Friday, March 22, 2019

Comments by Alex

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  • People have moods, it’s a human quality. Considering the range of emotions we’re equipped to feel, we’re hardly one-dimensional, or even two-dimensional. We are mulit-dimensional. We experience heartbreak and celebration, life challenges and rewards, defeats and victories. And everything in between, the mundane and the routine. That’s life! And we each respond differently to it, which is our natural diversity. We just need to remember our center, then we can handle it all with grace.

    People need to get over their fears and prejudice of differences. We’re all different to somebody.

  • “I want to show the public how even using drugs for “soft diagnoses” like depression/anxiety can ruin your life with a Bipolar 2 label rendering you a degraded non-person in the public’s eye. And a non-citizen with no legal rights at all.”

    Good grief. Talk about fear-mongering and shaming! Please let’s not. What on earth is this website about, anyway???

  • “Not attacking you Alex.” Yeah, yeah, “friendly” challenge works for me.

    I’m protesting wasted resources, and this is an all-too-typical route for that. Perhaps that would be up for debate in some way and maybe even I am generalizing. Not interested in elaborating further on this, that would be a waste of MY resource.

    Are you asking me or anyone that last question? Seems like either a total non-sequitur or you’re being cryptic. Either way, I’ve no idea what you’re asking or why, sorry.

    Edit: Oh, ok, I posted this and saw that oldhead gets you here. I’ll let you two talk amongst yourselves. G’day!

  • Rachel, I’m surprised at your response here. I would have thought you were totally aware that millions (billions?) of $$$ are wasted on bogus research, that resources in general are terribly wasted and misused by these research institutions–resources which could (and I think, should) be rerouted to more urgent and practical, humane needs. That’s what I meant, stated with a bit of irony. I’m fine with people making a living and drawing income, everyone that desires this has that right of course, nothing wrong with that. But the ecomonic and class disparity is glaring, and so much of that is created by “research funding.” I don’t have to tell you this, do I?

    As far as my charging for services, sometimes I do, but not always. In fact, the majority of the time I don’t. I made more money acting than I have ever charged for my healing services. And I’ve retired from theater.

    Most of my work in the world–healing, teaching, public service films, musical community service–has been for no remuneration whatsoever. Often I’ve told people that I wouldn’t charge them for something, and next thing I know they are offering a donation. I’ve received unsolicited cash in the mail as well as via PayPal, along with really lovely gifts, when people value the work I do and get a lot of healing out of it. If the work makes no impact, then no payment would be expected, although that’s never happened.

    I’ve experimented a lot with this over the years, it’s a challenge. What I’ve never had is set fees. If I do charge, it’s always a negotiation based on my economic needs and what a client can comfortably pay. This is all so flexible for me, definitely not my motivator. It’s simply an exchange of energy, and that can be in a variety of manifestations. I’ve had my computer fixed in trade for healing work, for example. Whatever is practical and fair at the time, for everyone concerned.

    When one does authentic healing work (what I learned to call “working with the light”), then the universe pays, one way or another. That’s happened to me all throughout the time I’ve been doing healing work, for the past 14 or so years. Kind of a trick of the trade, but it’s based on knowing how giving/receiving energy works. It really simplifies things, and the focus is the healing, period. I’m more interested in a person being present with their healing work, that is way more valuable, satisfying, and fulfilling than money.

    I live very frugally, not on much, month to month, and all my modest needs are met and then some. It’s called “working my abundance.” I don’t need to charge $100s and $1000s of dollars to do good work in the world. Although when people think my work is worth that kind of money, and many have said as much, I certainly don’t scoff at it 🙂

    I always pay it forward. Money is only energy, we give it too much power. And we don’t need nearly as much as we think we do (as per social programming), not if we understand our power of manifesting. That’s the gold!

    Well, not just manifesting, but specifically, manifesting from the heart. That’s an important discernment from manifesting from the ego. Seriously! If we’re manifesting from the ego, money will matter in a way that is quite stressful, and constantly so. If we’re manifesting from the heart, not so much. That’s ease.

    No charge! 🙂

  • I started getting panic attacks as a side effect from the psych drugs I was taking at the time, started about 36 years ago, a year after starting these drugs. I did not realize this at the time, I had no idea what this terrifying and painful experience was, but I figured this out years later, after coming off the drugs, and eventually the panic attacks disappeared.

    But in the meantime, I was prescribed the usual benzos for this, at one time up to Xanax, Ativan, and eventually Klonopin was added. All leading up to big breakdown to where I had to ditch all of the drugs, and start over with all this, from a fresh and streamlined perspective.

    Eventually, I learned that regardless of what life experience triggers us into a panic attack, it translated into adrenal overactivation. So on top of having panic attacks, it also led to adrenal exhaustion, which is that “tired but restless” feeling, which is a state of physical imbalance.

    http://antianxietys.com/adrenaline-and-panic-attack-connection-what-you-need-to-know

    I addressed this in many ways over the years but identifying this as an adrenal issue is what led to my turning a corner. There are herbs very specific to overactive adrenal glands and adrenal exhaustion, for which I saw a very well trained herbalist and Chinese Medicine practitioner. In Chinese Medicine, this is all about “Chi” which is our vital life force energy, and this is what gets depleted with panic attacks.

    The herbs, accupuncture, Qi Gong, and grounding meditation all help to calm our nervous system and adrenal glands, so that our bodies don’t become flooded with adrenaline from stress, and in turn, our bodies become better equipped to handle stress when we are grounded and in chi balance.

    This is a lovely and brief (7 minutes) meditation which I found online called “Meditation for Panic Attacks/Emergency Anxiety Relief.” When we practice this enough, we are in essence training our neural pathways toward thoughts of calm, relaxing, and safe. Then, we can become our own self-healing agent during stress.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz-cNBAK7Qs

    I of course still can feel anxious and get nervous about speaking publically, performing, facing certain life challenges, and some thoughts can still trigger anxiety if I dwell on them, being human and all. But I have not had a full blown panic attack in years and years.

    Getting off the psych drugs, balancing my energy through herbs and chi exercises, and also GROUNDING (vital for any kind of anxiety, especially panic) is what healed me from years of hair trigger panic attacks, and it also healed my nervous system in general, from a lot of trauma. It’s all very natural and self-healing, with good support from the Earth.

    That’s what grounding is, to the Earth. The way electrical appliances must be grounded so as not to short-curcuit. Same thing. Humans short circuit, too, if we’re not grounded.

  • And finally, I guess “recovery porn” can be misleading. To be vampired and used by the system as examples of “recovering thanks to the system” is not good, I agree with this. That is harmful to individuals, society, and everyone concerned, if the stories are staged or fabricated in any way in order to manipulate for the purpose of aggrandizing the system.

    But overall, healing and recovering can get a bad name around here, and I do object to that. People do have a right to heal and telling our stories of healing is inspiring and encouraging to many, and courageous of, healing for, and empowering to the storyteller. (Although I’ve noticed people scoff quite a bit at this on MiA, for which I’m sorry, but geez, how double-binding and naysaying can one get?)

    Let’s not get the real deal confused with “porn,” which to me would indicate “exploitation.” Not all stories of healing and recovering from mental chaos and confusion to find meaning and clarity in our lives are exploitative, not when they are authentic. And I’d say that is most of the stories we hear. I believe the fabricated, staged, and purposefully manipluative stories are the minority. And generally one can tell when “something doesn’t add up.” Still, I’d be respectful of anyone speaking their truth, first and foremost, especially of their healing. To me, our stories are sacred. As an agent for social healing, this would be one purpose of my particular activism.

  • Ok, I hear you here. As it happens, Kevin was around when I was at MHA-SF (Mental Health Association, San Francisco) and later, after I left, he was on the board for a brief period of time. He’s become a celebrity and indeed, is a spokesperson for the system.

    I challenged MHA directors on this, and that is when I discovered they were advocates for the system while continuing to marginalize those who were thinking outside the box and going against ths status quo–like me, who had the only story of coming off so many toxic psych drugs and taking an agency to legal task, and then setting up my own independent practice, and certainly the only one who had ever spoken at this agency to make a film about it.

    My story was real and truthful, as was the stigma I experienced, and did not support the system whatsoever. My intention is to sway people away from the system, if they are looking for clarity and healing, and to look into their own hearts, for starters, while not listening to negative projections. Those who were supporting Kevin for his story were the exact same people who threw me under the bus (as I mention in an above post). How ironic! Although I guess it stands to reason.

    Well, this is exactly what I’m talking about re San Francisco and CA “mental health, inc.,” so in that respect, we’re on the same page here. And I appreciate that you are hearing me. I believe Kevin is aware of his choices and how the system works, whereas some of those who share their stories are really on a healing path, trying to make sense of their lives, not to become celebrities or anything of the kind.

    We’re all human, I certainly expect perfection from no one, including myself. But justice, yes indeed!

  • “I do personally take issue with some of the folks who’ve kind of made their careers off this struggle, and go around endlessly telling their stories *without* being clear about what needs to change,”

    Sera, with all due respect, don’t you think that this is, in and of itself, invalidating to a person sharing their story? When I started speaking publically, my intention was for my truth to come to light, from my own voice, whereas I had been previously so incredibly misrepresented and innundated with extreme stigma, which was very destructive to my life, and where I began my investigation of all this. In that process, so much else has come to light, and I have integrated this along the way.

    But from the start, sharing my story front and center was incredibly freeing and healing for me. Yes, at first I was “being used” by the “stigma-busting so-called advocacy agency” with whom I was contracting, and I discoverd this eventually, and took the actions I felt appropriate to take to save myself from this vampirism.

    But in the meantime, it was a powerful start for me in this regard, and I got a lot out of it, including my film, which was my personal catalyst for transformation. Had I not been contracting with MHA-SF, this never would have happened. And I’m so glad it did! I got what I needed, in the end, and saved myself from all of this stigma and deceit and avoidance which THEY were dishing out (the irony of it all, a truth often told by now). As I’ve said often, it changed my life dramatically for the better! And all simply from speaking my truth and telling my story my way. Finally…

    Not everyone is at the same level of awareness and personal evolution here and raising awareness of vampirism and deceit is a good thing of course. But I still feel it’s a bit sabotaging to our fellow human beings to use their stories as ammunition to fight the system. That seems self-defeating to me, and kind of matching their energy, rather than rising above it. This is what your statement brought up for me.

  • Catalyzt, wow, I feel heard! Thanks for this. Your comment is wonderful through and through, and on point. A few things I want to highlight here and respond to–

    “The natural, and (in my opinion) completely wrong thing a therapist could say in this situation would be, “No, actually, here, look in my notes, what I said was something different, obviously I wasn’t angry at all.” Or, even worse, to write in their notes, ‘Client is being manipulative, exhibiting borderline features,” etc.’”

    Yes, this happened to me, exactly. I come from my heart and reveal myself honestly for the purpose of examination, and I never had any inkling of “personality” issue. I had anxiety and depression, and have always tended to be respectful (not perfect, but not anti-social, either). If this were not the case, I never would have had a successful career, friends, or have been partnered/married for going on 34 years now, in a very loving and mutually respectful, symbiotic relationship.

    But then this came along, what you describe. Trying to heal, I instead fell into the system and got trapped by exactly this way of thinking, which blindsided me completely, and also where I started to wake up. This was only the beginning.

    “That sh*t makes me want to hurl.”

    That shit almost destroyed me, my life, and that of my partner.

    “Let’s try to figure out what was going on.”

    Yes, that would be sound and reasonable, to examine why there might be miscommunication going on. It takes two to tango. To put it always on the client (which is the norm, AND the education and training) is to scapegoat, which is marginalizing and abusive. It’s also completely unrealistic and would indicate avoidance and delusional thinking on the part of the therapist. RED FLAG!

    “I think therapists sometimes are afraid they will be sued for admitting they might have made an error– or that they might have been human.”

    Yes, I believe both are true—the first one being “fear-based” (paranoid) and the second one being self-aggrandizement. Both are problematic when working with clients. These are the energies and beliefs which get transferred, and it’s a big mess for the client.

    “the real liability– both emotional and legal– comes from dishonesty and inhumanity.”

    Indeed, unequivocally, and without question!

    “Your experience at the mental health clinic sounds… kind of surreal, and not in a good way, more of the bad-acid-trip Clockwork Orange variety.”

    LOL, very well put and yes, I’ve called it going down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, etc., but you say it well! Fortunately A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite films of all time (from a filmic perspective–Stanley Kubrick is an artist hero of mine), so perhaps navigating this was my own personal surreal film to live—although I am not the Alex as in that film. I was not a Droog nor anywhere near that, nor am I a lover of ultra-violence nor violence of any kind. I am a peace-lover, and I embody that. That’s my entire reason for living, and what I healed inside of me—the trauma based on emotional violence in my childhood home due to textbook family dysfunction.

    My family is from the academic world, the fighting was almost purely psychological, and it was fierce, powerful, insidious, tortuous to the mind, and wounding to the heart and spirit. I had to go to great lengths to heal all of this, especially after the mh world and practices buried it, then perpetuated it, and the trauma snowballed, until I went to energy healing and grew wildly in my self-awareness. That was shocking and necessary, and most importantly, it was effective. Awakening always is.

    I would expand your statement, however, to my “experience in the entire mental health community of San Francisco” was “surreal, and not in a good way…bad acid trip…” That was 17 years worth, total, even though I was involved in other communities at that time as well (mostly theater and LGBT communities, where I had no social issues like I did in the mh world–that was unique for me).

    Started in graduate school, where these issues surfaced for the first time. I did not hide that I had a diagnosis and was on “meds” (as I called them at the time, now “toxic psych drugs”), and I had been all during my first career in retail management, and I turned that into an asset as a psych grad student.

    But it wasn’t long before a professor began to give me a really hard time–including trying to get me kicked out of school, at which he failed because it was not merited, I had an excellent reputation otherwise–all based on what I was revealing in my assigned papers, as per the assignment! This was an experiential program, so we were expected to talk about ourselves honestly. Oops! That’s where things started to get rough for me, and that downward spiral continued through my internship and upon graduating. That’s when I came off the drugs due to side-effects, and went into the system. Double whammy!

    From day treatment to voc rehab to professional “advocacy”—and with all kinds of clinicians along the way—it was a banquet of the absurd. I had no idea what world I had fallen into, but I wanted out. My challenge came as I realized that I could no longer tolerate this community, that it wasn’t sound, and no way I was compatible with it.

    Yet, I know I have a calling here, that bell went off big time for me, and this is corroborated by teachers, my partner, and my clients. It is evident by my way of being, and also by my life experiences, which were not all of my conscious choosing, of course. Otherwise, why would I have experienced all of this madness, only to heal from it so spectacularly?

    So I switched healing tracks and found my path. I can integrate much of what I learned here, but most of it is useless without certain awareness and tools which, in the end, actually undermine the traditional mh paradigm, simply by definition. That was my experience, in any event.

    But in the end, it was all shit, pure shit programming with the end result of projecting, marginalizing, and stigmatizing. That ruins people, it stands to reason. Can’t say it any other way and be totally honest about it.

    I can get angry thinking about it, but for me this was long ago now, and I don’t like thinking about it because it is so stonewalling, it makes one feel absolutely powerless, and that is the feeling that is most transferred to clients. That is bad, and not how I go around feeling in the world. We all have our power, but it is undermined by these standard by-the-book and bequeathed professional manipulations.

    “I think part of me likes to pretend that this doesn’t go on, that the only abuses of power are the more routine issues that I hear about more often from my colleagues.”

    Thank you for owning this, Catalyzt. I’m sure you are not the only one. However, I’m also sure that we both know that waking up is a good thing, even though it may mean waking up to hard truths. Well, truth feels better than lies, and way deep down inside, we all know truth. When our conscious mind is in agreement with our unconscious, then that, I believe is the first step to real freedom. When these are split, that is a constant struggle. But in synch, we can manifest our way forward with relative ease.

    Thanks for your honesty and openness, and for how you are taking in this information and processing it. And especially for wanting to do right by your clients. We all deserve to be well and happy, if that is what we most desire. For the mh world to be a booby trap like this is what I’d like to see change, one way or another. And if it can’t change, it should not exist! There are better ways of finding inner peace and well-being.

    Many of our experiences with mh have led us in the opposite direction, and we have no legal power to demand reparations. I was simply sabotaged repeatedly by my own colleagues (because I’d been a client) and sabotaged by my peers in the system (because I’d been a therapist). Another great film/book of that same time: Catch-22!

    Fortunately, I found my way forward despite all of this, and, in fact, learned how to perceive this is my guidance. That’s exactly how the change in perspective worked for me, and I disidentified as “victim,” and instead became what is known in the energy healing world as a “co-creator” which has to do with manifesting. That is our true personal power, that of manifesting.

    Still, I should stop talking about it because it riles me to think about it, and to think about a lot of people whom I feel very strongly should be legally reprimanded. It all feels like such a stalemate to me, no movement, really. Blech.

  • Oh, and btw, I did try to communicate with this guy, and with his supervisor, after reading these notes, and was stonewalled all the way. I ended up leaving a Yelp review advising people to get their notes, that it is their legal right to do so. And I made a film about all of this, with a few others, and sent it around the SF “mental health” system. Best I could do, that I could think of.

    The film did make an impact, this I know because word got back to me from a variety of sources, and I was invited to do screenings and to give workshops. Plus, an agency with whom I had worked and which had treated me very badly, thanks to blatant stigma, pure ignorance, and corruption, closed soon after I sent the film around, lost its funding from what I heard. Not what I was after, but they preferred to close rather than to dialogue, learn, and make some vital core changes, which is tragic.

    And I wasn’t slamming anyone in that film, but more so, trying to start a dialogue using our experiences as the starting point, from “the client perspective.” I’d never seen this before, and it was my attempt at opening a critical discussion about the “mental health” system, for the sake of everyone expanding awareness and learning from each other. Given the extraordinary number of homeless and marginalized people in San Francisco, I thought it was time to hear everyone’s voice at the table. But the hard lesson which I learned here is that, truly, there is no back and forth dialogue, that is impossible. Yet another problem here–no quality dialogue between clients and psychotherapists! How can a session, therefore, be productive?

    An up-close analysis of a typical client-therapist dialogue (if there is such a thing as “typical” in this case) would be most interesting and revealing, I’m sure of it. Were a client and a therapist from the same closed-door discussion to agree on the details of that dialogue, I’d be truly shocked. It would be a matter of who one would tend to believe over the other. Yet again, why I feel these 1:1 meetings can be dangerous and do quite a bit of damage to an unsuspecting and vulnerable client.

  • I’ll tell you one thing that keeps going around in my head regarding all of this, which makes me eschew this particular psychotherapist-client paradmigm we have going on, and all the “social requirements/rules” that go along with it–

    During my training, one thing we were told repeatedly was that if we are to see a client outside the office–like, in the streets or at the store, etc.–the “appropriate” thing to do was to ignore unless we were approached first, to avoide SHAMING the client (so others wouldn’t know they were in “therapy”). This is common practice in San Francisco, where people run into others on the street all the time. I’ve had therapists do this to me, and it felt totally like snubbing. I always said hi to anyone I knew whom I saw in passing, including my clients. No one objected or felt “shamed,” of course not! Not only is this rude, but even simply philosophically, this is an extremely marginalizing social program which should not in the slightest be perpetuated. It CREATES and projects shame where none exists, or needs to.

    The reason I say it’s complex is because of things like ” avoid dual relationships,” which I believe is also a very oppressive and unnatural concept, but at the same time, it speaks to the boundary issue. It’s not so cut and dried, and it’s all going to depend on a person’s ability to discern between boundaries and what is naturally human. It all gets murky and controlling because these “relationships” are so poorly defined, and everyone seems to have a different idea of what is appropriate or not. What I learned in my training was definitely based on duality and division, and which to me, would only cause more trauma and splitting.

    I just think that when people “study” people, then we are forgetting how to RELATE to each other. Those are two different aspects of our brain, heart, mind, and being. I say we relate to one another, and stop studying each other. That’ll be a big change to come.

    My personal example of how convoluted reality gets when talking to a psychotherapist–the last therapist I ever saw (this was about 8 years ago) was at a public clinic which had one way mirrors as its walls to the street, so no one could see the waiting room and who was in it, and also a security guard just off the waiting room, who carried a gun. I told the therapist I was seeing how this could so easily elicit shame and fear for people, why such hiding and drama?

    Honestly, I cannot remember how he responded in the moment, but when I got my notes upon leaving (which I always recommend to people they stay on top of their casenotes, as God knows what can be written in there), he had written that I was feeling fear and shame. AHHHHH, made me want to scream. I’m over it, but it took a while. That felt like emotional rape to me, so invasive, twisted, and insane. Not a word I said was heard (other than those two “buzzwords” and totally out of context) and instead, this guy made up his own reality, projecting all of HIS crap on me. The gun is there because of THEIR fear, and I’m sure this would cause them shame to realize they feared their clients.

    What can one do? Abandon ship was my best option, and never look back. If only for the sake of my own sanity!

  • Very beautiful and such truth, thank you for sharing this, Starr. Indeed, the light is our abundance and we are the light. To allow love is to be loved is to love ourselves and all that is. And therein lies the healing for One and all. Namaste.

  • Catalyzt, I appreciate the validation, I do try to move beyond the ordinary conversation but it’s challenging because I believe there are competing agendas and motivators in here. And I say this with complete neutrality because I also believe whatever is motivating anyone’s communication and perspective is valid, of course, whether we’re talking about beliefs, ideas, or emotional expression. We’re in murky waters with all this, nothing is terribly clear. But I do feel the agendas conflict more than harmonize, which may be why you are noticing what you’re noticing. Nowhere to go with that.

    My personal goals and motivation has everything to do with healing and personal growth & evolution (I happen to find these creative processes both fascinating and profoundly practical)–not just on individual level but also what I call “social healing,” which addresses marginalization as social abuse caused by the inherent divisiveness of the current “mental health practices” paradigm–starting wtih toxic psych drugs and bogus “diagnoses,” which make the division clear and palpable.

    But also I’m concerned about many things in this paradigm which are considered standard practice, which are more subtle yet equally powerful, if not more so, in a way which is potentially debilitating to the client. That’s a long list and I would not get into a discussion like that on here, it’s too complex. In short, I believe it can all be so risky for clients in all kinds of ways, short and long term.

    In general, I think it has to do with the parameters of the dialogue and the expectations and boundaries from such a relationship/contract. I think this is always really unclear, and there seems to be no intention of making it clear, which is interesting to me.

    I see “psychotherapy” as a service, whereas I have found often that a “therapist” falls into a counter-transference way too easily, and wants to become a surrogate parent or “best friend,” or something like that, and that is where I feel psychotherapy can fall off the rails and power/ego issues begin to compete, and it is not a fair fight because the client is open and vulnerable, as it should be for healing, but it should be SAFE, which so often it is not, pure and simple.

    To my mind, this should be a professional service, not a takeover of client’s life. I think this is where the dissonance is, and what causes serious problems. Transference/counter-transference psychotherapy is most commonplace, and is part of the education and training, and even history. I believe that is more about the therapist (i.e., ego) than the client, and can become terribly and insidiously abusive, in so many ways.

    Overall, I do agree with oldhead. I don’t think there is reform here, the imbalanced and divisive paradigm is too embedded. I don’t see how the field could function without it, that is the foundation of it. And yet I see it as the core problem, as far as healing goes. I had trained and interned as MFT, but I shifted to an entirely different way of healing when I experienced my own betrayal from the “mental health” field as client AND professional, and that became my new training and life path–energy, balance, grounding, natural and self-healing, all streamlined into ease and accessibility. I find it much more universal, human nature-based, and completely voluntary, supporting and encouaraging our uniqueness. These studies not only guide us in our healing (via self-healing), but they also raise our awareness around how we are co-creating our lives, to give us more control and power in that process. That information is gold!

    I do believe in what I’d call a “healing dialogue,” which requires a specific awareness around the energy of our communication. It’s something I practice and teach. I’ve facilitated quite a few group discussions this way, and they’re awesome, everyone feels expanded and grounded from it. A lot of healing and shifting happens, too, because it is in the moment and with a focused goals of clarity, walking our talk, and manifesting our way forward.

    I have to put politics aside when I talk about healing. The two do not mix, to my mind. Healing is about truth and authenticity, whereas politics is about social power. I’m only interested in the power of healing right now. I believe society calls for it.

  • Exactly, we are all extensions of Source energy, including clients, and most often they are not treated as such. My particular activism for change is to bring this to light, for anyone working with clients to consider. Seeing a client’s divine nature while being in our own is the opposite of othering, scapegoating, and basically, all prejudice. We’re always in our divine nature, can’t be otherwise.

    “Namaste” means the “light in me sees the light in you.” If we could all claim this, then we’d know our light as well as the light of others (we all have light at least somewhere in there!), and the rest–our differences, even of opinions–would be interesting and creative, not threatening and, therefore, divisive and destructive. That’s my vision. I keep trying, maybe one day…

    Thank you for a wonderful read, and for allowing good hardy expansion in this space. You take care as well, and very best wishes!

  • “THIS is what people look like when they are living in their divine nature.”

    When we are aligned with our higher self/divine nature, then we see clearly that everyone is an expression of this–each one of us a unique aspect of the one Divine consciousness. It is not just those who “look a certain way.” It is everyone, regardless of how they look and act. Diversity is Divine.

  • The invalidation and dismissiveness with which I could be met was actually the most powerful healing I receieved. I was climbing out of the oppressive discrimination which I encountered full blast in the mh system and voc rehab, and my life had not quite healed yet (the disability/unemployment part of this journey), and not doing this for pay or anything like that, it was all volunteerism to stand in my truth and own it.

    Some audiences were fantastic while others were more naysaying types. The validation was nice and felt good, but the invalidation is what was most powerful, and gave me the best opportunties to grow and heal, because that’s how I discovered that my truth was more powerful than the projection of others.

    THAT is what I love about truth speaking, that particular challenge, to flip off negative projections and see them for what they are, which is a reflection of from where that is coming, has nothing to do with me. In fact, to elicit rudeness and resistance to truth was actually pretty validating, that I had made an impact.

    That is what saved me from oppression–my own self-validating self! That’s the voice I’d been looking for, underneath all those pills and the negative sense of self created by the stigma of the system. Finally, there it is, MY Voice!

    So, as far as my value goes (as per the title of your article), it is assigned by ME, not by others, aka SELF-worth (as opposed to worth as projected by others, on the demeaning side). Period. That’s my point here. Made all the difference in my life, to feel my worth, rather than the worthlessness which the system obviously wanted me to feel about myself. I don’t think so! 🙂

  • Thanks for writing this, Sera, I was very moved by it. It is heartbreaking and infuriating the level to which people are dehumanized, and actually betrayed to the point of sabotage, while trying to find their voices, own their lives, and move forward in their own truth–as you say, from wisdom hard-fought and gained from surviving harrowing and traumatic experiences.

    Speaking my truth publically for years, as I was coming to my clarity around this whole experience, grew me in so many ways and changed my life for the better, and I got all kinds of healing from doing this; and at the same time, because of this, I got thrown under the bus by my own peers and colleagues in the system. Go figure. Overall, truth came to light so I would not change a thing.

    Truth speaking is challenging, but unequivocally rewarding, from my experience. But indeed, on our terms, with our own voices, and for God’s sake, not for competition! Gross, indeed. And quite counterproductive, overall.

    “‘Speak your truth…” The quote should end there.

  • “…that the psychiatrists do despise those of us who work in retail management. As that psychiatrist was being held back, by other doctors due to her fury, her defamatory departing comment to me was ‘I’ll see you in the malls.'”

    Omg, they had to physically hold her back while she was angrily yelling defamatory things at you? That sounds like some kind of assault to me, or attempted assault. Insanity.

    During the years I was working in retail, in the 80s/mid 90s, I was living in the ‘burbs and at the time, I was not having problems with therapists or psychiatrists (ah, the good ol’ days). That all began in the late 90s when I began grad school in San Francisco, and then after that when I got off the drugs, went into the system as, first, client, and then as professional.

    My first strike was during grad school, that I had a “diagnosis,” that was enough to elicit stigma, projection, and power abuse from one professor who was more full of himself than anyone I’d ever met up to that time (until my last psychiatrist, who was quite a piece of narcissistic work–sinister, mean and just the biggest asshole ever, couldn’t get away fast enough from this jerk, and ALL of psychiatry once and for all).

    When I was in a social services group, my crimes were that I was 1) a psychotherapist and 2) withdrawing from psych drugs, and 3) intelligent and competent. The last one was true of everyone in the group, I think. The therapists/facilitators really resented intelligence and independent thinking in their clients, I’m sure you and others have picked up on this, too.

    One thing about mh clincians–they are extremely competetive, and at the same time, they cannot stand competition. As a group, I find most therapists to be terribly insecure, despite outward appearances, which is why they can easily resort to gaslighting. Go figure. More insanity.

    “Those who claim to be experts on the brain, who only bothered to develop the left side of their brains, should be educated to the fact that those who bothered to develop both the left and right side of our brains, will be the more “insightful” and able to see the big picture.”

    First thing I noticed when I began grad school was, in general, the lack of appreciation for art and theater (one of the reasons I moved to SF in the first place, aside from The Beats). I found the mh academic culture to be incredibly dry, analytical, and extremely unimaginative–to the point of stale and overwrought thinking. Anything but creative and innovative.

    Developing one’s creative side and “right brain” consciousness is, indeed, vital to deep thinking, gaining truthful insights, and assessing the big picture. That won’t happen in “menal health, inc.” I’m sure of it at this point, I don’t see how with the way they are programmed.

    “So let’s hope the “mental health” workers do some day get out of the “mental illness” creation business.”

    Yes, beautiful vision, SE. The world needs free thinkers, artists, creators, heartfelt humanitarians, as well as true blue systems busters, whistleblowers, and truth-speakers. NOT more drones from the cookie cutter mh industry. No thanks.

  • Social issues will be alleviated as individuals (and, in turn, societies) align with nature. Science will either eventually prove this if it wants to, or some may continue try to keep truth away from the public and keep it to themselves, so they can continue to collect more and more money for more and more “research,” or what have you–maybe a nice big house, exotic travel, high rent office space, state-of-the-art technology, etc.

    What’s changed is that people are now more awake and savvy, so we’ll get the information one way or another. We don’t really need the ivory tower perspective any longer. It is neither practical nor grounded in reality, and I think most people realize this by now.

    Life simply is, and it creates as it flows. The evidence is everpresent, we do not need scientific proof of this. Life abounds, it is inherently abundant clearly, as we hear, see, feel, taste, and/or smell on a daily basis. Experience is the teacher and guide, unique to each of us.

  • There are a plethora of healing paths far and away from anything bio and psych mainstream which many of us have discovered as we healed from psychiatric debacle. Debating it is an academic exercise and helps no one who is suffering in the trenches. It’s a matter of educating oneself in and applying different ways of thinking which already exist worldwide.

    Chinese medicine and the study of yin/yang (masculine/feminine) energy balance in the body is universal truth and based exclusively on the nature of being human. Trauma is energy, as is healing, as is love. Nature is about balance for ease in evolution.

  • “But you’re a man, and our society’s “mental health” systems are set up for men, and set up to destroy harassed or abused women and child abuse survivors, for the religions and their wealthy donors.”

    I would not at all argue with you here, SE, you are correct of course about this, and it is extremely problematic.

    However, as a man who experienced the trauma of systemic abuse, I have to say in all honesty and very frankly that part of that was being a middle aged man being demeaned by 25-or-so-year-old young women with…well, let’s just call it “attitude.” I was in my 40s then, and I’d been around a few blocks by that time, although still programmed enough to wind up going down that particular rabbit hole for a while, until I finally woke up and got out myself out of there.

    But there were many men my age and older who had to put up with this unbelievable lack of professionalism from this particular group. I thought it was fierce and unacceptable, and one of the factors in why I ended up filing a legal complaint, and winning. They didn’t know shit, but acted as though we were the dirt beneath their feet! I’d already been through one career and had been a clincial intern, but to them I was something else entirely–someTHING, not someONE–who deserved no respect, no regard, and who wouldn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.

    This is a serious problem with perspective, and it’s a big part of the systemic dysfunction. A staff can easily be comprised of people in their 20s, barely having cut their teeth in life, calling themselves “the professionals,” and herding people who were much older, and who knew life and had experienced many things, like chattel, as per the example of a textbook class system. It’s surreal, like, through the looking glass. Big FAIL.

  • “Psychotherapy is only a cultural conversation and as such must not be reimbursed. Psychotherapy is in no way different from practices such as Catholic confession or Siberian shamanism; it has the same social function, the same methods and the same results. The reimbursement of some psychotherapists to the detriment of others is a caste privilege that reinforces the corporatism and institutional association between psychotherapists, psychiatrists and health insurances.”

    Brilliant and perfect.

    “‘Technique’ is actually ‘folklore.'”

    Yes, that is truth.

  • The perspective may be different, but the misinformation and stigma are the same. “Psychological issues” vs. social abuse and injustice. The latter is the cause, the former is the effect. Remove the cause, change the effect.

    NorCal is my turf, what I’m most personally and thoroughly familiar with re the mh world. And I will swear up and down that as far as “mental health, inc.” goes up here, it is in the toilet, doing all harm and no good, a ruanaway train of gross incompetence, delusional self-aggrandizement, and rampant power abuse. It is 100% elitism. This, I know for a fact. And that is the harm.

    This also includes all “advocacy agencies” up here, for whom I’ve contracted or consulted with many. They are pure shit double-standard hypocritical advocates for the system which funds them and gives them an identity, nothing else. In all the years I’ve worked with a variety of mh, inc. personnel, I’ve yet to meet someone actually qualified and skilled to work with the particular population for whom they are contracted to serve.

    Seriously, no people skills whatsoever, to say the least–basically, corporate drones and administrative bureaucrats is more like it. It is pure and unequivocal insanity. And I’ve no doubt anyone up here in or around this system will tell you that. It’s a very open secret.

  • Wow, SE, I feel and hear you, my thoughts are exactly the same. It is MADdening (which I guess is the point?).

    I was in customer service retail for 17 years and my experience is as yours, mutual respect as well as integrity of the products we’re selling is vital. I had very loyal and appreciative customers for years–AND a grateful staff (I was manager) because we were all in it together. To me, power meant responsbility, not getting away with abusing or demeaning or thinking negatively about my staff, that would have tanked us.

    I was recognized for having the lowest turnover rate in the company because I knew how to promote people to where they most belonged (and to where they preferred), where their skills and talents would shine, and my departments thrived. Members of the staff I supervised felt good about themselves, their jobs, and we had fun! And everyone felt valued, that was the most important thing for good functioning.

    Again, to mh clincians and staff–what’s the problem here? Can’t you see what we’re saying? When are you all going to wake up, own this crap you’ve been dishing out, and come out of denial and avoidance? C’mon folks, get real. We’re speaking the truth here, no doubt about it. Lift your heads up–out of the sand. For everyone’s sake. You’ll feel better to surrender here, because the truth shall set you free. It will set ALL of us free!

  • They do, indeed, cause chaos to the mind and body. And I think it’s so important to emphasize that the damage needn’t be permanent. People can and do heal from psych drugs damage.

    My healing from having taken so many of these drugs over a long period of time was complex and I had to take leaps of faith and be open to learning all kinds of new things about how our bodies work and how to bring each organ back into balance, including my brain. That took focus, diligence, and trust, along with guidance from an ace 5th generation herbalist.

    After 20 years of these things, I took my last pill 17 years ago, and I am healthy and in balance from head to toe. No brain trauma (or trauma of any kind to any organ) has remained, for which I am most thankful to God every single day. Every day of my life is a miracle, and I want people to know it is possible to heal from these 100%.

  • “As to being investigators, since it’s us non-“mental health” people who did bother to investigate, do our research, and find the iatrogenic etiology of both “bipolar” and “schizophrenia.” I’d say the psychologists aren’t very good investigators.”

    That is so true!!! At this point, I believe many of us know way, way more than they do. We got our info through first hand experience, and that is what is most reliable, without a doubt.

    And they’re not very good listeners, either, they don’t hear a word we’re saying. And it seems as though when they do hear, it gets translated into something else by the time it reaches their brains. It really is like we’re in two different worlds speaking two different languages. It’s weird. That is not my experience with the world, only with mh-related clinical or social service people. That is a world unto itself.

  • I just don’t think psychotherapy is safe. Some people have no issue with this, and I’d call them lucky, because it can so easily go the other way. The training lends itself heavily to projecting, which is what ultimately leads to othering, marginalizing, and blatant stigma.

    It’s not necessarily about the DSM, one can reject that and still be doing this level of projecting, unconsciously, because that is how humanity is perceived through the psychological lens, in divisive “us and them” terms, and based on what, exactly? That’s what this programming inspires and creates, social division based on arbitrary terms. That is inherently abuse of power, because it is a betrayal of trust. It can all be unconscious, but it is still the result of this programming, which is why I call it unsafe.

    This is how programming works, which is what the education and training of this is all about, from what I recall, and my memory of it is quite clear. It’s a filter which is divisive to humanity, and it can stick and do a lot of harm in the most insidious ways, hard to identify but it can be felt. People graduate from their training programmed, not awakened. That’s very unsafe for future clients.

    The first thing a “psychotherapist” (or anyone who desires to help people this way) would have to learn is what it means to have a “healing dialogue.” That has a specific intention, energy, and flow to it, and I’ve never encountered anyone traditionally trained to have this awareness.

    Another thing is to understand how cording works, which is how subtle communications transpire, and how to separate from this after a client, so it is not carried forward to the next client. Everyone is healing and growing in a healing dialogue, not just the client.

    This should be a professional service with appropriate boundaries, not a takeover of someone’s life and beliefs, and ultimately, in worst case scenarios (and they do exist significantly, I believe), their mind and spirit. The issue of boundaries is usually a big problem with therapists, I have found, in that they can be terribly invasive with their own conscious or unconscious judgments.

    A lot of therapists have control and power issues, too, and can play all sorts of mind games, but that’s in all healing vocations. One MUST be careful and trust their intuition when seeking help and support in any healing way. We’re ALL vulnerable as we heal and grow. Otherwise, we don’t.

  • I call that malpractice. In fact, I call psychiatry systemic malpractice. I believe that is as clear as crystal.

    At this point, I think a class action suit against APA would be in order. There seems to be overwhelming evidence of this–ridiculous diagnoses with no foundation, toxic drugs, abusive practices, tons of harm and death, total blood on their hands, and how injurious this is for people, and costly in all ways, including financial–BIG TIME. While they are getting so rich doing this to people!

    I am living proof because I can tesitify what it’s like on the drugs and how all that ends up, and then how my health came back and life blossomed for me, not only when I came off the drugs but also when I quit seeing psychiatrists. The only thing psychiatry did for me was to temporarily destroy my health and tank my life, all while following that particular protocol. And I know there are plenty of others who have simliar stories and trajectories. It’s obvious, and many of us are here in one place, desiring reparations which I know we richly deserve.

    Any brave anti-psych personal injury or malpractice lawyers out there who are true to their word? Lots of us are here with very compelling stories to tell. And clear, articulate, and determined voices with which to tell them.

  • “’Dysfunction’ is a robot term.”

    I think that’s fair, in that it became a buzz word a while back. I recently began using it again, after having used words like “toxic, abusive, marginalizing, oppressive, corrupt” etc. Still, I do feel the word “dysfunction” covers it, and I’d like it to have the same punch in energy as those other words, which perhaps it feels tame given how abiguously defined this can be, as in, “my family/community/fill-in-the-blank institution is dysfunctional because it made me unhappy/afraid/feel insane.” That’s what I mean by it, and indeed, there are a lot of questions to ask at this point. Where to begin? Like a generic case study!

    I think a powerful aspect of “dysfunction” is that it HATES truth, repels it at all cost, and for good reason, since dysfunction is based on keeping active all the deceit and false projections, one way or another. So when truth does start to break through a bit, and then more and more because, perhaps, people are starting to wake up, the dysfunction is what is threatened, as it should be!

    Soooo, I think waking up is what will go a long way in resolving these issues, and so on and so on. I think that’s how to “bust up the system.” I imagine this would mean different things to different people, but “waking up” would be the common thread, to my mind. Just the thought of going from dysfunctional to functional–and getting the true ramification of these antithetical ways to operate–gives me a great deal of relief. Hmmm, wonder why?

    And I agree with Rachel completely, that would be FUNCTIONal, for love to be the motivating factor, as opposed to fear and extreme rivarly. Oh, that makes it so toxic! Someone pays dearly, and it shouldn’t be that way. Waste of energy, resources, PEOPLE, brilliance, creativity. The difference is vast, between Dark Ages and Renaissance. This is what blows my mind the most, and I’ve drawn this conclusion after hearing all of these 1000s of stories over the years, along with my own experience. Big core shift, everyone is affected. Then maybe we’d have a world of problem-solvers as opposed to problem-creators, as it seems we have at present, and have had for a while.

  • One of the things I detest most about mental health, inc. is how it dehumanizes people, like lab rats. This does harm in so many ways and is rather vampiristic.

    To mental health, inc. clinician/authors: Write about your own mad lives and inner voices, and stop co-opting your clients’ lives and voices for your own personal, professional, and FINANCIAL gain. That is everything which is wrong with the mh academic culture. Please STOP.

    Study yourselves. That’s how truth comes to light. Not by projecting onto others.

  • “Any time a supposedly professional person gets defensive with someone they’re supposedly trying to help, it suggests that the person doesn’t actually know the subject matter at hand and their client/customer is hitting too close to home.”

    Hmmm, not so cut and dried as all that, that’s a generalization which could easily lead to false projections based on presumptions. I’m actually talking about the ability to think and feel beyond the superfice. I’ve been shocked at the shallowness I’ve encounterd in the mh world, I’m sorry to say. But it’s true! And that’s what leads to trying to solve problems with drugs and diagnoses. If it’s not “in the book,” they are lost. That’s a fact. And there is no blueprint for healing. That’s what I’m talking about here. That is a creative process and the mh world does not get high marks in creative thinking. It is stale!

    Re what you say, Steve, I’d say we’re all human and getting defensive might be reasonable, given what clients can project, as well. Although, indeed, a good healer would know how to read the energy of this and not get bogged down by it, but instead, use it as part of the healing. Our initial reaction to things are the most authentic information there is, whether we reveal it to others or not. And when we do, it is an opportunity for truth to come to light.

    I’m talking more about a pattern of shutting down communication in all sorts of ways–distracting, avoiding, even emotional “punishment.” I’d call it more of a relationship issue, where communication becomes impaired due to avoidance. That’s when I think things might be hitting close to home, with chronic avoidance and defensiveness. Happens ALL the time! But I wouldn’t get it confused wtih impulsive projections. That would be repeating what is most destructive and violating about psychiatry, in all its delusional thinking.

  • Outstanding article. Yes, calling out abuse, and calling it out, and calling it out…”calling unacceptable behavior what it is.” Absolutely. Healing from abuse is complex, but a big first step is calling it what it is. And, it is widespread, no doubt about it.

    “If your goal really is to truly help someone, the most effective way to do that is to actively condemn the abuse, neglect or mistreatment they are experiencing.”

    Yes, indeed. Although it is a rude awakening for many, and given Stockholm Syndrome, it can be messy to call it out before the one experiencing it is willing to see it. Still, holding the truth in a compassionate way is helpful, rather than feeding the denial. A lot of programming and brainwashing type control happen in these situations, and waking up can feel threatening.

    I definitely agree with the focus of your article, Megan, and I wholeheartedly support your truth here. Society can benefit from it, when it chooses to come out of the dark and hear and listen to the truth. Thank you.

  • “The terms “mental health” or “mental illness” both seem to imply that there are some people whose brains work right and others whose brains work wrong, and that being in the second group implies some kind of pathology. It’s not a good starting point for a positive discussion of how to help people who are suffering for whatever reason.”

    I don’t see “mental health” as having this implication, per se, but of course “mental illness” most certainly does. I’m not seeing these as necessarily opposites, nor have I experience these as such. “Mental health” is used in a variety of ways and is quite broad; whereas “mental illness” is more precise in what it connotes, with a network of very specific false assumptions attached to it.

    Not feeling “mentally healthy” doesn’t necessarily imply “mental illness,” as people mean this. We may just not feel up to par for a time, so we rest and switch focus, until we feel our groove back. That seems natural and human, and not dramatic.

    With regard to all the categorizing of and projecting onto people which this profession practices, I’d call it lazy and superficial thinking. It’s easier to go down a checklist and put people into categories than actually understanding their humanity, which would require depth of thinking AND to be comfortable with their feelings, both of which are SERIOUSLY missing here, from what I’ve experienced with clinicians. Not to mention, it’s way more lucrative to work the human assembly line system.

    But it’s lazy and shallow to me, pure and simple. Why do you think so many mh clincians (at least that I’ve known and have spoken with) get so defensive, passive-aggressive, or avoidant whenever they get presented with an intelligent argument? They’ll get mad and quit before reaching clarity and mutual understanding, because they cannot maintain focus and grounding and have no idea what they’re talking about and simply cannot own it. That has totally been my experience.

  • However we interpret these and apply them to our own experience, in general, I think, mental clarity feels a whole lot better than mental chaos, confusion, and disorientation, which is a human experience at times, and which can feel very painful. And even more distressing is that we can’t always put our finger on what would be causing this–at least not until we can move through the heavier feelings, which is when light can begin to come in and truth can reveal itself.

    Learning to navigate this with consciousness is a good and practical skill to have. In fact, these times of profound confusion tend to occur as a signal to awaken to something about ourselves which we’d been resisting seeing (another natural human quality), which is where we find relief, when we do that inner work. We may or may not be motivated to awaken and feel fear in doing so. All of that would depend on our level of trust in our own processes. Definitely a hot spot.

    But overall, clarity feels much better in the body, and it moves us forward, whereas we have to sit with confusion if we want to reach a point of clarity, and that can be challenging to the point of making people feel stuck. It’s all about the process, I think, and when we feel we are moving forward with relative ease vs. when we feel stuck and in constant effort. To me, that would signal relaxed vs. stressed.

  • Considering the damage which ALL of these drugs do–at least from my experience that is the case, I was on all different kinds and classes of psych drugs over the years–I’d say this is not a hair worth splitting, for any practical purposes. And of course, that is my personal opinion on the matter, and I’m aware that not everyone will agree. I’m not interested in debating this issue, either. I know what I know.

  • Thanks, Rosalee, and yes, defining these things for ourselves can bring good clarity and is on the healing path, imo. My personal definitions have changed over the years as more and more of all this came to light, and I discovered I wasn’t alone in all this. “How are we all relating?” (from this particular “psych experience”), would become my question.

    I like what Steve S puts forth (as per T. Szasz), which I’ve seen before. Like you say, it is accessible, and I feel it covers us all here in the human race. It’s perfectly neutral. If we’re human, we’re going to encounter problems with living. It’s where we have opportunities to grow in all ways. And that’s life!

    It’s interesting that this blog is called “My Mental Health Awakening.” Seems like a lot of awakening is happening here! You asked very key questions and basic overall clarity is growing, I think. Feels good right now, in that sense.

    Thanks, Starr, for opening this dialogue with your story. I believe that truth-laden blogs foster forward moving and energized discussions leading to clarity and light. It’s why I love it when people share their stories, leads to all kinds of liberation.

  • I like this, too, re “problems of living,” and it is universal. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t experience this at one time or another. So then we can go on to ask “what problem(s) am I having, and how do I resolve them?” I believe much of this depends on our problem-solving skills. Which doesn’t necessarily mean taking action, it can also mean changing how we perceive our situation. That can open a door to resolution, too.

    As long as we’re in problem-solution mode, then “problems of living” would be a clear way to address our issues in a way that we solve the problems. It can be a complex network of issues, so one step at a time. We’re only human!

  • When we use the term “neurotoxins,” we’re referring to any of the drugs typically prescribed by a psychiatrist, including SSRI, benzos, etc. We are claiming that they are all toxic to the brain, one way or another.

    For “neuroleptic,” (which I use interchangeably with “neurotoxins,” although I find that “toxic psych drugs” covers all of it), I found several varying definitions, and some do say specifically what you say, KS, but this is the first one that popped up on bing, and others keep it general, too, fwiw–

    “neu·ro·lep·tic
    [ˌn(y)o͝orəˈleptik]

    ADJECTIVE
    (of a drug) tending to reduce nervous tension by depressing nerve functions.
    synonyms:
    tranquilizing · calming · depressant · soothing · calmative · relaxing · [more]
    NOUN
    a drug that depresses nerve functions; a major tranquilizer.”

    When we talk about these drugs, seems we should be on the same page regarding what we’re talking about, given all the different things we call them. I think the prescribing patterns don’t really follow rhyme or reason, it’s pretty random at this point. They are all addicting, dangerous, and hell to come off of.

  • “It seems like a distressful, “unjust life circumstance” to carry critical self-judgement due to early trauma.”

    Yes, I agree Steve, and not everyone has this to the same degree.

    Although I do believe that when we’re subject to particularly cruel and unjust life circumstance–especially if our lives start out this way, being born into a traumatizing family or the like–as we come to a better and deeper understanding of it and do whatever healing feels right to us, then we can become powerful and well-informed spokespeople for change, as we are doing here. We know what went wrong, so let’s be examples of “doing it right”–meaning specifically, let us be just and fair with ourselves and others, as opposed to being cruel and invalidating, which can, indeed, cause people to suffer if they are unprepared to take on such callous projections.

    That’s one way to heal (what I’d call “transmute”) the energy of trauma, and in that process, we shift our self-perception and self-identity from “victim” to “empowered.” And thus, we embody the change we want to see in the world. So much to learn as we grow, I don’t think it ever ends.

    I tend to agree with your perspective as well, I feel I know from where you are coming when I read your posts.

  • Rosalee, after all the conflicting opinions I’ve seen on here over the years, I think it boils down to individual interpretation. Some might say “there is no ‘it,'” while others try to understand something about themselves or others close to them, when something in life doesn’t seem to be working to our satisfaction. So many reasons for that.

    Personally, I like to focus on how to get back on track, which would also be different for each individual, but it takes some introspection, and sometimes, trustworthy feedback, depends on each person, their process, circumstances, etc. That’s how I see it and it can happen to anyone who is a human being.

    As far as what to call these professionals in a way that would reflect the reality of the situation, I’m sure you can get all kinds of responses here. If they are part of the public system, I call them government bureaucrats because that’s exactly what they are. Definitely NOT healers.

  • Stephen, thanks for that clarification. The only reason I’m surprised about this is because of how you’ve identified as a “survivor of psychiatry” and all that you have shared re your opinion about neuroleptics. You’ve also talked about being hospitalized so I guess I thought psych drugs would be part of this. Thank you again for sharing this information, it does bring more clarity here.

  • Why can’t “mental health” (or even “mental clarity”) refer to how we feel about ourselves and our own lives and our own problem-solving skills, and our ability to navigate our lives and manifest what we need and want with some degree of confidence? Not always 100% of the time, after all we are human and inherently imperfect, striving for this or that, to keep us motivated.

    I’ve experienced solid mental clarity and also extreme mental choas and confusion. The latter was brought on by a variety of life factors converging. That made me feel mentally confused due to emotional overwhelm, an issue with being human, happens to everyone at one time or another. It signals us to look at something in order to grow, like a life passage.

    One by one, looking at each issue which was causing me confusion or painful anxiety and disorientation, I could take care of these. Sometimes, it meant shifting a life situation, where I could. Sometimes, it meant shifting a belief, and that would bring relief and change. Eventually, I felt mental clarity, which made me feel healthier in every respect.

    I don’t think our suffering is always in relation to others or life circumstances, although it can start out that way. Sometimes, we do it to ourelves, with our own critical and self-judgmental voices, which would be what we carry inside of us due to early trauma. We judge others we judge ourselves. That is, indeed, the result of trauma and can cause suffering and mental confusion. We can take care of that, and come to mental clarity. That seems both neutral and natural to me.

  • “I think the correct statement is that people who TOOK ANTIPSYCHOTICS showed brain shrinkage, regardless of their spurious psych “diagnosis.'”

    Right, that’s how this convo started out. And I’ll repeat that this is an incredibly gross and irresponsible overgeneralization because it hardly covers the majority of people who take or have taken neurotoxins. So this sample population “studied” is not at all an adequate representation of this group, but more so, there was something else going on with that group, if their brains had, indeed, shrunk. Saying that it is the “neuroleptics” is misleading and just plain wrong, and it contradicts the truth for most people.

    I’d deem this a bad study, it is not truth. Therefore, it is useless and false, exactly like psychiatry. This study, and any extension of it, is what would, to me, be spurious, misguided, and misinformed.

    And of course, I do think these things are toxic, and they do impact our synapses and neural pathways, and I know they affect our bodies and our organs negatively, throws them out of balance. That can be remedied. But as far as the brain actually shrinking? I will not buy this. That’s preposterous, and lends itself to dangerous and marginalizing prejudice. This is what I, at least, target in my activism.

    It’s thinking like this (“their brains are smaller than our brains”) that sets people up to be treated like crap and marginalized in society, based on “scientific” mythology via academic ivory tower “research.” To me it’s rather obvious. Status quo.

  • JanCarol, yes, that is beautifully stated and to the point.

    And I’d expand this to: the beliefs of our heart, along with our will and determination to overcome obstacles, are our keys to healing and manifesting the life we truly desire. I believe this to be absolute truth.

    My opinion about this “brain shrinkage” study has all to do with truth and integrity in activism. If these are missing in whatever info comes forth, then I find it useless and counterproductive. No change there.

  • I just don’t want it generalized, as it is being when used as a “tactic.” It’s not based on universal truth, and it is harmful to those to whom it does not apply, which is a lot of people, probably even the majority.

    Honestly, I’m not sure what you are “stunned” about here, nor why it is so hard to understand why I would not be agreeable to this from the tendency to overgeneralize and in turn, harm a specific group. I thought that’s what we notice in here, how groups are projected onto and marginalized, and therefore are treated differently in society and their rights and freedom are compromised. I just think this study and using it as such perpetuates this, and indeed, it’s not necessarily true of everyone who has been on neurotoxins. Not even close.

    And the people who have been measurably damaged can heal, if they wish to do so. But it might challenge core beliefs. That is the nature of core healing.

    Thanks as always, KS, you make me think deeply about the issues. Done here, too!

  • “Alex, the problem with your position in my view is that you can’t refute what you see happening on brain scans. So you either believe it is due to the underlying disease process or you believe it is due to the drugs themselves.”

    How many people on the planet have had brain scans? These are selected fractions of the population, as with all of these studies. There are so many factors that affect the brain, above and beyond the two choices you give. I would call these studies “not reliable,” for so many reasons. A discussion regarding these reasons is beyond the scope of this forum, that would be a long discussion which would merit a better space than this, imo.

    “The fact that schizophrenia patients have long documented hard evidence of shrinking brain tissue isn’t disputed anywhere as far as I know. The only scientific dispute is the cause.”

    I actually do not know terribly much about “schizophrenia,” per se (I’m more versed and better suited to speak about anxiety, pts, depression, bipolar, and dissociation. “Schizophrenia” is one diagnosis that was not applied to me, so I cannot speak to that experience).

    Personally, I do not feel science is capable of solving this, these are issues of human experience and each one is individual and unique, which personally, from my pov, I’d call that a hard and fast rule, no exception. So it does not stand to either reason or logic to me that just because some sample population is showing something like this, that it is necessarily true. Too many variables and competing agendas here.

    To me, one of the most powerful features of “psychiatric survivor-ship” is that we honor our individual selves and that is our truth, regardless of anyone else’s truth or experience–and most definitely beyond academic research. That’s the first thing I would throw out if we want a new paradigm. Otherwise, it’s the same poison, different flavor.

    “There’s little to be gained by saying that you don’t believe you experienced brain shrinkage from the drugs because of course not every brain was damaged in that way but the studies showing brain shrinkage in this cohort are pretty solid.”

    I disagree, I feel there is a lot of gain to this because I believe that our beliefs are what shape and create our reality because it is what most influences our thinking and feeling responses. When we change beliefs, we change how we think and act, and we feel differently about our experiences because we’re coming from a different and broader perspective.

    I once believed I was “permanently damaged” for a lot of reasons, and for a while I really spiraled downward from thinking this way, from practicing these beliefs. Then I learned some new things, new ways of looking at my experience, and how I could influence it with the power of my own thought and focus. THIS is how I busted through false programming, which is where I took back my power. Took a while and it was a surreal ride, but it did the trick, and my thinking is now completely my own, and I apply it to my life as I wish, like the free-thinking individual which I am.

    Where I believe there is nothing to be gained is believing that one is damaged beyond repair, or even that one’s brain has shrunk, because “studies say so.” I believe that holding that belief is what causes impairment (and fear, and frustration, and discouragment) because we will create these ourselves if we believe our brains have shrunk, and in turn, we feel damaged, lesser than, and limited. No thanks.

    “It seems you can’t accept that others may have been harmed in this way because you don’t believe you were.”

    I’m not going simply by my experience, not in the slightest. I’ve been around people on and off these drugs for a really long time—in my practice, as peers, and in everyday life. Not one of them would I say had a “shrunken brain.” Were I to think that of any of my clients who are or who have been on these drugs, I would not be able to help people heal at the core, the way I do.

    I’m not even thinking in these terms. I’m looking at a person’s heart (open or closed), spirit (where it does not feel free), and with respect to their brains, as long as we can carry on a fluid conversation, that’s what I will notice. If not, I’d look at why, and it is always 100% of the time some kind of relationship trauma, because that is when we start projecting.

    Things get challenging here, it’s kind of a fork-in-the-road because this is where our most core beliefs are challenged, when we are in relationship to others. But never, ever has it been because I think someone has a small brain, or smaller than “normal,” or what have you. Honestly, I can’t even wrap my mind around that. I find it useless information on the one hand, and damaging to believe it, on the other. I think this trumps “studies,” so if no one is challenging these, then let me be the first.

    “And the fact that a study designed to show the neuroleptics weren’t the cause but instead showed they were is solid evidence.”

    No, I don’t think it is solid evidence. I think it’s, at best, a fraction of the story, and one which makes the ground fertile for generalizing about people in a negative way, which is bad news as we all know.

    Overall, I cannot see the logic of this. I think it is way too limited in perspective, and is not accounting for so many factors in a variety of different people. To me, this particular cause (whatever it is) is beyond science. It is about individual truth, because that is what dictates our path more than anything. We want freedom, not more programming and negative beliefs crammed down our throats, that’s the case with me, in any event.

    I’m going to believe what I’m going to believe because that is the sum total of my experience with this so far. That serves me tremendously well, and I don’t see how it hurts anyone else, and in fact, I’d be happy to relieve anyone of this burdensome thought or belief about themselves, which I think would serve anyone well. But that has to be a choice. I think it’s important to pay attention to what we believe about ourselves, way more than what others believe about us.

    If you or anyone tells me, “Well my brain shrunk from these drugs, and that’s my truth and don’t mess with it!” then ok, I won’t. But what I would be thinking is that this belief of having a “shrunken brain” (from wherever it comes) will haunt that person in a way that is neither helpful nor healthful.

    I appreciate your asking for clarity, KS, and I hope that in some way this provides a better idea of from where I’m coming. If not, this is the best I can do with this right here and now. We know what we know, and we see what we learn as time passes and more and more info comes to light. But this is definitely my position with this, and the foundation for why I now hold that belief steadfastly. It certainly does serve me, and others around me, quite well.

  • Ok, thanks for clarifying.

    “I don’t think it’s possible to undermine people’s faith in it without some hard evidence that the psychiatrists are full of crap.”

    I know they’re full of crap and you know that and many who read here know that, because we have interacted with psychiatry for years and know first hand that dialoguing with a psychiatrist is risky and downright crazy-making from the irrationality of their thinking.

    Overall, however, I believe people are going to have to discover this for themselves, if, in fact, they are in the realm of thinking about turning to psychiatry for anything. I’ll still speak about my experience to help shed light on the reality of psychiatry and “mh” anything, and I will help folks to bypass all of this with good alternatives to mainstream thinking, but I won’t go with this strategy, though, and I reject the “shrinking brain” theory as a tactic, because I don’t believe it is truth and it continues to serve elitist ideology.

    The only “strategy” I use in every facet of my life is following the truth of my heart, including activism. I’ve had a few victories against the system, fighting it pretty much on my own (until I got a legal aid attorney to help me when legal issues came up, for which I had to pay nothing), which was based solely on simply following my truth intuitively, and as a result, some pretty big changes occurred, inside and out. I’m going to stick with that. But thanks for explaining how this particular information is being used here.

  • Hi Starr, please forgive me, I got caught up in a dialogue here on your blog and I haven’t even acknowledged your story.

    Very well done! Awesome, in fact. Congratulations on getting through it all and assimilating your life experiences into living your truth and life purpose. I would predict you have an exciting and very enriching and rewarding life ahead, and you will help many people with your empathy, wisdom, and insight by way of personal experience.

    I lived in San Francisco for 17 years, I know the “mental health” industry well in that city, was associated with a variety of agencies–in client and professional capacities–before leaving the Bay Area a few years ago.

    A lot of change is needed there, there is so much discrimination and social abuse against people with diagnoses and on disability, it is the norm. I have so many examples of this, from my own experience and from witnessing this with others repeatedly, on a daily basis–including the example from a legal action I took against a non-profit, to help fight this from the inside. It is extreme and I strongly believe it threatens the quality of life in the Bay Area, which has sadly been in decline for a while now.

    I largely credit the San Francisco “mental health” system, and its extreme incompetence, for the city’s decline. They are so confused, to say the least! And creating all kinds of social ills, not to mention individual crises. In the meantime, “disability” and homelessness are growing industries there, so I say they are not doing their jobs.

    Instead, clients on the whole tend to be judged, dismissed and dehumanized, not seen as thinking/feeling adults with the same rights as anyone. That is a terrible rift in the social fabric, and I’m sure you have noticed that it is palpable. I blame the mental health industry for this. They’re supposed to be helping heal and mend, and instead they are divisive and marginalizing. Change is needed right in this area, not sure how that would come about.

    You sound like a social warrior, so I am wishing you the very best of luck and cheering you on! You’ve got a tough job, but you are needed. Glad you are heeding the call!

  • Responding to Steve, above (I don’t have the capability to insert my comment into the thread like you do, so I’m responding down here)–

    “I think it’s important to know about and use these studies to make our case, even as we all know that every individual case is different,”

    “Our” case? To whom are you referring in the first person plural? MIA? Other?

    Besides, I think it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, in that you are simply creating another so-called “damaged” group–with new labels to support that–in order to scapegoat and make people feel lesser than and marginal, not to mention, dependent.

    And the systemic issues persevere, despite any shifts in perspective here. That’s not the change which I seek, that would go deeper to the core of systemic and social dysfunction than this argument does.

    “and that recovering even from long-term use of these drugs is possible for many so exposed.”

    Yes, that is the main thing, and many of us have done just that. It is vital for people to have living and breathing examples of healing from this crap, in order to hold hope, encouragement, support, and validation for their unique healing process, as opposed to more judgment and stigma and self-defeatism that inherently come with discouraging, fatalistic, and downright scary messages, such as “your brain has shrunk.”

    Even with holding that perspective while not revealing that you are thinking that, one can tell, people pick that up after a few moments of communication, and it can be detrimental. Best to know a better truth, from my perspective, as a former client. That would be of benefit to anyone, I believe.

  • I’m completely out of all that, this was over 15 years ago and I’ve since moved on and enjoy my life thoroughly. I’ve done tons of healing in all sorts of ways, and have been a teacher and have had a healing practice for over a decade now.

    Part of my life purpose is to speak my truth about this. It was my path to take, and it has enriched me in all ways. And, it woke me up but good. As long as I have healed all that brainwashing (and social programming from way back), I am happy, at peace, and aligned with my heart, truth, and spirit. What more could I ask for? I’m here to encourage others.

  • Yes, the neurotoxin/gaslighting combo is a killer, without a doubt. The worst of the gaslighting and abuse took place for me as I was in withdrawal. I was in a social services day treatment program which had several groups with a variety of psychotherapists/facilitators, while at the same time I was seeing the last psychiatrist I ever saw. I’ve never been around so many assholes in my life.

    I was rather defenseless in my withdrawal state, and they took full advantage, like kicking around a sick puppy–which at the time, I was, and nobody really understood what was going on, but they pretended they did and made things up to justify their thinking (false projections), as per the norm in “mh practices.” Made me feel insane, depsondent, and hopeless, and indeed, it almost cost me my life. And all of this, as the result of actively trying to become more healthy, clear, and functional. Not in psychiatry! That would be a false expectation, without a doubt.

    But I eventually recovered from all of this and got it all straight, the truth of the matter was clear: the psychiatry driven “mental health” system kills people, as it came so close to doing with me.

    “I’m glad you got your brain out!”

    Me too! Or conversely, I’m glad I got all of that out of my brain. That was friggin’ over-the-top crazy!!! My truth of the matter, and message to others, is: it can be done.

  • Yes, I agree with you, Nancy. It’s the training which is misguided. Some would call the education “programming,” with which I’d concur. The conditioning is passed down, which I think is what we’re trying to stop–bad information to be replaced by way better information, true to healing rather than satsifying an institutional or political agenda. That would be my intention and goal, in any event.

    I was in training and MTF internship when my world began to turn upside down from the psych drugs I’d been on, and no one around me was any help, to say the least, and really quite discouraging, which turned into “demeaning,” which led me right into hopelessness. I eventually discovered and realized that the education was bad information and the skills of the therapists were seriously below par, and all of this could lead down a treacherous road for anyone, as it had done with me and so many others.

    While someone may not be out to deliberately harm another, when someone tells them that their actions are causing pain and hurt, and they argue, ignore, or turn the blame around, I can only call that toxic abuse. When the abusers have allies and not the victim, then it is systemic, and not good for anyone, regardless of having noble intentions. Even the most progressive ideas will not fly in a system such as this, since no truth can come to light in a toxic system. Information becomes corrupt, because that is the energy of toxicity–to destroy and sabotage, not to support and create. That’s how I see it.

  • That film is more than a marketing strategy, it is false advertising and blatant propaganda. Especially if your confidence was violated, as it appears that it clearly was, repeatedly.

    I started out by going to my college counseling center (this was 39 years ago) and while I did not experience what you did in many ways, I still found it not only extremely unhelpful, but also filled with incompetent counselors. They were awful, and indeed, made me feel as though something were terribly wrong with me, because I was depressed. There were reasons for it, but they did not bother to probe that, and I tried 2 different counselors. The last one was the one that convinced me that something was wrong with me, whereas now, I can see that she was judging me, purely. Looking back, I can now understand the projection.

    Great truth-speaking here and well-written piece. I hope this article gets around, especially to the counseling centers and universities. I also hope you find your peace. Speaking your truth is a good start.

  • Yes, it does, and they are relentlessness about it. And so many of us are mirroring back those negative expectations from psychiatry, based on experience and our own negative outcomes from said “services.” It will not kill them (I would hope!) to learn from what the mirror is reflecting back, rather than resisting it at all cost.

    Vampires are the ones who cannot see their own reflection–aka getting defensive, hostile, retaliatory, and shutting down communication when reasonable and heartfelt critical feedback is being offered, and especially when it is obvious to everyone that harm is being done, and the harmful behavior will not stop.

    Their survival depends on harming another, to drain them of life force energy. And then another, and another, and another…the vampire is the one who is dependent on others, they need the energy of another in order to survive. It is endless seduction and victimization, until the vampire is destroyed.

    That’s the only way (according to legend) to stop the cycle of vampiristic harm, to drive a stake through the vampire’s heart. In that vein, I just try to speak my truth of the matter as clearly and directly and precisely and reasonably as I know how–and then creatively when that doesn’t work. Feels good to say it, in any event, because it is truth.

  • “I’ve watched IQ loss, decision making falter, inability to perceive and discern “grey areas” (black/white thinking), and complications get immeasurably simplified due to the drugs. I help people come off of neuroleptics, and these qualities are common among many of them.”

    This somewhat reflects my experience when I was in withdrawal from 9 drugs after 20 years on one mix or another, and indeed it was temporary, there is healing for all of this, and it is layered and complex.

    For me, part of it was neural pathway rerouting and also nourishing brain cells (herbs, light, conscious relaxation); and another part of healing my brain was about healing tremendous fear–dread, terror, to be precise–from all the negative messages that were ruminating in my brain (also causing sleep disturbance/chronic insomnia for a period of time), due to heart and spirit wounding and the disorientation which comes with that, from all kinds of systemic vampirism. That’ll throw the brain–and one’s entire energy system–off-kilter but good after a while. That is a very intricate and humbling healing, and it is the transformation.

    Systemic abuse can be very subtle, yet powerful to the unsuspecting. That has the potential to impair brain functioning in an even more powerful way than the drugs because we have a hard time recognizing abuse in an abusive culture, and it does involve recognizing toxic relationships, which can be understandably terribly challenging for people.

    This is the complicated part, healing the brain/mind/heart/spirit from gaslighting and negative projections and other dysfunctional relationship patterns which ruin peoples’ health and lives, because they lose their clarity and are filled with doubt, worry, and chronic negative ruminations. All because others like to send messages of doubt and fear. One has to be careful about this. I remember this well from my experience.

    That is what I had to heal in order to feel good, be healthy and clear, and experience the joy of life, once and for all–drugs or no drugs.

  • Sorry, I believe you are both wrong and speaking fallaciously. JanCarol, I’m aware of myself and I’m surprised you are trying to explain me to me, and I’m sure none of my “brain is missing,” if that is what you are implying. I’m also aware of the interconnectedness of the brain, the mind, the heart, and spirit, and I also recognize and understand heart intelligence (or lack thereof). This is what feeds the mind.

    Talking about “brain shrinkage” and insisting on it is only going to feed prejudice and lead to greater misunderstanding and misinformation. I believe that those of you who insist on “brain shrinkage” in this context are delivering a very dangerous and misleading message.

    Forget studies, Steve, we’re talking about real people in real life, not these academic illusions which are constantly perpetuated by people who have absolutely no personal or first hand experience with what they are “studying.” No credibility here.

  • Mark and Stephen, do you guys believe that the drugs shrunk your brain? That’s what I’m infering from your statements, and by the fact that you are trying to somehow convince me of this phenomenon, which you will never be able to do. I have yet to see anything persuasive here, it all stinks of divisive programming to me which makes the ground fertile for marginalization and dangerous discrimination.

    But if that’s what you all believe about yourselves, then that is what will affect you the most, that belief. I feel people own their reality by what they believe, so I do make it a point to not argue with the beliefs of others, that is really none of my business.

    But sometimes, I’m so tempted to break that rule, because from what I’ve seen in both of your posts, I don’t see how your brain could be shrunken, you both seem rather wise, alert, awake, and brilliant to me. I’m sure there’s stuff going on, from what you have both described of your experience–like with anyone, really–but I would venture to guess that none of your issues are in any way about a having a “small brain,” due to “reduction in mass.” If that’s what you want to believe, I wouldn’t argue, but I would at least give it a gentle challenge. If I am wrong, I do apologize. This is not intended to invalidate your beliefs or question your reality, I’d go with what you say about yourselves.

    But from what I’ve seen, I’d imagine the two of you have more brainpower than all the shrinks in the world put together. That’s just my intuitive hunch, based on what I’ve experienced in the world during my lifetime, in addition to what I have read on here over the years. You guys have your finger on the pulse of truth, whereas we all know that *mh anything* is devoid of this. Frankly, there is no power in that, only the illusion of it. And it’s a powerful mass illusion because it’s been around for so long and pushes our most basic buttons to create fear, and because so many people have bought and continue to buy into it.

    But, this illusion can be broken, when we make the truth stronger and more powerful and way more relevant than these institutional scams we’ve got going on now, and especially psychiatry, the poster child for institutional scams. Our voices do, indeed, matter. They are essential.

    Please do not insist that this negative and fear & shame based truth is more powerful than my truth of healing and well-being. That would be a travesty in this community, don’t you think? What purpose would that serve, other than to feed the beast?

    This is how everything is upside down right now, to my mind– wrong people in power, wrong people disempowered. Reversing this would go a long way in healing society. But how???

    Truth is the only leader, really, and it can come through anyone. It’s up to us to discern what is real for us vs. what is negative and disempowering programming. That’s the way to freedom, systemic transformation, and social change, and in that particular order, I do believe. Feel freedom, first, and the system will begin to transform, not the other way around.

    Freedom of speech and speaking truth is where it begins, to my mind. Censorship of any kind will negate truth, no exceptions, I believe. Anything can happen once truth finally comes to light, and it’s rather unpredictable, for the most part, I think. New manifestation will come from this, so it’s a creative process to follow. We can make anything we want of that, and that is what determines our reality–how we interpret and respond to the process unfolding, because it determines our emotional experience, and from that, we project our reality. That is my firm belief at this point.

  • Thank you for sharing this, Fiachra, you sparked a few thoughts in me here.

    “Psychosis” = burnout, I can see a relationship here. I put the p word in “” given its ambiguity and variety of interpretations, including total dismissal of the existence of anything like this could possibly be, which is fine, it’s a belief.

    But burnout, I believe, everyone would understand in the same way, and I do not feel anyone could deny its existence, given it is a universal phenomenon. At least I think it is. Who doesn’t burn out at one time or another? Part of life’s lessons, I think it’s a passage.

    Although I’m sure that not all burnout would qualify as “psychosis”–that would be a matter of comparing personal testimonials to what the burnout manifested, what would make it “psychosis,” exactly, and this would need to be done without it being a list of “symptoms,” that would give it clinical relevance, which I do not feel it has. Still, I do think “burnout” would be an inherent part of any experience called “psychosis” by anyone.

    But also, what comes to mind here is: why would one person be considered burned out while another would be “in psychosis,” if there experiences are more similar than different here?

    In your case, Fiachra, based on what you say, this came from a clear and direct projection from this GP. If the two of you were comparable in whatever was manifesting that caused the p label, then it should be called the same thing (burnout is the better of the two, I’m sure!).

    But regardless–if things were truly equal here, which they should be or there is inherent injustice and discrimination from obvious stigma and power abuse–either you were both experiencing “psychosis” or you were both experiencing “burnout.” Why one explanation/label for you and another for him? That sounds like class division to me, and marginalizing. ILLUSION. It is false because he is lying–at the very least “misleading” in a way that to me, it’s the same as lying. It is deceitful, and for his own personal and professional agenda, to cover his ass in order to ACCOMMODATE stigma and prejudice. That’s how I see this, and it is a big problem.

    Such confusion and bullshit projections and basically cover-up! There would be no room for truth in that guy’s reality, would be my guess. That is dark. And to me, that’s psychiatry, pure and simple. I know this is a GP, but I’m sure his psychiatric partners in crime against humanity were just that.

    Good to raise self-awareness so we do not reach that point of burnout. But it is a potential for anyone who is a human being, and I believe it is inevitable, so that we do grow in this regard. So much to learn when we allow ourselves to get to burnout, and then recover and build ourselves back up with new awareness. I’d like to meet one adult in the world who has no idea what it feels like to be burned out, on one level or another, and the effects this has on the mind and body. How to avoid this? How to learn from it? How to move forward from it? These are my questions.

    And btw, kids who are pushed and pushed and pushed beyond their natural process of evolution WILL burn out sooner than later, guaranteed. I think when we’re burned out and continue to push ourselves without being aware that we’re already burned out (that may be a “normal” for some people, at this point), that’s when things can only get worse, imo, and I do feel it can send the mind reeling into distorted thinking. That is A LOT of stress, and it affects us in all ways negative, how could it not? We have to notice we’re burned out and stop running on fumes in order to replenish our own energy, if that is to ever change.

    Without resorting to any labels or categories which divide people up falsely, I’d say the current epidemic is, indeed, burnout, which, in energy terms translates to “energy depletion.” Replenishment would be in order, most naturally. Everyone would have their own way of doing that, starting with exfoliating that which on longer serves. Paves the way for new skin, new light, new awareness, and a new paradigm, based on a new and broader perspective.

    That is the natural cycle of evolution. Out with the old, in with the new. Permission for this to happen, and trusting the process, is what brings ease. When we resist change–especially as the waves of change are occuring–we are in effort. That will cause burnout, no doubt.

  • This is all propaganda, neither one of these articles is persuasive in the slightest, it’s merely jargon and conjecture. Why should I take anyone’s word for this, when I have my own experience to go by? Who would know better than I do whether or not my brain had shrunk? Am I an exception? Because whether or not YOU believe it, this is not true about me, never has been, not in the slightest. I’d have to be shown clear physical evidence for me to even question my truth here.

    And so far, there has been absolutely no evidence of this for me, and I do not expect there can be, it would be impossible because I know for a fact it does not exist. And if there were some kind of evidence of this, I have no doubt I would notice this, and at least my partner would, and people around me. I’m mirrored back to be a pretty smart cookie, always have been. I’m a math wiz as I’ve always been, more creative than ever, and my mind is quiet and focused. I do know logic and reason, and I can process my emotions just fine. I’ve always been a fast learner, still am. My IQ is probably a bit higher than it used to be, in fact, because my head is much, much clearer now and I can process rather quickly. I’ve always been quite intuitive, too, on top of this.

    I am clear and fluid in my thinking, I know this unequivocally. This would not be the case were my brain to have shrunk. Quite the contrary, it has healed to become stronger and more clear than ever before. My healing was thorough and regenerative, as is the case with natural healing.

    Withdrawing from the drugs caused static and fog in my brain, and for a brief period of time I could hardly do math, even though I had been a bookkeeper and payroll administrator, and had always been able to do complex math in my head. And this is while on the psych drugs, I had no reason to think my brain was shrinking, I got awards for my excellent work in both customer service and as an administrator. Damage became apparent during withdrawal, years later.

    The damage the drugs did plus the effects of withdrawal and temporary extreme attention deficit (super monkey mind) greatly impaired my cognitive skills due to lack of focus and chaotic synapses, but I got those back into balance and after 15 years of healing from this, I have no trace of this any longer. My head is perfectly clear. I’ve worked hard to get it that way. Couldn’t have done it with a “shrunken brain.”

    I am going to go with my own lived experience over academic pontification and projection from the outside. We all know about the reliability of the irovy tower propaganda. It only serves a small elite group, to dehumanize and demean (make lesser than) everyone else. It is designed this way. It’s pure crap, and what leads to all the false programming that causes all kinds of social abuses and divisions.

    “Studies” (I even think from Harvard) used to say that different races = different brain sizes. I don’t think so! But the implication and agenda would be obvious, I hope. Please let’s not fall for this.

  • My concern with this is that to me it comes across in a way similar to “chemical imbalance,” in that it strongly implies something which cannot be naturally corrected, a permanent and chronic condition, and I will in no way buy into that conjecture. I’d call that “a program,” in that it is a false belief to serve the elitist marginalizing system, one way or another.

    The brain is affected negatively by these drugs, no doubt about that, but it is healable. To call it shrinkage would imply a permanent defect, to my mind, which I know is false. I believe this is more about neural rerouting and synapses misfiring, thanks to the drugs, and there are so many ways to fix that once the chemicals are out of the brain.

    Plus “antipsychotic” refers to all sorts of different specific drugs, which I’m sure would have different effects on the brain. So I would question this entire study, as well as Dr. Andreasen’s motivation and agenda. Does not ring true in any way to me. Plus, of course, she is a DSMer from way back, so in whose interest is this, exactly?

    “She has also contributed to the area of psychiatric diagnosis by serving on both the DSM III and DSM IV Task Forces. She was responsible for building the foundations for the study of stress disorders by writing the definition of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for DSM III.”

    http://www.nancyandreasen.com/

    I did find this article written by Mr. Whitaker, from which I am infering this is the basis for his work. I came off the drugs before Anatomy of an Epidemic or Mad in America were published and healed from the damage done by these before even hearing about this website. Had I taken in any of this information and believed it in any way, my healing would have been much more complicated and I would have imagined things being much worse. That would have only been to my detriment.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mad-in-america/201102/andreasen-drops-bombshell-antipsychotics-shrink-the-brain

  • Being told you are “at risk” would, I imagine, produce a great deal of fear and worry in a person, causing them to have thoughts and take actions they otherwise would not even be thinking about, all based on fear and worry. So I’d call it fear-mongering, which is a most common strategy for throwing someone off kilter, which is disempowering, and makes them easier to control and manipulate. That would be the harm done here, leaving a person vulnerable to more potential harm down the road.

  • “neuroleptics cause the human brain to shrink, they affect the frontal lobes of the brain ”

    Stephen, I have got to challenge this. Despite the amount of these drugs and length of time I was on them (tons, and close to 20 years), I do not ever believe it shrunk my brain. If that had been the case, I would not have been able to very capably manage 2 departments and 45 people in a retail setting, nor graduate with a 3.8 GPA when I went back to complete my bachelors while working part time, nor do as well as I did in graduate school–including internship–despite my mind and body already showing signs of deterioration due to all of this, by that time. My mind was fogging up but my brain was not shrinking.

    I was fully aware and trying to figure out what the hell was going on with me, despite all of my efforts to heal and remain stable, grounded, and functional. I was steeped in the academic world of “Integral Counseling Pscychology” as well as receiving weekly psychotherapy myself, and reaching out to everyone in the network as I got worse and worse and worse, and I knew it, no one had to tell me.

    That’s where it got extremely confusing and ultimately quite discouraging because, in the end, no one knew anything of value nor could steer me in any helpful direction, but instead, right down into the biggest rabbit hole ever–not an uncommon story, it turns out.

    They did cause many other issues–some overt side effects like weight gain and skin issues, and some subtle erosion to other organs like kidney and liver, and basically creating blocks in detox organs, which is how these things are toxic.

    The subtleties caught up with me after all that time and then I had to repair all of that, which is doable. That’s when I went to a Chinese Medicine Practitioner and herbalist, to heal my body. And I did the gut health repair, too, to develop balanced and healthy inner ecology. Those organs–stomach, spleen, etc.–had taken a hit, too.

    My brain did need to come into balance, as well, it was not unaffected. But I wouldn’t say it “shrunk,” that feels drastic to me. It eventually got scrambled and I’d say also filled with false thoughts. I had to fix that, too, which I did with a combo of herbs, accupuncture, Qi Gong, and learning to ground again. Also being around emotionally intelligent and centered people, that always helps when we can find them. They became my examples.

    I also had to learn to relax and have fun again–things got so doom and gloom at one point–and to stop thinking about things which only made me feel anxious, frustrated, and depressed. That took some shifting of negative thought habits and patterns, etc., that kind of healing. We can heal our own brains this way, train them to focus in a more light-feeling way, and not always “shadow staring,” so to speak.

    Maybe some people feel “brain shrinkage” but even if there were to be some kind of “evidence” out there that this might happen, I’m sure that this was not one of the side effects for me, and I doubt for others, I hope not. That would terrify me, were I to feel that! And I believe that is a reasonable emotional response to having my brain shrunk. No way.

    At this point, it would depress me were to I find that out or suddenly feel that, and on the contrary, I’m feeling pretty good and happy these days. I don’t think I could live happily and feeling good about life were my brain to be in any way impaired right now. It was at one time, without a doubt, and it was torture for me, worst feeling ever. But that’s way in the past, all those illusions. With all due respect, I just wanted to counter your fatalistic remark with a bit more hopeful and encouraging news 🙂

  • So glad that spoke to you, KS. I think it’s awesome and one of the most inspiring and moving pieces of art I’ve ever seen. I was living in The Castro when this came out.

    Congrats to your aunt! Sounds like this will be an awesome wedding, Disney, how cool 🙂 I went from voc rehab graduation, crossed the street to San Francicsco City Hall, and my partner and I were among the first to be married. About 500 or so people in line! Now that was a party!

    Living in The Castro was an experience. The power and strength of the LGBTQ movement is astounding and inspiring. I worked hard as a volunteer to bring equality in marriage. Then it happened!!!

    I’d love to know more about your experiences with the queer community, KS.

  • Plus, I’m sure there are backroom politics at play here, and more than likely at least a bit of manipulation. This is a non-profit designed to attract all kinds of people, including those who have been harmed by a corrupt and cold system, yet there is no formal neutral and objective grievance procedure here, outside of going to staff. I have asked about this. I have expressed concerns here, and I get familiarly stonewalled.

    The paradigm practiced here is the same one practiced in the system. To my mind, this is the main reason this approach is not working. When it comes to clear communication and fairness, at least, this IS the system–which means lack thereof. This has definitely been my experience, at least.

  • “MIA’s approach isn’t working.”

    While this website has been of great value to me and others in some respects, I do feel there is something askew here. Mostly, it is because what I have seen dominate here I would translate into what seems to me to be “a movement AGAINST well-being, happiness, and peace.” (I imagine this might offend some, but I’m willing to discuss it further if you disagree).

    Fine if some don’t aspire to that, and I would not argue with others’ beliefs because how can I know another’s reality? as some of us have agreed upon here, and I’m not here on Earth to rob anyone of their suffering, if this is how they identify at the moment. Idk, hard to comment on this, from where I sit, but I’ve seen many comments on here over the years which make me think about this.

    But I do feel that any “movement” which is to have appeal and speak to most people, are movements which emphasize well-being and happiness in life, not one’s which question and debate that. I’m sure most people would see that and go “um, never mind.” I did, at first, when I first started posting here 7 years ago. And I’ve continued to pay attention to this over the years.

    The only reason I kept coming back is because this is my experience, my life, and my work in the world. It has everything to do with psychiatry, neurotoxins, healing, disability, “extreme states” (or whatever one wants to call them, the range of human experience); political, social, financial, and legal issues in the system (I won an EEOC mediation which was a unique part of my path and process in all of this, shaped a lot of it with a new perspective and allowed me to leap forward a bit); truth-speaking by going around all of San Francisco and Bay Area talking truthfully about all of this to a variety of audiences, revealing myself openly and vulnerably for the purpose of bringing change, and then making a film with others who wanted to use their voices as part of their healing path, change in life, change in the system, and on and on. No money or plan or experience with this, I rounded up a few interested people, including a filmmaker friend who volunteered her services for “the cause,” and we just winged it with what we had, and most thankfully things feel into place as though it were meant to happen. Focus, trust, faith, etc., all that good stuff paid off. Changed my life to do this, completely.

    I’ve been up and down this blasted system and just about everyone of its many tangents, inside and out, wearing many hats at one time or another, on a few different rungs of this particular hierarchical ladder, incuding the very bottom rung, like, in the basement. Crawled out of that one, finally, thank goodness, but it is a unique perspective which I will never, ever forget.

    This is my life, I live it. And, I do walk my talk, anyone who knows me well will tell you that my integrity is my standout. Manifesting is much more challenging when we are not sincerely aligned with our truth, I know this from experience.

    If you were to check out my very extensive comment history on here, you will see every aspect of me, the good the bad and the ugly. I am real and I am transparent, no doubt about that. I’ve never hidden from anyone. I’m just me.

    I’ve been healing and growing as I’ve been posting here, which is my normal, to learn, grow, change, adapt, create, expand, transform, etc. I am transparent with my process, as well as with my thoughts, feelings, and agenda.

    All of this, how my life has taken shape, because a psychiatrist diagnosed me and prescribed “meds” for me 37 years ago, and then ALL that followed, experience by experience, up to this moment.

    In the meantime, I’ve had my life experiences, my ups and downs like anyone–along with some unique experiences that most don’t experience, got “lucky” that way I guess.

    I have had a variety of jobs and careers, been rich and poor and in between, and in various sectors of our culture and society, and have finally found my way off the grid to a free and happy life, and I share with others what I can. When no one is around with whom to share, I simply enjoy my life and manifest whatever I manifest for myself until another opportunity to share arises. That is it for me.

    I’m not a man of means, I live frugally, but all my modest needs are met, and then some. It’s always nice to have more, but it is important to at least have enough.

    Due to the ecomonic crises that occur to folks thanks to psychiatry (for me there was a direct correlation, as I’ve read on here is the case with others), I did not have a car for years. I walked and took public transportation, even when I moved out of the city.

    I finally bought a car, after almost 20 years not having one, when it was a staple in the suburban world I grew up in. But I adapted, and in the meantime got tons of exercise which helped me to heal, and which is one reason I am the picture of health today, which I am. THAT is a true blue miracle, and a matter of knowing how to heal at the core and change my life, and trust that most amazing process.

    I’d like to see a world in which everyone has at least “enough,” for starters. Not having enough to live adequately, nourished, and covered is way too stressful, and that does need to be remedied, first, I honor this without a doubt.

    Anyone interested in health, well-being, creativity, and finding some joy and happiness in life, that is my tribe. From that, manifestation happens with greater ease and better results. I do not dismiss practical needs, but I try to separate that from ego needs. That’s an interesting discernment when one is assessing their issues during a healing process, and it definitely simplifies things once a person gets clarity on this.

    But if all you’re looking for is a fight (whether overt or passive-aggressive) and to argue about the definition of “health and well-being” or deny its existence or relevance, or ridicule, scorn, judge, or try to “disprove it” or some such thing, then no way are we a match, and I say with with all reason and neutrality, I believe. It’s logical, and I have no room any longer in my life for this. It is exactly why I had to seek counseling in the first place, and why it took so long to get out of all this, decades later. Last thing I want to do is to live in a world like that any longer. THIS is where I, personally, would like to see change, to this focus.

    I am a straight up, on my sleeve and in my heart, peace-loving guy, who is only looking to help bring folks some hope, relief, and ultimately some peace in their lives, heart and spirit, if that is what they so desire. It is my life mission and soul purpose, I have no doubt. It’s been my life and practice for a while now, and it fits me like a glove. If this is not one’s intention, then we have no reason to be talking, although I will not sit in judgment, as I will not be thinking about that.

    To whom it may concern: I will neither judge nor sabotage your unhappiness if you do not judge or sabotage my desire to be happy and free. Let’s just steer clear of each other, and then we’ll both be better off. Thank you.

  • Sam, that is an awesome reply, and thank you for spelling out your thoughts and feelings re this blog/comments. I feel I understand you better now, and I see where you are coming from here. I especially appreciated reading this–

    “I really and truly do think I understand why the majority of the comments are the way they have been.”

    From what you go on to say, I totally believe that, and to me that is what counts, that we understand each other, not that we have to agree, or that our perspectives have to be the same. Indeed, we have each had unique life experiences, and are unique individuals with unique circumstances. I am most happy that you understand from where I and others are coming, and why that would be. To me, that signifies that you can live by your truth, while having compassionate understanding for those with other experiences. That’s cool! Your son sounds wise, and I hear your wisdom here, too.

    Ok, so now I get what you meant by right message/wrong audience, and perhaps the words “right” and “wrong” are what misled me here. Perhaps the words “appropriate audience” would be more neutral.

    Still, I am glad this all came to light for discussion as it did. It has expanded my awareness a great deal, and in large part thanks to your sharing here. I appreciate that very much. Cheers!

  • That’s all good, Lawrence, and I definitely agree when you say–

    “that what makes us human is that we have the ability to create our own truths/realities and voluntarily choose our own life paths. So of course, depending upon each person’s situation, goals, priorities, coping styles, culture, etc., there will be much variation, and little unity, in what people consider the “right” message”

    Perhaps unity was misleading and I am intending to say harmonious–at the very least, not so cacophonous that no message at all is heard, other than conflict. It’s fine and natural to have different truths, and indeed that is what makes the world go ’round.

    Still, as human beings, we do have unifying features–like the need for nourishment and oxygen, and we all have the potential for experiencing a range of feelings from suffering to bliss, as well as the more common emotions of fear, anger, sadness, and joy. We also thrive on fairness, justice, and integrity, and that is not what we have going on right now, so we’re all a bit deprived at the moment, in that regard, and have to generate it from within ourselves as examples. We really need these qualities back in our society, particularly in our leadership.

    How we construct our reality would be some combo of culture, environment, natural inclinations and desires, and life experience as we go, I would imagine. That is quite a diverse humanity!

    I find that enough reason to celebrate life, but unfortunately, many on the planet do not enjoy such diversity, and would rather have everyone being kind of the same, acting by the same standard to keep others comfortable, thinking and believing the same, no room for variance or new ways of thinking. Why is that? Fear of differences? Easier to control? That’s a kill joy in life, really brings down the energy from lack of love, compassion, and natural curiosity. I believe it also indicates a lack of creativity, which we sorely need right now.

    Figuring out how to weaken or abolish an entire institution is a gargantuan task, and I admire those who can focus in such a grandiose way. That feels overwhelming to me. Given that I went through grad school, MFT internship, then the system as client, then social worker, then peer–all in a period of 16 years, from 1996-2012–my perspective would be from this experience, and then from separating from it, having all of these discussions to get clarity around the madness this created for me, and now I can move forward to create from what I learned.

    As I walk away, personally, I feel the system is already one person weaker. Indeed, another will come along, and then maybe another and 2 more, it is a runaway train. But I am not supporting it at all, and that satisfies me, for starters.

    The other thing I do is that I am a teacher, counselor, and healer, and I have supported people who otherwise would have gone for the “meds.” They came to me as an alternative, and they didn’t have to go anywhere near the system. I’ve been in practice for over 10 years now, and I’ve helped a lot of people bypass psych drugs and years and years of psychotherapy, with the energy healing and my brand of integral counseling. It is effective, efficient, and to the point. None of this vague stuff. There’s always a way to correct an imbalance, although some may require a bit more time and effort, depending on what has piled on since the original imbalance began (i.e., trauma, or anything really that causes us to go off kilter, so many potential factors).

    I have extensive training (am currently receiving an upgrade with a new training), and am certified as medical intuit and integrative healing practitioner. I did an internship years ago with a long-established and well-known master teacher near where I live where I received certification.

    I’m also a spiritual counselor, having become ordained as a non-denominational minister when I did my energy healing training; it was also a seminary. I’d have never imagined this would be my path, but it is exactly to where I was led. I did not have options at that time. One path and one path alone opened up, and I took it.

    So that’s my way of doing it, other than speaking my truth to help educate and awaken people to truth over illusion, and to who they really are (as opposed to some negative introjection).

    I’d rather support people’s healing, though, and teach new tools and support transformative healing processes. That’s what I find most rewarding and interesting. It’s the new way, and how I got out of psychiatry/mh industry, and how I’ve helped people bypass these and learn new ways of healing (which basically amounts to self-healing). What more can I do? I enjoy my practice very much, call myself a “country healer” 🙂

    I also play in a band which has performed at senior centers in my town. Whatever it takes to bring healing light to the world, I am there! After what I went through, it became more than apparent that the world needs more joy, for one thing. I think music is not only healing and uplifting, it is a connector of people.

    Do you mean team up privately? I’m more than happy and honored to work together. Do you want me to contact you via the MIA author page?

  • Actually, I’ll just come right out and challenge this, because I do disagree with it, and it’s got a charge to it that I would like to address.

    When you say, “right message, wrong audience,” I actually think that’s part of the issue here which gives a message of divisiveness. Are their two distinct audiences? And each one is comprised of whom?

    From my perspective, the audience is the world and all of humanity. How about a consistent message for all audiences. How would TRUTH ever only translate to a *select* audience? It’s acutally hard to wrap my mind around a right message being delivered to a “wrong audience.” You mean because we are in disagreement? Isn’t this about dialogue and learning from each other? Otherwise it is about divisive truths competing with each other. How will that ever create unity?

    Come to think of it, this can all be applied to the entire mh industrial complex culture. I remember this from grad school, divisive truths competing with each other. Those professors competed constantly and vehemently (“my modality is best; no *my* modality is best, no MY modality is THE ONLY ONE!!!”). No one would concede about ANYTHING! Idk, it’s interesting I think. No harmony there, though, that’s my point. How deep does this go?

    Plus one more thing here:

    Sam, when I read what you wrote, it brought to mind what I said above, and I want to point this out to Lawrence, because it has the potential to be a good example of what I said here:

    “I feel mainstream society would be more than happy to grab onto as a way to continue to stigmatize and marginalize people with diagnoses and who receive SSDI, plays right into it, and which serves to sabotage certain people because it is a demeaning and dehumanizing misreprentation of them.”

    I’m not at all saying that this was your intention, but when you imply that there is a “right audience” for this message, that is EXACTLY who I am talking about, that select audience that I fear and imagine would use this information negatively, when it is not accurate at all. But it’s good ammo for haters, I do know this. This is what I try to catch, so that we don’t feed prejudice in society at large, because that is what statements like this have a strong potential to do, and more than likely that is just what will happen.

    Wrong message to wrong audience can be very damaging to society, history has many examples of this, NAZI Germany comes to mind immediately.

    Still, I’d want to know what you meant, because it might clarify things from your perspective. But this is how your ambiguous yet powerful statement struck me, I have to say. I’m certainly open to rebuttal.

  • Sam, what message specifically are you resonating with here, that puts you in disagreement with the majority in the comment section? I’m so curious about this.

    And I’m not implying the marjority is always “right,” nothing of the kind, I don’t even believe that myself. Good for you for going against the grain, that takes courage and I respect it as your perspective. But still, I am sincerely curious about what message, specifically, you are referring to. Right message, wrong audience has a lot of implications, too, so clarity would be appreciated here. Thanks.

  • KS, I’m 57, and sure I remember “We are the world,” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie–

    “We are the world
    We are the children
    We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
    There’s a choice we’re making
    We’re saving our own lives
    It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me”

    You made me think of this, from my childhood. Same message different decade, fits me I guess (I confess!)–

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiri_EDfU8U

  • Thanks, Rosalee. Yes, I appreciate LK’s flexibility in thinking here, and I at least feel heard. This was productive, I think! It would be a big step forward if psychiatrists would own their projections, then they’d be able to see people more clearly, for who they are. Not sure the field can withstand that, though, it’s kind of a mind-bender, given how intertwined stigma and psychiatry are.

    I very much appreciate your voice and your support, we seem to be exactly on the same page with this.

  • Thank you, Lawrence, I am grateful to know we have made an impact in this way. Obviously there is a lot of passion to accompany our thinking, this is a biggie.

    I’ve often talked on here about the film which I made, Voices That Heal, while doing peer work, and that is one of the main points of the film which I try to illustrate by example, just what you say about “the complex set of factors involved in each of [our] unique stories.” That’s my “stigma-busting” message, to stop these very detrimental (to our well-being) projections. And that of course includes Dx, but also beyond that, all these assumptions about people, on the negative side and basically marginalizing them, which makes people targets for abuse in all ways.

    We all have our stories–each and everyone of us on the planet–and they are all unique and with a complex set of factors. How can we judge? We can only learn, really, and expand our awareness around our own humanity.

    A favorite line of mine from literature is from To Kill A Mockingbird, where Atticus Finch tells his daughter, ” You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I think we all know this, but we do tend to forget from time to time. We’re all human.

    But I think this would apply to psychiatry pretty aptly, to remember this. Those projections create a really awful feeling for the person being projected onto in this manner, which can be seriously debilitating, can cause rumination and brain fog, for starters, not to mention all kinds of heavy emotions, like terror and rage, from feeling powerless and always vulnerable, especially to injustice. Just seems this is what this field thrives on, and that is some kind of paradox. I’m so glad that we had this conversation, so that we could bring this particular issue to light.

    Thank you very much for your courage and humility, and much respect and gratitude to you.

  • Dr. Kelmenson, I do very much appreciate what you have presented with this blog because it has led to an important truth wanting to reveal itself around what actually is authentic and true vs. what is projection and stigma. If we can get into agreement with this piece of it, then perhaps we can have a go at working toward resolving these individual and social ills which we agree that psychiatry creates and propogates, however that path were to unfold.

    Have our voices made an impact on how you are perceiving this? Or are we just spitting into the wind. I believe this is always a question in these dialogues. The reason I rejected psychiatry and all of the mh industry is exactly because these institutions are tone deaf and out of touch with those whom they are supposed to be “serving.” Can we at least begin to remedy this perception here and now?

  • KS, I’ll be honest here, your posts often bring me to tears from the truth of them, and this time, it is from feeling your heartbreak and determination. And also now, the synchronicity. I was just telling my partner this morning that the canary is singing (meaning me), and now perhaps we are duetting 🙂 It is not easy being ahead of the times, is it?

    Ok, let’s keep harmonizing, and maybe, hopefully, we’ll make some headway here. It’s a start!

    It would be nice to have a choir of canaries in harmony. That would be a strong, powerful, and resounding voice of truth. I believe it would catapult us into great change, from the ground up. FREEDOM is a good place to start–nothing left to lose.

  • KS, your post is humbling. You so do have a purpose–many, in fact, I would imagine. I hope you can feel this soon, because your finger is totally on the pulse of truth, from what I am reading here, and you do get it. That’s because you have been through it, and you are awake.

    I relate to a lot of this, big time–the awareness of the socioecomonic spectrum from lived experience, the maddening frustration of having followed Dr’s orders to the letter only to find ourselves in deep shit as a result, and abundant self-awareness and self-responsibility. And still, wtf?? Yes, this is quite the matrix.

    Dr. K, I’ve made my plea and have spoken my truth about all of this thoroughly on this blog, and I stand completely behind KS on this, and also what Suriving and Thriving says. You (and others I’m sure) do not seem to be aware of the incredibly hard work it is to be on SSDI and all the inherent extreme crap that comes from this kind of lifestyle, which many of us feel was almost invented by psychiatry–a bit of an exaggeration, perhaps, but the mh and social services systems sure do support and sell it, and indeed perpetuate it with their own brand of bigotry (not to mention, widespread incompetence, I think we all realize this by now). And why not? It is how these systems thrive, at the expense of people like us. (And then WE are called the social bloodsuckers? Biggest projection ever).

    As KS details, it is such a complexity of systemic imbalance, and the symptoms of this are everywhere, and mostly on those who are IN positions of power, really, and certainly, because of them. I believe there is no question about that.

    What you are doing–and I’m sure it is unintentional, but as you see from our very heartfelt comments, it is indeed the case and best you realize this now–is projecting that imbalance onto clients/the public. You know it’s the system, that is the origins of it. Own it! And get it off of us and others. That is off limits, a strict and unwavering boundary–aka, a human right.

    If this is not obvious by now, then there is a reality gap here.

  • “But I’d been under the impression that psychiatrists sat down and listened to people and helped them work through things. If I’d known it was otherwise I’d never have gone to that first appointment that was made for me with the psychiatrist.”

    While I made my own appointment (it was my choice to see a psychiatrist), this is largely my sentiment. I was also under the impression that psychiatry and psychotherapy were about helping people to work through issues and understand oneself better, to be able to get back to functioning in life feeling like a whole human being.

    I’ve always seen these issues, which any human being will have at one time or another, as interesting puzzles to solve, which involve how we sit with and interpret our emotions vis-a-vis our thoughts and belief system. To me, that is interesting and compelling, and it is solution-oriented. And, it grows us to explore our issues this way, with good focus and self-compassion.

    I missed that in “mental health, inc.” That just became about the “therapist” working out their own relationship issues with an unsuspecting client, the most manipulative and controlling professional relationships I’ve ever experienced, with very self-aggrandized professionals. HORRIBLE!

    I knew when I first went to psychiatry that there was a possibility of “medication,” but that did not bother me, given the mindset of the diabetes analogy, which I believed at the time, 1982. I didn’t find it at all tragic or insulting to have to take a medication for a DSM diagnosis, and it did not keep me from work, school, and life. I accomodated it, and was open about it. I had a good social life and relationships, and everyone knew about this, asked me questions about it, and were impressed with how I was navigating such a thing while working full time–and in customer service, no less! Doing quite well, despite a few side-effects and adjusting to a new self-identity. it was interesting, not threatening.

    All of the stigma, bigotry, and blatant discrimination came later, and directly from the mh system, field, and all of its social services non-profit tangents. By 2000, times had changed drastically as the issue of “mental illness” became so public. This is not the same attitude as when I first began with all of this, at least not in my reality. It was no big deal, a fact of life I had to deal with, and I was doing just that in all humility and transparency. But later, the prejuice and blatant stigma is what cause the biggest obstacles to my working for income. I had to be creative about that, in the end, but systemic bigotry is the real enemy here, to my mind.

    Mainly, though, I feel that this field is enabling this delusional and self-aggrandazing perception which many of these professionals seem to have, which would never serve a client well. That is a fertile field for those negative projections, when the clincian will not own their shadow. That’s what gets projected onto the client, and it is treacherous and extreme emotional oppression.

    The idea of a psychiatrist or psychotherpist actually thinking that it is his or her job to run their clients’ lives is outrageous to me, and yet, that is what they attempt to do, and sit like a judge in the meantime. No friggin’ way is this sound. Quite the contrary, it is sheer madness.

  • Dr. Kelmenson, I’m not taking this as a personal insult to myself, per se, as much as I am trying to convey that this particular message is what I believe most plays into the hands of psychiatry, it is the essence of a stigma which carries a very negative judgment and false perception of people which I believe is best to not perpetuate, re “a pill in return for lack of self-responsibility and disabiilty payments.” That is a bad fallacy which *my* work in the world is about trying to correct. It is important, as far as changing collective perceptions of all this.

    Personally, my way of ending psychiatry is to flood the planet with new ways of healing, having nothing to do with this. That’s my angle on it, at least, I think we are all tackling this from differnt perspectives, which is fine, this is not a one-dimensional battle, there are so many aspects to it.

    Eventually, it comes down to healthier family and social systems, where people are not ostracized for being themselves, allowing for freedom of spirit and creativity. Were we to get to that point, I think we’d have a new and improved planet.

    But there is tons of healing to do, first, from all that we’ve endured as a humanity from this global and social corruption and deceit that has led to all of this distress simply from imbalanced power relationships and the abuse that comes with that from toxic co-dependence. That is our world today.

    But my personal journey of healing is one of having healed from a plethora of psych drugs and systemic abuse by finding new ways to heal which are not in the slightest related to psychology but more so toward holistic and natural healing, which includes learning new teachings about the way humanity operates, and entirely new paradigm of thinking. THAT is where I found not only healing and relief from all kinds of stress I’d been carrying around, but also a way out of the old paradigm and into a new way of being, where manifestation becomes the by-product of healing. That was a transformative process where I was able to leave all of this behind, and embrace a new life.

    In other words, as I was healing, I was also creating my life on new terms, and on new ground. I discovered this goes hand in hand more intimately than one would think. There is a lot to learn about this, and there is tons of information now about this, thanks to the internet.

    So this is where I am coming from.

    My apologies for using the term “abuse” in my above post, but I was feeling very frustrated by what I was reading and it was registering as a red flag to me, and I felt it important to speak up. I appreciate your acknowledgment here, and indeed, if we are both trying to stop harm and bring healing to the planet, then we are on the same side.

    However, I must ask you to please consider what I am saying, as what you are putting out here does contain a message which I feel mainstream society would be more than happy to grab onto as a way to continue to stigmatize and marginalize people with diagnoses and who receive SSDI, plays right into it, and which serves to sabotage certain people because it is a demeaning and dehumanizing misreprentation of them. Thank you.

  • What’s bothering me here is this idea of “turning over our lives” to ANYONE. When I went first sought counseling/therapy/psychiatry, it was to figure out a problem, which was a mystery to me, and indicated largely by severe anxiety which interfered with my ability to function and think clearly. I just wanted to get this fixed, somehow, so that I could go on with my life.

    When I was diagnosed with what we all assumed at that time was something “chronic” and “requiring medication,” that just became one aspect of my life. Never did I intend or expect anyone outside of myself to run my life and make decisions for me. Never, ever could I even conceieve of this. I just wanted to figure out how to clear my head and get grounded. And no, they couldn’t exaclty help me with this, but things stabilized eventually, as they tend to do.

    One of the things which made me run from psychiatry was my last psychiatrist trying to run my life (after I got off the drugs and was still healing and recovering from this, trying to put the pieces back together). Total control freak, acted like he was my “surrogate father,” assumed I was making all these transferences on him, etc. Incredibly invasive, and downright violating. He would get “angry” when I didn’t do what he said! AHHHH! Looking back, it was creepy, like he was totally delusional and self-aggrandized.

    At what point did psychiatry become an adoption and surrogacy agency? Forget “handing over your life.” They should not be trying to run and control anyone else’s life but their own! What is this “handing over your life” business? This is where I am stumped, because it was my experience that they actively stole it, in exchange for simply seeking what i though were “professional healing services.” Lesson learned.

  • “their diagnosis enables them to hand over all responsibility for dealing with their own troubles to doctors/science.”

    There is something terribly wrong with this sentence. This was neither my intention–conscious or unconscious–nor did my getting diagnosed and drugged have anything to do with abdicating my responsbility for my issues, well-being, and life. As they were trying to figure out drug(s) and dosage–which felt like being a lab rat being experimented on, with the weirdest side effects ever on and off–I went to work at a neighborhood supermarket where I had been working summers in between college semesters. Since I had dropped out of college due to all of this, I ended up staying at that job full time for years, until I went back to school, where I finished my degree while doing work-study and on grants, etc. I put myself through school while working part time, while on these drugs and going once a week to the public health clinic for therapy and “meds check.”

    (I was at least able to live my life, but I lived with side effects which made things more difficult than need be, but I adapted. Later, the drugs crashed my system, which is why I had to come off of them, and now I am free, clear and I get it. They had been slowly eroding my organs and all physical systems, unbenknownst to me at that time. But I found out all too well after graduate school that these pills were pure poison, and all of this was troubling, like a really bad hoax and scam, tragic in fact).

    All the while I was in school and working, I was also working on my issues in-depth in psychotherapy, paying my rent, getting good grades, trying to deal with my crazy family, etc. Normal stuff which requires a great deal of self-responsibility. In no way did I ever abdicate responsbility for my life! I’d never hand over my life to a mental health clincians, but they sure as hell often thought it was their job to run my life. That was a struggle, and one reason why I found it intolerable, as well as persumptuous and invasive.

    Please try to understand this, Dr. Kelmenson. For many of us, you’ve got this totally wrong in a very significant way. It only adds to stigma/stereotype of “mental illness,” that people who seek psychiatric support and are diagnosed are folks who do not take responsibility for our lives. WRONG! and totally unacceptable.

  • “Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff’s marks were naive and gullible”

    Funny you should say that, Rachel, I certainly felt as though I had been duped due to my naive gullability. I was hard on myself for it, thought it made it all my fault.

    I got over it, though, when I realized a few things about this–first, so were my parents, I inherited this from them; second, I get how social programming works now; and third, I get how gaslighting works.

    Waking up to these influences made me feel better because not only do I know that I’m in good company (we’ve all been duped), but mostly because I know it’s remediable, which is what really counts. We learn as we go.

  • And they just will not hear the words, “YOU ARE WRONG.” It just won’t register, it’s the darndest thing.

    I remember while in the system it was actually risky and dangerous to contradict their clinical truth with my own personal truth, it led to backlash for me. It was positively Dickensian, as if I were a child daring to ask for something which I didn’t deserve, like the truth, integrity, healing, to be treated with respect, like an adult human being, etc. What is so fucking hard about that???

    Thanks for the validation, Rosalee, and you know where that truth and wisdom come from, as with many of us on here: from the first hand experience of being on the wrong end of this! It is quite the education through a roller coaster process. It did take a while and a lot of processing and healing to finally get to clarity on all of this. Psychiatry really creates total confusion. It’s my privilege to help bring some light to the situation, from what I learned going through all of this.

    To APA and its esteemed members: Can you all stop doing this to people, PLEASE? Thank you in advance.

  • “Psychiatry feeds off people surrendering their free will and abdicating their personal responsibility”

    I believe it feeds off of people who are anxiously trying to resolve a social dysfunction which they have unwittingly and unkowningly internalized and psychiatry keeps them in that same loop from its own dysfunction, without resolving anything, until it snowballs out of control–one abuse repetition after another–keeping the client dependent for life. That’s the biz. Covert abusers will not allow resolution to happen, to keep people hooked. That is the essence of toxic co-dependence. Psychiatry, itself, is a textbook example of this.

    Had I known at age 21 what I now know about who I am, where I come from, and how that affected me mind/body/spirit, I am absolutely certain that I would have been able to resolve my issues within a relatively short period of time (maybe a year or so, to get it all straight and clear, a natural awakening, and make appropriate changes), instead of going through 20 years of neurotoxins. But who knows themselves that well at that age? Certainly I did not, and I was hoping with help this way, some insight from an objective person.

    The support could have come from anyone savvy enough to see the big picture, which I would have paid someone to do, gladly. I went to on campus counseling, then a therapist, then a psychiatrist. NO ONE COULD. Instead, I was seduced into the world of Dx and Rx, through the glass darkly. No reason for it, turns out in the end, other than to learn what I learned about the field, sadly. I hope we can learn from our mistakes, for the sake of future generations.