Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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.

My Recovery from ‘Schizophrenia’ through Psychotherapy and Writing

I was never told directly that I had 'schizophrenia', and I am very glad about this. I know I was feeling bad, very bad, and was unsure of what to do, but I don’t see how a diagnosis could have helped me at that time. What could I have done with it? To be marked with a label like that would likely have caused me to rebel even more.

A Caregiver’s Story- And How I Became an Addict

In 1994, my nineteen-year old daughter, Cristina, was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). It was a diagnosis that came totally out of the blue and as a complete shock. Soon after she was diagnosed, it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep because of the tremendous stress, so I asked the very kind doctor who diagnosed Cristina if he could give me a prescription for something that would help me sleep. He agreed, and so began my “relationship” with Xanax. I had never taken anything like that before and didn’t know anything about it. All I knew was that as my daughter’s primary caregiver, I needed sleep in order to fight to keep her alive.

My Story and My Fight Against Antidepressants

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.

On Running and Recovery

As I continued to work in the human services field, I often found myself confronted with my past. I would hear colleagues talk about “borderlines” or describe clients as “low-functioning,” “manipulative”, or “emotionally fifteen”, and I would wonder how people were supposed to start feeling better about themselves when this was how they were seen by those who were there to help them. It seemed that our mental health system had become so focused on symptoms and finding out what was wrong with people, that we had forgotten to look for what was right, how to bring out a person’s strengths.

My Mood, My Choice

With nothing left to lose, I’d reached the point at which I had to make a choice: to fight, or to give up. Though things seemed to not be going my way, I decided to take back control and make drastic changes in hopes to survive. That’s when yoga, meditation and nutrition came into my life, but first, I had to find a doctor to help me get off the medication I was currently on.

Recovering Myself

I have known altered states of consciousness since I was a child.  I clearly remember staring into the mirror in my mother’s bathroom and...

Did Electroshock Save my Life?

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

My Place in the Crisis

Editor's Note: To ensure the security of her job, the author has opted to use only her first name. My relationship with the mental health...

Close Encounters with Biopsychiatry

Editor's Note: The author has written her story using a different name.  Here, she's explained why: "In my country, Poland, the stigma attached to the...

Bipolar by Definition?

Real quick, as I’m sure you’ve heard my story before: “Medication-induced mania.” Primary care writes prescription for antidepressant to alleviate simple stress. Pill causes...

Dan’s Journey Through OCD

Editor's Note: To protect the anonymity of her son, this author has published under a pseudonym. With the help of the Internet, my seventeen-year-old son...

Corrections Officers, Not Clinicians

Six months ago, I was just starting in a position called "Treatment Team Coordinator" at a secure residential treatment facility. In my home state,...

Psychiatry Almost Drove Me Crazy

I am a survivor of severe psychiatric abuse. There was a year or so in the early 1980’s when I was in and out...

The Wind Never Lies

When I was young I believed the world spoke to me.  Lightning split across the sky to the pulse of my thoughts.  Rings around...

Seeing Mental Illness as a Spiritual Illness

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

The Mystery is Solved, and Now I’m Undoing the Harm (With Strength and a...

I’d like you to get to know me as you read this.  I think I have an important personal story to tell.  Frankly, I...

I Know With a Sane Mind When I’m Going Insane

This was my son’s answer when I was questioning him, trying desperately to find out what was going on in his mind. Why did...

Reconstruction: A Recovery Narrative

When I read recovery stories, I am sometimes challenged by the prospect of thinking about my life in linear terms, "Here are the years...

Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was just nineteen. I am forty-three now, and I have recovered – and I use the term...

The Manifesto of a Noncompliant Mental Patient

I see it everywhere: People with mental illness need medication.  It sounds reasonable. Today, there are even political organizations that seek to make it easy to force a person to take it.

A Psychiatrist Remembers His Recovery from Schizophrenia

A psychiatrist since 1949, I was psychiatrically hospitalized on December 21, 1963 at New York City's Mt. Sinai Hospital.   I stayed for three months,...

From the Loony Bin To Stand-Up Comedy

I was sixteen and going on seventeen and I had never gone crazy before.  I think the most startling aspect of it is how...

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