Disability as a Creative Practice
I wanted to explore how time and sequence work when memory is disrupted, in my case due to traumatic brain injury. I needed to document and reclaim my own sensorium.
25 Years Later: Honoring a Stress Breakdown
This was no illness. And I knew my biochemistry was not the primary issue. I chose to call it a severe stress breakdown.
I Had No Idea That Gabapentin Could Do This…
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.
What’s Missing from NAMI and Pro-Psychiatry: Lived Experience
Since many psych patients become forced consumers, their advocates have a duty to be educated and concerned with adverse reactions.
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.)
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.
Trauma Survivors Speak Out Against Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Despite the majority of the individuals being sent to DBT having histories of severe childhood trauma, little about DBT treatment is “trauma-informed.”
The Agonizing Nightmare of Drug-Induced Akathisia
Take every horrific feeling you’ve ever had in your life, all at once. Now, times them by 200, right in your gut. That is how akathisia pain feels. When I tell doctors I have drug-induced akathisia, and that it's incredibly painful, they do not believe me. They say my pain is a mental health issue, and they have all methodically undermined my credibility in my permanent record.
Antidepressant-Induced Mania: When My Mind Became a Literal Hell
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.
I Can Barely Breathe
The psychiatrists broke my body and my brain and now they are washing their hands of me. When I think about what has been done to me and what has been taken from me, I can barely breathe.
The Bipolar Artist: A Lifelong Sentence to Bear
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.
Fighting for the Freedom to Hear Voices
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.
How I Healed My ‘Bipolar Disorder’
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 Power of Light and Dark
It is possible to prevent and alleviate both depression and mania by managing the timing and intensity of exposure to light (and dark). I wasn’t sure these measures would work for me, but they did.
Ambushed by Antidepressant Withdrawal: The Escape Story
I’m alive. More than 30,000 veterans in the past decade alone are not. I was not warned of the risks of this drug. I was not told that once on it, I might never be able to get off it, or the nightmare that would ensue when I tried. I know millions of others were not told either.
What Psychiatry Has Done for Me
The stigma and discrimination I have had to endure due to my ‘diagnosis’ crushed my spirit and the dreams I had for my life. But the most devastating part of all is how it altered my relationship with my two sons.
Dying to Stay Alive: A Ketamine Disaster
Ketamine treatment, which was being hailed as a ‘miracle cure’, backfired so spectacularly that it very nearly cost me my life.
Mania or Marijuana?
Is marijuana to blame for my mental health issues? Strange things started happening in my mind once I started using the medical-grade weed.
Mad Parenting: On Becoming an Unlikely Family Man
I’ve often been told I shouldn’t have kids because I’m “bipolar.” But since my twins’ birth, I’ve been way more stable than I thought I would be, and I’ve found what I’ve always been looking for.
From ‘Madness’ to Self-Mastery: Overcoming a Life of Disconnection
You are trained to trust a system, to trust a professional… But I was always following my intuitive self telling me that there was a way out of the madness and the labels.
Living Together – With More Resilience and Less Medication
My own experiences have shown that specific exercises can help me to recognize the early symptoms of psychosis even earlier and more subtly, and reduce their intensity — even the delusions!
Negatively Charged: ECT and the Truth I Could Never Forget
I live with the changes every day, even now, four years later. It often feels as though the shocks have rendered me one-handed, only ever capable of dealing with one thing at a time.
Overcoming Social Barriers as a Writer with a Disability
Finally, I realized that my schizophrenia was not a disorder, but a very complex problem that I could solve by myself.
A Troubled Teen With a Pocket Full of Lithium and Nowhere to Go
Despite the full awareness of Congress and hundreds of deaths in these facilities, little has been done to enact standards in private pay facilities that house troubled teens.
Boy, Interrupted: A Story of Akathisia
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.