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.

Waking From the Nightmare: Is Recovery From Akathisia Possible?

52
I had a chemical brain injury from medications. The only help doctors could offer was more medications: treating the failed treatment with other dangerous treatments.

How Big Pharma and the Medical Doctors Killed my Father

142
When the nurses tried to give him other medications, my father refused. They accused him of being “combative” and “uncooperative,” and they injected him with the highly toxic, incredibly dangerous, mind-bending antipsychotic HALDOL.
psychosis brain healing

Healing From Schizophrenia

90
My experience is that living in a psychosis forces your brain to "stretch" — you develop extra capacity to handle things. I was pretty much living a normal life, even working some of the time, while having all of my psychotic problems. After the psychoses faded away, I no longer needed to fight monsters, but I still had that extra capacity left. After 11 periods of psychosis, my brain has never worked as well as it does now.

My Daughter and Prozac

89
While our daughter was growing up, my ex-wife treated our daughter’s body like a temple. She was the only kid among her friends not allowed to drink soda or cow’s milk as they might negatively affect her health. But Prozac for mild anxiety? Sure, no problem. I was honestly and genuinely shocked.

Eugenics, Lobotomy, Risperidone: “Science” Gone Awry

32
The worst thing about psychiatry is how it convinces your family to do things that they think are correct, which ultimately gets them to participate in harming you.

The Hidden Harms Within the Psychedelic Renaissance

17
If I would have read a story like this before I entered into psychedelic-assisted therapy, I would have been more careful, which might have prevented a lot of unnecessary hurt.
A black rubber duck stands out among a group of yellow rubber ducks

“Please Be Normal!” My Experience Working for NAMI

40
At my job with a NAMI affiliate, I heard daily from people who looked at family members with “mental illness” as non-people, non-human, the “other.” In the office, it was no different. If NAMI had a tagline, it would be “Please be normal like us.”
marijuana psychosis

Mania or Marijuana?

50
Is marijuana to blame for my mental health issues? Strange things started happening in my mind once I started using the medical-grade weed.
suicidality

Why My Daughter Died and I Lived

81
To be a parent of a suicidal child is to be in a terrible position, where you hold in your hands the life most valuable to you and know that any slip of your hands may end that life. In the 1970s, my suicidality was treated nonmedically and I lived. In the 2000s, my daughter Martha’s suicidality was treated medically and she died.

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

17
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.
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.
brain zaps antidepressants

Dangers of Antidepressants: My Personal Struggle with Conventional Medicine

43
I believed my doctor knew best about my health. I trusted that he knew it would be safe to switch me from an anti-anxiety drug that I had been taking for several years and put me on this new drug. It was only during the horror I went through afterward that I found out everything about this evil drug all on my own. To this day, I still get brain zaps in my sleep.

What’s Missing from NAMI and Pro-Psychiatry: Lived Experience

22
Since many psych patients become forced consumers, their advocates have a duty to be educated and concerned with adverse reactions.

Meditation Triggered My Psychosis; Reiki Healed It

9
James and I started talking about how we each fell on the path as seekers. He told me that he was a reiki master. A seed was planted within me. Even though my previous meditation practice did not work out, I still had spiritual longings and wanted to try again.
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.
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.

Seeing Mental Illness as a Spiritual Illness

30
I am a simple woman, 47, single mother of two beautiful children, diagnosed bipolar 10 years ago, and I want more from the way...

Why I’m Glad I Did Not Complete the Mental Health Counselor Education Program

16
One needs no psychiatric or counseling degree to have the common sense of displaying some good manners in a profession that claims to be all about helping people. I’m glad I did not get further involved within a field that seems to be so hypocritical and moody.
akathisia

Akathisia: Very Nearly the Death of Me

19
Akathisia is truly an indescribable thing—and has to be one of the most hellish experiences on earth. It’s like your brain is hijacked. Every day I thought could be my last.

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.

Abused by Psychiatrists After a BPD Misdiagnosis

50
If you don't realize that you are autistic, your intellectual, sensory, social, and emotional differences are a mystery, even to you.
involuntary commitment

What It’s Like to Be Involuntarily Committed

40
Ten years after being fired for taking a mental health leave after the Virginia Tech massacre, I was diagnosed as "schizophrenic" and involuntarily committed to a hospital. Now I have a job and a life, but I'm still forced to take drugs and report to a social worker.

The Observation Room

63
Class war between the haves and have nots is nowhere more evident than in a psychiatric ward. Dissidence becomes both a disease and a crime where cure is indistinguishable from punishment.

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.
doctor

Benzo Withdrawal: Why Don’t Doctors Know?

36
Many have asked: “Why doesn’t my doctor/provider know what is happening to me?” Benzodiazepine tolerance and withdrawal are not new. So, why isn’t it simple to diagnose and treat? As both a health care provider and a withdrawal sufferer, I’d like to offer an inside and outside perspective on this question.