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.

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.

I Had No Idea That Gabapentin Could Do This…

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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.
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.

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.

Dying to Stay Alive: A Ketamine Disaster

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

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.
pill bottle with skull and crossbones label

Gabapentin Horror

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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

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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.

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.

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.

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.
mania

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

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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.

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?

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 Suicide Police: Harm Disguised As Help

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It’s easy to tell a dead person they mattered. Humans are great at writing eulogies. But we are shit at making people feel like they matter while they are alive.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

How I Healed My ‘Bipolar Disorder’

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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!

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.
hearing voices attic

Fighting for the Freedom to Hear Voices

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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.