Saturday, July 20, 2019

Comments by Alex

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  • Rosalee, turns out I will not be publishing the article in this venue, but I do have it and would love your feedback, if you feel inclined to read it. If so, feel free to send me a note through Steve with your email address, and I’ll be happy to share it with you.

  • Yep, will do, Rosalee, thanks so much for your interest and enthusiasm! 🙂 I sent in a submission last night, so hopefully sooner than later. I’m open to it being cross-posted, if MiA is interested, but I don’t know the behind-the-scenes workings, so that’s up to fate as far as I’m concerned. Stay tuned…

  • Thanks, Rosalee, I always appreciate your encouaragement, reflections and insights, as well, and consider you to be truly a light here. I will look forward to your feedback and commentary!

  • Marcello, knowing that you consider Donald Hume to be a mentor is exactly what I’m taking about. Thank you so much, this is a beautiful response which satisfies what I’ve put forth here because that is a positive, influential, and personally empowered role to play, exactly! From client to teacher–that is transformation which can ripple into the entire dynamic to create systemic change at the core.

    And, it is what I’m talking about as far as knowing where the most valuable information is and giving credit where credit is due. Thank you for your humility and self-awareness here. It is refreshing! Respect, in return.

    Thank you also for inviting me to write about this for Mad in Italy, I’d be honored. Please let me know where to submit.

  • Hi Marcello, I do understand that but to incur a true shift as is needing to occur here, those with lived experience would be choosing YOU, not the other way around. Either that or you’re looking for a supervisor, which would require having lived experience of escaping all the trappings of the mh system. There is more subtle nuance in that process than I could possibly express in one sitting. That is a journey filled with twists and turns. It’s quite complex but doable, many if us have achieved this.

    Can a clinician be truly humble to the wisdom of lived experience and the person who carries that with them, and allow them to guide the process of transformational change? I’ve yet to see that. And when I do, that would indicate significant core change is happening.

  • I don’t see anything new in this, it has been claimed repeatedly with absolutely no shift in perspective or power dynamics.

    People with lived experience can “emphasize” themselves and play any role they choose in life. I would not recommend playing a role assigned by mh clinicians in any arena whatsoever because that is inhernently a disempowering and marginalizing role, one way or another, where people tend to get used and sucked dry. There is no need to continue giving away one’s energy and power for the agenda of professionals, unless of course that is a person’s choice and perhaps they don’t see it that way. That is possible, but still, I believe my perspective here is reasonable and well-founded.

    “They” can do what they want and perhaps some good will come for some people who need this support. That’s fine, but I believe it is limited at best without the basic shift in the systemic professional vs. client paradigm–and re “client,” that includes those who are no longer clients but have the lived experience of going through all the crap of psych drugs and withdrawal, along with escaping and healing from systemic abuse and oppression from these very same power dynamics.

    Otherwise, I don’t see how a profesisonal can even begin to match the wisdom or depth of knowledge which one acquires living this, unless of course they have had these very experiences and has processed through them to at least some degree. They are unique kinds of trauma that have to be lived in order to be understood, I’m absolutely certain of this. The truth comes from the FEELING experience of life, not from observing it from the outside. That’s just pure projection. Truth is within, not outside of us, ALWAYS.

    Despite anything, as I said in my original post, this is not a paradigm shift in the slightest, and I don’t see it even as a move in that direction. To me, this is status quo, despite this often stated pledge to “emphasize the role of lived experience.”

    That is not change because the role of the person with “lived experience” still depends on how the clinical team chooses to perceive it. That’s a limiting social program, and not at all the freedom to grow and evolve past the systemic dynamic artificially created and skewed toward the professionals’ interests, at the expense of those with “lived experience.”

    That is a power issue, plain and simple, and is exactly what has been going on and which continues to be problematic in the mh industry.

    The “role” of lived experience is flexible in a community, including the potential for leadership and teacher. That’s where true core change will occur, when lived experience stops being a “role” assigned by a system made up of a group of clinicians, and this community allows people with lived experience to own their wisdom from that experience and create for themselves/ourselves from that very powerful energy, rather than to continue to give their life force away to professional opportunists. That is exactly status quo and where the core problem is as I’ve experienced and seen it over the years.

    So where’s the change here? That’s what I was getting at.

  • “Our core team members, in alphabetic order, are: Francesca Bagaglia, psychologist; Laura Guerra, pharmacologist; Marcello Maviglia, psychiatrist and specialist in addiction medicine.”

    Not exactly a paradigm shift.

    “I am referring to the huge role played by the social, cultural, economic, ideological, and political contexts in the development and persistence of emotional distress.”

    So am I.

  • I felt the reality of my past time issues surface all at once when I withdrew. The drugs had not allowed natural shifting to occur so I was repeating the same dynamics in my life rather than evolving away from them. That’s where I had to work on shifting and streamlining my process, so that I could move forward with greater ease, which was life-altering.

    Getting off the drugs alerted me to the inner changes I needed to make so that I could create my life with higher awareness in present time. New reality emerges from this and anxiety subsides because there is no toxic interference with the process. It is natural now and I am clear on what is good for me and what drains me or simply does not speak to me, so I follow this discernment as my life guidance now, rather than based on what is expected of me or will garner me “approval.”

    Feeling badly about oneself for not meeting standards for social approval is what tends to lead many people to psych drugs in the first place. And we all know what Krishnamurti said about being well adjusted to a sick society not being a measure of health and well being. Quite the opposite is true, I believe– that seeking approval from a dysfunctional society makes us be dysfunctional on our own way. If we don’t comply and instead stand our ground and protect our well being and challenge the system, then we won’t fit in. Get used to it. I’d rather be healthy and functional rather than to fit in where it is not a healthy environment. That just means big change is on the horizon, which is a GOOD thing, imo.

    Getting off the drugs allows consciousness and self awareness to expand as we heal from the toxins, which are part of the reason for the anxiety. Big part of healing is detoxing, followed by coming into balance, experiencing relief, and achieving new clarity. That is change and transformation.

  • I don’t believe that anyone deserves shame or has any reason to feel shame. It’s a fabricated tool of oppression, a program based on social norms–you either meet them or you’re out, and it will not be pretty!

    That’s bullshit, we have more power than that as individuals and are free to evolve outside of any and all boxes, rules, and social programming, to be our true selves. If that is the message from the community, then it is oppressive, pure and simple. Middle class, for one thing…

    Sound social norms would include flexibility and growth-oriented, rather than punishing and marginalizing. People who challenge norms are, one way or another, calling for change, and that should not be dismissed. Probably means that it is time. The more that is resisted, the more conflict will ensue, and shaming becomes part of that because it is a great way to inflict insidious pain and throw someone off their game.

    Free will plus creativity make an extremely powerful combo, and really, the essence of who we are by nature. Both, pills AND shame, cut us off from our nature, so we will not be the fullest expression of who we are. And that is nothing to feel shame about, we’re all healing, growing, evolving at different rates, discovering new aspects of ourselves all the time. We learn as we grow. We also are free to make changes as we go, and it is most natural and common to do so.

    It’s not a contest and there is no reason it should be competetive. Personal growth does not work that way, and it’s where people lose support, when it becomes a competition of who knows more than whom. That’s ego crap, not helpful. We know what we know, and there’s always more to learn. We can help each other this way, rather than to compete and put down when there is a disagreement.

    “I do appreciate a good success story, but let’s not overextend it to telling others what they should do based on our own experience.”

    I think that goes without saying but I’ve never seen anyone go that far. That’s extermely solipsistic. It’s just a matter of speaking our truth and sharing our experience with whatever insights we gained, and people choose what rings true to them and what does not. Anything more would be aggressive and counter-productive, I would imagine.

  • Yes, it is extremely dangerous, as are any 1-1 clinical meetings with that kind of power disparity–where the subjective “truth” of the clinician is considered gospel and that of the client is always suspect, at the very least. That is obviously a recipe for disaster, and it’s exactly what this paradigm has produced and perpetuates without blinking. Really shows how toxic the situation is for clients. It’s utterly powerless-making and pure human rights denying oppression.

    Worst of all, it is fertile ground for insidious abuse, often covert because it fits the unfortunate “norm,” so it is a program which needs to be challenged. In fact, I believe some kind of abuse–and not necessarily intentional–is inevitable, in this scenario. Nature of the beast.

  • “Pill-shaming” in and of itself is vague at best to me, which is why I did not use or refer to this specific phrase in my response to Sera.

    What I am agreeing with her about is regarding the idea of imposing one’s personal belief (even if it is gospel truth) on another regarding how they address whatever is going on with them, when they are resisting hearing it. That has the potential to trigger all kinds of very bad feelings, and it can be violating and dehumanizing to a person to be invalidated for their personal choices in life, especially when this is due to a political agenda.

    That’s more akin to status quo than it is to revolutionary change, because it is imposing beliefs on another, which is a kind of force, to my mind, and it can easily bring up shame, directly and indirectly. We have that already, and it’s rugged, not working. Time for change.

    I think when a particular dynamic starts getting labeled as a general behavioral trend, such as the term “pill-shaming,” and it becomes a political tool, then the real issues alluded to and which are directly causing problems–in this case, the feeling of shame and judgments for one’s choices in life–falls by the wayside.

    “Shame” is a destructive, toxic energy. It makes people sick and disoriented, and can lead to utter hopelessness and despair. That is suffering, caused by projections.

    And I was especially agreeing with Sera that to shame a corrupt and relentlessly harmful industry in order to stop it from doing harm to others is not the same as shaming our peers. The first is impersonal and simply giving back what they have dished out–and we do want it obsolete, that’s the idea–while the latter is definitely personal and potentially wounding to someone trying to heal.

    I’ve certainly felt shame projected at me in the past from my peers and that was actually for coming OFF psych drugs! I’ve been called a “pill-shamer” for talking about coming off the drugs, for relaying my experience of healing and coming into wholeness, and I’m not a shamer, that is not in my character. I’m too empathic for that, and it’s been done to me quite a bit, so I know the effort that it can be to get past that in order to stay on course with my life and in my clarity.

    “Shame” is probably the most commonly unconsciously projected feeling, given how painful it is to carry. It makes all the difference to be able to discern it, even when it is subtle and insidious, all based on illusions and projected images.

    I work with people who suffer with shame until I help them to put their experience in the context of their own lives and personal growth, and not go by outside judgment or social programming. That is how a person can take back their power. We know ourselves better than anyone else can know us, but a person has to believe this in order to live it and be free.

    I talk about my experience so people know it is possible if that is what they are thinking about at that time, especially since in my case it was a lot and for a long time that I took these, and I survived the withdrawal and healed my body and fixed my life, back on track and moving forward again, with more ease than before because I learned what I needed to learn, getting far away from psychiatry.

    I do have a before and after story which very strikingly brings to light the harms done by psychiatry and the absolute good it can do to get away from that (like night & day) and I can offer support on many levels, which people do take me up on.

    But it can become disheartening and discouraging to be met with dismissiveness for one’s truth and personal experience because it does not match a political agenda. It’s why I said no to writing a blog here a long time ago.

    I would like to see more sensitivity when people share their personal experiences and their version of truth, and I do believe I walk that talk. It’s always my intention to be respectful of anyone’s personal truth, even when mine is not the same. I believe it ALL matters, no exception, and somehow, it fits together as a whole.

    That would be significant change in and of itself, to lighten up on others in this regard, and I have a feeling it would invite in more truth, clarity, and courage–the cornerstones of revolutionary change.

  • Been reading along and not sure how to chime in, this was very layered and spoke to me in different ways. But this right here, Sera, what you say in this response, is the crux of it for me, and I like how you distilled it, that is most clear and I completely agree.

    “the two sides are *NOT* equal, and that the ‘shame’ should be reserved for those who have the power and are doing the harm, etc.”

    Yes, the shame belongs there because that is their weapon for causing fear/paranoia, creating disability, dividing and marginalizing people, and for fostering a general overall environment/society of oppression and discrimination. Shame is a tool very commonly used to control vulnerable people, and it is powerful until one is no longer vulnerable to it. I do think that’s possible, but it takes inner work, which is what shifts the power dynamic–first internally and then externally.

    But if the industry and the individuals who have partaken in this feel shame, then it is for the purpose of waking up, so that they do no more harm. That is appropriate, I think, with an industry that will neither speak nor listen to reason, and turn away hard evidence, thousands upon thousands of personal testimonials, and all kinds of obvious truths in order to keep things good and vague and confused. It serves them and their agenda to do so. What else to do but to send that shame back from where it came? We’re against a wall otherwise, perpetually.

    But to shame, judge, or criticize individuals for their life choices in such a complex society with all that goes on for a person that someone on the outside could hardly know, would amount to a blatant projection in my book. What else would it be when we shame others for their life choices, not the same as wanting to shame those who harmed or shamed us and others to begin with, and often as a casual and habitual, unconscious practice–which is REALLY scary.

    But when it is peer to peer, it is harmful and divisive in every way–bad for one and all–and in opposition to creating positive change. It causes people even more suffering, last thing they need.

    Holding a non-judgmental space for someone is the best way to help anyone through anything. They make the choices, and that’s how it should be. Talking it out, considering options, all good stuff. We all get to speak our truth, but in the end, it is that individual’s choice, and breaking the oppressive system would mean actually respecting and honoring that authentically and unconditionally, imo. And if one can’t, then they are no help to that person at all and should mind their own business. Takes courage for all parties concerned. Good thing to exercise, from time to time, I believe. That is healing.

  • My impression over the years has been that MiA replicates the status quo systemic dynamic rather than challenging it, by example. My experience with the power dynamic here has been an exact replica of what I experienced while going through the system years ago, down the line. My desire is to see and experience change from this, not more of the same. I am very interested to know the response to the feedback given throughout this blog and comment section.

  • “’This labeling-mania is obviously based on fear, ignorance, and hate’ on the part of the “mental health” workers, who have odd delusions that “all distress is caused by chemical imbalances” in peoples’ brains. I presume that’s what you mean, Alex?”

    That is part of it, SE. Of course “chemical imbalance” is a completely false narrative which has led to mass delusion based on ignorance of humanity and how people function. Add to that the self-delusion that they think–insist, in fact–that they DO understand how things work, and you’ve got a dangerous delusion happening.

    I do think that ignorance breeds fear and arrogance breeds resistance to truth. Put it all together, and you have a group of professionals and an entire industry marginalizing their clients–who tend to speak their heart’s truth, that’s why they are there–which then turns into a negative projection because the clinician has failed to see that the client is a mirror of themselves. We are, after all, all connected.

    However, these labels create the illusion of “us and them,” meaning that we are not connected, but totally separate. That, in and of itself, is a huge mass delusion, and indeed, the “mental health” industry aggressively and blindly perpetuates it, it is their mainstay. Not only for financial gain, which of course is relevant, but also for their very fragile and needy (it always seems) egos.

    Clinicians LOVE to be worshipped, and if they are not, they’ll mask their self-hate by labeling the client (for starters, it can go much deeper and become seriously insidious gaslighting abuse). That’s how I’ve seen it for years, from grad school to going up and down the system. Many of my colleagues in training were some of the most aggressive marginalizers and truly bigoted, snobby, elitist people I’d ever met, all justified by labeling others. Keeps hard truth away from oneself, to fall unjustly and perilously on the unsuspecting. In this industry, that is criminal. There is fraud and malpractice all over this, widespread and systemically.

    I think it applies in general, however, that people tend to project pejorative labels on other people to keep themselves from identifying with their own shadow. “Mental health” inc. legitimizes this, as does academia, as does politics. These mainstream entities actually *set* the example for hate, fear, and division. I believe it is why we have so much suffering, all due to believing these liars and all of the false social narratives that have permeated our culture, and which are so harmful to so many, and to the greater good in general. These have led us down a treacherous path, all based on aggressively projected illusions which serve to divide, separate, and create fear. The truth shall set us free.

    It’s a mind trick, to project one’s shadow, and clients pay for it, obviously. My way of dealing with it was to throw it back to them and let them feel it and deal with that crappy, thick, dense energy. It wasn’t mine to begin with.

  • What a horror story, to be separated after 6 monhts for “science.” More like mad science. I’d call it “nature-interruptus.”

    How could the psychiatrist who spearheaded this “study” ever dream that this kind of unnatural separation at such an extermely tender and developmental age would cause problems for these kids later in life? It’s only common sense. This made me sick to read–how insanity is created, right in our faces.

    I’d totally blame Dr. Neubauer and whoever else approved and went along with this, for Eddy’s suicide. That’s an easy one. Forget “nature-nurture,” and I don’t care what happened in between the separation and Eddy’s untimely death. It was this mad doctor who blatantly and coldly manipulated these kids’ path, for professional gain. That is going against nature, and completely contrary to anything resembling empathy, insight, intution, and integrity, not to mention a moral compass. BIG CRIMINAL FAIL for these gentlemen, and for humanity on the whole.

  • Having gone through the mh system in San Francisco, at least this wasn’t an issue. The shrink I was seeing at the time, several of the therapists in “day treatment,” my voc rehab counselor and boss, and the senior staff attorney with whom I worked in legal mediation, were all gay, as were about 50% of the people around me, in all tiers of the system and in general. In SF, that’s the norm.

    Same Earth, different worlds.

    God I wish people would wake up. This labeling-mania is obviously based on fear, ignorance, and hate. That is what is bad for the world and its inhabitants.

  • “We don’t just live with others but also through them and in them. They place us and ground us into the world. When they see us, they identify us. After all, what is identity but the slow, lifelong accretion of gazes: us looking at ourselves being looked at by others? What we see is, largely, what they see, or what we think they see. And when they turn away, when we become unseen, in a way we cease to be . . .”

    This is a stunning paragraph and I could not disagree more. Us vs. them all over the place. How many times is this division stated outright here? It’s as if an individual has no power unto themselves. This is as about enmeshed co-dependent programming as it can get, as far as believing from where we get our power, grounding, and sense of self. From others?? I think not.

    We live our own lives, not those of others. Life responds to us neutrally and mirrors us honestly, whereas people tend to manipulate and control for their own agenda or sense of power. There is integrity in the world, here and there, but right now I find that hard to come by. Hopefully that will change soon and we’ll see more and more integrity in leadership. For the time being, seems we’re on our own for a while, during this transitional period where people are finally waking up.

    But overall, if we are stuck with needing approval from others in order to BE, then we are rendering ourselves completely powerless. That is not only absurd, but that belief can also lead people into dark places fast and cause undue suffering, just from the cruelty of others. Indeed, people shouldn’t be cruel, but some are, it’s a fact of life, and many are in positions of power where they totally exploit this false belief for the purpose of control. I think it’s common, and one cause of our current chronic unrest.

    We don’t have to be powerless to that, or to sink to that level of high stress and fear. One can disengage from that system altogether, and save themselves from such nonsense such as “you need our approval in order to exist.” Most oppressive and utterly controlling belief I can think of.

    The only approval we need is our own, and when we are self-affirming, regardless of any outside opinion and judgment, then we attract others who resonate with this. That is individuation 101.

    Bullies, abusers and marginalizers–those who “reject” by othering via very cruel, insidious, and damaging social abuse–are the ones living in fear and self-delusion. The rest of us can be free of this if we know our true selves and power. Not this bullshit programming that we “cease to be” if we are disapproved of by our community. That’s actually a position of power, when one can rise above it and keep a strong sense of self and purpose. It can foster change for necessary growth, in the entire community!

    Social rejection comes from fear, and that is on those doing the rejecting, shunning, and marginalizing. These are the folks working “through” and “in” people. It’s called “vampirism,” and it leads to learned helplessness for their “victims.” We can have better boundaries than that, and not allow ANYONE to work or live “through” or “in” any of us, other than ourselves, as it should be. That is entirely freeing.

  • Really thoughtful article and valuable discussion here.

    “I have called psychiatric diagnosis ‘the first cause of everything bad in the mental health system.'”

    Yes, all the assumptions and cultural prejudices and justifications for marginalization (social abuse) are not only reflected here, they are encouraged, validated and unequivocally supported.

    My question then becomes, “What has led a person to be in this position to begin with?” Something is obviously lacking for a person or someone has been terribly misguided and has faced personal injsutice to wind up face to face with a psychiatrist in the first place. Issues do need to be addressed one way or another, and we all have them. If we lacked guidance and/or nurturing during developmental years–and even worse if we were betrayed by the family system, which is often the case–then this will show up one way or another as we move along in life, sometimes later down the road, but the evidence of this will surface one way or another at some point in life, and it can be quite striking in some, more subtle in others.

    I agree, no need to diagnose this, but there is something to address and shift here. And I believe there is burden on the individual and on the society which surrounds that individual. But where to begin? The past is the past, can’t change that. We’re in present time with our issues at this point, and poised toward creating a new and more enlightened future society. The sooner that future comes, the better!

    Right now, I think this applies to more people than not and increasingly stressful and oppressive times as in the ones we are currently living will bring these issues to light more and more. How we speak and write about it certainly makes a huge difference when trying to raise consciousness. Precision is essential for clarity to translate. I think it’s more effective to communicate in synch with our beliefs, not according to what others believe. That seems totally self-defeating to me, and boarders on appeasement, which of course is what supports status quo and inhibits change.

  • Great point, Steve. The heart and spirit are not perceived, and that is way problematic because these are generally what need healing when we are in distress. And they will heal in time, if they are seen and validated, rather than only further tortured by neglect, abuse, and betrayal.

    Of course, toxic drugs don’t nourish the heart or spirit, although I guess these are used in lieu of loving kindness and helpful validating insights. Not working too well, is it?

  • Just saw this, CatNight, I had somehow missed it.

    Based on the above statements, I’m thinking along the lines of fraud and malpractice. To me it fits down the line. The problem is cover up, denial, and lying. It would take tremendous courage for someone from within that industry to break the system. That would need to come from someone–a psychiatrist, namely– who is tired of covering up and ready to challenge their peers legally by supporting the legal cause of those of us harmed specifically by psychiatry and its standard practices, and who recognizes the need for reparations, how that is truly just.

    I know we were harmed by lying Big Pharma, too, but I’m most angry at those who are supposedly trained and dedicated healers and instead turn out to be “snake-oil salesmen and drug-dealers.” That is so betraying to society it’s over the top. I believe it’s most dangerous because the institution sells itself as some sort of standard of being which is absolutely false, fabricated, based on social approval and “fitting in” (making others–the dominant class–comfortable, which is how our power and energy are drained). This is specifically how people become othered, marginalized, disabled, and second-classed, which is treacherous and heartless because it undermines people’s civicl and human rights and causes them to suffer from shame, powerlessness, and poverty, when that does not have to be the case. Makes it toxic, elistist, and exclusionary–aka socially abusive.

    Big Pharma is corporate, diverse, and out for profit. Psychiatrists are supposed to be healers and they are the opposite. It almost destroyed me and my life, all based on what felt like a seriously sadistic psychiatrist who was not in check. I don’t know what was up his butt, but I found myself needing his services to receive other necessary services (or so I thought at the time, programmed as I was), so I got stuck taking a lot of shit from him until I further awoke and finally just walked away in search of real healing. Finally found it, thank God, and nowhere near this so-called “profession.”

    God they can be so awful and abusive, really draining in how they question our reality and self-awareness, in favor of what THEY think or observe or conclude or perceive. What a recipe for disaster, and that’s just what it has been. It’s absurd that this practice of blatant projection and calling it “reality” has been allowed for so long. I just smh about it now, looking back at how much harm this does to people under such false pretenses.

    I saved myself, but as long as this is going on out there, I’m willing to speak my truth in any way at any time where it will make a difference.

    Don’t know if anything else can be done at this point and I’m not really attached to anything in specific. I’m just constantly amazed at how every potential channel and opportunity for some change to occur, it just fizzles. One illusion after another. Like the “dark forces” holding on to the status quo. I still think truth wins out in the end, but the plethora of smokescreens is overwhelming, as I know you know. It’s created a lot of density for the light to penetrate, as we continue to speak our truth of the matter.

    Yep, sure does seem the entire world is functioning from some traumatized place at this point, and certainly in the USA right now. It permeates the collective. I’m sure new things will pop up in response to this. Healing is a huge need right now. The world is changing, and we are transitioning to new paradigms all over the place.

  • Quitting IS the change. Then, you are not enabling the crappy boss, taking your power back, and changing YOUR reality, trusting the way forward. Takes leaps of faith to get out of bad situations when our survival seems to hang in the balance, but if we don’t take them, we’ll never know our true power because we are giving it away to “crappy people” (which to me means liars, users, abusers, oppressors, etc). Fortunately not everyone is that way, but it can be disheartening trying to find integrity in the world right now.

    People don’t quit bad/abusive/oppressive situations because of fear. When we operate from trust and the knowingness that we deserve better, that is the inner change from fear and self-recrimination to trust and self respect.

    Makes all the difference in our life experience when we learn to let go of that which drags us down, and trust that there is something better in store which is validating and supportive to us, because we deserve it, just for being human–and saying unequivocally NO to abuse, oppression, disrespect, etc., and from the inside, especially. That disempowers depression most of all, to feel our power to create change by making challenging choices. Nothing more creative, engaging, and life-affirming than that, imo.

  • I do believe justice will be served, on a grand scale, as long as we continue to speak our truths of the matter in order to bring new and personally/collectively freeing perspectives to light. No room for compromise there, as far as I’m concerned. Truth cannot be censored. It will persist relentelsssly until it is righfully acknowledged and allowed to guide the process.

    Right now, as it is, it is the lies and illusions which are guiding the process, which is why things are so damn messy here! All the “covering your ass” shit that goes on when trying to get to the truth of things, rather than humbly stepping forward and owning what is going on behind the scenes, and therefore, allowing appropriate changes to occur, based on truth over individual ego and the need to control things, and, I imagine at this point, also fear and guilt. That would be novel and truly courageous–heroic, in fact.

    I think systemic abuse happens when there is a need to control, at all cost, and mostly, people–for whatever reason, always justified somehow, in a toxic system. That will never be a just situation, ever.

    But allowing truth to guide (for a change) is the most powerful catalyst to change which I can imagine. I’m a big believer in “the truth shall set you free.” All of us.

  • I thank God for the psychic healers and medical intuit with whom I worked so that I could successfully withdraw and heal from two decades of psych drugs. Being open to new perspectives is how anyone can heal, grow, and move forward in life, past the double-binding matrix of illusions and projected judgments. There are charlatans out there like in any professional vocation, and as always one has to use their intution and discernment where trust is concerned when it comes to healing services.

    But energy healing (all based on subtle energies, and which includes the ancient art of Chinese medicine) doesn’t even begin to compare with the insitution of psychiatry in terms of limiting beliefs, marginalization, and systemic harm and abuse. Chakra, energy, and psychic healing are all based on principles of SELF-healing, so it supports and fosters personal agency, empowerment, and independence.

  • “I believe that this is due to disability money, that often this is why people go along with it.”

    I believe this is a huge assumption and overgeneralization, while projecting blatant stigma onto people who do identify as disabled because they have a disability which makes having steady employment and income that much more challenging. You never know what is behind a person’s decisions when it comes to their survival, and it’s none of anyone else’s business, anyway.

  • Indeed, these are worthless agencies. But when one is stuck inside the system and starts waking up and begins going from agency to agency and advocate to advocate and non-profit to non-profit seeking some kind of reasonable support–and there are so many junctures where this would be most relevant and vital, and to be expected as baseline in a *functional* society– one learns the hard way, that it is nowhere to be found.

    And not only that, but in addition to coming up empty handed as you are going through the various stages of healing and integration, you’ll get a good dose of second-classism (new “ism”) and full blown stigma along the way, simply from asking for help from people who haven’t a clue what they are doing, seriously. Either that, or they’ve found a reason to not like you. Then you’re really cooked, don’t expect justice at all, if that’s the case, which to me is the epitome of abuse of power, to make it personal when there are social justice issues at stake. Neutrality is needed here, and that’s really hard to come by in the system. Talk about feeling powerless! That affects a person’s nervous system, for starters. It’s totally mind/body/spirit detrimental, I think it stands to reason.

    And don’t even THINK about getting an honest answer when you ask a question! Or an answer at all. I had to file a grievance once just to have a dialogue with the CEO of a mh-related agency with which I was once affiliated, who refused to talk to me, and who really had no legal right to stonewall me like that. I rightfully protested, and I got my meeting. Then, I had to take her to legal mediation, because she just could not understand outside her small minded perspective. So much drama, rather to have a simple dialogue. No integrity, no ethics, tons of fear, it is truly mind-boggling to awaken to how deep it goes, but it is what it is and I believe, from what I continue to gather, that it’s gotten way worse over the years.

    When a person is recovering from psych drugs and systemic abuse only to encounter more of it from “advocates,” it is like going from one parent to another complaining about abuse, and all they’ve done is to gang up on you. Include sibs and grandparents on that, too, if you like. Don’t rock the boat, AT ALL COST!

    And why not? Because it breaks the system. That can be scary, because it is unfamiliar and EVERYONE has to own their shit, but it’s necessary because one person cannot continue carrying the burden of all of this lying and protecting abusers in any given “system.” That is THE oppression, and falls on a scapegoat, which is where change needs to happen now, and hopefully, that’s exactly what is changing. We can’t keep functioning like this, it’s the downfall of the system.

    The line which I included in Voices That Heal, which to me sums up the entire attitude here and uttered by a therapist to an older member of a group complaining about crime in his housing situation was “take your meds and don’t make waves.” ‘Nuff said. That would be the title of my book about the system, from my first person perspective, were I ever to write one.

    Going through this crap is wildly surreal, and healing from it is profound. Too many illusions in our society to count. We each have to decide for ourselves what is real and what is fake. Lots of FAKE out there! It’s up to each of us to learn to discern.

  • Thanks for saying this, and for all of your validation regarding how you value my commentary, Rosalee. That is extremely helpful and encouraging to me, always. Honestly, many of the brilliant writers on here have been examples to me. I’ve worked hard over the years to refine because it is all so friggin’ complicated! Aligning words with intention is walking the talk.

    I’m honestly so glad my words bring clarity to the situation, that is *exactly* my intent, so thank you for mirroring this. I’m never quite sure, been putting it together for years now. This is healing for me. I’ve unraveled from this by now, but I remain posting here because I know it still continues, and I want to make whatever contribution I can to stopping this crazy ass abuse and vampirism. It’s over the top and it still pisses me off to no end.

    Lately I have been aware of the resonance among many of us now, in this particular regard of how this systemic abuse plays out, and that is MOST encouraging to me. It is so insidious and really hard to pinpoint, but necessary, I think, and we’re getting it to it here, I believe, so hooray for that! I think it’s at the heart of the matter, to be honest, how rights and freedoms become totally and relentlessly compromised, and that’s a blow to a person’s humanity, truly. That’s my perspective, in any event, and what speaks to me most re “chronic mental distress.” It’s really a pisser, to say the least, and I’m HIGHLY intent on, one way or another, getting this crap to fucking stop already! Something’s gotta give at this point.

    “As if the harm of psychiatry was not bad enough then you find out all the channels you reach out to for resolution or justice are in bed together and/or riding the same gravy train.”

    Yes. And also, I think they just perceive humanity through the same filters, as themselves, and “others.” These are the “otherers.” That’s how they justify hoarding all the wealth, by deceiving the world. I think the lies are catching up with all of them, though, don’t you think? We’re awake, and not backing down from the truth, whatever actions we choose to take or not take, as long as we are true to ourselves at this point. Truth is truth, and it’s out there now. I’m encouraged by this.

  • “Disability Rights and they told me they are only working on physical accessibility issues right now.”

    This caught my attention, thought it was an interesting response from them. What, exactly, does that mean? Sounds like they are discriminating against certain types of “disability,” or they are clueless how to address SOME disability issues, so they ignore them.

    The Disability Rights agency in Northern CA is really awful and when I was dealing with them years ago, they seemed to only perpetuate discrimination rather than to be the example otherwise. I did reflect this back, quite rationally and from my experience of this, but directly and with all certainty while using the exact examples from our dialogue. It was straight math, so very clear and unambiguous, and unfortunately, completely typical. Once one has been through systemic abuse, it gets really easy to spot, in the moment.

    And of course, the attorney with whom I was communicating at the time got angry, defensive, extremely patronizing (in a gaslighting kinda way), and cut off communication. Gee, big surprise.

    There’s really no end to the web of deceit, illusion, and stonewalling that goes on here. I think it’s a house of cards, though, so it will eventually cave in on itself, as long as we keep waking up and speaking up, and moving forward ourselves. That will ripple and others won’t make the same mistake we did in this regard, to trust this intricately corrupt industry. That is my best hope right now.

  • Yes, it’s a reality they make up in their heads (as per the way their training has programmed them–and I know this first hand because I had this same training at one point), which serves them personally and professionally, and with steamrolling force and completely disconnected from any sense of real and authentic present time truth, they impose it on the unsuspecting client. I don’t know what to do about it, it is a toxic rabbit hole trying to argue against these blatant negative projections.

    Best I know to do at this point is to continue to crack these codes of social dysfunction and speak my truth best I can–yes, these are either blatant liars or they are doing the best they can while brainwashed by the system. Either way, the client is in danger and can suffer a great deal as a result, all due to these unchecked projections, which is pure lack of self-responsiblity on the part of the clinician. I believe that by now, on the whole, they have earned this reputation. I think that’s as clear as a bell.

    Whatever solution eventually arises from all of this, I believe it has to come from profound creativity based on absolute truth. Not sure that can be defined, but I know that it can be felt.

    As per my own words, I would own this as an extension of my own reality, this experience did come from something within me. Ok, good to know, and to own it brings me back to my own personal power.

    I’ve been working hard over the years to shift that which led me into all of this to begin with, and that not only grows me in my awareness, it changes my entire reality while opening new pathways by which I can move forward. That is how I apply what I have said in this thread, to this situation. It’s complex and layered, but that is my inner work, and to me, it all adds up with good clarity and a new big picture, which serves the greater good, rather than the “elite class,” at everyone else’s expense. From my perspective, in any event, I can feel this.

  • “Psychiatrists are seen as hard-working, caring, understanding healers, but they’re really snake-oil salesmen, drug-dealers, and master-sedaters. What they do should be illegal. Someday everyone will realize that not only do psychiatrists not heal anything, they’re a major contributor to the recent rise in suicides and overdoses.”

    Lawrence, thank you for writing this, and I completely agree. I admire the fact that you are a psychiatrist and are willing to express this bluntly and directly in a public forum. My experience–along with so many of the testimonials I’ve read over the years on MiA and elsewhere–unequivocally supports these statements. This is my story and the truth which I discovered, too, exactly, as I emerged from the dense and disorienting haze of it all, which took years to get clarity on this mess! So many ways in which that particular insitution wraps its tentacles around a person, it’s not just the psych drugs.

    So we were conned by frauds in an abusive profession and as a result, we got the life sucked out of us (along with quite a bit of money–including “lost wages”) under the pretense of “health care,” and it’s been costly in many ways to millions of individuals and families, and society on the whole, like organized crime.

    You’ve been on the inside for a long time and see this without question, it is your field. And many of us know this from having been the ones taken in by such an extreme and sinister, dangerous scam.

    Your voice has credibility, and this is quite clear, damning, and truthful, what you say here. Is there really no legal recourse for this? We are owed, no doubt about that, and the folks to whom you are referring need to be exposed, held accounatable, and disempowered.

    Obviously, from what you say–and of course we all know this, but I’d like to state it yet again and explicitly right here–psychiatry is extremely detrimental to society and a crime against humanity! How is this *civilized* in any way, shape of form? It’s actually destroying civilization. I believe that is 100% accurate and truthful as are the statements which you make, and they go hand in hand.

    I, for one, would like to see civilization preserved, albeit in a radically new paradigm far and away from this sabotaging matrix we’ve got going and in which we are expected to operate in order to “succeed” in life. These are illusions and outright lies, but psychiatry is obviously a loyal cornerstone of them and continues to foster the illusions, the lies, and this matrix, for the gain of a few at the expense of everyone else. Wondering where to go from here, with this information.

  • What anyone can most accurately observe are their own feelings, beliefs and judgments, which are about the observer not the observed.

    The one being observed has his or her own reality (feelings, beliefs, judgments), to which they–and all of us–are entitled. If it does not match what is being observed, then the observer would more than likely be missing important information, which they may or may not ever receive. That would completely depend on what the person being observed is willing to share or reveal, or not. Transparency is a choice. Trying to fill in the blanks with speculation (projections) and taking action based on that is what I would consider to be really unfair to a person, and moreover, extremely violating. To me, this is the essence of injustice.

    In a clincial situation, if a client is being projected onto negatively by a clinician, by way of “observation,” in any way shape or form, then they are in trouble until they wake up and get out of there. I’d call that unsafe, a toxic situation, etc.–i.e., dangerous to the client. And sadly, negative projections are the bedrock of mental health, inc.

    Were that to suddenly change, it would be radical, but it’s hard to imagine that it ever will. That would depend entirely on whether or not clinicians are ready, willing, and able to own their own stuff and to stop projecting their shadow feelings and judgments onto the client–to realize that we are all biased observers of others, one way or another. Personal truth is based on our own experience, and on what we feel and believe at any given moment, and definitely NOT what others project onto us.

    Having waded through clinical environments for years and years, it’s really hard to imagine a 180 like this, but I’m open to being wrong about that. That would be terrific. But for some reason, I just cannot see this occuring. It would shake the foundation of the entire industry to realize that “observations” are, in reality, merely projections of self–each and every time.

  • I don’t believe there is any such thing as an “impartial observer.” Anything we observe is always an extension of an aspect within us, given how we project our personal reality onto everything. I think it’s impossible not to do this, it is the essence of being human. If we judge what we are observing as something outside of ourselves, then we are not owning something within ourselves. I believe that is always true.

  • If there is one thing that will support mental clarity and ease in moving forward in one’s life, it is running in the other direction from gaslighting. This is the cause of extreme mental distress and confusion, and overall sabotage.

    Trying to explain oneself in this situation only deepens the rabbit hole of gaslighting, and can cause a person to feel drained and insane after such an exchange. I’ve heard it compared to having an eggbeater in one’s brain, after dialoguing with one who is prone to gaslighting. Indeed, it is, and there is healing to do after this. It’s a form of post traumatic stress, if one has been gaslighted for a long period of time. That’s hard to wake up to if it is a familiar, and for a lot of people it is.

    And which, unfortunately, IS something that some people do quite casually these days, when it has always worked for them, to disorient others as a way of feeling “powerful.” I think it becomes a neural pathway, from chronic gaslighting as a life strategy, which I believe is more common than not these days. This is an important awakening if one is on a healing path.

    Gaslighting causes internalized oppression, we bind ourselves up with conflicting thoughts. Life changes when one frees themselves from gaslighting and the pts thereof, a huge dark cloud of anxiety and fear lifts as that eggbeater dissipates and the mind, brain, and nervous system become calm and relaxed, for a change. That’s a complex and extremely valuable healing, if one desires for truth and clarity to come to light, not to mention more ease in living.

    But no, I say do not ever argue with a gaslighter. They will only be aggressively defensive and tell you that any interpretation you give to whatever they are expressing is “wrong,” that’s how it begins–classic double bind–and then they put YOU on the defensive, yet again. It is a complete waste of energy and creates nothing of value to humanity, just more chaos and confusion, frustration, stuckness, rage and despondence. Status quo, and how it is protected as such.

  • Ok, found him. Wow, interesting guy, looks like he does all sorts of things. I can assure you this is someone else and not me, I can’t ever see myself having this kind of profile. He’s like one big organization! I’m a very humble and kinda self-conscious guy with a simple life.

    I am indeed passionate about creating change toward global well-being, but I had to really work up to putting myself out there like I do, it is not second nature to me and I’m pretty sensitive. So this is a balancing act for me, activism is ineherently triggering. But I have reasons for why I do this, and I do follow my heart, which is totally my guidance, and because of that, I face my fears. Interesting that you noticed similarities in our written communication styles.

    My family emigrated to Argentina from Russia. So I’m actually Russian/Jewish with a Latino twist! I was born in Memphis, TN, first American born in the family. I’m definitely multi-cultural, and it’s my nature, too. So it all works in synch now!

  • Learning to love oneself is the opposite of feeling suicidal. People take their own lives because they have lost faith in themselves and cannot see past the chronic suffering. People who possess the quality of self-love do not think about suicide, and instead, look for creative solutions to tough problems.

    Sadly, society teaches us to hate and judge ourselves, that we will never measure up. That’s the program delivered to us all, via so many venues. My hope is that people will stop listening to these sabotaging messages and instead, trust their own wise minds, hearts, and intuition.

  • kumininexile, I’m so floored by your comment! First thing I did after reading this is to look up Rev Luke Shootingstar online and found nothing. Do you have a link you could share? I’m so curious.

    Not sure how to respond. I do speak from my heart always with the intention of being of some use around here. Heart is where truth is, our authentic voice.

    Thanks to going through this crazy journey and surviving it, I am pretty conscious and awake. Been waking up since coming off the drugs going on 18 years now.

    I don’t intend to sermonize, simply to inspire, support, and inform where I can. I guess my passion for truth can get me kinda rambunctious, haha, well that’s just me! It’s also my culture, I’m Latino-Jewish, I don’t exactly come from shy and reserved peoples 🙂

    I do see so much written on MIA that I feel has the potential to instill and/or feed chronic fears and hopelessess, and I try to address these in order to allay these terrible and potentially sabotaging feelings, if I can be heard. That was my goal on this blog, in any evevnt. There is always a way to move forward. Overcoming obstacles leads to everything. Never give up, healing is always possible, change is ever-present, believe in yourself, find your voice, speak your truth, and trust, trust, trust, trust…great things await.

    I do appreciate the compliment and am humbled by it, thank you.

  • “And how is it possible that supervisors I trust are acting like this is not a terrible and dangerous step in the wrong direction?”

    When you ask this, Catalyzt, I immediately get a picture of “Stepford Supervisors.” They do as they’re programmed to do.

    Keeping records of clients and their personal issues while receiving psychotherapy not only gives me the creeps, it is part of the oppressive and invasive nature of the system. Byzantine is a good word for it, this is Rome. We’re waiting for the fall.

  • I love all you say here, Rosalee, we stand together on this and that feels soooo encouraging. I, too, see and feel the light on your posts. You are tapped in, and following the truth of your heart.

    What a journey to wake up to all of this! And then proceed to take back our power. It’s surreal at times, but without a doubt, it is healing mind/body/spirit.

    Speaking our truth is VITAL! Even when it gets frustrating because we feel it is either not welcome, not heard, or not taken seriously, we, ourselves hear it, and the universe hears it, so somehow, we make a difference and grow forward. I know this from my own experience. I have experienced the universe responding to me even when people do not appear to be.

    I am with you when you get back in the ring, wishing you all the best in shining the light on evil deeds, as you say. It’s courageous, and, indeed, necessary part of this process. I am grateful for your light, your faith, and your voice of truth.

    I’m happy to hear you like your GP, and that she is supportive of your process and hears and respects your truth. Having trustworthy support whom we know is our ally is vital. As a quick aside which this makes me think of–just yesterday I was talking to my sister who is taking care of our mother who has been having chronic pain for a while. She’s 86 and has had medical issues for a while now, although she’s still totally active, alert, and has a good life.

    She had been prescribed Neurontin, to which I was raising eyebrows and informing about this best I could, but I respected my mother’s decision without giving her resistance, because I know that she is fiercely dedicated to the western mainstream health care system. My father was a physician, and it was our program.

    In addition, she always thought herbal remedies and all that stuff was junk, this was not her way of thinking in the slightest. Even the fact that my healing meant ditching the medical model altogether in favor of the natural healing, and how it made all the difference in my life and well-being, something about this was not seeming to get through to her. It was a block she had because it so went against her beliefs (that’s another story, but in this context, it is quite common for one person’s healing to create all kinds of denial for people around them; it’s a weird phenomenon, and I think kind of a stuckness we can experience, until we move through the need to be heard by others and simply follow the path of our own truth and light, away from being snubbed and marginalized).

    Yesterday I found out that the Neurtontin had been causing worrisome side effects and seeming to do more harm than good (big surprise there–NOT!), so the Dr. is weaning her off, and now they are turning to herbs (e.g. CBD) and acupuncture, my mother is totally agreeable.

    MY mother??? If she can even consider this, then I know things are changing, the light is getting through all of that dense, fear-based programming. Hooray! Between that, and powerful, heartfelt voices like yours, there’s my optimism 🙂

  • I believe the spiritual issue for those in crisis is how to ascend the dynamics of such a limited society. In that sense, we grow toward our own individual freedom and unlimitedness. That’s what will move society forward and how the paradigm will shift, when the burden and accountailibty go back to those who program people into believing so negatively about themselves, that they are needy, inferior, and “do not belong.” When these terribly false and damning projections are released from the masses, then, we will be free and “recovered.”

  • Rosalee, ugh it makes me so mad to hear that you were denied services based on your psychiatric history. That is criminal. I do know the feeling of the stigma attached in the face of health care, it is so vulnerable and powerless making, truly maddening. And of course just that alone affects us on a cellular level, really brings us down in every way and makes healing that much harder, creating fear, anxiety, worry, as you say.

    I know this can feel practically impossible for some people and you have shared about your medical issues, so I am aware that you require services, but for me the answer was to ditch the old way of medical care altogether, I became totally natural and energetic in my healing path once I got through all this, because I had absolutely no other choice. For me, the medical community had become a total dead end.

    I know you’ve also talked about receiving natural healing and doing things on that path, too, which is great because there is no stigma there (at least not that I have ever run into), and that makes a big difference in the effectiveness of the healing. It’s all present time, that is all that is addressed in that healing community. In that process, any past time energy is released with ease, those are the blocks.

    In the energy healing world, Chinese Medicine, etc., I have never had the experience of stigma or discrimination–not even close, it’s never been an issue in any way, shape or form. Everything is treated and addressed so neutrally, it’s only about the emotions we are running and releasing blocks so that our energy flows naturally, which is how we achieve self-healing. Herbs help to raise the energetic frequency of our cells, which is how healing occurs. It is a raise in frequency to achieve yin/yang balance. Every cell and organ in our body has its yin/yang consciousness.

    I had envisioned at one point integrating these healing paths, natural energy type healing work with the best of western medicine, but I have found that the health care system is so bad now, that it is completely unsafe. Where I live, it is a sham and primary care physicians have long waiting lists and people can’t get Dr.s and the urgent care centers are HORRIBLE, ER waits can be allll day long, hours and hours, and people tend to walk about before they are called.

    So really, one can get stuck with absolutely NO medical care, and HAS to figure out another way. The system is breaking down so badly, and I believe this is the way of the future.

    In the meantime, I believe we’re in a transitional period, where the system is going to continue to break down–and yes, indeed, I think that failure is mainly driven in their failure with people, this stigma and discrimination from within the system is truly shameful, and where completely unessessary human suffering occurs, caused by other humans in positions of “power.” That is crap, systemic abuse, pure and simple, and it will be the downfall of the system itself, I truly believe.

    In the meantime, thank GOD for those alternatives! I think the more we go in that direction, the more we will release the past, collectively, because we are going in a new direction where the past will be rendered irrelevant. We’ve certainly no need for these corrupt broken down systems any longer, I say let them turn to dust. There are better ways, based on present time and integrity, for crying out loud. How can one call themselves a “healer” of any kind and treat people like shit? That is one helluva paradox!

    So, I believe that as the old continues to crumble and new stuff comes forth to help move us forward (and I do believe this is happening now, we are in that process), then along with this old health care paradigm turning to dust, so will our records, and in that respsect, we will be free of the past. But we each have to be willing to trust that as we move forward, what we need and that which will help us most will appear, I really do believe that is what faith is about, trusting our process. When we apply this, we actually discover more of our control and power to create what we need and want as we go.

    Honestly, I think that’s what this time in history is about. We are purging the past so that we can create an updated new and improved society and world, it is time! It really is a time of awakening, I don’t think we’ve much choice now, from the way things are going. This is a time of great change, so let’s keep going and see what happens. I’m always looking for the light on everything, which is a good focus because it leads to the new.

    I hope that helps in some way.

  • Thank you for saying this. Not only is it my desire to be an agent of ease in this process, but I think that’s the idea of good support, to bring ease to a healing process, rather than overcomplicating it–which is one of the many places where “standard care” goes way wrong.

    For me personally, this became a sound strategy for living, to keep it simple, but most definitely I learned that the best healing comes from the energy of *ease,* what is often called “the path of least resistance.” We manifest more easily what we need along the way from this prespective, and we are truly following our own process, because there is virtually no effort after we adjust to this. Then, we are in synch with ourselves. That’s the goal! It’s a practice.

  • Yes, it is truly hard to digest what this is as we awaken to the truth of “mental health care,” many issues converging at once, and suddenly our perspective of life hangs in the balance. I see it as a deconstructing happening in order to allow new consciousness to come forward. We’d been so programmed to believe the lies, that it takes a while to adjust to this fact alone, that is was a program based on illusions which serve an elite, at the expense of clients, and of society on the whole.

    A new and improved reality awaits you, as you emerge from the rubble, as so many of us have. Fortunately, that ground has now been broken, so there is plenty of support and information out there. Wasn’t the case when I came off psych drugs, I knew of no one who had gone through this, so it was mine to discover. And what a journey it was! I learned everything I needed to learn–for now at least. All the best to you as you move along your path of healing.

  • I’m so glad to hear this, Claire, thank you. I always feel I walked this path to, first, discover certain truths which would have otherwise remained buried under the deceit and illusions of a corrupt society, and then, to help shed light on these by sharing my experience. Many awakenings to go through, which can be a bit trying, but way worth it because, in the end, each one is a gift which brings more light and clarity to whatever situation might have us a bit knotted up in the moment. Each release is heavenly, like weights just dropping off, and we feel freer and freer as we go. Best wishes to you!

  • Indeed, Michael, updated boundaries and discernment of energies based on what feels desirable and uplifting vs. what is triggering and unsafe would definitely be part of a new present time awareness to which I’m referring. I would call that living in a new consciousness, where we are more aware of how we are in control our experience, by what we allow and do not allow, exactly what you said. Therefore, we can feel powerful as opposed to powerless–a core shift in our sense of self, and that will shift our life experience radically for the better.

    Although life is life and triggering energies are everywhere, hard for anyone to avoid. I think in present time awareness, we can know our process of neutralizing and clearing the triggers and coming back to center, so as to not fall into the downward spiral–a matter of present time grounding and trusting the process. That becomes a new habit, to center and uplift ourselves. We can program our neural pathways with diligent practice, and eventually it becomes second nature.

    I tend to see triggers now as opportunities for shifting consciousness, which is a whole new updated reality, where we feel, think, and act from a more awake state of being. That is a matter of owning the trigger in the moment (each one as they occcur), and then working through it on the spot to release the emotional baggage of it, feel it and identify it as past time, and this creates a new present time clarity, where there is, in reality, no real threat other than our own thoughts, so we can update these consciously to be in synch with present time reality. That will quiet the mind because it is no longer split and struggling between past and present.

    This practice will change our life experience completely, based on our internal changes. That’s always what I try to drive home, that outer changes are contingent upon inner changes, given how we project our reality. Change the lens, change the picture.

    These have been my experiences with healing.

  • Michael, I’m curious, would you say it is a matter of coming fully into present time? (Funny, I was just writing about this in a reply I just posted, then saw this and it occured to me that it might apply here).

    I know from my experience of healing from and integrating extreme states which occured from feeling mistreated and betrayed by people I had trusted while vulnerable and open, and feeling disoriented and powerless from it, that I had to eventually challenge myself to trust present time, and stop looking at the past. Of course this was after quite a bit of self-examination, healing does happen in layers. Still, would that not lead to integration, naturally, while allowing ourselves to focus more on our goals and life purpose, creatively? I think that would change one’s entire neural map in a way that would allow a person to more comfortably ground in present time, and from there, good movement tends to occur.

    That was my exact experience, in any event, and it has become a good habit for me to always re-focus my awareness into present time before making any decision or drawing conclusions, helped a great deal in terms of clarity and personal power, and seriously *lightening up!* Oy, that was a reilef.

    I think when we keep the past alive too much, we never get rid of it, like shit on our shoe. It actually stays in our cells this way, from what I know. I had to finally stop looking back to feel whole again, which meant breaking a lot of thought habits. Your response made me think of this.

    I love Cathy’s question, thank you for posing it. Challenging a client can be risky but also necessary, I think. It’s always a fork in the road, so they will either withdraw from services, or heal something and move forward. Can’t take it personally, either way.

  • You speak good truth here, Graciela, glad we both resonate with this. A couple of things on which I wanted to comment, caught my eye and been sitting with these–

    When you talk about “commentators who give authors a hard time,” what that brought up for me immediately is how it makes me very uncomfortable when psych survivors give other psych survivors a hard time, that is my beef on this website, and what I most fail to understand as consistent with the desire to somehow unite for a purpose.

    And while I try to have eye to eye dialogues with established professionals on this site, I can certainly slip into giving some of them a hard time, because to me that is where we are looking for accountability. Maybe I shouldn’t be so discriminating, but I can’t help it. My only point with other surivors is to offer support and of course to dialogue and generate ideas and clarity (even though many have often given me a hard time), but I feel compelled to challenge the professionals, always respectfully, I hope, while also attempting to dialogue for the purpose of clarity and perhaps to manifest something new.

    But to challenge anyone practicing in the field feels totally reasonable, just, and fair to me, considering that we are looking to, AT LEAST, shift the balance of power in the “mental health” industry. To me, that is presicely the issue, and where this industry is most toxic, in the power dynamics. That’s where it is pure crap and totally undermines any potential for healing, imo.

    Problem is, this particular shift would more than likely bring down all of “mental health, inc.,” since it is totally 100% founded and based on power relationships, and I don’t think they can let go of this, which I believe is a recipe for disaster–exactly what we are constantly witnessing and about which we are protesting, most justifiably. I guess we’ll see how that goes.

    Also, I had a reaction when I saw “ex psych patient.” I have no issue or shame about this, in fact, I’m quite relieved that EX is part of this. Still, not sure I’d enjoy going through life with this as my primary identity, I think it carries stigma–in fact, it kind of IS the stigma. Were I to where a T-shirt that said this, I’d be branding myself. This may also give psychiatry legitimacy, this identity, I’m wondering about that, which is why I am bringing it up.

    I’m quite aware that a lot of people feel that things like this inevitably recur and that once “crazy” always “crazy.” For sure, I’m still crazy after all these years, but only the way any of us have our craziness, that is simply our shadow. Knowing who I am now, that’s what saves me from ever going back into such a perpetually ungrounded state, I’d have no excuse at this point, given all that I have learned, including powerful tools for energy maintenance. That’s just part of my daily regimen now, the way I nourish my body with food & water. Our energy needs clearing on a daily basis for us to remain fully in present time. That’s where we have the most power to heal and make change, in the NOW.

    But I’m done with living in fear of “recurrence,” I dropped that long ago. Healing is healing, and at some point, there is no going back, it sticks. We learn eventually how to not get too far away from our center, and always, always, always know how to get back to it. Biggest lesson ever because it heals fear and worry, and that is a huge relief to the body. Life should be fun and adventurous, and I believe taking risks is part of creating the life we most desire. But living in fear of recurrence can block us from doing this, I think, so at some point, it is helpful to address and ascend this, remembering our power of co-creatorship.

    I know, I know, yet another long post, but as always you inspire me! Idk, Graciela, you have a way of connecting me to my deeper information, which is really helpful to me. I hadn’t been able to get quite this clarity before, until I sat with what you had written.

    Not sure what I’d call myself now. Fully human, maybe? That feels good, and truthful! And hopefully, non discriminating. Aren’t we all just this?

  • It’s the same faith that guided me through my healing, when I and everyone around me had believed it was a lost cause. Sure was looking that way, and the belief which continually came flying at me, and at one point I took action based on that negative belief.

    The destruction of humanity via psychiatry lived inside me, but I was able to exorcise it systematically, heal the aftershocks which reverberated for a while, and transform all of that energy into pure creativity. That’s what I mean by freedom. I followed a certain thread which presented itself, a series of events, all based on the focus of “where is the light on all of this?” I had to create that focus myself, no one could do it for me.

    The light on my journey through psychiatric hell is that it led me to learn not just how sinister and deeply unconsious our society had become (aka awakening to hard truths) which of course is how social ills, wars, etc., prevail, but also how to create away from this (awakening to light truth).

    That was the jewel in all of this, which is something I share freely wherever I can, where it can be heard. I believe as human beings find their peace, so will the world. How could it be any other way? I believe that is the healing path we’re looking to light up, as a collective, for the greater good and for the good of our individual well-being, goes hand in hand.

    In the meantime, people are going to have different life experiences, based on which aspect of reality they/we are focused. We have choices there, and the more we can see the big picture, the more awake we are. The more awake we are, the better chance we have to ascend mass destruction.

    My desire, therefore, is for more people to awaken to the higher aspects of reality, to a more heart based perspective, so that we can heal from that which creates war, poverty, suffering from corruption and injustice, etc.–all that chronic angst we carry around from life’s traumas which we all experience, one way or another.

    It is a matter of awakening to programs, illusions and lies, and learning how to shift focus to create better energy, based on our own truth and not that of others, rather than simply matching and perpetuating that same lower ego-based energy of projecting our reality onto others, and calling it “truth.”

    Transition from ego based to heart based consciousness/reality–that will eliminate war, abuse, all kinds of human exploitation, because it will not be tolerated or enabled in the slightest, as it so obviously is now. But individuals have to make this happen from within, first, to get a society like this, obviously. How can we have an awakened society without individuals first waking up?

    And that’s hard ground to break, because there is tons of stigma and projections which happen to awakened people in an unawakened community–we’re the first to get scapegoated. Fortunately, that is familiar ground for us, so it is relatively easy to navigate from a heart-based perspective. Still we have to be willing to support others in their awakenings, too, without judgment, for society to become safe and sound, once and for all.

    It’s a human collective issue, we all have a hand in this. I think right now, in present time, life is asking us to find where we can be most useful and effective in the healing of the planet and the collective humanity which inhabits it. I know that we all have something of value to bring to the table, if we can get ourselves heard.

  • Really lovely, heartfelt piece, Michael. Thank you for sharing.

    Paradox sure makes life interesting! Where there is darkness, there is also light. The paradox here is that it is ALL light, because without the dark, we wouldn’t know the light. If darkness is growing, you can bet the light is a few steps ahead and will show itself at the most divinely timed moments. My faith is unshakable here, and of course, I make it a point to see the light on everything, it’s always there.

    I think shadow/light integration is the key here, to ground light to Earth. Then we can create and manifest from that light energy which we all carry somewhere inside of us and to which we can all connect if we are focused on that intention, rather than to continue to create and manifest from our inner darkness, which is how we get caught up in these endless loops with no change, manifesting the same conflicts and issues over and over and over again. I believe we want to ascend that loopiness for new creation. Ascending paradox is a big part of that shift, I believe, to higher states of consciousness, while grounded in our human bodies. Great expansion there, lots of newness to be explored and from which to manifest.

    Allowing ourselves to be fully human, light and shadow, with no judgment or fear about that, would change the world considerably, imo. Way more light in that scenario, not to mention one of my favorite energies: permission! Then, we are free.

  • Early childhood wounds of abusive neglect can heal in adulthood. Our solid core center doesn’t go away, it just gets obstructed by negative self-beliefs which are the result of early childhood neglect, of being unworthy of love and getting emotional needs met. Low self-esteem will affect one’s choices and judgment a great deal, so it would stand to reason that there would be trouble up ahead and one would more than likely find themselves in an extermely challenging environment and/or situation, and suffering would eventually surface, extreme social anxiety, etc.

    However, there are a lot of healing avenues for this and it does not have to cripple one for life. We can find our center and get to know ourselves in life, while developing the resilience to get back to our core, regardless of anything. There are a lot of practices which grow this aspect of ourselves and connect us to it. It’s really a matter of raising self-awareness and finding self-compassion. Then, we’re on a different track and we will treat ourselves better in life, finding affinity with what we encounter, because the experience of life is quite different between living it while carrying feelings of unworthiness vs. having positive self-regard, where we can feel our value in the world, inherently.

    The problem with psychiatry and why so many suicides are the result of “treatment” is because not only does it not “heal” anything, but on the contrary, it totally repeats that very same trauma which leads people to psychiatry to begin with, supposedly to heal those wounds. And instead, they pour acid into them. Betrayal upon betrayal.

    Whether the childhood wounding is around being marginalized and demeaned or emotional needs neglected and labeled, or shaming judgment around one’s way of being (actually, all three tend to go hand in hand)–psychiatry has something for everyone. Each and all of these can be easily repeated and made even more severe in this industry. The testimonials and feedback from many of us speak for themselves, and they fall on extremely defensive ears which turn it around and blame it on a “personality disorder” or some such truth-deflecting victim blaming nonsense. It is a study in denial and the fear-laden program of “cover your ass!” I think it’s understandable how this can lead to hopelessness and be lethal, if one is not enlightened to any other path to address issues of early childhood wounding.

    I was most fortunate to be pointed eventually to what worked for me on this level, to know my center, grounding, and sense of self. I am solid in my beingness now and know my center well, very strong sense of self, worthiness, and deservedness–just for being a human being. We’re all worthy and deserving, at the core, we are born this way (and then programmed or traumatized out of that). This belief, when fully internalized, eradicates any thought of suicide because it is an expanded state of consciousness, where it is easier to follow the path of life and manifest what you need along the way. There is clarity and ongoing creativity to embrace. That is self-validation for our worthiness, and it is ever-flowing in this expanded awareness. That was exactly my experience of transformation from all that mess, definitely a life-saver, on a daily basis.

  • I’d very much like to support Graciela here. Her courage and authenticity are palpable, and I believe she is breaking ground with her story and how she is using her voice. This is the brightest and most transparent example of transformation in process I’ve ever seen, word for word and in present time.

    Sharing beliefs is one thing, and has value in how we become familiar with the diversity of humanity. But imposing beliefs on another in a double binding way, expecting everyone to think, believe, and perceive the same way or something is “wrong” with you (or just plain, “you are wrong about you”), is EXACTLY what psychiatry does that is most oppressive and violating, and which does great harm if it is constantly chipping away at our own personal truth and questioning our sense of self. That is maddening. Mimicking this is, to my mind, what would keep psychiatry alive, because it validates their tools for oppression.

    Graciela, thank you for your powerful voice of truth and inspiration, and allowing your humanness to shine along with your light, paradoxes and all. It is refreshing and real. And I’ll go ahead and call it “change.” We are on our way. Blessings to you ♥

  • Deconstructing how we suffer as the result of economic inequality is interesting and I can see how this relates to our beliefs about ourselves, if we buy into certain social programming. Beyond this financial matrix by which the world seems to be set up, I am more focused on what *belief* would drive a person to suicide. Financial pressure is common, but not everyone succumbs to it, and in fact, most don’t, I imagine. Somehow, we trudge on.

    I tried to end my life at the early stages of psych drugs withdrawal, but it wasn’t because of economic issues (which at the time I was struggling quite a bit financially thanks to my psychiatric debacle). It was purely because of the absolute lack of loving kindness which I encountered from all the clinicians around me during the time–like a black hole–from the mean-spirited and cold, competitive therapists in a day treatment facility to my psychiatrist at the time, who was an absolute arrogant, controlling, demeaning, and stigmatizing asshole. Between the cluster of group therapists and this sadist shrink, I felt bombarded with the most negative projections and prognoses I’d ever received, just at my most vulnerable and painful time of withdrawal.

    I was terribly disabled at the time, my brain scrambled from the toxicity of the drugs I had been prescribed for so long, and was getting treated like shit and made to believe I had no future. At this time, I had a 20 year retail career under my belt, and an undergrad degree in film and a graduate degree in counseling psychology. According to my intention, coming off the drugs was supposed to be a temporary pit stop for me, so that I could get myself back to who I was, grounded, centered and back into balance, since all those years of toxic pills had wreaked havoc on my entire system. I had a vision of recovery and was prepared with all kinds of tools I had lined up for this.

    But the psychiatrist who I was seeing at the time said to me repeatedly, “You lost your dreams,” in a variety of contexts. I was so confused and disoriented from just having come off of 9 psych drugs, I believed him and internalized this belief.

    So I tried to take my life, if that was the best I could do at age 40, after all the work I had put into life and my healing. Came very close, but I found my way back into my body at the last moment, was out of the hospital in a few days, and then went right to voc rehab 3 weeks later to see if I could make something of my life at that point.

    Since coming back to life, I still had to fight my way through systemic abuse, but somehow I did and got out of all that, and I’ve since lived many of my dreams, including making films and having a healing practice.

    I’ve done a lot of sliding scale work and also free, on many occasions, and my films are public service, so I’m still of extremely modest means–and indeed, I see everyday on Yahoo how the rich are gobbling up the world and its resources. But I’m so happy to be away from that stupid system and completely free of all that, that I can’t even fathom wanting to take my own life.

    I love life now–had to learn this, I really hated it at one point, obviously. But I learned to find it fascinating and creative. It is not always fun or easy and I believe challenges are an inherent part of life. But as long as there are moments of joy and I can feel that love and enthusiasm running through me, then I’m good and life goes on regardless of anything, ups and downs all along the way, and always bringing more opportunities to grow and manifest new things.

    The important thing for me was getting away from systems of abuse. Being scapegoated and marginalized is really painful, excruciating in fact. There is no mental stillness in this state, none at all. The anxiety and powerlessness can feel so overwhelming, that it is easy to lose hope, with those kinds of messages being sent.

    Not so much about being poor, but about being powerless. That’s the kicker, I think, because it zaps all joy in life to feel that you have no power, and anyone at all can kick you to the curb and do all kinds of harm to you, and you have no recourse, no civil protection, because the belief is that you must have done something to deserve it. That is where inequality really hits home.

    And that is the message which poor people receive from the rich AND the middle class, which is what I feel is most dispiriting, demoralizing, dehumanizing, and which leads to hopelessness and self-abuse/self-harm.

    I also think it’s a lie, and that no one is powerless. But to access one’s power, one has to believe in oneself way above and beyond those social programs and illusions, created to make people feel badly about themselves, undeserving, and dependent on others.

    Money does not by happiness, that may be trite but it is true. I’m pretty happy most of the time, and it’s certainly not because I’m rich–I am anything but that. But getting away from the “mental health” industry altogether and all other abusive, marginalizing systems sure did allow me to find my health and happiness, and to live my dreams and feel joy in life again. That has absolutely nothing to do with money. That is all about energy and trusting my own process, intuition, inner guidance, and self-resourcefulness. All of these came into being through different stages of healing.

    Personally, I think mental abuse drives people to suicide because it can be so cruel in how it targets a person’s core wounds and zaps all the joy out of living. And it can be very covert and clever. It’s a treacherous weapon against humanity.

    Being poor can be very frustrating, but there is no shame in being poor. The shame lies with abusers and liars who cause others harm and vampire society, exploiting poor and other vulnerable people. That is where the shame belongs.

  • Julie, obviously everybody needs basic survival skills in life, and needing money to live is a fact of life right now. Not sure what your point would be in reiterating that artists need to make a living, too. Indeed, they/we do.

    One thing we can create is a path to money. Somehow, someway, and hopefully, with integrity. That would be nice, for a change.

  • PD, I fought like hell for years and years to free myself from all that and I’ll support anyone with that goal in mind, but I cannot fight others’ battles for them, the way no one could fight mine for me. Emancipation happens when we ascend our own obstacles. Support is great but we each have to do our own work.

    For me, moving forward means creating, as I describe above. I’m open to all things creative that will help uplift and nourish humanity out of the pits. That would be my contribution at this point in time. Obstacles don’t intimidate me; they simply make me more determined.

  • Related to both PacificDawn’s and Julie’s posts, combined, re feeding the world and creating:

    Had I all the money in the world, I’d cook for everybody in the world. Not kidding about that, I’d love that job. I’ve been cooking for 40 years, one of my favorite creative endeavors, and one of my favorite ways to share light & love is to feed people. Makes me so happy to watch others enjoy and be nourished by my cooking, as many have, including my partner who considers himeself very lucky that he married someone who LOVES to create in the kitchen.

    I also love playing the piano, same kind of channeling feeling. I can pick out tunes for hours–standards, pop, all kinds of things. I’m in the zone when I do this.

    So were I to have the funds, I’d open a community kitchen and piano juice and tapas bar for all to enjoy, come and be nourished and relax and have some fun. How’s that for starters?

    It would need to be paid for, somehow, and would need an ongoing list of donors, and ongoing food donations from willing contibutors, but I’d certainly do the hands on work and creating! With helpers, of course–and other creators who want to contribute, from all of the creative arts, integrate all of it. It would be a blast! And a labor of love, and I can’t think of anything more communal that would bring joy, which we so badly need in the world. That would be in response to my original comment on this thread.

    So, anyone interested in co-creating something like this, including of course anyone with spare funds to invest in something useful to the world, which is nourishing and healing and giving and creating, talk to me. As is quite evident around here, I’m an open book.

    (I am aware that I’m walking the edge as far as posting guidelines, but I am justifying this because I feel this kind of endeavor is one of the most powerful weapons against psychiatry, in that it brings people joy so who needs drugs? I’d like to co-create an example of community uplifting, giving back, and positive social creation and manifestation. We have to create it ourselves, it won’t just appear. The more of these kinds of options in the community, the more opportunities people have to enjoy life and not feel such despair and isolation, not to mention, hunger! That’s the goal, like I said, to provide global nourishment. That would make psychiatry obsolete, eventually, to my mind, and other dishonest charlatan so-called “healers”–and a;; others on the whole–who blatantly exploit society’s most vulnerable people for their own personal gain. Feeling joy is personally empowering and socially healing, no doubt about that).

  • Julie, I’m sure you are speaking for all “starving artists,” and I agree, of course, the arts are vital to the world and have enormous value to humanity. And, it takes great courage and vulnerability to share our art with the world, although a true artist is not terribly concerned with this. For a real artist, creating is compulsive, it is our nature and how we feel alive. I feel stagnant when I am not creating.

    Still, why not be able to thrive financially from it? Many do, and hold extreme wealth thanks to their art. I guess people would have to find our art to have value and put their money where their mouth is. What else?

  • It is amazing to me how we all serve such a valuable purpose to each other, when we allow our heart felt authentic truth to come forward. I’m actually blown away and so incredibly humbled by your response, Graciela. Blown away by your impeccable honesty and humbled by your mirroring. Getting to know one another is an adventure in and of itself, isn’t it? It’s how we get to know ourselves, too, I think. Our humanity is more diverse than we can imagine, I’m sure.

    Of course who we are is who are and where we are is where we are, all due to our unique set of circumstances in any given moment, along with our unique personality and perspectives. How we come together is an interesting mystery to me, and also why, for what purpose? Again, at any particular moment in time.

    What I created was the result of the only good choices which the universe offered me, as my healing and way forward. I had no resources, this is all raw and from the heart and hip. It’s all I had with which to work, and I believe we all have the power to access what we need, if we understood a bit better our process of co-creating, and how we influence our reality as we go. We are by no means powerless, even though we may perceive ourselves to be. We’re simply not seeing our own big picture in that moment. So much to say about this.

    Thank you for your feedback, very meaningful and I take it to heart.

  • I do feel very strongly, and have talked about it often on here and wherever I have given presentations, that sharing our stories of these journeys we take, for the purpose of inspiring others to keep going when it gets really, really rough and confusing, is vital. I believe it is also very healing to ourselves when we can share as we do, and hear our own voice of truth above anything else.

    My personal belief is that we are all different aspects of One consciousness, so anything we do to uplift ourselves uplifts the entire collective, one way or another. This is how we break ground and open doors for others. I believe it gives deep meaning to what we have been through, that it has a purpose for us and for our fellow human beings. That is the nature of human evolution, to my mind.

    The comment in your above reply is perfect, I think, exactly matches my intention and vision–

    “What I have gone through has made me realize how resourceful & resilient humans are. There are all these built-in features to being human I discovered out of necessity. When that light you were talking about decides to shine brightly, I wish I could go around life rooting for all humans everywhere who are going through struggles like a cheerleader saying, ‘You’re human, so you got this!'”

    Being human is what we struggle most with, I believe. This combination of our spiritual nature and our human nature is quite a dance we do in life, and once we’re in step, the journey shifts to something more interesting and eventually enjoyable, rather than a constant battle with oneself.

    These battles are the progrmas and negative beliefs we’ve taken on from life’s traumas. Healing, I believe, is where we can see through these programs of stigma and denial and harsh self-judgment of our natural self. When we can embrace our humanness, the journey gets a bit easier because we are not fighting ourselves, but more so, we are supporting, encouraging, and guiding ourselves, as we wish to do with others. In short, to use your words, being our own cheerleader!

    When I discovered this and applied this consciously, it was a game-changer. I know it may sound simplistic in words and indeed this is easier said than done, but this is my concept of how this works, best as I can describe it in words. As you know, life has to be lived first before we can articulate it.

    So, with that said, I will share with you a bit here, without going into a really, really long post, which I do not want to take the attention away from what is important here, which is how we share our voices and inspire one another, as you have done by sharing your story here. Since you have asked a couple of times about my story, I can easily share with you here in a streamlined way.

    While I don’t like to compare stories at all, since, as you wisely say, we are all on a hero’s journey (I think just being born into this lifetime is highly courageous!) I will say up front that your story is way more profound than mine, and I’m actually still self-conscious about sharing what I do, but it seems to make a difference, from the feedback I get, so I will trust that.

    Part of my healing was to share my story, which I did around town for a few years, as part of a speakers’ bureau, so I’ve shared quite a bit. I talk a lot about my family dynamic, which is what led me to “mental health” services to begin with, and where my healing was most core and profound.

    My healing work centered around forgiveness, this is what came up most powerfully for me after I got off all the psych drugs. My personal healing path is centered around “heart consciousness,” that was the big shift for me, working from this perspective. It was a life-changing shift, and I continue this trajectory.

    While in the speakers’ bureau, I made a film documenting our stories, from our presentations, and then I added interviews and a discussion among those of us on this healing journey, speaking about discrimination and stigma from the system, which we had to somehow intergrate into our experience as we went along, a huge awakening for me. This was in San Francisco, so a lot of urban politics come into play.

    So, as per your request, here’s the film, which contains the family part of my story, along with 5 others sharing the most personal aspects of their journey, as well. I think there’s something for everyone, we’re diverse. I hope you find meaning and inspiration from this–

    And, as a bonus, here’s the follow up film which I made 5 years later, after my life had transformed from the healing I had done. Thanks to speaking my truth as I was doing, the universe rewarded me with new guidance and insights, put me in a profoundly creative place, and a new location.

    I teach about co-creating and manifesting through healing. This is to where my journey led me. My job in life is to ground light to the planet, to make it real and physical, and there are so many ways to do this, it is our innate creativity.

    We need to improve the world to alleviate suffering, however we are moved to do so. This is about sharing love through music, only 28 minutes, a musical documentation–

    I hope you enjoy these films and are inspired by them. You have touched my heart in many ways, Graciela. Deep respect and love to you ♥

    And you have a wonderful day, as well! May it be filled with light and inspiration 🙂

  • No, no, you are a hero to me. I could never even nearly have articulated, as you have so vividly and spirit-filled and humbly, the journey while you are in the midst of it as you are now. That is a serious accomplishment, to my mind, and a testament to your fortitude and faith. Even the story of your persistence and humility to get it published, and trusting that process in your transparency, is noteworthy, I’m so glad you shared that.

    One phrase which caught my attention from your story was “slow and steady,” which, indeed, is key. So much to sort through, and we’re taken on a quite a ride in order to do just that, what I’d call our spiritual journey. We all have our guidance to follow, however it shows up for us at any given time.

    I can tell from your writing and also from your beautiful and extremely gracious responses to commentors, that you are a bright shining light, I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing this. I’m extermely moved by your spirit, truly. You’re making a difference, and will continue to–in a big way, I have no doubt. The honor is mine, truly, and anyone who reads your story.

  • Thanks for speaking your truth, as always, I really sat with this and thought, why would this come back to me again as such?

    Knowing the extent to which I have called out abuse in my family and in society (not just from “the system,” but the general trends of abuse and oppression of a marginalizing and scapegoating society, and also on very personal relationship levels), and also the extent to which I have identified enablers and challenged that part of the systemic abuse as well (even on a sibling level), when I see you calling me out as an alleged enabler, it gives me great pause and I have to wonder what is the reality here.

    I have, indeed, been around abuse for so long, and quite consciously even (given my life’s work), that I’ve no doubt that I have played all kinds of roles unwittingly from time to time, while trying different strategies in life to deal with all kinds of people. I am human, after all, and far from perfect. And I’ve had to stand up to all kinds of bullying, and especially as an adult all snared up in systemic abuse.

    Many powerful distortions of reality happen when bullying is called out, that’s the strategy–project, project, project, and then lie and gossip. There’s your sysetmic abuse, to cast a hopelessly negative shadow on someone–usually the real truth-speaker. That is dark wanting no light (nor change), despite whatever illusion of change might be being projected. That is false, a cover. To me, that’s the dead end system dragging everyone down, abusive to society on the whole.

    I’ve been part of many social and professional communities all my life, and have had all kinds of personal connections in my 58 years. Thanks to the healing path to which my life led me, I’ve changed so much over the years, and I’m always willing to look inward before calling out a projection.

    Mind-fucking is the most common form of abuse these days, and it is insidious and extremely challenging to awaken to and heal. Calling it out is part of the healing. Not enabling it is vital to systemic healing. The problem is that not everyone can recognize covert abuse, it is so damn tricky and can fool even the smartest people, if they are sensitive and heart-based. It’s become the norm, which is why we (well, I, at least) want a new normal. I’d call that not only a profound awakening, but a core paradigm shift in absolutely every facet of society. This affects EVERYTHING!

    Imagine if oppressors, bullies, steamrollers, gaslighters, shamers, liars, and cheaters were not enabled. There goes their infrastructure! But in reality, who is whom?? I think this is what people are fighting most over and disagreeing about, which I find incredibly interesting, if not frustrating at times.

    (And to stay in step with the article, I’d say I’m viewing life through the lens of “what is systemic dysfunction and how to transform it.” I imagine it would begin with each one of us identifying our habitual roles and deciding if we want to keep playing it or go for something else. We can choose how we respond to any situation, that is by no means universal. In fact, that’s what defines “personal truth,” to my mind, and we all have the right to our own, that is our agency and free will).

  • Loved reading this, thank you! I came off of Lithium (and several other neurotoxins) after 20 years also. I’ve now been 17 years psych drugs free and have been living by my own power and heart-felt guidance ever since. Life has a way of teaching us and seeing us through, if we are attuned to our nature. It most certainly gets better and I agree with Fiachra, that the best is yet to come. Congratulations on accomplishing such personal growth and finding your voice of truth. Beautiful!

  • Can we even imagine a world society where people are allowed and encouraged to enjoy life and at least find it interesting and creative–challenges and all–and not get to the point where they are considering not living any longer out of despair? What would it take to create a planet where people can live and create freely, as per their desires, without fear and sabotage? Can society ever be this free of relentlessly oppressive forces, so that everyone can feel their fair share of joy, and there would be no reason to consider ending one’s own life? I do wonder if this is at all attainable.

    Of course that would mean that every person on the planet would have their basic needs met, like food and other types of nourishment necessary for humans to thrive in well-being. If it can in any way be imagined, then at least there is hope.

    I’m sure many would call this a Utopian fantasy. But if it were to be possible, then none of this would be necessary. And what would mostly be obsolete would be psychiatry and its ilk, for starters.

  • There are as many lenses through which to see life as there are people on the planet. We can group them in so many ways, and I think we mix and match throughout the day. Certainly we can shift lenses and expand our perspective over time, which to me would be the foundation of personal growth.

    Overall, I believe that we can see life through a victim lens or we can see life through a creator lens, depending on how we self-identify by how we interpret our life experiences. I also believe this to be the precursor to our future life experience, based on how we identify in present time and respond to life events. I believe when we expand consciousness to creatorship, we see our best options and do not feel stuck, but more so, envigorated and motivated by our challenges.

  • My feeling response was the same as yours. For me, absence of truth and light feels icky. This is not only contrived, it’s projecting all sorts of illusions. This is the antithesis of truth, like a black hole. When one is in the sytem, being talked about by clincians is the epitome of unsafe! And all too common.

  • With all due respect to the authors, I think this is the best example of why so many people feel abused, dehumanized and marginalized by the mental health industry, straight from the mouths of clincians. I can’t detect a grain of truth or light in this piece whatsoever. I find it to be pure self-indulgence and self-aggrandizing, as usual–and this time, squared. This IS the problem. Frustrating.

  • As I’ve described, I have fought back considerably, and have had some success in doing so. Win some, lose some. We each have to fight our own battles, I like to choose them wisely.

    And I do agree that the answers are within, that’s always my practice.

    We seem to agree on a few things, but differ in perspective in many ways. Regardless, I very much respect your position and I certainly understand from where you are coming.

    I wish you continued strength, courage, and the power to create the change you desire. I have no doubt that these are within all of us, and is a matter of accessing and trusting them. That’s good hardy inner work which can only lead to positive life changes. The former is what most influences the latter.

  • “Recovery is a way of further mind fucking people.”

    Recovery is something that occurs when people have experienced something traumatic and/or debilitating and they get better eventually. I’m not referring to any movement.

    “And Life Coaching is based upon the scam that the coach knows more than you do about your own life.”

    I think in some cases, it is based on having someone outside of you witness your changes, and that is very generous and heart-based work. No one knows more than another, but support from a kind-hearted and wise-minded person who has had their share of life changing experiences is an asset to humanity, I believe. I’m sure there are scammers, like in any field, but I don’t believe you are characterizing this vocation universally.

    “How many Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists have you put out of business?”

    I have put two mh-related agencies out of business while merely trying to have a dialogue. But instead, they both lost their funding, based on my information and feedback. Not my intention, because I knew that people relied on these services, but I also knew the services were not terribly competent, to say the least, and yes, at times, abusive, and I said so, out loud and in their direction.

    But instead of playing fair and engaging in reasonable dialogue with me, they chose to be hard headed and stubborn and stick to the program, so they went down. One of these was because I wrote a letter (that’s all it took), and the other one because I took legal action and won, and then I made a film where I mention this, and sent it around the system. Their funding stopped after my film circulated.

    In addition, I have helped people to bypass the system and psych drugs altogether.

    “How many has your recovery group and your Life Coach put out of business?”

    I don’t have nor have I ever had “a recovery group,” nor a life coach (and it’s not what I am), so this is n/a.

    I own my life and live it my way, in full health and well-being, and grounded. I am complete with all this, other than to share my experience for the sole purpose of supporting others on their path. And a I know just how rugged this particular post-psychiatric path can be, and how confusing and disorienting these awakenings are.

    Life is tough for everyone, and everyone I know has been conned one way or another. Yes, we want change, and I believe I have done a great deal to instegate it, to its full effect. I continue to do this by the way I live my life. K?

  • I agree with you about the “mental health” system being of great harm, and that is because it is government related and in bed with the law, so it is a closed and corrupt system. I appreciate recovery, and life coaching is what it is, but I don’t see it as a threat to society on the whole.

    I am curious, though, what do you feel would most benefit human kind at this time, in a loving kindness kind of way? Anything?

  • I am simply conveying my experience in my own voice. How others interpret it is their story, not mine.

    I have taken my share of hits in life, and I heal as I go. I’ve had successes and victories, too. I think I’m pretty average in this regard, and I imagine I will continue to be. You are free to judge, of course, but I don’t take it on.

    “Real living only starts when you have struck back and scored some victories, that is, taken some scalps.”

    I have done this more than once. Not my favorite thing to do, but it was necessary for me to move forward, It was them or me, and truth was on my side, which gave me the confidence to take action.

    I’m not out for blood, though. My focus is on me and my family at this point, and our well-being. We worked very hard to put our lives back together after my psychiatric debacle, and have since moved into a new phase of life, finally enjoying it.

    As for the community and the world, these require collective actions, but I’m always there for support when called to act in a way which feels good and productive to me.

  • Pacific Dawn, I am a survivor of psychiatry and I’ve experienced psychotherapy which leaned toward complacency, but I do not believe this is universal. I do counseling work with others for the purpose of helping people to get unstuck when that is what they feel, so they can move forward with their goals and intentions.

    I always encourage speaking one’s truth, which is way more often than not a vital component in the healing process, and especially if it is a particularly challenging situtation (which it usually is, that’s actually often the main sticky issue), then I’m there as support, to help hold and witness the process of healing and personal change. That’s my life’s work, and I feel it has great value right now, given how the world is seeking change, big time.

    What you say is true in a lot of instances, but I do not believe it is across the boards. Some of us do encourage and desire real truth to come to light, even when it is a hard truth, which is always the most powerful catalyst to change. Without that, I don’t see healing happening. And we all need healing, including the planet on the whole.

  • I’m with Sam in appreciation, this is an enlightened response, Ron.

    There is an inherent connection between what we carry inside of us (beliefs, feelings, thoughts, focus) and the reality outside of us–a back & forth interplay, which, from what I understand and have come to believe, is the basis of how we experience life and our personal reality. Complex, indeed, and totally relevant and practical when it comes to the human experience, imo.

    And, these are flexible, they are not fixed to one point in time. Life is an ever-evolving process (human beings and our environments change constantly), so there’s always room to explore, discover, learn, grow, and refine our processes, for a better life experience than what came before. More ease, clarity, assuredness, etc., along with less fear of the unknown. Why not? Makes life better in all respects, regardless of from where we have come.

    I especially like this and resonate with it–

    “there is the idea that we all have an undamaged “Self” that, if we learn how to bring it forward, can help us heal or unburden the parts of us that have been messed up by trauma.”

    Yes, I agree with this, that we are always whole human beings. Bringing different parts of ourselves into conscious being is called “awakening” and “soul retrieval,” in other healing vernacular.

    Great and very clear truth here, Ron, thank you.

  • “People lose years of their lives to bad marriages, unsuccessful business attempts, and natural disasters. It’s not like I’m the only one. Knowing this certainly softens the blow.”

    Well, there you go, exactly, Julie. After a while of living, it does become apparent that a lot of people have stories like these to tell. No doubt at different intensities and circumstances, but again, that is because our paths are unique, and relevant to who we are. Sometimes it is natural disasters and sometimes it is relationship disaster. The latter can really take some intense soul searching and introspection, but that’s the idea, we get on that path of raising self-awareness and learning through our next phase of life. And I agree with you always here, that there is so much creative power in this.

    I think each circumstance carries its own awakening and path of wisdom and learning–to pass along so perhaps next generations have it a bit easier, thanks to the wisdom we’ve acquired in this lifetime. Better to have generational learning, rather than generational abuse, needless to say!

    Maybe that’s one way we can help turn things around, and stop abuses right here and now. Haven’t we learned by now, by our own discovery?

    That is one big shift we can make right now to create change, in the moment. Before lashing out, we can take a pause and still speak our truth–I think that’s vital–but with a bit more awareness of what we’re throwing into the collective. We do affect each other, one way or another, that is nature. We each play a part in the feeling of the collective, and we can always raise the energy a bit, which I believe leads to more clarity and also relief on some levels, a bit more ease.

    I know this will ruffle some feathers around here, but really and truly honestly, I like going by “why did this happen for me?” rather than “why did this happen to me?” Been hearing this a lot, lately, and I think it is humbling, empowering, and true. Moves us right along because then, there is purpose to all of our experiences–to enjoy, or to further awaken. Those two can eventually coincide, which would be optimal. Then, life would be so much more fun and enjoyable. I think a good quality of life includes the ability to be light and to have fun.

  • I think it’s realisitic and human. One thing we can count on in life is that we will make lots and lots of mistakes. So what, who doesn’t? We can still move along, learn as we grow, and have our moments of joy. We certainly don’t have to punish ourselves forever, or even at all. That is self-imposed suffering. I’ve had to forgive myself for a lot of things, and I imagine I will be doing that more during my lifetime, and probably even on my deathbed. Such is life as a human being.

  • “There is no “Getting Better”, as there was never anything wrong with any of us in the first place.”

    I had chronic and crippling anxiety to address. My error in judgment (and misguided belief) led me to psychiatry, whereas much later in life I learned what was really causing me to feel this way, and I made necessary changes, which alleviated this problem. The bulk of this change came from shifting my self-perception. The solution was far and away from “mental health” anything. That industry only causes people to feel terrible about themselves. So then, there is the issue of healing from the damage done by psychiatry, which to me, was also a matter of “getting better”–from drugs toxicity to criminal and violating systemic abuse.

    “And the goal of life cannot be just “happiness”.

    For some, it might be. Happiness can come when suffering is relieved. Doesn’t always, right away, especially if the suffering was caused by other people, and even more specifically if it caused by people who are supposed to be helping. That’s where the very traumatic and wounding issue of betrayal comes in.

    That’s a fork in the road for many people, we all handle this differently. Not everyone feels vindictive, although I understand why some would, seems natural under many circumstances. There are other routes to take, however, in order to resolve these issues within ourselves. Depends on our beliefs and codes of living, which are personal to each of us.

    In short, there are choices available as to how to respond to being institutionally or socially victimized. I believe most people on the planet have been, one way or another. Our government isn’t exactly “for the people by the people,” as we all know. More like “by the elite for the elite,” and the rest of us are left to fend for ourselves.

    Everyone has their own goals in life, but I think “fulfillment” might be more universally sought, although I certainly can’t speak for others. That’s always my goal, in any endeavor I take on–to feel fulfilled in the process of whatever I’m doing. Otherwise, what would be the point?

  • Yes, there is a lot of healing and processing to do once one abandons psychiatry, realizing that it has done way more harm than anything and has only added to suffering. We all do that our own way, I believe that is a powerful truth that has been revealed from our personal stories. This is what psychiatry misses altogether, that we are unique individuals.

    I don’t feel rage though, for me that is counter-healing and keeps me emotionally connected to psychiatry in a way that I’d prefer to not be. More than anything, even after all these years away from the “mh industry,” I am relieved to no longer be part of that, and happy to be free. Also incredibly grateful, because it was not easy. To find our freedom is also an awakening which occurs in unique ways, according to the individual, and it’s not at all once, but more so, layer by layer. Lots of post traumatic stress from that experience, which is healable.

  • I remember sitting in on a meeting in San Francisco, about 7 years ago, where CIT was being discussed because a gentleman who had been receiving services from California Behavioral Health Services (CBHS), and who used a wheelchair, was shot by police in front of the CBHS building because he was weilding a knife from his wheelchair.

    Meeting attendees were the public defender, exec and assistant directors of Mental Health Association SF, an attorney for the defendant, several social workers, and me. I had been contracting with MHA-SF as public speaker and wanted to do more to help bring my lived experience to the table, for that perspective to have a voice in these matters. I was shut down and put on the defensive by those who continuously referred to the defendant as “wheelchair man.”

    The public defender asked the attorney a couple of questions about the incident with the defendant, which he could not answer. The attorney passed around his card, and was more interested in media than anything, knew nothing about the client that had been assigned to him several weeks prior.

    20 minutes into the meeting, someone came in and signaled to the public defender that he had a phone call, and so he got up and left without saying anything to those of us in the room, and never came back, whereas we all did not know what to expect. A vague discussion took place for about another 20 minutes, where everyone was confused, and then we all left. It was truly bizarre.

    The dehumanization process and indifference that goes along with it are thoroughly systemic.

  • Also, I think that a community/group of those who’ve identified in the scapegoating role would be filled with all kinds of truth, wisdom, and new clarity, although I do feel that it would be necessary for people to somehow detach from this identity, or at least be willing to, for the group to maintain a grounded and real sense of power, away from the norm, and to be practical and effective. I say this because it is so easy to scapegoat, I believe it happens way more often than not–it IS the norm!–and I believe that’s at the core of our social issues and systemic abuse. It happens in community after community, seems the most used option for alleviating collective anxiety. But if it falls on one person, than nothing at all is alleviated, and that system becomes totally stuck in bad familiar patterns. That’s a downward spiral in the works.

    In addition, the one scapegoated is the one NOT going by social programming (or at least attempting to not, and struggling with this) and is more creative and independent in thinking, and therefore is poised to make much needed contributions to society at a time that we need new thinking and expanded creativity. Freeing oneself of this identity will allow a person to embrace their uniquely creative selves, despite how others may project their shallow and truly meaningless judgments (if we give them no credence).

    To my mind, for real change to occur, the idea would be to NOT create a scapegoat–yet again–from within that evolved group, which would merely be repeating social abuse. I suggest that we learn from how that felt (which is quite terrible and dispiriting, to say the least, and is pure oppression embodied), so we have deep empathy for this and can therefore be mindful to not make others feel scapegoated or marginalized when frustrations and conflicts occur, and eveyone has a chance to contribute and feel their value in the collective, to maximize the value and functionability of the entire community. Million $ question: can it be done?

  • Isn’t that Murray Bowen’s Family Systems Theory? Which I agree with, a scapegoat is created to absolve all other members of the family/community of responsbility for how they are contributing to the collective anxiety. For it to fall on one person is irrational and unrealistic, given that we all affect each other, one way or another. That just cannot be truth, it makes no sense.

    The “scapegoat” is expected to carry the anxiety/blame for everyone, and when that person refuses to do so, things only get worse and the scapegoating becomes more pronounced, often via Munchausen by proxy. Then, the entire system is operating under a stark delusion, and they are spreading the lies, which makes it dangerous for everyone concerned.

    The one who is designated “scapegoat” is the one with the opportunity to make significant core changes to the system, but it is not easy to shift an internalized “scapegoat” identity. Arguing, debating, or trying to use reason and logic with a scapegoating system is exactly like spiiting into the wind, most of us have come to realize this–it just comes right back into our faces. Scapegoating about creating an illusion of power and control over others, that’s the goal. It has nothing to do with reason or fairness or balance or justice. So the shift has to be made individually, and creatively, from the inside, based on reflecting on and being willing to shift our own self-identity and sense of boundaries and what is and is not acceptible to us.

    However, that kind of internal shifting while detaching from the system is what leaves a marginalizing system in the dust and powerless (they have to deal with their own anxiety if there is no one but each other to project it onto), while at the same time, creating a new way of being for the now FORMER scapegoat.

    That would be how systemic transformation would come about, to my mind. Not an easy path, but neither is systemic change, so in that sense, it’s a perfect match. Certainly, neither the abuser/ring leader nor the enablers will step forward, they don’t want change, for fear of feeling their powerlessness. But the “scapegoat” sure would, once they tire of that role!

    I think the “scapegoat” is really the most powerful one in the dynamic, once they choose to relinquish that role. And it takes time to adjust to feeling powerful in one’s own light when coming from a lifetime of feeling powerless, overshadowed, demeaned, and marginalized. That’s an enormous core shift which begins internally, and it will affect absolutely everyone around that person, for starters.

  • Thanks Rosalee, I appreciate your kind words! Yes we performed a few times including a holiday show where we featured 40s big band songs from their era, fun for us all and the residents were elated from it for about a week, I heard, which was really cool to know. We screened the film for them and they just loved seeing themselves on the “big screen.” Certainly a nice break for me from all this other stuff! Trying to keep it all balanced…

  • “Fairly new to my awakening of what goes on in psychiatry and am still trying to comprehend how deep and insidious this whole fiasco is.”

    Very well said, Rosalee, exactly how I would put it–a deeply insidious fiasco. Sums it up perfectly.

    I had thought at one time several years ago, when I made the film, that perhaps the clincians needed a broader education, based on our experiences of healing outside of the mh industry, and that a dialogue about new persepctives on well-being and healing would begin, opening new vistas, horizons, and possibilities. Silly me, still not fully awake at that time.

    It is after years of participating on here that my eyes opened wider, and I realized that this would never, ever occur, no way no how.

    No shrink will ever learn anything from me nor from those who went through what we did, by their choosing, other than as token, which is how covert oppression works. And if they were to learn from us, we wouldn’t get credit, they’d co-opt the information, as per the norm. This is the politics, which is that of the status quo. THAT’s how deeply insidious this whole fiasco is. I don’t call it “vampirism” for nothing. Exactly what it is, spot on and a textbook case.

    Psychiatry/psychotherapy/”mental health” counseling are based on dialogue and communication. That and the drugs are the foundation of this industry.

    Dialogue? Are you kidding me? How about stonewalling, avoiding, lying, projecting, stigmatizing, extreme defensiveness, shaming, guilting, playing “victim,” gossiping, backstabbing, sabotaging, blaming, twisting words, etc. It’s all one big insidious collage of mind games and betrayal and cover your ass, and nobody wins because there is no truth in any of it, it’s just one illusion and disillusion after another. That’s been my awakening as of late. It is played!

  • Regardless of what leads a person into psychiatry, my emphasis is more on healing from the damage done by psychiatry once we have moved away from it. There is psych drugs damage to heal, and there is also programming to shift and old sets of beliefs to reconsider. That is life changing.

    Once we awaken to the corruption which has plagued us personally, there is a lot of shifting to do. That is a holistic process of healing and core transformation. Big changes occurs here, when we heal from internalized oppressive programming.

  • “Its clear that Laura Delano found a means of coping with the rigours of psychiatric drug withdrawal, and overcame “Severe Mental Illness” as a result of abandoning Psychiatry.”

    Many of us can claim this exact same thing: we can get off the drugs, abandon psychiatry, and that is where healing occurs–as opposed to the calamity which psychiatry seems to inevitably offer. I believe this is where numbers can be significant. That is hard evidence that psychiatry places us on a downward spiral, whereas going elsewhere for healing works.

    I know that we all have different approaches to this which work for us, and a lot is yet to be discovered by people regarding their own personal healing path. I know that you, Fiachra, sing the praises of psychotherapy for your recovery, whereas I had to abandon ANYTHING having to do with the mh industry in order to heal. Here in the USA, I find this field to be utterly useless, and only creates problems and more drama and crises for people. Here in this country, at least, this industry simply does not know what it is doing, in my very firm and well-founded (I believe) opinion.

    And they have no ears for critical feedback, none whatsoever. That’s a huge problem, especially when it comes to “the art of dialogue.”

    Regardless, I believe we, ourselves, have proven with our lived experience and all that is possible once DSM/neurotoxins are abandoned and left in the dust, that diagnoses are bullshit, based on subjective and oppressive cultural norms, and that the psych drugs are extremely damaging in multiple ways to the point of being lethal.

    Many of us have gotten away from all of this, and have managed to stay away for decades now, and have, in turn, healed from this and have found our path in life. And that is not without deep reflection about the atrocities which psychiatry has put so many of us through. I know we’ve acquired profound wisdom taking this journey, how else would it serve?

    There is no ambiguity here for many of us, it is clear as crystal that psychiatry is dangerous and harmful, and getting away can be live-saving. Period.