Personal Stories

People with “lived experience” tell of their interactions with psychiatry and how it impacted their lives, and of their own paths to recovery.

Green Star Mother Demands Answers from VA Secretary

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If the Veterans Administration is sincere in wanting to reduce veteran suicides, the first place to start is to collect information following these deaths to try to better understand the causes.

My Red October – An Army Veteran’s Crucible to Recovery

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After my VA mental health team prescribed Prozac, I began experiencing rapidly escalating behavioral changes. The drug was never considered as a potential cause.

What It’s Really Like Inside a Psychiatric Ward

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In a way, the hospital had made me feel better. It had shown me a vision of hell that was going to become my future if I didn't take drastic action.

Did Something Happen?! The Power of Poetry in Telling My Son’s Story

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It's hard, if not impossible, to impose on my son’s story any kind of literary “sense.” As a writer and a mother both, this has been my challenge. 

Stealing My Mother From Me: The Horrors of Conservatorship

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My beloved mother was mistreated, cheated, abused mentally, and alienated from her family by her conservator and the courts.

When the Help Becomes Part of the Problem

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The feeling of being institutionalized and medicated over minor ailments is difficult to shake. I have been to countless therapy sessions attempting to deconstruct the feelings of dehumanization into digestible morsels.

How I Learned to Safely Taper off Psychiatric Drugs, and You Can Too

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I made a series of videos with psychologist and researcher Anders Sørensen, answering the questions that haunted me the most throughout my tapering process.
Joey Marino

The Death of Joey Marino

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There needs to be more informed consent with these medications. If Joey was more aware of the potential side effects at the very beginning, I feel he would still be here today.

How to Learn to Love to Write: A Mental Health Journey

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You go from enjoying writing to dreading the idea of ever scribbling words on a piece of paper ever again. What was once your escape has now become your prison.

A Felt Sense of Safety – From Disassociation to Embodiment

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I know now that I can trust myself and listen to my intuition. Within the mental health system, I trusted everyone but myself.

Engaging Voices, Part 2: Working Our Way Toward Connection

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Sam Ruck shares his fourth excerpt from his book Healing Companions, which describes his life with, and love for, his wife and her “alters.” 
healer shadow

Unbecoming

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If the wounded healer doesn't work on their wounds, they become the wounded wounder, keeping the client and themselves trapped in their roles.

Withdrawal Psychosis and the Aftermath of Tragedy

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I wake to what has happened every day, and must filter my every action through the memories and the fallout of what I did when I was psychotic as a twenty-four-year-old kid.

Engaging Voices, Part 1: Validating The Arrival of My Wife’s First ‘Alters’

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Sam Ruck shares his third excerpt from his book Healing Companions, which describes his life with, and love for, his wife and her “alters.” 

My Lived Experience Helps Others Heal: Working with Families on the Path to Recovery

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If one person is struggling, everyone in the family is struggling. Families need support.

Grief, Bereavement, Public Health, and Me

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In public health, we talk about death. But we don’t talk about grief or bereavement. We don’t study the hole left behind in the family system or social sphere.

Peaceful Reflections on the Past from ‘One Who Got Away’

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The pain has gone now, and I am grateful for who it has made me — a happier person than before. Perhaps broken open a bit, but in a good way.
Artistic background made of elements of human face, and colorful abstract shapes

I Heard Some Voices and They Were Magnificent

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Even though my 'psychoses’ have been beautiful, you also need a safe place to be able to process them.

The Trauma of Psychosis: My “Bipolar” Journey

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Somatic therapy helped me process the trauma of my psychosis: the two days of my brain telling me the world was ending and awful things were being done to my family.

Oceans of Energy: What Paranoia Reveals About Interconnection

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The psychotic and the mystic swim in the same water. But why do some swim, and some drown?

Psychic Gardening and Walking the Sensitive Path

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I learned that trying to fight, ignore, push away what I was dealing with was not working. I had to face it, accept it, work out what it had come to teach me and then work out how to set it free.

Manic and Mistreated

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I was shaking and crying as I told a stranger everything about my life, and they looked at me like I was a criminal. Like I was crazy. I started to think maybe I was.

Self Stolen: How ECT Fried My Brain

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Extreme ECT memory loss is like having Alzheimer’s, and being fully cognizant of it. It takes away who you are as a person: your self-identity.
Boy with wings in the field in the afternoon against the blue sky

Trying to Fly Above—An Example of Sequencity

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I consider synchronicity and sequencity connections to be gifts. The meaning involved is often much deeper and more personal than other people will recognize.

The Words That Stick Forever

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I often think about how the situation could have played out, had that nurse and the doctor chosen kindness rather than aggression and impatience.