Whose Finger is Taking the Pulse of America’s Shock Treatment Controversy?


As a young university student studying creative writing at Brigham Young University, I never imagined that my writing career would be prematurely halted by medical treatment just six months after graduation. You see, my doctors presumed I had agitated catatonia and ran 450 volts of electricity through my head 116 times to “reboot” my brain. They called it electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I call it Electroconvulsive Trauma.

By the time I quit treatment against medical advice, I could no longer read. I lost the honors-educated vocabulary previously used to edit university faculty papers for publication. I lost my “mind’s eye,” critical to writing vivid descriptions of imagined events. Worse than that? ECT erased my work experience, university education, and the formative events of childhood, youth, and young adult years.

It is as if, like a person whose existence was fabricated for the witness protection program, I exist only in written form—by handwriting that looks like mine—in journals which contain facts of my life, yet hold no memories. I say that because reading them triggers nothing. No emotion. No visual image of the events contained therein. No feelings. Nothing. For all practical purposes I spontaneously came to life at age 36. I can tell you well-memorized facts about myself—but those facts are not connected to my identity. There is no memory, relationships, or accompanying emotions associated with any of it—except a sense of loss and utter betrayal. I trusted my doctors not to harm me. I trusted them when they said “ECT is safe.”

Ernest Hemingway referred to his electroconvulsive therapy experience when he was discharged from the Mayo Clinic (after receiving a reported 20 ECT treatments), stating “’It was a brilliant cure, but we lost the patient. What is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital, and putting me out of business?” Hemingway died by suicide on July 2, 1959, three days after being released from the Mayo clinic following what was likely referred to as “successful ECT treatment.”

No doubt, mine was recorded as successful, too.

Psychiatry likes success, choosing to ignore and blame treatment failures on those they failed. It is the antithesis of the scientific method, in which genuinely interested parties learn from mistakes in order to improve.

Instead, we have 80 years of unregulated, never safety-tested, repeated human electrocution in the name of “best practices” and “patient interest.” Some would argue I’m using the word electrocution incorrectly because technically that requires death, but since ECT momentarily halts brain activity—causing temporary brain death and resulting coma, it’s accurate. I was electrocuted by my doctor 116 times. He said the only reason I could not remember my own phone number afterwards was because I “use speed dial too much.” I tried unsuccessfully to get a comprehensive brain injury assessment, but was told that my memory loss was transient and would return in six months. When it did not, I requested assessments again. I was denied.

Finally, I went to another psychiatrist, explaining that in order to return to school, I’d need academic accommodations. Neuropsych testing confirmed “mild cognitive impairment.” The psychologist said the deficits were consistent with people who have a history of shock treatments. I felt exceptionally lucky to get comprehensive neuropsych testing, none of my ECT survivor peers had.

For some reason, patients are not routinely referred for comprehensive brain injury assessment during or after treatment—abandoned to their own devices after treatment ends. Psychiatrists justify such actions by reassuring the public that patients are given the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to assess for brain injury after treatment. But what they fail to mention is that historically, even lobotomized patients easily pass the MMSE. Using the MMSE to measure ECT injury is as absurd as using a Weight Watcher’s scale to reassure the public that a person doesn’t have a fever due to COVID.

Doctors say ECT “saves lives” despite research to the contrary. They also say ECT is the most effective way to pull someone from extreme depression, catatonia or other severe symptoms. Last month’s groundbreaking 40-page meta-analysis report by Dr. John Read, psychologist and researcher from University of East London, Dr. Irving Kirsch, associate director of placebo studies at Harvard, and Dr. Laura McGrath of London’s Open University disagrees.

Researchers concluded:

“The quality of most [Placebo versus] ECT studies is so poor that the meta-analyses were wrong to conclude anything about efficacy, either during or beyond the treatment period. There is no evidence that ECT is effective for its target demographic—older women, or its target diagnostic group—severely depressed people, or for suicidal people, people who have unsuccessfully tried other treatments first, involuntary patients, or children and adolescents. Given the high risk of permanent memory loss and the small mortality risk, this longstanding failure to determine whether or not ECT works means that its use should be immediately suspended until a series of well designed, randomized, placebo-controlled studies have investigated whether there really are any significant benefits against which the proven significant risks can be weighed” (italics added for emphasis).

Imagine immediately suspending ECT use to prioritize patient safety of a vulnerable, marginalized population. That’s my dream.

According to Sackeim’s 2004 court deposition, ECT is administered to approximately two million people yearly, worldwide. Imagine how many people live with the aftereffects of unregulated ECT after 80 years of use. American statistics are fuzzy at best. People writing about ECT still quote the 1970s estimate that only 100,000 Americans receive ECT yearly. America has no new estimates in the last forty years. The troubling reality is that unlike appendectomies or any other procedure requiring generalized anesthesia, we have no idea how many Americans get ECT each year. Worse? We have no idea how many ECT treatments each person receives and the rate at which they receive it. There is no data. I defy investigative reporters to find it. It requires funding to submit a FIOA request to Medicare, State Medicaids, and all Private Insurances in every state. Then, when you receive the aggregate data (without personal health information), researchers will never know how many treatments each person got or how closely spaced those treatments were. It’s an unregulated medical black hole—and a profitable one.

The average rate for reimbursement in California is $3,427  per ECT treatment. Which means a doctor who gives 8 treatments a day, five days a week, pockets a reimbursement of roughly $128,000 in a week for that hospital—on a machine which initially cost only $8,000. Talk about cost-effective!

The 2017 California Financial transparency report filed by Sharp Mesa Vista, in San Diego, states that that hospital provided 4,055 treatments, receiving $13.9 million in reimbursements. The numbers drop off from there because sources say Sharp lost their contract with Kaiser after a negotiation scrimmage. Kaiser took their business in San Diego to UCSD—who conveniently does not include their ECT data on the state financial transparency reports. But don’t worry, that’s not against the law in this unregulated world of ECT. Only six of the 27 Californian hospitals providing electroconvulsive therapy submit ECT financial reimbursement data on yearly financial transparency reports. Twenty-one hospitals leave that line item blank. When I submitted my FIOA request to the state for that data, they responded that “financial data on ECT isn’t required.”

442 hospitals provide ECT nationwide. Imagine what happens if an unscrupulous doctor gets reimbursed $3,200 for a 10-minute procedure requiring only enough brain power to flip a switch (because artistic interpretation allows them to arbitrarily dole out 450 volts/900 milliamperes of electricity using more than seven administration variables never standardized by the FDA). Those are the doctors who give the most ECT.

Recently I discovered that Kaiser now rotates their doctors through the ECT clinic, rather than have the prescribing doctor provide ECT. I found that an interesting development because my Kaiser doctor who prescribed the ECT is the one who gave me all 116 treatments—barring personal vacations, when he farmed me out to a doctor who gave me two treatments in one day. Now that Kaiser rotates providers, it would not be effective to track the number of ECT treatments given by a doctor like the DEA tracks prescriptions for opioids. ECT has no DEA or other enforcing agency. Is it any wonder why some human rights advocates say that ECT is an unregulated billion-dollar America industry?

Within days of the successful Riera v. Somatics, LLC settlement for permanent brain damage and permanent memory loss, Thymatron (an ECT manufacturer) published a regulatory update to their user manual stating that the American Psychiatric Association recognized seven risks independently associated with permanent brain damage and permanent memory loss. Independent risks mean that patients can be exposed to each of those risks at the same time, increasing the likelihood that they will have permanent brain damage. My treatment met five of the seven risks. And while I may have small windows of clarity when I can write something like this, I now live with chronic microbleeding in my brain stem (the focal point of bilateral ECT), acquired channelopathies (progressive neuromuscular and cognitive problems), 36 years of memory loss, forced retirement, and the physical loss of my independence. I use a rollator walker inside my home and power wheelchair around the community—on occasional days when strength allows me to leave my bed for a lengthy period of time.

Have any of the 442 ECT providers in the United States updated their patient information to list permanent brain damage and permanent memory loss as possible treatment outcomes? If they have, do they explain how that kind of damage impacts quality of life as a person ages? No. Do they tell the patients that they’ll only assess for brain injury using the MMSE—which cannot quantify injury and cognitive deficits historically recognized in ECT patients? No. Do doctors and hospitals still say it’s safe? Yes. They define “safe” differently than I do. Do they tell patients that post-treatment brain injury rehabilitation will be available only if the patient can personally fight through all the bureaucratic barriers necessary, or that it may take a decade or more to achieve access to desperately needed rehabilitation?

Clearly psychiatry is not concerned about the ethics involved with informed consent or ethical medical assessments, routinely using the MMSE and standardized scans which cannot capture the microstructural and functional injury historically documented in research. Psychiatry even refers to the lack of data as evidence that injury is “rare,” apparently missing class the day medical school taught methodology. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

The UK reports providing ECT to 2,500 people per year. That’s a country with a population of roughly 67 million people. I’m not the best at algebra, but if a singular psychiatric hospital in San Diego County (population of 1.4 million people), provides 4,055 treatments in a single calendar year—in a county with four other local hospitals which also provide ECT, how many ECT treatments are given in San Diego? Why are Americans receiving unregulated ECT at a higher proportion than those in the UK? Is it because they operate under socialized medicine, while American doctors are reimbursed significantly more?

Only three states (that I’m aware of) have any measure of regulation. Even the regulations presently in place do little to protect patients. For example, California supposedly has shock laws in place, but they did not stop my doctor from giving me 116 ECT treatments scheduled as repeat acute “index courses,” (three times a week, three times a week, twice a week, twice a week, once a week, rinse, repeat. Again and again and again. 116 times). No one stopped him.

No one investigated Kaiser or Sharp Mesa Vista like they would have if it had been a doctor overprescribing opioids. I literally escaped continued ECT by running away from the residential facility that dragged me against my consent to the outpatient clinic. I knew it wasn’t a matter of simply refusing to sign the consent forms at the clinic, because the last time I “signed the consent form” I lay in restraints on a gurney as they started the anesthetic IV.

California is one of three states which have regulations in place—yet still patients can get as many as I did—and more—if doctors feel it necessary. If California’s shock regulations (requiring three doctors to sign off on a patient’s ECT) cannot prevent the overprescribing of ECT, what happens to patients who live in states without shock laws? Right now, a Connecticut woman is fighting the state to end her treatments. She already received more than 500 in five years. The public rarely hears about these cases because psychiatric ECT patients rarely have the strength or wherewithal to find someone interested in taking their case. Most ECT recipients are too brain injured to find their way to a law firm willing to take their case before the statute of limitations expires.

ECT use is likely increasing due to carefully constructed public relations campaigns to reduce stigma. Doctors and mental health providers advocating for its use state that the only thing controversial about ECT is its problematic media portrayal in a movie I never saw.

I’ve even heard discussion about increasing ECT use as a first line of treatment. There’s likely greater use on children ages 13 years old and up since the FDA’s 26 December 2018 decision to reclassify the device as Class II during the federal shutdown—without a hearing or previously requested fMRI and EEG studies. I’m curious about the closed-room handshakes on that one. I assume ECT use is also increasing because Medicare relaxed documentation requirements in 2019 while increasing the amount reimbursed.

Clearly Americans have no real idea how much ECT is happening. Most people I speak to cannot believe shocking people into major motor seizures is used on humans in 2020. They have no idea who is receiving it, how much they receive, how closely they receive each treatment, what type of ECT they receive, and what happens to patients after treatment.

Isn’t it weird that after 80 years of use, longitudinal information from routinely tracking cognitive performance, psychiatric symptomatology and neurological outcomes of people with a history of ECT simply isn’t available? Similar outcomes are available for people with a history of treatment for cancer, diabetes, or other medical treatments with nearly a century of use. How many recipients of ECT end up with delayed neurological sequalae of low-voltage electrical injury? According to research, delayed electrical injury usually manifests between 2.5 and 10 years after exposure to electricity. At this point, we’ve no idea how many are impacted. Manufacturers, doctor and mental health organizations repeatedly say that permanent brain damage is “rare.” The reality is, it’s not routinely measured. Why doesn’t psychiatry publish their outcomes publicly so that patients can choose the best hospitals for treatment? Why the shroud of secrecy?

When you think about ECT, it’s not a singular event. It is a series of events—a repetitive brain injury. Dr. Bennett Omalu, neuropathologist who first identified Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in American NFL players, sits on the California Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board at the Department of Rehabilitation. The August 2019 meeting discussed barriers to identify Californians living with acquired brain injury for referral to appropriate rehabilitation and other ABI resources. When they opened the meeting up for public comment, I mentioned that one of the barriers facing people with a history of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is that they aren’t routinely automatically referred for comprehensive brain injury assessments. Even when patients experience memory loss, difficultly processing information, and gross cognitive deficits, doctors deny patients access to appropriate assessment. Complicating the issue, when an ECT patient’s persistent complaints garner them a referral for a standard brain scan, damage from repeated exposure to 450 volts of electricity isn’t readily apparent on a standard scan, just like repetitive head injuries in football players.

According to the meeting minutes, “Dr. Bennett Omalu confirmed repetitive head trauma causing functional injuries are not readily seen on standard scans. […] Dr. Omalu also confirmed that neuropathology of electrical injury as well as “the neuropathology of people with a history of electroconvulsive therapy is well recognized as causing extensive functional changes to brain activity and should be considered in the context of both electrical injury and repetitive electrical trauma to the head because natural laws governing electricity aren’t changed based on the intent of medical administration.”

On July 2, 2020 (the 59th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s ECT-induced suicide), UK doctors, psychologists, and ECT survivors submitted a letter to the media calling for the immediate suspension of ECT due to the publication of the report mentioned at the beginning of this article. One of the ECT recipients who signed the letter, Dr Sue Cunliffe, was a paediatrician before ECT’s brain damage forced her early retirement. She says,

“As a doctor I was appalled to discover the failings in the regulation of ECT by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which enables the perpetuation of bad practice and fails to protect patients from harm.  The sooner ECT is suspended the better.”

Whose finger is on the pulse of American shock therapy? No one.

If you feel something must be done to audit, standardize, and regulate ECT use, whilst providing comprehensive brain injury assessment and rehabilitation when necessary, please sign my petition. If you think it should be immediately suspended for safety and efficacy testing, what are you doing about it?

On the other hand, if you’ve read this far and concluded that “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is the only thing controversial about ECT use, I’ve got an MMSE test for you.

Hopefully, America can institute immediate changes. It would be an exceptional way to honor Hemingway by the 60th anniversary of his suicide—July 2, 2021.


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.


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    • Just to clarify, the above is not a comment directed at you personally Sarah, and I totally respect your initiative and motivation. As for your approach, however, to opine that “something must be done to audit, standardize, and regulate ECT use” implicitly accepts that ECT will continue to exist, which is unacceptable. To take a position that “since it’s going to exist no matter what we should ‘regulate’ it” is a defeatist strategy; the point is to organize to the point where it is ended yesterday.

      Defund Psychiatry!

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      • Yes OH, I found it problematic. It’s as if we can look for the “right” people to zap or drug. Or the “right amount”. And lately I have seen such a focus on ECT, which is most likely driven by psychiatry itself, so they can ruin people with their draconian chemicals. People do not mind watching someone swallow chemicals. They don’t even mind watching death or damage from chemicals. ECT is something the majority of people probably react to a bit more strongly.

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    • I agree. It is only a “controversy” because certain people continue to make money from this destructive and barbaric act. Seizures aren’t good for you, folks. Why should anyone have to “prove” that fact? Those proposing intentionally invoking seizures by electrocution better have some pretty AMAZING data proving what wonderful benefits exist to justify damaging someone’s brain and life in this way. And we know they don’t. So where is the “controversy?” Whether or not we should harm our patients for profit?

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      • They know just the right amount of electrocution. Just enough that it does not kill you. Drugs on the other hand is silent and invisible. NO big ugly machine.

        They don’t just need to drop ECT, they need to drop the “reasons for treatment” and “diagnosis”.

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          • Not here in Australia, we have “added protections” for those promoting and administering it these days. It was the one thing restraining doctors from ‘going to town’. The gate was opened some time back (2016) and we are seeing the results of that lack of restraint now.

            I can’t help but wonder if the passing of a Euthanasia Act for ‘life unworthy of living’ might be required to deal with some of the negative outcomes as a result of these treatments. Nothing like forward planning in the area of medicine right? And with the ability to “edit” documents before they are seen by human rights lawyers who are supposed to protect us, there shouldn’t be any problems ensuring only positive results are achieved.

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  1. Hospitals do have a peculiar attitude about ETC. The gent who adjusted my B3 about 45 years ago, had been an ECT doc in the southern part of my state. Since he wasn’t a real psychiatrist, but an internist, he probably got into the use of mega B3 to preserve his patients’ memories, making the practice at least somewhat less appalling than it usually is.
    Since he wasn’t a shrink, he also became interested in cerebral allergies and water-assisted fasting therapy, which he studied under Theron Randolph, one of the Grand Old Men of allergies, who trained his pupils by having them water fast for several days and introducing test meals of single foods over a period of days. This is what he hoped to do in his new job, but the hospital objected, saying fasting therapy was too dangerous, even in its own hospital. Apparently, the hospital thought ECT a safe treatment, but not water fasting. (no, I didn’t have any ECT and my appointment was free, as he was just setting up his office).

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  2. Thank you Sarah, your writing is very easy to read and register. It seems that the result, of whats on offer from Psychiatry by way of help, is equivalent to some type of industrial disaster.

    I notice the UK seems to be making consistent Human Rights Progress (Directly Questioning Fixed Beliefs with Scientific Evidence):-



    “…Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia. The problems we think of as ‘psychosis’ – hearing voices, believing things that others find strange, or appearing out of touch with reality – can be understood in the same way as other psychological problems such as anxiety or shyness…”

    M I N D

    “…What if I don’t want to take medication?

    Many psychiatrists believe that severe mental health problems like schizophrenia must be treated with medication, but if you don’t want to take antipsychotics, there are alternative treatments you can try. You may find it’s possible to manage your symptoms, or to make a full recovery, without medication. This page covers:

    Talking treatments
    Arts therapies
    Complementary and alternative therapies
    Peer support groups
    Healthy lifestyle changes…”

    RUFUS MAY: Living Mindfully With Voices


    “…For example, 72 per cent of those with first episode psychosis treated via an Open Dialogue approach returned to work or study within two years, despite significantly lower rates of medication and hospitalisation compared to treatment as usual…”

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  3. Thank you for an excellent blog Sarah clearly exposing the harm and corruption involved in the barbaric brain assault called ECT.

    I highly commend you for your activism and diligence to try get ECT halted to protect others while struggling with the profoundly damaging effects yourself. A big thank you to Dr. John Read, Dr. Irving Kirsch and Dr. Laura McGrath for their report and ongoing work.

    “Isn’t it weird that after 80 years of use, longitudinal information from routinely tracking cognitive performance, psychiatric symptomatology and neurological outcomes of people with a history of ECT simply isn’t available?”

    Yes – and how can this be? It is indicative of corruption and cover-up.
    Best of wishes Sarah, you are a warrior and I hope you can keep up the excellent work. I am 95% sure I signed the Petition a few months ago (hope my memory serves me correctly)

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  4. “Most people I speak to cannot believe shocking people into major motor seizures is used on humans in 2020. They have no idea who is receiving it, how much they receive, how closely they receive each treatment, what type of ECT they receive, and what happens to patients after treatment.”

    “Psychiatrists justify such actions by reassuring the public that patients are given the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) to assess for brain injury after treatment. But what they fail to mention is that historically, even lobotomized patients easily pass the MMSE.”

    It’s amazing that they give a test and have your “mental illness” figured out, but after treatment, you’re good to go after their wonderful “diagnostic” tests lol.

    Hi Sarah and thank you for writing about your trials. Many people cannot write about their mistreatment by psychiatry, so this is very important, that you can be a voice for other, will be victims.
    We have to remember that people gasp at ECT, but they often do not gasp at the chemicals which cause much harm and deaths or a miserable existence.
    I think it’s important to remind the gaspers that psychiatry is not a safe avenue, for absolutely NO ONE.
    And one cannot be “misdiagnosed” in psychiatry.
    They don’t even hold opinions of people. They merely assign a word, a label that has nothing to do with medicine or the people involved.

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  5. My mother had some of those way back. She called them shock treatments. I don’t know if it did brain damage, but she was just deathly afraid of them. I wonder if they didn’t do anesthetic back then. It’s like medieval torture with a scientific flair.

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  6. Sarah

    This was one of the best blogs I have ever read at MIA. Once again, the capitalist drive for profit reveals its inseparable connection to psychiatry and the oppressive Medical Model.

    I have a very close friend who is now only a shell of her former self due to ECT and psychiatric drugging. I did my best trying to educate her and her husband away from these destructive “treatments,” but in the end I couldn’t compete with several hundred billion dollars of pseudo-scientific advertising for the Medical Model by psychiatry and Big Pharma. This may be the single largest PR (brainwashing) campaign in human history. I still beat myself up for thinking maybe I could have done more to prevent this tremendous harm perpetrated against my dear friends.

    Sarah, you are a “force of nature” not to be denied, and I salute your courage and determination to fight for true justice in this world.


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  7. Thank you Sarah for this informative article. It confirms for me a need to leave my ‘home’ for greener pastures, as I do not wish to live in a place where arbitrary detentions can be executed on persons who complain about public sector misconduct and can be ‘treated’ for their ‘illness’ of speaking out about it.

    I have recently been wondering about the ‘scam’ that has been enabled by the passing of legislation touted as having “added protections”. What was not being mentioned was that these added protections were for doctors to do to teenagers what has been done to you. These doctors were being held back from pocketing a lot of dollars from our medicare system by the concern they may be sued for any damage they caused young people as a result of this brutal and inhumane treatment. Now they can zap away at young women (I think that is what is called the “target market”) who have eating disorders. Big dollars if you have the stomach for it, and of course where human rights abuses are concerned it is always a matter of how much, not what do you want me to do. Medical mercenaries heading for my State at a rate of knots now they are unhindered by the law. And the benefit for those enabling the ‘treatments’? Two fold, cash from chaos, and the ability to refer anyone complaining about misconduct for ‘treatment’ with nothing more than a finger point (i’m concerned about your welfare = arbitrary detention for doctors).

    Anyhow, once again thank you for speaking out. At some point in the near future it will be important that it was documented that these people were aware that what they were doing was not medicine, in as much as the National Socialists were not ‘delousing’.

    It’s a money making scam, and yes I’m just jealous because I can’t get in on it. I need a new yacht for the coming sailing season, and my polo pony is getting a little long in the tooth.

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  8. It is truly a testament to the level of lies and terror humanity continues to endure , that it’s never happened that even one of these electric shock boxes , ( a tool of terror used by the criminal medical terrorist guild of sadistic charlatans who torture beyond endurance for profit , women , children ,and men ) have we ever heard of even one , even once , that even one , of these high voltage electric brain shocking boxes , has been smashed to smithereens with a sledge hammer , so that maybe one psychiatrist somewhere could at least be delayed in practicing their ABOMINATION of a “profession” ?

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    • Maybe we need an AP version of ACT UP (ACT OUT?) — though I wonder how many millenials have even heard of ACT UP. Since the left is no more for now I wouldn’t be surprised to see those who currently identify as “leftists” roundly condemning such actions as “anti-science.”

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          • Yeah, working on it Steve lol.

            Funny but I find myself wondering if the term anti psychiatry gets the same response in the US and elsewhere as it does here in Australia.

            I know that under the old Act exclusions, people were not meant to be ‘treated’ for their political beliefs (an easy protection to get around) but an admission that this is your view on psychiatry will result in some serious brain damage, and your family being targeted for destruction.

            Sure I know they’re not meant to do this and …… the National Socialists weren’t meant to smash windows and target Jews either but with the police neglecting their duty and doing an enabling act, they didn’t find much resistance to doing deliberate harm to their perceived political enemies.

            Given that a psychiatrist in my State can simply call police and have a citizen listed (flagged) for persecution, it is a dangerous political belief to hold. And I guess that many people with something to loose might be best to keep these views to themselves, especially if they wish to travel and hug a Koala some day.

            I mean were not at the stage where we could do what was done to Jamal Kashoggi yet but …… oh wait, yes we are. I can show you how to have anyone you like tortured, maimed and killed and not a damn thing you can do about it because it’s all lawful. And all that takes is the approval of a psychiatrist and a telephone call to police who have no respect for the law, but a duty to do as they are told by their overlords. I had no idea it had gotten to this stage but … there it is. A psychiatrist you have never even met can simply call police and take over your life because they don’t like what you have said or written.

            I’m sure there are other places in the world where it isn’t like that and I’d sure like to know what it’s like to live there. because after 9 years of having my human rights abused to conceal torture, kidnapping and repeated refoulment by my State government, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in something resembling a democracy.

            Looking back I think to myself how easy it would have been for me to say to my wife, “okay, I won’t leave you”, and none of this would have happened. Then the state wouldn’t be fuking destroying me and the torture and kidnappoings could have gone on without any worries of “who else has got the documents” and police would not have exposed their lack of resources (haven’t got copies of the Criminal Code and will arrest you for having proof you were ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs. man there’s some rapists interested in that fact and the ability to have their victims referred to mental health for “hallucinating” let me tell you).

            Equality before the Law? Not quite. There is preferential treatment being provided for some organised criminals who just happen to be posing as doctors, and making a lot of money in the process. Not my problem, I told them, they ignored me (and in fact worse but ….), and now they can’t speak openly because of the result (negative outcomes which were in fact intentional) of their negligence.

            They create these dark ‘legal’ spaces and then can’t handle what is being done there when they are forced to look. Go ahead, hold a “patients” feet while they are being waterboarded and see if your still human. There’s a certain feeling comes over you if you haven’t lost your humanity. A bit like the doctor who was going to kill me, he was excited about it. Could see it in his eyes. He is young. Eventually that look will extinguish and he will then be ready to ‘graduate’. Welcome to the real world Doc.

            I guess I now have an education that would come in handy in a place where human rights abuses are not welcomed with open arms and celebrated by those who citizens elect to represent their interests. That’s where I want to be. Where citizens are not being terrorised into silence regarding these abuses and there are mechanisms in place to allow for the resolution of complaints, not convenience killings and fraud.

            If there is such a place then consider this my application 🙂

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            HOW do we do it ? I don’t know ? But it’s more than enough to make you want to lean back and have a hit of Scout’s Honor . It’s good shit.

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  9. Sarah, this was extremely well articulated. I signed your petition, though I disagree with the idea that ECT and it’s devices need to be “regulated”. I hope you move closer to abolition in the future. ECT should be abolished, full stop.

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  10. To give some context to your story, I turned to my book, Karsh Portfolio and once again gazed at the photography of Hemingway. Karsh would visit his home in Havana in 1957 and described him as a “…man of peculiar gentleness, the shyest man I ever photographed”. In leaving at the end of the session, Mrs. Karsh commented to Hemingway about the flowers disturbing the stone steps in the garden. Hemingway would respond with a “yes, but we can always replace the stones”. The context and thinking which most of these sites have a handle on, aggregates space filled with stories that convey injustices not understood in the administration, that is the verb inherent to a more cognitive life force that all strive to understand, particularly when we experience the nightmares of treatment.

    In reading your story, I am reminded of the time with Voc Rehab’s assistance and my doctors encouragement, to realize some art classes at the local university. In making the connections regarding climate change and South American Art, I would begin to ask more questions, such that in the Fall, the program informed me, I could not take any more art classes, that I asked too many questions.

    Then I went and made an application to the creative writing program, but they said, that my sample wasn’t creative enough. So, with Rehab’s support, I would apply to the Hemingway Writer’s Workshop in Piggott, Arkansas.

    I wonder what it would take for a group from Madinamerica to realize a workshop at said place, for in visiting the site in a town with one stop light, the Pheiffer-Hemingway has been preserved and conveys the ambiance of an era when the depression hit. The family’s wealth would have the home repainted over 40 times in an effort to try and get some dollars into the worker’s hands. The simple house and the space where Hemingway wrote, communicates much more than the artifacts.
    To stretch the imagination even further, know that the movie with Andy Griffith in “A Face in the Crowd” would be filmed in the swimming pool of the home just behind the Pheiffer Home.

    In pulling up the collective book of writings from that week in November, 2015 my stories relate some the emotions in trying to free up the past to the tell the stories of being committed. In pulling them out for this reply, the first story was titled “The Power of Egg”, which was about the incubator we had as children. This past Winter, the incubator would be presented to my young dental student in a box, that had a bright LED light inside that would be glowing as if it were the box discovered from the roots of the tree by Joseph Smith. And where was the student from, but Brigham Young. There are reasons for what happened and will happen if we do not speak up, truthfully.

    Yes, We Can document and write the stories. Though to convey the dynamics by which a Crowd has been injured along with the injustice from schemes being hatched requires the appropriate legal and political challenge in order to effect the change we know would be helpful.

    Keep asking the questions and sharing the answers from your research! And look into a creative writing workshop at the Pheiffer-Hemingway Home.

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    • I too have experienced the nitemare of treatment ,including 15 within 30 days bi-lateral high voltage electrical , all against my will ,one of them even without anesthetic . I know what it is , ECT IS A Horror a Terror . An explosion from the center of the brain extending outward . Yes literally and actually. Psychiatry is an ABOMINATION .
      Old Man of the Sea , what a masterpiece of a book and they made a great movie out of it to .
      My old and dear friend Mike Chud and I once caught a 15 foot long white sturgeon in the Umpqua River in Oregon fishing out of an 11 foot Livingston boat on 30lb test with a 25lb test leader, with a 209 Penn reel. We took turns fighting the fish. After 3 1/2 hours the exhausted sturgeon was belly up next to our boat . We looked into the fishes huge eye ball and definitely saw intelligence there . We cut the line and slowly the fish swam to freedom. Some kinda great experience.
      Yeah maybe I too could of been somebody .

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      • Correction —-“Old Man And The Sea ” by Ernest Hemingway
        Certainly he was a writers writer . Absolutely brilliant. In the movie made of the book I believe there were 2 movies made the earliest one starred Spencer Tracy as the Old Man . Later on I believe Anthony Quinn starred as the Old Man .Both worth seeing.
        There were other great Hemingway books and movies made of them.
        Of course ban ECT !

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  11. Sarah ,this is one of the most important and best blogs ever written here at MIA . I do agree with kindredspirit “ECT should be abolished , full stop .” Thank You
    I just realized not too long ago that most everyone that has a retirement pension they hope to receive in the future from their employment especially anyone including not only psychiatrists but social workers , therapists , and all “mental health ” aides and workers ( their pension funds are invested probably highly in one pharmaceutical cartel or another). Does this mean Big Pharma and/or “Big Health” pretty much own us all ? Isn’t it time for divestment or is that even possible? What’s going on here ? Is this country by for and of the quacks ? Is it of for and by the oligarchs ? Or is it by for and of the people ? We must have Health Freedom or else they will inject ,” vaccinate ,”electrify , tie down ,pill push us , eugenically “treat” us, against our will all in the name of “mental health care” “health care” ” behavioral health care” or some other bullshit . “Science Oh Science what crimes are committed in thy name”. Thank You All especially Sarah. Stay Well be strong . May we all be able to see through the bullshit and know what to do or not to do for ourselves and live long healthy happy lives , have clean air , pure water, real food , a good place to live ,good friends , family not brainwashed by psychiatry, fun things to do , right livelihood ,great retirement , far away from busybody coercion , on a good healthy planet earth .

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  12. “Though to convey the dynamics by which a Crowd has been injured along with the injustice from schemes being hatched requires the appropriate legal and political challenge in order to effect the change we know would be helpful.”

    Bill, how very true.

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  13. Gosh, I would like to get this practice banned! It’s not clear to me what it will take. Most lawmakers are so complacent because it’s not an issue that is constantly in their faces. And in the past, some psychiatrists have successfully overturned bans based on the argument that the ban limited their ability to practice their profession! It would be such a turning point to take ECT away from medicine forever! But I don’t know how to achieve that beyond finding ways to warn the public about it. There is always the hope that an informed public could reduce the demand for ECT to zero.

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      • Well, I hope you’re right, but that’s not what we’ve seen in the past. These guys like to keep their “treatment options open” so that if one income stream starts to dry up, they’ll have another to take up the slack. Also, ECT is a seriously effective way to really damage people, so there are a certain number of psychs who will want to keep it just for that reason.

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