The Trauma of Psychosis: My “Bipolar” Journey

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I wanted to share my story here as I think it may help move the conversation forward about understanding bipolar treatment, antipsychotics, and akathisia.

I tell this story through the lens of akathisia (and a similar condition known as restless leg syndrome or RLS) since it was an early indicator for me that while I was being treated for the typical symptoms of bipolar, I was actually dealing with trauma.

In May of 2021 I had a severe manic episode that led to psychosis. After two horrific days of my friends and family trying to get me into the hospital, during which time I was fully lucid but believed the world was ending and awful things were being done to my family, I was finally admitted to a local psychiatric ward, diagnosed with bipolar, and kept in for 10 days.

Thankfully the right combination of medication (olanzapine and lithium) kicked me out of psychosis, and despite some lingering paranoia, I had an overall positive hospital experience. There’s nothing like the combination of strong sedatives and some interesting people to ease the guilt and fear of being locked up away from your family.

Unfortunately, that is where the positive experience ended. I had no idea of the rough road that was ahead.

Once I was discharged from the hospital, I actually felt great. I was able to engage in the community (something that was important to me since my psychosis had been very public), check in with those who had lived through it with me, and even complete some remodeling projects that I had spent my time in the hospital planning. In retrospect, I was probably still hypomanic and cruising along on the strong meds.

It was soon after this initial honeymoon period that the real recovery started.

During my follow-up outpatient appointment post-discharge, after complaining of being too sedated (especially at bedtime when I felt I had no control over entering sleep) and struggling with the standard weight gain, I asked to be taken off the olanzapine.

Unfortunately, my psychiatrist took me off the olanzapine cold turkey with zero ramp-down. This triggered severe anxiety. As background, anxiety is something I’d never had a hint of in my life. This was probably warning sign #1 that my body was dealing with something other than a typical “bipolar” down cycle, aka depression. Depression being something I’d also never suffered from, even after a previous bipolar/manic episode that led to psychosis in my twenties.

It was also around this same time that I noticed a constant sense of restlessness. I struggled to stay engaged in conversations and needed to be moving around a lot.

After describing my anxiety to my med manager she prescribed gabapentin. While this allowed me to function again during the day, I was left with debilitating sleep anxiety. I was fearful of falling asleep in my own bed and the very sensation of drifting off to sleep instantly woke me up terrified.

I now understand that this was linked to the trauma of entering psychosis – something I remember very clearly. I had entered psychosis while in my own bed and the sensation of reality breaking felt the same as that moment you realize you’re entering a dream state and know you’re drifting off to sleep.

Interestingly, this aligned with how I’d always described the psychosis I experienced in my twenties as a waking dream. My working theory now being that, at least for me, psychosis is a wakeful state of REM that your mind forces you into due to sleep deprivation (I tend to have very poor quality of sleep when manic) and you start processing the backlog of things on your mind in the real world.

As this was all happening, my med manager was struggling to get my lithium to the therapeutic dose so switched me to Abilify. And that’s when things started to get really hard.

My restlessness increased (now more like full-blown akathisia) and I started to slowly lose my sense of self, including any motivation to do anything. After describing this to my med manager she started discussing additional meds for depression and akathisia (what seems like the standard bipolar treatment playbook).

Thankfully I’ve always been skeptical of meds and felt that the last thing to do when losing my sense of self was to take more of them. Miraculously, a therapist I’d been waiting to get in with since my hospital stay three months earlier had now become available.

I still remember my first call with her when I was pacing my home office describing the state I was in. Within five minutes of chatting she immediately started a somatic exercise (a mind-body technique to release pent-up emotions/trauma). After just that first 45-minute exercise I felt significantly less restless.

What proceeded was then a six-month somatic treatment plan that allowed me to process the trauma of my psychosis: the two days of being lucid while my brain was telling me the world was ending and all sorts of awful things were happening to family and loved ones, and only being able to listen as hurtful and crazy things came out of my mouth.

After six months the akathisia was gone, and I felt more myself, but still had symptoms of depression. I couldn’t get through the day without a lot of naps, nothing gave me joy, and my normal easygoing appreciation for life was just gone.

Thankfully, being a med-skeptic (except of course in the right situations) I started questioning the impact of being on a dopamine suppressant like Abilify in the context of these feelings.

I specifically remember coming back from a mountain bike ride, something that had always given me endless pleasure, and just feeling nothing. Something told me I was over the recovery period of the mania and psychosis, but the meds were taking their toll.

Up until this point, now a year after my hospital stay, I and my family had been in full survival mode. While I wasn’t able to engage fully in family life, that seemed like a small price to pay compared to risking another episode of psychosis. Hence, we’d never really questioned the meds. Thankfully my amazing wife, who had one hundred percent carried the family to this point, was her usual supportive self and we started questioning the role of meds and looking for a more long-term solution.

After some tough self-advocacy along with switching psychiatrists, it was agreed that I should ramp off the Abilify. At the time I was on 15mg a day and we decided to drop 2.5mg every two to three months, which ended up being almost a full year ramp-down. The great news being that with every step down I felt more and more myself. Life stopped being a chore and all the symptoms of depression lifted.

So after almost 2.5 years (it took another full six months after ramping off the Abilify to get my mind back to full strength) I got my life back and have a solid emergency plan with my psychiatrist should we notice any early warning signs of mania or psychosis.

My big takeaway/theory: akathisia or restless leg syndrome often present as a side effect of antipsychotics since they mute your brain’s ability to process the traumatic memories and feelings of being in psychosis in the first place. Somatic therapy addressed the underlying trauma and gave me the wherewithal to address being over-medicated versus being depressed.

Thankfully I had access to amazing therapy and healthcare and was being supported at every step by an amazing wife so that I came out the far side.

I found the psychiatrist that got me off the Abilify here on the Mad in America website. He was a lifesaver. This story is my way of saying thanks and giving back.

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

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54 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting read, it’s great you have such an awesome wife and supportive people around you. Glad you found good therapy which addressed the underlying causes.

    Likewise I’m diagnosed with Bipolar 1 due to spiritual psycho emergency and I believe my manic episodes would be clinically described as hypomanic to psychosis.

    I read this can also be described as fantasy prone personality which is often associated with childhood trauma which I experienced.

    Recently I was hit in the back of the head by a person in authority, this triggered anxiety and full body tremor attacks that occurred over the next couple of weeks.

    As a child I had a fit after physical abuse and it took me half a year to connect the dots. I believe the childhood trauma caused behaviours where I’d try to escape in fantasy, as a child my parents didn’t understand and didn’t know about the abuse, so it was simply called a funny turn.

    As an adult when psycho stressors became to much again I retreated into fantasy or spiritualism and I know realise this is unacceptable as an adult but am mindful it’s a coping strategy which I used as a child.

    The meds I’ve had likewise have bought me back to reality and helped me to try and forget or deal with psychostress and unfortunately can come with some serious mental and physical side affects.

    To date, I don’t believe I’ve had physical or cognitive therapy or behavioural therapy to try to develop better behaviours. My approach is now to reduce as much psychosocial stressors as possible, as I do find I do too much which invariably stress leads me back to episodes which require hospital treatment.

    Good article for me, as it encourages me to seek psychological treatment that is aimed at improving how I react to situations.

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      • Thank you Everything you said is what I’ve been experiencing and I also had trauma child through adulthood.Nothhing makes sense, had little family support and was told it was all in my head, feel Like now can get help or direction to fix me felt broken for such a long life. And reading everyone’s words, we’re not alone. Ty ❤️

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      • Finding the right kind means all of them are unrealiable.

        I cannot go and get a tissue that safely can clean my runny nose…

        Same for toilet paper.

        All of them do the job. Why psychotherapy requires me to be that choosy?.

        Toilet paper nowadays can do the job, and everyone knows where that goes at the end!.

        Why can’t psychotherapy do better?. It’s worse than toilet paper?. Hum?.

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    • “Glad you found good therapy which addressed the underlying causes.”, there is no proof of that, merely L.S. narrative, that is no proof.

      “childhood trauma” is a contested “construct”. That means it’s an imaginary play of words with no basis in reality!.

      Does not predict ANYTHING when at least half children experience emotional/psychological/familial VIOLENCE, not trauma. At least half, the positive predictive value of it is nill…

      Violence is different from trauma.

      “psychostressors”, what is that?, is there a meassure for that?. Stress, particularly “psychological stress”, uuuh, was part of normal: fight or flight. Really, before Prozac it really was!, there were meassures for catecholamines, cortisol and all that in rodents!.

      Rodents don’t get depressed, don’t get psychotic, don’t get bipolar unless one medicates them.

      And yet, they get stressed.

      One can drive a rodent to poor health by torture, but that seems a lot like mobbing and psychiatric treatment and hospitalization, if one would ask me.

      I can get graphical*, but…

      An stressor in scientific fields do mean something.

      In psychobable they don’t…

      “psychological treatment”, there is no evidence, and no logic to that pair of words.

      There is no psychological treatment, there are A TON of psychological treatments.

      There have been for over a CENTURY!. They keep changing, at least on lack of efficacy…

      And as per the rule of thumb: if there are a lot of treatments, none works…

      “develop better behaviours”, what is a “better” behaviour, really, what is?.

      * Rodents can be subject to awefull treatment, treament most humans can’t endure. Speaking of trauma without reading that stuff really does not provide understanding of what violence, physical violence does to a living being.

      Think of chickens, cow, and pork in industrial farming, make it worse. And then a clearer understanding of what “trauma”, really means.

      Humans aren’t weaker than those living beings.

      Kindly, read, and stop peddling nonsense.

      I bet most psychologists and psychiatrists never have seen HOW a rodent that stops grooming looks like. Without medication.

      I have, I am sorry for that**. But from my experience of that I can tell you, most humans can endure more than that. I am not callous, just, people can do more. Children can do more, I am not arguing for more harm for them, the opposite, they can do better than us…

      And all these peddlers of trauma have not seen a “rat”, undergo that, I have. Ask them…

      Ask them if they have seen what a veterinarian has seen: A dog undernourished, beatten, cold, sick, confused, not giving up…

      And yet, not psychotic, not bipolar, not anxious, and certainly not depressed. Not bitting the hand that tries to feed him/her, not advcating for revenge, but for reprieve…

      Ask them, see what, if honest, they tell you, ask them.

      They spoke to me of that. I didn’t ask.

      Then psychobable about “trauma”…

      ** After that I promised I would never experiment on another living being, not even for the benefit of a huma being….

      I think I kept that promise.

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  2. You are very lucky person. Not all of us have the support we need and are forced to live a painful life. Right combination of drugs and therapy plus timely feedback from u which was taken seriously and drugs adjusted accordingly is all miraculously well done. For me its all been murky. Never knew where it was the disease where it was me and where it was the drugs. Severe reaction to drugs made me not want to take it. I now live wondering why should i continue to live everyday. Whats the point when life is so miserable…..

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    • Hey, please get help when you are having serious thoughts of giving up. We are all in this together and when one person gives up because of the pain, it effects the society in horrible ways, I know , I work with this. I know the pain is horrible, but if you continue to bear it for those around you, I know your reward of peace eventually come. Thank you for continuing the struggle!

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    • Thank you for sharing. Murky is a great word to describe what you are feeling. I remember the same feeling so well, including that sense of complete hopelessness.
      In my experience the more you talk and share about how you’re feelings the easier the journey becomes – even if that means calling a crisis line or similar.
      There were days when I would just call anyone that would listen which on reflection probably helped me keep “me” front an center during the toughest times.

      Never give up hope

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    • So true And lost family because didn’t understand what’s been going on, And feel tormented for my actions, and made so many Major mistakes, and just bout the only thing that kept me somewhat sane lol was my faith,

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      • You’re right – except, would you care to describe what does help when a person is psychotic?
        The author is describing a non-drug-induced psychosis, he/she seems to have become manic without any apparent trigger. So what would you suggest instead?
        I’m speaking from personal experience after trying to help my husband through several psychotic episodes. I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked except neuroleptics. In the end I had to prefer them to my husband running through the streets screaming, or attacking our son.

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  3. As soon as I started reading this, I felt myself feeling panic symptoms. My body got really hot and I got this sense of “danger”.

    I went into psychosis trying to understand psychosis. I was very prone to fantasy and delusion as a child and at 13, lost a friend to suicide after he had a psychotic break and emailed out a “the world is ending” message to our entire freshman class. This email resonated significantly with me, things he said like “the television is watching you” were my own experiences and when our teachers informed us his suicide was due to his “schizophrenia”, I sought to learn everything I could to prevent the same fate for myself. Admittedly, at that age, I was far more concerned with the humiliation and ostracism that he was experiencing at the end of his life rather than a fear that I might end my own life.

    I studied Harry Stack Sullivan, RD Laing, Jung, and Freud as well as philosophers and religion for years before I had a complete break. The break was spawned while I was working as a 911 operator by a 911 call from a mother whose daughter had just committed suicide around 2:30am. The mother said “something woke me up to check on her.”

    From my seat in the world, figuring out what that was that woke her up and why it was too late became a mental quest I could not put down.

    I never feared psychosis nor did I question whether it would happen to me. Even in psychosis, I was calm and content, but unaware of social cues and that I was on a different time scale than the rest of the world, focused on questions that we just don’t have the capacity to answer.

    The first episode was brought down by meds. The second one, two years later, did not remotely remit for 4 months.

    I have a lot of anxiety and I never pieced together that this could be trauma of falling into psychosis, rather than merely shame of being in that state for so long. What is interesting is I do not rationally fear another episode. Between being on meds and no longer having any fixations or even fantastical thinking that I had for almost the entirety of my life until I got treated, I think there may be a biological safety net in place for me triggered by that deep fear I felt as a 13 year old about losing control.

    I appreciate you writing this and giving me a direction to go in with my own anxiety that has been hitting me at a 10/10 panic too often for comfort despite my best efforts to resolve what I was sensing was merely shame.

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  4. I took abilify for many years. It caused akathesia and depression and loneliness and suicidal ideation. Quitting brought restless leg syndrome. Thus on the drug brought uncomfortable akathesia and off the drug cold turkey caused restless leg syndrome. The two are similar but different. Tapering very slowly brought no problems, though the restless leg syndrome can linger. Eventually I found the sedating antipsychotics sedated away the akasthesia, making the sedating drugs more bearable.

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      • I love hearing stories like yours. I’m so extremely glad you survived & are now back on a more positive journey!
        However, I personally would not recommend just any support line or to reach out to just any willing person you can find for support. Unfortunately, many support lines & many people won’t just listen. They will take immediate steps to hospitalize where they WILL medicate you whether you say no ty or not & or get you into treatment where medication is standard 1st line treatment. Not against drugs or treatment. Just want people to know that that is what is a likely outcome if you call most support lines, in the USA anyway. Fully informed consent is not standard procedure. And if you disagree peacefully & reasonably with anything called mental health treatment you will almost always be told you lack insight into your illness and be forced that “treatment” for your own good.
        Just so people know…

        That said…
        Loved hearing how you triumphed over your ordeal!!! BRAVO!!
        Wives can be AWESOME, huh?

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  5. Thanks for this great opportunity to understand those difficult mental health issues! Also the word “murky” truly describes how many of us feel about all the pragmatic scenarios following the consequential situations involving any mental illness. From the first episodes to hospitalization to meditation. It is truly a medical laverinto where all participating parties would collide all at once just trying to find a rational exit in the fictional world of mental illness. We mothers, wives, sisters, brothers and probably a very extensive part of the community would suffer all together along with the ones we care suffering from mental illness. It does really takes a toll on us in so many ways! And by the way you are blessed with a great wife. My best wishes for you ! I apologize for any grammatical disorder, english is not my native language.

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    • Thank you for the comment.
      There has not been a single person I’ve shared my story with who has not been impacted by mental health and yet it’s never a topic of conversation that comes up naturally.
      Community and openness is the key to understanding and healing; especially for the amazing people caring for loved ones.

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  6. Really interesting article, thank you.

    I know all about akathisia. I was put on 25 mg of Abilify during a four month hospital stay. I paced constantly (which I thought was due to boredom) and found it impossible to wait for anything (which I thought was simply my own impatience). My body sensation can be described as having “ants in my pants”, or what my mother used to call “the itchy scratchies”. I did not find out the word for my symptoms or discover the link with Abilify until about six months later. The akathisia resolved when my treating team took me off the medication – but only because my movements had become slow, wooden, and stooped.

    I am fascinated by your working theories. I have some myself around trauma and dissociation/depersonalistion. The best help I have had was through Cheetah House. They are experts in meditation related difficulties, which is one of the contributing causes of my first and subsequent episodes. I was seeking enlightenment and my mania centred around believing I had achieved it. The experience of non-dual awareness (NDA) is pretty much the same as dissociation/depersonisation. The latter experience is a common survival technique children use to protect their minds during traumatic episodes. When they become adults and the experience is triggered by meditation, psychedelics, excessive stress or fresh trauma, the early trauma resurfaces in the form of waking nightmares. But the old trauma shows up in symbolic, metaphorical, and archetypal form, which is interpreted by others as madness. There is also a return of the intense fear of the child but the volume is turned up full bore. Paranoia is the result – especially regarding the safety of loved ones. My repeating delusion was my conviction that my children (who were in the permanent custody of their father due to my episodes) were being raped everyday by the Illuminati.

    These days, the most important preventative measure for me is honest, timely feedback from people I trust when I start to behave out of character. I take immediate steps to pull myself back, which usually involves massive amounts of sedatives and about 36 hours of sleep. It has been three years since my last episode, which is my personal best in 14 years. I have a partner who I have prepared well should anything go awry. I also ensure that we resolve all conflicts immediately so that I hold no lingering resentments. When I become psychotic those resentments cause me to lose all trust and the paranoia builds until I believe that my partner at the time is sexually abusing my children. Obviously, that’s very hard to come back from when I return to consensus reality.

    I am so grateful that you have such stalwart support from your wife and wish you continued success on your recovery journey.

    Much love
    Elizabeth

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    • Thank you so much for sharing and for the positive feedback.

      I’ve found paranoia, especially the type you’ve described, very linked to self acceptance and my inner child creating narratives (exactly as scary as the ones you mentioned) to explain love or acceptance that I’m not ready to understand.

      An exercise I was taught was to try and think in a long time horizon about those loved ones you are scared of and if they’ve ever done anything bad to you. This should reengage your adult brain/self and break the narrative.

      You can also teach your loved ones how to speak to you when in crisis and ensure they are caring but firm and use logic to engage your adult self; pet names or anything you might say to a child are off limits.

      And yes, once I crawl out of the paranoia using this exercise, it’s time to get some high quality sleep.

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      • Advocating for “self acceptance” and the “inner child” is advocating for the third eye.

        There is no such thing as self acceptance and the inner child than there is for the holy ghost.

        Show me your inner child, bring him here and draw it for me, describe it in words I, I can see it. Don’t draw it inside a snake please, The Little Prince already did that!. Was not that enough of a lesson?.

        Those are empty metaphores that, to me, as my opinion, peddle for irrationality when dealing with irrationality in the first place.

        It’s substituting one irrationality for another.

        Take this example:

        There is only acceptance. That has no “self” in it. Shall we meditate on why it has no self in it?, or someone else already did that?.

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  7. “Thankfully, being a med-skeptic (except of course in the right situations) . . .” Having practiced psychiatry for 25 years before my recent retirement, I can say that I unequivocally agree. Every good psychiatrist is a med-skeptic–except, of course, in the right situations. Equally bad as giving a medicine a patient doesn’t need is failing to prescribe a medication that a patient needs desperately. Each case is unique. I don’t see how this would be controversial among doctors or patients.

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    • Yes! And can we please starting talking, in partnership with patients and care givers, about meds in context of how we understand they actually work; not what we THINK they SHOULD do.
      “Anti-psychotics” being my favorite.
      Explaining to patients that they are being given a strong sedative or dopamine “regulator”, and why, would completely change how patients and their loved ones navigate this scary world of care.

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    • There is a narrative published about a patient that commited sexual violence against at least one minor, escaped from a secure psychiatric facility, after he said to his “carers” he had akathisia, that THOSE medications gave him akathisia, and still gave it to him.

      With such atrocious outcomes, and then some, read the article, and then “say” that there are “right situations” to use said medications. There aren’t if they are unreliable!.

      At best continuing such cheerleading would be advocating for UNRELIABLE medications.

      No physician should use or advocate for unreliable medications. The FDA is more than half a century old, the regulations, the laws, the evidence base, wish for something better.

      Cheerleader instead, I ask, for something better: FIRST DO NO HARM…

      First trick in the trade of “training” for an MD, is to KNOW, KNOW, you cannot do anything else. Weren’t you there training where you could do nothing else than watch!?.

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  8. Wow glad your feeling better. I enjoyed the article and the replies to it on here.
    I have been on a mental journey my whole life, but what I have thought about a lot lately is the anxiety and feeling of no hope, etc, and the relationship it might have with childhood fever. I remember when I was 8 having an extremely high fever where I thought the world was ending and I was responsible. I also remember the feeling of like they say, my hands felt like balloons, etc.
    If I could ask you and others who might read this, did anyone else who has had psychotic episodes have high fever as a child? Thanks again, and the best to all. One day at a time…

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    • Thanks for sharing and the positive feedback.

      High fever as a child is not something I’ve associated with psychosis but it’s an interesting question especially in context of the trauma lens.

      I guess my follow up question would be if you’ve ever done any therapeutic work around the possible trauma of that experience as a child?

      Something i didn’t go into above was the possible broader role of childhood trauma (no matter how big or small) in context of “bi-polar” tendencies.

      Bottom line, I think we should all be re-parenting through therapy, even if we’ve never had a mental health issue in our lives.

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  9. I hate Abilify & any other antipsychotic. I’ll never take another dopamine blocker unless court ordered to do so. I even lost a job due to discrimination after putting the medication down on a physical.

    The medication heavily sedated me, ramped up my anxiety also the weight gain made me wanna commit suicide. I was miserable.

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    • Recomending a therapist is recomending an unreliable thing.

      Empirical research shows therapy depends on the therapist above all else, there are several articles and comments here at MIA, from therapists about that.

      I would not say driving a car, buying a can of food, riding an airplane, etc., depends on picking the right one. That’s called UNREALIABLE. You cannot just pick one and expect it would take you from point A to pont B safely, or one is not to face demise by botulism.

      As such, you are recommending an unrealiable alternative, even if it worked for you.

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      • Even toilet paper that we know were it ends is realiable.

        We can count it will do the job intended for it, what we payed for it. “What you see is what you get”, sort of thing…

        Is psychotherapy/psychotherapies expected to be less reliable than toilet paper?.

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  10. I am gratefull the authot found some relief from whatever ailed him. That is a caveat, we don’t know what the author had, speaking of diagnoses, Bipolar 1/2. 3, 4, 5, X, mania, hypomania, is speaking the lingo without any evidence for it coming forward, just a narrative of “improvement”, tailored to seem against all odds, with some help from A partner, some family, and perhaps some practitioners.

    That won’t work for most people. The average, most people will end up disabled, chronified, tardive psychotic, tardive bipolar, tardive depressed, etc, in the revolving door of hospital/out of hospital or dead. Just by being labeled “mentally disordered”. Let’s be perfectly clear about that…

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  11. Just check out how many people die during their psychiatric hospitalization despite being, as per the records, perfectly young people other than “mentalliy disordered”.

    Do check!, read how many people die, yes, die in the first 2, two, weeks of psychiatric hospitalization. And how that compares to the age adjusted mortality rate…

    Do check!, there is a study from India that multiplied the baseline death rate by TEN!, 10!. Apparently, to make it look like in psychiatric hospital deaths were “natural”…

    Do check!, how many people die to suicide AFTER getting out of the psychiatric hospital, how that compares to the baseline rate, and how that compares to the no more than 10 fold increase in death/suicide by the WORST “mental disorder”.

    How many more commit suicide just by taking a psychiatric pill, how many, just by showing up in a psychiatric office!.*

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  12. Check how many people end other people lives by akathisia from a single pill, ex practitioners of course. That’s another ball of wax…

    Then, again, this whole post seems to me a piece of propaganda in favor of medication with “due considerations”.

    Like if medications worked for everyone. Like if there was a safe way from going 12.5 mg to 2.5mg in three months in a safe way manner. That is imposible for most people.

    There are studies that 1 in 50 people, 2% die within the first month of taking an antipsychotic. It was in the New Yor Times, I think TWICE!, TWICE!.

    Lithium and olanzapine, aripripazole, kill more people, as far as I understand, than they save. Particularly if “started” in a psychiatric hospital!. Just the suicide rate increases 60/100 fold, regardless of medication specifically used..

    Invoking some personal narrative does not negate than on average, in the aggregate of people, they are more harmfull than helpfull.

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  13. MIA is full of articles that show psychiatry does more harm than good. Let’s, I ask, respectfully, stop cheering up for narratives that prop up the OPPOSITE of what empirical evidence shows:

    PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENTS CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD. Whitaker said it, Breggin said it, Gotzche said, etc, I think…

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  14. Again, I am glad the author can cheerleader psychiatry, but many of us, I think, know better: psychiatry kills people…

    Come on people!, let’s not be deceived by narratives that prop up the way things are!.

    WE know better. I invite, respectfully and with consideration to bury all these fake narratives of improvement under the tons of evidence MIA has provided.

    Without setting the house on fire. Of course 🙂

    We all are humans and in the same boat, even if it does not look like it.

    I reject the narrative, cheerleading psychiatry, it’s diagnoses and treatments despite “succesfull” ramping down is more hurtfull than being quiet, as my opinion and contribution to moving the debate forward. Doing otherwise seems to be being stuck in the past, the past even before MIA. That is a disservice to this community, I think…

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    • You’d achieve more if you suggested a viable alternative.
      Before there were psych drugs, there were physical restraints, ice-water “treatments,” Bedlam – and of course self-treatment such as alcohol and other drugs.
      There was never “we’ll do nothing, sit back, and let the person ‘heal.'” (Except in exceptional, largely impossible to replicate, circumstances such as Soteria. And if a person was out-of-control there, do you really think they’d just let it “play out”?)

      Have you ever experienced psychosis or seen it first-hand? I have. It’s scary. My husband was terrified out of his life. He was sure people wanted to kill him, and that I and my son had been “slaughtered” (his word). In fact, he thought the entire town where we lived had been massacred.
      What would you suggest instead of neuroleptics?

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      • Judy,

        Recently, a loved one of mine became more manic and psychotic than I’ve ever seen anyone (and I’ve been in a “mental hospital”).

        His initial episode was related to being appropriately weaned off of two heart meds, that were known to cause kidney failure – but his doctor forgot to put him on a replacement heart med.

        It was also claimed by doctors, after his first hospitalization (where I was able to politely mention that I was a critical psychiatry person and psychopharmacological researcher, and that my family had a history of very bad reactions to the anticholinergic drugs. So I was able to prevent my loved one from being put on an antipsychotic initially). But the doctors also claimed his initial problem was caused by “alcohol encephalitis.” “Blame the patient” is the name of the game.

        Nonetheless, at my loved one’s second hospitalization, I unfortunately was unable to prevent him from being put on an antipsychotic … and within a week of his being let out of the second hospitalization, my loved one was massively manic and psychotic (likely due to a “drug withdrawal induced manic psychosis”).

        Which resulted in a third, but first ever psychiatric hospitalization, for my loved one. My loved one had his hospital psychiatrist call me, to learn about our family’s medical history.

        I mentioned that I had dealt with what would likely be best described as criminal abuse of psychiatry – a bad fix on a broken bone, covered up with complex iatrogenesis.

        Those hospital psychiatrists knew exactly what that means … I know about anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning.

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

        At the time, my loved one complained to me that he was “held at the hospital longer than anyone else,” but he was there less than two weeks. And the hospital got him calmed down and lucid, on a small dose of lithium (600mg) daily.

        My loved one has quit drinking, and has since been weaned off the lithium. He did seem to become slightly manic once since then, due to us having an unusually stressful day. But he dealt with it in a responsible way, once I mentioned my concern.

        And, other than that, my loved one seems to be doing quite well. He called me tonight to say he just replaced the faucet in his kitchen, and hooked up his dishwasher. He’s started exercising at least 30 minutes a day. And he seems happier and more motivated, than I’ve seen him in decades. But, from personal experience, I know we’re not yet out of the weeds.

        Personal and family medical history matters, so I don’t know if this will help you. But the doctors should think about the wisdom of starting people on the milder psych drugs, rather than initially calming all down with the antipsychotics, since many people do not react well to that drug class (both when on them, and after being abruptly taken off them).

        Thank you for sharing your story, L.S. I’m glad you found a good provider, via MiA, and are doing well. God bless.

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    • Hi 27/2017,
      Thanks for all the comments. I’m ok to support a robust dialogue as part of moving the conversation forward but a lot of what you’ve said could be taken as offensive in context of what I’ve been willing to share so I haven’t responded.

      In particular, not understanding MIA’s mission statement before making these sort of comments is problematic. Specifically the part of the mission about education in context of
      “de-emphasizes the use of psychiatric medications, particularly over the long-term.” which is central to this story.

      Not to mention working with psychiatrists who support MIA’s mission as being the key to reshaping mental health care – something also highlighted in this story.

      I sense a lot of frustration in your comments which I 100% empathize with but I ask you don’t direct that frustration at me or others who have shared in the comments.

      Otherwise I’ll ask the MIA moderator to review the discussion which could be counterproductive if certain comments need to be removed since open dialogue is key.

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  15. Hey MIA!

    Karina February 3, 2024 at 12:31 pm

    Hi there L.S. thanks so much for sharing. Do you mind me asking who your therapist was?

    L.S. February 4, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Let me check with them if ok to share on here and get back to you

    L.S. February 4, 2024 at 7:29 pm

    Here is my therapists website since lots of people have asked for it; http://www.cariewinchell.com/

    That would be/IS advertising, advising, promoting an UNRELIABLE! remedy for mental disorders/sufferings!.

    You do not want to promote UNRELIABLE stuff do you?.

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  16. Very interesting. I was once diagnosed Bipolar but got myself off a 5-drug cocktail when I read Bob Whitaker’s book. Indeed, it was unprocessed trauma. This was back in the early 2000’s when much wasn’t known about trauma or somatic therapies.

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  17. Yaaaay! I’m so glad you are doing well and had the opportunity to process your trauma with a somatic therapist! Isn’t it amazing? It sounds like you have a community and so much support, and that makes me happy too.

    Thank you for sharing your story of hope and healing. It’s encouraging to me that there are more people out there who are naming trauma in relation to bipolar/psychosis diagnosis. If I had been able to make that connection after my diagnosis, I could have prevented 10+ years of suffering at the hands of the system.

    Keep sharing! <3

    Elisabeth

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