Mental Health Services Turned My Daughter’s Crisis into a Way of Life

Ruth Smith
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My world turned upside down in 2005 when my daughter, Alice*, nearly died from a very serious suicide attempt. “A very close shave” was what the hospital consultant told us in the Intensive Care Unit a couple of days later.

Less than four weeks earlier, following a long period of depression and suicidal thoughts, Alice had been prescribed antidepressants and sedatives by the local Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team (CRHTT). Leaving her at home with me rather than opting for hospital admission, the team visited us almost every day to assess progress. During this time, Alice was experiencing distressing bodily sensations, such as feeling like her skin had turned to plastic and that her body was emitting unusual smells. After two weeks, a member of the mental health services team decided that these were signs of psychosis and gave her an antipsychotic drug.

We were given no explanation or choice about this, only a verbal promise that she would improve once the tablets “kicked in.” Although worried about the extra medication, we trusted them because we considered them to be the experts on mental health. How wrong we were!

Devastating Effects

The antipsychotic had a devastating effect on Alice. She became extremely distressed within half an hour of taking it, feeling even more confused while also becoming very quiet and withdrawn. Much later, she described the drug’s effects as like “being shot in the back of the head.” Over the next few days, Alice became visibly more sedated and stupefied, while I became much more anxious and worried. One morning she wandered out of the house at 8 a.m.; fortunately, I managed to persuade her to come back in. She told me much later that she had left to find a high building or bridge from which to jump because she felt so unwell. At that point, I had to lock the doors and was advised by one of the CRHTT team psychiatrists not to let her out on her own. So now Alice was virtually my prisoner! She was almost 24 years old at the time, but I didn’t think about the legal ramifications of this plan as I was more concerned about her safety.

Throughout these very difficult weeks at home, Alice kept asking to come off the medications, which she felt were not helping her at all. The team was reluctant to do this at first but agreed to do so eventually as she was clearly not responding well. However, they told us they were unable to start the tapering process yet as there was no psychiatrist available to supervise it. I think this was when Alice and I were both at our lowest point, somehow realizing not only that these medications were not going to help her but also that she would have to stay on them even longer than necessary, with no definite plan for when she could stop. It felt like a punishment. We were both exhausted and confused, but I sensed that Alice was feeling she had had enough.

A couple of days later, we received a visit from the team, during which Alice openly admitted she still felt suicidal. Shortly after they left, she went upstairs and managed to hang herself with a long woolen scarf tied to the third-floor stairway banister. Being on “high alert” and sensing that something was wrong, I managed to find her just in time to prevent her death.

The shocking, horrific experience is forever etched in my memory. It is a memory Alice would rather I did not have — of the day my daughter nearly died and could have become another suicide statistic. She explained much later that the medications were making her feel even more confused and anxious, and that she had felt compelled to do something to stop the unbearable sensations she was experiencing. She thought nobody knew what to do and believed her death was the only way to resolve her torment.

Growing Doubts

I believe that this initial experience led to my growing distrust of the mental health system. I was deeply traumatized and needing support myself. My feelings were complex, my thoughts confused, and my passion for justice aroused. Three months later, I lodged a formal complaint about the home treatment service because I wanted an explanation — for myself, and especially for Alice. I wanted to know why my daughter had nearly died under their so-called treatment plan. After filing my complaint, I took legal advice and was able to establish that the Home Treatment team was guilty on several counts. In particular, they had given Alice two medications — sertraline (an antidepressant) and respiriden (an antipsychotic) — that were likely to enhance her suicidal ideation, and therefore she should have been closely supervised in a hospital. The local Mental Health Trust settled out of court for a relatively small sum, but at least we had discovered the truth.

One week after leaving the Intensive Care Unit, Alice had been admitted to a mental hospital. Even then, she was given further psychiatric medications and offered no other treatment options. One such drug, an antipsychotic, began to affect her appetite immediately, increasing her usual weight from 140 lbs to over 200 lbs within six months. The fact that the drug had a major sedative component did not help. Alice has gained even more weight since then, leading to worries about possible diabetes, heart problems, and metabolic syndrome. These side effects are well-known and well-documented, but nobody in the mental health services seemed to think they were a problem!

Alice’s Attempts to Cope

Following the completion of her degree in textiles before her crisis, Alice had been actively seeking work. After the traumatic suicide attempt, hospital admissions, and adverse effects of the medications, she found life much more difficult. Her life seemed shattered and it took time and effort to pick up the pieces and find some sort of order again. Changing diagnoses and stigma added to her difficulty. Alice was at first given a diagnosis of depression with psychotic features. This was later altered to schizo-affective disorder and at various times she was labeled with other diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder.

Being assigned a diagnosis is a double-edged sword. Without it, a patient may not be able to claim benefits, yet the diagnosis itself can affect a person’s self-esteem, as mental illness carries a pervasive stigma, both in society and within the mental health services themselves. Some professionals emphasized to us that the “illness” was a long-term disability, which was not helpful. These psychiatrists were mostly interested in watching for symptoms that might indicate a relapse and advocated for long-term medication adherence. So where is the hope in that scenario? And how is one to live a life with some quality and meaning?

Alice made valiant efforts in her volunteer work and attended various courses, keeping in touch with friends and relatives. However, she found her moods continued to fluctuate and sometimes would experience a manic phase that led her into risky behavior, such as substance and alcohol abuse, predatory relationships with untrustworthy people, and a chaotic lifestyle — all of which was uncharacteristic of her and which she now greatly regrets.

The fact that she hasn’t achieved what she had hoped for when younger still leads her to have suicidal thoughts. Her lack of self-worth and confidence often causes her to become depressed, and she is easily triggered into panic attacks. Her energy levels fluctuate due to her continual problems with weight gain and exhaustion. The lack of good social engagement and a meaningful work life leaves Alice feeling very lonely most of the time. She sees her future as bleak and self-stigmatizes, tending to see her past as full of mistakes made by herself and others.

The Struggles of Caregiving

So what about me — a single, working parent suddenly transformed into a caregiver?

Although I was in a very distraught state of mind and on long-term sick leave during this period, I was still providing much-needed daily support to Alice both in the hospital and at home. I managed to access psychotherapy, which continued for 18 months; my GP also prescribed me sleeping pills to help block out the continuous flashbacks I experienced when trying to fall asleep at night. However, the mental health services had offered me nothing until I filed my complaint against them. Two very good friends stayed with me overnight on a rotating basis, helping me through those first few months. In all, I took a year off from my job as a social worker, returning part-time until I retired six months later.

I spent much of this time with Alice, helping her to adjust to life as a patient. About 18 months after her suicide attempt, she began to make some progress and felt able to reduce and then discontinue her antipsychotic medication. Unfortunately, some of her earlier symptoms of paranoia began to reappear and she was admitted into the hospital again for a couple of weeks while they trialed her on a new antipsychotic. Looking back, I think this was a mistake and the situation could have been overcome without the reintroduction of drugs.

I have since learned how symptoms can reappear when a person is withdrawing from these drugs. And I was shocked to learn that there are no official guidelines practitioners can use to help people through their withdrawal. Consequently, people like Alice often stop taking them abruptly and experience extreme withdrawal symptoms and, frequently, relapse — leading to further hospitalizations and even more drugs. This cycle leads to many patients being told by their GPs and psychiatrists that they need to remain on medication for life, as Alice was told when she asked to have her doses reduced and possibly withdrawn. Fortunately, there are now online resources explaining how to withdraw slowly and safely without medical supervision. Still, that is not an ideal solution.

Above all, I’ve learned that admission into a mental health ward is not always helpful for a vulnerable person in crisis, as other patients who use illegal drugs can easily influence them. Antipsychotic medication can increase a person’s vulnerability and lead them into more risk-taking behavior. This happened to my daughter, who became addicted to crack cocaine after another patient persuaded her to try it. I felt at a loss about what to do. The hospital environment was supposed to be safe, but this was not the case. By this time, my nerves were shredded and I began to think that all was lost. I spent a further six months after her hospital discharge helping Alice to get over her psychological addiction to the street drug. It took a lot of hard work on both our parts to overcome this extra dilemma.

Kept at Arm’s Length

After a while, I began to wonder how I would survive if I were to remain a sole caregiver for Alice. I had not anticipated how much the mental health services would rely on me in this role and how little they would support me in fulfilling it. I was frequently not consulted on any of their treatment plans, nor about the details of my daughter’s care. One helpful intervention, family therapy — for which I had to ask repeatedly — was eventually offered by a psychologist, who worked with us both together and separately. He was the only person who validated that my role as caregiver was a very difficult one. He was also able to give me advice on how to manage the task of being both mother and caregiver, which helped me on a practical level and allowed me to consider my own needs as well as my daughter’s.

This advice eventually led to my decision, in 2008, to move out of London to the healthier environment of a smaller city. I did wonder whether the mental health services might be better in a different area of the U.K. but was sadly mistaken. Despite my role as Alice’s caregiver, I continued to feel excluded from the mental health services’ decisions about her treatment. I began to realize that they regarded me as a necessary economic asset, but did not take me seriously as someone who could make a valid contribution to supporting my daughter’s mental health. The fact that I was questioning aspects of the services probably did not endear me to them. Also, the issue of patient confidentiality raised many conflicts for these professionals and made it difficult for caregivers and family members to work in partnership with them. Although necessary in some cases, I now believe that the mental health services sometimes use “confidentiality” as a smokescreen that allows them to exert exclusivity and power over patients and service users.

Seeking and Finding Alternatives

By this time, I had begun to wonder whether the treatment provided by mental health services was turning vulnerable and distressed people into long-term patients by introducing them to the same bio-medical model that had ill-served my daughter. I was keen to find alternatives to that model, so I joined a group looking to set up a Soteria House. I also began to attend conferences and read books about the anti-psychiatry movement. Over the next few years, I gained knowledge and confidence and became even more critical of the mental health services.

Meanwhile, my daughter was experiencing more psychotic episodes and I was becoming increasingly concerned about the adverse effects of her medication — both mental and physical. I was learning much more about the dangers of dependency on these drugs. I couldn’t understand why psychiatry continued to prescribe them while a growing body of research was showing how harmful the drugs can be, especially when used long-term. I began to realize that the majority of psychiatrists whom I encountered did not seem interested in any approach except the dominant medical model. Fortunately, I have since discovered some psychiatrists who are critical of the model and do wish to see changes.

Then, about five years ago, I heard about the Open Dialogue treatment for psychosis — a very successful system used in Finland over the past 25 years that relies very little on antipsychotic drugs. Substantial interest in this way of working has begun to grow and now training in Open Dialogue is available within a few National Health Service (NHS) Trusts in the UK. A large research study of the treatment is also taking place here. One of the NHS Trusts in London is providing a service, Dialogue First, for people who are not in crisis but wish to try an approach different from the usual mental health practices. My daughter and I are currently receiving these services. We have found the Dialogue First approach to be so humane and inclusive, as it embraces family members, friends, and people in their networks. Everyone is encouraged to contribute and the emphasis is on “being heard” and finding meaning rather than on receiving “treatment.”

It would have been so much more constructive to have had this kind of help 14 years ago, during Alice’s first crisis. It has become clearer during our Dialogue First sessions that much of Alice’s mental and emotional distress was caused by several life issues related to social, psychological, environmental, cultural, and identity-related challenges. I do not believe that it is a physical disease or simply a chemical imbalance that medication can cure. Life is much more complex than that.

However, it is a very long process to overcome 14 years of toxic medications, several hospital admissions, and the extremely traumatic experiences both Alice and I have suffered due to the lack of good mental health provision. I find it appalling that the mental health services continue to use medication as a first-line treatment when there is substantial evidence regarding its many adverse effects when taken long-term. These include the risks I noted above along with cognitive impairment, tardive dyskinesia, possible brain shrinkage, and early death. Who would want to receive such “treatment,” which appears to be doing so much more harm than good? But what other choices do we have? What do we do when we are on the threshold of a crisis when help is needed for people experiencing extreme emotional distress who are at risk of harm? When the situation has gone far beyond what I can do on my own and I am exhausted from lack of support?

Changing the Paradigm

I do not want to traumatize my daughter further by imposing a mental health “section” and more hospitalization plus more medications, but I cannot leave her to find her own way through her difficult journey. Living with this situation is terrifying, both for the patient/service user and for the caregiver, family, and friends. Too often, a crisis begins to escalate dramatically, no constructive help is available, and the situation escalates beyond our control. This is when I find myself “between a rock and a hard place.” This is when I would like to call on a service such as Open Dialogue, whose members I know would respond very quickly and provide a team that will assist and support my daughter and me through the crisis.

What can we do to change the way our mental health services are organized so that we can reduce our anxiety and fear, secure in the knowledge that when we ask for help, the services provided will not turn a crisis into a way of life for already distressed and vulnerable people? I don’t have an answer for everyone, only for myself. I am now a member of the Open Dialogue Champions, a small group of family members/caregivers who have experienced the benefit of working in an alternative way. Our mission is to promote Open Dialogue throughout the NHS in any way we can, helping to bring about a transformation that will stop the overuse of psychiatric medications and the enduring damage this form of treatment is currently doing to our family members, friends, and the wider society.

* Editor’s Note: Ruth’s daughter’s name has been changed to protect the latter’s privacy. 

18 COMMENTS

  1. “Much later, she described the drug’s effects as like ‘being shot in the back of the head.’” Look in the artwork section of this website for a painting called “Psychiatric Drug Induced Hell.” That was a self portrait I did right after being put on Risperdal (an antipsychotic), just when the “med” was to “kick in.” Your daughter is correct, being put on an antipsychotic makes you feel like you’ve been shot in the head.

    Thanks for sharing your all too typical story of the extreme harm our “mental health” workers are doing to millions and millions of innocent people worldwide. It’s shameful. I’m glad you’ve found the Open Dialogue group, and glad change seems to be being made in the UK. Change in the US seems to be much slower unfortunately.

    • Ruth and Alice,
      I’m truly sorry for your suffering. I don’t wish to open a debate with you, perhaps a dialogue. You describe these years of frustration as the mental health services turning your daughter’s crisis into a lifestyle. This certain seems to capture the experience for many, but I humbly submit that if you and your daughter can’t come to terms with what actually began the long nightmare you’ll make little progress. Your own words note that your daughter came very close to killing herself before ever being stigmatized by the system. And yes, some meds do run the risk of suicidal ideation and attempts, but do you know what else greatly predicts a suicide or attempt? A previous one.

      “The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right name.” – Confucius I suggest an accurate diagnosis early on would have been key to a proper treatment program. Here in the States a suicide attempt will be stabilized in the ICU of the hospital and then transferred to a psychiatric hospital for at least a week. At the second hospital the patient will meet with at least one psychiatrist every single day but you would also have been encouraged to visit. I won’t pretend that all psych hospitals are great here, I know firsthand that’s not so, but a young woman who has done that is usually extended a great deal of compassion. Before your daughter could even be released after such an event there would need to be a treatment plan and she’d have to have no ideation whatsoever.

      As for the ineffectiveness of drugs, yes, this is the reality, but not just for our diseases, but many. And the mind is far more complex and mysterious than the pancreas or kidneys. In this case I don’t believe the failure of Big Pharma is some greedy conspiracy, but the simple fact that they aren’t capable so far of understanding any of the processes at work.

      Best wishes going forward!

  2. Dear Ruth,

    I’m very sorry for Alice and Your situation

    I think the “Article Title” describes things fairly accurately. ‘Mental Illness’ is longterm – because the treatment approach guarantees this.

    What can be done to improve the overall situation? I would say acknowledgement of the success of the Non Drug Approaches (Open Dialogue being one of these). And acknowledgement of the dangers of abrupt psychuatric drug withdrawal.

  3. I would like to add w very important issue about the real function of psychotherapy and relation between the patient, and the professional (slave – master union)

    “When we are told what is healthy we are being told what is right to think and feel. When we are told what is mentally ill we are being told what ideas, behavior, and fantasies are wrong. […] The avenues of escape are blocked by the professional abuse of pathologizing. To refuse the mental health approach confirms one’s ‘sickness’. One needs ‘therapy’, […]
    How can we take back therapy […] from a system which must find illness in order to promote health and which, in order to increase the range of its helping, is obliged to extend the area of sickness. Ever deeper pockets of pathology to be analyzed, ever earlier traumata: primal, prenatal, into my astral body; ever more people into the ritual: the family, the office force, community mental health, analysis for everyone. […]
    Its practice may differ […] but the premise is the same. The work of making soul requires professional help. Soul-making has become restricted by therapy and to therapy. And psychopathology has become restricted to therapy’s negative definition of it, reduced to its role in the therapy game.”

    “The healer is the illness, and the illness is the healer. But as this ancient psychological idea has become translated into modern secular therapy, the”who” is none other than the professional therapist.
    By giving the pathologizing a clinical name, the professional therapist makes the first move in therapy game. The first move is not the pathologizing of the patient.
    —————————————————————————————–
    His complaints and oddities are not clinical psychopathology until so named. (They are psychological, and they are needed, because our psyche needs it, even if we, our ego is unable to cope)
    ——————————————————————————————

    On the one hand , I am protected from this “thing” by separation from it, it now has a name. But on the other hand, I now, have something…” Moreover the therapist has become the very god who by bringing the condition is the only one who can take it away.The patients tend to believe in his therapist: ” He alone can help me for only he knows really what is wrong.” What is “really” wrong means what is “literally” wrong, what has been literalized into wrongness by the professional therapy game.
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    In this way the analyst and the patient become locked in a long -term therapy analysis, for the analyst is the one, the very God, who has seen into the patient incurable weak spot, his vulnerable heel, his ruinous secret. The analyst’s insight and the patient’s wound together embody the archetypal figure of Wounded -Healer, another ancient and psychological way of expressing that illness and its healing are one and the same. But again in modern secular therapy the Wounded Healer has been divided down the middle: illness is all one the patient side and health all with the therapist. The archetype is split, and the two halves are bound together compellingly in what is called transference and countertransference.
    Little wonder therapy speaks so much of “resistance” and that manuals are written explaining how to overcome or break through the patient’s “defense mechanism”.

    “Therapeutic analysis has side effects no less lethal than drugs”

    ————————————————————————————————————————————
    For the wrong pathologizing of the therapy game is killing. Levi -Strauss has noted that asymmetrical games, such as those between the unequal partners of therapy, end in killing one opponent. The killing of psychotherapy takes place on a psychological level:the neurosis, the problem, is supposedly “got rid of”, whereas actually it is soul that is being killed – again through a wrong pathologizing, a wrong understanding of the soul in the symptom.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    Wrong pathologizing has spread well beyond the games of the consulting room and clinic, becoming a covert political instrument of the state.Political heretics may be declared mentally ill in order to banish them – and this procedure is smoothly justified with assurances that it is for the “patient’s” good. We may not draw comfort from supposing that this goes on only in the Soviet union.

    James Hillman

  4. Ms. Smith, you have such an accurate grasp of the issue(s) & heartbreaking reality.
    My story was somewhat parallel to your daughter’s but lacking an advocate, I ultimately focused on a similar conclusion to your’s; that a diagnosis & ‘treatment’ were lifelong with no way out, which was the industry’s power…and Achilles Heel.

    In the U.S., “Follow the money” is the accepted answer to EVERYTHING minor & profound. It assisted forming my strategy & tactics when I was presented with a (desperate) turning point. I was ‘in’ for 9 years; getting ‘out’ took 2+ additional years of careful, nerve-wracking (guided) withdrawal by a very powerful, educated figure….with ZERO experience in this sphere. He had been the director while a prescriber plunged me into anaphylaxis; messy, loud, legal liability issues loomed….for HIM. He was on-track to ultimately ascend within months to CMO/VP of the large, prosperous BH provider. His involvment was ‘troubling’….my moment to act effectively….3-dimensional chess while drugged and decompensating hard.
    It worked; I was lucky & smart.

    The inescapable withdrawal set-backs were quietly shattering, possibly affecting his choice to continue assisting my exit with a changed diagnosis….he DID (so much for “Life-long” principles when threatened by a possible lawsuit!) My anxiety was countering any tiny steps forward.

    I have been out/drug-free for 4 years. I was patient & kind to myself as I navigated re-building my physical health, personality & relationship with the world. I ‘experienced’ 17 ‘partial-seizures’ that have abated for 10 months now. I saw experts that included Barrows Neurological. They are uncomfortable with the psych-drug ‘issue’. But I knew what they were.

    I want you to know there is quality of life after a psychiatric hijacking.

    I am moving back to South Florida this year, a notion I never thought I could manage during this ‘test’ in life. I will be 69 years old in December…and refuse to sit around waiting to die of old-age. My health is spectacular.

    I can’t wait to fully engage with life again…better to burn out than fade away.
    I hope I’ll be able to also contribute to a BH community that is more receptive to this way of viewing and re-think participating in the damning, old orthodoxy.
    SEEING and HEARING successful strategies and options towards good mental health is essential…from a veteran of the ‘war’.

    Good luck to you and your daughter. Your support for her is spectacular.

  5. Hello Ruth,
    I am a fellow caregiver. I’m sorry for the terrible experiences you and your daughter have had. I’m very intrigued by the Open Dialogue Champions group and will try to check it out. My wife, son and I have mostly gone on this healing journey on our own, and I’ve always wished we had more support, so I can definitely empathize with you. We were just very fortunate/lucky that she never got caught up in the mental health system.

    I’m glad you are finally getting some support. Maybe some day we will, too, though I’ve about got her thru things at this point.
    Sam

  6. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing your story.

    I think we need to learn a lot about altered states of consciousness and their symptoms. People who experience these altered states of consciousness must theoretically be enlightened. This takes away fear and explains why these medications are not useful, on the contrary, dangerous, because they force the brain into states that damage it.

    You write that your daughter has noticed smells. This is a typical sign of an altered state of consciousness. 16 years ago I had to undergo chemotherapy. I cannot use words to describe what I smelled. Nobody told me about these “side effects”. Only years later, when I had understood that chemotherapeutics are nerve poisons, I did understand what else was happening in this procedure. The same applies to psychotropic drugs of any kind.

    There are a lot of other signs of altered states of consciousness that are not pathological, but an ability of our brain. It is important to understand them as a warning signal and not as a side effect that has to be endured.

  7. Hi Ruth,

    “Also, the issue of patient confidentiality raised many conflicts for these professionals and made it difficult for caregivers and family members to work in partnership with them. Although necessary in some cases, I now believe that the mental health services sometimes use “confidentiality” as a smokescreen that allows them to exert exclusivity and power over patients and service users.”

    I’ve seen this used for much more nefarious purposes than a smoke screen. Of course in Australia we don’t have the benefit of having any confidentiality (just don’t tell the plebs yet, we want to keep this information among those who have a sophisticated knowledge of the law). “No spousal privilege in common law in Australia” ergo there is no privileged communications, but we will not put this to the test, merely continue in ignorance on a path that suits certain people in our community.
    I had my medical records released as soon as I refused to pay $600 to a clinic. Paid good money to have lawyers ensure that those records were confidential and yet here they are turning up in another hospital that has arranged to have me snatched out of my bed after being drugged without my knowledge with someone elses benzos, and having a knife and cannabis planted on me to obtain a police referral. I fail to see how the people who did this to me didn’t recognise that somewhere along the path they took a wrong turn. So delusional that they believe that they are helping people?
    And of course then we have the ‘divide and rule’ tactics I believe your half pointing to above Ruth. Telling your daughter one thing and you another. Gaslighting.
    They got my wife to do all sorts of nasty stuff to me in order to see that I could not access the documents showing their criminality. She did however claim this was done as a result of her being threatened by them. (The FOI officer in particular who denied me access to the evidence and was demanding that my wife provide her with authority to act as my carer, lest they be seen for what they are, kidnappers and torturers. Just get him to go to a doctor and have them backdate a referral, that makes him a patient and we are all clear to do whatever we like to him after that eh?) After 6 weeks of her sneaking around behind my back slandering me to all my friends and associates, even making claims to others that despite the all clear from a Psychiatrist that I had a mental illness and my truthful claims were delusions. Police fell for it hook line and sinker. Even assisting my wife and her co conspirators to retrieve the evidence of the spiking (or so they thought. Should have seen the panic when those docs surfaced. Police now wanting to arrest me for being the victim of crimes. Not allowed to have proof of their crimes, that would not do at all)
    They even sent fraudulent documents to the lawyers. Took out the proof I had been spiked with benzos and started slandering me as a paranoid delusional. All authorised by a Clinical Director and his side kick an Operations Manager who said if I continued with my complaint they would fuking destroy me.
    Good people who just happen to do the odd kidnapping and torture of citizens and who have the support of our Chief Psychiatrist and Minister to do cover ups via unintentional negative outcomes and fraud. One question I have about that situation is were the lawyers threatened, or did they participate in the attempt to pervert the course of justice willingly? Because I don’t believe that the Chief Psychiatrist wrote that letter of response claiming ignorance of the law and that a Community Nurse can travel through time and space. He would look like a complete fool should anyone with a basic legal knowledge read that document, and he sure has. The Minister and the Principle of the Law Centre getting together to commit such serious offences with mandatory prison terms? Wow, imagine that. Lucky they have friends in high places eh?
    I don’t know that people who have not been subjected to the absolute viciousness of these folk would truly understand. They have such nice suits and smiles that would have you leave your loved ones in their care. And then while your not looking subject them to the most vile and brutal treatment you can imagine and call it ‘medicine’.
    I do hope you expand on the above quote because I feel there is more to be said. In your own time though Ruth. Thanks for speaking your truth here.

  8. Dear Ruth,

    Thank you for sharing your story, I am so sorry this happened to you and your daughter, it’s such an unfair and misunderstood illness. I had a very similar story to your daughter’s when I was her age and although it’s only been a few years, I can still remember the frustration over mis-diagnosis’ and the difficulty navigating the medical system. It’s mothers like you, with bold voices and strong hearts that save lives and even empower our culture. I hope you and your daughter find a way of peace in the aftermath of her improper care, and that your support system grows as you share you story.

    Best wishes,
    J

  9. I began to wonder: What can we do to change the way our mental health services are organized so they won’t turn a crisis into a way of life for already distressed and vulnerable people?

    Nothing of course — turning distress into a way of life is psychiatry’s entire raison d’etre.

  10. Ruth, I am so sorry you and your daughter endured such an ordeal after being in contact with mental health services. Until you experience it on a personal level it is hard to believe how very damaging it actually can be. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a strong, courageous woman and your mission to help others avoid the same nightmare as your daughter is most commendable. Best wishes to you and your daughter.

  11. Thank you for sharing Ruth and Alice. I am very sorry for your horror story. I just came back from a NARPA conference. (NARPA is a group trying to change this mess.) A man made a comment to my comment that i thought could be useful.. He said everyone doing whatever they can is needed. If someone is good at writing ..write, someone is good at speaking.. speak out, someone is good with legal issues.. use the law. As a distressed teenager I was made Bipolar/ Mentally disabled by the drugs. Now 18 months off psych drugs after 32 years I got my life back and I could not agree with Krista more.. I am going to have a great life. It turns out for me and I can not stress this enough to anyone struggling… It was so so simple – I needed to fix my life NOT my brain chemistry. Go figure I was sad for a reason. 32 years later thanks to this movement I am fixing my life. Thank you all at MIA.

  12. One has to be truly careful, when one has the idea that something needs to be done, because you can easily end up in the social bonding that emerges heralding ideology rather than results, and that’s not true thinking, that’s indoctrination. Doing nothing, even when that is called crazy, can be more helpful by far. It still remains that many people could not, would not and haven’t survived such “interventions.”

    To mention only a few thing:

    After your daughter clearly had an extremely bad reaction to medications, when she ends up in an asylum, and is again put on the very medications (an anti-psychotic) although one that was a new one, you state that you in “looking back,” think that was a mistake. Why didn’t you at that time become alarmed that the same process was repeating itself? Could you fill us in so we know how to relate to someone who is like you were at that point. Because many people have to try to relate to such beliefs and have no understanding of how to relate except that they know it isn’t going to help, and like me can become quite frustrated being baffled at how to respond.

    Later on you state that you learned (“above all”) that being in the asylum can be bad because a person can be introduced to street drugs. Why is that? One is at least clearly told about street drugs how addictive they are, and what they do to your system, and they aren’t touted as cures for emotional problems (although people might think that they work that way) while with psychiatric drugs such information is withheld or suppressed. With street drugs there’s informed consent much more and thus they also can CHOOSE to not take them and are never forced on them. A person clearly can find out for themselves how addictive they are and that they don’t enhance a person’s life. And street drugs work the same as psychiatric drugs because they are messing around with neurotransmitters, and many or most of them used to be psychiatric drugs half a century or more ago. I would think that above all it’s the stress on drugs at all in the asylum, and that people forced on “medications” that mess around with neurotransmitters while receiving no help with the emotional problems, the need for cognitive perspective or the spiritual awakening that might be going on: that they then are going to turn towards street drugs. You could say the same thing for going to a University, that someone can get involved with drugs or drinking, while perhaps it’s the lack of true interest in the human mind beyond indoctrinating it that it the true danger there. And I’m not condoning street drugs at all.

    And you also state that you didn’t know that symptoms can re-occur when getting off of “medications.” It’s clear then that you weren’t taught this in social work school, but what were you taught that lead you to not see what was going on? And what are those “symptoms?” That the drugs didn’t work in the first place, that whatever “symptoms,” that were suppressed weren’t understood, and when they re-emerged got the same treatment, because they were seen as symptoms not valid expressions of whatever they were expressing and could be given room to express itself? Those are symptoms of suppression from treatment, that’s not even what would have happened leading a person look towards treatment, which adds another problem, the anxiety a person is taught to have about “symptoms,” that might just be normal human responses when not met with such anxiety that “something” needs to be done. Still we’re talking about “symptoms” (anxiety, paranoia perhaps even and then also “medications” toxicity) that come from believing something needs to be done rather than what was there that brought into being such “beliefs.” And how much of those “symptoms,” become simple normal responses that when a person is in an environment not seeing that as a disease, not becoming alarmed about it, that it ceases to be a problem but something that’s embraced and understood. In one area it simply isn’t really engaged with and thus discriminated against, and in another area it’s resolved.

    And then I read the rest of the article and am amazed and happy to see there is a change, but how much of the problem was that “symptoms,” were seen as such rather than something completely normal given the circumstances, and that doing “nothing,” would have from the beginning been more helpful?

    The one thing Soteria house does, I would think, when working with a whole family is to turn around the whole idea of “symptoms,” because I would think it’s the environment defining them as such NOT the person themselves, because the weren’t born, didn’t wake up from Heaven and suddenly start having issues with stuff that when properly looked at would only remind them that they are human rather than some piece of machinery manufactured by society. Rather than “symptoms,” they could see that there was valid emotional stuff, or cognitive stuff not given room to express itself, or unusual experiences that weren’t acknowledged or shown interest in to give a person the feeling they could be themselves regarding what life brought them, all stuff to remind them they are human and where they came from. Stuff and more going on that when not given room to express themselves became instead “symptoms.”

    And sorry but a major turn towards what would help would simply be do NOT get involved with the mental health system or turn to them when you’re having difficulty.

    I don’t even know why this is supposed to be a “disease” anymore. As if innocence is a disease.

    Recently I encountered an energy healer – and have been to a few, one actually had been put in an asylum as a child, because he would see auras which he described, and he would know things like who was on the phone before it was picked up and what they were going to say, but when clear miracles happened a Catholic priest actually decided that he had been given special gifts by the devil and then a special indoctrinated by the church psychiatric decided if Gene had shock therapy that the devil wouldn’t like the feeling of it and let go of Gene. And so Gene actually repressed all of that till his life fell apart, and then the miracles started happening again, and he traveled all around the world even getting the Russian Cosmonaut medal because his pure nature inspired people to find their own inner healer where miracles happen. And when people from Chernoble found healing, he was honored thus. You can hear his whole story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9edB02jWP0 and see what he does to promote healing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9edB02jWP0 which continues here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSX-gUmxQ3M. Gene passed away in 2009, but I found another healer and was getting in touch with what she does beyond time and space, and it allowed me to feel what actually gets in the way of the healing energies (but that’s crazy in itself, because it’s not from the physical, it’s from the mind, from thought). I didn’t even go for any “psychiatric” problem but a physical one, which has now healed although it’s not supposed to have that way. And I’ve found that after both healings that occurred with Carol and Gene before that, I felt restrained from being active. Not held back but restrained more, because I simply felt detached, not being able to be active and take part anymore fueled by what IS causing the problem while I’m not supposed to be aware of what would prevent all of that, because it’s “crazy”. Not “objective.” https://caroleverett.com/ And that’s the difficult part, because you then see how much “society” gets in the way, and in how many ways. And how many of your decisions are actually to escape knowing what heals, because society doesn’t accept that. In fact, you can’t even go around in society being active about what truly heals, because that’s seen as nothing: too soft, doesn’t give you that spark of thinking you’re combating something to get somewhere, because what heals actually doesn’t need anything to oppose it, it really only need you to allow it. Detach and don’t do anything for awhile and you’ll feel it. Instead society gets in the way. That being what MOST of its defenses do. But if you really let go, you learn soon enough that there’s a whole other world. And “crazy” really isn’t a disease at all, and it’s seeing it as crazy that’s the real mistake beyond ever getting it right, because even a “disease” can teach you there’s something wrong (change your thoughts, change your habit, what you eat, whether you stress yourself out in whatever way: fighting wars no one can win, or simply find the help you need which wasn’t there before), or it can challenge you to change your life to see what’s right, but you decide that something is crazy and you’ve already decided that it has nothing to say, and will never make any sense. That what could change your life has to be eradicated.

    On Amazon Prime there’s another healer. Charlie Goldsmith, who somehow taps into the same wave pattern of what’s “crazy,” and what heals, because the people whose problems go away after Charlie has been the conduit of that say things like: “You’re not for real,” because it’s so totally unusual and amazing to them, or: “that’s crazy,” I don’t know how many times I heard that. Or one lady says: “I’m just weirded out right now.” After she realized she suddenly could do stuff she hadn’t been able to. And she actually WANTED to do stuff that before would have caused pain or discomfort. They here went and revisited someone he had helped when they were filming a show about him (which he didn’t really get paid for paying his own transportation and housing to be in the area in California I think). He started his own company because he didn’t WANT to charge for his gift. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-gQ6oBDpB4

    It’s all really crazy.

    Years ago, I happened upon a medium and a spirit friend had to put him in a trance when he was doubting her information (he didn’t understand the love between me and her I later was told, sort of like Lord Voldmoort not understanding the power of love) and she called me her son, having been Mozart’s mother. What I found, actually, is that Mozart never composed anything, the way the discipline would say. He only simply honored music as an innate place (using imagination of all things) where a person can find a home for their emotions, and gain perspective on life, he responded to the music, and he went there instead of going somewhere that was supposed to be “sane” or “constructive,” or whatever it’s called, and not even to the music would he do that to, something quite impossible when miracles aren’t at all impossible in contrast. And now I’ve found music (and painting, and writing novels, and poetry, and pottery, and whatever) to be healing for me myself, and I haven’t gone up in flames, exploded into forever, but I’m letting it trickle in.

    But REALLY!

    This idea that you have to CONSCIOUSLY do something, that you have to be RESPONSIBLE and take action, this is too ridiculous to call crazy, because if you were crazy, and didn’t do all of that, and allowed something else to be there that doesn’t need anything opposing it (love, the tao, the Universe: One-Song) then all of the stuff that created all of the breadth of evolution in nature, what’s involuntary, what happens by itself, THAT will do things you never thought were possible and greater than ANYTHING you could come with thinking you need to have.

    And it’s crazy…..