Saturday, January 19, 2019

Comments by LavenderSage

Showing 100 of 455 comments. Show all.

  • Steve and Rachel,
    Even if they did have an individual “conduct the orchestra” and come up with a recording that accurately represents that person’s voice-hearing experiences, they’d still be making a huge error in trying to generalize that person’s experience to everyone else, as if “hearing voices” is the same experience for everyone, as if the “voices” mean no more than intrusive white noise. Trying to present “the experience” as if there is such a thing only serves to reinforce all those attitudes they love to refer to as “stigma.” And, it reinforces their mis-understanding, “oh yes, I understand hearing voices- I took the training” and since they now know all about it, there’s no getting them to listen.

  • Pulling for you, Kate. Please keep in mind that you are “under the influence” so to speak, of the CT from the drug. This current state does not reflect the real you, underneath. I know that one of the things I do with anger when I cannot use the energy to address the real cause is use the energy to clean (usually scrubbing- bathtub, oven, kitchen floor). Putting on upbeat music helps. You will get through this. The AA folks use the “one day/hour/moment at a time” thing to ride it out.

    and Kate, unless you are actually neglecting your cat, please don’t deprive yourself of the stability, comfort, unconditional love, etc. that an animal companion provides. It can be one of the most important relationships in your life. In fact, one of the first things I read on MIA was a survivor’s tale of how nursing an abandoned turtle back to health saved her life.

  • This is exactly why I avoid doctors like the plague. This, and the carte blanche ‘consent for treatment’ forms. The last one I encountered even contained a clause stating that nothing in it could be stricken or amended without approval of the admin. It is a legally binding document giving them permission to do “any and all” that they deem necessary, and you have 2 choices: sign it and be at their mercy, or don’t sign it and get no care whatsoever. Daniel Webster got a better deal with the devil.

  • I’m in complete agreement with you, oldhead. And since the Greek suffix -cide simply means “to kill,” and not “to murder,” I don’t have the same reaction to the word ‘suicide’ as you expressed. But I take great offense at the term “commit suicide” because it connotes criminality.

    Sera just happens to be my favorite regular MIA author here, not because I agree with everything she asserts, but I really dig the way she gets her point across. Unlike many other authors here, she doesn’t use convoluted language; her writing is very accessible. But yeah, I don’t want the masses banging down her door!

    This paragraph
    We need to delegitimize not only psychiatry itself, but the idea that frightening and painful emotions are something exceptional needing “expert” attention, which is a mystification of the fact that a toxic culture based in corporate greed is the culprit, and trying to “adjust” oneself to the filth should at best be contemplated only as an immediate survival tactic, not the end goal or “success.”
    captures the gist of MLK’s creative maladjustment idea. A few years ago there was something on here about suggestions for celebrating Creative Maladjustment Week (mid-July, I think?) but then I haven’t seen anything about it since. I think we need to revive that.

  • You’re welcome, Kate! Yes, reliving the experience is one of the downsides of writing about it. I encounter that too. I believe that the purpose of anger is to provoke change. We get angry because things are not right, because we have been wronged, because of the injustice. Anger is a very powerful energy, and if allowed to stagnate it can be harmful (i.e. hypertension) but if it is channeled into action, it is the fuel of change.
    One of my favorite regular MIA contributors is Sera Davidow. She is a survivor and a professional, trying to change the system from within. There are a few of those folks here. But I have come to the conclusion that the entire notion of having a system where people in crisis have to turn to professionals for support needs re-thinking.

    Oh, and speaking of re-thinking, please re-think this statement:
    “I did at different points have both ECT treatments and then TMS treatments for unremmitting depression… I failed at both!”
    I assert that it is the other way around- those “treatments” failed YOU. You called yourself a very, very bad patient. To that I say “congratulations!” When you see Rachel777 or Julie Greene (regular commenters) on here, ask them what being a “very good patient” got them!

    Welcome again, Kate- you may indeed have found your tribe! 🙂

  • Hi Kate,
    I have not written a blog post here, but I will say that I have definitely found writing about my experiences helpful, in terms of connecting dots and gaining a deeper understanding of the whys and hows of what I have been through, and what I still experience.

    I also find these comment sections very helpful, both in terms of finding validation and a feeling of comradeship with some of the survivors here, and also some of the professionals who write here (those who have done sufficient self-reflection to understand the impact “the system” has had; many have not). Then there are those professionals whose comments serve as a solid reminder as to how dangerous it is to turn to anyone who does not stand fully opposed to forced or coerced “treatment.”

    So, welcome, and please stick around- you will get quite an education! Expect to encounter a lot of strong feelings in the voices of the survivors who frequent here. Your reactions will teach you a lot about yourself, too.

  • Steve,
    When I went to the hospital to have my first baby, they came in with a consent form for circumcision four times while I was in labor. When they came at me with it the second time, they acted like it was an oversight the first time, like “oh, we must have forgot to have you sign this.” The third time I got huffy about it, but the fourth time, I demanded that they stop harassing me and compared them to rapists, who also refuse to hear no means NO.

    The nurse got really offended at that, but they didn’t try to push that shit again. It is scary how eager they are to mutilate an infant!

  • Anja,
    Are you aware that these DSM “diagnoses” have no validity, and very low reliability? Are you aware that many of the drugs (since they do not address a disease process, they are not medications, and I do not mis-label them as such) actually cause people to experience the very things they are purported to resolve? and that many people develop new problems in thinking, living and relating because of the psychiatric drugs? Please educate yourself, and don’t accept the “mental health” rhetoric without questioning it. You will save yourself a LOT of pain, and may even save your life.

  • hey JanCarol, have you ever seen the show Doomsday Preppers? Youtube has a lot of the episodes. Those folks are serious about the security of their bunker locations! There are a lot of north-facing hills, so I haven’t given too much away, LOL.

    hey Steve,
    here’s one of those contrast moments for ya:
    So when I was just about fully dilated, but not quite yet feeling the push imperative, the midwife couldn’t locate the baby’s heartbeat. Here’s how the midwife handled that scenario. First, she reassured me that this was not a cause for alarm because babies move and twist. My water had not broken yet (never did actually ‘break’ with the first birth, either) and the amniotic fluid would indicate if the baby was in distress (very unlikely to be the case). She asked my permission to rupture the membrane during the next contraction to check. I consented to that, but it was unnecessary since my water broke on its own at the start of the next contraction, to which my midwife replied, “well how’s that for the power of suggestion!”
    Fluid was clear, baby was fine and out about a half-hour later, perfect apgars and all.

  • Well I’ve never been to the site, but like I said, I’ve seen it on here a lot, with folks having good things to say. It was 15 or so years ago that I cold-turkeyed off effexor without actually intending to. During the chaos of a move, I forgot to ingest the drug for a week or two when I suddenly had intense dizziness and low blood pressure (not scary low, just low) and it dawned on me that I hadn’t been taking the drug. I decided to ride through the withdrawal, and relied on a lot of cannabis (indica strains) to help get me through it, which helped with other things, but didn’t lessen the vertigo. It did give it a context, though, which alleviated the anxiety I felt at being that dizzy all the time. Took a little over 2 weeks to be ok enough again to function.

  • Earthships start off by excavating a few feet of earth, and using trash tires to construct the outer wall, curved like a ‘C’ with the opening facing slightly southwest of south. Diameter can be from 12′ up to 20′ for each of these domes, which can be constructed to link together. You use a sledge hammer to pound the excavated dirt into the tires, creating what they call a “rammed earth dwelling” which is not only incredibly sturdy, but also serves to stabilize temperature. Inner walls can be made with bottles or cans and cement or adobe. The bottle walls are beautiful when the light shines through!

  • KS, I couldn’t find a midwife for my first birth, and though I did not experience the horrors I have heard way too often from other women, my infant was basically used as a teaching dummy (an unnecessary spinal tap!) so I was already fuming at hospital birth. First baby was almost 10 pounds, natural birth.

    So when I’m 7 months along with the 2nd baby, and they start pushing for major abdominal surgery instead of birth because that’s their policy with babies over 8.5 lbs(?!) and told me they’d get a court order to do it regardless of my consent, I fired them on the spot! Husband went to the library and got books on homebirth, which had lists of resources at the back, no internet back then (the 80s). So we called a medical supply house to order a birth kit, and they had a list of midwives. So I met my midwife when I was 8 months’ pregnant who helped me birth my 9-lb baby in my living room a few weeks later! No trauma of any kind, no fear-stoking coercion, my body encouraged to follow its wisdom– I gave birth crouching on my knees, which is the best position for a big baby because gravity assists. And her fee was $500 (yes, that’s 5 hundred, not thousand), not counting the 1 office visit to her back-up OB to confirm labs and the baby’s position (was breech when we met but my wise midwife had an easy and painless trick up her sleeve to get the baby to flip!), but he took my insurance. I would never advise giving birth in a hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. Pregnant women are the other class of people that docs routinely mistreat and infantilize.

    I would love to be tapped to join an intentional community like you describe. It’s been my heart’s desire for many many years now to live in such a place. Where people could truly live, be themselves, bring their talents to bear, and share the wealth. Sustainable, off-grid, apart from the crazy that consensual reality has become. Actually bought some land, but it sits on a north-facing hill, so not an ideal spot for a solar home (sigh) but maybe could work if wind-powered too. Haven’t looked at that dream in quite awhile– the dust on it is thick.

  • yes, please stay away from that- those who have drunk the kool-aid are in no position to offer anything resembling support.
    There’s, I see that a lot on here. I think there’s other good survivor-focused resources too, but I’ll need other folks to chime in about them (slipping my mind right now).
    Most docs are unwilling to de-prescribe, and have no real knowledge of how to taper safely, so anybody who refers you back to your doctor is not a resource.

  • omg KS- Spiritual Midwifery was one of my favorite pregnancy books! I had my second child at home, in fact. I dunno if I could do true communal living- I need my own space to do whatever the heck I want to in, and my own haven to retreat from other people, and from unwanted energies. But the cool thing about Earthships is that you can plan ahead for adding on a room, or build completely separate domes.

    Okay, we’ve got drum and flute covered- I can make us a stained glass windchime!

  • It sounded like the comment might be alluding to a “mental illness,” hence the quotation marks. I did not want to assume, though, so I asked. If it’s Lyme, the quotation marks I put around “disease” should be struck, of course, because that’s an actual, biological disease. But KS didn’t mention her Lyme here- that’s in the comments on a different article.

  • I actually have books on how to build a sustainable, nature-friendly home called an Earthship. Was my dream to do that, but I would have to get somebody else (not Someone Else- she’s making lunch!) to do the excavating and swing the sledge. I could help construct the inner walls, though. Had though of creating a little village of Earthships, a community of like-minded weirdos like me.

    But I like the idea of a cave with ancient art already “installed” better.

  • hey Rachel, have you ever thought about starting your own business? Maybe selling stuff you create? Can’t work or be employed doesn’t necessarily have to mean not having a self-generated income. You are very witty, have a great attitude, and I know you can write well. I have no idea what other creative pluses you might possess, but I’d bet you have what it takes to entrepreneur yourself an income. Money you generate that way is also much more gratifying than landing even a dream job, imho.
    Regardless, you ain’t gonna stay stuck. You’re going places. Your story does not have a tragic ending, I predict. (and, yes, as a matter of fact I am psychic.) 😉

  • A lot of people who would rather not be taking psych drugs feel they have no choice because their withdrawal experience has been misinterpreted as either a rebounding of “symptoms” of whatever DSM label they’ve been branded with, or “emerging symptoms” of a different DSM label. They get chastised by the prescriber, and the chemical imbalance story gets reinforced, tightening the shackles. I would advise getting support from the Real Experts- people who have successfully tapered off the drug you’re on, so that you can benefit from their experience and gain tips they have learned so that you don’t fall into this trap.

    Nobody can change your mind but you– and even you can’t change your mind if you keep telling yourself the same story about your life, your self, the meanings you make of it all, as you’ve been telling it since you were a kid. It is possible to evolve into more mature thinking on that, but psych drugs do tend to inhibit this ability. I hope you claim your freedom, author.

  • When a doctor tries inquiring about things which are not related to my presenting problem, I refuse to answer, because “that’s none of your business” is becoming just as important a phrase nowadays as “where is the bathroom?”

    And context is everything. I will never answer an “alcohol screening,” for instance, but if I come in complaining of feeling dizzy, spinning, or woozie-headed I will answer as to whether I have recently consumed alcohol, because it is pertinent to the presenting issue.

  • Hey, George, I realized I forgot to mention:

    Regarding tapering off the psych drugs- the vast majority of doctors don’t know what they are doing, and the guidance they offer is usually inferior to that of the Real Experts- people who have successfully navigated their own taper from the same drug. I encourage you to get in touch with the online support groups that can help you in that process.

  • Richard,
    Like oldhead, I also have had friends who are strong, proud feminists who have chosen to provide sexual services of various sorts for money. They do not resemble any of your projections. There were no ‘pimps’ involved, nor did they feel exploited or denigrated. The sex work they engage in is not “inherently oppressive;” in fact, they’d say it was liberating. The services they provide are valuable, both monetarily and personally. These women are talented, and like other talented professionals, enjoy their work. Why should they be deprived of this choice?

  • this deserves repeating:

    “This is another feature of psychiatry. If distress proves that the distressed are ‘defective’, it also proves that nothing much is psychologically distressing and damaging. It means that both cause and effect are located within ‘defective’ individuals. It is effectively a not guilty verdict for every form of oppression and abuse and sympathy and solidarity with harm doers, and with the harm itself.”

  • Yeah, I read it and that just sorta smacked me in the ovaries.. It’s pretty much the same thing as when a man who speaks his mind is lauded as bold, outspoken, etc. while the woman who speaks up is disregarded as either whining or bitchy (depending on the content). Another example of workplace sexism.

  • Will,
    I don’t know whether you wronged the young woman in question by pursuing a romantic/sexual relationship with her, but you certainly wronged her afterward:

    Note how when you spoke with people about this relationship, you get to characterize that as you getting help with self-reflection, yet when she spoke to others about this relationship, you characterize that as “gossip.”

    And you went so far as to tattle to her employer(!), threatening her livelihood in order to silence her. And even in hindsight, you deem that action merely “questionable.” Wow.

  • Welcome, George.

    I’m so sorry you daughter did not survive. It is beyond tragic that it took her death to illuminate the lie that very likely killed her. Thank you for telling your story. May it reach parents (and teens) far and wide, and make them ask themselves the questions and gain the insight before it is too late for them. And in that way, Martha’s death could be the wreckage in the road that keeps them from traveling that same path and heading over the cliff too. In an odd and twisted way, Martha’s death could save many lives. I know that is no consolation. I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

  • Frank,
    When you are expecting, is it the obstetrician’s job to baby-proof your house?? Of course not! If the parents fail to do so, and the baby sticks a fork in a wall socket, is the doctor to blame?
    Parents control the environment of their home, and what is accessible vs. locked away. If they fail to do that, and their kid ODs on mom and dad’s prescription pills (of whatever variety), the parents have themselves to blame.

  • Yes, Frank, opiates are deadly.
    And keeping them out of teens’ curious, thrill-seeking hands is their parents’ job.

    Just like parents who keep liquor in the house should be storing it in a locked cabinet, because thrill-seeking teens can binge-drink themselves to death.

    And parents who have a gun need to keep it secured in a locked gun safe, because duh. And if they fail to do this, and the kid gains access to the weapon and uses it, the parents are held responsible. Same holds true for illegal drugs. Why not prescription drugs too? Kiddies gain access, you hold their parents responsible.

  • Lawrence,
    What you are describing here is a parenting issue. Responsible parents recognize that teens’ thrill-seeking behavior is to be expected, and take appropriate measures. I agree with the_cat about stashing a few opiates for dental pain in one’s survival kit. Enough with the nanny state.

  • I’m a refugee from small-minded Midwest myself, who landed on the left coast. I heard an interesting theory once that the level of comfort with eccentricity here goes back to that sense of pioneer spirit, the need to strike out on one’s own and get out from anyone else’s thumb. A lot of folks stopped at Denver. Others didn’t stop until they hit the ocean.

  • I see the shadow of the ‘just world’ crap in it, too, oldhead. It’s in the sentence that ties personal success with the ability to give and receive love. While I didn’t read the condemnation of those who have been unloved, I also really had to call Bullshit on the notion that ‘successful’ people got that way by having a greater capacity to give/receive love than those of us whom life continually shits on.

    In fact, I see way too many instances of really hateful, bigoted, greedy, selfish individuals coming out on top for me to consider this as a truth, or a pearl of wisdom. No, they ‘earn’ their success by cheating, writing the rules so the underdog can never win, granting each other pardons and golden parachutes, etc.

    And I’ve seen some of the most loving, giving, generous people get used up, taken for granted, their love abused or even used against them.

    It simply doesn’t square.

  • I was speaking to oldhead, remarking to him about his interaction with you, and he knew to whom I was referring when I said, “I don’t think she’s gonna get it.”
    Just because you are the author of the blog post does not mean that every comment must be directed to you; we talk to each other here, too, not just to the authors.

  • the refusal to eat shit and pretend to like it. wasn’t that the essence of MLK’s creative maladjustment thing? I think we all need to be creatively maladjusted to this craziness the society has become!

    Reminds me of a line from a song in the musical Rent: The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.

  • I didn’t make that connection at first, but yeah, duh.
    What struck me about that exchange Hurford had with the audience member was the absurd comeback “So you’re saying send him to a third world country?” I read that and thought, “No, it’s you that needs to visit the third world country– visit their viewpoint, their way of looking at this.” Because her response was so condescending!

  • So I read up to this point:

    In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews with participants who identified as having a “severe mental illness” were conducted to explore their perspectives of “where family were positioned in their recovery.” [emphasis mine]

    and I realized that this article is not at all for me, since it only sought out the experiences of those who have drank the kool-aid. I can’t relate; not gonna try. I quit reading the article right there.

    Read the comments, though, and I think dru8274’s experience provides some very good advice: don’t give them access to your family, keep them away from the kool-aid dispensers!

  • Ekaterina,
    If you got my point, you would not keep using the term ‘psychosis’ at all. But here you are, still using it, not even putting it in quotes, so you clearly don’t get my point. I can’t make my point any clearer, so we have reached an impasse.

  • Ekaterina,
    Your aims are laudable, but I find your logic flawed. One doesn’t refute an idea by using the terms that reinforce that very idea. Every time you use the words ‘psychotic’ or ‘psychosis’ (or any of the other bogus ‘mental illness’ terms, for that matter), you are propping up the very system you are aiming to knock down. Using their terms is like paying dues into their legitimacy coffers.

  • Ekaterina.

    Well, that is what you are attempting to do. But from my perspective, the result of using the medicalized language is ALWAYS to reinforce the concepts that such terms stem from: that people who experience altered states of consciousness are having a symptom of an illness.

  • Also, valerian root is the herb from which they derive valium. Brewing some valerian root tea can help insomnia, and anxiety, and I believe it poses less risks than the refined drug. Be warned- it is very stinky! The taste is somewhat bitter. I used to combine it with catnip and chamomile for a sleep tea. The valerian root should be boiled several minutes (a decoction, since it is roots), then the catnip and chamomile steeped in the still-hot-but-no-longer-boiling tea (an infusion). Then strain it and let it cool enough to sip. I was on SSRI and SNRI before but never ‘antipsychotics’ so I can’t say how the herbs fare in the face of that drug-induced insomnia.

  • When I started grad school, we were a cohort of 55 MSW students. Our very first assignment was to write a paper on the subject: Systems Theory of Biology, Quantum Physics, and How They Relate to Social Work. At first, this seemed way too broad. I had a panic attack when I first sat down at the keyboard to begin putting thoughts to “paper,” in fact, and I was not the only one (5 dropped out of the program that first week). But when I persevered and did a little light (haha) reading on the subject, I quickly surmised that every single person seeking a degree in social work, psychology, any of the ‘helper’ professions really needs to write a paper on this. Looking into the intersection between systems theory and quantum physics provides a deep understanding of interconnectedness, of the force of our own expectations, how focusing attention on any thing always changes that thing. So much more. And it completely blows psychiatric dogma out of the water!

  • CrazySharks,
    Trusting someone like you is so very dangerous! Why are your fears and your interests so much more important than those of the person who truly is vulnerable? Sera Davidow’s piece here ( gets into the nitty-gritty of that dance. Start there. And if you are still patting yourself on the back that you are doing the right thing, go read a few dozens of the survivors’ stories that are out there, about their experience of being locked up (call it a ‘hospital,’ I won’t) and how much it damaged them. People like you (who wield the power to remove another’s civil rights) seriously need to immerse themselves in the aftermath of their paternalism. Then either change, or find another line of work.

  • Ohwhatisthatlight,

    Okay, so you have a belief (that reincarnation isn’t a thing). So what? It is exactly and only that: a belief. Everybody has their beliefs. Yours isn’t special, correct, or right. Everybody has an anal sphincter, and I’ll bet you have one too. I’m reminded of the one about the guy who walked into a bar with an opinion and an anal sphincter (both of which tend to stink when they’re in-your-face). Anyway, the bartender takes his order, and serves him his drink. Because “he’s just like everybody else.”

  • Hi Ekaterina,

    Love this title!!
    As to you having been Anne Frank, and that psychiatrist’s question as to what should be done about that belief:

    There are literally millions of people around the world who believe in reincarnation. Does she propose they all correct their religious beliefs to match hers? And why must anything be done about your belief in reincarnation, in having been Anne Frank? Where's the harm in that belief?

  • I’m sure psychiatrists would have a huge problem with it if I told them.

    And where do they get off asking about spirituality anyway? What’s between you and your God is nobody else’s business! Answer that type of question with a question of your own: Do you let anybody butt in between you and *your* God? Or are your spiritual beliefs nobody’s business but your own?

    The level of entitlement to even ask such questions!!

  • out, you said: “This morning I woke feeling so bitter and angry. It burns me – but only me. I need to let it go, but to find a way that doesn’t involve forgetting.”

    I have a suggestion for that: make art. Take the experience that fuels the anger, take something physical about it if you have some token, and transform it into a statement. There was an article here some time ago by a woman who had procured some of her hospital records (was her name Dorothy?) and cut out words and made a very powerful collage out of it. Her article sprang to mind when I read your sentence.

    Carrie Fisher (poor lost lamb) is quoted as saying, “Take your broken heart. Turn it into art.” I think she was very right about that. Because, it IS important to honor the experience, but to give it a place to be where it is not wreaking emotional havoc. Art grounds the intense emotion (in this case anger, but could be grief, sadness too) into a physical form. Art makes powerful statements that invoke feelings in others, art is meant to do that, that’s art’s job. Art gets displayed, prominently, not hidden or forgotten. And the act of making the art, of transforming, literally, a piece of the experience into a powerful statement about the experience, is freeing. The act itself can be transformative. And the art piece you end up with takes the experience out of “it burns me– but just me,” because now the “burn” lives in the artwork, too. It ceases to be just internal; your pain/anger/sadness/whatever is now a message that others can take in. A message of warning, perhaps, or a message of camaraderie to those who have been “burned” too.

  • I love reading your stuff Sera.

    One nit-pick (since the whole point of the article is the words used): I got to the section ‘Anti-Stigma’ and saw you had incorrectly identified NAMI. It is not National Alliance FOR the Mentally Ill. Nope. Looked it up. It’s actually National Alliance ON the Mentally Ill. Now let’s think about *that* for a minute!

    Ok, now I shall continue reading!