Snakes and Ladders: How Psychiatry Took Away My Choices

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Some months ago I was in the hospital. The question of what I’d do once I left came up. My idea was to go to a daytime addictions program. No options were ever mentioned that didn’t involve mental health and addiction. After years in the system, I have no other options.

I was then questioned on whether or not I’d actually make it, and the offer was made to have someone from the system go with me. After weeks in the hospital and years in the system, this type of infantilization was too normal to be noticeable. For most people, if someone offered to hire someone to take a cab with them to work for support or to make sure they got there, they’d probably want to tell them to go where the sun don’t shine. Our choices are only meaningful because we have the option of not following through. Going to the addictions program was my idea but it was taken away from me. Indeed, I almost forgot it was my idea. At least in my life, being infantilized has been far more damaging than violence. Any time something was my own it was taken away.

Due to desperation for something to do I ended up in another program, one that’s supposedly there to increase engagement in the community. Even though I specified I wasn’t interested in being taught coping mechanisms over the phone, this is what we ended up doing. If I say I’m already aware of something, I’m told it must be due to previous counselling. The fact that I could be educated or that much of it could merely be common sense is not considered. Whenever I’m asked what I think, I know that mental health workers plan to argue with whatever I say.

The condescension the system offers us is never-ending (“chronic” in medical terminology). For example, once, after I told an outreach worker that I’m a writer, she asked if I owned any pens and if I needed help filling out a form!

Needless to say, I found no engagement with the community from any of these programs. Psychiatry justifies alienation rather than repairing it. According to psychiatry, one struggles because of illness rather than any societal problem, and being given a team of glorified babysitters doesn’t exactly inspire one to find a new vocation—not to mention all of the abilities lost from psychiatric medications.

The pandemic has forced me to step back from mental health and addictions programs, and this has actually benefited me greatly. I was always told that anything was better than being alone, but it’s sometimes only through being alone that we can find ourselves; only then can we find the courage to see where we belong in the world.

When lockdown started I believed I had gone along with being infantilized for so long that I had no options. I enjoyed being free of the system, but I believed my only option apart from the system was permanent lockdown. Now I realize that the system robbed me of my ability to see options. I believed there was no method for me to meet intelligent people, even though I’m an author. Often I’ve actively been discouraged from doing anything. “Your recovery comes first,” I’m told, or “Who says you need a life?” I don’t even know what recovery is anymore. It appears to be just another way of separating people.

Those who take opiates for pain are not required to take decade-long time-outs, so why am I? I feel like I started off in a kiddie pool and was knocked over with a lifesaver thrown at me.

I know that writing is one thing no one can take away. Editors don’t care what my work history is or how many times I was hospitalized. However, there are times alienation can override the ability to even write. I’m angry because I could’ve done so many things.

Existential dread serves an important purpose. Without the freedom to be miserable, we can’t know happiness. Without freedom, we can’t possibly stop to ask ourselves what we want in life. I’m glad I finally stopped to ask, What now?

Of course, sometimes I’ll want to die. I can’t promise you I won’t do it because then living is no longer a choice. Nietzsche wrote, “The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.” All of these choices are more meaningful than people realize. But they are constantly being removed by people who use the word support like it’s a shield.

Psychiatry as an Identity

Identity is such a key part of what it means to be human, and yet it is the one thing almost always overlooked when people discuss diagnoses.

When I complain about psychiatry, people often think it’s about semantics. Frankly, I don’t care if you call me “mad” or “abnormal,” and I would much rather be called “depressed” than “a person with depression.” It’s only a privilege of normal people to deny the existence of normal; it is the notion that normal is the preferable state that we need to be rid of. Without this assumption, there would be no need to cover-up the concept of normal. The negative effects of psychiatric thinking didn’t go away when I was actively fighting their ideology, I was just conforming by taking on the role of the defiant patient. I was just being too much of a coward to walk away. It could only go away if I had walked away entirely, which I never had the guts to do.

After all, being in the system often becomes one’s entire role and identity in life. I alternated between getting bipolar, depression, and borderline diagnoses and this forced me to see myself entirely through the prism of psychiatry. But now I see that I just got lost in a mad world. Now I think I’m a survivor. That’s my assessment. I’m on the borderline between hope and despair; anger and peace.

I was once in a youth program where we were paid to give speeches on our mental illnesses. The young adults in the program appeared to all be in a state of identity diffusion, where they appeared to be without a formed identity and without actively exploring possibilities. Erik Erikson said, “many a late adolescent, if faced with continuing diffusion, would rather be nobody, or somebody bad, or indeed, dead—and this totally, and by free choice—than be not-quite-somebody.”

It takes courage and a supportive environment to explore, and for whatever reason, the necessary safety was lacking. They were rewarded for playing a role and they played it well. So well, in fact, that I often wondered how it wasn’t obvious what was going on. They would brag about having an illness that was more serious than other illnesses. They would give pharmaceutical propaganda. Their speeches would change entirely to align with their new labels—labels they wore like fashion accessories. It was always the diagnosis that changed first, never the story.

Along with being paid for speeches, we were given scholarships and bursaries for playing along. I once received a cheque straight from Pfizer and had lunch with a pharmaceutical rep and retired cop. At the time someone was choosing all of my courses in university and I was writing graduate papers for a friend/client of a counsellor.

Addiction saved me from this life where I was nothing more than a prop, and where I constantly observed hypocrisy and was too enmeshed to escape. I knew that I needed some way of coping with pain, and at least with heroin I still had autonomy. I could function better on heroin than I ever could on psychiatric medication. Addiction was like a friend, psychiatry was like a jailer.

Mental health labels are also excellent covers for what’s actually going on. Questions of identity, trauma, attachment, and lack of opportunity are far more terrifying than a sanitized list of symptoms. And after all, what other options existed? It requires healing to even see the paths available, and when your identity involves believing that you are not capable, how could you ever possibly find the courage to explore?

For a person who finds no reason to get out of bed or shower, to instead be labeled as non-functioning misses the whole point. But once one has been labeled, one’s reason for staying in bed becomes that one’s non-functioning.

The reason that many people during coronavirus lockdowns aren’t getting out of bed or showering is that their opportunities have been taken away. To say they’re suffering from a mental illness is to be completely blind. To function is to fulfill a purpose. What’s happening now is those purposes are no longer present and people are forced to re-evaluate/find a new purpose.

Watching this happen to other people has only solidified what I already believed. We need meaning, purpose, autonomy, and connection to live a fulfilled life. I had those taken away a long time ago.

We can’t escape suffering, and we shouldn’t try to. We can find a reason to make the suffering worthwhile. It seems like people needed for me to be broken, and I gave them what they wanted. Perhaps I was a coward for playing along, or perhaps I was in a game of snakes and ladders where the board was turned upside-down.

Psychiatry and most of clinical psychology focuses all problems on the individual. We are encouraged to endlessly reflect on ourselves. This is surprising since people are often distressed because of a lack of community. The issues of globalization on mental health and addiction were brilliantly presented in Ethan Watters’ Crazy Like Us: The globalization of the American psyche and Bruce Alexander’s The Globalization of Addiction: A study in poverty of the spirit. Globalization has had many benefits but it has also robbed us of community, and the harmful Western ideologies surrounding mental illness have rapidly spread like a virus.

During the time of coronavirus, people say, “We’re all in this together,” but are we really? What does it say about us that we’re willing to be in a crisis together but not at any other time? I know that I personally haven’t talked to anyone other than mental health professionals in weeks. Whatever it is I’m in, I’ve been in it for far longer than three months and I’ve been in it alone. The isolation and chaos you are dealing with I’ve lived with for my entire life. I was pathologized for my responses, you receive ongoing peer support and understanding. Don’t patronize me by telling me there’s a ladder here. Being critical means I own myself again, and we must start with being able to see the board we’re on.

When I started writing this article I believed that I merely got caught in the system for my eccentricity and that the system prevented me from having any opportunity in life, but by taking time out from the system I’ve managed to heal myself and see that no one could live with the trauma I lived with. I refused to see the opportunities available to me because I was afraid of being hurt and because I was treated like I couldn’t possibly be capable. It takes courage for me to search for a successful and meaningful life because I have been hurt so often, but I’m starting to make tiny steps. I’m focusing on writing and on making meaningful connections. I’m trying to learn who I am after decades of allowing other people to impose an identity upon me. A lot of people used my eccentricity to hurt me, but I no longer believe that to be different means we are doomed. We are survivors. Sometimes it takes being different to find an escape on an upside-down board.

One thing’s certain: Next time I’ll take the cab alone.

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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.

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77 COMMENTS

  1. I couldn’t help but think of the rod of Asclepius disguised as a ladder, leading one downwards at all points in the game.

    And this
    “The young adults in the program appeared to all be in a state of identity diffusion, where they appeared to be without a formed identity and without actively exploring possibilities.”

    I was reading a little about the psychiatrist Robert Lifton and his work on Chinese brain washing. Funny how you can take something ‘we’ are doing and make it exotic by making it something ‘they’ are doing.

    It was at the point where the target was worn down and apologised that he describes the inner process that results. Before that apology their identity remained, but once they began apologising it was then eroded, they were now in a state of high dissonance where the only way out was to accept a new negative identity. This new identity was not based on them being bad, it was that their essence was bad. At this point the person loses all integrity, self worth, and a sense of true identity. And by disallowing any questioning of the new identity because that merely reinforces the fact your ill …….?

    So given that this process is exactly what we are doing in places disguised as hospitals, why is it attributed to the Chinese? I think it would be fairer to call it Psychiatric brain washing. And why brain and not mind washing?

    I wonder about the saber rattling by our Prime Minister towards the Chinese yesterday ($270 billion on new weapons, 500 cyber spies to go on the offensive). At what point will we as a Nation be brought to our knees and forced to apologise? And will we as a Nation at that point realise we are inherently evil, our new negative identity. The National Socialists who have taken over for now would need to look at themselves, and the systems they have put in place that have been so harmful to our community.

    I think that the dissonance in our Nation can be seen with our constant to and fro between China and the US. Whose our daddy? And we are constantly pointing fingers at China for doing things that we have been doing for some time. They actually have a right to protest, which is more than can be said about the ‘democracy’ I live in. We are torturing (and other vile acts) in places called hospitals and disguising it as medicine. The Convention easily overcome by changing the status of “citizen” to “patient”, and then refouling anyone who complains.

    And I don’t know why we have this fear of the Chinese taking over, didn’t they notice they bought the place some time back. Our politicians sold us out, and are now trying to get us to turn on the landlord. The 270 Billion will buy us a 38 special and three bullets, and were going to take on the LAPD lol. Still, this is the same guy that said Australians value a Rule of Law. He obviously hasn’t been into a police station lately, they tell me they don’t even have a copy of the Criminal Code, and are simply making up crimes to prosecute people for (eg they were going to arrest me for having my medical records that proved I had been ‘spiked’ with benzos before interrogation. Imagine the insanity of arresting the victims of crimes for having the documented proof? I’m assuming it was because it exposed their use of known torture methods that they are acting in this manner)

    Anyway, good article Jill, got me thinking about the identity they have tried to impose on me. I’m still not at the point where I am going to apologise for who I am. Better to die on my feet than live on my knees I say.

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    • I second this comment. I have avoided “the system” for so long because I feel, like market researchers, they listen just long enough to slot me into a predetermined algorithm , then put me on a predetermined course of “treatment.” I cease to be a person. The last psychiatrist I had literally had a clipboard with boxes he checked off as he asked me the same questions! I have a Ph.D.! I know what answers they want/need to hear. Give me a break! Likewise, I know the things I should *never* say. As a consequence, I cannot be completely honest, and without that, what’s the point?

      “Infantilization” is exactly right!! I understand the legal reasons treatment has gone down this path.. Then again, I understand the need for *some* form of patient protection from outright malpractice. Thirty-odd years ago, i was sexually abused by a “medical professional” and when I told my psychiatrist, he only responded by stating that I was “21 [just] and could say no!” This, after three weeks in the hospital where I received repeated ECT treatments and thereafter released on heavy medication. I was in no position to “just say no.” And this person worked in his office! Oy vey….

      Anyway, I am definitely *not* “just 21” now and have been in and out of contact with “the system” since the 1980s. I have a respectable job, a spouse, a house ;-). I have problems to be sure, but I should not have to give up my person-hood just to received counseling.

      Thanks again, Jill, for your thoughtful article.

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      • Yeah it’s funny I once complained about treatment I received for a physical condition and I received a formal apology within days along with steps included to prevent it from happening in the future. Complain about your psych treatment and you just buy yourself another week in the hospital. Or if you’re in the borderline category, possible denial of any services.

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          • Yes, of course it is. But when you’re so broken that you’re turning to people you don’t even trust it makes it so much worse when those people act like you’re just being attention seeking and manipulative. On maybe two occasions I got the response of, “I know you’re in a lot of pain and I wish there was something I could do but I’m not sure there is…” Now that I have no problem with. At one place you had to specify if you were there for addiction or mental health and just choosing the wrong box could get you sent away if they didn’t have the appropriate person. Why do they think I do drugs! I actually try to tell people to choose addiction any time the choice is offered, even if they’re not addicts. The addiction system is infinitely more humane…

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          • I know what you mean. I was just being flippant, as I have a tendency to do. Naturally, if a person has experienced lots of rejection over his/her life, rejection by psychiatry will at least initially feel like other rejections. It is to be hoped that over time and with education, a person might come to understand that s/he may have “dodged a bullet,” but it is hardly reasonable to expect a client to see this up front.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking essay. So true about a lost sense of connection and purpose being important to understanding mental illness and its treatment.

    As someone living with mental illness, identity is something I’ve also been thinking about a lot the past few years. I used to identify as someone with mental illness, because 1) it helped me, as someone with severe social anxiety, to gain insight into my condition, to find self-acceptance and learn to respect my boundaries and needs; and 2) I thought that identifying as mentally ill would be a powerful declaration of that self-acceptance and almost strategic even in the sense of taking ownership of my diagnosis and allowing me to identify with similar others and thus better advocate for ourselves, much in the way that LGBTQ people and people on the autism spectrum have taken ownership of their identities and used that political power to fight stigma.

    In the past two years, however, I’ve come to realize that a diagnosis of mental illness is dis-empowering for much of the reasons you write about. It’s a label that is imposed upon us and is incredibly reductive. The label is fraught with so much stigma, and there is so much willful misunderstanding and negativity surrounding mental illness that even NAMI recommends that people should not consider it an identity. I’ve suffered tangible consequences of this stigma, having been harassed by police on multiple occasions. The recent murder of Elijah McClain for being black, introverted, and different really underscores the terror that neurodivergent people and persons of color living with mental illness often endure.

    It’s very interesting how you observed that there are certain people with mental illness who seem to trade in diagnoses like trophies. I’ve been hospitalized as well and can confirm that I’ve seen this phenomenon, but not much outside the hospital system. I wonder if compliance and race are key factors here. It makes sense, since being infantilized is the opposite of being treated as threatening by society. Must we be compliant with an incredibly abusive system in order to be accepted by society?

    Over the years I’ve found self-acceptance with my chronic depression and anxiety, and recognize that living in a society that causes people to suffer is an indication that the system needs to be fixed, not that there is something inherently wrong with me. It shouldn’t be surprising that people want to escape the systems that are abusing them, and when we can’t, we become broken. My problem with psychiatry today (and maybe the way it has always been) is that it is a very authoritarian system that tries to tell us that there’s something wrong with us, not with the society that abuses us.

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    • Interesting. I agree with everything but one point. Is being infantilized the opposite of being seen as threatening? Why the need to infantilize? Are we not so out of control that we need a straight jacket? I mean isn’t that their thinking… I view being coddled with drugs and being put in handcuffs as the same thing. But perhaps you are correct in that opposites often are the same. I can’t and won’t pretend to have the experience necessary to add anything to your thoughts on race but I do appreciate you sharing them.

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      • That makes sense that being infantilized and perceived as threatening can be two sides of the same coin, and both cause a lot of harm. I apologize for the way I wrote that. And your point that “being coddled with drugs and being put in handcuffs” are not so different things, is powerful and true. Elijah McClain was both literally restrained and injected with ketamine. There is so much to process and I’m learning, and listening. Thanks again for your deeply insightful writing.

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        • Another reason I think is that professionals are insecure in their own role and they need to play hero. They’re also uncomfortable being around real suffering and therefore try to squash it however they can. So perhaps the only difference between what you and I are discussing is playing a different type of hero, cop or “professional” (a term I’ve always despised.)

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  3. Jill, Well said.

    “For a person who finds no reason to get out of bed or shower, to instead be labeled as non-functioning misses the whole point.”

    Psychiatry relies on people’s vulnerability and the non-informed public’s non-interest and gullibility.

    As you can see, by the years passing, we keep learning that what we were told, is not fact at all.

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  4. Bowen,
    “In the past two years, however, I’ve come to realize that a diagnosis of mental illness is dis-empowering for much of the reasons you write about. It’s a label that is imposed upon us and is incredibly reductive. The label is fraught with so much stigma, and there is so much willful misunderstanding and negativity surrounding mental illness that even NAMI recommends that people should not consider it an identity. I’ve suffered tangible consequences of this stigma, having been harassed by police on multiple occasions.”

    If you give it even a few more years, perhaps you will see what a hoax psychiatry and much of what we are told really is.
    It’s not a compliment to NAMI that they speak of stigma or identity. It’s a joke to give someone a tag and then tell them not to identify with it. It is like me telling someone that they are an idiot but not to take my words to heart.
    And it is not “stigma”. Psychiatry and NAMI invented it, JUST to keep the paradigm going. It is rather “persecution”, as was demonstrated by relentless overpowering, coercions. The labels do NOT result in “stigma”. They result in PERSECUTION.
    And is the very reason the UN is talking about “human rights”. (not that it is more than talk) But why would they need to discuss “human rights violations” if not for persecution. Psychiatry likes to use words that make the accused feel as if they are on the same page as their accusers and abusers.

    See the whole thing is, you can have your issues without the labels. Why do you think the very system that labels is the one who mistreats? Does this make any sense?

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    • “See the whole thing is, you can have your issues without the labels. Why do you think the very system that labels is the one who mistreats? Does this make any sense?”

      In a nut shell. Which is about all that is left of me (and many others) when they are done, a shell.

      “It’s a joke to give someone a tag and then tell them not to identify with it. It is like me telling someone that they are an idiot but not to take my words to heart.”

      I agree Sam. I had an experience recently with someone who made the claim that they knew people who could help me. What really hurt was that I believed them. It seems the idea was to have me sit on my hands, and if anything good happened they could lay claim to the good, but if nothing happened I would sit and wait while they did nothing. To me they are as bad as those who did the original harm by creating false hope. In fact, isn’t that what the ‘mental health industry’ does? Create false hope and lay claim to any good that manages to emerge from their negligence, fraud and slander?

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      • I think pretty much people are onto them as soon as they enter the door. They are really not all that good at their jobs. In fact they suck. The reason they stay in the industry is because there are literally NO jobs they can do aside from the bullshit. On the other hand, many of their “clients” are pretty flexible and able to change jobs, able to learn new things in their lives.

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  5. What did i just read?….funny, those ARE MY WORDS, but i don’t remember writing them…
    And i never used heroin. Why did i say i used heroin? My name is Bill, not Jill. I’m so confused! What did i just read? Those are MY WORDS! MY WORDS! And i’m so glad to see they fit you, too! They look good on you!
    Is it to soon to say, “Death to the psychiatric oppressors!”, or do we have to wait until 2021….????….

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      • I’ve seen the carnage PhRMA inflicted with opiates, on top of illegal heroin, and Chinese-supplied fentanyl, on top of the profit-driven carnage of legal, and FORCED psych drugs, right here in my nice clean, quiet, safe little New England college town. I’m glad you’re writing here, Jill. Good to see that some, at least, are saved before it’s too late
        Welcome, friend….

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        • Thanks. But I wonder about the drugs… I personally view seeing the drugs as the problem when it comes to addiction as entirely missing the point. Addiction is a response to dislocation. Many people with healthy relationships and environments and opportunities are able to take opiates without ever getting addicted. Check out the Rat Park study. Opiates are not the problem, and opiates help many people survive unlivable worlds. People with childhood trauma also have insufficient natural opioids so it’s not an accident we search for it where we can. Now if we could focus on community healing instead of all of the bullshit the system offers us…

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  6. “Often I’ve actively been discouraged from doing anything.” I was literally told to “Quit all your activities, and concentrate on the meds.” That’s when I knew to stop listening to my (I later learned from medical records being handed over, child abuse covering up) Lutheran psychologist. She did tell me she couldn’t help me, and I didn’t need to see her any longer, shortly thereafter. Which was fine with me.

    “Mental health labels are also excellent covers for what’s actually going on.” Yes, and the medical evidence is in. The primary actual societal function of our “mental health” workers is, in fact, covering up child abuse and rape.

    Today, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).”

    And all this child abuse covering up is by DSM design, since no “mental health” worker may ever bill any insurance company for ever helping any child abuse survivor ever.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    Given the fact that all this systemic child abuse covering up by our “mental health” system has resulted in us all now living in a “pedophile empire,” where child sex trafficking and pedophilia are running amok.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT
    https://community.healthimpactnews.com/topic/4576/america-1-in-child-sex-trafficking-and-pedophilia-cps-and-foster-care-are-the-pipelines

    It sure does strike me that our society needs an industry that can actually bill to help all these child abuse survivors. And the truth is our, systemic child abuse covering up by mainstream psychologists and psychiatrists, and their many “mental health” minion, really are not providing a service which is beneficial to the majority of people in our country. Thus, we should get rid of the systemic, primarily child abuse covering up, pedophile aiding, abetting, and empowering, scientifically “invalid,” “mental health” industries.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml
    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    Especially since they’re murdering 8 million innocent people every year.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2015/mortality-and-mental-disorders.shtml

    Thanks for sharing your story, Jill. And I agree with bowen, “psychiatry … is a very authoritarian system that tries to tell us that there’s something wrong with us, not with the society that abuses us.” When the truth is, it is our “pedophile empire”/society, and the bad systems within that society, that are the problem.

    God bless in your healing journey, my fellow artist. And one has to ask the question, what percent of the psychiatric survivor stories on this website are written by artists? It seems like it may be the majority.

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    • Yeah I didn’t start on the problems with the borderline label because that would require its own essay… they first gave me that label when I was 16. In a sense it’s a more freeing label in that the system often simply rejects you rather than smothers you, but the rejection for merely surviving what other people couldn’t stomach for a second! And the idea that it’s our personality that is the problem! They manipulate us and put us in a position where we have to play their games, then they use that as evidence that they were right all along. I had one psychiatrist trick me into calling myself borderline essentially.
      “You have the traits but it’s different for you because it stems from your childhood.”
      “That’s what borderline is,” I foolishly replied.
      She smiled and I immediately realized my error. After that I never let them win again. I had another one tell me that dissociation was a refusal to be “real” and that she could come back when I was ready to be real. She hadn’t known me for more than 5 minutes when she said this.

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          • I went to a counselor one time. I told him I would feel angry sometimes when I got home from work. He said, “So you get angry when you come home from work?” I said, “Yes, I just said that!” He was like a freakin’ parrot! Just repeated back what I said to him, and then invited us to join his church. At least he didn’t “diagnose” me. I’d have had to tell him what my “diagnosis” was and no doubt he’d have repeated it back to me. How can people feel OK taking money and not providing a service of any value? I mean, they have to know that they aren’t helping, don’t they?

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          • Like a freaking parrot?

            Hmm taxonomic issues, in Australia that’s known as a Galah. And my ‘traits’ needs cleaning out at least once a week, otherwise the guano starts to build up, much like the situation with your ‘therapist’ Steve lol

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        • Hmm perhaps but the trick was that she was implying that I wasn’t actually borderline, knowing full well that I’d correct her (therefore implying that I was borderline). The only conversation we ever had was debating this label. She also told me to throw a chair at her. I met her again 10 years later and she thought I had schizophrenia at this point.

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          • Well Jill,
            You realize that women got labeled by men, ohh so long ago. It was unheard of for women to label men. We’ve come so far 🙂 These labelers are hungry, constipated, frustrated, oppressed people. It is their way of acting out. There are those personalities that become colder and more “calm” when they are around any emotion.
            Emotion upsets them, yet they get fed by it. And I’m talking even by the simplest of emotions.

            I suppose you could have asked if you could throw a pen instead, since you realize a chair could hurt her. Many a shrink wishes their subjects would throw something. It is their bread and butter, for their mind and table.
            It’s such a waste of time to patronize them. Some people look back and realize that shrinks robbed them for their emotions.
            It’s really gross when I think of adult men and women robbing youth. They should be ashamed, or feel guilty. But how can they, when they simply don’t have those capabilities.
            In this way, we can’t blame them, like you can’t blame your neighbour for being who he is.
            But it’s the fact that our governments still allow goofballs to get licence to sell their religion, to go and rob people of their last buck or emotions, for nonexistent “disease”, “illness”, or “disorders”.
            Btw, “personality disorders” are a perfect example of what a hoax psychiatry is. And I’ve met quite a few women with labels.

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          • One of the most poisonous comments ever used against me by a psychiatrist was that I explained that the Community Nurse had fabricated evidence regarding domestic violence against me to slander me. He wrote on the statutory declaration “wife fearful for safety” (communicated matters), and then in his follow up notes “wife fears being assaulted”.

            I of course asked my wife about why she had said such things about me when she knew they were not true, and she said, and I quote verbatim, “I said no such thing”. Of course at that time I had great difficulty believing anything, and it basically destroyed our marriage. (and of course my wife quite prepared to use that false statement to her advantage, the evidence to slander me being fabricated by the Community Nurse and then uttered by others despite knowing it was false. Meh, I should expect as much)

            Point being that I told a psychiatrist this, that my wife was not afraid of me and that the Community Nurse made that up to create the risk he required to create the illusion of lawfulness. Risk being one of the elements he requires to detain and refer.

            The psychiatrist responded with, “your wife was too afraid to tell you she was afraid of you”. Think about that poisonous comment. All the years I lived with my wife who I loved dearly, she was totally living in fear of me, but was too afraid to say so. Everything that she ever said to me was a lie, and she only said it because she was afraid of me.

            It is possibly the most poisonous statement I’ve ever heard from someone. Even when my wife speaks the truth and says “I’m not afraid of you”, her statement is rejected because she is so afraid to speak the truth that she is afraid?

            They even find ways of speaking for others in these situations. Not only is what I’m saying invalidated, but the words of others are invalidated when they don’t suit the narrative they prefer.

            The Community Nurse wanted it to be that she was afraid, he fabricated that evidence to create what he needed, and then it is used to poison should you complain.

            I’ve no idea if the psychiatrist who did this was using it to check my ability to reason or not. But that comment still angers me to this very day. Further evidence of the slanderous nature of psychiatric assessments. Let me say, these people need to be very careful when they start poking snakes, though with the ability to manufacture narratives to conceal misconduct, their involvement in, and escalation of domestic violence will remain unnoticed.

            Allow me to draw your attention to the ‘redacted’ documents I was provided with from the hospital as a means to explain. They “edited” that set to lay the blame for what was done to me entirely on my wife, concealing the misconduct of the Community Nurse, provoking my anger and directing it towards her. Clever, and particularly vicious, though they are after all people just doing their jobs. How many women and their children are dead as a result of this type of conduct? None, because “it never happened” as a result of them being able to commit acts of fraud and slander their victims.

            Divide and Rule.

            What God has put together, let no person put asunder (corrected to be politically correct lol).

            Easy to point the finger at my wife, as sure she bears some responsibility. But the Community Nurse has a duty and consider what he knew.

            I had been ‘spiked’ with benzos.

            I was no ones “patient”

            He spoke to me about a knife he THOUGHT the police had found, and thus knew it was planted for them to find.

            He then completed what he knew were fraudulent statutory declarations knowing he would receive support in those serious criminal offences as a result of his ‘history’ of committing those offences.

            No one other than him had the power to incarcerate me, and he did so despite being fully aware that what he was doing was criminal. Sure, she pointed the finger, but he was the one that arranged the ‘lynch mob’.

            Of course the State would have preferred me to have returned home and beaten my wife to death, then they could have said “see, we told you so” and called for more resources to deal with ‘undiagnosed’ mental illness in the community.

            The damage they do should not result in them being able to profit from it. That needs to change to a negative reinforcement model to stop further deliberate damage being done to people.

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      • Think about exactly WHAT a “personality” actually IS…. It was created inside you, by other people, and then it becomes only what other people outside you perceive of you. In a very real sense, a “personality” is a figment of the imagination. A “personality” is at best a changeable mental construct. A set of concepts, and interpretations of perceived behavior. Me? I had my personality surgically removed decades ago, and i’m a much happier man because of that. And just exactly HOW CLOSE to WHAT BORDER is that? Are there border guards? What’s on the other side of that borderline? Seems to me, so-called “BPD” is like Santa Claus and unicorns. Only as “real” as it’s believed to be, and only in the minds of those who choose, or are forced to believe in it. I don’t believe in the superstition of BPD. Thoughts on this, Jill?….

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        • Hmmm there’s a lot there so I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking. Personality is complex. I was adopted so I don’t buy into the idea that it’s entirely created via other people. My personality is almost identical to my biological mother’s and I never met her. But a lot of BPD traits aren’t really about personality at all, they’re mostly bullshit descriptions of defense mechanisms and responses to trauma. I find concepts like attachment insecurity much more useful, especially in my experience. I have a pretty serious anxious-avoidant attachment but my emotions are rather stable. But since they put everyone into a box they simply tell me to do DBT which has exactly 0 application to my situation. BPD is bullshit but so is the entire DSM. BPD isn’t about personality at all, it’s about survival skills. And we should learn to value ourselves for surviving, not label ourselves as a disorder and a checklist.

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      • I love it that people think you can easily control when, where, or how you dissociate (and in my case also derealize). I had a horrible psychologist tell me in our first session basically that because I dissociate, I am purposely being noncompliant.

        At that point, I barely knew these states of mind had actual *names.* I found out that face through peers, not the system that I’ve been forced to revolve around since I was 6.

        Still hate that woman. She managed to break any agency I had left and allowed for my entire life to collapse on itself. I went from living on my own to moving back in with my parents. I was just *so* desperate for relief from my obsessive thoughts that I’d do whatever she said I needed to. Dig through garbage, not wash my hands after going to the restroom, purposefully expose myself to people who were ill, whatever. She’d say “jump” and I’d ask “how high?”

        And she *still* dropped me without warning for being noncompliant…

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  7. It is too funny Steve.
    It is a good business, this whole MH racket. I have experienced them sitting there and trying to look all serious, but looking back, being older, I now am aware that the look I saw was one that was very preoccupied with checking to see IF I believed them, and also one that was busy trying to maintain a sense of authority. Perhaps it was their trying to convince themselves that I felt… I knew then that there was something deeply wrong and it set me on a path to observe back. “knowledge” is not something I found there and it was exactly what I was seeking.
    When it does not make sense or ring true, it most likely isn’t.

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  8. I appreciate all of the comments here. One thing I need to do is figure out how to destroy my copy of the DSM. Any ideas? I was originally going to make erasure poems but I think the language has too much garbage in it for that. I should at least scribble some profanity and I SURVIVED before complete destruction. I burned my mental health records some years ago and I highly recommend this.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your insightful story Jill.

    “Psychiatry and most of clinical psychology focuses all problems on the individual. We are encouraged to endlessly reflect on ourselves.”

    Yes, and that is what makes psychiatry (and some psychologists) so revolting. I saw a psychiatrist while in cancer treatment because chemo drugs and steroids were causing insomnia. I was reluctant but cancer docs lied, telling me the visit was only to “get help with sleep meds”. So I agreed to head right over to the psychiatrist believing she had more advanced knowledge about sleep meds than my family doctor. It was the biggest mistake I ever made. She slapped 4 psych labels on me and prescribed Seroquel and clonazepam. She mocked me for having side effects to Seroquel and actually labelled the well known side effects of 3 toxic chemo drugs a “Somatization Disorder”. Then she posted a very damaging report of totally shocking lies onto the widespread electronic health record system. In my province (AB) the electronic records are accessed by every health type of healthcare professional and this has severely impacted my health care. I’ve got copies of my records and would enjoy burning them but unfortunately they live on eternally in the electronic files.

    Keep up the excellent writing Jill and I wish you all the best in the future.

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    • Seroquel is a nightmare! They had me on 1000 mg/day then added olanzapine on top of it! Then they gave me an IQ test and a brain scan and told me I probably had schizophrenia. They would ask, how are the voices? But I didn’t hear voices! I would just shrug.

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  10. Jill, I was prescribed 25mg of Seroquel per day and I was taking about 6 mg of Seroquel per day (I used to bite it in 4). When I stopped the Seroquel I still had years of unsuccessful sleeping.

    6mg Seroquel taken 10 minutes before I went to bed, used to knock me out.

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    • Well seroquel is less sedating at higher doses. However, often they say this as if it means there are less limitations in functioning at higher doses, which is definetely not true. You become so non-functioning that you’re no longer aware that you’re not functioning or what functioning even is.

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    • Did you know that now UK psychiatrists are routinely forcing 400mg – 700mg even 900mg of Seroquel (Quetiapine) for anxiety which is probably akathisia that they caused. when I refused this, the maniac started balling and shouting at me saying it was licensed for this use and that thousands were on it. It’s not licensed for anxiety at all in the UK.

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      • I think the worst for me was when they forced me to take effexor and it had me walking into walls, shuffling when I walked, getting brain zaps where I’d stop mid sentence, and basically felt like I was on MDMA. I had to focus just to not fall over. Then they told me that the reason why I felt like I was on MDMA was because I was bipolar. To top it off I was dope sick at the same time. I was refusing my opioid medication because addictions doctors couldn’t force me to take anything, only psych could.

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        • In 1920 Karl Binding (academic lawyer) and Alfred Hoche (psychiatrist) wrote a treaty: Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten Lebens (“Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Living”) used by the Nazi’s to justify their Aktion T4 mass murder program. In this they seek to rationalise and normalise state backed murder using considerations of the nature of suicide and the debasement of humans:

          “Proof of the illegality of suicide could only be obtained from the exact proof of the positive law on homicide. But the material is missing wherever suicide is not punishable or is otherwise unequivocally identified as a crime. Or it could result from legally established premises.”

          “So not only is there no evidence for the crime nature of suicide, but even today no suicide and none of his judges even remotely see a forbidden act in suicide and really put it on a line with murder and homicide.”

          Karl Binding

          Now think of that today in the context of psychiatric high dose polypharmacy drug toxicity inducing Akathisia/Toxic Psychosis causing suicide and homicide (see Catherine Clarke) and the Cytochrome P450 gene test that can predict an individuals inability to metabolise and the 200 or so drugs that can cause Akathisia/Toxic Psychosis (see David Healy) and the fact that almost no one in the UK is given this test that has been around for more than twenty years, which used in a court of law could pretty much prove the ‘crime nature of suicide’. No wonder that psychiatry doesn’t want this test for everyone.

          And then this kind of human debasement thinking:

          “The most essential thing is the lack of the possibility to become aware of one’s own personality, the lack of self-confidence. The spiritually dead are on an intellectual level, which we only find deep down in the animal series, and the emotions do not rise above the line of the most elementary processes linked to animal life.”

          Alfred Hoche

          Now fast forward to our time:

          “The thing about acute serious mental illness is that people are not behaving badly, they are beyond any moral consideration, they are behaving in a very seriously mentally disorder way, it always reminds me of when they use to prosecute pigs for eating apples in your orchard.”

          Forensic psychiatrist Tony Maiden 2015

          In 1939 Gerhard Kretschmars father sent a request to Adolf Hitler to be allowed to put his disabled son ‘to sleep’. Hitler sent his personal physician Karl Brandt to administer a lethal barbiturate dose. Days later, 15 psychiatrists were ordered to Hitlers Chancellery and told a secret forced euthanasia program was to be rolled out code named T4, after the street address of it’s activities. Six ‘hospitals’ were used to mass murder psychiatric patients at: Brandenberg, Grefeneck, Hartheim, Sonnenstein, Bernburg and Hadamar and later 300 other psychiatric institutions.

          These centers served as training for the Schutzstaffel (SS) who later constructed larger killing centers (Auschwitz, Treblinka, etc.) German psychiatrists tried a number of methods to implement their T4 ‘euthanasia’ program – barbiturate injections, including a sub-lethal dose to induce pneumonia just so the psychiatrists could state pneumonia as a cause of death to the family, firing squads, starvation or freezing, gassing with truck exhaust, gassing with CO gas developed by psychiatrist Werner Heyde M.D.and used in the holocaust. The psychiatrists had gas chambers constructed in Mental Health institutions made to look like shower rooms where MH patients were killed, their bodies dragged out, their brains cut out and their bodies burnt.

          Almost all German psytchiatrists murdered their patients according to Professor Michael Von Cranach who did detailed research into this major crime against humanity. Such was the public outcry Hitler ordered they stop but even he couldn’t stop them murdering the patients. Michael Von Cranach states that they (the psychiatrists) stated they wanted to annihilate the patients.

          The SS the most heinous and murderous Nazi criminals were taught by psychiatry – a so called medical profession – how to mass murder in these 6 ‘hospitals’ the techniques were then used in the holocaust, indeed it was an extension of what psychiatry did. Prior to this 1934-1939 the psychiatrists forced 400,000 sterilizations. Psychiatry had brought eugenics to life in Germany. Admired by Hitler, America had already set up eugenics organisations looking to implement forced sterilizations: American Breeders Association, Human Betterment Foundation, The Race Betterment Society, America Eugenics Society, Immigration Restriction League and the most important of all – The Eugenics Records Office at Coldspring Harbor Long Island New York founded by Mary Harriman and Charles B. Davenport, funded by Harriman rail baron wealth and later The Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Institute.

          Also by the 1920’s Rockefeller was funding German eugenicist psychiatry – The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology of Human Heredity & Eugenics.(KWI-A) The director was eugenicist psychiatrist Ernst Rüdin, a principle architect of mass sterilization and mass murder known as Aktion T4. Rüdin along with many other psychiatrists and fellow eugenicists Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer and Franz Josef Kallmann both directors of KWI-A were not brought to justice after the war. This happened because American eugenics $ power had funded German eugenics. In the horror aftermath of the concentration camps, the top German psychiatrists could hold a silver mirror to the Americans, during the the Nuremberg trials they could point out American eugenics funding to themselves and to their own US forced sterilization and probably the plans for eugenicide using gas chambers:

          “Carnegie-supported 1911 “Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder’s Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population.” Point eight was euthanasia. ”

          “The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in America was a “lethal chamber” or public locally operated gas chambers.”

          The eugenicists/geneticists are particularly interested in twins, in their view, to study environmental social influence difference between them in relation to their shared genetic influence of traits.

          In a letter to his wife in 1946 Allied investigator Leo Alexander wrote:

          “It sometimes seems as if the Nazis had taken special pains in making practically every nightmare come true. Some new evidence has come in where two doctors in Berlin, one a man and the other a woman, collected eyes of different colour. It seems that the concentration camps were combed for people whose one eye had a slightly different color than the other. Who ever [sic] was unlucky enough to possess such a pair of slightly unequal eyes had them cut out and was killed, the eyes being sent to Berlin. This is the carrying out into reality of an old gruesome German fairy tale which is included in the Tales of Hoffmann, where Dr Coppelius posing as a sandman comes at night and cuts out children’s eyes when they are tired. The grim part of the story is that Doctors von Verschuer and [Karin] Magnussen in Berlin did prefer children and particularly twins. There is no end to this nightmare, at least 23 are being tried now and, I trust, the others will follow later.”

          An appalling irony that Rockefeller who funded KWI-A – Karin Magnussen worked at KWI-A and was not brought to justice – also recently funded the Museum of Modern Art New York to the tune of $400 million – considered one of the most important visual (eyes) art institutions in the world.

          If there was ever a time to abolish and outlaw psychiatry for major crimes against humanity it was after WW2. But what happened was all around evil, monsters the like of Donald Ewen Cameron – he of Project MK Ultra torture methods – techniques born of William Sargent British monster brain butcher ‘esteemed’ psychiatrist – assessing the German ‘esteemed’ psychiatric monsters in Nuremberg at the request of UK’s Tavistock psychological warfare set-up.

          So what we have now is psychiatry unchecked and obsessed with drugging people. The three Sackler family ‘esteemed’ brothers Arthur, Mortimer and Raymond were all psychiatrists, also massively funding the cream of the art world.

          Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, sets out what the Sackler family did via their Purdue Pharma:

          “1.Dangerous opioid drugs are killing people across Massachusetts. Prescription medicines, which are supposed to protect our health, are instead ruining people’s lives. Every community in our Commonwealth suffers from the epidemic of addiction and death.

          2.Purdue Pharma created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit. First, Purdue deceived Massachusetts doctors and patients to get more and more people on its dangerous drugs. Second, Purdue misled them to use higher and more dangerous doses. Third, Purdue deceived them to stay on its drugs for longer and more harmful periods of time. All the while, Purdue peddled falsehoods to keep patients away from safer alternatives. Even when Purdue knew people in Massachusetts were addicted and dying, Purdue treated doctors and their patients as targets to sell more drugs. At the top of Purdue, a small group of executives led the deception and pocketed millions of dollars.

          3.On behalf of the Commonwealth, the Attorney General asks the Court to end Purdue’s illegal conduct and make Purdue and its culpable executives pay for the harm they inflicted in our state.”

          I’ll leave you with a quote from UK home treatment team consultant psychiatrist Dr Derek Tracy also part of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and advocate of “Evolutionary” Psychiatry 2019:

          “Most people who take drugs are not particularly harmed by them.”

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          • Wonderfully done street.

            Aren’t we ever so lucky how improved psychiatry is?
            They are completely aware that they are not doctors. At this point, they are bitter about fulfilling a stupid role. Impossible not to be. They were not wise enough when they went into the arena. Just like many of their subjects.
            My heart gladdens with shadenfreude to know the thankless, miserable job they have. To spend 10 years on getting a degree where all you do is produce harm and misery. And act as a cleaner upper for politicians, yet create more need for politicians.

            They DO KNOW, you know. Unless they are stupid.

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    • Yeah, gotta love that concept of “treatment resistant.” If our “treatment” doesn’t work, it’s not our fault, you are “treatment resistant.” Which justifies us doing MORE of the “treatment” that didn’t work or forcing a worse “treatment” on you against your will. “I KNOW this will work, if only she’d stop RESISTING…” Why do people believe this kind of obviously illogical nonsense? Hammering harder on a screw will not screw it in!

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        • Why, you rebellious good-for-nothing, disrupting the group experience like that for no reason at all! Obviously showing clear signs of “oppositional defiant disorder.” Oh, but there’s no drug for that, so maybe we’ll roll with “Bipolar” and go from there… /s

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          • Well geez Jill, you were supposed to use socks that were NOT on people’s feet. Although if you were sewing them, it could be seen as acupuncture “treatment”.
            But I’m guessing you were not allowed to use needles. I will google DIY “sock snowmen”. Or perhaps I should google “mental health therapy” to get the instructions.

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          • Oh they don’t even pretend it’s therapy, they admit it’s only so they can assess your functioning level. I was in one place where they literally graded you on how well you played board games like Snakes and Ladders. God why didn’t I remember this when I wrote the article? It would’ve been perfect…

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          • Well they were doing it based on how well we could focus, sit still, socialize, etc. They also took books away from me for being “inappropriate”. Looking out of windows, smiling or laughing at the wrong time, sitting awkwardly, etc, were also written down on my chart as inappropriate.

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          • Appalling! Very much like Kindergarten, except we didn’t have to take drugs and weren’t labeled as malfunctioning. They at least recognized that we were children, not robots.

            It seems particularly ironic when they tell you on the one hand that you have no control over your symptoms, only the drugs can help, and yet they punish you for failing to participate or to control your behavior in the way they want you do. Which is it people?

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          • Well they don’t think they’re punishing us, they honestly believe they’re helping… because they don’t see us as people. Therefore they tick off boxes of behaviour like they’re inspecting a car… this is why I think One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was such a cop out. It’s so easy to make it about an evil nurse. But in reality evil is much easier to live with. There’s logic to it. When someone putting you in restraints thinks they’re helping, that’s a nightmare… It’s because they think we can’t control our behaviour that they try to control it for us. But just being around people who expect us to be uncontrollable creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is no sane response to an insane place. This is why I laugh inappropriately to them, because I think the whole thing is funny. And sad, of course, but I’m not going to be vulnerable enough to let that part out…

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          • “Looking out of windows, smiling or laughing at the wrong time, sitting awkwardly, etc, were also written down on my chart as inappropriate.”

            I was thinking about this ‘inappropriate laughing’ and realised it’s the paranoia of the document-er being documented, if that’s good England.

            My point being that they say something really dumb like “we’re here to help” and you respond by laughing. They take offence because they were being serious, and therefore put down that you laugh inappropriately. It’s a rigged game, and we all know that. Complaining about it is evidence there is something wrong with you.

            Problem being where I live they have the power to torture and arbitrarily detain, and thus force you into a rigged game. Something not available to the regular street hustler pulling a con. I understand we now as a result of the new Mental Health Act call it welfare check rather than arbitrary detention, and treatment rather than torture, but changing the names doesn’t change the animal.

            We weren’t arbitrarily detaining you, police came to get you, you refused to go so they beat you senseless with night sticks, pepper sprayed you while asking “Do you like that?” and then delivered you to someone to have your welfare checked.

            It was found that you still refused to talk and were ‘laughing inappropriately’ so we treated you until you did talk, we twisted your words and that then justified our torture, I mean treatment of you.

            It really is the insanity of the Inquisition isn’t it? Killing people to find out if they are witches. Torturing them till they confess to mind crimes.

            That’s right, we can’t simply snatch you from your bed, but with the new laws we can check on anyone’s welfare. Write those same laws in Chinese and they become human rights abuses lol. Same goes the other direction, we took the Euthanasia laws of the National Socialists, translated it from German, and called it “assisted dying legislation” I call it plagiarism personally. Something being taught at our educational institutions? Coz they sure as Hell aren’t teaching critical thinking or history.

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  11. “Well they were doing it based on how well we could focus, sit still, socialize, etc. They also took books away from me for being “inappropriate”. Looking out of windows, smiling or laughing at the wrong time, sitting awkwardly, etc, were also written down on my chart as inappropriate.”

    And THIS would be based on the “medical” model? 🙂 How very scientific. I’m SO impressed that they are not just being asses.

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  12. “Well they don’t think they’re punishing us, they honestly believe they’re helping… because they don’t see us as people.”
    Sorry, but unless they are stupid, they know exactly what they are doing…..unless they have a similar “problem” that their subjects do, in that it takes time to learn the complexities of life. Must be why many shrinks do a turnabout after retirement.
    I think they just hate “weakness” as they felt “weak” so often in their early years. They have a complex relationship with their subjects and don’t know?
    I guess the mind is an amazing thing. No wonder they were interested at one time.

    I agree they do not see subjects as people, in the sense of their
    own caliber and wholeness, and their own lack of “mental illness”.

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