Friday, March 24, 2023

Comments by hughmass

Showing 27 of 27 comments.

  • I am a Vietnam Veteran who ran into the buzzsaw of the VA mental health system in the 1970’s. There was a lot of forced treatment, including, for me, a long stay in a Ct. State Hospital where I was tied down to a bed, face down and forcibly injected with drugs like Thorazine until I was nearly unconscious.
    It was a nightmare, and getting off the drugs was an absolute nightmare because the VA, and my parents, saw me as defective and this was all prior to the diagnosis of ptsd…
    well, the story is a long, long one so I will shorten it. I thank you for your work, for me, the hardest steps were the first ones as no one, absolutely no one, encouraged me to strike out for good health.
    Talk therapy was a great help, especially at the Vet Center level.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • Grateful for this article, as it reaffirms my desire and need to vote for Bernie Sanders.
    I am one who was forcibly injected with a two two week shot of prolixin which I was allergic to , and then sentenced to Norwich State Hospital in CT. for the crime of complaining about my forced treatment.
    Only thing that was good of that time was that it taught me that psychiatrists are less trustworthy than the drug dealer down the street, but the drug dealer cannot sentence me to months of being locked up to take his drugs.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • One of the great traumas of my life involved asking for help from the VA and, for some reason, shipped off the to the local State Hospital, where absolute hell descended upon me.
    Mental health isn’t about a disease, it is about trauma, about learned dysfunction, and the incompetent meanness of the mental health system nearly killed me.
    Not an exaggeration.
    I want to thank those in the psychiatric survivor movement, and to Bob Whitaker, for their continued work in supporting the lost and bewildered.

  • We have not been well served by the mental health community, especially the psychiatrists, who pretend that emotional distress is a disease, not a normal reaction to pain, abandonment, and hopelessness.
    There is a reason that suicides go down in times of war, and that is because then people get a sense that they belong, that they matter, that everyone, rich and poor, are inside the circle.
    But shrinkdom makes a fortune being the drug dealers of the nation, so that won’t stop anytime soon.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • Sorry, but I am an American and so live in a country that has no national health care, no right to housing, or a job, or to have a sense that I belong and that I matter.
    The intelligentsia prefers diagnosis over…community.
    Of course Madness is almost always the result of trauma. You cannot get and stay healthy without belonging, without friends, without hope. Leave a person alone long enough immersed in a terribly lonely prison and that person will choose fantasy over the impossible to survive pain of rejection.
    If a shrink wants to understand emotional dysfunction, live for a year on the street.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • Your story is of vital importance, but psychiatric survivors seem to still be ignored or ridiculed by psychiatry. That makes your work all the more important.
    I spent years in VA and State of Connecticut “hospitals” until I understood I was at great risk, not from some mythical “illness” but from the shrinks themselves. I got away, found a safe place to exist as I “de-prescripted”, and went on with my life. Sure, I live a greatly reduced life, but since mental illness is about trauma and learned dysfunction, every moment I let them prattle over me about their non-existent cure for a non-existent illness, meant I was just that more lost and in despair.
    I found help in a lot of interesting places. Several times I was asked to describe part of the journey to local college classes, and found that healing.

    Your speaking out may be the only thing that helps give a struggling psychiatric survivor hope to engage in the struggle to reclaim their minds and hope. Good job.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • Well, I needed two things as a kid.
    I needed education to let me know just what trauma was and what it did to a person. It would have been nice to have a full school assembly and talks by trauma survivors.
    I needed a support group of other trauma survivors, certainly by the time I was a junior in high school. I left high school an absolute basket case, and a good life relating to others was impossible to figure out, and the Vietnam War sure didn’t help.
    I bet none of those things are available even to day for kids at Rockville High in Ct.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • This study is useful though if one is in the field and doesn’t take it as a given, there is a real problem.
    I have long recognized that if my High School (Rockville CT. 1964) had had a counseling program and a support group for kids trying to survive traumatic homes, many lives would have been saved, if not from suicide, then from major dysfunction. We weren’t crazy or weird, we were learning dysfunction, and sure, we could shut down, but later that was a recipe for disaster.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • It is obvious that psychiatry is outdated, and more a religion thriving on myth, than on science. That comes from someone who’s real traumas were ignored and belittled as he was forcibly committed to state and veterans’ hospitals for the crime of “schizophrenia”. It was hell, absolute hell.
    While the advent of the diagnosis of PTSD has helped, there is just no excuse for the continued existence of psychiatry, other than for the lifting of Big Pharma at the expense, and deaths, of the traumatized and lost.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • I cannot overemphasize the importance of your decision and your story. As one who was forcibly incarcerated in a Ct. state hospital, and spent two years in a VA hospital, “diagnosed” as a paranoid schizophrenic and forcibly injected with the most miserable drugs, left without hope and hounded by those who said I was mentally defective, I know firsthand of what you write.
    And then, one day, the diagnosis of Ptsd came out, and the imaginary unprovable diagnosis of schizophrenia went away, and a new round of thinking and drugs, until I walked away, sat in a Christian Rescue Mission in Oregon until I was free of the terrible drugs, and went about trying to resurrect a life.
    You can help so many of us by giving strength to our complaints and out stories.
    I regard traditional psychiatry the most evil of religions, asking people to rely on faith as the shrinks destroy lives with imaginary labels for very real learned dysfunctions.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • Well, I know what I would been like if my education and mental health care were trauma informed. I wouldn’t have been a totally shut down person in high school if able to see a counselor about my mother’s alcoholism and suicide attempts, I would have been able to focus in college and not have dropped out to go into the Marines and Vietnam.
    I would have been able to sit across from a mental health professional who understood trauma from both family and war, unlike the damn VA shrinks who diagnosed me with schizophrenia, whatever that is, and sent me to Norwich State Hospital in CT to undergo absolute hell./
    The list goes on, but I am absolutely convinced my dysfunctional life would have been vastly different with trauma informed care, and that care would have started with helping my elders, mostly my mother.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • And if treating adverse childhood experiences were also seen as key to reducing the recidivism rate of those incarcerated we all would be moving toward an America that embraces all. If there were an effective treatment program, not drugs, for those locked up, looking at trauma, many lives would be reclaimed.
    I spent years in state and VA mental hospitals before learning of trauma and getting real help. I have been around thousands of men who could have been reclaimed from their inner hell, but for the abusive lack of caring by states, and yes, the VA. Thorazine and Prolixin treatment were indicators of the lack of sanity of the system, not the “patient”.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • Wow, wonderful useful article. I find I am referring more and more people to just for this kind of intelligent courageous article.
    I am a 68 year old psychiatric survivor who barely survived his encounter with shrinks, including a time in a Conn. state hospital and a lot of forced drugging.
    I was able to find people to talk with and with time, was able to sort things out and get out from under the unbearable weight of trauma and stigma. You haven’t lived until you are carted off to a state “hospital” under the mythical diagnosis of schizophrenia, tied down to beds and forcibly injected with prolixin and thorazine until you are nearly unconscious.
    I did make a video and encourage survivors like me to do the same, as a way to gain clarity and fight back.
    People talk about wars far away, but for most traumatized people the war is right here, and it involves allies like you, and greed-head enemy like big pharma embracing psychiatry.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • Great article.
    For me, the solutions are organized into three areas.
    1) Trauma: recognizing, preventing, treating, discussing, self helping,
    2) Housing and other social aids. Here in the US we force many poor people, including parents, to get some sort of diagnosis in order to simply get life saving housing, when the employment market drys up or we cannot keep it together to work to pay our bills. Here in Eugene Oregon the waiting list even for those with a “diagnosis” is years long.
    3) Throwing Psychiatry to the trash bin, recognizing it for what it is, a collection of drug dealers who pretend to help while practicing a self serving form of religion.
    That comes from someone who was forcibly hauled to a Connecticut State Hospital (Norwich), drugged until I was nearly unconscious, and forced to live with the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Kafka would have been hard pressed to write something as bizarre and soul shriveling as what I witnessed and experienced during the mid ’70’s. And still no apology from shrinkdom for the terrorism they rained down on us.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • Thank you for this article. As someone who was forcibly incarcerated in Norwich State Hospital in Ct, with the diagnosis of Schizophrenia, and tied down and injected with drugs like Prolixin and Thorazine that were to “help” with my “diagnosis”, I pretty much was thrown into hell for the crime of being dysfunctional.
    Years later, I was asked to speak to a local University of Oregon class ( on my perspective on the origins of what is called “mental illness”, and that forced me to figure it out. One can be an adult child of an alcoholic suicidal mother, Vietnam Veteran, etc, and be perfectly normal, though unable to function in a job.

    But those of us who are or were classified as “mentally ill” are usually ignored by the medical community as we never attended medical school and so “cannot understand” the medical science of the genetic basis of “mental illness”. Thanks to people like you and Bob Whitaker, we have allies who can speak directly to those professionals making billions off the deliberate ignoring of the traumas and needs of the battered and lost.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • Tough fight, I wish him well.
    In 1976 I was forcibly injected with Prolixin, a two week shot. I turned out to be allergic to the crap, and before my nightmare was over had done several unimaginable (to me) things, including running into a total strangers garage and begging their car to help me because someone was trying to kill me. I went from just being miserable to being actively, weirdly, suicidal. I know that there are many thousands of people out there who, like me, must live with the disaster that their life became after being battered by Big Pharma.
    And the VA, who gave me the shot, simply said I was crazy so there was no way for recompense.
    Such is life.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon

  • If this discussion goes on much longer and provides many more useful links, I think one could be forgiven for suggesting that it be the first chapter in a book.
    There is more useful support and info in this series of comments than in a full year of “therapy” that I received from the VA, many years ago. Heck, you could accumulate a series of comments on a series of topics and have it more useful than the DSM5.
    Trauma survivors can really be the best resource for those engaged in starting their own recovery.
    Hugh Massengill

  • Ron, the article leaves me with a cold, drained feeling, just like what I felt when I was in State and VA mental hospitals…sitting across from professionals with all the words but none of the heart.

    I may have missed it, but I saw no mention of trauma and the awareness that what is called mental “illness” is in truth a learned dysfunction that one recovers from by gaining support and safety. The stigma and fear that infects one when one is embraced by the mental health systems feeds the nightmare and makes recovery very, very difficult. It is “Big Nurse” saying the right words but draining the will to live from a traumatized person with every breath. Recovery for the traumatized is only possible when one fights back.

    Does “mental illness” exist, other than a collection of learned behaviors? If not, this article is more part of the problem than the solution, as you point out. And if traditional “mental illness” does exist that one needs to recover from, then I should shut up and learn to recover from my…what is the medical word for “refusing to acknowledge one’s disease”?

    When in Northampton VA hospital, diagnosed a chronic paranoid schizophrenic and stumbling around on massive doses of Thorazine, I once wrote “the recidivism rate in this place is 100%, even the staff keeps on coming back” (we were invited to write graffiti on a piece of construction plywood).
    But recovery wasn’t built into the mental health system. Recovery only was a possibility for me when I walked away and detoxified and learned what trauma had done to me.
    Maybe only psychiatric survivors can truly write the book on recovery, and create a system where the recidivism rate trends toward zero. The mental health system needs to recover first before it can hope of being a real agent of health. I know it is trying.
    Thanks for your brave work in advocating for those of us lost in America.
    Hugh Massengill

  • The scary thing for me is that this decision is unusual and news to people. The only thing that helped me back from utter despair after trauma/diagnosis of schizophrenia/state and veterans’ hospitals/years homeless was the final understanding that I wasn’t mentally ill but instead trained by trauma. I went for years of therapy to understand and work on things including my time as a Marine in Vietnam, until today I am far better in a mental health way.
    I wish for people with the schizophrenia diagnosis to be able to understand the (mostly) insanity of the made up label, and to embrace the truth of their own ptsd, to hand back the trauma to those who injured them including the mental health “professionals” who get tons of money heaping stigmatizing nonsensical mental health diagnosis on lost and traumatized people.
    There are millions of us out there who read (from the decision) “The evidence that childhood trauma causes psychosis is controversial and contestable” and want to puke. Just ask us, the mental health consumers…
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • Writing as one who was forcibly incarcerated in a State “Hospital”, tied down and injected with drugs until I was nearly unconscious, without committing a crime, I so applaud your actions and article.
    This gives hope that there one day may be an international-national application of law that allows those with emotional storms the right to refuse mind altering drugs and terrifying forced incarceration.
    Work well done.
    Part B, of course, is to get some sort of decent care for suffering traumatized people…
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • Hi Leah. Hugh Massengill from Oregon here. We met at an Alternatives a couple of years ago.
    I really agree with Dorothy Dundas’s comment that you are an inspiration. I can only wish your words and life are held as an inspiration to the mental health system itself, that those still drugging and with great determination not listening to suffering people will wake up and start asking “who are you, what happened to you, how can I help you?”

    I found with my own suicidality that it was massively logical, and the way out was for me to understand my own suffering, to champion that utterly destroyed 16 year old inside. If I had had a support group in high school, people I could talk to about the insanity in my family and community, that horrible pain would never have taken root inside me.

    Imagine a Psychiatric Survivor “Bible” that included words and video of the real experts, people who have listened to psychiatry and found it wanting, who have found a way to real peace by remembering love and friendship.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene

  • I agree, great article.
    I too struggled both with emotional distress and the bizarre mental health system that, looking back, was my greatest enemy in that it was devoted to addicting me to drugs that would shrink my brain and shorten my life, not to mention simply break my heart.
    I learned that I had been trained to be dysfunctional and needed to learn how to be happy.
    I read about Harry Harlow’s work on “depression” in that he locked up primates and found that even healthy ones came out seriously “depressed”. I can recommend his book “Love at Goon Park” in that it shows we human primates don’t need drugs, we need affection and freedom from our painful enclosures.

    Thanks for writing the article.

  • Here is the story of my non-compliance…
    Was given the opportunity to speak to a University of Oregon class on the nightmare of being trapped in trauma, in a mental health system dedicated to destroying my sense of truth and power..
    I include it in the hopes that at least one person sees in it the path to liberation to love and understanding.
    Hugh Massengill

  • Just want to point out that changes in attitudes by many professionals kind of makes the diagnosis of schizophrenia to be nonsense, and so non compliance with the brain destroying drugs for a non disease makes a ton of sense.
    I was someone who was locked up in an American state hospital with the diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia. I objected mightily but it was years later when the diagnosis of ptsd came into being, and almost overnight the diagnosis went away. Just suggesting that those who are buried under psychiatry might look at the fact that there is a great possibility they have no such “illness”, but were trained to be dysfunctional.
    Hugh Massengill

  • The bizarre thing about all this is that it is of such vital importance in the recovery of a suffering person, but it isn’t trumpeted by the mental health professionals. It would have helped me immensely if, when I started having symptoms, someone had refused to label me as insane, and instead had tried to help me understand the insanity that had hammered me.
    Hugh Massengill, Eugene Oregon