Friday, November 26, 2021

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.

Lessons Learned While Sharing About Voice Hearing

5
I slowly recognized that I wanted to fight every single person who used language based on their learned beliefs about “mental illness.” They didn’t know any better—so why did I feel so angry?
sister

“Floss on the Waves”: My Sister’s Journey

8
It takes a long time to recover from a psychotic episode, I understand now, and I wish someone had found a way, especially during those early years of her troubles, to give Rachel more space and time to find her own path to health.

Childhood Gaslighting: When Difference Receives a Diagnosis

8
Aside from the home, school is typically where we learn our worth or lack of it. We learn what we are taught, and how we are taught is often what we are taught.
criminal psychiatry

People Don’t Recover So Spectacularly from Criminal Psychiatry

50
Psychiatry and Catholicism have too much in common, both founded by men, upon questionable source materials. I knew I was in danger, not being helped.
postpartum anxiety

Postpartum Anxiety, Psychiatric Drugs and Paternalism

31
My postpartum anxiety diagnosis became subsumed by an arbitrary diagnosis of depression. And this diagnosis has followed me for 30 years and counting.
reversing diagnosis

Reversing My Diagnosis

13
I was fine until traumatic events collided and pushed me to a state of emotional crisis. Yet I emerged this time as a different person, and knew I had to exit the mainstream mental health system.
NGRI island

NGRI: The Gilligan’s Island of the Criminal Justice System

13
I approached the NGRI system with the belief that my commitment would be short and sweet and that in less than one year I would be back to living in the community. That year turned into nearly two decades.

Breaking with Disorder: The Invisible Flames of Mental Illness Labels

43
These labels left me docile to a broken mental health system—a carceral system that viewed me interchangeably as a patient or an object, but never a person.
story

Truth-Telling and Consequences

21
It’s at that point of asking for help from someone in authority, someone we should be able to trust, that many have their story stolen from them.
akathisia

Akathisia: Very Nearly the Death of Me

17
Akathisia is truly an indescribable thing—and has to be one of the most hellish experiences on earth. It’s like your brain is hijacked. Every day I thought could be my last.

My Partner Abused Me. I Was the One Locked Up

14
Every day, psychiatrists in Australia’s mental health system write reports denying the sanity of women who are victims of sexual assault, rape, or domestic violence. I know: I was one of them.

Necessary Powers: How I Became Fire

6
When a person is in hell, surrounded by enemies, without a protector or strong force on their side of any kind, that person needs to become their own powerful spokesperson.
insomnia drugs

Polydrugged With 12 Different Drugs… For Insomnia

24
Before my nightmare with psychiatric medication began, my life was full and happy. But since being prescribed 12 different psychiatric drugs in one year, I have become bedridden, ill and jobless.

Why I Fight for Trauma-Informed Systems

5
I am not sure what was worse: being abused growing up while my community documented—then ignored—my torment, or being attacked for going public with my story.
Photograph of a blue plate shattering

When Treatment Makes You Sick: The Eating Disorder Clinic

6
Eight years after beginning ‘treatment’ for an ‘eating disorder’, I was eating worse than ever. Yet three years after quitting that ‘treatment’, food is a pleasure, not a problem.
trauma-informed exercise

Becoming the Trauma-Informed Trainer I Needed

4
It was my experience, which I later found was supported by research, that exercise had the power to help me heal, but it also had the potential to exacerbate my trauma symptoms.

So Long, Pill Mill: A Letter to My Former Patients and Their Families

I love being a psych nurse practitioner, and I never want to feel that my only role is pushing pills. The private practice I started is my effort to move away from this dysfunctional system.

Suicidality: When Your Feelings Are Too Dangerous

8
After finding a cop at my door, I learned it wasn’t safe to talk about my feelings of wanting to die. As a result, I spent the better part of the next decade not telling anyone when I was suicidal.

Meds vs. No Meds? My Search for Freedom of Mind

15
I have stayed on the same daily, 10 mg dosage of Abilify for the last few years. Although I am compliant, I am not satisfied: I do not feel whole. I do not feel authentic.

When Homosexuality Was a “Disease”: My Story of Abuse

7
The horrors I was forced to undergo to “treat” my homosexuality are now unthinkable, but continue to raise questions about psychiatry’s ethics.

Making Mental Health an Ongoing Priority:  A Patch Adams Approach

16
My brother’s sudden death and Mental Health Awareness Month spurred me to spend May making small, very personal efforts to both honor his memory and move the mental health conversation forward.

The Worst Thing: How My Mother’s Death Pushed Me to Overcome OCD

5
The goal of creating a legacy for my mother required that I go beyond managing my symptoms to confronting my OCD at its roots. I had to fundamentally change my understanding of anxiety.

Boy, Interrupted: A Story of Akathisia

51
I watched my son’s life change almost overnight. He developed akathisia from antidepressants, taken as prescribed for just a few weeks for garden-variety anxiety.

Understanding Psychological Disorders: My Personal and Professional Journey

34
A conflict in my personal life made it possible for me to imagine the power of emotional trauma to trigger a mental health disorder—and gave me new insights about what can help heal it.

Treatment Providers Have the Power to Make or Break Recovery

4
We need treatment providers that listen to their patients and treat them like human beings. Their job is to support our recovery, not stymie it.

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