Consumer Regret

24
2527

Unlike many, I entered psychiatry of my own free will. I started out with a “soft” diagnosis. One of the worried well. No legal history or drug abuse.

I was squeaky clean and not into partying. Even the wholesome kind of parties at the religious college I attended wore me out.

Smart as I was, I lacked social skills. It was not that I couldn’t figure them out, but I was so painfully self-conscious I would freeze in a group of more than one or two unless they were really well-known to me.

regret

My dad was a preacher and due to the way our church is set up, with no bishop or other headquarters, he was frequently unemployed. Between ministries for up to nine months at a time.

Twice during my childhood (at nine and fourteen) we had to move in with relatives for long periods of time because certain people got offended at petty things Dad did or failed to do. Looking back, I realize this was irrational. But in my early teens that was not apparent.

My father had done certain things to unwittingly offend an elder’s wife. She had taught me piano and been a sort of friend. Almost a mentor I had admired.

Her husband was an elder. She persuaded him to win over the other church leaders and force my dad—and the rest of us—out.

The whole thing felt like a personal rejection on the deepest level. After relocating, I resented having to start over from scratch in my sophomore year and make new friends again. So I just didn’t bother.

I felt that I was defective and wrong at the very core of my being. Ugly as I felt my body to be, I also worried that I was crazy or morally depraved.

Even as a child I had imbibed the notion that how we look to others is more important than anything. What lies underneath is of little or no importance. This led to a sense of disconnection. Feeling like I was two people or playing a role when I went about my daily life. My thoughts often didn’t match the world around me.

Certain thoughts of doing bad things came to me. They brought me no pleasure or temptation. On the contrary, they tormented me. This made me more nervous to be around people as the unacceptable images and words swirling through my head grew so strong I feared they would reveal themselves despite my best efforts.

As a freshman I went to see “Dr. Manson,” a psychiatrist. He prescribed me a tiny amount of a neuroleptic which took the edge off my nerves. I disliked the flattening of all positive emotions. But I was no longer afraid of others. So my social life improved.

In 1994, the fall of my junior year, I realized the drug was wearing off. My intrusive thoughts were worse than ever and my social phobia had returned threefold.

I returned to Dr. Manson, begging for help with thoughts that troubled me but wouldn’t go away. He wrote me a prescription for an SSRI called Anafranil. This medicine could work wonders, he said, and would make my obsessive thoughts go away.

How I Regretted Psychiatry

Exactly the opposite happened. Worst of all, I could not sleep while on Anafranil.

We called Dr. Manson repeatedly. He kept telling my mom that Anafranil (he had bragged about the miracle drug’s newness) never had that effect on anyone. It never caused insomnia for three weeks, nervousness, or hallucinations. He seemed to take my suffering while on the pills personally and responded defensively to my complaints.

Finally I asked to be admitted to the psychiatric ward of the nearest hospital. Dr. Manson assured my mother that “Those pills never have that effect on anyone. Rachel must have Classic Schizophrenia instead.” Eager to cover his behind, perhaps, he got me admitted immediately despite my failure to pass the emergency test (thinking of hurting self or others).

The psychiatrist who treated me in the ward labeled me “schizoaffective.” He said I didn’t exhibit the proper characteristics of a schizophrenic.

They treated me with mega doses of Haldol. This gave me horrible spasms and at least one mini seizure a day as long as I was on it.

Things only got worse after my release. My seizures terrified those around me and our dorm mom blamed them on my refusal to take my medicine as prescribed. Doctors knew everything, to her way of thinking, and the only reason for my suffering must be my steadfast refusal to take my “meds.”

I got kicked off campus and my parents moved. So I left the college where I had been making a few friends. But I didn’t keep in touch with them, because of the shame I felt at who I was and what I now qualified as. One of the subhuman monsters who commit violent crimes on TV shows and movies, then some expert shows up and says, “The illness made them do it.”

I loathed myself more than ever. My parents hated having me with them, but there was nowhere else to go. I couldn’t hold down a job since my social and hygiene skills both had plummeted under all those “safe and effective treatments.”

Eventually I realized the drugs were safe and effective—for those prescribing them. Shrinks can never be sued for malpractice since it’s “standard care” even if they kill you. And the drugs and neurosurgery are effective at making them wealthy. While driving the people they help, either through trickery or brute force, into lives as social outcasts. Suffering poverty and ill health before dying 25 or 30 years ahead of time.

Why did I take my pills religiously? I believed I had a moral obligation to do so. Repeatedly I was told that the real reason the “mentally ill” hurt people (Ted Bundy, Susan Smith, Andrea Yates, etc.) is lack of medicine to keep their brain chemicals in check.

I feared turning into a Ms. Hyde and harming others. Especially those I loved, despite the emotional deadening caused by the treatments.

While the drugs did little if anything, long term, to numb feelings such as jealousy, envy, anger, fear, or hatred, they were good at destroying my capacity for happiness, joy, empathy, love or even sorrow. They destroyed my ability to enjoy life’s finer pleasures, such as music, poetry, walking in the countryside, natural or artistic beauty, and conversations with friends. But coarse pleasures such as eating, napping, stimulants, and certain kinds of touch remained. The pleasures animals can also enjoy.

How I Escaped Psychiatry’s System

I was frustrated that my alleged illness made it impossible to marry and have a family as I had always hoped I would since I was a child. While internet dating did not work at helping me find anyone, I did meet a man who told me about the works of William Glasser.

We were in a used bookstore together and Bob showed me a copy of Warning: Psychiatry is Bad for Your Mental Health. I bought it for a dollar and read and reread it.

It wasn’t my fault that the “medications” weren’t helping. They were mind-altering drugs, no better than the kind you can pick up off the street. The shrinks had been lying to me. Just like the counselors, nurses, social workers, and mommies who run NAMI.

My escape from psychiatry was far from dramatic. I relocated to where my parents had retired. I knew better than to throw away my pills all at once. I saw a GP for my prescriptions. As far as emotional support, I had two sessions with Will Hall (great counselor) and joined SurvivingAntidepressants.org.

It took me well over a year to taper off my SSRI. The other drugs in my cocktail gave me few problems. I was very ill with autoimmune issues during my withdrawal and the following year.

I’m very angry about the lies I was told. That I was intrinsically defective due to bad DNA and neurochemistry. That my only chance of becoming a healthy, happy member of society was to mindlessly consume whatever drugs my dealer—sorry, doctor—foisted on me. Just the opposite happened, which makes sense in light of the fact that they only helped me become a drug addict. By calling it “medicine” needed to fix the brain they had damaged to begin with.

I have been damaged in every way (socially, financially, emotionally, physically) with no legal recourse possible.

Twenty-five years of my life have been stolen. I can never get them back.

The “experts” tricked me into violating my conscience. I never would have agreed to take mind-altering drugs if they had not constantly assured me with lies that their drugs were “just like insulin for diabetes.” (Just like corn syrup for diabetes would be a fitter analogy.)

Live and learn. I have forgiven those responsible. Meaning I won’t seek out revenge if I ever have the chance. But I won’t lie and say they helped me when they deceived and injured me.

I have also beaten myself up for my stupidity. But that is also a dead end. As is being consumed with regret for the life I might have had.

So I choose gratitude for what I now have. What was taken but restored. My heart beats normally once more. I can enjoy music and the beauty of the natural world again. I have written two novels over the past year and have taken up drawing again.

Best of all, I can feel the full weight of love, sorrow, joy, happiness, and empathy again. The things that make life worth living. I found a small church where I am loved unconditionally and my family members find me easier to get along with.

Suddenly I find I can pick up social cues and nuances with ease. I always was hypersensitive to that, but got like a deer in the headlights after those negative experiences.

Most of all I take consolation in my faith. The shrinks did not care how much they ruined my life. They only cared about their money. However, I believe that what I have experienced will work out for good in the end.

***

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.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Rachel, thank you for so eloquently and succinctly synopsizing some of the systemic crimes of the psychiatric profession. When I expose some of the more criminal systemic crimes of the “mental health” industry and their other “partners,” like covering up easily recognized malpractice for the incompetent doctors, and covering up child abuse for the mainstream religions.

    Well, suffice it to say, it was shocking to me when I dealt with “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” But the fact that “the two original educated professions” have “partnered” – and are “conspiring” with one another – to run a multibillion dollar, primarily child abuse covering up, scientific fraud based “mental health” system. Such almost unbelievable evil is a lot to swallow for anyone.

    But it’s Christmas, and I’m sure God wants an end to these systemic crimes. And I know of no other way to end “the dirty little secret of the two original educated professions,” other than to expose these systemic crimes.

    “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his [or her] works have been carried out in God.”

  2. Heya Rachel, good to see your article here.

    I heard a song on the radio last week which made me smile. (I guess given the topic it shouldn’t but …..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuDBO1rIrb4

    Interesting that they didn’t make the claim that her ‘illness made her do it’? My how times have changed, plant a bit of evidence, “edit” a few documents and you have a NGRI plea bargain I do believe lol. Did she even do it?

    Hey, my wife likes to attack while people are on the couch, and then arrange the scene for Police (with some assistance from mental health services) to ensure they are misdirected away from the truth. There was some confusion about the cut to my shoes as well lol (classic defensive wound).

    To the tune from the above;

    Oh ya can knife your husband while he’s laying prostrate, especially if police are compromised. Oh ya can knife your husband while he’s laying prostrate, mental health services will help when they arrive. [with some document “editing” that is].

    In fact, consider that they were aware of the attempt to plunge a carving knife into my heart whilst I lay on the couch, and were prepared to allow my wife to ‘spike’ me which would slow my reflexes and stop me from deflecting the blow with the knife next time? Let’s not tell him he is being drugged with date rape drugs without his knowledge…. and what would they have done when the knife went in? Woops, more document “editing” I suggest. A right to know your being ‘spiked’? Not in Australia, especially when it suits public officers.

    Anyway, hope to see more of your work here and elsewhere.

  3. Thank you Rachel for the wonderful article. It took me many years to discover the truth about psychiatry and now in my 70th year i find they have released their hold on me and now i am drug free finally.

    My son however remains on medication his choice and has decided toward the medical model. He doesn’t believe in what i tell him. His dad believed in the medical model and spent his whole life doing so until he passed away in a psychiatric hospital in 2009.

    I would like to see my son drug free and away from psychiatry before i pass from this world but every day it seems i have to standby and watch him caught up in the mainstream of the status quo belief about mental health issues.

    Do children every listen to their mothers?

    My own mother kept me away from doctors for many years until one day my brother seeing me distressed asked if i would like him to make contact with a psychiatrist for me.

    That was when i was a young woman of 23 years old and ever since i have been wrapped up in the system. For what crime? I made the terrible mistake of wanting to end my life and believing in feminism. Now i find reading feminsit literature it was simply because i was a woman and female. It amounted to nothing else.

    Thank you once again and Merry Christmas

  4. Rachel, I really like your final line, “However, I believe that what I have experienced will work out for good in the end.” I feel, also, that what I have experienced will work out for good in the end. This is a very excellent message and reflects the message of Christmas. However, we must have faith; we must believe in that “Babe in the Manger” for that to occur. When we have faith, when we truly believe all that evil poured upon us by all the psychiatrists, etc. will wash away. And we will be cleansed inside and outside. Which is how I felt when I quit not only psych drugs, therapy and psych world; but, also when I stopped drinking alcohol years ago. Psych drugs and therapy dirty your insides. Stopping them and the process (psych world) and believing in the “Babe in the Manger” both frees you and cleanses you forever. Thank you.

  5. Hi Rachel, Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. In the past many people, including myself, mistakenly put doctors up on a pedestal and never questioned their advice/instructions. I am very happy to hear you are doing much better, writing, enjoying nature and other aspects of life that were not possible under the influence of psychiatry. Wishing you all the best in 2022.

  6. Gratitude to the Universe for allowing you to reclaim your humanity is definitely important. And the anger is important too. Fortunately you were able to avoid the horrors of involuntary psychiatry (though it’s not totally accurate accurate to call something “voluntary” when it’s the result of your back being up against the wall). It sounds like your parents were at least reasonably open to your independence from the manipulations of psychiatric “treatment” and didn’t try to force you back on drugs, at least I hope not.

    I won’t seek out revenge if I ever have the chance. But I won’t lie and say they helped me when they deceived and injured me.

    Seeking revenge and seeking justice aren’t the same thing. From reading your comment history it’s pretty clear that you’re not looking to “improve” psychiatry and would like to see it disappear completely, so one important way of making that happen is to expose its machinations for what they are, which you are very good at doing. Cockroaches scatter in the light. I hope you will use your “platform” — not just MIA but other venues via which you communicate your anti-psychiatry/anti-totalitarian beliefs — to help make it clear that, as they say, psychiatry cannot be reformed, it must be abolished.

    Oh, and what you gained from your experience is the knowledge of what that experience is, and recognizing the traps, physical and mental, that got you there and helping others avoid them — that’s how it all can “work out for good in the end.”

  7. Great, well written, article, Rachel. I feel 35 years of my life were wasted with shrinks and, like you, feel quite angry about it when I dwell on it. There is another article in this current MIA issue about the crisis in psychiatry; in my opinion there is no small crisis that needs some fine tweaking, basically all of it needs to go. Psychiatry & psychology is the biggest fraud foisted upon the western world.

  8. Hello Rachel! Thank you for this succinct and thorough account of your experience with psychiatric medication and the institutions that have unholy alliances with them. Much of your personal story resonates with me. I am 64 and it has been half of my life living within the system. I am still tapering off but I will not die before I live who I am fully again.

    I have a blog called Life with Antidepressants where I tell my story and provide resources and I am adding guest bloggers who can testify to the abuse felt at the hands of the psychiatric industry. I would be honored if you would look at my blog (www.lifewithantidepressants.com), and my story here on MIA (https://www.madinamerica.com/2021/10/postpartum-anxiety-psychiatric-drugs-paternalism/) and consider sharing your story with my readers. You can contact me through my website if you are interested. Thank you!

LEAVE A REPLY