“I am not mentally ill and I do not need medications.”
When psychiatrists hear these words, it is a cause for concern. It could even be a cause for mental health commitment. What is the mental illness? Well, saying that you are not mentally ill is a delusional statement. What is the dangerousness? Someone can become a danger if they are not on their medications. Psychiatrists learn early on not to believe what a mental health patient would say, but could the statement be true?
When I first met Leo, he was living in a group home in a small town in western Wisconsin. I was there to do a routine examination for extension of his mental health commitment. When I met him, the first thing he said was, “Are you going to tell the truth?” Leo immediately said that he has never been a danger to himself or others. He had been under a mental health commitment for many years. It was routinely extended year after year. He always followed the prescribed program; he took his medications as directed; he was a law-abiding citizen; he was very religious; he attended Catholic mass on a daily basis.
Leo went on to tell me that he did not feel he needed mental health commitment and he did not feel he needed medication. I completed the interview, asking about his background and current status, mental status, along with any past history. Soon after I met with Leo, I was able to obtain medical records from his past hospitalizations and outpatient treatment records. I scoured the records trying to determine why he was placed on antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. There was a reference to an incident that took place many years ago when his ex-wife told social workers that he was suicidal and had made a suicide attempt. There was another incident where Leo was found to be very disheveled and he wanted to walk to his brother’s house which was 2 hours away. At that time, he was hospitalized and it was then that he was placed on an emergency detention and then subsequent mental health commitment.
I could never find any information that led me to believe that he was ever psychotic. He certainly had some need for help in the past. If one has mental health challenges at some point in their life does that mean they need commitment and forced medications for the rest of their life?
Leo had been placed under commitment due to possible danger to self or others, but it was not clear that it was imminent risk, which is the standard for a mental health commitment in Wisconsin. He was thought to be perpetually psychotic, however. His delusions were that he did not believe that he was mentally ill and did not believe he required medications.
At one point, he was even picked up by police for an infraction of the commitment order which allows one to be taken to a hospital if they are not compliant with their commitment order. He had no psychiatric symptoms, but once again he was thought to be psychotic because he said he did not believe he needed medication and did not believe he was mentally ill. The attending physician in the hospital did not see any need for the hospitalization and put in the medical record; “There must have been some mix up here.” She thought that there was a problem or a misunderstanding because he certainly was not psychotic, nor did he have any kind of psychiatric symptoms that would have required hospitalization. He was quickly discharged.
I had several conversations with his social workers who were aghast at the suggestion that he was not mentally ill or requiring medication, but I was able to make some inroads asking them to try a very small medication decrease. Since no other psychiatrist would provide that type of care, I took him on as an outpatient in a county where he had to travel about 1-1/2 hours, but the social workers actually brought him to me and I made very slow reductions of his medication. He tolerated those reductions well. He was eventually able to get off commitment and off medications. He had always wanted to return to the county where he originally grew up, which was prohibited by the mental health commitment. After he got off commitment, he returned to the county where he wanted to live, where he had family members.
This brings me to the story of Mark, who lives in Wisconsin and was under a mental health commitment for many years due to depression and inability to care for himself. Mark, in fact, did have episodes in his life where he stopped bathing; he did not eat; he would let his house go; he would receive some mental health intervention and home health care; and then he would recover from these episodes and go on to do fine. He is an engineer, has his own business doing consulting work, and is actually quite functional most of the time.
He ended up being placed under mental health commitment after he was found to be not appropriately caring for himself with poor hygiene and dehydration; he even had some altered kidney function tests due to dehydration. After he was treated briefly on a medical floor he was transferred to a psychiatric floor where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, although he was never outwardly psychotic with delusions or hallucinations.
Mark was an older man who had never married. He had always lived alone, but he had the support of some cousins and other family members who were always concerned about him and always ready to help him recover from his episodes where he would not fully care for himself appropriately.
At one point, his social workers placed him in an assisted living facility where he was in a basement room which flooded frequently and was next to a hazardous trash bin. He felt the food at the assisted living facility was inedible. They would serve fish that was undercooked. He was getting sick from the food. He was placed on an extended release weekly dose of Prozac at double the adult dose, which in my opinion was way overmedicating him and causing him dysphoria and discomfort.
Mark was placed in another facility and eventually ended up going back to his own home which he owned, and he did well, returning to work at his consulting business. He continued to stay under mental health commitment, receiving a monthly injection of Invega Sustenna. Frequently, he would tell the prescribing psychiatrist that he did not need medication anymore and was not mentally ill. The prescribing psychiatrist was really offended by these statements.
At one point, Mark was placed on an emergency detention because he was psychotic—in this case, that meant he did not think he needed medication and he did not think he was mentally ill. At the time, Mark was fully functional and working in his business. Nevertheless, he was placed on an inpatient psychiatric unit for 10 days due to supposed psychosis, not believing he was mentally ill or needing medication. He had no psychiatric symptoms. Mark was placed in a psychiatric unit for 10 days just because he angered his psychiatrist!
That particular hospitalization led Mark to the idea of trying to get off of commitment, and he hired his own attorney. Through the eminent psychologist Toby Watson, I was referred to help the attorney terminate the mental health commitment that Mark had been on for several years. At this time, Mark was living in his own home. He was working at his consulting business, but he had to see his psychiatrist and receive an injection every month.
I worked very closely with Mark and his attorney to prepare for a jury trial in order to help Mark get out from under the burden of a mental health commitment which was not needed. The attorney and I both felt we had a very good case and were looking forward to a fight in court. However, the county attorney contacted Mark’s attorney and said that if Mark would agree to 6 more months of commitment the matter would then be dropped. Mark agreed to this, thinking that after 6 months he would no longer be under a mental health commitment and he was satisfied with the agreement. In my opinion, this was a face-saving way for the county attorney to get out from under the possibility of a jury trial which he most likely would lose. No trial or hearing was held; Mark agreed to the last 6 months of commitment.
When it came time for that 6-month period to end, Mark’s psychiatrist petitioned the court for further commitment. In spite of the fact that Mark was not supposed to undergo a recommitment evaluation or hearing after 6 months, his psychiatrist attempted to keep the commitment going.
Mark contacted his attorney, who contacted me, and we prepared for a hearing for Mark’s mental health recommitment. In order to fully fight the efforts of persistent mental health commitment, one strategy that lawyers have been successful with is to exercise the right to a jury trial to ensure fairness in the process. In the state of Wisconsin, every psychiatrist will, of course, recommend further commitment; the judge will follow the recommendations of the examining psychiatrist, so it is not an easy process to terminate the commitment process, even if there are no or minimal psychiatric symptoms that would require the onerous status of being under a mental health commitment.
Mark’s attorney requested a jury trial. I was contacted to once again submit a report to the court and update Mark’s status. At the time, Mark was doing extremely well. He was working at his consulting business. He was living in his own home. He was appropriately caring for himself. He was not psychotic or depressed. His mood was good. He was very optimistic about his current living situation. He was complying with the monthly Invega Sustenna injections. He always felt they did not help him nor hurt him. He was actually quite neutral about the idea of the monthly injections. It was clear, however, that they were unnecessary. Mark has never been psychotic, but he was receiving an injection monthly of an antipsychotic medication.
Mark’s attorney scheduled a deposition for the social worker that was the case manager for Mark in Dane County. I had never heard of depositions in a commitment case. Usually a public defender attorney shows up a few minutes before the scheduled hearing, meets the patient for the first time and the recommitment process takes place. All parties rubber stamp the recommitment papers and there is generally little defense present for the patient.
I have worked with attorney Elizabeth Rich who will request a jury trial, which is one of the rights accorded to individuals going through the commitment process. She believes that the chances are better for dismissal with a jury than a judge. It is our experience that the county judges generally will rule in favor of the county.
After the deposition was requested for the social worker and my report was submitted to the court, the county fully dropped the matter. It was clear that there was little merit to the case. Mark’s private attorney would have provided a very aggressive defense. The outpatient psychiatrist petition for extension of the commitment was dismissed.
Mark and his attorney were delighted with the outcome. Mark was very pleased that he could go on with his life and make decisions based on what was best for him. Mark’s attorney was very eager to continue to do this kind of work. He told me that he wanted to help individuals that were trying to get out of assisted outpatient treatment or mental health commitment in Wisconsin in a pro-bono fashion. He said that his law firm allows him the ability to do some pro-bono work and this is something he very much wanted to do.
I have since sent the attorney one case of a young man who was under extensive conditions for his commitment. The commitment order and extension were dismissed, with his help. I learned from Mark’s attorney that exercising the full due process rights for an individual can be very helpful.
Both these cases are examples of people whose only symptoms were stating they were not mentally ill and did not need psychiatric medication. They both certainly had problems at some time in their lives, but the one size fits all system of commitment and mandatory medication did not fit their needs at all. Does having mental symptoms in the past mean that one should have a lifetime of mental health commitment and forced medications?
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.
Thank You Dr Gail,
It must have taken a lot of courage to write this!
‘Anyone’ could be diagnosed as mentally ill for saying they believed that they were not mentally ill.
I live in London (UK) where the majority of ‘normal men’ have ‘histories of violence’; this can be seen from the ‘battle scars’ on their faces. How can a ‘MH risk of violence’ be determined in settings like this?
My own suicidal hospitalisations (and MH disability) stopped when I stopped taking “my medication”.
My GP had to fiddle my History and the rules, to promote ‘Mental Illness’, many many years later.
It makes me so sad, it makes me cry that the colonial government continue to look for purification when the sickness lies in them.
Does a psychiatrist admit to being “mentally ill”? Should he be sectioned for the rebuttal?
I’m surprised considering the dangerousness of “patients”, that psychiatrists continue to be the safest?
I find the whole thing “GROSS”, like vomit. And there is NO WAY in hell that the system does not feel disgusting. There is no way one can continue the pretense of care with lies and disgusting beliefs, and not feel the shame or realizations. It can only ever not be felt unless they are beyond help “psychopaths”.
In this way, I feel sorry, sad for kids that turned their interests into a business of control and othering.
It is just such an empty and wasted life, where you can never acknowledge yourself or others. But it is their choice to play.
In the least, people should be warned, yet it is not getting out there enough. And what does get out is not taken seriously enough, because people cannot believe that businesses such as this are actually as cunning or pathologically involved in a cult.
At least, a few people, people like yourself Gail, are helping a few.
I might add, sometimes it is best if we don’t worry if someone does not bathe. Perhaps it is no one’s business.
Sam, I promise you I was a lot less of a risk to myself off strong “medications”!
It can’t be an easy job being a psychiatrist and doing assessments Doc.
I think back to my situation where I had a number of people set me up to be locked up and force drugged for not agreeing with them (though unlike your ‘clients’ I did not disagree with a psychiatrist, just some amatuers who had diagnosed my disagreement with them as being a mental illness).
Some things stand out for me now with the passage of time that weren’t so obvious at first when I was ‘referred’ (I prefer to think of what was done using the strict legal terms of torture and kidnapping but our Minister for Health prefers the terms ‘referred’ and ‘assessed’).
My wife with the assistance of a psychologist plan to have me ‘referred’ against my will by obtaining a police referral, knowing they had no legal right to make the referral themselves. They did this by ‘spiking’ my drink with benzos to ‘drop’ me and make it easy to plant items (a knife and some cannabis) on my person for police to find, detain lawfully and make an immediate referral to a waiting Community Nurse (who had requested police assistance with a “patient” knowing it was a lie). Police jumped me in my bed causing an “acute stress reaction” and forced me into an interview with the Community Nurse who then ‘verballed’ a Statutory Declaration and had police kidnap me and deliver me to his hospital creating the appearance for his collegues that he had referred someone who police had requested he assess. (a ‘man in the middle’ con if you are aware of the hustle)
Some things that wouldn’t have been obvious to the staff at the hospital. My wife and her psychologist assistant ensured the clothes I was wearing created the appearance that I was a tramp. I returned to the same hospital a few days later wearing my suit, and with the opportunity to shave and shower wasn’t recognised by a doctor who had assaulted me only days before. And as a doctor I wonder if you would consider that the Community Nurse would inform you that the person you received for assessment had been spiked with benzodiazepines without their knowledge, with someone elses drugs? I would have thought that information important when assessing someone. Especially when the Senior Medical Officer had written down the effects of the spiking and then used that as justification for forced drugging with the same drugs, and others which another doctor claims would have made me very ill.
In fact when I look back at what was done with the documents showing what was occurring without my knowldege it was like the staff were trying to influence the actions of the assessing psychiatrist by misleading him/her with false information. I guess I was fortunate in that the psychiatrist armed with only the Form 1 (referral justification) went through the items with me and the flimsy straw man was knocked down and I was released without drugging (to drive a motor vehicle at high speeds whilst under the influence of a drug I wasn’t informed I had been given. Duty of Care?).
Of course it did destroy my life that 7 hours of being interrogated without knowing I had been spiked and was effectively being tortured due to a knowledge by my wife (and assistant) that I would exercise my right to silence. Still, I have found out what can be concealed as medicine as a result, and am sharing that information with as many people as I possibly can before I get snatched from my bed again by police.
Complaining about such conduct is, according to our Minister of Health a symptom of an illness, and despite the failure of police to retrieve the documented proof of what i’m saying, he insists in calling a conspiracy to stupefy and commit an indictable offence namely kidnapping, ‘referral’ and ‘assessment’. Imagine being so powerful that one could ignore the law? Would that be considered grounds for ‘assessment’ or committment?
I ask because our Chief Psychiatrist doesn’t recognise what a burden of proof is, and has rewritten the protections of the Mental Health Act out of existence. Suspect on reasonable grounds that a person should be an involuntary patient (standards set out in s. 26 of the Act; criteria of who) he writes is now, suspect on grounds we believe to be reasonable that a person requires an assessment by a psychiatrist. These are two very different statements with very different outcomes.
One requires standards to be met (which unfortunatley I didn’t meet, hence the need for a police referral) and the belief that I needed to be an “involuntary patient”. The second allows arbitrary detentions based on nothing more than whatever the Community Nurse would like to be reasonable, and the consequences a nice little chat with a psychiatrist (not being drugged without knowledge and assulted to loosen the lips for the ‘assessment’/ interrogation.).
I realise you live in the US and therefore have a respect for the law, whereas here even when I pointed out the errors of the Cheif Psychiatrist they simply ignore any complaints and ensure I get no access to legal representation. In fact the Minister slanders you even further despite knowing what I am saying is the truth. And when one considers that there is “No superior authority” when it comes to acts of torture, these guys are breaching an International Convention signed and ratified by our Federal Government and do not care one bit. The ability to make torture victims “patients” post hoc will allow breaches of the Convention to go unnoticed I assume for many years to come.
That’s psychiatry for you, carte blanche and zero accountability. The sending of fraudulent documents to the Mental Health Law Centre who were more than prepared to accept them and reject the documented proof of the ‘spiking’ I have, proof that the game is being fixed by the State. They torture and kidnap, and the lawyers assist in cover ups in return for favors/funding. The Principle even pushing for a job as the Cheif Psychiatrist. How effective would she have been assisting in covering up the torture and kidnapping of citizens in that role? Bad enough she was working as an ‘advocate’ doing it.
When is the truth a reason to force drug someone? When the State finds the truth about the conduct of their public officers repulsive. Luckily we can unintentionally negatively outcome people in our Emergency Depts here. The dead tell no tales. And now we have a Euthanasia Act, and we know hospitals are distributing fraudulent documents to conceal their misconduct at the request of the State, convenience killings shouldn’t be a problem to assist in dealing with whistleblowers. Don’t believe me about the fraudulent documents? Due diligence would require they are checked before the type of slander issued from the office of the Minister. Of course I know they have checked and continue with the slander anyway, to protect their own interests rather than the community they have a duty to.
Whether I claim I am not ill or not simply doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change the truth. And yet I watch my community turn their backs on a torture victim because of a slanderous labelling process issuing from organised criminals in our hospitals.
Wow. Thank you for your work.
Sheesh even with powerful support inside the system it still takes years! Decades. These peices never end with… and he got a check and an apology. Or the offending staff where fired or put on probation. I’m super happy these two people got out, but do they live everyday sickened by the fact that their violators are still practicing their abuse on others.
As the person with power in these cases and as a professional with mandate to report abuse, did you report the colleagues involved to the authorities? And more importantly… why not? It’s really important we figure out how to compel professionals to report abuse and protect whistleblowers, because we can’t save all the people even just one mean doctor can lock up. We have to cut the power supply or the shock will continue.
What if Mark hadn’t had the money for an attorney?
I hired a private therapist and told my shrink don’t worry so-in-so is the head of my new international treatment team (I left the team of one part out and counted my therapist’s voices as individuals… I had a huge team. lol), It was a loop hole. My doctor “ethically” couldn’t let me go into my own care. It was a risk. It worked. But I payed for a name and a contact number with my grocery budget and then my credit card. My voice was not enough on it’s own.
I asked for sliding scale and then added 20.00. I wanted my team paid as well as possible. Plus hiring gave me the option of firing. I am from a country that can treat you to death if they choose on the government’s dime. I was just doing the math. Out of my $1588 monthly income I paid $180 for 50 minutes and a name to drop. I didn’t dare underpay, or even admit my situation, for fear of being dropped. Even with only one appointment a month I couldn’t afford it and live independently, so I emailed between appointments and gave up luxuries like wifi/contact lenses/cell phone/groceries/my car/and eventually apartment to survive my last med withdrawal and my fear of being without supports after years of too much “CARE”. It was worth every penny plus debt, but finally being brave enough to take a bigger risk and STOP paying people to care… priceless!
Thanks so much for writing this enlightening essay, and thank you for being a compassionate psychiatrist. It is beyond shocking that so many psychiatrists engage in the mind game of not believing patients because of course, someone who is “mentally ill” doesn’t tell the truth. My heart ached for the men you described, even as I raged inside at the stupidity and arrogance of the psychiatrists and courts. Many years ago when I told my psychiatrist I had stopped taking my meds, he told me I had a damaged brain and would get “sicker” than ever if I stopped the meds. So happy I was secure enough not to listen. To this day, I don’t reveal any past experiences of depression for fear of being boxed and labeled once again. Keep up your wonderful work!
Ann, I had a very similar experience with a psychiatrist seven years ago. He told me after one conversation with me (it was the only time when he saw me) that I did have schizophrenia and that if I stopped taking neuroleptics, I might develop “drug-resistant schizophrenia” and need electroshocks.
He told me that I did have schizophrenia, though I was no longer having any psychotic symptoms and though I was working at a full-time job. He did not realize, however, that – like you – I was secure enough not to listen to him and was actually no longer on neuroleptics while talking to him.
I have had only one psychotic episode (in 2012). Since that time I have never had a so-called relapse, though I have not been taking any psychiatric drugs since November 2012. I am so happy that I did not listen to psychiatrists in 2012!
I’m deeply grateful for the evidence, even if anecdotal, this article presents of mental health’s potential oversteps in authority–and the courts’ complicity. Everyone needs to know the risks of getting involved with the mental health system. Too often, those who have these experiences and share about them are dismissed as “ill” and therefore discountable. Thank you, Dr. Tasch.
So why do you continue to work for a system that routinely treats people like this? You could quit your job, denounce psychiatry and start a new career helping people like Mark get their commitments quashed.
Anyway I better eat and clean up the house before it’s too late, thanks for reminding me. This anosognosia is a real pain in the ass.
PS BTW thanks for going the extra mile for Mark.
Well said OH.
Judging from the article Dr. Tasch believes the narrative though she means well and might let some “asymptomatic” people leave the system at their discretion.
I knew better than to argue with my shrink. AKA psychiatric blasphemy.
The psychiatrists get paid for keeping us sick with drugs, emotionally abusive brainwashing, and shocks.
My parents were shocked at how much crazier I acted the longer I stayed in the MI System. Now I’m emotionally stable but in chronic pain much of the time. IBD, fingerprint-map-dot-eye dystrophy, and probably ME.
At least I can clean my apartment now. Still forced to live on SSI.
Shrinks told me if I was “good” I could enjoy a career and even maybe get married. Bunch of rubbish. Doubtful any of them believed their malarkey. 🙁
“Psychiatrists learn early on not to believe what a mental health patient would say, ….” This is very true, and this complete disbelief in what the clients say does cause problems, for both the psychiatrists and their clients. In my case, my former psychiatrist got all his misinformation about me from a child rape covering up psychologist, and pedophiles, according to all my and my family’s medical records. When did gossip become medical care?
My psychiatrist’s medical records also record his “not believed by doctor” attitude, in regards to my honest explanation of my busy life. Once my family’s medical records were finally handed over by nurses, who were disgusted and kicked my unethical PCP out of that practice. (She wanted me dead because she was paranoid of a non-existent malpractice suit, due to her husband’s “bad fix” on a broken bone of mine, according to medical records I eventually picked up.)
But after reading those medical records, I was able to turn my psychiatrist into a dangerous paranoid “schizophrenic,” by explaining all the misinformation about me, written into his medical records. He’d never listened to, or believed, a word I said. He literally had delusions that my entire life was a “credible fictional story,” according to his medical records.
I had to leave this insane psychiatrist because he was delusional, but also because he thought the best way to help a healing child, who’d been abused four years prior, according to medical records, was to neurotoxic poison my child. When I said no, he attempted to convince my husband that I needed to be re-neurotoxic poisoned. Goodbye, insane, child abuse covering up, attempted murdering psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists really should learn to listen to – and believe – their clients, as opposed to getting their misinformation about a client from pedophiles. But covering up child abuse is the primary actual societal function of both the psychologists and psychiatrists, historically and today, despite this being illegal.
And all this child abuse covering up by the “mental health” workers is by DSM design.
“Does having mental symptoms in the past mean that one should have a lifetime of mental health commitment and forced medications?” No, especially when those “mental health” symptoms were created with the psych drugs – that one was disingenuously, for nefarious reasons, and unknowingly put on – in the first place.
I believe America should get rid of the, primarily child abuse covering up, pedophile aiding, abetting, and empowering, scientifically “invalid” “mental health” system. Since all of the psychiatrists’ and psychologists’ systemic, pedophile aiding, abetting, and empowering is destroying our country.
I was able to scare the school, that had a pedophile on it’s school board, into closing its doors forever, once they’d heard the gossip that my child’s medical records had been handed over. That school aptly closed forever on 6.6.06. But no one has been arresting the pedophiles in the United States for decades. No doubt, because the scientific fraud based, primarily child abuse covering up, iatrogenic illness creating, “mental health” system is a multibillion dollar industry today. The “mental health” system is completely corrupted.
Is always revolting to hear such stories. I think behind them there is a mix of both stupidity and filthy financial interests of psychiatrists.
What I would like to know is what are the best ways by which the (evil) psychiatrists can be put in their place.
Psychiatry is a pseudoscience, a drug racket, and a means of social control. It’s 21st Century Phrenology with potent neuro-toxins. Psychiatry has done, and continues to do, FAR MORE HARM than good. So-called “mental illnesses” are exactly as “real” as unicorns & presents from Santa Claus, but not more real. The DSM is in fact a catalog of billing codes. Everything in it was either invented or created, not discovered. PSYCHIATRY LIES.
During most of my unfortunate 11 years inside the beast, I was careful not to say “I’m not mentally ill, there’s been a mistake”.
The “Bring out your dead” scene in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” (1979) would flash in my drug-addled head…as a cart made the morning rounds in the ancient village collecting bodies from huts, an old man is thrown on the pile, loudly objecting, “But I’m not dead yet!” to no avail…and the cart moves on, the attendants hearing but ignoring & doing nothing.
Funny then, funny now….but not if you’re ‘the guy’.
Not until my keepers made several serious medication errors (again), rendering me quantifiably brain-damaged (lesions), with an NMS ADR & in anaphylaxis (independant ER records=Uh-oh) was I able to get the cart to slow down…the operators responding to a carefully phrased “I don’t belong here”…sans histrionics, a concisely prepared ‘presentation’ of ALL my ER visits to address physical, grotesque, side-effects while (fully) owning a home & car, employed for 7 years on a management team, & being their ‘compliancy’ poster child. What a good girl.
I totally seized my moment…..as a real, credible threat to their local kingdom.
Had I agitated for my ’cause’ earlier, it would have only strengthened their resolve to keep me chained to them forever…’denial’ psychosis being added to my file.
After quietly blackmailing them successfully, achieving guided withdrawal and a vacated “lifelong” bipolar diagnosis, I asked a supervisor to find the SMI certification (seperate & eternally damning in my state) that had been their response 8 years earlier after a week of hospitalization (regular hospital, major heart, nervous system problems-antipsychotic +++ cocktail)…They declared it meant ‘my mental illness’ (!) was worsening so the SMI (more, heavier drugs) ensured an even quieter client & additional federal funds for them…an easy ‘medical’ conclusion..
The supervisor’s reply after finally unearthing the file……..”Um (cough, pause), er….We don’t do things like that anymore”.
It was both a rare & massivly uncomfortable acknowledgement…and a horrible validation….a moment I’ll never forget.
The ‘exit’ psychiatrist advised me to “Live in the present, don’t dwell on the past”. Translation; Don’t sue us.
I gave him a copy of the poem “Invictus”…and peeled out of the car park.
“Don’t dwell on the past.” My damaged CNS, brain, and other organs won’t let me move on as though nothing happened. 🙁
“Psychiatrists learn early on not to believe what a mental health patient would say”
I wish I’d known this a long time ago, would have saved my breath and an awful lot of trouble. I think they call this “casting pearls before swine.”
And how exactly is this helpful to a person who is suffering, to lose a battle before it even begins? And moreover, when it shouldn’t be a battle in the first place! Suffering upon suffering upon suffering. This rather contradicts the notion of healing altogether, doesn’t it? Talk about creating a neagtive false sense of self! That is off the charts, creates chronic suffering, and indeed, it is the legacy of psychiatry. What a big fat mess this creates for people, families, and for society on the whole.
Thanks for speaking truth about this. A heads up for many, you’ve been warned. This translates purely as cynical and devoid of compassion and empathy, not to mention bigotry leading to blatant discrimination, loss of human rights and dignity, and all out social abuse, becomes the norm, as we have going on now. So dangerous!
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Mathew 7:6
If only the filthy slandering animal that attended my home didn’t have the right to enlist the assistance of police to torture and kidnap this might be a good verse. “Let there be no compulsion in religion” my Book tells me, and as a result of that I do believe this medical cult claiming to have the powers of fortune telling and mind reading is doomed. There is a joy that comes with that thought, and then I realise the true consequences of what will occur and i’m saddened.
My hatred for the National Socialists and what they did to so many people is only tamed when I look at the pictures of them hanging at Nueremburg. Justice tends to be like that.
Which makes you wonder why they bother consulting us at all. Even for ten minutes.
Probably for the same reason they buy malpractice insurance. Keeping up appearances.
First, I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and have not gotten the Covid-19. Second, oh how I wish I worked with you!! I have been a psychiatric-mental health certified nurse practitioner for almost 10 years and during this time, I have had the privilege of meeting and caring for many diverse persons, of varying ages, who have either been labeled as a “Mental illness” or who are seeking clarification and/or assistance in dealing with a “possible mental illness.” I worked within multiple settings such as a psychiatric residential treatment facility and also a primary care provider’s office with numerous MDs. In that setting, I was the consultant for medical doctors and would answer any questions they had pertaining to mental health and its treatments. I also saw patients that these doctors referred to me. I
I am very grateful that you wrote this narrative concerning mental health and how some psychiatrists view their patients. Even though I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I just do not really fit in with the current corporate healthcare view and practice of psychiatry, itself. I am someone who first and foremost LISTENS to what a person is actually telling me and then I request his/her own opinion of the current concern and/or its necessary treatments. I believe that at one point in each and every person’s life, he/she may experience something that may cause him/her to develop symptoms of a mental illness BUT these symptoms are in response to what has occurred and not a true indicator as to whether or not the person is actually mentally ill or not. Persons experiencing these symptoms are not always mentally ill but instead are displaying normal human responses that may not always be of the same severity as time goes on.
I want so much to be an advocate for each and every one of those persons I provide care to and this care most definitely does not always include medication(s). I have been practicing within my role as a psychiatric mental-health nurse practitioner working for a large corporate healthcare entity as I described my practice above; however, as a psychiatric NP I am told to only focus on medication management just as most psychiatrists tend to do-not all, but most. Because I refuse to be placed into the mold of the psychiatric healthcare provider who only considers his/her own views of what is best for the patient, ignores what the patient is telling him/her, and continues to write script after script to satisfy the business of corporate healthcare, I have never felt as though I belonged within the confines of psychiatry.
I would love to be able to help people in the manor that you are able to help; unfortunately, the state I live in is just not that advanced in caring for those who deal with mental illness.
I believe every person deserves to be heard by his/her psychiatric provider and a therapeutic relationship must develop in order for the psychiatric provider to deliver the best, most individualized care to each person and that is the concept upon which my practice as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is based.
Again, thank you for sharing this narrative and someday maybe our paths may cross.
I am glad to see that you feel everyone “deserves” fair “treatment”.
Sometimes I’m caught on my “bad days”
Thank you for writing this. Most people are not aware of what is happening. I am as Im a friend of Marci Webber who is stuck in a mental facility and being threatened to be forcibly medicated when she raises her voice. They will not accept that she will not take medications. Its like One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest
Thank you Dr. Tasch, your blog exposes the truth the general public does not yet grasp – that psychiatry is not about “helping” people and someone’s suffering is more likely to invoke anger and disgust in a psychiatrist than anything else. There are many psychiatrists whose “treatment” or actions are more like revenge or retaliation for a person daring to try have a voice, to define their own reality or honor their own thoughts and feelings.
“Mark was placed in a psychiatric unit for 10 days just because he angered his psychiatrist!”
“In spite of the fact that Mark was not supposed to undergo a recommitment evaluation or hearing after 6 months, his psychiatrist attempted to keep the commitment going”.
I commend you Dr. Tasch for stepping in and doing what you can to bring some relief for people enduring these abhorrent practices and for exposing what goes on. I hope your voice and that of like-minded professionals keeps getting louder.
You saved two lives, Dr. Tasch. Most quacks will kill as many people in a typical year. I hope you’re very, very proud of yourself and that someday, people like you will rise to power in your profession.
This is so scary, and I believe so the norm. I had some depression with a cause. It lasted for approximately 2 years. I went out on LTD at my job. Fast forward 8 years and I am part of the mental health system. I know in the mental health system, the more you explain at length what has occurred, the more evidence of your mental health issue being dire, but I will risk that and put this lengthy set of events out there.
I have had a psychiatrist opened up this gossip fest releasing information about me to a doctor who told another doctor, and another—info that she never even got from me, but from Facebook and people who are connected to my estranged family. For the first 4 years she would spend 10 minutes with me and most of that was typing on I presume the last patient and then just ask me how I was sleeping, if I heard voices, how was my depression, and if I had thoughts of hurting myself or others. To be clear, my family broke off into camps when my elderly parents became ill and later passed away and it had nothing to due with any diagnosis real or imaginary that we are for long periods estranged into camps.
It (the passing of tales) has become so bad, that I almost don’t want to go to a doctor if I am having ailments, because I know that by the second time they see me, they’re attitude has been adjusted concerning me, and they aren’t addressing with full focus the reason I came to see them. They in fact have doubts about whether or not my issues are real.
I went into my online portal and saw this psychiatrist had diagnosed me with (after seeing her for medication management 2-3 times a year for 5 years) a new diagnosis. Bipolar. I asked her about it, and she claimed we had discussed it. She said it was when a doctor had put me on prednisone for inflammation and ONE DAY I came in and was talking fast. I reminded her that she said it was A manic episode due to the high dose of prednisone interaction with citalopram. She made a decision to cut my citalopram dosage in half until I came off the prednisone. Yet, she put bipolar on my record at that point and for that reason and it remains.
My turnaround with my depression (although my depression started with a cause—it seemed to linger) came when a new PCP (who was not a part of the electronic records system-thank goodness) tested me and learned I was severely vitamin D deficient. A short while working on getting my vitamin D level up and I began to feel lighter in my mood and the depression was not this weekly right even monthly thing. I told the psychiatrist the next time I saw her, which was about 3-4 months after I began taking REPLESTA and then another type of D to get my levels of D where they needed to be (5000 IU daily in the end, because that’s how low I was). I ask about reducing the citalopram. She kind of acknowledge that she heard but said she just was going to keep me there. 4 months later at my mood is still elevated above what it had been by far when I first came to see her. Still refused to reduce. Then I asked why I was on resperidone. She told me it was because I was on it when I came to her some years ago. I had gotten this answer before. This time I wasn’t going to let it rest. I reminded her that a doctor had put me on it at a point I was having flashbacks. He said it was temporary. Then I switched clinics due to insurance, and I was stuck with it. I had never been on it for any of the years preceding seeing that doctor. Just citalopram. Most of my life without anyone ever checking a vitamin D level until I was in my fifties.
Then someone told me she was discussing my information with someone outside the medical profession or was a grapevine. I saw her one November and ask her directly if this was the case. She said it was my paranoia and if you can’t trust your psychiatrist who can you trust. I found it odd she never asked who told me. Then she said she had not even discussed me with other doctors. This was November. I hadn’t seen her since July. She began asking me about a series of trips to the emergency room (they think it was an allergic reaction) at another clinic that is not tied into their’s and about something I discussed in my PCPs office. I ask her how she knew, and she told me that I told her the last time I saw her. I said I didn’t. She told me I was being paranoid. When I said I don’t tell her because it was impossible since I hadn’t seen her since July, and the series of allergic episodes or whatever it was never happened until October. She pulled this compassionate voice and said “I am worried about you.” And then wrapped up the session.
So she is gone recently and I have been passed on to the next psychiatrist in the system who reduces the resperidom to 1 mg on my first visit with her stating that I talk fast after I told her all the women in my family (my sisters and my daughters) talk a little fast. Even though I knew I really wasn’t talking excessively fast. She said it to support the previous doctors stance, because it was my first visit or televisit due to covid with her.
Then no sooner than I left her office she contacts another doctor who I told her I was making an appointment with. I knew because when I got on the visit, she says “so you have some concerns about how to wean off the old blood pressure medication while you are switching to the calcium blocker?” The only person I said it to was the psychiatrist. When I made the appointment with the other doctor, I simply told the receptionist I just wanted to go over some things I forgot to ask her about last visit. That’s it. Now that seems innocent enough, but 1) Why would you need to go to a doctor I am going to and 2) they have consistently lied about talking to other doctors. 3) it is causing issues in the other doctors treatment of me. I had a suicide attempt 35 years prior and a suicidal ideation episode 10 years ago. I have never been a danger to others. Why would you need to pass info on to other doctors that impedes they way they deliver treatment to me? I couldn’t get a neurosurgeon to believe I had scoliosis when the specialist he referred me to about my hip x-rayed and diagnosed me with it when she was looking into my hip flexors? He said he doubt that I had scoliosis, and then I had to ask him to check my records. Just wow. Then he said he would set up an MRI at the spine clinic. I mean I can barely walk between the scoliosis and the contracture of the tendon sheath and stenosis of the spine. He was friendly and open the first time I spoke with him, and then he very aggressively lets me know he doubts that I have scoliosis and he can’t find anything wrong with me. No examination other than asking me to stand and hitting my knee with the little thing. This was not the thorough guy I had seen the year prior who referred me to a joint doctor (who diagnosed me with scoliosis but things kept getting lost in the shuffle between my PCP and psychiatrist and emergency room and any other doctor I had to see since nobody wanted to focus on my symptoms once they got word about my psychiatrics and that, yes, I had recorded my psychiatrist. It was actually MY sessions due to things she was claiming we were discussing and then adding them to a record. I shared this with my PCP, because someone suggested I let a doctor I trusted know what was going on. BIG MISTAKE. She was fairly new to me. Now, want to avoid going into any doctor who is on the electronic records system—which is practically everyone when I am walking with two canes and can’t stand for very long.
This. This. This.
I myself was committed NGI with no awareness of the legal/mental health system for 7 years… and the process of getting off meds was slow, difficult, and with back problems due to the side effects of antipsychotics… Thank you for writing this.
If a doctor needs to talk to someone, who do they talk to? Who fulfills his needs?
Who listens to him and supports him?
What priviledges led to him becoming a doc?
I guess if a doctor needs to unload his woes, he does so at home?
Or he does not have woes?
Is a woe, or many woes “mental illness”?
Is that how we differentiate people? Those who have troubles in
living the life we think they should live, are “mentally ill”?
It’s a great science after all. Too bad drugs were developed
to drug someone for a shrinks opinion.