Abused by Psychiatrists After a BPD Misdiagnosis


Psychiatry has added to my mental health burden, not lessened it. I’m a psychiatric gaslighting and abuse survivor whose mischaracterization began in early childhood. Healing from developmental and adult trauma has included healing from psychiatry itself.

I’m autistic. It’s the reason for my psychiatric misdiagnoses, most notably borderline personality disorder. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I am also nonbinary and bisexual. These are all traits that commonly overlap with autism and other neurodivergent traits like ADHD and synesthesia, both of which I also experience.

I learned early on in life that adults perceived my natural traits as evidence of psychiatric problems. I was considered weird growing up. I’m a semi-nonspeaker. My mother, a consumer of popular psychiatric literature, believed my nonspeaking and emotional and sensory sensitivities were evidence of neuronormative social anxiety. My neurogenic stuttering was viewed as a social anxiety issue as well; neurogenic stuttering is now known to be caused by a basal ganglia injury, in my case, likely from an injury to my hypermobile neck. I first received psychiatric care in a kindergarten speech therapy program. Picking my fingers has always been my biggest autistic stim; that behavior was likewise classified as an anxiety reaction.

Being mostly nonspeaking in school, and a stutterer when I did speak, made me a school bullying target. Teachers, schooled in contemporary psychiatry of the 1970s and 1980s, believed that they should not intervene in the bullying. They didn’t classify bullying as abuse. They labeled me a loner, rather than a bullying target trying to avoid more abuse. My bullies were boys who couldn’t quite put their finger on what othered me in their eyes. I didn’t perform femininity correctly. Boys were upset that I never deferred to them or showed much interest in them at all. Sexual harassment of girls by boys was rampant throughout my junior high and high school. Three boys sexually abused me at school. One abused me daily for an entire semester. I began self-harming at age 14, in secret at first.

I had a scientific mollusk collection by age 11, with proper Latin labels for each specimen. I read about Ancient Egyptians, astronomy, physics, anthropology and archeology and much more. I had a telescope and microscope. I dug up clay from the banks of my local creek to make pottery. Having unusual interests for a child led to high teacher expectations, as did my high scores on standardized tests. Teachers classified me as gifted and talented. I became a Merit Scholarship finalist in high school. Yet, those same teachers also considered me an underperforming student because I rarely talked in class, seemed bored, developed reactive depression to the school abuse that they never recognized, and because of my constant fatigue due to my undiagnosed physical and social disabilities and resultant sleep deprivation. By seventh grade, most teachers had decided I was lazy and disobedient.

My parents and teachers pushed me very hard academically. I never had school accommodations for my disabilities or received any protection from the bullying and sexual harassment and sexual abuse. I had to perform academically as best I could in a hostile and overwhelming school environment. The stress they placed on me added to my constant state of overwhelm. My reactions to the stress and overwhelm were interpreted as psychiatric problems rather than as trauma responses.

Like most autists who are not white boys, my traits went unidentified for decades. And if you don’t realize that you are autistic, your intellectual, sensory, social, and emotional differences are a mystery, even to you.

I saw my first child psychiatrist at age 13. She diagnosed anxiety and major depression. She interpreted my nonspeaking in therapy as confirmation of her assessment.

Beginning at age 18, the psychiatric misdiagnoses and abuse became even more harmful. I was subject to verbal and emotional abuse by multiple psychiatrists. Their attitudes and behavior negatively affected my sense of self for decades. It’s only been in the last few years that I have been able to reframe my negative experiences with psychiatry and begin to heal from it.

When I left high school and chose to attend a university several thousand miles away from my parents, I discovered quickly that leaving my abusive experiences behind did not relieve me of my trauma. I had difficulty adapting to college life. My mother arranged for me to see a psychiatrist in 1984.

Like most older female-bodied autists, I was soon misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which has significant overlapping symptoms with autism, like self-injury, meltdowns misinterpreted as tantrums, and an inability to form solid, emotionally healthy relationships with allistic and neuronormative people. My BPD diagnosis led to significant psychiatric abuse for many years. An inability to articulate emotional states (common to autists), especially traumatized ones, is misinterpreted as manipulation, as is being nonspeaking. Psychiatrists considered me to be the problem, not my interpersonal trauma.

The university psychiatrist, whose name I wish I had now (I’ve done some sleuthing and have found nothing), apparently gave me the BPD label. Soon after I began meeting with him, he began treating me as if I was a nuisance. He was short-tempered with me. He frequently laughed at me, made sarcastic, mean comments, and was upset that I talked very little in our sessions. His behavior hurt me.

“Do you need to be hospitalized in an inpatient psychiatric facility?” he taunted a number of times over two trimesters.

Looking back today, I see his behavior as rooted in a belief that nothing was “really” wrong with me; I was just being difficult. He thought my nonspeaking was manipulation.

I indicated suicidal ideation at one point, by showing him a cartoon about the peace obtained in death.

He laughed sarcastically, “How do you know what happens after death?”

He was the opposite of a healer. He re-traumatized me. He manipulated a vulnerable 18-year-old with developmental trauma. He tried to convince me that I was psychiatrically ill.

Then, one day, we had another session in which I was barely speaking. This time, he became very angry at me.

“Leave. Get out of here and don’t come back until you’re willing to talk!” he yelled.

I was shocked and deeply hurt. I went outside and sat on a bench a dozen yards from the psychiatry services building. I waited 45 minutes for someone, anyone—him, a secretary—to come out and see if I was there. No one appeared. Finally, I walked back to my dorm, stopping on the way to buy a bottle of acetaminophen. Back at my dorm, I swallowed the entire bottle of 200 pills. I waited a while. Then I decided that I didn’t want to die. I called the psychiatrist. He picked up. I couldn’t speak.

“Did you hurt yourself?”

Yes, I told him. I now think that he goaded me into my suicide attempt. That psychiatrist created a self-fulfilling prophecy through his abusive behavior.

Soon, I was in an emergency room near campus receiving ipecac syrup and the acetaminophen antidote. Then I was sent to a small psychiatric inpatient hospital unit and placed on a 72-hour hold. The facility was old and shabby. Patients with many different diagnoses were placed together. I remember seeing a woman suffering from deep depression. I recognized that the depression I experienced was different somehow.

I was placed in the observation room, an unpainted gray cement room with metal bars on the one small window. A small, uncomfortable bed, a stainless-steel medical cart on which I ate my food, a small sink without a mirror and a toilet were the only pieces of furniture. Once an hour throughout the night, an orderly shined a flashlight through the window in the door onto me, waking me up every time, leading to further sleep deprivation. It felt like I was in prison, that my suicide attempt had made me a criminal. I knew that I had to behave well to avoid being trapped there. I wanted to go home.

The staff treated me as a nuisance. They kept telling me that I needed to be more social. Too many strangers at once, even if most of the other patients seemed like nice people, is overwhelming for autistic people, especially traumatized ones. One night I refused to attend a documentary film in the common room when I recognized the film as a nature documentary frequently shown to children at the natural history museum with a mollusk wing where I had spent so much time as a child and teen. The film choice felt condescending to me, as if the staff considered psychiatric patients to be childlike. “Non-compliant,” said the staff.

A male orderly was assigned to me to be my personal therapist. After all the abuse from boys and men I had experienced, I wasn’t going to make myself emotionally vulnerable around him. No one recognized that assigning a traumatized 18-year-old female-bodied person to a male-bodied therapist was poor judgment. So many female-bodied people have a sexual trauma history by age 18, me included. “Non-compliant,” said the staff.

I saw the head psychiatrist just once. He swaggered into the observation room wearing a brown leather jacket, his arms crossed impassively. He faced away from me as he spoke briefly.

“It is still possible for you to grow up, find a husband and have children, to have a normal family life,” as if that was my only acceptable life choice.

It wasn’t until after I was back at my parents’ house that I discovered the psychiatric facility’s receipt. Borderline personality disorder was the only diagnosis listed. I had bought and read an official American Psychiatric Association book on personality disorders months earlier, out of curiosity. I knew what the label meant. It didn’t feel right to me.

My new psychiatrist, again my mother’s choice, took my parents’ money week after week without informing them that I was barely speaking during sessions. Once, he left the room for ten minutes after receiving a phone call that was, apparently, more important than me. I stood up, walked over to his bookshelf and took a look at his book collection. Freudian. What a scammer, I thought to myself.

Once again, I had to deal with my years of trauma by myself.

After a second suicide attempt four months after the first, this psychiatrist gave up and transferred me to his wife for family therapy. I rarely talked in family therapy, either. During those few months of therapy with my parents and sister, the therapist felt entitled to yell at me on a regular basis. I thought she was particularly cruel.

A couple of years later, a year and a half after I was raped in a car in the parking lot of an archeology center in Cortez, Colorado, I ended up in a second psychiatric facility, the sprawling Victorian Sheppard and Enoch Pratt psychiatric hospital outside Baltimore, Maryland. This was after a few months of outpatient therapy with the head psychiatrist of what was then the BPD unit. He also felt entitled to yell at me for not talking. After I showed him cuts on my arm, he recommended a three-week stay in the BPD unit.

This experience was the first time I had met so many people with similarities to me. Half the patients were childhood sexual abuse survivors. Most had made suicide attempts or were chronic self-injurers. It seems clear to me now that the other patients were also trauma survivors and that some were autistic as well.

The psychiatric milieu was behaviorist. The unit was noisy and chaotic, characteristics that overwhelm autistic people. In addition, I was punished for not talking by being kept imprisoned in the unit for more than a week. I had to eat alone. The staff seemed to believe that isolating me would get me to open up, rather than shut me down.

Patients were allowed to smoke in those days, so I was forced to breathe secondhand smoke. I found the smoke intolerable.

I often stayed in my room to breathe cleaner air and get some peace and quiet. Staff saw my behavior as isolationist. I now know that I have asthma, bronchiectasis, and atelectasis, as well as mast cell activation issues, all common medical problems for EDSers. The sensory and social overwhelm I experienced in the common area were also reasons why I preferred to stay in my room that I shared with three other patients.

I made friends with a younger woman who had recently turned 18. The staff and other patients considered her immature. I now suspect that she was autistic. My one other friend was a patient who was a nurse from Canada and an incest survivor who had made multiple suicide attempts. Both women were nice people, and nice to me. The three of us hung out together frequently.

I discovered one day that the in-ward art room had food (there was an official art therapy room elsewhere in the hospital): sliced bread, peanut butter, and jelly. I got up my courage to ask a nurse if I could access the art room by myself and make a sandwich. Eating that sandwich in peace and quiet was such a relief. Finally, I could relax. I was proud of myself for advocating for my needs. “Asocial” and “non-complaint” said the nurses during the weekly group therapy session for everyone in the ward. They did not recognize that asking for what I needed was a sign of mental health. Neither did they recognize that I had sensory and social overload issues, or interpersonal trauma.

I had to complete a personality test, an IQ test, and a pregnancy test, none of which were therapeutic for me.

My inpatient psychiatrist was a woman who was more caring than previous psychiatrists. Not enough so, however.

One morning I was in the shower. A nurse banged on the door, yelling, “Get your ass out here, you know you have a technician waiting to take a blood sample.”

No, I did not know that. No one had informed me. Obviously, she assumed I knew and was being non-compliant.

While in the lab room, the tech left for a few minutes. I grabbed the blood test papers. That’s how I learned they were giving me a pregnancy test. No one had asked me if I was sexually active or if I had been sexually assaulted. I wasn’t pregnant. I could have told them that. I was not sexually active.

I told my new psychiatrist how the nurse had treated me abusively.

“Maybe you should see that experience as how the real world works.”

As if I didn’t know that the “real world” often treated people like me abusively? That was her response to my report of verbal abuse by a staff member? I viewed telling her about the incident as a healthy sign of self-protection and seeking help. How appalling that she does not understand, I thought to myself.

Today, thankfully, Sheppard Pratt has retired its BPD unit. Instead, it has a “Trauma Disorders Program” and an “Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Unit.” I think trauma responses are a natural spectrum of response to trauma and should not be labeled as intrinsically “disordered.” And their “severe autism” unit uses Applied Behavioral Analysis, a form of conversion therapy that does nothing to help people but instead focuses on changing one’s outward behavior to suit others, even if it further harms the conversion therapy subjects.

It wasn’t until I was able to move out of my parents’ house a second time that I was able to shed the BPD label. I’m lucky that medical records were not electronic in the 1990s.

For more than 20 years, 1999 to 2020, I thought I had only PTSD and complex developmental trauma from school bullying, sexual assault, domestic abuse and medical and psychiatric gaslighting. The only therapy that made sense to me was self-introspection and a lot of reading about trauma from compassionate trauma experts like Dr. Judith Herman and the psychiatrists she mentored.

It wasn’t until two and a half years ago that I discovered I was autistic. I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I soon learned about the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/autist overlap. Suddenly, my entire life made sense. Since then, I have learned how the deficit model of autism, as defined by the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, mischaracterizes autists, especially female-bodied people and people of color. I am now part of the Neurodivergent Movement. Empowering myself as an autist who has experienced extensive interpersonal trauma is what has helped me to heal.

Because of the daily microaggressions and larger traumas that autists experience every day of our lives, I don’t believe that autistic people should be diagnosed with both BPD and autism. And BPD itself is clearly tied to interpersonal trauma that affects relationships and one’s sense of self, though that connection is still not acknowledged frequently enough by psychiatry.

Most psychiatrists have long believed that people with a BPD diagnosis are manipulative, and that therefore it is acceptable to abuse anyone with that label.

No trauma survivor, or anyone else, should have to experience and heal from psychiatric gaslighting and abuse.


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.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. Thank you, Lisa Rayner, for this very lucid account of your experience. The BPD disorder, I believe, is used to secretly punish those patients that a psychiatrist doesn’t like. It says much about the labeler and very little about the person so labeled, even though I know that those labeled with BPD are seen by others as devious and manipulative yadda yadda yadda. As you have suggested, such labels, and the treatment by others who believe the label is meaningful, become a self fulfilling prophecy. And in any event, once a psychiatric healthcare provider knows that a person bears this label, all the behavior and statements made by the patient are categorized as confirming the diagnosis, and seen wholly and only through that lens. I now believe that all psychiatric labels are harmful and also have no basis in reality. Constellations of symptoms, the shrinks claim, prove that a patient has such and such mental malady. But constellations are imaginary, and so are psychiatric diagnoses. They exist only in the minds of psychiatric professionals. There is much more I could say, but for now I just wanted to applaud you for this cogent and eloquent article.

    Report comment

  2. The evidence of trauma and fear can still be observed from this piece. Mom, who repeatedly derailed Lisa’s independence and threatened her safety, is never characterized as “cruel”. “BPD” is described as a “misdiagnosis” in her case, not as a #FAKESCIENCE weapon. Not as the AR-15 of psychiatric diagnoses – capable of being used by almost anyone to physically and psychologically terrorize people like Lisa, whose circumstances and/or temperament prevent them from recognizing when power is being abused. The “chronic” course of “BPD” is ultimately caused by the inability to move toward a station in life which sets ALL people at a baseline of equity in interpersonal settings. It is absolutely not unreasonable to expect a competent education from a school, nor to leave when that school refuses to provide one. It’s not unreasonable to need your “family” to accept your eccentric qualities, nor to thrive away from your “family” if they continue to view your authentic self as “burdensome”. Despite having lived several years of a post-psychiatry life, Lisa still appears reticent to trace her disappearance of “BPD” “symptoms” to the ending of relationships that failed her. Perhaps that’s because she did little to end those relationships. Maybe her quacks retired or her mom passed away. But, even if that’s how Lisa gained her freedom, she deserves to recognize it as such and to credit it for helping her function as well as she had ALWAYS been capable of functioning. She deserves to own the amazing life she’s leading today.

    Report comment

    • J. Provide your real name if you’re going to critique my essay. I don’t like personality disorder diagnoses at all. BPD is crap.

      I have very little contact with my mother. She is cruel. I could write an entire essay about my mother’s cruelties. I have cut her off multiple times by I need her financial support so I have to stay in contact with her. I am on SSDI. I am writing a memoir. I will be detailing my relationship with my mother in my memoir.

      I am not “reticent to trace [my] disappearance of “BPD” “symptoms” to the ending of relationships that failed” me. Essay have word lengths. Personal essays on MAD have to be written about one’s relationship to psychiatry. Know something about the guidelines for submitting a personal essay before you mischaracterize writers.

      Also, I am 56 years old. I have lived decades of a psychiatry-free life.

      I wrote an essay about my essay: https://wordpress.com/view/lisarayner.home.blog.

      Report comment

    • Very true I have been dealing with the malicious mother myself and it seems she knows it but doesn’t elaborate on it. She said she gained independence and what that means for those of us who know is freedom from psychological abuse and torture from those with the money and fund and encourage the Dr’s who do this to autistic women. Treating us like we lack the academic maturity to objectively look at ourselves firstly, our situations and the evaluate the power dynamics at play in a lot of ackrynomn having providers puffed up by the power they have over us ladies. I will say that they push queer theory on autistic people as well which in itself is psychological abuse for those comfortable and proud of being a woman and heterosexual. I’m a Christian before I’m autistic. I view it as a gift not a curse and feel sorry for bullies that seek to use their power to purposely mischaracterize and misunderstand and misdiagnosed us in the first place. Ever notice most of them get paychecks from places funded by the states or counties or referrals from tax dollars in the first place. This is the women’s health issue of our time.

      Report comment

  3. I always find it fascinating that people talk about being misdiagnosed but then state with absolute confidence they are ‘autistic’ or whatever label they feel suits them or they have come to believe in.

    How can this be so when none of these labels have any definitive, objective tests to determine a diagnosis so its just a misinformed opinion based on the DSM, a book of fictions?. The criteria that make up all diagnoses come into existence by committees and voting most often by people connected to drug companies.

    ‘autism’ along with ‘adhd’ and so much more of the dsm mindset appear to be cool these days. People are self diagnosing on mass and given the obvious issues with diagnosis this is about as much use as getting a so called mental health professional to do it for you. Its all over the popular press, in films, documentaries, deadening morning TV, everywhere.

    The DSM mindset is now so thoroughly embedded within the culture its massively eroding the ability of people to describe their uniqueness and shifting emotional reactions and states in anything other than psychiatric language.

    What a harmful mess this industry has created. Drug companies must be pleased, I hear the label of autism is now one of the fastest growing brands for dangerous prescription drugs.

    Its seems we’re all on a spectrum or mentally ill these days.

    Report comment

    • I figured, I would finally make an account to express my opinions here after having browsed this site for years anyway.

      I myself am absolutely stunned how people shun or reject one ABC diagnosis (BPD) because of its stigma or lack of hard scientific evidence in favor of another ABC diagnosis (ASD) that is just as stigmatized and lacking in evidence. It just shows that people have mis(re)appropriated psychiatric diagnostics as some kind of identity marker that can be worn on your sleeves. As such, a massive increase in the number of people who very clearly push for a very specific diagnosis has been noted by several psychologists and psychiatrists, some of which I have talked to myself.

      Statements such as these: “if you don’t realize that you are autistic, your intellectual, sensory, social, and emotional differences are a mystery, even to you.”, make me roll my eyes, to say the least. At that point, the person still has allowed someone else to forcibly impose a label on him or her without questioning the validity of the diagnosis itself. Just because someone claims that you have autism (or any other diagnosis) doesn’t mean that you actually have it. And it’s not a healthy way to cope with a diagnosis anyway. A diagnosis is a ticket for you to get services, it’s nothing more, nothing less.

      The author of the article doesn’t seem to be too concerned about propagating some stereotypes on her own which apparently are true for all ‘autistic’ people (= people labelled with autism) such as: “Too many strangers at once, even if most of the other patients seemed like nice people, is overwhelming for autistic people, especially traumatized ones.” I know of ‘autistic’ people who had no problem whatosever with social settings such as these. Were they misdiagnosed, did they grew out of autism? Some people apparently do grow out of it. But according to some, you can have autism without actually having any of the ‘symptoms’. Camouflaging, they call it.

      And ultimately, by saying: “I had bought and read an official American Psychiatric Association book on personality disorders months earlier, out of curiosity. I knew what the label meant. It didn’t feel right to me.”, the author of the article professes her belief that the diagnostic tools are correct, which they’re arguably not.

      All having said, I will say the following, citing from Timimi: A diagnosis that encompasses Mozart and Einstein on the one side and a severely intellectually disabled person requiring 24/7 institituionalized care on the other side cannot possibly describe a meaningful or coherent condition. Pretending, that it does so, does a huge disservice to both groups.

      Autism, to me then, is not a meaningful term, but just aggressive marketing. And increasingly, I also suspect the neurodiversity paradigm to have been hijacked by private corporations to push drugs and therapies, just with a ‘more friendly’ spin.
      Also, you’re right about the pharmaceutical companies trying to market and push for tailored drugs for autism. Currently, nearly all of it is off-label, but I expect things to change in the next 10 years. A market that big (3-4 % of the population, in England above 5 % by now with a 10-15 % increase rate each year alone) cannot be left alone.

      Report comment

      • 100% agree

        “Neurodivergent” is actually the worst of these labels, imho. “My brain is different” with zero evidence to back that up. Trying to subvert the discriminatory language of psychiatry, but in fact just repeating its underlying myth of biological differences.

        Report comment

          • Further, Steve: everyone’s brain is different because brains develop in response to the environment. Our brains are not fully formed when we are born; in the first few years of our lives our brains develop rapidly, particularly the limbic or emotional part of the brain, and after that the cognitive part. How it wires is highly dependent on the inputs it receives. So this is what I find massively missing from this conversation about different brains: an awareness of how they got that way.

            Report comment

      • D. Anonymous. I have never used the “ASD” label. You did. the ASD label is a deficiency label. I reject it.

        “the author of the article professes her belief that the diagnostic tools are correct”. No, you are misreading me. I do not believe any of the diagnostic labels are are correct. I think the entire DSM should be thrown out.

        Have you ever written an essay to fit guidelines? Personal essays for MAD must be about one’s relationship to psychiatry, with a strict word length. That means it is impossible to say everything I wanted to say.

        You know nothing about me in person. Talking about myself does not propagate stereotypes. Never have I applied my traits to anyone else. You have, though.

        You are very good at making stuff up and misunderstanding people, and at judging people who you have never met. You sound a lot like psychiatrists in your comment.

        Report comment

        • First, I thank you for your response.

          “You are very good at making stuff up and misunderstanding people, and at judging people who you have never met.”

          No, I haven’t. Nowhere did I judge you or your story, nor did I ever specifically criticize you for identifying as neurodivergent.
          What I said is that adhering to these labels, even if your understanding of them differs considerably from how others understand them, cannot possibly lead to liberation. ->
          “The Master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”.

          I’m not a psychiatrist nor am I in any way related to that profession. I majored in something completely different which however included studies on rhetorics, discourse analyses and the logical structure of arguments. Once I started dealing with the psychiatric literature, this has led me to the conclusion, given the arguments presented to me, that the entire field is ill-defined, rests on circular reasoning and cannot be falsified. Considering that, the rhetorical tools and arguments used by psychiatry differ little, if at all, from those used by the antivax/anti-5G/Q-Anon movement or religious cults. It’s ill-defined, circular, unfalsifiable and most importantly, strategic and intended.

          I also very strongly believe in the psychosocial damage that is done to children and adults by giving them an ABC-label. -> Self-fulfilling prophecies tend to fulfill themselves.

          “Talking about myself does not propagate stereotypes.” No, but statements such as these arguably are generalizations = stereotypes: “Too many strangers at once, even if most of the other patients seemed like nice people, is overwhelming for autistic people, especially traumatized ones.” Since I do not believe in the clinical diagnosis of autism as being a good descriptor of what is actually out there, these descriptions which apply to you hardly apply to all ‘autistic’ people.
          I probably wouldn’t even have bothered with it if it wasn’t such a good instance of a “per definition, disorder X involves Y attributes” generalization that is so ubiquitous in psychiatric books.

          You’re you, I’m me. That’s all there is to know and on that, we agree.

          Report comment

          • Posting as moderator:

            It sounds like we’re getting into different interpretations of the same statements here. My read of the comment was that the commenter was criticizing the labels as not being helpful in general, not saying that the poster/blogger for choosing that label for him/herself. It’s a very touchy area, and I can understand Lisa taking it the other way. I think I understand both viewpoints, and I think both have legitimacy, and I’m hoping we can respect that there are differences of viewpoint expressed at MIA and that they are generally not aimed at a person just because they disagree with that person. I’m glad both of you got to say what you needed to say, but I’m hoping we can move on from this discussion soon, as I don’t see any way to really resolve such a value-based disagreement. I leave it to you to decide if another comment or two is needed to come to some sort of closure.

            Report comment

    • Topher, I really appreciate your comment. I, too, am struck by the number of people who uncritically accept the ‘autism’ and ‘ADHD’ labels. As you said, these labels are now even seen as cool and plenty of people are self-diagnosing.

      Report comment

    • “The DSM mindset is now so thoroughly embedded within the culture it’s massively eroding the ability of people in describe their uniqueness and shifting emotional reactions and states in anything other than psychiatric language.”

      It’s become the biggest source of cultural pollution.

      Report comment

    • Topher. You know nothing about me. Therefore, you do not get to decide who I am or what I am like in person. How I sound on paper is different than meeting me in real life.

      If you notice, I do not use the term “ASD” because I think it’s bullshit. I think the entire DSM needs to be thrown out. I am not propagating stereotypes. I am talking about myself. Have you ever had an essay published by anyone? Do you know how to write to guidelines?

      Neurodivergence is real, though, and it is not a “diagnosis.” If you’re not neurodivergent, how would you know? You have to believe people. My father built a professional chemistry lab in his basement when he was 11, the same age I was when I had a scientific mollusk collection. We had a lot of similarities to one another. He never had any diagnoses because of his age. He was from a different generation.

      I am also a synesthete. Letters and numbers have colors. I think in moving 3D geometric shapes. I have an amazingly detailed memory tied to synesthesia. Are you going to tell me that synesthesia is not real, too?

      I wrote an essay about my essay: https://wordpress.com/view/lisarayner.home.blog

      Report comment

  4. Dear Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing your poignant story. You’ve been through hell and back, but congratulations on making it out alive. I totally relate to your saying this:

    “The only therapy that made sense to me was self-introspection and a lot of reading about trauma from compassionate experts…”

    And you’re absolutely right that no one should have to experience and heal from psychiatric gaslighting and abuse. But it’s my belief believe that psychiatry’s current recognition of trauma and neurodiversity is no more than lip service.

    Thank you again for your remarkable testimony.

    Report comment

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Lisa. And covering up child abuse and rape is a systemic problem (crimes) of the “mental health system.”


    It is a systemic problem, in part, because an inability to honestly bill to help child abuse survivors was intentionally built into the paternalistic, “invalid” DSM “bible.”



    I’m glad you, too, were able to escape, Lisa. From a mom who stands against child abuse, who asks, please stop aiding, abetting, and empowering the child abusers and pedophiles, psychology and psychiatry, et al. Living in a “pedophile empire” may be profitable for the systemic child abuse covering up “mental health” industries.


    But living in a “pedophile empire” is a bad idea for everyone, except the pedophiles and those who profiteer off of systemically covering up child abuse. And please de-“partner” with the mainstream religions, since you’ve turned the pastors and bishops of my former religion into greed only inspired, systemic child abuse and rape cover uppers, too.


    “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

    Report comment

    • Someone Else. Thank you. I cannot totally escape my mother because I need her financial assistance. My SSDI is $524 per moth. Disable people are forced to live in poverty. I gray rock her. I am 56. She just turned 81. Her mother lived to 94 and her grandmother to 92, so I am probably stuck with her for a while.

      Report comment

  6. Great piece Lisa. You’re very courageous. I also have a lot of what you’re talking about. The sleeping and breathing issues are terrible and lower one’s capacity a lot. I had sleep apnea undiagnosed since early childhood, and now have realized I have the MAST cell issue you are talking about as well. Acute chronic histamine response feels like a burning and itching irritation on the inside of your body, and there’s a sense of urgency around some vague invasive quality in the background. Of course in the psychiatric system I only had their vernacular to describe these kinds of complex internal states, so I’d walk in and say ‘I’m anxious,’ and they’d up the meds, and the iatrogenic damage would compound on top of the multiple unaddressed underlying conditions. Glad we both got out and are seeing these things addressed properly.

    Report comment

  7. Psychiatry was one of the last “medical specialties” to be standardized – one size fits all who walks through the door (or those who are involuntary incarcerated) and it is a business where once a patient always a patient as poor outcomes are considered success especially in the long term. This is ideology over reality- where cognitive dissonance is key- dismissing, gas lighting and ignoring the patient is key. Sounds like a cult like mentality.

    Report comment

  8. Thanks for sharing your story, Lisa. I’m sorry to hear about everything you’ve been through. I can relate to a lot of it, and I appreciate you having the courage to share. Knowing I’m not alone and seeing my experiences put into words helps. Thank you.

    Report comment

  9. Hi Lisa,
    I was interested to read your story. Congratulations on surviving so much and now having a fulfilled life with a partner, a career and cats in a beautiful place. You made it.

    I was also diagnosed as BPD in my 20’s and only received an autism diagnosis when I was nearly 51 – I don’t know if I even believe in it as a diagnosis but a lot of your story resonated with me – the bullying, the terror of other people and never really being understood, the meltdowns that were misinterpreted and I got written off by psychiatry at large in my 20’s as a hopeless case – I got a bipolar label too at one stage.

    They say that the best revenge is living well – and you seem to be doing that. Huge achievement in spite of everything. Well done you.

    Report comment

  10. It’s reassuring among other emotions I can’t quite place to see a whole lot of my own experience as a traumatized Queer person in this. I had been given a BPD label without being told, and when the Dx clarification I asked for was given that overrode it because my psychiatrist didn’t perceive me as anything other than a white male who had been subjected to repeated traumas he said “this is clearly garden variety PTSD, and you know it, so why is your doctor so slow to treat it correctly?” and wrote a nine page scathing report that said as much.

    It had barely hit her hands before she wanted it redressed because I hadn’t “disclosed my trans status” (I hadn’t hidden it, she wasn’t in the consultation, he had merely not put it in the report because he didn’t find it relevant).

    I am not even going to attempt to determine if I “have autism” or where I may or may not fall on the spectrum because of the level of trauma the medical system has done to me. I just want to stay as far away from all that as possible, ironically I used to be a frontline technician in a military hospital but now I have no love for the idea of working or participating in a system that doesn’t have an actual compassion for the soul of the bodies it works on.

    Report comment