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.

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.

“It Is What It Is” — Learning From the Past Without Getting Stuck in...

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My first mental-ward stay would not be the last. At last count... I lost count. Fortunately for me, I've learned much from my experience and vicariously from my peers.

The Great Grey Beast

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I am not the only child to have been devoured by the great grey beast that is the American psychiatric system. You're eaten away little by little, every single day, until what's left is barely a person.

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

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"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” said Edmund Burke. This is as true on...

Letting Go of Lithium

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The healing journey is less about being free from medication and psychiatry and more about connecting with myself now. I am grateful for the freedom to feel.

Words from My Heart to ‘My Heart’: What Might Have Helped My Late Friend?

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More than two and a half years later, I’m still processing my grief, still picturing our happiness and innocence as kids, and still acknowledging our struggles and pain.

My Chronic Illness Was Misdiagnosed as ‘Mental Illness’

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Physically ill and suffering folks are being misdiagnosed with ‘mental illness’ and sent to psychiatrists instead of doctors who can help them.

The Connection Between ‘Bipolar Disorder’ and Migraine: Unraveling the History of a Family Line

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Why did I have to go on a personal investigation to finally figure out that I was having migraines?

Recovery of Soul After 22 Years on Antipsychotics

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After 22 years and many attempts I finally stopped taking antipsychotics. I still feel weak and quite injured by the accumulated doses of numbing drugs, though I feel brighter, and love life more than ever.

On Psychotherapeutic Literacy

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The counselor, a rather awkward individual, did his best to play the role of an effective psychotherapist. Our sessions continued to be a quiet standoff, a battle of nerves to see who would break the silence first.