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.

Ekaterina Netchitailova

Psychiatric Medication: Does It Work?

63
One can lead a good life with a “mental illness” and I am the case. Yes, it is possible. Even with a diagnosis of “bipolar” above your head.

Missionary Headshrinkers in Gold Canyons: A Survivor’s Perspective

14
Missionaries and psychiatrists have failed not through lack of compassion but through lack of willingness to take a long walk and a long, long talk to ask the neighbors what they need and the people what they already know.
hospitalization hospital

Prepared, Yet Unprepared: My Involuntary Hospitalization Adventure

13
Overall I learned a great deal during my hospital adventure. The whole experience seemed like a comedy of errors. For me the only people there who were truly out of touch with reality were staff members. All of the patients were very present, albeit in some distress. The reasons for their distress were not unreasonable.
suicide versus support

Suicide Prevention and Service Failure in the U.K.

15
It's really hard to talk about suicide. We are constantly constrained by the notion that our mental health is our individual responsibility to manage, told to “live our best lives” by a never-ending campaign of exploitative wellness fads. A more collective conversation is needed.

Letters to My Doctors (Part 3)

2
Rape is to Love what Bombs are to Peace and what Behavioral Eugenics are to Mental Health. So I choose noncompliance with psychiatric force.

I Made It Out Alive

15
There is no replacing the near 30 years that psychiatry took from me and my family. I am now 70 years old and in failing health which I attribute to those damn drugs.

I Am Not the Next Headline in Tragedy

18
I may be psychotic but I am not the next headline in the news. I am thoughtful and questioning. I am different and unique, but I am not violent and my life will never be anyone's tragedy. Would you like to stand with me?
off meds onto nutrients

What Happened When I Went Off Meds and Onto Nutrients

17
I remember clearly thinking, “I’m done. I’m not putting myself through this again.” I wasn’t going to settle for the side effects of a marginally better than placebo treatment again. Here is a brief look into my rollercoaster journey of recovery, returning to work, having my trauma re-triggered, finding a way through, and finally living well.

Not Just Another Stain on the Wall

31
During my 96-hour hold in the psych unit—despite that I was rational and a danger to no one—I was made to feel ashamed and somehow unclean. I went home feeling more depressed than ever.
revolution psych ward

My Time at Bellevue

24
I've never been so proud of such a display of civil disobedience. These heretofore robots, pumped with power sedatives, still possessed human emotions and had, overnight, found a voice to express their discontent. The riots would continue for several more nights and the ward became a chaotic jungle.

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?

Made It! – Successfully Navigating Both Mainstream and Alternative Treatment for Mental Illness

4
I’ve come to understand that a single-minded focus on either therapy or medication can do great, if unintended, harm. I’m sharing this brief history of my journey, with both my good and bad decisions, to illustrate the importance of conscious care, and of maintaining the ability to change course.
rollercoaster

Disinhibited

13
The party would continue for a time, but an inevitable crash ensued. I left my family, was fired from my job for uncontrollably screaming at my boss, and gambled away whatever money I had left in the stock market. A debilitating depression soon began, of a magnitude I could not previously have imagined. I had lost everyone and everything in my life.

Writing Is My Best Medicine

6
For me, writing is a powerful tool for wellness and healing, whether that involves an escape into science fiction or simply putting my dreams, emotions, memories, and observations on paper.

A Moment Passed Too Often

9
What if, in that moment, nothing happened? What if I was given a second to collect myself enough to engage in the conversation surrounding my future? No one asked me what I would like to do. I was never given the chance to regain my equilibrium before I was drugged and bagged for the next decade.

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir

45
I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was just nineteen. I am forty-three now, and I have recovered – and I use the term...
suzuki book zen buddhism

Searching for Zen and Finding a Cow

26
If I had a clinical problem, why was something as ancient and simple as meditation helping me? And if normal positive human habits could be so profoundly useful, why the heck was the field marketing pills and “clinical” coping mechanisms to me instead? This frustration helped me jump ship from the medical mindset and hop into the world of humanity.

My Place in the Crisis

20
Editor's Note: To ensure the security of her job, the author has opted to use only her first name. My relationship with the mental health...
freedom from antidepressants

My Fight Against Antidepressants, Part III: Breaking Free

28
I had managed to get off the drugs again, this time with practically no withdrawal reactions other than some disturbances to my sleep which eventually settled down. I truly feel that I have been given a second chance because I am aware of how many people struggle terribly with these drugs just as I did.

Instrument of the Machine No More

11
Early in my social work career, I truly believed that medication and forced confinement helped heal “mental illness.” Then an abrupt awakening completely altered my worldview.

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

16
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.
planet

Moving On

25
Although I saw a number of counselors and therapists for my dependency issues, they were unable to help me. Therapists saw my unhappy childhood experiences as part of me, part of who I was, but I did not see it that way. I imagined the experiences circling around outside of ‘the real me’ like moons around a planet, standing between me and the outside world.

Not Stigma, Privacy: Why I Write Under a Pseudonym

37
If I disclose my situation, then professionally, the attributional association of “the therapist with schizophrenia“ will necessarily and inevitably follow. But this is not who I am. Rather, I am a therapist with a private medical issue and I prefer to maintain its confidentiality—no further justification needed.

I Know With a Sane Mind When I’m Going Insane

20
This was my son’s answer when I was questioning him, trying desperately to find out what was going on in his mind. Why did...

Polypharmacy Poisoning, Dependence and Recovery from the Psychiatric Paradigm

54
It took surviving all of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal, including derealization, gastritis, auditory hallucinations, wasting, dementia, panic attacks and profound depression, for me to come to understand that not only had I really been a cool person before all that shit, but also that nothing was wrong with me. I was smart and a little neurotic at times, but that was it. Drugs caused me to be mentally ill where I had not been before.