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.

A Troubled Teen With a Pocket Full of Lithium and Nowhere to Go

33
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.

Disability as a Creative Practice

3
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.

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 Bipolar Rollercoaster: Looking Beyond the Labels

15
Removing assumptions evoked by my family member’s diagnoses has transformed my understanding of their experience and increased my ability to arrive at solutions applicable to their expressed needs.
Abraham McNeill

Eulogy for Abraham Leighton McNeill

42
A friend said to me recently, "Oh, he suffered such a lot. That’s over for him." I know their words were intended to comfort me over my son’s suicide. Our fine, excellent son, Abraham, had committed suicide a month before Christmas 2019. Nevertheless, I bridled inwardly at the suggestion, not wanting to remember Abraham as merely the sum of his sufferings—he was so much more than that.

Healing From Transgenerational Trauma: My Mum, My Daughter, & Me

3
Emotional trauma is the type of wound that, if not processed and integrated, can become a void that expands to swallow not just the traumatized person but also their children and grandchildren.
psychiatric diagnosis

What Psychiatry Has Done for Me

119
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.
Wooden pawn-like figures surrounding a gavel

Guardianship Destroyed My Family

37
People who can’t take care of themselves need support and protection, but guardianship provides neither. I know: I've lived it.

Living Together – With More Resilience and Less Medication

21
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!
mental hospital

Memories of a Childhood in a Mental Hospital

11
My stay at the hospital had no impact on the problem that led to my admission. But it did exacerbate other problems and change me in fundamental ways. I am a deformed product of that ‘cutting-edge facility’ and the ‘treatments’ I received there — social isolation, pills and shots, ice bath and ECT.

Called by God: Dealing With Depression and Psychosis

14
God supported me during my psychosis. I was afraid that I would lose God when I took antipsychotics again. That had happened after my first forced medication.

From ‘Madness’ to Self-Mastery: Overcoming a Life of Disconnection

8
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.

Eternal Sorrow: My Unexpected Descent into the Mental Health System

29
In searching for answers as to what went wrong with my treatment, my family and I discovered that there is already much scientific evidence demonstrating the dangers of antipsychotic medications and why they should not be used to treat illnesses such as Tourette Syndrome.
ECT

Negatively Charged: ECT and the Truth I Could Never Forget

17
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.
yellow wood therapy

Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood: A Tale of Psychotherapy

15
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and not knowing which one to take, I stood straight, watching my life pass me by. But in therapy, I began to feel the knots of my life come alive inside me. The point is not just to talk, it is to feel your story inside, to hear your silences, and to realize who you are… and who you can be.

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.
hindsight ECT

Hindsight is 20/20

8
During my 2003 episode I received a series of ten shocks and at first they seemed to “magically” cure me. However, it only took a month for me to go back to feeling depressed and suicidal — again.

Still Looking For Answers

20
What is happening in my body? And has being on medication caused long-term side effects or damage? I’ll forever be searching for answers; I want to feel “normal” again and live a life of enjoyment vs fear and anxiety.

Overcoming Social Barriers as a Writer with a Disability

7
Finally, I realized that my schizophrenia was not a disorder, but a very complex problem that I could solve by myself.
clozapine medication

My Mother Accidentally Took My Medication

46
Although I have usually been the one suffering from side effects, with others watching on, the roles were reversed in this incident. Seeing my mother impaired caused me heartache, and I am now rethinking my treatment regimen. Is this stuff good for me for the long term? Is this the only stuff that can help me, or is there an alternative?
Photo of hand with pen drawing a sign that says Creativity and COVID: Art-making During the Pandemic

Creativity and COVID: Art-Making During the Pandemic

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The pandemic lockdown last year afforded me a precious gift of time to explore my creative spirit, and that, in turn, gave me a powerful way to cope.

My Story and My Fight Against Antidepressants

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I’d like to share a bit about what happened to me after being placed on these medications, and how I successfully got off. Until recently, I was embarrassed to talk about my personal experiences publicly, as I’m a professional who specializes in anxiety and depression. Today, medication free, I feel better than ever before, and I am now on a mission to help my current clients get off medications, and to inform others through my writing about the dangers and pitfalls of starting antidepressants.

Dear Psychiatry

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Dear Psychiatry: We are done with your juvenile black-and-white bullying tactics that argue that because you cannot neatly contain Us in a box of your design that We are somehow the problem.

Admission: A Story of Solidarity and Survival

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I survived not because I received excellent care from the staff on the ward. On the contrary, the treatment was objectifying and cold. It’s not surprising that many end up in suicide behind locked doors. I survived because I felt, however fleetingly, my experiences mirrored by others.

Nerve Damage, Mouth Ulcers, & More: My Battle with Drug Side Effects

15
Since 2020 began, I have had a minimum of two to five excruciating ulcers in my mouth most of the time. I believe they're a side effect of the psychiatric drugs I am on. Yet most doctors won't take my symptoms seriously.