Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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.

Narrow Escape: My Prescribed Nightmare

30
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.
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.

Letters to My Doctors (Part 2)

4
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?

Surviving the “Bipolar” Label

25
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.

Letters to My Doctors (Part 1)

12
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.
Ekaterina Netchitailova

I Live

19
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.

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.

The Mad Priestess: A Call to Healing

3
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.

Kids on Psychiatric Drugs: Where Are They Now?

63
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.

Navigating the Mind: What Medication Cannot Address

9
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.

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.

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

14
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.

My Beautiful Psychosis: A Soul Process

8
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.

A Letter to the American Psychiatrist Who Labeled Me

53
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.

Overheated, then Overtreated: My 10-Day Involuntary Hold

43
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.

Up in the Air: Surviving 24 Hours with Akathisia

22
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.

Out of the Abyss (with a Little Help from My Friends)

49
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.

Seeds of Hope: A Journey Toward Truth about Psych Drugs

13
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.
prescription for Valium

Born Addicted to Valium: Understanding a Lifetime of Symptoms

4
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.

Then and Now: Will Psychiatry Ever Change?

45
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.

Validating Psychosis: The Missing Narrative  

30
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.

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. 
benzodiazapine withdrawal

How 1 Panic Attack Led to 15 Years of Psychiatric Drugs 

59
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.

Child Abuse and Psychosis: My Healing Journey

41
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?
snakes and ladders

Snakes and Ladders: How Psychiatry Took Away My Choices

77
The psychiatric system takes away all choices and freedom and calls the resulting state "mental illness." Psychiatry justifies alienation rather than repairing it.

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