Sunday, October 24, 2021

Comments by Rae

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  • While I find this a good article, I think you did make a mistake in generalizing therapy as harmful, though understandably so as you were angry, hurt, and rather betrayed by what happened.

    However, the weird reality seems to be that, in our critique of the psychiatric medical model, there are people vulnerable and dysfunctional in need of real intervention, particularly children being victimized by their parents.

    Parents that have unwanted or inconvenient children LOVE psychiatric labels. They love them so much they will use them with or without the aid of an equally abusive treatment team in order to excuse their problems which may actually be causing the malady.

    High functioning autism was a wonderful excuse for the fact that I liked things that weren’t traditionally feminine, that I was getting into “embarrassing” “loser” hobbies like Pokemon and anime, that I was socially awkward and being harassed by other children no matter where I went, and for the fact my parents disliked having to actually provide means of socialization by giving me rides.

    Fortunately, when the school demanded that she take me into the psychiatric system or face the consequences over my notes indicating self harm, I got set up with a psychiatrist who seemed rather skeptical of all this and of the traditional medical model herself.

    She disagreed with the Autism diagnosis my parents had insisted on, she disagreed that I was “disabled” and incapable of normal human interaction, instead directly implying to both my parents and I that it was the fault of an abusive dynamic where I was being isolated and invalidated. Boy did mom ever not like that! She believed strongly that what I had was ADHD, but never told me that I was incapable, she empowered me and said that I could always get better, that I could learn to cope.

    Now unfortunately, this part of the story doesn’t have a happy ending yet. Enraged that the medical model failed to excuse my abuse and isolation, putting all the fault on the child for having a “disorder,” my mom took me out of the practice as soon as she could. My psychiatrist, I realize now, knew what was happening and was concerned. She tried to insist I would find socialization and power in attending group therapy sessions, which, as you can guess, my mother ignored because it was not an easy solution or an excuse.

    Now, after several years of wallowing in dysfunction that was caused by this isolation, after going into early adulthood did not change my mother’s subtle sabotage of myself, after I realized that they did not truly love me and were not going to provide the support necessary to help me become functional in an empathetic and supportive way, I became so very lost and alone.

    However, my ex finally saw that I was begging for help, that I couldn’t do it alone, that I had been so convinced of my inability to heal and function by myself that I was dependent in all the worst ways. He helped me get a low cost therapist from a charity organization and paid for the sessions himself, even after we parted ways. Now, while this didn’t totally fix my severe issues, and even though the therapist himself ended up being not what I needed after awhile, he made me realize I don’t have to be alone, that there are people that exist in that field that won’t abuse me, if I just have some judgment and empower my own intellectual abilities. There were slightly unconventional techniques he used that made me realize some of the roots of my problems, that helped me to truly start to cope and take responsibility for my dysfunction.

    Now I am doing intakes again. It is definitely nerve wracking, and I want to avoid the medical model, the insistence of medication, and most likely, useless diagnosises vs. “this is a dysfunctional behavior, let’s work on getting you to a functional one.” I have symptoms but I am not my symptoms. That is what the medical model fails to provide, that empowering statement that you are not the illness.

    However, I believe that I am lucky, that I am an example of what can happen when we empower even what seems to be an extremely dysfunctional case with autonomy and praise of their own intelligence and introspection. Therapy does not have to be harmful.