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.

What It’s Really Like Inside a Psychiatric Ward

9
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

4
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. 
Joey Marino

The Death of Joey Marino

18
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.

I Had No Idea That Gabapentin Could Do This…

76
I am now a few months off of Gabapentin, and my withdrawal problems have not passed. I still deal daily with internal tremors throughout my head and back.

Stealing My Mother From Me: The Horrors of Conservatorship

10
My beloved mother was mistreated, cheated, abused mentally, and alienated from her family by her conservator and the courts.
against DBT

Trauma Survivors Speak Out Against Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

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Despite the majority of the individuals being sent to DBT having histories of severe childhood trauma, little about DBT treatment is “trauma-informed.”

From Wonder Drug to Catastrophe: My Seroquel Story

What my doctor had told me would be a two-week withdrawal from Seroquel turned into a 14-month nightmare with lasting repercussions: the movement disorder tardive dyskinesia.

Dying to Stay Alive: A Ketamine Disaster

34
Ketamine treatment, which was being hailed as a ‘miracle cure’, backfired so spectacularly that it very nearly cost me my life.

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

30
I made a series of videos with psychologist and researcher Anders Sørensen, answering the questions that haunted me the most throughout my tapering process.
pill bottle with skull and crossbones label

Gabapentin Horror

34
After suffering PTSD in the late 1980s, I reluctantly accepted antidepressants. In time, I had resolved the trauma, but when I tried to stop the antidepressants (Prozac, and later Zoloft), I assumed my desperate feelings and “return” of depression were an indication I had an imbalance and needed those drugs. I didn’t understand I was experiencing withdrawal. (I was never told that for most people, psychiatric medications need to be tapered.)

Gabapentin Withdrawal: One Year Later

34
Even though I was only on the medication for a little over six months, I am still traveling down the long road of psychiatric drug withdrawal. This is the hardest thing I have ever endured.

When the Help Becomes Part of the Problem

17
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.
mania

Antidepressant-Induced Mania: When My Mind Became a Literal Hell

18
The amount of anxiety I felt on these medications — and for a couple of years after — was unfathomable. I felt as though I was trapped in an air-tight vat, constantly gasping for breath. And my thoughts were guided by my state of constant worry and panic.

Letting Go of Lithium

90
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.
hearing voices attic

Fighting for the Freedom to Hear Voices

51
We were caught in a tug of war. They wanted my voices gone. I was not going to let go of my voices, my confidants and protectors, regardless of what they did to me. We have the right to hear voices and no longer be hidden away in the attic of taboo and misunderstood experiences. The freedom to hear voices is truly a fundamental human right.

Oceans of Energy: What Paranoia Reveals About Interconnection

36
The psychotic and the mystic swim in the same water. But why do some swim, and some drown?

The Bipolar Artist: A Lifelong Sentence to Bear

12
I was told that I had only two choices: Do not have children, or take lithium while I was pregnant—the drug that posed the least amount of birth defects, and the very medication that had killed the painter in me years ago. I refused both options and set out on my own, and luckily found a willing psychiatrist to help me taper off the meds.

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

14
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.

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...

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.

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.” 

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.

A Felt Sense of Safety – From Disassociation to Embodiment

21
I know now that I can trust myself and listen to my intuition. Within the mental health system, I trusted everyone but myself.

What I Learned as a Moderator for an Antidepressant Taper Support Group

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Medication support groups are saving lives and brains because doctors do not know how to safely taper off psych meds.

How I Healed My ‘Bipolar Disorder’

52
I was desperate to get off the medication. I wanted to be in control of myself again; independent and capable. The label of Bipolar Disorder made me feel like I was seen as a crazy person who did not fit into society. I wanted my dignity back!