I am an early-career psychiatrist and have been practicing adult, outpatient psychiatry as a part of a hospital-based mental health system in the U.S. for the past five years. I chose to pursue psychiatry because my favorite thing to do is listen to people. I am endlessly curious and interested in the human experience. I had a relative with schizophrenia who was shunned by his family and my heart went out to him and those struggling with similar experiences. I believed that as a sensitive, non-judgmental, and open-minded young woman, it would be an ideal career for me.
I started questioning psychiatry in my third year of residency. I read an article on tardive dysphoria, or antidepressant-induced chronic depression, that intuitively made sense to me. It was just logical that leaving people on these medications indefinitely would cause a person’s system to oppose the drug. I did a presentation on the renal effects of long-term lithium use which horrified me. I was saddened to learn that so many would go on to live with long-term kidney damage after decades on the drug. I also began to understand the risks of antipsychotics and watched their use expand in a way that, again, horrified me. I saw these potent and extremely risky medications being used for everything from insomnia to anxiety to behavioral control. Clinicians were prescribing them without respect or restraint.
Meanwhile, I became intensely interested in psychotherapy, which gave me hope and sustained me. This remains a joy to practice. However, no one is interested in hiring a psychiatrist to perform psychotherapy. I work in an underserved area, and as a concession they allow me to do a small amount of it to lure me to stay. I’ve come to see that employed positions are mainly interested in how much money you generate, which translates into seeing more patients than you can provide quality care for.
After five years as an attending psychiatrist, I have seriously considered leaving the field. It makes me very sad, as I love to practice psychiatry in its truest sense. A practice where I consider the myriad of factors influencing the patient’s emotional state and prescribe very little medication. I am an extremely critical psychiatrist, but I do believe mental illness—although rare— does exist and that medications used selectively, conservatively, and for the shortest duration possible are beneficial. However, 90% of the people who enter my office are not mentally ill. They are having distressing emotional and psychological experiences. I would estimate 80% of these experiences are due to relational trauma, both current (abusive or unsatisfying relationships) and past (trauma inflicted by caretakers). These are very important problems; however, they are not medical problems and should not be medicalized.
Yet patients come to me demanding that they be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and are sometimes very angry and offended if they are not. The majority tell me that they have “chronic depression and anxiety,” which they believe are due to faulty brain chemistry and will require medications for the rest of their lives. These patients have no other means to describe their distress than the words depression and anxiety. It’s very sad to see so many people suffering such profound disconnection from themselves due to the promotion of a false narrative. I imagine they grew up with a caretaker telling them that there was something wrong with them when they experienced negative emotion—most likely due to the caretaker’s emotional inadequacy— and now the medical system has retraumatized them with the same abuse.
Patients are even more demanding of psychiatric medication, seeing me as someone to dole out prescriptions with no discussion. I have actually had patients tell me not to ask them any questions about the factors contributing to their distress, as that’s not my role, and to ask only about their symptoms.
In the face of these issues, what has been exceedingly disappointing to me is the reaction of my colleagues. Psychologists and various types of psychotherapists who I anticipated would be like-minded allies have been anything but. I expected these practitioners to discourage medication and promote emotional healing. On the contrary, most of my referrals come from psychologists, who are diagnosing patients inappropriately with innumerable serious disorders including ADHD and Bipolar Disorder.
Just the other day, I had a young woman referred to me by a therapist who had diagnosed her with Bipolar Disorder due to recurrent bouts of racing thoughts and feelings of overwhelm. The patient was a perfectionistic young woman fixated on the diagnosis and anticipating that a mood stabilizer would transform her into an idealized version of herself. I counseled her that she did not have Bipolar Disorder or any other mental illness and that difficult or unusual emotional experiences are normal. I encouraged self-acceptance and exploring contextual factors and ways of coping with her racing thoughts.
She was unsatisfied, however, and told me she disagreed and would be seeking a second opinion. What was most troubling was that I had detailed the negative health effects of “mood stabilizers,” yet she remained unfazed. I have even had a therapist ask me to “blast” a patient with a mood stabilizer due to her frequent trips to the ED for anxiety. This patient was not only not bipolar but also, in my opinion, not mentally ill. In my experience, most therapists are not effective and are ego-driven, tending to interpret their own infectiveness as the patient’s need for medication. It’s all the more maddening, and absolutely frustrating because therapists aren’t implicated in the problems with psychiatry despite the intimate role they play in causing and perpetuating these problems.
Primary-care doctors are generally very good people but, because of their training in the mind (or lack thereof), they prescribe psychotropics freely and inappropriately. In my experience, nurse practitioners are especially dangerous in this regard, particularly in prescribing stimulant medication. They will often message me complaining that a patient isn’t “better” and that I’m not prescribing to them adequately. These patients are often in abusive relationships but refuse to leave. I will not partake in numbing their natural distress, which will call them to leave the abuser.
Medicine in general is creating so much sickness with overdiagnosis and overtreatment. No wonder our EDs and psychiatric hospitals are overwhelmed: We are creating “treatment resistant” patients at a rapid rate because they are not mentally ill.
As there is no one in my field with whom I can discuss my feelings, I feel completely alone. When I started sharing these concerns during my residency, I was met with blank stares. I sometimes post about these issues on a forum for psychiatrists. A few participants will support me, but most will tell me I should simply get over it, pipe down, stop being dramatic, open my own private practice, etc. None of these suggestions will change our field and the damage it is doing to society. On the contrary, if someone posts about how much money they can make seeing the greatest number of patients possible, people are supportive— and no one calls them out on this extremely unethical practice.
So I’m trying to find a way out. I will miss my patients dearly. A few do listen to me and reduce or discontinue medications and explore finding their way to emotional health and self-acceptance. Practicing psychiatry in a sane environment where I have ample time with each patient and no pressure to prescribe would be the ideal scenario, but sadly this is not the standard of care. I’ve read patient stories at Mad in America and I am so sorry for the mistreatment and abuse these people have endured. I see cases like those described fairly frequently. Sometimes I can help, but at other times, it’s too late.
Going into psychiatry as a naïve 25-year-old, I had no idea what I would discover. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have chosen this field. At the same time, I’ve learned so much about myself and other people and have generally become a more conscious, whole person. I have become more understanding and accepting of my feelings and emotions and have learned to embrace instead of reject my emotional being. I have helped some along the way, but the trends in psychiatry are powerful and I feel as if I’m drowning as I try to swim against them. I’m not sure what my future holds, but until then I need to remain employed –which is why I have not attached my full name to this essay: I would certainly be fired. But as long as I’m still in psychiatry, I’m going to continue to fight the good fight.
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.
There is no way to make this world a better place, but to engage your companions with compassion and kindness.
Psychiatry is a system of horror abusing everyone in it.
You will find your way out.
You are right to remain anonymous. By repudiating the kind of harmful clinical practices that have debiliated my adult daughter, your colleagues will not only attempt to banish/silence you by dragging you in front of your licensing board, they will require that you undergo a psychiatric evaluation and try to hang a psychiatric diagnosis around your neck like a scarlet letter. Psychiatry has unfettered power to ruin people’s lives. Never underestimate the banlity of evil and the enourmous power of psychiatry. It is a field that is rampant with corruption and abuse. You may want to read ‘Ghost Woman’ by Harriet Cooke M.D. When she questioned the overprescribing in her field (family medicine) and altered her practice, she had to fight a psychiatric diagnosis and an attempt to take away her license to practice.
Thank you so much for writing your story, Dr. Baden. Now I know there’s at least one person in the psychiatric profession who has a brain and a heart and isn’t in it for the money. Please don’t leave the profession behind entirely. Instead, I hope you’ll consider becoming a “functional” psychiatrist, one who actually uncovers and corrects the underlying, physical CAUSES of mental disorders. When my son became “incurably” mentally ill with so-called “bipolar with psychosis,” a blood test showed his histamine level to be much too high. I used “orthomolecular” treatment (100% non-proprietary “nutraceuticals”) to lower his histamine level back to the normal range. At his BIOchemistry normalized, his psychiatric symptoms disappeared. It took four months to completely taper him off three daily, nasty, antipsychotic drugs while simultaneously treating him with the orthomolecular approach but by then his mental health was restored. He was back to normal. He went on to graduate from community college with a 3.97 GPA and has been free of shrinks and their miserable drugs for years. Orthomolecular wasn’t the only natural treatment I used, just the main one back then. I also use NAET and homeopathy for even deeper healing. Our country needs thoughtful, caring doctors like you to help people, so please don’t leave the profession (although I doubt the Amer Psych Assn would keep you because you don’t cow-tow to their dogma of profit-first). Restoring patients’ mental health could be an extremely rewarding career for you. –Linda, author of The Secrets to Real Mental Health by Linda Van Zandt; on Youtube: Linda Van Zandt’s Mental Health Recovery Channel and (occasional posts) on Facebook, “A Dose of Sanity.” Feel free to contact me at linsant 99 at Gmail. I’d love hearing from you.
MadMom, I totally agree with you. Please look into orthomolecular medicine to help your daughter (some info in my post above). It’s a wonderful way to cure a mental illness, esp any kind of psychosis or schizophrenia. Doctors who don’t work for drug companies, have known since the late 1930s that there are certain PHYSICAL causes of mental illnesses including a histamine level that is out of the normal range (either too high or too low); an elevated level of the naturally-produced toxin, adrenochrome, in the body; an elevated level of copper or some other toxic metal, etc. The Amer Psych Assn has been fighting the research and clinical successes of this approach all along, every step of the way. Why? Because it would mean the end of the APA:
1. When a lab test turns up the proven, physical cause of the illness, a psychiatrist is no longer needed to provide a diagnosis.
2. As well, shrinks wouldn’t be needed for talk therapy because no amount of talking is going to correct anyone’s histamine level or any other physical cause and,
3. horror of all horrors, patented, synthetic psych drugs wouldn’t be needed, except maybe in the beginning if the person needs to be sedated. Psychiatrists make a lot of money by being the gatekeepers to the drugs they’ve talked us into buying.
When we take away all three reasons to see a shrink, it adds up to psychiatrists not being needed! So, you see, orthomolecular medicine is a huge threat to the APA. These scientists have written many books on how to cure mental illnesses.
If you ask a conventional psychiatrist what causes a mental illness, I guarantee their answers will be vague because they’re clueless. They stay in business by using smoke and mirrors to deceive patients and their caregivers. It’s all about the money – and maintaining power over America’s mental health care system.
Anyway, kudo’s to you for being human and having a sense of morality, an attribute that is lacking in your profession.
Hello E. Baden,
I see you are from the Midwest. There’s a little group of us in Ohio trying to change things here. I’m just a husband but I’ve walked with my wife thru all her trauma and extreme dissociation and extreme states. For most of the last 14 years I have mostly done it alone and have been blacklisted across the internet by those who don’t want to hear of a better, non-medical/medicated, relational (attachment concepts) way to heal. But just a few months ago I met some others who actually embraced me for the first time…and I’m still struggling to believe I may have finally found a home. I just turned 54 and haven’t given up my hope and dream to share the better way my wife and I found, and happily, Mad in America just posted a little quick-reference guide in their family section that I wrote.
All that to say, don’t give up the fight. I know it’s hard. I hurt so deeply most days, especially the days when I was screamed at (online), called a pedophile, wife abuser and all kinds of other things. But we need people like you. I wish I had the wisdom you do when I was 25. If you’d ever like to talk, shoot me an email at my blog address (samruck2 @ gmail dot com). Finding other like minded people makes all the difference in the world. I don’t know where you are in the Midwest, but perhaps, there are others in your neck of the woods, too.
Look, I really dont care who helps me. Whether they are a complete charlatan, or snake oil magician, or high priest, or chemistry clown, or business bastard in a pin stripe suit. I do not care if they are a mud crackled shaman, or a cold crisp born again believer with a book of the bosom, or a whore, or a person selling inflatable life boats in Greece, or a rock star, or a visionary, or a romantic pioneer of a whole new paradigm. I dont care if i have to perform some stupid rigmarole of begging for a result so long as it isnt boring or goes on too long. I dont care if I have to say all the jargon, or mystical religious catchphrases, or sit and look down blankly and say nothing at all. I dont care if they ask to meet me in a stuffy office, or a rowing boat, or an inaccessible mountain pass. I dont care if they happen to love me, or cant wait to see me out the door. I dont care if they have proper qualifications, or bogus certificates. I dont care if they are a psychiatrist, or not a psychiatrist. I dont care if they are they are a doctor or the Princess Fee Fee. I dont care about much of anything so long as they make me feel just a little bit better than hslf an hour ago, either with an interesting line in chat, or telepathic common human warmth, or a heartfelt saying, or a wine bottle filled with placebo.
Dear article writer, how in God’s name are you supposed to single handedly overnight all by yourself mend a broken system born of a broken system? The notion that any one little person is supposed to “save the world” by wearing the right socks is the notion that is destroying the world. Get this…you are way too tiny to “save the world” and the mess it is in is NOT YOUR FAULT. You washed up on a shore called psychiatry which is littered with pollution from aeons of pharmaceuticals but you did not freely choose to be rolling in that sickening surf. What you wanted was pristine ocean blue. The massive spill of toxic pollution is not personal. Industrial factories all over the globe have leached their chemicals into octypuses and kelp and shrimp and haddock and cod and salmon. All of em getting in on sex switching. All of that toxic soup fizzing in our water, so our fragile human brains are probably devastated by teflon frying pan psychosis for real. Talk about chemical imbalance! We now have an uncountable amount of forever chemicals in mother’s breast milk. Did you put it there? Did I? Avuncular Dr Shipman aside, I think few of the millions of psychiatrists deliberately set out to vindictively ruin the lives of their patients with wrong medicine. Apothecaries used to prescribe belladonna to women to make their eye pupils dead gorgeous. Medicine always has been a risky endeavour. Many psychiatrists get exhausted and disgruntled and take it out on the defenseless because the system breaks people to break people but like all babies are born radiently smiling, forever chemicals aside, all psychiatrists are born with a passion to make a difference in the miserable lives of their patients. But just as the law is an ass, so too, it seems, is psychiatry. But that does not mean it cannot change. The law used to export petty misfits to Australia. It does not do that now. It maybe just stops them coming back. And I think psychiatry may “stop them coming back” by giving NO CARE to ANYONE. Please dont grovel in apology on my account. We are all born idiots and we will all die idiots. Give yourself a break. You have done good by gravitating towards therapy. My best ever psychiatrist was a tall lesbian who looked at me and told me one day….
I adored her for being that maverick insider.
I totally get that you do not want to dole out pills or diagnosis that seem wrong to you. Personally I think people should be free to be the voice of their own authority and diagnose or undiagnose themselves, much like medieval ladies got to tell everyone if they were with child.
You are the difference waiting to be born but that involves realizing you are only one little person who cannot “save the world”.
And Dear article writer, here is why psychiatrists like you are needed…
I am clairvoyant and in the near future there is coming an explosion of dangerously ill children who have become ill by immersing themselves in underage porn. Those children will be encouraged to regard raping other children as a normal expression of normal sexuality. And the kids being raped will be gaslit into accepting that it is okay and harmless. But these children will soon have babies behind the school bicycle sheds and be given their human rights to raise their bundles of joy, who will also later be immersed in child abuse porn. And while the whole world is at pains to make sure five year olds are taught the ins and outs of sex in classrooms “because sexuality in children is normal” the whole notion of something as NOT normal as child abuse is going to be made to seem on a continuum or spectrum of normal. This will conveniently erase, from the realm of global grooming paeodophilia, the idea that rape is something deranged or from an “ill mind” that “causes an ill mind”. Instead everyone will be encouraged to stop branding the sexually lost as “mentally ill” and either just call them criminals or liberated. But will a wee toddler sired by two sexually abusive thirteen year olds think their “parents” are liberated when they lack any self control near the stroller? I am not saying any one person can fix that nightmare future that I fear is already here. Who the hell wants that mop up job ? But what I am saying is that there really is NO TIME to change psychiatry into something wonderfully benign and conducive to the luxury of an individuals conscience when a tidal wave of casualties of child on child abusive sex is rolling onto the toxic shore where presumably nobody will dare call them not normal and nobody will dare risk their career in helping them know they are ill. I am not saying the ill should be treated with anything they do not want, nor ever give brain damaging pills or other hideous pranks, but the more therapists there are who can tell the damn difference between normal and ill and not normal when it comes to depravity the better. This is one of the reasons I push back against the “there is no such thing as mental illness” fairy stories. If anyone says a nine year old being raped by another nine year old is not a picture of mental illness I would ask them to tell me what exactly that is.
Sorry, sorry. I should not have said all this. It is too heavy. But I think psychiatrists should transfer into being therapist for the sake of these differently messed up children. Believe that they need help! Dont let piety in the reformation of psychiatry delay the enormity of what is needed. Now is not the time for confession box absolution.
Dear Weeping. You sure can weave a depressing tale
madmom, I agree. Thank you.
Yeah, it is depressing, very much so especially for the children. Luckily one recent petition against such a child abusive porn site got two million signatures. It is not enough of an outcry but most people just seem to want to look the other way and pretend this psychological and sexual genocide against children and babies is not actually occurring. There has been a surge of it during this pandemic. Who is going to help to heal these millions if not billions of emotionally obliterated youth if those people of compassion in the caring sector desert their jobs because they have a conscience about “labels”?
So close and yet so far.
J G Ballard eat your heart out…
you are sadly not mistaken
E Baden – you must be a good person; they are rare but you do get them.
As someone who has seen in the course of my life 15 psychiatrists and five clinical psychiatrists – I only met one psychiatrist who saw me as a human being and said to me ‘I don’t believe in labels’.
I was very anxious however to get the right label so on my request to she referred me to a clinical psychologist who diagnosed me with borderline.
Subsequently she retired and I flailed about for a few years trying to find someone else to treat me and was diagnosed with bipolar, autism until finally I was asked by a psychiatrist ‘what if you had all three – what would be so bad about that?’ That was it for me. I accept that after years of drugs and labeling and unresolved childhood trauma I am probably unfit for work so I go along with the narrative to get my disability but I no longer believe in it.
I have nothing good to say about the five clinical psychologists who treated or assessed me in the course of what was a pretty hard life. Not one of them spotted that I had been sexually abused and had suffered significant childhood trauma. I was labelled at one stage ‘ a young woman with a high degree of maladjustment who is unlikely to benefit from therapy’ because of my maladjustment. The psychologist who diagnosed me as ASD after a self referral wrote six pages about what was wrong with me and handed the report to me at the end and said ‘it was lovely to meet you’.
I had one good counsellor who saw that my primary issue was trauma but unfortunately I also attended therapists who were as ego driven as you describe and they did further damage.
I think the reaction of your colleagues could be likened to the reaction of good members of the Nazi party as I do believe that conventional psychiatry as it is currently practiced is intrinsically evil – the people who participate in it destroy a person’s hope by labelling him/her defective without any real scientific evidence and once applied the unscientific labels allow them to liberally administer toxic drugs that they know will seriously impair the patient’s physical health for a ‘lifelong condition’ that is not backed up by evidence. There is no change or cure really in conventional psychiatry – there is just acceptance of a diagnosis or diagnoses and ‘management’ that is severely life limiting.
Like all groups most psychiatrists and psychologists who adhere to the DSM have a set of beliefs and people who stray outside the group’s belief system even if it exists to promote social control and further abuse of vulnerable people for status and profit – will be punished by exclusion.
In the neoliberal world it’s all about making money. The other professionals in your area have chosen to go down a road for status and profit so they don’t want to hear about anything that might interfere with that.
If you look back at history that’s really the story of humanity – there are very few heroes but you sound like one of them.
I suggest that there are people out there who are crying out for a critical psychiatrist like yourself. I know I was when I was a young woman in Ireland in the mid 90’s who was attending a coercive psychiatrist at the top of the psychiatric hierarchy who kept me in hospital an extra month because I asked her politely if it would be possible for me to not have to take the psychotropic drugs I had been taking for four years that had been making me sick, nauseous and manic. I had just read Dr Peter Breggin’s book ‘Toxic Psychiatry’ and found out for the first time that I could get a whole host of long term health conditions from the drugs I was taking, In response to my concerns she told me that I ‘either did it her way or I didn’t do it at all’. I tried to find another psychiatrist for a second opinion but there were none.
I would think there would be many people that would attend your practice if you set up privately. It involves taking a stand and that is never easy particularly I would imagine in a profession as corrupt and self seeking as the one you fell into because you wanted to help people.
Thank you for your article and I wish you all the very best in life.
maedhdh, I do not necessarily think a “good person” is rare, although on some days it sure does seem to be the case. However, I do think it is extremely rare to find a psychiatrist and those in related fields who could be considered “good persons.” And for the most part those who could be considered “good persons” find ways to earn money that do not fit into the column of evil. Thank you.
As a budding psychotherapist, I was both glad and sad to read this article (and others like it). It’s natural now to wish to flee after you’ve tried fighting. Breaking through cognitive dissonance and ignorance from multiple angles is hard. Sadly this battle will wage on until the dinosaurs die out and their methods with them. Hang in there and fight the good fight, remember you’re getting through to some but likely won’t save them all. Some are better than none. Use your appointed “power” for good as you’ve been. Find that inner strength to carry forward in the face of the very adversity you warn clients about… continue to embrace those emotions and use them as fuel for the fire in your belly. Keep on fighting the good fight. Whether it’s always readily apparent or not, remember there are others who align with your perspective and goals, and behind the scenes, we’re collectively doing the work that hopefully will come to the foreground (or close to) as society evolves. Keep the hope alive! Resilience is not futile! (borg reference therein).
Dear Dr E Baden, thank you for writing this.
Fiachra, you have so many similar passions to @Maebh who is also from Ireland.
Go for it, consider professional options such as hairdresser, barber or make up artist, you’ll have more time to listen, an awful lot less beauracratic’s and won’t be obliged to prescribe neuro toxic poisons to treat imaginery diseases
Are you going to treat my very real illness then? An illness that is definitely NOT imaginary. An illness I am free as a person with equal human rights as yours to call a disease, a word that means dis-ease, are you going to be my care or are you going to hand me a bottle of shampoo?
No need to answer. I believe you maybe do not have one. Not a satisfactory solution anyway.
Whatuser, great point about the therapeutic benefits of a good hairdresser or barber. I sure do miss my old stylist since I moved away. I could talk to her about anything and I recall listening with care as she was navigating her nephew’s suicide. It’s a perfect example of how support can exist in the community without the professionalization of response to distress.
No disrespect but you have not met my hairdresser. She made my head feel so full of her juvenile chuckling I felt like rewashing my hair when I got home.
I like you. I wish you were around in my country. You seem like a person who can understand the merits and demerits of your chosen field and can help me and people like me get out of some of the crap that we are stuck with when it comes to psychiatry, because I (and others) don’t dare to go to anyone in my country (others in theirs). I’ve never met anyone here who shares these views. Unfortunately, you do not live in my country, which sucks for me.
On the whole, you simply come across as an honest individual, which is something that is far more valuable in this world than any credentials.
Maybe it’s time to go “orthomolecular”. Although these individuals are heavily into biochemistry, they’re not believers in “therapeutic” drugs, but are heavy into the use of diet and/or nutrients for both acute and maintenance therapy. They’re also not fond of psychiatric “diagnoses” either. You might even learn things you weren’t taught in school.
Wow. You are so insightful for a young psychiatrist. You got it all right: you understand perfectly what is going on. It took me a a lot longer.
I have been a doctor for 44 years, working as an emergency room doctor and family physician for the first 20 years. What a terrible disappointment for you to put all that time into your career only to end up in a cesspool of corruption and misinformation. However, I have some optimistic advice.
You write that you are working for a company. That is a problem in that the company will dictate your professional activities. They always work at your esteem to try to get you to think that you need them to survive. Been there – it isn’t true. It is different in different states, and I am in CA where insurance pays more, but if you are willing to accept reduced remuneration, you can see all the patients you want, and treat them as you see fit by starting a private practice and taking insurance from the major companies (only – Blue Cross, Aetna and UBH – keep it simple – they will do the marketing for you). In Los Angeles, you can make a lot of money in psychiatry without taking insurance, but the high paying patients seem mostly to want to be told that they are bipolar and want a bunch of meds. There are still a lot of people willing to pay more to see a psychiatrist for therapy.
I saw people on insurance mostly because I believe that health care should be affordable. There is substantially less money involved if you take insurance, but to me it was so worth it. You will get new patients, not yet on drugs, willing to hear that their problem is best addressed by therapy. There are no limits to therapy visits with psychiatrists, so you don’t need to ask for more visits like therapists do. Sometimes the problem is so simple that a single session takes care of it. You write that your friends have advised you to open a private practice. So do I. You can make a decent living and take care of patients your way.
Please phone me and I will be happy to help you to get to where you want to be If you are ‘woke’ you won’t be able to do this for the rest of your life.
Sadly, those high-paying patients wanted to be told they are “bi-polar” because it’s the “in” diagnosis to have. Thank you.
Dear fellow disillusioned psychiatrist 🙂 Dr E Baden please connect also with me rob at brisbaneactcentre dot com dot au – i believe i could also help, in various ways. See also http://www.brisbaneactcentre.com.au and perhaps also http://actinpsychiatry.com/
This “inside view” of the practice is very telling.
What is sad to me is how unaware she is (apparently) of all the alternative ways to help people mentally, emotionally (and spiritually), other than psychiatry.
This demonstrates how much of a stranglehold psychiatry still holds on the public’s general understanding of what people are, why they suffer, and what should be done to help them.
What I hope we can do here is end that intellectual tyranny. It is obviously driving the thought and behavior of both therapists AND patients! Should we be surprised that so many people prefer to take a pill over actually doing the tough work to sort out one’s thoughts and emotions with the help of another person? This is the low-confront, low-responsibility answer to all our troubles and has been pushed at us for decades now from all directions. We are inclined towards this “solution” as it is, or we would not be humans living on a planet, but instead spiritual beings playing in the stars.
This woman in fact has many choices for fulfilling work in the healing professions. That she will need to leave the “mainstream” to do this is just how things are right now. I wish her well.
I’m a young psychiatrist as well, in a very similar position and with very similar thoughts. Is there a way to get into contact with the author of this article?
Posting as moderator:
I can’t promise anything, but I do try and facilitate contact between people who might want to talk. I’ll see if I can send the author a message and see if they want to share their contact info.
Thank you so much for this heartfelt article. I am also a physician working for almost 30 yrs primarily with individuals and communities facing structural violence. I echo your sense of being in a system married to neoliberal ideology that chooses to medicalize human suffering and distress. I also teach in the medical system and am continually struck by the free pass that Psychiatry gets in not needing to meet even the basics of scientific practice and the failure to meet our professional and ethical responsibilities in informing patients that the entire discipline is socially constructed. We have never yet found a single biomarker applicable for ‘diagnosis’ or ‘treatment’ as clearly echoed by Drs Allen Francis & David Kupfer Chairs of DSM 4 & 5, despite many decades of research and many millions of dollars. Patients are seldom, if ever, told that ‘diagnosis’ is based only on criteria established by small appointed committees, meeting in camera for years, and merely voted in/out of existence every 15 or so years when a new manual is brought in similar fashion to the largest omnibus bill imaginable. Patients are never told that a diagnosis given can never be removed, contrary to your statement telling patients that your opinion differed from another. Your difference of opinion doesn’t matter; you can only add to diagnoses… you can never subtract. There is no provision in the DSM for that sort of well-meaning endeavour. There is no ‘cure’ for such socially constructed‘diagnosis’. The only potential outcomes once ‘diagnosis’ is given are ‘remission’ (partial or complete) or ‘relapse’. Once ‘diagnosed, you are forever labeled an other, different from other human beings, with your genuine pain, distress, anger, or perceptions being evidence primarily of disease, rather than a body, or a community of bodies, crying out saying something is not okay. It is so completely clear that you genuinely care deeply for the people that come through your door, and that is sadly lacking behind too many medical doors, even if not intentional. But caring is not enough. Our oath is to ‘do no harm’. Science is not a collection of truths, but instead a recognition that as wonderfully fallible humans, we are always biased and always at least partly wrong in our beliefs or understanding. Science is self-correcting as we continue to interrogate what we think we know. I challenge your statement that you ‘believe’ in mental illness. Beliefs are important, but they are not science, and should never be used as surrogates for science. Science is most often misrepresented and misunderstood. It demands humility rather than certainty. I think patients demand a clear and repeated discussion about the lack of biomarker evidence in all of psychiatry. I feel patients deserve to know that they have many options to both understand and respond to their very real and very important human emotional and perceptual experiences. There are times when I tell patients that no one can say why they hear things that others can’t hear, but we can still talk together about options to respond with the humility and caution that we can easily do harm, and always with the persons autonomy front and centre. Reading your article brought me both joy and hope. This kind of difficult professional critique is painful and largely absent in a discipline that understands questioning and criticism as religious heresy rather than a necessary scientific endeavour. But you are in a difficult spot in a profession that demands a pathological ‘diagnosis’ in order for you to be paid. We all must ask then if we are doing harm. Other critical psychiatrists (Sami Timimi, Joanna Moncrieff, James Davies) and others like John Reid, Robert Whitaker, Jan DeFehr, Ariel Joseph, and many others in many other disciplines and movements like Fireweed Collective have continually challenged me and changed how I have come to understand and hope to come alongside other suffering people. I am curious who moves you these days. I am curious what you will do. And regardless where you end up, I am sure that you will continue to care for the people you meet. I’ve written more than intended or needed and I’m sorry for that. I’ll also be watching also for your name in the literature.
With respect to your fascinating comment, and I hasten to add that I do not ask you to “be” my doctor here, you say this…
“There are times when I tell patients that no one can say why they hear things that others can’t hear, but we can still talk together about options to respond with the humility and caution that we can easily do harm, and always with the persons autonomy front and centre.”
I like your compassion here. But I want to throw a light on something. Since you say you do not know what causes a phenomenon like my schizophrenia symptoms it follows you cannot convince someone like me that I do not have schizophrenia, since you have now debunked your own authority and expertize to tell me I am “right” or “wrong”, no matter how much you as a psychiatrist flog yourself for misplaced guilt and shame for years of doing what we have all done, which is stupidly tout wonder drugs. It is perhaps your buying into shame that has you putting the word diagnosis in quotation marks, which as I said somewhere before, is a wandering shame that will go on to shame “others”, such as “others” who feel they do have the symptoms best described by schizophrenia. “Others” to whom, if you are now no expert you cannot prove do not have what they feel they have. So your mocking quotation marks, of their “free choice” to “tell you” they have schizophrenia, being as “they”, not you, are the true experts, is like taking “your” shame, something “you” and not they bought into, and sort of dumping it on their freedom to describe themselves as schizophrenic or traumatized or poor or abused or a good girl or a bad girl. Why do “you” get to tell me what word I can confidently use to descibe symptoms that cause “me” a level of anguish you probably would not survive?
Society, since the time of Adam’s fig leaf, have been shaming shaming shaming. And the thing about shame is pretends to be a feeling but it is not a feeling at all. Shame is an import. Shame is a foisted “judgement” flung at you for “not” feeling what the latest version of society bullyingly insists you “should” feel. And because you do not feel how society tells you that you “must” you then do a weird internal self harm on behalf of cruel society and lacerate yourself until you feel appropriately horrible inside in order to cowtow and carry out society’s dirty work for them, in puritanically scolding yourself and flogging yourself for “not” feeling the “right” way…which in all matters of “right” and “wrong” usually involves the “logical” way. The “thinkerly” way. The cold brutally heartless reasonable rational paperwork way of border security, except it is a checkpoint you let into your own psyche by buying into the notion of the “right” way or the “wrong” way. The brainy way. Not the emotional way at all. So shame is not a feeling, there is no “right” or “wrong” feeling, it is a judgement you buy to keep your credentials sweet but in buying shame, which never does make you feel great, you need to feel better somehow or you will go into maudlin humourless humble pie eating decline, and so you hope to get rid of the judgey shame that was given to you, but oftentimes you’ll unconsciously do it by slamming shame on someone eminently “shame-able’. Maybe the shameful schizophrenics who harm nobody but just like to not “have to” defer to yet another society authority who tells them they are shameful for liking their own diagnose, or are shameful for not censoring it with the romanesque slavish brandings of speech marks. But it is “the same binge shaming” that propped up psychiatric expertize in the first place. The shaming slur of speech marks is THE SAME shaming slur of an unwanted or disputed diagnosis. I am against ALL forms of shaming of any persons innocuous “free choice”. Shaming begets more shaming. All shaming does is cause wounding and anger and emotional imbalance in the one being cruelly shamed. It makes nobody a loving human being. Shame always feeds on a reason. It says you “should” feel shame “because”….”because”….”because”…”logic”….”logic”….”logic”….you are too poor, or too mad, or too not one of us, or too black, or too religious, or too stupid, or too unacademically precise, or too left, or too right, or too lazy, or too inept, or too arrogant…on and on come the reasons why you should buy that you are the big problem, you are the monster, you are the witch, you are the deviant, you are the layabout, you are the devil, you are the oppressor, you are the whore, you are the nasty nasty nasty who can never get rid of your shamefulness unless you use speech marks. And so you grovellingly do use speech marks but Lo…here comes a scgizophrenic who innocuously chooses not to.
In another part you then say…
“beliefs are important, but they should not be used as surrogates for science, they are not science. Science is most often misrepresented and misunderstood. It demands humility rather than certainty. I think patients demand a clear and repeated discussion about the lack of biomarker evidence in all of psychiatry. I feel patients deserve to know that they have many options…”
To which I say…
when was science ever not also a belief? Science experts used to tell women their wombs wandered. Science logisticians used to say the Earth was as flat as a dinner tray. Scientists used to say there was no such thing as a black hole. Scientists used to say psychotic voices were nothing to do with their profession but were infact possession. Science has no idea if we are all living in one universe or a billion. Science has no idea of every aspect of cell division. Science has as much idea about the epiphenomenon of consciousness as an astrological birthchart and yet some who experience shame from tossing out Big Pharma’s wonder cures want to tell a schizophrenic their illness is imaginary. To me it sounds like conveniently dusting an unpleasant disturbance under a rug along with the folly that is shame so “we” can all get on with building a new paradigm of what exactly…of…..”care”?
My how “cared” about I feel.
Another fav amongst the shamers throughout history is bonding with a powerful group of celebs in a long list of fresh converts who have also walked the plank. Bullies unite. It is what bullies do. And what they say are things like….
“You are no different than the rest of us”.
Which is another way of embarrassing or shaming the “different”…the “other”. A hymn sheet of the shamers throughout history will have have the sunny side up of that ostracisation of the different, by glowingly beaming that “we” are all “united” as one. But it is not a oneness where you get left in peace to believe about yourself whatever you freely choose to…no…no…you will be coaxed and coralled and monitored and shamed if you inch so much as a toes distance out of the new paradigm of care. A care that cannot let you be different enough to be the embarrasment…the bad smell at the party…the label liking schizophrenic.
I never want to not be different. I just want to be left in peace to love my difference with having shame shoved at me by activists of the new paradigm of care or the priests of psychiatry or the born again ex-psychiatrists who want to get rid of their imposed shame by shaming me and calling my diagnosis a Frankensteinian error that needs a spanner and a new blueprint called a framework to “correct”.
Every shaming judgement bestowed to us by bullying societies, one after the other, since the dawn of time, have used belief to judge the “different” with their other beliefs, and even science is a belief. Well of the seven thousand beliefs in the world today, each one just as preposterous to a casual observer as the next, they all allow some freedom of choice, but detract other freedom of choice. And all of them change over time through learning of the sheer folly of damning people for their freedom. Mostly all these beliefs are wonderful “options” as you might say. There are seven thousand beliefs on our cute little mudball planet but the mean little heart of Man is too small to accept this.
That meanie hearted logical know-all masquerades as the boss of something called “the world” and tries to repeatedly shame me for not being “just like the rest of us” even though it is not “my” world.
I say this to “the world”…
“Who are you to tell me what I am?”
Thank the universe for people like her/him. Isn’t it great that there are doctors that are not like the next guy?
The author of this article states many points against psychiatry. It is very unfortunate how mainstream media and other sources have developed a culture where people expect a magic diagnosis and magic pills to save their lives. I remember once amongst way too many times I made that mistake. An article in a popular “women’s-type magazine” like the kind you pick up at the check-out counter at a grocery store told of a young women who found that taking one little pill (I believe it was either Ritalin or Adderall) allowed her to focus so she could obtain her dream career in graphic arts. Well, I have taken pill upon pill and therapy upon therapy and all I finally got was “brain damaged.” Well, actually, my brain and body told the drugs they could not take their toxicity anymore until one day I could not be awakened. I spent eleven days in the hospital; but, it wasn’t until two years later that I was totally freed from the drugs and the psychiatry, etc. Now, I can take no more drugs or pharmaceutical products. Actually, I see very little difference between that pill-pusher on the street who tells the vulnerable and gullible the little pill they sell will save them from whatever or the pill-pusher in the office who sells them a similar pitch. Whether or not there are actual mental illnesses seems to me extremely questionable, but the damage these drugs and the associated therapies does to the brain and body are not questionable as it truly and unfortunately happens. I would say the cure is worse than the disease; because the disease is doubtful and the cure causes damage. First, I was “disabled” due to these diagnoses, but, even then, it was the drugs that interfered with my daily functioning. Now, I must contend with the damage from the drugs. Basically, I must adapt my life and lifestyle to adjust successfully with this damage. It affects my sleep, my diet, how I spend my time, etc. And to some, I must seem incredibly picky and unorthodox. But, in many ways, I am very orthodox as I credit God and Jesus as my Saviors from this pain. But, each person must find his or her own way in or out of this terror and horror. I am not here to interfere or tell someone what to do. I only pray that each person will find the way that is best for them; no matter what. Thank you.
I once insisted a friend should go on antidepressants. My cousin once insisted that I go on antidepressants. My mother insisted I try sleeping pills. I was a guinea pig in an antidepressant trial that was so effective in those few weeks I told everyone I knew to try it.
My point here is I have met many, many people who have got this checkered history of pill pushing and diagnosis pushing. I know few people who have not played at psychiatrist to a friend or family member. Everyone who has ever listened to moaner and felt helpless about what to do and then with a good intention suggested a then famous but now dubious remedy on them that they genuinely thought might help them is NOT A NAZI.
If all psychiatrists are demons then all aunties and all grannies and all daughters and all sons and all work friends and all college buddies who EVER pressed the name of a remedy on a demanding loved one, a remedy that turned out to be a complete failure, are NAZIS and DEMONS too.
So have a little peek at “your” healer history before you go hateful and judgemental on anyone who did as you maybe once did, a person you have never met, whom you now demonize by calling evil…so are you that demon, dear commenter? Did you ever mouth to your anxious brother or sister, the best dose of a tranquilizer? Did you purr that inpronouncible name into the receiver of a nineteen nighties prozac coloured telephone or jot the name of a slimming antidepressant on the back of a friend’s bar receipt? Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you ever offered a chemical remedy to an alcoholic friend or a fed up family member just like you were a smug all knowing, know-all psychiatrist. Because I know I have.
“He who is amongst you who is without sin let him cast the first preachy comment” sayeth Christ.
This is the Nazareen who went to give his love and forgiveness to the rich bastard “demons” in the tax booths, and give his warm welcome to the heroin poppy dealer pill pushers in ancient bible land saloons rather than sit in the echo chamber of his one track minded group-think fans. Is that Nazareen a Nazi for liking EVERYONE?
Any movement that seeks to think only in terms of good people versus bad people and who never wants to listen with an open heart to any individual who visits that movement, no matter how different that individual happens to be or what their day job is just now, is a movement that is no “movement” at all but is just an oversimplified cosy stuckness. I want MIA to never be stuckness. But that involves moving out of the entrenched rhetoric of a parrotty “us and them” or “us and her” or “us and him” comfort zone.
MIA does not purport to be a “movement”; it is a training ground for budding “mental health” workers. (For better or worse.)
Darn it…I am back because I cannot iron my tee shirt without adding this…Dear article writer,
Feel no shame! For if you buckle to the pressure that you are shameful for being a psychistrist or an abused child or a beaten wife then you will use shame to become self righteously decent in an uptight way. The shamed become shamers. They become shamers because shame NEVER makes them feel alright again. Mindfulness yes, consideration yes, compassion yes, empathy yes, remorse yes, apology yes, but all of these do not need the toxic control freakery of shame. The shamed go on to require “others” to shame and they must shame them even more than they themselves feel shame…until the whole world is gripped in a nuclear vice of shame. The shamed go on to “other” as if it may be the death of them if they do not find someone, anyone, perfect strangers they do not know, to shame more. The Guild of Psychiatry was so grand at othering and shaming precisly because those boffins were saturated in being shamed from an excrutiating Victorian uptight morality. When a human is shamed they become a shamer sooner or later.
If you have not been intentionally or willfully directly cruel or bullying or sexually abusive to someone then feel no shame. Shame is destructive. It mends nothing. Recognition of error and understanding of someone’s upset and asking them to forgive your oversights or idiocy is fine. But shame is just another form of the inexorable spread of bullying and as such it is the footsoldier of further bullying.
The antidote to the exprience of shame is to regard life as a mirage and all careers in it are theatre performances and rather than feel ashamed of being in a career where you have not intentionally been cruel or bullying or abusive just enjoy that theatrical role. Be even “more” psychiatrist-ish. Maximize the psychiatrist costume. Wear the epitome of expensive clothes. Click your pen and clockwatch. Come out with innane platitudes. Do nothing without rummaging in endless computer files. Perfect a limpid handshake. Say “yes” too often in one sentence to convey distraction. Say “yes” to bits in a conversation where you should say “no”. Fetishize confidentiality. Be reckless about confidentiality. Wear sexy stilletoes to confuse the depressed. Have a boufant of a hairdo that looks like it needs magic pillows to rest itself on each night. Be utterly not like one of us. Be sublimely choosing “your” individual “free choice” to be a glorious psychiatrist. The best damn psychiatrist ever. A traditional psychiatrist or a nouveax therapy psychiatrist. Provided you are not intentionally and directly being cruel or bulling or abusive to this person or that person but are full of good intentions to heal people then FEEL NO SHAME. Because if you do, if you are weak willed and being shy of following your OWN TRUTH, your own truth that knows you are person with a pure heart, then you will implant the seeds of shame in you that will spread like Japanese knot weed in a million other “others”.
The antidote to being “othered” and shamed is to celebrate being EVEN MORE otherish. Be even more theatrically psychiatrist. Like the Gay Rights pioneers knew to answer shame by being EVEN MORE theatrically gay. If the clothes we wear and the private feelings we have and the private thoughts we have and our outward behaviour is not intentionally and deliberately cruel or bullying or abusive then we must tell anyone who undermines our God given freedom of choice to go away. If your freedom of choice is to practice medicine and practice psychiatry then if who you are is someone not cruel or bullying or abusive then choose to deliberately love yourself for being the sort of unshame spreading free thinker who champions freedom of choice for ALL.
Anyone can discredit anything and anyone using words, words, words. We buy that we “have to” listen because words are “logical” and feeling are not. This subservience to the God of logic, who shames our innocuous feelings, such as the feeling we know our own hearts better than anyone else, is a subservience that is going to help NOBODY feel good about themselves and who they are and how they really feel..
And when the whole world is starting to feel bad about themselves they invariably marshal an army to blame the “others”. The “others” who should be wallowing in “shame”.
Kick back against the God of logic and freely choose to be nonsensically “you”..
with NO SHAME.
It is very brave of you to write about this.
It is also a very confusing and lonely place, but rest assured, you are far from being the only one in your profession. Most just never speak up, never come out. They laid their doubts to rest, or justify their position.
Many people have to justify, it’s been done billions of times.
Beware of people who think they have answers of what you could do instead. Whatever ideas are thrown your way, keep a level head about them.
Even “trauma therapy” can be traumatizing and I can only speak from my experience that most people and especially kids just don’t benefit by once per week talks. They benefit from being actively involved, but involved in a like minded community.
Every person has different needs, so it is not helpful to stick to one idea. Of course trauma is important but IMO, too many therapists have become stuck on that. Just like CBT, it was insulting to many.
Real therapy where you actually do things with a client is not affordable. I mean if someone is lonely, does a therapist take them fishing or out for a run? No, they talk to them for an hour about loneliness and the person gets to stew in their loneliness and feel it all the more.
Perhaps you could “undiagnose” people who don’t want their labels. Perhaps you could work with lawyers, to get people unmentalized.
I have no clue but I am sure there are many avenues you could go. The passage of time and ideas will evolve so there will be much out there for you to consider.
Perhaps you want to start with kids and teenagers, to prevent at least a few ruined lives.
I have great empathy for that spot you are in. BUT, it does leave options which psychiatrists usually don’t have or do not allow themselves. They risk too much, mostly their ego and identity.
So be amazed that you are allowing yourself to tread where others won’t dare.
You will indeed be met with antagonism from that field but a lot of it is jealousy. Because they are wrong, in the false belief system, they do have to get very defensive. It is very threatening to them
and their ONLY defense is calling other people disordered.
That defensive practice would be comical if not all too real in affecting people.
Hello – Thank you for the encouragement and words of support. It means a lot to me. Just last week had another bad experience. Patient having SSRI withdrawal. Not mentally ill but a trauma history. I recommend she stays off medications. Her “therapist” seeks me out saying she wants and need meds. This is wrong on so many levels. First therapist communicating for a patient promoting dependency. Feeds therapist ego to make her feel like the savior. Second therapist pushing meds. I told her this patient isn’t mentally ill and meds are therapy interfering. Blank stare. Then goes on to tell me she’s referring a patient urgently for ptsd who’s “failing therapy” and needs “effective medications.” Another therapist advises a patient to get medications for me for panic attacks who’s in a violent relationship. I just can’t do it with these therapists anymore. They are just so bad. I have come to wonder if they are all medicated and that’s where their zeal for medications comes from. A commenter mentioned orthomolecular medicine. I’m looking to train in integrative in the next couple years then either tell my employer I will only practice that or leave and open a private practice.
I wish you a LOT of luck and hopefully you get connected to the right people for mentoring each other. People you can collaborate with.
As a psychotherapist, I am aware that some therapists are as you have described. I also find the behavior and approach of these therapists concerning and misguided. As I have not seen it noted elsewhere, I thought I would make a point of noting that there certainly are therapists who more closely align with your views, but they are likely not seeking your services. So please don’t condemn the whole profession as I also try to keep an open mind about psychiatrists, despite negative experiences.
A doctor can refuse to do an abortion. I have long hoped that psychiatrists could refuse to give any treatment they have a pricked ethical conscience about. In my opinion giving SSRIs is far worse handing a toddler a twenty pack of cigarrettes for life. But that is only my opinion. I am sure other people have derived comfort from them. As for creepy therapists maybe the client is driving her or him up the wall with demands for an instant fix. Maybe the client is pushing buttons that were pushed in childhood. Maybe the client is goading a retaliation from the therapist so that the client can “shamelessly” despise the therapist and get released from being a horribly logical “feelings squashed” shame carrier. Or maybe the therapist is pushing your buttons to get you to retaliate so the therapist can spew his or her build up of societally imposed shame on you. We may never know. All we may know is that the majority of psychiatric drugs are doing nobody any favours. I do not have an answer to how that vast industry is curbed or stopped without recourse to ethical lawyers, as was done with tobacco. I can see where shaming people for choosing an SSRI is comparable to shaming someone for lighting up a filter tip on a street corner. Shame is a powerful form of social control. But shaming someone for having the intolerable stress that propells them to grasp at the straws of cigarrettes is taking shame to dark level, a worthy level, a Salem’s Lot pious congregant chanting level. Stress, illness, dis-ease, disease, should never be shamed. I would even go as far as saying NOTHING should be shamed. Instead there should be “care” and “understanding” and access to the latest research findings and above all “support” to pursue less fast food, fast toke, fast fix options to the stress or illness or dis-ease or disease that decimates a persons suicidal life to the extent they hardly care anymore if the treatment annihilates them. They need to find a reason to care to live. And they need care.
It is all very well saying shame everyone who begs help from a psychiatrist and shame psychiatrists for giving the flawed help they have no real choice but to give and lets just bulldoze all the care buildings like clinics and respite houses and hospitals tomorrow and have a nice clean slate and start all over again, kind of like turning to rubble the tobacco factories. But where in God’s name do the billions of stressed and ill and dis-eased and diseased go for care tomorrow? It is a bit like finding asbestos in a field hospital and deciding to flatten it with a digger in order to grow a field of daisies. As if flattening an exterior nightmare will magic away the real illnesses of people who have a different nightmare going on interiorily. Demolishing an exterior nightmare in order to start again does nothing for the people who are living with a worse interior nightmare 24/7. Or are they to be conveniently forgotten about and demolished into the rubble of fabric and fittings? Psychiatry has let these people down appallingly and my concern is that it may do so again by psychiatrists sort of refusing to recognize that these people are already suffering hell on Earth in the nightmare of their wounded minds. I fear that reprehensible factions of psychiatry will slip off their old medals and in haste to rid themselves of the taint of malpractice will clobber any person who genuinely is suffering. A sort of…
“Get out of my way, I’m busy”
“Get out of my way, your illness does not exist, go and talk about paranoia with a next door neighbour or a hairdresser or someone at the soup kitchen”.
Yes, it is lovely that these may not give treatments that cause life destroying iatrogenic damage, but can you call your busy stressed out neighbour with his four kids and bills to pay “your solace”? Can you do it tomorrow? Standing triumphantly on the tatters of a defunked field hospital?
I have been in a psychistric hospital many times. Ive seen them at their absolute worst but I have bedded down with many psychiatric patients who love being sheltered and fed and kept warm and being surrounded by a community of fellow illness sufferers to talk to and having access to lovely country parklands with fresh air and nature. I have been with many who have wept about having to leave the cocoon of hospital to face the alienating rabid shaming society, who will shame anything not called Jesus. Ideally all these shelters can be replaced by Soteria houses, but are they going to be up and running where I live tomorrow? I hope so. Long long long time overdue. Soteria should have been the answer all along. I am a big fan of it. And I am a big fan of minimizing psychiatric meds to the absolute bare minimum since we really dont know what these compounds do to each individuals unique brain. But I am sorry, I just do not see the merit in launching a “campaign” to more or less tell people to mimic Lazarus because heh ho…they have no illness anymore….its all just trauma. I can see where a bullying Guild of Psychiatry will relish what they may see as a chance to exonerate their years of cold indifference towards psychotic people by championing a new cold indifference that brushes their lapels of the cash costly needy schizophrenics by embarrassedly coughing up their business suit cuffs to say schizophrenia does not exist. All done in a stampede to be the great and good again, the worthy. Something of a morality test no psychiatrist should have to feel shamed into taking. Shame spreads shame. Greatness is often the illegitimate love child of shame. And I see alot of psychiatrists yearning to feel great again but doing so by binning what they feel has been a shambolic scandal, and doing so by binning those who for a century have acutely required some better and more compassionate form of help for their very real illness.
Leave psychiatry if that is your choice. I do not have the luxury of leaving something that makes it impossible for me to write ten sentences without wearing two masks and two hats and two pairs of sunglasses and wads of tissue paper formed into rings around the inside of my glasses and a stocking with two holes in it for vision. All this to stop the insufferable hallucinations. You go ahead and leave your ghastly career. I have every sympathy for your ethical predicament. I will never shame you for staying or leaving. I will never shame you for how bad you feel. Please try not to shame me for how bad I feel.
You are expected to fulfill the role of pillpusher and if you do not do that you are going to find yourself in role conflicts all the time.
You’ll find a role where you can utilize your conscience and skills. In the mean time you sound like you should really go for a beer with some friends or whatever you do for fun.
Please don’t give up your chosen profession. And I say that as a woman who has seen her own family members and people I love, either sent to an early grave, or disabled permanently by the current system. Psychiatry has ruined my life, but I live in hope, because it’s all I have left, that one day voices like yours will be heard and things will have to change. For humanity’s sake just find a way to go about things differently. For a start you are here! You are not alone! I remember having the same conversation a few years back with a lovely young Registrar in London, who was thinking of quitting the profession because he thought he was the only one as well. It’s a lonely path I’m sure, but brave honest souls like you, that recognise there has to be a better way, one day might outnumber the poor misguided souls who continue practicing business as usual psychiatry. I pray to God that the change that is needed, will be in my lifetime, because make no mistake, Psychiatry and the pursuit of profit by the pharmaceutical industry, destroys peoples lives. Period. I wish you love and light on your journey.
You are working through an awfully big pile of crap and congratulations for doing it. I retired after 50 years as an RN. I started seeing the cracks in the pedestals early but changed specialties to find my fit. I also became “clinically depressed” after 4 pregnancies in 5 years (2 full term, 2 early spontaneous AB). So I look at your experience as a former health care professional and a mental patient. You are wise beyond your years ; give yourself some credit for seeing through the bs and wanting to stop the gerbil wheel. Most of the other comments I read were spot on. Just to add one more: I believe one person can change the world and urge you to do all you can. Don’t expect to see the change in your lifetime and don’t expect to see a huge revelation. It will likely be one baby step at a time.
I’d urge you to connect with others in your tribe. Dr Paul Thomas in Oregon has recently started a podcast “Against The Wind”. discussing how he is pushing back after having his license pulled for “misinformation”. Dr Kelly Brogan a physiciatrist who teaches about good food, activity, and no meds and Dr Pierre Kory of FLCCC.net can tell you all about the censorship and blocking of anyone who dares question the politically correct.
Dr Sherry Tenpenny in Ohio .They are out there and they are like you. A broken system wobbling on a broken foundation. Talk to a chiropractor, nutritionist , midwife, etc on how they have been systematically shut down. Good luck and stay strong.
Lots of anxious comments suggest you should try to become a different sort of healer. So before I go for a little lie down I will share that I once suggested a depressed friend should consider becoming schizophrenic? It is terribly liberating. You can speak truthfully. You don’t have to heal anybody but yourself. And because you feel healed this rubs off on others in the passing, as a perk.
Hello – Thank you for the encouragement and words of support. It means a lot to me. Just last week had another bad experience. Patient having SSRI withdrawal. Not mentally ill but a trauma history. I recommend she stays off medications. Her “therapist” seeks me out saying she wants and need meds. This is wrong on so many levels. First therapist communicating for a patient promoting dependency. Feeds therapist ego to make her feel like the savior. Second therapist pushing meds. I told her this patient isn’t mentally ill and meds are therapy interfering. Blank stare. Then goes on to tell me she’s referring a patient urgently for ptsd who’s “failing therapy” and needs “effective medications.” Another therapist advises a patient to get medications for me for panic attacks who’s in a violent relationship. I just can’t
That is another of the bad things about the drug model – it gives psychologists and therapists an “out” so that instead of admitting they don’t know what’s going on or what to do, they can blame the client for “failing therapy.” Sorry, if you’re being paid to do therapy, and it doesn’t help, the only one failing is the therapist! You (the therapist) aren’t delivering your product and should step aside, instead of blaming the client’s brain and passing on your failure to your client.
Could not agree more Steve. The state of psychotherapy is very scary. I could write a book on the bizarre and inappropriate treatment I’ve encountered by these so called therapists.
Thank you E Biden for so clearly and poignantly sharing your story. For many of the reasons you outlined, I just can’t understand how any psychiatrist doesn’t feel as intellectually and morally challenged as you’ve so aptly depicted? I can’t imagine the forces you face day in and day out. It’s got to be challenging enough not having peer or professional support, save working in a virtual state of constant or imminent opposition, but to also have so much external structural and cultural opposition (a rather long list, actually!), must feel despairing at times? I will only add on this front, “ditto” cbd-md’s intelligent and wise comments!
Re: your observations of the role psychotherapist and psychologist have had in diagnosing and advocating psychotropic meds to treat “their” diagnosis. I don’t know when psychologist and psychotherapist became such handmaidens to psychiatry (the 80’s?), but their abandonment (at whatever scale exists) of patient centered psycho-dynamic and critically conscious (social, historical, transpersonal, etc.) praxis, is a grave loss to our commons.
You are right. At times it’s miserable but at times it’s wonderful when you are able to truly help a person. My patients keep me going.
I believe the change came in the 80″s when hospitals were identified as profit centers, drugs were advertised on TV and drug companies began spending more on marketing than on Research and development .
The love of money being the root of evil, don’t cha’ know.
Perhaps this is why you were put here on this earth.
Write down everything you witness. Your voice is needed. Much luck to you.
Hi E. Baden, thank you so much for your honesty and your sincere attempts to help people with as few meds as possible. You might want to get in touch with the folks at Medicating Normal https://medicatingnormal.com–a film about the harms of meds with 4 compelling personal stories. Also, check out Adele Framer of Surviving Antidepressants https://www.madinamerica.com/2020/11/surviving-antidepressants-adele-framer/ Many folks who want to come off of psych drugs use her forums for assistance since so few doctors are either willing or able to help people withdraw safely.
You are right about trauma–past and present–being one of the leading causes of feelings of depression and anxiety. If only more docs were of your mindset, but it’s so hard to go against the grain.
You’ll find your tribe—and thanks for speaking out.
Good points, Ann. E could have a thriving private practice helping people get off psychiatric medication.
I want to 3rd this suggestion that she go into private practice to provide support to those coming off the drugs. The need for this is huge.
I commend you for your compassion and ethics. This is sorely lacking by many in psychiatry. My younger brother did not survive psychiatric ‘treatments’ doled out simply because he was grieving personal losses. I saw a young psychiatrist for “help with sleep meds” for insomnia due to chemo and steroids while in cancer treatment. She was arrogant and deceptive, labelling side effects of chemotherapy and psych drugs she prescribed (incl. anti-psychotics) as “Somatization Disorder”. Unbeknownst to me she put a total of 4 psych labels permanently onto my electronic records. When I later tried to resolve the ongoing harm these labels were causing I consulted a psychiatrist who was the Director at the same clinic. He called the medical care during my cancer treatment a “horror story” and said “if this happened to me I would be fighting it” and “she needs to issue a retraction (of the labels) but I can’t make her”. However he was leery to stick his neck out too much and get in trouble. He explained it would put him in an “adversarial” position.
When the psychiatric system is so corrupted by ego, power and control that even the reasonable or good ones (even as Director of a psych clinic) are silenced it shows how doomed people are who see mainstream psychiatrists. Best of wishes and I hope you do go into private practice and can speak more freely against the untruths and damage of psychiatry.
To anyone who is interested please sign this letter:
What I know and remember about taking these psych drugs and engaging in all these therapies is that I fought dirty inside and outside. I could never take enough showers to cleanse all that dirt from me. It wasn’t until I stopped the drugs, I felt clean again even as I endured withdrawal.
I think it is a person’s choice whether to remain as either the psychiatrist or the patient. However, because of my experiences, I would argue that leaving is a better choice, but, it is not my place to interfere in another person’s life or decision. There are things I do not know. I can say even the therapy was excruciating I endured “labels:, (diagnoses) that were not only inappropriate but dangerous and useless. These labels or diagnoses are not like the labels such as “I am an artist, bricklayer, lawyer, mechanic, etc.” The labels or diagnoses are such that they reinforce the effects of the drugs and the effects that one is less than a person. When a person uses such a label to define oneself, all one gets is the dregs and the ability to fulfill potential, promise, and purpose is lost. One can not be who one is created or meant to be when one describes oneself as a label such as bipolar or depressive. After receiving such labels, it may be a struggle to retain that which is considered right for you. Choosing to leave this unnatural world as a patient or psychiatrist takes courage, but so many times, it is thrust upon you. It can happen when you seemed to have no choice. But, even in those times, you will look back and be thankful that in some way for some reason, you have been rescued from this “underworld.” Thank you.
Thanks for showing yourself to be a caring and honest person who is not wrapped up in yourself – you are exactly what anyone who is struggling needs most. Your position as a real thinker in the lockstep field of psychiatry has to be a very lonely one. While you are greatly outnumbered by the co-opted, self-preserving and predatory members of your profession, there are some great people who you might connect with. They are well worth contacting and/or reading their books. Try reaching out – here are two I met years ago:
Peter Breggin (pioneering author of numerous books critiquing psychiatry); Grace E. Jackson (author of Rethinking Psychiatric Drugs and Drug-Induced Dementia) – both have made livings treating patients without psychiatric drugs or by helping them get off them . You will find kindred spirits in ISEPP (International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry); also England’s Critical Psychiatry Network has a number of brilliant thinkers, Joanna Moncreiff among them.
I recommend the writings of David Healy, former secretary of the British Psychopharmacological Society – an insider who cites chapter and verse on the shenanigans of psychiatriatry. A web cite, 1 Boring Old Man, written by a now-deceased psychiatrist, is a treasure trove. Bessel van der Kolk (author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma) is a reminder that not all psychiatrists are pill pushers.
Knowing you are not alone and getting support from kindred spirits – not easy, but a big help. I wish you good fortune. People need what you have to offer.
To the author:
I am really sorry for your situation.
In my experience health care in each country develops as an interchange of patients expectations and those providing the service.
Unless you are truely masochistic it would be a good idea to specialize in psychotherapy and help the people who really want to change something, instead of focussing on those who don’t.
However also psychotherapy requires training, which is at least three years. Bad psychotherapists you seem to have encountered enough.
I am not so familiar with the american regulations, in my country these are two different pathways for specialist recognition as a physician, with the psychiatry option only doing a brief stint in behavioral therapy and the other being a specialist physician in psychotherapy.
We also have public funds for psychotherapy, as they also realize, that this is cheaper than paying disability pensions.
However biologistic psychiatry is also dominating the field.
So first check out how to become a psychotherapist in the USA, there are also patients who prefer this.
In the United States and this is from a “patients” view, the “psychotherapist” is usually someone with an LCSW degree. One of the jobs of this person is to make referrals to the psychiatrist for “med reviews” and the like. Now, this is usually the set-up in the more community based “mental health centers.” Exclusively private practices may be different, as I have seen a “psychiatrist” as a “therapist” before a more private setting. That rarely worked either. So much of this is determined by insurance, whether it’s Medicare, Medicaid, or private. Even the “uninsured” who may be seen on a sliding fee scale are affected. Usually, in my experience, I would see an LCSW Licensed Therapist every one or two weeks and have a Med Review with a Psychiatrist once a month. However, as the years went on, before I walked away from this, I was seeing less actual psychiatrists and more prescribers who received their authorization from the psychiatrist. In one case from a treatment facility of which I had been a patient for about eleven years, they dropped their psychiatrists and only had available the therapists. However, the patient was still obligated to be seen by a psychiatrist for the meds, but needed to go elsewhere. I found that after I left there, all my records from seeing either psychiatrists or therapists were a jumbled mess as I tried to retrieve them for my last stint as a “patient.” This is my experience. I would not know how this might affect the author’s decisions or anyone else’s decisions whether to be a patient or be a service provider. It has been speculated and could be that some of these facilities might be dropping their in-house psychiatrists because keeping them in-house opens them up to more liabilities. If one considers the dangers of these drugs, it seems understandable. Oddly enough, with the one treatment facility, this happened after my being in the hospital from being basically “comatose” from my years on these drugs. However, I do not know. I wonder to this day, if others may have had some sort of horrible reactions to these drugs and the psychiatrist get scared forcing the treatment facility to drop any in-house psychiatrist. This psychiatrist moved – well- to the other side of the country–last, I heard. Thank you.
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With all due respect, please do not practice psychiatry. A discontented psychiatrist is not a good psychiatrist. Your disappointment is such it’s propelling you toward “oracular medicine,” a treatment modality for which there is far less evidence of its efficacy than acupuncture. It’s possible in decades hence we will come to understand that the brain is controlled by the digestive biome. Yes, yes, you can point to all sorts of flimsy studies, but the truth is there’s no more evidence today “oracular medicine” is superior to homeopathy.
Please do not spend your life chasing a mirage.
You are smart and insightful. But your emotional reaction to psychiatry is such you would be doing a disservice to patients continuing to practice. The chances of finding a psychiatric career rewarding are nil. One cannot practice a specialty when one is at war with it. That’s not to say one cannot be a critic. Or even a maverick. But your dissatisfaction — even acknowledging your enjoyment of psychotherapy — is sufficiently pervasive you are no longer a suitable practitioner.
Please consider something else. Your contention legions of psychiatrists feel the same as you is meaningless. Maybe they should change specialties, too. In fact, if the disquiet is as a widespread as you contend (I would argue it isn’t), then the last thing the specialty needs is another disaffected practitioner.
Do not mistake the affirmation you’re garnering will result in actual change. If you say the food tastes lousy at a restaurant and everyone agrees, that doesn’t make the food any better.
Perhaps you would be the happiest — and make the best contribution to the world — by doing something outside conventional medicine. Maybe working for a a non-profit devoted to health care for the poor, for instance.
I would not have spent the time composing this if I wasn’t impressed by your intelligence, incisiveness and dedication. It’s precisely because of my respect for those all-too-rare traits that the best use of your talents lies outside psychiatry and perhaps outside traditional medicine.
I am thrilled. More Machievalian company at the Last Supper to add depth and breadth and texture.
I do believe mental illness—although rare— does exist and that medications used selectively, conservatively, and for the shortest duration possible are beneficial.
No need to go further Dr. “E” — I’ve diagnosed your problem. As long as you believe minds can be ill you will be torn by the same contradictions which have rendered psychiatry invalid as a field of medicine from the start.
To paraphrase Szasz (whom surely you study in psychiatrist school, right?) — what medications would you prescribe for a sick joke? A sick economy?
And to quote myself — if you can show us a post-autopsy mind in a plastic bag it will demonstrate the possibility that “mental illness” is real. Certainly not before. But please invite me to the press conference when you do!
Otherwise good luck with your new career. 🙂
Oldhead my FEELINGS are REAL.
And I FEEL ILL.
SO……I AM TELLING YOU AS MY OWN AUTHORITY ON ME I AM ILL.
You do not inhabit the interior of me so you have NO WAY of knowing if I feel ill or do not feel ill. And because you do not have access to my interior perceptions in any way, to discern where my unique to me ill feelings are coming from, you cannot say they DO NOT come from a place I like to call my mind.
We can debate about where the ill feelings are coming from, whether brain, mind, hormones, poverty, inactivity, trauma, abuse, possession, iatrogenic damage, forever chemicals, micro plastic, oppression, having a cold mom, having once had a wicked school doctor, being sacked by a boss, schizophrenia. We talk about how silly or how relevant these “explanations” and “causes” may be. And we can search for the REAL CAUSE…but none of that has ANYTHING to do with my REAL FEELINGS which are ILL. And those ILL FEELINGS, or what may be an imbalance in my freedom to feel at all, are inextricably bound up with my nebulous amorphous infinite MIND. You may like to think you do not have a mind. I am tempted to encourage you to think along such lines, and not because I am being jokey but because I believe the nuclear war causing mind of the human species is utterly awry. To the extent we should all be happier if we could turn the damn thing off, which is what peaceful grazing horses do all day and is why a billion heroin addicts find the miserable solution to the tyrannizing mind lays a needle.
Can’t turn off the Universe.
People need to sort out this whole thing about feelings vis. a vis. material reality, and this manifests on other levels as well, beyond simply the psychiatric narrative per se.
You seem to think that people are trying to denying your feelings, but I don’t see that happening. They’re examining your language. Nor do I see your right to define your feelings any way you want being challenged, even if you take your cues from the psychiatric narrative.
I don’t if “I” have a mind, or if “self” and “mind” are the same thing. I don’t conceive of the mind as having feelings; feelings are channeled through the body, and in a natural state the mind interprets them. But the mind isn’t an object; it’s an abstraction that people bound in 3D material frameworks often can’t conceptualize other than in material terms, as a “thing” inhabiting the brain or something. Nor would I conceive of the mind as lifeless, as it’s at the heart of all living activity.
Not trying to imply I have this all figured out.
If you think of “mental illness” as a tired metaphor, rather than as a literal disease, that’s consistent at least (though you’re obviously creative enough to conjure up some far more poetic paradigms). I’m sure any objections have to do with people feeling wary that you’re generalizing your “personal” definitions beyond your own experience and potentially projecting the “mental illness” identity onto others.
You say this in response to my comment…
“You seem to think that people are trying to denying your feelings, but I don’t see that happening. They’re examining your language. Nor do I see your right to define your feelings any way you want being challenged, even if you take your cues from the psychiatric narrative.”
I say this….Who is anyone to examine my language? What right has anyone to “examine” me? I thought that is what this site damns psychiatry for doing. The very word e x a m i n e sounds cruel to my ears. It assumes authority to judge. I do not think my mere soundwave words are being examined, like you might birdsong. I suspect the “feelings” behind my words are what is being examined. Not all of my feelings are expressed in words but many feelings I feel only have my words to convey them. If anyone is examining my language, or words, they are examining my feelings.
Luckily, I find this frisking of everyones feelings all too common in the human. I am partial to doing it myself. It is part of nitpicking and all unhappy people do it to eachother night and day the world over. But the world will be over…if we don’t try to fatholm why we feel so miserable that we cannot resist neurotically pick pick picking away at each others feelings, and at each others free choices, words and language and beliefs. It is not others we should examine but our own brokenness. All of us have just crawled through the worst pandemic in recent global history and the unexpressed wailing trauma from living with death on a daily basis for almost two years has brought a tidal wave of grief at the simple happy sociable silly romantic lives we should have had. Lives full of feeling. I am making up for lost time and binging on as many feelings as I can feel. The pandemic has shattered our tolerance and amplified our sense of apocalyptic threat, to the extent we now see anyone who is slightly different as hugely threatening. But this cannot be healthy! I am no threat to you or anyone. It is laughable that we all cannot leave each other alone to be more of who we each uniquely are. My only agenda is for you to be more you.
As for mind…well I have been told by my schizophrenic voices, whether reliable or not, that we are living in a mirage. That means thst every hour of the day we are squabbling at a mirage, quaking in our boots at a mirage, wrestling with a mirage, cowtowing to a mirage, blending in with a mirage. What this means is the nature of physical material reality may not be real in the sense we think it is but may be more like a beautiful guided meditation that we all participate in, as if watching a movie in a cinema, or maybe we are like clumsy, sleepy buffoons eating onions we believe are apples in some cosmic hypnotists stage show. What I believe is that post death we do not die at all but wake up from the mirage. And have a good laugh at how stupidly seriously we took it, for some seriously enough to carpet bomb a few cities. I feel our choice is to either get swallowed up in the mirage or find playful ways to rise above it so we do not treat each other as real threats. This fosters peace. But its not easy in a gripping, engrossing, apocalyptic pandemic.
Lastly, I apologize if I have been belabouring a point about my right to call myself anything I please. I do get the reasoning behind the use of speech marks for unpopular terms but I think of many things in my life that I have worn as a group badge but chucked after the message had served its moment in history. The sufferagettes at one point used to insist all true sufferagettes wear only green and purple. I used to perm my hair and insist everyone else do so. In my teens I used to listen to certain bands that I cringe at now. I could be wrong but I feel the speech marks observance has got its message over good enoug for people to now feel they can make up their own minds. Apart from anyhing I just think in a rushy world it is too clunky to last. A thousand psychiatric survivors probably desire to compose their harrowing memoirs of being in asylums but might be slowed down by having to be precious about punctuation. Do their experiences not count? A person with a different language should be heard even if they cannot spell. And finally, even though thousands feel rescued by slamming labels, If I have felt vaguely put off from joining MIA because of the labels battle I am sure there are probably some suicidal pill popping kids who are put off by it. For those one or two lone kids, maybe I am their stand in for a burping, disrespectful, speech mark dismissing, babysitter.
(No need to respond. I am swamped in writing projects and need to empty my pockets to trace my way back to three dimensional existence. The lovely mirage.)
I hear and I think I understand what you’re saying, both of you. Here is where I think the conflict lies: I think that you, DS, are arguing about your right to view yourself as ill and having schizophrenia and find objections to these terms conflicting with those rights. I see you, Oldhead, saying that giving power to these words IN GENERAL means giving power to the system to label and judge people and also gives credence to the idea that psychiatry can define “mental illness” by coming up with a list of “criteria” voted on in a meeting of privileged “professionals” who are more or less arbitrarily condemning people to a label indicating that their brain is broken without any objective means of identifying what is supposedly wrong.
Oddly, I agree with both of you. I think the use of the term “schizophrenia” by an individual, and/or a reframing or believe that you as a person “have an illness” is your absolute right as a human being that no one should try to take away from you.
At the same time, I see the damage that these labels do to people, as you, DS, saw in my presentation on “ADHD.” So in general, having these labels ENFORCED on individuals who may or may not agree with these evaluations or the philosophy behind them is evil. And spreading the idea in society that psychiatrists have some inside knowledge of the causes and effective “treatments” for these “mental illnesses” that they claim to be able to identify is very destructive socially, as it reframes what are often completely normal reactions to difficult or oppressive social conditions as “diseases of the brain” or “of the mind” with no evidence that there is anything at all wrong with a person’s brain.
So it’s no big deal for YOU to believe in schizophrenia and view it as a disease, if that is what you see and believe is going on. However, it IS a very big deal when psychiatry as a profession/industry is promoting a concept of “mental illness” that is not actually supported by science, or in fact is even able to define its basic terms (like “mind”), and that has huge financial conflicts of interest driving its claims, and which claims are very destructive to our society at large.
And it is VERY difficult to engage in an honest discussion of the damage done by the current psychiatric system without directly criticizing the idea of “diagnosing” people with “mental illnesses” in the absence of any evidence that these sets of “criteria” they identify correlate with any kind of specific biological problem. This observation does not in any way suggest that you, DS, do NOT have an illness of some sort, nor does it suggest that you aren’t allowed to call it an illness or call it “schizophrenia.” What it means to me is that the PROFESSION calling EVERY situation where people have similar experiences to you “schizophrenia” is not supported by science, nor is it even philosophically sound for professionals to suggest that people have an “illness” that can’t be defined by any objective means. I hope that this difference is clarified by my remarks. This conflict is the cause of much consternation both by those identifying personally as “schizophrenic” and those who find the process of labeling BY PROFESSIONALS in general to be objectionable on the face of it. And this conflict, while understandable, is to me unnecessary. Because the first has to do with the right of an INDIVIDUAL to identify with their own terms and ideas, while the second has to do with the assumed authority of a large cohort of professionals to use their power to label a range of people as “mentally ill” without their agreement or even any objective scientific evidence supporting such claims. These are very different assertions that don’t actually conflict with each other, even though it may feel as if they do.
I hope that helps a little.
Steve, thankyou for taking time to ponder all this. To be honest I am flagging just now from a night of no sleep. I really must rest. I cannot do justice to this phenomenally complex debate all on my own. It involves massive multilayered considerations and thinking about it is like five dimemsional chess. It sucks me in because it is all about “logic”. My old darling. But I am divorced from “logic” now. I do not live there anymore. Though I wistfully peer through the window at times. “Logic” as a midnight lover makes me ill. It is such a hit, such a narcotic buzz, it makes the impossible seem possible, but over the course of a few weeks it spirits me off into high hopes of fixing the world. And that steals my time lived in the calm simplicity of the here and now.
I see people wanting to demolish psychiatry. I feel my way of pinpointing a bully when you discern one IS my demolishing the psychiatry you loathe. And not just bully psychiatrists but bully police and bully teachers and bully politicians and bully everyone everywhere who will not respect an individuals “freedom of choice”. But by that token I include bullies who bully a bully. This is why I cannot join people who want to be aggressive. I dont like it. Nor can I bear being untrue. There are plenty of lovely people who are psychiatrists. I agree that massive amounts of children and vulnerable adults have been poisoned by pharmaceuticals. We all went from being a smoking society to a non smoking society. I demonize any poison. I cannot hate people. I just cannot.
As for schizophrenia not being not being a sciency thing, few scientists have a clue what much of the brain is for, or does. And what is “the brain” anyway. It has nerves in our toes. I feel schizophrenia is a disease. Those who have my sort of schizophrenia derive comfort from thinking the lizards and leopards leaping out from their bedroom walls are just a disease. It is like telling a nine year old boy he is just having “a nightmare” rather than saying he is not having a nightmare.
And on that note, I am going to switch off the light of my “logic” and rest my weary mind.
That makes great sense to me. It is easy to see how that could bring comfort. And as I said, I think you should do whatever it is that gets you through the day. I have no criticism for anyone who personally wants to embrace whatever label they choose. It is, indeed, the bullying aspect that I object to. I do think it’s very possible to be assertive and strong without being a bully. But it’s a skill that few truly develop.
Take care of yourself!
You have an interesting and original turn of phrase but you did just that as in ‘examine’ me or when you asked me in another post if I was the ‘DEMON’ (your caps) in another post because I had stated that the psychiatrists who criticised E Baden for her position were ‘good Nazis’.
You then asked a series of insinuating questions that would define me as ‘psychiatrist’ if I had ever offered a pill or advice to anyone else along psychological lines. You don’t know me from Adam and yet you felt that you could ‘examine’ me or my motivations or ‘feelings’.
You are probably right, my mind is a blur just now. But I probably was nitpicking back at what I concluded was nitpicking of other people.
I have been cross examining my cross examiners to get over a message about cross examining. Cross examining can be feverish great fun, like hunting a “logic fox”. But so can sitting down peacefully making a lovely picture of the Taj Mahal out of cotton wool. I have been playing with my cross examiners because when the brain gets too serious it cannot relax into love.
I shall bow out of this running commentary now. I need to drink a sacred glass of grapefruit juice.
This is not the sort of extended back & forth I’m really up for these days in general; I mainly check out MIA when there’s a lull, or I’m avoiding something more stressful and need some more recreational conversation to indulge in. And if there are undercurrents of hostility I try to ignore them or consign them to the back burner, as the focus of my life is not MIA. It’s back to the thing of people thinking that your perspectives “hurt” them, which to me is a lethal impediment to honest discussion.
But I digress, as I mainly have to address this one statement of DP (for whom I have always had a general fondness):
I say this….Who is anyone to examine my language?
Why would you post “language” for people to read if you don’t want them reading it for comprehension?
Oldhead, I am meaning who is anyone to nitpick my choice of words. It is like a settler arriving at the camp of the First Peoples who have a fair enough grasp of english language but during the conversation they then find their basic words are endlessly inteŕrogated. My words are my words. If someone is just going to say they do not like my words and they try to tell me to exanine my words and they examine my words rather than on balance accept that these are my words there is perhaps no point in communicating with that person. When two nations meet, hearing words matters more than examining words. If examining words is all that is going on there is no authentic heart to heart meeting.
With the often rapturous (and enjoyable) way you use words why would you object to someone wanting to appreciate the nuance (of which you must be aware)?
E, I wholeheartedly encourage you to leave psychiatry. It’s the right thing to do.
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You might or might not ask your patients, whether they want to get well or get a fix? Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal can be a deadly horror. Dr. Breggin wrote a book on the subject. Dr. Breggin and Dr. Patch Adams are people you should consult with, as well as this Dr. Anne Guy.
How much College Debt are you enslaved by? MDs are expensive, and you should do your psychotherapy on your own time; we have Social Workers and Scientologists, to do the Psycho-Therapy, while Doctor Minutes are better used prescribing the Psychotherapy. You might ask a military recruiter, about your college loans.
Treatment of Schizo-Affective Disorder is Family Therapy. Look up Open Dialog on YouTube, as this is the Thing in Europe, at this time.
Most enter Psychiatry by screwing up in Medical School and in their Internships, that they can’t be Internists or Surgeons, but Dr. Peter R. Breggin followed a bit of your path, and he could probably use an heir.
Aaron Freeman, Yes, You are right. It is “hell” getting off the psychiatric drugs, yet, I would go through that “hell” again if need be to get off those evil drugs. However, due to my experiences, I now know better. A lot has been written by many about their experiences during all the phases of these drugs, including my experiences. But, in my personal experience, these drugs also make you feel dirty inside…dirty…like maybe your brain and body are being “raped” in some manner. I also had this feeling when I was drinking alcohol, until my body stopped that, too. In both cases, when I stopped them, I felt clean inside; like I had had a wonderful cleansing shower of my insides (brain and body.) However, with the drugs, I still had to suffer through the withdrawal and now I must adapt to the consequences of their usage. I did not have such issues with the alcohol. I do not know if that is because I spent more, much more years on the drugs than on the alcohol or because the drugs are inherently “stronger” to the system. I am no scientist, but, I think the answer is probably “all of the above.” Thank you.
Right as the Pandemic hit, I was about to apply to graduate school for clinical psychology or clinical social work. At that point, I had major aspirations about working towards system wide change from within the field. I always knew I disagreed with psychiatry, yet I pursued an education in it (I believed at one point that I would find like minded people from within it). Of course, no one person can change a system, nor can one organization.
I did not realize that until I truly had time to think as getting my master’s became more and more of a pipe dream (many schools/departments were so busy with managing their services during the pandemic, few could really speak to me about their programs). If you find a non-psychiatric job that allows you to show compassion and understanding from outside the system, please update us. I’m trying to do that as well with no direction and no upper education.
“On the contrary, most of my referrals come from psychologists, who are diagnosing patients inappropriately with innumerable serious disorders including ADHD and Bipolar Disorder.”
I totally agree, and I have no idea why non-medically trained psychologists, social workers, etc. are even allowed to “diagnose” anyone, with anything, anyway. And most certainly the non-medically trained, should never be demanding people be medicated, which the psychologists absolutely do.
“In my experience, most therapists are not effective and are ego-driven, tending to interpret their own infectiveness as the patient’s need for medication. It’s all the more maddening, and absolutely frustrating because therapists aren’t implicated in the problems with psychiatry despite the intimate role they play in causing and perpetuating these problems.”
You are absolutely right, the therapy industry should be implicated in the problems with psychiatry.
And there is another problem with at least some of the psychologists and therapists. They have “partnered” with the paternalist religions. Their role in that “partnership,” is covering up child abuse and rape, so the pastors do not need to deal with those issues.
Thus, covering up child abuse is the number one actual societal function of both the psychological and psychiatric industries today.
And all this systemic child abuse covering up is by DSM design.
I will agree with others here, who stated you should go into private practice. And I do believe there is a need for psychiatrists, who will actually assist people in safely getting off the psychiatric drugs.
You need to get in touch with Grace E Jackson, MD, a psychiatrist in Arizona who has similar opinions. She’s helping people get off of psychiatric drugs
What bothers me about the diskussion regarding orthomolecular therapy, homeopathy and the like is not only the complete lack of evidence but the attitude:
No need to change anything in your life but again somebody is coming with a magic little pill and again-sim-se-la-bing: everything will be all right!
Maybe with less side-effects, but the attitude bothers me.
I am quite shocked to learn, who does psychotherapy in the USA, it explains a lot.
Here one studies psychology for six years and does the training for psychotherapy afterwards, which takes further three years. To become a specialist physician in psychotherapy it takes five years with masses of lectures and supervised own therapy in quite different settings. There is also a requirement to do one’s own psychotherapy in the field one later wants to practice in. Hopefully this helps with some of the counter-transference or egoistic issues.
The two disciplins split in the 90es, before also psychotherapy was part of the education for psychiatrists. This is quite sad, as this used to be the expectation, but this was because of the advent of biological psychiatry.
There is more to psychotherapy than just being supportive. That is rather used for crisis intervention.
Some blundering of professional bounderies is hoped for by people with a schizophrenic condition, but it is more important to help someone towards independance.
I’m not aware that the requirement to do one’s own therapy before becoming a professional therapist is still in place in the USA, at least not in most places. It used to be a requirement, and in my view, it still ought to be. The big problem being that the “outcomes” for therapy are so disparate, and in fact, even the idea of what an actual positive outcome IS (lower symptoms? Less troublesome behavior for society? Opinion of the client? Achievement of agreed-upon goals? Avoidance of hospitalization?) that it would be very difficult to get any kind of consistency in our therapy candidates’ therapeutic “success” ratings.
Once, I thought I was interested in some type of “art therapist” program out of a school in Canada. One of the the requirements I did see was that the student must engage in a year of psychotherapy. Of course, I saw this in their on-line description back before about 2000. I forgot the name of the school. Actually, I was not interested at all. The price was too high and it was in Canada, way to far away for me. And, in the end, I have learned “formal education” is far from being my “happy place”—as they say, “not even close.” And, I am not sure if other “like-minded” schools had a similar requirement. Thank
I believe it’s a requirement for psychoanalysts.
I believe you are correct.
Removed – duplicate comment
Dr Baden, I’d like you to consider the possibility that some of your patients may indeed be ill, but that the mental expression of such is not the actual genesis of their illness and that psychotropic drugs won’t cure this state even if they make the person feel better for a short time. As someone who at times suffers from the effects of late diagnosed and treated Stage 3 Lyme Disease, I can say that psychotropic drugs do nothing to address the underlying physical illness or the damage caused by its late discovery. There are, of course, other physical illnesses that are expressed through emotional distress, and for which psychotropics cannot cure, and indeed may cause further damage to an already sensitive nervous system.
I’d also like you to consider that there may be more compassionate responses than brute force “symptom” reduction in those who are indeed physically ill. But even moreso for those who are experiencing psychological distress for reasons that have nothing to do with physical illness.
While I feel compassion for your position, I can’t help but feel some animosity that it is almost always the survivors of psychiatric harm that are doing the work to change the system when doctors and other professionals operating within this system are not brave enough to go against their professional brethren and speak up publicly against these harms. You may lose your professional status but some of us have to be brave in doing this work and we have no status to lose. These systems that perpetuate so much harm depend on those with privilege to keep their heads down and protect themselves at others’ expense. There is no honor at the end of that road. I hope you will realize that with privilege comes responsibility. You can protect yourself or you can do what’s right. But rarely will those two paths neatly intersect without risk.
Dear fellow disillusioned psychiatrist Dr E Baden please connect also with me rob at brisbaneactcentre dot com dot au – i believe i could also help, in various ways. See also http://www.brisbaneactcentre.com.au and perhaps also http://actinpsychiatry.com/
If you are interested in writing it, I would like very much to read another piece from you — this one on how student loan debt is keeping you and others like you in bondage to a profession they no longer believe in.
May I respond to something you mention…? And apologies if this gets duplicated.
Philosphically, I have always regarded the notion of “a professional” boundary rather peculiar, especially in most “talking” therapies. Just that word “professional” seems faintly creepy to me. It is often worn with pomp and ceremony by complete strangers, like overmantled heavy lace and embroidery bedecked, fetishistic priests, who need a costume to stop themselves rummaging and molesting their congregants. Why the regalia?
It has been my observation, as a hope filled schizophrenic person, hoping for equality for ALL people, that the tightly clutched claim to “professionalism” is sometimes, though not always, a charade and a mask that a person uses to maintain a sense of “us” and “them” out of “fear” of not having enough of a natural ethical boundary. As such it is like a confession of weakness from the get go. And as such it seems the badge of a charlatain.
But you surely must have schizophrenia yourself, to claim to know the interior of a schizophrenic person so intimately. So nice to have you join me, fellow schizophrenic person. Let me plump our cushions.
Perhaps the notion of any “professional” who has had, or has, something as mad as schizophrenia disturbs the cosy notion that intellectual “logic”, of the stripe most relied upon by therapists, cannot be relied upon to separate the wheat from the chaff, or keep out from the staff room the “contageon” of insanity. It is not so simple as saying here are the smart “professionals” and there are the “blundering” schizophrenics. Most schizophrenics wrote the damn book on “therapy” and the many “voices” of therapy. I suspect there are plenty of far cleverer schizophrenic people than therapists. And besides Nobel Prize winners, thankfully a good few are “professionals” in the caring professions. Which just goes to prove that neither the lucky rabbit paw of “talking” nor sacred talisman of “analytical logic” does not “cure” schizophrenia, since the schizophrenic is often the superior genius in both departments. And this reveals a very ordinary, tawdry embarrassing weakness in the “power” of any professional’s thinkerly intellectual paradigm of care. It is a flaw and weakness about the magic wand of therapy that some “professionals” are too disappointed to own.
This is now an answer to “Daiphanous weeping”:
Principally the problematic of the schizophrenic has been quite well described, I refer to R. D. Laing, “The divided self”, Harold Searles, Gaetano Benedetti, Theodore Lidz.
This long before biological psychiatry came on.
It is seen as a problem of boundaries.
In the earliest time in life the baby does not experience much difference between the caretaker and her/him. A very dominant person, who does not accept the child as an individual and misinterprets all signs can cause harm.
The mothers world is the only normal and the child own self is very weak. So it can get easily overwhelmed by the own unconscious.
Searles and Benedetti therefore describe a period of blurring of boundaries for healing like with the twin-dreams of Benedetti.
However it is more important thenafter, to see the other as different with different interesting views and to connect and seperate oneself each moment from second to second.
You seem to see the therapist as the overwhelming mom.
Please note I am not a therapist, I work in a completely field and happily so.
I am neither schizophrenic, my problem is different.
Addendum also: I am uttermost surprised to learn that the concept of a training analysis is new in the USA even for therapists.
Things have changed a lot since times where psychoanalysis/ psychotherapy was more common.
I think there is a more fundamental problem – your comments (and Laing’s) presume that “schizophrenia” is a unitary condition with a unitary cause, whether it’s biology or trauma or “refrigerator moms.” There is, of course, no accurate, objective way to determine who “has” or “does not have schizophrenia,” since “schizophrenia” is “diagnosed” by a list of thoughts/behaviors that allow for a broad range of “clinical opinions” to enter in, to the point where people who have literally not one single “symptom” in common can all be labeled as “schizophrenic.”
So we are left at a place where any explanation will fail, because no one explanation could possibly explain such a wide variety of experiences and behavior. So we get endless discussions of who “has it” or whether “it” really means anything specific at all, or what causes “it” if anything. And we have people like DS who perceive correctly that SOMETHING is not right, and yet the “help” she is offered is ineffectual, perhaps because they are given the idea that the psychiatrists “know” something that they don’t.
So the most sense that can be made of “schizophrenia” is that it is a name for a certain broad set of experiences, and that some people (like DS) identify with it and others don’t. It does acknowledge the idea that SOMETHING is wrong, yet it does nothing to determine what is actually wrong or what if anything should be done about it. People should be respected for the identity that makes sense to them, yet the general use of the term will never lead to any resolution or effective “treatment,” because we are expecting people who have a wide range of different issues going on to ALL respond to the same “treatment.”
Fine points. Like a harmoniously tuned harp being strummed. Each unique person like an essential string in the collective music.
Hello Daiphanous Weeping,
I’ve been following some of your comments here and on other threads. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling validated very well. I wrote a response last night and then deleted it. I try to watch myself since I’m just a husband and neither a ‘survivor’ nor an ‘expert’, but you say a lot of things I can relate to the journey my wife and I have been on the last 14 years. And if I remember correctly, the only difference between your schizophrenia and my wife’s d.i.d. is some ‘expert’ decided if the voices the person hears seem to be external, then voila, ‘you have schizophrenia’ whereas if the voices seem internal, then, poof, ‘you must have d.i.d.’
For us, my wife’s diagnosis of d.i.d 14 years ago was a godsend. For 20 years before that we struggled in our marriage. WTH was wrong? We didn’t know. We loved each other, but so many things were a struggle for us, no matter how hard we tried. We finally started seeing an alternative counselor who suggested she might have d.i.d….and we finally had a name to our unknown assailant.
Now we were fortunate. She didn’t get caught up in the mental health system. Our son and I helped and kept her safe the first 5 years when all the pent up trauma and emotions let loose in a hurricane of extreme states. We slowly found our way, together as a couple and family, as we utilized attachment concepts amongst other things to effect real healing that the drugs only mask.
I’m sorry you feel crazy. My wife felt the same at first. I can’t imagine dealing with all the stuff especially if you don’t have someone in your life to help stabilize and normalize things. When a ship is in a hurricane, stuff gets thrown and tossed and you feel like your life is going to end at any moment, at least that was how it was for her. But I went through those hurricanes by her side as a ‘safe haven’ literally carrying her and wrapping her in my arms at times when it was worst, and little by little the hurricanes diminished as my presence and assurances somehow gave her mind the extra help it needed to process those things from the past and assimilate them which stopped the storms permanently.
I can’t speak for you, but the trauma and subsequent dissociation seemed to be the biggest issues for my wife…and the dissociation seems to have caused most of the extreme states and other stuff she struggled with as the mind desperately wanted to get back in a sort of ‘stasis’ because it wanted access to everywhere. We are still working on dissociation issues, but the extreme-state stuff is mostly in the past.
I do wish you well. I think I understand a lot that you are saying and I agree with much of it, and so I just wanted to speak up and say I hear you.
Lovely gracious Sam,
I may have done a tetchy response to a comment you did elsewhere. Or not to “you” and your comment but something it brought to my notice. I steam at discrepancies like an Icelandic volcano.
And here you are being so kind to me. I shall just go and hit my head on a convenient hard surface. Lava. Pumice stone.
Very interesting to hear of your wife’s journey. This is all to the good to hear a diverse range of healing stories. You must write a book surely! And NEVER feel lesser just because you are the partner. Illness is able to seep into a whole family through love’s porous membrane.
I do hope you wont mind if I shyly say I do not need my feelings “validated”. I do that myself. I do not even need my feelings accepted, or respected, or believed, or loved. I can do all of that myself. I just do not want someone, anyone, telling me I should NOT do those self-care things. And people the world over who do not know me tend to want to tell me all the time which are the feelings I “should have” or “not have”. They do not know they are doing it. I feel no ire. But critique my emotions people do. Aside from the paradigm about trauma I believe this fashion for putting others through a regime of feelings “inspection”, as a picky tendency in all humans, even in me, is a prime cause of driving people off their rocker.
And so I do get frosty about that when it crops up. I champion people not changing. As a political principle.
Sam, I think it is chivilrous of you to bestow me with suggestions of healing. I salute your warm heart. I suppose for me at this moment in time I am wary of the vogue people have to encourage others towards unnecessary “change” or “breakthrough” or “catharsis”. I feel I do not want to “change”. I feel I need to affirm that I am perfect as I am. I think this hurry people have to “change” themselves comes from buying into external judgements that they are not loveable as they are.
If we do not love ourselves we are unable to make enough of it to give to everyone else.
Not that we “have to” be loving. We are free to choose to love nothing. But we can love that about ourselves and never seek to “change” it, and by doing so.,.
we become more loving.
Are you actually trying to diagnose the cause of my diagnosis? And you NOT a therapist? Is that not unethical to one who enshrines professional boundaries? So let’s lookie here…you pin me as a needy person who feels overwhelmed in the mommy department. Darn it! You got me! Aren’t you clever? I am overwhelmed, like eight billion Earthlings are overwhelmed, every one of them bawling inside, possibly you too, for the peace of the maternal uterus. That does not make them schizophrenic. Nor does it make me schizophrenic.
No, Daiphanous Weeping, I wasn’t trying to diagnose the cause of your diagnosis. I was trying to be empathetic and validate your diagnosis and some of the other things you said and suggest a camaraderie, however small, between your situation and ours, but apparently I failed.
I do wish you the best,
Dear Sam, the lottery of the posting of comments and replies has itself gone mad…I made a gaff…I apologize unreservedly..my comment about diagnosing diagnosis was NOT you at all, you dear man. It was MEANT to be a reply to Armadillo who I suspect was trying to therip me after refering to blundering schizophrenics. Oh well, comically she is perhaps right. I did blunder.
Sorry if I offended you Sam. Indeed anyone. I was born gummily smiling. I am determined to get back to that stock answer.
No problem, Daiphanous Weeping. We are fine.
That was to Armadillo.
I think what I see being debated between Oldhead and D.W. is the age-old debate of defining oneself and labeling. Labeling usually occurs from the outside. Defining oneself usually occurs from within and is therefore more empowering to a person. Labeling is also usually negative; i.e. “You are slow, stupid, overemotional, etc.” Unfortunately, Labeling can become the way one defines oneself. It is sort of resignation to one’s fate, rather than doing the hard work of defining oneself. Of course, in our society, it can be very difficult for one to define oneself and for so many it is no rewarded. Only when accepts the label given to him or her is one rewarded, although the latter is very damaging and can cause all kinds of issues, including illnesses and premature death in some cases. At the very least accepting the label will usually result in a miserable life. Defining oneself is an active process. In defining oneself, an individual learns all he can about who he is in relationship to himself, his God, his world, others, etc. Psychiatry works because it allows for the easy way out by labeling the person, usually through the medical tool of diagnosis. It is bullying taken to being respectable. And, thus, in most cases, when one accepts that diagnosis given to them by the psychiatrist is the truth of who they are, they resign themselves to the abuse of being labeled. Life becomes easy. All that one thinks, does, feels, etc. can be explained away by this diagnosis and the responsibility to being part of the human race disappears. But this is all rationalization and the mental gymnastics to arrive at that point can be tormenting, especially if you include the drugs, therapies, etc. employed. I think, maybe Oldhead might see D.W. labeling herself, rather than defining herself. Whether this is true or not, only D.W. can answer. All I know is that in my life submitting to any particular diagnosis (the labeling) which changed over the years reduced me to less than human. My very lifeblood got choked out of me and I almost died. The biggest factor being the use of the psych drugs for way too many years, but it the acceptance of the diagnosis, the labeling by others (psychiatrists, etc.) rather than I taking the responsibility for defining myself. Now, I am in the process of defining myself despite the loss of years and the damage done especially to my brain by the drugs and therapies, etc. Although, at times, it is challenging and even painful, there is such great joy and relief in this, that this is a task of hard work, I would wish upon someone. And, finally, I can be whom I truly am and created to be in the image of our Heavenly Father, and not bullied into a label (a diagnosis) by someone who may have no other interest in me than if I take my drugs, show up for appointments and pay my bill incurred by their “treatment.” Thank you.
Dear Rebel, a while ago I retorted to a comment you made about the notion of there being no such thing as mental disease. I may not have been in a cheery mood then so I apologize if I come over a bit waspish, I was in the middle of pandemic stuff, but later, now, I read this comment of yours and I find it serene. Yes, you are perhaps correct to see there is a distinction between labeling and self-definition. You cite the image of someone using labels such as “you are too slow” or “you are stupid”. These are judgements. The thing I have found with judgements is they are an attempt to take away something precious from you, which is your freedom of choice to be any way you please. So let’s look at the judgement “you are too slow”. You could “believe” that the judge has “authority” to know your inmost feelings, in his or her labelling your feelings as “lazy”. This is an absurdity if the judge is not telepathic. No one but you alone know your inmost feelings. The trouble with all judges is they purport to know you better than you know you. So that is a reality and truth you probably do want to set straight. But “if” part of you “doubts” your own ability to be your own authority and expert on your feelings then you might feel the judge resides in your very being and is “right” to describe you as “lazy”. And “if” you do absorb his or her authority about that you may then add his thought about you, a thought that requires you to wallow in self-condemnation. But that then makes you have another feeling which is being “ashamed” of feeling “lazy”. You may then spend the rest of your year defending yourself and saying that you are not “lazy” and that you are an innocent hard working person. Which may be true. But I prefer to take back the quality and sumptuous gorgeously self-indulgent feeling of “laziness” that the judge does not want me to like about myself. I do the same for “your too slow”.
I love slow!
Why would I want to let a horrible judgey person jealously steal my “free choice” and human right to be slow? The whole of nature loves slow. And as for “stupid”, well the stupider I feel the better I become. An elephant is quite stupid. A horse is stupid. They seem pretty okay. The judges or critics or bullies of the human race, whether they are in a profession or are your girlfriend or boyfriend, always want to humiliate a freedom you have to enjoy what they deem as shameful. They deem it! One way to deal with the imposition of shame meted out by the judge is to rigorously refute having the feeling behind what he or she judges you to be. But that is letting him or her whip you into abandoning a feeling that is rightfully your private property. Yours to revel in and enjoy if you want to. Lazy, slow, stupid, nonsensical, farcical, uproarious, mouthy, cheeky, blazè, exuberant, uncontrollable, mad, ecstatic, rebellious, schizo….all of these are “feelings” that the judge shames us into giving up, or even threatens us into abandoning. Why? Because he or she claims to “know” our interior feelings and presides in judgement over them like some grafted on unwelcome moral conscience about our unique feelings? I tend to align with the Gay Right camp and take back from that attempt to humiliate and shame my feelings of lazy, slow, stupid. And I shout from the rooftops that I am free to love being lazy, slow, stupid and schizo calypso. Being schizophrenic is not a dirty word. But I can totally understand anyone who shudders in shame at being called something seemingly not okay in the judges reckoning. And I can understand that even becoming outrage at being called anything by a judge. And I can see the impulse to return the favour and judge the judger as being the shameful likeness of evil. Sort of bullying the bully to stop bullying existing.
For me I prefer not to engage with any bully. What is the point? They do not posess my stollen feelings…I do. My feelings are all deliciously here…my laziness, my slowness, my stupidity, my schizoness, I only have to re-love those feelings like long lost babies.
Now some people are happy to get rid of their feelings, especially ones involved in illness. They may themselves loathe their laziness or their slowness or their schizoness and think those feelings are like dead kippers pinned to their coat tails. They may find the kipper feelings hideous because a parental judge criticized them in infancy or a school bully did. This leaves them more vulnerable to “believing” the next bully and the next until the ultimate judge mocks them so hard they go home and wash and scrub away all traces of the apparently offensive feelings. Then when a future judge says they aspy a feeling of laziness lurking deep down or a schizoness feeling, there comes an erruption of anguish and a sense that the judge is shoving the unwanted feelings back into the ashamed, like assaulting them with their own unloved feelings of laziness, slowness, any feelings, any feelings at all that can be picked at by a lifetime of control freaks. And control freaks are everywhere. We are ALL capable of being a bully and a judge and a control freak to others, the moment we say they should not feel the feelings they do.
Feelings are not behaviour. Feelings are harmless to have. There is no harm in feeling a feeling….even a feeling of schizoness.
That is why for myself I do not mind labels. Every smelly kippery pungent one! The labels are my feelings “shunned”.
But fear not. Just because I choose my way does not mean you cannot choose your way. If I choose my way AND you choose your way the Earth’s crust will still be curvacious. The polar mantle will still hold a few penguins together. The forests will still scream with joyful birdsong. And the corner shop will still be half open. And the puppy will still catch the stick. And the world will still be here tomorrow morning.
Diaphanous Weeping, When I read your post and this includes this one you just posted in response to my post, I see these red lights going off in my head and a feeling of unease. I can not speak for others who post on this site. I only speak for myself. But, this feeling of uneasiness and the red lights going off in my head mean, that, in order to protect myself, I shall not respond to you anymore. Like others on this site, I wish you well, but I have come too far to go backwards. Thank you.
I don’t recall “debating” anything here, just pointing some things out and responding to attacks. Anyway it’s cool.
By way of my repentance I send as my ambassador of apologies the poet Keats.
When I Have Fears.
“When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.”
I think “E. Baden” would have a hard time establishing herself as a psychotherapist in the USA.
There seems to me the prevailing opinion of this web-side that stopping the psychiatric drugs is all you need.
Nothing about root causes and tackling the issues, which caused the breakdown.
It is more easy to define oneself as the poor victim, who after childhood abuse has all the rights to avoid adult responsibilities in all future and behave like a child.
I am a bit surprised to learn, that there seems to be a hierarchy of mental illnesses among those affected.
Is bipolar illness and PTSB on the top and schizophrenia at the bottom?
Quite a bit of projection going on around the “mentally ill” to say his next his lower than themself.
The “normal person” would see all undesirable.
For me it is perfectly fine, if somebody is so offended by calling their problem by it’s name, to call it “tra-la-la” instead to continue the conversation.
Personally I think it is important to recognize, where the problem is, in order to do something about it.
It is like with a poisoned well that it is important to find it’s origins.
There are the most excellent descriptions for all the different dispositions in the literature way before biological psychiatry came on. Personally I think the most important was done in the 40es, but regarding personality disorders there is an exception, there have been brilliant workers since then.
As Steve mentions the different manifestations of schizophrenia, I recommend an American author, who used to be the APA President in that time (sic!), times have changed.
Silvano Arieti, “Interpretation of schizophrenia”.
Alone from the title you can see he understood the problematic.
There are of course other mechanisms, where an ego gets weakened, in order to become psychotic, but the manifestations are different, like by illness, fever, lack of sleep.
I think therefore to daze the poor weakened ego, who is overwhelmed by it’s own unconscious, even more with “major tranquillizers” is basically contraindicated.
Regarding the discussion about antidepressiv-withdrawal:Those people did voluntary line up to get a quick fix.
This must be quite a betrayal to them to realize that this comes with a price.
Principally everyone has to decide how much they want to dive in to this.
I certainly did, after I realized that those, who should, really did’t know, what they were doing.
I used to use my professional knowledge to damn people who hurt me.
Now I do not need to cite “logic” to box them into analytical corners.
I do not even have to tell them they are horrid and hurt me.
I just have to cry and love who I am.
I am sorry if I hurt you and caused you to feel less love about you or doubt your giftedness.
Armadillo, Oh yes! There is a “hierarchy” amongst those in the “mentally ill community.” I don’t completely like using the phrase “mentally ill community” as probably all are not “mentally ill” but “psychiatrically drugged ill.”
The one who takes the most drugs or has the most symptoms is usually at the top. Certain diagnosis give you status; schizo-affective disorder is higher on the totem pole than bipolar disorder and in bipolar disorder, it’s better to be bipolar I over bipolar II. Depression and anxiety give you few points as they seem to be so common-place. Having hallucinations and delusions gets you higher up on the ladder. It seems they are more likely to diagnose someone with schizo-affective disorder or bipolar disorder than schizophrenia. They prescribe the same drugs for any of those three disorders. Schizo-affective disorder is up there because in the DSM, it combines bipolar and schizophrenia symptoms and usually gets the patient the most heavy-duty psych drugs. Borderline Personality Disorder used to be well-respected, but, very few seem to want to receive that diagnosis anymore. Borderline Personality Disorder was popular because of that “Girl Interrupted” Movie. Also, for some, they did group CBT Training which made them feel as is they were doing something and pleasing their therapists. Of course, there may some regional differences or class differences. Anyway, I know this sounds odd, but this for the “psych drugged ill” is sort of like how a degree or job is reflected in the “regular world.” Thank you.
Oldhead, I too am busy with stuff going in my life. I need to attend to that. Much as I have enjoyed sporting with your comments.
I feel it is not our friends we learn about ourselves from but our detractors. Those sparkling, sharp, grains of salt in our wounds.
But we are not meant to be endlessly wounded. Calm must arrive to put old pain to bed.
I apologize if I did not restrain my need to find salt flabberghasting. I aim to be a vessel of love but often launch loveless tirades at others in pursuit of that aim. This is my undoing.
I may have said nippy things today yet to filter through the comments machine that might rile you. Humans invariably cause others to feel how they themselves feel deep down.
And of course who I am at dawn, with no coffee, reading a harvest of anti-psychiatry vitriol, is not who I am in the affable, playful evening reading the same.
My eyes are like organ stops from typing on this miniature keypad. Must go.
I am going.
POSTING AS MODERATOR:
At this point, I’d like to bring the discussion of the use of the term “schizophrenia” and the related issues to an end, at least as far as this particular thread is concerned. It seems that all the positions and viewpoints have been aired and are at this point being repeated. I think anyone reading this thread will get a very good idea of the issues and the various ways to look at it. I don’t want to have things deteriorate into a more personalized exchange that could be hurtful, and in truth, the thread has veered pretty far from the original topic of the difficulties being a “mental health professional” who is out of agreement with the status quo model of reality that is so vociferously enforced by the “authorities” in the field.
Thanks to everyone for their contributions – it has been a very interesting discussion!
Dear E. Baden, have you ever thought of becoming an unhealer? That’s what I am. I am ridiculously spiritual, to my own great cost. But I now believe we are not supposed to be like pristine spiritual people who have conquered our Earthly grubby appetites. If you suppose that the soul is eternal and we come from spirit and when we die we return to spirit, what then is the point of leaving that realm or dimension of love and perfection and bliss, if we are to recreate it here? Like a lunar module of “goodness”. I suspect we are here to mess it up for some of the time and be unspiritual and unhealed, since paradoxically this sensory incarnation IS an expression of spirit love. By virtue of us feeling free to feel whatever we feel. This may be so we can experience the full spectrum of feelings. If some dork at a subway does not make you grumpy then how will you later experience the feeling of relief after you relax with a coffee and chuckle? So you almost depend on the grump to bring you to the euphoria of relief. If the grump were a paragon of spiritual perfection you would feel nothing. Along comes a therapist to heal the grump, and so he feels relief, but because he is now all sorted, you wont get your subway squabble and so you wont get upset by that and so then later you wont reach your feeling of relief. I think it is okay to not heal everyone. The unhealed are so important! They heal everyone by giving them top ups of intense feelings. Provided they are not suffering. Grumpiness is not suffering. It is natural. Feelings are natural. I have always espoused this. So I am pleased the innovations for new care paradigms and frameworks and emotion focused plans put feelings top and centre. I feel this despite also feeling there should be better structured and practical care for people with harder mental illnesses.
So, I believe we are here not to always be healed of feelings. This can confuse some therapists who still see feelings as oddities that need fussed over by healers. I think some therapists are like pure spirit beings who do heal the desperate, to give them respite from a tornado of feelings, for a while. They are like guardian angels. But there are other therapists who mimic being pure spiritual beings but who think the whole of grubby humanity should pack in their appetites and also become trained and invested in being pure and pristine and spiritually healed, possibly by a magical framework that will handle feelings like feelings are grenades to be detonated by experts, to stop people feeling grumpy or any feeling of relief or any feeling at all. Instead they will live in the perfection of a stripped bare “logical” mind that makes sense of history but engages no more with current emotions, nor makes contact with the filthy messy gorgeous turbulent disturbing world of lively feelings.
I leave everyone hopelessly unhealed. They never thank me.
DP – I really enjoy reading your posts, especially this one. Unhealing really resonates with me and how I practice. I love how you phrased it. You have a way with words and beautiful viewpoint. Thanks for sharing.
Dear E. Baden,
My oration is melting! And its not simply because I left it to go bone dry on anger’s radiator. And not because I have just had my covid vaccine this day. It is because it and I am warmed by your lovely compassion. Thankyou for whispering your appreciation into my wilderness.
Last night one of my more clairvoyant voices stunned me en route to my bathroom when they said you are like my older sister. My late older sister is a horse lover who could boldly walk up to a freaky bog gone stallion and pacify it in a heartbeat. And mysteriously and impressively she could do that with people.
Sometimes my voices are amazing.
Oldhead, in answer to your quizzing me and asking why I would object to someone examining nuances in my word choices…
I suppose it is an interesting question. For me “logic” often uses the exuse of needing to know “why” a person’s feeling exists….as if it is the “wrong” feeling, to which the peson on the receiving end of such “logic” has to fight fire with fire and justify their feeling, as if it has been externally “judged”. The receiver maybe scurries to provide a “right” feeling if they accept living in a judgemental bullying world replete with the current focus on word wars. But I can see through much of that hook luring use of “logic”. I tend to say to people if you cannot understand me without picking at my words, after all words to me are like freely chosen daubs of paint a unique artist chooses to create a painting with, I say just don’t bother. If what a spectator in a gallery sees makes no sense or they keep having to examine it with “logic” then maybe they cannot really open to what my painting is.
That is okay.
Thankyou for the compliments.
I think many folks just like you could examine a great many things I create and do so brilliantly.
That does not mean my painting is not lovely to “some”.
Ps. Dr E. Baden…I made a comment way at the start about the future increase in child abuse. I just found an obscure website that has an essay in it explaining why any therapist might not be able to help those children. Political correctness is ending up in poisoned children. The essay is on the website “Critical Therapy Antidote”.
I am still so pleased you liked my comments.
My irreverence found a happy home in Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt is bonkers! That’s why I love it. Gestalt uses alot of bodywork, role play, paying attention to authentic awareness in the here and now. It is a “What’s really going on in this moment?” kind of therapy. It is both earnest and playful. Very client led. As a client in a training group I once went around the whole group of twelve would-be therapists kicking their chairs and shouting at them and saying they all let me down because they all spoke to each other at coffee break and not one of them spoke to me. The supervisor then encouraged me to go around the room again but shout more vehemently and louder at them. It all ended beautifully. Best book on Gestalt is the old classic text “Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality” by Fritz Perls, Paul Goodman, and Ralph Hefferline.
Lastly, you might like some of the earlier youtube videos of Posie Parker (aka Kelly-Jay Keen) merely for the booster jag of feistiness, whether you agree or not. She’s gone a bit hysterical these days but her billboard was interesting. Her and Magdalene Burn’s vids. For the humour in these crazy word war times. I myself am pro everyone having the right to be who they want to be, including trans people. Everyone should love each other. Simple. There is no “them”. What people get confused about is “bullying”. There definitely IS bullying, but that is “a behaviour” coming from upset “thems”. Go after “bullying” with a vengeance. Never go after “them”.
Pps. Dr E Baden. I forgot to mention Douglas Murray, a book “The Madness of Crowds”. Ive not read it yet. Think its on youtube, not sure.
The presribing algorithm developed by big Pharma in use by psychiatrists today is simple enough for a five year old to deploy…if drug A doesn’t work, use drug B. If drug B doesn’t work, etc. It’s essentially eanie-meanie-minie, mo. Why waste four years at medical college to deploy such a dumbed down practice? The orthomolecular approaches may be just as stupid, I don’t know. I think it would be worthwhile for E. Baden to remain in practice if only to provide a safe harbor for a few lucky patients who will have an opportunity to take more personal responsibility for their condition. At least there will be one psychiatrist willing to develop partnerships with her patients based on mutual respect and an honest admission about psychiatry’s limited understanding of the human brain, the true risks and limits of pharmaceuticals. There will always be patients who cannot tolerate mystery who will find comfort in the disease label; some may find relief in pharmaceuticals and that is OK. But as long as there are patients who are deteriorating under the medical model treatment and seek alternatives, the E. Bader’s of the world can be the answer to a prayer. For some patients who have been lied to and disempowered in the mental health system, psychiatrists like E. Baders represent an oasis in an intellectual and ethical desert.
Madmom, I love what you say alot of the time but I have to say that I myself have a high tolerance for the mystery that my disease of schizophrenia is one for which no cause has yet been located. There are millions of illnesses like that. All illnesses start as mysteries and all certainties about diseases go through refinements in the evolution of our understanding about them. I take no “comfort” in my illnese, my dis-ease, my disease. For over a decade I laughed uproariously at anyone who told me it is a disease, but doing so did not make the symptoms vanish. Most definitely getting free of antipsychotics got rid of the illness of side effects, and this helped me cope with my disease. It was wrong medicine. I am not in a huŕry to have anyone repeat that mistake by giving me new medicine. My psychiatrist has been honourable enough to let me steer the ship. In my view the scandal lies not with psychiatrists or the daft DSM book but with the pharmaceuticals, and our collective irresponsible queuing up for a miracle. Heroin and alchohol and cigarette dealers dont have to persuade people to be desperate enough to come try some.
These are just “my” opinions which are no jeopardy to what you feel is your truth and what marvellous good ideas and healing you are bestowing on your daughter. My illness is not your daughter’s illness. We are all “different”. We ALL need our own truth to be taken seriously as REAL to each of us and not dismissed.
Please do open your own private practice! Learn how to deprescribe and taper people off their ridiculous psychiatric drug regimens and you’ll be very successful on your own terms.
They’ll need counseling throughout the process and afterward to find their own narratives after their lifelong inculcation in psychiatric drug culture. You will find this very satisfying, too.
Contact me at SurvivingAntidepressants.org and I’ll put you in touch with a network of like-minded psychiatrists and other prescribers.