Catherine’s Story: A Child Lost to Psychiatry 

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On July 29, 2021, our youngest child, Catherine, died two weeks before her 21st birthday. Home after a nearly two-year-long psychiatric hospitalization, she was out with us on one of our daily drives when suddenly, she opened the car door and jumped out. She sustained a fractured skull from which she never recovered. We believe she was driven by OCD-like impulses that emerged after exposure to antipsychotic drugs, including involuntary treatment with clozapine. But a suicide attempt might have been understandable: The last six years of her life had been a living nightmare, thanks to the adversarial actions and toxic treatments of the medical-model mental health care system, whose traumatic effects greatly exacerbated her original problems.

Father Russ, Catherine (aged 15), and mother Carol at a local park after her second psychiatric hospitalization. (Photo courtesy of the Stence family.)

Though our daughter is gone, we are still mystified about the origins of her sudden and severe psychosocial decline. We suspect it had something to do with underlying medical conditions, including genetic and hormonal issues along with inflammatory triggers. We are cataloging the harms done by those we trusted to help her: piecing together, document by document, what happened to Catherine—and to us!—as we struggled to advocate for her. For doing what we felt was best for our child, we were demonized and nearly criminalized by people in power. The opportunity to humanely support Catherine’s mental health during adolescence was crushed by the “rush to treat” her in depressive settings with coercive and debilitating “therapies.” This essay attempts to summarize our story in the hope that those who subjected Catherine to these risky and traumatizing procedures will not be allowed to continue to mistreat children and parents and that other families can learn from our experience.

For as many questions as we have about the tragedy that befell Catherine, we have enough knowledge to firmly hold a few convictions about psychiatry’s paradigm for treating mental illness. First, we know that allopathic psychiatry’s “standard of care” and inhumane treatment of our daughter accelerated her descent rather than arresting it; second, we know that she was not suffering alone; and third, we hope that telling Catherine’s story will potentiate positive change in a system that is failing miserably to address the needs of millions of people.

A “Normal” Childhood
a young, smiling white girl in the backseat of a car
Catherine, then 14, was once a hopeful and blossoming child. (Photo courtesy of the Stence family.)

Ours was not a family one would expect to produce a troubled child. We were not perfect, but we were comfortable and happy: We loved each other and the four children we brought into the world, and we celebrated life and weathered its challenges. We took comfort in our Christian faith and valued residing in a diverse community.

The infrastructure and institutions in our region made us feel fortunate. We were close to hospitals, universities, and parks. We witnessed professionalism among our local first responders and the town government. Russ himself had served the community, retiring after 30 years as a psychologist on the Committee on Special Education for a local school district.

Catherine, our youngest, had enjoyed a relatively happy and “normal” childhood and early adolescence. She was bright, creative, kind, well-behaved, academically capable, and usually healthy. Her band teacher noted her good sense of rhythm and said she was the best clarinet player in her class. She could sing and play the ukulele. She entertained us with her fanciful drawings of animals and expressive faces. Though on the shy side, she made sweet memories with playmates, enjoyed sports and recreation with friends, and was recognized for her ability to articulate mature concepts in her youth group.

There were concerns at times. She struggled a bit in the public-school setting, reported some bullying, and began to exhibit symptoms of allergies and sleep apnea. We were able to deal with all of these concerns through setting and lifestyle changes, and her health and spirits improved.

A Strange Episode: Entering the Mental Health System

However, in the fall of her 13th year, we noticed Catherine was just staring at her schoolwork as if she were in a fog. She began to withdraw socially. We assumed she was experiencing normal adolescent fluctuations that would resolve on their own, so we decided to wait a year before changing anything. In retrospect, this behavior seemed to coincide with a possible inflammatory reaction to a booster for the DTaP vaccine, in concert with hormonal changes. (In some people, the inflammation caused by the expected immune-system reaction to vaccinations has been linked to low mood and feeling ill.)

Catherine’s saga with the mental health care system, though, didn’t begin until late December 2015, following what we now see as significant inflammatory events: receiving six vaccination strains at once and accidentally ingesting an antibiotic to which she’d had a prior adverse reaction. She had not been “herself” for several days, and when we learned she had ingested an unknown amount of a sulfa-based acne medication, we had our son call 911.

By the time first responders arrived, she was delirious, with hot, dry skin and rapid heartbeat, and had begun to remove her clothing. After observing her and speaking with us, they decided to take her to the hospital. We agreed only because we feared the consequences of a possible prescription drug overdose. Catherine, meanwhile, was terrified, crying and resisting being strapped to the gurney. We understood instinctively why she feared the hospital: She didn’t want to meet the same fate as her older sister, who had had horrible experiences in psychiatric wards including nearly dying of neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

We naively assumed the ER doctors would perform a thorough medical evaluation of Catherine and treat her accordingly. But except for one brief check-in and another to bring a pill for her headache, they left us sitting for hours while Carol listened to her alarming self-reports. She lamented, “Why can’t I remember anything? Do I have dementia?… My head hurts… The wall looks like it is moving closer and then moving away.” Carol also witnessed her head jerk and gaze roll upward during a classic “absence seizure.” She appeared to respond to inner stimulation and asked, “How do I get out?” as she pulled on her tongue and put her fingers near her eye.

After we waited from morning till night, they transferred her to the only child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit in our area, at a hospital we’ll call Lakeside Regional—the same place that had harmed her sister. Strapped down and sobbing on the gurney, she pleaded with Carol not to leave her, but we believed we had no choice. It still feels like a moral injury to have participated in this process.

We were greatly relieved that the child and adolescent unit was family-friendly, allowing for 24/7 visitation with the option to stay overnight, which we did. And it was music to our ears when Dr. G., the clinical director and Catherine’s attending physician, who described himself as “the most skeptical psychiatrist I know,” said he thought she could have a full recovery. And he had openings in his private practice!

So although Catherine had to spend Christmas 2015 in the psych ward, she was discharged home on New Year’s Eve, having been diagnosed with “Psychotic Disorder, NOS” and placed on a single medication, Tegretol. (It is virtually impossible to be discharged from a psych ward without being on at least one medication and having an outpatient psychiatry appointment lined up.) Dr. G. seemed to support our preference to withhold neuroleptic medications, to seek other therapeutic options, and to recruit support within our daughter’s social network.

A Trial on Neuroleptic Drugs

A month later, however, not much had changed. The Tegretol was stopped because it seemed not to help: Catherine remained minimally cooperative and dysfunctional much of the time. After an MRI turned up no abnormalities, Dr. G. told us that even in Finland, where the Open Dialogue treatment paradigm is often used to help young people with first-episode psychosis, they would be considering antipsychotic medication at this point. (He assured us that a taper could begin after she was stabilized.) So we reluctantly agreed to a trial of a low dose of Seroquel, which had had relatively benign effects on our older daughter.

Looking back, we believe the introduction of antipsychotics may have set off a neurologically clouding and damaging process that obstructed discovery of the source of her dysfunction and the use of safer, evidence-based treatments. By March, it was clear that the trial on Seroquel had not helped: Catherine remained erratic and uncooperative, refusing to engage in school. So our family collaborated with Dr. G. in getting Catherine back to the psych ward at Lakeside Regional.

During this intake, a resident remarked that Catherine’s presentation was different from typical teen bipolar symptoms. He expressed puzzlement and concern for her mysterious presentation. This felt validating and we were hopeful she would receive personalized care. The hospital released her after about a month, again diagnosed with “Psychotic Disorder” but now on Dr. G.’s neuroleptic of choice, Risperdal, along with a small dose of the benzodiazepine Ativan as needed.

While she emerged better than before she entered, Catherine was still a shell of her former self. She remained reluctant to engage with school or family routines. So, we arranged for a cognitive assessment through our local school district and found that, over the past two years, her functioning level had plummeted from above-average to borderline deficient (a drop of over 40 IQ points)! We then arranged for outpatient neuropsych testing, which also confirmed Catherine’s depressed functioning but revealed no explanation for this drastic decline.

Although her ability to engage with others was somewhat better now, our attempts to enlist Catherine’s “social support network” were disappointing. She had changed so much, and it seemed very hard for her small circle of friends to understand what had happened to her or how to respond. Despite their concern and occasional efforts to include her, they were in the prime of life and focused on their own lives.

We continued to work with Dr. G., whom we now regarded as a family friend. While he appeared friendly and supportive, we were puzzled that he did not respond to certain questions, such as those about medication-induced dopamine supersensitivity and tardive psychosis, syndromes in which antipsychotic drugs cause a paradoxical reaction in the person taking them.

The “Shutdowns” Begin

In September 2016, after Catherine had been on Risperdal for about seven months, something strange occurred. One day, as she was sitting at the computer, she began to giggle nonstop. She either could not or would not explain what was so funny, nor could we engage her in any rational conversation. This frequent, inexplicable giggling and seeming inability to communicate continued for a couple of days, and we began to wonder if she was suffering from pseudobulbar affect, a neurological condition.

The episode was followed by a “shutdown” during which she went through the motions of self-care and did little else but lie passively in her bed or rock in a rocking chair. We contacted Dr. G., who attributed the behavior to under-medication and prescribed an increased dosage. We complied and, about a week later, she emerged quite suddenly from her shutdown, after which she was up and about and conversing much more normally.

We figured the increased medication had helped her until about a month later, when the inexplicable excessive giggling and complete irrationality suddenly re-emerged, followed by a similar shutdown and a just as sudden “reawakening” about a week later—all while she was taking the higher dose of Risperdal.

Much earlier, Dr. G. had suggested using lithium, but had backed away from that since Catherine was not showing symptoms of bipolar disorder. But in light of these emerging “up-down” episodes, he raised the prospect again. At an office visit, Catherine responded that she would rather die than take lithium because she had seen her big sister suffer under the effects of the drug. Furthermore, Catherine, as an emerging and self-conscious teenage girl, was concerned about the 20 or 30 lbs. she had already gained on the Risperdal.

At this point, we were wondering if the monthly episodes had something to do with Catherine’s menstrual cycle, and sure enough, almost like clockwork, the same thing happened in early November. While we had gotten her to take the Risperdal during the previous episodes, this time she began to refuse the drug. Knowing of the dangers of sudden withdrawal from such medication, we worried that all hell would soon break loose.

Integrating a Holistic Approach

Around this time, Dr. G. informed us that he wanted to refer Catherine to the OnTrack New York program, designed to provide comprehensive services and monitoring for young people who have experienced a first episode of psychosis. He was concerned that he had not been able to establish a good “therapeutic bond” with Catherine because she associated him with the hospital, and readily acknowledged a “PTSD piece” to her difficulties. He did not express any criticism of us as parents or imply that he saw us as obstructing or undermining treatment. So with some sadness, we followed through with the intake process for OnTrack New York, only to have them reject her based on their belief that she had a primarily “affective” rather than “psychotic” disorder.

The monthly episodes continued, with near-normalcy in between. Still seeking an outpatient prescriber and a better approach to addressing Catherine’s struggles, we discovered a holistic/integrative psychiatrist, Dr. T., through a flyer posted at a local natural foods store. We reached out to her, and she accepted Catherine as a patient. Catherine really liked Dr. T. and, with her assistance, we were able to obtain genetic testing for our daughter through a company called Genomind (recommended by a neurologist friend). The results identified medications that were kinder for her metabolic profile and evidence-based supplements that could support her brain health.

Dr. T. also helped us arrange hormonal testing, which revealed that Catherine had estrogen dominance, aka clinically low progesterone (it’s associated with mood and thought disorders, among other symptoms). We hoped that this information would facilitate a personalized approach to unravel the cause of Catherine’s bewildering and sometimes debilitating condition and to find effective treatments.

With Dr. T.’s assistance, we had begun to give Catherine a cyclical low dose of natural progesterone (to correct the estrogen dominance) along with prescribed supplements. Results were mixed: On one hand, Catherine’s shutdowns became more severe starting in January 2017, after Dr T. added a compound called phosphatidylcholine to her regime. On the other, our daughter enjoyed relative normalcy the rest of the month, capped off in March by a snowboarding trip to Vermont and a sleepover with her best friend. Then, the severe monthly shutdown recurred just as we were hit with a bad winter storm and power outage that showed no signs of abating. After consulting with both Dr. T. and Dr. G., we returned Catherine to the child and adolescent psych unit at Lakeside Regional.

 “Catatonia” and a Return to “Antipsychotics”

Once she was in the hospital, the psychiatrists spoke the word “catatonia” for the first time in reference to her monthly episodes. As for what to do about it, at first it appeared that the staff was seriously considering our theory that Catherine’s behavior was linked to dysregulation of her menstrual cycle. Dr. G., for example, arranged consults with the hospital’s neurology and gynecology departments. After the OB/GYN consult, she was switched from progesterone to a birth control pill, Yasmin. (We had hoped that cyclical progesterone would be given more time at the higher dose Dr. T. then recommended. Two years later, a resident said that Yasmin was now contraindicated for her.) We and Dr. T. were exultant that the psychiatrists saw her “wake up normal” from the catatonia, just as we had for the previous seven months. We were hopeful they would collaborate with us on how best to address her unique symptoms and needs.

Instead, they told us there was no alternative than to return to taking an “antipsychotic” drug. This seemed to signal a return to the one-size-fits-all paradigm of psychiatric treatment. Catherine continued to refuse it—she said it made her feel bad. “Can I not take the medication? Can I not take the medication?” That plaintive plea as she followed the doctors down the hall after her treatment team meeting haunts us to this day. We did not yet know that the neuroleptic medications we were pushing her to go back on may actually cause catatonia! (This, told to us two years later by different psychiatrists at the same hospital who were by then hell-bent on giving her ECT.) Another thing we were never told, but discovered later, is that Risperdal is known to alter hormonal functioning. Too late, we began to understand the concept of iatrogenic harm: The very things prescribed to Catherine to help her may well have been making her worse.

In the end, she was medicated by force, via injection. The weekend in which she was first subjected to this was a complete debacle. After having been relatively stable, following the second forced antipsychotic injection she reverted to irrational babbling and her catatonic symptoms returned.

To make things worse, directly after this traumatic episode doctors proffered oral lithium—the drug she’d previously said she’d rather die than take—with no apology or even acknowledgment of how dysregulated she’d been rendered by the forced antipsychotics. Since the lithium was presented alongside the usual Yasmin and supplements, she also refused them, negating the good they might have done.

From here, things went drastically downhill, with a rookie psychiatry resident threatening us with a kangaroo court called a Rivers hearing while Dr. G. was on leave. We had refused to allow Catherine to continue to undergo the torturous forced antipsychotic injections, but in the face of legal action, we felt we had no choice but to give in to these assaults for the last two weeks of her hospitalization.

During her stay, which stretched to 74 days, she was subjected to several antipsychotics. None helped and she had bad reactions to some. During these neuroleptic trials multiple incidents occurred that suggested that the drugs were distorting her nervous system and her response to stimulation. This gauntlet of suffering wore Catherine down, and she murmured, “I just want to wither up like a leaf and blow away.”

After nearly three months of detention, we were finally able to get her discharged. She left the hospital in a totally demoralized state. We actually had to coax her out the doors—she had trouble believing she was allowed to leave. Sitting in the wheelchair as we pushed her toward the car, she gazed awestruck at the trees and sky overhead. When we arrived at home, she happily greeted her Goldendoodle and swung on the tire swing in the backyard. She called a friend and spent more time talking that night than she had for the past two-plus months.

Struggling with At-Home Care

After Catherine’s discharge, our family endured an extremely stressful five-month period during which we simply could not get any local psychiatrist or clinic to work with her—and vice versa. This was mostly because she was so traumatized and afraid of being forced back into the hospital. For a while, she was so fearful that she wouldn’t even get in the car with us to go to a park or to get a hamburger!

Then, in late spring, Catherine’s ongoing difficulties and our lack of progress in re-establishing psychiatric services caught the notice of a local agency social worker and Catherine’s pediatrician. Despite the fact that we had been assiduously seeking help for our daughter, both of them submitted Child Protective Services referrals against us for neglect. Fighting these allegations, based on mistaken and sometimes outright false information in her hospital records, drained valuable time and energy from our efforts. Thankfully, we were able to successfully refute them.

By the fall of 2017, we had enlisted the services of another integrative psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Gurevich, who had been recommended to us by a trusted administrator at the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Catherine finally started to get back on her feet. She attended her church youth group, did some snowboarding, visited parks with the family, and engaged in many other activities that she had not done for quite a while. The community mental health agency whose services we also enlisted told us that she had made the most progress they had ever seen for somebody with her level of dysfunction.

Progress continued under Dr. Gurevich’s care, in “two steps forward, one step back” mode. We decided that we would need to obtain guardianship of Catherine when she turned 18 so that she would be able to continue her holistic care. Cautiously optimistic, we planned to relinquish the guardianship as soon as she recovered her agency.

In the meantime, she was taking a variety of prescribed supplements with evidence-based efficacy, along with a relatively low dose of a neuroleptic medication and benzodiazepine as needed; lithium was later added and was being carefully titrated. Our psychiatrist was using them judiciously due to Catherine’s long-standing “psychotic symptoms,” which had not abated with a fairly extended period off the drugs. We continued to monitor her closely, ever vigilant for the inevitable side effects.

We became concerned about her response to Abilify, the second-generation “antipsychotic” to which she had been switched. She had begun to develop OCD-like symptoms, including repeatedly counting on her fingers aloud and becoming stuck in loops of indecision, such as walking in and out of a doorway. So, we agreed that it would be best to return to Stelazine, a first-generation drug that had worked better for her. Unfortunately, it was unavailable, so we tried using Seroquel again. Unsettled, Catherine refused her prescriptions. On December 20, 2018, after her rapid decline into a dysregulated state, we felt we had to call 911. Catherine ended up back at Lakeside Regional once again.

ECT and Drug Cocktails

This time, hospital psychiatrists decided it was time to pull out their “nuclear arsenal” and began pushing to subject Catherine to ECT, or electroconvulsive “therapy.” She was clearly in a very dysregulated state, but nothing like those earlier monthly episodes. They referred to her behavior as “excited catatonia,” and despite the fact that those symptoms had abated after she’d gone back on medications she’d missed, they decided to change and drastically increase her drug regimen, rendering her extremely passive and low-functioning.

Even in her debilitated state, Catherine was terrified at the prospect of having her brain shocked, and we were vehemently opposed to it. Even in her debilitated state, Catherine was terrified at the prospect of having her brain shocked, and we were vehemently opposed to it.  But the hospital circumvented both her rights/wishes and ours by invoking a Rivers hearing, essentially a state “mental health court,” which we were barred from even observing (despite that we had just obtained guardianship over our daughter).* Using demonstrably false information about her medication history and our allegedly “negligent” care as his guide, and apparently based on the false narrative that she had been in a state of “unremitting catatonia” at home, the judge ordered Catherine to receive forced ECT

She had six sessions in all, that we know of, and they did not go well. Once, according to hospital notes, she tried climbing into a trash can to avoid going to ECT. Staff later found a note written on a napkin in her room that said, “HELP!” During another one of these treatments, her bladder was evacuated. After yet another session, Carol and a friend found Catherine in her room, looking shell-shocked and weakly singing “This Little Light of Mine.” After the last session, Catherine approached Carol with a mask-like face, showing no emotion. And all for what? There was no improvement. Following ECT, she manifested new problems, including memory loss.

With ECT a proven failure, the hospital psychiatrists then subjected her to an increasingly complex and potent polypharmacy cocktail, beginning with the forced use of Clozapine, a particularly risky antipsychotic that was contraindicated by her genetic testing results. The drug cascade multiplied food cravings. Irritability and incidents of aggression emerged that were not part of her pre-drug personality. In this fog of drugs and continued confinement, she lost her “sparkle” and affection toward family and friends. And so it continued for a total of 21 months, the first five months in the local acute care hospital and the last 16 in the nearby state hospital.

A Shell of Herself: Catherine’s Last Months
A middle-aged white man and his heavyset, dark-haired adolescent daughter
Russ and Catherine, then 20, during a winter camping trip taken in hopes of rekindling her former interests and helping her recover from the effects of aggressive psychiatric treatment. (Photo courtesy of the Stence family.)

On September 30, 2020, we were finally able to extricate Catherine from the psychiatric gulag to which she’d been consigned. In the nearly two years in which they had had full control over her life, the hospital billed our insurance for nearly one million dollars in “treatment.” Yet it had done nothing to resolve her original challenges or restore her former strengths. Instead, it assaulted her personhood and grotesquely distorted her body, mind, soul, and spirit.

Still, we were very thankful that she was once again back in the care of a holistic, integrative psychiatrist (Dr. Gurevich). We were also thankful for understanding friends and family and for the local medical center, which accepted Catherine at discharge and provided caring services. But arranging appropriate home care for our daughter proved rather daunting. Throughout most of the 21 previous months, she had been under one-on-one supervision in highly controlled, locked facilities. Now it was just us, trying to figure out the best course day by day.

At one point, we were reported to Adult Protective Services by the very agency we had earlier reached out to for community support. There had been staff changes, and these new people seemed to regard themselves more as our probation officers than as partners in Catherine’s recovery, monitoring us carefully lest we should deviate in any way from the hospital doctors’ outpatient instructions. The APS referral was done preemptively, with no attempt to notify us beforehand, which would have allowed us to correct the misunderstandings that prompted it. And once again, it was quickly discharged as unfounded—but the acute stress from the added burden of disproving the charges was traumatic for us.

We did make some progress with our daughter, but it was in three steps forward, two steps back mode. Throughout this saga, we found the incuriosity of the psychiatric establishment both astounding and appalling! If we had not raised the issue, there would have been no concern about the nosedive in Catherine’s cognitive functioning over the course of “treatment,” rendering her to all appearances severely developmentally disabled. In Russ’s experience as a school psychologist, it was unheard of that a school district would refuse to assess any student, regardless of the severity of their disability. Yet when we sought to have Catherine’s cognitive and language skills reassessed during her extensive psychiatric hospitalization, the hospital denied us on the basis that she was “not stable enough.” And our parenting was faulted because we did not sufficiently engage her in outpatient psychotherapy pre- and post-hospitalization (we tried, with limited success). Yet in the 21 months when doctors had total control of Catherine, she was offered not a single hour of psychotherapy!

What grieves us the most about the last six years of our dear daughter’s life was that everything she feared, and worse, happened once she was sucked into the black hole of being diagnosed with “serious mental illness” and subjected to the coercive, dehumanizing “treatments” that ensued. And that, despite our extensive efforts, we were unable to prevent or stop this process, nor to nurture her back to health once it was over. Although we made slow and careful adjustments to her prescribed drugs after extricating her from her last psychiatric hospitalization, it appeared the shock treatments and toxic cocktails had done irreparable damage to her brain. Her personhood had been greatly diminished, and she lost all of her friends and almost everything else that matters to a young person. The piling on of medications had wreaked havoc on her body, resulting in her weight doubling and her losing interest and pleasure in almost everything except eating.

We cherished the little glimpses of Catherine’s real self that emerged from time to time during the last 10 months of her life at home with us. Thankfully, she was usually oriented to her surroundings and could converse when she felt comfortable, still demonstrated affection and kindness, and enjoyed music and riding in the car. But it was also painfully evident that she knew something was wrong. She would repeatedly ask “Is ugly pretty?” and “Am I retarded?” Not long before she died, she began exercising vigorously in the yard, seemingly determined to regain control over the shape and health of her body. Throughout, she seemed only partially placated by our reassurances, and we wondered if her continuing “psychosis” served as a protection against the excruciating pain of facing the reality of her severe decline and shattered dreams. Now that she is gone, we’ll never know for sure, although one journal entry offers a clue: “My body got too big for me, and they didn’t care.”

Lessons Learned

Looking back, we don’t contend that Catherine’s doctors were evil people who intended to harm her. However, they chose to ignore personalized information that should have guided their treatment and they appeared oblivious to the trauma they were causing our daughter. We believe that it would be virtually impossible for a psychiatrist to acknowledge causing any harm because it would simply cause them too much cognitive and moral dissonance.

And so it continues: How many other teen girls are subjected to “treatment” that distorts their bodies and behavior and destroys their quality of life just as they are emerging from childhood into adulthood? We’ll never forget the anonymous young woman heard outside Catherine’s door in the pediatric ward in 2017: “My body’s broken!” she wailed. “I hate myself! I want to die!” What happened to her, to all of them?

We can acknowledge and even be thankful for the many nurses, social workers, and other staff who were kind and tried to do their best for Catherine. However, they worked within a mental health system that perpetuates flawed, outdated information and inures staff to iatrogenic harms.

In the aftermath of our family’s heartbreaking tragedy, two things sustain us. One is our belief that our daughter is with the Lord and that we will see her again after this life. The other is that as parents, we’ve found a calling: to expose the horrors of the current mental health system and to work to change this system for the better.

*Editor’s Note: This sentence was changed to correct an accidental error of fact in the original text: Catherine was not a minor at the time but had turned 18 years old.

 

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Carol Stence
Carol Stence values family, nature, health, nutrition, art, music, and advocating for humane mental health care and an end to psychiatric abuse. She and her husband Russ have been married 44 years and raised four children together.
Russell Stence
Russ is a retired school psychologist whose eyes were opened to how pernicious the mental health system can be as he tried to support his daughters, who became ensnared in it. These experiences have given him and his wife a calling to both expose the harms of coercive psychiatry and contribute toward more humane and helpful ways of supporting those who experience serious social-emotional setbacks.

100 COMMENTS

  1. Russ and Carol

    So deeply sorry for your loss.

    I must say that this personal story represents the worst kind of torture and psychiatric abuse imaginable. It reads like a modern day horror story that renders “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and Chucky in “Child’s Play” seem like simple nursery rhymes with playful characters, next to those real life characters upholding AND practicing psychiatry and the medical model.

    I skimmed through this story because I’ve heard the story before (having read several HUNDRED psychiatric abuse horror stories) and also having a dear friend who suffered similar types of psychiatric oppression. I also worked 22 years in community “mental health” (as an LMHC) and know the cruelty potential, and harm done by psychiatry and their entire medical model.

    I simply cannot read EVERY detail ANYMORE, because I just become totally enraged . . . Can there be ANY DOUBT after reading this, that there needs to be major systemic POLITICAL solutions to end this horrific madness engineered by Big Pharma and psychiatry.

    Psychiatry must be targeted and ultimately abolished. And this can only happen if we are willing to challenge the future existence of a profit based capitalist system, that feeds off of, AND reinforces its existence.

    I deeply admire Carol and Russ Stence for speaking out about this horrific abuse, and for refusing to allow themselves to be crushed by the psychiatric murder of their precious daughter, Catherine – may her spirit live on in your heroic efforts to seek justice for all psychiatric victims.

    Richard

      • Russell

        Thank you so much for that reply – I am glad to support you in any way I can.

        You know I was thinking about another very sad and enraging aspect to your story. If you sent this blog summary of your daughter’s murder to EVERY single doctor, nurse, hospital administrator, judge etc. who were complicit in her murder, they would most likely (perhaps secretly) express relief that her death occurred “on your watch” so to speak. This would (in their minds) potentially absolved them from any financial and/or moral liability related to her death. AND I am convinced they would actually blame you and your wife for her demise for not fully buying into (or in so many ways resisting) their Draconian and thoroughly oppressive forms of so-called “treatment.”

        This would just be another very pernicious form of a “blame the victim” approach, so they can avoid any type of moral, legal, or financial responsibility for her murder. I hope it is somehow possible for you to legally sue these criminals, and then use that money to help lay bare the oppressive nature of psychiatry and their bogus medical model.

        Your daughter was blessed to have such courageous fighters standing in her corner (doing the very best they could) during this horrendous nightmare.

        Carry on! Much Respect, Richard

        • Yes, Richard, believe me we have thought about almost every one of the things you mentioned here, and it even gave us pause in our willingness to share this story. After all, Catherine died “on our watch”. But as tragically as her life ended, I am still so glad for the last 10 months we had with her. She was clearly being transformed into a “lifer” in the state hospital, or at least in some highly restrictive place in the mental health system. We’ve seen far too many of those utterly beaten down and dispirited individuals, many of whom have been totally cut off from or abandoned by their families and former friends. And the system was made even worse because of all the added draconian restrictions of COVID. No, we had to get her out of there and she had to know we weren’t willing to leave her languishing in that horribly depressing and demeaning setting!

  2. This is such a heartbreaking story. The photos show a shocking change physically. Psychiatrists must be forced to admit that the trauma of these treatments to a person’s sense of self is harmful. I work with the compassion-based interventions, which recognize the power of shame as an emotion. Just imagine the feelings of unworthiness that come from being diagnosed as “psychotic”, prescribed endless lists of medications to “fix a broken brain,” and being forcibly detained against one’s will. This labeling is a severe humiliation and a trauma compounded by the damage of the medications. Using a shame-informed case formulation in psychotherapy and ditching the “medical model” will save thousands of lives a year.

    • Yes, you are right on! The false narrative disingenuously sold by mainstream psychiatry inures almost everyone in the system to the trauma and destruction of personhood often caused by their “treatments”! They have everyone indoctrinated into attributing everything to the “illness”. Thanks for your more humane approach, which is so needed by people in distress.

      • I am truly sorry to hear of your experiences with both daughters and that one ended in death. My heart breaks for your family reading this. While this is the exact reason I chose to leave the “system” and work against it, bringing attention to the over prescription of psychotropic drugs and how so many children are being exposed at such a young age, before they’re even through puberty. I’m horrified with the things I have seen, and I have nightmares about the choices others made, I always spoke up, and with that I was always in trouble with my supervisors, yet I know that there’s more to a kid and youth than these doctors want to see, and the new fresh out of school clinicians that have no experience other than what they read in a book. I read lots of books, not many of them taught me much, it was my real life experiences and actions, seeing the response and results that gave me the experience to know that there’s far too many diagnosis happening, the social service system is using our children and youth as piggy banks, and the parents are ridiculed and punished for seeking help, all the end the way this story does. I’m 39 and grew up in small east coast town outside of Boston I have been to more funerals than my father who is 75. At 39, I have lost 73 classmates, friends, teammates, and local townspeople. It’s sad, we have to stop trusting the system and trust our guts, put faith back into our neighbors, town, and community, and god. We have to be take our country back and save our children from these kinds of stories! My heart breaks, I will pray for your family and continue bringing awareness to the sick system!

        • Heather, this is from my wife Carol who is now driving the car at the moment.
          “Heather I really appreciate your validation and your condolences and I just want to thank you for lending your voice to creating a consensus. I would value the opportunity to hear more of your observations and your testimony and do anything I could to help spread your story as we work to build consensus to end psychiatric abuse.

      • I’m so sorry for your loss . I’m reaching out to you because I’m in need of help with my son He is 30 years old and has been mentally ill since 17. I had a different experience with doctors than you did his doctors do nothing . He lies to them and tells them he’s fine when in actuality he is functioning add a very low level. He spent his days walking in circles showering on the outside of the shower to the point where his walls are coming down in his apartment. He laughs to himself smokes a lot of pot and has never worked and is on disability. He was diagnosed with this organize schizophrenia and when they gave him medicine when he was first hospitalized it actually was a miracle he came back. He used to spend times staring and catatonic state holding cigarettes till they burned his hand standing outside in the cold without any shoes on. I could go on and on about his symptoms they’re very very odd. He did Resporal and it worked very well for him. And he was on Abilify and also allowed him to go to school and almost got a degree but he quit the medicine and he went back into the state he’s in now not being able to complete A task. He turned his refrigerator off and throws all of his food away been begging the doctors to give him the right medication in the right diagnosis but of course he refuses on medication and I am his full support. I’m wondering after reading your story if I making a mistake trying to get him to take the antipsychotic that was so successful for him in the past. He doesn’t see himself the way the rest of the world sees him he’s either in denial or has no insight, I wanted so bad to do a brain scan so they could see it may be pinpoint what is directly is happening in his brain. But he refuses all help and now hearing your story I’m so afraid to keep pushing the doctors take give him the medicine which I thought helped him. I am having the opposite without him seeking help there’s nothing they’ll do here for him. But I have to keep supporting him his home is completely filthy I’m just at a loss of maybe there’s some holistic medicine I can do I just don’t want to force this antipsychotic and have the results that you had and then I wouldn’t know how to live with myself. I have to do something He’s unable to take care of himself God for bid I’m not on this planet. Thank you so much for allowing me to comment and I am so sorry for what you experience. Please give me any advice that you have.

        • Thank you for your condolences, huntmila, and for sharing your own ongoing heart-rending and very difficult ongoing saga with your son. To me, your son’s story underscores that there are no easy answers or one-size- fits-all solutions. If no two snowflakes are the same, as relatively simple as they are, how much more so with we human beings! I have certainly witnessed some of what you have shared, with both of my daughters and with others, how the issue of lack of insight in the midst of rather bizarre and sometimes dangerous behaviors can be very problematic. On the other hand, I’ve also seen people who lack insight into how debilitating and dangerous their psychiatric medication regimens have been and continue to be, which is also dangerous and potentially deadly. And then there are a bunch of people in between, where it is difficult to know whether they have been more helped or hurt by their ongoing “treatments”. That’s just my perspective.

          I do encourage you to check into the MIA parent support group that is available on this site. Carol and I have really appreciated and benefited from it. I’m certainly not presenting it as a panacea, but I think it would be worth checking out and you might find some comfort in the camaraderie of others who are dealing with very similar issues with their own family members and trying to find a good way forward.

  3. Catherine’s story brought me to tears.

    “We are cataloging the harms done by those we trusted to help her: piecing together, document by document, what happened to Catherine—and to us!—as we struggled to advocate for her.”

    I am unsure of the ‘process’ in the US, but in Australia, such documentation is “edited” before being provided to FOI applicants (including lawyers with a right to examine unredacted documents to protect human rights).

    So for example in my situation the hospital ‘redacted’ the fact that I was not a ‘patient’ and that their request for police assistance to unlawfully detain me was actually a crime (under our Criminal Code as a protection from arbitrary detentions), and that I had been ‘spiked’ with a date rape drug TWICE before being subjected to hours of interrogations.

    The “edited” documentation (provided to my legal representative) made me into a 10 year “Outpatient” of this hospital, and the drugs I had been ‘spiked’ with were now my “Regular Medications” (which my doctor who I am not allowed to know his name prescribed ten hours before he even knew of my existence).

    Trying to unravel such acts of fraud can take a significant amount of time and effort. Particularly when the ‘legal representatives’ will accept such “editing”, write a complaint and then forge the response from the authority they claim to have complained to. In my instance the complaint was to the Chief Psychiatrist, and then forged a letter of response, handing the poison pen letter to me before throwing me under a bus.

    Not before checking if I still had the documents proving what I am saying of course. Wouldn’t want it known that the Mental Health Law Centre was conspiring with the State to conceal human rights abuses by the documents still being available. Thus ensuring that the mandatory reporting of public sector misconduct by police and mental health goes unreported……

    So just a warning that once the legal narrative has been “edited” people tend to find themselves chasing their own tail, and in some instances being subjected to some vicious gaslighting with ‘designs’. “No oppression so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority” Addison. The psychological abuses not limited by any Conventions, and can result in you being ‘treated’ against your will for the ‘illness’ deliberately induced by the abuse.

    My complaint to the Operations Manager of the hospital, and pointing out that she had a duty under our laws to report these matters to the corruption watchdog, met with threats to ‘fuking destroy’ me and my family. I was shocked the amount of support she received in that regard. Though perfectly understandable now I realise that she would have been reporting the misconduct of police…. and snitches get stiches. Better to silence the victim using their position of trust, by making my complaint a symptom of my illness (conceal the ‘spiking’ with benzos and call the claim that it had been done a paranoid delusion. I’m sure that as a psychologist Mr Stence you can see how that might work).

    “they chose to ignore personalized information that should have guided their treatment and they appeared oblivious to the trauma they were causing our daughter. We believe that it would be virtually impossible for a psychiatrist to acknowledge causing any harm because it would simply cause them too much cognitive and moral dissonance.”

    How right you are with this statement, and in fact many do not realise how far they will go to ensure their criminal negligence goes unreported (the use of the ‘good faith defense’ a common method to manipulate outcomes). Lawyers feeding information back to the hospital as to what they needed to retrieve before moving forward with a complaint which would result in a preferred outcome. commonly referred to as attempting to pervert the course of justice.

    Though you are safe as long as you are not in possession of the documented facts. Otherwise expect a visit from Police who will assist in the retrieval of said documents and a letter claiming there is now “insufficient evidence”.

    I wish you well in your attempts to have changes occur, but be aware that the game is rigged. I note that lawyers were more than happy to charge me for telling me how expensive their time was, but unwilling to act on the documented proof which I had slipped through the net with (“I thought you were mad, but you’ve got the proof” …….. byeeeeee), preferring instead to report to those who had already dug themselves deep into a criminal hole, and who were quite prepared to ensure that the complainant was subjected to an ‘unintended negative outcome’ while they looked the other way.

    And God sends upon them a great delusion huh? 2 Thessalonians. No one is watching?

    • Thanks so much for your comments, Boans. You’ve obviously been there and “know whereof you speak”! Yes, we’ve also seen just how corrupt and deceitful the legal trappings surrounding psychiatry’s coercive practices is, and how much those with the power in this system circle the wagons and protect their own guild interests, above all! Whenever it’s a question of patients rights versus guild interests, guess who wins? One of the saddest and most maddening sub-stories in this, for us, was how the very legal system in our state that is supposed to represent the “voiceless” patient ended up colluding with the hospital and stripping away our daughter’s rights. That could be a story in itself.

      • Thanks for your reply Russell, and I’m glad that your not going forward not realising that the legal avenues for change are blocked before you even begin.

        I was shocked that the pro bono legal service in my State was being used as a ‘Venus fly trap’ to ensure that any ‘patients’ who had been subjected to human rights abuses did not have any avenue open to make a complaint about such abuses.

        Consider that in the context of the agreement my State has ratified with the United Nations in Article 13 of the Convention against the use of Torture.

        Article 13
        “Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.”

        A request to the Attorney General to be allowed to make a complaint results in a referral for ‘treatment’ by the very people you are alleging tortured you. The Human Rights Commission doesn’t deal with allegations of torture (probably because no one survives the attempt to make a complaint (refouler, ala Jamal Kashoggi ‘flags’ being placed on the complainants).

        And the hospital administrator was quite open about her threats when I tried to make a complaint about the crimes I was aware had been committed at the time (not aware of others they were engaging in to cover up their misconduct).

        I know that I spoke to the woman I mentioned above whose 13 year old daughter ended her life. My concerns for her in her attempt to have ‘the system’ changed (despite our differences in our opinions as to the existence of ‘mental illness’ and the ‘treatments’) was that she would likely be stripped of her assets by lawyers who are quite prepared to take money from people knowing that the type of collusion you speak of is going to occur.

        Though once again, in my State people can be denied access to legal representation, unlike the US which I believe has this right enshrined (with all the problems that come with access). I don’t know that it can be appreciated what effect that has on the legal ‘system’ and justice, which is basically like our electoral system, a show piece to make claims of democracy.

        “One of the saddest and most maddening sub-stories in this, for us, was how the very legal system in our state that is supposed to represent the “voiceless” patient ended up colluding with the hospital and stripping away our daughter’s rights. That could be a story in itself.”

        Our Minister for Mental Health was asked in Parliament about a report showing that nearly 50% of women who had been hospitalised in the last year reported being sexually assaulted. Her response? “You can’t listen to them, they’re mental patients”. That’s the sort of ‘protection’ people in our ‘system’ receive.

        I have never wondered about how the human rights abuses which ARE occurring never get reported unless their is a means to twist the narrative as a way of calling for MORE power and money since.

        The removal of that Minister after an allegation outside Parliament of dereliction of duty brought about very little change. Meet the new Boss, same as a the old Boss.

        Still, from Balaams Donkey, I wish you well. I’m sure the leadership of the National Socialist’s in Germany were given fair warning about where their conduct might end. Only realising that it is God in control when they got to meet Albert Pierrepoint. Sometimes it may be best we don’t see the ‘outcomes’ of such situations for our own benefit. As the person who rudely interrupted the attempt to ‘unintentionally negatively outcome’ me said, he didn’t have the stomach for it.

        • Again; Boans, I appreciate your insightful and incisive observations. You’ve obviously been raked over the calls by the system as it is, but I’m glad you have survived and are giving testimony to it. Probably the only court that you or we have any chance of prevailing in is the “court of public opinion”. That’s a large part of what motivated us to share our story, and we really appreciate Robert Whitaker and the staff at MIA in supporting us in this. So may we continue to get the message out!

  4. ” we don’t contend that Catherine’s doctors were evil people who intended to harm her. ”
    Yes they were evil, still are. Pure evil and MARXISTIC satanists in medical disguise. To protect mental health is to protect materialism and persecute for psychological impacts on material world. This is marxism. Medical health without pathological/psychological necessities impact on “wellbeing utopia” is marxism.

    They killed her. Ego and materialism in medical disgusie, killed her. She was tortured before death, like many others. Marxism in medical disguise killed her. Those people have no voice, no rights. Monism/marxism stolen the right to psychological impact on empty material world of mentally health psychopats. Psychiatry is not medicine. It is not about psyche anymore, what do people want more? Technocracy will come and they will kill everyone with their vacciness, drugs. They are doing this now.They killed her. They will kill almost everyone to 2035.

    • I appreciate your passion, James, and receive it in the supportive spirit that I know prompted it. The effects and the outcome of what was done is certainly evil. I will leave it to God to judge the intent behind it. Regardless, exposure and action to change these evil outcomes is clearly needed.

    • “When they kill people there is about as much fuss as when people die in prison.”

      A lot of noise being made here about human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia and their ‘sports washing’ of these alleged abuses.

      Whilst I don’t know if the news is being “edited” before being presented to the public, what I can say is that it takes a lot of jumping through hoops to overlook the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody of people who have been convicted of such serious offences as shoplifting, whilst pointing fingers at others and attempting to take the moral high ground.

      I find myself wondering about how many of these deaths in custody are being “edited” before being examined by the authorities. And is it not the case that Australia is involved in such ‘sports washing’ of the more than 200 years of abuses? Which continue to this very day.

      Similar to Catherine’s story, a young girl of 13 waves goodbye to her mother and steps into traffic after an appointment with mental health services. And the documents relating to this tragic outcome get “edited” before being presented to the Coronial Inquest? I know I have examined in detail what might have occurred had my attempt at suicide had been successful, and it would have been a rubber stamp with the “edited” version of events. Not so simple with the true version where I was subjected to a conspiracy to stupefy and commit an indictable offence namely kidnapping…… but they don’t like that version of reality.

      Drug abusing, wife beating mental patient of ten years kills himself sounds so much better when your asking for more money to keep doing the same…… especially when documents are fabricated to create such a false narrative (using the corrupt practice of ‘verballing’), and then those who find it easy to utter with known fraudulent documents to ‘fuking destroy’ anyone who dares question their authority and right to commit such acts of fraud.

      It becomes important for the Coroner to see only what they want him/her to see. That and ensuring that the mental illness of the people complaining is treated, particularly their anosognosia.

      The slandering of people to lawyers by the unlawful release of confidential information particularly vicious…. but also highly effective. Difficult to defend yourself against such gossip and innuendo put to your lawyers behind your back. Particularly when they can obtain a benefit from ensuring your cause of action does not proceed.

      In an ideal world such slander would have no effect, but ……. this is far from an ideal world. What I can say is that the effect of such slandering is apparent on the faces of the people your dealing with, though there is an element of surrealism about it.

      For example I had no idea that the Community Nurse had fabricated a story that my wife had claimed I was a wife beater in his documents (my wife claiming “I said no such thing”, though the Community Nurse needed to fabricate a risk sooooooo. Absolutely poisonous to our marriage) When handed on to the Senior Medical Officer he treated me like his pet dog…. obviously believing the slander/fraud, and I was wondering why I was being treated in such a manner. Normally called conspiracy, when it is done by mental health they call it ‘healthcare’, and for the benefit of the ‘patient’. Which was particularly helpful when they were trying to conceal these documents from the victim, using the claim it wasn’t good for me to know I was being ‘spiked’ and falsely labelled an “Outpatient” to bypass the protections of the law.

      • I am reminded of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing in this regard.

        Difficult to ‘unsee’ the slander once it has been smeared all over you. The example given by Berger is the last painting done by Vincent van Gogh.

        This is a painting by Vincent van Gogh…… yeah, so what.

        This is the painting he was working on when he walked out into a field where he shot himself.

        This information changes the way we view the painting, and it can not be undone.

        So, should you be slandered to your legal representatives, will they be able to put that slander aside and deal with your matters without a bias? Not according to Berger.

        And I note that the Community Nurse in my instance had a prepared narrative which he then simply applies to his victims. Very easy to ‘verbal’ that narrative, which I have dealt with in detail elsewhere.

        C.N. “Do you have a knife?”

        Self “of course, I have a drawer full of them in my kitchen”

        C.N. “Do you have a knife you carry with you?”

        Self “I have a pocket knife which I use when I’m working on my old car”

        C.N. “could you use that knife to protect yourself?”

        Self “Seriously? Of course I could”

        I assume the loaded questioning here is obvious.

        Community Nurse writes on the statutory declaration under “communicated matters”

        “Has knife for self protection”

        My request to speak to a lawyer before answering his question about drug use became;

        “refused to answer re substance abuse”

        Refusing to answer a question becomes proof your mentally ill? Or is it just a way of raising suspicion for the paranoids to pick up and run with? In fact, he was aware that I had been ‘spiked’ with a date rape drug and had more information about my drug abuse than I did. Though that part of the narrative was quickly dropped, instead preferring to interrogate me, and then hand me on to police for interrogation without informing me OR having me medically assessed.

        This may even sound familiar to many who have examined their documents. Especially given our Police are sent for ‘training’ in Creative Writing should their statements be a little too factually accurate.

        These are not all honorable people you will be dealing with. And it is an unfortunate fact that others tend to turn their backs on you for fear of their own families. Something anyone of Jewish descent would be able to explain quite easily.

        I know the psychologist who refused to accept the police referral when I attended the Station with the documented proof of what I am saying, laughed with me about their claim I was “hallucinating”.

        That is, until they had to back track and try and conceal their attempt to have the victim of their misconduct ‘snowed’ for turning up in their Station with documents they thought they had retrieved. Then the psychologist became afraid for his family, given that he knew that I had already involved the corruption watchdog, and police were getting him to find out “who else has the documents?”.

        Confidentiality? I suppose it’s only a little coercion because they wouldn’t ‘fuking destroy’ his family for speaking the truth would they? Well, they do have ‘history’. And I suppose the fact that I haven’t seen my family for more than 10 years as a direct result of their vicious attack on me for trying to complain means they haven’t actually done any harm. I don’t have a family (or anything else) to ‘fuking destroy’ anymore.

        Another success for psychiatry it would seem. And it is a benefit to the State to ensure we do not get together and unravel what actually happened. better my family thinks I am the nutjob as a result of my genetics and not as a direct result of the vicious gaslighting and torture they subjected me to because……. and that’s what is so bizarre, their ‘reasons’ for doing this to me and my family. “We were trying to save your marriage”.

        And because I refused to speak to a psychologist, they felt that subjecting me to acts of torture were justified (if we can force him to speak then we can do good, so torture via ‘spiking’ and having police induce an ‘acute stress reaction’ [ie rough em up a bit] should work)…… read the Convention, no “emergency provisions’ and “no superior authority”……. except when they think otherwise.

        Those nutjobs that wrote that documents have no understanding of the real world… of course there is a need for torture, why else would there be a loophole of “inherent in or incidental to lawful sanction”? Just call them an “Outpatient” and it’s all good. Like a card trick, torture becomes medicine with the change of status. Like the drugs I was ‘spiked’ with became my “Regular Medications” with a fraudulent prescription.

  5. Off the fifth floor of a car park building a friend leaped because of her hallucinations. She had no medication to tuck her up in bed but I am disgusted with the way your daughter was treated. Much of what passes for listening is really a human dread of hearing raw feelings. People regard feeling too much as a problem to be medicated away. As if indulging in feelings makes hallucinations worse. But feelings have little to do with the cause of hallucinations. Feelings have little to do with the cause of epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. And yet these conditions which are so irritating to live with “result” in anguished feelings because of those intrusions. And so those feelings get overmedicated when those feelings should not be muffled in medication. The medications are like chemo. They should never be tossed out like coins from a fruit machine.

    I am sending sympathy through the ethers for your incalculable loss.

    • Thanks so much for your compassionate and caring sentiments, Daiphanous. This inhumanity of the system and refusal to even acknowledge the anguished feelings of those entrapped within it is so egregious! As we said in the article, and probably actually understated, we still carry the heavy weight of “moral injury” resulting from our own part in this saga, as even while we were trying to advocate for our daughter and extricate her from the psychiatric gulag, we often had to “go along to get along” to some extent, just to keep from being kept entirely out of the loop.

  6. I am so sorry.

    Psychiatry forces toxic drugs on unsuspecting patients, and then when they have bad reactions to these damaging and violent treatments, instead of stopping them they ply the patient with more drugs, stronger drugs, higher doses, electrical shocks to the brain, until the victim ends up a career mental patient, or dead.

    And if, somehow, the patient’s body adapts to the presence of these toxic drugs and she is able to resume some level of functioning, they attribute her recovery to whatever combination of drugs she is taking at the time. Kind of like B.F. Skinner’s superstitious pigeons.

    “Excited catatonia?” WTF is that? They just make shit up.

    • “And if, somehow, the patient’s body adapts to the presence of these toxic drugs and she is able to resume some level of functioning, they attribute her recovery to whatever combination of drugs she is taking at the time.”

      So true, Patrick. I’ve seen so many of these poor “recovered” souls when I visit a friend in one of our local community residences for folks on disability due to severe psychosocial difficulties (exacerbated by drugs).

      And yes, they certainly do make shit up…it’s the “bread and butter” of the trade!

  7. I am so very sorry for your loss. There is respectable research showing that, all other things being equal, those who have experienced forced treatment are at much higher risk of suicide. I hope you address this tragedy through all avenues available to you. Bravely sharing your daughter’s story here is an excellent first step. Thank you.

  8. My condolences on the death of your daughter, Russell and Carol. I agree, the pictures speak a thousand words. Psychiatrists truly should be ashamed of themselves and their so called ‘treatments,’ merely based on those two photographs.

    As one who survived and escaped our modern, satanic, psychiatric system – and painted the entire ungodly disrespectful and appalling experience – I do know the power of artwork, too. My “too truthful” artwork now turns the child abuse covering up, “maintain the status quo” desiring psychologists into God complexed, delusions of grandeur filled, misogynistic, attempted thieving, thugs.

    Just an FYI, you might be interested in my medical research findings in relation to the “antipsychotics.” That drug class can create the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. And they can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome. Plus, going off of them can result in a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis.

    Thank you for sharing your family’s heartbreakingly “too truthful” story, Russell and Carol.

  9. Dear Carol and Russell,

    I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter, Catherine. Thank you for the hard work you have done in attempting to expose the terrible treatment of vulnerable people within the Psychiatric System.

    I consumed antipsychotics (between the age of 20 and 24) and suffered from chronic and acute Akathisia; attempting suicide twice as a result.

    I regained my health and independence through carefully stopping this treatment.

  10. Harper West says, “This labeling is a severe humiliation and a trauma compounded by the damage of the medications. Using a shame-informed case formulation in psychotherapy and ditching the “medical model” will save thousands of lives a year.”

    Severe humiliation and trauma. That’s psychiatry in a nutshell.

    Psych label>trauma>psych drugs>trauma>iatrogenic illness>trauma=ruined lives. And it all starts with a DSM label. Way to go, psychiatry!

  11. Carol and Russ, my thoughts are with you. You exhibit great strength and I know you’ll create positive change out of this tragedy. You have given me a renewed sense of hope; I am a survivor of this horrific system who went on to become a clinician; lately, working within community mental health has left me feeling like an empty hypocrite, a piston in this engine of oppression and dysfunction. Maybe there is a way to fight back.

    • Thank you, “Dunwith…”. If there is any strength we exhibit, it comes from a higher source…as I saw on a poster of a person ascending a mountain with a backpack, “The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). I’m glad you came through the system. I can appreciate how you feel, though, being in the system and feeling like a hypocrite. I felt some of that in my role as a school psychologist, especially after I saw “up close and personal” just what a terrible and damaging power imbalance there is between these systems and those they purport to serve. As I said above, we still have a sense of “moral injury” in having to cooperate as much as we did in our own daughter’s demise, as we were stuck between so many “rocks and hard places”.

  12. This story is very moving, and I can identify with Catherine, as I too was severely abused by psychiatry as a child and teenager. What can I say? We have to fight back against this horrible cult that claims to be a medical specialty, fight back as hard as we can. One thing that would help is if more people who have had experiences like this came out of the closet. Right now, I think the average person thinks psychiatry is benevolent because they don’t realize how many people have been abused by it. About one person in ten in the United States has been an inmate in a psychiatric facility, but most folks think people who have survived psychiatry are a very small group. Fight back!

    • Ted, I’m aware of your story, have seen many of your posts and I believe I’ve even seen/heard you speak via You Tube. Your life has been a testimonial to the resiliency of the human spirit, and I’m so honored and inspired by your comments. Yes, we certainly intend to “fight back” and support others who are doing that. We’re so thankful for the MIA community, and other fellow “freedom fighters” in this struggle!

  13. Thank you so much- Carol and Russell. You have been the perfect model parents. There is nothing more you could have done. Such a horrible time of years of torture for poor Catherine and her family. May Catherine find solace in heaven for this wonderful important and carefully written story that has so much information in it. I too have experienced very similar circumstances with my loved one. He was on the same horrible medications that put him in bad shape and he is still going through the horrors of it. Men also have the same problems with the psych depts. Children and adult services should be gone after for the problems they create.

    • Thank you, Wendy. We feel so far from perfect and regularly go through the “woulda/coulda/shoulda” thing as we look back on our daughter’s horrendous saga over the last six years of her life. But as I’ve said, we want our lives going forward to be a tribute to Catherine as we try to both expose the evil of inhumane, coercive psychiatry and try to help those stuck in it.

  14. Carol and Russell, Thank you so much for courageously sharing the story of the hell you went through trying to get your beautiful daughter the help she deserved; you turned to the “professionals” when you were desperate to help Catherine, and instead of helping her, they destroyed her life. I know you did all you possibly could to help her. It’s through stories like yours that the system will hopefully begin to change.

    We went through a similar situation with our son; Elijah had a joy-filled, stable life as a youngster, but when time puberty hit, he abruptly began showing signs that he was distressed. He withdrew from people, began cutting himself periodically, couldn’t sleep, developed OCD, and had significant anxiety and depression as well as marked paranoia.

    After a year or so of those symptoms, he began speaking nonsensically–he went from winning poetry contests as a freshman in high school to being unable to write a cohesive college essay. My husband and I were concerned that he was showing signs of schizophrenia. His psychiatric nurse practitioner put him on 25 mg of Seroquel with the hopes that some of his symptoms would improve and that he would sleep. The Seroquel helped him sleep, which stabilized him to some degree, but he still struggled. Elijah didn’t like the way even the low dose of Seroquel made him feel, so he stopped it after 9 months.

    He went through college while living at home, and at 20, he had the opportunity to get his PhD in a different state. The first few months went okay, but on the cusp of his 21st birthday, his fellow, much older PhD students suggested he try different kinds of alcohol to see what he liked best. He got drunk and tried jumping off an apartment balcony. The police were called, and he was committed to a psychiatric hospital for a week. He wasn’t really helped during his stay, but he left on a SSRI, and we hoped things would get better. (He had been on different SSRI’s through the years, but they did absolutely nothing to alleviate his symptoms, so eventually he stopped taking them.) In addition to the symptoms he’d had for years, Elijah was starting to have wild mood swings and extremely angry rages. Unfortunately his mentors asked him to leave his PhD program, and he returned home.

    He continued having terrible insomnia, marked anxiety, depression, rages, mood swings, paranoia and OCD. We thought he might have Bipolar disorder, but his symptoms weren’t completely consistent with Bipolar, so he was ultimately diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (an awful term– a person’s personality is the core of who he/she is, so to be told his personality was terribly broken was devastating). He socially withdrew even further and began pushing everyone away. He would spend 24 hours in our basement reading hundreds of books (he even read the dictionary).

    One day Elijah found a “bulls-eye” rash on his trunk which led to testing for tick-borne diseases. He was diagnosed with probable Lyme and certain Bartonella. We found an amazing Lyme literate infectious disease doctor as well as a terrific naturopath who put him on two different antibiotics as well as various supplements to support his immune system and his gut. We believe Elijah was exposed to Bartonella at the age of 12 when we took a feral cat into our home, and we believe he had a PANDAS-type inflammatory response which led to some of his symptoms. Bartonella and Lyme can cause a whole slew of neuropsychiatric symptoms, including terrible rages (there has even been a confirmed case of a teen who had been diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia, when he actually was suffering from Bartonella; after antibiotic therapy, his symptoms completely resolved).

    At the time Elijah started his Lyme and Bartonella treatment, he was engaging in virtual group mentalization therapy with other people who had been diagnosed with Borderline. It was led by an “accomplished” psychiatrist who scoffed when I suggested that Elijah’s initial rapid decline might have actually been the result of infections that caused inflammation in his brain. A Lyme literate psychiatrist, Dr Brian Fallon, looked at Danish registries from 1994-2016 which included almost 7 million people, 12,156 of whom had received the diagnosis of Lyme Disease. Rates of mental disorders, affective (mood) disorders, suicide attempts and death by suicide were examined. His research group found that in those with Lyme Disease, there was a 28% higher incidence of mental disorders, a 42% higher rate of affective disorders, twice the likelihood to attempt suicide, and a 75% higher rate of suicide compared to people without Lyme. The data also illustrated that Lyme-infected individuals aged 19 and younger had significantly higher rates of neuropsychiatric disorders than those without Lyme infection.

    After spending 13 months on the antibiotics, Elijah has not completely recovered, but he is doing much better! His rages are gone, and he is much more stable. If only more psychiatrists were open to looking at their patients’ complete medical histories, and if only they did more thorough testing, I believe more people looking to psychiatry could be helped. Thankfully it seems as though there are some doctors out there (especially functional psychiatrists) who are willing and able to “think outside the box.”

    Thank you again for sharing your story, Carol and Russell; I know that some day you will be reunited with Catherine in eternity. It’s so difficult to live in this broken world, but thankfully we know the One who understands our pain, as He’s felt it too. I know He’s walking with you, and I’m praying that you feel His presence.

    • And thank you for sharing YOUR story, LJM! I find it both amazing and chilling, but I’m glad for the positive turn that it took and the fact that a more positive trajectory has continued. Your story is reminiscent of that of Susanna Cahalan , as related in her book “Brain on Fire”. As I believe she states in the book, had it not been for a seizure that put her in a neurological rather than a psychiatric ward, she might still be languishing somewhere in our psychiatric gulag archipelago, medicated into oblivion, as so many are! And she was fortunate to have a maverick neurologist who thought out of the box, which led to the discovery that she was suffering from a real illness that had only recently been discovered: anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. When she was treated appropriately for that, what appeared to be severe psychiatric symptoms remitted fairly quickly and she fully regained her sanity!

    • It’s so very kind and thoughtful of you to read and reply to all of the comments on this message board; one rarely sees that.

      John 1:5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

      You and your family are a light in this world that oftentimes feels overwhelmingly dark. What a blessing that light always ultimately overcomes darkness…Thank you so much, Russell.

      • PS… I recently became familiar with Ms Cahalan’s story and totally agree with you that if she hadn’t had that seizure and hadn’t been put under the care of a forward-thinking neurologist, her story could easily have become a tragic one.

  15. Wow, powerful reading this. I’m a young professional with a great career but last year I finally broke, became very disregulated and told on myself. Went in voluntary. Didn’t have any family in the city but I should have just stayed home and rode it out.

    I went for three days to a Medicaid semi prison where the psychiatrist didn’t have the stones to even be there in person. We didn’t even have real beds. My roommate was racist and a homophobe and I seriously went to try to sleep in the padded room. There was some vague attempt at a group therapy type thing daily but otherwise zero to do. When they finally let me out one of the guards took my nice coat and claimed I never had it. One of the nurses called me a nasty man. Yeah I was irritated, being cold turkey off an SSRI. One of the doctors ignored a question I asked in conversation and continued on. I got irritated and told them I’m not a houseplant. Talk to me like an adult or don’t talk to me.

    They didn’t like when someone pretended to have rights. Most of the inmates were just gone. Oh yeah I kept begging for them to call my work. I almost got fired because no one heard from me. Neat.

    The second place I went for 14 days. Was supposed to be the top psychiatric hospital. It was definitely a little better. But they kept me forever because I was so irritated and pissy all the time. I’ve got horrible PTSD from child abuse that was never discussed. They kept saying I’m bipolar. It’s all over my records now. Since then I’ve never had any sort of manic episode. Been promoted twice. Almost entirely off APs but stay on mood stabilizers. I think finally they realized a manic episode can only last so long and yeah I’m really just pissy because of the place I’m in. Once I left that situation it was like night and day according to my sister.

    When I finally got out and was referred to outpatient they put me in the trauma program and not bipolar.

    As a grown man the experience of being gaslit, being unable to leave someplace, get any sort of objective assistance, was traumatizing. I’ve never felt so invalidated. Had to beg to take a shower. All I wanted was to discuss my issues and I never got any sort of psychoanalysis. That would have flipped the script entirely. But I also have an IQ higher than the average doctor and I think they were threatened by that. I wrote up biopsychosocials for people as I was bored. They didn’t like that either. My stuff would mysteriously disappear a lot. It’s not like I was on any heavy medication, just some Seroquel. It was creepy and a little orwellian.

    It’s funny when you’re in a normal hospital room people at least pretend to care. Once you’re through those doors life is over for you until they decide it’s not. We were supposed to be able to sign a five day release paper and they never allowed me to. I was about as high functioning as a patient you get. I filed a complaint with the state and it was ignored.

    I will never go inpatient ever again. If I do I’ll never make the mistake of pretending to be a human that matters.

    I cannot imagine what it would be like to be worse off, have minors involved, legal involvement. I talked to a lot of people that did though. I was kind of the chaplain in a way.

    I sincerely believe I saved a life in the first hospital. You see this man had mental issues but I saw some yellowness and ascites. Asked if he was a drinker, he was, and could recite some AA drivel. I believe the man had hepatic encephalopathy and one morning he started vomiting blood. I got in the face of anyone who would listen and demanded that he be put on lactulose. Mysteriously he vanished from the Ward but nobody would tell me what happened. He kept calling me his son and that I would get a cut of his business. He had a successful masonry business but was on Medicaid for some reason. His children I believe were railroading him. In his stupor I figured out that his kids took the business because of his drinking and now his mental impairment. It might have been his actions as well as an alcoholic.

    I’ve got many more stories from my couple weeks but I got a taste of the sweet hell that the system is. I’m so sorry for your loss but I did my best to help anyone and everyone as I was in there. I also saw more s*** and piss and blood… Ugh.

    One woman again in the Medicaid place swallowed a bunch of pills (again) to get away from her abusive daughter that she lived with. She felt stuck and I begged her to reach out to Senior services. I gave her a ring I was wearing that she liked and commented on (in retrospect it was sort of feminine). I told her that if she ever tried to swallow pills again take the damn ring off because I want nothing to do with it. She seemed relieved someone cared. Wonder how she is.

    • SuperNOVA, thanks so much for sharing your story…and with such articulate flair! Not only did you survive this ordeal, thankfully, but were able to help some of your cohorts in the process. Outstanding! You’ve hit so many nails on the head that I think you might be in the process of constructing something bigger… like a book, maybe?? I hope so!

  16. So sorry for your loss of a beautiful daughter. Those doctors make patients experiments and ruin families. They have ruined my life but I am still here trying to put my life back together. Unfortunately I have been discriminated against because of my beliefs.

  17. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
    One question I have for the community is: What works? Clearly the medical model followed by psychiatry is causing harm to many but various forms of therapy aren’t miracle cures either. I can’t tell you how many families I have worked with that want to know exactly what is wrong with their child and how they can be “cured” and I’m here to tell you that therapists don’t have the answers either. I spend countless hours a day and many sleepless nights collecting data, creating behavior plans, and working with parents and children to implement and continuously revise them and it is a slap in the face (figuratively and literally) almost every time. A couple steps forward, a couple steps back. I would do almost anything to alleviate the suffering of the families I work with, but I wish they understood there are no easy answers. Our society seems to believe professionals can fix everything. Special Education can magically raise IQ and pump out productive, contributing members of society if only they would teach “right.” Therapists can fix all socially maladaptive behaviors and put an end to all violence if only they could do their jobs the “right way.” Psychiatrists can correctly diagnose and use medication therapy to successfully cure patients if only they “listened more.” Maybe I’ve grown slightly cynical from getting beaten up and walking on eggshells all the time, but I would like people to understand that we don’t have answers most of the time. Complex problems have even more complex solutions and sometimes no solution that we know of. That doesn’t mean we stop trying, a good professional does the best she can. I am very interested to hear from the community on what they think some solutions are to what has been generally labeled as complex mental health problems and what should be done when every “solution” that has been thought of (both medical and non-medical) and implemented with fidelity fails.

    • I’ll share what I’ve learned being on both sides of the couch, so to speak. As a teen and young adult I spent a lot of time “in the system”, spoke to a lot of therapists, psychiatrists, etc. I hated every minute of every therapy session, why? Because I didn’t want to be “fixed”, I wanted to be listened to, not talked over, not told to “challenge my negative thoughts”, or whatever nonsense was being spewed by the graduate intern on duty. So I usually didn’t listen, was probably labeled “defiant, resistant, uncooperative, precontemplative”, the list goes on. It is ironic that some years later I actually became a clinician. I can honestly say that most people don’t want to be fixed, they want the space to be heard and given a chance to heal.
      Yet, I understand the desperation of being trapped in an unabatting state of pain; it can be easier to blame the overwhelmed, imperfect system that’s supposed to be helping you.
      You are correct in saying “complex problems have complex solutions”, yet I wonder if every causative factor to these “complex mental problems” has been thoroughly examined?
      Big Pharma runs commercials for SGAs with happy, grinning people walking on the beach as if ingesting a pill will right all that’s wrong in life. The behavioral health field as a whole, (not just psychiatry) but psychology, counseling and social work, have all done a fine job of commercializing healing. Do deep breathing, erase a lifetime of trauma, or the fact you’re losing your home. As professionals, we pride ourselves on our “evidence-based practices”; legitimizing our interventions and treatment plans with observations and data collection; at the end of the day, we are driving home the message that we’re experts who have all the answers, or at least want to seem like we do, right? We market ourselves as “fixers”, then get defensive and frustrated when our clients don’t respond like perfect test subjects, why? Because they are real human beings with unique challenges, not hypothetical case studies. Treatment is really nothing more than social control, even with the best intentions. It’s up to the people to reclaim their agency; for me, “a good professional” is an ally and the community is the solution.

    • I hear you, Bree, and I agree with you that this thing called “mental illness” is very complex and confusing, and there are no easy answers. But I think you are missing the point, which is that people who know very little about what is really going on have way too much power and much too little honesty in this whole process. What happened to our Catherine in this process cannot just easily be brushed aside as needing to cut the mental health workers more slack. No, not when they press on with incorrect information, false narratives, a “knowledge base” that is horribly flawed and the ability to create a hell on Earth to some of the people who come under their power!

      • I was reading about the situation with Richard Pipes and Team B, where the CIA had placed ‘black propaganda’ about Russie in the newspapers. This was picked up by a writer who then used it to make the claim that the USSR was an imminent threat to the Director of the CIA William Casey.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_B

        The CIA went to him and said “listen, we were the ones who fabricated all this stuff, it isn’t true” but he chose to not believe them and instead went on believing the fabrications.

        I found this so similar to my situation where people were sitting with me, and could have easily dismissed the fabrications used to justify the kidnapping and torture but …..

        Personally I wonder if it should be that they don’t get a choice in facts, to manufacture falsehoods. Most of this was done by omission, rather than commission. Don’t like that fact, simply leave it out despite it being critical to the outcome.

  18. Psychiatry takes people who may have disturbances and difficulties label and apply complex psychopharmacology in order to “stabilize” the patient only to cause further erosion and destabilization. Package inserts by the Pharma companies absolve them of any liability and the psychiatrist can always blame the patient when there are “negative outcomes” and deterioration by claiming that it is due to ” the natural course of the illness”. There is no regard of outcomes- just endless treatment- after all it is just a business.

    • “There is no regard of outcomes- just endless treatment- after all it is just a business.”

      Not a lot of people I do ‘business’ with, can have me ‘spiked’ with date rape drugs and snatched from my bed at the point of a police weapon and incarcerated in a cage for not buying their ‘product’. But yes, where such things as the original report that I required to satisfy my ex employer are concerned, it really was ‘just business’.

      • Psychiatric Diagnosis is a behavioral conditioning process itself. Inpatient Psychiatric hospitalization is TERRIFYING. So, one complies with the medication to avoid experiencing more trauma. I suppose it’s a sort of “emotional blackmail”. Of course, the Mental Health System could just hold a gun to our heads and tell us that, if we don’t take the meds, we’ll be executed. Maybe, that would be more honest, but, then, Psychiatry would be an OVERT form of Terrorism like Boko Haram or ISIL rather than a COVERT form of Terrorism. I was on psychotropic medications for 37 years. So, it’s said that I was just living my life from day to day in response to some sort of blackmail or intimidation, but that’s the way it’s been. I don’t take any medications now however. It’s a bit disorienting because Psychiatry skewed the way I see the people around me. I guess most of us are, basically, programmed. Hardly anyone does any independent thinking any more. If the Leaders are crazy, I guess we’ll all go nut! I guess that’s what happened during the Trump Presidency. The United States flirted with Fascism, but, in reality, the courtship had been going on for a long time.

        • “Of course, the Mental Health System could just hold a gun to our heads and tell us that, if we don’t take the meds, we’ll be executed. Maybe, that would be more honest, but, then, Psychiatry would be an OVERT form of Terrorism like Boko Haram or ISIL rather than a COVERT form of Terrorism.”

          This is where we are at in Australia, with police providing the trauma ( the ‘gun’, acute stress reactions) and referrals (arbitrary detentions), and ‘mental health’ concealing the human rights abuses such as acts of torture with a label and forced ‘treatments’. And then pretend like they don’t know why they are failing, and need more money and powers to ‘intervene’ earlier.

          Not that there is anything wrong with that, if your thinking short term. Most public officers aware of what will happen should they not tow the Party line….. that is orders for an ‘assessment’ to be done.

          I used to think this was all one sided, until I met some police who had been subjected to the ‘treatments’ for their PTSD (they don’t use the same labels for public officers, u less there is a need to push a little harder). Then I realised, they are actually targets of the ‘coercive’ mechanisms of psychiatry more so than the general public AND are aware of what happens when ‘dribble therapy’ is used. The suicides put down to the trauma of the job.

          A quick read of Frantz Fanons’ Wretched of the Earth will reveal all. Psychiatrists who, when they had been asked “to give an expert opinion on a prisoner had the habit from the very first of proclaiming their great friendship with the defending lawyer, and of assuring the prisoner that the two of them (the barrister and the psychiatrist) would get him out of there. All the prisoners who had the benefit of expert opinions were guillotined. These psychiatrists boasted in front of us of their elegant method of overcoming ‘resistance’.” (p.229).

          ‘Your doctor has done you a big favor’ (in their ‘assessment’/report for the courts) being words you don’t want to hear from your solicitor. Nicola Gobbo will tell you how it works.

    • Excellent points, Gilbert!
      “…the psychiatrist can always blame the patient when there are ‘negative outcomes’ and deterioration by claiming that it is due to ‘the natural course of the illness’”.
      That is a very maddening part of this whole aga, and that of many other people stuck in the mental health vortex, and you have stated it perfectly.

  19. My heart aches so deeply after reading your brave account of suffering endured by your daughters, yourselves and your family.
    It is so important that all those who have experienced the devastation of our loved ones as a result of coerced, and/or enforced gross toxicities of psychotropic dugs, document our tragedies. Without these tragedies on record, how can we achieve that which we all want most?
    That is to try to give other families an awareness which may prevent their loved ones from (the ever increasing, published allegations of) cascade iatrogenesis, serial misdiagnosis, life changing avoidable injuries and avoidable deaths.

    Psychotropic drug adverse reactions (ADRs) cause changes in thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours. They cause AKATHISIA, EMOTIONAL BLUNTING and DISINHIBITION. They also cause multi-systems physical harms. All of these ADRs are vulnerable to misdiagnosis as ‘Emergent Serious Mental Illness’ which may lead to additional/multiple psychotropic drugging and further AKATHISIA.

    “Grief from the loss of a child is not a process. It is a lifelong weight upon the Soul’.

    I believe that these are the words of a California mother addressing The U.S. Committee of The House of Representatives re The Opioid Epidemic.
    (From ‘Empire of Pain’ by Patrick Radden Keafe).

    “Handing over a loved one to doctors and nurses an act of faith. It represents a major crisis when you begin to doubt that that the treatment they are given is in their best interest”.

    • Thank you so much for your sympathetic and supportive comments, TRM123.

      “Grief from the loss of a child is not a process. It is a lifelong weight upon the Soul’.

      That is so true. To be honest with you, I have no interest in going through a “grieving process” and then moving on with life. I actually treasure that “weight upon my soul”; I want it to be part of the legacy of my dear daughter and a motivator for me to spend the rest of my life working to bring relief to others similarly trapped and to contribute, even if in a small way, to better; more humane ways of responding to those who experience severe psychosocial difficulties.

      “It is so important that all those who have experienced the devastation of our loved ones as a result of coerced, and/or enforced gross toxicities of psychotropic dugs, document our tragedies.”

      Absolutely!

  20. I suppose I’m lucky to have survived after all the psychotropic drugs I’ve taken. I’ve definitely been on Seroquel and Risperdal for intervals.
    When I was on Seroquel, I COULDN’T TOLERATE HOT WEATHER. One time, when I was crossing the Street, an Ethiopian Cab Driver cut me of, and I just started screaming at him.
    Ultimately, the GUILT of taking psychotropic drugs began to outweigh the FEAR of Violence in Psychiatric Hospitalization.
    I got off of Depakote because I didn’t think I could fight off a Respiratory virus. I was too immunocompromised and dehydrated.
    So, I started BLAMING the Healthcare System for not being able to get well. I started expressing HATRED towards the Healthcare System openly in emails. MHCD in Denver kept calling the Police, but the Denver Police Department was SYMPATHETIC towards me and KIND with me.
    So, now, I’m not taking any psychotropic drugs, my chronic pain is diminishing, and my immune system is much healthier.
    The COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be a BLESSING for me because I learned to be more SELF-SUFFICIENT and to EMBRACE SOLITUDE.
    So, I have no impulses to do anything anyone else would view as inappropriate or even bothersome any more.
    However, my Trustee at UMB Bank, J.D. Bloom REFUSED to provide any financial support from my Father’s Trust for treatment with a Naturopath, Francesca Quinn, who is supervising my safe withdrawal from Depakote.
    I remain a bit bitter about That. However, when a Financial Trust is set up for someone with a Psychiatric Disorder, the people who ADMINISTER the Trust DON’T KNOW ANYTHING about Mental Health or Psychiatry. They might act like Psychiatrists themselves, but they’re just Money People. Therefore, my Father’s Trust is being managed in a way that benefits UMB Bank more than me. I guess it’s par for the course because my Dad believed in Psychiatry. He was a “Secular Jew”, not an OBSERVANT Jew. So, for him, the Psychiatrists were Priests of the Secular Scientistic Bullshit Cult. Oh, well. What can I do? At least, I’m getting well and complying with Treatment with my Naturopath, Oriental Medicine Doctor, Chiropractor and Massage Therapist.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Denver Dan. What you said about Seroquel reminds me of an experience of my own. Well before we even had any idea that our youngest daughter, Catherine, would have any similar difficulties, our older daughter had gone through a couple of hospitalizations and was taking that medication. She was ambivalent about it, as it seemed to be helping in some ways, but also seem to be causing some difficulties. So in order to better empathize with her, I took a small dose of it myself. I slept like a log, and when I woke up, the whole next day it appeared as if I had lead in my brain. Everything I did was in slow motion, mainly my thought processes. If psychiatrists, who purport to be doctors who specialize in brain functioning, were honest, there are a whole lot of studies that they could be doing to really explore the effects of these drugs that they regularly use. But I believe that would cause even more dissonance than what they already have, and so we don’t see that. They consistently either deny or downplay side effects, and want to focus on illnesses that are really constellations of symptoms, often misperceived, that have no real known etiology.

  21. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the pain it must have caused to see your daughter continue to decline, and the trauma for the doctors and state to force unsafe and unwanted treatments upon her without yours or her consent. This is horrific and infuriating. And the shock therapy? I have long been angry that it still exists and is considered an acceptable form of treatment. The system is incredibly messed up, and while I do believe that medications can help (to an extent) I do not believe they are an end-all blanket treatment, as it is often portrayed as. And there are too many times where the doctor puts someone on a medication too dangerous for their age/stage in life.
    For example, my first psychiatrist when I got back to the States put me on an extremely high dose of a mood stabilizer right away, which I later found out is a medication NOT recommended for people as young as I was, and which caused full body tremors for days. When I contacted her about it, all she had to say was “oh, yeah a high dose can do that. It’ll go away.” … why I was not eased into it, I have no idea. And why I was put on it in the first place, I have no idea!
    I myself over the last five years have been put on medication after medication. When one symptom would get worse (because the med wasn’t right and was causing said symptom) they’d add ANOTHER med to “fix” it. I believe at one point I was on nearly TEN different psych medications at the same time. I finally got to the point where I could not function. My fifth psych hospital stay, at one I had not been to before, took me off most of them. Doing better now than I have done in years. Less is more when it comes to these medications, I feel like.
    Back in 2020, I went to a residential therapeutic community, and was there for six weeks. It was almost ALL therapy based treatment, and was incredible. By the way, DBT is amazing. Needless to say, I am a firm believer in psychotherapy, with small dosages of medication as needed to supplement. I have always said that the meds are meant to get you high enough to function, and the therapy does the rest.
    I’m still on meds, but very low doses and only 2 antidepressants, instead of the cocktail of antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety (Klonopin), and sleeping medications (I was on 300mg of Trazadone. Other people I know get knocked out at 50 max) that I was on before. All this in addition to my thyroid med and birth control. Which! I noticed years ago that I was way worse around my period. This last year, I had such high stress that my period disappeared for an entire year…and I didn’t end up in the psych ward once. Then it came back and I felt like I was found a little crazy. That pretty much confirmed that theory. Soooo now I take it continuously.
    My current med manager is also of the mindset of less meds, more healthy eating, exercise, and therapy. Since I started seeing her I have not been admitted to psych ward again. One year!
    Ok I know I rambled but basically what I am trying to say is yes, the system is incredibly toxic. It needs fixed. I am in schooling for Psychology with a focus in mental health for this very reason. I want to help the system change. Stand strong, and keep your ground. Those of us all in this together, we will make this change. We have to, there are so many suffering needlessly due to the system.

    —Bree

    • “I am in schooling for Psychology with a focus in mental health for this very reason.”

      Can you then explain the difference between a “medication” and a “drug” to us all given what you have written above please Bree? Hint, Dr Moncrieff does a good job of this in her lecture titled The Myth of the Chemical Cure.

      I know when I did my Public Health Pesticides license we were told to NEVER use the term ‘poison’, but to call what we were spraying ‘chemical’.

    • Thank you for your sympathy and condolences, Thilia, and for sharing your own ongoing saga.

      “The system is incredibly messed up, and while I do believe that medications can help (to an extent) I do not believe they are an end-all blanket treatment, as it is often portrayed as.”

      It sounds like you are on a better trajectory, and I’m glad you’re with someone who is going by the philosophy that “less is more” when it comes to psychiatric medications, and I’m glad you got off of such a toxic psychotropic cocktail.

      I hope you are able to end up on the “minimal effective dosage” of everything, which might eventually be zero.

  22. Russell and Carol, I’m so sorry for your loss. You articulate a specific, well documented trail of pain and trauma and so much wrongdoing, so, so mich! I’m so sorry yet thankful you are sharing your story.

    I have to wonder if you ever considered if Catherine suffered from a syndrome once known as “mad hatters disease?” If you take the amount of aluminum and other metals in her medications yet specifically her vaccines and add them up you may find (I believe you will find) too many metals injected into her to be safe. Oh course you know by now the medical community will never take responsibility for this but it may be helpful as you have this wonderfully documented decline and I’m convinced if I presented this story to many of my fellow parents who have seen the signs of mercury poisoning or aluminum poisoning they would have more to say and be able to provide specific studies and evidence to offer you of how Catherine’s specific actions and characteristics reveal metal poisoning. Additional information of if she had amalgam in her teeth or had ever had a contrast mri, or specifically had the HPV vaccine would help. You do mention a reaction to the DPT shot.

    Well, I’m so sorry for your loss, your pain cannot be measured and your strength seems amazing to me.i will carry her story with me.

    Catherine’s situation reminds me of two girls I have known, one professionally and one personally who have seen a similar path, very similar.

    Thank you so kuch for sharing this indept story, I know there is so much more, I imagine you may be writing a book. Lisa

  23. Mr. & Mrs. Stence, I was gutted reading your story. Your despair & love is bottomless.

    I want you to be aware that it went very badly for me for 11 years & then I found a crack in the prison wall.
    I capitalized on a gross medical error (that severly debilitated me-yet again), made quiet demands, 2 ¹/² years of guided withdrawal followed by 3 years of seizures (no ‘guidance’ this time) and I’m free-IN WRITING-of the diagnosis, drugs, & them.
    My point is their shattering depths of willful venality.
    I never mentioned attornies or a lawsuit….YET…they capitulated to everything I wanted…guided withdrawal and vacation of the ‘lifetime’ label in writing. What happened to ‘evidence-based’ (their fave) science?

    They quietly directed their BH Management company’s CMO to take me as his only client until I was ‘safe’….jettisoning their absolutes of a ‘lifetime’ diagnosis, ‘forever’ state SMI certification, drugged to the grave, and delivering my ‘freedom’ paperwork.
    Final words from them…”Don’t dwell on this, be in the moment! Good luck & goodbye”.

    MY response was a sweaty, crumpled copy of William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus”….
    “…..I am the master of my fate
    I am the captain of my soul”.
    The moment overwhelmed me. I had no words of my own

    In 2018-2019 I wrote about it in an attempt to give some hope to people with ‘lifetime’ sentences. The message was/is that these mf’s will negotiate their ‘absolute scientific principles’……when they’re facing even minor cost & liability containment ‘i$$ues’.
    My essays are heavy with facts/research, verbs & irony.

    If your interested…a sliver of light in the future perhaps…

    https://rxisk.org/a-unicorn-changing-a-medical-record/ 4-Part. 2018
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2019/02/full-moral-status-how-i-fought-back/ 2-Part

    …with respect & peace.

    • Krista, my absolute kudos to you as a “freedom fighter” who has made it to the other side! Thank you for sharing this information. I haven’t looked at it yet, but I plan to do so. Our daughter has been beaten down by the system, and we have been devastated along with her, but we will never give up in the battle to bring light to the darkness of psychiatric coercion!

  24. I am so said reading this story I pray that no other family Burry their teenager because we have failed them. This youth is bright but the doctors who treat them don’t care about them , don’t value them as important members of the society who can contribute to the society. I still believe our children are the brightest and smartest with minor challenges that need caring team to help them stand in both their feet.

    The US psychiatrists are like those racist doctors are no we’re treating patients during apartheid. I believe psychiatrist still uses old fashion dogma of patients has no right , what can they say next before I sedate the truth not next challenging statement . My son was sedated even for standing up against the treatments they gave him telling them you are treating me with the wrong treatment , because he knew they never even cared to listen instead he was sedated and I was kicked out of the hospital premises for asking just to have a third person in the room as I was threatened by Dr Levya forget how they ended up getting another psychiatrist who covered up for him and made the medication even worse at highest doses . They hated me and I believe they hated my son too and ever since we have no peace. I pray for all parents out there who are being abused by these hospitals demonized everyday foe caring that God gives you strength. We need to stand together.

    They remind me of those doctors who treated patients as objects, calling them by the disease, the stigma is high by health care workers towards their psychiatric patients . In their sick minds they don’t see the patients as humans. This is the majority and def not all of them but high majority . It’s been worst if it’s people of color who are smart educated and have real challenging informative questions they don’t like to be questions but we must question you if you are putting our children to some mini death sleeping day and night , sleeping through all meals , being a drag just to go outside, my son hate me for waking him up to take a ID card , it’s a drag to just wake up for breakfast and we must be grateful of you paralyzing our families thank you for it when we know there are many treatments options that have less side effects but you won’t give them because we mention it then what’s the use of having a family if you want patients without families demonizing us and criticized guys us writing lies on those files to try analyze everything as being a problem caused by the family oh the family is bad the family in the cause .
    I am so sorry that your daughter passed away , I know very well what you went through with these horrible psychiatrists hospitals that are run by heartless human beings who stigma arise the very patients they are treating .

    Dr levy even lied that my son was abusive towards him , how can a patient you have over sedated be abusive towards you. My son signed himself out of the psychiatrist hospital at Mount Sinai Beth Israel he could not take the abuse from staff that later realized we were standing against their abuse together and tried to separate me and my son , feeding him information about being away from home , how can those patients not commit suicide if the staff tells them how bad their families are . Divide them to rule them . They never recorded my sons writs pains from curfing , he complained how NYPD handcuffed him and rough handled him for 3 weeks and doctors never even recorded the writs marks of handcuffs as they protect each other at the police expense of our family members who are treated as donkeys at this hospitals. I am so disappointed, I trusted this country so much . It devided my family until today no social workers or psychologist is seeing my son they just shove pills down his theoat and I have never met any doctor even when I asked I was refused only the psychiatrist met me after keeping me waiting from 11 to 1:30 pm . How do you treat any patient patients in their collateral two information from the family . Tell how do you do that ?

    How do you hate the mother and claim to love the patient . They blocked me even from seeing my son while they fed him ideas against me as his mother. I am the only family he has what do you mean he must leave without his family. Since his admission at Mount Sinai he has been messed up about his family to a point that I caught him speaking with his psychiatrist claiming he is sponsors by my friend. All the food , flights , support he believes my friend is paying for him and I am doing nothing . His mind is affected for life . The psychiatrists can prevent suicide by uniting families and stop trying so hard to be perfect when they know they make mistakes and we don’t blame them but the lies and cover ups are the very problem instead of admitting you are human too truongbthe best you can . I don’t care about Dr Levy experience if he cannot sit down with me and my son for 5 min and explain why he chose this medication that has paralyzed my son from being a good student to a young man sleeping for 15 hours. Are you kidding me . So you are out there to create zombies out of our kids and expect them not to be suicidal when they just sleep all day and night and have no value add towards their well being . Something is so wrong about how these psychiatrists who are psychiatrists patients themselves most of the time. The say they address families and patients with dignity and respect wits the day suicide rates will stop

    As for the families being demonized by psychiatrists in the United States I so agree . The amount of yelling , screaming and anger the majority of staff in these psychiatric institutions possess is way too unbrearable . The descrimination and abuse we endure can drive the whole family into suicide and I think that’s what the psychiatrists wants so they can have good notes to write on those files. They are treating themselves here basically because there is no family involvement in care . They get so happy if the families are not getting along because it gives them control over the patients without annoying families asking questions . They are Gods who should not be asked, questioned about even the treatment given . The level of abuse I have faced since my son was diagnosed with a psychiatric illness is unbearable . He feels he has to please doctors and sis weigh them so he can be in good space and be treated better. I just spoke with a doctor at Harlem hospital about ho depression he told me on the face he will not change his treatments. He has him on I know very well my son is over treated at highest doses he said he can only reduce doses but what about his depression , his sleeping from 8pm to 4pm the next day , he cannot even perform at school , we cannot even go out as a family since he was admired at the hospital and I know he being is treated with medication that is not suited for him and his broadest symptoms. Psychiatrists at Mount Sinai Hospital are the worst I have ever came across atleast the Dr at Harlem hospital can sit down and talk with us when we ask , he is polite but he is still adamant on not taking collateral information . I have not seen anyone in such high doses in my life. It is not normal. Dr Levya awho was my sons psychiatrist called me to the room threatened me and told me to leave them alone , he said back off I am the psychiatrist . Dr catherine would refuse to sit when taking to us but sat when speaking with other parents speaking for hours with them but spending 2 min with us because they knew they were over treating my son , every system shit down , his liver enzymes started rising , legs swollen he had palpitations , his male organs affected . He was vocal and advocating for himself the best way was to over sedate him into silence. I know for sure that my son can be on a better doses and treatment. He is not even taking that evening dose still sedated sleeping all day and night . Imagine what I am going through and no one cares instead they demonize me over and over again to a point I said let the fabrication spread one day I will write a book because enough is enough just as I was taking to a friend I read this information

  25. Thank you for your sympathy and condolences, Thilia, and for sharing your own ongoing saga.

    “The system is incredibly messed up, and while I do believe that medications can help (to an extent) I do not believe they are an end-all blanket treatment, as it is often portrayed as.”

    It sounds like you are on a better trajectory, and I’m glad you’re with someone who is going by the philosophy that “less is more” when it comes to psychiatric medications, and I’m glad you got off of such a toxic psychotropic cocktail.

    I hope you are able to end up on the “minimal effective dosage” of everything, which might eventually be zero, hopefully.

    Yes, I agree.

    • I have cried reading this. My heart is hurting for Catherine.

      Honestly, I’ve been on I think every medication listed in your article and then some. I am not on any medication now except a birth control (Yas) and a thyroid medication as well as supplements I have chosen to take. But over the expanse of 14 years (from the age of 20 to 34) I went down a very traumatic rabbit hole in the psychiatric world. In and out of hospitals, diagnosed as bipolar (I’m not, it’s actually called PMDD what I’ve got) and not one person ever stopped to question if perhaps the medications (7 to 10, at one time 12) were causing me harm, not helping. They would max out the dosage and sometimes prescribe higher dosage than recommended.

      I gained so much weight, I felt inhuman, I felt angry, I felt depressed. My teeth began to have problems due to severe dry mouth. I had to have transfusions because I would drink too much water just trying to get that dryness out of my mouth.

      I had seizures as the result of withdrawal due to just not being able to afford some medications some months. I was put in disability in 2011, receiving Medicare but with such little income, no energy or ability to have a job to supplement that income in any way and medications costing so much, even with insurance, especially because some medications just were not covered… we just couldn’t afford to have food, pay to live and afford all of these medications and doctors visits.

      I developed severe migraines in the end from medications as well. Now that I’m off? I get menstrual cycle related headaches, stress headaches, headaches from being tired… but nothing so debilitating that I can’t stand a light or sound or touch of any kind. Nothing that doesn’t respond to an advil if a bite of as pure as I can find dark chocolate doesn’t work.

      I was re-evaluated by my request because I was suffering terrible memory problems. By the time I met with the neuropsychologist, I was going through withdrawal from some of the medications due to the psychiatrist I’d been seeing for 12 years finally saying he couldn’t help any longer. Great thing but he referred me to someone who couldn’t be found by me nor the neuropsychologist I saw so I wasn’t able to fill my medications. Going cold turkey off of these pills is so dangerous but I did it. After the testing was done and evaluated for two weeks, she told me I was not bipolar. That I had some depression, anxiety and sleep issues… but no bipolar.

      I went through withdrawal over several months. It was terrifying but much less terrifying compared to how numb, empty and blank I’d felt over the years due to anti psychotics, mood stabilizers, benzodiazepenes, adhd medications, antidepressants… I was 34 but I didn’t even know who I was inside. I didn’t have any hopes or dreams. If I got up, took a shower and put on a new change of clothes – that to me was a highly successful day.

      I connected the dots in the past year of what happened to me. I was having terrible grief and trauma resulting from losing a parent very suddenly at the age of 16 in the midst of moving from a foreign country back to America. I was barely sleeping as well. The Healthcare professional who diagnosed me never considered this. I’ve learned that grief like that and not sleeping can mirror bipolar disorder. I have also come to learn there have been many uterus carrying/menstruating people who have been diagnosed as bipolar when they’re actually dealing with something called PMDD, like me.

      I didn’t start to get better until at the age of 30 starting a hormonal birth control and didn’t stabilize until getting off of those medications. I developed a thyroid problem as the result of lithium (a medication that should be monitored with blood work and for me, never actually was) and after trying to let my thyroid balance naturally, I decided to start the thyroid medication because it just wasn’t balancing out.

      The psych units I’d been to had declined drastically over the years, one of them even closed now due to a suicide on unit. It was all extremely dehumanizing experiences. Some of the workers were very friendly and kind while others didn’t care about you. The shame I carried from being labeled as “bipolar” or “mentally ill” cannot even be described.

      I worked through my traumas. I finally have mental clarity. I work every day. I clean. I take care of myself. I lost a lot of weight, I’m very active. I’m happy. My menstrual cycle flips things upside down a bit every month but nowhere near the way it did in the past. I am working on relieving myself of my anger from feeling the “mental health system” drastically failed me. I’m struggling to even trust telling any medical professionals the truth about a lot of things if they’re new to my care. I fear they will take me backwards. Then there’s the money and debt my living parent and I are in due to the extreme costs of my “care” if you can even call it care.

      It’s hard, so hard to forgive the system or even explain what this was like for me, what the “medications” did to my body and mind.

      I’m truly so deeply sorry to hear about your daughter’s, both of them. That has to be so hard and my heart aches. To me, the medical professionals, no matter their field, took an oath not to cause harm yet they do. And we, as the victims of that, are powerless to do anything if we’ve recovered or, in your case, lost someone due to this “unintentional” harm.

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m just so sorry both of your daughters have died. I know how lucky my circumstances are. My heart goes out to you.

  26. Carol and I really appreciate what you’ve shared here, uncommontype. Your story is so gripping!

    “Honestly, I’ve been on I think every medication listed in your article and then some. I am not on any medication now except a birth control (Yas) and a thyroid medication as well as supplements I have chouncommonly.

    While the journey you describe has been harrowing and excruciating at times, as you describe it, it’s so good to hear that you have gotten on a much better and healthier track!

    “…not one person ever stopped to question if perhaps the medications (7 to 10, at one time 12) were causing me harm, not helping. They would max out the dosage and sometimes prescribe higher dosage than recommended”

    From our perspective, this is so typical of psychiatry, and so maddening! They create iatrogenic harm, and then compound it by not acknowledging what they’ve done. The “First do no harm” of the Hippocratic Oath seems to be thrown out the window!

    I’m sorry you had to go through such a horrible withdrawal process, but at the same time I’m glad that that idiot psychiatrist finally “gave up on you” so you could get off all that crap and finally get your life back. You describe so well the totally dispirited and depleted condition you were in under the fog of all those medications, which is how so many people trapped in the system are!

    Just to clarify, my older daughter didn’t die. In fact, she’s your age, exactly! Like you, she has come through many psych hospitalizations, most of which were quite long and often very traumatic. In one instance, they almost killed her by slamming her with neuroleptics and causing neuroleptic malignant syndrome! Thankfully, unlike Catherine, she has been able to recover each time and has been able to work part-time to supplement her SSD income. She has just come through another extremely difficult episode, so now wouldn’t be the time, but I am going to bring your story to her attention at some point.

    Beyond this, I’m wondering how you would feel about our sharing your story with within our circle. We wouldn’t include any identifying information, which we actually don’t even have at this point other than your username on this site, which we wouldn’t share. But if you’d rather not, we understand completely.

    At any rate, our hearts go out to you as well and we wish you all the best in your continuing journey!⚘

  27. I really feel for you and am so sorry for Catherine’s departure. Thank you for bravely sharing her story. I am confident you will be reunited with her in Heaven and that she is safe in the arms of Jesus now, freed from this world of evil and suffering.

    I too was sucked into the psychiatric vortex as an adolescent. I merely had trouble making friends at a new school, and was depressed from years of bullying. I was however still functioning and attending school everyday and am sure within months would have eventually settled into the school and made friends. In fact I had just started to make a new one. My mother however took me to a Dr for my depressed state and at his advice I was put in the adolescent psych ward at the local hospital for ‘2 weeks’. Well the 2 weeks turned into 3 months whereupon I was heavily medicated and I ceased to interact with the world, just lay on my bed and withdrew. The Psychiatrist’s next brilliant idea was to send me to a new private adolescent facility that was opening up, the only and first private adolescent psych facility in our state. Looking back I wonder at times if they held me that long at the public adolescent psych ward until their new facility was up and running (needing new clients). It was owned by at least one psychiatrist that had links to the ones treating me, and a few others. It was a private enterprise intended to make money off of troubled teens diagnosed with a ‘mental illness.’ Mine was ‘major depression.’ I was promptly schooled on how I had a ‘chemical imbalance’ in my brain and needed medication for it. Being only 13 at the time I believed it and even wrote a little article about depression and chemical imbalances for my local youth newspaper.

    Anyhow, I spent 13 months locked up in this place, eventually allowed home for weekend visits. I was smart at school before this and my education obviously took a dive missing out on a whole school of year as well as my social development. My educational progress never recovered and I have had low income jobs as an adult, convinced I could have attended university if my education had not been so rudely interrupted and so severely.

    I remember when I was taken to this brand new facility as a very shy 13 year old, suddenly surrounded by older teen boys and girls, I was petrified and sat on the stairs sobbing in fear. The male mental health nurse (who would later go on to sexually abuse me) said to ignore me and that “I was used to crying to get what I wanted.” Funny since he had only known me for days and I never cried like that at home! I was also sexually abused by older teen boys in the facility. I was never the same after I was released and was never able to resume normal schooling again, not for want of intelligence, but unable to feel ‘normal’ among peers my own age who had been living normal lives in contrast to my hellish experience.

    I did end up escaping the mental illness industrial complex by refusing to ever be pathologized again (once I reached adulthood), except for 2 brief admissions in a clinic due to anxiety (coming from being in abusive relationships with men if they had bothered to put two and two together.) I only went in at the insistence of a friend, against my better judgement. I remember at my last admission, having horrendous sleep paralysis and goulish nightmares from the horrible medication I had been put on, only to be told by the psychiatrist that the medication didn’t cause nightmares. (I later found the medication insert that did indeed list nightmares as a side effect.) I also remember this young early 30’s female psychiatrist who had never met me before, offhandedly deciding I had BPD after a brief talk with me and I also remember distinctly thinking in my young 20’s mind, “you are wrong” and silently resisting. I got out of there and avoided all mental health providers, as I knew what path that would take me down. I would be deemed hopeless and all the other frightening things they would label young women back then, who they decided had this mythical BPD. They were demonised and treated like they were liars, time wasters and beyond any help and as such were treated cruelly by the mental health nurses and Dr’s, and in my opinion emotionally abused. Instead I knew even at that age my fears and sadness was caused my external circumstances and so I toughed it out alone as I do to this day. I will never trust the ‘mental health’ industry and I am so sorry Catherine was so harmed by them leading to her untimely death. I am horrified they gave her ECT.

  28. Psychiatry is violence, condoned.

    It is the place people take their loved ones when they do not know what to do.
    But psychiatry also knows not what to do, but they pretend to and so yes, it is an evil
    that they do. They rely on people’s vulnerable states and could care less about the
    outcomes.

    I am very sorry about your daughter’s demise, another victim of our government’s offerings.

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