From Stoned to “Schizophrenic”: My Mental Healthcare Journey

Michael H. Kim
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I live in Sydney, Australia and I’ve been diagnosed with schizophrenia. I don’t believe I really have such an illness, but now I’m stuck in the mental health system and not sure how to get out. It all began with an experiment.

During my teenage years, I was on the fence about whether “mental illness” was real. I used to have fluctuating moods, but nothing out of the ordinary; they all seemed a part of life. It seemed possible that some extreme emotions could be classified as mental illness. But due to my comfortable youth, I couldn’t imagine what could possibly trigger people into such debilitating thoughts.

At university, I developed an interest in the concept of mental illnesses. I didn’t understand what was meant by “normal” and how mental health professionals defined this term. At the time, I was studying engineering, and in STEM, all critical terms are well-defined. Yet in psychology, there was no formal definition of “normal.” I soon started to spend more time researching mental illnesses than doing my homework. At the same time (2008), I started to smoke a lot of weed. Smoking weed would fixate my concentration on mental illness. After about two semesters of researching mental illness and smoking weed, my grades slumped; I failed a lot of classes. My weed-smoking became even more frequent, and I knew I had a problem.

At first, I thought about giving myself a semester off to gather myself and then finish my degree. But by that point, I was also starting to get depressive symptoms. The feeling started with one random negative thought. Then these thoughts became more frequent. It got to the point where I was sad most of the time. I knew I had to stop smoking weed and take a time-out to get myself together. But I didn’t. Instead, I wanted to explore how deep my sadness could go. The formal accounts of depression and mental illnesses I’d read were too vague, and I wanted more detail. So, I decided to keep smoking weed and keep reading up on mental illnesses to see if I could briefly trigger the more severe symptoms of mental illness so I could better understand it. To my way of thinking at the time, I might someday use this knowledge to help people, so it seemed worth the risk.

Depression, then Psychosis

The first step into depression was changing my perspective on my past. Weed allows users to rationalize different points of view. In high school, I was frequently called a loser. I used to tell myself I was just learning, and it was OK not to fit in. With weed, I was now able to understand the bullies’ perspective. At first, this POV was interesting because it was new to me. I’d keep smoking weed to find other insights I might have missed. But then the negative thoughts became obsessive, and I stopped working out. This is when my mood started to drop.

As my mood dropped lower, the usual “high” and interesting perspectives from weed became fewer and the negative thoughts became more frequent. As my weed smoking became more compulsive, I cut down on eating to be able to afford to keep buying the drug. This is when withdrawal symptoms started to manifest. The anxiety they caused was debilitating because it heightened whatever emotions I felt. My negative thoughts became more negative still. It didn’t take too long before I was engulfed in negative interpretations of everything, past and future. I was now convinced that depression is real. I finally understood how sadness could become disabling.

As negative thoughts were now the only thoughts I had, I couldn’t seem to form opinions anymore. I thought, “What’s the point? I’m going to be wrong anyway.” I then became cognitively sluggish. And as weed-smoking became an all-day, everyday habit, my memory was no longer what it used to be. There was a point where I couldn’t tell the difference between objective material I read and my interpretation of it. I had to constantly pause to gather myself because of my mental confusion.

Was this psychosis? It depends on which psychiatrist you ask. Confusion is one criterion, but it’s on a spectrum. At what point does confusion become psychosis? The boundaries of sanity and insanity aren’t so clear. This was shown in the 1970s by the Rosenhan experiment.

For those unfamiliar, David Rosenhan was an American psychologist who conducted an experiment to test whether psychiatrists could tell the difference between “normal” and “abnormal” people. The researchers sent pseudo-patients with no record of mental illness into mental wards and told them to say they heard voices. Most of the participants were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The researchers’ report highlighted the fact that the hospital’s nurses framed their observations of the pseudo-patients’ normal behavior as symptoms, and that other patients were able to spot some of these pseudo-patients as fakes.

Early Psychosis Intervention (2009)

During this period of self-doubt, I voluntarily started to see a psychiatrist because I was engulfed in negative thoughts, and I just couldn’t find a direction in life. The slightest joys came only when I was high, and this made me feel “normal.” By this point, I had forgotten that my weed addiction was likely causing all of my mental and emotional symptoms.

My psychiatrist’s response was to put me on antipsychotic medication. They offered drug counseling, but I declined. They offered therapy but I declined it as well. I made no effort to place myself in any other form of treatment because while they did offer it, they did the bare minimum to explain the benefits. I was very lethargic from my depression and lacked motivation. You would think the mental health profession would consider the apathy of depressed patients and make a better effort to communicate their options.

Other incidents made me question the wisdom of psychiatry. Once I was in a mall, and I thought I heard my mom call my name. I looked around and didn’t see her. I knew that I must have heard something else; it was a very windy day. Wanting to know what psychiatrists write in their note pads, I told the psychiatrist I heard voices. So she wrote it down. But I knew I had actually misheard something, and at the next session, I corrected myself. But she didn’t write anything then. I concluded that they only write down information that can be used for a diagnosis. They don’t try to understand the context of their patients’ experiences.

First Involuntary Admission (2015)

I never did stop smoking weed and finally, my psychiatrist just ended the “psychosis intervention.” One day, my dealer cut me off and I also lost my job. So I started drinking alcohol. My habit got worse. I stopped eating because I thought I could fit more alcohol in my stomach that way. About a week later, my mom confronted me about the drinking, but I continued. Then she pulled a knife on me. I threw her off her wheelchair, took the knife from her, and called the police. I was shaken and drunk, acting in an “odd” manner. A few days later, I was still drinking but I told myself I was going to stop and came up with a plan to do something with my life. Then the police showed up with a medical crew. They told me I must go with them. I asked where they were taking me, but they didn’t answer.

I got stuck in a mental ward, with no explanation of what was going on and without their knowing I was withdrawing from alcohol and weed. Days later, they handed me a contract. The lady told me to trust her and just sign it. They locked me up against my will with no reason given; why would I trust her? Then, when I asked for more information, she told me she didn’t have time to tell me about my rights. I insisted and got my rights in writing. I read them and signed the document. Turns out I was supposed to see a doctor within 24 hours of arriving on the ward. It took a few more days before I did.

I also had a right to a hearing, but this tribunal was biased by design, involving one psychiatrist convincing another psychiatrist that I was mentally ill. That’s like a policeman trying to convince another police officer the accused is guilty; they both have the same incentive: to prosecute. A few days before the hearing, I was assigned a lawyer. He didn’t have time for me and barely made my case. Of course, they don’t give patients their files to help them defend themselves because of stigma. Basically, there’s no defense; these lawyers have about half a dozen or so patients to look after per day, while each patient’s files would take days to read.

They also medicated me before I had seen a doctor. How did they make the decision to medicate, and which drug to prescribe? All along there was still no explanation of what was happening to me. My suspicion of “mental health professionals” was growing. After a few days, the medications had taken full effect. And I started to feel zoned out. Then, they took me to the sub-acute (less severe) section of the mental ward. There I met other patients and befriended a few of them to track their situations alongside my own.

I was assigned the same doctor I’d seen at my earlier psychosis intervention. Just before I was discharged six weeks later, she told me the medications were working because I looked better, like the times I’d said I’d felt better during the psychosis intervention. This was bullshit! I’d been stoned all the way through my sessions with her. Sometimes I got stoned just outside the building and walked in baked. What she meant by “better” or normal was the stoned version of me she’d come to know.

Just before my admission, I’d been feeling optimistic about my plans and felt more energetic. I just had a drinking problem. After I got discharged, I was trying to implement the same plan I was going to pursue before admission. But I felt sluggish because of the medication. Medications lower serotonin; what do you expect? I tried to get some type of service job, but failed. I could get a tryout, but I just couldn’t keep my energy levels up. It took four cups of coffee within an hour to wake up every day and a cup every 45 to 60 minutes to stay alert. And I still got less done than before. I couldn’t read more than a chapter of a book a time.

The Schizophrenia Diagnosis (2015)

I kept drinking because I got no enjoyment out of life. When I completed a task towards my goal (financial trading), I didn’t feel good because the drugs I was on block dopamine receptors. When I could string together some sort of progress in spite of my low motivation, I didn’t feel anything. My heart felt like it was jamming, my body felt weak, and my mind was numb. I was still trying to find a real job. Back then, I was required to work to get welfare payments. Then one day, I was asked to come in and see a doctor, so I couldn’t make it to my welfare job. There I was handed a medical certificate by my psychiatrist. The note read: “SCHIZOPHRENIA.” This is how I found out about my diagnosis. There was no formal meeting to sit down and discuss my symptoms and diagnosis. By this point, it had become clear to me that the level of professionalism expected from most doctors is not required in psychiatry.

He couldn’t have been the one who’d made that diagnosis. At no point in my life could I not distinguish reality from fantasy. Proving someone has delusions based on their behavior ultimately requires mind reading. Plus, the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia specify that I can’t be under the influence of drugs nor having withdrawal symptoms. Meanwhile, I was hungover every time I saw him, just as I’d been stoned all the way through my psychosis intervention. The psychiatrist I saw specializes in mood and anxiety disorders, psychosis, and bipolar disorder. He didn’t specialize in substance abuse; expertise in this area is required to diagnose any kind of substance-related psychosis.

I am convinced that I’ve been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia for all the reasons I’ve just described. In doing further research on mental illness I’ve learned that this preventable mistake is all too common. A recent report by Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center noted that over 50% of recently diagnosed schizophrenics were found not to have the disorder. Of those, over 40% didn’t have a “mental illness” at all. The researchers blamed faulty electronic medical records for these misdiagnoses, calling it “checklist psychiatry.” Apparently, this problem was never fixed after the Rosenhan experiment. But now that I have that label, I am treated as if that diagnosis is true.

Second Involuntary Admission

At my tribunal during my second involuntary admission, the reasons my psychiatrist listed for admitting me were that I had:

  1. Thought disorder. What did this mean? I argued against my psychiatrist. He argued in favor of the neurotransmitter hypothesis of mental illness and he called it a theory. All I said to him was that he needed proof for such claims, or the idea remained just a hypothesis rather than a verified scientific theory. Apparently, disagreement with a psychiatrist about one’s treatment plan or psychiatric thinking is a delusion or a form of abnormal thought, because it is psychiatrists who get to define “normal.”
  2. Grandiose delusions. At the time, I was writing a book. They asked me about my book, and I told them it was going to be “revolutionary.” Was I serious? No, I just gave them a hyperbolic statement, because I thought that might help me to get my hands on my medical records to see what they were writing in their notes. I got them, but there was nothing in there but blood tests and useless reports and nothing about my symptoms. Afterward, the psychiatrist asked to see a draft of my book, but I declined. Without evidence, they decided my hyperbolic statement was a delusional symptom.
  3. Paranoia. I did say “Nurses are drugging the food to make patients drowsy.” But, here’s the context: the day before I made this comment, I was talking to another patient and he told me he thought the nurses were putting something in the food because it made him drowsy. I told him it’s probably the gravy because it contains refined carbohydrates which can affect blood sugar levels. The next day, I also felt tired after eating. I saw him in the common area and just started a conversation about the food, which led me to the comment about the food being drugged. A nurse walked by as I was saying it. The psychiatrists took my comment out of context as paranoia.
  4. Rejection of diagnosis. Misdiagnosis cases are littered throughout history. But psychiatrists note a patient’s concerns about their diagnosis as a symptom, not as something to investigate.

After what I’ve experienced and witnessed, I consider the so-called symptoms of schizophrenia highly questionable. For example, to measure the severity of a patient’s symptoms, psychiatrists use the positive, agitation, and negative symptom scale (PANSS). The DSM characterizes the positive symptoms of schizophrenia as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech. “Agitation” is aggressive behavior, and “negative symptoms” refers to apathy.

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) system characterizes positive symptoms as distortions in thinking and perception. How do they measure distortions in perception? There’s no objective method. A man spent 20 years in a psych hospital because psychiatrists wouldn’t believe his version of events regarding a crime which turned out to be true. Post-traumatic stress reactions are also sometimes misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, because psychiatrists don’t want to believe the patients’ stories of trauma, claiming they are delusions. Delusions are disagreements. But as psychiatrist R.E. Kendell once wrote, “Disagreement is not an illness.”

Observations from the Mental Ward

It doesn’t require a professional evaluation to be declared mad. Patients are involuntarily institutionalized on the claims of others. These claims aren’t investigated. Psychiatry has no due process and mental health workers often don’t explain their reasons for locking patients up.

Unlike what the public imagines, questioning reality isn’t needed to prove someone’s insanity; the assessment is all based on behaviors. Psychiatrists do ask questions, but even if patients are aware of where they are and what’s happening, they can still be locked up. I observed this happening in intensive care; as patients came in, they showed a clear pattern of behaviors. It’s just the grief process that occurs when they realize they’ve been involuntarily admitted. They go through most of the phases: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These behaviors are taken to be the symptoms of schizophrenia.

I believe the anger phase of grief is the origin of the stereotype of the violent schizophrenic. Turns out most people diagnosed as schizophrenic are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes. Psychiatrists are working to reduce this violence stigma. But who started this stereotype? Psychiatrists! They have had exclusive access to mental asylums since the late 19th century. All cases of schizophrenia in early modern psychiatry were involuntarily hospitalized, and so are most cases today. As there are no reasons given to take away an individuals’ rights and lock them up indefinitely, such patients tend to get confrontational. I believe psychiatrists created this ‘violent’ stereotype by manipulating the patients’ environment to trigger their agitation and justify their incarceration. Schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients in the hospitals I’ve stayed in who were classified as violent weren’t confrontational to me — only to psychiatrists.

The bargaining phase of grief is interpreted as delusion, which psychiatry proves using a logic that’s the opposite of a police interrogation. In police interrogations, they question the suspect to see if they can get a specific answer that links the accused to the crime. What psychiatrists do is to make patients look clueless by not giving them any information about why they are locked up. The mental health professionals assume that they’re trying to help the person, but patients don’t understand this. This set-up creates two different interpretations of what is happening. Patients then try to bargain their way out of mental wards, guessing the reasons for their involuntary admission. In the process, patients list many possible different reasons and are unlikely to guess the psychiatrist’s reasoning. The process is constructed to confirm delusionality in anyone.

The depression phase is what psychiatrists call the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. After a while, involuntary patients give up hope for change and just sit there and watch television. Schizophrenia is only described as a lifelong illness because psychiatrists created an alienating ward environment that triggers the symptoms they are looking for, and once the symptoms are diagnosed, can’t help their patients because they are treating them for unproven biological causes.

While on the wards, it became obvious to me who was actually experiencing psychosis and who had been misdiagnosed. Obviously psychotic patients don’t go through the grief process, because they have nothing to grieve — some don’t even know where they are. Classically “schizophrenic” patients have no direction in life, thus they’re indifferent about their involuntary admission. To not recognize that their dignity has been taken away is, for me, the true sign of insanity.

As for patients who do go through the grief process, they know where they are and they’re not agreeing with their treatment. Generally, they have some vectors to their lives, and they have reasons to want to get out of the ward. These patients have been misdiagnosed. This is the critical problem of clinical psychiatry: the context behind patients’ behavior is too often disguised. In front of psychiatrists, everyone shows disagreeableness, which is seen as a behavioral trait of schizophrenics. But their reasons for disagreeing differ, which can only be found by engaging in real, personal conversations.

But psychiatrists have only superficial, mechanical conversations with patients, and these discussions plus the manipulative environment produce disagreeableness. Most importantly, there is no benefit of the doubt given! If a patient doesn’t know a topic, and psychiatrists do know, the patient is said to have a cognitive deficit. If a patient knows a topic and psychiatrists don’t, the patient’s knowledge is a delusion. In this way, clinical settings create false-positive symptoms.

Concluding My Experiment

Through experimenting with my own mental health, I found that depression is very real. Treatment for depression, however, needs to change to a therapy-first model. I found that the loss of an objective in my life was the biggest trigger of my downward spiral. Giving myself tangible goals has enhanced my mental state the most. By setting goals, following a healthy diet and exercising, I saw my mood improved. I still had negative interpretations. But after doing cognitive exercises such as reading, these interpretations disappeared. I’ve taken antidepressants and antipsychotics, but all they do is numb me out. I believe helping patients set a tangible goal and hitting milestones is the key to beating depression.

So, am I actually crazy? Possibly. But just as in the Rosenhan experiment, long-term mental hospital patients recognize that I’m not like them. They have a better idea of who is “sick” or not because they have a more holistic view of other patients — the only thing to do in mental wards is to socialize.

I have tried getting a second opinion on my diagnosis, but I recognize that these are not really independent judgments. I can’t choose to see whatever psychiatrist I want to; I can only select one they’ve approved. Of course, they’ll come to the same conclusion because they collude. I’ve learned not to argue with psychiatrists because they see disagreements as delusions. So I must comply with their treatment or I’ll get sent to a mental ward again.

Schizophrenia is not like it’s conceived in the popular imagination. As Dutch psychiatrist Jim Van Os has claimed, an entity called schizophrenia does not exist. There are too many variations for it to be a single illness. There are only hallucinating, detached from reality, disagreeable, or misdiagnosed patients. Only a small minority of “schizophrenics” hallucinate and have distressing experiences. Antipsychotics seem to work for these individuals. For most of the rest of us, the treatments are worse than no intervention. The authoritarian tendencies of psychiatry must stop if any of us are to be well.

54 COMMENTS

  1. “Only a small minority of “schizophrenics” hallucinate and have distressing experiences. Antipsychotics seem to work for these individuals.”

    This is not necessarily true. Because when one has the common adverse and withdrawal symptoms of the antidepressants misdiagnosed as “bipolar,” then is put on antipsychotics. These anticholinergic drugs, which both the antidepressants and antipsychotics are, can actually make a person become “psychotic,” hallucinate, and get distressing “voices” in their head, via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

    “The DSM characterizes the positive symptoms of schizophrenia as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech. ‘Agitation’ is aggressive behavior, and ‘negative symptoms’ refers to apathy.”

    “Agitation” is most likely actually akathisia, a well known by all but the psychiatrists, adverse effect of the anticholinergic drugs.

    Plus, the antipsychotics/neuroleptics can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome

    I agree with Jim Van Os, “an entity called schizophrenia does not exist.” But the symptoms do exist, and those symptoms can indeed be created with the “gold standard schizophrenia treatments.” Although, withdrawal from those drugs can also create a drug withdrawal induced “super sensitivity manic psychosis,” as well.

    Point that out to your psychiatrist, if you want to piss him off. But if you can find an ethical regular doctor, who is NOT affiliated with any of your prior psychiatrists or doctors, and point that out. You just might be able to get that misdiagnosis off your medical records. You may even be called a “one in a million” medical researcher, and be asked to teach one of that ethical doctor’s students all about the fraud of the psychiatric industry. It worked for me, give it a try if you can. Best wishes, God bless, and I hope you are able to escape, Michael.

    • Thanks Michael and Someone else,

      You explain yourself very reasonably in this brilliant article, Michael.

      I don’t believe in “Schizophrenia”; or “Psychosis”(most of the time). I believe “mental health drugs cause long term mental illness” and that normal solutions (to distress) can be found, outside of “medicine”.

      I experienced “very high anxiety” when I attempted to withdraw from neuroleptics and ended up in hospital several times as a result, before eventually discovering non drug solutions – which can be proven to work.

  2. 3. I did say “Nurses are drugging the food to make patients drowsy.”

    Covert Medication

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3512364/

    Abstract.

    “… Covert medication is the practice of hiding medication in food or beverages so that it goes undetected. Tablets may be crushed or liquid forms of medication may be used for patients who are either not in a position to give consent or refuse consent because of lack of insight….”

    https://www.nursingcenter.com/journalarticle?Article_ID=1311932&Journal_ID=54030&Issue_ID=1311732

    “…A patient’s irrational refusal to take medication can be frustrating for the nurse. Crushing the pill into applesauce or ice cream saves time and effort, and spares the patient the aggravation of quarreling. But while hiding medication is sometimes ethically justified, often it is not….”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC539843/

    Conclusions. “…The covert administration of drugs is common in Norwegian nursing homes. Routines for such practice are arbitrary, and the practice is poorly documented in the patients’ records…”

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3031933/

    “….In response to this case the following focused question was formulated: In patients with mental disorders (schizophrenia, dementia and so on), is use of concealed medications in food or drink, rather than prescribing medications in the usual way or forcibly administering them, ethically justifiable?…”

    https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/adult-social-care/administering-medicines-covertly

    “……Covert administration is only likely to be necessary or appropriate where:

    a person actively refuses their medicine

    that person is judged not to have the capacity to understand the consequences of their refusal.

    Such capacity is determined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005

    the medicine is deemed essential to the person’s health and wellbeing..”

        • Thanks for the info Fiachra.
          In my instance I was ‘spiked’ with benzos for which I

          (A) had no prescription, and they are drugs which I would never take willingly. That was okay because the ‘mental health professional’ (a community nurse) was in a position to conspire to conceal the evidence of a criminal offense and attempt to pervert the course of justice over the matter.
          (B) any complaints regarding being ‘spiked’ with benzos without my knowledge was documented as a ‘delusion’ and could then be used to justify further forced drugging with the same drugs that were causing the symptoms they claimed were an illness.
          (C) by drrugging individuals without their knowledge with benzos and then planting a knife on the individual when they collapse one can use police resources to cause an “acute stress reaction” and then subject the individual to a form of ”’hard’ torture which is not available to interrogators in Guantanamo Bay. See the two DO NOTS associated with “acute stress reaction” and Article 1.1 of the Convention against the use of Torture.
          (D) any complaints about the use of torture (or kidnapping) bring the person under the powers of the Mental Health Act by making them into a “patient” post hoc with fraudulent documents. Watch as the ‘poison’ takes effect and they run around seeking help from a community that would rather they were dead, than face the truth that folk are being tortured. Eventually they will likely commit suicide and can be used as a call for more resources.

          Given the way the community nurse and then the staff at the hospital responded to their criminality regarding these matters I have no doubt that many people are being covertly drugged and the ‘negative consequences’ that arise from this “abhorrent and extremely dangerous conduct” are being covered up with acts of criminal fraud. Want me to prove it?

          I stand against the use of State sanctioned torture, but it would appear that many in my community support it, as long as it isn’t them being tortured it would seem.
          How wonderful for our politicians that they can authorise the use of torture and kidnapping and call it ‘healthcare’, and then allow complaints to be ‘unintentionally negatively outcomed’ in Emergency Depts if anyone should complain because this conduct is reserved for “mental patients”.

          But with a police department that doesn’t know how to spell due diligence one could hardly expect them to check if the person actually met the definition of “patient” given in the Mental Helath Act. A nurse said “patient” it must be true, and if it isn’t there’s always fraud and slander available. Works a treat.

          Imagine a tool available to a government that would allow evidence of their corruption to be ‘treated’. What would it look like? Quite possibly like a cancerous growth on a person who is in denial. No need to be going back in history, or travel to exotic places. But they do need to stop turning a blind eye.

        • 1. Thought disorder – logically you are correct and the doctor is not.

          2. Grandiose Delusions – look at the amount of interest this article has generated!

          4. It would be possible to claim anyone to be mentally ill, on the grounds that they disagree that they are mentally ill.

          and clinicians backing each other up in Mental Health – this is exactly what they actually do.

  3. Fascinating. I hope things are heading in the right direction now, you must have felt so alone .

    We eventually realised that everything you say to a psychiatrist can be misinterpreted. So you concentrate on what you are trying to achieve and don’t lose sight of the main ball. In our case this was getting out and away from the acute service, and doing more of the things we could see were starting to work.

  4. Michael,
    I have been introspective, or self reflective. There have been benefits but also drawbacks, and is one of my reasons that I am not for exposing kids too early that something is ‘wrong’ with them.
    Talk therapy can be harmful, self talk also.
    Our self talk can often be the result or most likely is from early years of being focused on, either by family or by peers in the school environment. It is my belief that kids have to be caught early and diverted, involved, but without the child feeling as if they are being singled out.
    And THAT is very difficult to do, because adults go help the child or teenager in a ‘therapeutic’ manner, and kids are very clever, too clever. Kids are born with this awareness to sense danger, and nothing scarier than others seeing you as ‘wrong’. It causes people to go inwards, knowing the people who judge are not right, but still looking inside to make sense of it all. In fact it ends up that the young take on other people’s garbage, on top of their own, and ends up creating a lot of anxiety for kids.
    Anxiety caused by others, including psychiatry.
    It is disgusting and again it should be a human rights issue regarding food drugging. I guess the only way to prove it is to bag some of it up and get a friend from the outside to get it analyzed in a lab lol.
    And then send the results to the head chief.
    I don’t put it past them to do this, because they are not the most honest people and have to use deceit, which is kind of a good thing because it only continues to expose them.
    It is after all their game playing, dishonest and deceitful practice that has people talking about it more and more. They really are not so clever after all.
    I remember one of my daughter’s friends whose parents owned big business, invited us to use their island as a thank you for me having looked after their child. And inside their cabin was a book titled “how to manipulate people……..” My jaw dropped and I realized that they might possibly be thinking that they are manipulating me, possibly their gifting was after all, a game. And I thought to myself that they were not bright enough to realize that it can go both ways. So in the manipulation game, no one is ever wise enough as to who exactly is the manipulator and it is a lousy way to live. Just as the book I saw on their shelf, so it is within psychiatry. It cannot possibly be a satisfying way of life for them, to constantly try and control or manipulate. In fact it is a very paranoid way to exist and to do that for a living is rather kind of sad. The shrinks probably are okay doing this, but trust me, the psych business is an unhappy environment for employees who have to hide their dishonesty, and go back into community where it follows them.
    It cannot ever be a satisfying job for them where they can reflect and be proud of their service.

  5. This is so well-written. Thank you for the vivid descriptions of psychiatric horror, all that gaslighting and double-binding, I can certainly feel the anxiety and terror simply from reading about it.

    “Apparently, disagreement with a psychiatrist about one’s treatment plan or psychiatric thinking is a delusion or a form of abnormal thought”

    Yes, that’s the toxic double-binding gaslighting rabbit hole, exactly. It certainly is not about reasonable eye-to-eye dialogue for the sake of finding truth and clarity and healing, is it? What you are describing I’m sure are based on projections of their own fears.

    What’s really bad and how this ripples insidiously into society is when unsuspecting clients internalize such projections and carry them forward from there, as a chronic condition. And everyone buys into it because it saves their asses from having to take any responsbility for their own actions, and a “client-for-life” is created–for the good of the industry while at the expense of that individual and society on the whole (they’ll claim it’s the exact opposite, that it’s for the *good* of society, when it’s clearly the other way around). That’s THE problem!

    Modalities and perspectives aside, being able to dialogue fluidly, authentically, and with mutual respect is where clairty and resolutions occur, not by this power-struggle authoritarian bullshit which is status quo. I’ve yet to know of any such place in this industry, and I’ve been scoping this out for a good long while now, in a variety of corners. Communication breakdown is not only the norm, it’s all I’ve ever encountered, from start to finish! Whether in clinical settings or at round tables trying to get some kind clarity and perspective on a situation. It’s just as you describe, one-sided, crazy-making, and futile. Disagreements in perspective are the death nell to these dialogues, whereas I think they should be the starting point to new perspectives and directions. There is a core paradox to ascend here, if any progress is to be made toward meaningful change.

    It’s extremely challenging to be awake while shackled but your truth is powerful and I wholeheartedly believe that absolute truth is the way to unambiguous freedom. It takes a lot of patience and trust, hopefully feeling supported along the way, one way or another. Please keep it up!

  6. Psychiatrists are not held to the standards of real doctors as you pointed out.

    Yet they are granted legal powers no legitimate medical specialty has. And they are viewed as infallible mind readers and fortune tellers.

    Shrinks think they are psychics. And western society shares their delusions.

    • There was a case here Rachel777 where doctors managed to have a child taken from his parents so that they could use him for an experiment . The boy had a type of cancer and his parents wanted him to return home and be allowed to die. Doctor wanted to try an experimental treatment and well, I’m guessing you know how that all went in the courts.
      They actually used the Family Court because that way they could silence any reporting of what decisions were made. Some of the absolutely disgraceful decisions made in that place are fortunately not available to our public, and doctors are finding it a convenient place to keep the public in the dark.
      I’ve no doubt that the ‘mental health’ of the parents was taken into consideration, in fact I think that issue was actually made public (not that it could be considered slander).
      Bodysnatchers.

  7. Once labelled , you can not be unlabelled . I challenge you to find people who have had their mental illness diagnosis removed. Your/their illness may be in remission and at the present time, you/they may be “stable”.

    Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
    All the King’s horses
    And all the King’s men,
    Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

    What is important is functionality, how well you can function.
    What is functional? If you don’t know, then that is half the problem. Magic pills are not going to educate anyone magically. Psychiatrists who complain of lack of insight (in their patient) while making their patients stupid are the the insane ones.

    A psychiatric diagnosis is a blessing or a curse.
    From the movie “Office Space” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_Space

    Looking at the office…
    PETER “What if we’re still doing this when we’re 50?” (said in horror)

    SAMIR “It could be nice to have that kind of job security.”

    With severe Mental Illness you can’t get fired from your “job” as a patient, so you do have income security.

    • What good is income security when it’s not enough to save you from homelessness? Even in the mid west.

      And you can have your benefits revoked at any time through some bureaucratic bean counter’s carelessness.

      A very few writers here have. Krista the ex-nurse for example. But it’s far harder than having a cancer diagnosis changed. You can actually prove someone has cancer.

      “Schizophrenia” should be viewed as a legal designation rather than a medical one.

      • Thanks for responding Rachel. I would add that my parents are invested in the description of schizophrenia, as if it is wrong it means they have betrayed me (their child) for the years past, and they could not have done that could they? Who would betray their child? It is not possible….

        • My mom takes the idea that I “lost it” through trauma very personally.

          She was determined to be the “perfect mother” when I was born and failed. She is not a bad woman and wasn’t abusive till psychiatrists told her I was defective when i was twenty.

          But Mom could not protect me from the three times our family faced homelessness thanks to our idealistic, improvident father’s vocation. (A lot like the great Bronson Alcott.)

          Mom’s crazy-making efforts to shelter me–my over sensitive, high strung personality worried her–backfired. She kept moving me from school to school to get me the “help” I needed so I wound up in SBD for a year where the teacher got frustrated by how smart I was. They were only equipped to deal with MMR kids.

          After 2 months of homelessness in my teens we found a new place and I enrolled in a new school in a new city as a high school sophomore.

          Had some highly sexualized bullying which traumatized me more than it would most girls due to my super modest, old fashioned background. Suffered severe anxiety in college which I saw a shrink for. He put me on an SSRI which drove me loopy.

          Just one thing led to another and snow balled. I don’t blame Mom. But she does get defensive, saying there has always been “something wrong” with me.

          She feels guilt at the idea she played a (minor) role in my suffering by encouraging my “meds compliance.” And she finds it hard to believe experts in pretty white coats and TV drug ads could deceive people.

          i love Mom and find her ignorance easier to forgive than the malicious lies told by “well-informed” quacks.

        • markps2…..psychiatry betrays people in general. They teach people that what they are doing is in YOUR and society’s best interest. It is easier for our governments to adopt this than to look at the human rights aspects.

          I reiterate, any good system would never blacklist, coerce, stigmatize, drug, force, slip pills at people for behaviours that they are not a fault for. There are literally thousands of ways to create healthier, safer environments.

  8. Income security? Really? What planet do some people live on? No money in the world is worth labelling another human being erroneously – forcing treatment and medications on another human being and then implying that these people “have it good”. They have been destroyed by an archaic view of humanity and as a society, we throw peanuts at them to hide and remain quiet. They’re so scary. Let’s demonize them and make some movies. Who wants popcorn?

    • Some here ask what psychiatry is good for.

      You know one group they really help no one here mentions? Lazy hacks writing for Hollywood and publishing houses.

      Without the grossly simplified view of humanity–portraying people as stereotypes and tropes instead of complex individuals–Grade D novelists and screen writers can grind out a bunch of material with minimal effort.

      Why did that man murder those children?
      Because he was mentally ill.
      Yeah. But what was his motivation?
      Mental illness.
      Why did that woman cheat on her husband?
      Mental illness.
      Why did that man torture a puppy?
      Mental illness.
      Why did that character commit suicide? Did something bad happen offstage?
      Nope. Mental illness.
      Why did he rob a bank?
      Mental illness. People don’t rob banks for money after all.

      😀

  9. To Michael: in regards to drug addiction, I don’t know anyone who is happy being dependant on any substance, that’s all I can say. In regards to being caught in the system, what are your options (not that I’m versed in the matter). 1) fight the system, win or lose 2) leave the system, as one leaves an abusive relationship 3) stay in the system, learn its ropes, first hand, and then, try to change the system 4) study the system and accept the risks of doing same 5) be a victim 6) take a survey in regards to your labelling (good luck….new internet forum….how many yays, how many nays?) 7) deny the system, take it out of the psychiatric courts 8) move 9) invent a new reality acceptable to you…..sounds crazy? What do you want to do? We all soil our diapers when we’re two, do we have to discuss that for the rest of our lives? Ok…bad example. Good luck.

      • I like 1 and 2. 3 has created a BIG problem, and it’s growing BIGGER all the time. Now “treatment” is the gateway drug into a career in “mental health” work. Yuck!! “Trauma informed care”, for instance, the abuse excuse carried over from the criminal justice system into the mental health treatment system, and vice versa. “My childhood made me do it.” 4 complements 3, double yuck. Some of us have better ways to make use of our time. (Rather, study the system with the goal and intent of critiquing and destroying the system.) 5 is not an option. Don’t be a victim. Switch gears to instinctual mode. Be a survivor. 6 scrap surveys. How many of youse out there are complete idiots? Don’t we get enough dishonesty from the mental health coppers and the corporate backed politicians? 7 deny the system, it’s going to get tied up in the courts by somebody no matter what you do in particular. 8 move, and further more act, but act in ways to destroy the behavioral intervention system and to save people from it. 9 develop your logical thinking skills, excessive reactive emotionality and stratospheric vacations get people permanent careers in the adult baby sitting business. either as adult babies or as adult baby overlords. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about folly. Wise up!

    • Yes he ‘kind of’ bypasses it Fiachra. There is always a part of me that does not understand WHY we have to be functional. Why do we have to be fixed up enough to work, play. This demand really leaves people MI. There are a lot of people who do not reach a ‘maturity’. What if it’s okay for people to experience whatever they experience? I mean, what if they tried psychiatry and then off they go to a ‘therapist’ and still feel like a failure because that is what they came to believe?
      I know for a fact that what I think people want from me, their expectations of me, I internalize it all. I don’t feel very adult a lot of the time, I doubt that I am. Yet I hate to feel pressure that I do not measure up to someone’s expectations of their or society’s version of maturity.

      • I have failed at life thanks to psychiatry.

        Completely alone thanks to the quacks. Nothing good can ever happen to me again.

        I hate them. I hate all the simpletons who turn on their fellow humans just because shrinks tell them to.

        Psychiatry has turned me into a full blown misanthrope. What those quacks live to do is ruin your life and make everyone turn on you.

        Psychiatry is cancer.

        • Rachel777.
          One thing I do know is that you did not fail at life. Fail how? By not being a productive capitalist? Then I failed also, and those words are easy to feel.
          I am not a failure, because I recognized things I did wrong and things that go wrong within systems and I leave my little voice. It is not a very impactful voice, but I really do not know this for a fact.

          Psychiatry knows full well the extent of their damage. How many people’s lives have you been responsible for? How many have you injected or given meds to? How many kids in school systems have you put on drugs? How many old folks have you given drugs to in their food?

          Failure is not judged by our predicaments. They succeeded in hurting you. I will say it again. You are one that can make me smile everytime.
          We are here to educate and you do that.

        • Rachel, I don’t view you as a failure, I see you as a survivor. But I do relate so much to that feeling. I relate to many of your comments you leave on this site. I struggle with my relationship with my mother as she stood by and watched them drug me, told me I was sick and had a chemical imbalance because at 14 I was distressed over the sexual abuse I endured at 11 and 12 by a family member. She stood by when they drugged me to a zombie state in a matter of weeks at a “top notch” eating disorder center at the age of 21 and then she drove me in that state to have my brain electrocuted because who would expect a mother who is also a medical professional, to question such barbaric treatment. I find myself having to forgive her over and over again because the flashbacks make it all so raw and violating. I also believe her denial is due to the fact that if she admitted her nearly 40 year old daughter was living with her and financially dependent on her due to her playing along and forcing the drugs and ect, is too much for her heart to acknowledge. For that, I try to be gentle with her because I do see her pain when I cry over not being able to work or live in my own space. My fear of what will happen when she is no longer here.
          The pittance the government gives me each month as restitution for their sanctioned torture is just enough to allow me to see how little my actual life and suffering were worth. I was a freaking cheerleader! Now I am mostly a recluse, afraid of people, saddened by the state of our society and what we allow. Most people are completely unaware of the underbelly of the beast.

  10. Michael, you need to stop trying to make sense of psychiatry. That will make you truly crazy. Psychiatry is medicine’s homage to Lewis Carroll. It’s a form of social control using the trappings of medicine to mask its true function. It’s doing exactly what it’s meant to do, so don’t expect much of a reception to any suggestions as to how it might change for the better, no matter how sincere or well thought out. But I hope this isn’t the last of you we see at MIA.

  11. Speaking of “grandiose” thinking, I remember reading in Ray Coleman’s biography of John Lennon that he said to his Aunt Mimi, “We’re going to be bigger than Elvis!”.

    That was before the Beatles cut their first record.

    It would probably be wise for psychiatrists not to worry whether or not patients display grandiose thinking, unless the patient is clearly harmed – or harming others – by thinking they will accomplish great things.

    • And who will stop psychiatrists with grandiose thoughts who think they will achieve great things via poly-pharma, shocks, and psycho-surgery? That worries many here.

      Lobotomies are making a comeback. But they say not to worry because it’s different. They mutilate your brain with lazars now–so that makes it okay.

      BTW, people in mental “health” repeatedly called me delusional for pursuing a college degree and trying to start a career though my shrinks assured me my “meds” would make such a thing possible by rendering me independent and productive. I’m pretty sure the psych doctors themselves thought it was baloney but fed it to me to ensure “compliance” and yacht payments.

      Does it count as harm to others if controlling family members get embarrassed by eccentricities and have the “loved” one committed instead of setting boundaries like reasonable people (not control freaks) would?

  12. “…As Dutch psychiatrist Jim Van Os has claimed, an entity called schizophrenia does not exist….”

    Yes:- there are people that hear voices and can live in harmony with them; there are plenty of eccentric people that thrive; paranoid violence is often celebrated, lots of happy people are actually delusional; when people come off neuroleptics they can suffer terrible anxiety but can learn to deal with it.

  13. You are an excellent writer! I am sorry for what you have endured. I know that it is a very painful, maddening, and lonely experience. If you stick to your rituals of wellness and modify them in the direction that you notice the voices relax and eventually leave, you have developed yourself into wellness. It’s about brain frequencies and breathing. The way you hold yourself because you forget, then, compare that to the way you would like to hold yourself – The things you would like to think, the thing that agitate you and how you respond, under different emotional states. Is it about entertainment? Have you been very lonely, you must make an effort to socialize as much as you can – and make meaningful relationships. Create, express, and, of course achieve… yes, with noise. An artificially intelligent link moderating, influencing, stopping, testing. They must stop so that you can be free. Is life not as entertaining with them? Perhaps you should go on an adventure – seek more stimulation in a foreign land. Are you afraid? At this point? Of what? Losing your freedom? That’s a joke… Perhaps you’re afraid of being killed – while you’re experiencing such a dark thing, why? Is this life? Take more chances but be responsible – as responsible as you can. Be sympathetic to others in their own predicaments, though none are comparable to yours, have sympathy, empathy and help as you are able. Love freely, keep your secret. It will go away someday and you might even be lonely!