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.

Inadequately Trained Therapists Pose a Risk to Childhood Trauma Survivors

11
Mental health professionals must be trained in the dynamics of addiction and abuse if they are to help survivors of childhood trauma.

The Undervalued Potential of Living Without Psychiatric Drugs

22
Compared to the last six years, compared to how intense the drugs are and how grueling the side-effects, my first psychosis at 17, I admit, was honestly not that bad.

Childhood Trauma Is Not a Mental Illness

25
My childhood was stolen by systems focused on labeling and medicating me instead of healing the effects of abuse and neglect.

Systematic Failure

11
This is the story of a life in turmoil, my failings and those of the systems meant to help such persons.

Child Abuse and Psychosis: My Healing Journey

40
Hospitalized for "grandiose delusions," I began to wonder: Was my dis-orientation really just a sickness? Or in "treating" it, was I missing a powerful re-orientation toward healing old wounds?

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.

“It Is What It Is” — Learning From the Past Without Getting Stuck in...

4
My first mental-ward stay would not be the last. At last count... I lost count. Fortunately for me, I've learned much from my experience and vicariously from my peers.

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.

Activism, Suicide, and Survival: Healing the Unhealable

13
The present-day mental health establishment focuses primarily on a ‘biological’ cause for despair and other so-called ‘aberrant’ mental manifestations in the world. But when we look at the news, it’s bursting with sad realities. Animals dying, people starving, rape everywhere. Climate change bringing more disasters, racist mortgage practices. Are we to grow a skin so thick that we don’t cry when we read about a government firing scud missiles on its people? How are we to process mass-murder in an elementary school? What is more aberrant: to be so hardened that we do not cry, or to cry constantly? Might the healthy response to depressing realities to become depressed? How do we create hope when so often our world seems so terrible? How much activism is enough?

Did Electroshock Save my Life?

15
In July 2006, I wrote about Electroconvulsive Therapy and stated, “If I had the opportunity to have another series of treatments I would do...

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?

“Gravely Disabled” — How I Narrowly Escaped a Conservatorship

11
"What’s going on? Is the idea for me to live in a locked facility forever?” A silent wail of despair wells up inside me. What’s happening to my life?

Dying to Stay Alive: A Ketamine Disaster

32
Ketamine treatment, which was being hailed as a ‘miracle cure’, backfired so spectacularly that it very nearly cost me my life.
criminal psychiatry

People Don’t Recover So Spectacularly from Criminal Psychiatry

75
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.
medication side effects

How the Internet Helped Save My Mental Health

13
My experience has shown me that if you have enough pain in your life, you will look anywhere for the truth, even if this truth goes against what the medical system is telling you.

Recovery of Soul After 22 Years on Antipsychotics

6
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.
Collage depicting Cleopatra and a snake

The Psychiatric Patient: Who Is She?

7
The psychiatric patient is interesting—not your average person. She is the one who might tell you: “There is more to this reality, and I saw the proof.”

Life Sentence: Life Behind the Bars of the Mental Health System

41
The minute you sit down in the chair in a mental health professional's office, you’re no longer seen as a person. The mental health system is incapable of seeing past the solid wall of your current label. Their only cure is drugs. "First Do No Harm" are powerful words. It’s unfortunate they don’t apply to psychiatry.

Confused, Accused, and Retraumatized

37
At the hospital, what traumatized me the most was that my freedom was in the hands of a professional who was steadfast in his conviction that I was feeling things I was not.

In Search of Reason: My Path to Antipsychiatry

30
I realized that nobody would be able to help me if I didn't help myself. Simply because society wants a cheap, technical solution that will leave me in a state of dependency and frustration for the rest of my life.

The State Power Triangle and My Spiritual Awakening

6
My will had been broken by work and psychiatry. How could I get my self-power back after so many years and so many brain-damaging meds?
mdma

Psychedelic Therapy Will Not Save Us

23
For women survivors of sexual or physical trauma, MDMA should be used judiciously. Or maybe it shouldn’t be used at all.

Coercion in Care

45
To this day I do not know how I found my way back. I think it might’ve had something to do with willpower, as I was NOT going to lose myself. I was NOT going to end up like those people who were living indefinitely in the hospital—those “chronic schizophrenics”, as they say. I was going to find my way back, back to myself.

I Want Change

35
Only two hours after we got home, Dan fearlessly told me of the suicide plan that he'd devised while in the hospital. He had all that time to think about it while nobody was listening. He'd lost his dignity, his identity and his place in society. He had lost the will to live.

Trauma in a Place Where Peace Should Be

12
It should have been safe and healing for me in the hospital. Instead, it was like being at home with my stepfather: I was abused and invisible, just trying to protect myself.