‘Full Moral Status’ for Psychiatric Clients: How I Fought Back

Krista Hartmann
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Full Moral Status, as defined by ethicists, is a stringent moral presumption against interference with a being in various ways—destroying the being, experimenting upon it, and directly causing its suffering, etc.

The American Medical Association states in its standards of conduct defining essentials of honorable behavior for doctors that “a physician shall be dedicated to providing competent medical care, with compassion and respect for human dignity and rights.” Further, bioethicists list the following principles as essential: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence.

And then there’s the psychiatric industry that drives mental health care in the U.S., defined as the undeniable and open symbiotic partnership between pharmaceutical manufacturers and their public face and sales rep, the American Psychiatric Association. They represent with an ambitious, high-minded statement that includes excerpts from their Vision: “working together to ensure humane care and effective treatment,” Mission: “promote the highest quality care for individuals with mental illness,” Values: “Best standards,” “Advocacy for patients,” ”sensitivity for patients,” and “Scientifically established principles of treatment,” and Goals: “To improve the rights and best interests of patients…” (APA website 2018)

Sigh.

My Bona Fides

I’m a former psychiatric client who ‘juked’ the industry right out of their shoes. I had my 2004 acute, chronic, lifelong bipolar 1 diagnosis, with a ‘forever’ SMI designation, completely removed (or as I prefer to call it, “vacated”)… with the paperwork to prove it. By 2016, I had also negotiated a safe, guided withdrawal of all psychotropics. My dedicated path out took 2.5 years as the singular patient of the CMO/VP of the largest behavioral health provider in my state. I had long since lost my private coverage. He was motivated by the combo-platter of liability issues, his immediate career arc, and doing the right thing. After searching over the years, I found one other who had traveled ‘my’ path; a former Navy and United pilot who had also been diagnosed in 2004, carrying the diagnosis for 10 years, like me, until ‘vindication’. I hope there are others.

I had made my initial, damning appointment looking for relief from some financial stress and the resultant insomnia. My bills were current, but I knew things were teetering. And I had great insurance.

“…years ago, you practically had to be hospitalized to get a diagnosis of bipolar. Today, it’s available to anyone with insurance.” DJ Jaffe, Mental Illness Policy Org.

Uh oh.

I was part of the well-documented tidal wave of profit-propelled bipolar diagnoses following the expansion of criteria in the Allen Frances-piloted, infamous DSM-IV. I could expound on this subject for hours; I’ll let better writers do that for me here. Dr. David Healey’s well-regarded, 2006 PloS Med article “The Latest Mania: Selling Bipolar Disorder” is a concise explanation of what occurred forensically. It was my ‘gateway’ article and it made me weep; here was someone who knew. Gary Greenberg’s 2013 The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is the longer explanation; equally entertaining and grotesque. My perspective was very different by then; I was cynical and tougher, but no less terrified and trapped.

I am the wrench in the works of the psychiatric industry’s well-oiled machine as I hold dual-citizenship in their world. I was declared bipolar-for-life, incurable and perilously close to eternal psychosis, courtesy of a 9-year SMI certification.

11 years later, they declared me… well… not.

I am a troubling paradox in their insular, absolute world. Apparently admitting a mistake regarding their behavior is… a problem for the behavioral experts.

Their parting advice to me was priceless: “Don’t dwell on ‘this’, be in the present, we wish you the best.” In 2.5 years, they couldn’t force themselves to speak the words ‘mistake, false diagnosis, conflict-of-interest, tragedy, irresponsible, or venal’ (that last one is mine). I didn’t press it, as the first lesson I had learned in those years was the intentional, industry-serving ambivalence in psychiatric language; talk is simultaneously authoritarian and cheap. A 20-minute appointment with a stranger resulted in a ‘lifelong’ definition of who I was and who I would forever be, and it was all bad.

On the flip, when it came time to ‘take it back’ and acknowledge and repair the very real consequences of those nine years, they needed over two more years, infinite paperwork, and no acknowledgement of how all this ‘fuss’ came about. The experts in psychotic behavior were detached from the reality they had birthed and the catastrophic results to a human life.

The legal, moral, and ethical issues were acute: if I was authentically mentally ill (according to them), how could they ethically assist my withdrawal off the drugs and give me a changed, corrected, absolving exit diagnosis?

I had quickly learned that having it ALL ways was the biggest hallmark of the industry. The first casualty would be my credibility. The second would be my former excellent health, oh yeah, and a decade of time. The third casualty was losing trust in everything and everyone.

Well, bless their hearts.

As Sun Tzu said, ”Know the enemy, know yourself”… check and check.

Psychiatry is absolute with their declaratives—everyone is flawed or fatally flawed, viewed as a profitable target or not. They are situational in their approach to ethics, standards, and behaviors (irony alert). In other words, the behavioral health experts insist on having it not just both ways, but ALL ways. And why not, if the world allows you to self-define your import and credibility; writing your own rules, resume, and achievements?

Of course, it’s perfection as a business model: defining lifelong consumers through a lifelong diagnosis that begets lifelong treatment that they bestow unchallenged. As the brain is a mysterious, wonderful, yet sometimes scary place, the government and the public at large are supplied with exaggerated statistics regarding frequency and dangers of mental illness, conveniently defined by the pharma-dictated, APA-produced ‘Bible’, the frightening DSM. The DSM has something for everyone, literally and again, situationally. It gives the industry an All-Access-Pass in medicine and the judiciary, no questions asked.

This circular house-of-mirrors, snake-eats-its-tail shell game coupled with the billions of dollars that buys any protection, marketing or legal, necessary for the industry’s public face is a fait accompli. If you find yourself in the system, push-back against the infinite, dizzying Catch-22’s is impossible as your credibility has been stripped… and you’re drugged. Collateral damage created by the drugs is ‘acceptable’ (to whom?) as they patiently explain, “it’s the price for ‘stability’.” Huh?

By 2013, I was a seasoned member of psychotropic gladiator school. How strong was my psyche, my physical stamina, my emotional reservoir? Would my heart, liver, kidneys, or nervous system fold first, symptomatic of my acute, chronic, lifelong mental illness? Some clients white-knuckled it and held on, some sank slowly and permanently. Everyone was in danger.

The dominos begin to fall…

In June 2013, a clinic prescriber made a couple of sloppy decisions (again), over my objections, and anaphylactic shock was the result. I do not recommend it as an exit strategy, but… despite my subsequent dramatic and lengthy downward spiral (plus withdrawal, rebound, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome #2), I was acutely conscious of the gravity of the 1st-year-med-school mistake and what it represented. I had been hospitalized in the past for heart and nervous system ‘crashes’ caused by the drugs, but these were summarily dismissed as symptoms of ‘my’ illness, the usual dismissal of any liability.

This was different. Having two RN’s in my family background paid off big… I knew the weight of the term anaphylaxis and the universal legal and medical implications that transcended the psychiatric industry. Here was the leak in the dike, the chink in the armor, the break in the glass.

Of all the side effect horrors over 11 years that I had experienced mentally and physically, that one word cracked the door open. I had never seen faces freeze with dread when describing my other side effects: not heart, neuroleptic, kidney, liver, or diabetic conditions. Those were met with a polite pause until I stopped talking, then on to the next prescription.

Anaphylaxis was the Sword of Damocles over all their heads. It was their Kryptonite. They remained silent but hung on my every word. I never had to say “attorney” one single time. It would have been overstating the obvious. For the first time, the very big ball was in my court, but I needed game strategy right away before the spell wore off.

The mess was still at a local level; if it leaked up the food chain, it would start to damage staff and bigger forces would swoop in to contain me… NOW was my moment; but how to capitalize, with what tools, toward what goals?

And then… during the sickest I had been in a decade, my brain abruptly separated from the internal chaos of emotion and panic and slapped me with a clear “fight or flee” primitive, visceral thunderclap:

If ‘we’ stayed, we were going to die.

Snap out of it, Kris.

Save us.

Do it NOW.

Medical malpractice is extremely difficult to prove in conventional medicine replete with tests results, labs, and imaging. Justice is virtually impossible in psychiatric malpractice as the client is ostensibly mentally unstable and the treatment is for their ultimate benefit and inseparable from their chronic ‘hysterical’ state. There are, of course, no other ‘official’ voices. Although the industry would never characterize it to a client this way, among psych workers and the judiciary the parallel to cancer treatment is popular—surgery, chemo, and radiation can be vicious, but it can save lives, if you survive it. It’s for their own good.

And there it is… the real-world, on-the-ground, private practice and clinical position of the APA is Plato’s “Noble Lie”—a myth or untruth propagated by an elite or authority to maintain and advance an agenda, using a “common good” justification.

During my ‘unfortunate incarceration’, I had attended over a hundred independent ‘groups’. Most people wanted to engage in defending their health and improving safety standards; it was a constant topic. But they didn’t know how to start the convo besides complaining. Provider guidelines to address grievances were an exercise in cynicism. They also exposed the client to reprisal; passive aggression or real bias in clinical notes. The party line I had experienced coast-to-coast was “we encourage you to be a self-advocate”… until I started being one. There wasn’t one single ‘group’ I attended where the quality of care wasn’t referenced. And it all centered around drugs, drugs, drugs. And drugs. The lack of well-educated, compassionate care was a distant second… which circled right back to the drugs.

I needed a plan, a manual, some tools for survival, some guidance. The ‘advocacy’ community and appeals programs were agents of the system I was pushing against. Their universal advice was to stop maligning the caring experts working to protect me from myself. It showed how shockingly little they knew about the subject they were pontificating on. I minimized the time I spent being frustrated and angry over the unfairness of it all. I needed to move towards safety and exit… NOW.

I was finally forced to embrace the concept of self-rescue. It sounded ridiculous, but I was out of moves. After slogging thru the quicksand of ‘options’ ranging from malpractice attorneys (don’t ask), appeal boards, human rights agencies, advocate organizations, and legal aid for the disabled, I was left standing alone and sinking rapidly as everyone (including friends & family) moved quickly away from my ‘worsening condition’. My ‘condition’ was viewed as scary and deteriorating; an angry, mentally ill woman; the trifecta of crazy-dangerous in this culture.

It was going to have to be me on that white horse. I was back, if just for a last, loud flame-out.

The Light Bulb Has to Want to Change….

Veterans and observers of the psychiatric industry are gaining strength in numbers and volume, questioning the absence of Full Moral Status in mental health care; there is entirely too much indifference to the damage caused by ostensible ‘treatments’, exacerbating the original, presenting complaint and creating a larger, more dangerous physiology; amputation for a paper cut and calling it medicine.

Why isn’t this the highest priority in mental health care when prescribing psychotropic drugs, the ‘first line’ (and often only line) of treatment in the U.S.?

We all know the answer is greed… excuse me while I stifle a yawn.

These statements embody the ongoing caged death-match that envelopes the mental health discussion among academics, patient’s rights groups independent of pharma, veterans of the industry and observers. The industry easily swats it away with perfunctory dismissals and dog whistles associating the movement with Scientology or ‘anti-psychiatry’, conflating criticism with naïve notions of a world devoid of DTS/DTO (danger to self or others), which most agree is real.

At the risk of alienating the movement’s leaders, I have followed them for years and have become frustrated by the amount of familiar rhetoric devoted to pointing fingers, blaming, and vilifying the APA, pharma, and the supporting cast of remora fish attached to its decaying carcass. Existential angst, targeting the usual suspects, and repeatedly pointing out their moral corruption is a big ‘so what’ if you are grinding out the day-to-day ugliness that characterizes millions in the trenches of psychiatry’s private practices and community clinics.

A popular saying in the 60’s was “Think global, act local.” ‘Big picture’ wasn’t an effective strategy; it had to be ‘hand-to-hand’, on the ground, in my appointments.

I achieved safe passage away from the industry and their ‘treatment’ of 11 years with the paperwork from one of their esteemed own, repudiating their absolute commandment of “lifelong.” ‘Seizing the moment’ was crucial. I desperately needed objective guidance and tools.

This event was not only life-changing for me, but game-changing for others, if they knew it was possible. Simply: hope can save lives.

The statistics reflecting the tidal wave of bipolar diagnoses across all age groups in the U.S. following the DSM-IV expansion of criteria and in decades following informs me that I am no outlier. It strongly suggests there were millions of diagnoses dropped on people who had no business occupying the same zip code.

The effect of the diagnosis coupled with the drugs and propaganda of the industry effectively immobilizes any energy or will to resist. They have accepted someone else’s script for their life, and I had been one of them: drugged into inertia and living a life of (mostly) quiet desperation as the years ticked by.

How to Get Safe and Get Out NOW

THIS is what the movement should prioritize while still challenging the big-picture, status quo… how to improve the quality of life of clients in the system RIGHT NOW and tomorrow, as quickly as possible. The urgency is very real.

One-at-a-time seems slow but is profoundly significant if it’s you or a loved one.

The industry is clear; Full Moral Status impedes economic expansion and growth. It is antithetical to cost and liability containment. “Stay down for your own good; it could get worse” is the consistent response to requests and demands for Full Moral Status from clients suffering within the system.

I was going to leave on my terms, with all the paperwork proving them wrong. Or… I was going to roll the dice and run for my life with an open diagnosis, hoping I would survive withdrawal, rebuild my shattered life, lying when necessary, and taking my secret to the grave. It was a real but sh*tty option.

As I surveyed the landscape for any other path, there was only institutionalization.

There was no template for what I had to do… so I made it up.

In part two, I will share a how-to guide based on what I learned.

186 COMMENTS

    • Also why does an old “diagnosis” matter anyway once one has rejected the psychiatric narrative anyway (other than employment issues, etc.)? ALL psychiatric “diagnoses” are fraudulent. Claiming that one particular “diagnosis” is “wrong” implies that most are “right,” when what’s wrong is the entire concept.

        • Jeez, all you have to do is relocate, stop acting crazy, stop using their language, take responsibility for your actions and live your life.

          This does NOT mean becoming dependent on a substitute, such as a spouse or other type of doctor. it means self-dependency. Make you own decisions, think for yourself. Not so easy after we were taught “Doctor knows best.”

          • I’m not so sure that it’s all that easy. I never told my GP that I’d been in the “hospital”, never once mentioned it and the other day she piped up and asked how my “depression” was and did I want an “antidepressant”? There seems to be some kind of special communication available to the medical community that gives all of them access to all your records.

            Some people don’t have the option of relocating.

          • Stephen, my guess is that your doc located old records. This will happen if the doc is affiliated with a hospital you were in, or any hospital connected to that one. Nowadays large hospitals are expanding and buying up smaller ones. This means increased record-sharing between these sister institutions. In order to escape you need to stop going to any doc or institution within that range of communication.

            Here’s an example: I could have relocated from Boston to Western Massachusetts, where I once lived, and been relatively safe. However, instinct told me not to move there. Shortly after I made this decision, Massachusetts General Hospital expanded into Western MA. So now, anyone affiliated with Cooley Dickinson hospital in Western MA would have access to my Boston records. Some of these huge hospitals expand into other states, usually adjacent states. For instance, the UPMC empire, which is centered in Pittsburgh, purchased most of the Pittsburgh hospitals and expanded not only outside the county but into neighboring Ohio.

            I know very few people who managed to escape the clutches of psychiatry without relocation. A lot depends on local laws and what the institutions can get away with. Years ago, you could simply go to another doctor across town but this is no longer a safe option. They WILL share. Count on it.

  1. A very interesting article Krista. A few things really resonate for me such as – “I had made my initial, damning appointment looking for relief from some financial stress and the resultant insomnia”.

    Likewise, my ‘initial damning appt’ was for ‘relief from the resultant insomnia’ of toxic chemo drugs, the steroids and hypnotic sleeping pill Imovane that quickly caused dependence and rebound insomnia worse than I first had. Unfortunately I did not know the “enemy” aka the psychiatrist, nor did I realize I was walking into the proverbial ‘lions den’ and would be attacked.

    “Psychiatry is absolute with their declaratives—everyone is flawed or fatally flawed, viewed as a profitable target or not”. Yes, everyone is subjected to denigration and some type of ‘label’.

    “And why not, if the world allows you to self-define your import and credibility; writing your own rules, resume, and achievements?”

    So true. This is what I learned as I fought to get justice:
    1) The psychiatrist believed (and continues to believe) she is God and is all-knowing.
    2) Psychiatrists reign supreme over every other health professional and don’t have to answer to anyone, not even the society or the college that *supposedly* regulates them.
    I believe that is why so many are harmed…. psychiatrists know they don’t have to answer to anything or anyone and will never be held accountable.

    I too am very much looking forward to Part Two and your “how-to guide”!

    • “psychiatrists know they don’t have to answer to anything or anyone and will never be held accountable,” unless the real God exists. And if He does exist, I’m pretty certain He’ll be judging all in a manner commensurate with how they treated others.

      Thus, those who thought it was their right to drug others into a
      lifelong eternal drug induced living hell, will be the ones landing in the external hell after life. As a matter of fact, I didn’t think there was a need for an eternal damnation, until after I understood the psychiatric industry’s staggering in scope crimes against humanity.

      I, too, got the “lifelong, incurable, genetic” / in reality non-lifelong, curable, iatrogenic “bipolar” stigmatization off my medical records. Kudos to you, Krista.

      I did it by pointing out that misdiagnosing the common symptoms of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome as “bipolar” is blatant malpractice, according to all DSMs, except the DSM5. And I pointed out that the “psychosis” I suffered from, while on the drugs, was caused by antipsychotic induced anticholinergic toxidrome. And, of course, anticholinergic toxidrome is not “bipolar,” or any of the other “invalid” DSM disorders.

      I also mentioned that the “psychosis” I experienced after the drugs was caused by a drug withdrawal induced “super sensitivity manic psychosis.” And this “psychosis” was not bothersome to me, as a Christian, since it merely resulted in a born again type tale.

      I would guess most of those caught up in our manic psychiatric industry’s “selling bipolar” epidemic, could get “bipolar” off their medical records in a similar manner. Looking forward to hearing how you did it, Krista.

  2. Hi Krista:

    I want you to be a guest at our home in Oregon and dine with our family so we can toast to your success, revel in your new life, and bask in your light. Inspired is an understatement of how I feel after reading your blog. I know many people who, like me, are at risk of having their wavering, tiny candle snuffed out by the mental health disease industry. We are forced to observe our daughter’s health deteriorate every year due to her psychiatric ‘treatment’ and we are very keen to support her safely titrating off Clozoril and lithium before her brain, esophagus, thyroid, stomach and kidneys are permanently damaged, yet we, her parents are terrified that if she ends up in a drug-withdrawal induced stupor, she could end up yet again for the zillionth time, in a hospital where she will be subjected to yet more torture, blame, labeling, and personal disruption. Your experience needs to be sung from the rooftops and printed in the New York Times. Thanks for sharing! My friend is going through the same thing with her son; she believes that all psychiatrists that have treated her son are ‘psychotic’ themselves and detached from reality. Maybe she is right. Most psychiatrists secretly admit to their colleagues the toxicity of their cocktails, sometimes, they drop hints that they know that what they are prescribing is sh*t but they can’t deal with the liability issues. Some brave prescribers, having supported a client’s unsuccessful drug withdrawal ending up in front of a review board.

  3. I have to agree that the “diagnosis” are meant to stick a lifetime. I am about to challenge mine again and have them removed from my medical records because I have been without “symptoms” and without their drugs for just over 4 years. Consequently, I am working again, and going to college after the shit show of mental health held me fast for 32 years. In my teens I was taking street drugs that did far less damage then these things did with one dose, not to mention decades of dosing. I feel fortunate that I have escaped, but I always feel that I am vulnerable because I already have the labels that sell the products that lead to drug industry and mental hell care profits. This is the after effect of being beaten in that system for so long.

  4. From what I can glean this is basically a prescription for compliance. Any time a “survivor” dismisses the need to ERADICATE psychiatry, and criticizes working to do so as irrelevant, or even destructive (especially with the familiar trope about us being called Scientologists) he/she is being counterproductive at best. Rather than trying to teach, such people need to learn from their TRUE “peers” — formerly psychiatrized people who have unmasked and rejected psychiatry entirely.

      • I found that doing activist work was the #1 way to recover from psych abuse trauma.

        This was a key aspect of the original movement — we were fighting concrete oppression, not fighting ourselves internally over our reactions to it. It’s part of becoming demystified, which is the beginning of personal empowerment — without a pretense of “therapy.”

        The ironic part is that sometimes at a demonstration or elsewhere a shrink would be quoted as claiming that our being able to confront psychiatry in such an articulate, organized way was proof of how effective psychiatry had been for us personally!

  5. THIS is what the movement should prioritize while still challenging the big-picture, status quo… how to improve the quality of life of clients in the system RIGHT NOW and tomorrow, as quickly as possible. The urgency is very real.

    The urgency is real but the suggestion is basically ridiculous. I don’t think you have defined what you mean by “the movement,” but you can’t separate it from yourself as something “out there” to whose “leaders” you can send requests.

    People “in the system” will NEVER have “quality of life” as long as that system exists, and you are basically infusing people with false hope by encouraging them to try to change it into something humane. That is not its purpose.

    This is the reason there IS a movement, to the extent that such exists, because the psychiatric system is about DEATH while it purports to be the opposite.

    • Gotta say, I see both viewpoints here. On the one hand, we don’t want to do anything to validate the dangerous nonsense that is the current system. On the other hand, I don’t want to simply abandon those in the clutches of the system when they are suffering. I think we need to do both – provide practical support to those in trouble while still insisting that the current system is utterly wrong from the ground up. How to do that is the tough question, but I think both/and is the essential way to go.

      • @Steve — There are no competing views here, just different topics. We’re talking about theory and pragmatism. There is the anti-psychiatry movement, which is about ridding the planet of psychiatry and empowering people to reject the mythology surrounding it, and there are those who want to “rescue” people, either from psychiatry or society in general or whatever. One neither precludes nor is a prerequisite for the other.

        However I also would point out the propaganda trap trap used to guilt trip us into inaction and compliance, which is this nonsense that psychiatry needs to be “replaced” or “improved,” or an “alternative” found, before it can be eliminated. What they are essentially telling us to do is engage in an alternative fraud, and lie to people in a different way about the realism of expecting an answer to human suffering under capitalism. This capitalizes on people’s common belief that psychiatry is “broken” or “ineffective” at solving human suffering. “Suckers!” is all I can say to that; such a goal is not even on the radar of psychiatry. In terms of its true purposes it’s working just fine.

        So yes, of course we need to “game” the system as required to survive (it’s certainly playing us) but we also need to get beyond it and ultimately defeat it. Eyes on the prize.

        • I don’t disagree with a word you said. Helping people “game” the system and helping them recognize the true sources of oppression in their lives is a huge effort that has its own challenges and rewards, and is very clearly distinguishable from “helping people accept their illness” and other such nonsense. Domestic abuse is a good analogy – we all want to stop domestic abuse from happening, and working at a societal level to alter perceptions and biases and privileges enjoyed by abusers is the ultimate game. But meanwhile, helping those ensnared in such a situation is most definitely needed and contributes to the larger goal, especially when part of the process is political engagement for the survivor.

          • meanwhile, helping those ensnared in such a situation is most definitely needed and contributes to the larger goal

            If only you hadn’t said “meanwhile.” As in “what we really need to do is act on the REAL problems, but MEANWHILE…”

            “Meanwhile” prioritizes treating the victim of the rabid dog over stopping the dog from biting others. Why is one more important than the other?

            Fun with language… 🙂

          • Getting more and more people to realize the truth will lead to fewer people acting as profit-generating “patients.” Without clientele psych will fail. In the process, while we warn others we need to make it very clear that this is a bogus science that doesn’t act in the best interest of the patient, but in their own best interest, and in the interest of the DSM, the drug companies, the medical device companies, and from the looks of it, the government also.

          • Without clientele psych will fail.

            That’s only partly true, as one must take into account the fact that most “clientele” are not voluntary — not even many of those who have no official court order forcing them to participate. So it is important to expose the 100% fraudulent nature of psychiatry, both to forewarn people and to soften support for forced “treatment.” But ultimately psychiatry must be delegitimized and stripped of its authority to coerce, which will be its true death knell. Or at least it should; there still may be pockets of cult-like psychiatric afficionados.

  6. Wouldn’t “bug off” be more honest?

    Your “point of view” is subjective, and not subject to challenge. Your CONCLUSIONS absolutely are.

    While I was going to address this to Rachel, we need to distinguish between your practical suggestions for dealing with psychiatric assault, which will be very helpful to some, and your implicit acceptance of the system as demonstrated by your suggestions for “making it better.” No hostility here btw, I know you’re new. Unlike psychiatry, anti-psychiatry is a science, and one of its precepts is to not back away from things that are true because of negative associations your enemies will attempt to make.

  7. Krista, I look forward to part 2. It was a bit confusing to understand but it sounds like you were able to remove your diagnosis because you had an anaphylactic reaction to something… the only thing I am definitely allergic to is psychiatry, but that probably isn’t enough.

    From your list of casualties (“The first casualty would be my credibility. The second would be my former excellent health, oh yeah, and a decade of time. The third casualty was losing trust in everything and everyone.”), I have all of these also, along with the biggest one, that will never be regained: being present as a mother to my young son. He, and I, will never get the time stolen by the diagnosis I was given, and how it was used by my ex-husband to make a parenting plan that has me seeing him for short stints and going a week without seeing him, every other week. I have also been healthy for 10 years, labeled in 2004. Yet, with a child, no one will touch this case as they are afraid. I sought out all the disability rights groups, ACLU, whoever I could find, went back to court last year even, but am told that, nope this is what you get. I am watching my son as he begs his father to spend more time with me, while his dad refuses, blames me for his misbehavior, and using the parenting plan to calculate to the minute, when I will see him and when he MUST leave. All I can see is the trauma this is creating in him. While I aim to be fully present when we are together, nevertheless, my heart breaks inside, from the situation the courts have deemed “in his best interest”.

    Most recently, the psychiatrist I am forced to continue seeing (now about every 6 months) happened to circle a different code last year. I got home, looked at the receipt, and found out I didn’t have bipolar anymore, but anxiety disorder. She hadn’t even told me (she might think this would make me anxious, no?, if I really had it). I have no idea where she got this diagnosis from, I go about my life getting things done with no issues…anyway… This seems like a great example of how arbitrary these “life-long mental illnesses” can be.

    I look forward to your next article in hopes of finding a way out of this, too.

    Thank you!
    Zelda

  8. How did you get from financial stream and insomnia to bipolar??? Oh, wait, you must have seen a psychiatrist. I have never heard of full moral status before, but I applaud your decision to go through the process and have your diagnosis formally removed. As Paula Caplan says, the problems begin once you have a diagnosis. I had a diagnosis of mild, atypical hypomania because I felt really happy for a few days when the depression lifted and the doctor told me that I was too happy for too many days. As if there is an arbitrary normal. I stopped taking maintenance psych drugs in 2002 and have been free of depression since 1997. I think my story stands as an example of how the chemical imbalance theory is deeply flawed. When I told my doc I was discontinuing the drugs, he told me I had a damaged brain and would get sicker than ever without drugs. Wrong again. Thanks again for your story and for your courage. No one should have to fear a diagnosis, but sadly, the mental health diagnoses are fraught with tremendous peril for those who carry them.

      • I have the feeling that a lot of people don’t really know what they’re getting into when they seek the help of psychiatrists. When I got caught up in the system I was under the mistaken impression that psychiatrists actually took the time to listen to people so that they could find out how to go about walking with them to find better health and well-being. I guess I expected them to actually know how to do therapy and all that good stuff, rather than just forcing poisonous drugs on people. I was badly uninformed.

        I was quickly disabused of my faulty thinking and expectations upon dealing with the very first psychiatrist I dealt with. The day after I was informed about the murder of my sister in New York City I had my little meeting with the psychiatrist so that I could continue to have real talk therapy from a really great young man. I needed a “diagnosis”. That damned psychiatrist never looked at me one time and when he finally did ask me how I was doing I told him I was doing terribly. When he asked why I told him abut my sister and then I said that I felt like the whole world was coming down around me. He jumped across his desk, stabbed his finger in my face, and shouted that my response was stupid! I wanted to plant my fist between his stupid eyes!

        I thought he was just an aberration but upon meeting the second psychiatrist I realized that they were not therapists and that they didn’t give a fat damn about me or about how my life was going. I think that many people are under the wrong and misguided impressions about what psychiatrists are and by the time that they figure it out, if they do figure it out, it’s too late.

      • The “original problem” is being born into a loveless and spiritually bankrupt world. From that springs corruption, oppression, and violence, regardless of political and economic systems. That is a world of extraordinary anxiety, fear, and extreme insecurity.

          • I’m not sure what you mean by “the world in its unfettered state,” because I thought that was the vision, not the reality at this point. But you may mean something different than how I’m reading it.

            Regardless, lovelessness and spiritual bankruptcy are negatively charged energies which to my mind would make manifest such things, I think it’s logical. I think it’s pretty much a general consesus that the world could use wayyyy more loving kindness, and I’m sure this is why.

          • Regardless of which came first, I believe “lovelessness” is the truly problematic one, the state of energy that is the direct cause of suffering.

            If we tend to that first, then I think the collective of humanity will naturally gravitate toward creating what is best for all. I think the jury is still out on that, we can only speculate at this point, and changing socioeconomic and political systems is a gargantuan undertaking, to say the least, and takes a lot of time and enormous patience, and there are so many components to it.

            I’m all for it and I know it is necessary, but in the meantime, choosing whether to be kinder and more understanding of others is something which is in our immediate control, and I can’t see how paying attention to this right away would not make a difference in the world. These things tend to ripple and we can immediately begin to reduce suffering.

            If everyone at least made this intention, to be just a bit kinder when one feels like not being so (to self or another), that would make a HUGE difference on the planet. Doing it daily would be off the charts. But people have to choose for themselves how they want to respond to others, even when they are pissed off.

  9. Krista, your story is so interesting and I admire your “chutzpah!” Looking forward to seeing what happened next.

    I know from my own experience that healing from psychiatry is an extremely creative and personal endeavor. We are so highly diverse that no one size fits all. And it’s an interesting way to learn our own humanity and to realize what it is about ourselves we value most highly, and own it fully and robustly.

    Thank you for sharing your fascinating story.

  10. oldhead, yes it is ALL very, very insane. if you know the name of a psychiatrist in the US, WA state ideally, who has the chutzpah to rescind this label i was given while i tried to cope with being married to an emotionally abusive husband, and since separating, have had zero relapses, for the last 10 years, i will happily go to them.

    don’t know if cvs has it and not sure about arsenic, as, luckily, i haven’t been forced to take that, yet 😉

    • You don’t need to ditch the label to ditch the drug, just someone competent to assist and consult with you. If I stumble upon someone in the course of things who might know more I’ll send them here. I’m not shocked that I don’t know everything, but the concept of “OTC” lithium is a new one on me, as I did a research paper on lithium once & know some of its history.

      • i know that well, oldhead, but having the label removed would leave my ex-husband little left to cleave on to as his reason why i must only get the exact to-the-minute amount of time with our son that the court system has mandated.

        rachel777, it is court-ordered (aka, law and breaking it can/would be used by ex to say i am not following the law and thus should not see our son anymore) that i follow my providers’ recommendations, prescriptions. it is in NO way for my emotional well-being, i am well because i chose to reflect and learn what i was doing wrong and stop going there. my prescriptions are as low as my naturapathic psychiatrist will go. she tells me i am nothing like her other patients, yet is too scared, with court, and a child involved, to say i don’t need anything, at this point. yet, no one has any problem treating the child’s mother as broken, and drugging her, when she is clearly better now. that’ll be the day we recognize how our system creates the broken people we create…

        JanCarol, thank you for this info about OTC lithium orotate. I look forward to bringing this with me to my appt next month with my psych.

        • having the label removed would leave my ex-husband little left to cleave on to as his reason why i must only get the exact to-the-minute amount of time with our son that the court system has mandated.

          Psychiatric labeling as a tool of patriarchy. Duly noted.

          • yes, in this case, the lady driving her self mad trying to make sense of the relationship she was in, was not listened to, as hubby remained calm and composed. I tried to tell those who arrived for his (i called too) 911 calls that i was in an emotionally abusive relationship but wasn’t taken seriously as i had driven myself into an extreme state.

            yes, i believe the psych label was, and continues to be used as a tool of patriarchy in my case

          • I have seen this many times in my work with foster kids and Juvenile Court. I got to the point where when I saw a crying, emotional, seemingly out of control mom and a super calm, confident, under-control dad, I thought, “OK, we know who the real problem is here, and it’s not her.” I also saw how things changed in the cases where the survivor was believed and things started turning against the abuser. All of a sudden, the calm, confident person became increasingly angry, agitated, and even bizarre as the control slipped away from him. But someone has to start by believing that the person who is upset has a reason for it, and the reason is usually sitting across the courtroom from her.

        • Hey zmenard, don’t be surprised if your doctor pooh-poohs my information.

          After all, it came from a “citizen scientist” and not from a doctor. The only reason I researched it was because I had been damaged – in a way that my doctor didn’t even recognise.

          My doctor wouldn’t believe anything I found on the internet, not even if it came from a “respectable MD site.”

          It is important to do your own research, and make your own choices – it is your body.

          However, if you are on an AOT, and the doc is fending off the courts with lithium orotate – that’s preferable to other horrors which could be unleashed.

          Drink ample water – too much is probably close to about right. And electrolytes (you hear people talking about potassium here, magnesium is also vital) to ensure that your kidneys have all the support you can muster. I like using natural pink or sea salt to get a full electrolyte profile.

          It may be possible that you could reduce (please taper!) to the safer dose that the doc is on.

          • What do you know about cumulative effects, considering that lithium is almost nonexistent in a normal body? It seems that calling it a “supplement” implies that there is an optimum natural level of lithium that it is helping maintain, but is there any evidence of that?

            I’ve definitely seen people go bonkers after cold turkey-ing it. Conversely when they were on it they experienced emotional numbness.

          • Hey Oldhead –

            You hit the nail on the head!

            I write in Surviving Antidepressants (link above) about that is where the danger lies with lithium. It may be the “lightest metal” but as you take it, it gets heavier and heavier in your system. The longer you take it, and the higher the dose, the more burden it places on your body.

            The longer you take it, the heavier it gets, and it’s chronic use of it where it takes its toll.

            Many people on that thread in SA report that they started taking LO, and it helped, and they were fine, but over time, it made them dull and flat (that’s the point of psych-drug lithium!).

            Over time, it ripped my soul away, and I fell into a deep anhedonia. Nothing mattered. I lost my give-a-yhit-itude. I sat on my back verandah and smoked and read books. I don’t remember those books, I only remember that I spent 10 years out there smoking cigarettes and caring about nothing. Well, okay – I cared about the cigarettes, but that doesn’t contribute to my family, community and society at all.

            Coming out from lithium (I tapered 10% increments over 1.5 years) was like walking out from a muddy swamp. Gradually, my head cleared the swamp and I could see the sky again, even while my hips were deep in mud and I was deeply fatigued.

            I’m now about ankle or knee deep (depending on the day) but seeing the sky and the horizon is motivating to keep me moving and creating and producing even when I no longer have the capacity to produce the way that other people (“normals”) do.

  11. I do have some lithium orotate at home. I tried a very low dose of it for insomnia. It didn’t work, had no effect on sleep so I have not taken it since. I can’t believe anyone would recommend 60 whopping mgs of that stuff, either. I think anything more than 10mgs a day is unsafe for the kidneys. For some, such as elderly, people already damaged by lithium, or anyone with a physical health condition should take less than 10. Yes it is available in some drugstores, online vitamin suppliers, and in some health food stores.

    Just because it is a supplement does not mean it’s safe. As another example of a widely-distributed supplement is potassium ascorbate. This comes in 99mg size tablets and can be found in any drugstore. However, it is soooooo easy to overdose on potassium and then end up in the ER with a heart attack. For some people, though, they lose potassium or their levels are low, so for that population, potassium supplementation is medically necessary.

    I DO lose potassium due to damage from pharmaceuticals, but an entire pill of that stuff is too much for me. I rarely take it, but if I do I have to cut the pills in half.

      • Stephen did you ever take lithium? That WILL cause what you are experiencing. It can happen long after you are not taking the drug anymore. Even decades later, people’s kidneys fail. Muscle cramping (Charlie horses in any muscle including toes and fingers) are a sign that you could be headed for trouble. Get a renal panel done and READ IT, ask about creatinine level specifically. Oh, read my upcoming book, too. I talk a lot about that, discuss potassium at length.

          • That’s tough. There’s such thing as “too much protein.” Definitely carbs are a problem (that’s because of the liver damage – welcome to “metabolic disorder” and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease!).

            Electrolytes are huge. I love my pink salt!

            I take a kidney glandular , I don’t know what it does but I’m afraid to stop it when I have attacks like I did the other night. I do have an “orthomolecular” or “functional medicine” doc who looks at more detail than my p-doc or GP does.

            Water, water, water, water. I am addicted to coffee and tea, but limit them to one per day. The rest is water. Water. Water. Kidneys love water.

        • Nope. But time flies sometimes if you focus on something else. Btw not eating fat is not the way to lose body fat, it’s mainly transfats & related stuff that’s the problem. You also mentioned eliminating sugar, an excellent idea except that potatoes & pasta turn into sugar, something I haven’t resolved. But at least I know not to have a sugar jar sitting around or eat stuff with added sugar. Cancer cells are often or always loaded with sugar receptors too.

        • Intestinal flora is a two way street.

          You have good biotics that you want to grow, and out-of-balance ones that you want to decrease.

          My TCM lady says that moving the good people into the village helps to move the bad people out – but –

          Sometimes when you’re so out of balance, you might want to do a “die off” – with oregano oil – before re-biotic-ing your flora. It helped me to get my biome done, but not everyone can afford that. I found that I had too much streptococcus and another – and – get this – not enough e. coli. I actually TAKE e. coli as a supplement (especially if I have to take acetominophen for pain, which kills native e. coli).

  12. Steve McCrea, You hit the nail on the head! That you understand this brings tears to my eyes (to say the least) as I feel SO misunderstood by this system intended to support families & protect children. They took away my 2 year old and then told me to get better. Yes, take away a mother’s child, tell them they are broken, and need to get better first, without their offspring?!? I want to sue the state for removing my human right to be a mother to my child, but all seem to think because I’ve been hospitalized, everything’s good here. I should be satisfied with what I have. I have never hurt him, never wanted to, never thought about it, nor anyone else. There is only “He said, she said” about what took place in our home… and with me having lost my credibility from going into extreme states (mania, or womanly hysteria), and him with lots of money and lots of fear, here we are.

    He misconstrues almost everything I do (unfortunately, I am not exaggerating this) as examples of my disorder (me wanting to talk about where our son would go to Kindergarten got me a meeting with the case manager who had to check whether I was ok) or he blames me for our son’s misbehavior. I happen to be a school teacher for last 17 years, so know kids’ behaviors and where they come from, but he dismisses this and sees me as worthless and only manipulative. (I am always conniving to try and get more time with my son, in his opinion. My suggesting he can stay over longer than the court-dictated minutes because it is a snow day and I am not working and he still is, or asking that our sick son just stay put at my place for a bit longer, is conniving and me ONLY trying to game the system. He drives across town to make sure I don’t get a single extra minute, and his son doesn’t get any “extra” time with his mother.

    I have seen him crack at times, as you said. At a parent-teacher conference when I was not too afraid to speak up, since he twists most everything I say, I turn into a quiet, scared person around him, my new partner has noticed (yes, I found myself interested in a woman after being married to this man when I had NEVER thought that way before), she described to me, as I rarely look him in the eyes, how he became very red in the face and angry as I said whatever it was to the teacher.

    I often see my ex-husband’s behavior in our son, and even my son treating me in ways my ex-husband would, when he first comes back to me, as he spends the majority of time with his father. The court not only took away custody of my son from me, they have also nearly cemented into place the ability of his father to pass on his controlling behavior to our son, and he continues to be in control/charge of me & my relationship with my son. The irony is beyond disgusting.

    Thank you for listening.

    • I am SO sorry to hear all this! I wish it were an isolated incident, but it is not. What amazes me is not that abusers engage in this behavior, but that the “professionals” seem so ready to fall for it. The fact that you’re teaching school all this time despite the abusive crap he’s been spewing at you should be enough to make it clear you’re a very sane person in an insane situation. Additionally, his focus on controlling how much time you spend with your child and ACCUSING you of wanting to spend more should be an obvious indication that he is abusive and controlling and doesn’t care a whit about the child.

      Are you connected with any kind of domestic abuse agency or services? They can be really helpful! And keep reading your Lundy Bancroft – he is the best guide to how to deal with these suckers.

      • Again, thank you for your validation. It means a lot. Yes, it’s pretty disgusting how all the professionals (parenting plan developer, case manager, lawyers and latest judge) who happened to be female, fell right into his trap.

        If you know of anyone in the Seattle area that could help change this, please let me know. It feels like a huge miscarriage of justice to me, but I seem to be alone in that thinking, as the court (went back and tried again this past summer) continues to feel justice is served. I tried to get rights to be part of medical and educational decision-making (they were stripped due to my “long-term psychological impairment”… yet I had no trouble teaching somehow).

        I am not in touch with domestic abuse services. I could look into that.

        • You’re not alone in your thinking Z. It really is a huge miscarriage of justice.

          The “experts” are clueless and lack real insight into how human beings behave. The legal experts might have caught on if the shrinks weren’t deceived by your abusive ex and willing to pass the deception on.

          Judges and lawyers need to learn not to believe anything these guys say. Mind reading and fortune telling is what psychiatrists actually claim to do. Psychics–not scientists.

          The pre-crime division. IMO the rates of crime would plummet if psychiatry were banned and the legal system didn’t have these “experts” to give them consistently bad advice!

          • Thank you. I am now at a place where I am ready to share what I’ve experienced to work for change… I am not interested in living my life with a victim mentality.

            Yes, I know very well exactly what the “experts” are expert at. As a teacher and with my personal experiences, I have come to see how invaluable a strong, healthy, intact family unit is. To me, it truly is the foundation of everything -children either grow up healthy and well-adjusted to be able to create a functioning society or not. I see all the disorder and chaos in our world stemming from this root cause.

        • I would recommend it. DV professionals seem to be the ones who really understand and speak from a position of empowerment and understanding of oppression and the pain it causes. I don’t know Seattle at all (I live in Olympia, and before that Portland), but the DV programs there might be able to help you find a good person to help. At the least, you will experience that you are very far from the only one to experience such disrespect and foolishness in the Court system.

          • I have a friend who was living with a similar experience. Her husband, who she knew since 13, just had a heart attack and died peacefully. She feels so conflicted as her 11 yr old is devastated but she feels finally free, as if she’s won the lottery. And it happened that a student’s father, in my class last year, used the same law firm as my ex, and I saw that the mother had a parenting plan just like mine… so I have a few peers to share experiences with. But, as I said above, I have no use for trudging through the pain of the past any more than my thoughts happen to. I have contemplated contacting Lundy, to see if he might have anything to say about this situation, though.

            So awesome that you are in WA too! Have you heard of the very backwards bills being proposed in our Senate -to allow forced Electroshocking (it’s not therapy so i don’t use the acronym), longer initial holds, build 8 more hospitals around the state, lower the definition of gravely disabled, allow police to administer drugs by force in public… A group, Moms of the Mentally Ill, has organized is a big part of these efforts. There are some advocacy days next week in Olympia, as long as snow doesn’t cancel them! 🙂

          • Lots of snow up here – 10 inches, I’d say.

            Let me know what’s going on and when – I’d definitely join in such a protest! I know a couple of others here in town as well who might be interested.

  13. Steve McCrea -we had about 7 inches of snow, but more falling now! 🙂

    I will let you know as I find out. There are some “peer” groups on facebook if you are on that, that I’m just learning about.

    There are public hearings about the bills (some have taken place already) SB5720, SB5431, SB5842 but you can write/call your Senators and let them know your thoughts about them.

    There is also an advocacy day on 2/27 I just learned about… more info here
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1aEecfBT6Wz9aLtHAESc-wXA8rk3XtsU2tjTGwGW9RjE/viewform?edit_requested=true

  14. I deleted my account two years ago, actually ahead of the curve ago :)… but I decided to return recently with a simple name account to get info from groups in my area that use it for organizing. I’ve learned about all they do, what gvt does with what we share, what they do, have done To us, very well. I am ready to live my life as a fearless mental illness abolitionist so what this may bring, I am here for. (The connecting and info sharing is happening even here because I didn’t upload my photo to MIA when I made an account, but it was found from other online places and there it is, somehow?!)

    This word “peer” is a new concept to me. But the horrors of psychiatric “treatment” and drugs are not… so, for sure, not looking to be anyone’s drugged buddy 😉 … but using my lived experience in a way that is valued… i like that idea a lot!

    This is a link to a peer respite home in Western Mass… brings tears to my eyes to imagine what might have been if I could have gone to a place like this instead of hospitals.

    http://www.westernmassrlc.org/afiya

    • I am ready to live my life as a fearless mental illness abolitionist so what this may bring, I am here for.

      Being “fearless” doesn’t mean running into the fire.

      Your link is to Sera Davidow’s project, no doubt a better “option” than psychiatric “care.” But in the end the answer is not better “places to go” but an end to seeing people’s emotional distress as a personal issue, rather than a collective one.

        • I don’t like the way it is being used in this instance. “Mental illness” being a fiction, there’s nothing to “abolish” in “abolishing” it. *Snap* “Abolished”! No “mental illness”.

          In the last few years or so I’ve heard the term “mental illness” survivor bandied about, too. I’m not one of those. “Mental illness”, the fiction, never killed anybody. It’s psychiatric treatment, and the oppression that goes along with it, that are deadly.

          Usually, when the term ‘suicide survivor’ arises, we’re talking about the surviving family members of somebody who took their own life. I’d say, in such cases, that suggesting that the suicide had anything to do with “mental health” is a matter of supposition.

          I wouldn’t, anyway, call a ‘survivor’ of death by one’s own hand a “mental illness” survivor. I’d just call that person somebody who experienced a change of mind, and with it, a change of direction.

          Suicide, in other words, in my opinion, is the result of a decision, and not the result of any “lack of self-control”. People kill themselves because they chose to do so, and not because they were fated, in some fashion, to do so.

          • Frank, I agree that it is the treatment and oppression in psychiatry that does the harm.

            I used the term mental illness abolitionist because I believe we need to abolish the use of the term “mental illness”, not because I do not believe humans go into extreme states, but because “mental illness” is connected to flawed understandings of humanity and is used to saddle folks with life-long, irrevocable, extremely damaging labels.

            From my experiences, I understand these “illnesses” (as do people like Paris Williams, whose book, Rethinking Madness is available free to download on his website) to be humans breaking down to make sense of their worlds, the only viable coping mechanism we may have in our toolkits for the situations we find our selves in.

            I’d prefer the term mental breakdown, or seeing our fellow humans as in the process of spiritual transformation/ metamorphosis, as many of us who have experienced extreme states come to see the oneness of the universe during them (see Dr. Russell Razzaque in his book Breaking Down is Waking Up or Sean Blackwell’s Bipolar or Waking Up book/YouTube channel).

            Full and complete healing and growth from these breakdowns (or illnesses, if you must) needs to become the goal for everyone, instead of only a small percentage of people who realize they are not who they are told they are (or they can grow beyond who they are defined as) by the mental health “experts’ we currently rely on.

            I use the term “survivor” because I believe I did survive intense inhumanity, indignities to my person, the loss of my full moral status, as I was “treated” by the traditional psychiatric, medical model.

            Word Reference.com, which uses Random House, defines survivor as “to continue to function or manage in spite of difficult circumstances or hardship; endure”.

            That is what I had to do to get where I am today, after the mental illness I was diagnosed with, treated for, and then judged by society as deserving of having my two year old son ripped away from me because of. Survive.

          • I was having this discussion
            In a taxi heading downtown
            Rearranging my position
            On this friend of mine who had

            A little bit of a breakdown
            I said breakdowns come
            And breakdowns go
            So what are you going to do about it

            That’s what I’d like to know

            – Paul Simon

            “Breakdowns” is an interesting way to describe it. In order to transform, a caterpillar goes into a cocoon, where his entire cellular structure dissolves into the goo which will build a butterfly. Breakdown, dissolution, is sometimes essential to build something new.

          • My feeling is that it’s the institution that needs abolishing and the language will take care of itself. I’m not out to abolish the word unicorn, but neither am I out to demand the establishment of a percentage of the population as unicorn herders, nor do I support the notion of putting aside a portion of federal acreage for unicorn reserves.

            I think it is also important, in order to prevent any confusion, to be quite clear about the type of survivor we are speaking about. I have to qualify the word survivor with the word psychiatric so that nobody can confuse survivors of psychiatric oppression, incarceration, treatment, or what have you, with rape survivors, domestic violence survivors, holocaust survivors, shipwreck survivors, etc. I’m not one to ever forget that I am talking to people who have had quite different experiences from my own.

      • Not interested in running into any fire. Done that enough. What I mean by that is I have hidden the most impactful event of my life for 10 years, to be able to make a living, and survive. I am now at a place, with an incredible SO supporting me, where I can own my truth and not live in fear, which only allows my ex-husband to continue to be in charge of a part of me.

        I believe our breakdowns come from distress, disorder and dysfunction, whether it is in our home life or the greater community or world, and mental breakdowns (mad or sad) are simply our coping mechanisms. But I also see them as part of the natural human evolution of our existential metamorphosis… why many of us come to this vision of oneness while in extreme states… so having a safe place to move through these experiences until they are viewed as human progress, not a forever mental illness, and all work with one another when we see it taking place, we will need some peer respite-like spaces. I heard about a town in Japan that made itself a safe place for their elderly to move about with dementia and thought about this as a concept for when people experience extreme states…

        • Yeah it all sounds great — but the intensifying onslaught of capitalism will render all that impossible on anything close to a mass basis, so our survival strategies need to include the awareness that we’re all fighting the same system in different ways. (Don’t take from this the sense that I’m arguing with you; I’m glad you’re considering all these things.)

          • Totally get where you are coming from. Yes, the whole system is very broken. Taoism -or the Tao Te Ching (Ralph Alan Dale’s translation & intro escpecially 🙂 makes sense to me, as a way to understand that we are very far from the natural order of things, natural order of life.

          • You got that right OH. I didn’t take those XXXX drugs for 25 years to become “docile and child-like” aka helpless. The quacks promised they would help me lead an independent, productive life outside an institution. A lot of my “SMI” friends are now begging for institutionalizing now, believe it or not. They can’t keep up on their ADLs needed to keep HUD thanks to long term brain and nerve damage. 🙁

            I escaped just in time. (I hope.)

        • Jan Carol,

          LOVE your response! Thanks for pointing out those great Paul Simon lyrics 🙂

          I was thinking of this caterpillar-butterfly analogy, too. We cannot build something new from the same structure, without it first going through a process of breaking down, perhaps total breakdown.

          <3 Zelda

  15. (odd that sometimes there is a “reply” button below the last comment and sometimes I just get the big general “leave a reply” box… and that the site goes down about once a day…do others have that happen also?)

    Yes, I agree, OH, that the psychiatric system is doing what is was created to do. My point is that all of this large scale chaos and dis-order occurs because we keep getting further and further away from the natural world we are part of. We feel there must be scientific-evidence for every single thing we do (there probably was a study funded about why breathing is still necessary…I get that we learn things about our bodies & world when we investigate them but we’ve taken it WAY too far, to the point where we barely trust ourselves to interact with other humans -especially those in crisis -and we trust “experts” much more than our own selves who know our own experiences best as we’re the ones who’ve lived them). Our species, compared to other animals on the planet, has created so much dysfunction and complicated our lives so intensely (because our brains allow us to be far away from the present moment, unlike the rest of the animals in this world).

  16. Frank, I see the term mental illness as a misnomer for what is going on within humans so I’d like us to begin using different terminology. That seems easier to me than abolishing an entire institution. I feel we can educate folks to a more sensible view of what goes on with so many of us and change how people are worked with. I know this is no easy task, but that is where I am putting my efforts. Sounds like we both want similar things, though and I definitely do not want to get rid of the word unicorn 😉