Mental Hell-Care: My Sibling’s Story


“The Benzo Crisis,” which aired on the October 6, 2019, edition of CNN’s This Is Life With Lisa Ling, seemed like the perfect source of information to bring along to yet another family meeting advocating on behalf of a family member caught up in what is best described as the U.S. mental hell-care system.  As a bonus, Ling’s husband, Dr. Paul Y. Song, wrote an excellent companion article from a prescriber’s perspective after learning about the gross misuse of benzodiazepine drugs via his father-in-law’s personal experience.

A quick trip to the public library before they closed allowed me to print off enough material to present the treatment team what I thought would be clear-cut evidence suggesting my family member was suffering from catatonia after benzodiazepine withdrawal and to make a simple request: Please provide my sibling the same treatment that Lisa Ling’s benzo-dependent father received to help them taper off of the benzo they had been on for more than six years.

The family meeting did not go well, and I ended up walking out very upset and disturbed by the comments the doctors made.  I was told by one: “You don’t know what you are talking about. There is no such thing as Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome. I don’t know where you are getting your information from. Psychiatric drugs are safe because the FDA says they are safe, and I trust the FDA.”

Refusal to Help

At this point, it was obvious how much damage the long-term use of psychotropic drugs had done to my sibling. (To protect their privacy, I will refer to them as Pat and use the pronouns they/them/their.) Just four years earlier, Pat had been physically active, spent years studying martial arts, and had a toned, muscular physique. Now, they looked like a starving Holocaust survivor.

Pat’s doctors refuse to believe psychiatric medications have caused Pat any harm.  Over a three-year period, however, Pat’s insurance companies have paid out more than one million dollars to warehouse Pat and to provide “treatment” that has caused complete disability.

Sadly, if someone had a dog that was being poisoned with a neurotoxin to the point that the dog could no longer eat, drink, or stand; that it was so malnourished and dehydrated that its ribs and bones were sticking out; that it had not been bathed or groomed in months; and that it was being electrocuted to try and get it to move,  I could call the police and have the owner arrested for animal abuse. This scenario is exactly what I witnessed happen to my sibling under court-ordered psychiatric treatment—except there was no way to get them help or to make the torment stop. The current paradigm of “care” sanctions coercive psychiatry, in which individuals considered “mentally ill” can be forced to ingest dangerous, neurotoxic substances because a psychiatrist has decided it is in their best interest.

Pat’s Medical History

Pat is 61 years old, a nonsmoker and nonalcoholic with no prior history of severe psychiatric illness, illegal substance abuse, or cognitive impairment.  Six years ago, pain from chronic, degenerative neck disease began interfering with Pat’s ability to perform their duties as a full-time manager at a busy chain store.  To help Pat cope with situational anxiety, Pat’s primary-care physician made the grave mistake of prescribing 1mg of the benzodiazepine Ativan three times a day.

Ativan (lorazepam) is a federally controlled substance that causes physical and psychological dependence.  This drug has numerous harmful side effects including executive functioning deficits, anxiety, memory loss, agitation, hostility, aggression, rage, muscle weakness, sedation, and confusion. The manufacturer of Ativan warns against prescribing their product for more than two to four weeks, admits there are numerous dangerous side effects, and that the effectiveness of using Ativan long-term is unknown.

After Pat experienced what were consistent with adverse side effects from Ativan, their doctor began prescribing an antidepressant on and off over a two-year period leading up to Pat’s worsening condition.  Pat’s doctor continued to prescribe Ativan concurrently, never recognizing that Pat had developed a dependency and needed to be tapered off the drug.  Pat’s doctor also failed to test for possible underlying causes of anxiety.  I begged the hospital to run blood tests, and Pat was later found to have extremely low vitamin D levels and extremely high ferritin levels, both considered contributing factors in anxiety symptoms.

During July 2016, Pat became extremely confused and turned to family members for emotional and financial support, telling us that the medications “are making me crazy.”  They also experienced a constant feeling of suffocation, which they believed was being caused by their pre-existing obstructive sleep apnea (but was most likely linked to the Ativan).  Since that time, my family members and I have acted as healthcare proxies and actively advocated on Pat’s behalf to the doctors and hospitals that provided treatment.

By August 2016, Pat could no longer tolerate the psychiatric drug side effects, abruptly discontinued all the drugs, and began seeking medical attention at local emergency departments for what we now know were symptoms consistent with benzodiazepine withdrawal.  Although the hospitals had access to Pat’s prescription history, no doctor ever made the connection between drug withdrawal and Pat’s symptoms, and thus their treatment was focused on the existing diagnoses of anxiety and depression. In other words, they considered him to have worsening mental illness.

Forced Commitment

Each visit to an ED led to admissions to psychiatric units where the use of polypharmacy ran rampant. Pat ended up on a cocktail of psychotropic drugs, chronically ill, unable to live independently, and in need of 24-hour care.  Eventually, Pat ended up under court-ordered commitment at a New York State psychiatric facility for 28 months straight at a cost of over $30,000 per month.  During the stay, Pat was forced to take more than a dozen different medications and experienced horrific adverse reactions.

Psychiatric drugs prescribed to Pat during the forced psychiatric hospitalizations included Lorazepam (Ativan), Benztropine, Buspirone, Gabapentin, Depakote, Haloperidol, Lamotrigine, Venlafaxine, Risperdal, Ritalin, Wellbutrin and Effexor XR. At times, he was given nine different drugs at once.

Known potential adverse effects from these drugs include but are not limited to:  confusion, aggression, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, unusual changes in mood or behavior, psychosis, mania, depression, insomnia, muscle weakness, apnea, difficulty breathing, droopy eyelids, vision changes, impaired memory, impaired judgment, coma, respiratory depression, homicidal ideation, and sudden death.  Synergistic interactions caused by polypharmacy (the prescription of multiple drugs at once) are unknown and impossible to predict.

Since being prescribed psychotropic drugs, Pat appeared to experience problems including but not limited to:  anxiety, agitation, hostility, aggression, rage, insomnia, hallucinations, confusion, thoughts of suicide, psychosis, mania, depression, muscle weakness, severe apnea, difficulty breathing, droopy eyelids, impaired memory, impaired judgment, respiratory depression, hyperammonemia, dehydration, homicidal ideation, hyperferritinemia, malnutrition, starvation, muscle atrophy, brain atrophy, and catatonia.

While under the care of the state psychiatric facility, Pat suffered from neurological side effects causing severe muscle rigidity to the point of paralysis and was unable to eat, drink, or move without assistance.  Pat suffered dehydration and experienced extreme weight loss of over 70 pounds. Pat’s physical health, personal hygiene, cognitive abilities, and quality of life at the facility greatly declined to the point of needing several emergency hospitalizations for treatment of a head injury, catatonia, dehydration, malnourishment, and extreme muscle rigidity.  Pat’s physical appearance changed so drastically that Pat is now unrecognizable to long-time friends and family members.

Two neurologists who consulted on Pat’s case in November of 2018 stated that Pat was overmedicated and recommended a “medication washout,” where all psychiatric medications would be tapered and treatment would focus on pain management for the chronic neck pain that Pat had originally complained about.

The psychiatrists at the state facility chose to ignore the neurologists’ and Pat’s own request to taper off of all medications.  Instead, these psychiatrists coerced Pat into taking more psychiatric drugs with a threat of obtaining a court order if they did not.

Worsening Condition

By July 2019, Pat’s condition was so severe that emergency medical attention was needed.  At a regular hospital, Pat was treated for malnutrition, dehydration, and catatonia.  Pat was administered IV fluids, electrolytes, and intramuscular Ativan and tapered off of all medications except for the Ativan.  Within just two weeks, Pat’s condition improved substantially to the point of being physically mobile and ready to be released to live at home again.  Unfortunately, an existing court order forced the hospital to transfer Pat back to the psychiatric facility.  Within weeks of returning to the facility, Pat decompensated to the point of needing emergency treatment for dehydration, malnutrition, and muscle rigidity several more times.

In October 2019, psychiatrists at the state facility sought to keep Pat court ordered in their custody for an additional six months of continued treatment for “depression.”  Because they considered Pat treatment-resistant and now suffering from catatonic depression, the psychiatrists were seeking to forcibly treat Pat with either electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or to experiment with the drug ketamine.  My family successfully petitioned the court for Pat’s release based on expressing fear for Pat’s life if the court-ordered continued treatment at the state-run psychiatric facility.

Pushing for Change

Upon Pat’s release from the psychiatric facility, we had them admitted to two other hospitals because their muscle stiffness was so severe it looked like rigor mortis was setting in; I had to pry Pat’s mouth open and use an eyedropper to give them water. At the hospital, I begged doctors to assist Pat in tapering off of Ativan.  Unfortunately, Pat’s condition is so severe that doctors refuse to recognize the damage done by Ativan dependency and will only diagnose Pat as catatonic.  Because Pat needs medical help and because ECT is considered an effective treatment for catatonia, Pat was stuck in a Catch-22.  Our family had no choice but to consent to having Pat undergo a series of ECT sessions.

Neither Pat nor our family members wanted any of this. I have talked to Pat’s doctors until I am blue in the face, I have written dozens of letters and filed complaints with three hospitals, the New York State Office of Mental Health, and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (Finding an attorney who will assist in a case involving psychiatry is near impossible, and CCHR is the only organization I know of that has a network of attorneys involved in mental health cases).  I even sent copies of Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, Drug-Induced Dementia by Dr. Grace Jackson, Letters from Generation Rx by Kevin Miller, and Dead Wrong: How Psychiatric Drugs Can Kill Your Child to doctors who were involved in Pat’s treatment.  The doctors turned a blind eye to this information.

As Pat’s case and the cases of many other psychiatric patients demonstrate, under our current paradigm, even with strong advocates and family support, it is often impossible for individuals who experience adverse psychiatric reactions to medications to receive an accurate diagnosis and assistance with safely tapering off harmful psychotropic drugs.

There is a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, however. After two months of giving Pat shock treatments, their doctors—seeing that the procedure was not helping—recently agreed to discontinue them and to assist us with getting Pat to a temporary rehab facility that will focus on nutrition, physical therapy, and cognitive remediation.  We will also be able to take Pat out of the facility to try alternative therapies on an outpatient basis.  While Pat’s condition has improved only slightly, Pat has expressed interest in taking a vacation to Florida and that gives us hope.

Looking Ahead

While Pat’s case may seem extreme, it is certainly not rare and raises many troubling issues. One is how easy it is to be slapped with a psychiatric diagnosis that can lead to grievous bodily harm. When Pat first sought medical help for chronic pain issues, they were experiencing normal situational anxiety; Pat did not have a “mental illness.” They were initially diagnosed and treated for a psychiatric disorder by a primary-care physician based on a quick assessment using questionnaires.

Another issue is the failure of the courts to protect the rights of those labeled “mentally ill” by sanctioning involuntary psychiatric treatment. Pat’s psychiatrists obtained judicial support for treating my sibling as they saw fit and with no oversight.  Coercive treatment allows psychiatry to act as an unregulated power base of authority, and Pat’s case shows how our court system puts blind faith into this authority while ignoring the harm being done by psychiatric treatment.

Pat is now considered permanently disabled; their condition is consistent with the long-term, forced use of psychiatric drugs.  I hope that by sharing my sibling’s story, the courts will give more consideration to the rights and needs of individuals labeled mentally ill before ordering them into psychiatric treatment.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


    • Dear Rossa,

      It is so nice to hear from you and I apologize for not responding sooner. I looked over your website/blog and read the synopsis of your book, The Scenic Route: A Way through Madness. Truly a labor of love. You have accumulated a wealth of information to help others and your site is beautifully done.

      I especially found meaning in this passage you wrote “If the times are right, a well told story can further a paradigm shift in thinking. I’m hoping that the time is right now. Enjoy the journey.”

      My sibling has certainly endured horrific abuse. Sadly, the film Letters from Generation Rx and stories from so many others like Crespi Family Hope are always good reminders that things could be worse and how important it is that well-told stories are heard.

      I especially admire the effort the team behind the film Medicating Normal are putting in to enlighten others.

      I see you have Light Therapy listed on your website. Have you looked into BEMER therapy yet?

      Best wishes to you and your family,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

      • Thanks for your kind words, Maria. I have not heard of BEMER therapy, but as usual, I’ll check it out. If you haven’t looked at my latest FB posting, please do so. There may be some help there for your sister. I’m sure you’ve checked out all the possible alternatives, so feel free to ignore what’s there.

        Report comment

  1. This is heartbreaking.

    Don’t you know about Dr. Breggin, or maybe even Mr. Whitaker? I don’t know anything about them but what I can find online. I don’t know if they have time for that, but you should have tried to contact them, to obtain at least some advice what to do.

    Most psychiatrists are out of their minds, you shouldn’t expect anything rational or humane from them, but the worst. They seem incapable of realizing the harm their drugs do, or don’t want to accept that.

    Report comment

    • Hi Andrei,

      Thank you for taking the time to read this story.

      Yes, unbelievably heartbreaking and unnecessary suffering because under our current paradigm of care, there is no help available for someone who is suffering from a prescription drug dependency.

      Individuals who have drug addictions can get help, but those who are drug dependent are at a loss in the system.

      Coincidently, Dr. Peter Breggin is from my hometown of Syracuse, NY and I am a long-time member of an organization that he originally founded, ISEPP (formerly ICSPP). I’ve met Dr. Breggin/Robert Whitaker in the past at conferences and being knowledgeable in their work and that of many others definitely helped me be a strong advocate for my sibling.

      Unfortunately, you are absolutely right, psychiatrists are incapable of realizing the harm these drugs do and they can not handle the truth. They are totally clueless on how to help patients taper off of benzodiazepines and there is nothing anyone can do to change things.

      We are stuck in this paradigm of care and the best we can do is continue to speak up to try and enlighten others.

      Most of the time it feels like we are just spitting in the wind, but it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

      Take care,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

  2. We are dealing with psychopaths and thus, we might have to treat them as such.
    They full well know, the only thing they are interested in is self protection. Life means zero to them.
    Thank you for looking after your sibling, whose illness is only because of psychopaths.
    Her doctor knew full well the dangers, no one in her abuse was innocent. They deal with lots of these cases, and always use the same self protection.
    Judges are not innocent, they have heard and read enough to be informed.
    In the age of psychiatry, lives do not matter.
    It is simply time to say NO.

    Report comment

    • Sam,

      It is sad to know so many can turn a blind eye.

      Individuals labeled “mentally ill” are in need of strong, ethical, educated advocates.

      I attended my first NAMI conference in 1999 excited to discover there was actually an organization that gave a hoot about people labeled “mentally ill”. I walked out disgusted at the brainwashing this organization does and the pro-psychiatry agenda they promote.

      It is simply time to say NO and also to say there is NO national alliance on “mental illness”, as a matter of fact there is a national disagreement on “mental illness”.

      Take care Sam,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

  3. Сatatonia happens with severe stress or with great pleasure. Pleasant catatonia happens when a person is relaxed and lies in bed (thus catatonia comes from the word catharsis). Distinctive feature of this condition is high energy consumption.
    Not pleasant catatonia observed when person walking or should go somewhere, or lying and is very poisoned.

    Report comment

    • Hi DShanin,

      Thank you for your reply.

      Although the doctors considered my sibling catatonic, their condition was so severe it was like they were paralyzed. It actually looked like rigor mortis was setting in and other people would have to position them like a Barbie Doll. To get my sibling to take some fluids, I would have to pry their mouth open and use an eye dropper. They were so dependent on Ativan that the oral form did nothing. They would only respond to intramuscular injections even that got to the point shots would wear off quickly and the withdrawal between shots were so tormenting it looked like they had demons in their body.

      Right now they are doing somewhat better, back on a low dose of oral Ativan, moved to a rehab facility for physical therapy, but no doctor has attempted to taper them off. I am flying up this week to help out and will continue to advocate for medical assistance with tapering off Ativan.

      Thank you for sharing,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

  4. Maria, I am so sorry your sibling endured this dreadful nightmare. I can only imagine the anguish bearing witness to this and not being able to stop it.

    “Finding an attorney who will assist in a case involving psychiatry is near impossible”.
    Yes that’s the pathetic truth and an additional plight of those harmed by psychiatry is that no lawyer wants to get involved. By not doing so lawyers are complicit with the harm.

    “One is how easy it is to be slapped with a psychiatric diagnosis that can lead to grievous bodily harm”.

    Yes this resonates for me and many who make the mistake of seeking “help” or getting forced into the destructive “help”. Psychiatry managed to put themselves up on a pedestal, and to quote Dr. Breggin, many people (and court systems too) mistakenly think a psychiatrist is a “high priest of human knowledge”. After my experience with a psychiatrist for insomnia during cancer treatment I wondered “how could a psychiatrist be SO stupid”. My spouse said “It’s not possible for ANYONE to be that stupid, it was intentional”. I agreed. It’s more than obvious psychiatry is about power, control, ego and money – and patient be damned. It’s critical to keep speaking out to try stop this carnage. Thank you for adding your voice Maria and for continually advocating for your sibling.

    Report comment

      • Absolutely! Even within their own framing of things, which of course, lacks any real scientific basis, there ought to still be the expectation that TREATMENT WILL IMPROVE THE SITUATION! It’s probably the first and easiest place to attack psychiatry, without even getting into the DSM idiocy. If I have a skin rash and take a drug for it, the skin rash NEEDS TO IMPROVE! If it doesn’t improve, WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Why does this reasoning not apply to psychiatry?

        Report comment

      • Very well stated Sam!
        “No system that “helps”, is going to leave a person worse off than when they came in”.

        And I agree with Steve:
        “It’s probably the first and easiest place to attack psychiatry, without even getting into the DSM idiocy.”

        Exactly! Many do not find psychiatry helped them and even more end up severely harmed.
        Hmmm, something wrong with that picture!?

        Report comment

      • Did I not read fairly recently that receiving “more intensive psychiatric care” actually leads to an INCREASE in suicide attempts? It seems to me that psychiatric care encourages a belief that one’s situation his hopeless and intractable and that one can personally do nothing about it. At least blaming it on bad toilet training meant you had a chance to get over it. Now it’s all in your warped brain and the only “hope” is that the drugs might make you feel a little better, if they don’t kill you in the process.

        Report comment

      • Dear Anomie,

        Thank you for sharing the article “A Psychiatrist Visits Belgium: The Epicenter of Psychiatric Euthanasia”, I have shared it with others and it is a topic I am very concerned with.

        Did you read Robert Whitaker’s post: Zel Dolinsky: I Have a Right to “Death With Dignity” ?

        Report comment

    • Rosalee,

      Thank you for your comment and you are spot on.

      Because individuals experiencing symptoms of “mental illness” can end up in trouble with the law or end up having other legal issues (divorce, bankruptcy, guardianship), attorneys make a fortune off of “mental illness”.

      I worked as a legal blogger for a criminal defense attorney. This attorney made $7000 profit off of the father of a man who was homeless, labeled with a “mental illness”, probably had a substance abuse problem and committed a crime involving a $300 theft. Charges were dropped and the attorney kept the father’s money.

      Unethical and pathetic.
      Take care,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

  5. “While Pat’s case may seem extreme, it is certainly not rare and raises many troubling issues.”

    How do we get the general public to understand the true horror and criminality of psychiatry and just how dangerous it is to go to these people?

    “Following stints in three different treatment centres, it was revealed Linda’s behaviour was due to an allergic reaction to an anti-depressant.”

    She had akathisia (says allergic reaction.. it’s not.. she was toxic) and then used alcohol to get herself out of it. Ofcourse she got worse. This is what happens:

    Report comment

    • The “public” are all those who have not experienced it. They view it as something someone deserved, as in, they must have been “mentally ill” and thus the good doctors ‘treat’ “it”.
      Like cops ‘treat’ a criminal, except the good doc is actually “helping” the “patient”.
      I think many know that the reports by people are true, it is just that if you believed the cult, it literally takes experience to debrief people.
      Many people don’t bother being invested in change for others.

      Report comment

      • Hi Sam,

        I appreciate your comment.

        I remember reading a small article in USA Today in 2001 entitled “Despite the Slaying, Adderall is Still a Safe Medication for ADHD”

        That was the response from the manufacturer of Adderall after a college student shot took their drug for ten days, slipped into a psychotic fog, shot and killed his baby girl and then shot himself in the stomach. He was found not guilty because the drug company and psychiatrists admitted this is a side effect of the drug.

        Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person on the planet who read that article.

        The “public” is asleep.

        It’s nice to connect with others who are awake.

        Take care,
        Maria Mangicaro

        Report comment

    • “How do we get the general public to understand the true horror and criminality of psychiatry and just how dangerous it is to go to these people?”

      There’s a reason they need the law to provide them with the use of force. No one in their right mind would speak to a psychiatrist, and of course the assumption is that when you do go to one your nutz.
      It has been noted that one of the greatest threats to our community are these right wing extremists who at present have the laws protecting them. Of course when one thinks of a right wing extremist it’s usually a skin head with a swastika tattooed on his forehead that comes to mind, not some thug hiding behind a mask of legitimacy provided by good doctors.

      “Who so ever dig the pit, shall fall in it.” I’m sure that the usefulness of our politicians and police will at some point expire and they might find themselves being subjected to what they considered ‘treatment’ when dished out to vulnerable individuals. In fact if they weren’t tampering so much with the data, we might notice that it is already happening. Our ex Treasurer being ‘roped in’ for ‘treatment’ that should see him ‘healthy’ very soon. Good luck Troy.

      Report comment

    • streetphotobeing,

      Thank you for commenting and sharing.

      “How do we get the general public to understand the true horror and criminality of psychiatry and just how dangerous it is to go to these people?”

      I’m 58 years old. Dr. Thomas Szasz co-founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights 51 years ago. Dr. Peter Breggin Founded ICSPP (now ISEPP) over 40 years ago. Robert Whitaker wrote Mad in America 18 years ago. There are dozens of other organizations, authors, doctors, psychologists, filmmakers, advocates, efforts, etc. trying to get the general public to understand.

      If we add up all of their efforts it is like using eye droppers to take water from the ocean to fill up an Olympic size pool. And congratulations, their combined efforts have paid off and that pool is now full. Now, go back and look at the ocean to see the difference made.

      That is the realization we must face. There is just too much money being made by too many for the change to take place anytime in the near future.

      The best we can do is keep speaking up until a tsunami of stories are out there and maybe we will see a paradigm shift in our lifetime.

      Take care,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

  6. Thank you for writing this. There are people for whom meds work and they wont believe this story. I wholeheartedly agree with checking for underlying conditions before prescribing psychotropics. AND doing genetic tests to see which meds could be effective. When will this change? I lost my daughter to meds – they made her suicidal. I hope Pat gets better.

    Report comment

    • Dear Leighgage,

      There is no greater loss than that of a child, my heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story and yes, genetic tests to see which meds could be effective is so important.

      Have you seen the documentary Dead Wrong?

      It is so well done. I gave copies of it to the doctors at the state hospital my sibling was at.

      Take care,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

        • Hi Leighgage

          The Benzo Information Coalition is amazing for what they are doing

          Also, the team behind the film Medicating Normal

          Definitely on my list of who I will donate to when my winning lottery ticket finally comes in

          Along with stories of harm, I also believe stories of recovery must come forward

          The argument of pro-psychiatry/pro-medication management advocates lies heavily in not being educated on what other options exist

          Will Hall has put together a lot of information on this and Laura Delano shares a lot

          More exposure is greatly needed

          Along with other members of ISEPP and Quantum Leap Farm (a nationally recognized equine therapy program) I participated in this docuseries Unbroken Minds but the project has been put on hold

          I am hopeful that my sibling, who is currently at a rehab facility for physical therapy and cognitive remediation, will soon be well enough to participate in therapies that are available from some of my friends who are Chiropractors/massage therapists and are eager to assist in recovery strategies

          I am flying up today to help my family and somehow sharing this “testimony” on MIA feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders

          Thank you for your support and I look forward to the day my sibling will share their recovery story on their own

          Maria Mangicaro

          Report comment

    • Dear cidrols,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, it’s a tuff battle. Honestly don’t know how my sibling has made it this far. As a family we have really pulled together to help out and as bad as everything has been, we have been truly bless in so many ways and constantly pray for healing.

      Take care,
      Maria Mangicaro

      Report comment

  7. I truly appreciate all of those who took the time to read this post and I wanted to provide some updates.

    When I wrote this article our family was dependent on the system for care of my sibling and for their protection, I used gender neutral language.

    Since July 2, 2020, my sibling, who is my brother, has been recovering at his home. We were able to find an excellent, very supportive MD and truly blessed to find wonderful nurse’s aids who have been providing compassionate care to assist him in tapering him off of all psychiatric drugs.

    His state when discharged was considered catatonia. His muscles were stiff, he was barely able to walk, eat or drink and was completely nonverbal. He weighed 119 pounds, had a full beard and long unkept hair. He was unable to sit at a table and eat with a fork or spoon. Twice he was brought to the ER for IV fluids which helped a lot.

    Eight weeks ago he had an incredible awakening in which he came completely back to reality. It was like Rip Van Winkle waking up after 4 years of being in what he described as an “alternate universe”. He experienced a rush of emotions, physical energy and memories flooding into his mind and body like a tsunami. He woke out of it confused and disorientated but the aid immediately FaceTimed our family members and we were able to help him through the confusion. It was an amazing experience that lasted for four hours before his body shut down again. We witnessed how his mind, memories and physical abilities are completely intact, just disconnected and need to heal through nutrition, hydration and massage therapy.

    Because of COVID, it has been very difficult for me to travel from Florida to NY to help with his care. I made one trip up last month and saw amazing improvements, along with some periods of being back in touch with reality, able to speak and even laugh.

    I will be making another trip up soon and feel confident my brother is on the road to a full recovery.

    Report comment