The Cost of Being Psychotic in America

Syrena Clark
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“Stigma” is a term that has been tossed around a lot in the last couple of years. The concept that people with psychosis, and psychiatric medication and treatment, are stigmatized is putting it too mildly. People with psychosis are discriminated against. And discrimination kills.

People living with psychosis—people like me—are dying because we are being discriminated against by people who’d rather see us hurt than attempt to work with us and give us the decency and respect that should be accorded us as a human right. And nobody deserves to be assaulted or shot after they’ve reached out for help.

However, pulling the trigger of a gun is quicker than actually addressing these problems and creating solutions.

By the Numbers

Many people with disabilities are dying at the hands of improperly trained police officers. According to one study, an estimated 27% of people killed by the police have received a psychiatric diagnosis, but this figure may be as high as 81% if people with substance-use problems are included. People with psychosocial disabilities are by no means the only ones at risk; these concerns also extend to those with developmental and physical disabilities. But for the purpose of this essay, I will focus on violence against people with psychosis.

If you struggle with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, as I do, chances are that you’ve been handcuffed at some point. Commonly people in the throes of a psychotic episode are handled with force as opposed to the care and empathy that should be expected of a professional trained in crisis intervention. This is especially true if (like me) you live in an underserved area such as rural Maine, with too few mental health professionals, or in urban areas, with a high patient-to-doctor ratio.

Misperceptions

I work in mental health advocacy and study public health at school. So, every couple of days I’m presented with graphic body-cam videos of people either dying or incurring serious psychological and physical trauma at the whims of police officers who may lack training and a thorough understanding of what a mental health crisis looks like. As someone who has had many such episodes, that can look really scary if you aren’t familiar with one. A person may seem violent or completely disconnected from reality. But it is important to remember that the vast majority of people experiencing psychosis are not violent, and numerous studies have documented that they are actually more likely to experience violence. It’s easy to see why it’s not so much stigma but real danger that holds us back from reaching out for help.

It’s also important to understand that during a mental health crisis, we don’t always have full control over our actions, so our behavior can often be confusing to people who don’t understand the ways in which psychosis can rear its ugly head.  I often remember very little from my breaks from reality, and almost nothing from my manic episodes. Apparently I said things out of character and did things I wouldn’t normally do. For example, during my first experience with psychosis I often said disrespectful and hurtful things to my father and stepmother, but later did not remember having said them. Later on, I would be found wandering around with no real awareness of where I was or what I had been doing. On more than one occasion I would go on tirades about aliens, becoming erratic and confused, and was occasionally aggressive, a far cry from my typically quiet, shy personality.

Individuals still need to be held accountable, but understanding the perspective and reality of someone with psychosis might help society choose better ways to help people in the throes of a crisis.  Was it right that I was treated with far less respect in these situations than what would be considered acceptable under other circumstances? No. So where is the outrage?

Worse for the Unhoused

Some 11% of people experiencing homelessness have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, with some estimates much higher, and half of those people lack any treatment or support of any kind. I myself experienced homelessness for a number of years, relying on friends’ couches or summer dormitories for my housing. Too many of us don’t have even that, living out on the streets while dealing with serious mental health struggles. We are people who should be treated with respect, dignity, and empathy, the things all humans deserve. But we are too often treated like animals, insulted or ignored. Many mentally ill, homeless individuals face frequent and reoccurring victimization, including assault and rape, with the lifetime risk for victimization falling between 75% and 84%.  Additionally, many will be arrested and continue to cycle through jails, hospitals, and homelessness.

Worse yet, the life expectancy of a person who is both unhoused and has a severe mental illness diagnosis is roughly 28 years earlier than that of the general population. According to a study in JAMA Psychiatry, some of this mortality is related to substance abuse and higher rates of completed suicides. But much of it has to do with poor access to care and housing, co-occurring disorders such as heart disease, and other risk factors that often come with chronic homelessness. This type of neglect is its own type of violence.

The Risks of Dialing 9-1-1

During my last crisis, which was years ago when I was still unstable, my partner placed an emergency services call. But instead of the paramedics we expected, two police officers showed up at the door and shortly thereafter they loaded me into the back of a patrol car.

What I didn’t know then is that I could’ve been killed that night or hauled off to jail instead of being brought to the emergency department. As a white paper by the Ruderman Foundation, a nonprofit supporting disability rights, put it:

“[T]he most common type of killing: An individual enters a mental health crisis, acquires a weapon (from firearms to household implements or tools), and is shot by law enforcement…A report by the Portland Press Herald found 42% of all killings between 2000 and 2011 involved mental illness. The San Diego County Attorney’s Office studied all officer-involved shootings from 1993-2012, 358 cases total, and found that 81% [of victims] had a mental illness, were impaired by drugs, or both. U.S. Department of Justice studies of Cleveland, Portland, OR, and Albuquerque have each specifically discussed fatalities involving mental illness, though the studies have shied away from giving precise numbers.”

Why aren’t we talking about this? Police abuse has been all over the news for several years now. Yet, the only videos I see of violence against people with disabilities come from my own limited community of mental-health advocates.

In a poignant and notorious case that hits close to home, a San Francisco woman named Teresa Sheehan, who lived with schizoaffective disorder, had finally achieved her goal of living semi-independently. One day, her social worker, concerned about behaviors he considered worrisome, let himself into her apartment. Frightened, Teresa grabbed a knife. The social worker called the police to transport her to a hospital. When they arrived, Teresa became angrier and, according to police, threatened to attack them. They shot her half a dozen times and she nearly died, later unsuccessfully suing the city for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Sickeningly, there are many more Teresas who didn’t survive such encounters.

Many Other Harms

People with psychosis are subjected to many other, less obvious forms of violence. We are often met with a lack of available psychiatric beds when we seek them, excessively long ER stays, and dehumanizing treatment. In 2017 and 2018, for example, two Maine hospitals committed serious violations of federal law by deliberately turning away people who were seeking help for mental health crises, either by forcefully removing them or having the police escort them to jail and then deleting their records from their database. This atrocious behavior isn’t isolated, as many of us receive inadequate and dehumanizing psychiatric care during mental health crises.

I once went to the ER seeking treatment for an acute psychotic episode but was told there were no beds available. I was admitted overnight, but not to an actual room. Instead, I was left in a cubicle inside the ER with just a thin curtain dividing me from another patient, who was sick with food poisoning. Instead of being presented with a bed or other options the following day or even the day after, I was held in the ER for six days. I ate only egg sandwiches and was not offered a room, a shower, a change of clothes, or even a lick of privacy. I wasn’t even offered my medication; a dangerous omission considering the risks of suddenly discontinuing them. As ER patients rotated on the other side of that curtain, I remained.

After five days of this, I asked to check myself out because all the screaming, sick people, doctors rushing around, and lack of privacy were exacerbating my already distressed mental state.

I was told that if I left, I’d be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

I felt trapped, and tried to hang myself with the curtain that separated me from my poor, unsuspecting neighbor.

After another day I went inpatient and I have never taken a nicer shower.

Although on the worse end of how I’ve been treated, this type of neglect and hostility is something I wasn’t unaccustomed to. Maine has few psychiatric beds, so long ER stays—averaging from a night to a couple of days, or even a week—are the unfortunate norm for many people seeking help here.

Poor treatment extends past the emergency room. Many inpatient stays were far from pleasant for me, as is the case for many people I’ve spent time within psych wards. Psychiatric patients are often over-medicated and neglected. I was once put on so much Risperidone that I made phone calls and had subsequent conversations with people that I have absolutely no memory of talking to. I’ve been forcibly sedated and seen many people treated the same away. Believe it or not, those white isolation rooms you see in movies are still used in some hospitals. I spent 30-plus hours in one once. The treatment was horribly unfair. I was seeking help; I hadn’t committed a crime. Isolation is never acceptable for psychiatric patients in severe distress and often makes matters worse. But it isn’t just Maine, and it’s not just isolation rooms. Many law-abiding people in mental health crisis are transferred to and held in jail for weeks, even years.

Seeking Solutions

As a person struggling with a noxious cocktail of psychotic symptoms and mood disturbances since my teens, there have only been a few things I’ve wanted, and I am comfortable saying I speak for all people like me when I ask for:

Respect, dignity, empathy, and being able to ask for help without being dehumanized or getting killed.

And action. Things need to change.

We need more accessible treatment when we ask for it. We need police officers trained to handle mental health crises without pulling the trigger. We need enough crisis workers to be able to respond to the demand. We need more beds, and if not more beds, then a more appropriate way to accommodate and treat patients while they wait for one to open up. We need everyone to have a better understanding of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders: Why not ask us? The way we are currently treating people with psychosis should be unacceptable, even illegal. We need change so that nobody else ends up homeless, in jail, or dead. We need change to be able to support the millions of people worldwide who all seek shelter from the same storms I live with.  To quote the Ruderman Foundation white paper again:

Disability rights are civil rights. Disability rights are human rights and disability justice is intersectional. The needs of disabled people aren’t special. There is nothing special about not wanting to be shot. What disabled people seek are the same things (employment, education, access, consideration, respect, etc.) that non-disabled people likewise desire. The obstacles faced by disabled people, though, too often go unseen. The language used to report issues that confront disabled people—especially issues linked to injury and death—should reflect that disparate reality.”

Fighting “stigma” is all very well. But it’s time to start fighting discrimination and never stop.

39 COMMENTS

  1. “We need more accessible treatment when we ask for it.” I agree 100 percent. I live in a rural area where it is very hard to get an appointment with a psychiatrist during a crisis. You usually have to wait several weeks for a slot to open up. Once, during a bad relapse of my schizophrenia I felt like I couldn’t wait, so I went to the ER. The ER doctor got very angry with me and said that “We don’t treat that here.” Only people with serious mental illness are treated this way. If I had shown up with any other medical condition the ER doctor wouldn’t have gotten angry with me.

    • You apparently do not know the Catch 22. If you are sane enough to seek help it means you are too sane and do NOT need help. Only those who have lack of insight and can not believe/conceive themselves as wrong(ill) need “help”. You were merely neurotic and they can only treat the psychotic.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(logic)

      Szasz “Doubt is to certainty as neurosis is to psychosis. The neurotic is in doubt and has fears about persons and things; the psychotic has convictions and makes claims about them. In short, the neurotic has problems, the psychotic has solutions.

  2. I am sorry you have been dehumanized.
    But you do have to consider that the people doing this dehumanizing have some major issues
    themselves.
    The need to get into jobs where they can be in authority, already comes from a base personality.
    We are driven to that which feeds us.
    People find ways to act out aggression and in so doing, if in power of authority, it can never be called an
    illness, no matter how evil.
    Cops, shrinks, even medical doctors, politicians. They are all safe from labels as long as they stay out of each others way.
    One has to be gentle with most of them, as not to rile them, and most often they will get riled anyway. They become very bored in their jobs if relegated to a desk, or if the streets are calm.
    Because what many of them seek is NOT making sure the streets are safe, but rather to feed their action seeking.
    Their desire to feel in control.
    It really is just a subconscious way to hide that which rules their personality.

    There are some who are conscious of what drives them, so they try to keep it in check, since they don’t want people to know their dirty secrets.

    A lab coat or uniform never turned people into upstanding humans.
    They are not there for that, they are there for social control and social control will not equate to respectful treatment.
    I do not respect any authority, I only respect equality.

    Cops do not need education in “mental health treatments”, as they could for the most part never truly understand, if they can’t even understand themselves. They only understand force and so should be forced not to egg people on, or dehumanize.
    And many are young when starting to push vulnerable people around, to goad them even. It is like a video game to them. I don’t think they ever change since they don’t believe they need to change. In their eyes, it is others that need to OBEY them.
    We have way too many crimes by cops, to think that it is isolated. So we know the prevailing personalities.

    The difference between authority and “MI patients”, is one thinks they have something “wrong” with them.

  3. I was looking through Kanye Wests biography as he has been topical recently, and I noticed a lot was made of his brief (as described) “Psychosis”, which I thought was a bit ‘over the top’ considering his artistic background.

    Seemingly he takes an SSRI which is a drug that is more than capable of causing “psychotic appearing” behaviour (in a minority of people). I find it strange that this does not seem to have been taken into account.

    But maybe it wouldn’t be the thing to do.

  4. In as much as I believe all people should treat others in a manner commensurate with how they, personally, would like to be treated. I absolutely agree, our “mental health” workers’ entire, scientific fraud based DSM theology, promotes the opposite behavior on the part of the “mental health” workers, hospital emergency departments, police, and paramedics.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    And I agree, that really does need to change. However, I come from the other side. I had the common adverse effects of an antidepressant, given under the guise of a “safe smoking cessation med,” misdiagnosed as “bipolar.” And this was a part of malpractice on a massive societal scale by our “mental health” workers, according to both Robert Whitaker’s book “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and the DSM-IV-TR itself.

    https://www.alternet.org/2010/04/are_prozac_and_other_psychiatric_drugs_causing_the_astonishing_rise_of_mental_illness_in_america/

    But NOT the DSM5, since this disclaimer was taken out of the DSM5.

    “Note: Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.”

    Nonetheless, I was a well insured person who ended up being medically unnecessarily forced treated by this, for profit only worshipping, keep the psychiatric beds filled with well insured patients, now FBI arrested and convicted doctor.

    https://chicagoist.com/2013/04/16/chicago_hospital_owner_doctors_arre.php

    So more beds are NOT necessarily a good idea. The “not for profit” ELCA hospitals, and the for profit hospitals, are utilizing criminal doctors like Kuchipudi to medically unnecessarily keep their hospital beds filled with well insured people, for as long as their insurance will pay. Thankfully, the non-existent “chronic airway obstruction” that I was admitted with, according to my medical records, and the medically unneeded “snowings,” did not turn into Kuchipudi’s desired unneeded tracheotomy in my case.

    By the way, do you know that both the antidepressants and the antipsychotics can create “psychosis” and “voices,” via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning? And that the ADHD drugs can also make people “psychotic.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome
    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/common-adhd-medications-may-cause-psychosis-study-finds-n985616

    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

    By any chance might you have been given any of these other psych drugs, under the guise of some other “safe med,” prior to your initial “psychosis?” And, of course, the illegal drugs can also cause “psychosis,” as can the steroids, and other legal drugs.

    And withdrawal from the psych drugs can cause a “drug withdrawal induced manic psychosis,” as well.

    I’m just curious, given your seeming acceptance of you “schizophrenia” diagnosis, if you were given, or took, any drugs prior to your first “psychosis?”

    • ‘Antipsychotics’ can definitely create positive symptoms of Insanity (Akathisia). The negative symptoms of “schizophrenia” are equivalent to ‘complete demotivation’ – what ‘antipsychotics’ are designed to create.

      I notice on inspection of Patient Information Leaflets for SSRIs like Lexapro and Prozac that the information is very vague and confusing.

      Patient Information Leaflets.
      If the Patient Information Leaflets clearly described Akathisia, or Serotonin Syndrome, or Tardive Dyskinesia – then the consumer would know what to ‘Watch Out For’. But they don’t:- they ‘go around in circles’ in such a way as to ‘successfully mislead’.

    • The symptoms of street drugs can match “schizophrenia”, and the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal or alcoholism can match “schizophrenia”. But these situations can be very successfully and quickly dealt with in 12 Step Programs – unless “other parties” want to capitalise.

  5. Syrena Clark, even when I believed in psychiatry, I disliked the “educational” narrative that “all schizophrenics” act like something out of a horror movie. Murder is a moral issue. Not a cognitive one.

    If people choose to take the pills and see therapists or whatever, cool. It’s their choice. Provided it’s an informed one.

    But whether you are in the system or out–getting treated like a monster or shot is horrible. No human being deserves to be treated that way.

    All the “education” foisted on the public only leads to more paranoia among people like the police. Like soldiers they have finely tuned “fight or flight” mechanisms. Scaring them with stories of how evuuullll “severely mentally ill” people are will not end the shootings.

    I had the police called on me during a bad trip from a drug reaction combined with stress. No guns were pulled. They called the paramedics before I passed out.

    They thought I was having a bad drug trip. Actually I was. All psychiatric.

    That was an odd experience and I had seen my shrink that day who told me I was “depressed” though I explained I was loopy instead. But not listening to me was par for the course with most of them.

    As far as violence goes, preventing that by force is what police are for. I don’t see why “educating” police about the “mentally ill” is necessary or helpful. Let them deal with each situation as needful.

    Telling them someone is freaking out on a bad drug trip but seems harmless might be better if they are told anything at all. It may have been why they were so nice to me. Of course I was in a passive, trance like state but if they had pulled guns on me I’m not sure how I would have behaved.

    • There’s always that dilemma Rachel777 of the need to make people sound dangerous to enable the vile conduct towards them. The “suspect on reasonable grounds” standard which has been removed due to a need for carte blanche in my State has resulted in groups of ‘carers’ sharing information about how to set up ‘loved ones’. I’ve seen websites promoting the turning over of furniture and spilling tomato paste on oneself to heighten the stress caused for public officers during ‘interventions’. And of course with mental health services enabling the ‘spiking’ of citizens via conspiring to pervert the course of justice, the problems will grow exponentially. There are those mischief makers who are being rewarded for their vile conduct by causing chaos when what is needed is calm.

      I often wonder if the man who went to prison for setting his children on fire who claimed he had been ‘spiked’ before acting in such a manner was telling the truth, and the State concealed the fact from him in the same manner they did with me. With fraudulent documents provided to his legal representatives. I guess we will never know when the truth is something manufactured rather than spoken openly in the interests of justice.

  6. I found this article interesting for several reasons.
    I found it interesting that it was written with thoughts of psychology.
    I noticed that the word “savage” is mentioned.
    This evokes images in people’s minds and most agree that mass murder seems savage.
    There are an infinite way of cruelty, and psychology/psychiatry is pro at these. They take eight years of school to manipulate people and language to demean people’s lives, their very credibility.

    I find it easier to face a murderer than the blows these manipulators wield.
    And I am old enough to say that with confidence.

    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/12/14/16687388/cruelty-border-immigration-psychology-human-nature

  7. “[T]he most common type of killing: An individual enters a mental health crisis, acquires a weapon (from firearms to household implements or tools), and is shot by law enforcement…A report by the Portland Press Herald found 42% of all killings between 2000 and 2011 involved mental illness.”

    In my State mental health professionals who wish to have ‘citizens’ detained, referred and assessed by a psychiatrist have the right to ‘spike’ citizens with benzodiaxepines and then plant a weapon on them for police to find and make lawful referral. Simply snatching them from their beds obviously not allowed under our laws (which I might add are not respected by the authorities given they can simply negatively outcome anyone who complains about human rights abuses) And should they shoot the ‘target’ of such set ups they will distribute fraudulent documents that makes the dead citizen into a ‘mental patient’ post hoc, thus using the stigma of illness to justify the killings.

    This of course means that the data might not actually be very accurate, given the levels of fraud involved with making inconvenient truths into mental patients after the fact. Many of these killings may actually constitute executions and are being concealed with the use of ‘throw downs’.

    I know the Community Nurse who interrogated me after I was spiked had an unhealthy obsession with the knives in my kitchen drawer, though he was not as interested in the forks and spoons. Still he was of course in the process of subjecting me to a ‘verbal’ and needed to make me sound dangerous, which then allowed him to call police and yell “help help mental patient, knife” when he knew this was untrue. Oh well, luckily it was only my life that was destroyed that day. Well, at least I hope it was because I haven’t seen my daughter or grandchildren for 9 years now as a result of the need to conceal this corrupt and human rights violating ‘treatment’ we are being subjected to in my State. And the authorities look, tut tut and then ignore the facts in preference for the fabricated false narrative created by a fraud Clinical Director of a hospital. Hopefully he is now working on a cure for corona virus given his ability to make serious criminal conduct by his staff disappear with the tampering of documents provided to lawyers.

    Above you mention the costs Syrena, but I mention the gains for the criminals within our public service. Those who are being enabled with the negligence fraud and slander of what is being disguised as ‘medicine’.

    If the Romans had mental health services all those years ago, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating Easter. They certainly had the slander and stigma, but the ‘safe and effective treatments’ (that these good medical people would give to their own families) were simply not available.

    Machiavelli had a little to say about the destruction of ‘leaders’. Something along the lines of destroy bloodlines so that the public doesn’t ever think they can be restored to the throne, whilst you publicly humiliate and degrade popular leaders. What a great way of achieving that end by creating a false belief that a person who speaks the truth is in fact insane and needs to be poisoned. And the poisoning creates the justification for the ‘treatment’. No wonder they wished to conceal the ‘spiking’ with fraudulent documents. What disgraceful vile people they are.

    Still, hardly surprising when police are working with known criminals to conceal their use of torture and kidnapping. Hardly want anyone to look, and of course once our politicians did look, too late. They need to make it appear they have done their duty without actually doing their duty, and protect their ‘interests’. And then of course, why worry when you have the power of mental health services at your command. And with one lie, the whole State is now under your thumb. Citizen becomes “patient” any time you wish to torture maim or kill.

    Invite the Devil in for coffee, and he’s leaving with everything you own. In my case I didn’t even get the right to make the invite, like night club rapists they ‘spiked’ me with benzos, planted a knife on me and then did what they wanted without my consent. I’m sure they see a good person when they look in the mirror and go about planning their days. I mean my wife and the psychologist who planned this for me did discuss the possibility of me being shot by police, and provided them with an ‘out’ by planting a knife for them to use should they get a little trigger happy over the false cry for “HELP”.

    They won’t even clean up their own mess, and subjected me to a long period of serious gaslighting in the hope I’d commit suicide. They even had my lawyers assist in that process. Shame on the Mental Health Law Centre, your a disgraceful bunch of criminals, not lawyers. Your assistance in the concealment of human rights abuses has been duly noted, and good riddance to the Principle. Though how many other victims there are is anyone’s guess.

    • boans, I’ve read a bunch of your posts, sorry you have wound up in such a ghastly situation. I was just wondering and maybe it’s none of my business, but, is there any way you can leave where you are (obviously when this whole virus issue has calmed down)? I’m in Canada, it’s no grand utopia here either, but, it sounds leagues better than there. Honestly it seems like some parts of the world are so horrible re psychiatry the only option really may be just to get out (for the time being at least.)

      • TAFL,
        I was thinking that also, but then he is best off, never to open his mouth.
        I think it’s about getting lucky.
        He best be prepared that there remain few places on earth where luck is not a huge part of going through life feeling safe.
        We have lots of dodos in Canada. Every physician has the right to smear your charts with innuendos that cause the next doc to raise their brows.

      • If I were allowed access to legal representation I might be able to have my share of the property returned, and everything I ever worked for. Things like my birth certificate, passport, degree, employment history etc would be handy.

        But of course denying me access to these items has left me homeless and unable to move forward in any way with my life. This has been a deliberate act done by someone who has been acting in conjunction with State authorities to ensure that what has been done to me is not exposed. My wife has been rewarded for her assistance with the concealment of the torture and kidnapping with everything. I guess I would have done the same if the deal had been offered to me, but it wasn’t so we will never know.

        I would leave this place tomorrow ThereAreFourLights. I’d drive to the airport with a bag and leave if it were possible. Because once the State becomes the criminals then the end result would seem inevitable. They threatened my family to assist in the concealment of torture and kidnapping, and when I exposed their fraudulent documents and someone bothered to check, yep, the nut job was speaking the truth, but we don’t like that truth. I’m sure they will do well working with organised criminals and silencing anyone who speaks out against their criminality.

        But this doesn’t help me obtain legal representation to have my property returned, and of course it seems important to me that I mention these criminal acts to any legal rep I have tried to obtain, before they take what money I have and turn their backs on me. I feel sure there is an element of this that the Jews were subjected to in Germany. Ostracize, stigmatize, remove rights and property ….. its an old model really, and one i’m sure the legal fraternity recognises for what it is.

        Funny but I just can’t seem to shake the belief that a good person will stand up and say “this is wrong”. Possibly a remnant of the illness created by the vicious gaslighting by the hospital administrators, because for whatever reason the slanderous tag of “mental patient” may as well be a death sentence.

        Canada would be nice, in fact I think Helmund Provice would be nice after what I’ve been subjected to by a government that prefers to conceal their wrongdoing, and breach the trust of the community.

        If anyone ever wished to check what I’m saying, provide immunity to my wife and ask her for the truth, because minus the threats and intimidation from the State to coerce her into assisting in “fuking destroying” me for complaining about the torture and kidnapping, the truth would be exposed.

        Of course I think there was a point at which she recognised that what had been done was criminal (the psychologist who had her plant the knife and spike me knew from the start but was so used to doing these remote detentions with the assistance of her psychiatrist husband it was just another day at the office for her). Don’t know that i’d call it fortunate, but she did approach another doctor when the psychologist wanted me to attend the Emergency Dept where her husband was a consultant psychiatrist. I assume you can imagine what the outcome would have been minus someone noticing what the intent was.

        And how embarrassing for our Government that they really were assisting in that, and their negligence has quite possibly resulted in a whole lot of people being ‘railroaded’. Luckily they figured out I was speaking the truth and gave them time to conceal all those other ‘little mistakes’ that had occurred while they were covering for these criminals.

        I really would leave tomorrow if the chance arose because it might be one of those situations like with the child raping priests where they need to conceal the crimes for them, nay in fact provide active assistance to them until 40 years or so passes and a whole bunch of people get hurt.

        I guess I look at the contribution of my family to this place and think about the corrupt public officers who came here from the UK quite possibly as a result of their misconduct there and have settled right into destroying my community with their poison.

        Yes, I’d like to leave, and allow me my property and passport and i’m out, immediately. At some point the covering up of human rights abuses will be exposed, but I’d like to be somewhere that at least tries to respect not only humans, but mental patients as well. The Mental Health Act is nothing more than a massive human rights abusing loophole, and its being used for precisely that purpose here.

        The three white sheep who handed over the one black sheep to the wolf are now making calls that “we’re all in this together”. Not we’re not, you turned your backs on your brother and now their is no trust among the three remaining with knowledge that they stabbed the other in the back. Your in this for yourselves, it’s dog eat dog folk. Cryptic I know, but thise who know the story will understand.

        Thanks for noticing what I’ve been saying ThereAreForLights. It means more than you can know. Particularly when I have been ignored by those who are charged with a duty to act on what I have made complaint regarding. The Convention against the use of Torture should be torn up, it is doing damage leaving the population thinking they have rights and protections when they don’t.

        • I really don’t know that people understand what it is like to have a person be enabled by the State to ‘spike’ you with stupefying/intoxicating drugs and then plant a weapon on you for police to find. There are some trust issues involved.

          I’ve had a couple of people offer to go and collect some of my property, but once they realise that it may be the case that they are being set up bu my wife and the police, they tend to change their minds about helping.

          I once explained to a psychologist that I was going to leave the room and he was then going to get a knock on the door by some police who were going to find the cocaine in his desk drawer which I had put there for them to find, and which I was now going to tell them tat he tried to sell to me. I don’t want to call him paranoid, but I feel sure he checked his desk when I left lol.

          It took me more than a year to even check my emails after what I was subjected to by my wifes ‘new man’ who moved in basically the day I was evicted by police when she and her doctor friend wished to retrieve the documents for the hospital administrators who were all ready to send the fraudulent set to the Mental Health Law Centre.

          Her ‘new man’ being given access to my computer in our home to ensure they were fully informed about who I was speaking with regarding the torture and kidnapping. They had two weeks at the wineries in our Tourist district while I was being subjected to a vicious psychological assault by State authorities. I think the only reason I was offered my clothes was that they didn’t fit the ‘new man’. Though everything else I feel sure met his standards.

          I note that the business which my money set up was rather quickly identified as being half his on the business website, and then suddenly disappeared when the documents I had which were assumed retrieved before distributing the fraudulent set, surfaced. I do still of course have a ‘capture’ of this information. Might appear a bit insensitive to be using police to assist in the wholesale theft of my belongings. Still, what the Hell, mental patient, any complaints just shoot him and throw down a knife, he has ‘history’ as a result of the one my wife planted. Amazing how quickly a citizens life can be destroyed with a phone call and a couple of lies. I went from being a loved father and grandfather to violent psychotic drug abusing wife beater with a history of mental illness going back ten years and a documented history of carrying a weapon by police based on absolutely nothing more than fraud by a Community Nurse (the police didn’t even find the knife which was planted on me, and yet the Community Nurse was asking questions about it, making an assumption that the ‘plant’ had been found. If police didn’t figure out this was a set up at that point…….). You could check when my new identity emerged, but I can also save some time by telling you it was 30th Sept 2011, not that the truth matters to these people, they prefer to utter with the fraud. Points available for the number of lives they can destroy in a day . And its just so much easier to set people up and be off to the pub for lunch.

        • I see now what you mean about the difficulties in leaving boans. In spite of them, I feel like there has to be a way you could leave, just not seeing what it is right now. Maybe I’m wrong, too naive, too hopeful. And of course you’d know far better than I would what the chances are. At any rate, for what little this is worth, I’m thinking of you, from the other side of the world.

          • Something is not right ThereAreFourLights.

            There are, as Donald Rumsfeld said, known knowns,…….

            I know that they (the State) knows that I was subjected to torture. How do I know this? As I explained to the Member of Parliament when I showed him the fraudulent set of documents “this could only have been done by someone who KNEW what crimes had occurred”, fact.

            From that point on I have some evidence of certain things occurring, but not a soul has approached me and said yep, your right, they were committing crimes against you and your family and we have dealt with them now. Instead there has been a ‘shut down’ of information from the State and what appears to be a cover up of a rather pathetic cover up. That of course means further criminal acts by public officers in failing to perform their duty and perverting the course of justice with authorisation from who? Certainly not the Premier (akin to an American Govenor) because the Convention against the use of Torture provides no superior authority. And let me say that there have been people who did step forward and take a look, and then run away because …… well, they never actually state why they are running away, but based on evidence it appears the police are threatening people/witnesses.

            They are even using supposed confidential situations to obtain information (eg doctor/patient relationship can be breached if they respond to ‘coercive measures’. See ACC v Stoddart High Court of Australia decision 47 of 2010) If there is “no spousal privilege in common law” then the dominoes fall and thus your doctor, lawyer or priest is now a State informant if the State so chooses, they are. (a psychologist did vaguely refer me to that fact his family was being threatened for him to provide information about “who else has the documents” after I exposed this to the M.P. Police trying to ensure no one knew they were looking I am assuming, then they can’t be held responsible for their negligence and the deaths that occurred as a result. Maybe the original Sgt should have looked for his criminal code a little harder, rather than ensure his fingerprints didn’t end up on the documents I placed on the desk [my daughter was more than confused as to why he was acting in such a bizarre manner]) Aren’t the public going to be shocked when that is finally explained to the plebs. It also explains why police can rightly claim that the Nicola Gobbo situation can not occur again, because these days it would be lawful for a criminal lawyer to be a police informant in Australia.

            I mean I’ve even written to the Minister for Police explaining that the police do not even want the proof of the attempt to murder me in the ED. Now I get it that they are covering up but …. are they really that afraid of these organised criminals that they don’t even wish to know HOW they are doing this? It’s really not that complicated in the end, call a citizen and “patient” and that change of status opens up a lot of ‘treatment’ that would otherwise be unlawful. Especially now with the Euthansia Act making killing a medical procedure.

            I’ve no doubt that one of pour politicians is aware of how the mental health system is being used. He fled the State when police turned up at his hime to make a ‘referral’ for an examination by a psychiatrist if him to be ‘treated’ (read ‘sheep dipped’) in another State for Bi Polar disorder. Call shoplifting kleptomania and you can avoid the court system, and with a ‘friendly’ psychiatrist your back in business within weeks.

            I was no ones “patient” and that simple lie to police has allowed serious criminal offences to be committed, and my complaint and resulting investigation that identified what documents to conceal and which people to threaten and have them commit offences that one exercises discretionary powers over (eg with my wife, you call us and yell “help”, and then we [police] can come and remove him while you get the documents back for us).

            I guess when I think about it, it’s like the children raped by priests. They kept them ‘bottled up’ for 40 years in the mental health system where most of them were silenced with slander, fraud and drugs. And where eventually most of them committed suicide or went on to prison, while the priests were shaking hands with the pope (eg Cardinal Pell).

            Nothing new under the sun huh?

            Once again though, thanks for your thoughts, and maybe after this virus situation passes I might be allowed access to my property and leave where I can speak my truth without fear of being “unintentionally negatively outcomed” in an Emergency dept for complaining about public officers who have been provided with methods to torture, kidnap maim and kill anyone who gets in their way. The acts of gross criminal negligence committed by public officers making carte blanche and zero accountability a real danger to the public who elects these ‘people’.

  8. I’m sorry, but this being very true how someone is treated in “psychosis,” but you’ve defined it again for something it isn’t.

    All the violence against one is horrible, but how can one solve this while investing in the very institutions which condone such violence and promote it, and quake it as necessary for “safety.”

    It’s very much the same when someone gets hooked on street drugs, whether it’s through peer pressure, or in this case being forced on them, often through the same lies as peer pressure about street drugs and their wonders. Only here someone is forced on disabling substance and then told how miraculous they are because they disable dissent, they disable the very spiritual-artistic-human expressions that if given just a little bit of legroom would be understood, but would defy the status quo, the common compromises, the whole mind set society holds onto as if their fear based norms created reality, which could never be the case.

    Defending this and supplying videos that erroneously call schizophrenia a brain disease, this is misrepresenting what psychosis is, this is adding to stigma for people that need to get away from being bombarded with such misrepresentations, this is exploiting something that’s not working to make more demands and push to the side the simple things that work, which is non “treatment” with the “medications” that correlate with the whole spike.

    If you actually followed what correlates with recovery then you wouldn’t have to deal with the result of recycling into “episodes” that wouldn’t be there without the disabling substances that prevented understanding, and recovery, which in this case is simple understanding by allowing someone to go through a process, rather than creating stigma and paranoia against it. And if you haven’t gone through it without trying to prevent it, then you haven’t gone through it.

    There is an immense riff here between the need to simply allow inexplicable things like find yourself somewhere you don’t know how you got there (what psychiatric drugs were involved if any that might have helped with the lack of a healthy brain to remember enough, or that might have caused the need to escape?); not being able to express dissent from anything to such a degree that you attach to something you don’t understand yourself (aliens); or having repressed parts of yourself that you don’t even know need expression and you have suddenly a shift from another wise labeled shy personality.

    I might sound a bit annoyed and even impatient but I have had it SO MANY TIMES, encountering someone that understandably has all of these problems and points them out so articulately, and with such justified aggression, but when I offer a simple solution that works, and isn’t part of demanding the system change which isn’t working, I end up on the receiving end because why? Because the war is so just you don’t have to see that you’re ending up promoting what caused it (the problem) for the sake of justice: it’s such a “holy” war.

    “Schizophrenia” is NOT a brain disease, and never has been truly proven to be, unless you include the “treatment” for it, which DOES prove to cause a brain disease. And those are TWO completely different things. When the standard “treatment” correlates with what’s defined as a disease (in fact “the” disease), and the original disease in itself doesn’t, you’re not talking about healing a disease, you’re talking about causing one that didn’t exist before.

    In the meantime there ARE creative spiritual and to use an overused work “enlightened” people who have gotten out of the system, and have turned this supposed disease around to enhance what it is to be human instead, allowing it to be as innate a part of being human as imagination or hope or the fact that “God” exists outside of everything people get in the way of their life making demands on it rather than letting go and seeing what happens. People who have stopped allowing the “left brained” activity with all of it’s game theory fears, and all of its adherence to beliefs that come from social compromises rather than truth, and labels EVERYTHING as being “crazy” that scares it along with the belief in miracles. There are people that have STOPPED allowing that relentless itinerant fussing to get in the way. But that’s just a completely different way and it doesn’t say I need your “hospitals” when I can’t deal with myself, and it doesn’t say I need your “medications” when I don’t understand my responses, and my brain won’t conform to fear based social norms; and when all of that has shown to be a cause rather than a cure, it DOESN’T go there for “healing” or “safety”!

    Because there IS another way, and there ARE other outlets, you just have to let go of the ones that don’t work…. EVEN though there seems to be some immense loss to. This whole idea that SOMETHING needs to be there for me because this problem is so HORRENDOUS! If you didn’t think in such a way about it you wouldn’t be causing it to burst out again trying to show you differently, you wouldn’t be causing it, because you would actually have insight rather than fear.

    And this is supposed to be really harsh right, because this doesn’t empathize with what hasn’t been shown to work, although everyone gets points for investing in it – what doesn’t work, because then there’s more need for it despite that it doesn’t work, because it’s supposed to although it doesn’t – and to not go along with this nonsense is labeled as cruel, inhuman and lacking in concern….

    It’s THAT convoluted.

    I’m not interested in other people misrepresenting what I’VE gone through and was MY experience NOT THEIRS, and then have to be believing it’s necessary for “help.”

    sorry….

    Prince Charming coming riding in with a hypodermic needle full of…….

    (!?)

    Or his “Castle”

    Or being “Faithful” to him

    • Though a bit verbose, I agree with the sentiment here. There’s this whole narrative of how accepting the “correct” label can help you live with your condition. This wouldn’t be so sad except for the fact that it seems to work for some people. I would guess that this is due to a cognitive shift, a sort of new level of self-awareness that goes with realizing something is seriously wrong. I could be incorrect about this, but it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s the drugs, because mental state is, in the last analysis, senior to drugs.

      But because this works for some people, it’s been sold to them as a coping mechanism. And while we have no right, I suppose, to deny anyone the right to cope, I’d really like to see more opportunities for people to handle their situations once and for all. To be totally free of “episodes” or whatever was bothering them. And drugs don’t do that, and they never will.

      So, I just want to keep things clear. We can enter the system, recognize that we’re in some sort of serious trouble, and learn to cope with it. But right now, that’s all the system – at it’s best – can do. And the only reason it can’t do better is because it’s being run by people who prefer things the way they are and don’t really want people to permanently get well. If I found a system that made me permanently more able and happier, leading, say, to an increase in my personal wealth, I’d make sure to use some of that newfound wealth to support that system. Wouldn’t you? But right now psychiatry doesn’t even envision that. And so they turn away from all the better ways to make their patients well.

      Society “discriminates” because it is being kept ignorant of those better ways. If society in general were properly educated about the mind, the current scene would have to change; it would almost certainly improve.

      • Excuse me but I’m really not interested in curt ideas of how one can ONCE AGAIN label normal responses to trauma as something severe that we need to cope with (or battle against), and then have bettered our and everyone else’s lives, as if seeing it as being severe and something to get rid of some as sort of heavy undertaking we get points for, simply because we make it out to be severe. I lost track at how often people over react once they believe you’re crazy, and act like there’s as you put it “something seriously wrong,” when what’s really wrong is the ridiculous paranoia, the gossip, the fear mongering, the social ostracizing and the bullying and ridiculing. The very initial thing one goes in to the mental health system believing they are in some sort of grave danger (Trewlany’s favorite line in Harry Potter) isn’t what causes the “episodes” either, it’s the resistance against them, the resistance against seeing it as a normal response, and also then often a response to “medications.” The DSM is a highly politicized bunch of paranoia, full of social constructs that are quite illogical except that it goes along with society’s belief in compromises as magic. (verbose enough?)

        What kind of nonsense is this: “Heh buddy, you know there’s something serious going on.”

        “If you actually followed what correlates with recovery then you wouldn’t have to deal with the result of recycling into “episodes” that wouldn’t be there without the disabling substances that prevented understanding, and recovery, which in this case is simple understanding by allowing someone to go through a process, rather than creating stigma and paranoia against it. And if you haven’t gone through it without trying to prevent it, then you haven’t gone through it.”

        • The one very bothersome thing about life is, when we are going through something as unique as life itself, our reactions and behaviours, deeming them as some illness, when the brain is in constant change.

          And after 30 years of living, things will indeed be different. Another 30, again will be different. It is our views that are capable of change.

          Psychiatry wants to see it changed in 24 hours, psychiatry has no time for a flexible brain, and no patience for diversity.
          I understand why though, because psychiatry is pretty fixed in it’s belief.
          They actually wait until forced to change their practice, no matter how ridiculous their beliefs and practice was.
          Despite them having goofed up again and again. I think it is some kind of “oppositional disorder.”

  9. “Individuals still need to be held accountable”

    I get angered by opinions like this. You just got done saying that they are not in control of their actions, yet somehow they should be held accountable?

    It reminds me when I used to hang around the psychcentral forums for awhile, and when a news story came out regarding a lawyer fighting to get a person with extreme and disabling social anxiety from going to prison, just trying to find some way to convince the judge of something else; E.g. house arrest.

    Floods of comments from people who should have had all the empathy in the world came in along the line of;

    “It’s lawyers and people like this that give us all such a bad name” and “do the crime, do the time”, etc.

    It’s barbaric, irrational and inhumane.

    And for instance, torturing criminals is not legally allowed, and incarceration should be considered illegal if it involves suffering. People without serious issues have little to no problem with incarceration, they even make friends and get an education, etc. But what is the rationale for locking up emotionally damaged and sensitive people who experience nothing but 24/7 suffering, often in solitary confinement?

    • What is the rationale for the fact that there’s so much more of it going on now?

      The rationale might be that there are a lot more people around than are needed and a long-term mentally disabled person doesn’t need to be provided with a non job to keep them busy.

      • Evil tends to be short sighted.

        And there are few things as evil as crippling children and adults while pretending to cure them. Telling them powerful, mind altering drugs are “just like insulin” for the diabetes they never had.

        Psychiatrists are ruining Western Civilization by making it go bankrupt supporting those they themselves have disabled. They expect to get way more money than all the disability checks combined for the benefit they add to society by disabling people. Not that they care.

        Remember The Lorax by Dr. Seuss? The POV character never meant to destroy all the Truffula trees. His business was based on them after all.

        That’s how psychiatrists and pharma CEO’s are. They don’t plan on destroying everything since they enjoy sipping champagne on their yachts.

        But they insist on chopping down children who won’t grow back. There’s a reason Gen Y has so few workers in it. Check how many young people “use” mental services.

        Generation Rx. They’re worse off than my generation where losers like me were exceptions. Why else are many college kids so incoherent in debates? Why else this utter lack of emotional resilience and surge in obesity?

        Cognitive decline, loss of inhibition, obesity…all minor side effects. Proven to come from the “safe and effective” treatments often forced upon the public. Courtesy of the Mental Illness makers. 😛

        • Rachel, just yesterday I was talking to my friend who has a niece in nursing school.
          The niece just finished a stint at children’s psych.
          She was allowed to observe the shrink and a few others interviewing kids, for the 15 minutes.
          Then the niece asked if she could do some play with them. She was NOT allowed to do this. No contact outside of a shrink or other superior. Gotta keep the secrets safe you know.
          The niece observed that the kids shyly said they did not want to go home when the shrink was there.
          But the niece was not sure if they felt pressured to say so. She felt there was a vacant way about them.
          The niece just wanted to get out of there and it was NOT because of the kids. Now why would that be?

          Perhaps the shrink left a note on the niece’s competency report? Perhaps he sensed her being TOO emotional?
          If someone is comfortable keeping kids in psych, drugging them, they are truly evil.
          It is phenomenal that this even happens in todays world.
          I repeat that the UN is useless and will NEVER change things.
          Not for a second do I believe that.
          Stuff like this does not change unless forced.

          I confidently liken it to a war crime, except that it would be more humane to just get it over with.
          IF the niece had spoken up, she would not be welcome in any area of nursing, not with confidence. And there are rarely whistleblowers. We are not different from China. There is no freedom of speech here. If there was, no one would fear repercussion.

          A nurse in Saskatchewan posted on her facebook page that her grandfather was treated poorly in a care home, and she was fired for smearing her profession.
          She can only complain internally, where it is handled internally. Which of course means, not at all. She posted on social media exactly because of that.

          Btw, the niece is in Canada.

  10. Right now, we’ve got a front row seat to the “decompensation” of America’s able-normative majority. #CoronaPanic has turned them into hoarding, doomsaying, reclusive, bigoted freaks. Their aggressive and irrational behavior (40 packages of toilet paper? Really?) has brought society to its knees. And, in the midst of a global pandemic, their antics are especially threatening to our health and well-being. Yet, nobody wants to put them in the cage. Not even when their burdensome choices are shown to be part of a pattern with them, one that predates the Coronavirus. So, I don’t want to hear a damn thing about the “intolerability” of Madness in its hostile state. No one should be put under a psychiatric choke-chain.

    • Good news just in, 1.1 billion dollars for mental health services. bad news is it’s for a whole bunch of people who were until now undiagnosed, not those who have already been disabled by the ‘system’. The “hoarding, doomsaying, reclusive, bigoted freaks” without a tag from the DSM.

      The State of Emergency which has been declared has highlighted a few truths though. Close all gun shops, restrict access to booze, and increase access to mental health services/domestic violence hotlines. It needs to be a relatively fast choke, justified under the guise of “it’s your own faults for not doing as you were told” kinda line. Avoid any direct responsibility for the draconian measures that is. Blame the victim? Not new to anyone who has been touched by the gods of psychiatry.

      Without a gun and some Dutch courage, how on earth am I going to get access to some toilet paper? lol

  11. Hi Syrena,

    Great article. It’s important to highlight how many cases of police violence are perpetuated against people with disabilities and mental health issues. The one thing I would have liked to see is an explicit acknowledgement that this violence disproportionately affects people of color living with psychosis/disabilities, even though it certainly affects white people too. There is definitely a racial dimension to who is seen as “unstable and dangerous” versus who is seen as “suffering and in need of treatment.”

    Kiera

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