Dear Reader, if you’re happy with your relationship with the “mental health” industry, no judgement — be safe, and godspeed. But if you want to leave the system, achieve a safe and guided withdrawal and get your “lifelong” diagnosis officially removed, like I did, the following guide might stimulate some effective action. Like with many of life’s challenges, having excellent re$ources could potentially gain these results more quickly, but the most important elements are attitude, awareness and strategy. Think Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
The most important thing I learned is that “lifelong” isn’t. It’s negotiable. Unless you’re in the throes of “danger to self or others” (which is a separate, important discussion), everything else in psychiatry should be negotiable too. Once you pull that thread of absolutism, the whole sweater unravels.
The goal here is Full Moral Status — “a stringent moral presumption against interference” — for psychiatric clients. This involves achieving:
1) Client safety in real time
2) Parity in the treatment process, a primary voice at the table
3) Objective, qualified, scheduled reviews regarding diagnoses and treatment results, requiring report of all side effect complaints in every appointment’s clinical notes. Clients must sign off on that sheet.
This is a big one. Currently, side effects are barely mentioned. Denial is entrenched as policy. Being told what I had suffered was ‘rare’ and ‘unusual’ made it no less real and ugly. As manufacturers must list the dangers of the drugs, prescribers must prioritize informed consent and detailed attention when side effects occur.
This third objective will serve to protect the client and build a case for further actions directed towards achieving additional safety.
Tools for change, in no particular order….
- Language; the industry’s vocabulary and their meanings. When they’re used and how they’re used; and the impact on your records. Bigger impact on how you think of yourself and the system through adopting into practice at every contact.
- Behaviors; self-control while drugged, adopting proven sales techniques, tactical self-assertion.
- Information; learning their bureaucratic systems, creating your own. ‘Wearing a wire’, contemporaneous notes, legislation, policies and handbooks, identifying allies and enemies, paperwork and organization. Understanding the power of carefully building a case.
Some of these actions might seem contrived or like ‘acting’. They are.
In everyday life, you put on different ‘game faces’ all the time. This one will be the most important and it only lasts about an hour at a time. With practice and small victories, you will begin to enjoy it.
Your appointment is a business meeting.
Approach it as a collaboration even if it currently is not. Be clear about your expectations in this regard, but don’t argue. Hold them to any concessions they toss your way. Initially, you will have to manage your expectations, always building towards a goal.
Be the expert in behavioral health care that you are.
In an appointment, you’re the smartest person in the room. You literally know everything on the subject at hand. They only know what you tell them. Learn what you don’t know about drug effects and dangers, bureaucratic procedures, policies, state statutes (what they’re supposed to be doing for you), etc. It’s your brain and the rest of your life. Take responsibility for your care; you can’t trust them to prioritize your safety. That notion is incongruous with the prescriptions.
You must cap your emotions and chill. Believe me, I know how hard that is when drugged, sick, angry, and scared. I failed on the regular at first.
Safety issues should be the only acceleration in your delivery and even then, you will have bigger impact staying calm but emphatic. If things start getting away from you, say “I don’t feel safe regarding (fill in the blank).” The word safe has important weight to them legally. Use it thoughtfully. But don’t back down on safety… ever.
IRONY ALERT: ‘style points’ count a lot with these guys; substance, not so much. It’s the business of behavioral health, not “Deep Thoughts.” I fell short for years because I was consumed with managing side effects, not pushing a safety-first agenda. I had to find another gear to develop, strategize and implement tactics; self-control on the drugs was my biggest obstacle. I failed until I didn’t.
If you know administrative procedures before you go in (and you should) and are recording (and you should, see below), you can slow… it… all… down. That is to your great benefit.
You’re drugged. Assume they’re not. Think more before speaking, carefully self-editing, and don’t rush to fill silences. Talk less, listen more; they are always showing their hand. Pay attention and learn the ‘tells’.
Use a recorder.
Here’s some great advice from Sun Tzu in The Art of War:
“Never interrupt an enemy when they’re making a mistake.” Again, talk less, listen more. Most appointments are ‘med checks’ that resemble a pit-stop but are crucial to your safety. You can make strong points in your file always discussing the drugs that are assigned or presently taken. This will not be in their file. This simple tactic is cumulative and very powerful later.
Check your state statutes/laws for legal recording permissions. And then record anyway. Per your statutes, it may or may not be admissible evidence. Regardless, it’s an invaluable teaching tool for you, regarding your behavior. It will supply notes/transcripts for theirs. I highly recommend the Sony ICD-PX333. Tell no one for plausible deniability purposes, if applicable.
Listening back to my appointments helped me correct my approach. Occasionally it caught a giant mistake of theirs, but rarely the ‘home run’ you might think you’ll get; ultimately my responses taught me more. Recording gave me a sense of calm; I didn’t pressure myself to ‘get’ everything in the moment… I was drugged and unwell, a considerable handicap in important conversations regarding critical brain care. I still brought speaking notes. The recorder leveled the playing field.
Parallel, concise, contemporaneous written notes will reinforce your position in any storm that will find you. Store them all in your PC or get organized with a simple plastic file box and dedicated notebook and folders. Get copies of everything you sign. Everything… even as they tell you “you don’t need it’” — especially those. Keep neat and organized files; they will come in handy.
Be your own imaginary lawyer: dispassionate, prepared for every appointment, and focused.
Emotion is not a tool for progress. Should it come to legal action, you will have a neatly constructed evidentiary case… and credibility per your own behavior. But don’t count on suing anybody, in any way, for anything, as a viable option. Never utter the words lawsuit or attorney. It sounds impotent and threatening, no bueno for you. Negotiation is the realistic and attainable goal as most legal actions of any kind are usually negotiated, never going to court. Talking about lawsuits sounds amateurish and weak; their legal might will always trump yours.
You will have real currency and leverage for negotiating a favorable outcome on many issues. The more credible you appear with an abundance of curated evidence, the more attention and gravitas they will bring to negotiations. Style matters… you’ll also have substance to back it up.
Every contact you have with the system is being dissected and recorded in some fashion. It becomes the only record and final word on your treatment, if you don’t participate. You don’t need their permission. Ostensibly, they should welcome your collaboration in your own health care. They will agree but they won’t like it. Their handbook or mission statement says they will, I guarantee it… find it. If you get resistance later, specifically identify it, quietly reference their published statements and ask them to clarify, you’re confused. Don’t try to win points, you’ve already made yours. Sincere face, please.
When the important moments come along, you must counter with concise evidence, not feelings and opinions. Nobody cares. It’s ineffective. This is the adult’s table. It is imperative that you have a contemporaneous, parallel, corresponding appointment file of your own, containing observations and facts, editing the emotions tightly in your writing. Lose the ‘shoulds’, the ‘unfairs’, the ‘unprofessionals’; I guarantee, if you study the handbooks and statutes defining their roles, it’s a matter of memorializing their behaviors and speech and comparing. This is a major tool establishing your pattern of stable, rational behavior and restoring your credibility in the face of inappropriate actions of theirs.
Credibility is Job #1. Without credibility, nothing changes.
Be the adult they don’t expect you to be; it’s your appointment. Own it… graciously and with quiet confidence. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, it will come with practice and homework.
You are a client, they are service providers; they should earn your regard and trust.
Have high standards and never, ever apologize for them. It’s your brain. What could be more important when insisting on excellence?
In psychiatry, talk is cheap and dangerous. Beware efforts at infantilization; they will be subtle and relentless.
Patient is a submissive, vulnerable term, describing the afflicted. Client is a position of strength, a boss. I was nobody’s patient except my doctor’s (and only if I felt like it). Staff may resist and call you their patient; politely smile and correct them, “I prefer client, thanks.” They will float ‘team’ by you. Ignore it. They’re your employees, private or publicly funded.
They will attempt to ‘friend’ you, a manipulation to make you uncomfortable with saying ‘No’ to them. Women are especially raised to be ‘pleasers’; be self-aware. You have goals, so do they… and your safety is nowhere on the short list, unless you self-harm; then the scramble to limit all liability ensues. This is the business of mental health.
Don’t bite. You’re drugged, you’re not in a coma.
You don’t have to answer every question they ask.
Be a thoughtful, invested participant. Be cooperative if they’re reasonable; if they’re not, explain your position briefly and quietly. Choose what you want to discuss. Learn to control the tempo. If they bring pressure for immediate answers and there’s no emergency, say you will think about it further and get back. You are serving notice.
The best power move in business, as appointment time ends, is to pause, stand up and thank them for their time, pre-empting their dismissal, explaining that you’ll see them soon with a big smile. You have just taken control and ownership of the appointment. Be very polite and respectful. Be quietly confident, even if you’re not.
These are small but effective sales techniques; subtle, non-aggressive behaviors, slowly establishing a certain dominance. It’s a form of mirroring and all effective salespeople employ it. You don’t have to flex them at every appointment, just when you think they’re forgetting whose appointment this is. Be alert, engaged, and edit your words.
Understand that language is the power in psychiatry just as it is in the law.
When you start speaking more formally, less casually, you are perceived differently, with more credibility. You are instantly elevating your status, you have more power.
Learn their language, like learning french in France. The terms in their vocabulary are words that you might think you know. What they mean and what you hear are often two very different things.
These terms are the common language used in meetings and discussions about you and in your file. Understanding what they mean when used by doctors or staff is essential. They are wildly inconsistent. It’s extremely important that you begin to incorporate them into your language and your corresponding file correctly. Be comfortable with their meaning inside the industry, not what you think they mean and what they should mean according to you.
The following terms can be dangerous. Pay attention when they’re used.
- Substance Abuse
- Mental health
- Self esteem
Here are some familiar favorites…
A Salute to “APPROPRIATE” — the Swiss Army Knife of words.
This is one of the most powerful terms in psychiatry, not depression (I know, hard to believe). It was used as filler frequently, yet I always felt a little chastened somehow. And then I got it. It’s part of the parent/child paradigm, infantilization.
It can soothe, open doors, deliver a hard check in a velvet glove. It’s objective and situational, specific and generalized. It’s serious, sober, mature, even-tempered, calming, moderating, corrective, scolding AND ironic. It makes the user sound like a rational adult; reasoned and controlled, regardless of what BS they’re serving. I observed it having an almost magical effect on the listener. I tried it and it worked the first time. Whoa!
The industry peppers their speech with it. Use it right back. They are uncomfortable when that happens but can’t protest. You are asserting yourself in the best way possible.
It can lead and persuade, reassure and be enigmatic, just hanging in the air. Let it. Learn how to use it effectively, it has tremendous power. Initially, use it a lot, and be aware of the effect; it builds confidence. You will quickly learn how to use it surgically.
Euphemism for irrational anger, a weaponized word. To them, your expression of anger, however appropriate, will always be characterized as a threat, recorded in your permanent file. Make sure you are appropriate. Ask why they used it. Don’t argue, take mental notes.
This is ridiculous (and dangerous) in its ubiquity. It has become meaningless and far too powerful at the same time.
When they comment “You seem depressed,” take a moment. Anything you mention, a canceled dinner date or a big electric bill, will be the justification for that word. Offer substitutes, careful corrections like: quiet, thoughtful, listening, interested, disappointed.
Depression is a default word in their lexicon and it’s comprehensively damning.
And BTW, depression does not necessarily lead to suicide, but they don’t want to be held liable if that’s going to happen. (If that IS going on, please completely ignore this guide, chapter and verse.)
Another term that is meaningless and dropped into every appointment and your files just because. It’s filler. Make them be very specific if they use it and explain it carefully to them if you use it. Don’t let them label you ‘defensive’ because you want clarification. Defensive is like agitated; be careful, it could lead to a pejorative report and additional sedation. It is inflammatory chum and designed to spark a denial. It is an implied threat. It is a scold and manipulative, warning you to be more agreeable. Don’t bite; stay calm, ask for an explanation (don’t repeat the word) or just don’t respond; ignore it.
This is used carelessly; everybody has different parameters. If they use it, ask them what they mean and listen up. If you’ve done any homework, you’ll recognize that they don’t use it correctly. Most use it as a synonym for ‘agitated’ or ‘angry’.
Don’t argue if they use it with you. You’ve just learned something valuable about them. It’s used to curb people and mute them with an implied threat of… more drugs. Be careful, you don’t want this in your file. That’s easy: slow things down. Discuss the term, asking for specific justification and listen. “I disagree with that characterization” should do it. Let it end there and make clear notes later.
Full Moral Status: An Outline for Change
Based on my experiences and the information gleaned observing and talking to thousands of people around me for 11 years in the psychiatric industry, I feel strongly about developing a Full Moral Status Resource Clearinghouse (or Hub) for Behavioral Health Clients who face a variety of challenges ‘on-the-ground’, when navigating bureaucratic and procedural obstacles pursuing safety and a voice in their behavioral healthcare. Ideally, it will be 100% free of pharma entanglement and political influence (excepting full-throated support), with clear separation from existing industry-supported ‘advocate’ agencies and organizations. Distilled: an appropriate seat at the table regarding diagnosis and treatment.
Unless and until there is an informed, unconflicted oversight entity with teeth, consumers must effectively organize to protect their interests, both short-term and long-term. The immediate short term is the first priority for this oversight entity.
Safety, parity, and availability of qualified assessments, reviews, and meaningful appeal procedures regarding diagnoses and treatment plans, coupled with significant requirements vis a vis real informed consent for prescriptions and record keeping regarding side effects are the goals to achieve Full Moral Status.
The resource hub I envision will be designed to build a parallel, patient-based file using industry terminology specific to the particular circumstances; insurance companies, management companies, contracted providers, state statutes and regulations. Included will be appeal procedures including significant on-the-record responses and notations regarding treatment decisions, side effects, and patient goals.
It will be in a uniform format with progressive steps and ease-of-use guidelines to assist in editing and effective communication with the industry, with the client’s safety and real collaboration and transparent dialogue the only goal.
On a state-by-state basis, beginning with the most populated, legislation, statutes, vendors, and medical oversight standards and policies that affect mental health care will be referenced into a database. Identified vendors and insurer’s specific policies, coverage, and options will be notated along with current relevant contacts; i.e: ombudsmen, customer/client services, regional representatives.
Establishing credentials in the psychology/counseling, legal, and legislative community is essential, in addition to some ‘resistance’ organizations. A strategy to reassure these important entities of our informed, credible, thoughtful presence in the mental health community is essential. An open, transparent approach to the mental health community represented by psychiatry is also important. Resistance is anticipated and should be diplomatically, respectfully countered. It should not deter our actions. They will have to earn credibility through consistent actions that put client safety first and always.
Some of the nuts and bolts:
- Website presence, newsletter, info-seminars, and target marketing describing our goals and supplying contact info will announce our presence, our mission, and who may benefit. It will also unambiguously define our limitations.
- Help interpreting handbook rules, guidelines, statutes, grievance procedures, and language used in documents clients are required/requested to sign; second and tertiary tier contact suggestions; offering suggestions for strategy, tactics and speaking points; follow-up ‘charting’ for client’s own files, and follow-up with agencies.
- Forms authored with a careful eye towards legal appropriateness (however broad), and offered for a variety of issues, i.e., on-the-record insertions and addendums to client’s files; statements that counter treatment decisions; client’s incident reports; contesting characterizations by staff, prescribers, and doctors; and side effect reporting, including reference to real-time history (time spent) with medical workers in question.
- Consequential assessments and statements are often developed by individuals who have little or no prior relationship with a client yet are afforded significant credibility influencing future treatment decisions. A timely rebuttal or counter is imperative and must be entered along with the initial report.
- Regional resources that may include safe, effective advocate organizations; legal assistance; state clearinghouse and troubleshooting agencies; and legislative representatives who are informed, established by earlier contact, and who understand and support our mission.
- ‘Hotline’ guidance for bureaucratic challenges met when attempting to ensure safety and an equal voice in treatment, including direction to information that will assist the client’s own research and progression through their specific system.
- Strict boundaries around providing medical advice or emotional counseling of any kind. We must be crystal clear that crisis intervention is NOT what we are formed to respond to — the support offered will be for bureaucratic and administrative issues relating to safety, language and process. Training must be provided for handling “danger to self or others” crisis-initiated contact with responsible policies that have client safety as the first goal.
This proposed magic kingdom won’t solve every problem; it can’t be everything for everyone. This is a newly-birthed outline based on what I could have used to my advantage during my years of internment. Providing tangible support and guidance for individuals navigating a byzantine, obstacle-riddled, bureaucratic jumble — while drugged and possibly sick and frightened — is the goal.
The client or their support system will have to invest some or a lot of sweat equity into creating a safe and improved quality of life until the medical experts on appropriate behavior begin behaving appropriately. Until then…
Clients can achieve Full Moral Status by being informed and modifying certain behaviors, usually for an hour at a time; definitely do-able. It restores confidence, dignity, and credibility, resulting in options… and maybe a ‘get out of jail’ card, if that’s your goal.
It will be contentious and messy and worth it.
Many are familiar with the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It sustained me as I shouldered the burden of going it alone:
First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.
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Not all psychiatrists are alike. Some choose this field because they dislike dealing with anyone who is not an inferior.
But the kind you dealt with would cave in to assertive behavior. Especially if they know you’re not afraid to sue them for malpractice. 😉
I doubt many shrinks worry about that, because psychiatric assault is accepted practice. (Seriously.)
‘Full moral status’ is outside of the “mental health” system entirely. What is the ‘moral status’ of inethical behavior, the behavior of doctors, overlords of the system, and their henchmen, every other worker in the system, contrasted with that of their charges, “mental patients”, 3rd class or lower citizenry? I don’t think the system very salvageable, and, yes, Virginia, there is life beyond the “mental health treatment” fantasy game.
Mr. Blankenship, “FMS is outside of the “mental health” system entirely”. Exactly.
The system is definitely not salvageable.
There are millions still in it. Some need tools for safety while still there and many would like to leave with a guided titration and withdrawal off the drugs, with vacated diagnosis…in writing. These suggestions helped me achieve that. Maybe someone else…
And life is great away from danger and misery.
Hey Rachel777, viewing the industry as “the BUSINESS” of mental health helped form a strategy out & ‘de-clutter’ my overwhelming, front & center fear & emotions.
In the most hyper-intense personal situation & relentless decade of attacks (& drugged), I was compelled, for survival, to become a logic ‘bot’. I was up to my eyeballs in a clear legal morass/opportunity, yet speaking directly to that ‘feature’ was “the word that shall not be spoken”…..lawsuit.
Ironically, my oppressors were the ones that had schooled me well in risk/reward analysis, paradoxes, & internicine warfare…. It’s not personal, it’s just business.
I was a master-class graduate; their caged, drugged specimen that finally turns on its keeper and rescues itself.
Yes. Emotions are always a “symptom.” Meaning the “doctors” consider themselves to be androids or emotionless space aliens. (“I am a Vulcan. There is no pain.”)
Can’t get any saner than that. Bwahahaha!
Zombies is a great metaphor too. Soulless. Devoid of all emotions except the hunger for the brains of living creatures. Dr. Torrey I presume?
This is the third time in two days people have directed me to read “Sun Tzu’s Art of War.” I do believe we have a societal problem with lots of people feeling like there is a war being waged against them. But it is pathetic that one must research war tactics when dealing with the psychiatrists, not to say I disagree, unfortunately. Since the “mental health professionals” are waging a war against their clients, which is quite disgusting.
I must agree, approaching your appointment as “a business meeting” is not a bad approach. I got to that basic point with my psychiatrist pretty quickly, basically only relating the good things in my life. Since I learned quickly that if I told him about the adverse effects of his neurotoxins, that he’d just up the dose or add more. Although it still took him years to wean me off his damn drugs.
My last appointment ended with the idiot mimicking gossip from someone at me, as if he was some sort of prophet who magically knew things about me without me telling him, in the hopes I’d have a tizzy fit or something. Instead I agreed that my family had left our church (is that a psychiatric crime?), but said it happened months ago, so it was no longer even news. Then I stood up and said “Are we done yet?” His notes remark, “VERY careful style.”
What a moron that psychiatrist was. And he was terrified, since he knew I was NOT coming back. He then had his minion try to get me to sign a sheet full of clear stickers with “I swear this is true” on them. (I had politely told the psychiatrist about all his misinformation about me written in his medical records at the prior appointment.) I politely told his minion, in front of a room full of his other clients, that if they’d like to place the stickers on the medical records in the place they wanted confirmation of the truth. I would sign, if what was written was true. They declined in embarrassment.
Using a recorder is an interesting idea; as is keeping copious notes, I do agree with doing that, I did. Getting copies of all your medical records, as you go, which I did not get until near the end, would have been a good idea. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, I’m not a doctor, and I’m sure you’ve given your plan a ton of energetic and enthusiastic thought. Other synonyms of “manic” are “excitement” and “energetic.” You do know that withdrawal from the “bipolar” drug cocktails can result in a “drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity mania,” right?
Your plan sounds quite ambitious, unless you have trillions of dollars and lots of people you can employ to help you. Do you? If so, I might be interested in a job. But you know we are up against a trillion dollar pharmaceutical cartel that is bribing our politicians, and bribing and brainwashing our doctors. I’m not trying to crush or diminish your well intended plans, but I’ve lived through a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity mania, so I can recognize the signs.
I did heal from it, so can you. But I just want you to know that such a thing exists, because if you ended up in a hospital, the doctors will claim your enthusiasm is “a return of the disease,” rather than truthfully admitting your excitement with your new felt freedom and enthusiasm is a “drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity mania.” God bless and stay safe, Krista, from someone who has been there.
Someone Else, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I agree; having to use battlefield tactics with an ostensible healthcare provider is so wrong, but so necessary in psych-world.
I also agree, it’s ambitious. I’ve never let that prevent me from living a successful, adventerous life…until I had insomnia & money worries & made that fateful psych appointment. As a woman, I was ‘punished’ severly for being an unconventional, unapologetic individual. But I’m back now and my imagination has built wonderful things in the past.
I don’t have unlimited funds. Proposals are just that; the germ of an idea based in reality that has had a ‘test flight’ and worked very well….’evidence-based’ (psych joke alert), if you will. The trick is expanding the scope and repeat. Technology today makes so much achievable.
There are many, many ‘grassroots’ organizations who are thriving that are born from tragedy to assist others.
All this can do is fail, as a whole or piece by piece. Failure doesn’t bother me one little bit; doing nothing but b*tching & moaning does.
This is my first post on this forum. Perhaps I read poorly, but I would have liked to hear more about “that fateful psych appointment” in your two part article. I was gaslit, witch hunted, sent to hack shrinks then suicide swatted by my established hostile employer, which started a snowball of calamity that included an illegal detainment in a Catholic mental ward, plus nightmare-level retaliation by the state attorney general, because of my quest for justice. I have been trying and failing to save my life for nearly seven years. Thank you for your advice and example. This stuff is tough to write about; tough to read. Thanks again. Gina Fournier
Hi Gina, thank u for your Comments. I hope there was some encouragement for u, knowing it’s possible. The “Art of War” had a calming, clarity for my beseiged existance at the time. I can’t recommend it enough for organizing my strategy & tactics while containing my drugged, hyperbolic emotions.
For a few more details of my situation; RxISK.org- “A Unicorn: Changing a Medical Diagnosis”, July-August 2018, 4-part series. Part 2 may interest u regarding the genesis…it was a pedestrian beginning to the grand guignol that would follow.
Your suggestions for how to best work with the psychiatrists or other providers treating you is very helpful. I took notes to do better when I visit the person I am forced to continue seeing.
The thing this plan doesn’t take into account is that we humans do go into extreme states and those around us are usually desperately looking for help. That “help” usually comes from psychiatrists, nurses, and other clinicians. They are given the metaphorical keys to the entire person, to fix them. So we do become patients, not clients -who choose to go see someone. But, this guide and proposed “hub” would be a great resource for people in the system ready to advocate for themselves and take back their lives.
Thanks for writing up all you’ve learned from your experiences and sharing them 🙂
zmenard, This is simply a starting point, suggesting that a shift in perspective and subtle behaviors can affect your options, resulting in possibly safer circumstances within the industry.
If by “extreme states” you are referencing DTS/DTO crisis (all terms that can be argued about to infinity), paragraph 2 speaks to that.
These suggestions are not all things to everyone or every situation….but the truncated G. Santayana quote “To ignore history is to repeat it” applies in spades to an industry that can’t be trusted to act in the best interest of clients/patients; a self-interested toddler with a loaded .45, their prescription pad.
The more awareness by client/patients and/or ‘invested’ eyes on the prescribers, the safer (in theory, of course).
In addition, age-of-consent, power-of-attorney, and legal guardianships further complicate the issue.
I work hard to qualify my suggestions with ‘perhaps, possibly, maybe, in theory, etc’ to emphasize my respect for other’s choices, opinions, and verbiage. I don’t know what’s best for other’s; it’s just shared info on what worked for me in a void of information on the subject; breaking their code and reshaping it into a tool for myself.
I agree. We definitely need a HUGE 180 degree, or 360 degree shift, in our perspective around these things. For those ready, your provided suggestions are definitely key to empowering ourselves in the face of psychiatry.
Would you agree however that there is no reason to BE “in the face of psychiatry” unless you’re being forced to by the courts?
Yes, I would, oldhead! We do not need psychiatry. It is a profession of fear, intimidation and suppression. It is not how we work with fellow humans experiencing breakdowns (mad or sad ones).
That “help” usually comes from psychiatrists, nurses, and other clinicians.
Correction: That should be “purported” help, as those you refer to are primarily there to “help” you stay in line, or fulfill your prescribed role in the service of higher corporate profits. And to “help” you serve your husband, of course.
yes, I know. that is why the word is in quotes.
Got it. Must have missed that.
Yes. Yes! If I had some capital to invest, this exact framework would be right where I’d put it – regardless of failure or success.
On-the-ground is where it’s needed; of course we know FMS is not available to “patients,” and of course the system knows it, too. Further communication with the system as it is, from critical organizations, only gives the illusion of progress towards the FUNDAMENTAL change/compromise… which would hopefully be to stop incarcerating or drugging people, ever. They don’t want to change, and they don’t have to.
And thousands are held captive. These thousands are a priority, and I love what you’ve put together here and marvelously gleaned from all of your experiences. The way you’ve put it together is perfect in my opinion, concise, and TRUE. If only I could find out what it is in the human mind that sparks that “Aha” moment, the disengagement from emotion (however valid) that then gives birth to determination for survival.
Your sudden determination was powerful, and obviously still is. I think it may take a certain amount of “cynicism” (read: experience) in any given reader who takes this pitch, to understand how correct your whole perception really is. It is a business, a cruel one, clearly. Everything you’ve outlined here can massively serve the people inside the system who is able to choose to use the resources, in spite of their inhumane situations.
Our factual victim status can absolutely wind up in the back seat behind the miraculous human capability to survive… even if just for an hour at a time, and even isolated, even in a deeply drugged and compromised physical & emotional state. I’ve done it, I don’t know how it happens, you’ve done it, but I do know that reading this Part II woke up some of that old fire in myself.
… maybe the first information any user of this future database receives could be just what you’ve written here. Something about it is gripping and compassionate without maybe even meaning to be. A potential wake-up call for the soul? Who knows; I love your idea, and I love that you’re out living the good life. Much respect.
In which ways do you see all this as contributing to the end goal of abolishing psychiatry period?
And thousands are held captive. These thousands are a priority
Agreed — but where’s the part about freeing the prisoners? Did I miss something?
(Figured the discussion could use a “provocative” question to keep it going.) 🙂
KindRegards, Your remarks are much appreciated, especially as someone who ‘understands’ the landscape, 1st person.
My steady motion forward with my narrative and this idea, strengthens my resolve towards the goal of establishing an outlet for help. I received affirmation from Dr. David Healy’s RxISK.org website (safety and transparency), Dr. Paula Caplan, and now Robert Whitaker’s MIA site (science, psychiatry, and social justice). These are significant contributors to the principle subject and it’s many tributaries; it’s a BIG subject with many topics and I’m scratching at the door.
To respond to your “Aha” moment remark; mine was an adrenaline, rage, and fear overload-slap ‘upside the head’ that crystallized my purpose and lifted my damaged body, like a cliched epiphany. It insisted on my full attention to what was going to be my one shot.
Following that (overnight), I became a particular kind of shark (an ‘obligate ram breather’-I’m from Florida) in the water prowling for information, absorbing details, and never taking my FULL attention off the behavioral expert’s behavior, instinctively knowing there was a singular key or key ring, that would unlock the exit door. They were cooperative in that they underestimated me at every point.
If I stopped, I was finished. I didn’t and I lived.
I am so grateful and have mad respect for the sturdiness of my physical being; I was in scary shape. And I was lucky sometimes, tho’ that was often directly related to my preparation and self-discipline while drugged.
I have secured the necessary domain(s) to continue with a dedicated website in the future. Technology makes this a time-consuming, precision-minded research investment much more than a financial one (but that too).
I look forward towards assisting clients and their support systems, should they ask. Perhaps others (with additional resources and influence) will find it a worthy project.
And make no mistake; “Revenge is a dish best served cold” is a delightful thought.
A healthy, balanced life with a sense of purpose is a wonderful thing to re-establish after having it stolen.
Krista! You are so fabulous!!
I understand what you’re saying about narrative driving you forward, an amazing thing, isn’t it? Once I said the words, “I am going to rip the throat out of big pharma with my own teeth,” suddenly everything i had to do became more clear and direct. Served cold, indeed; doing it under their noses for my own freedom was one thing, but doing the same for the sake of others is as sublime as it is morbid to experience. It warms my soul to think of someone like you really living in their freedom, and with purpose, which is something many folks never grasp. Good for you, congratulations – you’ve blessed me by sharing it, too!
“…instinctively knowing there was a singular key or key ring, that would unlock the exit door. They were cooperative in that they underestimated me at every point.”
Like music to my ears… you are clearly too smart for the system to let go without a fight. Too bad they forgot you had a mind of your own… well, I guess it’s not that bad 😉
Your aha moment echoes my own, although different. Maybe you could write about that? I suggest it because I would LOVE to hear it from you in particular, not to mention it could offer some spark for some individual reader… who knows, endless possibilities!
I can totally see how there is a good measure of technical tedium involved for the future; I hope you notice your drive surpassing every obstacle as it does. It is No. Small. Feat!! Yet you remain fabulous, with solid foundations in your self and your plans. I can’t wait to hear news on the project as it inevitably unfolds!! [Maybe The Withdrawal Project (inner compass initiative) would be interested in taking part?]
KindRegards, your support is humbling.
Your use of the term ‘fabulous’ is unusual in that not until last October 18′, almost 3 years after the last drug and re-integration into ‘civilian’ life, did ‘fabulousness’ wash over me. I had thought things were going well.
Before diagnosis (BD), 15 years ago, I had a spectacular garden and koi pond with a built-in, large aquarium in my beach house that I had built and lost to bankruptcy…due to debilitating side effects. It was a bitter, bitter loss.
All these years I was emotionally blunted to these former interests, as I felt I couldn’t be responsible for curating any delicate life, drugged, sick, and unhappy as I was. I was a failure at taking care of myself, apparently.
In 06′ I volunteered and was subsequently offered a management team position at the no-kill animal shelter…it was the closest I could allow myself to offer care to another unloved, ‘damaged’ living thing…I identified strongly. It saved me during those years.
As I write today, I have a new garden and self-built patio and big honkin’ aquarium that I revel in…since October.
‘It’ will take as long as it takes, and come when it comes, despite my best efforts to accelerate it. Writing was cathartic, then clarifying, finally satisfying.
Humility and small grace is not a bad lesson for me to learn. And perspective is everything.
Enjoy that fabulousness!! It warms my heart to hear these details of coming back to what you’ve loved… in whatever way I can even grasp it, I’m truly sorry for your losses. To say it stings is quite an understatement. I’m still glad to hear you’re regaining these joys – I hear from BeyondMeds that it does keep getting better!
Your experience at the shelter is odd for me to hear about, too – in a sort of similar way, I always was disturbed by the things that happen to animals, much more so for some reason after the drugs started. After finally coming off, the weight of the knowledge hit me fresh like a ton of bricks (could write a book about that). Now, working with animal rights organizations has its way of showing me forward into peace as i extend the same compassionate and efforts to the animals… turns out, under the surface I always felt like one of them, in the factories. Realized it in October ’18, strangely enough.
But now it’s clear we’re both onto bigger, beautiful things! You’re so far ahead of me in terms of time spent free, and I aspire to have your attitude when I “catch up” in the time passed. I agree that these plans will happen, and I can sense that any humility or grace or further fabulousness you seek will either come to you, or you’ll create it. It’s an exponential sort of path, and I’m glad a kindred spirit like you is on it. Outreach back to the folks who were left behind can only bless you now.
If you keep writing, please post it to MIA! I look forward to reading whatever you offer. Thank you for this piece and your kindness, and congratulations again! Breathe that freedom, homegirl
I am so concerned about the numbers of people in America who may feel victim of a criminal mental health system (my words), as do others here in (their own words), as do I (because I am a victim of crime beginning with suicide swatting). Are there statistics? I’m new. I’ll keep reading. I’m glad to find this forum and organization, but also dismayed about the scope of this largely unrecognized problem. Bogus criminal mental health care is torture. Thank you for this discussion. And peace to all people suffering mental abuse by caregivers and the system. Gina Fournier
I need to talk with you, I was taken out of service with my company after I filed a police report against a co-worker. I was sent for a Fit for Duty Evaluation and was out of service for 8 months trying to get the diagnosis refuted.
To Jackie Ireland
Not your fault, but your comment upset me greatly. I have spent seven years trying unsuccessfully to undo the damage done to me. My story is very extensive. There is a letter at the top of my Facebook page which summarizes some of the larger plot points, if you’re interested. Thank you for you concern. Best wishes. Gina Fournier
I apologize, I didn’t mean to upset you.
Hi Jackie Ireland,
Apology accepted but not needed. Online communication pitfalls happen. Plus I am very tender after all this time with no resolution. But please. What experience, knowledge and information do you have to share? What state are you in? I would like to hear more and others probably would as well. My own situation is severe critical dangerous. I’ve learned the hard way that the word “suicide” applied as a weapon can murder your life. Thank you, Gina Fournier
“Living well is the best revenge!” Yet a desire for other forms is certainly understandable.
Congratulations on taking back your power and your life, Krista. Well done!
Alex, I appreciate that very much.
Krista Hartmann wrote: “Many are familiar with the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It sustained me as I shouldered the burden of going it alone:
First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win.”
If you are familiar with the speeches and writing of Gandhi, as I am, in a very humble and respectful way, then you’ll know that Gandhi never said this. He never wrote this. this has nothing whatsoever to do with him.
Which begs the question why are there so many apparently flaccid lines slapped with pseudo-authenticity of Gandhi-ness?
Is it another form of racism?
I dunno. What I do know is the man never said this. In fact, the nearest available quote is from an American textile union leader from the early 20th C.
Why do people keep doing this to Gandhi? I don’t get it.
Rasselas.redux, Okey dokey…good to know…and my apologies to Gandhi.
Mistaken attribution happens frequently…Thoreau, Jesus, Mandela….it’s unfortunate & a good reminder to be more alert.
Churchill too. 🙂
I always thought it was Gandhi. Interested in a name in if it’s not, but I’m not challenging your accuracy.
Didn’t Gandhi also say once that if he had to choose between violence and doing nothing at all he would choose violence?
The choice, for Gandhi, was not between doing nothing and violence, it was between cowardice and violence. Gandhi called violence preferable to cowardice.
“When there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advice violence,” the lawyer-activist from South Africa said in 1920.
I imagine, in some instances, not interfering where one could interfere might be seen as a sign of strength and courage, given this view.
No doubt that’s the quote I had in mind, unless it was a common theme of his.
If you wish to become more familiar with Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha this is a good text: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10366?msg=welcome_stranger
In a 1914 speech Union leader Nicholas Klein said: “And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”
I have a hunch that monuments were not built in the memory of Nicholas Klein and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Which may explain why that bit gets cut out in the bastardised versions.
Nonetheless a number of researchers point to Klein as the origin of the misattributed Gandhi quote.
Hey rasselas.redux, I really like your story…I’m a fan of organized labor movements, generally speaking. The words were stirring, nonetheless.
No question about this huh? Because I’ll take your word for it and repeat it from time to time if you’re sure. But what about the statement about violence I just mentioned?
Krista Hartmann, your voice is SO sorely needed, and your ideas and perspective are so unlike much of what one hears elsewhere — PLEASE KEEP WRITING!
Dr. Caplan, thank you.
I am again so impressed that you were able to do all this on your own: that shouldn’t have been necessary, but for your sake, I’m glad you were able to do so.
I still hope for the day when SO’s, family members and friends are taught how to be the natural allies they ought to be. It took me a couple of years to figure out it myself after wading thru my own issues, to boot, but I see so many places in your article that good allies could have helped, especially in affect regulation, and not ‘facing the enemy’ on one’s own.
Wishing you the best.
Are you planning to have a website to promote your ideas?