Escaping The Shackles of Psychiatry: What I’ve Seen and Survived, as Both Doctor and Patient


“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” said Edmund Burke. This is as true on a world stage as in a playground setting, where the bully holds sway over numerous kids who are too afraid to challenge their behaviour. It is how and why the tyrants prevail. So what, you may ask, has this to do with the psychiatric paradigm of today? Everything. In treatment as well as professional settings, bullies prevail.

In my own experience as both a patient and a doctor, I’ve seen this first-hand. I’ve endured the effects of that bullying on me, and I’ve witnessed the impact on my husband and children as well. They still struggle to understand what happened to me. 

The whole of my family had suffered horrendously during the seven years from 1994, when I was repeatedly hospitalized as a psychiatric patient, drugged, and given ECT. On top of it, during the last few years, when I spent more time detained in hospital than at home, some of the nurses accused me of “not wanting to get better” and urged the doctors to label me with “personality disorder.” 

As a last resort, I underwent experimental psychosurgery in September 2001 (bilateral anterior cingulotomy). It was never intended to be curative, but rather to give a remote possibility of improvement in only the direst cases of treatment-resistant depression, where there was nothing else left in the psychiatrist’s “tool kit.” Out of the third of cases they reported as responsive, no improvement was expected for at least nine months after the surgery.

To everyone’s great surprise, I made an unanticipated and very sudden recovery after eight days. The psychiatrists simply could not explain what had happened, and it was put down as a placebo response. But I remained well, and finally, the detention order was lifted. I was discharged from hospital and relieved of compulsory treatment.

By then, all our children were teenagers—and our eldest daughter had already left home to start her new career as a dancer. Naturally I was buoyant to be back home, but I had always been regarded as “the patient” in isolation from my social and family networks. We were not given any advice or support from healthcare services to help our family adjust to this enormous change in our circumstances. 

Once the family’s initial euphoria over my unexpected recovery had died down, it was a very, very stressful time for all of us. My marriage to Phil went through a far rockier patch than during the prior years. It is a testament to our relationship that we survived, just as it was a testament to my husband that he had held on so tightly to keep our children safe and away from the clutches of social services while I was ill. The children had had little opportunity to talk about what was going on for them. My illness was stigmatized, and therefore they could hardly admit to their own feelings at school or with their peers. We did find a counsellor for one of them, but that was not a great success; the counselor found reason to blame our parenting and came round to our home to tell us.

It is amazing that we got through it all, but we did. 

Before the emotional crisis labeled as depression in 1994, I had been about to embark on a postgraduate training scheme to become a consultant in emergency medicine. Ironically, in 2001, having survived through that first nightmare experience as a psychiatric patient, I considered changing my career path to psychiatry because I wanted to help people like me. But it was a challenge to return to work at all. In 2002, I felt lucky in my role as a very junior doctor in emergency medicine. I was determined to eliminate the bad attitude leveled at patients who came into our care with what were termed “mental health problems.” I soon realized that the nastiness towards those who were labeled with psychiatric diagnoses was ubiquitous within every branch of medicine, and that the job of changing hearts and minds was huge. 

(To clarify: Throughout this blog, I use the terms “mental illness,” “mental health problems,” and “psychiatric diagnosis” interchangeably. I do this only to illustrate the medical paradigm that still exists today. I am not a fan of these terms, and I do not think that labeling a person’s distress or experiences that manifest as unwanted symptoms or behaviours as a “disorder” is helpful.) 

It took courage to talk about my experiences as a patient, and I was surprised at how much it piqued my colleagues’ curiosity. Perhaps it was in speaking of the unspeakable, being bold while simultaneously identifying myself as “defective”since mental illness was seen as character weaknessthat it struck others as an oxymoron. Encouraged by the positive responses, I embraced the opportunity, and they allowed me to conduct some teaching sessions. Knowing no better, I still held to the biomedical theories, convinced by the psychiatrists that my years of treatment-resistant depression was caused by a physical phenomenon such as chemical imbalance, which science had not yet fully elucidated. This was also the information that my family had been given—and they had no reason to doubt it. However, I did not hold back when describing some of the despicable ways I had been treated as a patient. 

The Quest for Powerand Psychiatry’s Failure to See Itself

Psychiatry, of all the medical specialties, is the one which is supposed to hold wisdom when it comes to human behaviour, but there is none so blind as those who fail to see themselves. Unfortunately, psychiatry has always harboured those who crave power. And given that it is the only place in the medical profession where holding power is legitimized and encouraged, it breeds the exact environment for those with such tendencies to hide in plain sight. While there are as many good people committed to helping those in distress in psychiatry as elsewhere, it seems they remain unable or unwilling to stand their ground and say “no” to the harm that is being done to patients. 

So, when I extend the playground metaphor to psychiatric practice, I see the patient as the victim who is bullied by the many well-intentioned practitioners under the influence of their malign ideology. In a way, such practitioners are both victims of bullying and bullies themselves.

It is no coincidence that those who are actually good at their jobs, and want to provide genuine and helpful care, wind up leaving the malevolent atmospheres within psychiatric inpatient settings and go to work in the community, where they have more freedom to do what is right. I saw this first-hand during my work and my treatment. There were of course a few brave souls who stayed working on the wards desperate for the situation to change, but all too often, they found themselves compromising their core values and suffered moral injury or burnout as a result.

All of this deeply affected my husband and kids. As a family we hadn’t talked about what had happened while I was depressed, and the reluctance has continued ever since.  Within five years of my “recovery,” the children had moved on with their lives, my husband was laid off, and as a couple we ended up moving to Aberdeen in Scotland where Phil had found a new job; as a family, we never all lived under the same roof again. I was accepted by the new deanery, and as part of the plan to finish my training in emergency medicine, I had a job at the local hospital. But one of the managers there was a bully, and I refused to submit to his regime of humiliation. 

It was 2006, and I was excited when I was offered a job as a staff grade doctor working on an inpatient psychiatric unit in the same city of Aberdeen. I expected to see the success that psychiatrists always claimed to have when they treated my own mental illness. They had told me how rare it was to be as resistant to treatment as I had been, so I was shocked to discover that few if any of the patients on my ward got better. They were just stuck in endless cycles of treatment, staying on psychiatrists’ lists for years and years. This was the catalyst that forced me to seriously question what was happening in psychiatry.

I kept thinking that if the drugs we prescribed for psychiatric conditions were, in fact, the correct treatment, then surely patients should recover. Similarly, ECT was supposed to accelerate recovery. Too often, it didn’t. I was confused. What had happened to the norm? Then suddenly it hit me: that fight I had had with nursing staff who constantly accused me of “not wanting to get better,” and who wanted me re-diagnosed with “personality disorder”? That was it. PD was exactly the “get out jail free” card that psychiatry was using to blame patients for their failures. From my new perspective working in psychiatry, I saw this repeatedly. 

While this was the start of my awakening, and I tentatively questioned what was happening to others, I still wasn’t quite ready to do the deep dive of what happened to me. 

To be clear, most individual psychiatrists sincerely believe they are right despite all the evidence to the contrary. They may be charming and good-natured, but that is not enough for people to change their opinions. Most psychiatrists still practicing today continue to believe there is no alternative to the current traditional views and use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) to diagnose their patients and prescribe unscientific treatments. It takes courage to challenge the status quo, which might cost them their career and damage their livelihoods. 

As for me working in the system, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t keep signing prescriptions for psychiatric drugs, which made people even more ill without any hope of getting better. I was miserable as hell in the hellhole created by my own profession. But I didn’t see my response as being normal or warranted given the situation—because nobody else did. Apparently, I was the abnormal one. I was the outsider, and what was happening to me was a clear indication that I had relapsed. I will never forget the sense of hopelessness when I realized I was stuck in a career I hated. The bully who had driven me out of emergency medicine was a powerful doctor in the same locality, and I believed him when he said he would make sure that I never returned to the career where I had thrived.

We had moved 600 miles away from friends and family, and I knew no one. Before 2006 was out, I had succumbed to my distress and went into treatment for round two; I was hospitalized and back in the role as psychiatric patient. Our children were furious. I had let them down by getting “ill” again, but even worse, by giving them no warning that this was a possibility. I had told them I was cured. Yet here I was, drugged and unhappy all over again. My husband was also overwhelmed with disappointment. 

Coming to The Truth, and Sharing it With My Family

In every setting, a leader by definition has supporters. Those in positions of power or responsibility always seem to have enough people willing to suck up to them, do their bidding, and carry out their tasks. Even psychopaths delegate their heinous crimes to their followers. But whoever the leader is, most of the time, the followers are just regular people like you and me, folks who soon melt into the background if the person at the top falls out of favour. They are everywhere, these good people. They are the ones who uphold oppressive regimes and will never taste justice for their complicity. They are those who turn a blind eye to child abuse, or who become just like Pol Pot’s lackeys in the jungles of Cambodia, responsible for the genocide in that beautiful country. They are the people who inhabited the colonies and approved of discriminatory racist practices. 

Today, they are the direct beneficiaries of the pharmaceutical industry who know the harms that the drugs are doing to patients; some of them may be psychiatrists, doctors, or nurses who refuse to open their eyes when they witness their patients seriously ill from severe adverse effects. However good these people are, perhaps they are also too afraid to challenge the status quo. Perhaps that is why they would rather continue prescribing inefficacious and toxic drugs than confront the reality. Even good people are capable of deceiving themselves, believing that they are doing the right thing, even as they hold patients down or force medication on innocent victims of a malign psychiatric system.  

I witnessed this plenty when I worked in the psychiatric wards, and here I was, a prisoner again. Like so many patients, I felt unable to defend myself. We were housed in locked wards without the freedom to come and go, even though we had committed no crime, with no one advocating for us. We did what we could to survive, and misery compounded our misery. 

After seven months in hospital and more ECT, I managed to secure a discharge, but I was in a weakened state. I had been subjected to coercionsometimes by the nicest of people. How could I complain about that? My own true nature was suppressed by high-dose psychiatric drugs, and I felt nothing anymore. I was a nobody, and it took a move away from Scotland in 2009 to pull myself out of the quagmire.

Being available to help with childcare for one of the grandchildren gave me sufficient impetus to keep going. And yet my whole family continued to be under the illusion that I had an illness requiring psychiatric treatment. Even my husband—who by then had decided to get trained as a psychotherapist himself—had to compartmentalize his thinking. He drip-fed me alternative theories during his three-year degree course, giving me confidence to rebel against the advice my psychiatrists had given. When I discovered that taking long-term drugs classed as antipsychotics could shorten a person’s life, my self-preservation instinct took overand I managed to stop flupentixol, which reduced the sedation. I was able to stay awake for most of the day. My brain must have adapted somewhat to the remaining drugs, including the off-license, high doses of venlafaxine and trazodone, but I still had to live with severe adverse effects. 

My very lovely professor of psychiatry made it abundantly clear that if I reduced the doses or stopped the antidepressant drugs, I might “relapse” and become seriously ill again (with no mention of withdrawal). Fear secured my compliance. Work had been expressly forbidden as being detrimental to my wellbeing, but in 2013, financial necessity fueled my resolve, and I returned to work in a local emergency department.

Gaining my freedom has been gradual, and it took until 2018 to fully escape from the shackles of psychiatry. It hasn’t been easy coming to terms with the fact that all the psychiatric treatment had just made me worse, had been unnecessary, and had long term consequences for the whole of my precious family. In addition, I had to question the books I had written describing my illness, and ultimately wrote another one from my new perspective.

Since coming to the truth myself, I have tread carefully while trying to share the revelations it took me so long to acquire. I cannot turn the clock back. The fact remains that our children had to grow up with a difficult home life where their mother was largely absent and their father was preoccupiedtrying to earn enough money and keep the household running, on his own, with little help. Even though our children knew they were loved, they did not receive the emotional support they so badly needed during the seven-year nightmare. As their mother, I had been at the center of their concern, when as children they should have been at the center of my concern. 

Both Phil and I recognize we made plenty of mistakes throughout the period of my illness and then again once it was over, all of which compounded the feeling that our children had lost out on their lives. I believed that although I never wanted to hurt them, I had rightly earned their fury. At the time, all I could see was my failure as a mother who hadn’t given them the lives I wanted them to have. I didn’t see that psychiatry was responsible, and even believing that I had a serious “biological” illness didn’t let me off the hook, either. The self-blame which was so pivotal in the spiral into depression was still very much in operation. Psychiatry had medicated me with pills, but never helped me tackle the root causes of my distress. As I blamed myself, I also became the target of blame, the family scapegoat. When I did finally find my way out of the psychiatric catastrophe that had defined my life, it was as if the whole bedrock of our understanding had been blown out of existence. It was necessary then to return to the traumas of my childhood and re-learn how to see myself as a good person who had a right to feel the way I felt. 

There are many times when I feel impatient, still waiting for the foundations to become secure enough to have the necessary and meaningful discussions over what really happened. But such conversations must be consensual and cannot be forced. My family had seen my life as unreliable, like a roller-coaster, when I suddenly dropped into profound depression and suicidality. How can they be sure that it will not happen again? How can they afford to become close if at some level they still fear I might suddenly leave them? It’s hardly surprising that we, as parents, need to earn our children’s trust anew.

Here we go with baby steps, reaching out and hoping that one day all of us, in a now-expanded family, might know the truth: that those nightmares are well and truly over. Each one of us will have to come to terms with deep emotions, including anger and regret, as we recognize that it could have been different. Each one of us has to face up to the fact that good people did nothing in psychiatry, just as good people do nothing in other tragic circumstances. 

I hope that my family will see that not everyone is like that; I hope that all of us will see that it is better to do the right thing than allow evil to triumph.


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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  1. Cathy, this is so heart-warming — I really appreciate your courage, your insight, and your pulling through against ferocious odds. Well done.

    I still harbour the ambition of writing a book to expose this scam — I’m in tricky negotiations at the moment — I’ll send the man a copy of the above — it might turn the tide.

    Well done, keep well, and anything I can do to assist, i most certainly will.

    Thank you

    Bob Johnson, reforming psychiatrist — or aspiring reformer. . . . . 1 December 2023

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    • I don’t want to be antagonistic, negative or offensive.

      But, without disclosure of the wrongs a practitioner has been involved in, colluded, or just stayed silent, I find the intent of reforming, correcting, etc., at least disingenuous.

      More akin to a polititian that claims to be reborn, to be different, while… I guess the rest is inferable.

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  2. Cathy: This is a very moving article. I was incarcerated in two state hospitals in Maryland and West Virginia, a private hospital and a group home in 1989-1990. I’ve managed to have a great life with my life with my wife and son.
    The thing that saved me from a worse fate was the humanity of the auxiliary personal that you spend the majority of your time with while you are incarcerated. I tried to escape from Springfield Hospital in Sykesville Mayland by throwing a chair through the window. I was put in a cockhold, strapped to the bed, shot with Thorazine and left to urinate and deficate (sic) on myself. After the released from this, they assigned Willie, the biggest blackest man the could find to monitor me. Willie treated me with respect and made an awful experience less so.
    This was not the worst aspect of this. The worst aspect is that the drugs that they prescribed to me for life harmed my physical health. I understand that your experience greatly harmed your family relationships, but I’m glad to see that you escaped the worst experience one can experience to your physical health from psychiatry.

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    • Thankyou for your comment. I am sorry to here of your own experiences. I have not entirely escaped the long term consequences on my physical health. I have protracted withdrawal but I think worse than that is the way I have been treated or not treated as a result of the stigma associated with the ‘diagnosis.’ Too many of us have our physical symptoms dismissed and that can result in delayed treatment, or misdiagnosis, as well as the direct harm that resulted from treatment.

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  3. Kudos Dr. Wield!!!

    It’s not every day a psychiatrist knows what it’s like to actually BE a “psychiatric patient” — which (unfairly?) gives Dr. Wield’s story all the more power as personal testimony from a psychiatrist has the potential to blow the lid off psychiatry’s bullshit “biological” narrative like nothing else.

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  4. I’m honestly amazed that you are still able to work. I’m not. I’ve gotten myself down to just two medications, after being on a cocktail of 7. I’ve gotten myself divorced, and it’s amazing what not being in a terrible marriage will do to relieve suicidal feelings. But I can’t pull myself together to work. I haven’t quit yet, though. Maybe someday.

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    • Someday … although I can’t promise it will be easy … since, be forewarned, even after you’ve weaned carefully off the psych drugs you can experience a “drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis,” which will be misdiagnosed as a “return of your illness.” Don’t believe them! But be prepared.

      And most definitely do have hope that it is possible, since many have survived the insane lies and fraud and neurotoxic poisonings of psychiatry and psychology. Have hope, Laura. And God bless.

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  5. Dear Cathy,
    Yours is an unbelievable story of rare courage and fortitude. It seems inconceivable that you survived! My late husband was committed to fighting the system (from outside) to the extent that our family life was dysfunctional and chaotic. I hope that your poor children will understand some day. My husband’s mission was to transform the system–he thought a completely new paradigm was needed. So, I am attempting to encapsulate his ideas in an essay. (He died from cancer.) May your future be filled with love!

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  6. Dear Cathy,
    I hope you and your family are well. I have feared psychiatry for my entire life as it has been used to threaten me with physical incarceration and enforced behavior modification. I never did anything wrong. I repeat, I did nothing to merit these threats. What you are reporting is very real.

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  7. I have been on psychiatric hold twice, but when they wanted me full blown committed several years later my husband flat out refused. I had been in psychiatric care off and on for over 20 years. My husband helped me process the trauma of childhood, he helped me work through it and heal. It was not light trauma and lasted the majority of my childhood. He helped me become me and without his help I would have never healed. Now I am learning to trust myself to realize I am not crazy like they brainwashed me into believing.

    Thank you for this article it gives me something to look at and say see it really was all garbage.

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  8. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety since 2006. I was hospitalized twice, the last time was in 2015. I totally agree with the uselessness of psychiatric treatment. Have seen several psychologists that had absolutely no clue how to help me. I’m on several medications to this day but am afraid to stop them for fear of another episode. My question is simply this. If it truly is a question of brain malfunction, how do deal with it? You stated that you delved into your past traumas and low self esteem issues so who or what helped you with that?

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    • Hi Marge
      I think getting the help that’s right for you is very individual and in my case was trial and error. I wanted to talk about it and I thought therapy/counselling would help me but it took years to get the right person. I did stop my meds very slowly but it has to be what you choose and preferably with support as withdrawal can be a nightmare. I’m not sure what you mean by brain malfunction. What happened to me and my subsequent responses to that in later life were understandable. That wasn’t a brain malfunction but I was treated as though my brain was broken. I think that what helps any individual depends on our culture, community, family and personality as well as what our particular circumstances or past traumas are.

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    • Marge I know you asked the blog author how. Not me. I want to answer it anyway. I will not be painting a pretty picture full of false hope tho. So beware.
      I can tell you that even though I was in psychotherapy constantly for 39 years (with different consecutive therapists) the cocktail of psych drugs with their adverse reactions prevented me from processing any previous traumas, including the ones I experienced as a
      Mental patient. Getting off the drugs has caused its own overwhelming problems but I can at least now begin processing ON MY OWN all that that has happened in my lifetime I don’t need a therapist or coach or any one person. I have begun to refuse to believe any of psychiatry’s lies now
      . Including that I need to be fixed or that I’m an incurable incompetent. We are all capable of growing and improving our lives (to a great extent) by looking inward. We do not have to ever put our faith in an outside authority. We can pick from a variety of outside ‘Resources’ (not experts/authorities) then have faith in ourselves to choose what is right for us as individuals. But that’s so much harder to see/do when you’re drugged into a
      Cult of bullies.
      Withdrawal IS horrific. But it is NOT relapse and it is very mentally if not physically freeing. But beware: not many will see it this way and may legally force you back. AND you may loose lots of family & friends if you denounce your identity as a mental patient. As ludicrous as that sounds, it is very likely to happen. Some of us get to be the “designated mental patient” but in reality we are all on equal footing as far as being traumatized and impaired by “life’s traumas” No one escapes that. No one is perfect. Some just get diagnosed.
      Psychiatry really does change, for the worse, lives forever. But unless you’re dead-there is always at least some hope.

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  9. I finally stopped all medications of anti depressants and mood stabilizers and found my freedom after 10 years and took control
    Of my life. Psychiatrist induce fear to keep you on medication Instead of teaching how to cope with bad feeling or correcting behavior insight. Every wrong judgment I made was due to medication. It doesn’t make you better, it just makes you worse. Relaxation and calmness and clarity of life goal, staying away from toxic people is the only solution.

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  10. Cathy, what a heart-wrenching story. Wishing you the very best with your husband and children. I have witnessed this first-hand with family members. They were treated with prolixin. Side effects were horrible. Throw in a few more meds and there you have a zombie-like state. This was for schizophrenia. There is no simple answer. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. The article does not describe what EXACTLY happened to the author. How exactly did the psychiatrists mistreat her? When did she first become depressed and how did she end up in a psych ward? Finally, how should psychiatrists have treated her if medication was not appropriate?

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    • It’s not really a legitimate approach to say, “What else should they have done?” It assumes that doing SOMETHING is essential and that NOT doing what they propose is foolish unless you have something “better” to replace it. It is possible that antidepressants were destructive AND there was not a “better treatment” available. We should not assume “antidepressants” as some sort of minimum standard of treatment that is the default unless we have something “better” to propose. Sometimes nothing is better than doing things that are destructive.

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    • Severe depression was my take on KW narrrative.

      Whether there was something else, I don’t think it’s relevant.

      There was an attempt, as against many other persons to label them “personality disordered”, as far as I understood.

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  12. I really appreciate you for enlightening people on the problems of psychiatrist treatment. I have been put into involuntary inpatient psychiatric hospitals and ordered by the court system to take antipycotics for over twenty years. The system has convinced my family and husband that is was necessary for me to be on these debilitating drugs. I’m am so severely disabled with Tardive Dyskinisia and Parkinsonism that finally this past July my pcp and the medical emergency room hospital where I went for so much pain has said no more antipycotics. Now my psychiatrist says OK no more antipycotics. I was diagnosed bipolar years ago. I have had severe withdrawal and amnow dealing with the effects of permanent Tardive Dyskinisia. I tried the new medication Ingrezza only for it to give me Parkinsonism. I hope that society will finally come to realize how horrific the mental health system is.

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    • The symptoms of Parkinsonism are very similar to the symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. But have hope, it’s not always a “permanent” problem, or at least it does get better with time, Deana. I went from head banging (albeit, just on my pillows) during withdrawal, to only having a little leg wiggling when I sleep. So do have hope.

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        • Maybe I’m wrong, Nikita. But I do know my grandmother was briefly misdiagnosed with Parkinson’s, after being unnecessarily put on Stelazine, because she tended to be prophetic. Thankfully, she was quickly taken off of Stelazine, and was fine for her remaining 50 years of life.

          But, just like the psychiatrists are unable to differentiate between the symptoms of anticholinergic toxidrome and “schizophrenia.” My family’s experience is that the psychiatrists are also often unable to differentiate between the symptoms of Parkinson’s and TD.

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      • Sorry, respectfully, they aren’t.

        Parkisonism and tardive dyskinesia are different.

        From wikipedia:
        Parkinsonism is a clinical syndrome characterized by tremor, bradykinesia (slowed movements), rigidity, and postural instability.

        “Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a disorder that results in involuntary repetitive body movements, which may include grimacing, sticking out the tongue or smacking the lips.[1] Additionally, there may be rapid jerking movements or slow writhing movements.”

        Still from wikipedia:

        “[In TD] In some cases, an individual’s legs can be so affected that walking becomes difficult or impossible.[9] These symptoms are the opposite of people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. ”

        “”Tardive dystonia … Tardive akathisia … Tardive tourettism .. Tardive myoclonus” I would add Tardive Psychosis, for elements of Tardive Dyskinesia.

        The abnormal movements of TD are unlike those of Parkinsonism in its rythm and location.

        Still from wikipedia:

        “Drug-induced (“pseudoparkinsonism”)”

        “About 7% of people with parkinsonism developed symptoms as a result of side effects of medications, mainly neuroleptic antipsychotics…”

        And Tardive involves no more medication, while Parkinsonism I would hope reverts to “normal” after cesation of drug administration.

        Bur maybe there is “Tardive Parkinsonism”.

        “The nosology of tardive syndromes”


        “The term tardive parkinsonism has been proposed for those drug induced parkinsonism patients who have persistent symptoms following discontinuation of the DRBA. However, there is a strong possibility that the DRBA may have simply unmasked subclinical parkinsonism or that there is coincident Parkinson disease developing during the period the patient is taking the DRBA.”

        So, if tardive Parkinsonism was not Parkinson’s Disease “unmasked”, it would be, by definition, Tardive Akathisia, so maybe you are right, partially. 🙂

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  13. I am sorry I do not agree. I was influenced with mad in America articles and wanted to quit psychiatry and almost did. NHS psychiatry in England is not the greatest but there are so many reasons that patients continue to be ill. England is a place where freedom exists without responsibility to Take steps to feel better themselves. Patients look to psychiatrists to ‘fix’ them whilst they continue to exercise freedoms to use alcohol, cannabis,drugs. The society is broken. Young people have children early without planning and hence are not the best parents and often re enact the abuse they are subjected to on their children. Generations being on benefits is a whole another can you have mental health wellbeing without aspiration and without not earning your own living?

    I personally have tried to de prescribe and still do .. but I am very careful. One such case was in hospital for 2 years after slow de prescribing.. so go figure..
    A human body damaged by chronic stress Secondary to traumatic experiences can benefit from psychotropic drugs especially if the patient concerned is unable to make lifestyle changes because of lack of will and motivation to change.

    I am appalled by the over prescribing and the trend that everybody is ADHD these days but that does not mean psychotropics medication do not have a role.

    A good Psychiatrist is not divorced from using psychological therapies and is aware of trauma recovery.

    In the end you can only give compassionate support with drugs and therapies with good faith and wait for patients to fire up the life engines themselves.

    Most Critical psychiatrists cannot give a good model themselves.. it is easy to be critical..
    I am appalled by over prescribing though..

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    • “One such case was in hospital for 2 years after slow de prescribing.. so go figure..”

      Maybe the drugs the patient had been prescribed caused them permanent damage. Can you prove they didn’t? Maybe the hospital was abusive and benefitted from keeping the patient incarcerated. Do you know what the patient/”case” experienced in the hospital? Were they drugged in the hospital? I think it’s very likely that they were heavily medicated, don’t you? Do you ever think about what it’s like for a person, being locked up like that…even if they don’t get abused, which is just a matter of luck?

      You seem to judge people who don’t work. I don’t work. I was disabled by psychiatry. ECT made it impossible to do my job, which required a functioning short-term memory.
      Now, no employer will give me a chance because I’m viewed as mental ill. I have a huge gap in my resume that I can’t explain.
      Psychiatrists have made the stigma against their patients so powerful…you have really succeeded making the people you’re supposed to be helping into 3rd class citizens without any rights. Psychiatry caused all of that. You seem to want to blame patients. Why is it that psychiatrists are so pleased with having such a high failure rate? It doesn’t bother you that so many people come under the power of your profession and wind up disabled or dead? At least I know I’m not doing a job that harms people.

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      • “I personally have tried to de prescribe and still do .. but I am very careful. One such case was in hospital for 2 years after slow de prescribing.. so go figure..”

        Are you familiar with protracted withdrawal? Tardive dyskinesia? Tardive akathisia?

        I think your attitude about de-prescribing — “I went slow and they still wound up in the hospital” — is alarming.
        The last thing a patient in a fragile condition who is attempting to withdraw from these drugs and who was probably never warned about any of what they’re experiencing needs is a psychiatrist who shrugs off their pain with a “go figure”. If you don’t want the responsibility of a patient’s well being in these circumstances, which some patients don’t survive, then you shouldn’t be a doctor.

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        • Apparently it miss the commenter that deprescribing sometimes is not doable, there are several main posts, articles at MIA to show, that for some people, “deprescribing” psychaitric drugs is IMPOSSIBLE.

          There are at least 2 psychiatrists who told their hell and back to hell trying to “quit” psychiatric drugs, to great, apparent regret, at even starting them. Although I admit not clearly or convicingly stated thus. And those were “just” antidepressants of the SSRI SSNRI kind…

          Like some denial still going on they were also deceived, being pros, or training to be pros of the dark arts of psychiatry.

          Like a wizardry spell gone self-reflecting… Voldemortian and all that…

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          • If people say it’s impossible for them personally to deprescribe , that is their body and we should listen & not judge. But do not tell me or anyone else that’s impossible for them. It’s a personal decision that each person should be allowed to make for themselves without judgement from anyone else. I’m tired of losing friends over this!!!

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          • “But do not tell me or anyone else that’s impossible for them.”

            Ok, how about: “There are some people for whom it has been impossible to withdraw?”. That sounds broader but still somewhat accurate.


            Although there is the comment of a pro here at MIA with aspirations to open a withdrawal clinic or a chain of clinics who claimed he would not attempt to withdraw a patient that has used, I guess continuously, SSRIs SNRIs for more than five years?. Would that be called impossible for some?.

            Also, claiming it is possible for ALL or ANYONE sounds somewhat naive, respectfully. And perhaps, reckeless. “Love or will does not conquer all”.

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    • I find so many non-sensical statements that just repeat the neoliberal lingo:

      1. “… there are so many reasons that patients continue to be ill…”, no, there are explanations but no reasons, reasons are causal, prove it!.

      2. “England is a place where freedom exists without responsability”. No responsability exists without freedom, it’s a basic principle of ethics. Seems you are understanding it backwards. Patients forcibly or involuntary treated can’t be responsible by definition. The responsability of their outcome is solely owned by those forcing treatment on them. Basic principle of ethics.

      3. “Patients look to psychiatrists to ‘fix’ them”, nope, patients are deceived into believing psychiatry can fix anything beyond providing income to practitioners not good enough to earn income otherwise.

      4. ” The society is broken.”, show me a society all the way back to Katal-Huyuk that is not “broken” somehow?. How do you meassure or prove one it is not or that it is?. Is that subjective, appreciative or objective, science based?. Or just predjucide and/or repeating something heard at sunday mass?.

      5. “Young people have children early without planning…”, yes and no, 10yr old girls can’t have abortions when pregnant in some places in the third and FIRST world. Old women do get involuntary pregnant you know?. How do you judge good parenting? only outcome based?. “often re enact the abuse they are subjected to on their children” prove it!, prove 100% do, or that there is a way, scientifically or empirically to distinguished hapenstance from causality. Or prove often enough has a well-defined meaning?. Do you understand what I mean by well-defined meaning?. Or do I need to clarify your thoughts?.

      6. “Generations being on benefits is a whole another story…”, I partially agree: practitioners of the pseudosciences who pray on the one’s who do not know, or can’t avoid psychiatry, to me are really “wellfare queens or KINGS”, of the most vicious kind. That’s the problem with labels and PREJUDICE.

      7. “…how can you have mental health wellbeing without aspiration and without not earning your own living?” Simple, ABOLISHI PSYCHIATRY!. Let practitioners earn a living by being really decent, productive, and not causing more harm that “benefit”. “If you want to change the world, change first yourself”…

      8. “A good Psychiatrist”, let’s get real, “let’s get cereal”. How do YOU identify or define a good psychiatrist?. One that agrees with your statements, opinions or way of earning a living?.

      9. “In the end you can only give compassionate support with drugs and therapies with good faith and wait for patients to fire up the life engines themselves.” Oh!, I get it!, is that evidence based?, even logical or science based?. Prove it!. Put an argument that PROVES that big whooper.

      10. ” it is easy to be critical..” prove it…

      To me, you were not critical enough…

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    • I for one know there are many many other neurotoxins out there besides psychiatry. And I do not deny the realness of emotional & cognitive distress. But psych meds are toxic and psychiatrists who prescribe/coerce/ force them are compounding any underlying issue. I cannot speak for everyone here but there’s no need to keep running back & forth from one end of the anti psych movement to another.

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      • I would add practitioners who are deceitful or at “least” dishonest in the sense of not providing the bare minimum of information to make an informed choice(!?).

        As an example: there is one practitioner that for all his intents at helping people withdrawing was still asking how to tell patients tardive akathisia from SSRIs withdrawal can happen at any time.

        With the implication, I infer, that honesty in that regard would discourage his future patients from trying to withdraw, or that it would prove somehow burdensome to be “afraid” of that possibility. Present obligation to be honest against future benefits with a conflict since the practitioner will not benefit if the patient says no…

        Sad thing, I am no lawyer, but informed consent probably has the requirement of not being insensitive, but it definitely has the requirement of being complete, in the sense of providing and having all, enough?, relevant information to make a choice.

        And sadder still, the judge of that, completeness, cannot be the practitioner, since the value of good and bad outcomes is assigned by the patient, each one of them in individualized manner, who will suffer the bad outcomes or the benefits of the intervention. The patient will put his or her money where the practitioners mouth is…

        And that requires honesty, transparency and good intent. By definition, honesty does not include wilfull omissions, no matter how good the intent was.

        Honesty is a moral value in it’s own right, sometimes in opposition with good will. But honesty has more moral and possibly legal weight for informed consent than good will… particularly when there is a conflict of interest on the side of the practitioner. That makes him or her a poor judge of what is “complete”.

        That kind of faulty, incompetent analysis by practitioners, even by bioethicists is to me a serious consequential problem with current medical ethics:

        Subsuming ALL, across the moral spectrum, across all moral values involved in each and every patients’ choice to four principles: justice, beneficence, nonmeleficience and autonomy is, to me, a catastrophic reductionism of the, at least, moral values of ALL humanity, in each and all medical situations. (!?).

        And as stated, it does not cover explicitly the first step into the treatment journey: informed consent. That depends heavily on honesty, not autonomy. I can be willfully, justly and fairly ignorant of all relevant information and still be autonomous. Like a rolling stone…

        For example. I can harm no one behaving thus, and I might enjoy it all the way to county jail, at least, just for perturbing, even harming an abstract called “public order”.


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  14. As a patient I have found Internal Family Systems to be a miracle. Schwartz’ books also help us understand much that is wrong in this field, politics, and the trauma of western society. Every psychiatrist should be required to study Dr Richard Schwartz IFS method, and be trained to use this therapy. Mixed with ketamine infusions I am finally understanding and dealing with 30+ years of depression and anxiety.

    On the other hand, trying to get help for an addict son who suffers from schizoaffective disorder has shown me how BROKEN our mental health and incarceration systems are in America. There is no hope. I believe IFS could help with his addiction part if he were willing. But schizoaffective disorder……hopeless.

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    • No, “schizoaffective disorder” is no more “……hopeless,” than any of the other scientifically “invalid” DSM disorders, Joni.

      The “schizophrenia treatments” can actually create the positive symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome. And they can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.

      Maintain hope that your son can heal, Joni, because he’s going to need your help, love, and support. But I absolutely agree the “mental health” system is horribly broken in America.

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    • Excuse me Joni, but I am offended by your remark. I was DXex schizo-affective at 17. I’m 57 now. My mom wrote me off too, immediately, as hopeless. That exposed me to multiple predators for multiple decades. There was a time when my mom was physically afraid of me & thought I’d never accomplish anything.She did me a great disservice & I feel more anger, abandonment and betrayed by her than any of my MHS ‘treaters’! She now apologizes and tells me how much she trusts me with her physical & financial welfare as she is now elderly & ill. Please do not give up on your son. I admit it; I was a real & total mess but I was not hopeless thank you
      Very much. Even if they
      Tried their damned-nest to make me that way!!

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      • Similar story here, they tried to enroll me in the army, without admitting but expressing the feeling, the thought, the belief that I was never going to achieve something, despite all evidence to the contrary: grades, speech, attitudes, behaviours.

        My parents were and still are more deluded than practitioners. At least they know deep down they are fakes who do it for the money and the suffering they impose on other people.

        Like zombies who hurt at being undead!. “Must eat brains…”

        Muahhahaha, bunny fingers to my forehead, cape to me nose, cat zizzle in my mouth and a tiny paw in my left hand…


        And I still believe the only reason I was not given in adoption is because in their racist form of defining beauty I was as pretty, as they might have had a son. Ironic, they were proud by vomiting on their family, not always mine, their racist ideology…

        And if that sounds a whopper, my mother told me I could “bring” any gal, except a colored one, and I was a late teen when she said that. But she still claims she is not racist…

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    • There is a difference between something being hopeless, looking hopeless and feeling hopeless.

      One way to tell the difference is other people’s opinion, knowledge, feelings and insights.

      How does you son feel about your hopelessness when it comes to his life’s choices?. How did you parents felt about yours?. Did you know?.

      Do you know that from YOUR son? or you merely hand wave it as schizoaffective?. did your parents did that to you, hand wave your thoughts, reasons, intuitions, emotions or simple preferences? or you have another issue your son or your parents do or did not have?.

      Another way to try to pick it up appart is putting oneself in someone else shoes.

      Have you tried that for your son?.

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  15. Wow!!! I just feel a lot of tears and can certainly relate to you. Your Bravery and Courage are astounding!!! I posted this on Facebook in the hope that many read your article!!! I have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and was dying 1990 when it was called MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) as well as a written diagnosis by a very kind psychiatrist in 1992 which unfortunately got me fired due to the Stigma of my diagnosis. I was an accomplished and well respected and admired Electrical Engineer for my work and had saved the company Millions of dollars on a certain project for which I was considered an expert. I never worked again because I had seriously injured my spine in getting my personal belongings out after repeated requests for help since I had injured my spine previously in 1987 while working.

    Kudos to you and Thank You very much for sharing your story!!!

    Lari B. Davis

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  16. I suffer from Schizo affective disorder and take medication for my condition . When I messed up my medication ,at one point ,I ended hospital suffering from acute psychosis . Although this was an extremely difficult time and I did put in a formal complaint about my treatment at times – I believe I needed the treatment that I went through..Yes the system is not perfect but psychiatric care is necessary for millions of people . It seems to me that you ,at times are blaming all of the care that you received, and I’m sure you suffered at times from bullying , instead of thinking about how the system could be improved . Your life may have been blighted by mental illness but it’s nobody’s fault – you’ve just been very unwell at times ,which is not your fault either. Perhaps you should utilise some of your resentment into trying to help change the system – in some kind of way

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    • I have much resentment and would love to use that constructively & peacefully; not to change psychiatry but to create a world where 1. It did not needed
      2. Where it is not allowed to. exist
      I would create safe places for people to rest & rejuvenate from any grief or distress they feel.

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    • That might sound a balanced view of psychiatric care, but it is not the case:

      In the aggregate psychiatric care causes more harm than good. Many pieces here at MIA by Peter Gotszche show that: in the aggregate psychiatry has to be abolished.

      Second, there is no proof, not even a mere implication in CW’s narrative that points to her having any sort of mental, biological illness, none, there can’t be proof that any “mentally disordered” individual has a brain, neurochemical, organic disease. NONE, even the DSM claims so, and therefore no biological treatment has ANY reason to be effective. There are beliefs and correlations about it’s effectiveness, but no reason, and therefore biological psychiatric treatments are by definition irrational, simple logic.

      In fact, the too early atypical improvement in her “severe” depression after cingulotomy, suggests the abscence of a chronic organic brain disease. Made better too early by brain damage?. Put like that strains belief, and probably speaks of desperation on many sufferers at the hands of psychiatry, without putting words or intent in CW’s narrative.

      More reason to abolish it without being paternalistic about it. We, after all, are not paternalistic about safety belts, or selling panzers or gun cannons to anyone who can pay for one, even if he or she signs: “I’ll be very carefull with it”.

      Just the ECT reviews and articles, narratives at MIA would be enough to abolish psychiatry.

      You speak of NOT blaming the system for damages, well, brain damage, surgical damage, for a non-existent condition is one damage, that I think cannot be hand waved with the rhetoric, the mere words of a comment.

      Respectfully, but it seems to me you are unaware of the many, many narratives of people, other humans like you and me, damaged by psychiatry, not merely not helped by it.

      And the narratives at MIA are but the tip of a larger issue with damages by harmfull, pro-psychiatry rhetoric. I guesstimate, with input from marketeers, that at best 5% of complaints are ever made public…

      I invite you to read those narratives with an open heart, an open mind…

      I don’t know the particularities of the bullying/mobbing imposed on CW, but I can tell you I went to a medical school were people were “invited”, after being screened for “personality disorders” to medication induced hypnosis sessions, that in the belief of a professor were intended to be sexually exploitative, at least tangentially. In very offensive language, but that was the 90s, the peak of the AIDS epidemic in Mexico, and homophobic rethoric was taking impetus…

      And from a professor at another school, from her experience, many young adults ended up badly mentally damaged by such “hypnosis” sessions. All apparently of slender boyish looks…

      Which from a victim that became peddler of such hypnotism, were recorded in front of several strangers. For reasons not even him could explain, even if he apparently agreed to submit to that.

      Guess this fellow peddled this medical school to his sister, to my strong, and thankfulled discouragement. And this fellow confessed in front of many of his peers, after being caught, of steeling books from the library at the command/encouragement of the coordinator, the instigator of the hypnosis sessions, who was a professor, even the other professors were affraid of.

      Guess this fellow was let go after his confession by the library guard at the door, that powerfull that professor was, even calling his name was enough to brake the law, and let the law be broken with economic damage to one of the biggest universities not in Mexico, but in latin america!.

      There are witnesseses to his crying shout when the alarm went off… all of them female, oddly enough, you know, like female intuition kind of thing. They were, like 8-10 of them, at the door, waiting for the event to happen. It gives me goosebumps just remebering that.

      And this professor, the summa cum laude of wickedness at that school, fondled in front of 30 students the naked back of his adult daughter!, in a very lascivious way I must qualify. To almost everyone’s gasp!. Like in the “Traffic” movie, without the skin colour difference. She apparently was dressed for some sort of gala!?.

      Now, I dare anyone to hand wave that rhetoric. Medicine, despite the belief of society at large does hide and nurture a lot of dangerous psychopaths. At least in my experience, a professor’s experience of “sexual” intent, and a profesor of psychology about “mental” damages to some of her former high-school students.

      And that is only my experience from ONE medical school, on a single case of hypnotic aspirations. There were rumors of AIDS deliberate contagion by a psychiatrist on students! (“we don’t know how many confused little boys this fellow took with him”, were as I remeber this professor’s words), on their first year at med school!. I was pressured to forge research records and medical notes, and goes on and on…

      I’ve seen at least one medical resident sleep on a peed floor because he or she was too tired, and would be punished if he or she tried to sleep somewhere else.

      I have seen another medical resident bump his head against furniture for being too sleepy. Rumors about others paying all their income to provide comfort food to senior residents. All of it…

      Medical residents loosing aroung 10krs on their first 6 months of their triaining, not merely because of the intense physical demands of their, our, “training”, but because letting them eat made them, us, too sleepy.

      And that experience at another place goes on and on too…

      There is a narrative at MAD in Mexico about a psychiatry resident that might illuminate:

      After all of that I dare anyone to claim, not merely express, that is not a harmfull environment for an aspirant to physician trying to do good.

      So, to be propositive: young fellows, if you want to do good, as I argued to the psychopath’s sister, do something else. Good can be done almost to everyone everywhere, it just so happens, it is, to me, in my experience, less likely and less profitable in medicine. And being decent in some medical training, even practicing environments is more harmfull than joining the mob… you might suffer the vengeance of psychiatry as a weapon against the decent folk, who could be you next…

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  17. Thank you, Dr. Wield, for sharing your experiences. I am a holistic and integrative psychiatrist practicing in Yonkers, NY, and Lehi, UT. I understand and empathize with your story.

    About twenty years ago, I began to learn more about alternative approaches to help patients get off their psychiatric medications safely–to help them stop being patients. This year, I presented and published an article called Successful Withdrawal from Six Psychiatric Medications Using Criteria-Based Energy Testing: Case Report:

    The patient in this case report read your story and referred me here! I hope we can connect as mutual colleagues who share the same views. You can contact me at
    I look forward to connecting with you.

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  18. RE: “Even psychopaths delegate their heinous crimes to their followers. But whoever the leader is, most of the time, the followers are just regular people like you and me, folks who soon melt into the background if the person at the top falls out of favour. They are everywhere, these good people. They are the ones who uphold oppressive regimes and will never taste justice for their complicity”

    Yes, correct.

    This interplay between psychopaths and “good people” followers has been coherently described by the theory of the 2 married pink elephants in the historical room — see

    That theory also explains WHY the world is crazy, or what THE CAUSE is of it.

    “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.” — Dresden James

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    • Not in my experience.

      Psychopathy is for most people not an “organic” disease.

      It’s situational based expressive behaviour: The Banality of Evil, kind of thing.

      People who follow a psychopath in his or her wrongdoings, are doing as heinous or more evil doings as the people commanding, or manipulating into them doing that.

      And it’s not my personal experience alone. Several historic examples, particularly during the WWII show that to be the case. The soldiers of evil regimes do worse, precisely because of the separation between the TOP and the BOTTOM.

      And who, honestly, can see the face of a a child, an innocent, and do as commanded?. Who?. Just following orders? Just deceived?. What if “just following orders” gives wrongdoers the excuse to be all the evil they can be?. The movie “The Green Mile” gives a good, although sutile example of that: the person pulling the lever is worse than the judge writing the sentence…

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  19. The common element in all of these psychiatric, vocational, and social adverse experiences described is “bullying”, usually with abuse of power.
    Think about it: isn’t every psychiatric condition/disorder an understandable response to bullying?
    If you define “bullying” as abuse of power, including both the power of those in close proximity of a person in their history AND the abuses inflicted by society that are part of the inequalities of society, then I challenge anyone to find a psychiatric condition/disorder that isn’t a response to bullying.
    Bullying can be open and obvious, covert and sneaky, or part of any social order that systemically rewards or punishes/withholds those who are living and interacting with that system as passive or active participants.

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    • ” isn’t every psychiatric condition/disorder an understandable response to bullying?”, nope, that is not the case:

      More than half the childs are exposed to violence, give or take, depending on definitions, localitty, culture, etc., and I am sure 50% of the world population is not psychopatic. Nor “mentaly disorder”, even if at some point they believe themselves to be…

      I have argued that if half the population were mentaly disordered, as per the general principle that “mental disorder” is of severe enough quality to impair daily functioning, society would collapse. And I can’t see ALL the world collapse under the “dysfunction” of “mental disorder”. Just see the Covid pandemic and you can get a clearer picture of what “not working” for HALF the populace plays in the real world, outside of the imaginations of Psychiatry.

      And that was an ACUTE disease, not a chronic, incurable one, as the psychiatry rhetoric claims “mental disorders” are. Let alone from since childhood or adolescence. That’s just ludicrous, the world would look VERY different than it looks today, or in the past.

      So, no.

      And I think KW is confusing, somehow, bullying, a one on one situation, with MOBBING, that is many againts one.

      And that includes, parents, teachers, authorities, etc. So, I think what she is describing is not bullying, but mobbing, by action or omission.

      She starts thus: “All it takes for evil…”

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      • 27/2017 I disagree. I say We ARE ALL damaged by “bullying” or “mobbing” or whatever you want to call it. We are all affected. And we all express “symptoms” from it! It’s just that some of us are designated as “mentally ill” and most of us escape that label. And after we are labeled we are DISABLED SEPARATED & DEMONIZED by psychiatry. Psychiatry COULD make anyone disabled not just certain people who are already disabled.
        Those of us labeled mentally ill ARE NO MORE damaged than the ones not labeled. We are disabled only after labeled as different. You can be struggling with distress, angst, grief, hurt, fear, anger, frustration, shyness, self-doubt, shame, learning difficulties…or even hearing voices! and STILL HOLD DOWN A JOB! But NOT if you are all of those things AND altered by DRUGS, or brain damaged by ECT.
        No one is mentally ill. We are mentally ill. Both are true.
        And all of it is because western civilization cannot function without having different classes of people. The elite, the police, the workers/consumers, the poor/sick. But it’s just the luck of the draw as to which one you end up in. But it’s all based on FEAR. We must have poor/sick people. That way the workers/consumers keep working. They must work for fear they will become poor/sick. The police must keep the poor/sick oppressed so they’ll always be a class of people who is poor/sick as examples to the worker/consumers. You must work or you will become poor/sick. The message the workers/consumers are given is, “See how much
        MORE they suffer than you do?”
        And if the police stop doing their job, which is to facilitate the disabling & separating out to perpetuate the poor/sick class they know they themselves will be punished & become one of the poor/sick. It’s a viscous cycle that rewards, fosters & empowers those willing to perpetuate the cycle as well as threatening & abusing them.
        I agree it’s all just a cycle of bullying & abusing—at every level.

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  20. Cathy,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and your openness about the affect the treatment you received had on your children. I think this doesn’t get enough attention: the impact on minor children when a parent is being harmed by psychiatry. I have personal experience with this and while it’s very painful to talk about, and I fear the judgement of strangers were I to share publicly my experience and the devastating impact it had on my child, I do believe that this needs a much bigger spotlight and that people who support this system, if they were made aware of the domino effect this has on the next generation, they would rethink their support. They would stop shrugging off malpractice with, “of course the system isn’t perfect.”

    In my case, the contact I had with the system over a 40 year period played a huge part in trauma, dysfunction and abuse being passed down to another generation. My (now adult) son once said to me, “I would never inflict this on a child.”. He is right and the guilt (and sorrow, and shame) is something I have to live with. It has made it very hard for me to accept what happened and move forward, because I know how much damage I did while I was being harmed. I would like to tell the story of what happened…maybe it would help people to see that it’s not just the patient being harmed. I would have to do it under a pseudonym.

    I hope that your new book gets published and reaches a wide audience. You have a unique perspective on the system and communicate it in a way that could change a lot of minds.

    Thank you also for providing more evidence that personality disorder diagnoses are punitive. I received a borderline diagnosis immediately after ECT treatments (the Dr told me, “You have borderline personality disorder. That’s why the ECT didn’t work.”). That diagnosis increased my difficulties exponentially. It should be thrown away.

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    • Oh wow KateL – I am completely with you in what you have expressed. It is really, really hard and heartbreaking to face up to the domino effect of what happened to us……And the whole personality disorder thing – it makes me mad to hear. I agree it should be thrown away and rubbed out of any medical record.

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      • Katel and Cathy,
        Yes and thank you both for bringing up mothering while in treatment. And I have seen both sides. And yes there was an extremely huge boulder of ignorance/ denial about female patients.
        As a patient it was never ever adressed ever which malpractice st best abuse at worst. They had a responsibility and I knew that because yep I did arrange family visits . I even started a program for kids in the community mental health center where I worked and in one small program we tried to support parents mostly mothers involved in various sysyems. In one group we have a survivor as part of the team.So small and so so many gaps and failures and the guilt but it was them not us. Please remind yourself. It was known but the malfeasance became almost 100% with May treatment units and it programs.
        I would bring pebbles the number of my children into the unit. You would think as Inexplained to the admitting nurse or whatever type of professional admitted me so hard to say because it was so hidden. That this HUMAN BEING is a MOTHER and any wise human would get the symbolism. I gave them not only verbal but visual metaphors and they totally ignored it totally. This is when the anger rises . So enough for now.

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        • Thank you, Mary. Yes, it’s heartbreaking and very frustrating. No mother doesn’t want to do right by their child; we do our best and the system puts so many more impediments in our way. I was a single parent coming from an extremely dysfunctional family. I didn’t need to be labeled and drugged. I needed support and guidance. I needed a parenting class but that wasn’t available and when they started putting labels on my toddler aged son and offering no actual help, I gave up.

          I understand the anger. I feel it too.

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        • I am certainly not a mother, and not trying to mansplain the thing, but perhaps trying to do the impossible: claiming mental illnesses are real, they have “effective” treatments AND there is something we can do to make it better along those beliefs leads to at least frustration.

          And frustration in medicine is a bad thing indeed, it leads to bad outcomes in the best hands.

          Certainly no serious long term improvement has been shown coming out from psychiatric or psychological approaches. Published studies speak of no more than 10-15-30% individuals improved under many “therapies”, pharmacological and psychological. And the unpublished ones defintively paint a gloomier picture.

          So, expecting good outcomes with bad toolery is a recipe for disaster and harm in any activity, particularly one that requires care and compassion to be applied. Failures in medicine lead to lack of care, to callousness.

          And psychiatry comes from an oppressive, violent, prejudicious, genocidal, eugenesic, among others pedigree. No good, to my mind, can come out of that.

          So, what I mean is that no good outcome can come from prolonguing the delusions of psychiatry. No matter how many good intents and resources are put into it. Extreme darkness consumes any light thrown into it, absent reason, faith and understanding.

          Just the belief that mental disorders cause suffering seems to me harmfull enough.

          I suggest let’s start looking for improvement someplace else, away from psychiatry’s and clinical psychology’s rhetoric.

          What you are describing sounds like helping mothers and their children imprisoned, not in a hospital, not in medical care in the community.

          Both situations probably benefit from the same kind of care, of the same types of interventions, that are not medical or psychological, merely human, for the benefit of the children, saddly, not of the mothers. Admitting mothers also have rights…

          And that might even help fathers like me!. I was acused of having out of marriage children by a catholic priest!. How did he got that idea?. I was acussed of being a violent husband to my then wife, after I gave up my career for her to be in “her town”. And then some more help I gave her without asking anything in return, not even for my kid, just the opportunity for him to spend time with her, not with me…

          I was acused by my brother in law of going into a hotel with my wife’s female friend!. And I was acussed with many other things, and almost killed by forced drugging and hospitalization, all partly at the request of my then wife and her family. And admitedly the harmfull rethoric that I was a dangerous father and a harmfull husband, despite all evidence to the contrary if they ever even bother to ask. Not even my family granted me that minimum of decency, and oportunity for my kid to be as long as possible with his father.

          Guess his grades plumetted? after I had to run away from him for him to have the best chance I could give him to have a life, I could not fight a whole community gone loco believing in telepahty, divination, the holy/wholy? ghost and… psychiatry…

          That was and still is my sacrifice, my price, for him to have a chance at life, not at happyness in a world full of dangerous and harmfull psychaitric rhetoric.

          So much so, that I had to be away from my child, for him to be safe, among his otherside psychopathic family. So, being a mother, for some, to me, was not as tough as being a father… I almost died trying to be the best I could be…

          And as ironies are, my hope was for perhaps be there in case, in turn, he had to run away. But life did not agree with that, and my time is, sickly running out…

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    • I was not outright obviously sterilized by the MHS. But I was. My treaters decided to contact a gynecologist and tell her (without my consent or knowledge) that it was appropriate for her to remove my entire ovary that had a benign cyst on it, instead of trying to save it because of my “life situation”-I was SMI, homosexual, on disability & single. If that’s not a form of eugenic sterilization I don’t know what is. I was obviously not deemed worthy of bringing a child into this world.
      HOWEVER, if I had brought a child into this world, the psych drugs (meds), ECT shocks & incarceration (hospitalizations), the low income and my drug altered & cognitively damaged brain would have probably greatly harmed any children I raised.
      So should I thank my treaters for their intervention? Or curse them? I choose not to curse them. But I do blame the system for making that impossible situation to occur. If I had never been “designated” mentally diseased, I would have never been “treated” and therefore not brain altered or brain damaged and I would have had a job.

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  21. Dear Cathy,
    Thank you for writing what I consider to be a most important personal account and perspective on modern day psychiatry.

    Like you, I share experience of psychiatry from both the patient and professional side. I worked as an NHS psychiatrist in Scotland for over 25 years. It was whilst training in psychiatry in Aberdeen that I developed anxiety and sleeplessness. This was half-way through the 5 year long ‘Defeat Depression Campaign’ – the primary sponsor being the pharmaceutical industry – which successfully ‘educated’ both healthcare professionals and potential patients that depression, anxiety and other conditions resulted from a ‘chemical imbalance’. Following this mass ‘education’ I gave what I believed was informed consent and agreed to start an SSRI antidepressant. Within 4 months of taking this drug I found myself physiologically dependent on it. Over several decades I tried to ‘discontinue’ this prescribed drug, but however slowly I tried to do so, and by whatever method recommended to me by the few healthcare professionals who accepted that my symptoms were due to drug withdrawal, I did not manage. So here I am, a quarter of a century later, still dependent on a prescribed drug and living with the side-effects which only get greater as I age.

    In 2005, as a direct result of withdrawal from my SSRI, I developed akathisia, suicidality, severe anxiety and profound anhedonia. I was admitted to hospital and tried on a wide range of different psychiatric drugs before being given ECT for what was wrongly termed as “treatment resistant depression”. I very nearly did not survive. Only by finally returning to the SSRI that I had first been prescribed for anxiety did I gradually get better enough to function. My family had suffered hugely, my children were then young and my wife, who worked as a GP had to support both them and me. It took me nearly 2 years to get back to working as a Consultant Psychiatrist. Back at work I found that some of my psychiatrist colleagues treated me differently. I was now identified as a psychiatrist “living with major mental illness” and I found that this sometimes resulted in the validity of my professional inputs being questioned. It was disappointing to find that a profession that claims to minimise the stigma attached to mental illness may often use that very stigma as a tool to undermine.

    For sharing my story and for being a determined advocate for full transparency in relation to vested interests involved in science [1], I have faced gas-lighting and bullying. In many instances this has been from senior psychiatrists who continue to be leaders for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Indeed, British psychiatry has shown itself to be most defensive and willing to further label anybody who does not say positive things as “anti-psychiatrists”, “demonizers”, “villains” and “pill-shamers”. Surely this polarization is unhelpful, unscientific and harmful to progressive learning. This defensive attitude always reminds me of this BMJ opinion, by Dr Richard Smith [2]

    “Psychiatry seems to have lost its way, as, I believe, has all of medicine. The response should not be to refuse to listen to criticisms, but to listen to and use them as a stimulus to deep examination of current practice.”


    [1] A Sunshine Act for Scotland:

    [2] Richard Smith: Psychiatry in crisis? BMJ Opinion, July 2016:

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    • I agree with the last quote.

      I am sorry what you were put through.

      But people with psychopatic behaviour don’t deal with criticism constructively, they can’t even laugh at themselves.

      And most bosses, people in position of authority do behave in anti-social ways, empirically and in the discourse. So, I would expect criticism without coercion on people with authority and/or responsability to be close to useless.

      Among other reasons like prosecution, administrative or civil responsabilities already incurred even if not properly adjudicated.

      And as I stated, psychiatrist reformers first, in my opinion, need to tell clearly what they got themselves involved into to be, as I understand, believed that their intentions are for the common good, or the benefit of future victims. But without addressing the past victims those “reformers” harmed by collusion, negligence, igorance, omission or whatever, seems lacking to me…

      A clean slate has never worked in cases of torture, genocide, etc…

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  22. Hi Cathy, So many years of turmoil and heartache. You mention the true root of all the problems in your life was childhood trauma. As a therapist I found nearly all my clients had a history of trauma. As a change agent in the field, would you take a look at my not-for-profit project at People in 32 countries have used it to treat their traumas. Most could not afford to see a therapist. If you agree, you might share it with others in need.

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  23. Cathy,
    thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry you and your family didn’t know that there was a better way to help a struggling loved one. I hope each of you can find the healing now needed because of the abuse and trauma heaped upon you in the name of ‘helping you’ so that your family can become whole again.

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  24. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you recognized that the treatment was part of the problem and were able to get out. There are far too many souls who are beaten so far down by the system that they never make it out. Grateful that you did.

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  25. Dr. Wield, thank you for your candid blog. So much respect and appreciation for doctors such as yourself and Dr. Peter Gordon who speak up on the harm psychiatry often inflicts. My younger brother was referred to psychiatry for temporary post-divorce grief as he was missing his young sons everyday. Back then I was still brainwashed that psychiatry had some superior knowledge to ‘help’ people deal with distress. When the drugs did not help he was sent for ECT. Instead of improving I saw both his cognitive function and physical health decline to the point he could no longer work at his position of electrical engineer. He had been very active in outdoor sports and I kept in regular contact with him, trying very hard to keep him interested and involved in various activities but he had been turned into a zombie. Then one day we found him inexplicably dead at home. His autopsy states the psych ‘meds’ he was taking (an AD and Ativan) were all accounted for but his body had not been properly metabolizing the AD and a fatal level had slowly built up in his liver. He had been seeing his psychiatrist each month yet somehow the psychiatrist remained blind to his severe cognitive and physical deterioration and never even considered having blood tests done or checking liver enzymes etc. Psychiatrists dole out such dangerous drugs and don’t even monitor or seem to care what they are doing to a person.

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    • Exactly!
      I was dehydrated and my usual stage 3 CKD (kidney disease) GFR 45 had dropped into Stage 4 GFR 29. What did the medical system do? Sent me to a mental hospital (insurance fraud – the state has since shut them down) and under threat of violence forced me to ingest Lithium (and anti psychotics).
      I can’t believe “they” didn’t kill me! What’s wrong with those people?
      They appeared to be under a mass delusion that everyone had to take pills.

      I am sorry for your loss.

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      • Because most insurance will not pay for hospitalization if the hospital is not“treating” you, hospitals must treat you to get paid. Hospitals are a business—they need to get paid. Or they go out of business. Hospitals have a contractual duty to treat or try to treat the illness that causes you to be there. It’s why you’re there.
        Since psychiatry has proclaimed to the world that mental illness is biomedical & the treatments are drugs, ect, TMS, psych surgery. If a person is under the care of a hospital, living in the hospital, is not receiving at least one of those things; then they are not being treated, which breaks that contract. And if they are not being treated, why should they be there & why should they get a bill? And so why should the insurance company pay them?
        Now, if psychiatry would admit that the biomedical model is not the whole story as to why people struggle mentally/emotionally; that would create a whole other set of problems that apparently no one wants to deal with! And I can see why…

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      • Thank you for your kind words Dr. Wield. When doctors are willing to speak out it gives me hope the horrors may finally come to an end. I’m also very grateful for the impacts of Robert Whitaker’s investigative and ethical journalism and the MIA website.

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    • Dear Rosalee, I am so sorry your brother was killed. What an incredible loss.

      So many of us have been murdered by a psychiatrist. Yes. I said it. It needs to be said. Doctors try. Healers try. But they do loose patients and that’s sad. But what Rosalee just told us was not loosing a patient. It was killing one with neglect & disregard. If they would please just LISTEN to our cries, this suffering would end! If any of you are reading this—Just open your eyes & ears and LISTEN to your fellow human travelers. We should All be in this together, equally, doctors & patients. We are all Fellow human travelers. LISTEN!

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      • Dear Blu, thank you for your heart felt reply. What you said is so true. Patient’s voices and how they are coping with the treatments should be included in every aspect of the ‘treatment’. It took me awhile to process that yes my brother was actually killed off by psychiatry and their ignorance and hubris. It still does feel surreal.

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    • And I am guessing the coroner and/or the district attorney never laid charges of negligent homicide on this practitioner?. Let alone succesfull charges?.

      No charges on the brain damage done by the ECT team/hospital?.

      No money for the descendant left fathertless?. Not even an explanation and only the false belief it was the father’s illness?.

      And I am guessing at least in the belief no one else was responsible, since depression, particularly “treatment resistant” depression is real and deadly?. Like an act of nature…

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      • Hi 27/2017, You are correct, even though the autopsy report concluded his death was the result of a toxic level of the AD that accumulated in his liver, there were no charges or even disciplinary action. Following his death I made an appointment with his psychiatrist as I really wanted to understand what happened, like why my brother went downhill AFTER he got into treatment. I told his psychiatrist my brother had been active in sports like rock climbing and skiing, and was so intelligent and energetic and how strange it was when I could no longer have much of a conversation with him anymore. At the time I was working long hours in a busy accounting position and wondered if I too was susceptible to going downhill like my brother. The psychiatrist informed me because he had ‘treated’ my brother he could not speak to me and would have to refer me to his colleague. I realize now that was a copout and he just wanted to forget the event and move on. It was a difficult time for his young sons (ages 9 and 11) and it left an impact. In hindsight I wish I had made a lot more noise.

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  26. Cathy,
    Conventional psychiatry isn’t even designed to cure anyone—so why do we expect it to? That would be like expecting cough syrup to cure pneumonia. It isn’t going to happen! Psych drugs are designed to only suppress symptoms until the victim— er— patient eventually dies. There is NO INTENTION of curing anyone. Psychiatry exists for the purpose of making a profit, a system which fits the legal definition of a racket: “Widespread fraud for the purpose of making higher profits.”
    My son became seriously depressed because his histamine level went too high. Then it went even higher and caused psychosis. It was easy to lower his histamine level with the amino acid, L-methionine (Sam-e does the same thing) from our local health food store or ALL the psychiatrists had claimed “mental illness is incurable” and that my son would need to stay on his THREE daily antipsychotic drugs for life, blah, blah, blah. That was 17 years ago. His mental health was restored 100%. He is 100% free of psychiatrists and their miserable drugs because I dumped conventional psychiatric care and gave him APPROPRIATE, RESTORATIVE treatment.
    One of the two approaches I’ve learned how to use is “Orthomolecular” medicine. It restores a person’s BIO-chemistry, not their “chemistry” because humans don’t have a “chemistry.” We’re living beings and living beings can ONLY have a BIOchemistry, that is, our body runs on the natural BIOchemicals our body creates from the nutrients we take in. BIOchemical substances can’t be patented so the Amer Psych Ass’n has been fighting this type of care since its discovery about 80 years ago. I hope you’ll watch my 3 videos on Youtube at “Linda Van Zandt’s Mental Health Recovery Channel” for more info. Psychiatrists cure no one—because they don’t know how— and just blame the patient for everything. Why do we even think of psychiatrists as experts? They have a PROVEN, GOVERNMENT-AUDITED recovery rate of .0005%. (King County Ordinance #13974, First and Second Annual Reports, 2002, 2003) I wouldn’t even take my CAR to a mechanic who had such a low success rate, let alone take someone I love to any psychiatrist with such a pathetic recovery rate.
    Like everything else in life, you can’t fix something if you don’t know what is causing it. I would suggest you, or anyone reading this, try asking a psychiatrist about a possible physical cause of mental illness. You’ll be laughed at—but only because shrinks have no clue and they’re trying to cover up their ignorance.
    Just because psychiatrists are ignorant, doesn’t mean WE have to be.

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  27. My brother-in-law was a prison guard who said many guards were attracted to the job by the opportunity to dominate people. Seems similar to psychiatry. Also would like to see your views on the push to use psychedelics for treatment resistant depression as these drugs have had success that threatens the bottom line of pharmaceutical companies.

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    • I don’t have any answers Bill, but will personally always remain suspicious when it comes to the use of any chemical to ‘treat’ emotional reactions to life experiences…….there may be many different ways that people discover to be helpful for them as we’ve seen in the comments and many times over in MIA.

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      • Thanks for your article Cathy. Personally, my experience of counsellors is they are more interested in their own problems than those of their patients. So I find A Course in Miracles to be beneficial as self-directed counselling. Only other comment is during my misspent youth I discovered the “witness state” induced by LSD is remarkably similar to that you come across in meditation. As you say people discover things that are helpful to them over time.

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  28. While I believe that both “personality disorders” and “mental disorders” are both misnomers, both entirely fictitious and unhelpful ways of viewing human suffering, I was under the impression that, at least in the UK and Ireland, a “personality disorder,” alone, was specifically ruled out as grounds for involuntary committal.

    “Personality,” like “psyche,” continues to defy any universal definition among academics and “mental health” professionals, as equally should “personality disorder” or “personality disease,” of course.

    Had Cathy merely had a diagnosis of “physician burnout,” of course, she might have avoided hospitalizations.

    “Burnout,” including “physician burnout,” which necessarily includes some degree of “depression,” is variously viewed in the US. It is sometimes considered “a psychological condition{!}” or “a psychological syndrome,” and it not-so-mysteriously continues to evade all mention in (mad) DSM’s: “Madness is conforming to one’s own norms, and no others.”,ICD%2D11%20%5B103%5D.

    “Burnout” gets passing mention in ICD-11, not as a “mental disorder” or “mental illness” (but perhaps as a perfectly normal and natural response to workplace stress?!):

    And, interestingly, it is very variously viewed in different European jurisdictions.

    If we were “our personality” or our mind, however, then any manifestation of what is labeled “mental illness” – rather than any actual organic disease or disorder of the nervous system – could be nothing other than a perfectly faithful, natural, normal manifestation of the only possible reaction between that personality or mind and its environment, whether or not one factors in epigenetics.

    (I agree with Eckhart Tolle that we manifest various “sub-personalities,” like Jung’s “personae,” but that we actually are not these conditioned behaviors. Rather, we must be that consciousness which can witness, observe, understand, alter and transcend all such conditioned responses.)

    Therefore every supposed so-called mental disorder (not stemming from organic disease) can only be a manifestation of a completely normal, natural response by that individual to certain external stimuli: Any diagnosed “mental disorder” or “mental illness” – patterns of behavior – could only be a result of a “personality disorder” or “personality illness.”

    “No behavior or ‘misbehavior’ is a disease or can be a disease! That’s not what diseases are!” – Thomas Szasz.

    I think this reasoning, so much better expressed by Thomas Szasz than by me, is just one of many ways of demonstrating the madness of contemporary psychopharmacology and of the DSM’s.

    When I came away from a WHO website gloating that obviously not even the WHO could come up with any reasonable, satisfactory or scientific definition of “mental health,” “mental illness,” “mental disorder” or “personality disorder,” our then 16-year-old Elizabeth responded:

    “PersonALIty disorder?! Ya can’t have a personALity disorder! Your personality? That’s, like, who you ARE! That’s, like, THE rudest thing – ever!”

    And it is, isn’t it? Worse than saying that some folks speak with an accent, while others do not.

    Cathy’s story helps me try to see us all as hapless perpetuators of the equal myths of “sin” and of “mental illness” until we can bring to the light of consciousness that we must all have equally been both.

    After the game, king and pawn go into the same box.

    “Every life is in many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.” ― James Joyce, Ulysses
    I wish I knew how to put it equally poetically, more as Joyce or Elizabeth put it, above, or as Sancho Panza put it in “Don Quixote:”

    “….for we are all as God made us, and frequently [also translated as “and many of us”] much worse,”

    or as Adams put it:

    “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to find fault with the rest of us,”

    or as Isabelle Perreault put it:

    “La folie, c’est de n’avoir pas d’autres normes que soi-même:” “Madness is conforming to one’s own norms, and no others.”


    a paper which references

    “A Woman Under the Influence,”

    When I read of the sacrifices and struggles of a life like Cathy’s, under that influence, I take great consolation from my conviction that we cannot possibly each live just a single human lifetime, nor experience in any one lifetime all we need to learn by firsthand experience. Were this the case, then contemporary psychopharmacology, like the Inquisition, and all the suffering and strife and heartbreak in our world, would be utterly unthinkable, irredeemable calamity, rather than “the obstacle which is The Way” – the way to Consciousness, to Awakening, to Enlightenment or to Atonement: de pluribus, unum.

    Heartfelt thanks to Cathy for all those mighty sacrifices and struggles and to Cathy and MIA for delivering such powerful and eloquent insights.

    I wish everyone love and consolation, comfort and joy.


    “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” – from “A Course in Miracles.”

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  29. In the early 90’s I heard a presentation by a woman who had been mistreated in a psychiatric facility in Australia. She was so articulate, and her experience in treatment, as she shared it, devastating. She was a leader in the burgeoning Consumer movement. I had the opportunity to experience a ‘Voice’s workshop’, where she and other consumers ran ‘experiences’, similar to those of a mental health consumer. With various voices speaking to me through earphones I was exposed to attitudes which included, humiliation, segregation, belittling, isolation, shaming, disrespect etc. I felt disorientated, despairing and outraged, all at the same time. Helen Glover, who was a pioneer in Australia, for consumers rights, went on to lecture across the world about the need for a much better quality of care. She was someone, is someone, who refused to stay silent. What an honour it was to have met her, and what an honour to hear your willingness to speak out too.

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