An Unacknowledged Role of Doctors: Suppressing Women

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In recent years, females have greatly surpassed males in academic performance in high school and college1. This, along with their seemingly superior social and verbal skills, should have narrowed the gender pay gap of late. Yet it’s stayed basically the same for the past 20 years. Women only earn 82% as much as men2, and are still vastly underrepresented in executive roles3.

Two obvious contributors to this are 1: Men in executive positions may be biased against women and thus reluctant to promote them, and 2: Women are more likely to divide their time and energy between working and caring for their kids. But there may be a third, unrecognized factor at play:

Women are 50% more likely than men to be diagnosed with mental disorders4 (which are often chronic), and 60% more likely to be diagnosed with widespread chronic pain syndromes5. They’re thus prescribed nearly twice as many benzodiazepines6 (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, etc.) and opioids7 as men. These are sedating, so they impair performance. They’re also addictive and are often given continuously, so they’ll produce withdrawal symptoms in time that further lower productivity. Electroshock therapy, another psychiatric treatment used twice as often on women8, causes permanent memory loss9. So it’s also incapacitating.

A young woman crouches in distress in a corner, while a doctor's hand reaches out to her. Everything is whiteEven if women don’t accept these treatments but do accept the diagnoses, then they’ll likely take on the mindset that comes with them: They’ll believe that they have permanently defective brains and bodies. Hence, as their doctor advises, they’ll accept their perceived limitations and thus will lower their expectations and aspirations. Their doctor may urge them to focus more on protecting their fragile mental/physical health while at work, rather than on struggling hard to get ahead. They may take more time off for medical leave and appointments. They may even quit and go on disability. Mental illness and chronic pain are by far the most common reasons for Social Security Disability awards10.

For all these reasons, such women may be less likely to seek promotions and their bosses may be less inclined to give them. Nearly a third of women were dispensed opioids in 200811. Over 21% take psych meds12. These are high enough percentages to have had a big negative impact on women’s overall work-place success.

But none of this is new: Since ancient Greek times, when men deemed women to be too emotional, they were diagnosed with hysteria, a term coined by Hippocrates13. From the 1700s to early 1900s, it was often treated with the addictive sedative laudanum—a combination of opium and alcohol. (Today’s benzodiazepines tranquilize by acting on the same receptors as alcohol (GABA), so they’re essentially alcohol in pill form.) Hysteria was also treated with the ‘rest cure’—the avoidance all strenuous intellectual and physical activity (akin to going on SSD nowadays). Hysteria wasn’t taken out of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) until 1980.

But was it really removed? 1980 is the same year that the DSM introduced the new diagnoses of major depression, panic disorder, and bipolar disorder. As with hysteria, these turned emotions (sadness, anxiety, and mood fluctuations) into diseases. Soon after, the AMA declared fibromyalgia (Latin for pain in fibers and muscles) to be a disease. As with hysteria, these were all heavily aimed at women: Valium was promoted as “mother’s little helper”. Antidepressant ads depict women eight times as often as men14. Fibromyalgia was pitched so much to middle-aged women, that it became nearly a women-only illness15.

Hysteria is now retrospectively seen as a pseudoscientific farce that pathologized women. But today’s newly discovered ‘brain diseases’ and chronic pain syndromes are also unmeasurable, subjective perceptions rather than scientifically-proven disease processes. No physical exams, lab tests, or x-rays are ever done to verify them, either. No underlying ‘chemical imbalances’, ‘bad genes’ or ‘overactive nerves’ were ever found. So as with hysteria, they’re merely man-made concepts that primarily medicalize women.

It’s unrealistic to think that the ‘hysterical female’ construct, which was so ingrained in our society for so long, could have gone away so easily. It didn’t really die out; it lives on under today’s new names. The same process is going on now as in the past, with the same result: Women are being kept down. The status quo has been maintained.

So Western culture, throughout its 2800-year existence, has instilled the idea that women are inherently weak, helpless, and ill17. This sets women up to trustingly seek/depend on strong, authoritative doctors to manage their distress for them. Doctors then label them with invented diagnoses which reinforce their sense of defectiveness, and which justify sedating them into docility and inactivity. In old movies, doctors even slap women who are expressing emotions, in order to shut them up. And these women then thank their doctors!

Why does the medical field target women for suppression? Doctors have always served dual roles: curing illness and upholding the patriarchic society. This used to be more obvious: In the 1800s, if men found it hard to control their hysterical wives, they could easily get them declared insane and put into asylums by doctors18.Today this second role is more subtle, but it’s still there. To women who hope to end the patriarchy, I recommend:

  1. Develop a healthy distrust of doctors, especially psychiatrists (present company excluded).
  2. Only seek doctors if you’re truly ill. How do you know which illnesses are real? If you can diagnose yourself with it, it’s probably fake. If it’s constantly being proclaimed to be a real illness, it’s probably not a real illness. If your illness is said to cause itself to occur, such as: “You’re depressed because you have depression” or “Your pain is caused by fibromyalgia (i.e. pain)”, it’s likely a scam.
  3. If you’ve been molded into the frail patient identity, discard that yoke. And
  4. Use your free will and infinite capabilities to adaptively manage your own life challenges.

 

References

1.O’Dea, R., et al ”Gender Differences in Individual Variation in Academic Grades Fail to Fit Expected Patterns for STEM” Nature Communications 9,Article No. 3777, 2018.

2.Aragao, C. “Gender Pay Gap in U.S. Hasn’t Changed Much in Two Decades”,  Pew Research Center, March 1, 2023.

3.Mishra, S. ”Women in the C-Suite: The Next Frontier in Gender Diversity” Harvard law School Forum on Corporate Governance, Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc., Aug 13, 2018.

4.2021 National Survey of Drug Use and Health Releases, Section 6: Mental Health Tables, SAMHSA.

5.Andrews, P., et al “Chronic Widespread Pain Prevalence in the General Population: A Systematic Review” Eur J of Pain, 2018,Jan:22(1)5-18.

6.Olfson, M. “Benzodiazepine Use in the U.S.” JAMA Psychiatry 2015 Feb;72(2)136-42.

7.”United States for Non-Dependence: An Analysis of the Impact of Opioid Overprescribing in America”, Sept 26, 2017, QuintilesIMS National Prescription Audit, QuintilesIMS Institute.

8.Read, J., et al “An Audit of ECT in England 2011 – 2015; Usage, Demographics, and Adherence to Guidelines and Legislation” Psychol Psychother:2018, Sep;91(3)263-277.

9.MacQueen, G., et al “The Long Term Impact of Treatment with Electroconvulsive Therapy on Discrete Memory Systems in Patients with Bipolar Disorder”, J Psych Neurosci 2007,Jul:32(4)241-149.

10.”Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2021” Social Security Administration: Research, Statistics & Policy Analysis.

11.Schieber, L. et al “Variations in Adult Outpatient Opioid Prescriptions Dispensed by Age and Sex – United States 2008-2018, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 20, 2020/69(11)298-302.

12.Terlizzi, E. and Norris, T. “Mental Health Treatment Among Adults: United States, 2020” NCHS Data Brier No. 419, Oct 2021.

13.Sigerist, H. “A history of medicine. Primitive and archaic medicine” New York: Oxford University Press; 1951.

14.Asadi, L. and Shah, A. “Gender Bias in Antidepressant Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Advertising” Comp Psych Vol 123, May 2023, 152384, as referenced in Lee, Woanjun “Gender Bias in Antidepressant Ads – 82% Target Women” Madinamerica.com, Mar 29, 2023.

15.Yunus,M. “Gender Differences in Fibromyalgia and Other Related Syndromes” Journal of Gend Specif Medicine 2002,Mar-Apr,5(2)42-47.

16.Bai, F. et al “Female Gender is Associated with Long Covid Syndrome: A Prospective Cohort Study” Clin Microbiol Infect 2022 Apr;28(4)611.

17.Ormiston, C. “The Mad Medicalization of Victorian Women” featured in The Making of the Modern World Writing Showcase, 2020.

18.Moore, K. “Declared Insane for Speaking Up: The Dark American History of Silencing Women Through Psychiatry” Time Magazine, June 22, 2021.

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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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65 COMMENTS

  1. “An Unacknowledged Role of Doctors: Suppressing Women.” Indeed, as a woman who has been attacked by a lot of doctors … mostly for nefarious and greed inspired reasons … but also because a picture paints a thousand words, so a female artist’s work tells a way “too truthful” story, for some doctors, especially the psychological and psychiatric industries.

    God forbid women have a voice, love their children, and speak out against child abuse … including the psychological and psychiatric abuse of children (the iatrogenic “childhood bipolar epidemic”).

    But as one who learned the hard way about how doctors try to suppress women’s legitimate concerns, with their “invalid” DSM disorders, I do agree with you … it’s best to avoid doctors as much as possible … especially the psychological and psychiatric “professions.”

    Thank you, Lawrence, for honestly pointing out this paternalistic medical industry problem, especially since the female doctors are every bit as guilty as the male doctors.

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    • Sometimes the female doctors are worse than the male ones, like they’re trying to prove something to themselves, or maybe it’s what they had to do survive medical school, which I’ve heard is full of mysogynistic professors.

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      • I think a lot of MDs enter medical school with a desire to heal, but some develop an “Identification with the Aggressor” type of thing to survive the brutal (and often sexist) training they receive in medical school.

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  2. What I find objectionable about the patriarchy is that for the most part it expects women to function like men, meaning it thinks it’s just fine to force women who’ve just given birth to go back to work instead of care for her kid(s), which I know for a fact makes more than a few women feel more than a little “depressed”.

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      • Society’s obsession with careerism can play havoc with women’s physical and psychological health in ways male (and some female) doctors can’t understand because medical doctors have unwittingly(?) become the darlings of neoliberalism.

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  3. Thanks Lawrence,

    “…Nearly a third of women were dispensed opioids in 2008..”

    These are my general tips:-
    If you want to end up more or less with Schizophrenia, then take drugs suitable for Schizophrenia (- after a while you’ll be indistinguishable).

    ….If you want to end up more or less with Bi Polar then take Lithium (- this nearly happened to me).

    …if you want to suffer from compulsive anxiety – take Valium, this has been proven to work.

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  4. If this is a scientific article, it is too flawed to try to draw conclusion with unidetified causal relationship between pay gap, work pressure, family pressure and some emotional difficulties or medications. But If it is just an opinion then i have another one….. what if women are ,or at least present themselves to psychiatrists due to whatever emotional difficulty they are having due to the double burden of being the perfect mother and climbing the corporate ladder. What if they have innate/natural psychological difference being (better communicators and more relational)which predispose them to earn less money, what if giving up their psychological make up to go up and attain excutive position make them realy miserable and take medication which may be again get them in more trouble.

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  5. So your solution to physical pain and real suffering is what? Nothing
    Community has been erased for so many women we are lonely, abused, overworked. Pain and distressing emotions are a natural reaction our bodies have to all of that.
    We have nothing to work with and we pull it all out of the air ourselves.
    Like you said don’t trust Drs I can get behind that, but who should we trust? You?

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    • Agreed, chronic pain and mental disorders are real, not just a diagnosis of hysteria. Women have them more frequently likely because of the oppression we face, trauma specific to women, and the expectation to do it all. It’s not our problem for over identifying with our very real symptoms, it’s a systemic issue that doesn’t design for work-life balance. all would benefit but especially women

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  6. Autoimmune and auto inflammatory diseases and conditions cause pain and fatigue and other complaints. Majority in women. New cases have been increasing rapidly in last 20 years or so. Diagnosis is elusive and treatments poor with terrible adverse effects. Post viral syndromes are also possibly implicated. Whether you believe these conditions and increased cases are environmental due to more chemicals and pollutants or due to adverse childhood and adult cultural and social conditions acting on CNS or HPA or something to do with psychoneuroimmunology, it is good to investigate more.

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  7. Thank you for telling the truth about how this system crushes women, Dr.
    After experiencing decades of the type of medical abuse that you describe (denial of trauma, psychiatric polypharmacy, undiagnosed akathisia that led to severe abuse in psychiatric wards, labels of treatment resistant depression and borderline personality disorder and fibromyalgia, ECT, TMS, denial of care for acute physical problems such as weakened bones that led to a fractured ankle, being blamed for the physical consequences of being coercively or forced drugged with psych drugs, etc), I do all of the things that you advise in your list, but I fear that it might be too late as I am in my late 50s and much damage has been done.

    I do wonder though why the responsibility is being placed on the victims here to do it differently. Is there any plan among the people who hold power in the health care system to change it and make it less abusive toward women and others who experience marginalization in society? Because I feel like that would make more sense. It feels a little bit like, well, If you go out at night and you’re alone and you wear a short dress, things are going to happen, so don’t do any of that and maybe you’ll be safe.

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  8. Very insightful! I wish I were surprised, but, no, this fits with both my lived experience and our societal norms. Being a woman is seen as a pathology, and we are, at best, to apologize for infecting society with our existence. It’s validating, though, to see it so clearly laid out and all the dots connected.

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  9. This article makes a lot of loose claims ( eg. along with their seemingly superior social and verbal skills, 50% more likely than men to be diagnosed with mental disorders – despite not having as many? Maybe they are more likely to seek mental health care?, These are sedating, so they impair performance – true but performance was probably quite impaired even before and that’s why they seemed help.. etc)
    Was somewhat off putting to read

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  10. All while they won’t provide permanent contraception to childfree women jUsT iN cAsE, even if it’s necessary to your overall health and quality of life for some reason; of course it’s about oppressing us. They want you disabled enough to stay home but “healthy” enough to reproduce and survive it.

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  11. While I agree that doctors do suppress women, I am more inclined to think it’s because doctors still treat women’s complaints of pain or mental distress as hysteria. Instead of seeking the root cause and treat this, they treat the perceived hysteric condition, even causing women presenting with classical (male) symptoms of a heart attack to get belated treatment.

    The case of fibroyalgia, which the writer brings up, is a peculiar one. Perhaps it’s somewhat overdiagnosed. Many doctors I’ve met believe it to be modern day’s hysteria. But then I look around and found that the condition can be rather accurately diagnosed by a heightened internal pressure in specific muscles. And I find that it has been successfully linked to inflammation in the brain as the cause for the painful reactions in the body. Thus it is a proper physical autoimmune disease, possibly caused by infection that reached the brain.

    So all I see in this article is a further dismissal and suppression of women by a male health professional.

    Give women the appropriate treatment for their health problems, and they will certainly thrive.

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    • You have hit the nail on the head when it comes to fibromyalgia. There are indications that it is a real illness although not as easy to diagnose and understand as a case of measles. And the answer to this and psychiatric issues is for the patients to change their behavior and avoid all doctors? Why isn’t it the job of the medical profession and society to change their behavior and come up with more support and better treatment for these women?

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    • Endre,

      I agree completely. This is so well said.
      As a woman who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (in addition to treatment resistant depression and borderline personality disorder), I do believe there’s a physical cause but I no longer seek help from doctors for this or any of the other diagnoses.

      I had a traumatic childhood, had a severe case of mono as a teen, and contracted herpes (for which I was shamed and humiliated in the clinic where it was diagnosed) at 18. Throughout my menstruating years, I suffered from varying degrees of iron deficiency anemia; at times my iron levels were so low that I needed infusions.

      Over the last 20 years I have suffered from various pain and inflammatory problems such as frequent rashes, joint pain, extreme fatigue, weakness, brain fog etc. I know we all hear versions of this story again and again. If we haven’t suffered these symptoms ourselves, we know someone who has.

      I attribute at least part of my physical symptoms to decades of psychiatric polypharmacy and the withdrawal from those drugs, but that cause is completely ignored.

      And we can’t rule out the multitude of environmental causes, such as poor air quality, contaminated water, and food that doesn’t provide adequate nutrients.

      This is all to say that just because doctors can’t find a physical cause for someone’s symptoms, that doesn’t mean that a physical cause doesn’t exist. It’s easier, I guess, in the 15 minutes that they have with a patient for doctors to just check off a fibromyalgia diagnosis, offer gabapentin or Lyrica or something of the sort, or God forbid, Cymbalta, and call it a day.

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  12. I wonder how big a factor willingness to seek treatment is, too. Just anecdotally, the women I know are more likely to actually go to a doctor to address a medical issue or to seek mental health treatment when they’re struggling. I don’t disagree with the central point of this article, especially with the number of women I’ve known who had major health problems ignored or written off as anxiety. But I do wonder, if men actually seek treatment, if they’re treated the same. I feel like if we were more honest as a society, we would find that everyone is along a spectrum of disability and that our system of wage labor and property sequestration is detrimental to everyone’s health, especially women

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  13. His commentary and 4 “tips” give me “Just the tip” mentality. Pun intended. The title of this article led me to believe I was going to be reading about this proven problem, its depths, and how the medical community are addressing it, or whatever underground attempts are being done wherever, to change the tides. But what I got was a male privileged Doctor confirming it all, essentially blaming women for going to the doctors that already have a predisposition of not believing a woman’s symptoms because they’re a woman, listing just how much women are mentally ill, and chronicly at that with the anxiety meds, and the only way for women to get ahead in the world with their MAN-made stigma of being mentally ill and lesser is to keep adapting, jumping through whatever hoops man/society set for you, to prove themselves and their worth that much more…per a man’s mental capacity to accept a woman’s power.

    I’ll run down my thoughts point by point.

    We do not have the example that prompted the creation of the word “hysteria”. Was a Greek wife trying to speak up for her needs, and crying out of the desperation of being trapped? Or perhaps she was fighting to stop being abused by her husband, and in frustration had a moment of emotion?

    The point being, the male privilege of a man’s thoughts and needs being ground zero, and the basis/gold standard for determining anything is THE problem. Men deciding what is and isn’t considered “hysteria”, when they themselves haven’t demonstrated that type of behavior that way…because they weren’t ever put in the lesser position to even know what that feels like to the point of its outward culmination, is the heart of this conversation. How is a woman’s “hysterical” outburst any different than the outburst of man snapping and yelling when he doesn’t get what he thinks he deserves as a man, but manifested in a different way? But for some reason, a male’s behavior is acceptable, and in general, men’s behavior is not questioned as a mental illness, an oddity, or considered a problem great enough to belittle the whole gender. Whatever behavior a man does, isn’t second guessed, it is firstly considered most likely warranted, justified, and validated with a proper term. For example, men are “ornery”, which means they are of an “irritable disposition…argumentative, uncooperative”, while women are just called moody, bitchy, difficult….the same definition of ornery, but not respected.

    The justification for a woman’s outburst of hysteria is questioned by men in a similar way to a puppy making a pee in the house, because women aren’t considered fully-capacitated human beings. So, even though a man’s outburst, which can escalate to verbal abuse, physically fighting, injuring, or killing in the name of respect, are egregious, hysterical behaviors, were woven into the systems of society as accepted in the range of normal, and just some potential thing to expect from a man, and rightly so because of their manhood….

    Love his 2nd tip on how only go to the doctor when you are truly ill….which is a complete admission to his own misogyny. Women don’t just go through wasting their time to get to a doctor’s appointment if they don’t feel something is off in their system. I find it odd this trained professional, doesn’t notate along with his findings of women being diagnosed with anxiety and chronic issues, how patriarchal society plays the lead role in that.

    Why didn’t this doctor address the root cause to why they are at the doctor’s to begin with? Women continue to be expected to bare the majority burden of family/household duties and contort themselves to what their spouse emotionally needs, and then basically admonished and judged mentally unstable when they’re struggling to be all to all. Funny how the weight of the world is literally on a woman’s shoulders far more than a man can even think of taking 50% of the load. Funny that more women are in therapy dealing with the behavioral issues their spouse puts on them and how to cope with always having to accommodate and work around the husband’s issues, while the husband doesn’t seem to think he needs a therapist because he doesn’t think anything is wrong with him and doesn’t have any problems…

    Women are getting diagnosed more, because men aren’t and women seek care and support more, in general –due to man and society systematically being unwilling to change and provide support. Women are then also dealing with other women trying to survive in the hunger games and all that that turns into.

    Funny how he lists all these statistics of anxiety meds, but doesn’t list the statistic of how the symptoms of women aren’t being taken seriously by male doctors and are just written off under the blanket term anxiety (like it’s IBS), then just prescribe anxiety meds instead of actually doing the work of a doctor to placate them…and many times when they are in the midst of cardiac arrest and told it’s a panic attack. The basic gaslighting women receive altogether when getting care, and told it’s in their heads and they’re fine. Here’s 2 stats on that.
    https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180518-the-inequality-in-how-women-are-treated-for-pain

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/28/well/live/gaslighting-doctors-patients-health.html

    His 4th tip was the best advice from a guy that probably is the first to say “not all men,” having no clue how closeted misogynistic that is. Interesting that he puts the burden on women to not only triple check their sanity of the illness they “think” they have in the 2nd tip, but also use their free will and capabilities to continue to do double the work to prove their worth/value, jumping through any new gauntlet of challenges presented to them in their own life…to prove men wrong, as many times as men feel they then need to create new challenges, grasping to stay in control. Funny how it is the women that have to change and adapt…but the system doesn’t. Men are once again never held accountable for their systems of abuse. Because let’s be honest, if tip 4 worked, this article wouldn’t have needed to be written. Challenges wouldn’t be there at all for women if intelligence, superior skill and hard work weren’t somehow discredited (subconscously and/or consciously) based on it being inconceivable a woman remotely capable of being a fully-realized, superior human being to that of a man.

    It’s funny how he left out a pertinent statistic in his support of women’s plight, though I can see why he conveniently left it out, because it would negate his credibility altogether: women physicians have a proven record of less people dying under their care because they listen to the patient and “perceive clinical risks more highly”.
    https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/patient-safety-outcomes/patients-of-female-physicians-have-lower-death-rates-study-finds.html

    Anyway, really not sure what to make of this article at all. As you can see, I’ve had random thoughts and dumbfounded how this Dr would publish this without having a woman look it over first. BUT it is a beautiful, written demonstration of just how much men have no idea how they are the problem in real-time, and totally tone deaf and blind to it. It is they that need to “adapt” and change to orchestrate a new mindset for themselves.

    This is an article more of what I thought I’d be reading:
    https://www.northwell.edu/katz-institute-for-womens-health/articles/gaslighting-in-womens-health

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  14. #1-Tiffany nailed it.
    #2-Females already know the daily horrors in this essay. Fix it-dammit.

    The psych that diagnosed me with the infamous DSM IV was a female, her tag-team psychologist/therapist partner, a female…both taught by the psych-patriarchy.
    They couldn’t grasp my life choice to be happily single, childless, and an adventurer (with a custom beach house) at 53 years old.

    I needed to be ‘fixed’.

    How else could I reach my potential?
    Apparently the answer was crushing sedation, simple & complex, for a decade.

    It’s also exactly what my “exit” psych (male) said 11 years later as he signed the “exit” paperwork, (“A pity I didn’t reach my potential”).

    Blackmailing him quietly into vacating my “lifetime bipolar” tag (in writing) of 11 years, with a 2.5 year withdrawal, following his staff’s plunging me into anaphylaxis…..AND after I turned him down for a DATE..IN A TEXT (!!!… I still have)….well….MY potential was fulfilled, gold-plated, & dropped in their laps with sparklers, party hats & glitter-that’s still in their dirty carpet.

    He got to keep a rising career that (still) has him as CMO/VP of a huge MH contractor in Phoenix, Arizona.

    I excised the “suppression” tumor myself ….and my “potential” has never been healthier, thanks.

    #3-Fun Fact-“Lifetime” diagnoses are negotiable if cost & liability containment (& HIS potential) are in jeapardy.
    It’s hilarious how fast “evidence-based” psychiatric commandments are pushed in the trash when THEIR credibility (career$) are threatened.

    A (VERY quiet) psychiatric Alford plea.

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  15. This is absolutely disgusting.

    I’m sure there is a sliver of truth to this but what this “article” does is simply proclaim that mental illness doesn’t exist. “Ah, silly women, don’t you know that your feelings and sensations aren’t real?!’
    Gosh I wish I would’ve known that when I was diagnosed with social anxiety. Then maybe I wouldn’t have debilitating fear and apprehension in every social situation!
    Depression isn’t just sadness. Anxiety isn’t just unease. Bipolar isn’t just mood swings.
    Are these diagnoses unfair used against women? YES. Does it mean they don’t exist at all? NO.

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    • It is easy to confuse “These categories are not scientifically valid diagnoses” with “debilitating anxiety doesn’t exist.” They are VERY different statements. I doubt anyone here would state that debilitating social fear and apprehension don’t exist or are not painful and difficult. The argument would be that just because you feel anxious in social situations, no matter how severe, it doesn’t mean you are “ill” in a medical sense.

      I say this as a person who suffered debilitating anxiety and depression in my youth, and now at 65 rarely experience anything similar. I did get therapy for a while and do a lot of self-help stuff but never was “diagnosed” with anything at all by my therapist. It is not necessary to validate these “diagnoses” in order to agree that someone needs help and support and to assist them in getting to a better place. I’m also not invalidating the potential usefulness of psychiatric drugs, just saying that the “diagnoses” themselves are not valid medical/scientific entities, and that saying so doesn’t invalidate ANYONE’S suffering!

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  16. Normally love your stuff but this misses the mark horribly. As both a female victim of psychiatry and mainstream medicine, I can tell you that you are conflating 2 very different female experiences of patriarchal medicine. Yes, women have been oppressed for millenia under the diagnosis of hysteria, but this results in 2 different outcomes. On the one hand, doctors easily and incorrectly diagnose mental illness in women who express normal emotions and throw copious amounts of dangerous medications at them without telling them the side effects.

    On the other hand, when women approach doctors with newly emerging environmental illnesses, which include post viral syndromes, pain syndromes and fibromyalgia, which are caused by heavy metal poisoning, destruction of the microbiome from antibiotics, and mental trauma’s decimation of the immune system, and which have numerous objective medical tests to identify them (contrary to your and patriarchal medicines claims), doctors who are unfamiliar w the science of environmental illnesses dismiss women as mentally ill/hysterical and gaslight them about their very real physical symptoms. Instead, they diagnose hysteria and throw psych meds at them rather than admit their own ignorance. Long covid is a post viral syndrome, and the medical establishment wouldve had a huge jump on research if they had believed the women who were sick w this syndrome starting in the 1980’s. But instead, they said we were hysterical.

    Unfortunately, your post, basically suggesting that women are brainwashed by doctors into thinking they have a physical disease of fibromyalgia or pain syndrome is a patriarchal narrative itself. We have a real, multi system disease that has been denied by drug companies because their products contribute to the toxicity in our environment that causes these illnesses. Its not mental. It effects every system in the body and is testable. Women know exactly what’s going on. Its the men who don’t.

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    • Ashley-Everything but the last sentence “It’s the men who don’t”.
      Sure they do. They created it.

      But speaking directly to psychiatry……I feel that the vocabulary, the language, & it’s perceived meaning(s) are the genesis of the problem/danger that only serves the psychiatric industry… Like skilled attorneys who can argue & win the seemingly ‘slam-dunk’ cases against their clients.

      The distinction being a psychiatric industry worker also MAKES the ‘law’, bending it, shaping it, wielding it’s power situationally & subjectively and unchecked…too often regarding females & children.
      There are boundaries for even the most successful & powerful attorneys..

      Ironically, the judicial system supports psych unfailingly, as the symbiotic nature of their relationship is deemed ‘necessary’.

      Psychiatry stakes out the ‘right’ to shift definitions at will, the familiar psych ‘doctrine’ of spaghetti-on-the-wall guessing exercises, & calling it science…worse-medical science.

      The term ‘mental illness’ long ago devolved into a marketing tool with hazy, blurry, expanding & contracting boundaries…but ALWAYS attempting to legitimize their self-bestowed authority, constantly reminding everyone they ‘own’ ANY mental health concept, interpretation, decisions, & treatments….and ESPECIALLY not psychology. The bitchy in-fighting, down to the ‘rights’ over the APA acronym, is the stuff of black humor…instead of focusing on how best to collaborate to help clients. THESE are the ‘behavioral experts’.

      The parallel to religions like Catholicism cannot be ignored, particularly in light of the exposure of deeply pervasive horrors that befall helpless victims that turned to both in profound, good faith for comfort, support, & healing.

      Their bestowal of eternal salvation is the cudgel the Catholic corporation uses. Psychiatry threatens a secular version; comprehensive (lifetime) damnation for ‘your’ diseases ‘they’ define….followed by pledging to never leave…or suffer consequences-the inference always starting (and ending) with suicide as ‘your’ inevitable, final act…without fealty to them. Suicides are viewed, by Catholicism coincidentally, as a mortal sin….more eternal damnation for YOU.
      Control, by fear or fear AND drugs, is the goal.

      Both corporate entities build wealth off of the suffering of the targeted and the faithful.,

      Females and children are the usual targets and comprise, more often than not, the humans who seek support….from these patriarchal institutions

      As the world is run (into the ditch) by men, the abuse and exploitation by psychiatry is acceptable…for these ‘sub-cultures’……as is the fact that the same world, specifically the U.S., is approximately 50/50 male/female…and yet 93% of prison beds are filled with men.

      For females and children, the world is a hostile, deadly place. Power will not be freely shared.

      Take shelter and peace where you can.

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    • Don’t forget the artificial hormones in birth control pills. It’s now believed these destroy the neurotransmitters that are produced in the gut. I’m sure taking bc pills jump-started my descent into so-called “depression”. But when I told that to the idiot doctor, all he had to say was, “I’ve never heard of that,” — and “depression” was listed as one of the first side effects in the package insert!

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  17. This website has published articles suggesting that “borderline personality disorder” is a real, valid diagnosis. Getting instructions from a male psychiatrist on how to survive the healthcare system as a woman feels like more of the same.

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    • KateL,
      Amen Sister.

      Psychiatry is a reflection of the global hate culture regarding females.

      Men are ALWAYS the experts (and the Final Word) defining female experience…. whenever the mood strikes them….and as it benefits them in some, or any, momentary or permanent way. For example…ego or publishing credits.

      Thank you to the infinite chorus of ‘mansplainers’, especially in women’s healthcare…. how we think & feel.

      (We are grateful; please don’t kill us.)

      OUR anger never fails to provoke irritation, rage & retaliation/punishment…OR a diagnosis.

      (We’re sorry if your feelings got hurt. Please don’t kill us)

      This author doesn’t express the critical insight necessary to publish the truth….
      “In a world that hates and never fails to control, assault, & murder females unapologetically (“Exactly WHO do we ‘need’ to apologize to? Women? Hahahaha”), there is no hope for them….unless males change their slave-owner mentality…and ACT ON IT”.

      Why should they?

      (Please don’t think we’re uppity….and please don’t kill us.)

      It’s good being King….despite all the empty, dangerous rhetoric stating how ‘loved’ mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, & the rest of half the globe’s population are.

      Slaves DO have a ‘certain’ value, until, of course, they don’t….defined by the King & his men’s laws….daily moods, or momentary whims.

      As we females are living the accelerated Dystopia NOW-men criminalizing women’s health-care-the ONLY question for ANY MAN who professes to “love” ANY female(s) is ….

      ‘WHAT THE F&#! CAN I DO…EVERYDAY…TO STEM THE SUFFERING MEN INFLICT ON YOU?”

      I sure don’t see you at protests, Planned Parenthood strategy sessions, supporting the ERA, or using the wide variety of ACTION platforms available. Or your wealth (compared to ours, that is). The bias-statistics regarding credibility-stripping & dangerous ‘treatment’ of mental health diagnoses have been established for decades; where’s the push back to protect your mom, daughter, wife?
      And I don’t see you loudly, vigorously pushing back on the men who inflict these exclusionary, life-threatening ‘laws’ on us….by voting for equality & protections in the US…for females.

      Let me help with an example….You DID see ME & thousands & thousands of females (mothers, daughters, wives, etc) FIGHTING IN THE STREETS to ‘save’ YOU during the Viet Nam war/draft….WE weren’t being sent there against OUR will…just sayin’.

      So to the author of this specious, self-serving puff-piece and all men…..walk the walk. Fight for us NOW.

      When our voting rights are abolished, will you shake your head saying ‘Wow, that’s awful……what’s on NetFlix tonite?”

      Talk is cheap background noise while we are maimed, assaulted, & murdered by the world of men…who don’t get DIAGNOSED, just a shrug and a “SHE should (or shouldn’t) have…(fill in the blank)” Maybe 6 weeks of Anger Mgmt for him….& probation.

      And the Psychiatric Industry pathologizes females as a dominant revenue stream for being targeted by men…SO, SO many ICD 10 codes!! (Who’s gonna stop em? It’s gotta be other MEN.)

      As ESPN used to say…”The numbers don’t lie”.
      On stalkings, assaults, rapes, kidnapping/imprisonments, mutilations, murders….globally.

      To the females…know this…’If you come for the King, you best not miss’.
      The danger is real. We are targets and the hunting season is expanding exponentially. The price has always been high. Be careful out there & prepare your daughters for the hate, overt & disguised…while struggling to preserve their humanity.

      (To the men…I hope this wasn’t too harsh. Please don’t kill us.)

      Feel free to hurl your cheapest epithet…BITTER…(although FAT is right up there).

      Bitter- “(of people or their feelings or behavior) angry, hurt, or resentful because of one’s bad experiences or unjust treatment”.

      To all the diagnosing medical folks out there…feel free to ODD me.
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder feels just right.

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  18. Psychiatry has a long history of diminishing, demeaning and dismissing women. Psychiatry is “opinion based ‘medicine’ “ and it has nothing to do with the so called “patient” or how the “patient” feels but how the psychiatrist feels about the patient. Cognitive biases, hunches, impressions and opinions rule the day!

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  19. As a social worker and prior as an English major I was never ever exposed to any femanist history , analysis , or writing. Always Emily Dickinson always becsuse she fit the needed female prototype. Every female writer with tedth I had to find or disvover or stumble upon.
    Social had some good female voices but so diminished and Mary Richmond and Jane Addams given glacing emphasis and it was founded by white rich females who as I did realized oh its us and ithers.

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  20. There’s growing evidence that men and women experience pain through different lenses. Has anyone ever asked people who went through sex changes if their perception of pain changed? It seems like it might be a useful perspective to add to the conversation.

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  21. Now that this health care system has destroyed my health and my life with 4 decades of forced/coerced drugging, bs diagnoses, ECT, TMS, stigma, added trauma, denial of trauma, at 57 I have been spit out of the system. Great to learn that I shouldn’t trust it and only go to the doctor if I’m “really sick”. Does that include the chronic, debilitating illness that they caused with their “safe and effective medications for treating your chemical imbalance”?

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  22. We now also need to be worried about the doctors who we’re, finally, straight out being told to avoid for our own safety.
    Apparently they have something called moral injury. But, to be perfectly clear, this is not guilt and it is certainly not mental illness. It’s moral injury.

    The Moral Crisis of America’s Doctors https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/15/magazine/doctors-moral-crises.html?unlocked_article_code=2PYNJZ1aaWHxvKdxEOiAI7Ic4GnhUS0LuQ8xX4D8-ydmUoSIVYwbfUl20ifEkA5oTFonjDBwGtR05rmcBF8qIiF0abce1W4-E86QRqNWkvqKmltjBQvmocM5Ctci0JW2jhWzv04DusVsN9WSkvS0BZq2cnCypPkkT6tK9_qOzvbOeRSyalo03yL8FX41BfbmJTK8GOXNF7AFtJulecQUKMbuwhwRKSx2H15Y1vsHePvnnlF6b3c8Uw5slAap8bbOwoPfNYDX48OeKL5jimTsvN_PfuG7-WfKvC4Dl5VtKGKXwhuW5TRGLzYAUo4uc4_5WoH8VGrTWDT-nNRRe5oU&smid=nytcore-android-share

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