility of personal growth and the realization that vengeance (whether on earth or in a theoretical “afterlife”) is not a particularly helpful concept when you realize that most harm done is a response to having been harmed. The jailer is chained to his role almost as surely as the prisoner, for once he realizes the horrors he’s committed, it takes an incredible bravery and inner fortitude (and an ability to forgive oneself) to take on the system in which he has been complicit.
Love won’t save the world as the great Dr Breggin would have us believe, but I do believe that nurturing one’s inner capacity for compassion and forgiveness is a more productive position to operate from than feeding the thirst for revenge.
I would rather die than spend another two weeks in a mental hospital.
Revolving door nuthouse.
Know how I helped myself get over depression, quit sleeping 12 hours a day, maintain ADL’s, get along better socially and lose over 40 pounds Jessica?
I disobeyed all my shrink’s orders. Quit “day treatment,” “therapy,” and tapered off my highly addictive brain drugs he said I’d die without. Been off them for almost a year and a half. My heart arrhythmia s gone. Is that a danger sign? Lol.
I’m naming this the Charlotte Perkins Therapy. Ever read “The Yellow Wall-Paper”? That’s how she got better. Disobeying her quack’s dangerous orders. 🙂
“Time to go heal people” indeed! “Time to go sicken people” is more accurate.
We could all learn a lesson in activism from the boarding school survivors http://wwaspsurvivors.com/about-wwasp/owners-staff/
They don’t mess around.
Your article moved me to tears, Jessica. It was like reading an alternative version of my life. I had an interest in psychiatry to help children in theory because I wanted to be the highest level expert in my own turmoil and help kids not suffer the way I did. Years later though I was the patient and not the professional. The experience IS traumatizing. I’m still obsessing over a Dr. visit about cancer testing because the Dr. started scaring me and I remember forced treatment and the bruises. I don’t think I can or should re-build that trust in strange authorities with power over my life.
You commenters gave me a great idea for when I go back in there. I’m not sure anyone in there would video tape
things, but I might know a way….. I’ve been learning guitar to one day get back in there as an activity person. I figure if I can walk in and sing with all confidence I will be entirely free of what the experience has done to me. I hope things change before I’m good enough at guitar but if psychiatry is still broken by the time I’m healed you can be damn sure I’ll figure out some way to crush it into ash and allow the field to bloom again with compassion at its core. It shouldn’t be my job as an artist but we’ve changed culture before and I think they’ll come to regret abusing creative thinkers.
http://www.google.com/search?q=keychain+dvr click on shopping. They are cheap enough if you could even sneak them in for patients to use and if they loose them it doesn’t matter. Wish I had one when I was in the hospital when they assaulted my ‘girlfriend’ a fellow patient I was palling around with. She could have used a legal settlement and what they did, grabbing her like that, I am sure they would have paid at least $50,000 to prevent a jury from seeing it.
I don’t really want to go through it again but I had the idea if I got myself admitted and had a friend bring me cameras and videoed the random staff assaults it could be a real money maker selling the videos back to them or giving them to the assault victims so they could sue and hopefully give me a share.
These places are so abusive that an entrapment-extortion scheme would be easy to pull off.
I’m not sure profit would really be my angle. But thanks for the idea and the link!
Donate the money to a human rights in psychiatry organization.
An admission to a “psychiatric unit” is like entering a torture chamber. You are basically locked in a cage with people who are paid to abuse you. The abuse is physical and psychological. Every “patient” in the unit has probably been misdiagnosed by an incompetent psychiatrist or an incompetent system that provides bogus testing material to the incompetent psychiatrist to render a bogus diagnosis. Each patient in the unit is probably either having severe side effects of the drugs they don’t need or withdrawing from the drugs they don’t need. The staff are the prison guards from the Stanford Prison experiment. That’s what they became. And for those patients who wake up enough to realize they are being tortured and imprisoned, any justifiable outrage is medicated into submission. Any facility that has reached this prison like status should be shut down. All the patients should be sent to a rehab facility to taper from the prescription drugs they were placed on. I’m sure many of them would arise from their stupor and begin to lead normal lives. Even the “mildest” of the drugs mentioned here can cause incredibly severe bizarre side effects. Ativan for example. It is not a benign drug. Sure, many people tolerate it….until they don’t. If these facilities would focus on kindness compassion and prescription drug withdraw, maybe they would have better results.
any justifiable outrage is medicated into submission.
Everybody runs. Guilty before the crime? https://youtu.be/6tQgODygWXE?t=99
“Now I’m left with a lot of questions. How do places like Methodist become possible?”
An ethical Methodist pastor confessed to me that covering up child abuse, via psychiatric and psychological misdiagnosis, is “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.”
“What is the real goal of inpatient psychiatric care?”
To paternalistically cover up the reality that child abuse and rape happen.
“Especially for underserved populations, what is the difference between the ‘inpatient psychiatric unit’ and a prison?”
Those in prison were judged as guilty by our judicial system, at least theoretically. Those in “inpatient psychiatric care” are likely innocent people, unjustly imprisoned in hospitals, whose families had dealt with some form of child abuse. Since the vast majority of those mislabeled with the “invalid” DSM disorders, are actually misdiagnosed, then neurotoxin poisoned, child abuse survivors.
And the DSM is a child abuse covering up system, by design. Since NO “mental health professional” today may EVER bill ANY insurance company for EVER helping ANY child abuse survivor EVER.
“How has an over-reliance on medication promoted unethical, weak medical practices and even compromised safety?”
Well, since the medical evidence does show that the ADHD drugs and antidepressants create the “bipolar” symptoms, as Whitaker pointed out.
And the bipolar and schizophrenia treatments, the antipsychotics (aka neuroleptics), can create both the negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenia. The negative symptoms (lethargy, et al) are created via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome. And the positive symptoms (psychosis, hallucinations, et al) are created via antipsychotic and/or antidepressant induced anticholinergic toxidrome.
This now medically claimed ignorance of known medical facts, and “over-reliance on medication,” has “promoted unethical, weak medical practices and even compromised safety.”
“And most importantly, are these places recreating the illnesses they purport to treat?”
Yes the psychiatrists are actually “creating the illnesses they purport to treat,” and I’m pretty certain I just medically pointed out how.
Although the psychiatrist’s crimes against humanity should be seen as much more egregious, once one understands the magnitude of their now claimed ignorant, unrepentant, misdiagnoses of the common adverse effects of their own drugs.
SomeoneElse, I don’t mean to nitpick because you always have such an important point with this and it bears repeating frequently for the newcomers, but I’d like to add a caveat that even our offenders in prison, guilty or not, are overwhelmingly victims of adverse childhood experiences and a great deal of them came in contact at some point during their childhood with the foster care system, also incredibly abusive and further damaging to most children in it.
While there is a big difference between someone harming themselves and someone harming others, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between imprisonment in psychiatric hospitals, with the lifelong labels that are attached and it’s forced treatments and forced compliance, and imprisonment in criminal lockup. And in fact, this high rate of ACEs in prisoners is why the US prison system is also the largest mental health system in the country.
While criminals absolutely should serve their time and be isolated from the community they have harmed until they can safely be reintegrated, they are overwhelmingly people who have been dehumanized and locked away because of their crimes and behaviors which very often have the same roots as those who end up in civil commitment to mental hospitals.
Once you realize that the etiology is so often the same between criminal and non criminal mental distress, you can begin to rehumanize those whom our society (specifically the US in this case) has decided are worth less dignity, care and concern than even abused animals are afforded, and see them as damaged humans worthy of love and care and investment with tax dollars toward the goal of rehabilitating them because our current system of locking them up indefinitely is too expensive and also isn’t working.
kindredspirit, I’ve read a big part of the problem with the massive number of people locked up in the jails in the US is that our prison industry was privatized. Thus, removing the incentives to rehabilitate people, in preference for making sure the prisons are filled to capacity, thus resulting in maximum profits. The prison system should not have been privatized.
And I have no doubt that many of those in our prisons are “damaged humans worthy of love and care and investment with tax dollars toward the goal of rehabilitating them because our current system of locking them up indefinitely is too expensive and also isn’t working.”
I will mention that two days ago I went to a rather cool restaurant, which actually helps people who have previously been incarcerated. The restaurant takes people from jail and teaches them trades, like fine French cooking, waiting tables in a fine dining restaurant. The non-profit just opened up a butcher shop last week, so it will also be teaching them how to be a butcher. And they plan to open a bakery, thus will also soon be teaching them the art of being a pastry chef as well. I think it is a wonderful way to help previously incarcerated people.
In and ideal world, prison emphasizing “rehabilitation” would be the goal of incarceration. I am pretty sure the US Supreme Court ruled in the 80’s or 90’s that prison is not rehabilitation nor is rehabilitation required, but confinement is the goal of imprisonment . . . in other words, Protect Public Safety. There are very real parallels between commitment and incarceration.
As far as I am concerned, there are certain areas in the modern world that a profit motive should be irrelevant. Two areas are Prison and Jails and public heatlh. Now, I know this is not realistic in our current climate, or even probable, but the profit motive overshadows their missions.
I will skip the public health portion, but Jails and Prisons find ways to further destitute both Inmates and Inmates’ families. Having to purchase a calling card at exhorbitant rates per minute, being fed only twice a day a meal of two pieces of white bread with balogna and a piece of factory yellow cake . .
. all but forcing inmates to either purchase food and sundries out of commissary or have their families do it on their behalf. If you have to visit the staff doctor, you are billed for that too. And this is in the Public Penal system.
I could go into more, but that is another topic for another story. Many days, I wish we lived in the time of StarTrek TNG, where “the economics of the future are very different.” Until then, we must actively stay out of these systems/economies of Marginalization.
I’m sorry to read why you are so personally aware of these issues. I have also come to my awareness of the prison industrial complex because someone important to me is living behind bars.
I had not heard of the Supreme Court ruling you mention but it wouldn’t surprise me and I’m going to dig into that and see what I find. My current understanding was that the three strikes laws that became popular in the mid-90s were what converted the penal system into a more punitive rather than rehabilitative mission, so I have to wonder off hand if the ruling you mention was in response to that era and those extreme laws. Gotta go look it up now!
SomeoneElse, you are correct that the privatization of the prison industry made it very lucrative to keep the beds full.
Because criminals are still allowed to be used as slaves (it’s actually written in our constitution), it’s extremely lucrative also for name brands like Whole Foods and Victoria’s Secret (among hundreds of other corporations), who get next to free labor from inmates so they can compete with labor costs in China. You can’t set up the system so that a private company profits off of it and call it anything but exploitative. That’s not rehabilitation. It’s slavery in some cases (forced labor) and torture in others (solitary).
The author’s observations are consistent with my observations. I am not a survivor and luckily never found a need for inpatient “mental health” services, but I am one of those reformed caregivers that came to realizations too late for my loved one. She is now stuck in the Forensic Mental Health system.
Those policies and procedures you read and signed off on . . . exist for one reason only. They are required for Joint Commission Certification (JC). . . so the facility can get paid for the “services” they provide Medicaid/Medicare patients. The JC requires a policy/procedure for everything, but they don’t require enforcement of those policies/procedures. The policies/procedures only get enforce when it benefits the facility/staff in some way.
I have seen the author’s observations in numerous Facilities in my state and numerous others as My Loved One has been committed in Many. Over the years, they always said she had never been properly medicated . . . The actuality is, she had never been properly diagnosed. They use the “never properly medicated” justification for taking her off the medication she had been on for over a decade, cold-turkey, and put her on their PROTOCOL for the diagnosis of her condition.
The thing about medication PROTOCOLS, when it comes to Psychiatric incarcerations/rehabilitations, the protocols for the same DSM diagnosis vary greatly among providers . . . based upon a multitude of factors. What I have observed, and questioned, emphasized usage of current name brands, numerous overmedicating, denying of original generic meds, . . .after having questioned several different administrators why medication protocols are done the way they are, medication availability are generally determined somewhere else and that generics are almost never used. There is minimal percentage profitability in the usage.
To your question, “are these places recreating the illnesses they purport to treat?” Yes. . . and more. The meds used have a host of side-effects. Instant removal from long-term use often creates the symptomatic behaviors the meds are purported to address. This is not a relapse, but a withdrawal symptom.
One cannot ever forget the TRAUMA angle of the psychiatric experience. Being strip searched and examined by unknown persons is highly traumatic. As many now know, most behavioral/mental health crises find their roots in the subjective traumatic experiences of the individual. Medication cannot deal with these issues, but TRAUMA in its generic sense, is cumulative.
The issue is, as DSM diagnosis operate by treating symptomatic behavior(s), they are by definition treating symptoms. Once an individual receives a DSM diagnosis during/post crisis and the associated medications, they have entered the Circularity of the flawed mental health biomedical model. As the Treatment is symptom based, there is never an actual Medical or Subjective Personal experience, rule-out cause sought. That is left up to the individual.
“justification for taking her off the medication she had been on for over a decade, cold-turkey, and put her on their PROTOCOL for the diagnosis of her condition.”
I had to stop there. Too scary O.O
What is worse, they sent her home on those medications. Put her straight into the donut hole and $700 out of pocket. She never slept for more than 3 hours while hospitalized for that 3 weeks. When she came home, she could not sleep at all. Three days passed with delusions and night terrors and she tried to re-admit herself. The facility and the ER would not take her knowing the situation. The next day after the ER rejected her, she was pink-slipped by a Crisis Care Nurse that came to the home.
The facility put her back on her original medication and made sure she got sleep 10 hours 3 days in a row. . . as they were originally told would work, upon previous admission. She was then fine. They still kept her for another week as they though she was lying. That’s one thing she never does. . . LIE.
BTW . . .I had to provide the Hospital her regular medication as they did not have it in stock.
Have you put that story online yet ?
I always promote these consumer complaint sites because having been inside around those telephones when people were begging for help from families to get out of those hell holes families were telling them no you have to stay and get help. Then often the typical reaction people telling their family they hate them…
When people put their stories online families read them then patients are more likely to be believed when they make those calls https://www.pissedconsumer.com/post-complaint.html
I felt my family and humanity hated me. But I couldn’t blame them.
I hated myself more.
Psychiatry turned me–as it has countless others–into a monster.
These complaints usually land first page search results for the name of the hospital.
I have way too many stories . . . I am sick of what I have done in hopes of saving both of us from worse. Now, she’s in worse, but not worst of all, yet.
I have been told to write a book about my experiences. My nature is to observe, confirm observation, quantify data (if possible), assess aberrations for validity, form a conclusion.
I may take the Bruce Levine method . . . write a few articles, integrate into a larger publishing. I have already begun that.
The issue with me is, as the “Mental Health Professionals” always say, “are you a licensed mental health professional?” No. . .have your reviewed your licensed ethical obligations in the last year?
I used to run into that are you a doctor thing alot. I couldn’t help myself and would bash psychiatry at AA meetings. Most people especially the young ones had a history of psychiatry. AA is for both alcohol and addiction these days.
If I flat out said psychiatry is BS, they keep you sick and their is nothing wrong with your serotonin some would always come back at me with “are you a doctor ?” “are you a licensed mental health professional?”
OK then, when you deprogram people, you force them to think…But I keep them off balance and this forces them to begin questioning, to open their minds. When the mind gets to a certain point, they can see through all the lies that they’ve been programmed to believe. They realize that they’ve been duped and they come out of it.
Did anyone ever get a test for this serotonin using medical science ? They told me my brain chemicals were broken but I never got any test using medical science to confirm this. No test what so ever. Then they gave me all these pills like I was a science project.
Here is a mock question and answer session with the ‘professionals’ http://www.brasscheck.com/druggingkids/
I don’t know we are in different spots me as a survivor activist and you as a caregiver. This is a tough endeavor.
Hmm. Are you a professional irridologist? If not, how dare you criticize that respectable branch of medicine?
Jessica, thank you for your integrity and compassion for others in providing this information. These are horrible human rights violations. I hope all the stories like this get spread far and wide.
…..”Make sure you get something to document, especially if it means asking leading questions that irritate them into sounding crazier. Dismiss their concerns as symptoms which are meant to be eliminated”.
This statement is chilling and shows that psychiatric labels are pre-arranged and planned.
I appreciate this article so, so much. I don’t understand how the bulk of the staff observes all of this and thinks it is okay. Where are all the articles of these staff members speaking out? Finally, here is one. And it is so very well written. I can attest as a patient that this article is entirely true. At least for most hospitals. Was the hospital UHS by chance?
In my view, the hospital IS the disease, and closure is the cure. So long as these places have locked wards, they are prisons, not hospitals. Open the doors, and anybody who doesn’t want to be there will have exited.
I believe the culture is the disease and the hospital is the symptom, but I understand your point about locked wards.
KS, as usual, I agree with your observation. Having a background in Organizational Theory and Public Policy Formulation, I see Organizational Illness everywhere I enter.
The thing about Organizational Culture such as the Mental Health Establishment. The Culture does not change when constantly reinforced and supported. It needs a major impetus to change course.
We have to alter the incentives.
I would of course say there is no disease, only capitalism, and that prisons, psychiatric and otherwise, are tools for enforcing it. Though I understand that you are indulging in metaphorical banter.
I work in a forensic hospital and have seen similar behaviors from staff , the very skills that administration claims they want are the ones covertly and eventually overtly eschewed
The worst part of job is when there is a communication breakdown and it becomes essential to give medication to a patient through a hands on hold, forcefully, either in the deltoid or gluteus, medications used, Zyprexa, Haldal, Benadryl occasionally 2- 3 mg’s Ativan
Remembering back (spontaneous recovery), being held down and given drugs as a 4 year old child
Thanks for sharing that. How can anyone imagine that such a process can be “helpful?”
Another perspective of this is that psych units are not the only institutions where patient abuse occurs. As in psych units are not the only institutions that use drugs/ neurotoxins/ chemicals/ beuropleptics – whatever to control patient’s behavior.
It is at least a double edge maybe octagonal edged sword.
For staff- many are in the edge financially and possibly in other areas. I can attest to knowing that some staff myself included where on the same meds drugs whatever as the patients.
This was whenchemistry miracle was all the rage and I fell hook , line, and sinker.
Many staff are coming from trauma and also abuse and addictions. Life we are all coming from life and it affects what jobs you get to how you handle employment on a minute to minute bases.
Now with part time work and skeleton staff pushed by upper management for the sole reason of CEO and CFO and one word that had been missing at MIA stockholders needs and wants for money.
Everything has been compromised. Every institution except for those that truly care and are humane is a disaster waiting to happen. Kind of like our nation and globally as well. The powers that be have ransacked knowledge , ethics, caritas, respect and dignity to all players.
On the drugging of non psych patients with psych drugs. Oh yes. Slightly aggressive elderly man- here’s some half-lives for you/ they even half dosages specifically for the elderly.
Rambucious adolescent on the ward causing mayhem on weekends / a little bit of haldol. Never acknowledging ah environment, the kids mother, just died and oh yeah the family had an outhouse instead of indoor plumbing. The rich want money – interest from their investments and not two houses but ten. Not one yacht but 9. They want t look young and beautiful forever. This allcosts extreme levels of money.
The admins want no problems, the docs want no problems, staff want no problems. Cut the souls out of humans and voila no problems.
As a former patient in hospitals similar to Methodist it is so refreshing to hear you share this same disgusted sentiment – it really mirrors my experience and I’m glad some counselors/doctors working in this environment have had the dignity to challenge unethical norms and refused to partake in them when concerns were ignored. Thank you for sharing and I hope you’re in a more human, fulfilling workplace now!
Nice article Jessica
I had a friend I used to play soccer with who used to keep us entertained with his stories about his work as a psych nurse. Things like the Jewish man with the tattoo from the camps who they would ‘bum rush’ and push into the showers and make the sound of gas entering his cubicle. They would laugh as he tried to escape holding him in the cubicle until he was exhausted and collapsed. At that time I thought he was kidding, and then I got a visit from the Staff at the Ariel Castro Memorial.
Having witnessed first hand what is done to people in these places leaves me with no doubt about the community I share with others. I agree with oldheads statement above that hospitals do not get sick, merely oppressive. And thats where my community is heading. Bit of luck I will be out of this place as soon as possible, because people who would behave in such a manner and call it ‘health care’ have got to be insane.
Note that in the article posted above the Minister finds herself surpirised that this stuff is going on? How difficult did you say it was for you to find out this was going on? I think she might be spending a bit too much time on the $5000 lunches at tax payers expense rather than doing some spot checks on her ‘turf’. Outcome? They are going to have some $5000 lunches at tax payers expense and tut tut about how terrible it is and how underfunded these places are.
Note that the Chief Psychiatrist is to do an investigation. I have a letter here from our Chief Psychiatrist who was provided with three letters headed in bold typeface “Application for documents under s. 160/1 of the Mental Health Act” After investigating the concerns that lawyers had about the provision of documents he writes that “I am of the impression that the documents were applied for and provided under the freedom of Information Act” Say what??? I’m glad he isn’t my doctor with that sort of incompetence. Still, it did mean that the serious breach of human rights was not identified and nothing was done about it 🙂 Anyone want to see the letter?
Anyhow, good article.
You might think that lawyers would take up such an issue given the serious nature of not being provided with documents regarding people detained against their will and force drugged. It’s worse than being held with no charge and therefore in my opinion vital that the provisions protecting citizens rights be observed.
I only had to wait 5 years for them to be provided, and the lawyers gave up once they received a fraudulent set from the hospital. I assume the Chief Psychiatrist has let them know in no uncertain terms that he did not want them looking at the documents demonstrating State sanctioned torture and kidnapping. And the lawyers had every reason not to tell the Emperor that he had no clothes because he rewrote the grounds for detention from “suspect on reasonable grounds that the person needs to be an involuntary patient” to “the mental health practitioner need only ‘suspect’ that the person be referred for an examination by a psychiatrist”.
I had no idea he could rewrite the Law and remove the protections of the Mental Health Act. This effectively means arbitrary detentions are now lawful and by using the corrupt practice of ‘verballing’ anyone can be dribbling in a cell within an hour.
Who would have thought eh? The Chief Psychiatrist has more power than our Prime Minister by being able to rewrite the law to suit his purposes and doesn’t even need to have it passed through parliament. Of course the Council of Official Visitors did take the issue up with him, and ran away with their tail between their legs. Ever had someone return emails and tell you “we didn’t read them, honest” lol
And the business about mental health professionals being able to time travel and read minds was just bizarre. If I had the power to I’d refer him for an examination by a psychiatrist. Maybe we could ‘spike’ his drink with benzodiazepines and when he collapses plant a knife on him and then call the cops and tell them he is a “mental patient”? We then have a lawful referral and can begin his ‘treatment’. All lawful according to his letter. If it’s written down it is the truth, and anything they fail to write down (like criminal offences) is not worth his time looking at. So fraudulent statutory declarations are fine with him, they can not be questioned despite being patently “false or wreckless as to the truth”.
Because all these mental health ‘activists’ are too scared to even take the issue up with him. Mainly because it’s obvious they are committing offences and well, you want to end up getting treated the way Ms Merten did? Because the Chief Psychiatrist is the one who will be asked to investigate it. His “expert legal advice” not even recognising a standard burden of proof.
The Council of Official Visitors is a statutory body set up to ensure the protection of rights of persons detained involuntarily. They need to be fully aware of the protections of the Mental Health Act and have powers to enter locked wards and examine documentation without appointment. So the bizarre claims made by the Chief Psychiatrist in his letter of response to lawyers (who didn’t have the time to read it they tell me) would have been obvious. And of course this poison pen letter was designed to gaslight the victim of State sanctioned torture and kidnapping, and not for examination by people who know the law. The things you can do when you can threaten lawyers is just amazing. The world is your oyster basically.
Still, I should have listened to the Operations Manager at the hospital. “We’ll fuking destroy you” for complaining about torture. I had no idea so many people supported it’s use.
Contact me if you don’t.
Where does one go when the person charged with the duty to protect you from being tortured is providing material support (see the letter) to the persons doing the torturing?