It has taken me close to three years to be able to live with my memories from the hospital, where I felt completely and utterly alone, despairing that I might never live a normal life or see my family again.
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.
Why am I whole when I dance and paint but deathly ill when faced by a European/American medical mechanic? Why was I locked in a room for a week in the first place? Was it to heal? Or was it to fill a bed?
The label bipolar validated that I was suffering, yes, but it was also a bargain that asked me to see my suffering as unreasonable, the result of a deformity within my body.
I struggle as to how to talk to you guys, and there can be no progress without communication. Today, I am attempting to begin a bridge so that you will not be afraid of me and I will not be afraid of you.
Why is it such a “crime” to explore alternative realities, and look for something beyond our totally medicalized society? In some cultures, one would be revered instead, and not locked away.
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 mad priestess kicks shame and stigma in the teeth, knowing that we can do better. We could be leading the charge for healing—please don’t call it “mental illness” anymore—and take our place as the wounded healers.
Once, for a brief time, there was an outrage over child drugging, in particular the use of child protective services and the schools in forcing or coercing this drugging on children. Today, instead of continuing to sound an alarm, most of society considers this normal.
I believe there's no harm in giving meds a try—it worked for me. Just be aware that they can only do so much. The rest of the journey requires some navigation and self-direction.
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.
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.
To say a person is out of touch with reality is to ignore the validity of the reality that they are in touch with. This is not only disempowering, but also fails to celebrate the journey that the person is on.
The bipolar label and the drugs you prescribed after talking with me for half an hour robbed me of my humanity. What did they not do? Prevent any of the psychotic episodes I had after the first one.
Had the hospital simply treated me for heatstroke, they would have made next to nothing. But 11 days in the hospital (10 on a locked ward) and a battery of tests and psych drugs? Well, I’ll let you do the math.
Flying from Anchorage to Cleveland while suffering from life-threatening akathisia was going to be a constant push-pull between the urge to freak out and maintaining my body and psyche so as not to scare the other passengers.
An ER doctor told me I was experiencing venlafaxine withdrawal, then told me to go home and take care of myself. Unbeknownst to me, I was about to enter pure hell.
I believed I needed the drugs to keep me going, because every time I tried to get off, I couldn’t function. Years later, I learned the truth: The meds had only been masking the festering sores beneath the surface of my stability.
Withdrawal felt like: evil feeding on my soul, my spirit being tortured, not being able to feel love, constantly feeling like I was falling in a dark tunnel, and wanting to get out of my body.
In my experience, psychiatry is a discipline in which treatment and gaslighting exist in a complex braid. One side might show more than the other at times, but they’re closely woven together and hard to pick apart.
I am here today because I didn't take the psychotropic medication I was prescribed. Because I didn't accept someone else's narrative about MY story. Because I listened to my voices. Because I let them guide me— into the underworld, and back.
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.
My brain zaps—symptoms of benzo withdrawal—were like having a mini seizure on a daily basis. But my doctor kept telling me that my “underlying” anxiety was causing all my distress.
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?
The psychiatric system takes away all choices and freedom and calls the resulting state "mental illness." Psychiatry justifies alienation rather than repairing it.