Isolated by the Coronavirus? Welcome to My World

Caroline Colwill
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Outside of the lives of those of us who have experienced it, it is little known what a life of poverty and “mental illness” can do to a person.  After experiencing terrible credit-card debt with an insufficient income, I began taking antidepressants after a suicide attempt.  After eight years on Zoloft, my psychiatrist switched me to Lexapro, which made me psychotic.  This got me committed to a mental hospital, where I was forced to take psychiatric drugs against my will and where I began receiving SSI Disability, which pays below the poverty line.  Such experiences of “mental illness” and financial hardship lead to lives of isolation in many ways.

I haven’t been able to go out to dinner with the few friends that I do have for years because of my financial situation.  All I do, for the most part, is go to the grocery store and to the psychiatric clinic and try to write something worth reading.  This is long before the coronavirus appeared.

Psychiatric drugs are believed to shorten people’s life span by 15 to 25 years. Antipsychotics are considered especially dangerous.  I have taken antipsychotics for almost a decade.  I have always worried about my elderly parents dying.  My older sister died when she was nine-and-a-half and I was seven, so I have long known how precarious life is.  These new fears people are experiencing about losing loved ones and their own mortality are not new to me.

People’s newfound anxiety and depression, which can result from isolation, are common among the poor in America, especially those of us who have had the misfortune of falling into the grip of the mental health industry.  The recent $2 trillion-dollar federal bailout offers financial benefits only to taxpayers and newly unemployed workers.  The very poor, often those of us who have been entangled in the mental health industry, get nothing.  Big corporations felt needy and wanted financial help.  They got it.  Why not, instead, get them to take antidepressants and therapy as I was told to do when I first started having significant financial problems?  This pandemic, and the bailout package, have been predicted to widen America’s already stark wealth divide.

As for spiritual crises, newly alienated Christians have a community to return to when this is all over.  The mainstream churches that I have experienced mostly cater to the middle and greater classes.  They are not a source of comfort and community for people who do not fit in.

One thing I know from my experiences with the mental health industry is that it is the last place people should look to in dealing with this pandemic.  Anyone experiencing financial hardship should be helped financially.  The fact that that isn’t happening speaks to the disordered values of our country.  This pandemic is making known both good and ugly truths about who people really are.

Some people becoming newly acquainted with life online and through their phones are having difficulty adjusting.  For psychiatric survivors, this is often one of the few resources we have ever had.  We who have internet access and a phone are the lucky ones.  Many poor “mentally ill” people have no such luxuries.  The very poor, “mentally ill” or not, have no such thing.

The rich, the middle-class, and people with lively communities—normal people—have long had lives filled with personal meaning.  One of the worst things that the mental health industry has largely done to me and has long wanted to do to an even greater extent, is to rob so much of my life of meaning.  I have been entangled with the industry for nearly two decades, and those decades have been largely wasted.  Instead of meaning, the industry gives people psychiatric drugs, therapy, and a role as a mental patient.  It is within that framework that you are expected to merely exist.

As I have been so suppressed and oppressed by the psychiatric drugs, my role as a life-long mental patient, and financial difficulties, I have long tried to find meaning in little things.  A little volunteer work for the truly destitute.  Helping my parents.  Through prayer and faith.  And now, with my writing.

Now that I am finally, gradually, starting to come off of psychiatric drugs with the hope of a better life, I face a daunting task.  How do you begin a life when you are older?  So many lost opportunities.  Decades that can never be brought back to life.  People who experience only temporary hardship as a result of the coronavirus are the lucky ones.

I have, to some extent, become accustomed to isolation.  I like to read and write despite nearly two decades of psychiatric drug use.  There are others who have been caught up in psychiatric treatment who are not even so fortunate.  I have a friend who has long been enmeshed with the mental health industry.  She used to be a voracious reader, but no longer has the attention span to do such things.  This is likely because of psychiatric treatment.

There is such shame and social punishment around experiencing extreme states of mind and being given a psychiatric label that is itself profoundly isolating.  This is a kind of isolation that people who are merely practicing social distancing will probably never know.

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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.

46 COMMENTS

  1. Caroline, thank you for this piece.

    There is a lot of similarity between virus and psychiatry.
    Psychiatry robbed you a chunk of your life, but just to let you know that many people
    look back and realize a piece of their life could have been written in a different way.
    I too can look back and I used to, but I also am glad to have made the discoveries.
    The discovery of how easily we can be misled, lied to, and how we can live that lie.

    You were misled, but could only find that out through witness, or else we would be promoting the lie.

    We are ALL part of change, it’s a natural way of things. Sometimes the lessons suck.

  2. Hi Caroline.
    I am less lonely practicing social distancing than I was in certain situations. Like being surrounded by people who regard me as an ogre. AKA severely mentally ill.

    You can be very alone in a crowd.

    Psychiatry robbed my life of meaning too. Here’s a link to check out. Copy and paste if you can’t click. https://lookingupliving.wordpress.com/2019/08/21/the-cult/

    I want to read your book. Nobody in mainstream churches I have attended knows the truth about the “chemical imbalances” or how psychiatric drugs really work. Or even how they test you for a “severe mental illness.”

    People are being maimed, segregated,, forced to live in poverty and dying young. They could know–if they cared to. 🙁

  3. Antipsychotics and other psychotropic drugs increased your chance of getting pneumonia by 2-3.5 times. They increase respiratory disease an death. Reports are people taking these drugs are getting hit harder by the Coronavirus. The drugs will kill even more people with help from a virus.

    • And because they are “mentally ill” and “defective” they will be given low priority as far as medical treatment goes. Along with the elderly.

      At least that’s what my brother reports from his home in Massachusetts. As far as the elderly goes. Though that usually includes the disabled.

      I am disabled. At first it was a GI issue and symptoms of an autoimmune disease. Now I am experiencing symptoms associated with conditions like MS. Pretty scary. And they’re the long term effects of psychiatric drugs. I have no doubt of that. Nor do I doubt that any doctor will deny this ugly truth.

      Makes me skeptical about this Covid 19 thing altogether, knowing that doctors lie whenever convenient. Could this be a ploy by Big Pharma to make billions with a vaccine with little real value? I am sure the disease is real, it’s very contagious, and kills people. But I also think the mortality rates are inflated. How much I have no idea.

      I recommend practicing social distancing as they advise. But, because of my experiences with the medical system, I am very skeptical of anything that receives this much publicity on television. Especially a lot of experts–in politics and showmanship more than medicine–spouting off SCIENCE STUFF.

      Dr. Fauci and other high ranking, celebrity shock docs have been found making faulty predictions of mortality rates–if not deliberately skewing the numbers. Incompetence at best.

      He also has made some stupid statements about how unless the infection rate from the virus falls to 0 we can not end the lockdown for anyone.

      Fauci claims we should all stay locked up for at least a year. Homelessness and starvation don’t exist in his Reality it seems. Finally his medical brethren and the Big Pharma messiahs will provide our salvation in vaccine form.

      Of course once the vaccine comes out, any infections or deaths from Covid 19 in the vaccinated won’t count. Just like all the times you catch the flu after getting vaccinated at work. Or get depressed on an SSRI.

      No vaccine is 100% effective. Especially regarding as far as viruses go. But that doesn’t matter because the AMA and Big Pharma will be Heroes and cash in on the illusion of security.

      Just like shrinks who claim to save the world from the mythical monsters they create.

      Actually fortune telling and sooth saying fall into the realm of mysticism. Not science. So beware of doctors giving numbers to hypothetical scenarios with high levels of assurance.

      Like the movie 101 Cloverfield Lane we have no choice but to trust those claiming to help us. For now.

      (And if you see the movie, you’ll know that while John Goodman is the bad guy there really is something out there. So please keep social distancing. And wash your hands.)

      • Well Rachel, I know for sure that a few high ranking people sick with the virus, will get preferred care.
        People with health issues or those deemed too wretched will absolutely not get the care.
        The medical system is as crooked as psychiatry now.

        I know that we have a virus. We also had a Spanish flu. What is happening in response to this virus is new.
        And I think the response of the people, how easy they are to control will be etched in their gate keepers memories, and become another habit.
        The gate keepers will ask for more and more rights to control.

        I doubt this is a good new normal. I worry about the young ones, the kindergarten kids, what message are they getting? Parents are not aware that the young ones listen. No kid understands this new law.

        I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, I think people just unconsciously and subconsciously end up using negative events to help themselves. But the deal is, when gatekeepers create new ways of living for people, not just the vulnerable remain vulnerable.

        • I wish I had time to go through whether the Euthanasia Act could be used to finish someone off with the virus. From what was discussed in the newspapers it would certainly be possible. And of course anyone who has been the subject of psychiatric ‘care’ knows all about ‘informed consent’. That’s something the doctor keeps with his pet unicorn.

        • “I think people just unconsciously and subconsciously end up using negative events to help themselves.” Given the well known quote by Rahm Emanuel, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

          I’m pretty certain that some people also consciously utilize crises to perpetrate acts, which benefit themselves, at the detriment of the majority. And if more than one person is involved in such opportunistic behavior, it would technically be considered a “conspiracy,” given the definition of conspiracy.

          So those who claim conspiracies never happen are stupid, conspiracies happen all the time. For goodness sakes, there would be no such thing as class action lawsuits, if corporations didn’t regularly, systemically “conspire” against people.

          • I found it interesting that the ability to conspire was opened up by labelling one person ‘patient’ in a scenario involving a hospital and family members of the ‘identified patient’.

            Things that would be considered serious criminal offences all of a sudden become lawful. Imagine a situation where you could get together with a group of people and sit and plan to ‘spike’ someones drink with benzos, then armed with pistols snatch the person out of their bed, and take them to a shed where you can plug them into an electric socket in the wall until they admit that they are ‘sick’.

            Then consider what is being done to people we call ‘mental patients’. Change that status and the Chief Psychiatrist and Law Enforcement see it as being somehow different. We, on the other hand observing the conduct from ‘inside’ see it as what it is. The claims of ‘needle rape’, ‘assault’ etc dismissed by those with a “sophisticated knowledge of the law”. Much like the Jews saw themselves as humans despite the loopholes created by the National Socialists to allow ‘delousing’. Move along, the complaint box is outside the showers, lodge your complaint there.

            Positively fascinating that they see themselves as doing good work, despite the rather stomach turning nature of their ‘medicine’.

  4. “This pandemic is making known both good and ugly truths about who people really are.”

    I couldn’t agree more Caroline. I do wonder though if we are looking at TWO pandemics? One related to a virus, and the second related to the fear created via the media and politicians surrounding that virus?

    For example, when 9/11 happened there was a real threat and then the imaginary fear surrounding that threat exploited by those in positions to do so?

    Terrorists, virus ….. what matters is how the fear is managed and exploited. The Power of Nightmares. The mental health industry gearing up for a flood of new ‘cases’.

    “The rich, the middle-class, and people with lively communities—normal people—have long had lives filled with personal meaning.”

    Can’t say I agree with this though. But i’d rather be the person who saves a child from being run over by a Porsche, than the person who owns it. The good deeds go with me into the hole in the ground, the Porsche won’t fit.

    Good luck on your journey.

  5. Exactly some of us live in social isolation hard not to say welcome t o my world everyone… I do not go out go on holiday,go to dinner, travel how sad….and I have done that for the right reasons… And do I miss any of that superficial rubbish . No I don’t …

  6. Hi Caroline,

    Psychiatric Drugs are certainly not good for a person’s health and I thought I would never get off them, but I did.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118946/

    I’m enjoying the isolation of the Corona Virus at the moment, I’m trying to get back into running in the park, and the temperature is 25 degrees Celsius today in London.

    I know lots of people who redesigned their lives after
    long breaks and very long breaks and in advancing years.

    Even today I find the ignorance around psychiatric drugs, “diagnosis” and “Mental Health” really frustrating.

    Thanks for the great Article.

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Caroline. And I agree, those of us who’ve had the misfortune of dealing with the “mental health” system have been taught not to trust in doctors, and have been taught to be more critical of the current systems. Thus we do tend to choose our friends carefully and prefer to work independently.

    I’m an artist who already works from home, so the current “crisis” hasn’t affected me too much, other than my mom’s retirement community is on lock down, and my children are studying and working from home. But, hey, art is great therapy, so I probably should do a Covid19 piece, based upon all this mainstream media “terror, terror, terror.”

    Right now, however, I’m working on a ‘Moving Forward, But Not Without Both Tears of Joy and Sadness’ piece, after largely finishing my anti-psychiatry/anti-child abuse artwork. Artwork of which the “mental health” workers are terrified. Since my work paints a picture of the “mental health” workers, and the religions who bought into their systemic child abuse covering up system, by “too truthfully” depicting their systemic, child abusing and child abuse covering up crimes.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/
    https://books.google.com/books?id=xI01AlxH1uAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

    I hope some day both the “mental health” workers and the mainstream religions, who bought into the psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ BS DSM “bible,” will choose to repent, and get out of the multibillion dollar business, primarily of covering up child abuse. Which is the actual primary function, by DSM design, of today’s scientifically “invalid” “mental health” industry.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1
    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    God bless, and I hope you are able to escape the “mental health” system some day. I’m glad it has not destroyed your creative talents, I had to escape. But do know a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis wasn’t detrimental to me, other than my idiot husband thought it meant I should be hospitalized because we hadn’t been forewarned about such things, by the doctors who weaned me off the drugs. The drug withdrawal induced manic psychosis functioned as my born again experience which, as a Christian, was fine with me. But this does mean drug withdrawal issues may not be bad in your case either, especially since you’ve been forewarned about such. God bless, and thanks for sharing your story.

  8. Psychiatry decimated your life, no question. But, little things matter to EVERYONE. Who wouldn’t appreciate a sound sleep? A deep breath? A moment when you’re valued by another human being? And, Mad people, especially, must cherish those times. Our post-psychiatry lives are built upon them.

  9. Thank you so much for expressing so clearly and so well what I haven’t been able to find all of the words for. I admit listening to everyone complain because they have to stay in their homes for a short time seems pathetic, selfish and self. Indulgent considering all the disabled people who are often confined for years.

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