What It’s Like to Be Involuntarily Committed

Laura McCabe
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After I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2005, I landed a cushy job as an analyst with a top sales and marketing company in the consumer-packaged-goods industry and then got promoted to a category-development manager. What happened next is not something I could have predicted—it is hard for me to admit, but I had a mental breakdown after the Virginia Tech massacre. I’d been diagnosed with lichen planus, a rare autoimmune skin disease, right after the massacre and was placed on steroid treatments, so it is hard for me to know if that caused the extreme anxiety I was feeling or if it was truly my reaction to the shocking events at the university from which I graduated (where my younger sibling was still a student and had a class in the same building where the massacre occurred). During my breakdown, I voluntarily underwent psychiatric treatment, covering the cost with the excellent private healthcare benefits my job offered.

Then my company fired me, furious that I’d taken a second paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for this treatment. It was not the scenario I wanted. I was in my twenties and had wanted to use the FMLA benefits to have kids when I met the right person…not for a mental breakdown. After I lost my job, I suddenly became the stereotype of a “mentally ill” person—unemployed and, what was worse at the start of the Great Recession, unable to explain a firing to a future employer without revealing that I might have mental health problems. I had considered suing the company for FMLA retaliation, but I ultimately decided not to and tried to move on.

My involuntary commitment came 10 years after becoming a fired manager who had never managed to find another job and was living with her parents. I got in an argument with them at their house and they decided to involve the police. I don’t know what my parents told the police, but after the officers drew their taser guns on me, I was taken from my parents’ home in handcuffs and brought to the same hospital where I’d received therapy earlier. There I was placed in a padded room and immediately given medication against my will. I was told I had to remain there until I could be admitted. I figured being hospitalized could only last a few days before they would have to let me go, but I was wrong.

In 2017, at age 35, I was committed for more than 50 days and diagnosed as schizophrenic. Suddenly, the hospital was talking about long-term care. I was picturing myself either homeless or fortunate enough to be in some group home if my parents didn’t take me back. I had nowhere else to turn for help. Every time there was a hearing about my future, my parents kept bringing up my voluntary mental health treatment and mentioned that during the past decade I basically didn’t go anywhere, didn’t have friends, and didn’t leave their house.

This loner portrayal felt surreal. I am an alumna of a sorority in the South but wasn’t residing there at the time of the involuntary commitment. Since moving south for college, I had drifted apart from my high school friends, and after I moved back north many of them had gotten married or had kids. I was also embarrassed about the firing, the weight gain that likely came from the steroids and/or psychiatric meds I’d been on, and didn’t know how to explain my mental problems or how to catch up with them.

I finally got released to a partial-inpatient psychiatric program on the condition that I agreed to meet with a social worker. The humiliation of having to agree to that was unbearable, and after being released I decided not to meet with the social worker after all.  The hospital—which was monitoring me without my consent—let that go, but when the appointment I made with a psychiatrist fell through, the hospital involved the police and brought me back in handcuffs. So, I became twice involuntarily committed within a year. To get my freedom back, I had to agree to report to the hospital and get injections of antipsychotic medication for schizophrenia; the hospital has maintained this involuntary outpatient commitment since 2018. I have not gotten private counsel yet to fight it, since I was quoted a price of nearly $5,000 in the one productive conversation I had with an attorney who specialized in mental health. So it has been a one-sided presentation against me this whole time, and the worst thing I have ever been through.

I oppose forced treatment, forced medication, and a forced social worker. I fear that the forced medication will cause brain damage. The terrible side effects I experience have even been acknowledged by my psychiatrist: stress incontinence, tremors, and a 70-pound weight gain. I still hope to have children someday and fear the medication will cause birth defects. I also hope to get a second opinion on my diagnosis, since the hospital changed my original diagnosis from probable PTSD after the Virginia Tech massacre to schizophrenia. I have read that according to the Mayo Clinic, autoimmune diseases can trigger mental illness symptoms. Could this whole experience really be linked to my skin problems?

Another annoying part of the involuntary commitment was being badgered about not having health insurance. I am a believer in having private health insurance and had it all my life until I was fired at 25 years old. I had gone without it during the decade I couldn’t find a job and was too prideful to sign up for Obamacare when I had the opportunity. I had even taken to doing light therapy outdoors for my last lichen planus outbreaks, which was free, instead of taking steroid treatments. It actually worked better and wreaked less havoc on my body with no side effects. Eventually, I agreed to sign up for medical-coverage public assistance to pay for the $100,000+ hospital bills for being committed for nearly two months. My forced medication and office visits cost $2,000 a month, so I signed up for Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD) to help cover it, since I no longer qualify for regular medical public assistance because I earn too much.

The hospital currently maintains that the medication has done such wonders that I’m now employed and getting along with my parents while living in their home (they agreed to take me back). When I came to the renewal-for-outpatient-commitment hearing, the judge even said I had a professional appearance. The hospital also takes credit for my life gains of having more social contact and joining a business group and book club.

I’m just glad I’m living life again and don’t believe the medication is what motivated me. The situation drove me to get back in touch with people because I realized how isolated I had become when I had no one to turn to while I was involuntarily committed. But my faith is what I feel got me through it. Priests visited me while I was involuntarily committed and I have not missed a mass since being released.

I also had a strong motivation to become financially independent to leave my parents’ home after the commitment and accepted an unlikely next step—a position as a caregiver. I love being a caregiver, but it doesn’t pay a lot compared to what I was used to earning when I was a more productive member of society. So once I saw an opening for a full-time government loan counselor position, I applied and have been doing that for over a year now.

With medical privacy laws, I have not had to reveal my psychiatric condition to my employers. I want to be open about what I went through, but fear if people find out, it will upset my current status of living life as a government loan counselor during the week and a caregiver on the weekends, a job I kept to help with my new-car payment. I feel fortunate that despite everything I have been through, I am in a position to have that now. I hope to eventually handle more professional responsibility if I am trusted with it again.

My vision for the future is to be back in the private-sector business world as a manager, or even higher up. I thought I was too young to go out on disability when I did and still feel that way now that I am a decade or so older. I crave to be challenged professionally again. I have been invited to apply to an Executive MBA program and am currently weighing if that is the right decision for me since I have a 10-year work gap. I am also in a fortunate enough position to have recently hired a personal trainer to help me tackle the 70-pound weight gain since my involuntary commitment three years ago. So far, I have lost 13 pounds. I got off the wagon during the holiday celebrations, but I am motivated to start again since I am getting results when I stick with the program.

The change I would like to see in the mental health system is to never see anyone involuntarily medicated. It is the most maddening thing to have one’s rights removed without a crime occurring. (I have a clean record and even hold a security clearance.) If I had a do-over, I would not have told my doctor that I was having trouble sleeping and feeling anxious after the Virginia Tech massacre. Doing so led me down a path I couldn’t have imagined with medication, time off work, and ultimately an involuntary commitment initiated by my parents, who would have never have thought to do that if I hadn’t already had treatment.

 

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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.

40 COMMENTS

  1. I had some experiences common with yours. I would like to say that you shouldn’t ever hope they (hospital staff, authorities, parents) will consider you sane again. Forget it. The problem is not with you but with them. You can exploit this fixation of them in your advantage. Time will show you how.

    As for losing weight, I can bring my own example. I have the opposite problem, I’m too thin, I have a BMI between 16 and 17. This because of exclusively vegetal diet and not eating much vegetal fats either.

    Also, physical activity is very helpful if done for several hours daily. Not sport or other kind of effort and not with the idea of “burning calories”. Easy things, like house maintenance or so. Effortless movements makes organs, tissues, parts of locomotor system change their position and by that circulation and other processes are improved.

    • I was going to point out the same to Laura, sam. Just google it, Laura, here’s one such article.

      https://dualdiagnosis.org/drug-addiction/can-steroids-cause-anxiety/

      Laura, sorry you too had the misfortune of dealing with the scientific fraud based “mental health” system. A system set up to destroy the lives of those who have the misfortune of getting caught up in it. Glad you escaped. Glad your parents stood by you, at least eventually. And I’m glad you are pulling your life back together. Thank you for sharing your story, and God bless.

      • The anxiety does ring a bell. I was talking to a friend of mine (a doctor) about Psychiatric drugs causing mental illness and he was cynical.

        And then he related his own experience to me with a skin medication (most Irish people are prone to skin problems), which made him very anxious, but he said it was the chance he took, as it is well known that certain skin medications can cause High Anxiety.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Laura. I’m horrified by how you have been treated. I’ve been involuntarily committed a number of times (more than a dozen but fewer than 20? I’m not sure). It’s hard to explain how dehumanizing the experience feels to someone who hasn’t been through it.
    Sam brings up a good point: steroids definitely effect one’s mental state. Steroid psychosis is a real thing.

  3. Hi Laura!

    Thanks for your article and honesty.

    More schooling may give you an advantage as employers seem to reason better from that vantage point. Yet, it’s expensive and not always necessary.

    I think life is difficult for most people these days, because of bigger challenges from past generations not dealt with that get carried forward.

    Believe in yourself. It’s the best you can do, the best for the world too.

  4. THANK-YOU, Laura! That’s a well=written, clear, and concise story you’ve told here. But it also needs to be pointed out that the “Va Tech shooter” himself was ALSO a victim of psychiatry and psych drugs. While no, I can’t prove my claim here, nevertheless I’ll make that claim. Psych drugs pulled the trigger of the gun of the “Va Tech shooter”, and psychiatrists loaded the bullets. Read that last sentence again. In the strongest possible terms I mean that. Forced psych “treatment” is the very definition of MEDICAL FASCISM. Forced psych “treatment” is in fact a form of GENOCIDE. Yes, *GENOCIDE*! Genocide occurs on a daily basis in America 2020, and the American Taxpayer helps fund it. So YOU, Laura, are also in fact a victim of genocide. As bad as genocide is, – and it’s too often fatal, – you seem to have survived so far relatively intact. That’s something you can be proud of. Looks to me that you’re doing so well IN SPITE OF psychiatry and psych drugs, and *NOT* because of them….Please correct me if I’m wrong in my assumption here.
    Thanks again for telling your story, and WELCOME! to MiA….

  5. Regarding ” I have not had to reveal my psychiatric condition to my employers.”

    Do not ever reveal your psychiatric history or whatever.

    The “normal” person fears the future and fears the “mentally ill” that is why they have so much faith ( religion) in the drugs they call medicine.
    If confronted on their understanding of “mental illness” it is soon obvious they have cognitive dissonance on the subject, and NO ONE wants this pointed out.

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

    If you are rich as Howard Hughes was, then you can talk openly about mental illness.

  6. What protections against revealing their mental health history do those with such histories have? I can imagine what would happen if an employer or prospective employer learned that you had a history of schizophrenia. Does the Americans with Disabilities Act or other laws offer protection? If so, where can I find the relevant sections of the statutes?

      • But just between you and me…………

        I paid lawyers tens of thousands to ensure my privacy at a private clinic only to find my ‘medical records’ turning up like magic in a public hospital after they arranged to obtain a police referral by planting items on my person. Do you think I can get my money back? Do you think I can get a lawyer who will look at the real set of documents from my ‘referral’ (which was after all a kidnapping as a result of me not actually being a “patient”?). Maybe you could argue that I was a “patient” of the private clinic? Not the case and well when they found that out they did try to make me into a “patient” by getting me to obtain a referral from my G.P. When that didn’t work they had to resort to ‘alternative methods’ of distributing fraudulent documents and conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

        I find it fascinating what can be done to a person once you have slandered them with a label of mental illness, and then call these treatments medicine. So if you think you have a right to confidentiality see ACC v Stoddart HCA dec 47, no spousal privilege in common law in Australia. With that decision all lawyers would know that the whole set of dominoes falls. You have zero right to privacy , and anyone can be ‘coerced’ to provide your information to the State.

        Protections under the law, you have none if it is the State (ie corrupt public officers) are the people who are breaking the law. Theoretically.

        I mean how rediculous that the people you have to complain to are the same people authorising the use of known torture methods. They take the information you have and then start distributing fraudulent documents to lawyers and threatening your family to get them to commit crimes they then overlook. You of course think your going crazy and some of them actually get their rocks off on the power of being paid to push people to suicide. The family going along with it thinking these are good medical people.

        Still, the German people turned a blind eye for some time while a large number of undesirables were deloused. What was I expecting from my community?

          • Oh we have laws protecting our medical (and other) confidential information Steve. In fact the laws when you read them are quite well written, and give the appearance of legal protections.

            The problem is with what Jim Gottstein said about Rights without Remedies.

            For example I was told by a Sgt at a large metropolitan Police Station that they didn’t have a copy of the Criminal Code at his Station. Thus he didn’t require a copy of the documents I had which were proof of me being ‘spiked’ with benzos, becasue he didn’t know that under s. 305A of the Criminal Code this constituted Intoxication by Deception. Now I get it that a doctor rang him and requested that he not take the proof of this criminal offence because I was a “mental patient” and therefore had no rights to be complaining about being ‘spiked’. But if he knew his duty, he would have taken said documents in case the doctor was a criminal and was lying to him. Instead he has just done a favor for a crook. Still, when did police ever give a damn about what is done to mental patients. What next animal welfare
            call outs? Mind you the doctor had gone to the trouble of having me ‘flagged’ as mental patient while they used police resources to deal with their little criminal issue.

            Or our Chief Psychiatrst who writes that he doesn’t know what a burden of proof in law actually is, and therefore rather than a Community Nurse requiring to “suspect on reasonable grounds” that a person needs to be locked in a cage and drug fukd to silence them over crimes they have had committed against them, he prefers that the “suspect on grounds they believe reasonable” which of course can not be tested in a court of law. Arbtrary detentions and torture thus being fine with him because he couldn’t possibly do his duty if he doesn’t know what it is. Nice pay packet for not doing your job.

            We have great laws if you look. But of course the lack of resources at Police Stations means they are having to wing it. I note that just the other day it was noticed that the speed cameras at the side of the roads seem to be objective, but that when pulled over by police your much more likely to get a ticket if your Aboriginal. And then it would be a search the car and a pat down for drugs and well, lets be honest they’re not averse to planting a bit of stuff round here with the lack of accountability. Keeping our prisons full of people who are disrupting the social order. The organised criminals in our hospitals don’t need to worry about speeding fines. The Jaguars come with an automatic back scratcher lol

            Great laws, no ethics or integrity on the application part of it. Character flaws I guess. Bit like the way these Priests were viewed for their indiscretions with hundreds of children. I guess some day people will notice the need for a copy of the Criminal Code in our Police Stations rather than a menu for Dunkin Donuts.

            Let me quote a letter from a Police Superintendent regarding my complaint about kidnapping and torture (and a subsequent attempted murder)

            “Sgt R reports her attempts to contact you via email to discuss the issues were unsuccessful. On 2 Jan 2020 she sent an email to you requesting your assistance in the investigation and asking that you contact her within 14 days. To date, no response has been received fro you and the investigation progressed with the information on hand”

            Then further down the page this

            “After considering all the evidence, Sgt R found there was insufficient evidence”

            But you just said you didn’t get all the evidence, I mean what sort of investiagtion doesn’t ask the victim what evidence they have? Sounds like the approval process for an anti psychotic. The lack of evidence supports the use of this new drug lol

            Now I’m not saying this copper is lying, but I received no email. And well, it seems to me that minus the documented (and recorded) proof I have, it would be pointless doing an investigation. The outcome would be predetermined by the lack of evidence. Maybe that’s what they want? We don’t want it to be kidnapping and torture so we are going to manipulate the situation and pervert the course of justice? And who you gunna complain to? People who are making referrals to corrupt doctors at the hospital that kidnapped and tortured me?

            People have every reason to be afraid of our Police when they write such nonsense and let it be known how corrupt they have become.

          • Yes Steve, I cannot go to ER without all my records being seen. And there is very scant info, but they were trying to make it more than was there.
            I am now daring enough now. Nothing scares me, because I have nothing to lose, and they just want me to go away quietly.
            I hired a lawyer as recommended by a prof for mediation.
            One doc spread gossip saying that I sued doctors.
            This is the garbage Canada’s docs get away with.
            It is the same or worse in Australia.
            In Canada we have a few ‘nicer’ people I hope. I was looking forward to Canada becoming more reasonable on the ‘mental front’, be a leader etc.
            I am hoping for more out of Europe.

          • Privacy Act 1988.
            Looks great on the surface but I’ve been shown the loopholes by some organised criminals. I really should be thankful but i’m not. I’d rather not have known and been left alone rather than spiked and kidnapped. And then as explained by the Operations Manager who distributed the fraudulent documents to lawyers, fuking destroyed (ie haven’t seen my family for 9 years, lost my home, my marriage, my career and all because I complained and had a legitimate complaint). It’s okay I get it, they don’t want to be seen as torturers and kidnappers so need to do some stuff to make the truth not the truth, ie fraud and threats to witnesses and well, preferably get the victim to commit suicide. No worries, I’d like to leave this vile place now coz I thought we all worked together to make it a better place, not stab each other in the back because we hate the truth. See ya’ll in the next life, NOT.
            Point being this Privacy Act 1988 is being use to conceal crimes rather than assist in providing protection for the community. It’s an absolute farce and anyone who has anything to do with it knows this, the uninitiated are left to hang. For instance once the backbiters got going in my case, they all start concealing crimes for each other knowing that if one cracks they all go down. My private and confidential records (sealed by the court and cost me tens of thousands to have representation) turn up in a public hospital. Now call me suspicious but the documents reveal that my wife gave this hospital the name of a psychologist at the private clinic, and well I get the feeling that the three minute ‘assessment’ wasn’t enough to give me the ‘provisional diagnosis’ I got. It came from this psychologist breaching confidentiality. Can’t prove it? Yes I can but no one wants this to be true. Boans must have a mental illness we got the dirt unlawfully from this clinic psychologist. Might it be that she didn’t like Boans or his anti psychitary stance, especially given her husband is a psychiatrist? I had to have the report written by the psychiatrist at the clinic for a claim over a workplace incident. My choices were, speak to this psychiatrist or be damaged by my employers negligence and wear the cost myself, I chose the former and engaged legal representation before I visited the psychiatrists office. The lawyers explained thoroughly my rights.

            Its a case of too late Boans we let the info loose and well sorry about that but we didn’t mean it when we said you had the right to your medical information to be kept confidential. And despite your referral expiring and thus your no longer legally a ‘patient’ we are going to lie to police and have them brutalise you as if you are. In fact were going to have you spiked with benzos and then plant a knife on you to get a police referral because we know we don’t have the right to make a lawful referral, and so we need to trick police. The Minister is authorising this type of conduct by mental health professionals because of the need to get treatment to the community. I mean it’s a tough job, especially when people won’t speak to public officers because they know they are planting evidence on people and ‘fitting them up’. So they need to plant evidence on people and fit them up to do their job. All good, Chief Psychiatrist and Minister know we need arbitrary detentions and torture and are authorising it via their dereliction of duty. Got the proof if anyone would like to look. C.P. doesnt know what the protections afforded the public in the Act are? Yreah right, people would say i’m nuts if I told them that, except well…… want to read his letter of response to my complaint?

            Complaints? Well, the hospital who had received the confidential information from a confidential informant who didn’t wish to be named wanted proof that i was at least someones ‘patient’ or they would have tortured and kidnapped a citizen. Obviously the clinic psychologist couldn’t provide that proof (though they did try to have me made into a ‘patient’ by obtaining a referral from a G.P. post hoc to conceal their offences, and failed). I was, according to the Mental Health Act, not defined as a “patient” and thuis the ‘spiking’ and fraudulent statutory declaration used to kidnap me, were crimes, committed by co conspirators. But the clinic psychologist did have a husband who could unintendedly negatively outcome people at an Emergency Dept before the police got involved and realised what had actually been done.

            So in the end it might be best we just let these people do what they want because if we start asking for the law to be applied they are literally killing people.Or should I say voluntarily assisting them to die. Because my State has no respect for the very laws they tell us protect our rights, NONE

            Anyone want to check what I’m saying yet?

          • And the loophole?

            Just lie and say you didn’t have the opportunity to seek consent from the ‘patient’ to release the information. I mean the telephone was there right in front of her and well, my wife opposite who could have told her I was at home, but instead they decide to ‘spike’ with benzos (no prescribing rights) and induce an “acute stress reaction” by using police to point weapons at me when they jumped me in my bed. Tehe, that’ll get him talking won’t it? (“Really, all we need to do is pretend he is your patient and they will do all this, for ME?” $200 and the anti psychiatrist goes down)

            And with a phone call a good mans (no it’s not narcissism, I do believe my friends would support this claim, though they all soon left when the stink of mental health services appeared) life is utterly destroyed, and the community is right in doing nothing, just pray these folk don’t move on to you next, because they have the full support of our police and the authorities charged with protecting your rights.

          • “Steve McCrea February 8, 2020 at 10:17 pm
            I should have said that HIPAA protects AMERICANS against having their medical information spread around. I can’t speak for any other country. Sounds like Australia may have some catching up to do in this area!”

            Got to thinking a little more about this confidentiality. And I realised I approached Shine Lawyers (who boast about assistance for the little guy aka Erin Brokovich). I provided them with the documents about how I was ‘spiked’ and ‘verballed’ and they responded with “oh your doctor authorised the ‘spiking'”. So I asked well who is this “doctor” you speak of? Because as far as I know, and can dismiss any claim to the contrary, I didn’t actually have any doctor, and there was no one with any prescribing rights involved in the conspiracy to kidnap me (ie a citizen, a psychologist, not MY Psychologist, and a Community Nurse from NOT my hospital, ie I wasn’t anyones “patient” No doctor patient relationship, these are crimes).

            However these ethical and upstanding lawyers at Shine lawyers tell me that they can not tell me who my doctor who prescribed the administration of benzodiazepines without my knowledge actually is. That’s confidential information. Which really does make my life difficult because now I have to get letters from every doctor in the country to prove I didn’t have a doctor and therefore I was tortured and kidnapped and not referred and assessed.

            I would have thought if someone was making the claim that they were my doctor and prescribing me intoxicating and stupefying drugs without my knowledge I could at least have their name?

            But the Privacy Act 1988 seems to provide that sort of protection. It stops me from confronting someone who is a liar. And it also allows citizens to be spiked by doctors who they haven’t even met.

            Well done Shine Lawyers you have managed to enable a criminal operating within our hospital system with your concealment of information I believe I have a right to know, ie who is allowed to spike me and with what drugs? Because I certainly had no doctor/patient relationship until I was snatched out of my bed after being drugged without my knowledge and transported against my will on a fraudulent Form 1 to a hospital where I was dumped under the nose of the most disgusting doctor I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet.

            Behave like Nite Club pack rapists and claim ‘good faith’? Find out that they have documented their crimes and …..well, lets leave that because its not in the public interest to know how the State is dealing with allegations of torture. And no, the spiking and acute stress reaction DO NOT constitute ‘soft’ torture (unless of course your the State that is doing the torturing then you can make all sorts of absurd claims and slander and commit acts of fraud that no one will assist the victim with. Hey, lets call torturing people medicine to get round the Conventions. The public so afraid of our own government they run at the signs of public service misconduct. “quick, get out or they’ll ‘do’ my family too”).

            And yes, “these things do tend to get a bit out of hand” Prof. I had no idea that they needed to unintetionally negatively outcome the victims to ensure their ‘good’ reputation remained in tact. That is obviously a delusion they suffer from because the community has been terrorised into telling them they are doing a good job, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Nice work from the Einsattsgruppen eh?

            So yeah, we have confidentiality, but its being used in all the wrong ways. By people from whom you might expect better. Well done Shine Lawyers.

  7. This is you:

    ‘….Laura McCabe
    A Pennsylvania native, Laura holds a BS degree in Business from Virginia Tech. She’s always had a passion for business, investing in the stock market and becoming the owner of a small fashion accessory business while still a teenager. Among other things, she has worked for four Pennsylvania government agencies and been employed as an analyst and manager in the consumer packaged goods industry…’

    I was medically described as a ‘hopeless Schizophrenic’ in 1984; and this is a ‘non medical’ description of me referring to the same time period:-
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PW-wn9GOkiyWAbdzgXuC8cDS-7UPEj0-/view?usp=drivesdk

  8. Many thanks for sharing your story, Laura. I am very sorry to hear that you are still forced to undergo injections of an antipsychotic. The forced drugging is one of the things which make me very angry about psychiatry.

    I am actually almost the same age as you (I will be 40 in June), and I was diagnosed with “schizophrenia” in 2012, after only one psychotic episode (I was hearing “voices” and I was very paranoid). I was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital for more than a month. I decided to come off neuroleptics some weeks after my release from the hospital. Fortunately no one had the right to force me to take them again. I have never had another psychotic episode.

    I don’t currently have a regular job (I work as a freelance translator and I get a disability pension thanks to my diagnosis), but I feel very happy and I have been leading a completely normal and fulfilling life since my stay in the mental hospital in 2012.

    I am very impressed by your openness and by what you have achieved, and I hope very much that you will find a way to free yourself from neuroleptics. I wish you all the best.

  9. Laura, thank you for sharing what you have endured with psychiatry. It’s important these experiences are told as it continues to expose how dangerous and harmful psychiatry is. Forced treatment is inhumane and barbaric. I am so sorry you had to endure this and it is awful this happened to you simply because you had trouble to sleep. I can relate to that aspect as while in cancer treatment 3 chemo drugs, pain killers and steroids made it difficult to sleep and cancer docs sent me to a psychiatrist under the guise it was for “help with sleep meds”. I was quickly given 4 psych labels and prescribed Seroquel, clonazepam, Ativan and amitriptyline even though I was already in very rough shape from all the other toxic chemo drugs.

    You have done very well with forging ahead with your life and I admire your determination. I hope you can continue to do well and be free from psychiatry and their toxic drugs. Best of wishes to you.

      • I think what it does is help create and sustain an alternate narrative of what is going on. It helps people see that an attitude critical of psychiatry is not “nuts” and is based on actual data and research as well as lots and lots of people’s experience. This in itself doesn’t change the status quo, but it helps bring people together that are opposed and provides tools and information that will help them do so. That’s my take on it, anyway.

        It also provides a space where survivors of the psychiatric system can speak their truth and not be brushed off or attacked for doing so.

  10. Rosalee, every time I read how you ended up in a psych office, I become physically ill. If any situation can show the fraud of this industry, it is yours. It makes me so angry that anyone would decide it was not only ok, but worth the risk to your already fragile body. I am so thankful you survived them, although you never should have been put in the position to have to, to begin with. I’ve seen your comments for awhile now and I just wanted to let you know that you are heard.

  11. psmama, thank you so much for your validation! When people tell me my situation with psychiatry during cancer treatment “can show the fraud of this industry” it drives me to do whatever I can to spread the word. There is much more to the sordid, twisted tale of lies/betrayal etc, but in a nutshell it was arranged to have psych labels put on me to strip me of my right to be informed and to give consent. After 4 labels were slapped on me without my knowledge (when my only “symptom” was insomnia and trying to decline an unnecessary surgery which my family Dr FULLY agreed and supported) I ended up forcibly surgically assaulted – for what was a contrived cancer diagnosis – due to these fabricated psych labels. Very similar to the fraud and corruption of people being forcibly injected and damaged with neuroleptics.

    I found the MIA site August 2018 and hadn’t seen your comments prior to that but just read them now. Omg, psmama I am horrified and so sorry to read of what you endured. Your story also shows how corrupt and brutal psychiatry is!! They don’t care about what trauma or abuse, or anything at all that happened to someone – instead they are hell bent on punishing someone for having endured trauma or difficult circumstances. They re-victimize and re-traumatize someone who is already suffering. It is SO crazy and corrupt! Psychiatry IS a sadistic beast and you stated it well in a prior comment “Most people are completely unaware of the underbelly of the beast”.

    You also state it well in this comment “Once my medical files stated I had a mental illness, I was never treated the same”. Yes, this is something every labelled person knows all too well. Thanks for speaking out. Your voice is very important. Be good to yourself and I send you my best wishes.

    • “They don’t care about what trauma or abuse, or anything at all that happened to someone – instead they are hell bent on punishing someone for having endured trauma or difficult circumstances. They re-victimize and re-traumatize someone who is already suffering.”

      This is true. But I don’t think they do this because they’re evil. I think they’re just clueless. They don’t realise they’re doing harm because in many cases, their intentions are good and they’re doing exactly what they’ve been trained to do.

      • If you say it’s true they don’t care about what trauma or abuse someone endured and they willingly ignore it or worse yet punish you for it, I think that goes way beyond being clueless. And if they are that clueless, cold hearted and ignorant they should not be in a profession that claims to “help”.

        I won’t say all psychiatrists are punitive, dishonest or coercive but there certainly is a large segment that is. This is clearly demonstrated by the multitude of personal horror stories, reports, blogs etc here on MIA and elsewhere.

        • Most of what psychiatry writes is slander. Legal slander.

          I now lump all psychiatrists in the slanderous occupation unless they stand up for people and denounce the made up slanders against humanity.

          No one is arguing that people have problems in living and we all know that it is a privilege to have been born or reared in environments where we were safe, secure, developed a sure sense of being.
          I argue against slandering those who never had the privilege of not being affected.
          A label is nothing but a yoke. It is not even possible to consider oneself as “helpful” if one knowingly assigns a yoke to a human being.

  12. Laura, I know what it’s like to be caught in a mental health system that grossly fails to provide for your needs. If you like, you can read my personal account of what the state hospital was like for me at 16 under my name on this website. Don’t give up! Perhaps now your Psychiatrist and social worker will find another way for you after they see your article and all the support you’ve received. Why don’t you send it to them? Also, a lawyer who does mental health work could help. Michael E. Sturman, M.A.

    • You might consider the DK Law Group. Their main office is in California but they have offices nationwide. They were the ones who represented the plaintiffs successful in a recent law suit against the manufacturers of electroshock machines for failure to warn of the risks in using their equipment. Also, you can contact your local lawyer’s referral service or bar association to find someone to represent you.

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