When I think of my childhood, I think of fear. I think of the constant worry that something would upset my parents. I think of trying to protect my sisters, hiding in my closet. I think of blood on the floor and bruises on my infant sister’s body. I think of the time my mom took a chain and beat our dog in front of me. I thought she was going to kill that dog. Whenever I think of that night, it’s not like any other memory; it’s like I’m transported back into that moment. I’m on the filthy gray carpet on my knees, covering my ears. The dog is yelping and screaming like I’ve never heard anything yelp or scream. I can’t stand the horror of what I’m watching and I can’t make it stop. I’m shaking uncontrollably and praying to God to help me, to make her stop hurting the dog. I’m nine years old.
That was my childhood. Covering welts and cuts on my arms, nerves constantly fraught, confused and afraid and wondering how the world kept on moving when everything became so terrible every time the front door shut and the outside world became a faraway place.
The abuse and violence in my family was intergenerational. I was raised by my mom and stepdad, who were both incredibly violent and angry. Both of them worked quite a lot, so my maternal grandparents were very involved in the lives of me and my sisters, often taking us over the weekend or watching us after school. My grandfather was also very violent. I watched him strike and push my grandmother many times over my childhood and he would often beat me and my sisters. My mom was a teenager when I was born, so he was quite young for a grandfather. When the event that changed the trajectory of my life happened, I was 14 and he was in his early fifties.
I’d spent so long being beaten and screamed at. So many years of being woken in the middle of the night by my mom dragging me out of bed by my hair and ordering me to clean something. I never knew when the outbursts were coming. I was always afraid. Remaining quiet and “being good” never worked to keep the violence at bay.
When I was 14, my grandfather came at me screaming and raised his hand to hit me. It was like something snapped. This incredible rush of energy went through me. I had a flicker of a thought: He’s going to hurt me no matter what. I might as well put up a fight.
I did put up a fight. I flew at him, hitting and scratching. He was much bigger than me. He was a military man, only recently retired, over six feet tall and muscular. I was 14, five foot three, and all of ninety pounds. He had me on the ground within less than a minute. He threw me onto the floor and kicked me over and over, in my sides, in my back, in my head.
I recovered quickly, more quickly than I ever had. Something had broken loose in me. I wasn’t going to just take the treatment anymore. I was going to be noisy. I was going to scream and carry on about the injustice of it all. I was filled with adrenaline and fear and a sense of liberation. I destroyed the entire house. I put holes in walls and screamed and cried hysterically. I kicked a mirror and sent glass everywhere. I ripped open every stuffed animal I could get my hands on.
My family called the police. The police came in and yelled at me, barked orders at me. They told me an ambulance was coming and they’d be taking me to the emergency room for an evaluation. The police were angry and hostile with me and were friendly with my grandfather. I asked one of them if I could put on clothes before going. I was wearing pajamas without any bra or underwear. They told me I couldn’t. I was humiliated getting into this ambulance in only my stained pajamas, with my nipples clearly visible.
In the ER, nurses were rude to me and obviously viewed me as a nuisance. One male nurse came in and quipped, “What’s so bad in your life? What have you got to worry about? World politics?”
He sounded so dismissive. I wrapped my bruised arms around me and tried to crawl into myself. I felt so judged. So horrible. Everyone was acting like I was some kind of troublemaker.
After over ten hours of waiting, a psych doctor came down and talked to me. I didn’t tell him everything until my mom finally left the room. Then I said, “I’m sick of everyone hitting me and my sisters. Look at what my grandpa did to me!” I showed him the bruises on my arms. I lifted the bottom of my shirt to show the dark bruises where he’d kicked my back and stomach.
He raised an eyebrow and said, “Your mom and aunt are telling me you attacked your grandfather.” He used an I-know-you’re-lying tone and all of the adults were giving me such dirty looks and judgment. I was used to people not believing me. Child services had been involved with my family a number of times, but in the end, they always believed the adults: not me. I didn’t say much more to the psych doctor.
I was transferred to another hospital, to a Children’s Crisis Intervention Unit. I spent the first day hiding in my room, having a panic attack. One of the nurses kept poking her head in to give me a weird look. My room was across from the nurse’s station, so I heard her making fun of me to the other nurses. “That new one is comatose. She hasn’t moved in hours.” Day two they gave me two pills to take. One was a big pink one. The other was a pill that was half white, half green. I hadn’t spoken to a doctor since my five minute conversation in the emergency room.
“What are these for?” I asked.
“Take ‘em,” the nurse snapped. “It’s for bipolar.”
I was bipolar. For defending myself from violence, after so many years of violence, I was bipolar. When my mom, stepdad, and grandfather were violent, they were in the right. If I used violence as self-defense, I was defective, sick, troubled.
My family weaponized this label against me for years. Any time I would stand up for myself or my sisters, they would scream at me that I was bipolar. I became the scapegoat for a lot of my family’s issues, issues that existed for decades before I was ever born.
I wasn’t hospitalized again until I was 18. I got into my first sexual relationship with a boy in my high school. After having sex with him a few times, he asked me to have anal. I didn’t want to have anal. He finally pressured me into it. We tried it once and had… an incident. It was humiliating. I didn’t want to try again after that. Having an involuntary bowel movement with my first sexual partner is not something I’d wish on anyone. But a few weeks later, we were in bed and he wanted to try again. I did not want to try again. He proceeded to have anal sex with me by using force, even after I told him that he was hurting me and I wanted him to stop.
I didn’t know how to process what happened. I kept seeing him for about a month after that. Then I broke up with him. I’d felt so strange around him ever since he violated me. Not to mention how he always put me down and called me names. I realized this guy didn’t even like me. He had incredible disdain for me and I was ready to be alone, rather than keep putting up with him.
After we broke up, I had a complete emotional meltdown. I attempted suicide (it was a very halfhearted attempt if I’m being honest) and landed in a mental health unit for the second time. I was 18, but I was still in high school, so they put me on a children’s ward again.
I didn’t start to process what had happened with this guy until my third night on the unit. I was in a group therapy meeting with the other older teens. (They often separated the younger children from the teenagers.) During this meeting, I remember looking at the carpet, instead of at the meeting facilitator’s face, and I said, “My boyfriend shoved his dick into my ass, even though I told him to stop.” There was dead silence and then the facilitator said sharply, “That isn’t appropriate. You’ll have your privileges taken if you act inappropriately again.” One teenage boy, he was maybe around seventeen, muttered under his breath, “That sounds like you got raped.” The facilitator cleared his throat and continued on with the meeting. I never talked to a mental health professional about what that guy did to me again. Nobody ever followed up with me about what I’d revealed in that meeting.
I was upset about how the counselor had reacted, but couldn’t get a handle on what exactly I was upset about. I still don’t understand why I did this, but after the meeting, I went and tried to flirt with an adult male staff member. He yelled at me so loudly that everyone in the hallway turned to look at me. I went back to my room and cried, not understanding why I’d talked about that incident in group or why I’d tried to flirt with an adult who worked there. Again, everyone was acting like I was so horrible and defective, and I was so deeply, deeply hurt by events in my life and had no idea how to sort it all out.
The next day after this event, I decided I was done with the mental health unit. They’d taken some privileges away for my “multiple inappropriate behaviors” of the night before. I tried to sign myself out. They told me I couldn’t sign myself out. I shouted that I was technically on a voluntary hold. I went ballistic, screaming and swearing. A doctor came down to talk to me. He told me that I was within my rights to sign myself out, but if I did, there would be consequences. He refused to tell me what those consequences would be. I insisted that I wanted to sign myself out.
He nodded at the nurses. They handed over a clipboard. I signed it while glaring at the doctor. He told me to wait. I stood in front of the exit with my arms crossed, stomping my foot. Two police officers showed up.
“What the hell? I’m here voluntarily!” I yelled. My complaints were ignored.
The police argued in front of me over whether or not I should be handcuffed. One didn’t want to handcuff me. He was probably the most compassionate person I came across during my time in the mental health system.
He bent down and looked in my eyes, his brow crinkled, and asked, “You don’t want to come with us, but you’ll come without a problem, won’t you?”
It seemed like he actually felt sorry for me. He was looking at me and talking to me like I was a person. His face looked so sad.
“I shouldn’t have to go,” I growled. “But yeah, I’ll go if I have to.”
The other officer insisted that it was policy. I had to be handcuffed.
In the end, they compromised. They put the cuffs on in front of me, instead of in back. The officer who seemed like he felt bad for me didn’t tighten the cuffs at all. On the ride up to the state hospital where I would end up involuntarily committed, I stared down at the handcuffs. They were like two giant bracelets hanging loosely. I could have slipped my tiny wrists right out of them if I’d wanted to. But I didn’t. That officer had been the first person in days to treat me like I was a human.
After a few more years, I cut ties with my family and ceased all psych treatment. From the year 2007 to the year 2010, I was hospitalized 12 times. I was put on Zyprexa, Loxapine, Prozac, Depakote, and several other drugs that I can’t remember. The cocktail that I was on the longest was Zyprexa, Prozac, and Depakote.
Once I quit psych treatment and stopped communicating with my family, I was able to really start to work on my issues. I firmly believe that my issues come from trauma and that mental health providers are primed to ignore traumatic circumstances, due to the prevalence of the biomedical model of treatment. If my symptoms are consistent with bipolar disorder, and bipolar is caused by a chemical imbalance, then why probe to see if abuse is happening?
Because of Allen Frances and the other doctors receiving money directly from pharmaceutical corporations on the board of the DSM-IV, so many abused children were simply labeled defective during the early 2000s. I can’t think of anything more harmful to a person’s long-term mental health than being labeled defective for having a very normal human reaction to extreme abuse or violence.
The mental health system is so broken and most people don’t even know how broken it is. The best thing for the reform of the mental health system would be to limit, and eventually abolish, all financial ties between the pharmaceutical corporations and doctors, research, and the APA.
I’m so exhausted from trying to explain the problems with the system to people and being ignored or not believed. The mental health system traumatized me further. They were allies with my abusers to cover up and continue my abuse. Maybe that alliance wasn’t purposeful, but it was there.
I hope one day that trauma will be treated compassionately, rather than with pills, labels, and cruelty.
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.
To me, what you are describing would seem to be the norm in cases of supposed mental illness.
I mean, there is no such thing as mental illness, so there is no such thing as Bipolar Illness. But there is the label and there is amongst many a presumption that it exists. And sorry, but the mental health system has always existed to cover up abuse, certainly it has since the time of Freud.
So people don’t want to talk about abuse in an accusing way. So instead they make excuses for the parents, and they find therapists who also do this. And there is no move to hold parents accountable, not even in the most delayed and after the fact way, the probate court.
In British Columbia there is probate accountability:
And Trevor Todd is linking this to dysfunctional families in the mind of the public!
And in the Civil Law countries the child does not even need a lawyer.
The US stands alone amongst industrialized nations with the least protection against disinheritance. Here we have Recovery Movement forums and the people don’t even follow legal developments.
And then on this forum we have had therapists getting articles up about child drugging where they present themselves as the salvation, and they exonerate the parents, so of course they don’t report these cases as suspected child abuse. Their business model precludes this.
And it doesn’t have to ever rise to the level of something which could be enforced upon criminally. There just has to be evidence of animosity. And having sat through criminal trials myself, I can hear the animosity in the witness testimony. And the Defense will try to turn in back on the child, just as has been the norm in any kind of child sexual abuse case, or in the Office of Dr. Freud.
In British Columbia there is legal remedy, and in Civil Law Countries you don’t even need a lawyer. But in the US there really is no legal remedy. So we have Recovery Groups and we have Salvation Churches, and we have the Mental Health System. And CA Governor Gavin Newsom is trying to set up special courts to put the homeless into mental health internment camps and subject them to involuntary treatment.
When there is animosity between parent and child it is because they parents have not lived up to their own values. They have not taken responsibility for their own choices. They have tried to use the child and a parental role as something to hide behind.
And simply othering a child, being unwilling to engage with their reality, is enough to place them at risk of ending up in the mental health system. This is the indicator to look for, animosity. That alone should be enough to trigger legal remedy. And the end game remedy of preventing disinheritance should be universal, as it is in Civil Law countries.
Thanks Jenifer for your outstand article!
Thank you for your in-depth comment!
I’d say I partially agree with your statement “there is no such thing as mental illness.” I know that’s a popular belief among the anti-psychiatry community and that it comes from Thomas Szaz. I’d agree that DSM labels are pretty much nonsense. I mean, the people who make the DSM have said that quiet part out loud a few times. My favorite was the Wired article with Allen Francis. Francis seems to want to be a whistleblower now, even though he took 500k from Risperdal very shortly after his work on the DSM-IV. If he really wanted to do good, that $ would go back to the people his DSM hurt, or go towards creating more compassionate mental health facilities. But anyway…the point I was getting to: I do think people struggle and suffer in a myriad of ways, and when this suffering/struggling is outside the norm and interferes with daily activities of life, some people find it useful to call it mental illness. For people who don’t like that label, I don’t think anyone should put it on them.
I do sometimes refer to myself as mentally ill. After years of trauma and powerful drugs, I do have episodic psychosis and paranoia (I feel like it would be weird if I WASN’T paranoid. I mean, every adult in my family was violent, nobody would help me, and they locked me up and put me on drugs when I tried to defend myself. During my formative years, the world really WAS out to get me. Now I’m in my 30’s and probably won’t ever shake that feeling completely). So, I struggle and I suffer, and at times, this struggling interferes with my daily activities of life. I don’t mind the phrase “mentally ill” and sometimes use it.
But “bipolar” “borderline” and eventually “schizoaffective”-none of that did anything for me. It would have been more helpful if they’d focused on my symptoms individually and gave me a say in how those symptoms should be treated.
I got so sick of “Shut up, you need this pill.” I’ll probably never see a mental health professional again, even though I do still struggle to manage my emotions and thoughts a lot at times. I never broke the cycle of in-patient stays and suicide attempts until I parted completely with the system.
You bring up a lot of great points about why the system is so ready to ignore child abuse and trauma. I think pediatric psych patients endure a lot of abuse. they get it at home and then get more of it from this system that’s supposed to help them. I have to wonder how many other abused kids from the early 2000s ended up just like me, constantly defensive and paranoid because when they were at their most vulnerable, whole systems of educated professional adults told them THEY were the problem.
Anyway, thank you for reading and for your insightful comment. I enjoyed reading it.
Mental illnesss is when mental things are own by ideology without the main role of pathology. It is antypsychological purism of monotheistic man. Psyche is not important to monotheism of materialists, to fixation that ego controls everything inside the psyche reality – no ego do not have that power. So we do not have the real reality of the psyche (mythical politheism), we have mental illness. Because in the eyes of monotheistic man psyche is a danger to their small limited fundamnetalistic thinking. Mental illness is a danger to a fundamentalism of apollonic identity. Mental illness is excluded psyche without proper psychological meaning. So we have only labels – a constant danger to our small ego fixation. Not much, but still is a buisness for those mental health evil corporation. Mental health industry is a “resident evil” . This is evil manipulation.
Ego cannot control the psyche, it is exactly the opposite. Monotheistic man is weak and likes to blame you for not personal things. For this he need medical disguise – to sound serious. They sound funny. Ego is a funny kind of nazi – “mummy mummy, please do not destroy my small control room! I am a nazi here!. – Oh, Grow up, you teddy. You are a polar bear! – No, I am ostrich. Still, I am a hero! Do not talk to me, you do not exists! I am the one here! I control everything! EVERYTHING!”
Jenifer, you’re in a semantic merry-go-round with the phrase “mental illness”. try this: “So-called “mental illnesses” are imaginary diseases, invented to $ell drug$….and, “The DSM is in fact a catalog of billing codes. EVERYTHING in it was either invented or created, – NOTHING in it was discovered.”….That’s a start.
You do NOT understand Szasz….
You’re most definitely not alone, Jenifer. But I am very sorry your childhood was filled with trauma. The “mental health professionals” cannot bill to help child abuse survivors, so they misdiagnose them with the billable disorders instead.
The “mental health professions” have been child abuse and rape cover uppers, since the days of … at least Freud.
And today, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).”
Denying and covering up child abuse is a systemic problem, or the intended purpose, of the “mental health professions.” Me, I’m the mother of a child abuse survivor, who was attacked by “mental health professionals,” prior to me even mentally comprehending that my child had been sexually assaulted.
Thankfully, I got my child away from the abusers pretty quickly, and scared a school that had a pedophile on their school board, into shutting down forever … once the medical evidence of the abuse was finally handed over to me.
But I do have a heart for child abuse survivors. It took my child many years to recover, but he is doing well now. My prayers that you, too, heal … and you break the cycle of abuse. You must be a very strong person to have lived through all you did. And kudos on getting off the psych drugs. As one also stigmatized as “bipolar,” I know how hard it is to heal from psychiatric anticholinergic toxidrome poisonings (that’s basically the “gold standard treatment recommendations” for those stigmatized as “bipolar.”)
Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words. Yes, I think there’s an awful problem that comes with the DSM: harried, overworked doctors mindlessly fill out a checklist of symptoms. My issue with the biomedical model is that trauma is basically ignored, or at least it was in the early 2000s when I went through all of this. Plus during in-patient treatment they treat you like a criminal and act like you’re lying.
Some people get a lot out of DSM labels (helps them make some sense out of suffering) and some people are helped by drug therapy. But I wasn’t, and they try to cram everybody into one treatment model. Psychiatrists, you would think, would have a more nuanced understanding of human consciousness, and would tailor treatment to individuals.
I also don’t get how these mental health professionals aren’t on the look out for abuse.
I already really hated myself and thought I deserved everything that happened to me. Then they put all these labels on me and shuffled me into a revolving door system that differed little from prison.
I’m so sorry that your child also went through trauma as well. It sounds like you had their back and validated their pain. That must have been really hard for them to go through, but having you validate their trauma was probably some comfort to them.
I truly believe that the single most important thing we could do to create a better mental health system is to end all financial conflicts of interest between pharma and doctors/researchers/everyone who has anything to do with the DSM.
Anyway, thanks again for your kind words <3 I appreciate you reading.
I hope you and your son are healing well.
Thank you for telling your story. I’m so sorry you had to endure so much.
I think you speak for many.
I love the way you tell your story. I think you have a gift for writing.
I agree with you 100% – the mental health industry is brutally traumatizing and should be abolished, and people’s so-called “illness” are normal reactions to being brutalized. And your absolutely right – the “doctors” are in cahoots with Big Pharma.
I’m glad you were able to get away from your family AND the “mental health” system. One can be just as bad if not worse than the other.
I am grateful to you for speaking out. It’s courageous people like you who make change possible.
I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers ~
I agree with you about the DSM. It does way more harm than good, imo. And you’re right – some people find diagnoses helpful — at first —
I was one of these.
But thankfully, the internet came along, making it possible for people like me to find out the DSM, or the “biomedical model” is a massive fraud that demeans, devalues, defames, discredits and ultimately disrespects human beings.
And I also agree – the co-mingling of doctors and pharma is a serious problem, but it’s more than that – it’s corruption – pure and not so simple, because it’s impossible to separate the two, as one feeds off the other. And the corruption is systemic.
Next to no good has come from psychiatry – an ugly, abusive, stigmatizing, and pharmaceutically incestuous mess.
IMO, the best and only way to improve the “mental health system” is to avoid it altogether, and let it die a natural death, and the sooner, the better.
The DSM DEHUMANIZES – and FOR THAT it needs to go –
Thank you this well written and credible article. My attitude towards the Mental Health System is that it is one of Legitimized Criminality. I think you will go far in your writing, and activism.
Thank you, Jenifer, for having the courage and commitment to write this article on MIA. I know how hard it is to talk and write about these experiences. You are a brave and admirable person.
I am also a psychiatric survivor from my childhood. The “child welfare” system took me from my foster parents at age six and handed me over to the notorious psychiatrist Loretta Bender to be experimented on with shock treatment. (Dr. Bender went on to take money from the CIA for experimenting on children to see what would happen if they were kept on LSD all day long for months at a time.) While in the “hospital” I was repeatedly raped by a staff member, a very common occurrence on psychiatric wards for children. When I told my foster parents about it, Bender’s response was to say that it was a delusion caused by my mental illness.
When Doctor Bender was finished with me, I was sent to a state hospital, where I spent the rest of my childhood until I was seventeen. Although I had been told in the “hospitals” over and over that I was a subhuman mental case, I went on to work my way through college, hold down responsible jobs, and eventually become a lawyer representing people abused by the “mental health” system.
If the public knew more about what psychiatry does to children, it would accomplish a lot toward breaking up the cult-like belief people have in the profession. Those of us who are childhood survivors of this cult should be joining together to support one another and expose what the shrinks are doing. If anyone reading this wants to do something about it, please contact me.
“If the public knew more about what psychiatry does to children, it would accomplish a lot towards breaking up the cult-like belief people have in the profession”.
“Cult-like” is a perfect description of psychiatry, because that’s what psychiatry is – a cult. And like most cults, psychiatry acts as a cover for child abuse. Psychiatrists may think they’re doing good, but their “treatments” are just another form of child abuse, a state-sanctioned child abuse.
Unfortunately, there’s many adults who get caught in psychiatry’s web, and don’t know a way out. And for those who’ve bought into it, they’ve no idea they’ve been caught!
But I agree with you. The only way to end the horror of psychiatry is to inform the public.
“If the public knew more about what psychiatry does to children, it would accomplish a lot towards breaking up the the cult-like belief people have in the profession” –
Thank you Ted Chabasinski –
Jenifer, so long as people believe that their is such a thing as Mental Illness, then people will always be getting steered to therapists, where they will be encouraged to disclose their most personal affairs so that they can be lectured to about Forgiveness. And then these therapists will market their services in opposition to the Drug Doctors, using those other guys to legitimate what they do. And this will be done with children too, even though there will already be substantial reason to suspect child abuse. And then some will be told to “Shut up and take this pill”, while there will always be the threat of ECT, TMS, and lobotomy.
And then there will also be people like CA Governor Gavin Newsom trying to set up special courts to subject the homeless to involuntary psychiatric procedures.
I feel drawn to comment to you and feel very vulnerable acknowledging what you went through because I have lived experience in the systemic violence and family dominance on both sides.
STILL, after only 11 years of being awoke to the dominance of the system and several ‘friends’ and ‘family’ that were ‘helping’ me, don’t know how to find trust or community and empowerment in the trauma experienced before and the 20 years I believed in the systemic violence as what I needed to help me understand my truth.
Here in this ‘alternative’ space I still don’t know.
I still want to do what you did in destroying your grandparents home to so many rooms and places that ‘didn’t know any better’, ‘just trying to help’.
The closest I have come to feeling and witnessing a place of not giving power to this system that has taken so much away from me in time, energy, and life is reading bell hooks (at moments when I am INSIDE what she’s saying and not struggling with the more densely dialogical moments of her writing). That, and having read Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman after having strong presences of three separate individuals (no longer in my life) help me believe ‘i am not crazy’ but do have trauma. I only ‘feel crazy’.
However you find empowerment I would like to know. I allowed trauma to take my truth away. So, how do I trust myself enough to fight the powers that want to continue traumatizing us? Do you trust yourself more by telling your truth/story? Do you find empowerment there in the aftermath of writing it down?
I am so sad hearing how you described what you have experienced and feel absolutely frozen here and now in knowing how to acknowledge what you’ve gone through and how to find any trust or solution to do or say more than ‘I acknowledge…’.
I trust so few people, and rightly so. It’s a system of power and dominance…everywhere, and I still see myself being in places and moments that show me I can’t escape and ‘take back my power’.
Does writing and sharing your story here help, somehow? I find there’s a frozen, protected place much of the time when I go there unless I’m with someone in person that I trust in a moment and can feel what my story is…finally…and grieve for SO much. Then the frozen and fighting aspects of release help, awhile…then, the systemic oppression is noticed once again.
Jenifer, If I may…. There is NO SUCH THING as so-called “mental illnesses”, as listed in the DSM. The DSM is pure hoax, fraud, even. Everything in it was either invented or created. Nothing in it was discovered. Yes, so-called “mental illnesses” literally did not exist, before they were created/invented. Think about how “created”, and “invented” are alike, as words. Think about how different “discovered” as a word is. See the difference? get the point? Yes, people can experience “suffering”, and “struggle”, and be in an unhealthy state of mind. That’s you as a kid. You were abused, and raised in an abusive home environment, meaning those closest to you abused you. Your mental state was thus affected. To the extent that you had a so-called “mental illness”, it was IMPOSED ON YOU, not something genetic, or inherent to you as a person. You literally had an “STD”. A SOCIALLY-TRANSMITTED “Disease”…. I really think that you will agree with what I’m saying here. Do you?
Thanks for what must have been an excruciatingly painful article to write.
And, may I suggest that you engage in a variety of daily physical exercises as part of your recovery-therapy-treatment? Yoga, Tai Chi, walking, running, bicycling, any sports, all are helpful. And, yes, variety is good. You don’t have to go into competition, just move your body & have fun. And while it’s all still new and not widely understood, there are MANY ways to address, and HEAL traumatic events with various exercises….
I’m glad you’re here at MiA, and hope you keep writing & commenting….You’re in the right place! WELCOME!
Bradford is right – so-called “mental illnesses” are STD’s – SOCIALLY TRANSMITTED “diseases” –
The reason for so many so-called “diagnoses” is because trauma finds expression in many different ways. But this DOES NOT indicate “disease” – only traumatic STRESS –
Trauma is at the root of it all. And a lot trauma is barely noticeable to the outsider. I’m talking about emotional neglect, or passive-aggressive abuse from a narcissist. And it can also be chemical trauma from the garbage psychiatrists prescribe.
I found acupuncture, steam saunas, therapeutic massage and walking in nature very helpful.
I look forward to more from Jenifer –
The title caught my eye. Then I forgot about it, as I read the narrative facts.
Jenifer, I will go as far as to say that you are a victim of a deliberate genocide.
Psychiatry & the so-called “mental health system” in fact too ofetn do far more harm than good. They promote & cover-up abuse of all kinds, and then pretend that they are caring & virtuous people. It makes me SICK! LOL!….
There’s no drug that can be $old at profit, to “treat” child abuse….Ah, but there IS a drug that can be sold for “bi-polar”, or “borderline”, or “schizo”. Those labels exist to serve as excuses to $ELL DRUG$….and the DSM is a catalog of billing codes. Once you see the DSM for what it actually is, how can you ever see it as the psychs want you to?….
We live in a society that makes people sick for money….
Psychiatry, & the whole “mental health system”, are committing genocide for profit….
On the backs of traumatized and abused children…. it’s disgusting….
Bradford is right again – the DSM “is a catalog of billing codes”.
I call it psychiatry’s money book –
well the issues/criticism that can be lobbed at the field of Psychiatry here are in fact foundationally *healthcare system* and *social services* issues. We need to address how many people here saw a CHILD screaming for help, bruised and clearly traumatized and vulnerable, AND RESPONDED BY HURTING HER FURTHER FOR PROFIT???? Let’s examine this and demnd the rights of children be HEARD!!!
“Psychiatry, & the whole ‘mental health system,’ are committing genocide for profit….
On the backs of traumatized and abused children…. it’s disgusting….”
Great synopsis, Bradford. I couldn’t agree more, it is disgusting.
Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an incredibly brave and strong person and also a very good writer. It is very difficult to describe an experience like that, and you did it powerfully and beautifully. Is there any way to connect with you? I am involved in some activism for psychiatry reform, I recently submitted a public comment for the SAMHSA serious mental illness committee and plan to do so again and, hopefully, to organize more people critical of the system to submit their comments. I think it would be great if they could hear you powerful voice. Also, where can one find your books? If you would like to connect, my email is [email protected]
Rock on, Yulia!!!! Awesome work!!
People can experience emotional overload. They might even have a nervous breakdown.
But this does not mean that there is any such thing as mental illness, or that anyone needs Recovery or Threapy.
“People can experience emotional overload” –
I agree – emotional overload pretty much explains everything.
I think it’s too bad people have gotten away from using the term “nervous breakdown”, because it didn’t stigmatize people the way so-called “diagnoses” do these days.
Jenifer, I don’t even talk about child abuse, not unless there are criminal charges on the table.
To call it abuse makes it sound like something aberrational. It makes it sound like with better enforcement and lowering the tolerance bar, it is something that we could eliminate.
But this is not true.
So I only talk about child exploitation. That conveys the essential characteristic, that it is pretty much universal. Sometimes there seem to be mitigating factors, but you never completely get away from it.
Child exploitation is central to middle class identity. The kinds of abuses conducted by those who have gotten ejected from the middle class are easily detected and prosecuted. But with the middle class it is very different. These parents read pedagogy manuals and so they know the talk, and they hire their own doctors. So the doctors’ licensing prevents prosecution.
The middle class is probably the first large group for which having children is a choice. They usually don’t talk about it like it is a choice, but it is.
For the people in traditional societies it is not a choice. It is just accepted, something which is going to happen. The only exit might be religious celibacy.
Being middle class is a reactionary identity. The middle class aspires to be aristocracy. But they style themselves and try to get legitimacy from the idea that they are still like those in a traditional society.
The middle class lives in bad faith. They don’t live up to their own values.
Middle class is not an income live, it is a state of mind. And in a country like the US, there probably has never been any real population contingent which is not middle class. The only other class we have is the declassed.
So the ones who pay the costs of all this are the children.
And the only way we can change any of this is to grant personhood to children. This means preventing disinheritance as it is in other industrialized nations, and then by guaranteeing children lives outside of the family and certain minimum standards of support and remediation at all times.
So long as we deny these things, there will always be child scapegoating, churches which foster this, and doctors which facilitate this.
BEST COMMENT HERE!!! CHILDRENS’ RIGHTS!!!!! CHILDRENS RIGHTS NOW~!!!! THEY ARE NOT PROPERTY OF PARENTS!!!
Birdsong, people do still use the term “nervous breakdown”. I certainly do.
One problem is that in CA, police or psychiatrists can place someone under a psychiatric hold, even when they have broken no law. I mean they could arrest them for Disturbing the Peace or Trespassing, or they could just tell them to get lost.
But no, they use Psychiatric Hold, 5150. Usually by the time they get out of there they will have been drugged, diagnosed, and prescribed to.
Most people go along with this too.
One guy I know, P., was having anxiety pains in his chest. He was under extreme stress, having his career terminated and being forced into early retirement and having to sell the home of his parents which had long provided him with a place in the world.
He was getting these chest pains and he felt that he was having a coronary. He told me later that his pains “mimic a coronary”.
So he drove his car to the hospital. Bad choice. But once there he asked them to admit him overnight. Good instincts, sort of. In the county hospital they deal with coronaries all day long. They have all kinds of ways of knowing that he isn’t having one.
Soon he was in an ambulance being shipped to an out of town psychiatric ward. He would be further diagnosed and drugged and prescribed to. Bipolar 2.
He would participate in group meetings each morning where patients would set goals, like trying to make it to the bathroom in time.
After 1 month he realized that he had things he needed to do, like selling the house. And so he got himself out. I commended him for this.
But he still believes in the mental health system and in the drugs.
I tell him that he should throw the drugs away. But he says, “But I want to enjoy my life.”
This guy is creepy and freaky. But mostly what makes him so is that he believes in the drugs and the mental illness concept, and that he is afraid of his feelings. I learned that you don’t talk to people who go along with the mental illness concept and the drugs. He constantly fears that if he gets too agitated he will again end up in the hospital. He believes that the drugs and Purple Beyonding are the only things protecting him.
He looked in PDR and found that there is a minimum recommended dose of the first drug they gave him, but they gave him a lot less than the minimum. It has an effect on him, but it does not fully masks his anxiety feelings.
So he has talked about suing them for too low of a dose.
He gives a stereotyped characterization of a deranged homeless person, and explains that the drugs are the only thing which stop him from being turned into that.
And of course getting disability money became a big inducement to go along with the mental illness interpretation. We should not work things like that.
Last time I talked to him he was up to a higher does and to 2 drugs, plus a third that he can take when he starts to feel anxiety.
Ms. Higgins, like many kids, had no way to know that psychiatry’s job is to exile them from society, much like their families exiled them from their RIGHT to have a childhood. She expected genuine care from those quacks – they were supposed to be “professionals”, after all. One easy way to help would have been to state the obvious: Explain how her pathogenic family drove her Mad and how psychiatry mostly enables pathogenic families. Then explain why she must run away from all of them. Simple.
Thanks for being willing to share your story. I didn’t get diagnosed as bipolar (not my favourite diagnosis but it was useful for a time) until my late 20s, and in many ways it was a blessing in disguise that my family ignored and suppressed my “mental health problems.” I theorize that it is an intergenerational survival strategy, because those who spoke about their “melancholy” or who had “outbursts” often went away (i.e., psychiatric incarceration). But it made it very hard to get help or work on myself when all the so-called grownups in the room pretended like nothing was happening. Very crazy-making.
Despite some of the bizarre comments on your piece (the same person in conversation with himself, I suspect), please take to heart that your story is important. It may reach some young person who really needs to hear this— and to see that you survived. I know it would have made me feel so much less alone to have heard your story when I was a kid. <3
Wow you’re a Higgins too! We are descended of bards. Now.
Someone needs to recognize why there are about 0 results for child abuse when I google bipolar disorder, and tens of pages referring domestic abuse situations. Someone needs to tell me why only women can be victims of abuse. Someone needs to tell me why children don’t matter.